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displays the condition, customs, and manners of men in former times. Hence this branch of literature becomes the most positive and incontrovertible data for historical deduction; as it shows what man has been by his works, and teaches us the important lesson of knowing ourselves by contrast and comparison with our ancestors.”
“ Such,” says the author, “ were the sentiments entertained, and such the language I used, many years ago; and, with the advantage of more extensive study, and intercourse with men of talent and experience, since, I feel confirmed in my opinion of the varied utility of this class of literature, whilst my partiality for it has been strengthened by study and reflection."
As intimated in the title-page, this Essay is printed for the Wiltshire Topographical Society, which has been formed chiefly by the persevering exertions of the author, for the purpose of publishing historical accounts of parishes and places in that interesting county, which have not hitherto been described in any local history. Amongst these places, it appears that Mr. Britton is preparing a “History of Kington St. Michael,” his natal parish, with a Biographical Memoir of John Aubrey. In the latter subject we anticipate much curious and interesting matter, not only in the personal character of that singular person, but illustrative of the manners, customs, and literature of his times. Aubrey was a diarist; a relater and recorder of anecdotes of persons and events ; lived in intimate communion with Anthony A. Wood, and other eminent Oxonians; and, tinctured with the superstitious prejudices of the age, believed in day-fatality, corps-candles, fairies, apparitions, &c., &c. In an octavo volume, entitled “ Miscellanies on Various Subjects," by John Aubrey, Esq., F.R.S., is a series of narratives of prodigies, miracles, supernatural stories, which he prepared for the press in 1690. Contemporary with Elias Ashmole, Dr. Dee, and others of that class, all of whom seem to have lived and breathed in a world of superstition and fantasy, they fanned and administered to each other's credulity, and believed in the most romantic and silly absurdities. It is at once pitiable and consolatory to review the annals of those by-gone times, and peep into the laboratories and book-closets of the actors in the living drama.
RECOLLECTIONS OF CANTERBURY.
A Mill-Stream hath its own peculiar grace,
And kiss the wavelet dimples. Jealously,
Hath Gratitude in human hearts no shrine ?
III. MISCELLANEOUS LITERATURE.
I. MODERN CONTROVERSY.
A Charge addressed to the Candidates for Deacons and Priests' Orders, at the General
Ordination held at Worcester, on Sunday, Dec. 24, 1843. By HENRY, LORD
BISHOP OF WORCESTER. London: Rivington. 1844. THE Bishop of Worcester has here spoken out in a manner which becomes him and his position in the Church of England. He declares himself the unflinching advocate of our blessed Reformation ; briefly but forcibly insisting upon the duty of moderation
* See the Inscription on the Pillar in the Field and Hill opened to the public, which are as follows:
" This Field and Hill were improved, and these Terraces, Walks, and Plantations made, in the year 1769, for the use of the public, at the sole expense of James Simmons, Esq., of this City, Alderman and Banker. To perpetuate the memory of which generous transaction, and as a mark of gratitude for his other public services, this Pillar was erected by voluntary subscription in the year 1803.
" The Mayor and commonality of this ancient City, in consideration of the expensive improvements made in this field, unanimously resolved, in the year 1802, to appropriate the same in perpetuity to the use of the public; and to endow it with sixty pounds a year for the maintenance and support of the terraces, walks, and plantations."
+ Boards are placed in the niches of old ruins, by the walks upon the summit of the hill, with this Inscription : “ Respect this walk 'tis for the public good."
relatively to the two parties who now divide the household of our Faith. Discussion in itself he maintains as a good, and commends a spirit of enquiry : but he permits no quarter to be given to Romanising tendencies. This is as it should be. We quote the peroration to his charge :
"The next rule which I am anxious to press upon your attention, as being especially useful under the present circumstances of the Church, is, that you should not take an exaggerated view of the dignity conferred upon you by the important office which you are about to hold as ministers and stewards of the Gospel of Christ. It has become a custom of late years, among certain of our brethren, to magnify their office, not in the sense in which the Apostle Paul magnified his office, but by assuming an air of undue superiority above the laity, and considering themselves as the appointed ministers of Christ, who are entrusted with the keys of heaven and hell, and through whom only, therefore, access can be had to the kingdom of heaven, and, as such, entitled to the utmost reverential deference and respect. Far be it from me to undervalue the sanctity of the office now about to be conferred upon you. As teachers and expounders of God's word, and as dispensers of his holy sacraments, you are entitled to the respectful homage of your several congregations; but such homage will be more Willingly offered, if you do not claim it with an unbending and unconciliating arrogance, but rather maintain your claim to it by your assiduous exertions to fulfil properly the duties belonging to so sacred an office. When the holy Psalmist proposes the question, Who shall dwell in the tabernacle of the Lord, or who shall rest upon his holy hill ? among those who will be entitled to this high privilege he specially enumerates him that sitteth not by himself, but is lowly in his own eyes, and maketh much of them that fear the Lord.' We may surely from hence infer that an undue assumption of importance, as ambassadors of Christ, must be offensive in the eyes of God; and although in this, as in all other points, a middle course between pharisaical arrogance, and entire forgetfulness of what is due to our sacred calling, is to be recommended, still, if we do err, let us err on the side of humility, rather than arrogance, deeply impressed, as we ought to be, with the vast extent of our obligations, and the woful deficiency of our performances. One of the principal objections to this habit of assuming undue importance from the sacred character of our calling, is, that it is calculated to impair the usefulness of our ministry, by indisposing the laity towards us, who will be always inclined unduly to depreciate those who overvalue themselves. And this brings me to a third rule, which seems particularly important at the present time : Give not needless offence to the laity. I am far from recommending any improper compromise with the vices, the follies, or even the prejudices of your people. Preach the word of God fearlessly, nor ever allow the shame of man to prevent you from performing your important functions through evil report and good report; but such a conscientious discharge of your duties, as the ministers of Christ, is perfectly consistent with the exercise of a due discretion in things indifferent. Thus, if certain forms which may or may not be sanctioned by the practice of primitive antiquity, but which certainly have fallen into desuetude for the last two hundred years, convey to the minds of the laity the impression of a tendency towards the formality of the Romish service, it would be most unwise, especially with out the authority of his diocesan, for any young minister to attempt their revival. It is a trite observation, that no quality of the human mind is more rare than that of common sense ; and certainly we have never had so much cause to make it, as when We have seen churches deserted, and consequently the means of usefulness in a minister entirely destroyed, because he would persist, in opposition to the expressed wishes of his congregation, in performing certain forms, which, however in themselves indifferent, gave offence to them. Things in themselves indifferent, cease to be so when the adoption of them creates a suspicious feeling in the minds of those committed to our charge, and indisposes them to our ministry. Your especial office will be to win souls to Christ; and for this purpose it will be necessary that while you are harmless as doves, you should likewise be wise as serpents; and such wisdom will be evinced, not in running counter to the prejudices, however unfounded, of your people, but in conciliating their affections, and consulting their wishes in things indifferent, thereby obtaining an ascendancy over them in regard to those matters
which really concern their everlasting salvation : therefore, my beloved brethren, give no offence in anything, that the ministry be not blamed. I cannot quit this subject without adverting to one practice, which I have reason to believe has been adopted in more than one church of this diocese, and which is so unreasonable in itself, and so unsupported by any Rubric or Canon of the Church, as to demand the most marked reprehension from me. The practice to which I allude, is that of the minister turning his back upon the congregation while reading the solemn services of our Church. There are two objections to this practice: the first is, that it prevents the minister from being heard by his congregation-no slight objection this, when it is recollected how many of a congregation, in a rural parish especially, are either without prayer. books, or, if they have them, are unable to read them. The second is, that it can only be founded upon the Romish notion, that the officiating minister prays for and not with his congregation. Now, it is impossible to take the most cursory view of the rubrics of the Book of Common Prayer, without being convinced that the congregation have a part, and a very important part, assigned to them in the performance of divine service. The general Confession, the Lord's Prayer, whenever it occurs, and the Belief, are directed to be said by the whole congregation, while the repetition of the alternate verses in the Versicles and the Psalms, as well as the joining in an audible Amen at the termination of every prayer pronounced by the minister, attest the intention of the compilers of our Liturgy that the people should take an active share in the performance of divine service, and not remain, as they do wherever the Roman Catholic religion prevails, either perfectly passive, or engaged only in their private devotions, while the officiating priest is offering up prayers for them. Such an intention, however, must be defeated, and the Roman Catholic practice countenanced, whenever the minister, by turning his back upon the congregation, renders it impossible for the greater portion of them to hear him.
“This, indeed, is but one among many novelties which have been introduced by some injudicious clergymen into the service of the Church, by which it would appear that they are anxious to try the experiment how nearly they can approximate to the practices of the Romish Church, without renouncing communion with that to which by their ordination vows they ought to feel conscientiously bound-against these I cannot too emphatically caution you. While they are calculated to unsettle the minds of your congregations, and excite suspicions as to the soundness of your Protestant feelings, they have a tendency to substitute a minute attention to ritual observances for the vital spirit of true religion. It is somewhat remarkable that the state of the Church at the present moment should so much resemble that which prevailed in the reign of Charles the First, and terminated in its entire subversion under Oliver Cromwell. Then, as now, a powerful party existed unfriendly to the doctrines and practices introduced by our reformers, and anxiously bent, like Archbishop Laud, if not upon a return to Romanism, at least upon combining as much as possible of Roman Catholic opinions and practices with the services of our Church. Opposed to this party was the party of the Puritans, enemies alike to royalty and episcopacy, and who founded their religious opinions, not upon those of our illustrious martyrs, Cranmer and Ridley, but upon the extravagant notions imported from Geneva of their apostle Calvin. The result of the contest between these two antagonist forces is well known. The disciples of Calvin prevailed, and for a time the Church of England, as established at the Reformation, was humbled to the dust.
“Thanks be to God, I see no reason to expect so disastrous a result from our present divisions. But why? Because I believe that, if there are some few among us who, like Archbishop Laud and his supporters in the time of Charles the First, are desirous of introducing as far as possible Roman Catholic forms and ceremonies into the services of our reformed Church, and some few, again, who may be inclined to the puritanical notions which then prevailed, the great body of our clergy are still true sons of the Church, anxious to avoid both extremes; and while they observe those forms which have been directed by the Church, and are necessary for the decent performance of Divine Service, never will lose sight of the superior importance of spiritual religion, and will be therefore careful to guard their congregations from supposing that they have done enough when they have observed such forms, unless they
possess in their hearts a deep sense of those momentous truths deducible from the word of God, and embodied in our Articles and Liturgy, on which they profess to believe that their everlasting salvation will depend. So long as a vast majority of the clergy are thus moderate in their sentiments, steering between rigid intolerance on the one hand, and listless indifference on the other, and, adopting the spirit of their own Liturgy and Articles, aim at a principle of moderation between the superstitious formalities of Popery and the unsparing simplicity of Puritanism, never losing sight of those great and vital truths which were brought into their proper prominence by our revered reformers, but at the same time not neglecting those forms and ceremonies which have been prescribed as means to an end, namely, the more stringent inculcation of those truths, we may confidently hope that, under the blessing of Providence, no second ruin awaits our beloved Church; but if the time should ever arrive when this middle party ceases to be a majority, when the clergy, as a body, become Romanists in all but the name, dwelling, if not exclusively, yet with so much more earnestness on the observance of days and the punctilious attention to minute forms, than on the inculcation of vital truth; it is obvious that those who cannot agree with them will be driven into the opposite extreme, and thus all those dangers incurred which occasioned the ruin of the Church under the superintendence of Archbishop Laud. God forbid that such should ever again be the case ! and while it pleases our Divine Master that I should retain the situation which I now hold in his Church, it will always be my object to warn those especially, whose young and ardent spirits, when first embarking on their sacred profession, render them liable to be captivated more by the excitement which belongs to extreme opinions, than by the sober and reasonable course which I have endeavoured to point out ; that such extreme opinions are attended with much danger to the interests of that Church which they so dearly value, and that if they wish to assist in the good work of maintaining her in her due pre-eminence, they must let their moderation be known unto all men, they must be humble in their own conceit, they must avoid as much as possible all occasions of offence, and, above all, they must preach the Gospel zealously and entirely, dwelling upon the observance of forms chiefly as subsidiary to the inculcation of the great truths which we are told formed the subjects of the apostle Paul's preaching both to the Jews and also to the Greeks-repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ.”
II. SACRED POETRY.
1. Luther; or, The Spirit of the Reformation. By the Rev. ROBERT MONTGOMERY,
M.A., Author of “The Omnipresence of the Deity," &c. Third Edition,
revised and corrected. London: Baisler. 1843. 2. Eight Sermons : being Reflective Discourses on some Important Texts. By the
Rev. ROBERT MONTGOMERY, M.A., Oxon, Author of "Luther, or the Spirit
of the Reformation," &c. London: Baisler. 1843. SACRED Poetry, as it is the most difficult, so has it been the most depreciated and the most maligned. Dogmas have been broached, and by critics of authority, declaring that the hopes, the joys, and the calling of the Christian, together with the sublime Truths of Revelation, belong not to verse, but to prose—not to the Poet, but to the Preacher; and thus an art, erewhile esteemed divine, has been degraded to uses wholly secular, if not profane. Before the awful grandeur which invests sacred themes, the proudest intellect is abashed, the noblest language shamed; and the imagination labours, hopeless as presumptuous, to picture in finite and perishing symbols the Infinite and the Eternal. Such is the decree which has been recorded among the laws of the Literary Republic; laws as unalterable as those of the Medes and Persians, and not seldom equally among the things that were. Poetry, the critics