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is easy to find explanations of the subjects in the older authors containing all that can be denied.
I am, Sir, your obedient servant, W. D.
CHANGE OF LESSONS.
SIR,- In the Book of Homilies, in the edition published at the Clarendon press, 1802, I find, in the Admonition addressed to all ministers ecclesiastical, the following passage :-“ And where it may so chance some one or other chapter of the Old Testament to fall in order to be read upon the Sundays or holydays which were better to be changed with some other of the New Testament, of more edification, it shall be well done to spend your time to consider well of such chapters before hand, whereby your prudence and diligence in your office may appear," &c. Will you, or one of your correspondents, have the goodness to inform me whether that Admonition, with respect to changing the lessons, remains in force ; if not, when it was abrogated ?
I am your obedient servant, A PARISH PRIEST. P.S. It appears to me that the rubric is our sole guide, and that we have now no right to change the lessons appointed by the rubric;* but having understood that it is the custom with some persons to change the lessons upon the authority of the Admonition, I am desirous of being set right on this point.
INTIMACY WITH DISSENTERS. SIR,—Although destitute of all pretensions to “ learning, high character, and long standing in the church,” I venture to offer a few reinarks on S. P.'s letter respecting intimacy with dissenters.
There can be no doubt but that dissenters do cause divisions, but I am inclined to think that generally they dissent without being aware of the guilt which they incur in doing so. Education makes many dissenters, and the prejudices of early education keep them such. Gross ignorance respecting the nature of the visible church, and a consequent latitudinarianism in their notions of church-matters, drive thousands from us. And I really think that the number of wilful schismatics, who dissent through “ envying” or “ strife” is comparatively small. I cannot therefore believe that St. Paul would have spoken so sharply respecting modern dissenters as he did of those of his own time. A dissenter in the apostolic times must have shewn a disregard for much that the whole Christian world then esteemed sacred; he must have resisted apostolic authority, and must have been conspicuous in his resistance. Not so in the present day.
Dissent is now so general that it is attended with no disgrace, (indeed, amongst a certain class of the community, it is esteemed an honour to be a dis
There can surely be no doubt on this point. The Admonition can have no authority.-En.
senter.) The general voice of the Christian world is not, as it ought to be, in condemnation of schism; and though the schismatic of the 19th century disregards the same apostolic authority as the schismatic of the 1st century, yet he does but do what others do—he “ follows the multitude," not knowing that it is leading him“ to do evil.” But if this really be the case, if there be many among the dissenters who, though they follow not after us, nevertheless love the name of Jesus, and do many good things in his name, may we not look upon them as our brethren, even as our Master himself has told us that he who is not against us is on our side”? At any rate, are we doing right in avoiding all intimacy with dissenters till we have done all in our power to reclaim them ? Surely, if I have a dissenting friend, whom I believe to be a good man, I am not to keep aloof from him till I have pointed out the unreasonableness of his conduct, or (being unlearned and inexperienced myself) till I have directed him to those masters of our Israel who are qualified to shew him the danger of his situation, and to lead him to see how presumptuous it is for him to expect to be cleansed by bathing in Abana or Pharpar, when God's commandment is, that he should wash himself in Jordan. If, after all my pains, he obstinately continues to prefer mount Gerizim to mount Zion,-if, either from indolence or indifference, he refuses to reflect for himself on the subject, or, after reflection, continues an incurable schismatic, then, I conceive, (but not till then,) I am bound to leave him, that is, to be less intimate with him; but never can I look on that dissenter as a heathen man and a publican who can lay his hand upon his heart and solemnly declare that my God is his,—that my Master is his Master,—that the book which is to me the compass which guides me over the sea of life is that by which he also shapes his course,that the port to which I am sailing is also “ the haven where he would be.” Such an one, though an erring brother, is still a brother; and though I condemn his schism, and pray for his return into the bosom of the church, I nevertheless must love him and speak kindly to him, for he is my brother.
Perhaps, if no one else has taken up the subject, you will insert this letter in your next Magazine, as I must think that S. P.'s proposed line of conduct would be more productive of evil than of good, and is not altogether the mode which he would have pursued who became all things to all men, that perchance he might save some. I remain, Sir, with sincere esteem, your obedient servant,
JUVENIS, P.S. I have been asked the following questions, which, when you have an opportunity, I hope you will be kind enough to answer: “ Is there anything irregular or uncanonical in making a separate service of the communion service, or, in other words, in administering the communion and preaching without previous morning prayer ?" “ Where is the American Prayer-book to be procured?"
DISSENTING DISHONESTY. Sir,— In your number for August, you did me the honour to insert a letter of mine, headed, “ Home Missionary Tactics,” and signed
“ Detector,” and containing contradictions of some statements which appeared in the“ Congregational Magazine" for July, respecting Richmond, Yorkshire. I have now to request that you will allow me room in your work for a few additional remarks, which I think called for by the observations of the editor of the “ Congregational Magazine,” in his last number.
Immediately on reading the statement in the July number of the “ Congregational,” suspecting it to contain that which was far from being true, I took means to make myself sure, and, on ascertaining the real facts of the case, I despatched, with my letter to you, a note, signed Fiat Justitia, to the Editor of the“ Congregational," stating the truth in contradiction of the falsehoods he had admitted into his periodical. As I expected, however, he would not insert it, but said in his “ Acknowledgments,” that“ if I would give my name and address he would investigate the matter, and, if necessary, correct the statement to which I referred, but that he could not do that on the authority of an anonymous communication.” I then wrote to him another note, referring him to the dissenting minister at Richmond, instead of giving him my own name and address. This note is not acknowledged in his “ ACknowledgments" in his September number, because, perhaps, he had not received it, but there is the following :-“ After our August magazine was at press, we received the following paragraph from the gentleman who wrote the article in question, which we regret did not reach us in time for our August number :- Our correspondent that furnished the article in our last (July, number, p. 448, having since found that the Auxiliary Bible Society, and Auxiliary Church Missionary Society, at Richmond, have been much more efficient than he had apprehended, especially the former, wishes the statement of the contributions of the said Societies, which has originated entirely in an involuntary mistake, to be considered as withdrawn.'
Now, what I have to complain of here is, the partial nature of this withdrawment. For here is not a word about the number of sittings contained in the churches, &c. In the article of the July number of the “ Congregational” it was stated that “the two churches and methodist chapel do not probably contain more than 1500 sittings.” But the truth is, they contain 2004 sittings, allowing twenty inches for each sitting, which, I believe, is two inches more than is allowed by the Church Building Society. I ask, therefore, why this false statement was not also “ withdrawn," or rather corrected ? For this word “ withdrawn,” as here used, sounds rather oddly to me, as do also the writer's saying that the Societies “ were more efficient than he had apprehended!” (not ascertained, it seems, but apprehended) and that his mistake was an “ involuntary mistake,” for I thought that these gentlemen always acted on the “ voluntary principle.'
After giving the above paragraph from his correspondent, the Editor of the “Congregational proceeds thus :-“ From this statement, it will appear that the communication from our correspondent was sent to us before the publication of the “ British Magazine” for August, and was therefore the result of his own anxiety to correct an error into which he had fallen, and not the effect of the coarse and ungenerous remarks of Detector in that magazine, in an article entitled Home Missionary Tactics, p. 176.” Now if the communication of the correspondent of the “Congregational” were sent before the publication of the “ British Magazine,” it does not therefore follow that that communication was the result of the communicator's own anxiety to correct an error into which he had fallen, for though not a transcript, yet a similar letter to the one which appeared in the “British Magazine” for August, was inserted in the “ Yorkshire Gazette," about the middle of July, and therefore, before the withdrawment was sent to the “Congregational." And there is little doubt that the withdrawment was the result, not of the withdrawer's own anxiety to correct his error in the way the editor of the “Congregational” would have it believed, but of the remarks which appeared in the“Yorkshire Gazette.” I have since then published five hundred copies of a more extended contradiction of the falsehoods, on placards, and have sent them to Richmond, for gratuitous distribution. It is, in my humble opinion, by such means as these that the shameless misrepresentations and falsehoods of the dissenters are to be counteracted. It is expensive for individuals to follow such a course, but this should not deter the friends of the truth from doing all they can at the present time. I write many letters myself, to different places, to ascertain the truth of statements which I see in the dissenting periodicals, and sometimes with advantage to our holy cause. I could do much more good this way, were it not for the expense. I have spent several pounds in this way within the last year, and think that a small society might do much good by subscribing a little money and following a similar course. But, whatever others do, Mr. Editor, I will do all I can. I know the principles upon which our church stands, and I love her, and, while I have health and strength, will use my utmost endeavours to defend her. Let each one of her sons do
I remain, Sir, yours respectfully,
MR. KNOX. Mr. Editor,—The suspicions you express at page 312 of your last number, respecting Mr. Knox's views of our salvation through Christ, are certainly not without foundation. I think, however, he can hardly be charged with doing away with all that is subjective in religion, though it must be admitted that he gives a prominence to that internal work of the Spirit of which man is the subject.
I doubt not that Mr. Knox has been led to think and write thus, not only because he was persuaded of the great practical value of the subjective part of religion, but because his views did not exactly har. monize with the objective religious scheme of modern times. I mean, he was of opinion, that the plain statements of mysterious truths, which form the objects of our faith, have received many additions, explanations, and apologies, which are not to be met with in the word of God, nor in the early Christian writers.
The doctrine of the atonement, for instance, appears to occupy a different place in modern divinity from what it formerly held. The
word “ atonement"'* is no longer regarded as identical with the word “ reconciliation.” While the divine procedure itself, which these words express, is not simply believed in as a mystery, but is somewhat presumptuously accounted for on the principles of human reason and justice, by making such words as “ debt,” 6 satisfaction," ransom,” &c., nomina propria by which the very nature of redemption, and its occasion are expressed, instead of regarding them as “figures of speech, for the purpose of illustrating the nature and extent of the consequences and effects of the redemptive act, and to excite in the receivers a due sense of the magnitude and manifold operation of the boon, and of the love and gratitude due to the Redeemer.”—See Coleridge's“Aids to Reflection," page 323, where this subject is discussed at large. Also Professor Hey's, “ Lectures on the Articles," appendix, on the Atonement.
I would also take this opportunity of suggesting to those who range themselves on opposite sides, as to the moral and forensic view of Christianity, that these are by no means contradictory to each other; but that each occupies an important place in God's revelation to man. [The moral statement conteniplates inherent sin as the true and essential cause of our alienation from God. The forensic argument, (in accommodation of the truth to our reason, by a reference to human courts of judicature,) directs the attention to God, offended at the guilt incurred in consequence of the violated law.] Our blessed Lord, who addressed himself to the hearts of individuals, spoke morally. St. Paul, who combatted the pride of national privileges, necessarily had recourse to forensic language.
But would I therefore maintain that the forensic argument is inapplicable to Christians of the present day? By no means. This mode of speaking will generally be found necessary in the pulpit, unless, indeed, we were addressing a congregation of philosophers.
We find ourselves compelled to speak of an angry God-a debt incurred—the bar of justice—the advocate who undertakes for us, &c.,—but we would not therefore be understood to employ these terms in their strict and literal sense. Nor are we to suppose it possible, by any figures of speech, to express the whole mystery of redemption.
I am, your
MR. KNOX. Sir,—I consider the view which Mr. Knox took of justification as so truly scriptural, and the effects of such a view to be so highly beneficial, that I cannot help being desirous that his book should be most carefully studied. I say “ carefully" because I never met with any work of the same degree of depth which required more study. It would be unavoidable to escape misunderstanding the author, and of irritating our prejudices, if we only give it a superficial reading; and such it is likely to obtain from those who do not consider the subject of paramount importance. I am glad to see that your correspondent
VOL. VIII.-Nov. 1835.