Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

thee inuft expetunberieficed, en, lawyers, hon

delight in a railing accusation, whether brought as a direct charge, or by covert insinuation..

In the great body of the beneficed clergy, about 10,000 men, we must expect a great variety of characters; the curates, lecturers, and unbeneficed, amount to about as many more: take 20,000 of any set of men, lawyers, soldiers, sailors, &c. &c. and in fo large a number you will find good, bad, and indifferent : some very worthy characters, and others the rererse.

Is this then a true and accurate account of the clergy of the establishment, to say that they are either non-residents totally neglecting their duty, or gamesters, or Arians or So. cinians, degrading their Master's character by denying his divinity; or fighting and quarrelling among themselves. Could not Mr. Newton's fair fame, and I allow him to have been very sincere, and very affable, and social, could not his fair fame be supported without degrading and insulting the great and respectable body of the established clergy? I allow that Mr. Newton was sincerely persuaded of the truths of the Calvinistic system, but his friend must allow that other clergymen more learned and equally confcientious, see in the peculiar opinions of Calvin, much dangerous tendency and a grievous departure from the benevolent gospel of Je. Tus Christ.--If so, is it not their bounden duty to oppose these sentiments, to found the alarm, and to proye ihe danger of the Church from opinions, which when acted upon, overturned the throne and the altar together. One uniform part of this system, has been to vilify the established clergy, and to degrade them in the eyes of their congregations; to diflolve as much as possible the connection between minister and people, and to make a few favourite notions, very ab. Itract or very doubtful, the Shibboleth of a party.

Z. Z. March 19, 1808.

[blocks in formation]

ON DREAMS.

HOUGH u perfitions, ated without in

TO THE EDITOR OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCHMAN'S

MAGAZINE. SIR, THOUGH I have little respect for vulgar errors, and

1 popular superstitions, I cannot but ihink that too many things-are so denominated without a proper consideration, and without a due diftinétion beiween the use and abuse of them. Thus for instance, because weak persons in all ages have given an importance to the wild vagaries and incongruities presented to the imagination in sleep, too many have been led to despise dreams altogether, and conkrary to the concurrent evidence of men of different periods, countries and persuasions, have pertinaciously maintained that no real impression can be made upon the mind in that ftate, nor any communication be given io it whereby it may know what is passing in the world, or be warned of some approaching event.

The metaphysicks and theology of the day, I am conscious are not favourable to the belief that there is a connection between the visible and invisible world, or that there are spiritual beings continually surrounding us who take an intereft, according to their natures, in our affairs. Yet this doctrine was clearly believed in the antient Jewish church, and it continued to be so in the Christian, till Saddueism in. fected the one, and Materialism the other,

How wisely men have acted in rejecting a doctrine which gives a sublime idea of God's universal kingdom, and is calculated to keep the mind in a constant state of watchful. ness and attention, may be worth inquiry. All that I mean to observe at present is, that as there is an analogy through the whole visible creation, and as we have no reason to think that the space beyond us and which we cannot at present explore, is empty of creatures, but the contrary; there must still be the same analogy through the whole extent and range of beings above us. Man is only a link in this chain, poilelling it is true superior powers to all the creatures with which he is acquainted, particularly the faculty of reason; but man is weak, comparatively ignorant, and of momentary

L ' duration.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

duration. Man, therefore, is not at the head of created beings; consequently the scale muft ascend in quality as well as in quantity, and variety, I mean in the intellectual powers of the beings with whom we can have no natural association in our present state, but who may notwithstanding have an unknown influence over us.

That influence, I take it, is sometimes exercised in fleep, in representations to the minds of men of what particularly concerns them, of the illness and death of friends, the danger of adventures in which they are engaged, and a variety of other occurrences in human life.

Many instances are upon record of fuch manifestations in dreams, and which cannot he denied without flatly contradiating the scriptures, and the evidence of some of the wisest and most virtuous men of al} nations. To those scepticks who will believe neither, nothing can be said ; but they who will admit historical evidence must allow that there have been supernatural dreams, or they must account upon physical principles for the coincidence between the representations which have been exhibited to some persons in sleep and the events which afterwards happened. This last, I apprehend, will be not a little difficult; for though it is readily allowed that what a man apprehends when he is awake, will very naturally exercise his faculties after he falls asleep, yet when a man dreams of a remote event with which he has no connection, and of which he could not poslibly have any ap. prehension, the concatenation of natural cause and effect becomes too subtile for human sagacity to discover and explain.

'I was led to these reflections, which I have neither time nor ability to expand, by a melancholy circumstance which happened the other day in my neighbourhood..

A woman far gone with child, in stooping at the breakfast table, approached so close to the grate, that her gown took fire, and she was presently enveloped in flames. In this. situation she ran down fairs, and though the master of the house succeeded in extinguishing the fire, the poor woman was so dreadfully burni, that after lingering in exquisite torment some days, she died. My reason for t iis relation is, that on the night preceding the accident, the brother of the woman dreamed he saw. his filier running wildly up and down the street without her clothes. This dream was repeared and made fuch an impression upon his mind that in the morning he haftened to his lister's lodgings, which were at a considerable diftance from his residence, 10. see if any

accident

accident had happened to her. He arrived there nearly · about the same time with the surgeon, and after the first paroxysm of grief had subsided, he related the cause of his coming as here mentioned. This circumstance I can youch for a truth; and as there could be no collusion, or deception, nor any previous apprehension in the mind of this person, I cannot but adduce this remarkable instance as one out of many evidences, in proof of the position, that dreams are not always illufory, but are sometimes real impressions made upon the mind by a superior agent.

In Fox's Martyrology is the following remarkable anecdote, which shews that dreams are sometimes communicated for providential purposes.

When the persecution against the protestants was at its height in the reign of Queen Mary, there was only one congregation left in London, to which one Mr. Rough belonged, who had in his keeping a roll wherein all the names were entered. It happened one night that Mr. Cuthbert Simpson dreamed, that Rough was taken and the roll in his pocket. Simpson awoke and afterwards falling'asieep, had the same dream again. In the morning he related the circumstance to Rough who reproved him for his weakness, telling him that dreams were but fancies, and that Christians ought not to regard them; but Simpson whose mind was strongly impressed with what had happened, adjured him

folemnly to give up the roll, left his obftinacy might endan'ger the lives of many innocent persons. Upon this Rough consented, and within two or three days he was apprehended, and had the list been found upon him the whole congregation would have probably lost their lives. This subject is curious, and I think would be of some utility, especially if it were pursued, as it might be, into the proper cosideration of the right use, separated from the abuse of dreams...

. : I am, &c.

... 10TĄ.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

tendo

I AM extremely happy to find that you have called the at

tention of your numerous readers, in your last number for February 1808, pp. 89, 90, to an object which has been

.. so

so warmly recommended to the consideration of the Univerļity of Cambridge, and that in so very handsome and disin. terested a manner, by one of the brightest ornaments of the orthodox faith, in the pages of some of your former num. bers. I mean the establilhment of a ritual Profesorship in Cambridge,* for the interesting and truly useful purposes which have already been so amply detailed in the pages of your Miscellany. I am decidedly of opinion that it would be productive of all the advantages which have been proposed by it, and particularly if the worthy and able person who fuggefted it, should be appointed to it. After saying thus much, you will give me credit for adding, that I lament ex, ceedingly that the subje&i has not met with that encouragement, from those who have the power of promoting it, which I think it deserves.

It is truly lamentable to hear, in some of our largest and most respectable congregations, both in town and very many parts of the country, the numerous errors and misconcep. tions into which many pious and good men fall, in reading the Liturgy of the Established Church. To enumerate one half of these would exceed the limits of a letter, and they require a very speedy and eflectual reformation; which could only be accomplished by such an institution as is mentioned above. I shall therefore, at present content myself with recommending in general terms the utility of the thing, without attempting to enter into the minutiæ of it. . · Thé eulogium, so well deserved, which has been passed by my ancestor,t on our incomparable Liturgy, has already appeared in the pages of your Magazine ; and it is a woeful consideration that many of its beauties should be loft, and much of its effect destroyed, by the unskilfulness of those who áre appointed to administer it in the church. Still more so is it to reflect, that this unskilfulness arises from the want of such an institution in our universities as is now hinted ; and from a regular attendance upon it, when established, being made an indispensable qualification for admitting any candidate into holy ordersi : As an individual, Mr. Editor, (and I doubt not, many þundreds of my brethren are in ihe same predicament,) I have deeply felt the want of this necessary instruction, which

I so

: Which example it is to be hoped would be soon followed by the sister university of Oxford.

+ Dr. Thomas Comber, sometime Dean of Durham, in his work on the Common Prayer. . ,

« PoprzedniaDalej »