« AnteriorContinuar »
ducted efforts for a further revision of the present juncture are the followthe Prayer-Book, and especially of ing :the Baptismal Service. Those true 1. That the crisis has arrived when friends of the Protestant Church of action is demanded—that the time England, who desire to remove from has come when the liturgy and conher formularies every locus standi for stitution of our Church must be reTractarian heresy, may consider that, vised. if Peter Martyr were now alive, they
2. That this revision and reform would have him on their side.
must be initiated by the Laity. Let the Baptismal Services be re- There can scarcely be adduced a duced to the simplicity of Scripture, parallel period in history in which and we should get rid of expressions the need was greater than at the prewhich ever have been, and ever will sent time, for those who love the be, as long as they remain, a fruitful simple truth of God's Word, to desource of controversy and strife, and clare their protestantism against the a burden to many conscientous cler- Devil's errors. A great crisis has gymen, who reverence that solemn arrived in the existence of our Redeclaration, “ If any man shall add forined Church. That Church must unto these things, God shall add unto be more reformed, or it will sink back him the plagues which are written in into what its insidious enemies, under this book.
the garb of friends, would have us And if the rituals were expurgated call it, a branch of the Catholic of all statements that “go beyond Church, meaning thereby the Romish Scripture,” no true churchman could communion. But shall it be so ? No! fairly object to such expurgation, be- by God's grace, our beloved Estabcause he would be at liberty to put lishment shall neither be a "free" nor upon the simple words employed, as a fettered Church. The lapse of time, he is now upon the corresponding and the secret machinations of popish words of Scripture, the meaning emissaries have led to a fuller dewhich they could legitimately bear. velopment of the popish elements, I am, yours, very faithfully, which the circumstances of our ReC. J. Fynes CLINTON. formers compelled them to compro
mise, in order to gain a certain good
in the then infant state of the constiTo the Editor.
tution of our Protestant Church. The Sir, I have noticed with satisfac- ever watchful foe to liberty of contion that you have given insertion to science, and of the true faith, has for many valuable contributions, breath- many years past found the means of ing a spirit of truthful recognition of insinuating her agents into our unithe important fact, that our Church, versities and pulpits, until it has excellent as are its formularies, and come to pass, that many of our clergy pure as is its faith, does now need dare openly confess their preference that those formularies and that faith for Rome while retaining their offices be stated in plain and unambiguous in the English Church ; at the same language. From this fact I am em- time, too many others, true to the boldened, as a layman, to beg the national Establishment, find it diffifavour of expressing my conviction of cult to escape from the dilemma into the vast importance of the great which they have been brought by the work of the re-reformation of the literal and isolated interpretations put Church of England. By re-reforma- by their brethren upon formularies to tion it is not intended that any hasty, which both have sworn adherence. crude, ill-digested schemes of change Here is the enormous danger which are to be adopted. The evils under threatens our Church. From this which we labour are to be encountered predicament our bishops declare, by in a thoughtful and prayerful spirit, their want of action, that they canwith a deliberate, and even slow, not extricate themselves, the clergy, rather than premature judgment. or their congregations. Hence the
The main points to be enforced at urgent, the insuperable, and undeniable necessity which has arisen, that some of our formularies. We want the laity should stand forward and only christian simplicity, we regard extricate themselves and their pastors not ecclesiastical dignity when it is from a position into which they have allowed to stand in the way of the been forced by many who should have former. You may perhaps think the been their watchmen and guardians. writer would advocate too violent a
Your correspondent, “C. A.” has change, when he suggests extensive well observed, “ this is the time to stir alteration of our episcopal machinery. in the matter. The attention of the But most strong and long formed has laity is now awakened, and the minds been his conviction, that until a difof men are brought to the considera. ferent tie between Church and State tion of questions from which in exists, than that of the present quieter times they turn away. The parliamentary and too highly exalted Protestant faith has been felt to be in bench of bishops, we can look for danger, and it is surprising with what little prospect of a true performance faithful zeal the laity have asserted of the duties of christian overseers by their attachment to the doctrines of men, to whom political influence and the Reformation." Would that we the management of great revenues, could say the same of the clergy, we are a constant snare. That we do should not now have had to repel the need bishops of a different character, insolence of the Pope. Fully con- it seems to the writer that the present curring then in the sentiments of state of the Church bears witness. “C. A.” and others of your esteemed The bishops who ought to have led a correspondents, the writer begs per- reforination and extirpation of a pesmission to speak, as a layman, on this tilent heresy are now compelled to all-engrossing topic.
follow, and that too at not a very digIt is to the laity undoubtedly that nified distance. It is the settled opithe Church must look for help in this nion of many pious men ofour Church, time of her trial. The clergy have too in which the writer fully concurs, that often betrayed their trust, they have if the number of bishops were indestroyed the prestige which formerly creased, their incomes equalized, and attended their office and station. their functions restricted to the real While the English people are resist- spiritual over-sight of their clergy, ing the Pope of Rome, they are equally that the Church, as a mere human determined no longer to submit to establishment, would be strengthened, aught that savours of ecclesiastical and the cause of Christ greatly prodogmatism or papal infallibility. Men's moted in this land. To this it must minds are on the alert. Independent come? inquiry is awakened. Intelligent and In bringing this letter to a close, common-sense people will no longer the writer would add his earnest proconsent to be bound by formularies test against the notion of establishing couched in such ambiguous phrase a free Anglican Church.
Wherefore ology that they may be construed any should we abandon the privileges for way; neither can they much longer en- which our fathers died, to the very dure that their articles of faith should be enemies with whom they struggled unto wanting in harmony with their liturgy, victory? A cleansed Church! not a free or both obscured and superseded by Church! We need not go to the volunmedieval rubrics and canons. The tary and inefficacious system of dissent, principles laid down by Mr. Jordan when a judicious and effectual purmust be adhered to, “that in nothing gation would bring to us so many should we go beyond and exceed pious and faithful brethren from the Scripture, however plausible and con- ranks of the Nonconformists as well as clusive our deductions from it might strengthen and establish thousands of seem to be.”* The plain and un- our present members. We admit mistakeable doctrines of the Bible Romish ordination, and we keep up must be more manifestly inculcated saints' days, but we should do wiser to by the Church than is apparent in abolish both anon alies, and manifest . Christian Guardian. 1850, p. 565.
christian charity, instead of what JANUARY—1851.
looks very like encouraging anti- on this point, I could not but say, christian fallacies.
that “it is our wisdom to take our Trusting you will pardon this intru- stand upon ” this position, “to make sion, and give insertion to these few the best of it, and to fight the battle remarks, if you can spare the space out in the name and strength of the they may require,
Lord ;'' while we leave it to a very I remain, sir, yours faithfully, different party to strain “
every nerve K. for the revival of Convocation, or the Holloway, Jan. 1, 1851.
establishment of some ecclesiastical synod or tribunal, with a view to effect
change, or to affix some particular sense To the Editor.
upon our authorized documents,” as is Sir,--My last concluded somewhat very well set forth in an excellent abruptly, and before I could come to Tract, entitled “Prove all things;" a my main point-the point which I few plain questions propounded to conceive to be of real practical im- the compilers of a pamplet, entitled portance under present circumstances. “Vindicate your Faith, an Appeal to I knew you would not have space for Churchmen,” published by Wertheim me to enter upon it as I wished. My and Macintosh. former letter, therefore, must be con- But, if I thus earnestly deprecate sidered only as suggesting the im- any attempt to alter our services,portance of setting aside unprofitable not because I think them perfect or discussions, in order that we may ap- infallible, but because I think them ply ourselves to something better. Of fairly defensible, and have no concourse it will be evident to any one fidence whatever in any existing party who considers that letter, that my im- or body of men, to whom I can conpression is, that our Reformers, in ceive it possible that the work of compiling our occasional services, had revision and alteration could or would far deeper, clearer, and more scrip- be entrusted,—it may, and will, be tural views of the true nature of bap- asked, What then should we do? tism, and of the principles on which And if this question were proposed alone liturgical services could be con- to me, as any one who read my former structed, than those who are now pro- letter might fairly propose it, I would posing to alter them. I would also say, that my own deep and strong imobserve, that, in your Review of the pression, as the result of more than a Bishop of Exeter's Letter to the
quarter of a century of thought and Archbishop Canterbury, in your observation, is this,—That instead of Number for last April, in answering spending our strength and time upon the question, “ What is the doctrine the discussion of proposed alterations of baptism which is plainly deducible in the Liturgy, we should concentrate from the Baptismal Service itself?” all our energies, first, Upon the carepp. 181–185, you have given what ful consideration of our real position appears to me to be the true and only and advantages; and second, Upon reasonable interpretation of that ser- the diligent, prayerful, and faithful vice, and you have further illustrated improvement of them. the plain and undeniable doctrine of i. In regard to the first point, let the Church of England on that sub- us not beguiled by the efforts of our ject, in other portions of that Review, enemies - the “ false brethren unand in your Review of the Bishop of awares brought in,” (Gal. ii. 4,to London's late Charge, in your Num- give too much prominence and imber for November, pp. 516–521. portance to the controversy respect
Having reference to such views of ing the Baptismal Services. They the Baptismal and other services of would gladly set aside everything else, our Church, I maintained that our and would narrow the contest to the position, as Evangelical Churchmen, disputation of this inch of ground. and (I will add) as the only true It serves their purpose to do so. By churchmen, is a tenable position. And, this means, they get away from the having myself no doubt or misgiving full statement of Evangelical and
Protestant truth which is contained in agreed upon by the Reverend Bishops our Thirty-nine Articles, especially as and Clergie of this Kingdome, at two illustrated by the whole Book of severall Meetings, or Convocations of Homilies, to which those Articles so theirs, in the yeeres of our Lord 1562 distinctly refer. (See Art. XI. and and 1604. The said Articles analised XXXV.) This attempt, on their part, into Propositions, and the Proposiis dishonest and wicked, for it is ex tions prooved to be agreeable both to pressly declared, in the Royal Decla the written Word of God, and to the ration prefixed to the Articles. extant Confessions of all the neigh
bour Churches Christianly Reformed. “That THE ARTICLES OF THE CHURCH
Perused, and by the lawfull auor ENGLAND (which have been allowed and authorized heretofore, and which our
thority of the Church of England, al
lowed to be publike.” The second clergy generally have subscribed unto)
edition of this book was published, DO CONTAIN THE TRUE DOCTRINE OF THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND AGREEABLE
and dedicated to Archbishop Banto God's WORD, which we do therefore
croft, by his “Grace's poore Chapratify and confirm, requiring all our laine, alwayes at command, Thomas loving subjects to continue in the uniform Rogers ;” and the Preface is dated, profession thereof, and prohibiting the “11 of March, Ann. 1607.”
This least difference from the said Articles." book, as we are informed by Mr. This is, in fact, no more than an
Goode, in his Work on the “ Effects amplification of the idea which is of Baptism,” first edition, p. 94, contained in the very title of the Ar
“Came abroad with injunction from ticles, for they are entitled,
the Archbishop that then was [Dr.
Bancroft] that there should be one of “ Articles agreed upon by the Arch them bought for every parish in the bishops and Bishops both Provinces, and the whole clergy,
Province of Canterbury.” It is there
fore decisive evidence as to what was AVOIDING OF DIVERSITIES OF OPINIONS,
the true doctrine of the Church of AND FOR THE ESTABLISHING OF CONSENT TOUCHING TRUE RELIGION."
England; or, in other words, what is
the true sense of her Articles. And The attempt to set these Articles on this point Thomas Rogers is very aside, therefore, or (which amounts to plain and express, for he says in his the same thing) to treat them as if they Preface, had no distinct and definite meaning,
“35. The purpose of our Church is is on their part, dishonest and wicked.
best knowne by the doctrine which she But for Evangelical Churchmen, (who doth professe ; the Doctrine by the 39 are, as I have already said, the only Articles established by Act of ParliaTRUE Churchmen,) to give place to ment; the Articles by the words, whereby them by subjection, even for an hour, they are expressed ; and other purpose and to allow them to do this, is it not then the publike Doctrine doth minister; weak and foolish in the extreme? AND OTHER DOCTRINE THAN Nay, is it not also highly sinful in the ARTICLES CONTAINED, OUR sight of God?
CHURCH NEITHER HATH, NOR HOLDETH,
AND OTHER SENSE THEY CANNOT YEELD, In opposition to all such attempts,
THAN THEIR WORDS DO IMPART. The our wisdom and our duty must surely
words be the same, and none other, than be, to take our stand upon the broad
earst and first they were. And therefore platform of Evangelical and tho
the sense the same; the Articles the roughly Protestant truth which is
same; the Doctrine the same; and the laid down in our Articles, as illus
purpose, and intention of our Church trated by the whole of our Homilies. still one, and the same." And if we want any exposition of them, we find it ready to our hands
And he goes on to make an observain a book entitled “The Faith, Doc
proves clearly, that what trine, and Religion, professed and
was then the doctrine and purpose of
protested in the Realm of England, and
our Church must also be so now. dominions of the same ; expressed in “If then the purpose be knowne by Thirty-nine Articles, concordably her Doctrine, and Articles; and the true
sense by their very words : NEEDS MUST know that it is dishonoured by any atTHE PURPOSE OF OUR CHURCH BE TIE
tempt to distort it into that which it is SAME, because her Doctrine, and Articles
not. And, to my mind, this appears for number, words, syllables, and letters,
to be the thing that should be proand every way be the very same.”
tested against; and from which, to a Is not this common sense and com certain degree, and within proper mon honesty ? Here, then, is the limits, we should seek to be relieved. true and safe ground to be taken, and If any person be really a fit subject steadfastly maintained by all true and for baptism, I think our Baptismal faithful ministers of the Church of Service is a very suitable and beauEngland. Let us understand our po tiful service, and may very fitly be sition. Let us consider it in its full used. If any person ought to have extent. Let us be prepared, on all christian burial, I do not see any reaoccasions, boldly to put the question, son for objecting to our Burial Service as well as honestly to meet it :- If as a most suitable service for the octhere be any one who is not prepared, casion. Under present circumstances, after serious examination and reflec- it is but too obvious that many pertion, deliberately and resolutely to sons are baptized whose whole aftertake and maintain this ground-bė life proclaims that they were unworthy he bishop, priest, or deacon,-ought recipients of that holy sacrament. In he not to leave the Church of Eng- the present state of the Church, and land, and resign his preferments, of the world, this cannot be avoided. whatsoever they may be ? and ought No changes in our Liturgy, -no poshe not to give place to honester men, sible exercise of discipline,—could who really do, in the sight of God relieve us from this difficulty, or from and the Church, subscribe ex animo its the oppression and burthen which the Articles, and are prepared fully, plain- wise and tender-hearted Christian ly, constantly and unequivocally, to must feel when he considers it. But, preach what they have subscribed ?
to my mind, the grief and burthen is, When we are prepared, as a matter not that such persons should have of duty, to take this ground, and to been baptized with a particular sermaintain, not here and there an iso- vice, like ours, but that they should lated point, but our whole position in have been baptized at all. That any all its extent, then we shall find our service compiled by man, however advantage in so doing ; for we shall excellent, should be abused and proclearly see, and be able to prove, that faned, is comparatively a small matthe whole of the Articles and Homi- ter; but, that God's own ordinance lies are on our side.
These docu- should be profaned and abused is a ments set forth and maintain Evan- real grief, and should make us weep gelical and Protestant truth in direct and tremble. Yet, while the world reopposition to Popery, Tractarianism, mains what it is, we cannot help it. High and dry Churchmanship, and There are, indeed, cases of profanaall other forms of error by which tion and abuse, so gross and manifest scriptural truth has been and is as that we ought to be relieved from them, sailed; and they admit of no other in and from all compulsion to take part terpretation. Then, too, we shall be in them. Nevertheless, if the adminisprepared rightly to understand, and tration of baptism (whatever be the duly to use, our excellent and scrip form of service used, and even were tural Liturgy, in all its extent. There it limited to the mere words of Scripwill be no room for doubt as to the ture,) does not signify that the Church true interpretation of it. We shall receives and embraces the individual, interpret it by the Articles, and un whether infant or adult, as being in derstand it in connexion with the promise and profession regenerate, and whole body of truth which our Church therefore to be treated and considered maintains. And then, but not till as such by the Church, till he proves then, we shall be prepared to give its himself otherwise, I really do not know true place, and the due honour which what it means, or why it should be indeed belongs to it. And we shall administered at all; for sacraments