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-and knowingly omitting the prayer for Unity in the Fast Service of 1803, at the Free Church at Bath. Now the simple fact is this, that the Rev. Charles Daubeny did not read prayers on that day, therefore he did not omit the prayer in question. It would be well if the clerical and lay editors of the Christian Observer, and the publisher of Sermons, were to make a little enquiry, before they bring a railing accusation against a brother, when that accusation has no foundation in fact. I do not now stay to enquire in what sense the prayer in question was understood; or for what reasons it was omitted by the highest authority in the last Fast Service: probably it was misunderstood, or had not been fully considered. At least the omission of it is singular, and the fact is, whether right or wrong, that it did not give all that satisfaction among the Clergy, that the pious composer undoubtedly wished to do. Oceásional forins may be composed in haste: they may have temporary allusions which are not always generally understood; the prayer in question might plead the merit of good intention, but prayer is the last thing in the world which should excite
controversy, or leave the mind at large among doubtful opinions. I admire the modesty of those in high authority, whether the prayer proceeded from the Cabinet Council, or from any other quarter, who could then rea
dily omit what was misunderstood, or give up what was "- deemed doubtful. Prayer, as well as truth, must not be
forced; the acceptable service must be a free service. No composition of man can be perfect; witness the corrections and alterations made by authority in the second Collect for the last Fast.
ANCIENT MARRIAGE AND BURIAL CEREMONIES
AMONG THE MALTESE. (EXTRACTED. FROAL WILKINSON'S HISTORY OF MALTA.) THE
E fathers concluded the marriages, according to
their own interests and convenience, without consulting the inclination of their children. When the contract was settled, and the dowry stipulated, the young man sent to his intended a present of fish covered with garlands of ribbands, and it gold sing in the mouth of that ich was the most highly esteemed They then settled the day of interview, which was to be in the presence of the parents and common friends, who were regaled with refreshments. A moment before the interview, the two mothers retired to prepare a composition of anise, aromatic plants, salt, and honey, with which they rubbed the lips of the bride, that her words might be sweet, sage, and prudent. She was then introduced to the bridegroom, who offered her a ring, on which were engraven two hands joined in token of fidelity, bracelets, necklace, and a gold chain; she presented in her turn a handkerchief edged with lace and knots of ribbands. On the wedding-day, the most respectable of the bridegroom's relations placed on the head of the intended, a very fine white veil; she was dressed on' that day in a velvet gown; others of the relations made holes in the gown, and put in little gold shells. They then went to church. Musicians and singers celebrated in couplets the praises of the happy pair: the musicians were preceded by three men, one of whom carried on his head à bason, full of fresh cheese-cakes, on the largest of which were placed two small figs; he wore a scarf, from which hung a round cake called Collora. The second carried a basket full of sugar plumbs, wbich one of the relations distributed to his acquaintance as he met them; in the middle was a handkerchief folded up in the
form of a pyramid, and ornamented with an image of the Virgin and Child, and St. Joseph. The third carried burning incense. The happy couple marched the last, under a canopy of crimson damnask in festoons, carried by the four principal persons, and the parents closed the suite. The ringing of bells announced the arrival of the wedding; the priest received a bason containing a cake, a handkerchief, and two bottles of wine: after the benediction, they left the church in the same order they came. The whole ceremony generally lasted four hours. A servant placed at one of the windows of the house threw on the heads of the new married couple, on their return, some handfulls of grain, and small money. The prejudice of the Maltese at that time was, that if the wife on her return first put her foot on the threshold of the door, she wonld rule; we may suppose from that there were very few so polite as to let their wives go first. At the nuptial feast the wife eat in a separate apartment, or in a corner of the guest's room, surrounded by cloths to conceal her; ter the repast she came and sat near I her husband, and drank out of the same cup. In the
casals they danced during the repast; every dancer threw a piece of money to the players, and each guest brought a fowl. Until the commencement of the present century, in the city the wedding balls were given after the Spanish fashion, and they danced with castagnettes. The young bride passed the first eight days in her father's house; after that she was pompouşly received by her husband, to whom the parents gave a ball and supper. The Maltese never married in the month of May: they had so little confidence in any work they undertook during the course of this month, that they would not even order a new coat. This superstition recalls to us the division which the Romans made of the year into lucky and unlucky days: it is thus we find, in the ancient Maltese inanners, a great number of customs of different people of antiquity: it is necessary to retrace them, to give some explanation of the ceremonies which the mixture and application of Pagan and Christian rites, have rendered singular and curious. Fish were regarded by the Syrians as household gods: these deities, by presenting themselves the wedding ring to the young betrothed, seem to call her by this signal into the house they protected. The Greeks wished that on her entrance her words should be agreeable to her husband; on this account they addressed their prayers to the god of eloquence.—Led af. terwards to the altar of Hymen, the Romans offered her, in the garlands and knots of flowers, the emblem of the duties and pleasures of wedlock. The Hebrews wished that her modesty might always distinguish her, and covered her head with a veil. Her husband was obliged to give her two rings, one of gold, and the other of iron; which custom has descended to us in the rings which open and shut, and on which are engraven names or mottos. The Greeks accompanied her to the temple with the most lively demonstrations of joy; she marched surrounded by dancers and singers; they held over the heads of her and her husband a crown of flowers; the first fruits of the year were laid at the feet of the statues of the gods; cakes were consecrated to the lares; and corn, nuts, and almonds were thrown about in token of abundance of prosperity.
The Romans hired women to weep at interments. The Carthaginians plucked off their hair, and tore their faces, to mark their sorrow. The Hebrews announced a death by the sound of trumpets and mournful instruments.
The Greeks of the lower empire distributed to the poor, bread baked on the day of the exequies. All the pagans, in short, had the custom of pronouncing over the grave the wish of “Sit tibi terra levis!" through fear that it might weigh heavy on the body it covered, in token of vengeance. Thus every nation varied in the testimonies of grief which it was honourable amongst all to shew at the death of a citizen. These different ceremonies have some connection with those anciently used by the Maltese in their funerals. When a man died, two hired women, called Neuicha, dressed in a long mourning cloak, entered the house singing moral pieces in a low and sorrowfal voice; they cut branches from the vines, run through all the rooms, overthrew the flower pots on the windows, broke some of the ornamental furniture, and carrying the pieces into a retired place, threw them into a cauldron of boiling water, together with soot and ashes, with this mixture they then stained all the doors of the house, giving deep sighs. They then went into the room where the corpse lay, already placed in the coffin and surrounded by his female relations, all dressed in black silk cloaks, and veiled: the room was entirely hung with black, and without furniture. They kneeled at the foot of the coffin, and sung the praises of the deceased; at the end of the couplets the other women beat their breasts, wept, and cut oft locks of hair, which they placed on the coffin. They distributed on that day to all the relations cakes and boiled corn, and cut the hair off the tails of the horses found in the stables of the deceased. The procession was always composed of relations in mourning, preceded by players on hautbois and trumpets, and the Neuicha. When they buried the corpse, they put under the head a pillow full of leaves of the orange and olive, (these trees the Pagans regarded as expiatory,) and placed on the tomb a carpet, which remained some days, to indicate that during that time walking there was prohibited. During three days they lighted no fire in the kitchen of the deceased's house; his most distant relation or most intimate friend sent the family a dinner, which they eat sitting on a mat with their legs across. The women remained shut up for forty days; the men went out on the eighth; and the mourning lasterd one year or two, according to the degree of consanguinity. The contagious malady, which desolated the island in 1676, interrupted the practice of these ceremonies, and they have not been renewed.
National Judgments; a Discourse on the Public Fast
and Humiliation, Oct. 19, 1803. By W. Hales, D.D. Rector of Killesandra, (Ireland).
E have long esteemed Dr. Hales one of the first to be deeply read in the alarming "Signs of these dangerous “ Times;" and we can assure our readers, that the discourse now lying before us, bears incontestable marks of profound thinking, patriotic concern, scriptural knowledge, and an ardent zeal for the advancement of true religion, and the reformation of our national character, as believing and obedient Christians. The manner of writing, which is peculiar to him, is not that which will please the superficial or careless reader. He who takes his sermon in his hand must study it; and we can safely affirm, that it will amply requite him for the pains he may bestow upon it. The mind of Dr. Hales seems cast in a mould similar to that of Bishop Warburton. It is great and comprehensive: it is aware of the strong and the weak parts of the argument which employs its attention. It presses home the former, and fortifies the latter, with materials drawn from first-rate authorities, and from those more recondite depositories of knowjedge to which it knows the way, of which it possesses the key. To one who reads carelessly, the Doctor seems now and then to deviate into frequent digressions; and sometimes to dwell rather long on a subordinate point.-But it is not so in fact. His perspicucity discerns the whole of his subject; and his eye, well used to the vigilant guard which a polemic must ever keep, perceives a meditated stroke, where the ordinary beholder sees nothing but security; and, therefore, we caution common readers how they hastily censure, what common minds will not so easily apprehend. Ordinary capacities inust be content to “ follow after," where and whither this Vol. VI. Churchm. Mag. June, 1804. H hh