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testimony to the excellence of Holy Writ, borne by this
THE HOLY SCRIPTURES;
THE SACRED VOLUME,
MORE PURE MORALITY,
MORE IMPORTANT HISTORY, AND FINER STRAINS BOTH OF POETRY - AND ELOQUENCE,
THAN CAN BE COLLECTED FROM
ALL OTHER BOOKS,
MAY HAVE BEEN
COMPOSED. Here 'the Inscription might perish, unless it should be deemed proper to add the next, and indeed the concluda ing sentence, which might be thus arranged: ! !ule THE TWO PARTS OF WHICH THE SCRIPTURES CONSIST,
TO ARE CONNECTED
IN FORM OR STYLE,
NO MAN DOUBTS;
THAT THEY ARE
These Sentences were written by Sir W.J. on a blank leaf in his Bible.
A LONDON CURATE.
ON TIIE BURIAL OF SUICIDES, &c. . TO THE EDITOR OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCHMAN'S MA
GAZINE. Sir, VOUR correspondent Ereunetes might perhaps be
I justified by the letter of the Rubric, in refusing to read the burial service over a Lunatic, who destroyed himself; but I doubt whether he would act according to the spirit. Wheatly considered it as only a questionable matter; and his remark that “if the Coroner prostitutes his oath, the Clergy should not prostitute their office," implies that, if there were no prostitution of the oath, in giving a verdict, there would be none of the office, in burying the body. The old Ecclesiastical law, to which he appeals, makes, I think, against him. It forbids the burial service for those who lay violent hands on themselves voluntarily: now, where the mind is incapable of exercising its powers, there can be nothing voluntary; nothing therefore which falls under this prohibition, Neither is this construction of the clause in question unsupported by authority. Burn expressly says, that it extends not to idiots, lunatics, or persons otherwis of insane mind : and Comber restrains it to such as die in « the desperate sin of self murder;" where there is loss of reason, there can be no sin.
On the other inquiry started long since by your correspondent, but hitherto unnoticed, I have a few remarks to offer. It will, I presume, be admitted that, if the baptism was valid, the funeral ought to follow. Now when a child already baptized is brought into Church, the questions to be proposed bý the Curate are ; '“ By whom was this child baptized ? who was present? with what matter? and with what words ?” but no authority is given to rebaptize, unless the answers are unsatisfactory respecting the matter and words, they being “.the essential parts." The validity of the baptism therefore, appears not to rest
upon the person who administers it: his incompetency does not'annul the act. This is agreeable to the doctrine laid down by Watson, that “ a child being baptized with water in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is sufficiently baptized, although not by a lawful priest; yet the person baptizing, not being a lawful priest, is punishable.” And the venerable Hooker delivers it as constantly maintained-by the Church of God, that, “ If baptism seriously be adıninistered in the same element, and with the same form of words which Christ's institution teacheth, there is no other defect in the world, that can make it frustrate, or deprive it of the nature of a true sacrament," . It seems therefore, that if Ereunetes had been satisfied that the essentials of matter and words had not been omitted, he ought to have buried the child; because in that case it was not“ unbaptized,” and to such only is the service to be refused.
ON THE SACRAMENT. A N empty profession of a belief in our Saviour withA out the power and efficacy of his doctrines upon our lives will be of no avail.-It is not our calling him Lord, Lord, but our doing what he commands, that will render us acceptable in his sight. ---He constantly, while upon earth, enforced upon his followers, purity of life, and the discharge of moral duties; and as a help to their increase in virtue, and perseverance in a virtuous course, when he was about to leave the world he instituted an ordinance to be obseļved by his followers, that by the frequent observance of it they might have opportunities of calling to mind his death and passion, and thereby improving in themselves those affections and dispositions which he recommended.—And indeed how can we remember the death of our Redeemer without feeling the strongest emotions of love and gratitude to God and to our blessed Saviour, for greater love hath no man than this, that a man should lay down his life for his friend.It is sufficient to overwhelm an attentive mind when he
considers that human happiness is an object dear to the Almighty--that while we were yet sinners in the gall of bitterness and bond of iniquity, Christ died for us.”What gratitude, what love, reverence and esteem ought it not to excite in our minds ?-With what joy ought we to comply with those terms which our Saviour has laid down for us?-Has the Son of God descended from Heaven, and redeemed us from misery, slavery, and death, and shall we not receive him as our Lord and Master:--Has he shewn us the way to be happy-placed us in a state of reconciliation with God-and shall we not embrace it?-What perverseness of nature, what monstrous ingratitude, and what hardness of heart must it not'argue if we despise the riches of such grace, and through a base attachment to the world refuse to receive our Saviour?-Of such persons the Apostle speaks in these words-Many walk of whom I have told you before, and tell you now even weeping, that they are enemies of the Cross of Christ. Such persons he characterizes in these words-Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things. How ought it to animate us in running our Christian race, when we consider that our Leader has clearly marked out the way for us-removed every difficulty, and that though he has ascended far above all Heavens, yet he is ever present with his sincere followers; and that such as sincerely endeavour to obey him and imitate his example, will be admitted to partake of his glory hereafter? Is it not the most invaluable of our blessings that we enjoy such prospects !-And surely if we will but allow ourselves to think a little of them, we can hardly fail of feeling the most lively gratitude and reverence to our Almighty Creator for his inestimable benefit in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ.--And it is incumbent upon us, if we would hope to be happy hereafter, to meditate frequently and seriously upon that scheme of salvation which the Gospel has revealed to us, and to form our lives accordingly.-Every opportunity we have of celebrating the death and passion of our Redeemer obliges us to review our past conduct, and to compare it with his precepts and example-to endeavour to forsake every vicious practice, and resolve through his assistance, to do so no more.--In this manner, our celebrating his death may be of great service to us, and be a powerful mean of strengthening virtuous dispositions
in our minds.--But if this is not the case-if we do not improve it to this purpose, it will be of no avail to us. Upon such occasions therefore we should ask ourselves " What are we going to do?--Are we only going to eat and drink as at a common meal, for the refreshment and support of our bodies ?-“ No surely, this is not the end of the institution ;-we have' houses to eat and drink in for that end, and are not called to assemble together as to our ordinary meals, but we are going to celebrate a religious rite appointed by our Lord Jesus Christ as a me. znorial of his dying love, and as a public acknowledgment of our being his disciples; who have thus communion and fellowship with him and with all our christian brethren, and who purpose by the help of his grace to please and obey him in all things, and to walk in his ways all the days of our lives.--It becomes us then to inquire again, whether we feel in our minds a just sense of the advantages we enjoy by the Gospel Revelation, and a thankful remembrance of what our blessed Saviour hath done and suffered for us, to deliver us from the power and dominion of sin, and its consequent miseries? whether we do really approve of the terms of that Covenant which he hath sealed with his blood, and heartily consent to them?-and to conform ourselves in our hearts and lives to the laws of godliness, righteousness, charity, and sobriety, as being the most excellent in themselves, and naturally conducive ro promote the proper perfection and true happiness of our nature.-Whether we have a sincere good-will towards all mankind, and a communion ip heart and aflection with all the Saints and household of God?-If this be truly, and indeed the temper of our minds, and the frame of our hearts towards God, towards Jesus Christ his Son, towards all our fellow-christians, towards true religion and virtue, we are suitably disposed and duly prepared to go to the Lord's Table. Let every one therefore try himself by this test, and having found his heart to correspond to it, let him, according to the ends for which this sacred feast was appointed, and with a serious view to them,-eat of the bread and drink of the cup; humbly hoping for God's blessing upon him in his religious attendance upon this ordinance; and for his favourable acceptance of him in this action, done in obedience to the command of his dying Lord, by shewing forth his death till he come.
• T. L. H.