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God has vouchsafed to regenerate these his servants (not by the catechism, and their declaration, but) by WATER AND THE Holy Ghost.” Baptism, not the catechism and declaration of the catechumen, is what our Church has declared to be the means of regeneration. Our Church has never held that “ good vows and resolutions declared” in the Church or elsewhere, are “ infallible or proper proofs," or any proofs at all, of regeneration : a certificate of baptism is the best proof of that.* Therefore it is a MISTAKE to say that the bishop “ upon this mere profession and promise presumes to assure the person that he is regenerated.”
With regard to “ forgiveness," let us see how the case stands. The Bishop puts the solemn question, “Do ye here, IN THE PRESENCE OF God, and of this congregation, renew the solemn promise and vow that was made in your name at your baptism?” This is an adjuration delivered under the most awful circumstances : none, it might be supposed, could remain unmoved by it; none, certainly, could so MISTAKE it, as to imagine that the prayers or blessing of the bishop could have reference to any thing but the sincerity of the declarist's answer, “I do." And to those who SINCERELY profess to stand by their baptismal covenant it is not too much to say that they have received remission of sins.
After the ample extract which we have made from Mr. Towgood's remarks on this subject, it will only be necessary to add that he objects “ to the strong and absolute terms" in which the bishop assures the confirmed of God's favour and their forgiveness. To the sincere, these terms, it will be allowed, are warranted by Scripture, since these persons are none other than the penitent and faithful, to whom forgiveness of sins is every where promised. Though we do not believe that many who ever come to confirmation are "scandalously corrupt,” and “persons of very vile and profligate characters,"+ (indeed the greater part are too young to be such,) yet it is very possible that some persons may attend with improper motives : but why this circumstance should prevent the bishop from making an affirmation which is clearly conditional and consequent, we cannot perceive. In a congregation we all implore, in a form taught us BY OUR LORD HIMSELF, to be forgiven, as we forgive: now, if Mr. Towgood's reasoning be pursued, this should never be done, until the suppliant has first ascertained the hearts of all the congregation, in order to see that no resentment is lurking among them, lest he should, in truth, be imploring a curse or a contradiction !-an absurdity too palpable to require a word of comment. It is evident that in both cases the blessing belongs to the SINCERE.
Mr. Towgood then puts forth a most extraordinary MISTAKE.
• We have, as we formerly observed, to deal with cavillers : and we may be told that we substitute a legal form for a renewed heart. We well know the difference between regeneration and renewal; and we are as much satisfied of the NECESSITY of a renewed heart and life as the most zealous defender of non-baptismal regeneration. Of this, a legal form is no evidence. It is one thing, whether a man has received grace; another, whether he has used it; for St. Paul tells us (2 Cor. xi. 1.) we may “receive the grace of God in vain."
| Page 43.
The expressions, you must acknowledge, are couched in strong and absolute terms: nor do I find that there is any intimation that their forgiveness depends upon their care to keep, and to live up to their baptismal engagements.-P. 43.
It might be thought that Mr. Towgood had never taken the trouble to read the confirmation service. The whole office is conditional, and entirely turns, as every child well knows, on the answer of the candidate for confirmation. But Mr. Towgood has wholly omitted to notice the urgent exhortation always issued by the bishops to their clergy previous to a confirmation, and the assiduous zeal with which they are constantly followed up, and with which the uses and obligations of the rite are explained and enforced.
Mr. Towgood, as on a former subject, so on this, hesitates not to ascribe to the Church the delinquencies of her members.
With what levity and rudeness do they rush to receive this episcopal grace! In how slight and careless a manner is the ceremony performed! What riot and disorder frequently conclude the day! This is too obvious to the world, and it would seem perhaps invidious, were I to dwell longer upon it.-Pp. 156, 157.
Not to say that this “obvious" assertion is itself a mistake, what argument is this against confirmation or the Church? No greater, assuredly, than to say, that she numbers heedless and insincere persons in her pale. Is dissent immaculate, or does it profess so to be?
From confirmation let us turn towards another subject which has given great offence to Mr. Towgood, and on which we will hear his own words: a
I might have asked you, Sir, to what oriental deity you pay your devoirs, when, from the North, the South, the West, the worshippers in your church, on certain solemn occasions, turn reverently towards the East, and make their peculiar honours ? To whom, Sir, I beseech you, are these peculiar honours paid ? Not surely to the immense, omnipresent Jehovah ! He is an infinite Spirit, you know, alike present in all places, not more confined to one quarter of the heavens than to another. To represent him as being so is to dishonour and offend him, to detract from the glory of his immensity, or omnipresence, and to give men very false and unworthy notions of God. This worshipping towards the East, is not, I think, ordered by any canon of your church, which is now generally received ; but it is (if I mistake not) its common and prevailing practice.-P. 93.
Before we notice the absurd miSTAKE, that the Church considers " the immense Omnipresent Jehovah” “ an oriental deity," let us observe one concession-" This WORSHIPPING TOWARDS THE EAST IS NOT, I THINK, ORDERED BY ANY CANON OF THE CHURCH.” Was not, therefore, Mr. Towgood, free to remain in our Church, without compliance with this obnoxious custom ? and can that which is no term of communion be any article of separation ?
The truth is, this turning towards the East on particular occasions is a practice not of the Church of England, as such, but one of the very highest antiquity. The Jews call the east, O p, in front, and the west, 100x, behind; the north and the south they denominate, for the same reasons, the left and right hands respectively. (See Ezek. xvi. 46: Tobit i. 2.) Our Lord himself is termed, dvaror Ę ürlovs (Luke i. 78.); and this appellation is frequently given him in the LXX. And whatever may have been the origin of this custom, its
antiquity in the Christian church is beyond all record, and far, far beyond the time when “ the breaden god,”* to use Mr. Towgood's not unhappy expression, was introduced on the altar. And so little is it calculated “ to give men very false and unworthy notions of God," that we will venture to say that no person who did not travel in search of objections, ever dreamed of the construction with which it has been visited by Mr. Towgood.
ATTERCLIFFE SOUNDING-BOARD. MR. Editor,--In your January number you have solicited correspondence on the important subject of ecclesiastical architecture. It would be presumption in me to write upon that subject, and, therefore, I will not trouble you with any observations which might be neither sensible nor necessary. But as the clergy are personally concerned in the interior arrangements of the edifices in which they officiate, a remark or two upon one branch of these may, perhaps, be tolerated. It is well known how frequently very difficult is the endeavour, and how, sometimes, it is almost impossible, to convey the distinct continuation of a sentence to the extremity of a large church. Whether this difficulty is occasioned by any defect or weakness in the oratorical power of the preacher, or in the want of management in the position of the pulpit; any thing which tends to facilitate the object of the one and the use of the other, and, at the same time, to benefit the hearer, whilst it relieves the speaker, cannot be an uninteresting topic with those who are concerned either as disciples or preachers. For this purpose sounding-boards were (formerly more common than at present) placed over the pulpit: and it is the impression of many persons that they are useless appendages, whilst others believe that they derive benefit from them. But it is now, I believe, a current opinion that their use is doubtful. I speak of the old-fashioned flat sounding-boards. To improve the effect of them, I have heard of metallic reflectors having been placed at the back of the pulpit; but never witnessed their effect, therefore I can say nothing of them. But being desirous of erecting something in a large church in which I officiate, in consequence of the removal of one of the old-fashioned sounding-boards, I have been on the look out for something likely to answer my purpose. A short time since, I read a notice in one of the public journals, of a sounding board having been erected on a novel plan in the new Church of Attercliffe, near Sheffield. I wrote to the minister of that parish, and received in reply a copy of a paper on the subject, published in the last volume of the Philosophical Transactions. My curiosity was much excited by the report of this instrument, and I accordingly went down to Attercliffe to have auricular demonstration of its power. I luckily reached Sheffield on the Saturday evening, and next morning I walked over to Attercliffe, in time for the service; the pew-opener gave me a place in the least favourable position in the church, at the extremity of one of the side aisles,
and under a wide gallery. The size of the building may be estimated by the number of sittings, 1600. Yet here I most distinctly heard the preacher, and his voice was by no means a strong one. After service I examined the structure at leisure. The pulpit, built upon a mathematical construction, is one of the lightest and prettiest that I have ever seen, and corresponds in taste and design with the beautiful structure in which it is placed. Over head there is a wide parabolic covering of fine wood, so built that the preacher's voice is exactly in the focus, the vertex being behind his head, and the axis of the parabola being inclined at an angle of ten degrees to the horizontal line of the floor. The exterior edge of this canopy is semi-circular. The canopy itself is made of closelyfitting ribs, cut according to a measurement derived from the distances of the focus from the vertex, the height, &c. of the pulpit, and must have been an undertaking of great labour and nicety; but its effect is most extraordinary. Previously to its erection, I am informed, that no ordinary voice could be heard at even a comparatively small distance, in consequence of the height, &c. of the church: now a person speaking in his ordinary tone is most plainly understood. I placed myself in the gallery, opposite to the pulpit, whilst the Rev. Mr. Blackburne, the minister, stood in his official position. Though at a considerable distance, we carried on a conversation in a whisper, yet without any difficulty of understanding. When I spoke loudly, Mr. B. said my voice was annoying to him. When he spoke loudly, I was perfectly astonished at the increase of the tone. On his leaning forward, over the edge of the pulpit, the voice was diminished in power: when he retired within the canopy it was increased. On his turning his back to me, the increase was more than double in the loudness of voice. This was, however, whilst I remained directly opposite to the rostrum. The effect sideways is rather less. On the whole, I was much gratified, and completely satisfied as to the great benefit which is likely to result from the adoption of such a canopy; and ere long, I hope such publicity will be given to the plan as will cause it to be no longer necessary for “ an itching ear” to travel nearly 250 miles from home to hear the effect of a Blackburnian reflector.
It is only fair to state what inconvenience is attached to the use of this assistant. The preacher hears an echo of his words so clear and loud as to make it seem as if some one were mocking him; and on rising from prayer before sermon into the focus, the sound of the organ appears so stunning, and the vibrations are so great as to strike a stranger with astonishment; but, of course, habit will reconcile the ear to this. I know not of any other inconvenience, save the difficulty of finding a person sufficiently skilled to do the practical part of the erection. Mr. B. had some trouble to get his canopy put up; and so much nicety was required as to cause one man to take flight in despair. The total expense to him, in consequence of experiments, &c., was about 80l.; but he says the sounding-board may be built for less than 401. Many a preacher would give many times forty pounds to increase his voice in a quintuple proportion, which is, I think, only a fair valuation of the effect.
• The benefit likely to result from the adoption of Mr. Blackburne's plan is sufficient to recommend it to the notice of the Commissioners for Building Churches; and indeed to all persons who have influence in the church, or interest in her doctrines.
A copy of Mr. Blackburne's paper may be procured at Messrs. Rivington's, and I can add my testimony to the effect alluded to in it, as I have done here, most conscientiously.
Perhaps something might be done to remedy the inconvenience so often complained of by preachers, if churches were constructed in the interior according to some law of acoustics : flat roofs, and parabolic or hyperbolic ends, would, it has been suggested, prove highly beneficial. Some more able pen will, I hope, take up the subject where I now quit it, in an earnest desire that the very useful help which Mr. Blackburne has been the means of affording to his brethren in the ministry, may be appreciated according to its value and his apostolic zeal in the duties of his profession.
I remain, &c. &c. W. B. C. P.S. It is curious that no hint was ever taken by our architects in the construction of churches from the effects of a rounded wall, as witnessed in the Whispering Gallery of St. Paul's, the arches on Westminster Bridge, and the vaults under the floor of the splendid Church of St. Genevieve, at Paris. I have a faint recollection of having met with an instance of the kind somewhere in Germany; but now cannot name it.
GENESIS IV. 1. MR. EDITOR,—Since I sent to you some observations upon G. He's papers on the above passage, I have had the opportunity of consulting Simon's Hebrew Lexicon and a Hebrew Bible; and I wish to add, by way of postscript, that on turning to the passages referred to by the Christian Observer, in the note in G. H.'s paper, page 438, and by Simon, on the word 7737, I do not find eth used as the preposition from in any of them before the person from whom the thing gotten or bought was obtained. Eth with a mem prefixed is so used, but not without the mem.
Simon, however, refers to two passages where eth alone is used as the preposition from, "per ellipsin præfixi ," as he says, and adds, “ quo etiam quidam referunt Gen, iv. 1.” The passages he refers to are Gen. xlix. 25, and 2 Kings xxij. 35; in the latter, the position of the words is in point, and, according to the received translation, is “ he exacted the silver and the gold of (or from) the people of the land."
In respect of the rule of apposition stated by G, H., I wish to refer to Ruth ji. 20, “He hath not left off his kindness to the living," as an exception to the rule. The before-mentioned passage, 2 Kings xxiii. 35, appears to me also to be an exception to it. Further, in respect of this rule or canon, G. H. in remarking on Isaiah xxviii. 15, as a supposed exception to it, refers to Deut. v. 3, and other places, as similar in construction to it; but says such construction does not