« AnteriorContinuar »
bulæ, with which, if we may trust the vignette, its only unity is “the cross at the east end." The phraseology too is altered, and we have now the language of the gospel, of sins forgiven, and the cross of Christ. Is this book as innoxious as the former? It is possible that Christian parents may have no objection to fill the young imagination by the intervention of dreaming, with the superstition of other days; the first sign of grace to “ go to the Holy Land,” the first symptom of declension to "delay going to the Holy Land,”—the first proof of reprobation to "give up going to the Holy Land,” and the first pang of remorse that “it is too late to go the Holy Land;” with some doubt left whether the pilgrim, with cross on shoulder, and staff in hand, and “ sacred book with the impression of a cross on each page," did go to Jerusalem or to heaven at last. Should this be the
and should we think the little Briton's mistake about baptism sufficiently confuted by Father Aidan's pious assurance that “God will grant, from the moment of baptism, the aid of his Holy Spirit,” and “ devout belief that those only who have been baptized “can be under the immediate guidance of the Holy Spirit;” and if we suppose it to be by accident that the longest quotation in the story is taken from the apocrypha, and the only hymn from the Parisian breviary, we may consign this volume also to the shelf of undesigning trash.
But the light increases fast; no wonder, perhaps, for our third article is labelled “Oxford.” We learn now that God “has pro“mised the baptized, and them alone, that they shall be saved “ through his Son's name." Mothers know their babes are gone to heaven, because, on a certain day, called All Saints' day, they were taken in a carriage to "a large stone bason, called a font.” Of those children who remain on earth, it may not be thought that because they are naughty they have not been baptized, and are not made children of God, since there may be other causes : “ Poor Jane has not been often to church; for the servant, at her
mother's, used to take her to dissenters' meetings, which is much “ worse than staying at home altogether.” Will any Christian parent dare to put this enormous falsehood under the eyes of a child? Will they have their babes taught to make themselves good, by crossing their foreheads with their tiny fingers; or, persuaded that the learning of an unwilling lesson is a cross meritoriously borne for Jesus' sake? We begin to wish back the story in which we could not find the profaned perverted word. But now we have penances as well as crosses : little Johnny walks in the road when he prefers to walk in the fields, to “punish himself” for having felt ill-tempered; his father strokes his cheek, his mother kisses him, and his sister jumps for joy. And so, in truth, might holy mother Rome, when her promising catechumen subsequently “punishes himself” by remaining at the far end of the church, instead of sitting with his parents “near the altar.” But we need not proceed with the dissection of this book; it is by so much the less dangerous that it is undisguised; it has labelled itself right. The instilled principles are openly reasoned out by conversations between the parents and minister ; and no one who does not wish their children to imbibe the whole popish character of the Oxford school will think of the admission of it to their nursery. If they do so wish, they will find in “Little Mary” all they can desire, from penance, fasts, and saints-days, to the unquestioned certainty that all who separate from our own church are “living in sin.”
The altered exterior of Nos. 4 and 5 give notice of another destination, betraying the extent and perfectness of the enemy's design. The common paper, the narrow margin, and the coarse wood-cut, mark their destiny to the Sunday School or Village. Library. But poor children are baptized as well as rich ones; and so the first lesson is that when they go into church, and see the font, they are to remember—not Him who made, or Him who died, but the water and the sign and the words ; with this conclusion, -" And so you were made His child. If you had not “ been baptized, you would have no right to come into God's “ house." To ourselves we confess this is a quite original idea; we had thought that, from Pentecost to the Propaganda, enquirers had always been brought in to hear and pray before they were initiated. No matter; our readers of this class are not critical; and if their own baptism has been neglected, they may probably not know it. We are constrained to hope they may not, lest when they are told that “ those who have been baptized should say
the “ Belief and the Lord's Prayer;" and are further instructed, that “God having made them his children in baptism, therefore they “ should love him and obey him”—(these italics are not ours); they might, on discovery of their unbaptized condition, suppose themselves excused from other things as well as from going to church. If Sally Dawson's intellect is equal to the full compass of Miss F.'s simile—that as walking in a dirty road spoils our clothes, so “sin spoils our souls, after they have been made clean by baptism,” -she may decide to do in the one case what she would in the other -postpone her clean clothes till she has finished her game of play upon the dirty road. We take comfort in the hope that she will not be equal to all the doctrinal inferences of another simile, wherein the “Holy Catholic Church” is likened to a
club,” to which the members “pay money every week ; and when “ they are ill, they have an allowance.” Is this harmless nonsense ? mixed up as it is in a sixpenny book, about wearing fine bonnets, whispering at church, and the usual themes of childish instruction for the poor? Our hearts ache while we expose the ingenious mischief-doing.
But we must leave “Burns's Series,” only two numbers of which are in our hands ; passing over the recommendation to learn the calendar by heart, and never to speak the name of Jesus without bowing, &c. &c., for another “Series,” intended for the same class, but making great advances, as before, on the understanding of the scholars, grown old enough now for their first service. In “ Cousin Rachel” the previous hints upon baptism are developed, and many new disclosures made. Unless the beautiful verses at the end are transferred from some other publication, which we do not know, they bespeak no common, and we believe no unknown hand. Our readers may like an extract from the poem on Holy Baptism :
“ A few calm words of faith and prayer,
A few bright drops of holy dew,
Earth's charmers never knew.
“ Blest eyes, that see the smiling gleam
Upon the slumbering features glow,
Touches the tender brow!''. If a prose version be preferred, the following may suffice : it is the description of a christening : “ The font stands near the door of the Church.
Then the minister of Christ comes near to the holy fountain of Christian life: as the streams spring out of the earth at God's bidding to water the young trees and flowers, to make them grow and flourish, so the water of life stands ready in the house of God, to give life to the souls of men.”
We have then the other sacrament, of which the apt scholar says—“ I suppose we are still more children of God, after we share in the sacrament of the Lord's Supper ;” and is answered, “Certainly”—having received this previous explanation, “Faith enabled the sick to gain healing from the touch of our Lord's garment; and faith will enable us to gain salvation from the tokens of his presence which he has left amongst us. We have also a plain statement that the visible church is the flock, the vine, the bride, the body, &c., of Christ, as so called in Holy Writ;
* We since observe, that this and other poems affixed to “ Cousin Rachel,” are from the “ Christian Year."
also the difference, or rather no difference, except a change of name, between bishops and apostles. The mystery of the apostolic succession is disclosed in no very inappropriate words of wonder
“ How wonderful it is,” says Cousin Rachel, “ that our ministers should have the full authority of our Lord for all they do, by means of ordination, continued through 1800 years, in different countries, and among different people, and all by being handed down, from one Bishop to another, ever since the Apostles.”
We apprehend our more careful housewives will weigh the proverbial consequences of “ doing one thing and thinking of another," before they trust their servants with the advice about keeping matins, nones and primes; to be heard of in “Bishop Cousin's Devotions,” which though written for the ladies of the court of Charles I., is equally well adapted to the little maid of all work, provided she thinks about, instead of reads about, the right thing at the right time. Sure are we there is no child of God, from the court to the scullery, put out of condition to fulfil the Apostle's injunction, “Be instant in prayer"_"Pray without ceasing,' if the mind be sufficiently spiritualized thereto. When every sense of pleasure is a thought of praise ; when every sense of pain is a feeling of dependence ; every perception of difficulty, temptation and sin, a spontaneous cry for pardon and assistance; the aspiration, the ejaculatory prayer, brief as the feeling that calls it forth, will no more interrupt than that does, the occupations and duties which perhaps have given occasion to both. But when little Ann sets about to meditate upon a certain thing, not because it occurs to her, but because it is nine o'clock—the kitchen-dial, representing, we suppose, the convent-bell—we leave the consequences to be foreseen ; as we must also leave the fast increasing merit of giving money to build “ great churches,” the spiritualizing effects of painted windows, the duty of seeing Christ in the very ornaments of the building, the two bright candles burning on the altar—all very impressive and exciting, no doubt, to the senses of the little maid—as we know they are to many older folks.
There is one volume on our list that claims our particular attention, so sadly distinguished as it is from all the rest. It is not a child's book. It bears the name of the author instead of the publisher. Royal letters patent are sometimes granted for the changing of names ;—we wish they would change this. If we may judge from the intermixture of school-boy classics with the due proportion of rescued princesses and desponding loyers, it is designed for the age at which the reading public begin to thirst
for the forbidden literature of the circulating library ; guarded nevertheless from all suspicion of being a veritable novel, by the garniture and getting-up of a modern Christmas present. We might have fixed the age higher, but for the author's evident assumption that his readers never heard of such a thing as consubstantiation; since he thinks it “well to point out” in a note, that all the controversy about transubstantiation between the churches of England and Rome, is whether the elements after consecration are still bread and wine, notwithstanding the fact that the sacramental food " is the flesh and blood of the incarnate “ Jesus, and that by it our flesh and blood, by a spiritual change, “ receive nourishment,” as agreed upon by both churches. So says and so signs an Archdeacon and 'Canon of York; with arguments subjoined to prove that so it should be, for the fortifying of any recusant reader who may thereafter discover that so it is not. No true
son of the church” need after this be surprised to read, that “the prayers of the people, when they meet together for “God's service, the holy Eucharist, are our sacrifices;" as those of the heathen were incense and slaughtered animals; neither will he remark too critically the inverted commas that separate God's words from the words of the Archdeacon in the following sentence,-“Where two or three are gathered together in my name,' He declared, in reference to his Church's solemnities, “there am I in the midst :” mere necessary premises to the following conclusion,—“Out of it” (the sacrifice of the altar, called in another place our bloodless sacrifice) “is then taken what to the worthy « receiver becomes the means of being engrafted in the mystic " body of Christ. The consecrated elements, thus bestowed, are “the medium by which each man becomes a sharer in that great “ sacrifice which once for all was offered for us upon the cross.” This is plain speaking, such as becomes a church dignitary, stooping to administer the milk for babes. “Penance for those who, “after having been admitted in baptism to complete forgiveness," fall into sin ;- bowing toward the altar, with muttering of words ; prayers for the departed spirits “ of all flesh, from righteous Abel “ to this day, that they may rest” in the regions whither they are gone ;-bishops “who might as fitly have borne the name of " apostles, had they not been unwilling to take upon themselves
so honoured an appellation ;”—“ the creed and the church ser“vices a sufficient commentary for men in general, to enable them "to understand the Holy Scriptures ;"—with the meritorious devotion of holy Virgins, “which being more entire than that of “ others, is more acceptable to Him who reads the heart :”these are the doctrines set forth under the honoured name of