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“forasmuch,” says the letter," as he upon appeal, by himself and his coun . asks nothing new, but follows the ex- sellors. amples of his predecessors, that the A narrative of the course of probishop of Rome, if his cause is not ceedings in the fourth general countrusted to a council, should defend cil, assembled at Chalcedon, thirtyhimself before the Emperor's own coun- two years after the African synod of cil. For Pope Silvester, when ac- 419, would exhibit a more ludicrous cused by sacrilegious persons, main- contrast to the Oxford addressers' tained his own cause before your an- statement. But the length of this cestor, Constantine. And similar es- article will only allow me to mention, amples, from the Scriptures, are at briefly, that the Emperor Marcian hand; for when the holy Apostle was commissioned a number of his chief oppressed by the presiding func- ministers of state to attend it; and tionary, he appealed to Cæsar, and to they occupied the chief place of honCæsar he was sent.”—Labbe. Concilia, our; and when these laymen had extom. ii. col. 1003.
amined certain prelates who had It cannot be necessary to say any borne a prominent part in a previous more to prove this first statement of council, they drew up, and read to the the Oxford addressers an untruth; council, a sentence pronouncing that and such as any person at all learned half-a-dozen reverendissimi, including in ecclesiastical history ought to have the bishops of Alexandria and Jeruknown to be an untruth. They have salem, should be deprived of the told, or are about to tell, her Majesty, episcopal dignity, if it should so for I do not know whether the ad- please the emperor; upon which the dress has been presented, that the assembled prelates and ecclesiastics, only authority claimed by christian whom our addressers would style the emperors, and acknowledged by the Church, instead of protesting against Church, in ecclesiastical causes, has this lay interference, exclaimed, very been to give, upon appeal, new epis- generally, “ This judgment is just! copal judges; whereas this ancient Long live the senators ! Long live Pope, and his co-addressers, tell the the emperors !" Whilst the dissenchristian emperors of their day, that tients only ventured to cry out, “We the bishops of Rome had always have all erred; we should all be pardeemed it their right to be judged, doned.” Basnage, tom. iii. p. 457.
Hasilbury Bryan, Jan. 10, 1851.
A PLEA FOR OPEN-AIR PREACHING.
IN A LETTER ADDRESSED TO THE INCUMBENTS OF ALL LARGE TOWN PARISHES, AND
RURAL DISTRICTS, THROUGHOUT THE UNITED CHURCH OF ENGLAND, IRELAND, AND WALES: BY THE REV. J. H. TITCOMB, M.A., PERPETUAL CURATE OF st.
ANDREW THE LESS, CAMBRIDGE. Beloved brethren in the ministry,– the time has now arrived when things Nothing but the deepest conviction of are no longer to be condemned beduty could urge me to address you ; cause strange. We live in an age nor should I do so, now, without the which is marked by the deepest and concurrence of wise and good men. most heart-stirring realities. We are I am aware that I possess no personal surrounded by evident proofs that claim on your attention, except, per great and wondrous transformations haps, that I write with an experi- are taking place throughout all the mental acquaintance of my subject. moral, social, and political circles of I am aware, also, that the cause I in- our country
Some of these, no tend to advocate is a strange one, doubt, are for the better ; but many, and that the very mention of it is alas, are for the worse.
Never was sufficient, with many persons, to there a time when the enemy of souls raise a prejudice against me. But proyed himself more active.
press teems with infidel publications. Let me then bring before you a The railways groan under the burden system of open-air preaching under the of their sabbath desecration. The five following considerations :Church itself is so split into contend- 1. The Bible authorizes it. 2. Ecing parties, that the masses of our clesiastical usage sanctions it. 3. The fellow countrymen may reasonably state of the country requires it. 4. Miturn round upon us with the question nisterial responsibility demands it. of Pilate, and ask us, “What is 5. Love for the Church of England truth?” Think of the perversions invites it. that are daily taking place to Popery. But before I enter upon these Contemplate the bold invasion of the points it seems right to define what I land by the Papacy itself. Reflect
mean by open-air preaching, and to upon the utter indifference to religion explain the limits within which it is which runs throughout multitudes of here proposed for adoption. In doing nominally professing Christians. Call which, I shall only be clearing the to mind the fearful state of spiritual ground away from difficulties which destitution which exists in our large almost necessarily suggest themselves and overgrown parishes. Is it not evi- to cautious and sober-minded men, dent that our most energetic efforts at
and which seem to stand at the very the present moment are failing to keep threshold of the subject as an insurpace with the rapid progress of evil? mountable barrier to its usefulness. What, then, are we to do? Shall we We commonly associate with opencontent ourselves with empty com- air preaching, the idea of some ignoplaints? Are we to sit down with rant man standing on a chair or tub, folded hands, and say, We have done and there enforcing the Gospel with all,
-we can do no more? God for- wild gesticulations. We are apt to bid! While there is a single effort left think of it as the combined effect of unemployed, it is our duty at once to indiscretion and excitement. But embrace it. Every day that we delay, this is by no means necessary. In our national responsibilities are in- proposing it to you, my beloved brecreasing ; the moral plague is spread- thren, as an important element in the ing; immortal souls are perishing. work of evangelizing your parishes, And may I not assume, beloved bre- I appear before you as no ignorant thren, that you have a love for im- fanatic, nor as any irregular churchmortal souls? Ought not this to be It is my profound conviction, the one constraining motive of your that if we act in the matter judici. ministry ? May I not appeal to it as ously, it will be possible to commence an a priori argument in favour of this bold and arduous scheme with a your attention to the proposed subject strict observance of church order, of consideration ? True, it may be a and so far from injuring our influence novel and unpleasant subject. But for good, to widen and establish it what degree of novelty–what amount throughout the country. of naturally inherited prejudice ought To effect this, I would suggest that to weigh for a moment in the balance, every Incumbent who ventures when the salvation of thousands of adopt the course, should be very careimmortal souls, and, I may add, the ful, in the first place, not to let it in welfare of our own Church, are at any way interfere with his general stake? Slender indeed would be the ministerial duties; otherwise, what hopes I should entertain for our he gained in one way, he would proChurch if I could not appeal to you bably lose in another. Moreover, I with firm confidence that you will should strongly oppose the adoption respect motives such as these. I of it during any of the canonical therefore commend the following hours on Sunday. And I think, in views to your most careful and pray- general, that the more prudent course erful attention; and pray the Lord, would be to limit it to the week-day in mercy, to unite all our hearts in evenings, at some time when the this great work, as the heart of one work of the labouring classes would
Nor should it be adopted
so frequently as to become too ordi- terruption. The passing and repassnary a means of grace, lest, instead of ing of carriages would take away proving an attraction to the house of from the solemnity of the discourse. God, it should tend rather to make And, in the next place, it would submen think they can do without it. ject him to the imputation of being a It would be advisable, also, to have disturber of public business. Morea moveable pulpit, made for such oc- over, if any violations of good order casions, or if this were thought too should ensue, there is no doubt the expensive, a platform might be made, magistrates would hold him responsilarge enough to sustain three or four ble for it; and it would instantly be chairs; in which case the preacher argued that he was disgracing his might be attended by a few of his clerical character. To meet which brother clergy. I would also strongly objections, I would propose the seurge the propriety of preaching in lection of a spot as retired as posproper canonical dress, and of mak- sible. In rural districts, this would ing it evident in every other way pos- be easily obtained; in towns it would, sible, that the whole proceeding is of course, be more difficult. But, consistent with the observance of even here, there are always to be church order.
found either courts without any thoThus, the practice ought to be roughfare, or old brickfields, or filledstrictly parochial. I would not, for up gravel-pits, or patches of ground a moment, advocate any itinerant to be let on building lease, belonging method of open-air preaching. Such to private persons, with whose cona system would introduce endless sent, the clergyman of the parish confusion into the Church,- multiply- might at any time secure a suitable ing those sad divisions which at pre- spot for preaching. And one great sent exist among the clergy, and advantage which would result from raising up new grounds for schism selecting a plot of private, not comamong the people. What I wish to mon land, would be the right of the see is, each Incumbent taking up the police, acting in behalf of the owner matter in his own parish, and thus of the property, to exclude any misincreasing his own influence by mak- behaving person as a trespasser. ing bimself the centre of the move- As regards the preaching itself, it ment.
would ill become me to advise ; I am I would venture, also, to suggest sure that all who attempted it in a that the spot selected for preaching spirit of love to Christ, and with a be a retired one :- this is most im- simple desire to save souls, would be portant. Nothing would act as a led by Divine grace to preach with more successful obstacle against the faith and power ;- sparing no sins, good results of open-air preaching, fearing no frowns, and shrinking than the selection of a public tho- from no cross. And this I am bold roughfare. And very naturally so; to say, that while God says, “ Those for, in the first place, it would expose who honour me, I will honour," no the preacher to an inconvenient pres- one need fear for the result. sure, and to constant sources of in
[To be continued.)
We invite the Incumbents of large parishes, whose constant complaint it is that they cannot get at the masses among their people, to follow up the valuable remarks of Mr. Titcomb, and to send us any thoughts or hints which may occur to them upon the important subject of ministering to those who will not, or perhaps cannot, come within their churches.- ED.
Correspondence. [The Editors are not responsible for every statement or opinion of their correspondents, at the same time, their object is to open the pages of their Magazine to those only, who seek the real good of that Protestant Church with which it is in connexion.] To the Editor of the Christian Guardian.
“ That matter which was desired by all
good men, and which the King's Majesty Sir, - In an article in your last had not a little at heart, could not be acnumber, entitled “ The power of complished ; wherefore as yet things reself-extrication in the Church of Eng- main to a great extent as they were be. land,” as well as in the letter of Mr. fore, except that the Book or Order of Jordan, there are remarks of great Ecclesiastical Rites, and the administraimportance, which well deserve the tion of the Sacraments, is reformed; for attention of all true churchmen. all things are removed from it which
But the I believe that
could nourish superstition. many of your readers agree with the writer of the former
chief reason why other things which were article, as I do most cordially, that purposed could not be effected, was that “ the actual language of the Baptismal way; not truly as regards transubstantia
the subject of the sacraments stood in the Service, taken literally and gram- tion, since, thanks be to God, concerning matically, apart from explanation these things there seems to be now no and reference to the Articles, does controversy, as it regards those who procompletely favour the view of those fess the Gospel; but whether grace is conwho build thereon the strongest ar- ferred by virtue of the sacraments, is a gument for what they call their sa- point of which many are in doubt. And cramental scheme." And I think that, there have been some who have altogether with Mr. Jordan, they will " consider held the affirmative, and were desirous it a most safe and sound principle, that this doctrine should be established
But when others that in nothing should we go beyond by public authority. and exceed Scripture, however plau
saw clearly how many superstitions such sible and conclusive our deductions
a determination would bring with it, they
made it a primary point to endeavour in from it might seem to be.”
all ways to show, that nothing more is In vain we petition the Queen to
granted to the sacraments than to the excheck the spread of Tractarian leaven ternal Word of God; for by both these in the Church, while we retain in any kinds of word is signified and shewn to of her formularies, such passages as us the salvation obtained for us through give the Romanizing party a founda- Christ. Moreover it were added that it tion on which to build their “wood, was impossible that the sacraments should hay, and stubble.”
be worthily received, unless those whe rcOur petitions to the Queen, con
ceive them have beforehand that which is demnatory of Tractarianism, should signified by them; for unless faith is prebe accompanied or followed up by
sent they are always received unworthily ;
but if they who come to the sacraments a humble request that the Reforma
are endued with faith, they have already tion, so happily progressing in the
received through faith the grace which is reign of Edward the 6th, and which proclaimed to us in the sacraments, and retrograded in the reign of Elizabeth, then the reception and use of the sacramay be at length carried out to its ments is the seal and obsignation of the completion, according to what we
promise already apprehended.... We were believe to be the intention of our Re- anxious that these things should be deterformers.
mined and established by authority conThat the more spiritually minded cerning the sacraments, that their use amongst them contemplated a further might be restored at length to a state of expurgation of our formularies
purity and simplicity. But it was opbe fairly inferred from the recently posed... and there are innumerable imdiscovered letter of Peter Martyr, pediments, and they mutually succeed
one another, so as to retard day after day bearing date 14th June, 1552; written
the restoration of the worship of God. A from Oxford at the time when he was
work of so great labour is it to bring back Regius Professor of Divinity in that into the Church pure truth. But we university. In that letter to his friend must not on that account despair; nay, Bullinger he says,
we are not a little confident that that may
be accomplished at some other time, which plicity;" and he laments that so many has now failed of success.
impediments “retarded day by day Mr. Goode, in his notes on this letter, the restoration of the worship of God.” would persuade us that Martyr's “A work of so great labour,” he “confidence,” expressed in the last adds, " is it to bring back into the passage here quoted, was realized by Church pure truth.'
If he were the publication of the Articles in altogether satisfied with the rituals, 1553; and that he was previously why should he be so anxious that the satisfied with the Prayer-Book in which Use of the sacraments should at length the baptismal service is substantially be restored to a state of purity and the same that it now is. But all he simplicity ? This term implies that says to evince his satisfaction with he had in view the ritual used in the the Prayer-Book is contained in the administration of the sacraments, and following passage of the above ex- especially (as the sentences which foltract, as yet things remain to a great low show) the baptismal rituals. extent as they were before, except But if, as Mr. Goode supposes, all that the book or order of ecclesias- his anxiety was about the publication tical rites and the administration of of the Book of Articles, even on such the sacraments is reformed, for all a supposition, his satisfaction with things are removed from it which the ritual could not have been very could nourish superstition.” But great, since, by his own admission, then he goes on to say, “But the " the use of the sacraments” chief reason why other things that in a state of purity and simplicity, were purposed were not effected, was which it would have been, if it had that the subject of the sacraments clearly and unequivocally expressed stood in the way; not truly as re- the true doctrine. gards transubstantiation, or the real Consequently, even on Mr. Goode's presence; ... but whether grace is view of the subject (which, for the conferred by virtue of the sacraments, above reasons, I do not think to be is a point about which many are in the correct one) viz., that “ the busidoubt.” The plain meaning of which ness, which was desired by all good seems to be, that though superstitious men, and which the king had not a observances were abolished, the doc- little at heart, and which could not be trine taught in the sacramental ser- accomplished," was the publication of vices (especially in that of baptism, the Book of Articles ; — which, morewhich is the especial subject of his over, was accomplished a few months remarks, which follow) was left in an afterwards. Even on this view, can unsatisfactory state; and that a sub- we imagine that Martyr had much stantial revision could not be effected “satisfaction with the Prayer-Book,” because of opponents. His "satis- when he was so anxious that there faction" with the Prayer-Book, as should be an authoritative declaraMr. Goode terms it, amounted to tion, in order that “the use of the nothing more than an approval of its sacraments,” and “the worship of purification from what could nourish God," should be restored to a state superstition. And it seems evident of purity and simplicity ? If the bapfrom his language throughout the tismal ritual wanted an authoritative above extract, that his "anxiety” is declaration to explain it,--and it is not about a dogmatic declaration, con- evident that the sacrament of baptism cerning the doctrine of the sacra- is what he chiefly has in view in his ments—such as was then in prepara- letter, -lest its use should be pertion, and which was so satisfactorily verted, it could not have a very high embodied in the Articles of 1552 place in his estimation. but about a further purification of the Whichever view we take of the rituals. “ We were anxious,” he says, above letter of Peter Martyr, I think “that these things should be deter- the fair conclusion we must come to mined concerning the sacraments, is, that he, and those Reformers who that THEIR USE might at length be re- were like-minded with himself, would stored to a state of purity and sim- have heartily joined in any well-con