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myself with referring to Mr. Faber's chapter on the subject, extracted in your volume for 1823, pp. 419, 480, 551, and 623: and, in conclusion, shall call the attention of your readers to a particular point; the probable designs of Providence, (if we may venture reverently to inquire into them), in revealing the secrets of creation, so far as they are disclosed in the first chapter of Genesis. The details there given have no visible bearing on religious faith or practice, and are certainly too concise to convey original knowledge of practical utility. No man indeed can be insensible to the sublimity and interest of the narrative; but it is not the ordinary, as it does not seem the natural, scope of revelation, merely to gratify our taste or curiosity. We must look therefore for some other and higher end; and I am disposed to think that the progress of geological discovery is destined ultimately to explain and verify the Mosaic account; and thus render it an important witness to the inspiration of the Pentateuch. On this supposition, the first chapter of Genesis may be not inaptly termed a prophecy of geological discoveries; .and, like other prophecies, it will probably be unexplained, till Time, "the great interpreter," shall remove its obscurity. In the mean while, we may reason by the common rules of science, as we should act according to the ordinary maxims of morality and prudence; in assured confidence that the book of experience, whether we consult its historical or its philosophical chapter, will eventually bear testimony to the book of God.
U. U. S.
ON A NEW BREACH OF CHURCH DISCIPLINE.
Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer.
UNAVAILING as each attempt may prove to stay the anti-religious spi
rit of the "Gentleman's Magazine," there is something so eccentric in a charge which it lately preferred against a young clergyman, that I cannot refrain from submitting to your readers a few observations on the subject. The charge occurs in a review of Mr. Rose's sermons preached before the University of Cambridge. "Mr. Rose," says the editor," tells us, that instances have very recently occurred of deacons, when attending a bishop for examination, previous to their ordination as priests, exhorting in the inn near his residence, and defending their conduct for so doing; notwithstanding it was a mistake of the extent of their ministerial commission, and a breach of church dis. cipline." While ruminating upon this heavy accusation, two questions presented themselves to my mind: 1st. What is to be understood by that" exhortation" which is here complained of? and 2d. In what respects is it opposed to church discipline?
As to the first question, I have no means of ascertaining the precise nature of the act which has proved so offensive to the reviewer. Whether the "exhortation" was sober, or intemperate, addressed to an individual, or to an assembly; whether under circumstances of retirement, or display, I am wholly unable to decide. Possibly, however, it may serve to throw some light upon the question if I state what once occurred to a clergyman, when passing the night at an inn, situated in a large city. About eight o'clock in the evening the waiter, somewhat unexpectedly, informed him, that "there was a clergyman in an adjoining room who intended to have family prayers at nine o'clock; and that any person who might be staying at the inn would be at perfect liberty to attend them." The individual who received this message considered himself bound, more particularly as a clergyman, to accept it. He attended at the hour appointed, and was much pleased both with the
manner in which the service was conducted, and with the deportment of those who were present; among whom were the landlady, and several servants belonging to the inn, both male and female. On leaving the room the last-mentioned clergyman took occasion to say to the landlady, “I am surprised to find that it is possible thus to assemble your servants for the purpose of family prayer." "Oh, sir," she replied, "it is not only possible, as you perceive, but we are much obliged to any clergyman who will kindly undertake the office: our servants are so ignorant and thoughtless, that we are glad to have them thus instructed in the Bible, and taught to pray to God." Not being aware that he was violating church discipline, or not having Mr. Urban at his elbow as a religious Mentor, the clergyman in question pledged himself without hesitation to follow the laudable example of his reverend brother, whenever he might again pass a night at the inn. Again, and again, has he, by redeeming his pledge, violated, it seems, church discipline. In plain words, he has repeatedly read and expounded a short portion of Scripture to as many of the servants of the inn, as, together with the landlord and landlady, were at leisure to attend; and he concluded the service with an evening tribute of prayer and thanksgiving to God. Of a similar cha racter, perhaps, was the "exhortation" so loudly complained of, and so pointedly reprobated, by the reviewer. Yet in so doing, the clergyman seemed to himself to seize that religious opportunity, the neglect of
In answer to those who would contend, that it is the office of the minister of the parish to instruct the servants in question in the all-important matter of religion, I would remark, how frequently it happens, that Sunday travellers so occupy the waiters' time, as almost necessarily to preclude their attendance on the services of the church. If, therefore, some extraor dinary efforts be not made for their instruction, they are too likely to remain ignorant of the "one thing needful."
CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 326.
which might have risen upag him in the judgment, as a breach of his Christian obligations, if not a contradiction of that avowal which he made at the time of ordination, relative to his being "moved by the Holy Ghost,"-" to serve God for the promoting of His glory, and the edifying of His people."
How far I was right in my conclusions may appear, as I now consider our second question; namely, In what respects the "exhortation' above mentioned is opposed to "church discipline."
The reviewer having, it seems, identified-for his language is unlimited in its range-every such "exhortation" as he has alluded to with "the breach of church discipline," I would first beg to be informed to what part, or item, of that discipline he immediately refers. Let him name either the canon or act, the Scriptural or the Liturgical authority, by which he would support his grave and injurious charge against a deacon of his own church; a "charge," too, which he would point by adding that the exhortation in question was made "near the bishop's residence;" a circumstance, the effect of which surely should not be to damp the fervour of ministerial zeal, nor to restrain its sober exercise.
Yet, in undertaking to become the apologist of the deacon assailed by the reviewer, I would be understood to speak with all necessary regard to the time, the place, the manner, the spirit, and, though last, not least, the length of such an "exhortation," as may be delivered by a clergyman, whether priest or deacon, at an inn. Where such "regard" is wanting, it is obvious that a religious exercise which in itself is not merely allowable, but laudable, may become liable to serious objection. "Let all things be done decently, and in order." The best things may be spoiled by indiscretion and mismanagement. Still, while I admit that his diffidence
should ever be proportionate to his youth, I would maintain, that so long as a clergyman undertakes such a service in a spirit of "sound wisdom," and scriptural devotion, to charge him with a "breach of church discipline," is an unjust as well as severe reflection. Is it not, in fact, to say, that, in order to maintain such "discipline," we must withhold spiritual instruction from those who may peculiarly need it; who are apparently disposed to profit by it; and who, in many cases, I fear, if not zealously furnished with such extra "exhortations" as those which the reviewer has condemned, must remain destitute of all pastoral advice? If such ideas of church discipline be correct, it would be difficult to reconcile with them the language of St. Paul, respecting the duties of a bishop, "apt to teach;" as also the Apostolic precept immediately addressed to Timothy, "Be instant in season, out of sea
Your readers may be not less astonished than myself that the reviewer should have noticed an "exhortation delivered at an inn," as apparently the only certainly the most flagrant-breach of church discipline, which has lately come under his observation. Is he prepared to shew that for a clergyman to join a hunt; to expose himself to the pollutions of a theatre; to pass the night at a ball; to be present on a race course; to harangue at the hustings, or to enter into the jovial spirit of a public dinner; to play at cards,-habits, all of which are happily declining in the clergy of the Established Church, and which are expressly forbidden by the canons, is no breach whatever of church discipline?
I would conclude by submitting to your readers some reasons for and against the practice under conside ration. To begin with the latter. It is an unusual thing for a clergyman to deliver an exhortation, or to have family prayers, at an inn; it
must, therefore, attract notice, and probably expose him to animadversion, and even ridicule : it may even prove offensive to his patron, and thus injure his prospect of prefer
The reasons in favour of the practice are such as the following. A thing is not wrong because it is unusual. The servants at an inn are singularly debarred of those general opportunities of religious edification which are afforded to others on the Sabbath. Some one is surely bound to minister to their spiritual necessities; and who is more qualified to do so than a clergyman, who happens to be sleeping at the inn? Even the clergyman of the parish, on account of the lateness of the hour when the family might assemble in the evening, would be far less capable of acting in the case here supposed. Above all, by heartily endeavouring, in dependance on the grace of the Holy Spirit, to bring those to the knowledge of a Saviour who are too generally ignorant of Him, we are so far obeying the commandment to "do good unto all men ;" and in a dying hour we shall escape the dreadful retrospect of having willingly neglected those who may be "perishing for lack of knowledge."
To prove that we may make ourselves remarkable by neglecting to admonish those who are not our immediate charge, as ministers of Christ, I may state the following fact. A clergyman, on reproving a determined swearer on board a ship, was asked by the captain of the vessel if he was not a Dissenting Minister? For," said the captain, "I thought that none but Dissenting Ministers would have reproved a man for swearing." The circumstance occurred some years since; and I conscientiously believe that such an opinion would be unfounded, and I hope is obsolete in the present day: still the anecdote may not be without its use.
"Mr. Hume argues nearly in
ARISTOTLE, BEAttie, and humE, the same manner, in regard to the
Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer.
I SEND you the following arguments of Dr. Beattie, contrasted with the statements of Aristotle and Hume, on Slaves and Slavery. Let the reader choose between the heathen and the infidel on the one hand, and the learned, accomplished, humane, and devout Christian on the other.
superiority of White men over Black. ...... His assertions are strong, but I know not whether they have any thing else to recommend them....... The inhabitants of Great Britain and France were as savage two thousand years ago, as those of Africa and America are at this day. To civilize a nation, is a work which it requires long time to accomplish; and one may as well say of an infant, that he can never become a man, as of a nation now "That I may not be thought a barbarous, that it never can be blind admirer of antiquity," says civilized.......That a Negro slave, Dr. Beattie, "I would crave the who can neither read nor write, nor reader's indulgence for one short speak any European Language, digression more, in order to put who is not permitted to do any him in mind of an important error thing but what his master comin morals, inferred from partial and mands, and who has not a single inaccurate experience, by no less friend on earth, but is universally a person than Aristotle himself. considered and treated as if he He argues, 'That men of little were of a species inferior to the genius, and great bodily strength, human; that such a creature should are by nature destined to serve, and so distinguish himself among Eurothose of better capacity to com- peans, as to be talked of through mand; and that the natives of the world for a man of genius, is Greece, and of some other coun- surely no reasonable expectation. tries, being naturally superior in To suppose him of an inferior spegenius, have a natural right to cies, because he does not thus disempire, and that the rest of man- tinguish himself, is just as rational kind, being naturally stupid, are as to suppose any private European destined to labour and slavery.' of an inferior species, because he This reasoning is now, alas! of has not raised himself to the conlittle advantage to Aristotle's coun- dition of royalty." trymen, who have for many ages been doomed to that slavery which, in his judgment, nature had destined them to impose on others; and many nations whom he would have consigned to everlasting stupidity, have shewn themselves equal in genius to the most exalted of human kind. It would have been more worthy of Aristotle, to have inferred man's natural and universal right to liberty, from that natural and universal passion with which men desire it. He wanted, perhaps, to devise some excuse for servitude; a practice which, to their eternal reproach, both Greeks and Romans tolerated, even in the days of their glory.
"That every practice and sentiment is barbarous which is not according to the usages of modern Europe, seems to be a fundamental maxim with many of our critics and philosophers. Their remarks often put me in mind of the fable of the man and the lion. If Negroes and Indians were disposed to recriminate; if a Lucian or a Voltaire from the coast of Guinea, or from the Five Nations, were to pay us a visit, what a picture of European manners might he present to his countrymen at his return! Nor would caricatura, or exaggeration, be necessary to render it hideous. A plain historical account of some of our most fashionable duellists,
gamblers, and adulterers, (to name ed all to fail. But I cannot help
"It is easy to see with what views some modern authors throw out these hints to prove the natural inferiority of Negroes. But let every friend to humanity pray, that they may be disappointed. Britons are famous for generosity; a virtue in which it is easy for them to excel both the Romans and the Greeks. Let it never be said, that slavery is countenanced by the bravest and most generous people on earth; by a people who are animated with that heroic passion, the love of liberty, beyond all nations ancient or modern; and the fame of whose toilsome, but unwearied, perseverance, in vindicating, at the expense of life and fortune, the sacred rights of mankind, will strike terror into the hearts of sycophants and tyrants, and excite the admiration and gratitude of all good men, to the latest posterity." Beattie's Essay on Truth, p. 458, &c.
Such were the sentiments of that ornament of his age and country, Dr. Beattie, sixty years ago: with what mingled joy would that eminent man have witnessed the efforts now made to carry into effect his benevolent ideas, and with what grief and indignation the virulent opposition with which they have been assailed!
A CLERGYMAN'S WIFE.
(Continued from page 39.)
observing, that when we speak of
"Our external situation became more and more irksome, and we could scarcely procure the means of subsistence. My health had suffered so much by continual sickness, anxiety, and hard labour, that I was apparently fast approaching my end; at the thoughts of which I rejoiced greatly, delivered my accounts, and all my concerns, into the hands of Brother J. Heinrich, looking forward with longing to be at rest with Jesus. I felt his comfort, pardon, and peace in my soul, and hoped that every day would be my last. I had a complication of maladies, and expected that internal mortification would soon take place, and put an end to my misery. Unexpectedly, a Danish vessel arrived in our harbour, on board of which was Brother Sixtus. He was commissioned to examine
into the state of the mission, and to