תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

m

[ocr errors]

of Canterbury himself is able to what the Devil is, what are his what operation they are renounced, all the while things distinct,--all well from " the sinful lusts of the

" the pomps and vanity of this 1,"—then it is that it may be time ect any tolerably clear and pracdea of all these mysteries to stand ese words in the infant mind, for it of which this composition, such

the morsel first administered. l and all his works.—And in the * Devil himself,—of whom so deniliar a mention, as of one whom Nows,

made.- Where lives he?. What is he? The child itself, did m? by any one, to whom, for the inquiry, the child has access, was

The child, has it ever happened any dealings with him? Is it in er as that of having, at any time, ige, any sort of dealings with him? i to what purpose is this renounceonce more, what is it that is meant ose him, however, to have actually is Devil—that is, speaking of this ve said, I renounce himin what e, other than that which he would i had no such renouncement been engagement, whatever it be, if any, is renunciation has been taken, by acts is it that it would be violated? y among the things that would be ing, were it only that a man might

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]
[ocr errors]

tioned, viz. the keeping God's holy will and commandments.If all the days of his life so it is that a man has been keeping this holy will and these holy commandments, what he has thus been doing, is he to understand then that it will be accepted as sufficient? Not he, indeed: -remain for him to do all these other things, whatsoever they may be.

These things, whatever they are, if so it be that it is in pursuance as well as in

consequence

of the engagement thus taken, that they are to be done by him, then so it is that to his doing them one thing more is necessary; which is, that he understand what they are: unfortunately, here, it will be seen, lies the diffiulty,—and that, to an ordinary understanding, not to speak of extraordinary ones, it is much to be feared, an insuperable one.

Among the three things, or sets of things, that are to be renounced, first come " the Devil and all his works.”—The Devil, who or what is he, and how is it that he is renounced ? — The works of the Devil, what are they, and how is it that they are renounced ?-Applied to the Devil, who or whatever he is,-applied to the Devil's works, whatever they are,—what sort of an operation is renouncement or renunciation ?

To all these several words,—to one of them in particular, by which an idea no less terrific than obscure and indeterminate is wont to be excited, what tolerably distinct ideas can rationally be expected to be attached in the mind of infant simplicity and ignorance? When the holy person, whose name is next under the Sovereign's, seated on the pinnacle of theological science,--when

[ocr errors]

the Archbishop of Canterbury himself is able to tell us who or what the Devil is, what are his works, and by what operation they are renounced, -they being all the while things distinct,_all of thein,

-as well from “ the sinful lusts of the ci flesh

as from “ the pomps and vanity of this “ wicked world,”-then it is that it may be time enough to expect any tolerably clear and practically useful idea of all these mysteries to stand attached to these words in the infant mind, for the nourishment of which this composition, such as we see it, is the morsel first administered.

The Devil and all his works.”—And in the first place, the Devil himself,—of whom so decided and familiar a mention, as of one whom every body knows, is made.- Where lives he ? Who is he? What is he? The child itself, did it ever see him? by any one, to whom, for the purpose of the inquiry, the child has access, was he ever seen? The child, has it ever happened to it to have any dealings with him? Is it in any such danger as that of having, at any time, to his knowledge, any sort of dealings with him? -If not, then to what purpose is this renouncement? and, once more, what is it that is meant by it? Suppose him, however, to have actually renounced this Devil that is, speaking of this Devil, to have said, I renounce himin what condition is he, other than that which he would have been in had no such renouncement been made?—The engagement, whatever it be, if any, which by this renunciation has been taken, by what act or acts is it that it would be violated? This is surely among the things that would be worth knowing, were it only that a man might have it in his power to avoid the violating—the breaking-of this his engagement, without knowing and for want of knowing what it is.

The Devil and all his works !"-Exists there any where any real being to which this name is applicable? If yes, exists there any sufficient reason for supposing that he ever made his appearance upon this earth ?--ever made his presence sensible to, exhibited his person to the senses of, any human being that ever lived ?

Not by unbelievers only, but by many a pious Christian, is the existence of any such being not merely doubted of, but, for such reasons as to them have been satisfactory, utterly denied: the sort of being mentioned under this name being, in their notion of the matter, no other than an allegorical one; the passages, in which mention is made of him, so many purely allegorical or figurative expressions.

Figurative, and nothing more, was and is, according to them, the existence of this personage : figurative, and upon a line with that of Jupiter and Juno and the other inhabitants of the classical heaven, subjects or colleagues to those celestial potentates.

True, say certain fathers of the primitive Christian church. Yes; most exactly indeed upon a par were and are the Devils, great and small, with those Gods and Goddesses, great and small—with those Dii majorum gentium-with those Dii minorum gentium. Strange, indeed, if they were not upon a par, when in truth they were and are the very same. Who ?-yes-who were Jupiter and Juno and the rest of them? Who, but so many Devils, who, applying their

influence to the inhabitants of this earth, caused themselves to be respectively worshipped under those classic names.

In these later times, to men of the deepest learning,—though among them it probably would not be easy to find many, if any, to join their suffrages on this question with those of the abovementioned fathers,—every thing relative to this personage, and in particular his existence, is matter of doubt and difficulty, and as between this and that one of them is matter of dispute. At the same time, even among babes and sucklings, there is not one who is not qualified to decide upon it, and so well qualified as in this our Church to be forced to decide upon it, and to decide upon it accordingly.

To any such tender mind how indeed should it be matter of doubt or difficulty!—when, besides being assured of the existence of this personage by the earliest of all lessons and highest of all authorities (for that of the Bible,-a book of which the sense is to be taken upon the credit of this improved substitute, is but derivative)-- not only his nature but his very form is brought to view and made known by those portraitures, which are to be seen every where, and in particular in so many copies of the Book of Common Prayer, of which this Catechism forms a part.

To the learned, as well as to the gay, among persons of riper years, such portraitures, with the infinite variety of tales connected with them, are either subjects of merriment or objects of indifference. But, to the multitude of the young and uninformed, whose learning beging and ends with this so highly magnified summary, serious indeed

с

« הקודםהמשך »