« ForrigeFortsett »
“ festivities.” As soon should we exceptions, of which Popery is the expect to hear that “the Man of chief, from universal Christendom ; sorrows "joined in the festive dance, and in England the Established because of the language he used in Church claims one-half of its comhis complaint of the failure of each mittee. But our author brings a and every means to convert the serious charge against those clergysinner: “We have piped unto you, men who support the Society. and
ye have not danced ;” or from am at a loss," says he, “ to account his incidental mention of the re- for the motives of those clergymen joicings made by the father, when who strenuously uphold the interests his once prodigal, but afterwards of the Bible Society, to the total repentant, son, returned to his pa. neglect of the other:...it is not easy ternal roof.
to account for that lukewarmness The following advice contrasts in a cause to which they are most honourably with the suggestions solemnly pledged: on the one, their which are sometimes proffered rela- time and toil, their personal and active to those who dissent from us : tive labours, unceasingly expended;
“ When zealously defending the inte- on the other, scarcely an annual rests of that venerable Establishment; of acknowledgment of its existence which you will be an attached and faithful bestowed, as if it were alien from member, let there be nothing of bigotry or intolerance in your conduct to a Dis- their interests, and unconnected with senting brother ; on the contrary, where their duty! May such a serious his interests can be promoted, without in-charge, my dear
never be gated guardian, there be your hand and brought home to you.' heart ever open to his assistance. Steadily
Our author needs not be concerned follow, and teach others to follow, that that he cannot judge of the motives which, in your judgment, appears the lead, of his clerical brethren. They may ing path to truth; but do not rashly and be very excellent, though he underuncharitably conclude that must terminate in destruction !"
stands them not. God only can judge Our author not only condescends of motives, and he that presumes to to notice the British and Foreign do so obtrudes himself into the seat Bible Society (of whose existence of God. With regard to our author's the Clergyman's Almanack does not “ serious charge,” it is more easily acknowledge itself aware), but he made than brought home. We know calls ita“charitable”and a “mighty" no "clergymen " who“ strenuously institution, a “ venerable parent," uphold" the one, to the “ total negand its end“ glorious;" nay, styles lect" of the other; and we are quite it a “sister" to the Society for pro- sure that the number of clergymen moting Christian Knowledge. But called evangelical who subscribe to here his friendly recognition stops; both societies is much greater than for in the next page he says, that it of those who, called orthodox, and “ emanates from those who are con- subscribing to the Christian-Knowscientiously opposed to the Estab. ledge Society, also subscribe to the lishment,"notwithstanding it reckons Bible Society. This double subamong its supporters many bishops scription does not shew “ luke. and a large number of the clergy, warmness.”. Besides, we were not to say nothing of the many noblemen aware that clergymen are "solemnly who are its patrons, presidents, and pledged” to the “ cause subscribers. Which of all these specific society whatever, but to the attached members would not with- " cause" of God and of the church draw his support if it “opposed” to which they belong. that church of which they are among
Our critical eyes are not pleased the truest friends, not to say the with such phrases as your own brightest ornaments? The Society good sense will direct you as to emanates not, therefore, from the the quantum of devotion that is to Dissenters, but virtually, with a few mingle with the several parts of the CHRIST, OBSERV. No. 348.
service;" and still less with the any side is, that they betray the remark, that “ there is another peculiarities of some school or syssacrament ordained whereby," &c. tem, by which every thing is latently “ his sivs may be forgiven.” We measured. know that the sentence in the Com- We conclude with a few detached munion Service, "whereby alone we admonitions, illustrative of the seobtain remission of our sins, and are rious spirit of the writer ; yet we made partakers of the kingdom of must say, couched in a vague style heaven,"is sometimes ignorantly and of divinity: ungrammatically mistaken, as if the
“I would have you withstand those “ whereby” referred to the word temptations to which others give way; I « sacrament," instead of to “ Cross would have you resolute where others are and passion;" but we did not ex- yielding, strong where they are weak....
Be not over-anxious to fix the rich and pect to find a clergyman so express- great for your companions, unless they be ing himself as to countenance the rich and great in moral and religious worth. error. The form of 1547, the germ ..The lesson which he teaches within the of our Common Prayer, worded it
walls of the temple on each revolving “ by the which passion we have may require, by daily admonition at the
Sabbath, must be confirmed, as occasion obtained,” &c.
respective dwellings both of rich and poor. The views which the writer enter. •. If the Christian minister be permitted to tains of the respective claims of the mingle with the world, it is that he may different duties of the clergyman sures. In this last hour men hope to make appear to us not rightly adjusted. their peace with Heaven ; and, when both Visiting the sick is highly serious mind and body
mind and body are debilitated by sickness, and important, but may
not be " by their
God. .No apology will be admissible far the most serious and impor
for the neglect of the Scriptures; the tant." “ This duty,” the author opportunity will ever wait upon the will. remarks, “ was considered of such .. If the world and its follies be idolized, vast importance, that men were
God and his promises be forgotten or set
at nought ; if they be not, in such moespecially appointed to the office" at nought;
ments of reflection, by such warning cbasbut the reason given by the Apostles tisement, won to repentance, in vain will for their being exempted from the your labours have been expended upon daily ministration of the alms of the
them; their own unworthiness will bave church was, that it was not reason
rendered your fervent prayers of no avail,
and they will be undone for ever. Little able that they “ should leave the will it avail the public preacher or those word of God and serve tables;" committed to his charge, if private worth evidently implying that the duties do not adorn the public station." as well as the office of deacons are We have said that, well-meant subordinate to those of the ministers and serious as is the advice in of the word of God. Why make these extracts, the divinity is meagre. comparisons among things allowed What, for example, is meant by the to be each of them Scriptural and ethical and worldly phrase, “private sacred?-“We come now," says our worth," in the last sentence? It is author, “ to that division of our a debasement, rather than an eulogy church service, in the estimation of upon a man who holds the sacred many the most important,-in fact, office of an ambassador for Christ, , the least. You will understand me to speak of him merely as a man of to allude to the sermon." Thus “worth.” A man of worth, indeed, God's appointed ordinance of preach- public and private, he ought to be: ing, an ordinance eminently blessed but he ought to be far more than by Him for the conversion and edi. this smooth expression indicates; fication of the souls of men, is in- he ought to be a man of God." juriously disparaged, just as prayer Such vague generalities do not form or the sacraments would be dispa- a truly “ clerical portrait." This raged by a counter assertion. Our “worthy "eman, it seems, may lose great objection to such remarks on his labour upon " unworthy" persons; that is, persons whose “ un. humbling language of the word of worthiness” consists in idolizing the God. The Apostle defines a Chrisworld, forgetting God, and setting tian to be " a man who is in Christ," at nought his promises ; which in and who is “ a new creature," and Scripture phrase would be called by “heavenly minded,” and “ seeking the far stronger terms, sin and guilt. the things that are above;" which We would not argue for a word; many “ worthy" men, so called, do but the wording of publications like not do. We will not at present dwell this shews their spiritual poverty. further on the subject; but our “ Worthiness" is not a term of “worthy” author will perceive that scriptural divinity; it is fit only for these cursory remarks involve not a Saturday paper in the Spectator. merely matters of diction, but first Dr. Johnson defines it « desert, principles; and, above all, that withexcellence, dignity, virtue, the state out which no clerical or Christian of being worthy, quality of deserv- portrait can be scriptural, the coring;" all which is far different to the version of the heart to God.
CASE OF MISS FANCOURT. received by you, and which in your view In order not to delay to another Number, "form the very nucleus of the whole case." the following reply to our remarks on thé At the same time, you charitably express case of Miss Fancourt, we insert it under your conviction that I have only omitted the present head. We had no conception what appeared to myself not to be essenthat it could be a serious matter with any tial to the subject. Now, sir, I can hoperson to vouch for an alleged modern nestly assure you the idea of abridging, or miracle, or that we offended any man's omitting, never once entered into my conscience by denying it. We insert our mind. The fact is, that I knew from the respected correspondent's letter, adding most unquestionable authority, that you to it a few remarks, which the subject were already in possession of a copy of and our own vindication appear to us to the first narrative of Miss Fancourt, to require. We must, however, freely say, which you allude, and I therefore thought that we are lost in astonishment that any it unnecessary to send you another. But reasonable person who considers the cir- as that narrative was written almost imcumstances of the case, either medically mediately after her recovery, when a ceror theologically, can bring himself to think tain degree of excitement did really exist, it miraculous. We could not have anti- it contained, I was aware, rather an effucipated that in the nineteenth century we sion of pious and thankful feeling, than should have been constrained gravely to an accurate account of her disease. Anxargue that the cure of a young lady, how- ious therefore, that persons of such cool ever remarkable in some of its circum- judgment as yourself should have before stances, is not a miraculous suspension of them a dry statement of the progress of the laws by which the Creator ordinarily her disorder, and the remedies which had governs the universe.
been administered, I procured the narra
tive which I forwarded to you, knowing To the Editor of the Christian Observer.
you would make use of the other as you I have read your remarks on the ac- should see fit. I had no wish but to have count which I sent you of the extraordi- the matter thoroughly and candidly exnary cure of Miss Fancourt. Permit me amined, and that desire alone prompted to avail myself of your assurance that your me to send you some additional particu“ pages shall be open to replies written culars. Having thus removed an unfawith meekness and charity.” And first, vourable impression which your remarks it is due to myself to rectify an error into would, unintentionally on your part, leave which you have undesignedly fallen in re- ' on the minds of your readers, 1 proceed ference to the statement which I trans- to make a few further observations on mitted to you for insertion. You have what you have written. described it as being “an abridged ver- I am not so presumptuous as to offer sion of Miss Fancourt's narrative ;” and any arguments to convince you that a mias omitting some circumstances which raculous power has been exerted in this appeared in another account previously extraordinary cure : because, as far as you
are concerned, the matter is decided. To Archbishop Tillotson, in his sermon on the adopt the style of an eminent statesman, evidence of our Lord's resurrection, in the on a very different occasion, you have tenth volume of his works (p. 230), has boldly determined, That it is no miracle, these remarkable words. Speaking of and can be no miracle, and shall be no preaching the Gospel among the heathen, miracle. You think that the opinion, that he says, “ That which may reasonably the age of miracles is revived, is most satisfy us who are brought up in the “ dangerous and unscriptural ;" and you Christian religion, is not likely to be able lay it down as “the basis of the whole to convince them; and therefore I think argument, that there is no sufficient proof it still very credible that if persons of of any miracle being wrought since the sincere minds did go to preach the pure apostolic age.” You consider the idea of Christian religion, free from those errors such a power being revived, as “ wholly in- and superstitions which have crept into consistent with the present dispensation of it, to infidel nations, that God would still the church.” You say, “ we must admit enable such persons to work miracles, with. any solution rather than a miracle, which out which there would be little or no proit appears to us quite unauthorised and un- bability of success.” scriptural to expect.” You go so far as These extracts from Mr. Milner and finally to declare, that it is more likely Archbishop Tillotson are not produced to “ that we are ignorant than that God has prove any thing more than this, that, suspended his laws;” which is, as you well seeing wise and good men have differed know, the argument by which Spinoza, respecting the probability of the revival of Hume, and other infidels, have endeavoured miracles, and on the fact of any having to overthrow the miracles of the Bible itself. been wrought since the Apostolic age,
Now, sir, to all this I would in meek- your bold assertion on the negative side ness and charity reply, that it amounts to of the question must not claim more nothing more than the opinion of an indi- weight than really belongs to it. vidual, however wise and able that indi. When you bring forward your Scriptural dual may be. You have not adduced a proofs, they will no doubt be duly weighed; single proof from Scripture, to establish and if they be satisfactory, the question the truth of your affirmation, and there- will be set at rest. I refrain for the present fore I am unable to judge of the claim it from any further discussion of these points. has on the assent of your readers. For You must however, sir, permit me to the present, I can only, therefore, oppose complain (still I trust in meekness and the opinion of other wise and good men charity) of the manner in which you have to yours, in proof that something mor sough to make put a case of strong than mere assertion, however boldly made, previous excitement in the case before is requisite on such a subject. Let me then us, which, except in your imagination, bas refer you and your readers to the second had no existence. volume of Mr. Milner's Church History, With regard to “ the patient's tempep. 505, where you will find he records the rament and susceptibilities," all who know fact, that about the year 483, certain Miss Fancourt as well as I do, can testify martyrs, whose tongues had been cut out, with me to her sobriety of mind, and to continued to preach plainly, and without the meekness and quietness of her spirit. impediment. That judicious historian It should be remembered, that until the having related the circumstances which final address of Mr. G — she had no led to the barbarous act, thus proceeds : idea whatever of what he proposed to “And now," says he, “ shall I in com- attempt. You bring forward her sub pliance with modern prejudices, throw a sequent recollections of what passed during veil over the rest, or proceed according to the evening of her recovery, and connect historical veracity? A miracle followed, the circumstances with the knowledge worthy of God, whose majesty had been which she afterwards obtained of his intenso daringly insulted, and which must at tions, and then argue upon it as a proof of that time have much strengthened the great previous excitement. It is a truth hearts of the faithful.” “ The miracle, that she observed ibim often during the itself,” he adds, " is so well attested, that evening engaged in silent supplication, and I see not how it can be more so." I have no doubt it struck her as an evidence that made this quotation, simply to shew that their guest was a man of prayer ; but how this justly esteemed author and divine could it lead her to imagine he was about to entertained an opinion on the subject be- attempt a miracle upon herself? You then fore us, directly opposite to yours, and assume that there was I know not what that he thought there was « sufficient "mystery" in his manner and deportment, proof of a miracle having been wrought especially when he remained to converse since the apostolic age.”
with her alone; and that by all this Miss Allow me, sir, to adduce one more in. Fancourt must have been wrought up to a stance of a man who you will acknowledge pitch of excitement beyond what even she was as far as possible removed from any herself was aware of. superstitious or fanatical tendencies, who But in sober truthi, sir, you are not borne yet differs from you on the probability of out in these fancies by the circumstances the revival of miracles in the latter days. of the narrative. When left alone with her be at first began “ to converse about in such an one is mixed with the One general subjects." There was surely no- foundation. “ Mother of harlots and thing very exciting in this to a person who abominations” as I believe Popery to be had not the remotest suspicion of what he as a system, I yet know that'many of its was contemplating. “ Then rising, as I errors and superstitions have had some expected to say good night, he,"&c. Such foundation in truth; and we have somethen was, after all, the extent of Miss times been driven by our horror of its Fancourt's expectations, notwithstanding awful perversions into an opposite exthe excitement which the mystery of his treme. I confess I fail also to see a case manner, and the solemnity of his deport- properly parallel in the needle touched by ment, and his silent supplication, had, ac- the loadstone: the effect of the magnet on cording to your lively description, awak- the needle is so universally proved, that ened in her mind : namely, that he was though we cannot assign the cause, yet going to say “ Good night. Doubtless, reason tells us it is one of unfailing opesir, you have shewn considerable skill in ration; and therefore we have no ground to your endeavours to detect an adequate imagine that it proceeds from any susnatural cause for the cure which has been pension of the laws by which the universe effected. You have not, (for you would is governed. abhor the thought,) stated any thing that And now, sir, in conclusion, I would is untrue; but you have, with the best
assure you that I have but one object in possible intentions, given a colouring to view in what I have written; which is, to facts which makes them speak more than obtain for this extraordinary cure, and they are capable of doing when viewed for the general subject, an impartial and with strict impartiality.
candid investigation. And here permit me to observe further, I can fully appreciate the motives of that Miss Fancourt had not been “hearing that holy jealousy with which you regard much about what are called the Scotch the subject of miracles, and which actuate miracles;" neither had zealous arguments you to take up so decided a position against been held respecting them in her presence;' all miraculous gifts and interpositions neither was she “much interested in the whatever beyond those recorded in Scripsubject.” It is true that some conversa- ture. I rejoice there are those who will tion passed (but unheard by her) between exercise the most jealous and watchful cirher father and Mr. G— in the course cumspection ; but still I think that the of the evening, on what had occurred in position you have taken is untenable, and Scotland, and that her father's opinions that you will be compelled to abandon it. were not in favour of the evidence which That Dr. Middleton and others have athad been adduced; and therefore, as far as tempted to subvert the miracles of Scrippaternal influence was concerned, it ope- ture, by assaulting them through those rated against, and not in aid of, excite- the truth of which rests on human testi. ment on that point.
mony alone, is a reason for caution, but Upon the whole then, sir, I must declare not a ground for entire incredulity. my conviction that you have not furnished I now close with repeating my hope an adequate natural cause for the cure to see the question soberly and charitably which has been wrought. That
discussed, Whether we have scriptural traordinary excitement has in many cases authority for asserting that miracles ceased produced apparently miraculous cures of with the age of the Apostles; and if so, bodily disorders I most readily allow. whether we have scriptural grounds for Many such, in addition to those with expecting their revival in the latter days. which you have taken the trouble to
I am, &c.
H.S. C. H. favour your readers, may be found in Bishop Douglas's Criterion of true and
Our correspondent's first paragraph false Miracles. I must however, with all in the preceding letter applies to Miss meekness and charity, deny that any such Fancourt's duplicate narrative. H. S.C.H. case of excitement can fairly be made out in considered that the first narrative, “ being reference to the case under consideration. written almost immediately after her re
With regard to the Popish cases which covery, when a certain degree of excitement you have specified, I cannot allow them
did really exist," a second was wanting to be perfectly parallel, because we have for persons of “cool judgment,” that they not the same evidence of all their circum- might have before them “ a dry statestances which we possess in reference to ment of the progress of her disorder, and Miss Fancourt; and if we had, there may the remedies which had been administerbe in those instances some reason for ed.” Our correspondent thus admits attributing them to extraordinary excite- that “ excitement” existed, as, under all ment. Assuming, however, for a moment the circumstances, well it might, “ imthat God has not ceased to visit his church mediately after her recovery;", but the with such occasional testimonies of his traces of which excitement we thought it power, it would be going too far to affirm remarkable had disappeared in the narrathat the faith of a truly pious Roman-Ca- tive intended for publication,-and the tholic could not be thus recompenced more so as, in the opinion of persons of because of the hay and stubble which even “cool judgment,” it was an essential part