Imágenes de páginas

some degree of displeasure, my animosity is certainly not directed against an individual writer who is wholly unknown to me, but is excited by such a display of incompetence, and that within their own especial department, made by persons assuming to guide not only the public taste, but the public judgment upon the gravest and most important questions; and by seeing some of the most blessed and essential truths of our religion thus lightly impugned by those who profess to be their defenders.

I might in the first place ask, Does not every pious and well-instructed Christian feel himself, in the passage quoted from the sermons, not" startled" by some einpirical novelty, but addressed in language to which his heart responds, and which is in unison with all the sound instruction he has ever received in the church of Christ-I may in the next place inquire, with reference to "authority" for the sentiment, of which the reviewer avows himself "not aware" that any of sufficient weight exists, was the notion ever heard of within the universal church, at least within the orthodox part of it, that "the hypostatic union" of the divine and human nature in the person of Christ continued only 'during his abode upon earth?" It would seem to be superfluous to ask, whether the writer of this critique ever read the learned disquisition of Hooker upon the incarnation of the Son of God, in the fifty-first and following section of his Fifth Book; where that incomparable divine repeatedly delivers

[ocr errors]


the catholic doctrine, that "these natures from the moment of their first combination have been and are for ever inseparable;" or whether he had studied what Bishop Pearson (on the Creed) has written upon the subject. But it might have been expected that a critic, zealous for orthodoxy and for the Church of England, should not have ost sight of the sentences of the

Athanasian Creed, that " as the reasonable soul and flesh is one mau, so God and man is (not was) one Christ;" that "the right faith is, that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Is God and Man.............. Who although he be God and Man, yet he is not two, but one Christ;" or at least, that such a writer would not have utterly forgotten our Second Article-"That twowhole and perfect natures, that is to say, the Godhead and Manhood, were joined together in one person, NEVER TO BE DIVIDED; whereof is one Christ, very God and very Man."

With regard to the "necessity" for this union, when the critic speaks doubtfully of it even for the period of our Lord's abode upon earth, ("perhaps," he says, "indispensable for the purposes of his mission ;") we need the less wonder to find him regard the supposition "of its continuance in any degree in the heavenly mansions," as "an immeasurable increase of difficulty, wholly uncalled for by any neces sity." But if the union of the divine and human natures in the person of Christ was long since dissolved, what shall we say of our prayers now offered to Christ? what of the mediatorial kingdom now administered by Christ, in which he is "Head over all things to his church?" what of the commission of "all judgment to the Son," " because he is the Son of Man?" But these questions are superseded by the broad and sweeping consequence, that, upon the supposition which has been so rashly hazarded, and against which I contend, CHRIST (the Anointed, the Messiah) has in fact ceased to exist from the period when he quitted this lower world! For what does that sacred name designate? Not the divine nature only of the Son of God, nor only that human nature which he assumed, but those two natures united in the one person of our ever-adorable Redeemer.

As to his "no longer retaining any portion of our infirmities," not

a- word needs be said about it. The saints in heaven, neither now, nor when their "spirits," already "made perfect," shall have received the accession of their "glorified bodies," shall retain any portion of their infirmities; but they may very possibly retain such a remembrance of them, as shall for ever add tenderness and fervency to all those sentiments and feelings which constitute their blessedness and perfection. And in somewhat of the same manner may our blessed Saviour's sympathies with us, and our delightful and blessed confidence in him, be heightened by his participation with us of one common nature. Scriptural representations lead to such a conclusion; and we may rely on them as the most useful and most just. No doubt

"the Father himself hath loved us,"

and has "feelings of kindness and commiseration for us;" but never was it, never can it be, said of Him, as of our glorified Saviour, "We have not a High Priest who cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin;" and again, "In that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted *."

J. S-, II.

We have received various other complaints from time to time of heterodox statements, and rash, incorrect, or uncharitable assertions in the British Critic; some of which we might possibly have noticed had we had any good rea son to hope the exposure would have produced amendment. But what can the public expect from professed Christian critics, and vehement champions for orthodoxy and morality, who can deliberately write and print as follows.

"We have often fell during the heyday of electioneering licentiousness, the sentiment of an old gentleman whom Lady Hervey mentions; but we have never yet been able to express it so forcibly. He was passing through the streets of Westminster during the contest between Lord Trentham aud Sir George Vandeput; and when his coach was beset on both sides by the opposite mobs, bawlCHRIST. OBSERV. No. 252.

To the Editor of the Christian Observer. THE inconveniences of repeating the appointed form of words in the administration of the sacrament of the Lord's Supper separately to each individual of those crowded assemblies which now happily in at the altar, have been frequently many churches present themselves dwelt upon; and in consequence, in many instances, the practice of the clergy in such cases is to administer to two or three persons in conjunction, the minister continually repeating the address during the whole time. If, however, from the necessity of the case, any innovation be allowable, is it not for many reasons the best method, as is done in a few churches, to repeat the words once only for a whole row minister silently and deliberately to of communicants, and then to adeach individual, who may consider them as addressed personally to himself. The abridged method of administering the rite of Confirmation has been often, and I think justly, appealed to as a warrant and an example in the case in question. Persons are not perhaps generally aware that the one innovation is quite as modern as the other; both having been introduced in conse

ing out for the opposite candidates, he put his head out of the window and shouted, G―d d-n them both! One other bon mot must suffice to this department." (British Critic, 1822, p. 49.)

The bad taste of this "bon met," which the reviewer seems jealous that he "has never been able to equal," or "to express so forcibly,” is, in our view, scarcely less clear thau the flippant impiety of the exclamation. And, by the way, might it not be worth the while of another cotemporary work, the "Christian Remembrancer,” whose delinquencies several correspondents have called upon us more frequently to notice, to animadvert occasionally upon the censurable points of such works as the "British Critic," instead of wasting all its superfluous ammunition on the Christian Observer? Are the times so destitute of occasions for justly merited censure, 5 G

quence of those changes of circumstances in society, which have rendered the practice of our forefathers-much as it is to be preferred in all practicable cases for its solemnity and its regularity-in some instances extremely inconvenient. The following passage on this subject from the auto-biographical memoir of Dr. Thomas Newton, Bishop of Bristol, who was certainly no friend to " innovations," is interesting not only as conveying an historical fact, but for his reflections upon it, which are quite as applicable to the administration of the Lord's Supper in crowded churches as to the rite of Confirmation.

"There is a method of Confirmatiou," remarks the bishop, " which was first introduced by Archbishop Gilbert. He first proposed it to the clergy of Nottingham, at his primary visitation; and upon their unanimous approbation, he put it in practice. This was, instead of

that the Christian Remembrancer is obliged, in default of convincing arguments and urbane and scholarlike wea. pons, to descend to range the Christian Observer side by side with "Sherwin" and "Cobbett," and "the invectives of the Times and Chronicle," with three notes of admiration ("!!!") to make the resemblance more striking and all this merely, because in our notice of the debate in the honse of lords on the Peterborough Questions last June, which fell in the regular course of our View of Public Affairs, we stated, without aggravation, the simple facts of the case-namely, that several members of the house had expressed a strong opinion against his lordship's proceeding; that his lordship was constrained to become his own advocate; that not one of the bishops saw fit to support him, &c. Would the Chris tian Remembrancer have wished us to have reported, in spite of the facts of the case, the opposite of all this as the truth; that no disapprobation was ex

going round the rail of the communion table, and laying his hands upon the heads of two or four persons held close together, and in a low tone of voice repeating the form of prayer over them, he went round the whole rail at once, laid his hand upon the head of every person severally, and when he had gone through the whole, then he drew back to the communion table, and in as audible and solemn manner as he could, pronounced the prayer over them all. This bad a wonderful effect. The clergy and the people were struck with the decency as well as the novelty of the ceremony. The Confirmations were performed in less time, and with less trouble, with more silence and solemnity, and with more regularity and order. It commanded attention, it raised devotion, insomuch that several bishops since have adopted the same method."


pressed; that his lordship was not his own sole defender; that several bishops spoke warmly in his favour, &c. And if not, what become of Sherwin and Cobbett, and the "invectives of the Times and Chronicle?" If any "invec tives" were uttered, it was in the house of lords, and not in our report of the proceedings, in which we wholly passed over many passages in the debate which might justly have given some uneasiness to the supporters of his lordship's mea


We did not intend to notice this offence of the Christian Remembrancer, had not the point incidentally obtruded itself; and our chief reason for doing it now, is as an apology to our readers and correspondents, who, we think, will not consider it binding on us very frequently to notice writers who, in default of argument, can thus descend to comparisons which we thought were wholly banished even from the "invectives" of polemics among gentlemen and Christians.



Natchez, State of Mississippi, 6th May, 1820.

I MENTIONED in my last letter, that, after crossing the bay on Sun. day morning to go to church, I was disappointed to find no Protestant place of worship. I had travelled hard to reach Blakeley or Mobile on Saturday night; and could I have supposed that I should find no Protestant church in so numerous a society of American Protestants, I should have preferred a solitary Sabbath in the woods to the melancholy prospect of a community where its solemnities are despised. I understood, however, that a Protestant clergyman from the Eastern States had for some Sundays preceding been officiating alternately at Mobile and Blakeley. These towns are situated on opposite sides of the bay, and are contending vehemently for the privilege of becoming that great emporium which must shortly spring up in the vicinity of this outlet for the produce of the young fertile State of Alabama. The surface drained by the rivers Tombigbee, Black Warrior, Alabama, Coosa Tallapoosa, and Cahawba, all of which fall into Mobile Bay, exceeds twenty-six millions of acres, possessing a very great diversity of soil and climate, and enjoying commercial and agricultural advantages, which are attracting towards them, with unprecedented rapidity, the wealth and enterprize of the older states.

Blakeley is a real American town of yesterday, with a fine range of warehouses; the stumps of the trees which have been felled to make room for this young city still standing in the streets. Mobile is an old Spanish town, with mingled traces of the manners and language o the

French and Spaniards, and with an old fort, called Fort Condé, which is to be superseded by fortifications in a more formidable position.

The change from the quiet homely cabins in which we were entertained in the woods, to the noisy dirty tavern of Mobile, was by no means an agreeable one. I sat down with about thirty or forty persons to every meal; but I saw much more of men than of manners, and was convinced that there was some truth in what I had been told, that in travelling westward in this country, you may take your longitude by observing the decrements of the time occupied at meals. At Mobile five or six minutes might possibly be the average, and yet we accuse the Americans of being indolent and prodigal of time! Generally speaking, the company at the taverns consists of agents and clerks, and the mass of the population is of a most miscellaneous kind. The aspect of society, as it presents itself to the superficial eye of a stranger, is such as might be expected where public worship is totally disregarded. Profaneness, licentionsness, and ferocity, seemed to be characteristic of the place; and the latter, as manifested in barbarity to the Negro servants, was beyond even what I had anticipated. You continually hear the lash upon their backs, with language which would shock you, even if applied to brutes; and the easy and intelligent expression which I had observed in the countenances of many of the Slaves in Carolina and Georgia, had here given place to the appearance of abject timidity or idiotic vacancy. I have seen men, after receiving a severe flogging, and uttering the most piercing cries, the moment their tyrant's back was turned, burst into a loud laugh, dancing about the room, and snapping their fingers, like a school

boy who wishes to appear as if he "did not care.'

The ravages of the fever. here last year were perhaps proportionably more severe than at any other place. In July the population was 1300 soon after the appearance of the fever in September, it was reduced by migrations to about 500, of which number 274 died, including 115 permanent inhabitants. I never left a place with more satisfaction. We embarked on board a small schooner on the evening of the 4th, and remained on deck till it was dark. The islands in the middle of the bay, covered with reeds four or five feet high, and their shores loaded with raft-wood, which was then floating down the bay in im mense quantities, had a most desolate appearance. In the morning we found ourselves in the Gulph of Mexico, but within sight of land, and with a number of pelicans flying around us. As the wind was fair, we stood out longer than usual on the outside of a chain of low flat islands, which forms with the main land a channel, through which ves sels drawing not more than six feet water may reach New Orleans by Lake Borgne and Lake Portchartrain, without entering the Mississippi. On the 5th we saw the sun rise and set with cloudless splendour in the Gulph of Mexico; and I could not help reflecting how ill the moral darkness of this abandoned region accorded with the clear sky which was spread over us, and the glassy surface of the vast expanse in which we were encircled. On the 6th, we sailed between the islands I have alluded to and the main shore, which was a dead flat, of little interest, except towards the beautiful bay of St. Louis, to which the more opulent inhabitants of Louisiana retire during the sickly season. The shores are for the most part covered with fine forests, which stretch to the water's edge. Indeed, it is observed by Derby, that considerably more than one half of all that part of the United

States south of latitude 35 deg. east of the Mississippi river, and bounded south by the Gulph of Mexico and Florida, is covered with pines. It is a common opinion in many parts of America, that these pine lands are incapable of cultivation, and are destined to continue for ever in their native condition. The fallacy of this opinion has been demonstrated by successful experiments in the northern states, where verdure and fertility now cover large tracts which had been thus hastily condemned to perpetual sterility. We had beautiful weather, and, after coasting along what is now the State of Mississipi, but was formerly part of West Florida, and passing the mouths of Raseagoala and Pearl rivers, we reached New Orleans early on the 7th. There was nothing interesting in our passengers. One of them was from Bermuda. His ship and cargo were seized at Mobile, because he had brought a Black servant, without a certificate of his parents' freedom. As the boy was originally from New Orleans, his master was obliged to go thither to obtain the certificate before he could release his vessel. I mention this merely as an instance of the vigilance with which the smuggling of Slaves is watched; and I am happy to say, from all I can learn from the inhabitants of Florida on St. Mary's river, and from the commanders of vessels on that coast and in the Gulph of Mexico, that I believe slave-smuggling in this quarter is at present extremely limited. The piratical establishment at Galveston, which was one of the principal channels for the introduction of Slaves, has solicited and obtained permission to sail out of the Gulph.

My impressions of New Orleans were of the most uncomfortable kind; but they were a little relieved by the beautiful orange-groves in the suburbs, and far more by the extensive meadows of deep rich wild clover through which we approached the town from the Bayou

« AnteriorContinuar »