Imágenes de páginas

detracts from the beauty of our service, and how much it tends to deaden the feelings of devotion. I would rather turn to the inquiry, whether we may not find some remedy for an evil which, although too inveterate to be easily abated, is not, I trust, placed beyond all hope of cure. In this, as in other cases, the first thing to be done is to investigate the causes of the evil; and one cause I have long thought to be the abuse of the office of parish clerks. This is not the place to enter into the history of those functionaries, or to shew how from having been in reality, as in name, clerks-clergy-clergyassistant to the principal minister, they are now generally men of inferior education, and sometimes calculated, from their ignorance and vulgarity, rather to mar than to promote the purposes for which we assemble in church. The point on which I would now insist is the impropriety of the clerk having become the organ to respond for the whole congregation. There is not a word in the Rubrics, from one end of the Prayer-book to the other, to direct him to be the spokesman for the people ; indeed, his office is not once mentioned. It is the people who are to say Amen; it is the people who are to repeat the Lord's Prayer; it is the people who are to rehearse the Creeds, as well as to pronounce the alternate verses of the psalms, and to take all the other parts in correspondence with the minister. And yet I believe it is from the practice of the clerk assuming to himself the whole of this office, (a practice which probably arose in rude and illiterate times, when few of the congregation had books or could read, that the people at large have generally considered their part to be performed for them, and themselves to be at liberty to keep a profound silence during the whole service. And if this be really a cause of the evil, I would recommend as a remedy, (as is begun to be done in more than one church in the metropolis,) that the clerk, if he be retained, should be taught to make the responses in no louder tone, or in any other manner, than an ordinary member of the congregation. The awful stillness which would then ensue in the parts of the service assigned to the people, would remind them of their duty, and lead them to use their own voices in praising and praying to God.

I may add, that I believe the evil in question to have been aggravated in many churches by another and a similar practice; that of the school-children making themselves too prominent in giving the responses, particularly when they do it in a sort of measured sing-song tone. This, while it may gratify the master by exhibiting their skill in reading, serves to conceal and to afford an excuse for the silence of the congregation at large. I do not, indeed, wish the school-children to remain altogether silent, but am of opinion that they should be taught to read in a quiet manner, and to take no more than their due share in the performance of the service. The like observations might, perhaps, be extended to the children taking a decided lead in the psalmody. But, with the invincible dislike which persons of education generally feel to singing in church, we might, in many cases, be reduced to merely a piece of instrumental music from the organist, without the children, at least, to lead the other voices.

I believe that, in the churches in the metropolis to which I allude, not only is the clerk deprived of his dignity of responding for the whole congregation, but the minister gives out the psalms, as well as all notices, in conformity with the especial directions of our Liturgy.

I am, Sir, your obedient servant, D. C.


OXFORD DEACONS—MR. CODDINGTON. DEAR SIR,—Having ventured some months ago to send you a few observations on a charge brought against some Oxford deacons in a contemporary publication, I find I have drawn upon myself the wrath of the critic, who, writing anonymously, accuses me by name of unjust and ungentlemanly conduct, without so much as stating the ground for such an imputation. Your readers will, of course, not expect me to bandy invectives with a person who acts in such a manner. In fact, my principal reason for coming forward again in this matter is the desire which I feel to apologize to the Oxford clergy for having, however unintentionally, helped to give currency to what has since appeared to be an exaggerated account and great misrepresentation of the truth, and to express my regret at having given credit to a statement directed against them, on so light authority. I remain, dear Sir, yours truly, H. CODDINGTON.

Sır,—May it be permitted me to reply to numbers 2 and 3 of the
questions which you did me the favour to insert and publish in the
British Magazine, March, 1838, p. 30).

Answer to No. 2.—The Salisbury Psalter (1506) is the same as the Liber Psalmorum of the Roman Vulgate ; which is Jerome's correction of the old Latin translation of the Septuagint version.

Answer to No. 3.—The Psalter or Lib. Psalm. printed in the authorized Latin Vulgate, with Jerome's preface, is his emendation of the old Italic or Latin translation of the Septuagint version. And the Latin Bible or Vulgate Version is that universally adopted in the Romish services.

The only other questions which I would venture to ask are (1), whether Jerome did translate the Book of Psalms, de novo, from the Hebrew at all ? And then (2), whether such version, if extant, is contained in the first volume of the Benedictine edition of his works? I am, Sir, with great respect, your very obedient and obliged servant,



Connected Essays on the Principles of Sceptics. By H. O'Connor, Barrister

at-Law. Dublin : 1837. 8vo. pp. xxiv., 340. The twenty-four first pages of this book contain the dedication, preface, and table of contents. The main work consists of three essays, of thirty, seventy, and eighty pages respectively, followed by two dissertations in an appendix of about twenty pages each, one hundred pages of notes, and an alphabetical index. The principal design of the work is to prove upon the principles of sceptics themselves the truth of the Christian religion; hence, as the author states at the beginning of his third essay, he has in a great measure assumed the existence of a God as the natural governor of the world, because it is impossible to proceed at all without admitting, either directly or indirectly, the supposition of a Creator.

In the first essay, which is entitled, “ Observations on the Foundations of Morals in Human Nature,” one chief proposition appears to be, that whatever is natural indicates the will of the Author of nature, or that whatever is natural is a part of the plan of nature. He maintains that it is consistent with all systems to assert the propriety, morality, and reasonableness of acting according to nature, notwithstanding that the power to do so from the free will of man sometimes perverts it. He dwells upon instinct and habit, and their distinctness from sensation and understanding, and again distinguishes the impulses of nature from those of habit; and, from a series of arguments, infers that conformity to certain laws proceeds from one general rule-namely, dispositions naturally implanted in the human breast; and hence that some moral sentiments are naturally inherent in man. Some of the author's arguments in this part of his essay seem very fair, but it is not always easy to follow out his conclusion. The author also examines the doctrine of uniformity, to shew that the want of it does not disprove the doctrine of the natural demonstration of a moral sense ; and compares mau with the animal world, to prove the existence of a moral instinct; and he observes on some of Locke's opinions.

In Essay 2, which he names a “ Digression of Metaphysical Paradoxes, and of the Sceptical Theory of Cause and Effect,” he commences upon the abuses of words, and upon the effect of abstract names, introducing many quotations from and observations upon Dr. Brown, Dr. Berkely, and Mr. Hume. His next endeavour is to refute the modern sceptical system of causation; and he brings forward some useful arguments, though it is difficult to judge what weight they might have with a sceptic. The latter portion of this essay is devoted to a consideration of some of Dr. Brown's opinions, and his manner of confuting Mr. Hume, and also of some of Mr. Hume's doubts most likely to affect young sceptics. He then states his reasons for not attacking these, because his purpose is only to maintain the reasonableness, under circumstances, of believing what is incapable of being sensibly perceived, or otherwise perfectly understood.

The third essay is that in which the main design of the work makes its manifest appearance; the mainstay of the argument seems to be,

VOL. XIII.-April, 1838.

[ocr errors]

that there is a natural tendency in the human mind to religion. Addressing himself not so much to atheists as sceptics, he rests on the great theorem of the manifestation of design in the universe; and hence infers that an instinct would not be implanted in our natures were there not a proper object to which it was originally designed to be directed. He maintains that there is an instinctive propensity to religion in the human breast; and, after a series of arguments, concludes, that if the Christian religion is false, then the anomaly exists of an instinct without an object. He commences with a view of those matters of fact usually brought forward in support of arguments on this subject—such as the universal prevalence of a belief in a God and providence, and considers some objections founded upon the origin of language, and its use in the controversy. Many of his arguments in this essay are worthy of particular attention, especially that at p. 124, where he says, “ that the state of the world, as it is at the present day, and has been from the earliest period to which history reaches, proves unquestionably that the reception of those doctrines, either now or in any former known time, has not been occasioned or continued by hypothetical arguments; that, because they have prevailed universally in all ages and nations, they must therefore have been originally cominunicated by God;" and pp. 128, 129, “ that religion is not the result of reason.' He refers, at p. 136, et seq., to Paul's preaching at Athens in a manner which admits of difference of opinion. His observations from p. 144, upon our notions of the Deity in his relation to ourselves, deserve consideration. He gives some pages to the consideration of sacrifices, from which he derives some arguments and (p. 159) some valuable conclusions. There are some arguments towards the conclusion of this essay upon miracles, and the natural belief in a future state and a future retribution.

The first number of the appendix contains some useful remarks upon, and considerations of the question of materialism; and the second number a brief view of Mr. Hume's theory of religion. There is also in the notes much useful matter connected with the subject of the work.

The writer of the present notice, having stated the object of this work, which is one of much labour and thought, gives no opinion as to the attainment of success in that object. The subject is one of great difficulty, but the work deserves an attentive perusal from those who really study these points. It must not be read hastily or carelessly, or the reasonings may be mistaken, and the work either under or over rated. The author deserves commendation for the clearness of his plan in regard to the table of contents and index; by these may be seen at one concise view both the subjects he treats of and his arrangement of them. The few errors in the language are too trifling to be noticed further than that they ought to have been corrected before publication.

Thoughts on Religious Subjects. London: Longman and Co. 12mo. pp. 82. A LITTLE book, written with somewhat of affectation, divided into as many subjects as there are pages. Each thought commences at the beginning of a page, but some of them scarcely occupy a quarter of it, the remainder being left blank; so that the book, in reality, contains hardly more than two-thirds the matter which the size of the paper and type, and the number of pages, seem to promise. The subject of each thought the reader must find out for himself, as none is named. Some of the thoughts are those common-places which seldom strike the mind till they are seen in print, or heard from the mouth of another, but which are not the less applicable or useful. At p. 16, the writer's illustrations of the varieties of tastes among men of letters are not the most happy. Those in p. 19, which begin thus, “ What is to fast ?!” are uncouth and strained. Here and there one of the thoughts is headed with a text of scripture.

The following is the thought of one page :

“ If I, being on a journey in a wild and dangerous country, and ignorant of the way, refuse to listen to those who are competent to direct me, and in consequence lose my way and meet with accidents, it is plain that I can have no cause to murmur at the accidents which befal me, but must allow that I deserve them."

All, however, are not so short as the above, and some are very fair.

Utopia; or, the Happy Republic; a Philosophical Romance; by Sir Thomas

More. To which is added, the New Atalantis ; by Lord Bacon. With a Preliminary Discourse, containing an Analysis of Plato's Republic, &c., and copious

notes. By J. A. St. John, Esq. London : Rickerby. 1838. pp. 271. When ultra-radicalism is considered the proper element for a commentary on Sir Thomas More and Lord Bacon, Mr. St. John's edi. tion will stand a very good chance for the favour of the public. His remarks on the clergy and religion are a worthy accompaniment of his politics. Mr. St. John also shews his perception in the matter of reasoning by selecting Milton's Tetrachordon as a piece of most extraordinary logical acumen !


[ocr errors]

The Justice and Equity of Assessing the Net Profits of the Land for the Relief

of the Poor maintained, in a Letter to the Poor Law Commissioners; with some remarks on the celebrated case of Rex v. Joddrell. By a Norfolk Clergy

London : Roake and Varty. pp. 36. A PLAIN, sensible pamphlet. It enters more fully into Mr. Joddrell's case than could be done in the last number of this Magazine, and supplies examples and calculations to facilitate the application of this case to all parochial assessments. It may be warmly recommended to all who wish to understand this subject.

The Lord's Prayer in a Poetical Version. Each petition being paraphrased

separately. By the Rev. J. Grant, M.A., Minister of Kentish Town. Kentish

Town: Drew. 1837. MR. Grant conceives that with many persons the frequent repetition of the Lord's Prayer is inconsiderate and a matter of rote, and he has composed the little paraphrases here given with a view to induce and help such persons to pause at the end of each petition, and then, after

« AnteriorContinuar »