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surprising, if he designed to meet discussed the propriety of the comthe argument fairly.
mon practice of performing two As -- the Lord's Supper was con- distinct religious services at meals. stantly celebrated by the primitive As his style seems to invite further Christians on the Sabbath. ** I sta- discussion, perhaps the following ted as proof, that the Christians met remarks will not be wholly inapproto celebrate the Lord's Supper at priate. Troas on the evening following the His objections to performing two first day of the week, which he left services are five, viz ; That two unnoticed.
are not essential, nor conformable Did he suppose that it was the to the nature of the duty; that the design of “ Minimus to prove that second is a repetition of the first; the evening generally followed the that it is an unprofitable multiplicaday,” but not always ?
tion of religious services ; is inconSince writing my first essay, venient; and not agreeable to the I have met with Vincent's ex. practice of Christ, and the ancient planation of the Catechism, "and people of God. I shall attempt to have been agreeably surprised at show that none of these objections the exact coincidence in the results are valid. to which we have arrived. This 1. That two services are not es. coincidence is a strong confirma. sential is admitted. But if we tion of their truth."
proceed on the principle of doing Though I did not attempt to nothing which is not essential, we prove any change of the evening” shall confine Christian practice of the Sabbath, but the contrary, within narrow limits. It is not esyet I will now cheerfully submit it sential that there be any service at to the candid reader whether “ the
the table. The whole of supplicaground that Minimus has taken is tion and thanksgiving might be inabsolutely indefensible.”
cluded in the morning prayer, and Whether Q. Q’s. implied charge every service at meals, and also the against those, who differ from him, evening sacrifice, might be omitted. of
a rage for innovation, tempori- Or the object might be effected in a zing and accommodating policy, ac
different way. Whenever we make commodating the commencement any considerable provision beforeof the Sabbath to the convenience hand, of food or drink, we might of the worldly and irreligious, &c." give thanks to God for it, and, if such is calculated to convince, or is con
a request should be judged proper, sistent with that meekness and can- might implore a blessing on its dor, which ought to guide all reli- consumption. He who should congious controversy, I leave to others scientiously do either of these, to decide. I doubt not that the pi- would, no doubt, do all that is esous, who differ from me on this sub- sential. No one could say that he ject, are conscientious. And I had not a sense of his dependence should regret to wound their feel- on God, and of his obligation to ings. And if my cause cannot be him for life and all its enjoyments. supported by fair arguments, with- We act on a different principle. out casting reproach upon them,
But that two services are not let it fall.
conformable to the pature of the
duty, is not admitted. We are To the Editor of the Christian Spectator. of the Talmud, nor to the senti
not to be confined to the formulas* Sir,
Your correspondent, Paterfamil- *"Blessed be thou, O Lord our God! ias, has in your number for August,
Sovereign of the universe! who bringest
forth this food from the earth," or, as the *Encyclopedia.
case might be, “ this wine from the grape."
ments which they contain. Aced him of the contrary, he has prayer, as well as an expression of peculiar reasons for being grateful. thanks, is proper in such a case. All my observation has gone to These, indeed, may be united. In prove, that any man of sincere piety every thing by prayer and suppli- and common ability, is capable of cation, with thanksgiving, we are performing both services properly, commanded to let our requests be and with all desirable distinctness. made known to God. Still they But if this conclusion should happen are in their nature, distinct. A not to be true in every case, there day specially devoted to prayer, is can be no reasonable objection to different from a day of thanksgiv- supplying the defect by a form, ing, though in each of them there which shall make the proper dismay be, and ought to be, both tinction. Such forms may be found prayer and giving of thanks; and in the devotional books which are if both of these be found in every more or less generally possessed address to God, however short, by the members of the Episcopal it is no violation of propriety. But church ; and I have seen some by he who would be very prayerful Dr. Watts, published, if I mistake and very
thankful, will find it con- not, in an edition of his Hymns venient to devote a distinct service for Infant Minds. principally to each.
3. It does not make religious 2. The second service is not ne- services too frequent. Morning cessarily a repetition of the first. prayer is by some performed before, Common practice does not make by others, after the morning meal. it such. Careless or injudicious In the latter case, the reading of men will, no doubt, perform this the Scriptures, which ought to preduty improperly, as they will public cede prayer, is a sufficient interpo. or family prayer. But there are sition ; in the former, time enough common and very plain men, and commonly intervenes between the those not a few, who in praying, in prayer and the asking of the bles asking a blessing, and in returning sing, to make the whole very profithanks, are not chargeable with table to one who hungers for spiritrepetition, nor do they become un- ual food. In answer to the quesmeaning, or unnatural in their at- tion, whether we are heard for our temps to avoid it. Those who pray many times speaking, more than for “ for a blessing on the food provi. our much speaking? I would say: ded for us,” or “that it may nour- Not for either of these are we heard, ish our mortal bodies,” do not think but for our much praying and our the petitions unmeaning or unnatural. Nourishment from food of mere lip-service is not a subject
many times praying. The efficacy would, indeed, be in the course of of discussion. nature; but it is not on that ac
4. There is no such inconvenicount regarded as superfluous to
ence in the practice as to make it pray for it. Moreover, their expe- objectionable. The practice of a rience has convinced them, that in few, not of all, boarding houses, is this respect, nature does not always not a pattern for the vastly greater have its proper course.* If the numbers of well regulated families. experience of any one has convin- In some of them there is irregular
ity, some boarders coming and de* David seems to have contemplated parting earlier than others. How the possibility of a failure. “Let their far this disorder admits of cure, is table become a snare before them; and that which sbould have been for their worthy of consideration ; but if it is welfare, let it become a trap." Psalm an argument against the second serlxix. 22.
vice, in what relation does it stand
to the first ? As to those public din- pend on the assumed principle that ners at which there is no place he must have conformed to those found for decency and order for the customs? It happens, moreover, second service ;" it is only ne- that a religious service at the table cessary to say that a spiritual Chris. was, at that period, performed, not tian will not be so often found at by the Jews only, but also by the them, as to render expedient a to- heathen. If Paterfamilias thinks tal change in the habits of the reli- that the example of Christ and his gious public for his accommodation. ancient people, admitting it to be
The example of Christ, and his ascertained, obliges or authorizes ancient people, and of many of the him to omit the second service, he excellent of the earth in his own will, in consistency, do well to ingeneration, seems to weigh much quire, whether the same example, with Paterfamilias. This argument on a point which is ascertained, is worthy of notice.
does not oblige or authorize him to 1. There is some difficulty in as- take two meals in a day, to eat in a certaining what was the practice of recumbent posture, and to dip his Christ and his apostles, in this re- band in the dish. Such minutiae spect. According to Jahn, it was, are remote from the genius of in the days of Christ's personal resi: Christianity. No one was ever fardence on earth, the custom at meals, ther than Christ from limiting dethat the head of the family pronoun- votion to times and seasons. He ced a blessing or gave thanks, ac- has admonished us to avoid ostentacording to the kind of food or drink, tion and vain repetition of words in —both before and after the meal. prayer ; to pray with a spirit of forThat Christ did not customarily do giveness and charity ; has commanthe same at his meals though no ded us to pray always, and warned specific mention is made of it, I us not to faint : but a hint of the should be afraid to affirm : for in danger of praying or giving thanks the account of more than one meal unseasonably, is not recorded by at which he was present, no men- any of the evangelists. His plan tion is made of either blessing or seems to have been, to state the giving thanks. Luke vii. 36. John duty and all its importance ; and xü. 2.
leave his people to show, by the 2. Supposing, however, that frequency and the manner of their Christ and his apostles ordinarily performance of it, how they estiperformed but one service, it does mate it. not appear to me that this fact need But there is one part of his exhinder a conscientious man from ample, the propriety of imitating performing two. We do not think which, will not be disputed. A of doing in every respect as Christ principle on which he uniformly and his apostles did. It is plain acted, was, in performing the pubthat he did many things because lic duties of religion, not to depar they were customarily done by oth- from the usages of prous people, ers, and would have done differ: without an important reason. For ently, if the general custom had doing likewise, we have a motive been different. What is the evi- which he had not. It is easier to do dence on which we rest in our con- as others do than to do differently. clusions respecting the practice of Whoever, on any point, deliberately our Saviour, in the case under con- varies from the universal practice sideration? Does it not largely con- of good men, must, other things besist in the known custom of his ing equal, be either better or worse countrymen and cotemporaries ? than they. We need all the influand do not these conclusions de. ence of usage and custom to eno
force conformity to our principles. kind; and our general practice is arWhoever foregoes this influence, ranged accordingly. On the Lord's exposes his conscience to the dan- day we have service in the morning, ger of frequent wounds—a danger and service in the evening or afterwhich will not be safely encounter
Some request the prayers of ed, without an uncommon degree the congregation before going to of moral firmness. There is on
sea ; and on their safe return offer this subject an existing practice, public thanks—a custom, which, which, whether it was introduced though not general, I have never before or after, the appearing of heard rebuked. In general it may Christ, is of too long and too uni- be assumed that where it is proper versal standing to be called an in- to begin with prayer, it is proper to povation. A departure from it end with thanksgiving. Our salvawould be rightly so called.
tion will cost us many a prayer, and I am aware that some profes- its final completion will be celebrasing Christians omit the second ser- ted with unceasing praises. Why vice; how many, is to me unknown. should not something like this hapCertainly, however, the omission is pen at the beginning and end of evnot general, at least in the northern ery important temporal concern ? and eastern parts of our country. But of such concerns there is none Very rare are the instances in which so important as eating and drinking. it has fallen under my observation, 2. A specific expression of thankexcepting in those places of tran- fulness at the end of meals is peculsient and way-faring entertainment, iarly appropriate. I will not here where the second, and also the first dwell on the fact that, much occaservice, are, for the most part, un sion as we have to pray, we have known, and where, of course, he much more occasion to give thanks. who is devout must often eat, and This will not be disputed, and it has in silence give God thanks.
a pertinent application to the case instance in which I enjoyed the hos- before us.
I do not know of any pitality of a clergyman, a blessing time in which a truly good man will was devoutly implored, but having be more willing to give thanks to eaten, each went his way, and, if God, than when he has eaten what he had gratitude, had it to himself. is enough for nature, and not too I cannot deny that, on this occa- much for the mind. Surely the efsion, my moral sensibility suffered a fect of food, thus taken, upon a qualm, which it would require some healthy body, and a healthy soul, habitude to subdue.
will make thanksgiving no inconWhatever others may do, there venient task. Such a soul, is by are, it is believed, some, who will custom it were debarred from a prefer to do as they have been ac- public and united expression of its customed. Unless the reasons for gratitude, would, no doubt, take the a change are stronger than any I earliest opportunity of pouring it have yet seen, there are, I hope, out in secret. many who will persevere in the pre- It may be here remarked that it sent practice, till it shall be ascer- is entirely agreeable to the word of tained to have gone quite out of use. God. I do not assert that we have Some of my reasons for thus wish- any positive directions when and ing are the following:
where to ask a blessing and give 1. There is a propriety in begin- thanks. This seems to have been ning and ending every thing of im- beneath a writer of the New Testaportance with prayer or religious ment; or, after directing us to give exercises of some kind. It is agree. thanks in every thing, it may have able to the common sense of man- been thought superfluous to give VOL. I.-No. XI.
particular directions in so plain a peculiar temptations to these faults,
But the following passage, if should be uniformly closed by a reit does not directly refer, is capable ligious service. of an easy accommodation, to the I will not extend the subject furexisting general practice. “Everyther than to remark, that in the creature of God is good and nothing judgment of enlightened and pene. to be refused, if it be received with trating observers, a person is known thanksgiving For it is sanctified by the manner in which he eats. If by the word of God and prayer." he does it with a sober and devout
3. The effect which it has upon cheerfulness, his general character social order is not to be disregard- is cheerful, sober, and devout. If ed. Every thing is done with more he does it otherwise, his general composure and order, and is better character is otherwise. As it has done, for being attended with reli- been shown, if I do not deceive gious services. Our legislatures myself, that religious services,propand courts of justice begin the day erly performed, at the beginning with one ; and this not merely from and end of meals, both suppose and deference to public opinion, but tend to produce, proper feeling and from experience of its beneficial ef- behaviour in this respect, it follows fects. But the benefits of ending that they have a beneficial influence with it are quite as great as those of on our whole character. of beginning. Where it is expect- Taking every thing into view, it ed at the end of a meal, men will not may fairly be concluded, that the tarry long at the wine, nor give sin, with which, at the final day, we much occasion for the charge of shall, in relation to this subject, be gluttony or of levity. For this rea- found chargeable, is a sin of omisson it would seem important that sion, rather than of commission. public dinners,which, perhaps, offer
EXISTENCE AND GROWTII OF PI-
any thing of purity and efficiency, TION, AS
of exalted and disinterested derotion, in the apostolic character, which cannot, and which ought not
to be the character of the Christian What are the reasons, that the ministry in every age. Christian ministry of the present Human nature, it must be adage, and of our own country, falls mitted, is the same. And I will so far below the apostolic character venture to affirm, there were no in purity and zeal, in an unqualified constitutional features of characand disinterested devotion to their ter, in the whole list of apostles Master's service? Is it to be taken and primitive evangelists, which for granted, that such character cannot now be found in any considwas peculiar to the exigencies of erable Christian community, and the time, and is never to be expect- which, brought under the influed again? Excepting the power of ence of the same moral causes, working miracles, I am by no means would not produce equal effects prepared to admit, that there was of the same character. It would