Sivut kuvina
[blocks in formation]









SERMONS on particular occasions require some short account to be prefixed, in reference to such of the occasions as are not sufficiently explained in the sermons themselves. In order that the following general observations may better answer this immediate purpose, they are marked with numbers corresponding to the order of the sermons which form the volume.

I. Ember week is a season now little regarded. It is much to be wished, either that our diocesans could conveniently ordain at the appointed seasons; or that there were power to appoint other seasons, which might be binding upon all. In the meantime it would be well, if notice of every ordination were sent to the clergy of each diocese, with instructions to use the ember week prayers in church ; or at least to urge on their congregations the use of these prayers in private. The subject of this sermon is one which deserves the utmost attention. And whilst the true doctrine of our ministerial commission has been overstrained by the Church of Rome, and underrated by many amongst Protestants; whilst it is exposed to scorn at the present day, not less by the extravagant claims of its advocates, than by the sneers and sophistry of its opponents; the writer of this volume rejoices in an opportunity of testifying his conviction, that the ministry of men duly appointed and authorized is an ordinance of God, for the edification of his church; which we are no more at liberty to dispense with, than we are with the use of the written word. There have been times when the numbers of the clergy were redundant, and the written word was almost suppressed. At present, in this country, there is a tendency towards the opposite extreme. The office of the ministry is disparaged. The men indeed are often idolized, when they happen to have qualifications of a popular kind. But this is altogether a different thing from honouring them for their work's sake; for the sake of the holy work entrusted to their care. (See Appendix A, B. p. 343.) :

II. Visitations, as well as ordinations, ought to be occasions of great interest, to laity, as well as to clergy. And it may perhaps be thought desirable, that both these solemnities should be held in rotation at different places, in each diocese, and archdeaconry. The lay members of the church would thus more generally enjoy an opportunity of seeing, both how their ministers are ordained, and how they are visited. Something too might perhaps be done to give greater publicity to the consecration of our bishops, a ceremony of the deepest interest to every member of the church; to which, as now conducted, it often is not easy even for the re ives and friends of the new bishop to obtain admittance.

III. Of funeral sermons the besetting sin is flattery. That the expressions of this sermon, in commendation of the late Earl of Dudley, are borne out by the facts, will be proved by some extracts from his letters given in the Appendix ; which evince a degree of honesty and humility, of bountifulness and brotherly kindness, sufficient to put to shame the selfishness, covetousness, and uncharitableness, of many a loud professor of the Gospel. (See Appendix C. p. 344.)

IV, V, VI. The very great extent to which the plan of Friendly Societies is carried, in this populous neighbourhood, has made it desirable to point out the errors of the prevailing system, and to advert to the benefits which would arise from the adoption of better principles in these institutions. Conducted as they usually are, they serve chiefly to decoy to the public house and beer shop the most industrious and frugal of the labouring classes. Some idea of the amount to which the deluded people are willing to contribute to these mischievous clubs


be obtained from a statement in the Appendix ; (D. p. 347 ;) which also illustrates the rapidity with which the Clubs themselves tend to bankruptcy; and shews the unwillingness to contribute where no drunkenness or tippling is allowed. Drunkenness is indeed not the only lure to the house of public entertainment. Society, so fascinating to the rich, has its charms also for the poor. And that reckless act of the Legislature which nearly doubled the number of public houses, has more than doubled the temptations in the poor man's path, to neglect the duties and desert the comforts of his home and family. The Beer Bill has done more in a few

« EdellinenJatka »