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so widely prevalent. Fail not, Mr.
FORMS OF PRAYER AGAINST Editor, to continue to lift up your
PESTILENCE. warning voice against it.
B .*. We presume that our readers will
have perused with much interest, • Our readers will feel much obliged to and we would hope edification, the the writer of this and the preceding paper, extracts from the Forms of Prayer for their exposition of the injurious ten
for Deliverance from Pestilence in
for Deliverance dency of much of our unsuspected current literature; but truly does one of them re serted in the Appendix, published mark that it would be impossible for the with our last Number. We brought conductors or the correspondents of any down our notices of these memorials religious periodical publication to notice
of the piety of our forefathers, to the half the exceptionable matter of this nature which issues monthly and daily from the Thanksgiving after the Plague of press; or even from wbat is considered 1563; intermixing with them various the more guarded and respectable portion remarkable facts connected with the of it. We have had occasion to notice in
general subject. our pages some things of this kind, even in Dr. Lardner's Cyclopedia ; the Family
The truly excellent and approLibrary has several times been mentioned priate service of 1563 furnished the with dúe reprehension; as also the Library basis of similar services for more of Useful Knowledge, which on some oc
than a century afterwards ; and it casions has scarcely taken the pains to cover its infidelity.' The chief difficulty well merited the ample notice which of detection, and therefore the greatest we have devoted to it. We will con. evil, is where the leaven pervades the clude our quotations with a short mass without being any way prominent; as it will—and that without any direct
i passage, which we copy from a form
P intention—where a person not under the
of thanksgiving on the cessation of influence of religion writes on subjects the calamity, to be used on Sundays, which border upon religion, or even of Wednesdays. and Fridays. "com. morals, or history, or any thing but simple
le manded by the Lord Bishop of Ely intellect. Allan Cunningham's life of the sculptor Bacon, in the Family Library, is to be used in his cathedral church at as unfair and exceptionable a performance, Ely and the rest of his diocese, without professing to be infidel,as Gibbon's Jan. 12th, 1563.” Whether this Roman Empire. We select this as a speci- form was peculiar to this diocese. or men, because Cecil's life of the same person will afford a ready opportunity for colla
colla- whether the diocesan injunction was tion. While we are writing we have opened only the special application of a gequite casually upon the following passage in the Tour through Holland in the same ing the worse of his volumes. We earseries. The writer is speaking of lotteries nestly entreat the editors and publishers in Amsterdam, and suddenly breaks off: of all the works above mentioned to exer“ It was but a mawkish kind of morality cise a most scrupulous vigilance, even were that induced a late English Chancellor of it only for their own interest. The passages the Exchequer to give up a considerable which our correspondent has quoted from revenue, levelled on the votaries of the vice the volume on the Bounty would preclude (of lottery gambling), at the instigation of its promiscuous admission into any circle à class of men who are at great pains to where Christian missions are held in remake themselves be thought more righ- verence.- Mr. Ellis has just published a teous than their neighbours." Would not most convincing reply to the misrepreany Christian-minded parent be grieved sentations of Kotzebue and others, which that his child should meet with such a will equally serve for the Family Library, passage of gratuitous sneer at religious We the more regret that any of the works persons, and at common morality and in our cheap popular libraries should be Christian legislation, in a book of rational exceptionable, as many of them are of entertainment. We have elsewhere als great interest and value. We have several luded to the incidental sneers at Christian times recommended some of the volumes missionaries, in the life of Bruce, in the in Dr. Lardner's and the Family series. same series. The respectable publisher Of the Edinburgh Cabinet Library we of the Family Library cannot intend to had never seen more than one volumedisgust a large class of his readers by such that on the Polar Regions—which is one matters, which are in as bad taste as they of the cheapest, most instructive, and are exceptionable, and which might be amusing books of the kind that has issued omitted without his gayest readers think- from the modern press.
neral order, we cannot at this mo- among others, as a clergyman whom ment ascertain. We copy the pas- the present cabinet might be likely sage as another illustration of the to approve, though in the few weeks' humility, the self-abasement, the interval which necessarily elapsed spirituality, and the filial trust in God between writing our remarks and their which characterise the public devo- meeting the eye of the reader the aptional formularies of that era of our pointment was announced. His lordchurch; and also for the lesson so im. ship has since published another vopressively conveyed of the connexion lume, dedicated with affectionate grabetween national judgments and na- titude and eulogy to Lord Brougham; tional sins. This lesson is so con- and though we feel much pleasure stantly taught in Scripture, and so in saying that it is not by many deexplicitly adopted in the services of grees as exceptionable as that beour own national church, that, how- fore noticed, yet it would be disinever necessary it might be, in con- genuous if we did not add that it sequence of the heedlessness of the is lamentably defective, to say the fallen, and even the imperfection of least, as an exposition of Scriptural the renewed, mind, to inculcate it truth: nor would his lordship, we again and again in every possible presume, think that we did him jusform, yet we should scarcely have tice if we asserted that he really inthought it requisite, in a country tended to palinode any part of his where Scriptural knowledge is widely former publications. The avoiding diffused, to set about proving it as some exceptionable propositions, or an abstract question. But we live using some orthodox phrases, will in extraordinary times; and not the not give to a system of divinity least portentous feature of those built upon essentially defective printimes is, that notions the most para- ciples, the warmth and vitality of doxical, unscriptural, and deleterious Scriptural, saving, sanctifying truth. are issued from high and influential But this only in a parenthesis. quarters, with a degree of confidence We were about to remark, as growand publicity never perhaps before ing out of our immediate topic, that equalled. It is not among men of the Archbishop Whately, whose paraworld only, or professed sceptics, or doxical and exceptionable notions open scoffers at the Gospel, that latitu- upon several subjects, and especidinarian opinions on religion are now ally on the Christian Sabbath, we boldly avowed; the sacred ranks of were lately constrained, with much the priesthood are not exempt from pain, to notice, has just published a the baneful influence; nay, the epis- discourse in reference to“ the precopal bench itself is contaminated by sent crisis,” and particularly as reits poison. Is this too much to say, gards the expected, and the nowwhen, looking over our last volume, commenced, pestilential visitation. we find two of the writers whose In this discourse, and its appendix, works we felt constrained to notice his Grace endeavours to prove that as filled with novel, paradoxical, and what the Scriptures call “ the sore most dangerous positions, now oc- judgments of God," such as war, cupying elevated offices in our hie- plague, and famine, are not intended rarchy, and one of them suddenly as national retributions; that na. placed, without intervening step, at tions are not providentially dealt with its highest grade? It behoves us to as nations; that however Scriptural speak honestly and boldly on the persons may consider the notion of subject. When we reviewed Dr. national retribution to be, it is utMaltby's discourses, the learned wri- terly illogical,--a mere figment,--a ter had not attained his present ele- false construction ofsacred history, devation; for we took up his volume rived from an incorrect reasoning from when his name was first mentioned, the conduct of God towards the IsraelCHRIST. Observ. No. 361.
ites to his conduct towards other na- then why preserve any form of pubtions. If any seriously minded reader lic religion? why should kings be will take the Bible, and, after reading nursing fathers, or queens nursing it through from beginning to end with mothers, to the church of Christ? a view to this question, will say that why should any man “sigh and cry he considers the Archbishop's propo- for the abominations” of the land? sition tenable, it will be time enough why have prayers for national to take up the argument. For the mercies, or penitential acknowledgpresent, merging logic in Scripture, ments of public guilt? why attempt the question being one in which to put down national sins ? why proScripture is the only guide--for God fess one religion more than another? only can reveal how God is pleased why not equally encourage Proto act—we leave it to the honest testantism in England, Popery in conclusions of every unbiassed stu- Ireland, and Mohammedanism in dent of the sacred word. The only Turkey ? and why commit the prac. difficulty which such a reader will tical solecism of awarding to archfind will be in the selection of bishops large public revenues to teach proofs ; for the whole fabric of the men that God is not a moral Gosacred text, its doctrines, its precepts, vernor of nations, since, if he be not, its historical details, its prophecies, the nation, considered as a nation, all speak one language. We would had better appropriate the revenues rest the whole argument upon that of the see of Dublin to macadamise one chapter, commented on in our the streets than devote them to the View of Public Affairs, in our last purposes of a national church estaNumber, the xivth of Ezekiel; the blishment? Not so taught our rekey to which, we then remarked, vered forefathers ; in proof of which little thinking we should so soon we adduce the extract before referred find an archbishop to assert the con- to from the Thanksgiving service of trary, is “ when the land sinneth 1563; and which is but an echo of against me;" not merely the land every similar service in all churches of Israel, but in the plain spirit of and all ages. the passage, any land where the “ And as thou hast made us so warnings of God are known. So excellent of nothing, so hast thou also our venerable Reformers, and restored us, being lost, by thy Son the bishops, clergy, and pious laity our Saviour Jesus Christ dying for of our church, have ever construed us upon the cross, but more marand applied them; for what are our vellously and mercifully than thou occasional services, our days of pub- didst create us of nothing. Besides, lic prayer and fasting, or of joy and that thou dost continually forgive thanksgiving, our authorised formu- and pardon our sins, into the which laries relative to war, famine, and we daily and hourly fall most danpestilence, nay, the solemn prayers gerously, yea, deadly also, damnably, lately issued, and now in constant and desperately, were it not for this use, but recognitions of the provin the present and most ready help of dence of God towards nations, ac- thy mercy. And what have we that knowledgments of national sin, and we have not by thee? Or what be pleadings for national mercies ? The we, but by thee? All which unArchbishop of Dublin's doctrine ap- speakable benefits thou hast, like a pears to us not only incorrect, but loving Father, bestowed upon us; most dangerous : for if God does not that we thereby provoked might, regard nations as nations,-if his sore like loving children, humbly honour judgments on a guilty land are not and obediently serve thee our God, castigatory,—if he has neither mer and our most gracious Father. cies in the one hand, nor vials of “But for so much as we have wrath in the other, according as a dishonoured thee by and with the people turn to him or forsake him, abusing of thy good gifts, thou dost even in this also, like a father cor- London, which swept off within the recting his children whom he loveth, year, thirty thousand persons, out of when they offend, no less mercifully a population at that time of only punish us for the said abuse of thy one hundred and fifty thousand; one gifts, than thou didst bountifully be- fifth of the whole population. On fore give them unto us; scourging this occasion a public fast was enus sometimes with wars and trou- joined to be kept every Wednesday bles, and sometimes with famine and during the calamity, and a form of scarcity, sometimes with sickness “ prayer and godly meditations” and diseases, and sundry other kinds was set forth by the King's autho. of plagues, for the abusing of peace, rity, most necessary to be used at quietness, plenty, health, and such this time in the present visitation of other thy good gifts, against thy holy God's heavy hand for our manifold word and will, and against thy ho- sins ;" for the modern philosophical nour and our own health, to thy great doctrine had not then been discodispleasure and high indignation, as vered that such visitations are not thou now of late terribly, but most penal, and that God does not deal justly and deservedly, hast plagued with nations after their sins, or reus with contagious, dreadful, and ward them after their iniquities. deadly sickness. From the which The chief of the prayers for this yet thou hast mercifully, and with- occasion were taken from the excelout all deserving on our parts, even lent office of 1563, from which having of thine own goodness, now again already amply quoted, we shall not delivered us and saved us.”
make any further extracts. The To pass on, we have before us a weekly fast was ordered, as on that proclamation by the Lord Mayor of occasion, to be very strict; no perLondon, dated Sept. 16, 1574, “ for son (except children, old, weak, and avoiding the increase and spreading sick persons, and harvest labourers) of the infection of the plague within was to eat on that day more than one this city, so much as by a good po- meal, and that of the simplest food, licy it lieth in us to do;" but we do and the rich were enjoined to give not remember to have seen any form the value of the meal forborne to the of prayer issued on the occasion. poor. The fast was not to be broken The Lord Mayor, in the Queen's till after the evening's service; and, name, prohibits any person appear- lest this should be too long proing in public from any house in tracted, an admonition was issued, which there had been the plague, that there should be “ but one sertill twenty days after it had ceased; mon at morning prayer, and that not and even after this (semi) quaran- above an hour long," and the same tine, each of the inmates was to carry at evening service; in order, says with him, “ openly in his hands, a the injunction, “ to avoid the inconwhite rod of the length of two feet, venience that may grow by the abuse without hiding it from open sight," of fasting ; some esteeming it a meunder pain of a considerable fine, or ritorious work ; others, a good work twenty days' imprisonment in the of itself, acceptable to God without cage. The clerk or sexton of each due regard to the end; others preparish is enjoined to affix to the door suming factiously to enter into public of every infected house, a paper, in- fasts without the consent of authority; scribed with the words, “Lord, have and others keeping the people tomercy upon us,” which was not to gether with overmuch weariness and be taken down till one month after tediousness a whole day together, the malady had ceased.
which in this time of contagion is In the year 1604, the second of very dangerous, in so thick and close James the First, and the year of the assemblies of multitudes.” celebrated Hampton-court Confer- Annexed to this form of prayer ence, a dreadful plague raged in and meditations, is “ An Exhortation to be used by the Minister, function, and ought not to have who is not a Preacher ;" for even so been ordained to it. Two centuries long after the Reformation as the and a half ago the case was very reign of James the First, a compara different; though even then we tively small part only of the clergy think that more might have been were licensed to make their own demanded, and that, had it been desermons, or were considered compe- manded, clerical education and readtent to do so. The authorities, ing would have risen to the extent civil and ecclesiastical, were for of the demand, and that many who many years not very willing to trust became clergymen without ever bethe clergy generally with the com- coming preachers would either have position of their own discourses; in shaken their talent, if they had one, some instances, perhaps, for fear of out of the napkin which concealed Puritanism ; in more, from a dread it, or else have been justly consigned of the lingering remains of Popery, to some other vocation which did not not yet thoroughly eradicated from require it. But in the present day there our universities, cathedrals, or coun- is no plea for any man's becoming a try churches ; and in all, from a wish clergyman, who is not able, with the to secure both competency and uni- ample assistance within his reach, to formity. In those days, the notion of compose, or, if necessary, compile every clergyman being his own sermon a suitable discourse, so as to make it maker would have been considered honestly his own, while he liberally preposterous ; nay, long after, when avails himself of the labours of others; licences had become general, we find and such a discourse, earnestly prayed Addison urging the clergy rather to over and delivered from the heart, copy than compose ; nor is the doc- will almost always be preferable, in trine yet extinct, and we have known point of practical effect, to the cold the advice given to a young man monotony of the most splendid stolen from a high quarter, “ Do not be composition. It is not enthusiasm, such a coxcomb as to pretend to but a scriptural trust and repose in make your own sermons, when there God, to look to him for guidance, are thousands, infinitely better, made assistance, and blessing, in the dilito your hands : it would be most gent and patient exercise of every egotistical to set up your own no- branch of the ministerial office; and tions of doctrine, and to dip buckets this, in the very proportion in which into your own shallow well, when, the minister feels and mourns over, by judicious selection, you may his own weakness and incompetency. secure to your parish the learning. The exhortation above-mentioned orthodoxy, and literary talent, of the is prefaced by an apologetic address, best and most able men, to oppose in which it is stated, that the Aposvice and stimulate them to piety and tles themselves directed their Epistles virtue." We strongly protest against to be read by ministers in churches : this doctrine. A clergyman, espe- and that though the name of Homily cially a young clergyman, ought in- was " by a misunderstanding condeed to pray, study, read, digest, ceit” not acceptable with many, a abridge, abstract, and avail himself homily was in fact only an epistle of valuable materials wherever he or declaration grounded upon the can find them ; but to be a mere word of God, and written by Aposservile transcriber of other men's tolical men, with the approbation of discourses, is an utter degradation the church. It would seem from of his office. If he is not suffici- this that there had already arisen ently apt to teach, to be able to much distaste to these appointed make a useful and instructive dis- discoursings, and that the people course on a Christian doctrine or wished to be addressed directly by precept, with such aids as are at his their own pastors. This exhortation command, he is not qualified for his or homily was introduced with the