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sington Hall during eleven years self; and said once, in a letter, of its then owner's absence, and that she had been called indeed at addressed to me in consequence the eleventh hour : though from of my wish that she would fur- her neighbours I understood she nish some remembrances of the had always been a blameless chafamily and place.
racter; and been deemed an in“Nov. 29, 1830....Every reminis- offensive and excellent creature, cence connected with Tissington is by those who could not estimate interesting to me; and I should any change in her religious views. never tire of the subject, for many Her letters would not do her jus, circumstances and feelings endear- tice; because, not being able to ed the place to me, and I will put write herself, she employed the things relating to it upon paper, village school-mistress, who could as they arise to my recollection.... not understand her religious feelMr. Graves was singular and roughings; and therefore they express in his appearance and manners.... more her strong sense of attachMrs. Fitzherbert's memory wasres- ment and gratitude for trivial pected at Tissington long after her kindnesses than the grounds of death.... The village in general re- her faith and hope. In one, after tained few traces of religious in- stating that she had suffered from struction; though the poor were the coming in of the land-flood in general respectable in their during the winter, and that Sir habits, and remarkably respectful Henry Fitzherbert had promised and grateful to their superiors. to prevent its doing so in future, The old woman I alluded to " (in she adds, 'there is no earthly a previous conversation) “was thing I can desire more;' which, a striking example of piety. She from a person almost destitute of inhabited a small space within every common comfort, I thought four outer walls, and a low roof. an awful reproof to the unthank It just contained her bed and ful and discontented of all ranks. chair, had one poor window with This letter I have preserved, with the panes broken or stuffed with some others, also mentioning kindrag or paper. She was very deaf, nesses from the Fitzherberts.” and bowed down by infirmity more Although my friend does not than age. She always reminded consider this person's piety as reme of the woman in the Gospel, sulting from any direct connexion who would but touch the hem of with Mrs. F. and Miss Boothby, Christ's garment to be made the last of whom died indeed whole. She had no relation or thirty-nine years before my, corfriend at all congenial. She sat respondent and her mother bealways bending over her little fire, came tenants of Tissington; I feel with her Bible on her knee; or a willing to believe that such an stocking knitting in her hand. eminent example of religion was She laboured hard to earn a scanty a remote consequence of the praysubsistence. She never asked cha- ers and exertions of those who rity from any one; and we lived had long since entered into rest. some years in the village without Apart from this, it is, however, hearing of her, and when we did useful to record an instance, also it was accidentally. Whenever in humble life, where religion she was able to get so far, she at- flourished, as it would appear, untended church and the sacrament; supported, if not opposed, by sur. but there was no minister to visit rounding circumstances. or give her comfort.
The discerning reader of the humble in all her words, and seem- letters inserted into this memorial ed to think most meanly of her will judge how far I am accurate
in thinking that Dr.Johnson owed, his after life, and when he was under God, much of his religion to living almost exclusively with men the two excellent women, whose of the world, the religion which characters I have been enabled to he exhibited—with all its irreguelucidate from a source never be- larities, inconsistencies, and even fore opened to public curiosity. deformities * - was, in its eleAnd here, in looking back on the ments, what he had gathered, not seventy-five years which have pass- from books and the society of ed away since the death of Hill theologians, but, in part at least, Boothby, it is highly instructive from one whom he blamed for to a serious mind to contemplate, spiritual excess. He could not, amidst the confusions of the pre- as already intimated, shelter his sent day, the solid and devotional objections to her doctrine under character of her religion. Had the plea that it was combined she wandered from the simplicity with rashness in speculation, with of the truth as it is in Jesus, and positiveness and credulity, and justly offended the mind of John- therefore so enfeebled, by its alson by some unripe and exclusive liances, as to forfeit all claim to scheme of prophetical interpre- be examined; but he felt, that tation; or by demanding his as she believed and obeyed where sent to rash speculations on the too many only professed and reperson of Christ ; or by requir- sisted. And so will it ever be ! ing his full credence in a modern Many of the religionists of the miracle ; and, if she had done present times fail of their object, all this, or any part of it, to the by presenting to an infidel world, neglect of awakening his soul to in many a lamentable instance, an eternal realities; she would have actual premium upon derision and lost that influence which, however hostility. Good men may, indeed, imperfectly, she actually possessed have, from the contagion of the day, over the mind of her great friend. their several shares of error and As it was, the only shew of ob delusion; but in proportion to the jection he made to her system reality of their faith in Jesus Christ was, that her favourite books will it be surely evident that their merely spoke old doctrines in a
main strength resides in the unnew form; and which was a vir- disputed verities of the everlasting tral admission of their truth. And Gospel. Other points they may his only complaint about her per- hold, or agitate ; but there will be sonal religion appears to have a perpetual recurrence to such been, that she was too much ab- plain and saving truths as are essorbed in her aspirations after sential to the peace and happiness eternal life-she was a bigot and of the servants of God. On these an enthusiast.
For to such an the excellent woman who, as it is extent did a certain jealousy of here argued, formed much of what her principles vulgarise even the existed of pure religion in the soul intellect of Dr. Johnson, that he of Johnson, lived ; and supported was obliged to betake himself to by these, she died. And precious such vague and indefinite phrase- in the sight of the Lord is the death ology as is common to the most of his saints —I have visited her illiterate objector. It is, at the tomb; and, without professing same time, evident from his own what my emotions were, I know letters, and from his prayer on what they ought to have been. her death, that he was convinced Had she indeed been a personal of the truth and efficacy of her
• I refer the reader to the portrait of principles. And I, for one, can
Dr. Johnson so faithfully sketched in the not doubt, but that throughout ninth Letter of Foster's fourth Essay.
friend, I might have aspired to worded, and not sufficiently pointsay,
ed; some words, or phrases, also Thou art gone to the grave; but we will may be thought not the best senot deplore thee,
lected, such as the epithet “turTho' sorrows and darkness encompass the bulent,” and beseeching the Al
tomb; The Saviour has pass'd thro' the portals mighty that the disturbers may be before thee,
“recalled to a sense of their duty"And the lamp of his love is thy guide a somewhat cold expression for a tbro' the gloom!
But I should be grieved But I have done. I will only to enter on such hypercriticisms add the initials and residence of where the object, the petitions, the friend who lent me the ori- and the whole spirit are so excelginal documents; and who may lent. consider it as a really honourable It is not stated whether the form distinction to number himself a- is to be used only once, or for how mong the representatives of one of many weeks,or till countermanded, the correspondents to whom the or at the discretion of the clergyletters are addressed.
man. Many clergymen, I believe, Derby, Dec. 20, 1830.
have read it once, and then laid it aside ; others continue to use it ; and each pleads that he is right.
And then, with regard to the locaON THE PRAYERS FOR THE tion of the prayer, it is directed to COUNTRY.
be read “ immediately before the
Litany," when the Litany is used, To the Editor of the Christian Observer. and at other times before the
prayer for all conditions of men. I FEEL very grateful to those who But what is meant by “immediare in authority over us, for hav- ately before the Litany?” Does ing issued a public form of prayer it mean after the third collect, on the disturbances which have and before the anthem or Psalm ? afflicted every Christian and pa- This cannot be, for three reasons : triotic mind. It is often a difficult namely, because then it is not point to determine when circum- "immediately” before the Litany, stances are such as to render the the anthem or Psalm intervening ; issuing of a special form, or the secondly, because it would thus be proclamation of a fast or thanks. read at cathedrals in the side desk, giving, desirable ; and of late years and not“ between the porch and our rulers have usually inclined to the altar," ere, I presume, it the negative side, which is always was intended to be used; and, the safer where the occasion is not thirdly, because this would not be such as to carry the public senti- the corresponding place to that ment with the measure. All of us, fixed on when the Litany is not perhaps, can remember occasions read, for then it comes after the on which prayers, thanksgivings, “prayer for the clergy and people," or fasts, were popularly viewed and not after the third collect, only as party expressions of feel- which is three prayers before; and ing, and therefore failed of their it would be incongruous to read it intended effect, and even excited one day before the anthem, and displeasure or derision. The pre- the next several prayers after. sent—may I rather say the late The prayer, then, must be meant exigency, I, for one, think justified to be read literally “ immediately the measure, and the prayers is- before the Litany,” that is, after the sued are such as must have in- Psalm or anthem, and in catheterested every devout worshipper. drals at the eagle. But is it not The first, indeed, is rather loosely strange to open the litany service with two occasional prayers ; and seems to prevail ; and your enthen, after we have offered these deavour to restrain it within the two prayers, to begin the invo- bounds of sober-mindedness, decation, instead of introducing serves the thanks of every wellthem at the usual and proper wisher to the cause of order and place, at the conclusion of the of truth. The evil might, no Litany? In the forms at the end doubt, be left to cure itself by its of the Prayer-book, namely, the own excess : but who can calcuFifth of November, Charles the late the effects of the paroxysm, Martyr, the Restoration, and the or contemplate without dismay Accession, those prayers which the probable extent of the reaction are rubrically connected with the which would ensue? Litany are directed to be read “in But there is, however, one pothe end” of it, after the collect, sition of yours to which I cannot “We humbly beseech thee.” And accede. I am not prepared to this would have been the proper admit that there is no sufficient place for the new state prayers, if proof that any miracle has been they were intended to be connected wrought since the Apostolic age. with the Litany. If they were not Let us not, for the sake of avoidintended to be connected with the ing enthusiasm, rush inconsideLitany, then the place would be rately into the opposite extreme. after the third collect; but then A priori, there appears to be no this would be the same morning reason why powers which were and evening, and whether the not confined to the Apostles should Litany was read or not; whereas be withdrawn immediately upon we have the direction in the latter their death, and while the circumcase to read them before the prayer stances which originally called for for all conditions of men.
them still remained the same. How There is, therefore, some incon- long this was the case, I do not gruity which I cannot comprehend, pretend to define. Bishop Douglas and am almost ready to think that thinks that miracles ceased with the the king's printer has, by mistake, age of Christian inspiration, that substituted“ before” for “after.” is, according to him, soon after The occasion may probably have the commencement of the second passed away before this can reach century; because, in his opinion, the eye of your readers ; but the their sole end was to prove the insertion of these remarks may Divine mission, by which he means still be useful with reference to theactual inspiration of the teachers future occasions. Things of this of the Gospel. For my part, I do sort are not the weightier matters not see why miracles might not of the law, but still they ought to be employed as a proof
of the truth be explicit and" in order." of the religion apart from the in
LITURGICUS. spiration of its teachers; that is,
why uninspired teachers might not be empowered to perform them
until the evidence of those which ON POST-APOSTOLIC MIRACLES. had been wrought by the Founder
and his inspired successors of the To the Editor of the Christian Observer. Apostolic age had been fully pub
lished and authenticated. I conThe religious world is much in- ceive it to have been necessary for debted to you for your seasonable the propagation of the Gospel, and judicious remarks on the sub- that miracles should continue at ject of modern miracles. In reli- least until their place could be gion, no less than in politics, a supplied by the power of moral dangerous degree of excitement evidence. The learned Dodwell extends their continuance to the in confining to the Apostolic age establishment of Christianity by the exercise of the supernatural the civil power, and others, among powers originally belonging to the whom is Mosheim, to a still later church. But I hold the correctperiod.
ness of our respective views on But you hold that there is “no this subject to be totally unconsufficient proof" of any miracle nected both with the credibility of whatever after the Apostolic age. the Scripture miracles on the one Do you then mean to controvert hand, and that of modern miracles the confessedly miraculous interpo- on the other. To the former I sition which frustrated Julian's yield an exalted and undisputed attempt to rebuild the temple at preeminence in point of certainty Jerusalem? Or do you, as I rather as well as importance; and sepabelieve, only mean to deny that any rate them accordingly, “ by a wide have been wrought since that age line of distinction from all human by human agency? If so, I answer narratives." To the latter I attach that we have credible testimony to no credit, because there is every their performance from several of reason to believe that, in all cases the early fathers, particularly Ire- where the facts are truly stated, næus, Justin Martyr, Tertullian, parallel instances may be found Minutius Felix, and Origen; who, among the operations of mere natuin their controversies with heretics ral causes. Reason and experience and unbelievers, appealed to them alike persuade us that the power as matters of public notoriety, and of working miracles has long ago often as occurring within the departed. The very abuse of the sphere of their personal know- claim to this power committed by ledge. True, it has been said that the abettors of the pious frauds the Fathers were weak-minded and “lying wonders men, who were ready to believe stition and imposture, might sufwhatever served their cause : but ficiently account for its having I know not on what ground we been withdrawn, if no other reason can deny them the character of could be imagined; for “God is honest witnesses as to matters not mocked" with impunity. But of fact, and the then state of the in truth, miracles ceased when they church. Bishop Douglas indeed had served their purpose. They esteems their testimony on this were necessary at first to complete point unsatisfactory; and I am the evidence of Christianity; to willing to admit that in some form the subject matter of one cases they might be deceived : department of that testimony on but he does not, in my opinion, which the faith of after ages was allow their due weight to decla- to rest, as well as to carry conrations and claims made in behalf viction to the minds of the existof an unpopular, nay, a persecuted ing generation; and it is therereligion, in the face of an inquiring fore probable that they were graage, and in defiance of learned dually discontinued in proportion and subtle adversaries, who, to as the evidence of Scripture mithe best of my recollection, op- racles became available for these posed them, not by denial, much ends; that is, in proportion as it less by refutation, but either by was fully known and established. ascribing them to magic, or by Christianity is now left to work setting up rival claims on their its way by the strength of this own side, such as we find in the ancient and unimpeachable eviextraordinary actions attributed to dence, which to an unprejudiced Pythagoras, Vespasian, and Apol- reasoner is no less convincing than lonius Tyaneus.
the daily occurrence of new wonI cannot, then, agree with you ders; while a prejudiced mind