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LETTERS TO THE WIFE OF A YOUNG CLERGYMAN.
MY DEAR YOUNG FRIEND,-You will not, I hope, be very impatient if you receive one more letter on the subject of your general reading; feeling, as I do, the importance of a due improvement of your present vacant time for future usefulness. Much of it is necessarily consumed in formalities, but endeavour to redeem all that you can, for higher purposes; you will then, as Kirke White so well expresses it," be drying fruits for future use. ""
Never forget the great principle, which I would again urge upon you-namely, suitableness and adaptation to your peculiar sphere of duty, in all that you acquire and undertake. Read such books as will strengthen and enlarge your mind for God's work. Every Christian should be able to give a reason for the hope that is in her, with meekness and fear; but the wife of a Clergyman of the Church of England, should also be prepared to give the ground of her preference for that Church, if called upon to do it. You will I know agree with me in saying, that " we love our Church chiefly, because we believe her to be a faithful witness of the truth of God in Christ, on account of her purity of doctrine, and the simple, Scriptural, spiritual nature of her worship; in other words, on account of the Gospel of Christ which she holds forth, and the assistance which she offers in approaching the Father, faithfully and devoutly, through the great Mediator. We love her also, because we believe her to be a community well ordered and rightly constituted, in accordance with the Gospel; and that her Episcopal government is entirely defensible on Scriptural grounds." But when placed in trying circumstances, we often feel the difference between believing a thing to be right, and being able to state the ground of our belief. On this account it is desirable for us to have a general knowledge of those works which will assist us, and to
which we can refer, either for our own satisfaction or that of others. Such books as 66 Hooker's Ecclesiastical Polity," and the publications of the "Parker Society," will be very useful for the purpose. As, however, there is such a natural fondness in our nature for disputation, we need much watchfulness and prayer, and it would be well if we never commenced an argument without offering up the petition of David, "Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth, keep the door of my lips." The calmness of conviction is also far more powerful, than the strongest assertions made with an agitated manner. We cannot too often be reminded, that "positiveness, dogmatism, and an ignorant contempt of difficulties, may accompany the firmest conviction, but not the conviction of the firmest minds. The freedom with which a vessel swings at anchor ascertains the soundness of its anchorage." A well informed mind, as to what our Church really holds in doctrine, or adopts in practice, becomes daily more and more important;there may be difficulties attached to the latter, but the former will be best ascertained by such a comparison as you will find carried out in "Bailey's Liturgy compared with the Bible." This shows the masterly knowledge of Scripture which our venerable Reformers possessed, and which some single expression often betrays, to an extent which astonishes us. When we can enter into their minds, we feel convinced, that if they were not inspired they were specially guided in their choice, not of words only but of subjects also; including, as they do, the every want, every care, and every difficulty of our Christian course. The
structure of our Prayer-Book may be human, but the materials are divine. Have you ever read the preface to it? If not, do so; and I think you will be struck with the wisdom, humility, and Christian charity, which it evinces,
There is only one more subject connected with your reading which I shall allude to; namely, education. This, in all its branches, will require your attention. Endeavour, therefore, to gain increasing knowledge of its principles and practice. Read, again and again, Mrs. H. More's valuable practical remarks, which you will find dispersed through her Works. It is much to be regretted, that the result of so much observation and experience should be lost to many, because more modern works are superseding hers: we may daily expect to find scientific discoveries increasingly valuable, but so long as the heart of man remains the same, and the mind unchanged, we need not expect to meet with observations more valuable. Taylor's "Home Education" contains much matter for your consideration in the regulation of your various schools, or the instruction of your children. I
may have some future opportunity of giving you a list of School Books; and, therefore, I shall only refer you to the apostle's most comprehensive assurance, which you will find Phil. iv. 19. If every private Christian be be entitled to plead for it, surely one who from love to Jesus is united in the glorious charge given by Him to his apostle John xxi. 15, 16, need not fear to do so. And does it not include all that the most extensive sphere will need? I can only add an earnest prayer, that you may have a daily increasing sense of the worth of souls, of your own extreme helplessness, and of the inexhaustible fulness and faithfulness of Him who has entrusted you with such a charge. Believe me,
Your attached Friend,
Bristol, August 15th, 1845.
* During the Marian persecution, the bodies of those who died in prison under the charge of heresy, were cast out into the fields, burial being forbidden; yet in the hours of darkness kindly hands often performed this sad office.
AWAKE, Great Britain! nor consume thy day
Look up, look round, what various signs portend
Now 'days augments thy Babylonian shame!
Yet, heedless still, that vain, self-righteous race,
What mov'd thy councils to impede the truth,
What genius now tenfold delusion sheds
O'er plodding statesmen's wisdom-treasur'd heads-
Or will they drowse till truth be shadow'd down
T. B. S.
Review of Books.
THE UNITY OF THE CHURCH. A Sermon preacht at Brighton, Dec. 10th, 1840. By JULIUS CHARLES HARE, Archdeacon of Lewes. Parker: London.
IS UNAUTHORIZED TEACHING ALWAYS SCHISMATICAL? A Sermon preached before the University of Oxford, May 12th, 1844. By the REV. J. GARBETT, Professor of Poetry, and Prebendary of Chichester. Hatchards: London.
THE UNITY OF THE CHURCH. By W. B. NOEL, M. A. Nisbet, London.
THE UNION OF ALL TRUE CHRISTIANS, POSSIBLE, DESIRABLE, AND NECESSARY. By A CLERGYMAN. Norwich: London, Seeleys.
(Continued from page 412.)
OUR readers, we think, will be of opinion, that if the sentiments contained in the works we have already noticed are but duly acknowledged, much will be done in our Church towards the promotion of Christian Union. It is a great point gained to realize the true position of those who differ from us. In the heat of controversy and party spirit it is sadly overlooked.
And now, in winding up this subject, which the length to which we have carried it compels us to do for the present, without specially noticing other pamphlets before us, we wish to suggest to our readers what, after
much deliberate reflection, we believe to be almost the ultimatum of attainment under existing circumstances, in the discharge of this essential duty. We might be willing to make great concessions to the prejudices of others -we might wish to offer a more open door for the return of those who are alienated from our communion: we might be glad to show practically and substantially the honesty of our longings after Christian Union in various ways that have been proposed, but in all this we have presented to us what is desirable rather than practicable, and we only see the interposing and impracticable barriers of circumstan
* See the little Work lately published by Messrs. Seeley, Burnside, and Seeley, Fleet Street, London: which comprises this impious oath, that may well be styled, in the words of the apostle-" The doctrine of devils ;" and is well calculated to make every orthodox and thinking man tremble at the present signs of the times.
ces over which we have no control. No; we must consider what can be done, rather than what we wish to do. We may be spending our time in useless speculations which can come to nothing. We should never indeed lose sight of what we believe to be desirable, nor miss our opportunities for promoting it; knowing that the most important works have often the most slender and insignificant beginnings, and knowing, too, that there is a mighty efficacy in prayer, and that we have to do with him who is always ready to grant whatsoever we ask in accordance to his will. But still our chiefest energy should be directed towards that which we can compass: and we must confess that we have a growing and strong conviction that there is that within our reach which, if brought duty to bear, would transform the Christian Church, and give a healthfulness and effect to the exercises of brotherly love, to which, as heretofore, we have been comparatively strangers. We refer to the recognition of the apostolic precept, "forbearing one another in love."
While some would effect Christian union only by reducing all who bear the Christian name to one common symmetry and rule, we never can forget that all God's dealings with his creatures in this world are calculated to teach us that our present state of being is intended to be characterized throughout as a condition of discipline and trial; so that in the very constitution of Christian Churches, the separate and distinct ecclesiastical enclosures that have ever existed, there is that which is providentially permitted and designed to form the trial and effect the discipline by which Christian grace is to be exemplified, and the will of God done on earth as it is done in heaven.
Now, in furtherance of what God sees best, in his infinite wisdom, for a fallen world, it is his will that there should be in perpetual existence the varied gradations of human life; the greatest seeming inequalities; the rich and the poor meeting together. And to prove that this is God's will, we have only to refer to his word, in which we find the provision of special
directions and duties attaching only to the varied grades of life. The rich have their duties, and the poor have theirs; and in the discharge of these is seen the reality and the healthfulness of Christian character. So in like manner, it is God's will that there should be separate and differing Christian communions. He permitted schism to start up even in the Apostles' days. He permitted our established Church to fall under an unhallowed and illegitimate influence, and to be accessory to measures which laid the foundation for fearful schism. Yet the Apostle rejoiced that Christ was preached even through contention; and no one will deny that the Gospel has been faithfully preached by separatists from our Communion, and that thousands and tens of thousands have experienced its saving power through this irregular agency, and become new creatures in Christ Jesus. Then is it not evident that the apostolical spirit should pervade our apostolical Church, and that her members should rejoice if Christ is only preached, by whatever means, and that souls are brought to the saving knowledge of his name? And in pursuance of Gospel principle and apostolical example, mutual forbearance must be the order of the day. There may be differences of opinion as to the expediency of an ascendant Church; but let us take things as we find them. A government professing Christianity deem it their duty to provide for the religious culture of the state. It necessarily, for this purpose, selects that system of religion which it thinks the best. Thus one Church necessarily becomes dominant-other Churches take a lower place. And let both maintain mutual forbearance. The ascendant Church be not high-minded, but fear. The ascendant Church manifesting all that tenderness and gentleness which a sense of its former delinquencies and injustice may well dictate. The ascendant Church, not compromising principle, but holding out the right hand of fellowship to all who love the Saviour, and are doing his will, under whatever name: in fact, discharging those duties, and manifesting that