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are not only allowed but exhorted to" strive together for the faith of the Gospel :" and if they glory in seeing that, through their united efforts, a great and effectual door has been opened for the preaching of that Gospel, can this be called a vain glory? If any (contrary to that charity which thinketh no evil) suspect that these gifts were only made as ministering to vanity, it will be sufficient to reply, that the well-known characters of the individuals who were the chief promoters of this measure, warrant the conclusion that they only adopted it as the most efficient for the end, without any view to their own honour or human applause. They indeed caused their works to "shine before men;" but it was most truly, in these instances, "to the glory of their heavenly Father." I may apply to them the language of Paul on a similar occasion: "For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, (furnishing them with the means of spreading more extensively the light of the Gospel), but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God; while by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the Gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution unto them, and unto all men." (2 Cor. ix. 12, 13.)
Allow me, sir, to say a word more, on the reference which your first correspondent has made to the circumstance of the poor widow's casting her mites into the treasury: which he appears to introduce as an example or illustration of Christian simplicity. The incident, as narrated by the Evangelist, makes against the whole of his argument (see Mark xii. 41-44). There was no difference between this poor widow and the rich, as to the manner in which they presented their gifts; the two mites were given as publicly as the more costly offerings. Here is not a breath of censure against the rich for casting in much, or for doing it openly; the distincCHRIST. OBSERV. No. 337.
tion our Lord makes between them and the widow, and the superior honour he confers upon the latter, arises simply from the fact that the widow gave most in proportion to her means. God accepts the offering "according to that a man hath” (2 Cor. viii. 12), and the Apostle (as I have intimated above) directs. every one to give "as God hath prospered him" (1 Cor. xvi. 2). "Unto whomsoever (said the Saviour) much is given, of him shall much be required." Had these precepts been fully acted on by the Christian church, instead of that feeble lustre she now casts on the world, she would long since have gone forth "bright as the sun, clear as the moon, and terrible as an army with banners." I fear that many, when collections are made for religious objects, drop their mites into the treasury with much fancied humility, and go away expecting the widow's blessing, but will be disappointed because they have the rich man's purse. St. Paul, speaking of the liberality of the Macedonian church, says, "to their power I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves;" and he goes on to encourage the Corinthians to follow their example: "Therefore (says he) as ye abound in every thing, in faith and utterance, &c. see that ye abound in this grace also." (2 Cor. viii.)
I hope at the next annual meeting of the Church Missionary Society, to see the plan pursued by the other societies for the replenishing of their funds acted on with equal success. If any other mode more consistent but equally effica cious can be devised, I shall cordially rejoice in its adoption, for I am not contending so much for the plan objected to as for the end it accomplished. In a circular recently issued by this society it is stated, that "the insufficiency of its income has rendered it necessary to contract the operations of several of the missions." Is not this an imperative call upon all its members,
especially the wealthier part of them, to shew that they have the cause really at heart? "The people that do know their God (it is said) shall be strong, and do exploits." (Dan. xi. 32). Let churchmen prove that they have the best knowledge of God by doing most for him. We are not answerable for the spiritual conversion of the heathen; but let us resolve to discharge the responsibility that really attaches to usthat of providing unsparingly the I conclude with necessary means. recommending one of the questions used for self-examination by the excellent Alleine: "Have I done any thing more than ordinary for the cause of God, in this time extraordinary?"
subject, of course, to an appeal to the bishop, so as to prevent any improper use of the power of exercising wholesome discipline.
UNPROFITABLE EXPENSE AT
Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer.
I HAVE been often grieved, in my parochial duties, at witnessing the unprofitable expense at funerals. The articles supplied on such occasions to friends and clergymen, though often of the most worthless description, are charged to the parties at an extravagant price; and this at a time when the long continued sickness of the departed, and
QUERY ON REJECTING COMMUNI- other circumstances, frequently ren
Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer.
In the ministrations of a small country parish, circumstances once occured, that made me peculiarly anxious to exclude from the holy communion a person of grossly evil life; but though I could privately warn him not to approach, I was legally advised not to proceed fur ther, as I should be subjected to an action at law, which would certainly go against me, with great expense and damages, every non-excommunicated person being ecclesiastically intitled to receive the holy sacrament; and the refusal to administer it being also a civil injury, as the party might wish to qualify himself for office. I should be glad to learn from some of your legal friends whether the late abolition of the sacramental test sets aside this last difficulty; and if it does, whether any other impediment exists to prevent a clergyman's forbidding a notoriously vicious person's approaching the sacred table. There surely ought to be some discretion allowed to a clergyman on this vital point,
der the expense extremely inconvenient. Could not some more useful and less costly mode be devised of exhibiting due respect both to the memory of the deceased, and to the clergyman? A hatband, scarf, and gloves, which cost the parties two or three pounds, are of scarcely any value to the possessor after the funeral is over; whereas some more permanent token of regard, at half the expense, would be valued through life. Take the parish of —, in which some hundreds of pounds are paid every year by families for the above articles, for the rector and his assistant clergymen. These clergymen, however, in general wear their own funeral mourning, the undertaker or clerk often arranging to receive back the new articles at a low price. How much more acceptable to a poor curate would be an extra honorary fee of one half the amount of the cost of the usual articles; or where the clergyman is rich, or this method was thought not respectful to the deceased, a present for the express purpose of purchasing some book, or set of books, or other suitable article, at his discretion, and which
would remain as a memorial long after scarfs and hatbands were forgotten. Would there be any impropriety in a clergyman's proposing such a plan to his parishioners; it being mutually understood that he would always appear with the customary emblems of mourning; in lieu of the cost of which, those of his parishioners who would have supplied these funeral decorations, will request his acceptance of some more permanent token of their regard, either pecuniary or otherwise, as circumstances may suggest?
ON PROVIDING FOR THE FAMILIES OF MISSIONARIES.
Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer.
ALTHOUGH a mere hewer of wood, and drawer of water in the vineyard of our Divine Master, I yet feel as anxious a desire to promote both its extension and its fruitfulness, as those can do, who fill the more honourable stations of pruners or vinedressers. If therefore I see, or think that I see, a principle in operation which can in any degree prevent that extension, or injure that fruitfulness, I dare not withhold a warning voice in time, or wait until the evil has acquired a degree of strength, which will make its correction a task of difficulty or of danger.
That the various Missionary Societies of the present day are instruments in the hands of God for the extension of his kingdom on earth, few persons of sound judgment or Christian feeling will deny; and that pecuniary means are necessary in the present state of the church, to enable such societies to proceed in their work, is equally clear. Should there be found therefore any principle of action now in operation, which is calculated at a future period materially to retard their progress, or injure their usefulness, it is wise to examine fully
and fairly into all its bearings and probable consequences, and to apply, if possible, a suitable remedy.
Such a principle appears to me to exist in the actual or implied engagement of many of our Missionary Societies, to provide permanently for their missionaries and families, when such missionaries become incapable of further labour, and also for the families of those who die in their service. As far, however, as I have been able to ascertain the practice of these societies, I find it by no means uniform.
The Society for promoting Christian Knowledge, so long as it continued to employ missionaries, did not consider itself under any obligation as to the future support of their missionaries' families: and although the sister Society for the Propagation of the Gospel has not confined itself by the same rule, but has sometimes granted pensions both to infirm missionaries, and to the widows of deceased ones; yet such grants have only been made on special occasions, without admitting any right in the missionary to claim them, and have never in any case been extended to children. The London Missionary Society has been in the practice of relieving its infirm missionaries, as well as widows and children; and although I believe it refuses to allow of any right in its missionaries to demand such relief, it appears to feel, that there is something of a moral obligation to confer it. The Baptist Society acts, I believe, on a somewhat similar principle. The Wesleyan Missonary Society considers its missionaries simply in the light of ministers of the Gospel, and subject to the same rules as other ministers of their de nomination; one of which rules is, the contribution of a certain portion of their salary to a fund provided for the above purpose, and of the benefits of which the missionaries partake in common with the other ministers. The Church Missionary Society, I am informed, has made an actual compact (or has a
strongly implied understanding almost equivalent to a contract) with many of its earlier missionaries to provide for their families in case of need; but I believe, in all recent appointments, it has declined making any specific engagement on the subject. The most ancient of all the Missionary Societies now in operation, that of the United Brethren, has always undertaken the positive support of its infirm missionaries, and of the widows and children of those deceased; and it is the experience of this society which I wish to exhibit as a beacon to all other societies, to enable them to avoid similar consequences; for although it has pleased God to raise up funds in its distresses, sufficiently powerful, for the present, to meet its difficulties, and to enable it to carry on its work, it should be remembered, that while it proceeded in simple faith, it proceeded also in perfect ignorance of the consequences of its own proceedings. To infer, however, from its experience in this respect, that societies of modern days, possessing the benefit of that experience, and all the light which increasing knowledge on these subjects now confers, would be justified in following its example, would, in my humble opinion, be presump tion, and not faith.
It is not my present intention to discuss the question, which of the two modes of proceeding referred to above is the wisest; but, assuming the one most generally adopted to be so, to urge the necessity of taking immediate and judicious measures for meeting the consequences of such a system before the day of actual trial comes, when it may be too late.
The experience of all societies for the insurance of lives and annuities fully proves that the claims on such societies go on in an increasing ratio for a number of years, and that from seventy to one hundred must elapse before it can be ascertained by such experience whether the payments from which the in
come is raised, are adequate to meet such claims. A similar process must take place with respect to the claims on Missionary Societies; and it must necessarily follow, that in all cases in which such societies expend the whole of their annual receipts in prosecuting their missionary work, those claims will, gradually but certainly, increase upon them to such an extent as very much to embarrass their proceedings, if they do not seriously retard and injure their special and proper objects.
Such indeed has been the actual experience of the Society of the United Brethren; these claims now exceeding, by more than one-third, the whole amount of the collections made by their own community; and but for the help afforded by other denominations of Christians within the last few years, all its missions, so far as they depend on contributions from Europe, must have been relinquished long since, or its other claimants have been left to misery and want. As no accounts of expenditure were published by this society previous to 1818, I have no means of tracing in its expense the gradual operation of this principle; but from the statements made since that period, the tendency of these claims regularly to increase is fully apparent, and they also prove that although (the society having existed more than a hundred years,) they might have been expected now to have attained their maximum, they have not yet done so. In 1828, the society had 191 missionaries (including the wives) employed; and the proportion of unemployed adult claimants, to missionaries in active service, was 77; that is, more than two-fifths, independently of a like number of children. The amount of its expenditure is nearly in a similar proportion, the average amount for the various stations for eleven years being about 6,300l. per annum, and the sum expended on the unemployed being in 1828 about 2,9007., almost one-half. In this amount
there has been an annual increase, in 1819 it being only 2,050. Apply this experience to some of our modern societies, and what a fearful impediment does it exhibit to their future exertions.
Such, therefore, being the case, both in theory and in practice, I would ask, Is it wise; is it just, for the managers of these societies to go on in this way, entailing on their successors, thirty or forty years hence, such an onerous responsibility, without making some consistent and rational provision to meet circumstances, which, in all human probability, must one day arise? I say, consistent and rational, because it appears to me, that merely putting aside any given sum of money, without connecting with it a wise and judicious plan of appropriation, is doing but very little; for the consequence will be, that the earlier claimants will swallow up such a fund, and leave nothing for those of later years but want and disappoint
That such a plan may be easily discovered and applied, I cannot doubt; but this communication is already too long to justify me in
adding more at present, my purpose and anxiety now being to excite the attention of the Christian public to the subject.
For the Christian Observer.
REVIEW OF NEW PUBLICATIONS.
Biographical Notices of the Apostles, Evangelists, and other Saints, with Reflections and Collects; adapted to the minor Festivals of the Church of England. By RICHARD MANT, D.D., Bishop of Down and Connor. 1 vol. 8vo. Oxford. 1828.
CLERGYMEN often require in composing their sermons, and parents in instructing their children, a suitable book of reference for the saints' days, both to collect the biographical facts and to suggest appropriate reflections. The volumes of Cave and Lardner are not generally accessible; and if they were, they
are not adapted for the purpose in question. Nelson's Fasts and Festivals is therefore generally referred to; but this book, though extensively circulated, both for its own real merits and for want of a better, is not inviting in its style; its catechetical form, however instructive, is not pleasing; nor is the author sufficiently scrupulous in separating facts from fables: besides all which, devout and humble as are his remarks, his general cast of divinity, like that of the Whole Duty of Man and similar works, is defective in the simple exhibition of Christian doctrine and privilege;