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lution ; but they do no such thing. in Christ, he has given no comThey only say that God does it. mandment to others, however high The minister is here made either to may be their standing in the visible utter a falsehood, or disobey the church, to pronounce forgiveness. commandment of God in the very This mongrel service, which is neimidst of divine worship. The pow. ther Popish nor Protestant, should er of absolution God has not com- have been long ago expunged from mitted to the hands of the clergy. a Protestant liturgy.
a Protestant liturgy. And it would He reserves that to himself. “ He have been, we doubt not, had the pardoneth and absolveth the peni- principles of the Reformation been tent” in the solemn and personal permitted to grow to maturity un. intercourse of the soul with its Cre- checked by the civil power. We ator and Redeemer. There is no consider this part of the service as need of a priest to interpose in this peculiarly offensive, not only for the matter. As God only is the judge reasons first given, but because it is of true penitence and genuine faith repeated so often. It is read twice
our “most humble and hearty thanks.". “mercifully assist our prayers;" when We ask him to “turn (avert) from us all the connection shows that we mean, to evils.”-We speak of the prayers of thy hear, or attend to our prayers. In the humble servants ;” and of “us, thy poor prayer for such as are candidates for holy servants."—We tell the Almighty, orders, we ask God to “replenish them repent, and are heartily sorry.'
with the truth of his doctrine;" probably him to " fight for us.”_We speak of meaning, with his true doctrine.
We those who “ do him laudable service."
“ that our land may yield us We call on him to “stir up the wills” of her fruits of increase ;" when others his people.- We pray him to “mortify would say, the increase of her fruits, or and kill all vices in us,” and “that we simply, her fruits. On the first Sunday may not be carried
in Lent, we thus pray: "give us grace to of vain doctrine."-We pray to be defen- use (observe) such abstinence, that our ded“ among all the changes and chances flesh being subdued to the Spirit, we may of this mortal life."--Over a sick man, ever obey thy godly motions.” The godly we pray, that he "may take his sickness motions here mentioned are, probably, the patiently,” and speak of “the means divine admonitions. But what is intended which shall be made use of."-We address by our flesh being subdued to the Spirit ? God with the appellation of “the Sove- Does it signify, our sinful nature being reign Commander of all the world.”-In a subdued and made obedient to the Holy storm at sea, we intreat him to “send his Spirit, or our bodies being subjected to word of command," and rebuke the ra. our better part, the mind? We say: "0 ging winds; and before a battle, that he Almighty God, who alone canst order would “ make it appear" that he is our [regulate, reduce to order,] the unruly deliverer.- We are to say to him, “O
wills and affections of sinful men.”. most mighty and gracious good God;" “ Grant, that, by thy holy inspiration, [thy and, of ourselves, we are to say, “ we, thy gracious influences,] we may think those poor creatures;" and we call upon all things that are good."_" Cleanse the beings 10“ speak good of the Lord." thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration
3. Many passages of the liturgy are [grace) of thy Holy Spirit.”- '_“That we greatly obscured, (if not rendered unin. may do all such good works as thou hast telligible,) by the use of archaisms, or prepared [prescribed] for us to walk in." other faulty expressions. Thus we say, “ Nourish us with all goodness, [the man" there is no health in us;" meaning, ner in which? or the material with which?] there is no spiritual life in us. And we and of thy great mercy keep us in the pray, that God would “send down upon
Bring forth in us the fruit of our bishops &c., the healthful spirit of his good living” (holy living).—“ Increase in grace;" which means, I know not what. them ..... the spirit of counsel and ghostWe are to sing : “All ye powers of the ly strength.”)="That he may..... daily Lord, bless ye the Lord ;' intending, per- increase in thy Holy Spirit () more and haps, the holy angels. When we denom- more.”—“Our Savior, who liveth and inate God," the Father of Heaven,” what reigneth with thee, in the unity of the do we mean? In praying for the Presi- same Spirit, (?) one God,” &c. To a sick dent of the United States and others in man, the priest must say: “I require [reauthority, we ask God to “endue them quest] you to examine yourself, and your plenteously with heavenly gifts.” What estate (state), both towards God and man." gifts are here meant? We ask God, to In one of our prayers, we say: “They,
every Sabbath ; and as though this pronounces it. Why should the were not enough, something similar minister rise up in the midst of the to it is appointed in the communion congregation and pray separately service in the shape of a prayer or
from them, unless some peculiar benediction. This latter is to be authority were attached to his pray. said by the priest, or
" the bishop,
er, not as an individual, but as a if he be present;" which provision public functionary? It is difficult shows that something more than a to make less of this than a beggarly mere prayer, which would be as imitation of Popery. well to come from the one as the The general confession being other, is intended. The idea, if over and the absolution pronounced, there is any thing in it, evidently is, the congregation are now prepared that the absolution comes by au- for the Lord's prayer, which they thority. Indeed the same idea is repeat audibly at the same time implied in this absolution, supposing with the minister. To us there it to be a prayer, when the priest would appear much more decency
whose consciences by sin are accused ;" in- implying that there are more, but that stead of, they whose consciences accuse only two are generally necessary to salvathem of sin.
tion.-In the Visitation of the Sick, the 4. In consequence of the careless use or invariable prayer is: “O Lord, save thy construction of terms, the sense is some- servant;
. send him help .... times wholly perverted, and even an un- mightily defend him. Let the enemy have truth asserted.
no advantage of him; nor the wicked apThus, in the longer form of absolution
proach to hurt him. Be unto him, O Lord, at morning prayer, the priest exhorts us a strong tower, from the face of his entto beseech God, “ that those things may my. The manifest implication is, that please Him, which we do at this present :' Satan, the wicked one, is the cause of the whereas we ought to pray, that we may sick man's disease, and that if this enemy do those things, which will please Him. can be overcome or kept away, the sick For there is a great difference between man will recover.—The Gloria Patri, asking Him to be pleased with whatever which is to be often repeated every Sunwe are disposed to do, and praying for day, is in these words : “Glory be to the grace so to act, as to meet his approbation. Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy În the prayer used at the meetings of Ghost; as it was in the beginning, is novo, convention, request is made that the and ever shall be, world without end." comfortable (-) gospel of Christ may be This implies a desire, that just so much truly preached, truly received, and truly homage and adoration may be given to followed, in all places, to the breaking God, as was given bim in the beginning, down the kingdom of sin, Satan and is now given him, and ever will be given death ; till at length the whole of thy dis- him, neither more nor less. persed sheep, being gathered into one fold;
We had intended to notice two other shall become partakers of everlasting life.' very common faults in the diction and But are all men, even those still in the king. phraseology of the liturgy; namely, pleodom of sin and Satan, the dispersed sheep of nasm, or the insertion of words which add Christ? Where then are the goats !--In nothing to the meaning; and bad gramthe thanksgiving for deliverance from
mar, especially in the regimen of verbs, great sickness and mortality, we are to and in the use of prepositions. But the
" O Lord God, who ..... now, in the length of this note forbids a suitable illusmidst of judgment remembering mercy, tration of these and other faults in the hast redeemed our souls from the jaws of style of the book. We will therefore only death;” implying, either that the soul is add, that it is to be lamented that a book mortal, or that, if we die in such seasons so extensively and constantly used, and of pestilence, our souls are sent to hell. having so much influence in forming the In the collect for the day of St. Paul's taste as well as shaping the religious views conversion, we must say: O God, who, of vast masses of people, should not only through the preaching of the blessed
be handed down from age to age unim. tle St. Paul, hast caused the light of the proved and unpurged of its most glaring gospel to shine throughout the world :" and obvious faults, but be imposed upon a while yet many nations are unenlightened very numerous and respectable denomina. by the gospel.- In the Catechism, the tion of Christians, as containing the only child, being asked how many sacraments thoughts and expressions with which they Christ has ordained, must answer:
may publicly worship God from the begioonly, as generally necessary to salvation :" ning to the end of their lives.
and order if the people would fol. mind, are used ; and when the low the petitions silently; but this verses are read alternately, though may be a mere matter of taste. they are frequently divided in the The ejaculation which follows, “O midst of the sense. Though it is Lord, open thou our lips," with the scripture that is recited, yet even response from the people, "and scripture is not intended for all pur. our mouth shall show forth thy poses under the sun. To transfer praise," must be taken in a sense the Psalms without distinction, acaltogether below the original force commodation, or change, to the orof those words when they came dinary worship of a Christian asfrom the Psalmist. As all that is sembly, seems to us exceedingly to be uttered is prepared before. absurd. Take for example the hand and written down, it can not twentieth Psalm. This was combe the state of the heart, out of the posed probably with reference to abundance of which the mouth some battle into which King David speaketh, but the muscular motion, was about to go, or some other by which the precomposed form great trial which he expected to en. can be made audible. Or if this counter. He meets the people in be too barren a sense to put upon the place of worship, and the priest the words, as indeed it ought to be, perhaps commences singing, “The if you insist upon the living energy Lord hear thee in the day of trouble; of the Psalmist's petition; then we the name of the God of Jacob de. think it peculiarly unhappy, be- fend thee, send thee help from the cause it betrays at once the imper- sanctuary, and strengthen thee out fection of a liturgy. The prescrib- of Zion-remember all thy offer. ed form must needs prevent an an- ings, and accept thy burnt sacrifices swer; for however the heart may -grant thee according to thine own be enlarged, the effusions of the heart, and fulfill all thy counsel." lips corresponding therewith, have Then the congregation in full chono enlargement nor liberty. They rus sing, “We will rejoice in thy must move on as the book directs. salvation, and in the name of our
After this solemn invocation and God we will set up our banners : the Gloria Patri, which by the way the Lord fulfill all thy petitions.” is repeated so often the same day Then the king alone, "Now know as to lose all its force, what do we I that the Lord saveth his anointfind next? The congregation all ed: He will hear him from his holy go over to a recitation of some por. heaven with the saving strength of tion of the Psalms, no matter how his right hand.” Then the congreinappropriate it may be for the pres- gation conclude in full chorusent occasion. Indeed appropriate. “Some trust in chariots, and some ness seems to be entirely out of in horses, but we will remember view in this part of the service. the name of the Lord our God. The minister recites one verse, and They are brought down and fallen; the people respond with another, but we are risen and stand upright. like a school-boy and his teacher Save, Lord : let the king hear us repeating a lesson. Is this prayer, when we call.” This is beautiful or is it praise ? or is it instruction ? and appropriate. But when a minIf the latter, the minister had better ister of the gospel in the assembly read it alone ; if neither of the for- of the saints reads the first verse, mer, what ideas can be attached to and the people respond by reading it when all the Psalms as they hap- the second, and so on alternately to pen to arise, containing a great va- the end of the Psalm, what does it riety of different subjects, and set- mean? ting forth different states of the Still more inappropriate to ChrisVol. I.
tian worship is the sixtieth Psalm. vation—an error easily gaining acThe minister reads, v. 6, “God hath cess to the human mind. Because spoken in his holiness, I will rejoice; they believe all these truths, they I will divide Shechem, and mete suppose they exercise that faith in out the valley of Succoth." And the Redeemer which is required. the people answer, “Gilead is mine, Whereas every well informed Chris. and Manasseh is mine; Ephraim tian knows that there is no virtue in also is the strength of mine head; assenting to the articles of the creed. Judah is my lawgiver.” The min. If they are true, there is evidence ister reads, “Moab is my wash-pot; which compels assent; and there over Edom will I cast out my shoe; is no virtue in acknowledging that Philistia, triumph thou because of which we can not resist. All these me.” The people respond, “Who things we may believe, and yet be will bring me into the strong city? totally destitute of saving faith, or who will lead me into Edom?" such as is indispensable to acceptaHere we ask again, is this worship ble prayer. What advance then is in a Christian assembly? If so, here made on the subject of qualithen to take it away from the region fications to be recognized in the of the ludicrous, a man must resort Christian assembly? The faith of to some Swedenborgian principles the gospel lies deeper than the mere of interpretation by which an ima- assent of the understanding. It is ginary sense different from the ob. something distinct from the outward vious one is put upon the words. observance of prescribed forms. It What shall be said of the impreca. is the cordial consent of the heart tions in the Psalms? Does a Chris. which constitutes the spirit of praytian congregation adopt them as its er, and which no human being can own ?
witness. We can see no possible A portion of the Old Testament, reason for cumbering the liturgy we believe, is next read, which is with this confession of faith, but the rather inelegantly concluded by fear of innovation on the Catholic “ Here endeth the first lesson." ritual-a reason which was good Then various other selections, which enough perhaps in the days of King we can not particularly notice, in- Edward, but which now has no cluding a portion of the New Tes- force. The church of Rome retament, all concluded by “Here cognizes as her children all who endeth the second lesson.” Now give an intellectual or even a merethe time is come for the generally formal assent to the Apostles' supplication. But the way is not creed, and who submit to her regi. yet fully prepared. The Apostles' men. It was on this principle that
. creed, so called, must be said by Bonaparte supposed he had become the minister and people standing. reconciled to the church and to God This we suppose is introduced here because he confessed his faith, It as a profession of faith, showing the was the same principle which led people's qualifications for the ser- Talleyrand to think that he died in vices which follow.
We have no
the communion of the church and objection to this, except that it shows of Christ. And it is the same prinno such thing; and the frequent ciple which leads many at the presrepetition of it as an essential partent time to mistake a belief in cer. of divine service, tends to produce tain articles of faith, for a belief a false impression on the minds of in the Lord Jesus Christ. If the the ignorant. It tends to produce creed must be said, we had rather the impression that a mere formal see it occupy any other place than recognition of the principles of this in the liturgy. We have seen Christianity is the condition of sal- too much of its fatal influence.
True, the minister may, and doubt- gospel which holds forth any thing less many do, warn the people in the place of justification by faith. against such an abuse of this con- Though the creed does not positivefession. But there it stands, indi- ly do this, yet it presents no obstacating a preparation for certain acts cles to doing it on the part of the of worship. When therefore the preacher, or the person who repeats people assent to it with an audible the creed in sincerity. What would voice, they feel in spite of the re- he who was not behind the chiefest monstrances of the minister, that of the apostles say of a creed which they are believers. And especially omits that great doctrine which he when they hear the “exhortation” took so much pains to establish, and which is appointed sometimes to be yet calls itself the Apostles' creed? read before the communion to the The“ litany” appears to be taken whole congregation, beginning with from several Romish litanies, leavthese words : “Dearly beloved ing out the idolatrous parts, and brethren, on-I intend, by God's greatly improving the rest. There grace, to celebrate the Lord's are some things in this part of the per; unto which, in God's behalf, service which we greatly admire, I bid you all who are here present,” and other things which are worthy &c.; how can they fail of being of decided reprobation.
The beauconfirmed in the idea that they are tiful, strong, and simple Saxon Eng. believers ?
lish is used, with a few exceptions, While we speak of the creed as throughout. It contains most of the containing truths, we would not be general petitions which a congregaunderstood as saying that all its de. tion might be supposed to make; clarations are true, or that it con- and the responses are by no means tains all the essential parts of Chris- deficient in meaning or solemnity. tianity. It is manifestly deficient in But we very much dislike the idea regard to one great doctrine which of addressing the Father in general constitutes the very essence of our terms, and then the Son in the same religion, without which we can not terms, and then the Holy Ghost in conceive that the gospel is acknow. the same, and last of all, the Trinledged. We allude to the doctrine ity. This appears to us unevangelof justification by faith in the blood It looks like the vain repeti. of Christ. Not an allusion is made tions of the heathen, against which in this creed to the atonement. A the Lord's prayer is intended to man may believe the historical facts caution us; and it certainly has no of Christ's death, burial, resurrec. example in sacred writ to authorize tion and ascension, and yet know it. We dislike also the repetition nothing and believe nothing of the of words nearly synonymous in great design of these facts. He several petitions, followed by the may believe and confess all that is response, “Good Lord, deliver us.” said in this creed, and yet know We look upon the prayer to be denothing and believe nothing of the livered “from lightning and templan of salvation which God has pest; from plague, pestilence, and devised. So that he may be totally famine ; from battle and murder, ignorant of the only way in which and from sudden death,” without he can be saved. Paul declares, any conditions annexed of submisGal. i, 8, “But though we or an sion to the will of God, as savoring angel from heaven preach any other too much of a spirit of fear and gospel unto you than that which we worldliness, unwilling to leave all have preached unto you, let him in the hands of infinite wisdom and be accursed.” We understand the love. We look upon the concludApostle here as calling that another ing part of this composition as viq