Page:Tracts for the Times Vol 1.djvu/108

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expression may be allowed,) would make it appear so much the more delicate, and tampering with it so much the more perilous. For, on that supposition, it must be more than humanly interwoven with the very staple of the Scripture History. But, supposing it designed, it may have been suggested by the tenour of the Invitatory Psalm, commonly called, Venite exultemus; which Psalm had been used daily in the Church quite down from primitive times. Many persons, probably, have asked themselves, why that Psalm in particular should be preferred above the many of the same general tenour, for unremitting use in the Church daily. The answer probably may be found in the grave monitory warnings at the end; which, by the case of the Jews in the wilderness, describe so forcibly the position and peculiar danger of a chosen people. That one Psalm may, on reflection, give the key to the arrangement of the Lessons; allowing, of course, for the interruption sometimes caused by the special matter of some great Christian Festival. In general, however, the course of the Lessons will be found adapting itself, with exquisite felicity, to the course of the Festivals also.

Occasionally, the Archbishop's choice may have been influenced, (in subordination, however, to the great principle,) by the connexion of the portion of history with some offence which required warning, but, from the weakness of human nature, was very likely to pass unnoticed. The thirty-fourth of Genesis, and the fifth of Jeremiah, are instances. When men shrink from reading those chapters, they bear witness instinctively to the wisdom and kindness of the Church in ordering them to be read.

Whatever may be one's private opinion, it is not necessary here to maintain, that the general principle suggested above was the very best on which selection might proceed, or that the very aptest chapters of all have been selected in each instance. But clearly, if such a principle be at all recognized, it ought to be most carefully kept in view, whatever insertions or omissions are proposed. Many persons seem to think, that questions of this sort are settled, if on merely comparing the present Lesson with the proposed substitute, it appear that the one, taken singly, is more edifying than the other. But this will not hold, if it be a mistake altogether to take any one singly and apart. The quantity of edification maybe greater on the whole by completing the proposed narrative or argument, though on this or that particular day the impression made may be