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and appointed to be observed on those days, on which the Church of England now observes them."*
In the celebration of the Holy Communion, Communicants are required by the Rubrick to receive it in a kneeling posture, which injunction was strongly condemned by the Puritans, and is still objected to by the Presbyterians and other Protestant Dissenters. The objectors proceed upon this principle, that the practice is superstitious, and having the appearance of offering adoration to the elements, has a tendency to favour the Popish doctrine of Transubstantiation. To these ob
jections the friends of the Liturgy reply, that they are sufficiently repelled by the declaration at the end of the Communion Service, which is sufficient to remove every scruple of that kind.
"The Communicants are enjoined whilst they receive this blessed sacrament to be all meekly kneeling. What posture the Apostles received it in is uncertain; but we may probably conjecture that they received it in a posture of adoration. For it is plain that our Saviour blessed and gave thanks both for the bread and the wine; and prayers and thanksgivings, we all know, were always offered up to God in a posture of adoration, and therefore we may very safely conclude that our Blessed Saviour, who was always remarkable for outward reverence in devotion, gave thanks for the bread and the wine in an adoring posture. Now, it is very well known, that it was a rule with the Jews to eat of the Passover to satiety and therefore since they had already satisfied
• Mr. Wheatly's Rational Illustration, &c. of the Sundays and Holy-days, Chap. v, Sect. 2.-See also, on this subject, Hooker's Ecclesiastical Polity, Book v, Sect. 69, 70, 71, 72.6
hunger, they cannot be supposed to have eaten or drank so much of holy Eucharist as that they needed repose while they did it: and since we have already hinted they rose from their, seats to bless the bread, it cannot be imagined that, without any reason, they would resolve to sit down again during the moment of eating it. And then, though they rose immediately a second time at the blessing which was performed, before the delivery of the cup, that they immediately sat down again to taste of the wine, as if they could neither eat nor drink the smallest quantity without sitting. This indeed does not amount to a demonstration, but is yet a very probable conjecture; and shows how groundlessly they argue, who from the Apostles eating the Passover sitting, or leaning upon the left side (which was the table-gesture among those nations), conclude that they eat the Encharist in the same posture, because it was celebrated at the same time.
"But besides, we may observe that the Passover itself was at the first institution of it, commanded to be eaten standing and in haste, to express the haste they were in to be delivered out of their slavery and bondage: but afterwards when they were settled in the Land of Promise, they eat it in a quite contrary posture, viz. sitting, or lying down to it, as to a feast, to signify that they were then at rest and in possession of the Land. And with this custom (though we do not find any where that it was ever commanded, or so much as warranted by God did our blessed Saviour comply, and therefore, doubtless, thought that the alteration of the circumstances was a justifiable reason for changing the ceremonies. But was it ever so certain that a Table-gesture was used at the institution of the Eucharist; yet it is very reasona
ble, since the circumstances of our blessed Saviour are now different from what they were at the institution, that our outward demeanour should also vary. The posture which might then be suitable in the Apostles, is not now suitable in us. While he was corporally present with them, and they conversed with him as Man, without any awful dread upon them which was due to him as the Lord of Heaven and Earth, no wonder if they did use a Table posture. But then their familiarity ought to be no precedent for us who worship him in his Glory, and converse with him in the sacrament, as he is spiritually present, and who therefore should be very irreverent to approach him in any other posture than that of adoration.
"It is worth observing, that they who at other times cry out so much against the Church of England for retaining several ceremonies, which, though indifferent in themselves, they say, become unlawful by being abused by superstition and popery, can, in this more solemn and ma terial ceremony, agree even with the Pope himself (who receives sitting), rather than not differ from the best and purest Church in the world.
"Nor may I pass by unobserved, that the posture of sit. fing was first brought into the Church by the Arians; who stubbornly denying the Divinity of our Saviour, thought it no robbery to be equal with him, and to sit with him at his table; for which reason it was justly banished the Reformed Church in Poland by a general Synod, A. D. 1583. And it is the Pope's opinion of his being St. Peter's successor, and Christ's vicegerent, which prompts him to use such familiarity with his Lord."*
Mr. Wheatly-Order for the Administration of the Lord's Supper. Sect. 23.
“Our kneeling at Communions is the gesture of piety. If we did there present ourselves, but to make some show, or dumb resemblance of a spiritual feast, it may be that sitting were the fitter ceremony: but coming as receivers of inestimable grace at the hands of God, what doth better beseem our bodies at that hour, than to be sensible witnesses of minds unfeignedly humbled? Our Lord himself did that which custom and long usage had made fit; we that which fitness and great decency hath made usual."*
It was one of the articles agreed on by the ten Bishops and twenty Divines, who were empowered by a Commission under the Great Seal in 1689, to effect a Comprehension, that such as declared they could not overcome their scruples, with respect to kneeling at the Communion, should be admitted to it in another posture. But the whole came to nothing by the intemperate zeal of the Lower House of Convocation.
Against the Office for the Ministration of Baptism, three objections have been made;-First, Against the Rubrick that requires the suretiship of Godfathers and Godmothers. Second, Against the use of the Cross in Baptism. Third, Against those expressions of the Litur gy which seem to identify regeneration and baptism.
First Against the Rubrick that requires the suretiship of Godfathers and Godmothers." Are not parents," say the objectors, "the only proper persons to take upon them vows for the religious education of their own children? Is not the acceptance of other sureties, whom the parents themselves very probably would not even
Hooker's Ecclesiastical Polity. Book ▼, 68.
suffer to interfere in the education of, their children, an ordinance calculated to remove, apparently at least, that responsibility which rests on those to whom the God of Providence as well as of Grace has appointed it, and to lay it upon those who, though they undertake it in form, are never likely to think seriously of the matter?" To these objections the friends of the Liturgy reply, that Since the laws of all nations (because infants cannot speak for themselves) have allowed them Guardians to contract for them in secular matters, which contracts, if they be fair and beneficial, the infants must make good when they come to age: it cannot, one would think, be unreasonable for the Church to allow them Spiritual Guardians, to promise those things in their name, without which they cannot obtain salvation. And this too, at the same time, gives security to the Church, that the children shall not apostatize, from whence they are called Sureties; provides Monitors to every Christian, to remind them of the vow which they made in their presence, from whence they are called Witnesses; and better represents the New Birth by giving the Infants new and spiritual relation, whence they are termed Godfathers and Godmothers.
"How long the Church has fixed the number of these sureties, I cannot tell; but by a Constitution of Ed mond, Archbishop of Canterbury, A.D. 1236, and in a Synod held at Worcester, A.D. 1240, I find the same provision made as is now required by our rubrick, viz. That there shall be for every male child that is to be baptized, two Godfathers and one Godmother; and for every female, one Godfather and two Godmothers.
"By the twenty ninth canon of our Church, no parent is to be admitted to answer as godfather for his own child.