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to divine the issue by this hideous horuspicy; of which crime (says Theodoret) the reliques are now preserved at Carrhæ. And we may be sure that he speaks truth, for in the other great crisis of his life, when he marched against Constantius, Ammian* informs us “ that he performed a ritual of the most secret nature to conciliate Bellona.” The tragedy of Carrhæ is a twice-told tale. His Persian conqueror, who was addicted to the same creed, is recorded to have been
Fata per humanas solitus prænoscere fibras
Improbus infandâ religione sapor ; and when George, the Cappadocian, about the same time, demolished the churches of the Mithriacs in Egypt, he found in the crypts of them almost as clear evidences of their homicidal rites, as the crypt of Carrhæ disclosed to Jovian. Better folks than Julian, such as St. Dominic and Mary Tudor, have been sanguinary fanatics when spiritual delusions possessed them. And—as to judging of Julian's future designs by his past life—what is the past life of a man who professed Christianity for twenty-eight-and-a-half out of thirty-one years, while he was secretly engaged in the bloody orgies of Bellona, and made his most solemn and hypocritical profession of it at Vienne, a few months before he openly renounced it ? The statements of Orosius are entitled to credit, and shew how deep a transaction that was between Julian and those rabbis, who “ called themselves Jews, but were not, and were the synagogue of Satan.”
Gibbon, who has coloured and falsified the acts and designs of Julian, has entirely suppressed the affairs of Patricius and Gallus, These partly illustrate one another. Rabbinical Judaism is not purely national in the politics of its creed. Unlike a Judas Gaulonites and an Akiba of old, it will pay tribute with joy to any apostate Cæsar who will abjure and persecute the faith of his own people to restore the Jews, and may not be found unwilling to receive for a Messiah
Gentile who unites the will and the power so to do. Difficulties vanish in that Judaism, for in it anything will prove, explain,t or account for anything. This change, worked between the times of Trajan and Constantius, seemed to be worthy of illustration, because its effects are likely to prove important in the development of the future.
CONNEXION WITH DISSENTERS. SIR, I have lately met with some controversial pamphlets of Dr. Lee and Dr. Pye Smith. Their declarations of mutual friendship much struck me, and I was grieved at (what was yet a necessary consequence) the way in which the advocate of truth has been hampered by such feelings. With your leave, therefore, I would bring this subject before your readers.
21. v. 1.
+ For a flagrant exemplification of this, see British Magazine, vol. vii. p. 119; and for another, equally gross, see Akiba, cited from the Mischna, in a note to this essay.
Are we at liberty to be on terms of intimacy with dissenters ?
The question may startle some, who, though they must own they have never felt quite at their ease in such friendship, have yet never supposed they really deserved blame for it; and who, perhaps, ascribing their uncomfortable feelings to mere pride and dogmatism, have hitherto laboured to overcome them, instead of taking care not to excite them. Should this letter meet the eye of any
person, the writer can assure him that, from past experience, he enters very fully into the difficulties and perplexities of his situation; and to relieve them, he would beg his calm attention to the following queries :
Do dissenters cause divisions in the church?
Dr. Pye Smith finds no answer to this, but by charging the church with the guilt thus incurred. A conscientious churchman, however, unable to consent to that, must answer my question in the affirmative.
What did St. Paul think of divisions ?
1 Cor. ü. 3—“ Whereas there is among you envying, strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men ?" He thought them sinful.
What does he tell us to do respecting them?
Rom, xvi, 17—“ Mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine ye have learned, and avoid them."
What intercourse, then, may we have with dissenters? Are we at liberty to contract friendships with them?
Here are texts, and for a comment, if it be needed, let me refer to the 10th of the Canons and Constitutions of 1603. It is against the maintainers of schismatics in the church of England, i. e., against those churchmen who openly countenance them; and declares that they are to be excommunicated for such their wicked errors. As this canon is one of those which has fallen into disuse, I only refer to it as shewing the opinion of the church on this subject, when she last undertook to express it. As such, I conceive, it affords a comment of the very highest authority on the texts I have quoted.
These, Sir, are the principal grounds of my own view on this point. But there are many persons of learning, high character, and long standing in the church, who, from their conduct, evidently take some other view. Would it not oblige others besides myself, forward the cause of truth, and so do good, if we were favoured with their reasons?
I would now apologize for troubling you with this letter. I have done so in the hope of thereby bringing this subject in a serious form before some minds that seem hitherto to have paid it but little attention. I also trust, if possible, to elicit in return some information, or new view, that may lead me to alter my own opinion, or tend to soften its apparent asperity.
I remain, yours &c., S. P.
ORDER IN THE PUBLIC SERVICES. MY DEAR SIR, I hope to see discussed in the British Magazine a subject deeply interesting to every parochial minister, that is, how we may best preserve order during the public services of the church.
Incumbents and officiating ministers in London and other populous towns, where the prompt administration of civil authority, or the full weight of the undefined, but most effectual influence of society, is felt to restrain the public conduct of men, and to enforce a thousand small and almost imperceptible proprieties of the Christian system, may lightly dismiss this question, as hardly affording matter for thought; but to the pastor of a country parish, into which the arm of the executive seldom or never reaches, and where the scattered households of his flock are either too far dissociated by distance and habits of life, or too little wrought on by Christian principle and zeal for the honour of God to combine in establishing and maintaining a moral standard for the community, it is a point of most weighty and painful interest. For the country pastor stands alone; no civil authority near at hand, no moral influence to second and secure the effect of his endeavours. All his aids are, the faint and uncertain support of a churchwarden, whose ecclesiastical character has finished long ago; and the vague remote threat of presentation before a person whose office is unknown, and a tribunal whose censures are derided.
This is no overstatement of the evil. For even in the case of ordinary offences, I have known warrants to lie dead in the hands of the constable, who, from a secret unwillingness to discharge an invidious office, and from fear of the sturdy felon threatening broken bones against any one who should attempt his arrest, has secretly connived at escape, or persisted in neglect of duty. Thus the administration of law is defeated.
A minister, more powerless still than the defeated law, is reduced to his personal influence, and if, through a happy co-operation on the part of his people, which can alone be obtained where he has been successful in diffusing widely the spirit of religion, he can preserve the public worship of God's house from disturbance, it is well; but if he be in a parish steeped in a dull indifference to unseen and spiritual things, or vainly striven with for years by a full and reiterated exhibition of religious truth, and so grown impenetrable under the hammer that should break, and barren as the way side under the dew that should fertilize, (and who is there, even a stranger in Christ's church, that has not known these things?) if such be the lot he is called to stand in, the slight influence he can exercise over the well disposed, (and they, be it remembered, are not the disorderly,) and the still slighter influence he can exercise through parents and masters over those that are rebellious, is all that he can do.
To open the subject, let us say, that when any disturber of the Divine service shall attract the minister's notice, the first step is private expostulation; on the second offence, expostulation in the presence of parents or friends, and a warning that, on the third offence, it will be necessary to require the churchwarden to take down the name in the face of the congregation, and to present it at the next bishop's visitation. With one or two the first postulation may succeed; with a few, the second ; but with those that, by obstinacy, provoke a third, will the last step avail much ? The matter becomes a direct trial of strength. If no result should follow from the presentation, it falls
VOL. VIII.- Sept. 1835.
dead, and virtually awards the victory to the offender, bringing into contempt the authority of Christ's ministers over his church in general, and of the pastor over his congregation in particular. But if the presentation should be followed up by a prohibition from the church for a given time, and by the penalty of the costs, there would arise the difficulties of executing the sentence, the probable resistance, the collision, and the whoop of persecution. Can we say, in such a case, that our ministry would not be hindered ? or that while the worship of God is treated irreverently, without a check, it can succeed? On the one hand, we risk the hallowed and impressive solemnity of religion, and therefore religion itself; on the other, we must endure the strife and division of conflicting with our people.
It is a painful alternative to repel any from the house and services of God, for it is, in effect, to proclaim such an one an outlaw in Christ's church. And yet may it not be asked, whether the acquired habit of irreverence, and the callousness of the mind, brought on by persevering to disturb the worship of the church, does not put the offender's soul in equal or even greater peril.
But again, will not the troubled state of our public ministrations diffuse a chilling and depressing influence throughout the whole parish? For the congregation is, as it were, the heart of the system, which carries blood and vitality even to the remotest extremities; and if this be chilled or diseased, the whole body will become languid even unto death. I have put this subject interrogatively rather than venture an opinion, because I should be glad to see it treated by older, abler, and more experienced hands. Some of your correspondents may be induced to communicate their own practice in such cases, and to define, 1, What offences require a minister's animadversion, and, 2, how they should be treated from the first commission to the final obstinacy of the stubborn offender.
I am, &c., Πρεσβύτερος.
PSALM SINGING. “ I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also:
I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also." Sir, In the places at which I have generally attended Divine worship the person who announces to the congregation the verses that are to be sung out of the Psalms, reads aloud the first verse of the couplet, or the first two lines of the stanza, and then leaves the congregation to follow by help of books. But many, or at any rate some, in most churches, are unable to read or are without books, and most Prayerbooks have only one version of the psalms bound up with them, while portions for singing are commonly selected indifferently from both the old and new versions. Now it is difficult to catch the sound of singing so as to enter into the sense of what is sung, without some previous knowledge of the words, and it is perfectly easy to do so if you know at all what words you are to expect. It would therefore surely be better to have the whole passage read over before the singing commences, or to issue the several couplets or stanzas read before they are severally sung, as is the case in some churches. The trouble and time would be a mere nothing. This as a point of minute detail may be thought too trifling for notice, but nothing is really trifling which affects in any degree the sympathy of the congregation in the worship that is offered up, and in which all ought to join in spirit. It is of course desirable to make a mode of worship, which has been in use in the church of God in all ages, and which has been sanctioned by our Lord's own example, (Math. xxvi. 30,) as easy to enter into and to sympathize with as possible; and we, who justify our use of liturgical forms in preference to extempore prayer, in a great measure on the ground of their being more easily intelligible, are bound in consistency to impart the same most excellent quality to our psalmody as well as to our prayers.
I am, sir, your obedient servant, L. S.
LIMITATION OF THE CURE OF SOULS. SIR,- I beg leave to recommend, through the medium of your Magazine, the following extracts from Bishop Stillingfleet's “ Duties and Rights of the Parochial Clergy.
Α. Η. Nottingham, July. “ Every one who is in orders hath a double capacity: one with respect to the church of God in general; another to that particular flock which is allotted to him, by the constitution of this church, and the law of the land. For although the nature of our duty, in general, be determined by the word of God, as I have already shewed, yet the particular obligation of every one to his own flock is according to that power and authority which, by the rules and orders of this church, is committed to him, and is fully expressed in the office of ordination. By which it plainly appears, that the care of souls committed to persons among us is not an absolute, indefinite, and unaccountable thing; but is limited as to place, persons, and duties, which are incumbent upon them. They are to teach the people committed to their charge ; by whom? by the bishop when he gives institution.”
“ We are members of a church established by law; and there are legal duties incumbent on us, with respect, not only to the laws of God, but of the realm. For although our office and authority, as churchmen, hath a higher original, yet the limitation of the exercise of it is within such bounds as are allowed and fixed by the law of the land.”
LIBERALISM. SIR,—A prospectus of the “ Destitute Sailors’ Asylum, Dock Street, London Docks,” was put into my hands a few days since. To that portion of it which relates to the religious instruction of the inmates, I wish (with your leave) particularly to direct your attention. It is as follows:
“The morning prayers of the Church, and the Scriptures, are read