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Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer.

I HAVE noticed various communications in your pages on matters of verbal criticism. One correspondent is rather severe on the misuse of the words, avocation and individual; another is offended at what he considers a misapplication of the word character; a third wishes for a definition of the term, nature; and all of them seem to require, not only in writing, but in popular addresses, a degree of minute exactness in the use of expressions which requires a greater command of language than many speakers possess, and a greater degree of agreement on obscure questions of etymology and orthoepy than is altogether attainable. I concur, however, with some of your correspondents in deprecating all affectation in speaking, writing, and acting. But there is another evil to be guarded against; unnecessary fastidiousness, which, if indulged, must cripple all freedom of utterance, and impair the usefulness of public men by fixing their attention on minute points, unworthy of being made prominent objects of regard. At all events criticisms of this nature ought to be made on clear grounds, and not to be themselves liable to further criticism and exception.

When, however, the use of the word avocation, to signify any employment which may be pleaded by a speaker as a hindrance to his attention to the subject before him, is objected to on etymological grounds, it is plain by the answers of your other correspondents, that the etymology of the word is not yet perfectly settled. However, if we even assume the correctness of the first writer, and say, that it properly means that which calls us off, or diverts us from our work, there seems no impropriety in using a word for this purpose, the derivation

of which, according to his own notion, implies that the speaker has been called away from one occupation by the necessity of attending to another. In fact, a, in composition, generally implies ad, as, when in the annals of Tacitus, it is said to be better that Drusus should be given up to luxury and amusement, quam, solus et nullis voluptatibus avocatus, mæstam vigilantiam et malas curas exerceret, we can understand, a rebus publicis agendis avocatus ad luxum et convivia, whereas another person might be avocatus a luxu et conviviis ad publicas res agendas.

Neither can I see the propriety of proscribing the word, individual, in every case except where it is used in direct contrast to corporate or collective. "There was not an individual present when I arrived." "Every individual in the room agreed with me." "I have not met with an individual in any part of my journey, who did not think." Person might be used for individual in each of these instances. But individual is the more forcible word, and conveys the notion that we speak deliberately, when we say no one or every one, and that we mean to include man, woman, and child.

In alluding to the remarks made upon the word avocation, I was reminded of another affectation connected with the preposition, a, in composition. Use should be allowed to determine the government of words. I therefore think the phrase, aversion from, an unwarranted departure from established construction in deference to a mere derivation; while, different to, on the contrary, is a vulgarism never met with in our best writers, and which ought, therefore, to be avoided by correct speakers. I presume all who object to the phrase, averse to, in English, would for a similar reason of analogy, change the dative case after participles in dus in Latin into an ablative.

Your correspondent would banish

the expression, a superior man or book, because superior is a comparative degree, and no comparison is expressed. Yet, as the phrase is of frequent occurrence, and every one who hears it supplies the sub. ject of comparison, and understands the word to mean superior to the ordinary run of books or persons, it is a vicious principle of criticism which would deprive us of so convenient and compendious a form of speech. The objection moreover is one, which, if adopted consistently, would abolish all conversation about the higher and lower orders, the upper classes of society, and would hinder us from speaking of former days, better times, or even "an upper room furnished."


Tothe Editor ofthe Christian Observer.

I THINK your correspondent, "A Friend to Order," is a little hasty in his remarks on the Toleration Act of 1812. That act he should remember was a measure of grace, and not of prohibition. It abolished old restrictions, but imposed no new ones. It gave the fullest liberty, as respects the public worship of God upon the easiest possible regulations for the observance of civil order. Its alleged application—even if it does apply-to the case of the meetings of charitable societies where prayer is used, is only accidental, the circumstance not being contemplated by the legislature, or the framers of the act. I submit however, that the act does not apply to meetings of this kind: it relates only to "congregations and assemblies for religious worship," which the meetings of charitable societies are not; nor does the incidental use of a prayer bring them under this denomination. It might be well for the committees of some of our societies, to set the matter at rest by an authoritative legal opinion; or possibly some of your own legal correspondents would furnish such an opinion in your pages for the public benefit. F. R. B.

The objection to the phrase, "the character of God," has already received a satisfactory reply. Servants and inferiors indeed are far from being the only persons to whom the word character is applied. When men speak of different characters, they mean persons of different ha bits, qualities, and manners. St.Paul may be properly said to have come as near as a mere man can come to a perfect character: and, since erroneous notions are naturally entertained of God, which notions are corrected in Scripture, the combination of those glorious qualities which are there ascribed to him, may be fitly represented as making up his scriptural character; nor do I see how that complex idea can be more tersely or clearly expressed. In fact, language is a very imper- QUERIES ON FILIAL DUTY, SABfect vehicle of thought. Those who have attended to it most closely, are well aware how many ambiguities lurk even in the most common modes of instruction; and they are generally glad, when any conventional formulary has come into use, which enables them to express briefly and intelligibly what greater parade of accuracy would often only encumber, or perhaps perplex.

D. D.



Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer.

MAY I be permitted through the medium of your publication, to request the opinion of your clerical friends upon the following ques


What should be the line of conduct of a son professing Christian principles, towards a parent who is opposed to all religious obligations?

of 1812-Queries


Tothe Editor ofthe Cras

I THINK Your corresponds
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ated by the legis
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1829.] On the Cessation of the Heathen Oracles-Moral Habits.
Ought he to consent to visit his
parent's house, and to take his own
children into a family where there
is no regard paid to religious duties,
and where the society and habits are
directly at variance with his own
principles ?


The second question is, Whether it is allowable to make use of a carriage to attend public worship on Sunday at a distance from home, when the parish church is near at hand, but where the Gospel is not faithfully preached.

The third inquiry is connected with an amusement which the inquirer has by education and habit been induced to partake in. Is the amusement of shooting, consistent with the character of Christian?


If any of those excellent ministers, or others, among your correspondents, from whose opinions I have frequently derived instruction, would kindly assist me with their advice, it would be gratefully appreciated by





Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer.

Ir is generally believed that the
heathen oracles ceased at the birth
of Christ; but Lempriere, in his
Classical Dictionary, says that this
opinion is not correct. The question
is of some importance, as the state-
ment alleged to be incorrect is often
found in books and sermons on the
evidences of Christianity; and I
should feel greatly obliged if some
one of your learned correspondents,
versed in such matters, would state
the result of his investigation into
the point.



Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer.

It is very distressing to a person
anxious for the moral and religious
improvement of his fellow-creatures,
to be assailed on every side with the
exclamation "Impossible!"
idea has gone widely abroad-an
idea as inconsistent with fact and
reason as with the moral responsi-
bility of man and the promises of
the word of God-that there are in
certain races of human beings cer-
tain physical characteristics, the
force of which cannot be overcome
by education or moral or religious
influence. Turks are not like Hin-
doos,nor Moguls or North-American
Indians like either; but objectors
have found respectively in each
something which must for ever pre-
vent their being true and enlightened
Christians. I have heard statesmen
make a similar remark respecting
Ireland, when the importance of ex-
tending to the ignorant and vicious
part of its population the blessings
of scriptural education has been
urged. "Do what you will, you

can never make Ireland like Scot-
land: the race is different: they are
loving and fighting, not reasoning,
animals; and if you educate them
like the Scotch, the only difference
would be that they would fight about
religion: as much blood and as much
whiskey would flow, but only in a
different channel.”

But this despairing scepticism has been particularly exhibited towards three classes of persons, in whom the present writer happens (I trust among other benevolent objects) to take peculiar interest-I mean Negro slaves, Jews, and Gypsies. Of the first Mr. Laurence has plainly told us, that " told us, that" organization will be too strong for Christianity:" an assumption which has been so abun. dantly disproved, that I shall not stop at present "thrice to slay the slain." But I am induced to advert to the case of the two latter, 5 E

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Jews and the Gypsies,-from lately meeting, in Dr. Walsh's interesting "Journey from Constantinople," an assertion respecting them of a similar character with that of Mr. Laurence, relative to the Negro. "The Gypsies," says Dr. Walsh, are distinguished, like the Jews, by indelible personal marks, dark eyes, brown complexion, and black hair; and by unalterable moral qualities, an aversion to labour, and a propensity to petty theft." Theft, idleness, and the other vices which infect both Jews and Gypsies, are thus, it seems, as unalterable as dark eyes, brown complexion, and black hair; so that to attempt to introduce civilization, or practical Christianity, among either of those races, must be utterly visionary. When you can obliterate the "indelible personal marks," you may attempt to improve the "unalterable moral qualities;" but till then, "organization will be too strong for Christianity." I am perfectly sure that Dr. Walsh did not intend to utter a sceptical sentiment, or to convey all that his words naturally imply; but this only adds to my painful conviction, that, even when there is no intention whatever of setting up physiology against the word of God, opinions are widely afloat, which, traced to their foundation, can be grounded only on such views respecting the congenital varieties of the "moral" as well as physical character of mankind, as forbid the idea of their ever being brought, unless by a direct miracle operating upon material organization, to the unity of the Christian faith, or the practice of Christian virtues. Dr. Walsh says that the Gypsies "are considered incapable of discipline or instruction:" but has the experiment ever been fairly tried, either as respects Gypsies, or several other outcast classes of our common nature? South-Sea islanders were a few years since "considered as irre


claimable as Arabs are now; but see "what hath God wrought?" And

have not Negroes been civilized and Christianized; yes, and “wild Irishes" too? Is organization too strong for the arm of Omnipotence, exerted in the use of those "means of grace" which he himself has prescribed? The Jew children in the schools at Bethnal Green, and the Gipsey children under the care of the Southampton Society, retain their "indelible personal marks;" but apart from the effects of early neglect and bad education, the alleged "unalterable moral qualities" of idleness and theft are not more conspicuous among them than among the children of Saffron Alley or Baldwin's Gardens.



Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer.

I LATELY found on an upper shelf of an old library, enveloped in dust and cobwebs, a remarkable ancient volume, calculated as I thought to be of adınirable service to mankind. It is full of important ancient histories, invaluable religious precepts, and many other matters which I shall not at present specify; and I could wish that it were better known, as it would supersede much of the trash which encumbers our libraries. I had indeed heard of its title before; and inquired of several friends whether they had ever seen it; but though they answered in the affirmative, they seemed to know so little of its contents, that I can scarcely credit their assertion. Happening to be in company one evening, soon after I had discovered my new treasure, I mentioned it to several of our circle, who all spoke in high terms of the interesting and valuable nature of its contents, and allowed that it would be well to circulate it for the public welfare; but they did not seem hearty in the cause,-and perhaps not without reason, as the work certainly contains some strong remarks which

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Relinquished Missions: The Gaures in Persia.

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the re-publication of this remark-
able volume; and with what limi-
tations? Some of our friends thought
it better to omit the publication al-
together; others thought it better
to give only select extracts: though
two or three precise people, of rather
peculiar opinions, considered it best
to give the whole as it is; and
thought that if we omitted all that
might be considered personal, or
uncharitable, or too strict, we should
go far to cut up the whole book.


For the Christian Observer.


(Concluded from page 681.)

THE following is the conclusion of the pious Inissionary's narrative. We retain as before the original spelling of names.

may be thought too personal. One
of our party, a remarkably gay and
giddy lady (though by no means
too much so for good company), I
could not very well ask to second
my object, as the work says,
that liveth in pleasure, is dead
while she liveth," which she might
think pointed at herself. The rector
of the parish, who happened to be
playing a rubber with her, a worthy
good man in his way, but lazy
withal, and not very zealous in his
parish, was much displeased with
some personal reflections about
"dumb dogs who could not bark."
The rich Mr. A., the ambitious
Mr. B., the beautiful Miss C., the
elegant Mr. D., the witty Mr. E.,
and that profound scholar Mr. F.,
very naturally took offence at some
uncourteous remarks about not glo-
rying in riches, or might, or strength,
or wisdom. Mr. G. the West-Indian
planter, was much hurt with some
observations on slaves and slavery,
which he thought were interpolated
by the Anti-Slavery Society, par-
ticularly where one of the writers
in the work speaks of men-stealers
and murderers in the same sentence,
and where he calls a slave "his
faithful and beloved brother." There
are many other remarks in the book
which our friends considered by no
means in good taste; but we all
agreed that if these were omitted,
and those parts only published which
relate to matters of history, and
general good morals and manners,
no offence could be taken by any
person. Mrs. H. much liked the
advice to husbands; and Mr. I. that
to wives; and all of us agreed that
the directions to servants in this
age of insubordination are very ex-
cellent; though accompanied with
some hints to their employers which
most of us considered obsolete, if
not dangerous in this revolutionary
age, as they might fall into the
hands of our domestics, and injure
character. These might be

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Would you, under all the circumstances of the case, recommend


"Nov. 19th, a servant of the English resident brought us some Persian cloathing, two mattrasses and covering, and provided another lodging for us, where we staid till the 23d, when the resident sent two horses to bring us to the English house, which is a considerable building with a pretty large garden. He received us very cordially, and mised to assist us in every thing. This promise he most faithfully performed during our whole stay. He is a very honest and intelligent man, much respected both by Persians and Armenians. He had never heard of the church to which we belong ; but when any visitors came to his house, especially Armenians, he always introduced us to them with the most obliging expressions. We spent most of our time in this house, learning the Persian language. Saturdays and Sundays, the resident being always absent at Tulfa, we were alone, and called to mind with unspeakable gratitude, our lot of grace to belong to a people of the Lord, with whom we have an indissoluble and ever5 E 2

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