Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

313

MEDITATION.

ope.

(Translated from the French.) The same words have not the same signification for every

There are some expressions, which, with a certain class of persons, explain themselves merely by their sound, and which, with others, become the subject of profound meditation.

It is told of a young girl who had a great reputation for sanctity, that she was in the habit of passing whole days alone in her oratory. The Bishop was informed of this, and went to see her.

“What are these long prayers to which you devote your days ?” he inquired.

“ I recite my Pater," answered the pious girl.

“ The Pater," replied the Bishop, “is doubtless an excellent prayer ; but surely a Pater is soon said.”

“Oh, sire !” she exclaimed," what ideas of the majesty, the power, and the goodness of God, are contained in these two words alone, Pater noster! In them I find a whole week of meditation."

N. F. L.

S. PETER'S COLLEGE, RADLEY.

We have much pleasure in recording a visit that was paid to this College by the Bishop of Oxford on Palm Sunday, (April 4,) for the purpose of confirming some of its younger members.

It was a day long and anxiously expected by the candidates, who had been under preparation since Christmas.

The Bishop preached at Abingdon in the morning, and arrived at the College in the afternoon in time to join the boys, with the Warden and Fellows, at their ordinary Sunday dinner in the Common Hall, at four o'clock.

The Confirmation, according to the Bishop's desire, was arranged to take place in the course of the evening service. Accord. ingly, at six o'clock, the inmates of the College proceeded to the Chapel, and the Bishop took his seat within the sacrarium, at the north side of the altar. Attached to his Lordship’s chair was a handsome pastoral staff, the property of the College.

The service went on as usual to the end of the second lesson, when the Confirmation office was introduced by singing the “ Veni Creator,” to the soft but subduing music of Palestrina. When the hymn was ended, the candidates for Confirmation were led up to the altar, and arranged in rows by two of the Fellows. There were 37 in all; viz., 25 students, and 12 servants of the College, 10 måles, and 2 females. The latter were dressed in white, with white veils instead of caps, and the students were in their surplices.

Before the service began, the Bishop addressed them in plain but touching words, reminding them of the nature of the gift they were come to receive, and the duties of their future life. Few could remain altogether unmoved at such a time, especially when the Bishop asked the secret prayers of the congregation for each row of candidates, as they knelt before him on the upper steps of the altar. When the Bishop had laid his hands upon all, he again addressed them with respect to their first communion, and then dismissed them to their seats with his blessing. As soon as all was quiet the “ Nunc dimittis was sung, and the service proceeded to its conclusion.

After service, the Bishop had tea with the boys in the hall, and afterwards joined them in the Music Room, where they were singing sacred music till the “gong” told them that it was time to retire to rest. His Lordship, we may add, slept at the College, and did not proceed on his journey till after service the next morning.

On the following Sunday (Easter day) all the newly-confirmed received their first Communion. The Chapel was decorated for the occasion with flowers and evergreens.

It is hoped that the Bishop may pay a similar visit to the College for the same purpose, on Palm Sunday, 1853.

The Editor's Desk.

A TALK ABOUT BOOKS, ETC. An admirable report of the Committee of the London Church Union, on the educational question, demands the consideration of all who take an interest (and who does not ?) in that great subject. We may remind all our readers, that at the next annual meeting of the National Society, for the education of the poor according to the principles of the Church of England, it is the duty of every one who possibly can to be in his place, and to support such resolutions as shall leave no doubt upon the minds of the Committee as to the sentiments entertained by the subscribers. We are more than ever convinced that this is one of the greatest questions of the day, and we take this opportunity of tendering our warmest thanks to the Venerable Archdeacon Denison, for the noble stand he has made against Erastianism, and the vigilance with which he has watched every phase of the educational movement.

But there are other points also which demand the attention of

Churchmen, and these, we are happy to say, are now being pressed upon men within and without the Church. We are glad to find that the South Church Union has hazarded an experiment, which, if we are not misinformed, has already had a good effect; we mean the custom of delivering popular lectures, in order to infuence the public mind. That Church Unions have been of essential service, in keeping alive a sense of our dangers and duties,—that among those who are agreed, they have tended to produce unity and harmony of action, it were idle to deny. But we have long been of impression that the time has come, when they ought to seek a wider range ; and when more united efforts should be made to convince those whose judgments have been blinded by prejudice, and who hold certain opinions about those who would be called the restorers of the waste places. One effectual way of convincing people is to show that you are not afraid of meeting them; that you have a reason for what you do, and that, moreover, you know how to state it. This the members of the Church Union are doing. They have taken Brighton as the field of their labours, and are making that gay watering-place ring with solemn truths. Two lectures have been already delivered, and, thanks to our friends, are printed ; so that those who could not hear the living voices of the speakers, may be profited by their written words, We are glad that the lectures have been delivered, and still more thankful that they have been published. They are now upon our table, with some other books; and as we have not discoursed about books for some time, we cannot do better than have a little literary gossip, and bring forward just enough, by way of specimen, to whet our readers' appetites for more.

The first lecture is by the Rev. H. Newland, whose noble paper,

One and all," appeared in a previous number, and has since been reprinted for general circulation. We know few men whose varied stores of learning and anecdote, coupled with sound common sense, and a thorough appreciation of the English character, qualify them so well for such a task; and we do not think that a dignitary over-estimated his man, when he said, if he could afford it, he would give him £1,000 a year as general Church lecturer. We remember the effect produced by an address we had the pleasure of hearing him deliver. His lecture at Brighton is equal, if not. superior, to his other popular efforts. He is a bold, plain-spoken man, is Mr. Newland, and so there is no fencing, no beating about the bush. He goes at once to his subject, and bravely tackles his opponents. He is as good at handling the weapons of controversy, as in managing his rod in his leisure hours.

"I am called,” says he, "a Tractarian. I come before you in all confidence, and I will tell you why. The English character abhors deceit; and when a man comes before them fairly, openly, and honestly, concealing nothing, extenuating nothing, nor setting down

aught in malice, I feel sure that he will receive from an English audience a hearing, as fair and honest as his own fairness and honesty deserves. I am not the apologist of Tractarianism ; I am its his. torian. I tell you facts as they are ; I leave you to judge of them. I abhor concealment, not only because it is wrong, but because I feel certain that the more we are known, the more we shall be appreciated ; and that the greatest enemy we have is in the ignorance of our sentiments, our opinions, our views and objects, which even in this day is so universal. Our present object is to remove ignorance, to repudiate concealment, to show ourselves as what we are, and then in all confidence to leave the judgment to the public ; all we want is what Englishmen never yet denied,

;-a clear stage, and no favour.” The gist of the lecture is to show, on the one hand, that the discipline of the Church of England needs reform; and that they whom the world brands as Tractarians are its reformers. In his survey, Mr. Newland gives every credit to the previous reformers, Wesley and Simeon, and shows that they were paving the way for the present movement. He contrasts the loss we have suffered through the falling away of some of our best and holiest men, with, that which has been occasioned by the Wesleyan schism. Refreshing the memory of his hearers with the rough treatment of Solander, during Captain Cook's expedition, by the Englishmen, Mr. Newland asks,

“ But, after all, who are these rough friends to the English Church ; who are the Tractarians ; what are the Tractarians ; what do they believe, or do, or teach? I might ask this question to every one of you separately, and I should not get from one a definite answer. I never did, often as I have put it. The sect is everywhere spoken against ; but when we come to ask men, why? what for ? we get no answer. They build churches ? yes :-schools ? yes :--they say their prayers ? yes, far oftener than we have ever seen it. They read their "Bible ? yes, the whole of it, four chapters every day. They give alms ? yes, they are always preaching about it. They do preach then ? yes, constantly, and catechise too. Do they spread the Church of CARist among the heathen ? yes, they have founded colleges for that very thing; they are continually sending out both Bishops and Priests. That seems very like Christians--why then do you hate and persecute them ? what harm do they do? We know they teach in surplices ; what do they teach in them that is wrong? Who ever got a reasonable answer to this question: The most reasonable that I ever got was, that they read prayers every morning, and called them vespers, which was wrong certainly, and a mistake, but not, one would think, of sufficient importance to account for all this disturbance. Who knows really anything about them ?”

We cannot follow Mr. Newland through the rest of his ad. mirable lecture, or show how he makes out the sad case he had in hand. The following passage, however, is worth consideration, and we commend it to our readers :

" I say,

the doctrines of the Tractarians do not lead to Rome ; they are a safeguard against it. Other things have from time to time tempted men to leave the Church, not their doctrines. And when they did leave it, they left it pot on account of their doctrines, but in spite of them.

" And for this reason :-reformers must be discontented with things as they are ; if they were not, they would not be reformers,— there would be nothing to reform. Whenever they are for the time defeated, and are unable to effect the reforms they think necessary, then they are, as a matter of course, more discontented ; and if they happen to be of an unfaithful and impatient disposition, they become 80 discontented as to be disgusted. They despair of reforming the Church, and therefore they leave it. I say, that up to this point, doctrines have nothing to do with their leaving the Church ; that this is a natural and obvious temptation, to which all reformers must necessarily be subjected. When Cromwell and Hampden would have left England for America, it was not that their principles led them to seek America, but that they were unable to effect the reforms they thought necessary in England, and therefore they left England : the going to America was the accident,-other attractions determined them about that. This is a temptation to which political reformers have yielded occasionally, but to which Church reformers of every age have yielded in numbers, and always will yield,Tractarians as well as others.

“ But I say, that to yield to it is especially contrary to the doctrines of Tractarianism, and that, in this, Tractarianism differs from all Church reform whatever, that it denounces as a sin that particular desertion, which all other Church reforms have tolerated and connived at."

Mr. Neale's is a startling subject.—“The Bible, and the Bible only, the Religion of Protestants.” The learned author, and yet practical withal, has most completely examined, and most tho. roughly refuted, the popular fallacy couched in these words. It is impossible to quote any single extract which will give an idea of the real character of the argument. It must be read as a whole to be properly understood. We thank the South Church Union for these two lectures, and trust that they will soon be followed by others. The field is ample enough, and we are quite confident that there are not wanting the men to cultivate it. Would it not be well for other Church Unions to draw attention to the movements of this one, and endeavour to obtain, throughout the country, such a circulation for this valuable series of lectures, as their intrinsic merits, and the important subjects treated of, demand ?

Of devotional books we may mention, “The Nourishment of the Christian Soul,” edited by the Bishop of Brechin ; and a most exquisitely got up' book, entitled, “ The Divine Master ;” and

« ForrigeFortsett »