« PreviousContinue »
conscientiously submits to the preponderating proofs, he will not do amiss, though his determination should differ from that of the wisest of men; On this ground, though I do not think the articles to be Calvinistic, I have admitted, that they may be conscientiously subscribed both by Arminians and Calvinists. This admission, for which it was plainly the design of the Declaration to provide, Mr. Overton, it seems, considers as an inconsistency in me. Thus I, who am not a Calvinist, maintain, that both Arminians and Calvinists may conscientiously subscribe the articles, though I do not exactly see how the latter can do so; and Mr. Overton, who is a Calvinist, maintains, that only Calvinists can conscientiously subscribe them. I am willing to leave it to others to determine, whether this be an inconsistency in me, or an ignorance of human nature and of the subject, not to say an illibeality of sentiment in Mr. Overton.
I am, Sir,
Your obedient servant, Jan. 14th, 1806.
strictures on Mr. Pearson's explanation of Jephthah's Vow; and I entirely agree with your correspondent in reprobating the notion of Jephthah's daughter being put to death in compliance with the rash vow of her father, according to the words of our translation. But I can by no means admit of the construction which Dr. Watkins gives of the passage, ånd would wish to refer him to an excellent Discourse on this subject by the late Dr. Randolph, Margaret professor of divinity, and president of Corpus Christi college, Oxford, preached before the university, and printed in the year 1766, and afterwards reprinted in the posthumous works of the same author, published in the year 1784, in two volumes, 8vo. The learned writer there explains the text in a most masterly manner; and clearly shews that the
pronoun relates to Jehovah, which is the preceding word. And then as an ellipsis of the preposition, or sign of the dative case between the verb and its suffix, is not uncommon in the Hebrew phraseology.fof which many exam. -ples are given) the words should be rendered, and I will offer to him, (that is, to the Lord,) a burnt-offering. So that according to this construction Jephthah.vowed two things, viz, to dedicate whatsoever, or whosoever, should come .forth of the doors of his house to meet him, to the service of the Lord; and also on this occasion to offer up a burnt-offering to the Lord. Take the vow in this sense, there is nothing absurd in it, nothing but what Jephthah might reasonably vow. And this vow he religiously performed. He did with his daughter according to his vow, that is, she was devoted to a state of virginity, and dedicated to the service of the Lord. According to this interpretation which the words of the original will well admit, the whole narrative becomes plain, rational, and consistent: Jephthah is restored to his place among the Jewish worthies, enumerated by the apostle, Heb. xi.
The guilt of shedding innocent blood is not to be imputed to him; and the holy scriptures are vindicated from the objections of Voltaire and his followers, in giving countenance to human-sacrifices. I must also beg leave to add, that Bishop, Lowth, in his Notes on Isaiah, p. 199, 200, 4to edit. entirely concurs with Dr. Randolph in this interpretation. "À late happy application (says he) of this grammatical remark (namely the ellipsis of the preposition as above stated) to that much disputed passage of Jephthah's vow, has perfectly cleared up a difficulty, which for two thousand years had puzzled all the translators and expositors, had given occasion to dissertations without number, and caused" endless disputes among the learned, on the question, whether Jephthah sacrificed his daughter or not; in which both parties have been equally ignorant of the meaning of the place, of the state of the fact, and of the very terms of the vow, which now at last have been cleared up beyond all doubt by my very learned friend. Dr. Randolph, in his Sermon on Jephthah's Vow.”
· In confirmation of the above, I would also further observe, that Mr: Maltby, in a Latin Discourse on this subject, subjoined to his Illustrations of Christianity, has these wordsin a note, p. 364, ".Parrius me per litteras monitum fecit, a meâ sententiâ olim'stetisse Thomam Randol
phum, phum ; cujus auctoritas in hac re ideo pluris æstimanda sit, quod theologiæ, ut aiunt, orthodoxæ, strenuus propugnator fuerit, et linguæ Hebraicæ eximiè peritus. Equidem (subjicit Parrius) conjecturam istam Randolphi de pronomine per ellipsin explicando, non modo ingeniosam, sed verissimam puto.
It may be observed, therefore, that Dr. Randolph's exposition stands confirmed by the opinion of these two able and learned critics: and it is much to be wished, that his excellent sermon on this subject should be better known than it seems to be, especially by those who undertake to explain the passage in question.
Yours, Jan. 18, 1806.
EFFECTS OF METHODISM.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCHMAN'S
most excellent Miscellany of religious and ecclesiastical matters, that any information upon the subject of Methodism will be very acceptable; I flatter myself you will have no objection to a new correspondent, who will vouch for the truth of any intelligence he may communicate, now or at any future period, for your own or the public satisfaction. I beg leave then to introduce myself to your notice, as a zealous clergyman of the Church of England, and vicar of a middle-sized parish in the county of S, the population of which is between six and seven hundred souls. But I am sorry lo tell you, it is a very much divided parişh with regard to religion, entirely owing to Methodism; which has .certainly done a great deal of injury to the cause of . Christianity in this place as well as many others, as (I imagine) the following brief account of its effects here, will most fully convince both yourself and the readers of your very useful publication,
It is not balf a century, I understand, since my church (which is a very large one and full of pews from the chancel evento the belfry-door at the western end,) used to be so thronged on a Sunday, that many persons were obliged to stand in the aisles during the whole of divine service; and the officiating Minister (whether Vicar or Curate) was seriously attended to by the parishioners in general froin the highest to the lowest, not only whilst doing public duty, but at all other times. But, alas! the case is greatly altered within that period, ever since the introduction of Methodist-preaching here; for instead of five hundred being regularly at church every time divine service is performed, as a creditable person now living here is ready to testify was then the usual number, I have often noticed scarcely fifty, men, women, and children. Indeed from that ime to this, it has been remarked to me by several of the good church-going people, things have been getting worse and worse; those new-fangled teachers having in a manner quite alienated some of the well-disposed from the Church of England mode of worship, and so far operated upon the badly-inclined, as to make them totally indifferent about divine worship; saying most sarcastically, “as we have now in the parish both a high and a low church, we are in doubt which of the two is best ; and therefore are determined to follow neither, rather preferring to be of no religion at all.”
In this most deplorable state, Mr. Editor, I unhappily found the parish of
when I became Vicar of it about five years ago; and I have been endeavour. ing ever since my residence among these sadly-divided Christians, to bring them to church both by persuasive discourses from the pulpit, and friendly admonitions in private; but all to no purpose, as there still exists among them that disaffection to our church-service on the part of the Methodists, and that disregard of all divine worship on the part of the irreligious, which was occasioned originally by certain enthusiasts separating the congregation; so that I may be literally said hitherto in this respect, to have laboured in vain.” I have therefore to request the favour of your good advice and direction on this most momentous subject, that I may be able to have somewhat similar congregations to my predecessors.
I am, Sir,
The Bishop of Durham's Charge to the Churchwardens
of the Diocese of Durham, delivered at his Visitation in July and August 1801. THE peculiar circumstances of the present times
seem to impose upon me, in addition to the accustomed duty of a Visitation, the offering of my sentiments to you on the important duties of the office which you have undertaken.
By the statute 43d Elizabeth, you are, jointly with the Parochial Overseers, appointed Guardians and Protectors of the Poor; and as such it is your duty to encourage the industry, to improve the condition, and to relieve the distress, of a very numerous and deserving class of our fellow-subjects. For this great object, large parocbial funds are entrusted to your management; in the confidence that you will provide employment for those who can work, and relief and support for those who cannot; that you will educate the young, and place them in a way of obtaining an honest livelihood by their industry; and enable the aged to close their labours and life in peace and comfort." For the detail of this part of your office, I must refer you to a charge to overseers of the poor published by the Society for bettering the condition of the poor, (a copy of which I have directed to be delivered to each of you) and I shall confine myself chiefly to that appropriate branch of your duty, upon the regular execution of which so much of our religious and moral character, and so much of our national virtue and happiness, must depend.
But, before I enter on that part of the subject, I wish to make a few observations on the present situation of the labouring poor; observations, not so immediately applicable to their situation, at the time when the above mentioned charge to overseers was prepared. The deficiency of two successive harvests produced the effect of raising the price of the most necessary articles of sub