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FEMALE SUPERINTENDENTS OF SUNDAY-SCHOOLS. REV. SIR,- I am teacher in a Sunday-school in Hampshire, which is under the conduct of a gentleman superintendent, and two secretaries-one for the boys, the other for the girls. Now, the inconvenience arising from not having a lady as superintendent, exclusively for the girls, has been most seriously felt by myself, and a few others, and has prompted me to ask your advice, the favour of which will much oblige Yours faithfully,
AN ANXIOUS ENQUIRER.
SUMMARY OF PASSING EVENTS. “There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel
of the Lord that shall stand.” We step out of the usual order of our monthly narration, to say a few words on the present Ecclesiastical movement towards Rome, in the Church of England. We purposely abstain from introducing much controversial matter in these remarks generally, feeling that the class for whose benefit this publication is intended, will best perform their work with minds as little engrossed with topics of that nature as possible. Fidelity, however, to the little we assume, and the notoriety of the events to which we allude, and the probable good to be derived from a brief notice of them, make our caution in the present case unnecessary.
The supreme head of the Tractarian party in the Church, Mr. Newman, has at length seceded to Rome, and carried with him or preceded a few of the extreme thinkers of the sect, of whom Mr. Oakeley is perhaps the most influential. Right-minded men cannot but rejoice, on the very first view of the
case, that persons who hold doctrines essentially Popish, and contrary to the formularies of our Church, should throw off the mask, and join that communion where they are taught. The murrain may be deadly and contagious, but at any rate it is then known; and it is no longer a poison draught labelled, “cordial and specific,” but has, at least, received its right designation, and unfolded its real character. But the secessions are comparatively few, and they drop off like the autumn leaves in this calm and frostless season-reluctantly and slowly. In dissecting the catalogue of those who have already left, we find the names of few influential, wise, or old-standing men in the Church. More than one may be asterisked, as having escaped not more than five or six years from their undergraduateship in the University, which materially lessens the importance of the catalogue of conversions which has been recently put forward. More than one, we doubt not, can be traced, whose acquaintance with the distinctive theology of the English Church has been gained from few other sources than the “Tracts for the Times ;" or, “No 90;" whose reading in divinity, and Ecclesiastical antiquity, has been neither broad, extensive, or discriminating. Of their good intentions, and worth of character, we say nothing: of that the Searcher of hearts alone can know. But what else could be expected of men whose experience had not been enlarged by time, whose judgments had probably been weakened and corrupted by partial and controversial studies, whose minds had not been stocked with a good anti-papistical store of positive truth, than that, when their leaders blew the trumpet of secession, they should follow, and be convinced that their step was right, because their motives (may be) were sincere and their intentions laudable ?
A natural consequence of the fact we have stated, and an indirect evidence of its truth, is, that these clergymen or laymen of the University have carried with them very few of their friends or congregations. Had they been laborious clergymen of many years standing in the Church, and influential in their several spheres, we should have seen the schism spread itself rapidly and deeply among their flocks; but now, with the exception of a few from Mr. Oakeley's chapel, and Mr. Cape's, of Bridgewater, (who seceded some four months ago,) men remain as they were. Let our readers, then, give ONLY ITS DUE WEIGHT to the lists of those who have entered the Romish communion. We are expecting some full manifesto from Mr. Newman, detailing the reasons of his separation, but we suspect that the grounds of secession with the various persons who compose it are almost as various as the persons themselves. Some will say that the step was necessary, because they discovered that they could not hold all Roman doctrine, and remain consistent members of the English Church ; others that they were driven out, because she possesses none of the marks of an apostolical and Catholic Church ; others, again, because her succession is at the least doubtful, if not positively interrupted; some that her articles breathe the spirit of an ambiguous inconsistency; and others may hope to find peace and a refuge in the penances and confessional, the sacrifices and priestly virtue, the gorgeous ceremonial and affecting services, the seeming unity and semblance of Catholicity in the Romish Church, which they could not find, because they did not seek it aright, in humiliation of soul, and God's well-owned sacrifices, a broken and contrite spirit, in prayer and spirituality, in faith and loving obedience. May God preserve those who remain from being perverted and drawn aside.
An occasional paper has been lately published by the Pastoral Aid Society, in which it gives a cheering account of its past and present operations. Since 1836, it has rendered assistance to 581 of the clergy; and 253 incumbents are at present receiving assistance from it! The charges of these clergymen extend over a population amounting to one eighth of the whole of England and Wales, about 2,000,000 of souls. But many applications are compelled to be rejected, or laid by for a time, in consequence of its limited income, £20,000 per annum. The society has pledged itself to give £500, towards maintaining the Southwark clergy; of the destitution of which parish, we gave some statistics a few months ago ; and £4000 additional would only cover its expenses. We trust that it will be liberally supported.
Lord Ashley, at a meeting of operatives in Manchester a short time ago, gave notice of his moving on the first night of next Session his ten hours Manufacturers' Bill. An intelligence which was received with great approbation.
We have but little space for foreign news this month. We regret to state that a serious affray between the New Zealanders, under the turbulent Heki, and our soldiers has taken place. 53 of the latter were killed and wounded. Christianity and war are very discordant terms. We trust, however, that tranquillity will be at length restored.—The king of Prussia, in a recent address to the citizens of Berlin, his capital, has manifested great indignation at the New German Reformation under M. Ronge, and the supposed sympathy which they (the burghers) shew towards it. But no dictates of a monarch, however despotic, can now, we think, stay its progress.—The discovery of a widely ramified and well concocted plan of infidelizing Germany (even more than it has been of late) has been just discovered at Neufchatel. Its members are mostly German operatives, who travel from their country to Switzerland, professed atheists, and who have bound themselves in a secret Propaganda Society to spread their tenets, which are also political as well as religious, amongst their countrymen in Germany. We are glad to say that the ringleaders have been banished from the Swiss Confederation.
END OF VOL. III.
FOSTER, PRINTER, KIRKBY LONSDALE.
WILLIAM CARUS WILSON, M. A.
RECTOR OF WHITTINGTON,
LONDON: SEELEY, BURNSIDE, AND SEELEY, FLEET STREET.
FOSTER, KIRKBY LONSDALE.