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INTERMENT OF DISSENTERS BY THE CLERGY. SIR, The article in your last publication (p. 698), giving an account of the conduct of the Rev. Arthur Fane, Vicar of Warminster, in relation to the burial of a Unitarian Christian, Sarah Garrett, affords me an opportunity of laying before the Unitarian public some thoughts on the subject of interments in churchyards, and the funeral service then usually performed, with which I have been for some time deeply impressed.
With regard to the power of claiming sepulture in the parish churchyard, it seems to me that it is, or ought to be, a clear civil right, arising from the fact that these burying-grounds are provided and maintained at the public expense of all the rateable inhabitants of each parish. As no sect is exempted from contributing, no sect should be excluded from the privilege of using the ground; and in my opinion the right ought not to be waived or abandoned.
But this is not the question in the present instance; for Mr. Fane appears to have made no attempt to prevent the interment of the remains of Sarah Garrett in the churchyard ; she was therein interred, as it would seem, without opposition and without delay. The charge against him is, that he did not attend and read the Funeral Service as set forth in the Book of Common Prayer, and that he caused the bell to be rung in so low a tone that it could scarcely be heard.
Now it is my opinion, sincerely held, but with submission to competent authorities, that Unitarian Christians are very inconsistent with their profession and their principles when they claim such offices from the clergyman or his underlings.
All Unitarian writers who have gone minutely into the grounds of Unitarian dissent from the Established Church, have objected to many of the special services in the Prayer-book as in many respects unscriptural and superstitious; and not only Unitarians, but Dissenters of other sects, and many of the candid and enlightened members of the Established Church, have complained of the Burial Service in particular, as containing some things that are unnatural, some that are presumptuous, and some that are superstitious. Is it not, then, in the highest degree inconsistent and unchristian in persons professing Unitarian principles, to go to a clergyman with a demand or a request that he will perform over the remains of a deceased friend a ceremony which they regard in this light? Is it not still more culpable to do so when they have reason to know that the clergyman himself has such views of their community, that he cannot with a safe conscience perform the duty required ? Is it not formally asking him to commit an act of the grossest hypocrisy in offering up a prayer to God which he believes to contain words that are untrue in their case, for the purpose of completing a ceremony which they themselves believe to be superstitious and vain ? And as to the ringing of the church-bell, loud or soft, who is there among us that looks upon it as other than a useless form, derived from the grossest ideas of the darkest times of ignorance, when the sound of a consecrated bell was supposed to have the power of driving away the devil, who was on the watch to catch the parting spirit, and continued to the present times as the occasion of a perquisite to one of the humbler officers of the Church hierarchy, by law established ?
In my mind, Unitarians would act much more consistently and devoutly by ceasing to request from the clergy of the Church such services at funerals. If they wish for a religious office on such occasions, let them ask a minister or other friend to deliver a suitable address and prayer, in presence of the mourners assembled, in the house of the deceased, before the funeral procession sets forth. It will be found a more convenient, edifying and consistent mode of worship than that enjoined in the Prayer-book.
I hope the Unitarian Association has better means of employing its funds than in the legal enforcement of such claims.
THE GREEK ARTICLE. SIR, In reading lately the “Life of Dr. Adam Clarke,” I met with the following letter addressed to him by Mr. H. S. Boyd; and having been induced to examine the correctness of the chief subject mentioned in it, the results I obtained may be interesting to your classical readers. “My dear Sir,
“ Margate, July 14, 1815. “I think the following circumstance tends to prove that the rule about the Greek article is true and legitimate. I wonder that I never mentioned it to you before. There lives at Chelsea an old gentleman of the name of Lusignan; he came originally from the Isle of Cyprus, and he understands Greek in the same manner as we understand English; for he learnt it as his mother tongue. I mean, of course, the ancient Greek. He lives quite secluded from the world, and pays no attention to the literature of the present day. About two years ago I was introduced to him by a friend; as we were conversing, the subject of the Greek article came into my head; I asked him if he had read any of the controversy respecting it which had been started by some of our learned men. He answered that he had not read or heard any thing about it. I then asked him to take down his Greek Testament from the shelf, and to look for Titus ii. 13; when he had done this, a conversation took place, which I will state as nearly as I can in the exact words.
“Mr. B.--Pray, Sir, how do you construe these words, tov peyalov Okov kau owTnpoc nuwy?
“ Mr. L.-I construe them thus : Of our great God and Saviour.'
« Mr. L.-Because the article is not prefixed to σωτηρος ; if θεου and σωτηρος had meant two different persons, then the article would have been prefixed to each,
“Mr. B.-If, then, two personal nouns be thug joined, and the article be placed before the first, and not before the second, must one person be necessarily intended ?
“I shall only observe that Mr. L. is about eighty-three years old, and has been in the constant habit of speaking and reading Greek from his childhood.
“I am, &c.
“H. S. Boyd." I suppose Dr. Clarke and many other scholars must have forgotten the above rule when commenting on John xx. 28, “ The Lord of me and the God of me." The rule stated above, as applied by Dr. Clarke, is so evidently incorrect, that it is difficult to explain how Clarke, Pearson, and so many other scholars, have been able to attach to it their sanction and authority. Is Ps. V. 2, “ The King of me and the God of me," to be understood as referring to two separate persons; and can 2 Tim. iv. 1, “ I charge thee before the God and Jesus Christ,” be understood as referring to a single person ? Griesbach rejects tou Kupiou as unquestionably spurious.
By this rule it can in no case be determined that a particular person or thing is entitled to a particular appellation ; its object being alone to deter
mine whether two or more common appellations of a particular person or thing, which are also common appellations of other persons and things, are, in the cases to which this rule applies, used in reference to the same or different objects. Thus John X. 17, “The Father of me and the Father of you, and the God of me and the God of you," is capable of being understood as representing two distinct existences, or the same existence; hence the use of the article here accords with its use in all other cases, namely, simply for definition. “ The Father of me and the Father of you," represents, literally understood, two distinct persons, and hence to express this sense the article ought to be expressed before each noun ; but not so when the phrases are used as two appellations of the same person, which is the case here; otherwise the expression and omission of the article would cease to define any thing.
In Titus ii. 13, the appellations, "the Great God and the Saviour Jesus Christ," are not common, that is, known appellations of the same person; hence this rule, with reference to that particular, cannot be applied to this passage ; but “the glory of the Great God and glory of the Saviour Jesus Christ," are common appellations, and may have reference to the same or different objects; and consequently the rule, with reference to that particular, may be and is applied to this passage; shewing that the glory of God and Christ, which Christians are looking for, is one and the same, and not two different descriptions of glory.
As I do not think any scholar will defend the rendering, “ the glorious appearing," I pass it over without comment. Oct. 1, 1816.
A RELIGIOUS EDUCATION, LIBERAL AND FULL. SOME, perhaps, have been puzzled how to reconcile with a profession of religious, or Christian education, the devotion of so much time to studies not supposed to be religious, and certainly not in themselves necessarily Christian. Now the reason is, because the words of a rule are much sooner learned than the power of applying it universally; and that whilst the Scripture itself alone furnishes the former, the latter must be sought for in sources exceedingly various, and extracted from them by a long and laborious process. Undoubtedly, that is useless in education which does not enable a man to glorify God better in his way through life; but then we are called upon to glorify Him in many various ways, according to our several callings and circumstances; and as we are to glorify Him both in our bodies and in our spirits, with all our faculties, both outward and inward, I cannot consider it unworthy either to render our body strong and active, or our understanding clear, rich and versatile in its powers; I cannot reject from the range of religious education whatever ministers to the perfection of our bodies and our minds, so long as both in body and mind, in soul and spirit, we ourselves may be taught to minister to the service of God.--Dr. Arnold's Sermons, III. 207, 208.
CHURCHES OF ROME AND ENGLAND. SIR RICHARD STEELE hit the mark when he thus distinguished the two principal churches in Christendom, the Church of Rome and the Church of England,—that the former pretended to be infallible, and the latter to be always in the right.
What is Religion? The Question Answered. By Henry Colman. Fcp. 8vo.
Pp. 88. London-Chapman, Brothers. This little book “ contains the substance of a Discourse delivered on Sunday, Sept. 27, 1846, at the New Gravel-Pit Chapel, Hackney.” Mr. Colman is well known to many of our readers as an American minister, formerly of Salem, Massachusetts, who, being obliged, we believe, by ill health or failure of voice, to give up the stated duties of the ministry, betook himself to agricultural pursuits, and has been spending the last few years in the practical study of European, and especially English, farming. This discourse is his earnest and warm-hearted farewell to his English friends.
Its subject is essentially the same as that of a discourse preached by him twenty-two years ago in Salem, on the opening of the Barton-Square church in that city, and entitled, “ The Proper Character of Religious Institutions."* Those who have the opportunity will find it interesting to compare the two, and very curious to notice, as we think we have done, that the discourse of 1846 is younger in certain attributes of thought and style than that of 1824. The Salem discourse, at least, is marked by a peculiar degree of sober judgment and discrimination, though not wanting vigour of style and vivacity of illustration ; while in that of 1846, in the Preface to which the author speaks of his “ long life," the vigour of style is increased and the vivacity of illustration more exuberant, to a degree that sometimes makes the thought less distinct and intelligible than in the earlier discourse. The very heading of certain leading divisions, common to the two discourses, intimates this diminished definiteness and discrimination. Thus, in the old edition we have, “The end of religion is not the establishment of any particular form of worship;" in the new, “Religion is not any form of worship.” In the old, “ Nor is the establishment of any particular system of faith the end of religion;" in the new, “ Faith is not religion." This will sufficiently illustrate our meaning in saying, that an increased smartness of style has not always served the end of more distinct thought. But the discourse in its new cast is incomparably more full and more striking than the original one. We must proceed to quote a few of its many striking and admirable passages. Speaking of the common duties of life as essentially part of religion, our author says,
“I know I shall not be misinterpreted by the candid and intelligent when I say, that, in a philosophical and a practical sense, the care of the body is the care of the soul. To take care of the health of the body is the first step towards securing the health of the soul. To preserve the vigour and activity of the limbs, and the clearness and acuteness of the external senses, is the first step in preserving the vigour and activity of the mind and the clearness and acuteness of our internal perceptions,-our perceptions of truth, of duty, of moral fitness and moral beauty. Temperance in eating and drinking, and the strict government of the appetites, the commonest appetites of our nature, is the foundation, the necessary foundation-work, of internal purity. Every species of sensual and unnatural excess and indulgence is prejudicial to moral improvement. But, on the other hand, there may be excesses of abstinence, extremes of personal mortification, which are no less hindrances to our moral improvement, and in truth as great disqualifications for the proper performance of our duty.
The world is the scene of action and trial and discipline. The moral and religious character is to be formed amidst the trials and duties and struggles of active life. In the hot bed of seclusion or the darkness of a cell, it may seem to exhibit a sudden and extraordinary, but it is an unnatural and liable to be a sickly and feeble growth, It needs the bracing of the open air, and the powerful
* Reprinted by F. B. Wright, Liverpool, and sold by C. Fox and Co., London, 1825.
influences of the sunshine and rain, to give it expansion, vigour and a fruitful maturity. Business, pleasure, wealth, poverty, are all trials and full of moral discipline. Men are not at liberty to desert the post of duty assigned them; and the only true and safe preparation for Heaven consists in the proper discharge of the duties and labours of earth.
“The support of life, the care of our health, the proper covering and adornment of the person, the improvement of our estate, the perfection of our particular art or trade, the honest accumulation of property, under certain limitations and for certain ends, the acquisition of knowledge, the proper use of wealth and of learning,-all these are necessary duties, proper to every man and to every Christian, duties of religious obligation, and much more important than any merely devotional services, which certainly are not the end, but only the means, of religion. They are as clearly duties of much higher merit, if the merit of a duty is to be estimated by the difficulty of its performance; since it is much more easy to say one's prayers than to pay one's debts, and to keep a fast than to forgive an injury or make restitution for a wrong.
“Now, to retire from this world without performing its duties, is a crime; to think to be more holy by avoiding its concerns and pleasures, is to act against nature; and to live in it without doing any thing for the common benefit, and to lay ourselves down as a burden to be carried along on the wearied shoulders of others, is any thing but a life worthy of a man or of a Christian. It is grossly immoral."-Pp. 49–52.
Here is a noble rebuke to self-styled "spiritual people:"
“When men tell me specially to prepare for Heaven, I want them to tell me what Heaven is, that I may know how to prepare for it. When I am counselled to get ready to meet my God, and not to rush thoughtlessly into his presence, I can only answer that I meet him daily, hourly, always, and that I can never be more and never less in his presence than I now am. If I am told that I must, with a view of preparing for death, give myself up to prayer, repent of my sins, and devote my mind to religious meditation,-I can only answer that I do not feel myself, even were I assured of half a century of longer life, at liberty to live one moment without repenting of my sins, and that prayers and reflection can have no value but as they make me more active in the duties of life; and certainly, as my time grows shorter, I must not neglect the end for the sake of attending solely to the means by which that end may be brought about.
“A beautiful young woman, with eyes uplifted to Heaven in devout transport, pressing a crucifix to her bosom and just about to receive absolution from her crest-shorn spiritual father,-- or an old white-haired hermit, with a long grey beard, a sackcloth robe, a leathern girdle, kneeling before an altar in a dimlylighted cell, crossing himself, repeating his ave-marias or counting his beads,are charming objects for a sickly sentimentality to flutter and to weep over; but an honest labourer, with his foot upon his spade, trying faithfully to earn his wages, or to bring bread out of the earth for himself and his wife and children and dependants,——or a kind and faithful mother, gathering her children round her knee, that she may satisfy their active and impatient curiosity, or instil into their tender hearts the lessons of wisdom, or even the more humble example of a frugal and faithful housewife mending her husband and children's clothes, though it might be on a Sunday morning, if the poor laborious creature has not had time to do it before,-or the poverty-stricken child of misfortune, with no silver or gold to impart, giving night after night her kind and affectionate services at the bed-side of some poor sick neighbour as desolate as herself, are to me far higher objects of reverence, and in my opinion much more of saints and much nearer to Heaven. Your purely spiritual people are in general the most useless people in the world, and would find it difficult to sustain their spirituality, were it not for the practical and the laborious. In general, they are the mere rubbish of society, to whom if the world were left, it would soon come to an end. They wish to convert the earth into a great penitentiary. Their inconsistency in many cases is not a little amusing; for with the most sombre and terrific denunciations of the common harmless amusements of the world, you will hear them singing with the greatest fervour, and with appetites highly whetted for enjoyment, those hymns which describe Heaven as a feast, a magnificent supper, a royal and splendid banquet in a celestial palace, with its