Page images


appointed hour. In some places Earth, reflect how anxious they of worship, there is a gross breach would be, how they would scheme of decorum in this respect. After and contrive, how they would waiting, it may be nearly ten make every thing bend in subminutes past the time, the minister serviency to their purpose, were ascends the pulpit, but still ob- they to be received at a given serving only a sprinkling over the hour into the presence-chamber of area of the chapel, and perceiving an earthly monarch. Shall that person dropping in after

attention be given, and that puncanother, postpones the commence- tuality be observed in deference to ment of the service for another five a worm of the dust, which is wanminutes. And, even after he has tonly and listlessly withholden from begun to implore the Divine bless- Him who, after he hatb killed ing on the services of the day, or the body, hath power to cast into to read that word by which his hell ? Should we not rather fear hearers are to be judged at the Him? tribunal of Christ, he is disturbed Il. Devout STILLNess is anby the indecent noises occasioned other of the decencies which the by the entrance and bustle of others public service of God demands. who are still later in their atten- Not to observe further on the outdance. It ought to be a subject of rage to the feelings of the diligent serious enquiry on the part of every and devout worshipper which is minister, whether such irregularity committed by those to whose noisy be not the result of a previous want entrance at a late hour we have of punctuality on his part, and if just adverted, it may be proper to so, to rectify it as speedily as posremark, that the most profound sisible. And it may be recom- lence ought to be observed during mended to all ministers to consider every part of the service in which whether it would not be seemly no call is made on vocal particithat they, as examples to their pation. And this participation flocks, should always be in the should ever be confined to the pulpit before, rather than after the psalmody, and the Amen at the hour, so as to commence the ser- close of the prayers, as practised vice precisely at the proper time, in the primitive church. Nothing irrespective of the number of per- is more offensive to a sober mind sons who may happen to be present. than the mechanical Amen of the A visible change would soon be Methodists, ever and anon repeated the result; and, if


still in the course of prayer, or the no tinued to come in late, an appeal less mechanical groans which dison the subject might then be tinguish that body, and some other consistently made from the pulpit. sections of the professing church of Many persons seem to forget that Christ; while, on the contrary, nothe great object for which Chris- thing is more gratifying both to tians assemble is to worship God. ministers and all truly serious The consequence is, that with them and enlightened hearers, than to it is a matter of comparative, if not of witness that stillness which the absolute insignificance, at what part futter of a goat's wing would of the service they enter a chapel, break, and which is evidently proonly they contrive to be in time duced by a solemu sense of the for the sermon ! Let all who go Divine presence, or by due reup to the courts of the Eternal and flexion on the all-important truths Infinite Majesty of Heaven and which are being delivered, or the


fervent prayers which, in the name it to banish every trifling thought, of all, are being presented to the and resist every intruding care, throne of the Infinite Majesty. that the word, which is quick and Not only ought the ease with powerful, and sharper than any twowbich a cough may be suppressed, edged sword, piercing even to the to evince the indecorousness of a dividing asunder of soul and spirit, noisy indulgence in that disagree- and proving a discerner of the able habit, but there ought to be thoughts and intents of the heart, a strenuous effort made to put a may have room to produce its lestop to what is gaining ground in gitimate effects. The fact, too, some congregations the interrup- that an account must be rendered tion of such a suppression at the end of the improvement or misimproveof certain divisions or paragraphs of ment of the means of grace, and the discourse, by a fit of coughing that each opportunity that we enwhich would seem to have attack- joy may be our last, ought to opeed the whole assembly. There is, rate powerfully to the production po doubt, a habit in this, as in of that serious and devout attention every thing else, and it only re- which is required of all who hear quires to be resolutely resisted in the Gospel of Christ. order to its abandonment.

The influence of such a spirit III. SERIOUS ATTENTION to will be manifest in the external the word of God, whether as read deportment of those who feel it. from the Scriptures, or exhibited, They will not be like many whose illustrated, and enforced in the eyes are continually gadding about, sermon, ought ever to characterize and surveying one part of the conthe members of Christian assem- gregation after another; nor will blies. Not only should there be they exhibit the disgusting spectaan avoidance of every thing that cle which is sometimes to be seen would divert the attention, distract in places of Worship, of persons the thoughts, unbend the mind, nodding assent, and smiling, and and carnalize the affections, but tossing up their heads in approbathere should be a positive and con

tion of the sermon. They will, tinued effort to have the heart fixed individually, consider themselves on divine things, and especially to isolated, and called upon to exahave it occupied with the subjects mine their own state and character, which, on the occasion, are pre- by the truth which they are hearing; sented to the view. The consi- and under the impression thus proderation that it is the truth of God, duced, they will discover a sober to which the attention is sum- stayedness of demeanour, and an moned-truth which involves the anxious solicitude to obtain not high and immortal interests of merely a salutary excitement, but the human soul, which sanctifies solid instruction and edification to and saves it, producing, in the their souls. With their attention band of the Spirit, the new and rivetted by the word, they will not spiritual nature, the knowledge of be of the number of those who, God, repentance for sin, faith in after the half hour, begin, as it were the Lord Jesus Christ, the hope of instinctively, to look at the clock, eternal life, and a course of action and who give indications by the in correspondence with these all- restlessness of their behaviour, that important principles, should com- the language of their hearts is, municate tone of the deepest " what a weariness is it: when will seriousness to the mind, and lead it be over!”

N.S. NO, 92.



4. UNIFORMITY in the several and then, instead of indulging in acts of worship. The mode and noisy salutations of all around them, , arrangement of divine service is or engaging in fulsome panegyrics not the same in all dissenting on the sermon, or taking up the chapels; but whatever be the order civil or religious politics of the or method adopted in any place, day, they will retire as speedily as every worshipper should endeavour possible, avoiding every thing that to conform to it. What can be more has a tendency to destroy the imincongruous, what more indecent, pressions that may have been prothan to see some standing while duced on their minds, and giviug others are sitting, and others loung- themselves to meditation and ing during the celebration of the prayer, that they may secure lastpraises of Jehovah? And what ing benefit from the public exercises more indecorous than to witness a in which they have been similar discordance in outward pos- gaged. ture during the solemn act of 6. Besides these decencies which prayer? It is true, the devout are required in the members of our worshipper will not be scandalized worshipping assemblies generally, by it, forasmuch as his eye is shut there are others which are no less against every thing visible, but the binding on those by whom the wor. effect on the mind of an unbelievership is conducted. Any thing in must be any thing but favourable: the shape of puns or witticisms whereas, the sight of a whole con- must ever be regarded as most abgregation observing a due symme- horrent in a minister. Pompous try and uniformity in their religious declamation too, a flowery style, exercises is fitted to strike and im- lightness of manner, and excess of press the careless beholder. In action, as well as a studied and order to secure more of this outward finical gesture and self-display in uniformity, it merits consideration every form, are egregiously out of whether what is commonly and place in the pulpit. Nor ought certainly in most cases very appro- the desk to exhibit any thing like priately termed the long prayer, theatrical display, or be permitted might not be considerably abridged, to indulge in the use of tunes which and part of the petitions left for more befit the tap-room than the that after the sermon. It is likely, house of God. Care should be that, by this oneans, those whose taken to select those to officiate as strength is somewhat feeble, would Clerks who fear God, and are men be able to accomplish what they of sober and grave deportment. may greatly desire, to stand up It has often been remarked, in and praise God with their brethren reference to several of the topics and fellow-worshippers.

touched upon in this paper, that 5. ATTENDANCE to the clOSE there exists a marked difference of the service, and SILENT RE- between the conduct of Church TIREMENT from the place of wor. men and Dissenters. ship, will distinguish those whose tainly it cannot be denied that minds are properly affected by there is generally a stillness and sodivine things. As their primary lemnity that characterize a congre. object in going up to the courts of gation of Churchmen which it would the Lord was not to listen to man, be vain to look for in many dissent. they will not (excepting under ing places of worship. Much alcircumstances of necessity) leave lowance, it is true, must be made them till the service be concluded : for the religio loci, or those local

And cer

associations which most Churchmen cumstances, to superinduce seriouspossess in common with the fre- ness and solemnity of spirit. Let quenters of the mosque, or the visi- but the great truths of Revelation tants of the pagoda; but it would duly and properly interest any inargue the grossest perversion of dividual, and it will be found, that, intellect to maintain, that just in whether he be a Churchman or a proportion as the mind is enligh- Dissenter, whether he worship in a tened will it be divested of truly church or a chapel, there will be religious reverence and awe. Leav- unequivocal expressions of devout ing out of the account the influence feeling, and a supreme regard to of adventitious objects on the the presence and honour of Alsenses, there is that in true religion mighty God. which is calculated, under any cir




Ila magas artes Æacaque carmina novit.-Ov. The following are, we believe, Samuel were raised by her, it must the chief of the theories by which have been by her only as the the scene at Endor is explained : means which God employed. But

I. That Satan personified Sa- it is surely impossible that God muel.

would have employed her, when II. That the Witch really raised persons of her calling were soSamuel by her enchantments. lemnly and repeatedly banished.

III. That God miraculously By the command of heaven, presented Samuel to the affrighted Samuel had fixed the brand of

infamy upon all persons making We have never met with a single pretensions to witchcraft. They argument by which the first of were declared to be an abominathese could be supported. To the tion to the Lord; under no presecond we feel insuperable ob- tence were they to be tolerated; jections. On the third we are in in no emergency were they to be doubt. Our purpose is to show consulted. Is it therefore credible that this woman was a gross impos- that God would have thus cantor, and consequently that if Samuel celled his own decrees, and raised were raised, it was the work of this abominated woman to renown, God. To raise the dead or call to favour, to influence? Would back the departed spirit, is a he thus put a sceptre into her divine prerogative. If this woman hand, upon whose head he had really had the power implied in pronounced an awful execration ? her question to Saul, verse 11, Would he have sanctioned her dewhat, we ask, was it short of tested order by enabling her to divine capacities-short of having work a miracle, a miracle which the keys of death? forif, irrespective could be as boldly pleaded in of power from above, she could support of witchcraft as the openat her bidding call up Samuel, ing earth could in support of the she might with equal ease bring divine legation of Moses? Would up the whole body of the departed, not the supposed Samuel have and thus frustrate the designs of given some intimation that he grace and justice. If then, was raised by God, thus dissolving the charm, exploding for ever hood to the charge of trickery. the pretensions of this witch, and The tomb of Samuel was many rendering her defeat conducive to miles from Endor, as was also the honour of Jehovah? Besides, Shunem, from which Saul went in be it remembered that God had search of the woman. Passing sternly refused the informatiou strange, indeed, were it, if by her Saul was now seeking. With the diabolical art she could not only deepest anxiety had it been soli- bring back the glorified saint, imcited, through various divinely part vitality to the mouldering appointed channels. Did he re- dust, and reform the mystical sort to witchcraft with a better union between body and soul, motive than that with which he but could also transport the supplicated the prophets of the person of Samuel from Ramah to Lord ? If the Lord maintained so Endor, and conduct him into her profound and just a silence in his apartments unseen and unheard by own province--if through his own

any one except herself.

Her medium he withheld the response, danger in entering the house of it is incredible that he would Saul was not greater than his in break that silence, that he would walking to her residence. Why gratify Saul's desire in the haunts then did not Saul bid her proceed of sin, and through an instrument to Gilboa and there perform the which he had placed under the wonder? Why did she not apban of his own displeasure. It is point a meeting at the grave of equally incredible that Samuel Samuel, and there offer with her had it either in his disposition or magic wand to cause the departed power to impart the prophetic in- saint to start up and “blab out, the telligence, Unbidden by the God secrets for which Saul was thirstwhose smiles he was enjoying, he ing? Surely there must be some neither could nor would have re- reason why her convenience could turned to earth for the purpose of bend neither to the etiquette of strengthening the hand of this ene- royalty, nor to the solemnity of the my to God and man: this iudeed sepulchre; why a king and his atwould be to resemble the wretch tendants must disguise themselves, who stole fire from the altar in and wait on an insignificant woorder to consume the temple.

man, while

the same

servants These considerations render the could have secured her a safe whole scene extremely suspicious. escort to Saul's residence, thus I am aware that we ought not in preventing the fatigue and risk to general to construct theories by which Saul was subjected. I am which we try the truth or false- aware, that in ancient times, kings hood of any statement, especially were not as now, enveloped in those of Scripture. But as they pomp and circumstance; but siare considerations drawn from tuated as Saul was, and especially Scripture itself, we shall deem after his efforts to extirpate the them conclusive, if the narrative professors of witchcraft, would be found not compatible only with he not have employed some means them, but confirmatory of them. The of gaining her a secret access to place where the miracle is pro. his dwelling, if an attendance at fessedly wrought deserves atten- her dwelling, where she had all tion, for it renders the pretended her apparatus about her, and had appearance doubly miraculous, practised her acts, were not a sine while it gives a tenfold likeli- quâ non ?

« PreviousContinue »