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stoops down, and disengages the flag from the remains of his late shipmate, while the others, at the words " we commit his body to the deep,” project the grating right into the sea. The body being loaded with shot at one end, glances off the grating, plunges at once into the ocean, and
6" In a moment, like a drop of rain,
He sinks into its depths with bubbling groan,
Without a grave, unknelled, uncoffined, and unknown.” • This part of the ceremony is rather less impressive than the correspondent part on land; but still there is something solemn, as well as startling, in the sudden splash, followed by the sound of the grating, as it is towed along, under the main-chains.
• In a fine day at sea, in smooth water, and when all the ship's company and officers are assembled, the ceremony just described, although a melancholy one, as it must always be, is often so pleasing, all things considered, that it is calculated to leave even cheerful impressions on the mind.'-vol. iii. pp.
213-219. We hardly think that there was any other than a mechanical necessity for the chapters, which the author has devoted to Madeira. The volumes could not, perhaps, have been made up without them. But let that pass. The public, especially the naval portion of it in esse or fieri, will easily overlook a little surplusage in a work otherwise so valuable and interesting. The goodness of the
. author's heart, and the usefulness of his intentions, appear conspicuous in almost every page.
His great object is the improvement of his profession; and he rightly goes about the accomplishment of his laudable design, by placing in the hands of its inexperienced members, a little work with which they cannot but be charmed, and from which they cannot fail to derive lessons of the utmost importance, for the formation of their character and the regulation of their conduct in all that relates to the duties, which they owe to themselves, their country, and their CREATOR.
ART. VI.-1. The Liturgy revised; or the necessity and beneficial effects of an authorized abridgment and careful revision of the various
Services of the Established Church. By the Rev. Robert Cox, A.M. Perpetual Curate of Stonehouse, North Devon. 8vo. pp. 136. London:
Hatchard & Co. 1830. 2. A Letter to his Grace the Archbishop of York, on the present corrupt
state of the Church of England. By R. M. Beverley, Esq. Third
Edition. 8vo. pp. 41. Beverley: W. & B. Johnson. "1831. As soon as the agitation at present existing in the public mind upon the subject of parliamentary reform, shall have subsided, we have little doubt that the attention of all well-informed and patriotic men will be turned for a season, with undivided force, towards the actual condition of the Church of England. We behold on all sides structures rising for the purposes of that establish
ment, a few of which are really ornamental in the way of architecture, while the greater number seem from their style to have been intended rather as granaries or mews, than as houses for the worship of the living God. These buildings are erected at an enormous expense, every farthing of which is taken out of the pockets of the people. The clergy who officiate in them, and the Archbishops and Bishops who preside over the clergy, enjoy an immense revenue, to which individuals of every order and degree must contribute, whether they belong to the Church of England or not. Sermons are preached and printed in unprecedented abundance, and the prescribed service is duly performed in every city, town, village, and almost every hamlet in the kingdom; and yet what is the practical
; result of all this upon the moral conduct of the community?
It will not, we believe, be denied, that crime, instead of being diminished by all this machinery of religion, is increasing from year to year with frightful strides; that among the classes of labourers, domestic servants, and shop clerks, dishonesty, prevails to such an extent, that there is no security to be obtained against it; that from among the unprotected numbers of the female sex, the most deplorable corruption has long since banished every principle of purity, and the natural sense of honour. Even among those who frequent the churches of the Establishment, there are exceedingly few who understand what religion truly means, and who practise it with any degree of genuine piety. They, for the most part, believe that they are sufficiently religious, if they attend at the services of the church on Sunday, and abstain from doing injury to any body. If any one of them be asked what is meant by the Trinity, and whether he believe in the Incarnation and Divinity of Christ, it is of all things the most probable that he will give an answer, which shall betray the grossest ignorance. Certain it is, that his answer will not agree in all its parts with that of a person whó sits before or behind him in the neighbouring pew; and that he thinks himself entitled to hold what opinions he pleases upon the subject, inasmuch as, the church itself being founded upon the principle and the right of private judgment, he supposes that the same right appertains to him as an individual. We need not remark upon the myriads of sects which have sprung from this prolific source, and openly abandoned the established church, since, even at this late hour, her own doctors dispute about some of the most essential points of christian faith. There are those amongst them, for example, who maintain that Christ is really present, in some ineffable manner, in the elements of bread and wine administered at the communion table, while others insist that the rite is one of mere remembrance-a ceremony like the passover of the Jews. Again, upon the subject of confession, it is not very long ago since, at one of the Universities, a sermon was delivered, with the view of renovating, if possible, the ancient practice, of calling upon the people to declare their sins to some clergyman of their own selection. This would pre-suppose in him the power of Absolution-a power indeed daily declared by the Liturgy to belong to him, but the title to which is so generally denied, that the passage asserting it, is now looked upon as a mere formality, and Mr. Cox, for one, is anxious to have it disavowed altogether.
But whether the faculty in question be exercised by the clergy of the established church or not, is a question of no consequence whatever to the people who are entrusted to their spiritual care. What is absolution? It is the remission, upon certain conditions, of the punishment due to sin. What are the conditions ? Are they known to the people? Are they ever explained to them? Millions upon millions of sins are perpetrated hourly in this country, and it is neither untrue nor uncharitable to say, that those who commit them do not often know the mass of guilt for which they have to answer. They are not taught the distinctions between different transgressions, they know nothing of true repentance, and they go on from day to day adding to their crimes, without so much as even thinking of the dreadful condition in which they live. It is not known by their clergy, and how can it possibly be examined and reformed ?
Indeed, so far as religion is concerned, the church of England is a striking failure. In this respect it has completely broken down. As an affair of state, a department of the political government of the country, calculated to bring together a certain number of respectable and well-dressed persons on a Sunday to hear a monotonous Liturgy, and a premeditated discourse, it is all very well. It serves to impose upon such persons the necessity of observing a decorous exterior, but to the heart it never reaches. It is utterly indifferent to the theological instruction, not only of its ministers, but of its congregations. With respect to the latter, it relies wholly upon discourses delivered from the pulpit, which are sometimes unquestionably eloquent and persuasive, but which are properly appreciated only by the higher classes, and produce no effect upon the lower orders. What are stately sermons compared with those lessons, which might be given to the youth of both sexes at school, to youth and adults in the churches, and even in their own houses, by clergymen really zealous for the welfare of their people? Where are their catechisms? Where their attractive books of piety, which come home to the bosoms of families in their domestic retirement ? They have none--not even an authorized form of morning and night prayer, so necessary for all classes, in order to enable them to express the gratitude which they owe to their Creator, and to implore His assistance! The only one book recommended on all occasions, is the Bible, many parts of which are unfit to be exposed to innocent eyes. Mr. Cox is decidedly of this opinion ; he sug
; gests the adoption of stated prayers for the beginning and conclusion of the day, and the erasure from the Liturgy of several
passages, which could never have been intended to be read as a portion of divine service, to a mixed congregation.
The fundamental error in the constitution of the church of England is the want of a constant and active relation between its clergy and people. We know many of the former to be most accomplished scholars, and most excellent men ; but of all of them it may be said, that when once the gown is taken off, they have no thought about their flocks until it is put on again. They look upon the church as a mere profession, and as an instrument for the advancement of their temporal interests. How rarely do we see them called to the bed-side of the dying sinner! How few there are amongst the married clergy, especially, who would readily attend to such a summons, even if it were sent to them! The fear of contagion is a terrible bugbear in such cases. We doubt if it would not compel them to hesitate between their natural affections and their clerical duty. They are not, however, often tried, for their people are unaccustomed to receive from them in private the slightest advice or consolation. They never think of such a thing.
Experiments have been repeatedly made, with the view of bringing about a more animated and continued intercourse between the minister and the congregation; but they have all uniformly fallen to the ground. Evening lectures were established during the Lent
t; but there was nobody to listen to them! The service has been ordered to be performed on every morning of the week days. It has been performed, but the pews were literally empty. Half a dozen elderly persons of the female sex attended occasionally on such days, but the edifice looked so cold and cheerless, that they never persevered beyond a week or two. Mr. Cox acknowledges that the churches have been utterly deserted during the week days. He suggests in consequence, that for the morning service, service in the evening should be substituted, and that it should be very considerably abridged.
Indeed this reformer of the Liturgy, moderate and phlegmatic as he is, thinks the service in general to be too long, and in many respects very imperfect. He would omit the Exhortation; erase
; the word Absolution from the Liturgy; follow the American prayerbook (the model by which he is chiefly guided) in changing the “ which art in heaven,” in the Lord's Prayer, to “ who art in heaven;
and prevent so many repetitions of the Gloria Patri. He thinks many parts of the Psalms altogether unsuitable for the worship of the sanctuary, as containing expressions which are unintelligible to the mass of the people, occasionally ludicrous in themselves, and even uncharitable. He questions the propriety of reading so much of the Bible in the churches now, inasmuch as the art of printing has enabled every person to have a copy of the sacred voluine for his own perusal. He intimates that a new version of the Scriptures would be extremely desirable. He would throw overboard the Apocrypha altogether, and appoint services for the
great festivals, which would express ! a more lively and distinctive recognition of these joyous seasons.' The Creeds also, he would expunge, and substitute for them 'a concise but comprehensive sum
, mary of the tenets of the church-a sort of Abridgment of the thirty-nine Articles,' and even this he would have read only on particular occasions. These are but a few of the alterations which Mr. Cox has proposed. He has entered into the matter in detail, and has suggested so many changes, that if they were all adopted, the Liturgy must be completely revised, and altogether re-cast.
This reverend gentleman has, nevertheless, only touched the surface of the evil. The whole object of his reform would be to do away, if possible, with that lassitude which now prevails among the congregation during the performance of the service. For this purpose he would shorten and vary it, and render it more capable of touching the feelings. But even if all his alterations were real improvements, which will be much doubted, and even if they were all carried into execution, the same defect would still be manifest in the Liturgy of the church of England-its extreme nakedness and frigidity. It is a mass of ice upon the heart that is prone to strong emotion, such as genuine religious ardour must always excite. Hence the desertion from it, which is every year becoming more extensive, of persons who are led instinctively to believe, that there must be a great deal more in the spirit of christianity, than the established church is able to impart. For this reason they fly to the meetings of the methodists, the ranters, and the other innumerable sects, who abound in this favoured land, and who have at least some fire and energy in their praises of virtue and their denunciations of crime.
We do not know to what sect Mr. Beverley, the author of the Letter to the Archbishop of York, belongs. He is evidently a well educated man, and thoroughly conversant with church history from the earliest times. His pamphlet is written in a compact, well formed, and occasionally captivating style. Not even his antagonists can deny that it is a clever and effective production. It has caused a prodigious sensation in the county (it ought to be called the principality) of York. Within a very short period it has reached a third edition, and strange to say, not one of the members of the church, which it fiercely attacks, has yet attempted to answer it. We understand that they are much puzzled as to the course which they ought to take; fearful of its power, they apprehend that a controversy will only attract towards it a larger share of notice, and augment its circulation. Some were for prosecuting the author, but that would have been still more injudicious. He is himself altogether devoid of fear, and hence his language may occasionally be deemed too violent. For our parts we admire his manliness, and applaud the spirit by which he is actuated; for it is the spirit of truth, even though it be now and then overshadowed by
· England, says this sturdy champion of reform, is thoroughly sick of the