25 JUNE 1864, Page 2

Lord Gage withdrew yesterday week his Bill for permitting clergymen

who objected to read the Apocrypha in the daily ser- vice to substitute at pleasure a lesson from the Old Testament, The discussion which induced him to withdraw his Bill contained a good deal of "private judgment " on the Apocryphal bOoks Ecclesiasticus was generally spoken of with deep reverence, but the books of Bel and the Dragon and of Susannah and the Elders were put by Lord Ebury on a level with Jack and the Bean Stalk.

We question whether they should stand so high, but no doubt the Bishop of Oxford was right in saying that the point at issue was a fragment of a larger question, whether the lectionary of the Church might not be improved as a whole ; and that it ought not to be dis- cussed except in relation to that larger question. Bel and the Dragon and Susannah are reprieved for a time. Readings from Ecele.siasticus might well be substituted, as the Bishop of Oxford perhaps intended to convey, for some even of the Old Testament lessons, but how will that agree with the very high language we have lately heard about the Canonical Scripture not only containing but being the word of God ?