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For the Christian Observer.
ACCOUNT OF AN ARABIC EPISTLE, WRITTEN FROM MARK CVI., PATRIARCH OF THE COPTS, TO A MORAVIAN BISHOP.
A GERMAN Writer of the Moravian communion, in his History of the Brethren, translated by the Rev. B. Latrobe, and printed in London, 1780, p. 433, §. 193, mentions, that "In the year 1750, by means of a French gentleman, who, as he said, had been in Ethiopia, and who aimed at returning thither by the assistance of a European power, the former desire of the Brethren was renewed, of entering into an useful acquaintance with the Ethiopian church, in which, according to their liturgies, a good deal of the old apostolical simplicity was expected to be met with, and the Brethren wished to be of some service to this church. The physician, Frederic William Hokker, who had been in Persia and Egypt, took the matter to beart; and, in the year 1752, proposed to the ordinary, that he would go to Cairo, in Egypt, and wait there for an opportunity of going to Ethiopia. His intention was, to practise there as a physician; to learn the Arabic language; to establish an intercourse with the Patriarch of the Copts, whose office it is to consecrate the Abuna, or archbishop of the Abyssinians; and, through him, to obtain an acquaintance with the Abuna, and to offer to him the services of the church of
The ordinary was pleased with this proposal, and gave him credentials to the Patriarch of the Copts, residing in Cairo. In May, 1752, Hokker went from London, by way of Genoa and Leghorn, to Egypt, and reached Cairo on the 27th of August. He hired a house, in which he also entertained, for some time, the students Schulz and Wolters David Cranz,
dorf, who were sent by the Hallish institution for the conversion of the Jews. He prepared for the practice of physic, and entered into an useful acquaintance with the Franks residing there (for so all Europeans are called in Turkey). Having so far learned the Arabic language, which is also used in Abyssinia, and has some connection with the language of the country, as to be able to express himself tolerably well in it, and translate his credentials, he delivered them, on the 28th of November, 1753, to the Patriarch of the Coptic church, and had many agreeable and useful conversations with him, concerning the descent, doctrine, and constitution, of the church of the Brethren, and the state of the Coptic and Abyssinian church; during which the tears often stood in the eyes of this venerable, hoary old man. On the 5th day of Kahik, according to the Coptic calendar, which was the 12th of December, 1753, he received an answer in the the titles usual in the East, I will Arabic tongue, of which, omitting communicate the following extract, which I have translated from the Arabic.
"In the name of the merciful and gracious God: In God is salvation.
"From Mark*, the servant of the servants of the Lord.
and the Captain of our salvation, Jesus The peace of our Lord and God, Christ, which he, in an upper room at Zion, poured forth upon the assembly of the excellent disciples and apostles: may he pour out this peace upon the beloved, excellent, and experienced brother, the venerable
• The patriarchs of the Copts, who also bear the title of patriarchs of Alexandria, Jerusalem, Abyssinia, and Nubia, are all called after the evangelist Mark, who is said to have founded the church of Alexandria; and this patriarch was Mark CVI,
bishop, our father Aloysius*, the Fiturgist of the Unity of the Brethren. This is to testify, beloved brother, that the blessed son and venerable deacon, Irenæus Hokkert, has deFivered unto us your letter, which was full of affectionate, cordial love. We have read it; and it became, unto us a taste of your love to all Christian men. We, in like manner, pray God for you, and for all the Christian people, that he may exalt the glory of the Christians in the whole habitable world, through the nutrition of his life-giving eross, &c.‡"
To the Editor of the Christian Observer. It has long been a matter of surprise to me, to see what an apparent indifference there appears in the heads and tutors of colleges, with respect to signing college testimonials; and as I conceive that it is, in many cases, the only channel through which a bishop can obtain any knowledge, whether the person who offers himself for holy orders is a worthy candidate, I must confess 1 am far from thinking it a mere matter of form; and in support of this my opinion, I cannot help adding those of two of our prelates, for whose judgment and learning I have a high respect; I mean, the bishop of Lincoln and the bishop of Durham. The bishop of Lincoln, in a note on his Exposition of the 36th Article, writes to the following effect. "I cannot omit this opportunity of expressing a most earnest wish, that parochial clergymen, and the governing part of colleges in our universities, would be more correct upon the subject of signing testimomials, than, it is to be feared, they are at present. They should reflect, that the interests of religion are
deeply concerned in the moral character of its ministers: that for the moral conduct of the candidates for orders, bishops must necessarily depend upon the testimony of others; and that whoever recommends for ordination an unworthy young man, nakes himself responsible for all the mischief of which he may be the cause, when invested with holy orders. A greater degree of strictness, upon this point, would, I am con vinced, be productive of very extensive benefit; and colleges, in particular, would quickly experi→ ence a material difference in the behaviour of those who are designed for our holy profession. Young men would naturally become more
diligent, more regular, more virtu ous in every respect, if they knew that they should fail in the main object of their education; that all the hopes and expectations of themselves and their friends would be disappointed; unless by their positive good conduct they merited that recommendation to the bishop, which now they trust (and in most cases, I fear, with too much reason) that they shall certainly obtain, unless they be guilty of some gross immorality. I say not this from any want of respect for our universities, but from a real regard for their best
the discipline which they observe is of great importance to the cause of religion, and to the welfare of the kingdom at large."
interests, and from a conviction that
The bishop of Durham, in a letter to the clergy of his diocese, writes thus: "Testimonials for orders and preferment, I fear, for the credit of the clergy, the honour of the church of England, and the interests of religion, are too often considered in
another view, and as resting on other ground. We are too apt to be misled by the strange prejudice of the times, that testimonials are matters of mere form, and to be influenced by a good nature, mistaken and misapplied. I confess myself at a loss to conceive what may be included under the term form, if the most
solemn attestation, not only negative, but positive; not only from vague report, but from personal knowledge for the time certified, to a character recommended for the strictest purity of life and soundness of doctrine, as qualifications for becoming a public teacher of the Gospel, and a public example of its precepts, can be comprehended under that appellation. On the veracity of the subscribers, the bishop must rely, in ordination, institution, and license. If he be deceived, I need not represent in how cruel a situation he is placed; since the conse. quences will be imputed, by the world, to his supineness and neglect. But the consequences will not be confined solely to him; they will be extended to the most valuable interests of your order, of religion, and of mankind. By the introduction of an unfit or disreputable member, the first is dishonoured, and the two last injured. He occupies a place in a Society from which his education, habits of life, imperfections, and, perhaps, even his vices, should have excluded him; and he may eventually, by the prostitution of patronage and betraying the trust which it implies, obtain those professional emoluments which should never be the reward but of talents, industry,
To the Editor of the Christian Observer.
THE interest excited by the extract from Holingshed in your last number, respecting Bishop Ridley's exertions in favour of the distressed poor of this city, in obtaining the royal residence of Bridewell, as "a house of occupations," for their relief, may perhaps be gratified by the following "Supplication" of the citizens to the youthful monarch for that purpose. I have frequently perused it with pleasure. All is founded on Christ: for his sake they petition, for his sake the Christian Edward is requested to grant. God grant that such a spirit may animate
both king and people at the present day, that the one may not be ashamed to offer such a petition, and that the other may find one of his highest gratifications in accepting it! H. B.
"A Supplication, made by the Assent of the Governors of the Poor, in the Name of the same Poor, to the King's Majesty, 'for the Obtaining of the House of Bridewell. A. D. 1552.
"For Jesu Christ's sake, right dear and most dread sovereign Lord, We, the humble, miserable, sore, sick, and friendless people, beseech your gracious Majesty to cast upon us your eyes of mercy and compassion, who now, by the mighty operation of Almighty God, the citizens of London have already so lovingly and tenderly looked upon, that they have not only provided help for the maladies and diseases, and the virtuous education and bringing-up of our miserable and poor children, but also have, in a readiness most profitable and wholesome, occupations for the continuing of us and ours in godly exercise: by reason whereof, we shall no more fall into that puddle of idleness, which was the mother and leader of us into beggary and all mischief, but from hence
forth shall walk in that fresh field of exercise, which is the guider and begetter of all wealth, virtue, and honesty. But, also, most gracious Lord, except we find favour in the eyes of your Majesty, all this their travail, and our hope of deliverance from that wretched and vile state, cannot be attained, for lack of harbour and lodging: and therefore, most gracious Sovereign, hear us speaking in Christ's name, and for Christ's sake have compassion on us, that we lie no longer in the street for lack of harbour. And, that our old sore of idleness may no longer vex us, nor grieve the commonweal, our suit, most dear Sovereign, is for one of your grace's houses, called Bridewell: a thing, no doubt, both, unmeet for us to ask of your Majesty,
and also to enjoy, if we asked the same of our sinful living and unworthiness' sake: but we, as the poor members of our Saviour Jesu Christ, sent by him, most humbly sue to your Majesty, in our said Master's name, Jesu Christ, that we, for his sake, and for the service he hath done to your Grace and all the faithful Commons of your realm, in spending his most precious blood for you and us, may receive in reward at your Majesty's hand, given to us his members (which of his great mercy he accounteth and accepteth, in our behalfs, as granted and given to himself), the same, your Grace's house, as a most acceptable gift and great obligation offered unto him and then, not we, but he, our said Master and Saviour, which already bath crowned your Majesty with an earthly crown, shall, according to his promise, crown your Grace with an everlasting diadem, and place you in the palace of eternal glory: and not we only, but the whole congregation and church spread throughout the world, shall, and will, night and day, call and cry incessantly unto our said loving and sweet Saviour and Master to preserve and defend your Majesty, both now and ever."
To the delivery of the aforesaid supplication were appointed, Sir Martin Bowes, Knt.; Sir Rowland Hill, Knt.; Sir Andrew Jud, Knt.; Sir John Gressham, Kat.; Sir John Ayleph, Knt.; Master William Chester; Master Lodge; Master Brown; Master Marshe; Master Blondell; Master Barthelet; Richard Grafton. It was ordered, That my Lord of London should be required also to go with them, who also went with them, and did himself deliver the said Supplication, with his own hands, unto the King's Highness, in his inner closet, kneeling on his knees; and there made a long and learned oration to the commendation of the citizens in the travail of this good work, and greatly stirred, by wonderful persuasions, the King's Majesty to be the patron and
founder thereof, and to further all their suits, &c.
To the Editor of the ChristianObserver.
rejoice to have seen the disguising peruke give way to the more convenient crop; the ponderous shoebuckle, to the lighter tie. Still more do I rejoice in those improved notions of hospitality, which leave the guest at liberty to consult his inclination and his health, and which do not influence a host to believe that he cannot fulfil his duty to his guests, without transforming them into irrational beings, and laying the foundation for aching heads and sick stomachs. A bundred restraints, which formerly interfered with the freedom of conversation, and the faci
lity of forming acquaintances, especicially between the sexes, are now done away. The officious civility with which a hostess persecuted her visitors, is abolished; that most annoying interruption to conversation, the drinking of healths, is declining rapidly; the bridal ceremonies are becoming more proper, and more delicate. Not to tire you with the prolixity of old age, Sir, I rejoice in all changes, whether of manner or dress, that have had ease for their object, and propriety for their guide.
But if I detest form, in a still greater degree so I abhor a negligent indifference to the comfort of those about us. A wakeful regard for the feelings of others, is the leading feature of true politeness. This is a matter of duty, in the first place, because we are bound to respect a man's feelings, nor have we any right to wound them unnecessarily. It is also a matter of policy, because we are likely to secure from others the same consideration that we shew them. But true politeness requires of us more than a mere respect for the feelings of our neighbour, a mere toleration of his failings; it demands of us to do all in our power to promote his comfort.
But if true politeness consists in a tender consideration for the feelings and the failings of our neighbours, and an active attention to their comfort, I fear it will be found that these ends are very imperfectly answered by some of the modern usages of society. And this, as far at least as regards the middle class (of which chiefly I mean to speak), is in great measure to be attributed to a rage for imitating the manners of the great. Now, it ought to be recollected, that what in one class is right and becoming, may in another be absurd. Nothing, for instance, can be more proper, or more pleasant, than the unceremonious treatment which it is the fashion now for every one to meet with in a great man's house. Each
guest is there at liberty to follow his own inclination: not only so, he is provided with the means of doing it. It is because he provides these means, that the great man himself is released from the necessity of personal attention to his friends. His Grace has books in one room, billiards in another, and conversation in a third; horses and servants, at the service of his visitors; and he reasonably thinks, that, having provided them with all the means of amusement which he can devise, he may be at liberty to follow his own inclination in turn. This is right; and however he may employ himself during the morning, none of his guests have any right to complain of his inattention to them.
But if Squire Dobbins,
who from his situation in life cannot obviously afford the same amusements to his guests, should affect the same exemption, it would be ridiculous. If, for instance, the squire, or his daughters, the Misses Dobbins, should think it right to employ themselves all the morning without consulting the wishes of their visitors, they would surely be guilty of rudeness towards those whom they asked to visit them, and who, in so confined a circle, must necessarily be very much dependent on their host's exertions for the agreeable employment of their time. Doubly ungracious would this neglect be in the Misses Dobbins, if they should happen to be very much the juniors of those whose claims upon their attention they thus disregarded. I speak from observation, Sir, when I say that this species of inattention is not only a common, but an increasing, evil. Do, pray, put in your caveat against it, and impress it upon your readers, that affectation of all kinds is ridiculous, but this both ridiculous and unfeeling. Teach them, that the offices of civility, so far from degrading, do in truth confer the truest dignity; and that he or she who affects a degree of importance in society, which agrees not with their rank in it, is