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sales or purchases, and, being empowered to use its discretion, needs not often be a loser upon the transaction ; and when a gainer it might add the gain to its funds to meet losses. Many patrons would be glad : to augment their poor livings; especially if aided, as they probably would be, by gifts or bequests; and the friends of an esteemed clergyman would try to bring about such an arrangement by offering the patron some aid in so doing. In many cases he might do so to make the advowson more marketable; or wishing to provide for a friend or relative.
The Board needs not always buy the advowson; it might merely buy, as a perpetual annuity, the portion above £400 per annum; or whatever other sum was considered as a proper endowment to be continued on the benefice. There would thus be no change of patronage. The Board must in no way have the power of presenting. An arrangement must be made, by which if it happened to hold an advowson which it had not disposed of when a benefice became vacant, (which ought to be a very rare case, as the purchase, division, and resale of the patronage should be concurrent) it should go into other hands; and this might be pre-arranged so as to guard against loss. I should not wish to see the wholesome rule set aside that an advowson or presentation shall not be sold while a benefice is vacant for the purchaser to present; but the rule might be kept in its spirit and meaning by various plans. For example : upon purchasing an advowson, the Board might be obliged immediately to notify a minimum price for the first presentation or advowson of the reduced living; and if it sold it while the benefice was full, no difficulty would occur: but it might keep a list of clergymen expressly named by proposed patrons in anticipation of openings to purchase; and with a strict preinvestigation against simony, and subject to episcopal approval ; and in case of the death of an incumbent happening before the Board had sold the advowson, it might be allowed to offer the first patron on its list the presentation for his pre-enrolled and approved nominee at the sum named as the Society's minimum ; and should he decline it, to the next on the list; and as the benefice when vacant would be worth more than when the Society fixed its terms, it could scarcely fail of being taken; but if it were not, the Society might be allowed to accept some lower offer which had been made, just as though it had been accepted at the time, provided the proposer had registered the clergyman to be presented, and due cautions had been taken against corrupt transactions. There could be no gambling or simony; as no person could calculate, months or years beforehand, upon all the contingencies--many thousands to one-of a presentation happening to fall while in the hands of the Board ; and that particular person's name being at the top of the list; and the clergyman's remaining disengaged, and place and terms suiting. The Society must not gain anything by the accidental voidance.
I am sanguine in believing that large numbers of patrons of valuable livings, who would not sell the advowson out-and-out, would readily sell a perpetual annuity upon the benefice, or a rent-charge ; for I am not arranging the particulars of the plan, but only suggesting the principle. Official patronage might be brought under the operation of the process ; for though certain corporations are now allowed voluntarily to augment their poorer benefices from their richer, there needs to be a special agency from without to quicken the execution of the plan. Carist. OBSERV No. 29.
In many places the measure might be brought into immediate operation, the Society acting upon the sure principles of life insurance, which it would be able to do, so as to draw something for the present necessity by an equalized draft upon the next generation.
THE PUBLIC READING OF THE SCRIPTURES AN APPOINTED
MEANS OF GRACE.
“Give attendance to reading,” (1 Tim. iv. 13) is one of St. Paul's commands to Timothy as a Christian minister. This is generally expounded as a direction to be diligent in private reading and study, to fit him for his public ministrations; a matter, no doubt, of very great moment. There are, however, strong reasons for considering it rather as a direction to be constant and careful in the public reading of the Scriptures, accompanied with exposition and exhortation, for the benefit of the assembled Church. This appears from its immediate connexion with the words “exhortation and doctrine;" and is confirmed by the well-known practice of the Synagogue (see Acts xiii. xiv. xv.), and the assemblies of the early Christians. So constant was the practice in the Synagogue of the solemn reading of Scripture, that the prescribed portion of holy writ was called “the reading," • áváyvwois,' the term here used by St. Paul. See Schleus. ner's references to Suicer and Vitringa under the word. And for the practice of the early Christians we have the testimony of Justin Martyr, in terms remarkably coinciding with St. Paul's words under consideration. “ The Christians are accustomed to meet on the Lord's day, and the writings of the Apostles and the books of the Prophets are read for some time ; and when the reader has ceased, the presiding minister gives instruction, and an exhortation to follow the good things they have heard.” (Apol. i. c. 67). Here we have the reading, the exhortation, the doctrine of St. Paul.
Our own Church has made admirable arrangements for the public reading of the word of God, and in this she does indeed follow the purest antiquity ; for so it was from the very beginning of the written word : “And Moses took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people.” (Exod. xxiv. 7.) And when he had finished the Pentateuch, he delivered it "unto the priests, and unto all the elders of Israel,” with this command, " When all Israel is come to appear before the Lord thy God in the place which he shall choose, thou shalt read this law before all Israel in their hearing. Gather the people together, men, and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates ; that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the Lord our God, and observe to do all the words of this law." (Deut. xxxi. 11, 12.)
Accordingly Joshua read to all the people : “There was not a word of all that Moses commanded, which Joshua read not before all the congregation of Israel, with the women and the little ones, and the strangers that were conversant among them." (Joshua x. 34, 35.) It would seem that neither was tradition trusted in those days, even for one generation, nor the doctrine of reserve known.
For “Moses wrote all the words of the Lord.” (Exod. xxiv. 4.) “And all that Moses wrote, Joshua read to all the people, men, women, children, and strangers."
Interesting accounts of the public reading of the law by King Josiah, will be found in 2 Chron, xxiv. 30-32; and by Ezra, after the return from the captivity, in the 9th and 9th chapters of Nehemiah.
The custom of public reading in the Synagogue is referred to in remarkable terms by St. James in the first council at Jerusalem. Acts. xv. 21 : “For Moses from of old time hath in every city them that preach him (τους κηρύσσοντας αυτόν) being read in the Synagogues every Sabbath day.” Here the stated reading of the law is taken for a proclamation of the law : and this is the idea we wish to illustrate and enforce, that the public reading of Scripture is not merely a good ecclesiastical custom, but a divinely appointed ordinance for the public proclamation of the Divine will.
It was sanctioned by the example of our Lord himself. Luke iv. 10—22: “ As his custom was, he went into the Synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up for to read." His Apostles afterwards solemnly enjoined the practice with regard to their own Epistles, thus classing them with the other books of Divine inspiration. So St. Paul to the Thessalonians : “ I adjure you by the Lord Jesus that this Epistle be read unto all the holy brethren.” (1 Thess. v. 27.) And to the Colossians iv. 16. “And when this Epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the Epistle from Laodicea.” The Gospels and Epistles are most probably απομνημονεύματα των αποστόλων mentioned by Justin Martyr.
The same practice seems to be alluded to in Rev. i. 3 : “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy." And with great deference it may be suggested whether our Church has not erred in judgment in not causing this book of the Revelation to be publicly read. In other respects we may well boast of the Scriptural character of our Church. It brings the pure word of God fully and carefully before all her members, and has no fear of this public appeal to the “ law and the testimony.” We know what a blessing is this public reading of the Bible to our church and nation; it is salt which never looses its savour, and is the grand preservative from corruptions of every kind. Seeing, then, that the practice of public reading is divinely ordered, and sanctioned from the beginning to the end of the Bible, let every one that readeth, read it, and they that hear, hear it, “not as the word of man, but as it is in truth, the word of God.”
A. B. K.
ON THE AUTHENTICITY OF RELIGIOUS ANECDOTES.
To the Editor of the Christian Observer. I THINK I remember to have read a remark in your pages upon the subject of what are called “religious anecdotes," that it might be well if the compilers of collections of them would ascertain their correctness before they print them for public edification. Instead of this they are often copied from book to book, till no person can tell on what authority they rest. Some of them carry palpable marks of fabrica. tion on their front; others are as evidently exaggerated; others may be true, there being nothing self-contradictory, or extravagant; but may equally be false, there being no verification ; and not one probably in a score of the thousands of these popular short stories has been thoroughly investigated as to all the circumstances of time, place, persons, and authenticity.
Most of your readers probably have heard the story of the Christian philanthropist Thornton, who had just given a literal donation for some charitable purpose ; when he was informed that a ship of his, with a valuable cargo, had been wrecked; whereupon he doubled the amount, remarking that as losses were falling upon him he had better secure as much as he could of his property by giving it away in charity.
I well recollect hearing this anecdote some forty years ago, and perhaps some of your readers can remember it longer; and I have no doubt that it was substantially true, though some of the minor circumstances may have been accidently varied. But the same anecdote has, if I mistake not, been related of other men ; just as the reply to some flatterer, who informed a clergyman, as he descended from the pulpit, that he had preached an excellent sermon, “The devil told me so before,” has been fathered upon Mr. Whitfield, Mr. Romaine, and other sententious divines. Without however searching for an English fac-simile of the shipwreck anecdote, I will give an American imitation ; in which J. Thornton of Clapham is metamorphosed into R. Ralston, of a certain town in the United States.
“I recollect hearing an anecdote of our late respected excellent and liberal townsman, Robert Ralston. He was called upon, as he usually was upon every charitable occasion where money was required, to aid in building a church in the west. He drew a check for fifty dollars, and presented it, and then entered into conversation with the clergyman, which was interrupted by the entrance of a gentleman, who called to announce to Mr. R. the total loss of one of his vessels with the entire cargo. He received the news with his accustomed equanimity, and turned to the clergyman, and requested bim to return the check, which be did, supposing he either intended cancelling it, or making the sum less; but to his astonishment when he returned it to him be perceived that he had doubled the sum, remarking, if this is the way my money is going, the sooner I secure more of it for the Lord the better. A few such checks from some of our zealous church. men would enable the ladies not only to publish this new edition, but also to to supply many applicants with books of their common size, with the number they require, which they never yet have been able to do.”
I should hope that the publisher of this anecdote was not conscious he was putting forth a fabrication, and making it the basis of an appeal to religious charity. Some story may have gone abroad respecting Mr. Ralston, upon which it was founded; but it is not credible that the very same circumstances of the check, the news of the shipwreck coming in at the moment, the doubling the amount, and the remark made upon the occasion, should have occurred a second time. Yet this tale, circulating among popular “ religious anecdotes " in America, will perhaps find its way into some of the collections in England.
I may be told that it would be impossible now for the publishers of compilations of religious anecdotes to go back to the question of authenticity. There are thousands of these printed stories extant to illustrate the providence of God, and many other subjects; and would you, it is asked, deprive the poor, and the children in Sunday schools, or their older or richer neighbours, of those striking and edifying illustrative narratives? I would deprive them of nothing that can be shewn to be true and useful ; but I think that no Christian is warranted in distributing a book of “religious anecdotes " which he has not reasonable cause to consider authentic; and I am sorry to say that experience proves that their publication, and republication, are not always stable proof.
AN ARGUMENTUM AD HOMINEM TO AN ANTI-PÆDO.
For the Christian Observer.
The Committee of the “ Baptist Union," in their address to the Bible Society, state the reasons why they refuse to admit into their translations the words " baptize” and “ baptism" (modified of course in termination according to the dialect) or any word that is not confined exclusively to immersion; and why they think it their duty to break from the Bible Society, and from the whole Christian world in this matter; nay from themselves, for they do not call themselves Dippers or Immersionists, but Baptists. In the course of their arguments they remark:
“ Is the rendering then a novelty? Have the Baptists forsaken ancient and trustworthy guides, and introduced an innovation? Let this question be determined when the following facts have been considered. Of all existing versions of the New Testament the Pesbito Syriac is the oldest. Michaelis pronounces it to be the very best translation of the Greek Testament which be ever read, for the general ease, elegance, and tidelity with which it has been executed. It is confessedly of the highest antiquity, and there is every reason to believe that it was made, if not in the first century, at least in the beginning of the second. Michaelis, after Father Simon, shows also that it was made immediately from the original. In this version the words in question are uniformly rendered as the Baptists translate them.”
I am not an oriental scholar, but I have heard that in the Syriac version “ Stephanus and his household,” “ Lydia and her household,” and “the jailor and his household," are translated, “Stephanus and his children;" “ Lydia and her children,” “the jailor and his children." If I have been misinformed, I shall be glad to be corrected ; but if this “the oldest” and “the very best translation" of the New Testament really has the words “ children,” how is it that the Anti-pædo-baptist, who so much eulogizes it against the Bible Society as respects the mode of baptism, allows it no weight—if not as text, at least as evidence—in the question of the subjects.
As to the mode, the members of the Church of England consider immersion a proper, and, abstractedly, the most proper, mode; but they do not consider the rite confined exclusively to that mode; they see reason in the New Testament statements to infer the contrary ; and they deny that the Greek word is tied to one way of washing. It is a most uncharitable insinuation upon the part of the Baptists, that those who demur to their employing words confined to immersion in Bibles to be paid for out of a common fund, do so with the guilty consciousness that this is the true, and only honest, rendering, Such an insinuation-I might say direct charge—is unjust and uncharitable; or rather let me say, in order to defend the heart of the accuser at the expense of his head, that a man may so pertinaciously work himself into a notion, that he becomes wiser in his own eyes than “ten men that can render a reason;" and he therefore