« ForrigeFortsett »
EXTRACTS FROM THE BISHOP
cessary to salvation, meaning, no OF CALCUTTA'S ADDRESS ON doubt, where they may be bad. CONFIRMATION.
Both, indeed, are intimately con.
Dected with the great object of the (Continued from p. 589.) Gospel Dispensation, the remis
sion of sids:' it was for this end, “ 4. But under the head of your that St Peter called upon peo. religious obligations, I must not, ple to be baptized; (Acts ii. 38.) especially on such an occasion, and our Saviour, when at the lo. overlook the Sacrament of the titution of the other Sacrament, Lord's Supper, to which you are He gave the Cup to his Disciples, henceforth to be admitted. I need declared it to be His · blood of the not, indeed, explain to those, who New Testament, shed for many, for have been competently instructed in the remission of sios :' (Matt. xxvi. the Church Catechisin, the nature 28.) and it is hardly possible to of that solemn ordinance; the ends upderstand otherwise than in re. for which it was instituted, or the lation to the same Sacrament, blessings which it dispenses. You though not then iustituted, that know it to be for a perpetual re. most awful saying of our Saviour, membrance of tbe death of Christ,' • Verily, verily, I say unto you, exwhereby we obtain redemption, and cept ye eat the flesh of the Son of that in the worthy participation of Man, and drink His blood, ye bave it the spiritual principle within us no life in you.' (John vi. 63.) It receives fresh supplies of strength. must not, indeed, be taken to mean It combines, in fact, all that is sub. the mere act of eating and drinking lime, and tender, and humble, and the sacred elements, but the spiriholy in the character of religious tual use and application of it; in adoration, self-examination, the con- wbich, however, the act is sup: fession of sio, pious resclves, thank. posed. But independently of these fulness for our Saviour's love to considerations, it may be enough us, the complete surrender of our. for you to know, that this Sacraselves, . of our souls and bodies,' ment was ordained by Christ Himto his service, and an acknowledge. self, as a standing memorial of the ment of our faith in his blood, all of One Great Sacrifice for sin: it can. them co-existing in our winds and not, therefore, be innocent, or even hearts with brotherly love and cha a matter of little moment, that any rity.
man shall deliberately refuse to bear “ It is, however, a subject of testimony to the merits and the etti. deep regret, that so many are found cacy of that Sacrifice, in the man. to excuse themselves from the Table
ner prescribed ; it is, in trutb, howof their Redeemer. Some are unfit ever it may be meant, little less than to appear there, as perhaps they a denial of the Lord, that bought themselves allege; and while they him. (2 Pet. ii. 1.) lay great stress upon the sin of “ 5. But among the topics of adreceiving the Sacrament unwor vice respecting your conduct in life, thily, forget that they are guilty of I must not be altogether silent on the greater sin of not renouncing the subject of your Worldly Occuthe course of life, in which alone pations. Religion, strictly so called, their unworthiness consists ; while cannot engage all your thoughts; others seem to consider this Sacra- and the world has claims upon you ment, as something which is left to in your several stations and calltheir option, whether they will re. ings: and yet even in your secular ceive it or reject it: and yet our duties Religion will enter, if they Church has pronounced, that both be discharged in a Christian spirit, the Sacraments are generally ue aud in due subordination to the law
of God; with diligence and fidelity ous. Idleness is incompatible with and integrity, and without suffering Religion, as being the parent of them to encroach upon religious vice and folly: and those pursuits principle, or to interfere with those are not favourable to it, which reobligations, which have a distinct quire but little active exertion: they and immediate reference to the Al- produce a general listlessness and mighty. This, however, is the great indifference, which relax the mind, error, into which persons of in- and render it as unfit for the pracdustry and enterprise are liable to tice of Religion, as for every thing fall: they attach too much import- else, which demands resolution and ance to their secular pursuits ; be- firmness. It is true, that all cannot cause these are useful to the world, choose their occupations, and that and probably much more, because all the offices of Luman life, must they are probitable and lucrative, be filled : but I would abate, if they would make attention to busi. possible, the prejudice against maness a plea for the neglect of every Dual employment : it is allied more thing else: they seem to ascribe to nearly thau some suspect, both to it a merit, which supersedes re virtue and happiness : health and ligious obligations, as if Religion cheerfuluess follow in its train; its were pot enjoined on all men alike; habits are generally frugal and simas if it were required only from ple; the vigour of the body gives a persons, wbo have abundant leisure, tone to the mind; and its intervals and who cannot otherwise occupy of rest are periods of real enjoytheir tinie. Absurd as are all such ment, Such a state is not ill pretences, they operate to a great adapted to the service of God: it extent : what is more common than is connected with humility and the neglect of private and of fa- thankfulness for the measure of mily prayer,
and even the desecra good vouchsafed, and with that tion of the day of holy rest, upon teachable disposition, which is the the plea of the urgent demands on proper soil to receive the seed of the time? There cannot, however, be Gospel. a plainer confession, that of such “ 6. But let me not forget, that men the world is really the idol, many of you are removed, by the to which they pay the homage due gifts of Providence, from the neto God alone; por do they consider, cessity of actual toil; and even that wealth, or reputation, or even they, who will be most engaged, secular usefulness will avail them will have short intervals of time at nothing to the pardon of sin, or their own disposal: in offering you that they cannot thus acquire the advice, therefore, for the conduct habits, and sentiments, and desires, of life, something should be said which alone will prepare them for upon the proper use of Leisure. Eternity
With respect, then, to those of you It must not, however, be dissem who
have much, I would earn. bled, that with a portion of our estly recommend to you to conChristian population the disposition sider it as a trust, for which you to excess in laborious employments must account. It is a plea in freis by no means prevalent: against quent use, and sometimes it is truly bodily and manual labour, there is urged, that men have not spare even a prejudice : it is thouglit dis- time to do much good to others, or reputable, and to be resorted to to advance their own improvement, only in the case of actual necessity. so far as they really wish; but Here, then, is an error of an oppo wbere this plea cannot justly be site character; and though it ope- used, there is a proportionate rerates very differently from the for- sponsibility; and certainly they mer, its effects are not less injuri who are exempted from the neces
sity of close occupation, should tainments, and all of them to be in consider that their privilege is ra some measure benefited and imther in the choice of their employ- proved, a competent acquaintance ment, while others have their par- with Scriptural subjects is requisite, ticular course of duty marked out even in the least informed. for them, and absolutely enjoined. “My counsel, then, to all of you Our time, in fact, is our life; and is, that you cultivate religious it is not to be spent unprofitably, knowledge, according to your opunless it can be supposed to be portunties, especially in the study venial to live in vain. Consider, of the Holy Scriptures, assisted by then, you, whom Providence has the valuable and various helps, favoured, (I speak to persons of which the Divines of our Church either sex) what opportunities are have provided : there is not, in open to you for the exercise of be- fact, any doctrine or any duty nevolence; nor is this to be con. taught by our Religion, which they sidered, as confining itself to alms- have not powerfully enforced, or giving, but as exerted in a general any difficulty, except it be such as solicitude about the miseries of eludes our finite understandings, mankind, in patient thought how which they have not satisfactorily they may most effectually be miti- explained. I feel it, therefore, to gated, and in ascertaining and esta- be a cause of thankfulness, that blishing the merits of those, who the Tracts and large Treatises of have fallen into distress. Half the the Society FOR PROMOTING suffering in the world would be re CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE, have of lieved, if the deserviug could be dis- late years been abuudantly suptinguished from the worthless, and plied to every part of the Diocese. wretchedness could assert its claims, The means of improvement are thus free from the suspicion of impos. within the reach of all, who really ture.
desire it, and whose wants shall be • There is one use, however, of made knowi), as they easily may be, Leisure, whether it be much or lit- to any one of the members of the tle, on which I should earnestly in respective Committees. It is moresist: I allude to your advancement over the praise of that Ancient So. in Christian Knowledge: there can- ciety, as tending to enlarge the not be a greater error, common as wide sphere of its usefulness, that it is, than to suppose that religious it now adopts and disseminates studies may be allowed to termi- Books of general information, adaptnate with the discipline of the ed however, with the Divine blessschool, or are dispensed with after ing, to promote the glory of God. Confirmation, or, at the utmost, The age, indeed, in which we live, need be prosecuted no further, than is remarkable for a prevailing disby listening to instruction from the position among almost all classes of Pulpit. With respect to the re- people, to devote some part of their ligious knowledge conveyed to us time to reading: it were, however, before the usual period of Con- an error to suppose, that there is firmation, it is necessarily very a proportionate advancement in limited ; and with regard to the in- Scriptural, or even in other knowstruction delivered from the Pulpit, ledge; much of the time spent in the improvement to be derived from this way is utterly lost, as to any it is much retarded by that scanti valuable purpose: it serves only to ness of religious information, which amuse, while probably it perverts, unhappily prevails in most Chris- the minds of those, who can find tian assemblies. Where a multi no rational employment. Still it is tude are to be addressed, consist- not my meaning that Scriptural ing of persons of very different at. reading, or what is closely con
nected with it, should alone engage all, or even the greater part of those, your leisure, if it be abundant; but who from time to time are the obI should not fulfil my purpose in al- jects of these solemnities, would luding to this subject, if I did not through life remember their sacred strongly urge the importance of engagements; and would think of your assigning the first place to the day with holy awe, when they that knowledge, which will make pledged themselves before God to you wise unto Salvation ;' and let fulfil their Baptismal vows. me add, of abstaining from such should then see persons in various reading, as is at least frivolous, and, ranks of life, and in considerable if it does no other harm, will give numbers, going forth through these you a distaste for higher and better wide regions, not indeed actually to things. You, however, whose lot is preach the doctrine of God their humble, and who can have little Saviour, but to adorn it; to exhibit time to spare from worldly occupa- in their lives and conversation the tions, will do well to keep to the meekness, and the purity, and the Bible, and to the best helps to the charity of the Gospel, and to bear true understanding of it; blessing testimony to the truth of what is God, that He has afforded you a affirmed of them, that their hope of measure of education, whatever it Salvation is in Christ. Let then, may be, and seeking to advance this idea, Beloved, be realized in both your knowledge and your love you: consider yourselves to be seof the Scriptures by a holy and a verally responsible, so far as the Christian life.
example of each of you may extend, “7. In the last place, let me not for the opinion, which the Heathen dismiss you without adverting to may form of the Religion of Jesus , the circumstances of the Country, Christ, and for its consequent sucin which your lot is cast. Among cess in the world. To every one of the nations around you the God of you, various as your conditions in Christians and the Saviour of the life will be, is assigned a part in World are unknown. Few of you the greatest work, which God has can be ignorant of the endeavours, ever delegated to man; the bringwhich are made, to bring the Hea- ing of the nations out of darkness then to a knowledge of the Truth: and the shadow of death into the but the Truth will never beam upon kingdom of the Blessed Redeemer. their minds in its genuine lustre, May the Holy Spirit keep these unless it be found to influence the things in your remembrance, and lives of those who profess it. Istablish you in every good word cannot, indeed, repress the thought, and work" how great the effect would be, if
Sketches of the Ecclesiastical His- king were divided among his chiltory of Great Britain.
and while Edward and Elfrida No. XI.
were not inferior to their father in
the arts of war, Ethelward who abThe Tenth Century. stained from public life, and retired The dominions of Alfred descended at an early age to a convent, was the entire to Edward, his eldest surviv; only inheritor of his passion for liteing son; but the talents of the great rature and his care for religion. This
circumstance, coupled with the un. default of all other materials, these settled state of the kingdom, the events are justly allowed to charac. tomultuary spirit of the naturalized terize the age in which they oc. Danes, and the constant wars with curred; and the gross partiality and Northumbria and its allies, may injustice with which they have been prepare us for the rapid decline of described by our more popular his. the English nation, and explain the torians, render it desirable to take canses of that blank in the Ecclesi a short view of the whole. astical History which brings all that Dunstan has been generally recan be known of the Church of Eng presented, and is generally consi: land in the tenth century within the dered as an arch-lıypocrite and discompass of a few pages.
sembler; pretending to false mira. The first event to be noticed, is cles; intent upon nothing but his the consecration of seven Bishops own aggrandisement; persecuting in one day by Pleigmund, Archbi- and torturing the most innocent of shop of Canterbury. The date of human creatures, for 110 greater the transaction is not accurately crime than their opposition to monks •fixed, but it must have happened in and monkery; and practising an unor about the year 906, within five or natural and affected austerity for six years of the death of king Al- the sake of popularity and power. fred. The Romish writers assert, And these misrepresentations, whichi that this large addition to the Eng- originated in an honest prejudice lish Episcopate was procured by the against the corruptions of popery, remonstrances of Pope Formosus, have been adopted, heightened, and who laid the kingdom under an in- adorned by the enemies of Chris. terdict, on account of the decay into tianity, who rejoice at the opportuwhich religion had fallen. This state- nity of decrying and ridiculing all ment is borne out by documents and religion, as the product of ignorance registers, but they are not quite free and fraud. from suspicion. They pay no re The simple fact is, that Dunstan, gard to the contemporary reigns of Odo, Oswald, Turketal, and others, popes and kings, and they make who took the lead in the restoration pope Formosas jpdite a long epistle of monkery, were sincere in the proseveral years after his death. All motion of religion, although the therefore that can be relied upon as darkness by which they were sur true, is, that the sees were left va rounded prevented them from seecant for an udue length of time; ing their way. Like most reformers, and that the bishopricks ultimately they were not satisfied with correctfilled up, in the manner above men- ing real abuses, but undertook to tioned, were Winchester, Sherburn, prodùce an imaginary and unattainDorchester, Selsey, Wilts, Crediton, able perfection. They found the and St. Petroch's. The three last Church in a state of dilapidation, were new sees; and St.'Petroch's, if not of ruin ; but they could not which was first placed at Bodmin in devise any better expedient for its Cornwall, was transferred soon after restoration, than the increase of to St. German's, and united subse- monasteries, and the celibacy of quently to Crediton.,
the clergy. The chief, if not the only events That the state of the Church was of any importance, and certainly thus deplorable, before the appearwhich happened in the reigns of ance of St. Dunstan, may be inAthelstan, Edmund, Edred, Edwy, ferred without any risk of error, and Edgar, are those which relate from the total silence of his adverto the re-introduction of the Bene- saries. If it be said, that the writers dictine Monasteries, by Dunstan and of his life were partial, and have his distinguished co-adjators. In exaggerated his merits, it may be