Obrázky na stránke

time advert, disappeared, and their places were supplied by comparatively dry and cold prayers and exhortations.

“Now it has seemed to us as though some of the leaven wbich, while it fermented, soured the sweet bread of old devotion among our neighbours, had unfortunately slipped among ourselves. For, the imperfections which we find in Protestant prayers we feel we may to some extent charge upon many of our own compositions. It appears to us as though most of our modern English prayers came too much from the head. Not that the heart was wanting in those who composed them-far are we from thinking so; but they feared to let it play ; they put it in fetters, they bound up its feelings too much, lest they should turn imprudent. The consequence is, that they bear a certain reasoning, argumentative air, that smacks of a sadly controversial age. If we may venture to use such a phrase, we memorialize the Almighty instead of praying to Him. Our supplications for forgiveness seem to be not so much the cry of a culprit, who throws himself on his knees before the Judge in whose hand lies his fate, as a petition to the throne for commutation of sentence. Every thlng is admirably arranged, every extenuating circumstance earnestly pleaded; motives of mercy powerfully adduced; but there lacks the tear, and the sob, and the language of the contrite, that is the crushed, heart; the confusedly mingled throbs of terror and hope, of sorrow and love. So it is with our other prayers. Our thanksgiving expresses how weought to be most grateful to God; wonders how we can ever forget his benefits, and begs that we may never cease to remember them. But it breaks not out at once into a canticle; it sings not forth spontaneously ; “ Cantemus Domino, gloriose enim magnificatus est;” it seems to be a duty, not a movement of the heart. Our expressions of love are likewise so constructed. They adduce the reasons which we have for loving our Creator, our Father and Redeemer; they acknowledge the imperfection of our charity; they express, in fine, that we do love however inadequately. But there is not always in them the fervour of love overflowing the heart and lips, in glowing, affectionate, impassioned addresses : we find not in them the surpassing sweetness of the “ Jesu dulcis memoria," or the concentrated outbursts of love divine which many short sentences of the saints contain. There are quatrains, nay lines, in the poems of St. Francis of Assisium that

express the ardour of a loving heart beyond what any modern, elaborate prayer has done. And why ? simply because they speak as one does who loves. Our modern prayers seem to us to have no wings: they creep with us on our own low sphere: they bear us not up to the empyreal, whither we wish prayer to raise us: we feel not among angels and saints as we pronounce them. And if they soar not with us, neither do they always warm us here below. They are as green wood placed upon the altar ; not like the perfumed cedar of the olden forms, which set it in a blaze, and rose gloriously upwards."

The great superiority of the ancient over the modern prayers is shown by contrasting their principal differences. 1. While the latter

are almost entirely composed for recital by one person, but not with a view to private devotion, the former (the solemn liturgy or mass, and some other services excepted), are essentially choral, the entire company of worshippers joining nearly in equal parts in the psalms, hymns, versicles, and antiphons. 2. The Church offices are always full of life and cheerfulness, and when the Church mourns, she must have her song; but the modern devotional forms are mostly of a dark hue: they have sometimes even a melancholy complexion, a thoughtful, anxious expression, rather than a buoyant, hopeful, smiling look. 3. The arrangement of the modern prayers is too orderly and systematic-each petition and each act of virtue are accurately distinct; no room is left for a varied play of feeling—there are no contrasts, no shades. But “in the Church offices every thing is prayed for that ought to enter into the exercises for which they are intended ; but they being composed of psalms, and hymns, and spiritual canticles most beautifully selected; the various petitions run blended through the entire office according as the various portions of the chosen parts express them.” Analyses of the offices of prime and complin are given in illustration of this beautiful combination. That the offices of prime and complin were intended by the Church as a standing and daily duty on the part of the faithful, is a point which our author thinks sufficiently clear, and why other and generally unauthorized offices have been substituted for them, can only be attributed to local and peculiar circumstances. There seems to be no reason why these ancient offices should not be restored in their full exercise. An uniform standard of devotions would be in families what the liturgy is in the public service of the Church—a service in which every person present, no matter whence he came or to what country he belongs, would be at home. We should then have no rival prayer books, nor be subjected to the pain of witnessing those mutilations and changes which many of our prayer books are undergoing. But if the ancient offices cannot conveniently be restored, let the unseemly practice alluded to be discontinued, and let the prayer books now in use be reduced to some uniform standard by competent authority.




The following letter, which appeared originally in the Morning Herald, has also appeared in the Times, and other newspapers.


exposes the Exeter Hall imposture so well and effectually as to make any comment from us quite unnecessary.


SIR, -Had the false and calumnious statements which are now running the round of the public press, relative to the “Holy Virgins” of the Tyrol, as they are commonly called, and with which statements my name has been associated, been confined to papers of only secondary consideration, I should not have condescended to notice them. But when they are brought forward, supported by the authority of so widely-circulated and respectable a journal as yours,

1 think it due to myself, as well as to the cause of truth, to declare that I am thoroughly and intimately convinced that the whole of these said statements, put forth under the ominous sanction of the Protestant Association office, are a pure fabrication. The correspondent from the neighbourhood of Geneva, upon whose crude, hasty, and hearsay assertion the whole fabric rests, states, with wonderful consistency, that “ he had not yet gained the particulars” (though le gives them all), and that if Mr. Dalton “had not heard them, he would try to procure an authentic statement.” When this authentic statement comes, which, of course, Mr. Dalton has requested, the public will then see where the imposition lies. If it were necessary, I would stake my existence on the result.

Only last month, or late in September (I do not distinctly recollect which) they were visited, on different occasions, by the Archbishop of Sydney, by Bishop Wiseman, and several other English gentlemen, and who all found them precisely in the condition in which I had described them; not so much from my own observation as from the evidence of others, which I have lately produced in a more extended form, in a second edition of my narrative, and which I have now desired my publisher to advertise in your columns; convinced that no one who puts himself in possession of the evidence there adduced can give the slightest credit to the present absurd reports, and which bear the most striking marks of falsehood about them to the judgment of every one at all acquainted with the circumstances or the localities.

Allow me, however, just to observe, for the satisfaction of others, that one of the parties (Maria Morl) several months since retired into a convent-so that she has no longer a house to be demolished—and where she is only visited by the especial permission of the Bishop of Trent. The inhabitants of the rustic cottage occupied by the other are only the suffering girl herself and her very aged mother, neither of whom will, on any account whatever, receive money or

presents from visitors, and whose house, if it were burnt, would probably fire every other in the village, which is almost entirely constructed of wood. Nor is it very likely that Lynch law should have so suddenly found its way into the Tyrol. It may be as well also to notice, that the version of the accounts stated to be received from Geneva, as given in the Dispatch, is so very decided an improvement upon that from Exeter Hall, tbrough the same channel, that it at once nullifies both statements. It is singular to note their extraordinary discrepancy, as well as the very rapid growth of facts and circumstances under the hands of the very clumsy propagators or inventors of these idle and malicious tales.

Trusting you will give the same publicity to this letter which you have done to the observations reflecting on the part which I have taken in this matter, I have the honour to be, Sir, your most obedient servant,

SHREWSBURY. Hornby Castle, Nov. 29, 1842.

MASSACRE IN AFFGHANISTAN. “It is a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they inay be loosed from their sins."-2 Macc. xii. 14.

As the last advices per overland from India, have revealed the full extent of the massacre of our brave soldiers in the fearful retreat from Cabul; we would humbly suggest to the Right Rev. Prelates, and Rev. Clergy of Great Britain and Ireland, that at least one office in each diocese, should be sung, and the holy sacrifice offered up for the repose of the souls of those brave soldiers of our communion, who fell in such a melancholy and heart-rending catastrophe. It is said that nearly twothirds of the European force, particularly the gallant 44th, Queen's, were Catholics ; and as the rites of sepulture have already been given to their blenched remains, by their companions in arms on the march from Jellalabad to Cabul, we would humbly suggest, that we should not rest contented with the satisfaction that the work of corporal mercy has been exercised towards their remains, but that the more important one of SPIRITUAL MERCY, in a requiem, should also be offered up in their behalf, that so they who parted from their bodies in the tumult of battle, may by the prayers of the Church be brought to holy light and eternal peace.

Feast of St. Francis Xavier, Apostle of the Indies, 1842.





The Divine Warning to the Church at this time, of our present enemies,

dangers, and duties, and as to our future prospects. A Sermon preached before the Protestant Association at St. Dunstan's, Fleet-street, on Saturday, Nov. 5th, 1842. By the Rev. EDWARD BICKERSTETH, Rector of Watton, Herts. London: published for the Protestant

Association, 1842. GUNPOWDER sermons have, of late years, become rather scarce, and would probably ere now,

but for the exertions of the Protestant Association, have become altogether extinct. We are curious to know how many were preached in England on the last commemoration-day, for we are anxious to preserve the memory of the last of them in our pages for the wonderment of future generations. At all events, we shall do full justice to the Rector of Watton, in chronicling his pious lucubration ; for doing which, we expect to receive, not the thanks of the reverend gentleman, who is too modest a man to court publicity, but of his patrons, the Evangelicals of Exeter Hall, at whose instigation he left his own peaceful retreat at Watton, to sermonize on prophecy, &c. in the uninviting region of Fleet-street. Mr. Bickersteth fancies himself an able exponent of prophecy;

and to give full vent to this humour, he selects as his text the twelfth verse of the sixteenth chapter of the Apocalypse, –a book which we can assure the redoubtable rector, papist as we are, we have actually read even before we heard of his name, or that of his parish. It is singular to observe the different interpretations which different writers have, from time to time, put upon this most mysterious book, and perhaps it would not be out of place, had we time and space, to contrast the speculations of Mr. Bickersteth with those of the celebrated Pastorini, who, in our humble opinion, is immeasureably superior in ingenuity to the rector, evangelical and dogmatical though he be. The opening of the sermon is, of course, characteristic.

“ We commemorate this day the happy deliverance of our Church and nation from the gunpowder treason, and from Popish tyranny and arbitrary power. A worldly and a Christian mind will take a very opposite view of this commemoration. It will appear to the worldly mind, possibly, as a vain and feeble attempt to revive slumbering prejudices, to awaken the dying embers of reli

« PredošláPokračovať »