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MY DEAR SIR, I hope you will be able to give insertion to a few lines in answer to part of a letter on “ ecclesiastical vestments," which I see in your last number. A pamphlet was published three or four months ago, containing, among other matter, some animadversions upon a scarf which I usually wear in chapel. This was reviewed in the “ Christian Observer,” and the review fell under the notice of your correspondent. He will, I am sure, be glad to learn that the original statement was wholly incorrect. My scarf is a “common" “ black” “ silk” “ scarf,” without St. Andrew's crosses or any other ornament. It has no connexion with “popery,” nor are “ the authors of the Oxford Tracts” guilty of recommending it. It is of the same length and breadth as that worn by the president of my college, -such an one as is commonly worn in London and in many other places, and such as the 58th canon recommends to non-graduates, (precisely the least “ dignified” of the clergy,) though, in their case, it must not be of silk.
It is true that I wear it with the ends hanging down over the left shoulder; but even this is not popery: for all popish deacons whom I have seen have worn their “ stola” with the ends fastened up UNDER the right. However, if any one think my practice improper, and will take the trouble to shew me that a deacon in our church ought to wear his scarf in the same manner as a priest, I shall be very glad to be corrected. In the meantime I may perhaps venture to express a hope that “ public authority” will not forbid me the use of my scarf altogether, and that, in future, gentlemen who are zealous against “ popery” will have the kindness to see with their own eyes before they make personal allusions, which may be repeated and canvassed to the annoyance of the parties concerned.
Believe me, my dear Sir, &c., A DEACON. Magdalen College, Oxford, Sept. 1837.
MARRIAGES BY ACT OF PARLIAMENT.
SIR-In “ Jackson's Journal" of Saturday, under the head of " High Wycombe," I observe the following announcement:
“MARRIED.-At Crendon-lane Chapel, High Wycombe, on the 3rd instant, by the Rev. W. Judson, in the presence of Mr. John Harman, registrar of marriages for the Wycombe union, Mr. W. Langford, of Church-square, chemist, to Ellen, youngest daughter of Josiah Flower, Esq., of Bedford-terrace.
As the next announcement begins, “ At the church," I presume that the former “ chapel” is, in fact, a dissenting meeting, and Mr.
doubt that every step which renders the concernment of the church in the solemnization of matrimony less necessary and less conspicuous tends, at least, to familiarize us with the notion that it may be considered only a civil contract. If“ S. B.” were aware of the honest indignation which this measure excites in many minds, he would not write so flippantly. The letter of an exemplary curate lately received, but too long for present insertion, would shew that men do feel this deeply.—ED.
Judson a dissenting minister. If so, would it not be more correct, and, as it respects dissenting ministers, more decent, to say that the parties (so far as they could be said to be married by anybody but themselves) were married by Mr. Harman, in the presence of Mr. Judson? Perhaps I am wrong, but I have been led to suppose that
I the dissenting minister is a mere stander-by, who is engaged to attend at the contract, in order to prevent too violent a shock to prejudice in those who have been accustomed in some way or other to connect marriage with religion ; but that as to his marrying them, it cannot be in any sense whatever pretended.
I meant to have written to you a month ago, to ask whether you had observed that the “ Eclectic Review” was advocating the ballot?
IOTA. Oxford, Oct. 9, 1837.
Sır,—Among my small congregation, on the Wednesday and Friday, at the parish church, (for though the parish is very extensive, and the church is very well filled on Sunday, there is still but a sprinkling on the week-days, I have remarked, for a length of time, the exemplary and regular attendance of an old and respectable parishioner. Whatever might be the state of the weather, there he was always to be found, audibly and fervently joining in the devotions of the church. Overtaking him a short time since on my way to perform my morning service, as usual on one or other of the week-days, I accosted him, and accompanied him to the church. “ We had a better congregation last Friday," he remarked, which had accidentally been the case, though a circumstance rather of rare occurrence. Upon my congratulating him on his so regularly forming one of my little week-day flock, he informed me that this had been his constant custom for many years past, and that, please God, it should be his custom to the last. “ When I gave up business," he added, “ some years since, I made a resolution that I would regularly attend the stated services of the church, and devote the remainder of my time upon earth to preparing to join the society of the church triumphant above. From this course I have never as yet had occasion to swerve, and from this regular compliance with the directions of that holy catholic church, of which I am a humble, though unworthy member, I have derived, blessed be God, unspeakable advantage in my declining years. Permit me to add, sir, that it is my constant wonder and regret that so few, particularly the rich, who have more leisure, and who, I cannot but think, ought to set an example to others, should deem it necessary to join their devotions with God's appointed minister at the times and places appointed by the church, knowing such prayers would find more acceptance when addressed in God's house, by God's servant, on behalf of himself and God's obedient people; and forgive me, sir, for adding, that this practice should be so little attended to by the old people, who are so numerous in this immediate neighbourhood, and who, being incapacitated for work, have more time to attend to the care of their souls, the one thing needful."
Such were the sentiments expressed by my aged companion; and I confess they deeply impressed me. As it will appear from this strain, he was a better sort of person, a retired tradesman. I forgot to mention that in the course of his remarks he stated that the great superiority which London, in his opinion, possessed over the country was, the frequency with which the churches were opened for divine service during the week.
In conclusion, I would beg, sir, that if you can call some attention to this crying evil, this non-compliance with the wishes of the church, you will, I think, confer a lasting benefit on the community at large. For, if the churches are to be opened at all in the week.day for the worship of God, assuredly it is deeply insulting to the Majesty of heaven and earth to witness such systematic neglect to his holy institutions, which, by an adherence to the church, we virtually recognise as proper and useful ordinances, (why otherwise appointed ?) and are accordingly bound to venerate and regard.
I am, Sir, your obedient servant, λ.
NOTICES AND REVIEWS.
The Eucharist ; its History, Doctrine, and Practice. With Meditations and
Prayers suitable to that Holy Sacrament. In two Parts. By W. J. Bennett, M.A., late Student of Christ Church, Oxford, Curate of All Souls, and Minister of Portman Chapel, St. Marylebone. London: Cleaver. 1837.
8vo. pp. 430. SOME apology is due to Mr. Bennett for the length of time which has elapsed before any notice has been taken of this important work. It was not from any want of a due sense of its value and importance ; but from other causes, which it is unnecessary to specify. It is a book which will be read with considerable interest, and is capable of giving much information to persons of education, and much good practical advice to all. It is partly historical and doctrinal, partly practical. It is divided into two parts. The first part contains the history of the eucharist from its first institution to the present day, and then gives an analysis of our communion service, and three chapters are dedicated to the removal of erroneous notions on the subject, to the enforcement of motives to attendance at the Lord's table, and to a consideration of the requisites essential to those who would celebrate it faithfully. The second part is practical, and is thrown into the form of a diary, containing meditations and prayers for Christian graces, suitable to each day of the week, previous to partaking in this holy mystery. In this latter part, there seems to be very much that is excellent; but, like sacred poetry, meditations and prayers are so dependent on habits of mind for their favour and acceptance with the reader, that it is difficult for one person to judge whether they will be acceptable to another. It shall only be said that, to the writer of this notice, the meditations appear to contain much excellent matter, and many valuable suggestions. But the first part consists of matter which may
be analyzed or criticized, and it is to this that the remainder of this short notice will chiefly apply. Mr. Bennett begins properly, by giving a scriptural account of the institution of this sacrament, and giving, what is very useful, a harmony of the several passages in scripture which relate to it. The second chapter contains a history of the institution, from the time of the apostles to the close of the sixth century. The third continues the history through the times when transubstantiation began to mingle its turbid waters with the pure stream of Christian doctrine, and brings it down to the time of Wickliffe. The fourth historical chapter ends at the council of Trent. In all of these chapters, very interesting extracts are given from the great writers of each century, and those who wish for information on the history of the sacraments will find a great deal to reward them for a perusal of this portion of the work. Perhaps more mention might have been made of the different services for communion, and of the line of argument by which, from their independence and yet their agreement in the various sections of the early church, the celebration of this holy mystery is almost demonstrated to have been uniform from the very first in its great features. In another edition, such a chapter, merely containing such an analysis of the “ Introduction to Palmer's Origines Liturgicæ,” as would lay this before ordinary readers might prove very useful as an appendix.
After the history, comes an account of our present service, which, without containing anything new, puts some of the practical and illustrative observations of our liturgical writers in a popular and attractive form. The three remaining chapters are more peculiarly hortatory and practical, and in this portion again there is much to commend. There is great earnestness throughout; and the work appears, to the writer of this notice, to be calculated to do much good.
The Table of the Lord. By the Author of “ The Listeners," &c. London:
Seeley and Burnside. 1837. pp. 299. There is much piety and good feeling displayed in this little work. It is tinged, however, with the popular spiritualism of the day. The author observes, at p. 19–
“Some will think, perhaps, I fall short of the truth in estimating the design of the holy sacraments, or misstate their real nature.”
The following passages may serve to shew how far the above charges would be just :
“ I think, whatever is special in the sacraments, as distinguished from other means of grace, must be looked for in the special blessing likely to accompany ordinances so appointed, and not in any power vested in them to convey the blessing different from what pertains to other means of grace: since not only are the sacraments continually performed without their effects, but these effects are as frequently, without the sacraments, produced by other means. In the apostolic age, I imagine, the regeneration of the soul, and its conversion to the faith, took place before the rite of baptism was
Vol. XII.-Nov. 1837.
performed: whereas now, I suppose it much more frequently takes place in after. life. And with reference to the Lord's supper, we know that the spiritual feeding of the believer upon Christ is not peculiar to it; but may be realized as well in the most secret communion of the soul with the Beloved.” pp. 33, 34.
Again“ Our church has determined that there shall none be admitted to the holy communion until such time as he be confirmed, or be ready and desirous to be confirmed—a strong refutation, I think, of the arguments drawn from the wording of some of her formularies, to prove the church considers every baptized child to be really and spiritually regenerated, and born anew of the Holy Spirit."--p. 200.
There are some verses at the end of the volume. Of these, what follow are specimens :
“ Blessed Jesus! breathe a whisper
In my list’ning, longing car;
If it is thy cross I bear.” p. 295.
Repeat that word
Thy people own;
That we are one.'” The elegant representation of an altar, which graces the title-page, led the writer of this notice to expect more from the letter-press than it has been his good fortune to find.
The Apostolic Church; or, A Discussion respecting the Worship, Legal Esta
blishment, Hierarchy, and Institutions of the Church, under the Christian Dispensation. In a series of Dialogues and Correspondence between Divinity
Students. By D. Falloon. Dublin : D. R. Bleakley. 1836. pp. 421. WITHOUT giving his « unfeigned assent and consent to all and every: thing" contained in this volume, the writer of this notice can say of it
, as of the homilies of the church, that it “ doth contain a godly and wholesome doctrine, and necessary for these times.” Its design is to refute the objections of protestant dissenters" to the church of Christ. It consists of eight Dialogues, five Letters, and an Appendix; and the subjects discussed include the lawfulness and utility of forms of prayer; diocesan and national churches; the catholic church; holy orders; popular elections ; holy baptism; the eucharist; external reverence in the worship of God; the rubrical injunctions; sacred edifices, or churches; and the king's supremacy. Each of these topics is handled with ability and research. Dialogue III., on the catholic church, is, however, open to more than one exception. The author, for example, while straining to inflict a tremendous blow on the Roman communion, is not sufficiently careful lest it should rebound against his own. Thus, at pp. 108, 109, he denies, not only the infallibility of the Roman, but also the indefectibility of the catholic church, in direct opposition to the implied decision of the Anglican church, and the declared opinions of all her greatest divines. At pp. 101–106, Mr. Falloon insists upon the distinction of gender between repos and Tetpa, (is not Mr. F. aware that the Syriac word “ cephas” is both masculine and feminine ?) in proof that the expression, “ rock," in