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which it gloried. Finally, in 1618 and 1619, we find a bishop of our church and five other eminent divines, (two of whom afterwards became bishops') sitting in the Synod of Dordrecht with the deputies of all the Reformed churches of Europe; and those (with the full consent and concurrence of the Archbishop of Canterbury, with whom they were in constant correspondence all the time) acknowledging, and acknowledged by, the representatives of those churches as faithful brethren in Christ,-having with them one faith and one religion, which they cordially united to defend and maintain in its purity.
From this very hasty and imperfect glance at the historical evidence of the cordial agreement of the Church of England, both in doctrine and affection, with the reformed churches in general, we must now turn to the consideration of the language and spirit of our Articles and Formularies. This is the main point to which we would direct attention. There are some indeed, who would represent the Church of England as intolerant and exclusive,-refusing all intercourse or communion with those who do not fully concur with her in form and discipline and government; they would fasten upon her the same sectarian and schismatical character, which is so hateful in the Church of Rome, to which, alas! (in other respects also) they desire and endeavour to assimilate her. Our design and purpose is, on the contrary, to show that, as a true branch of the one Catholic and Apostolic Church, she breathes a truly catholic spirit and apostolical love. We use the word catholic in its true and proper sense, and not in that perverted sense in which it is often used by the most uncatholic of men.
Now the first point to which we would advert, in order to prove this, is the obvious fact that, in her administration of Christian ordinances, the Church of England requires no special recognition of, or pledge of allegiance to, herself as a particular and national Church, but only the recognition of the catholic faith. Our Artieles assert that, "Every particular or national Church hath authority to ordain, change, and abolish ceremonies or rites of the Church, ordained only by man's authority, so that all things be done to edifying." (Art. xxxiv.) And, acting on this principle, our Church, in the assertion of her own Christian liberty, has adopted such rites and ceremonies, and such formularies as appeared, after much deliberation, to be scriptural and edifying. We continue to administer
The English Deputies were, George Carlton, Bishop of Landaff, and afterwards of Chichester, John Davenant, afterwards Bishop of Salisbury, Samuel Ward, D.D. Master of Sidney College, Cambridge, Joseph Hall, afterwards Bishop of Norwich, who, being obliged to return on account of ill health, was replaced by Thomas Goad, D.D., Precenter of St. Paul's, and Walter Balcanqual, B. D. a Scotchman, and (as we suppose) a Minister of the Scottish Episcopal Church.
the ordinances of Christian worship accordingly,-being convinced "that the Book of Common Prayer . . . . containeth in it nothing contrary to the word of God, and that it may lawfully so be used."i Every particular church must, of course, act upon its own judgment in such matters: nor, while it maintains its own Christian liberty herein, can it be considered as interfering with, or condemning, the Christian liberty of others. This being understood, the ordinances as administered by our Church, are free to all who are willing to partake of them. No profession of faith is required, but that which is contained in the Three Creeds of the Antient Church: no vows or pledges are required, but those baptismal vows which are implied in the very profession of Christianity. So that if any Christian should come from the ends of the earth, knowing nothing of any controversies in which we have been involved, or of any special points, which (as the result of such controversies) we may feel ourselves called upon to maintain, he is welcome to attend upon Christian ordinances among us, so long as he sojourns here, and can do so with edification; and no questions are asked about his or our particular views. If he would bring his children to baptism, no confession of faith is required but the Apostles' Creed, -no renunciation but that of the world, the flesh, and the devil, -no obedience to any thing but God's holy will and commandments; and, upon these professions and promises, the child is received "into the congregation of Christ's flock," it is considered grafted into the body of Christ's Church," the Church of England is not so much as once named. Or, if he himself should desire to come to the holy communion, no profession of faith is required but the Nicene Creed; and he is received, not as a member of this or that particular Church, but as a member "incorporate in the mystical body" of Christ, "which is the blessed company of all faithful people." 2 The Church of England, again we say, is not so much as named. It is as a member of the Universal Church that he is received-that he is treated-that he is called upon to unite in prayer and supplication, " for the whole state of Christ's Church militant here on earth." If he should conscientiously object to our services, that is his concern, he thereupon excludes himself. But our Church does not exclude him, if he only comes as a Christian-as a member of the Universal Church,
1 See the form of subscription in the 36th Canon.
2 See Second Thanksgiving after the Communion.
3 Whether several expressions in our Liturgy might not have been omitted or altered, in generous consideration of the conscientious scruples of our Brethren, is a different question. We have no hesitation in saying, that they might, and should have been :though we ourselves object to none of them, and even prefer most of them as they stand.
We cannot conceive how our Church could act in a more truly catholic spirit.
We would next direct attention to the language of OUR PRAYERS. These may truly be said to be characterized by largeness of heart, that would embrace all those in every place, and under every variety of circumstances, for whom prayer could be offered. We might particularly notice the " Collect or Prayer for all conditions of men," in which we first pray to God, as the Creator and Preserver of all mankind," " for all sorts and conditions of men," that He would be pleased to make His ways known unto them, His saving health unto all nations." And then, "more especially... for the good estate of the Catholic Church,"-including (in its largest sense)" all who profess and call themselves Christians," that they "may be led into the way of truth, and hold the faith in unity of spirit, in the bond of peace, and in righteousness of life." Those petitions are enlarged upon in the Litany, in which, with deep humiliation we pray that it may please the Lord" to rule and govern His holy Church universal in the right way;"" that it may please Him to bless and keep all His people,"" to give to all nations unity, peace, and concord,"" to give to all His people increase of grace,"-" to bring into the way of truth all such as have erred, and are deceived,"-" to succour, help, and comfort all that are in danger, necessity, and tribulation,”—“ to have mercy upon all men," and, finally, "to forgive our enemies, persecutors, and slanderers, and to turn their hearts." We know not what language could be used in prayer, to express more largeness of heart, or more of a truly catholic spirit. If there be limitation. or exclusion, it must be in the mental reservations of those who use such prayers, it is not in the language or sense of the prayers themselves. We leave such mental reservations to Papists; as Protestants we abhor them.
The Prayer for the Church Militant, in the Communion Service, is in the very same spirit. We must remember that the Lord's Supper is, in its very nature, "a sign of the love that Christians ought to have among themselves one to another," (though this is by no means the only point of view in which it is to be regarded) Art. xxviii. "For which cause it is called the Lord's Table, the Lord's Supper, a Communion of the Body of Christ; and they that partake thereof, though they be many, yet are but one bread, and one body. This is the doctrine of all Christian Churches.1
It is, therefore, specially required of them who come to the Lord's Supper, "To examine themselves, whether they . . . . be in
See Thomas Rogers on the XXVIIIth Article.
charity with all men." They should indeed, at that sacred feast, particularly remember their dying Lord's command,--that new commandment, in which He so emphatically enjoins all His true disciples to love one another as He hath loved them. "By this shall all men know that ye are MY DISCIPLES, if ye have love one to another." (John xiii. 34, 35.) If this commandment be forgotten ;-if instead of a feast of love and union among all those who love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity, the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper is regarded as a symbol of division and separation, it ceases to be the holy Communion; its essential character is taken away: "the cup of blessing" is no longer "the COMMUNION of the blood of Christ" "the bread which we break" is no longer " the coMUNION of the body of Christ :" they can only be so, so long, and so far, as we being many are one bread and one body; for we are all partakers of that one bread." (1 Cor. x. 16, 17.)
Our Church, therefore, teaches us to come to that holy Table, beseeching God "to inspire continually the Universal Church with the spirit of truth, unity, and concord:" and to "grant that all they that do confess His holy name may agree in the truth of His holy word, and live in unity and godly love." A comparison of the two clauses of the prayer shows plainly that, in the judg ment of the Church of England, "the Universal Church" consists of "all those that do confess God's holy name." There cannot be a more truly catholic definition of it. And if this prayer had been drawn up with special reference to the question of Christian union, we know not what more appropriate language could have been used that breathed a more catholic spirit.
We shall not attempt to go through the whole Prayer-book for illustrations of the catholic spirit which pervades it. Those who have really studied it must know, that we have by no means exhausted the subject. We will therefore conclude this portion of our proof by quoting the " Prayer for Unity," which is found in the "Form of Prayer with Thanksgiving," for the day of Her Majesty's accession to the throne.
"O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, our only Saviour, the Prince of Peace; give us grace seriously to lay to heart the great dangers we are in by our unhappy divisions. Take away all hatred and prejudice, and whatsoever else may hinder us from godly union and concord: that, as there is but one body, and one Spirit, and one hope of our calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all, so we may henceforth be all of one heart, and of one soul, united in one holy bond of truth and peace, of faith and charity, and may with one mind and one mouth glorify Thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
This might have been drawn up expressly for the recent Conference at Liverpool: or that Conference might have originated from a serious consideration of the language and spirit of this prayer.
Now we suppose it will be granted that, if there be any occasion, beyond all others, in which it behoves us to take heed that the language of our lips is indeed the language of our hearts, and that the words which we utter are indeed the words of sincerity and truth, it is when we humble ourselves before the Searcher of hearts in prayer. In the common intercourse of life, we despise the man, who does not mean what he says. What then shall be thought of the man who does not mean what he prays? Must he not, in the judgment both of God and man, be condemned as a hypocrite? Shall we then say that the Church of England has deliberately put the prayer of the hypocrite into the mouths of those who worship in her courts? Yet what else would all these prayers from which we have quoted be, if there be not in the hearts of all her faithful children, a real heart's desire that all Christian people, in every part of the world, "should live in unity and godly love?" And, if there be that real desire in our hearts, will not our conduct correspond therewith? If there be not practical endeavours to promote this unity and love, when opportunity offers, shall we not still be exposed to the condemnation of those, whose prayers and practice very ill agree? All that we desire for ourselves, and for all who belong to the Church of England, is, that our practice may be found consistent with our prayers: that we may be as ready to seek and embrace occasions, to cultivate "unity and godly love" with all who do confess God's holy name, as we are to pray for it.
Among those who profess and call themselves Churchmen, there are not a few who seem to be very fond of appealing to the Prayerbook, but who are very shy of any reference to the Articles. They are, perhaps, not aware of it themselves; but this is a tacit confession that the Articles are against them. We have no sympathy with such persons. Sound doctrine is the foundation on which a Church is built; apart from sound doctrine there can be no true, no intelligent devotion; and the doctrine of our Church is best known by the thirty-nine Articles; .... the Articles by the words whereby they are expressed; . . . . and other doctrine than in the said Articles is contained, our Church neither hath nor holdeth; and other sense they cannot yield than their words do impart." Will then such persons as those to whom we have just referred, appeal to our Articles to justify their exclusiveness
See Thomas Rogers in the Dedication of the work already referred to.