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restoreth my soul; he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness, for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me, thy rod and thy staff comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever." What cheerfulness, what courage, what peace, what holy gratitude and heavenly piety breathe through this noble composition! These are the rewards of placing our confidence in God; and, however our timid hearts and wavering intellects may deceive us, these are the true and everlasting sources of happiness. These are the riches with which no stranger intermeddles. "The kingdom of heaven is within you. In this land of shadows visible things are continually pressing upon the senses, and a careJess unreflecting world pays them a ready homage. We admire wealth; we value highly the estimation of our neighbours; we are vain of hereditary honours; we pant for political renown. Poverty and unimpor tance in society are dreaded, as the last of evil's. We are frightened with phantoms, and grasp at baubles. But, whoever will set himself to read the word of God diligently, and with honesty and courage contemplate the real nature of things,
will be convinced that no external good can constitute the proper happiness of a being such as man. Born for immortality, and endowed with an intellectual and moral nature, his true felicity must certainly be sought in those things which are permanent as himself; in whatever may furnish a fit and noble employment for his faculties, or awaken his feelings to emotions of generosity and affection. Thanks be to God, this world, with all its imperfections, supplies abundantly occasions for both. But God is himself the highest object to which the soul in all its powers can be directed. None ever trusted in him, without increasing in spiritual strength. None ever trusted in him, without discovering more and more of the plans of his providence, and of the depth of his unsearchable wisdom. None ever trusted in him, without tasting largely of his bounty. in its more advanced state, is to have the image of his perfections ever before us; to live in his continual presence, encircled, as it were, by the visible forms of his majesty and goodness. What words can adequately pourtray the dignity of such a condition; the tranquillity it com municates, the courage it inspires, the joy, and gratitude, and holy af fections it breathes through the soul! "Oh taste and see how gra cious the Lord is; blessed are all they that put their trust in him."
To trust in God,
To the Editor of the Christian Observer.
FAR, very far, be it from me, or from any enlightened member of the Established Church, to blame the conduct of her governors, from any less honourable motive than that of attempting to rescue their future pro
ceedings from the suspicion of feebleness and disorder. Assuming the credit of this motive in the present address, I cannot dissemble the mortification and regret which, in common with numbers of the clergy and laity, I have undergoue, in observing the fallen character of the
occasional state prayers and thanksgivings.
These formularies, according to the official notices in the Gazette, are compiled by the aggregate wisdom of the Archbishops and Bishops of the United Church of England and Ireland,; and certainly ought to be so constructed as, at least, not to disgrace the most dignified Protestant hierarchy in the world, by such sentiment or phraseology as might appear to justify the reproaches of rival establishments, and to confirm the antipathy of unbelievers and separatists.
From whatever cause, the prayer for the recovery of his Majesty has been altered. The variation of the original form was determined upon, as some imagined, from the circumstance of its being inexpedient to refer to the death of the Princess Amelia, beyond a definite period of mourning. This satisfactorily accounts for the alteration, as far as the departure of her Royal Highness was connected with the prayer: but the omission of a passage in the same form, which was generally censured as an ill-timed example of sentimental vulgarity*, awoke a suspicion, that the correction had taken place with a view to quiet the murmurs of those who had reminded the Consistory of the oversight they had committed, in exposing and in these days of vigilant hostility!-public acts of the church to the triumphant contempt of her opponents. The emendation, however, was far from rendering the prayer invulnerable; for to this hour, the feelings of many considerate and devout clergymen are certainly not elevated by repeating, "Let not our prayers assume the language of complaint, nor our sorrows the character of despair; "a sentence built of materials to be found in such school ex
"For which our hearts bleed;" or something in the same style. I have no copy of the prayer.
ercises as are elaborated by boys eminent for poising words, without disturbing themselves about their use.
Scarcely had the lovers of ecclesiastical order congratulated each other on the supposed condescension and prudence of their superiors, than they were compelled to witness a second effort to lower the reputation of our liturgical establishment. You will anticipate my allusion to the form lately issued, respecting the success of the British arms in Spain. Whether you will perpetuate this act of state devotion, by transferring it from the enclosed loose sheet to your own work, is left to your discretion. I recommend its insertion myself. We have all so far an interest in the preservation of this document, as to save it from oblivion; if for no other cause, yet for this, that should a brighter period dawn upon the present ecclesiastical gloom, we may, with emotions of sober triumph, compare the sublimity, the fervour, and the unction of future acts of public sup plication and gratitude, with the depressed character, the frigidity, and the earthliness which have too evidently marked our recent formularies.
The state thanksgiving for the victory of Salamanca, follows:
"Gracious God, accept we implore Thee the praises and thanksgivings of a grateful nation, for the successes Thou hast repeatedly vouchsafed to the allied army, in Portugal and Spain, and especially for the signal victory recently obtained in the neighbourhood of Salamanca.
"Thine O God is the greatness, and the power, and the victory, and the majesty: without Thee, there is neither success in the wisdom, nor strength in the courage of man: the skill of the captain, and the obedience of the soldier, are thine.
"Direct our hearts O God! so to exult in victory, that we forget.not whence it cometh; so to use it, that
we provoke not Thy heavy displeasure against us.
"Continue we pray Thee, Thy favor and protection to our captains, and soldiers, and allies. Unite their counsels, and prosper their enterprises for the general good. And of Thy great mercy O God! open the eyes of our blinded and infatuated enemies; that they may see and understand the wickedness they are working. Touch them with the spirit of remorse; awaken their justice; and correct their inordinate ambition so that at Thy appointed time, and under Thy good providence, the miseries of war may cease, and destructions be brought to a perpetual end.
"These prayers and thanksgivings we humbly submit to Thy Divine Majesty, in the name and through the mediation of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen."
In the introductory paragraph of this address, it is impossible to forget, or to censure, a canon enforced by all the masters of eloquence, even by such among those masters as are mere repeaters of technical rules, mere men of nouns and participles, namely, that if you wish to impress, have a care of descending from imposing generalities, into the deeps, and lowest deeps, of minuteness, and common-life detail. What accession of devotional feeling, or of high-toned sentiment, could be gathered from the geographical items in this passage, is not very obvious; especially when no member of the united church could suspect that any other allied army could be meant than the confederates in the Peninsula; nor could be thankful for any recent victory except the one achieved by Lord Wellington. But, oh the climax! "in the neighbourhood of Salamanca!" If minuteness in state forms of prayer be supposed to invest them with an air of imperial dignity, future compilers may readily gather materials for devotion, in the dispatches forwarded to the War-Of,
fice and Admiralty, fortunately, the majority of English readers connect the name of Salamanca with the popular hero of Le Sage; and not a few of them have an inconvenient recollection of an epitaph constructed under the plenary influence of the art of sinking:g:—
Lieutenant-colonel to the Earl of Mar. And thou, Dalhousie, the great god of war,
If names must be introduced at all, and particularly if they are meant to invigorate and point a period, it is advisable to select such as may not enfeeble what already totters; nor impose a new burden upon that which is in danger of descending by its own gravity.
The fourth paragraph in this form has been a cause of unpleasantness to many thinking persons, by its redundant vituperation of the French government. Our enemies are blinded; infatuated; working wickedness; inordinately ambitious; no spirit of remorse; no justice. The question is not, whether this accumulated guilt be righteously chargeable upon Bonaparte, his agents, and partisans; but whether we have a right to be abusive in prayer. There is, doubtless, a strong temptation, in drawing up public acts of devotion, to express public feelings; and in the circumstances of Europe, the sublime and celestial virtues of forbearance, and compassion, and charity, have indeed had a full and long-continued opportunity of having their perfect work; and of exhibiting the triumph of Christianity over every feeling of resentment and vengeance. It is difficult to clear this paragraph from the imputation of personal enmity.
As to the phrase, "awaken their justice," it is surely unusual at best. To compel so learned a body as the English and Irish clergy to submit themselves, not merely to question able divinity, but to questionable phraseology, is an act of severity
which may amuse those who exert their power with more caprice than wisdom; but cannot strengthen their credit, nor conciliate their ad
There is in every human establishment a tendency to stagnation; except where inactivity is succeeded by immediate loss; as, for example, in the case of commercial corporations; and even here the tendency exists, if the members composing these bodies are so numerous as to permit the feeling of individual interest and responsibility to lose itself in the mass, whenever an agent finds it convenient to screen his own delinquency, by charging a private error or fraud upon the general inadvertence. The effects of this stagnating principle are as visible in a national church, as in an establishment purely secular; and the progress of its operation in the church of England, is very discernible in our ecclesiastical history, from the Reformation to the early part of the eighteenth century. A progress precisely similar might have been traced, had the discipline of the church been presbyterian, or whatever had been the model, and not because it was adjusted by episcopalians; because, the existence of the stagnating principle depends upon no form of government, but simply and solely on the natural tendency of men, as men, to become indolent from security. I refer to this declension in our church, in order to observe, that when, at the Restoration, the two forms of public devotion for the Martyrdom of Charles the First, and for the Return of the Second Charles, were drawn up by the then hierarchy, a truly humiliating difference was discernible between the ancient liturgy as generally compiled by the Reformers, and these two appendages. When the Jews saw the second temple, they wept! The offices in question were, in fact, drawn up by Sancroft; a prelate, whose character these performances
teach us to appreciate. For some time, his productions were laid aside as improper; and other forms, constructed with sobriety and moderation, proposed to be adopted. But on Sancroft's succession to the primacy, he revived the energy of Ego et Rex meus, and contrived to introduce his own performances under the royal authority. They were accordingly inserted in the Prayer-book, as we now find them. After the Savoy conference, as Burnet relates," a collect was also drawn up for the Parliament, in which a new epithet was added to the king's title, that gave great offence, and occasioned much indecent raillery: he was styled our most religious king. It was not easy to give a proper sense this, and to make it go well down; since, whatever the signification of religious might be in the Latin word, as importing the sacredness of the king's person, yet in the English language it bore a signification that was in no way applicable to the king.
And those who took great liberties with him, have often asked him, what must all his people think, when they heard him prayed for as their most religious king?" Own Times, 1661.-Would Cranmer, and Ridley, and Jewell, all high prerogative men, as is evident from the Homilies on Rebellion, have created a world of causeless mislike and irritation, for the sake of a single epithet; which even the good sense and easy nature of Charles the Second would first have laughed at, and then have discarded from the liturgy! But while the religious sensibility of that monarch's prelates was sufficiently stagnant, they were wide awake, and all in motion, when the debates of the times touched the prerogative. Their error was so far excusable, as being in the usual course of human things, the effervescence of minds fresh with the feelings of injury, and intoxicated with a recent and finished victory. We are
relieved from the unpleasant emotions awakened by the consideration of their almost insolent exultations, by recollecting that the medals which commemorate Elizabeth's annihilation of the Spanish Armada bear simply the devout inscription, Aflavit, et dissipantur !* And who has forgotten the first sentence of Lord Nelson's dispatch after the battle of the Nile, " Almighty God has blessed his Majesty's arms with a great victory;"-and then this glorious man modestly tells the tale of the action, without any allusion to the unskilfulness or cowardice of the enemy; and preferring no meritorious claim of his own. I certainly shall not plead, that our admirals may for the future compose the state prayers; but the commanders of our clerical forces may befriend us all, by remembering the last telegraphic dispatch before the battle of Trafalgar, England expects every man to do his duty.
It ought not to be expected that the United Church, or any other communion, should sustain, unimpaired, the high character of an age so peculiar as that of the Reformation. There seem to be æras in the history of mankind, when considerable bodies of men have acted with the concentrated purpose and effect of an individual. To create, however, this extraordinary energy, nothing short of a revolution in religious or political sentiments is adequate; and when the ferment subsides, and the concession of the weaker party releases their opponents from anxiety and immediate exertion, then the conqueror gradually falls asleep.
Tempus erat, quo prima quies mortalibus
Incipit, et dono divûm gratissima serpit.
See also a State Prayer of that day, vol, for 1607, p. 4.
mighty dead will in vain disturb our slumbers. Venit summa dies!
It is unfair to complain that the formularies of these days are unequal to the Liturgy*; but it is certainly kind to ourselves to retain so much at least of the vigilance of our ancestors, as to preserve what they have bequeathed to us by endeavouring to shew some reverence for their compositions; in our desire to imitate (not to rival) what is properly capable of being imitated. Their use of scriptural language; their adaptation of secular terms to a devout purpose without secular izing the idea; their carefulness in purifying supplications to God from mere human passion; their consciousness of being themselves sinners, and needing all the compassion and pardon which they implore for their enemies; their pious address in making the mention of worldly affairs subserve petitions for the advancement of the kingdom of God;-all these are points of excellence, where we may safely copy, without presuming to arrogate to ourselves any thing beyond a wish to follow a bright example. If we dare not expect to equal our devout forefathers in the speed of their progress, we ought unquestionably to pursue its track; for the end of it is peace. Our state devotion might surely be characterized by negative excellence; even if a more exalted quality were perfectly unattainable. It would be better to acquiesce, than to be repelled. We sometimes bear with cheerfulness where we wish for improvement, without any sanguine hope of obtaining it; but what we thus endure should surely be fairly tolerable.
Political as well as religious opinions are connected with this sub
hard upon the successors of Cranmer, when * His present Majesty bore a little too he remarked to Dr. Beattie, "Observe how flat those occasional prayers are, that are now composed, in comparison with the old ones!" is inserted in your volume for 1807, pp.513 Dr. Beattie's interview with their Majesties