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That if a Jew should have a wife converted to the faith, they should be divorced; unless upon admonition the husband would follow.”
It was gratifying to me to meet with this passage; and I doubt not many of your readers will also receive pleasure from seeing that, amidst the cruelties exercised upon the Jews, there were some who sought their spiritual good, and that royalty itself patronized their benevolent plans. It does not appear that the time for the restoration of Israel had then arrived: we hope that a brighter day is now dawning upon Judea, and that the Sun of righteousness will soon arise to disperse the long and dreary darkness. We talk of this being a day of the revival of religion; and so it is, when we look at the cold and dark night that is past; but O how little are even the most fervent awakened to a due sense of that which is emphatically called the travail of the Redeemer’s soul! If we were to compare our times with those of the primitive Christians, we should discover how little (rather than how much) we have of a zeal for our - » Saviour's honour. E. B.
The following hymns are part of an intended series, appropriate to the Sundays and principal Holidays of the year; connected in some degree with their particular Collects and Gospels, and designed to be sung between the Nicene Creed and the Sermon.—The effect of an arrangement of this kind, though only partially adopted, is very striking in the Romish liturgy; and its place should seem to be very imperfectly supplied by a few verses of a Psalm, entirely unconnected with the peculiar devotions of the day, and 'selected at the discretion of a clerk or organist. On the merits of the present imperfect essays, the author is unaffectedly diffident; and as his la
bours are intended for the use of
his own congregation, he will be
thankful for any suggestion which
may advance or correct them. In
one respect at least, he hopes that
the following poems will not be
found reprehensible;—no fulsome
or indecorous language has been
knowingly adopted: no erotic ad
dresses to Him whom no unclean
lip can approach; no allegory ill
understood, and worse applied. It
is not enough, in his opinion, to ob
ject to such expressions, that they
are famatical : they are positively
profane. When our Saviour was
on earth, and in great humility
conversant with mankind ; when
he sat at the tables, and washed the feet, and healed the diseases of his creatures; yet did not his disciples give him any more tamiliar name than Master, or Lord. And now, at the right hand of his Father's Majesty, shall we address him with ditties of embraces and passion, or language which it would be disgraceful in an earthly sovereign to endure? Such expressions, it is said, are taken from Scripture: but even if the original application, which is often doubtful, were clearly and unequivocally ascertained, yet though the collective Christian church may very properly be personified as the spouse of Christ, au application of such language to individual believers is as dangerous as it is absurd and unauthorised. Nor is it going too far to assert, that the brutalities of a common swearer can hardly bring religion into more sure contempt, or more scandalously profane the Name which is above every name in heaven and earth, than certain epithets applied to Christ in our popular collections of religious poetry.
Advent sus DAY.-Matt. xxi.
HOSANNA to the living Lord! Hosanna to the incarnate Word!
Hosanna in the earth be said,
And in the heaven which he hath made, Hosanna"
Hosanna, Lord! thine angels cry; Hosanna, Lord! thy saints reply ; Above, beneath us, and around, The dead and living swell the sound: Hosanna! Oh, Master! with parental care, Return to this thine house of pray'r; Assembled in thy sacred maine, Where two or three thy promise claim. Hosanna! But, chiefest, in our empty breast, Eternall bid thy Spirit rest, And cleanse our secret soul, to be A temple pure and worthy thee! Hosanna! So, in the last and dreadful day, When heaven and earth have past away, Thy rescued flock, and freed from sin, Shall once again their song begin : Hosanna!
So now may Grace with heavenly shower
Sow in our souls the seed of power,
The following lines were selected by himself.
In youth's gay prime, for earthly joys I
But heaven and my immortal soul forgot.
In riper days, affliction's smarting rol,
By Grace Divine, taught me to knowny God
Select Homilies of the Church of England, appointed to be read in Churches in the Time of Queen Elizabeth, and no less suitable for Villages and Families. London : Williams. 1811. 12mo. pp. 252. Price 3 s. 6d.
This little volume contains a selection of sixteen from the thirty-three Homilies published by authority. Those which have been selected, have a more direct reference to the fundamental truths of Christianity than the others, and may certainly be considered as the most suitable for general use. The subjects of which they treat, are, The Reading and Knowledge of Holy Scripture; the Misery of Man, and his Condemnation by Sin; the Salvation of Mankind from Sin and Death by Christ; the true, lively, Christian Faith; GoodWorks annexed to Faith; Christian Love and Charity; the Danger of falling from God; the Fear of Death; Prayer; the Time and Place of Prayer; the Nativity of Jesus Christ; the Passion of Jesus Christ; the Resurrection of Jesus Christ; the Descent and Gifts of the Holy Ghost; that all good Things come from God; Repentance and true Reconciliation unto God. This specification will enable our lay readers, who are as yet strangers to those invaluable relics of the piety of our reformers, the Homilies of the Church, to form some estimate of the ostruction and edification which are likely to be derived from the vo.
lume now brought to their notice. As for our clerical readers, we take it for granted that they are all in possession of the entire volume of the Homilies, and are also familiarly acquainted with its contents. But we are far from thinking that an intimate knowledge of these writings should be confined to the clergy, On the contrary, we think that no member of the Church of England, who can afford it, should be unfurnished with the complete collection of these monuments of our ancient faith: at the same time, for the sake of those to whom such a purchase might be inconvenient, we rejoice that so many of them are now published at a price which renders them accessible to all who are not of the very lowest class in society. We feel very desirous, however, that the benefit should be extended much farther; and that even the poorest member of our church should be admitted to a participation of those rich treasures of scriptural knowledge, and genuine piety, which the Homilies contain. We would therefore recommend it, to all who are in the habit of furnishing the poor with edifying books, to receive this cheap volume into the list of those which they circulate most extensively. Why, indeed, might not the Homilies be published in separate tracts, and widely dispersed among the poor * Each of them might be comprized in about a sheet of letterpress, and sold for a penny or three half-pence; and their general circulation would doubtless strengthen the claims of the church to the veneration and attachment of her children. In this case, there are several, omitted in the present selection, which might be beneficially published, at least in an abstracted form ; those namely against Swearing and Perjury, against Adultery, against Strife and Contention, against Gluttony and Drunkenness, against Excess of Apparel, against Idleness; those also on civil Obedience, on the Right Use of the Church, on Almsdeeds, and on the worthy Receiving of the Sacrament. And here we would ask, is it not a somewhat opprobrious reflection on the zeal of the dignitaries, clergy, and wealthier lay-members of the Establishment, that, though furnished by our ancestors with such means of universal edification as the Homilies of the Church supply, we should for many years past have treated them with neglect, except when wanted for controversial purposes; and that, while the writings of the Puritan divines are to be found in almost every village and hamlet in the kingdom, the writings of our own Reformers, the founders and fathers of our church, expressly designed for the instruction of the poor and ignorant, should be altogether unknown to the great mass of our population ? Let us not here, however, be thought to object to the circulation of the excellent practical writings of such men as Howe, Baxter, Owen, Flavel, Henry, or Doddridge. We think that their circulation cannot be too widely extended. But why should our own divines, whose works breathe no less of piety, and the congeniality of whose sentiments on all points with our own, render them, on the whole, less exceptionable guides; why should they be thrown aside as useless rubbish? Why should not our Homilies, why should not the writings of our Halls, our Hopkinses, and our Beveridges, contribute, in a cheap and circulable form, to the j stock of improvement?—
Is it not somewhat remarkable, not to repeat the term opprobrious, that while there is scarcely a bookseller's shop in a country town, or the pack of a hawker, which is not crammed with halfpenny and penny tracts, cut from the massy works of the most esteemed dissenting divines, we should in vain inquire for tracts of a similar description drawn from the inexhaustible stores of our own church 2 To what is this to be attributed, but to the lamentable want of zeal in the best of causes which pervades the Establishment? There is no end, indeed, to our violent and acrimonious attacks on Methodists and Dissenters, nor to our querulous reflections respecting their progress : here our zeal is fully awake. But we hesitate not to say, that such modes of proceeding have ever been found, and will ever be found, to be worse than useless. They add to the evil which they are intended to cure. They are unhallowed weapons, which cannot possibly serve the cause of the Church, built as it is on the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets. If but half the zeal which flows in this noxious channel were directed to the diffu*ion, among all classes of society, and especially among the poor, of such sound religious knowledge as our Homilies convey, we should have comparatively little cause to whine over the progress of Methodists and Dissenters. Their progress, indeed, we regard as an evil, or not, according to circumstances. The religion of Methodists and Dissenters we doubtless think very inferior to that of the Church of England; but we think it infinitely preferable to no religion, or even to those heathen . or to those cold, heartless, barren generalities, but little raised above heathen ethics; which too many in the present day substitute for the true, spiritual, efficacious, life-giving Gospel of Jesus Christ. For ourselves, we are free to own, that, until the great body of our clergy, both high and low, shall apply themselves, with zeal and dili. gence, to the careful instruction of their people in sound religious knowledge; until they shall generally feel the awful responsibility which attaches to those who neglect that cure of souls which they have undertaken; until they shall learn to be “instant in season and out of season,” in public and in private, in building up their flock through faith and holiness unto eternal salvation; we cannot condemn, with the same severity of censure as some of our brethren, the efforts which are made, whoever the parties may be who make them, to supply our lack of service. We would gladly render, if we could, their intrusion unnecessary; but if, through our supineness, any part of the land should remain in ignorance of what it most concerns man to know, we dare not load with abuse those who may labour in our stead to remove that ignorance. Their methods of teaching, we admit, may be liable to many objections. These, in the spirit of Christian meekness, we should do well, by appeals to reason and Scripture, to point out, and to endeavour to guard our people against. Their motives, in many cases, may also be questionablesh Still, if by their instrumentality the knowledge of Christ and of his salvation is extended to places to which it would not otherwise have reached, we must and will rejoice. What avails it that every parish in the kingdom has its regularly constituted pastor, if
our own land! We do not deny, indeed, that the state of the church has greatly improved even in the present day; and that perhaps at no preceding period, since the reign of the first Charles, has there been among its ministers a greater proportion of able and faithful men. Still we do not keep pace in this respect with the exigency of the times. The fields are ripe for the | harvest; but our labourers, those at least who are disposed to bear the burden and heat of the day, are too few to occupy the ground: others, therefore, naturally enter upon it. For this we know no remedy but an increase of piety, and zeal, and pa-j tient industry among the *ś May the great Head of the church pour out his spirit upon them from: . on high, that our reproach in this so particular may be taken away, and that our Jerusalem may ...; what she is so eminently calculated: to become, “a praise in the earth.” We have been insensibly led into this digression, but we no return from it to the work before t The preface by the present edits states, what is generally knc * that the first part of the Homilies appeared in the reign of Edward the Sixth, and is supposed to ha been written by Cranmer assis by Latimer. The second part, pul lished early in the reign of Queer Elizabeth, is attributed chiefly to Bishop Jewel. A copy of these Homilies was given to every parish priest in the kingdom, who w commanded to read them diligent and distinctly, that they might understood by the people. W cannot help wishing that the sai practice were revived in the present day, at least among those thodor divines who assume they only are true chur They would thus afford a proof of their churchmanship; we are persuaded that their prof object of upholding would thus be far more eff answered than it will ever be, by their own frigid expositions'