Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

searchd into all these corners, they have gott no farther all this while, then to a walk by a tempestuous sea-side, and there gatherd up a few cockle shells of vanitie ; or other pedling pebles that are of no greater use then to play withall, or to doe mischief with u'm when they have u'm.

Or, take another similitude: the light and knowledge of these men seemes to be great out of the same reason, that a torch in a mystie night szemes to be greater then in a cleare, because it hath kindled and inflamed much thick and grosse ayre round about it. For the light and knowledge of meere naturall and carnall men seemes great, not because it is so indeed ; but because it kindles an admiration in some other aery persons about them, that are not so craftie, nor so busie, nor so knowing, peradventure, as themselves be.

But to make now our best use of this light, the light of nature and reason; if wee can take this light of reason that is in us, this poor snuffe of light that is almost out in us, that is, our faint and dimme knowledge of the things of God, which riseth out of this light of nature ; if wee can but find out one small coale in those embers, though it be but a little spark of fire left among those cold ashes of our nature, yet if we will take the paines to kneele downe and blow that coale with our devout and humble prayers, we shall by this meanes light ourselves a little candle, and by that light fall to reading that booke, which wee call the historie of the bible, the will and the word of God. Then if with that candle we can goe about and search for Christ, where he is to be found, in all the mysteries of his religion, in his humiliation to-day, begin there, (for this day brings the vertue of humilitie into credit, we shall not find that vertue in all Arle's* Ethicks, nor in all the books of all the naturall philosophers in the world, they had no light to find it by,). but begin there, and if wee can find a Saviour there, wee will blesse God for this beginning, it is the best sight that ever wee saw in our lives, and concerns us most.

Then, if wee can find him flying into Egypt, and find ourselves in a disposition to follow him, and to keep him company in a persecution in a banishment, from thence to his life and doctrine, to hear him what he sayes there; from thence to his crosse and passion, to gather up some drops of his blood there ; from thence to his resurrection, to find the virtue and effect of it in ours here; and from thence to his ascension, that wee may learne the way after him thither; all this will bring us to the light of this text, and to the love of the Scriptures, and that love to a belief of the truth of them all, and that historicall belief to a belief of application, that as all those things were certainly done, so they were as certainly all done for us.

And thus one light directs us to another. And as by the quantity in the light of the moone, wee know the position and distance of the sunne, how farre, or how neere the sunne is to her ; so by the working of the light of nature and reason in us, wee may discerne how neere to the other greater light (the light of faith in Christ) wee stand.

If wee find our naturall faculties rectified, so as that that understanding and reason, which wee have in morall and civill actions, be

Aristotle's.

bent likewise upon the practise and exaltation of Christian and religious actions, wee may be sure this other greater light is about us. But if wee be cold in them, in actuating, in exalting, in using our naturall faculties and light to that end, wee shall be in danger to be deprived of all light; wee shall not see the invisible God visible things (which St. Paul makes so inexcusable, so unpardonable a sinne); wee shall not see the light of God that shined upon us this day, nor the mind of God that was declared to us in this Gospel; wee shall not see the hand of God in all our worldly crosses, nor the seale of God in any spirituall blessing or promise whatsoever. But the light of faith beares me witnesse, that I see all this.

To conclude. The light of nature, in the highest exaltation of it, is not the light of faith, but yet if there be that use made of it, that there should be, it will make somewhat towards it; faith and nature are subordinate, and the one rules the other. The light of faith beares me witness that I have Christ, with all the benefit of his incarnation; and the light of naturall reason exalted to religious uses, beares me witnesse that I have faith, whereby I apprehend him. Only that man, whose conscience testifies to himself, and whose actions testifie to the world, that he does what he can to follow the true light of this text, and all the rules of religion (and them only) which that light sett forth and reveild in his owne word ; that man only can believe himself, or be believed by others, that he hath the true light of faith and religion in him.

And when he is come once into this light he shall never envy the lustre and glory of any other blazing lights of the world that any where sett up themselves to putt out this ; but when their light shall turne to darknes, his shall grow up from a faire hope, to a full assurance, that it shall never goe out; and that neither the works of darknes, nor the prince and powers of darknes shall ever prevayle against it: but as the light of reason is exalted to the light of faith here, so the light of faith shalbe exalted unto the light of glory hereafter ; whereof this blessed sacrament will be a true and a lively pledge, if it be received with a true and a lively faith, as I trust it has bin by many of us already, and shalbe now againe in the sight of God, and the presence of us all, by Him, upon whom, next unto God, wee all still depend, for the pure serving of this true light, and the upholding of Christ's true religion among us.

ILLUSTRATIONS OF SCRIPTURAL FACTS AND CUSTOMS,

By analogous Reference to the Practice of other Nations.

MONEY BY WEIGHT. Gen. xxiii. 10. And Abraham weighed to Ephron the silver. When the metals were first coined and used as current money in that form, cannot now be ascertained. Larcher gives the credit of it to Phidon, king of Argos, or Demodice, the wife of Midas : but this

conveys little information, as the dates of their existence are very doubtful. Herodotus positively asserts that the Lydians were “ the first people on record who coined gold and silver into metal, and traded in retail."-B. I. c. 94.

There is also a curious account in Cosmas, called Indicopleustes, quoted by Maurice in his Indian Antiquities, of the adoption of this mode between the inhabitants of Axuma, capital of Ethiopia, and the natives of Barbaria, a region of Africa near the sea coast, where were gold mines, which gives us a tolerable idea of this primitive kind of commerce. Every other year a caravan of merchants, to the number of five hundred, sets off from Axuma to traffic with the Barbarians for gold. They carry with them cattle, salt, and iron. Upon their arrival at the mines, they encamp on a particular spot, and expose their cattle, with the iron and salt, to the view of the natives. The Barbarians approach the mart, bringing with them small ingots of gold; and after surveying the articles exposed to sale, place on or near the animal, salt, or iron, which they wished to purchase, one or more of the ingots, and then retire to a place at some distance. The proprietor of the article, if he thought the gold sufficient, took it up and went away; and the purchaser also secured and carried away the commodity he desired. If the gold was not deemed sufficient, the Axumite let it remain affixed to the article, till either more ingots were added to satisfy the full demand for it, or the first offered taken away. Their total ignorance of each other's language rendered this silent mode necessary, and the whole business terminated in five days, when the Axumite caravan departed homewards, a journey of not less than six months.

It was the custom of some Indian merchants, as in fact is still practised in China, to carry a certain portion of gold or silver into the market, and having previously furnished himself with proper instruments and scales, he cut off, and weighed out before the vender of the commodity wanted, as many pieces as were proportioned to the purchase of it.Maurice's Ind. Antiq. vol. vii.

When the Chinese have occasion to buy any thing, above the value of sixpence, they cut off a piece of silver and weigh it.-Bell's Travels, vol. ii. p. 39.

pp. 24-26.

NURSES.

Gen. xxiv. 59. And they sent away Rebekah their sister, and her nurse." The character of Nurse was highly respected in early times; the person alluded to in this verse, we find afterwards, Ch. xxxv. 8, to have been named Deborah ; and the allusion to her death and name of the tree under which she was buried, Allon-bachuth-the oak of mourning, sufficiently evince the estimation in which, as nurse, she was held.

On the twelfth of June, at four in the afternoon, the Berklam's or Chancellor's of Siam, who hath also the direction of foreign affairs, his mother was buried with great pomp and solennity. The Siamites call also their nurses, mothers, and those brothers and sisters who sucked the same breasts. This was only the Berklam’s nurse, for his mother was buried about fifteen months before. Kæmpher's Japan, B. I. c. 1. p. 15.*

* The coincidence between the customs of Japan, and the North American Indians, and the Jews, is singularly striking. High authorities may be cited for the migration of some of the missing Jewish tribes to the eastward, till all traces were lost. May they not have located themselves in the above-mentioned countries ? Much might be said in support of this theory.

THE SPIRIT OF THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH. Mr. Editor,– You will favour me,- I should rather, perhaps, say benefit the public,- by the insertion of the following quotation from one of the most moderate, rational, and learned divines of the last century. Conversant with the writings, and observant of the motions of the Roman Catholic body, Dr. Jortin thus warned the clergy, 1770, as Archdeacon of London :

“Their writers assure us that they are now grown much more mild and moderate, and have none of the ferocity and cruelty which was the temper of former times, and that they condemn persecution for a mere diversity of religious sentiment. They may say so, and they must be fools who believe them. It is probable enough that among their laity there are several who dislike all sanguinary methods of supporting the religion ; but it is because they do not fully understand their own ecclesiastical system, into the very contexture of which persecution is so closely woven, that nothing can separate it. Upon blood it was built, and by blood it must be supported. Toleration and liberty of conscience would infallibly undermine and destroy it. In this present century, and in our own times, there have been cruel examples of Popish intoleration and persecution, sufficient to warn us what we are to expect from them. Charge IV. p. 421. Jortin's Works, Vol. X. ed. 1810.

A. T. R.

DIOCESE MAP. MR. EDITOR, — It has often occurred to me, that a Diocese Map of England and Wales would be very useful and acceptable to the public, more especially to the clergy. I shall not pretend to prescribe the way or manner of executing a map of that description, further than, that in my opinion, it should be on a single sheet, merely adding a broad line of the division between the dioceses on a map already printed.

Ecton's Thesaurus would give the names of each parish in the different dioceses, and a line so drawn equally between the two boundary parishes would be sufficiently accurate. There may be such maps, but I have never seen one, and only beg leave to suggest the hint.

G. S.

RELIGION.
Hail, blest Religion ! heaven-sent treasure, hail!
Be thou my sulace, guide, companion, friend;
And as I pass life's dark and dreary vale,
Thy peaceful influence o'er my soul extend.
Should stern adversity around me press,
Or sorrow's gloom life's early dawn o'ercast,
The hand that chasteneth may I learn to bless,
And firm in faith, be patient to the last.
But should it please high heav'n to bid the sun
Of worldly pomp and greatness o'er me shine :
Oh! may I learn the paths of pride to shun,
Subdue vain thoughts, and know that nought is mine.
And thus, when life's short pilgrimage is past,
And time has led me to the gate of heav'n,
Calm may I wait, 'till heard the angelic blast,
And faith her triumph o'er the grave be giv'n.

5 G

VOL. X. NO. XII.

VARIATIONS IN THE COMMON PRAYER. Mr. Editor, – The variations noticed by your correspondent, Presbyter, have not escaped my attention. I have to add to those which he has mentioned, two others equally important. The modern Oxford editions of the Common Prayer all require that banns of marriage should be published after the second lesson; the modern Cambridge editions state, that they should be published before the sentences in the Offertory. In this the Cambridge rubric is at variance with the Marriage Act. In the last Collect of the Burial Service, the Oxford editors have, “That when we shall depart this life, we may rest in him ;" the Cambridge editors read, we may rest in thee.This I cannot consider an improvement; for the prayer evidently refers to what precedes, -"who also hath taught us, by his holy apostle St. Paul, not to be sorry, as men without hope, for them that sleep in him," viz. in Christ; and though sleeping in Christ is a very common phrase for dying in the faith, sleeping in the Father is by no means so. My own belief is, that the Oxford editors follow accurately the genuine text of the authorized Prayer Book, with all its excellencies and deficiencies ; to the latter belong the omissions of which Presbyter speaks. Those deficiencies have been insensibly amended in practice, and the Cambridge Prayer Book now gives the emendation upon authority-but upon what authority ? Surely no authority can amend the Common Prayer, except that which created it. If some of the alterations now in use are decided improvements in the service, (as I doubt not the compilers of the Common Prayer would themselves acknowledge,) still the right to introduce them cannot reside even in an University. The danger of conceding such a principle does not require proof; but proof might be found in the varieties, to which I now invite your attention, and that of Presbyter, one of which, while it improves the service, contradicts the legislature, and the other falsifies the meaning of a very beautiful passage.

I have never regularly collated the Prayer Books published at the Universities; but I know, from inspection, that there are many minor variations in them; as, in the “ duty towards my neighbour" in the Catechism, the Oxford Prayer Book has “ dealing;" the Cambridge, “ dealings.” In a book like the Common Prayer, such variations are not unimportant, because they sanction a principle. Affectionately attached as I am to the place of my education, yet I cannot but deem the example set us by Oxford in this case commendable, or rather, our own example unwarrantable; though I still think that alterations so authorised by good sense and old prescription as those which Presbyter mentions, ought to receive the sanction of the proper authority; that authority, however, is not the University of Cambridge.

CANTABRIGIENSIS.

« ForrigeFortsæt »