Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

"Christ crucified." A Prayer which formerly preceded Baptism, but is here made to us, in conjunction with that action, to convey the very sign of our Baptismal profession. This retaining of the sanctifying, and perhaps half sacramental, use of the Cross, is of itself very significative, particularly in this place; it is withdrawn indeed into the shade, as if in judgment for the profanation it had undergone; but it thus has its use sanctioned by our Church, and is made to be like an emblem, the corner-stone of our profession, a type and badge of our state, instead of the white vestment. The emblem of mortification we retain, but not that of innocence. There are several minor alterations in the Baptismal service of this character. The words "that he may not be "ashamed to confess the Faith of Christ crucified;" and to “con"tinue Christ's faithful soldier and servant unto his life's end;" and that "he may be endued with heavenly virtues;" are not in the ancient forms given in the Origines Liturgicæ. And although there is a parallel form found to our promise, yet the words "walk in the same all the days of thy life," are new. Moreover the following high words of the Latin find no place in our present form, "Templum Dei ingredere." "Sit filius thalami Tui "nuptialis, et hæres regni tui inamnissibilis et perennis."

All these observations, respecting the Office itself, derive an additional force from another peculiarity in the Anglican Church, that of baptizing, as we are required to do, in the public Service of Morning or Evening Prayers; and the reason alleged for this injunction is, that "every man present may be put in remembrance "of his own profession;" that is to say, in the warning voice of the Revelations," that they remember from whence they are fallen, "and repent, and do their first works." The effect of which custom, prescribed by our Church, may be seen in the fact, that as the practice of it is omitted, something else becomes substituted for Baptismal privileges, and Baptismal engagements are lost sight of. In short, the peculiarity of our condition is this: other Churches baptized at the great Festivals, and annually celebrated the same as a joyful solemnity with white robes. We introduce the baptism of others as a warning; set it before men as an involuntary and an unwelcome witness.

In a manner no less striking does the same distinction follow us to Confirmation also: it is surely very remarkable that the commencement of our present Office containing the "renewal "of the solemn promise and vow" is not found in the Books of Edward; but only the latter part, of Sacramental grace given. In minor points also the same alterations and substitutions occur, introducing the lesson of obedience. A Prayer closely rendered from one given in the Origines Liturgica (excepting the allusion to the sign of the Cross as then made), proceeds in words of its own, "that they may be led in the knowledge and "obedience of God's word." The other, which is new, dwells on the same, 66 to direct, sanctify, and govern, both our hearts and "bodies in the ways of Thy laws, and in the words of Thy com

mandments." Contrast these words, thus recurring, with the sensitive dislike evinced to the same in some modern systems, and consider their singularly expressive but silent protest'.

66

1 The addition to the Catechism at the last Review, respecting the Sacraments is too important to escape notice; the more important as furnishing the basis, in fact the text book, for all catechetical teaching. Such a providential insertion respecting the Eucharist may be contrasted with the no less happy omission of an half ambiguous expression against the real and essential "Presence of CHRIST'S "natural Body and Blood" at the Communion, which found its way into Edward's Second Book. To this may be added not only the insertion of the Absolution at the Daily Service, but the alteration of the Rubric at the last Review. The Presbyterians showed a wish to have the word " Priest" always omitted, and supplied by the word "Minister: "this wish implying the different sense they thought the two words capable of, attracted attention, and in consequence the word "Minister" was changed to that of "Priest" in this Rubric. Were it not for this word, the Absolution would now be read often by Deacons, as our own experience well tells us; and the power of Absolution thereby confounded.

Of the same kind is the discontinuance of Baptism by Laymen, allowed in Edward's Books, which would have been very disastrous in its consequences; from the laxity since prevailing.

Our thankfulness for the mention of the Sacraments in the Catechism is sometimes blended with regret at the want of what Nelson wished to have been added respecting the appointed "Stewards of those Mysteries." If it were not irreverent to hazard a thought at the purpose of the Divine Mercy, might we suppose that thus a door was allowed to be left as an opening given to those unlawful

14. The Decalogue in the Communion.

The other subject to be mentioned, where a change has found its place in the inner sanctuary of our worship, is the anomalous introduction of the Commandments into the Communion Service'. The reading of Scripture Lessons in this part of our worship, which is mentioned as having authority, is not quite to the point. If they are to be moral precepts, why is it not from the Gospel? Why are they not the Beatitudes? Why, it may be said, are we to go back to the Law, and have the admonition of servants rather than sons?-Piercing indeed as a two-edged sword, with its deep-searching meanings, and trying the reins: but why only the terrors of Mount Sinai? Why is there to be the sword of the SPIRIT only, and not also the oil and the wine for the wounds it makes, as in the Sermon on the Mount?

Or again, to look at secondary causes, what is the reason, humanly speaking, of their having been introduced? Is not the general effect the opposite to that which was in the thoughts of some of those who were most instrumental in these changes? If foreigners were the cause of its insertion, as also of the Confession and Absolution, and the more frequent use of the Athanasian

Ministers who are now awakening the Church from her lethargy, and have, in some measure, supplied her functions during the sleep that has pervaded her : for who can venture to say that those are worse than that state of spiritual destitution in which this country has left a great portion of her poor, the "pauperes "CHRISTI" committed to her? And this, it may be observed, is the safer way of regarding these unlawful Ministries, viz. not as in any way justifiable, nor indeed to be looked upon, somewhat too theoretically, (which is the tendency of the late Mr. A. Knox's views of Wesleyan Methodism,) as actual Divine dispensations, but rather, we should suppose, as judicial visitations on the Church for her lukewarmness ;-as modes of evil in men converted by the Author of all good into means of counteracting greater evil.

1 "I do not find," says Bishop Cousins, "in any Liturgy, old or new, before "this of the fifth of Edward the VI. here continued, that the Jews' Decalogue 66 was used in the service of the Christian Church."

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Creed, is it not remarkable that the antidote should have come to us from that quarter from which the opposite evils have prevailed? that they should have been the means of inserting into our Church those safeguards which they have not had in the unhappy condition of their own1? Was it in order to bring forward the Fourth Commandment ?-However that may be, it may be observed that the Law, like that command with respect to the Sabbath, is the external fence, the last bulwark, the last line of defence, against the spirit of "the lawless one." In the first and literal sense, it alludes to things of which the Gospel says little or nothing, as of the keeping of the Sabbath, and speaks more to those who require to be awed by "the letter "that killeth," than encouraged by "the SPIRIT that giveth "life"."

Must we not confess,-with love indeed for His mysterious and wonderful care, but with awe and trembling also,-must we not confess in these things, that it can be nothing else but the interposition of an invisible hand? For it is in fact the constant rehearsal of the same Baptismal promise of obedience; for it so happens that this is actually explained in the Catechism by the

1 It has been the object throughout this treatise to set aside all consideration of persons and personal motives, or much might be said on the astonishing fact that those whose object it was, as it were, to Lutheranize our Church, to introduce Justification without Works, to lower the Sacramental sense of Absolution, were instrumental in preserving the contrary, as by the Confession, the Absolution, the Commination Service; and by the very tone of sadness unconsciously instilled, they bear evidence of having fallen away, rather than of renovation to first love.

2 The present inquiry has only had reference to the Liturgy; it can therefore only be just mentioned, that in the Thirty-nine Articles the same practical cautions appear to be inserted; passages that might be omitted without injury to the Articles, such as indicate an indistinct apprehension (whether felt or not by the writers), of approaching ȧvopía, e. g. in Articles vii. ix. x. xii. xiv. xv. xvi. xvii. (especially) xxiii. xxvi. xxvii. xxix. xxxii. xxxiv. xxxviii. xxxix.

The argument from the Articles has, in one respect, a peculiar force on this subject, inasmuch as their being human compositions, and not like Scripture, or like Apostolic and Catholic Tradition, containing principles of universal obligation, or which are capable of universal application, their entire reference is to our own Church as such.

Ten Commandments'. It is therefore this promise again and
again brought before us at the approach to this Sacrament and at
the Altar. It may also be noticed that the only authority which
Mr. Palmer mentions for the introduction of the Decalogue it-
self, at all, is the use of a portion of it in the Anglican Church
during Lent. So that here again that which was peculiar to a
penitential season has become our appointed admonition for our
Festivals and Eucharistic Service, and throughout the year.
was also used to be followed by a response not unlike what we
now have, but not, it seems, repeated after each Commandment,
which gives it a very expressive force. A response, indeed, so
deeply penitent, that Bishop Sparrow says of it, "If there be any
that think this might be spared, as fitter for poor publicans than
saints, let them turn to the parable of the publican and Pharisee."
He speaks of it, therefore, as bearing strongly this character of
humiliation and penitence.

15. The general bearing of this argument on the former.

Now if this second point has been established, with respect to the principle of obedience being made in a very remarkable manner to pervade and distinguish the Services of the Anglican Church, the entire weight of this second argument may be added to all that has been said to establish that of the former treatise. For it may be observed, that if the language for the returning penitent in Scripture is, "I am not worthy to be called thy son, make me as one of thy hired servants;" it is equally clear that the language with which the penitent is received is such as this, Repent, and do thy first works." "Cease to do evil, learn to "do well." "When the wicked man doeth that which is lawful "and right, he shall save his soul alive." And these may be considered to contain the sum and substance of the two prin

66

1 The Decalogue was inserted in the Catechism at the First of Edward, into the Communion Service at the Second Book: the Baptismal promise of Obedience not till the last Review; therefore this remarkable harmony was, humanly speaking, accidental.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
« VorigeDoorgaan »