Obrazy na stronie

commanded you not to appear before the throne of grace; though you might be surrounded with abundance; though you lived in the vigour of health; though you were beloved by your family, idolized by your friends, reverenced by the world; all these reflections, soothing as they are, "would avail you nothing;" you would envy the situation of those who daily "go to their work and to their labour 'till the evening, if he, who heareth prayer," accepted their petitions, and granted their requests. If then either fear can awaken, or interest can engage you, to begin this necessary duty; if affection for your families, if the dread of God's displeasure, if the hopes of immortal happiness impress your minds; let me prevail with every master of a family here present to consecrate his house this very night to God, to erect in it an altar unto God, and to offer upon it "the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving." Let me have the satisfaction, my brethren, of knowing that the Gospel has not this day been preached unto you in vain. This night, and every succeeding one, assemble your families to beg the blessings of God, to acknowledge your sense of his mercies, and to beseech him that, this life ended, you may dwell with him in the life everlasting'."

Would our limits allow us, we could with pleasure, make extracts 'from every discourse equally interesting with those we now offer to the perusal of our readers We will conclude our account of these very excellent discourses, with the following appropriate character of them.

They contain a great deal of good sense and of accurate observation; they are uncommonly pathetic and eloquent, and are happily neither flimsy nor turgid. They proceed, if we are not greatly mistaken, from the heart, and are admirably calculated to promote the welfare of the Church, and the diffusion of unadulterated Christianity.

Diatessaron, or the History of OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, compiled from the four Gospels, according to the authorized English Version, with brief Notes, practical and explanatory; to which are prefixed a Map of the Hoy Land, and an Introduction. By the Rev. T. Thirlwall, M. A. Editor of the Latin Diatessaron, lately published in Usum Scholarum. Illustrated with two Engravings, 8vo. Price 6s. boards. London, printed for J. Spragg, No. 16, King-Street, Covent-Garden.' 1803. WE shall not apologise to our readers for introducing this larger edition of the English Diatessaron, to their notice, after having so lately paid our tribute of applause to the edition in duodecimo. For although botn editions bear the same title, yet the improvements in the present volume are so numerous and important, as not unfairly to entitle it to be considered as a separate work.

In a sensible and well written preface, Mr. Thirlwall thus states the advantages to be derived from the arrangement of the Gospels, in the form of an harmony; while with equal credit to his judgment and his piety, he disclaims any intention of depreciating their value, in the form in which they have been transmitted to us.

"The exclusive advantages it possesses will appear obvious, if we direct our attention to the form and manner in which the Scriptures are handed down to us.


[ocr errors]

The four Gospels were written by separate independent witnesses, who, though inspired, were at liberty to pursue each his own plan, and record, in his own way, the occurrences of our Saviour's life. Hence we may account for the want of uniformity and congruity of design in the composition of the Gospels. Hence we find one Evangelist preserving in his narrative the order of time, whilst another attends only to the connexion of facts; the omission of entire discourses and important events in St. Matthew, Mark, and Luke, which are amply supplied by St. John, circumstances slightly touched upon or inverted by St. Mat thew, which are more minutely detailed, and placed in more luminous order by St. Mark and Luke; and parallel passages in the same words, which occur in all the Evangelists. Nor perhaps is the modern division into chapters and verses, however convenient for the purpose of reference, the best calculated to elucidate the sense, or gratify the taste of readers in general.

"Whereas the following harmony, which is compiled from the four Gospels, and the words of the sacred historians, professes to arrange the events in due order of time, to mark the scenes in which they took place, to point out the duration of our Lord's ministry! to digest his life in regular series, and into one continued narrative, to supply the omissions of one Gospel with the materials of another; to fill up the sketches of St. Mark with the nicer touches and finishing strokes of St. Matthew; to pass over no circumstance that is recorded, and at the same time to avoid a repetition either of the matter or the words; and lastly, to regulate the division of the history by the nature and number of the subjects, and exhibit it in a form more popular and agreeable.

"I beg leave, however, to disclaim, in distinct terms, the most remote intention of weakening, in the smallest degree, the impressions of the value and dignity of the Gospels, as they have been transmitted down to us. The four Evangelists wrote them under the immediate inspiration of heaven, in a form the best adapted, not only to facilitate their success and propagation, but also to confirm their credibility, authen ticity and divine origin. The very circumstances which justify the expediency, and point out the advantage of a new arrangement, supply the strongest evidences of their truth, and tend, in the fullest manner, to establish our faith. An harmony which may be entitled to high encomi úms, when considered in the light of a human compilation, would be liable to the most weighty objections as an original revelation of the di-. vine will. The four Gospels are separate independant edifices, designed with infinite wisdom, and constructed with exquisite beauty and simpli city, whilst they may be considered collectively the joint materials of a still more magnificent building, wrought and polished to the hands of the human architect to consolidate and fitly frame together.”—Preface, vi. vii.

In his introduction Mr.Thirlwall has given, from Bishop Percy's Key to the New Testament, and from Bishop Pretyman's Elements of Christian Theology, a concise but satisfactory account" of the times, places, and occasions of writing the Gospels," a sketch of the lives of the four Evangelists, and a short description "of the Jewish sects or parties mentioned in the Gospels," viz. the Pharisees, Scribes, Sadducees, and Herodians. The introduction is followed by a most copious and useful table of contents of the seven parts into which the Evangelical History is' divided.

[ocr errors]

The notes, though short, are very numerous, and are well calculated to explain the allusions, and to enforce the precepts contained in the Gospel.

Gospel. We will subjoin a specimen; though the greater part of them must necessarily appear uninteresting when separated from the context. On the genealogy of Christ, given by St. Matthew, we find this

note :

"The use of this pedigree is to shew, that Jesus being descended from Abraham and David, was the Messiah expected by the Jews, and foretold in the Scriptures."

And on the genealogy given by St. Luke it is remarked;

"The use of this pedigree is to shew, that Jesus being traced to Adam and God, was to be the Saviour of all mankind."

On the words,

"So is every one that is born of the Spirit,"

in our Saviour's conference with Nicodemus, Mr. Thirlwall, to guard his juvenile readers against the pretended "experiences" of modern enthusiasts, judiciously observes,

"The influences of the Spirit are secret, and known only by their effects on the heart and life."

This edition is illustrated by two engravings; one, a view and ground plan of the Holy Sepulchre, according to Cotovicus and Sandys; the other part of Jerusalem, from Villalpandus; and both, together with a map of Palestine, executed in a manner very creditable to the artist. Of the form of the holy sepulchre, and of the changes it has undergone through the intolerance of Pagan rulers, and the zeal of Christians, an interesting account is given in a long note. From the plan of Jeru salem, Mr. Thirlwall shews satisfactorily how it was possible for the two parties of women to have visited the sepulchre, without meeting each other. These notes we should gladly lay before our readers as highly interesting, but without the plates the observations would fail of

their effect.

The volume concludes with "an index of references to the passages in the four Gospels, from which the Diatessaron is compiled," many of which we find have been interwoven by the editor into the text of the learned professor. It is printed in a very handsome and accurate manner; and while we recommend the Diatessaron in Greek, Latin, and English, as a most valuable school-book, we beg leave to suggest the volume before us as a proper present to be given to young persons as a reward for good behaviour, or upon their leaving school.

A Vindication of the Clergy in Regard to Residence; with Observations on the Bill now before Parliament. By a Resident Clergyman, and formerly Fellow of St. John's College, Cambridge.- -8vo. p. p. 31.

[ocr errors]

THE THE bill alluded to in this pamphlet is become an act of the legislature, and with the views that we entertain of its efficacy, will be productive of beneficial consequences.-The author admits, that the non-residence of the clergy in their respective parishes, is an evil of a

very serious nature, and has occasioned a great decline of religion and morals; we think so too; and also, that it was high time to put a stop to the one, because of the destructive influence of the other.

The discipline of the church of England has been greatly relaxed, not from a want of duty in her bishops, for they have exerted themselves to enforce residence in their respective clergy, but from other causes. The want of power to command obedience, the want of parsonage houses in many places fit for clergymen to reside in, the dilapidated state of them in others so as to preclude residence, and the want of them altogether in many parishes. But why were the houses suffered to go to decay, and at the visitation of the archdeacon or bishop, why did not the church-wardens make a faithful return of that circumstance In the formulary which it is their duty to deliver in, upon these occa sions? Because the church-wardens neglected to do their duty, and the parsonage, for want of repairs, fell to ruins. And is this all that prevented the incumbent from residing among his parishioners? No. Out of 12,000 livings in the kingdom 7,000 of them are under the value of £.100 per annum. What is £.100 a year, to support a gentleman and a man of learning, with, perhaps, a large family, who are to make an appearance above the common ranks of life, and upon a stipend too, inferior to the earnings of a low mechanic? "Have we much occasion to look further for the root of the evil?" we have not. Notwithstanding the clamour raised against the clergy for non-residence, many incumbents do reside; and had a return been made of such, the number of absentees except from small livings, would have been comparatively trifling. Well, but should not these absentees, clergymen holding va luable benefices reside, and by their example and precepts, discharge the duties of their profession? they certainly should, and this bill will oblige them to do so, if local and physical causes oppose not a barrier to so beneficial a plan.

But to promote the general residence of the clergy, what step could be more efficient, than that of purchasing up the lay impropriations, and suffering church property to revert to its original end and design-the support of spiritual persons?

"To return then to the consideration of the inducements we have for residence, it must I think strike the most common understanding, that it cannot but be a great object with us, both from convenience and economy, and also from the worldly motive of enjoying a station of more power and consequence than we can have any where else. I speak of course of the parochial clergy, for to them the bill principally applies for put the case, that a clergyman is presented to a living, who is a married man, or who proposes to become such, and that he finds a tolerable parsonage-house if he will not then live in it, he must hire one somewhere else, and he will of course suffer an immediate diminu tion of his income in the rent he will have to pay for it. To this he must add farther the stipend of a curate, and surely these considerations will make a man of worldly prudence only hesitate before he takes such a step-for if I am to be told that he avoids both these inconve niences by becoming a resident curate in some other parsonage, I reply then, the great purposes of the bill are answered; and that be is not the person pointed at by the legislature. For his professional employment in another parish manifests at least a disposition inhim to discharge the Vol. V. Churchm. Mag. July 1803.



duties of his office; and I cannot but express a fear, that in the operation of this bill, the shadow will be too often mistaken for the substance, Its immediate effect will certainly be that of bringing several non-resident clergymen back to their livings, and this will produce the semblance of an ameliorated state of residence for men will not give themselves the trouble of considering what may be in too many instances, the consequence of exchanging the curate for the rector; but I will venture to pronounce, it will be generally for the worse. For I assume, and maintain the position, that the clergy, as a body, are not wilfully absent from their preferments; and as the same exemptions are still to be granted to those who are so, from the sickness of themselves or relatives, or from their engagements in the business of education, those will be principally compelled to return to their livings, who have quitted them from unworthy motives, and are pursuing a course of life ill suited to the proper avocations of a clergyman, and would therefore do less harm in any other place than their own parishes. For whilst their conduct, from being mingled in the mass and population of the capital, or other great towns, may perhaps escape observation, when brought into a nar. rower circle, it will be marked and felt; and, though reprobated by the graver cast of men, it may unhappily, particularly when popular man. ners give a gloss to bad morals, mislead and corrupt the giddy and un thinking. The portion, however, of the clergy which come under this description, are generally connected with the higher ranks of life. I do not however say this for the purpose of casting any unbecoming reflection on that class, (for God knows how much more beset with temptations they are than those below them,) but for this plain and obvious reason, that from these connections they are preferred at a more early period of life than others less fitted from their habits of society for the care of country parishes, and, possessing the means and inclinations natural to youth, to pleasure, more readily yield to its allurements. The discipline, however, which the wisdom of parliament has thought proper to enforce, will, I hope, be as salutary to them as it is just, and that they will, on sober reflection, respect the power that has imposed it."

The author reasons in a pertinent manner on some of the clauses in the bill, and particularly notices the objections made in the discussion upon it, to clergymen becoming farmers in a limited extent.

"The mingling too much with the class of farmers has been held out as one of the great objections to this pursuit; but is a clergyman more exposed to their indelicate and gross manners, from an intercourse with them on their farming business, than when he attends their christening or wedding feasts? and yet if he does not, on these occasions, mix with them, what are his opportunities, when not in his desk or pulpit, or at their bed-sides, of being useful to them; (for much stress was laid on this point by a learned Lord, who has attended this bill with a most unexampled perseverance, and, anxious as he has appeared to rescue the clergy from the gripe and pressure of the common informer, he has shewn ⚫ an equal concern to compel them to their duties:) Is he, I say, to fol low them into their fields? is he to explain the parable of the sower, to him who is sowing? or to obtrude himself on their domestic concerns by continual visits. With every disposition I hope in some of us to do what we ought, we inust take men as they are, and not as we could wish them. The character of the lower orders of men in the country has partaken of the general revolution in the manners and sentiments of the present times; much of which may be attributed to the accidental high price of the produce of the land; but much more I think to their having


« PoprzedniaDalej »