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taken up by some abler pen than mine in the succeeding Number; but that not being the case, I offer the following observations on your correspondent's letter rather with a view of eliciting the remarks of others than of doing anything like justice to the subject myself.—I think he almost answers his own question, by what he has proceeded to statethat he has endeavoured in vain to find a tract explaining what he considers its true nature; though it appears he has found explanations in old divines corresponding with his views. From this, then, it would appear, that modern divines universally, and the church generally, has beld what he would call low views of this ceremony; and I think he has therefore advanced an unsupported, if not contradictory, assertion, in the beginning of his letter, when he says, “it can hardly be questioned that she (the church) has ever regarded it (confirmation) as an apostolic rite, employed by her first rulers, under immediate inspiration from above, as one special mean and instrument (the Italics are not his) of communicating to the faithful the gift of the Spirit; that we have, consequently, great reason to expect in the use of it a blessing different from that which would attend any becoming ceremony whereby our youth might renew their vows, and dedicate themselves to the service of God.” “W. D.," it will be observed, avoids the use of the term sacrament; but if he means anything more by the above definition, than what the generality of the church now holds, he can mean no less : confirmation, therefore, is in his estimation “ an outward visible sign of an inward spiritual grace, given unto us, ordained by the apostles, under immediate inspiration from above, as a means whereby we receive the same, and a pledge to assure us thereof.” Now, Sir, I am far from denying the tendency of the age to take a low view of ordinances, and I will add, as to the church itself, to form very inadequate notions of the special nature and efficacy of the sacrament,-a misfortune I know nothing more likely to increase than a tendency, on the other hand, to exalt any other ordinances of the church into the same rank; but to be resolutely bent either to take what are called high church views, or low and liberal ones, on every subject that offers, alike leads to the danger of missing the truth. On one side is priestcraft, by which, in the end, the virtue of all ordinances becomes endangered, from a tendency to attribute all their efficacy to the ministerial office and the opus operatum, and nothing to the internal disposition of the recipient; and, on the other hand, arises indifference to those very means of grace, which the head of the church has appointed as special, and a consequent loss of Christian privileges, as well as a neglect of Christian duties. Of these two parties, the papists and ultra-protestants are the representatives. It is not from any disposition in myself to take a low view of ordinances, that I must differ from “W. D.,” but from a conviction that his opinion on confirmation cannot be sustained on inquiry at the only two sources of authority—the scripture for the catholic church of Christ, and the rubric and service for the church of Christ in England; but that it is a religious ordinance and ceremony, analogous, but not identical, with the imposition of hands by the apostles, introduced into the church in early, probably in their times, and by them-a necessary consequence to the practice of infant baptism, and of general necessity and great importance, attended with a blessing, though not special ; i, e., what can be no otherwise obtained, and peculiar to that special means, yet commensurate with the highest expectations that can be entertained of it by the faithful, whilst publicly professing their faith in the Saviour, joining his body, the church, dedicating themselves to his service, imploring his grace and blessing with the united prayers of the brethren, and having that grace and blessing assured to them, by a significant action, at the hands of the successors of the apostles. Whether this view be considered high or low, I believe it consonant alike with scripture, and the mind of the church. It is, at any rate, by your correspondent's shewing, as high as is held by the generality of the clergy in the present day; and if it be wrong, it is time we should be better informed. Your constant obliged reader,
CHURCHING OF WOMEN. Sir,-Perplexed with some doubts in regard to churching of women, I send you a statement of what has occurred to myself, in the hope that I may receive information upon the subject which may serve to guide me in future. A married woman of the worst character applied to me to be churched. The child for the delivery of which she was about to return thanks was professedly not by her own husband, but by another man, in whose house she had been for a long time living, and still continued to live. To admit of an open adulteress to partake of one of our church's sacred offices, appeared to me a profanation of such office, and I accordingly refused, under the influence of that revolting feeling which was with me irresistible. That she was unfit to be admitted to the Lord's table there could be no doubt, and yet had she been churched she might have claimed to come there, according to the direction of the rubric. My refusal in this extreme case I trust few will disapprove of, though some may be inclined to tell me (as I have been told) that I have no authority to refuse the churching of any woman who is not excommunicated. My object in sending this letter to your Magazine is not to learn whether I may not expose myself to legal penalties by refusing to church any woman who may apply, but whether it is my duty to make a discrimination, and to what extent this discrimination is to be carried. I am desirous of ascertaining whether it is the practice with my brethren in the ministry to refuse the churching, not only of the open adulteress, but of the unmarried woman. In conntry parishes, the unmarried woman sbrinks from presenting herself to be churched, from a sense of shame; but this is not the case in the populous district I am acting in. Looking to the spirit of this office of our church, does it not, I would ask, appear intended as a thanksgiving upon the birth of a child in lawful wedlock? Is it not a profanation of the words of the psalmist for the mother of an illegitimate child to say, “ Lo! children and the fruit of the womb are an heritage and gift that cometh of the Lord. Like as the arrows in the hand of the giant, even so are the young children.: Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them; they shall not be ashamed when they speak with their enemies in the gate."
Was not the 128th psalm one of those formerly appointed in our church, as it is still in the Church of Rome. If so, one of the marriage psalms forming a part of this service surely looks as if it was intended for the use of the married woman alone. Some perhaps will argue that the unmarried woman may be a true penitent, and therefore fit to be churched. This I will not deny ; but, if I mistake not, the church in its purer ages did not admit short intervals of time as the proof of true repentance, nor do I think it wise she should alter her course in this respect. But, independent of the early penitent who claims so high a privilege, is not the situation of females who stand exposed to the danger of falling as she has done to have some weight upon our decision ? Will not their danger be greatly increased upon seeing their erring sister admitted by the church to the privilege of a married woman, without any acknowledgment of her fault, and without a sufficient interval to ascertain whether she truly repents of the sin she has committed ? Again, is it not due to those in honourable wedlock that we should preserve this office from all profanation, lest they come to think lightly of it, and disregard the use of it, thinking the privilege unworthy their acceptance, since it may be equally enjoyed by her who has set at naught the ordinance of marriage, and given no proof that she is sensible of her shame ?
Such, Mr. Editor, are my own musings upon this subject; and if some of your obliging correspondents will give me inforination as to their practice, I shall be thankful. I am, Sir, your grateful reader, Christmas Day, 1835.
LEIGHTON'S WISH TO DIE AT AN INN., DEAR SIR,- It was only yesterday that I observed a letter in the last Number of the “ British Magazine,” to which you kindly challenge my reply. I confess I am perplexed how to answer it without giving the matter, or rather one's own opinion on it, more importance than it deserves. Certainly, when I quoted Leighton, and his desire that he might die in an inn, it was, as a sentiment, memorable and worthy of notice,—not in the least, as a desire, commendable, or otherwise, still less as one to be proposed as worthy of imitation. If I might refer to the verses themselves I would say, that the aim of the passage was to explain how Leighton should have come to indulge in such a feeling ; and the moral was, that the Christian, in his last hours, should desire to have such a sense of the presence of God as should make it to him a matter of comparative indifference by what outward circumstances he was surrounded, since that of Pascal, in one sense, must ever remain true, “ Je mourrai seul,” though, in a higher sense, it ceases to be true for him who can also say, “ I am not alone.” Might I observe, too, that when we weigh this sentiment it is not to be forgotten that Leighton had none of those near and intimate relations upon whom his death might have had that lasting influence for good on which your correspondent “ R. B.” lays, and deservedly, so much stress. In conclusion, allow me to thank him for his kind expressions concerning myself, and for his watchfulness that no sentiment should
under cover of verse which would not bear examination in prose.
Believe me, &c. RICHARD C. TRENCH. December 30, 1835.
ON CLERICAL SPORTING.! SIR, -As some of the clergy, who allow themselves sporting in its various kinds, are sometimes apt to regard their brethren who abstain from such indulgences as over scrupulous, nay, even as unsound and puritanical, I hope you will admit the following extracts, from the decisions of the spiritual rulers of the church upon the subject in former ages, by which it will appear that the abstaining party are at least walking according to rule, and that the onus justificandi, if any, rests with the others. My object in this is not presumptuously to seek to abridge the liberty of the latter, if they think they possess it, but to strengthen the hands, and remove a stumbling-block from the way of the former; who have, according to the judgment of the wise of other ages, chosen “ a more excellent way:"
OBSERVER. S. Ambrose, Homily in Lent, A.D. 380. “ Can you count that man to fast, brethren, who, at break of day, does not watch for the church, or seek the holy places, of the Blessed Martyrs, but rises and assembles his serving lads, arranges his nets, brings out his dogs, and scours the green woods? Taking, I say, his serving lads with him, who otherwise would, perchance, have hastened to church ; and thus accumulates other men's sins upon his own pleasures, not considering that he is guilty both of his own offence, and of the ruin of his servants."
Council of Agde, A.D. 506, (55); and of Epon, A.D. 517, (4). It is not lawful for a bishop, a presbyter, or a deacon, to have dogs, or hawks, or such like, for hunting. But if any of these persons shall be often occupied in this amusement, if he be a bishop, let him be suspended from communion for three months; if a presbyter, for two ; if a deacon, from his office.
English Canons in King Edgar's reign, A.D. 960. 64.—Let no priest be a hunter, a hawker, or drinker, but attend to his books, as becomes his order.
IV.- Council of Lateran, A.D. 1215. Can. 15.-We furbid hunting and hawking to all the clergy; wherefore, let them not presume to keep hounds or hawks.
Council of Nantes, A.D. 1264. Can. 3. --Since we find no sacred hunter, we charge the prelates to be careful to punish clerical hunters, and especially presbyters and monks, from whom the scandal is the greater.
Council of Trent, A.D. 1563. Sessio 24, c. 12.- Let them, moreover, use fitting clothing, both in and out of church, and let them abstain from unlawful huntings, hawkings, dancings, taverns, and plays.
Council of London, 1529; and again, 1557. We order that if any ordained or beneficed clergyman shall openly lea about hounds, or hawks, he is, ipso facto, suspended from the celebration of divine offices for the space of one month.
In the Reformation of Ecclesiastical Laws. Henry VIII., Edward VI. Concerning the Church, &c. c. 4.-Of presbyters, “ Let them not be drinkers, dice players, hawkers, or hunters,
MR. BLANCO WHITE. DEAR SIR,—In the number of the “ British Critic" just published I have seen, with a feeling not to be described, a picture of the present religious state of the gentleman above-named. Many considerations restrain me from speaking of that most admonitory individual. The fittest accompaniment for any, and for every, thought of him and his proceedings, is humble, silent prayer for grace to keep one's-self steadfast in the confession of a true faith.”
Perhaps, however, (if the question be not already disposed of,) you will not refuse admittance to a suggestion materially affecting (as it seems to me) the credit of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge,-namely, that it should not for an hour longer consent to circulate the tract (No. 252) entitled, “ The Poor Man's Preservative against Popery." If it were held to be the best or most persuasive antidote to that dangerous delusion ever penned, it would still be unworthy of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge to borrow its assistance, as professing to be written by one “ now a clergyman of the church of England."
This hint is not thrown out with any feeling of asperity against the writer of the tract, but simply on the ground that it is positively disingenuous to circulate, as against popery, the arguments of one who now evidently holds the discipline and doctrine of the church of England to be still more objectionable. Besides which, the probability of the case (almost amounting in my judgment to a moral certainty) is, that the writer of the “ Preservative," if his life be much longer spared, will surely end with a return to the anodynes of that communion which he has dealt with so undutifully, but which will in these days be only so much the more glad to welcome a repentant child home again on that
very account. May I presume to take the present opportunity of offering a farther general word of caution upon the hazards of a course too much adopted, and with seeming eagerness ? I mean the instant welcoming of all deserters (if I may so express it without offence, for perspicuity's sake,) into the orthodox camp.
Converts must either be sincere or not; they must act either from deliberate conviction or merely from impulse. In the former case, they surely would themselves prefer a reasonable probationary term as privates in their new ranks; in the latter, the consequence of thrusting them at once into stations of eminence is but too plain beforehand. I am, dear Sir, yours truly, January 11, 1836.
EVENING LECTURES, KESWICK.
SIR,—Among the “ Events of the Month” in your January number, I find that “the officiating minister at Crosthwaite church has determined, to suit the infirmities of inany of his hearers at Keswick, to deliver a lecture every Sunday evening at the town hall in Keswick. He has been induced to this course by the distance of the church