« ПредишнаНапред »
Mira e d'amor si strugge a lor davante,
Uno tien sui ginocchi, e un sulle piante ;
Lor voglie intende si diverse e tante,
Veglia, e questi conforta, e a quei provvide
E tutti ascolta e porge a tutti aita.
O niega sol perchè a pregar invita
Her offspring views, and melts in softer joy,
Some at her feet or knees sweet rest enjoy ;
Their various hopes her tender thoughts employ,
Almighty Providence, whose grace bestows
Who weep-but if it lead to pray’r, a beam
ARTICLES OF THE CHURCH OF IRELAND.
To the Editor. SIR, PRESUMING that your work is designed as a channel for theological inquiry, I beg to ask for information, from some one of your correspondents, respecting the Church of Ireland. Somewhere, I think in the Works of Chillingworth, I have met with a reference to the forty-second Article of this Church : now I wish to learn when the Irish Articles were reduced to thirtynine, and what the supernumerary articles were ? Perhaps, they were the same with the articles at first adopted in England, but afterwards lopped off, in the reign of Edward VI., of which there is an account, if I remember aright, in Archdeacon Blackburne's “ History of the Controversy concerning the Intermediate State.”
Should any correspondent answer my inquiry, he will oblige me by informing your readers also, when and by what law the two Churches were united in their articles and discipline. Is there any Irish Convocation ? Has there been any since the Reformation ? And when was its authority, if it ever had any, taken away?
In looking into books, and in seeking from persons well-informed on ecclesiastical subjects, for replies to these questions, I have been surprised, as I have often been on other occasions, with discovering how little is known, or can ordinarily be learned in this country, of the literature and religious history of Ireland. Have you not, Sir, some correspondents in the sister isle who could instruct us in these matters, a knowledge of which is wanted to make the Union between the two countries real and beneficial, a union not merely of island with island, but of people with people.
CONTROVERSY ON THE EARLY OPINION ON THE PERSON OF CHRIST.
To the Editor. SIR, As a New Series of the Monthly Repository is commencing, allow me to suggest a subject, which I cannot help considering to be very important, and one which the time may be come for discussing with effect and impartiality. Whether it be not too extended a subject for your pages, may, perhaps, be a question; but if it be, I for one shall be still better pleased to see a more permanent and detailed consideration of it in the form of a distinct work. I allude to the main basis of the controversy between Dr. Priestley and his different opponents on the state of Early Christian Opinion and the Testimony of the Fathers on the Person of Christ. In doing this, all the by-play, all the collateral topics, into which controversialists, in the heat of the war, run with various success, and still more, all the personalities, will be got rid of; the desirable object being to learn from some one, who himself knows the ground and can judge of it independently of the views and representations of the disputants, what can be considered as ascertained ground on either side; where the real weight lies, setting aside the inaccuracies or sanguine views of either party; and, in short, what effect on the main points which this inquiry was considered by either side as subserving, may in the result be fairly and dispassionately said to have been made.
It is evident that such a review would require an author of candour, judgment and learning. He must, at all events, not be the partizan of any of the disputants on the last occasion, whatever opinion he may entertain of their conclusions. He should enter upon it, and balance the evidence, with that sort of impartiality which some of the German theologians bring to the consideration of these questions. By the bye, who are there of the latter who have shewn great proficiency in the works of the Fathers ?
Art. I.— The Services at the Ordination of the Rev. R. Brook Aspland,
M. A., 8-c., in the Chapel, Crook's Lane, Chester, on Wednes:lay, Aug. 9, 1826; consisting of Prayers on the occasion by the Rev. J. G. Robberds and the Rev. W. Turner. The Congregational Address by Mr. Swanwick, and the Reply by the Rev. R. B. Aspland. The Sermon by the Rev. W. Shepherd, and the Charge by the Rev. R. Aspland. Chester, Pool and Harding ; London, R. Hunter.
We are happy to find a prevailing disposition to revive amongst us the custom of celebrating, by a religious service suited to the occasion, the first entrance of the young Christian minister upon the duties of his office. The occasion, it must be allowed, is one of deep interest to all the parties concerned. If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth not only a good work but an arduous one, a work which he cannot perform well without active, laborious, self-denying virtue, and which he cannot neglect without serious and certain risk to the welfare and happiness of himself and many others, both in time and eternity. The Christian pastor assumes a heavy responsibility, and those also who choose him to be the helper of their faith and joy render themselves answerable at the same time for the performance of correlative duties little less weighty. If he has to take heed how he speaks, they have to take heed how they hear; if he has to lead their devotions in the true spirit of genuine piety, in the like spirit they have to join in them; if he has to make an honest report to them of what the Scriptures appear to him to contain, they have to search the Scriptures for themselves with Beræan diligence and candour, that they may be justified in adopting or rejecting, or may have it in their power to rectify his judgment. In short, the obligations on hoth sides are many and mutual, and each party is equally bound to be the helper of the other's faith and joy. What then can be more natural, what more proper, on the first formation of such a connexion, than, by a service wisely adapted to the occasion, to endeavour to impress upon their minds a sense of their mutual responsibility, to take a deliberate view of the duties which their new and interesting relation involves, and to implore the blessing of God upon their resolutions and efforts to discharge them? But, wherefore, it is said, seek the intervention of a third party for these purposes? Why invite the assistance of other ministers ? Simply because it is likely that the faithful counsels of experienced friendship may in such circumstances prove beneficial ; because a full and faithful statement of duty and obligation may be expected with greater reason, if not with greater propriety, from mutual and impartial friends, than from either of the parties interested. It is of great importance both to ministers and 'congregations that they should understand their relative duties; it is well, therefore, that they should occasionally hear them explained by those who, while they are induced by friendship, need not be prevented by delicacy, from entering into a full detail of them. For our part, we think that the work of exhortation in the majority of our churches is too exclusively performed by the pastor, and cannot therefore regret that once at least in his life he too should enjoy the privilege of being exhorted. Such services appear to us to be beneficial also in another respect, as they place on record
for the young minister of Christ those views and feelings with which he first enters on the discharge of his pastoral duty; views and feelings which it may afterwards prove highly advantageous for him to recall to his
mind, and compare with those by which his subsequent conduct has been guided. Alas! how often might the sincere and fervent resolutions of the young disciple administer a wholesome rebuke to the faint zeal and meagre performance of his maturer years! How frequently, were we but careful to record our moral history, might we find eloquent and useful monitors even in our former selves! Nor is it the young minister alone who, on these occasions, derives benefit from the counsels that are addressed to him. His elder brethren and fathers in the faith, while reminding him of his duties, are reminded of their own; and seldom, we may safely affirm, does an occasion of the kind pass away, without awakening regrets and kindling resolutions in their breasts; the good fruits of which may, and, it is to be hoped, often do, appear in their subsequent ministrations. To any minister of the gospel who doubts the utility of such services, we would earnestly recommend the serious perusal of the publication before us, or of any one of those of a similar nature which have lately been given to the przlic, and we are much mistaken if, at the close, he will not be able to pronounce from his own experience, that the practical benefit to be derived from them far outweighs any danger that an exaggerated* fear of superstition might have previously led him to apprehend.
Amongst the good effects which we anticipate from the frequent publication of such services, is the gradual accumulation of useful materials, from which valuable selections may be made from time to time for the permanentt edification of ministers and candidates for the ministry. With respect to those persons who condemn all services of this kind under the name of willworship, we would only ask them, for what portion of their own worship, if they have any, they claim a divine appointment. We trust that these enemies of superstition are not themselves so superstitious as to assert the divine authority of any ritual, however simple. All our worship, as to the form and manner of it, must
, as far as we can see, be will-worship. We may, indeed, on scriptural grounds contend for some observance of the Lord's-day, and for the administration, in some form or other, of the rites of Baptism and the Lord's Supper, though even this many good Christians will not grant; but scrupulous as we may be in obeying what we deem the general law on these points, we have nothing to guide us but our own reason, or in other words, we must be will-worshipers in our manner of doing so. We have, in our judgment at least, Scripture authority to warrant our assembling ourselves together to pay to God a social service; but as to the times and seasons and mode, we have little or nothing to determine us but our own conscientious views of what may be useful and therefore right.
Afier all, it is probably the name that is the great objection, and the fear is, lest the performance of what is certainly miscalled an Ordination-service now, should revive that dreaded thing which was once called Ordination amongst us. We feel, we confess, no apprehension of this kind; any more than we do, that the nominal Presbyterians of this southern part of our island will, for the sake of consistency and to deserve their ancient and venerable
* See Mr. Swanwick's Address, p. 18.
+ We cannot hope for many such sermons as Paley's on the “ Dangers incident to the Clerical Character;" but how invaluable would be a volume on the pastoral care, composed of similar materials !
name, relinquish the independence which they have so long enjoyed, and induce their worthy pastors to form themselves into Presbyteries and Synods, who, under the judicious guidance of such moderators as a Cooke or a Hogy, may rule them, even as their brethren the genuine Presbyterians of Scotland and the North of Ireland are ruled. We repeat it, we feel no serious apprehensions of this nature. Presbyterian ordination amongst us, we not only hope but firmly believe, rests, with her parent Presbyterianism,“ in the tomb of the Capulets.” At the same time, we really think that it would have been neither uncharitable nor unwise to respect the scruples of tender consciences on this head, and to relinquish the use of a name which is confessedly not descriptive of the thing designed, and with which some of our body, whose horror of superstition is too great to allow them to see any thing imposing or picturesque even in its ruins, evidently retain unpleasant asso ciations. There is an inconsistency, we cannot deny, in inscribing on the title-page of such publications as that before us, " Services at the Ordination,” &c. &c., when we are afterwards very properly told, both by the organ of the congregation and the preacher himself, that the real ordination had taken place previously.
“ You have been unanimously chosen as our minister,” says Mr. Swanwick; “ no individual of your congregation has gone unconsulted, and all have given their voice for your appointment. This we conceive to be genuine ordination. There is no earthly power to improve your title, and it remains with yourself alone to seal it with that heavenly approbation and sanction with which none of our brother mortals can stamp it.” “Your free and unbiassed choice,” says the Rev. R. B. Aspland,
« is the only ordination I accept, or the validity of which I admit; and I shall cease to consider myself as morally your ordained minister, the moment my services fail to be acceptable to any large portion of this congregation.”
Some alteration, then, a regard to consistency absolutely requires. “Services on occasion of the Ordination of A. B. to the Pastoral Care,” &c., is a title that might perhaps be defended on the principles of Mr. A. and Mr. S., which we suppose are those of every Unitarian minister and congregation in England; but “ Services at the Ordination," &c., all parties are agreed, these cannot truly, and ought not therefore to be called. Notwithstanding our objection to the title, however, we anticipated, before we had turned over a single page, that the thing, which we must be excused for deeming of the most importance, would be right, though the name might be wrong, and we had no doubt that the Ordination of the Rev. R. B. Aspland, all that is said to the contrary in the title-page notwithstanding, would be shewn in the body of the publication to have taken place previously to the 9th of August, 1826, in the legitimate manner, without any improper intervention of the Presbyters of distant churches, or any heavy laying-on of the hands of uninspired men. Our readers have seen that this expectation was not disappointed, and we may therefore hope that they will not be deterred by any laudable prejudice against the ancient mode of Presbyterian ordination, from perusing the unexceptionable and truly valuable maiter which succeeds the title-page of this little work, the several parts of which we shall now briefly characterize, illustrating our opinion by a few extracts.
Of the devotional services by which it is commenced and concluded, it may be sufficient to remark, that they are excellent of their kind—simple, appropriate and affectionate, well calculated to excite and to express those devout feelings and aspirations with which on such an occasion pastors and people should come before God. The Congregational Address of Mr. Swan