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the sword, could separate from the love of Christ? O! rather, touched by these hallowed associations, let us emulate the christian boldness that glowed within their breasts, and be examples of the christian charity that embalms their memories.
Thirdly, the authority of Scripture claims our highest regard. You will observe it is a principle of which we are in search, and, provided we discover that, it is comparatively immaterial to what extent it be carried. We do recognize the principle in the song of Moses, after the waters of the Red Sea had swallowed up the Egyptians, which was a form resembling our own. In the solemn rite, by which the guilt of an adulteress was detected, a form is discernible. The affecting ceremony in the case of a murder committed by persons unknown, exhibits clear traces of the same principle. Not to multiply instances unnecessarily, in the blessing
1 Exodus xv.
2 Numbers v.
3 Deut. xxi.
which the high-priest was commanded to deliver, we discover the principle;' while the whole book of Psalms was neither more nor less than a body of pre-composed forms, in customary and daily use at the temple worship.
With regard to the rites of the Jewish Church, at a period previous and subsequent to the coming of Christ, the labours of the learned have collected evidence, descending to the minutest particulars. The very words of the
in the synagogue are faithfully recorded, and the testimony shows beyond a doubt their approved use. With the Christian, however, the example of his crucified Master carries the greatest weight; scarcely a page of the gospel can be read without mention being found of our Lord's presence in the synagogue ; thither he constantly resorted, and its walls could testify to his
1 Numbers vi. ? Lightfoot on the Temple Service.
most striking appeals and greatest miracles. The fact, that Jesus united in a worship which consisted of forms, is their best sanction. But our Lord not only joined in such Service, but himself composed a form which he commended to the use of his disciples, “When ye pray, say, -the Lord's Prayer: a treasure which the Church in all ages has guarded with the utmost vigilance, and which, whether lisped in the artlessness of childhood, or poured forth in the faltering accents of declining life, is still the great connecting link between earth and heaven, the bond that unites a reconciled Father to his believing, though guilty children.
You see, brethren, that Christ not only countenanced forms of prayer, but himself composed one; and you have not forgotten the evidence which the holy Martyr Justin gives to the practice in his own day: here I will close the argument.
In behalf of those public Services, by which we are associated in religious communion, reason lifts up her voice; you hear the consenting acclamations of saints and martyrs; he who spake as never man spake, spake for forms such as those wherein we worship. I fear not that to you the appeal will be fruitless.
A few remarks on the principal persons engaged in arranging our Liturgy, and on the views which governed them, will close my present discourse. The Liturgy was drawn up in the reign of Edward VI. The persons foremost in the work, were Cranmer, Archbishop of Can terbury, and Ridley, Bishop of London, the one the most amiable, the other the most talented prelate of the Reformation : each suffered for his religion in the reign of Mary. With these, were associated others less known to history. In after times, as the Church of England righted herself from the tempest to which adverse political circumstances had exposed her, the Liturgy underwent certain alterations only affecting it in the detail, which the occasion seemed to require: it was established as it now stands about 1661. With regard to the views which actuated Cranmer, Ridley, and the other learned and good men connected with them, they were such as I know not in what times might expect to receive a greater measure of respect and admiration than the present. This is an age which pre-eminently claims the cultivation of mutual charity and forbearance, which professes to overlook that which is faulty, and rivet its regard on that which is lovely and of good report, throughout the varied shades of sentiment, which blend in one universal faith.