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lating again the rule of our Savior, too much. If the head of a family that we use not vain repetitions as should read, every time he assemthe heathen do. And especially bles his household for domestic the form which immediately follows worship, five or six chapters in the the litany in the American Prayer. Bible, he would not be thought to book, but in the English is incorpo- act judiciously. The minds of his rated with it, is liable to this objec. audience would not be half so much tion. It is what is called in the impressed with scriptural truth as if Romish rituals, Kyrie eleison—“O a smaller portion were read. So it Christ hear us, Lord have mercy is in the public worship of God. If upon us, Christ have mercy upon the Episcopal clergy would teach us, Lord have mercy upon us,' their hearers to read the Bible at each repeated by the minister and home, while they should read only so the people. This we believe to be much at church as to recognize its a most flagrant violation of Chris- paramount authority and convey intian rules. It is too much like “Ostruction and edification, a much betBaal, hear us,” which was once, ter knowledge of the sacred oracles with frequent repetition, preferred would be gained. As it is, the word to one who had no eye to pity, and of God makes no great impression, no arm to save.
because there is so much read. We Before we leave this part of our do not find that other devout Chrissubject, it is proper to remark, that tians or other congregations are less a portion of the Old and New Tes- acquainted with the Scriptures than taments is read every morning and Episcopalians. The service is made afternoon, besides a portion of the so long by this means and by the gospels, a portion of an epistle, and frequent repetitions in the prayers, a portion of the Psalms. This large that very little time is left for the infusion of scripture in the service sermon.
Thus the ordinance of is claimed as a great excellence. preaching, which, from the stress The late Bishop Hobart once said, the Bible lays upon it, we infer is that there is enough of scripture in the first in the public worship of the Prayer-book for salvation. And God, the Episcopal church thrusts Bishop Eastburn, of Massachusetts, away into a corner, and treats as a said at the last anniversary of the mere appendage to the rest. It Massachusetts Bible Society, “that pleases God by the foolishness of he loved his own church for many preaching to save them that beliere. reasons, but chiefly for its professed It is the truth, proclaimed by the livreverence for the word of God; and ing voice, that God has chosen as that the Episcopal church in her the main instrument of conversion, daily service commanded more of sanctification, and salvation. It is the Holy Scriptures to be read than this which the Holy Spirit uses to any other church in Christendom.” kindle and sway the living energies This argument of the bishop goes of man. upon the ground that the more There are many other things scripture there is read in the public which we deem objectionable in the service of the church the better. ordinary service of the Episcopal Hence if the argument is good for church, such as bowing at the name any thing, it proves that nearly all of Jesus in the creed, as though the service should consist in read- that ceremony were required at that ing the Scriptures. Now while we place more than at others, or as freely admit that our own ministers, though it were required at all; the being left to their own discretion, theatrical effect of changing the may read too little, we think that dress on the part of the clergy, and the Episcopal clergy actually read that too in the midst of the service,
when the people are engaged in place, the number of prayers apsinging the praises of God; the pointed to be said, several of which public proclamation which the min. have no particular bearing on the ister makes of secret prayer, when subject; the ten commandments, as on his return from the vestry he as. if this gracious institution were not cends the pulpit, folds up his gown wholly different from the law; the and inclines his head in the face of formal exhortation repeated to every the congregation, they all the while communicant; the absolution,-all engaged in singing ; the standing these contribute to diminish the simof the people when the gospel is plicity of the institution. read, and their sitting during the The effect which the prayer of reading of the epistle, as though consecration, as it is called, is suppoone were to be held in more reve- sed to have, we can not but regard as rence than the other. But these superstitious, and savoring not a litthings, and some others which we tle of Popery. The following direcforbear to mention, are of minor im- tion is given : “ And if any of the portance, and we have neither time consecrated bread and wine remain nor inclination to dwell upon them. after the communion, it shall not be
We will now examine the com- carried out of the church ; but the munion service. The simplicity of minister and other communicants this ordinance is entirely destroyed shall, immediately after the blessby loading it with so many forms ing, reverently eat and drink the and ceremonies. In the first place same." Who can fail to see here a the idea of communion, which con- trace of that spirit which regards the sists in fellowship expressed by the consecrated elements as the body act, not only with the Lord but with and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ? one another, is wholly excluded. True, this doctrine is not believed by Instead of sitting down together or the entire Episcopal church; but does using the table posture, after the ex- not the direction here quoted look as ample of our divine Lord and the if it had not wholly left the minds primitive disciples, the communi- of those who compiled the book ? cants kneel and receive a piece of Certainly the Prayer-book recogbread and afterwards the wine from nizes the bread and wine as somethe hands of the minister, sepa- thing different after consecration rately—each one having a form re- from what it was before ; for it peated to him, which, in the case of must not be carried out of the the bread, is the exact translation, church, but be eaten and drunk by with a little addition, of the form at the communicants. If there should the Popish mass. Here the promi- happen to be a large quantity left, nent idea is receiving at the hands the duty prescribed must be no of the minister the body and blood small burden ; and the laws of temof Christ, each in his separate ca- perance might possibly be infringed. pacity; but no reference is made to What does this prescription imply, ihe disciples of Christ sitting and if not that the bread and wine have eating together the same bread and been changed by the act of consedrinking the same cup, in token cration ? And if they have been of union to the same Lord. It is changed, what is the character doubtless a commemoration of the, which they sustain ? Are they difdeath of Christ, though not agreeable ferent in any respect from what to the original institution ; but it is they were before? If so, what is not the communion of saints. The the evidence? And how does such latter idea is absent, as the sepa. an idea agree with the simplicity of rate participation by each individ- the ordinance as it came from the ual, manifestly shows. In the next hands of Christ? Why throw a mystery over a plain subject? How among the clergy of the Episcopal far is this from the elevation of the church can use this part of the lithost, or the recognition of a super- urgy, without such misgivings as to natural power in the priest, or in the induce them to give up the whole. words of consecration, of which the Holding principles totally opposite Bible says nothing ? The ordi- to those declared in the baptismal nance as it came from the Lord Je. service, by what philosophy of lansus Christ is perfectly simple and guage or of reasoning, can they satintelligible, and in this consists its isfy their consciences ? For our. practical value. It is the joint par- selves we declare, without judging ticipation of bread and wine by the other men, that we could no more followers of Christ, without any for- offer the prayer, beginning “We malities but such as decency and yield thee hearty thanks, most merorder require, in commemoration of ciful Father, that it hath pleased his great sacrifice for sin. There thee to regenerate this infant with is nothing efficacious in the mere thy Holy Spirit, to receive him for ceremony: it is the spiritual pres. thine own child by adoption,” than ence of Christ in the hearts of his we could publicly declare an unpeople that gives it all its efficacy. truth under the sanction of an oath. What then can be the significancy And were there no other objection of the minister's taking a few chosen to the liturgy, this would forever bar companions and reverently eating us from adopting it. The whole and drinking after the service is service goes upon the principle, that over, unless it is a recognition of regeneration is expected and is acsome mysterious sanctity in the ele- complished by baptism. It is in ments themselves? And if this is vain to say, as some have said, that admitted, how many steps further regeneration is distinguished from must we advance before we arrive renovation, and that the word is at the doctrine of transubstantiation. used in a different sense from that
For ourselves, we are desirous of in which we employ it; for it is recelebrating the Lord's supper in all generation by the Holy Spirit which the simplicity of its original institu- is declared to have taken place. If tion. And in this way only do the there is any other regeneration, reideas which it is intended to impress novation or change of heart, which upon the mind come up before us fits us for heaven, we have never in their living reality. We want no discovered it in the Scriptures. The talking during the celebration. We doctrine of the prayer is the doctrine want no priest to pronounce over us of baptismal regeneration. The any words, however solemn may be whole prayer takes it for a certainty their import. We look upon the that an inward spiritual renovation speaker as an intruder between us has accompanied the outward cere. and the Lord. We would meditate mony. Those writers in the church in the stillness of private devotion of England who maintain, in oppoupon the great things brought to sition to the evangelical clergy of view. The silence of human voices that establishment, the doctrine of alone accords with the solemnity of baptismal regeneration to be the the scene.
doctrine of their church, clearly Let us turn now to the public have the better of the argument. baptism of infants. This service is To talk of a change of heart not not only defective in many respects, experienced in baptism, but when a but so decidedly unscriptural that person becomes convinced of his we see not how an intelligently sins and turns from them to the wispious man can use it. We have of. dom of the Just, under the special ten wondered that evangelical men influence of the Holy Spirit, as the
evangelical clergy of the Episcopal will be a God to thee, and to thy church do, is entirely at variance seed after thee.” Nothing is said with the liturgy. One or the other, of the true Scriptural ground of bapfor consistency's sake, and for con- tizing our children; and were there science' sake should be renounced. no better view of infant baptism This service, connected with other than that presented in this ritual, parts of the Prayer-book, accounts we should find no decisive argufor the looseness which prevails on ment against our Baptist brethren. the subject of regeneration in the The child is brought forward simply Episcopal church. Where is the on the ground that its godfather and passage in the whole liturgy that godmother (a sort of people by the plainly recognizes the doctrine that way unknown to the Bible) promise man as he is by nature needs a total in its name that it shall “ renounce change in his moral character to fit the devil and all his works, and conhim for heaven? Where do we stantly believe God's holy word, find recognized the Scriptural doc- and obediently keep his commandtrine that all the moral acts of an ments.”
What a singular system impenitent person are sinful, and of imputation! We have heard of that his whole moral character the imputation of sin and righteousneeds to be changed? Where do ness, but never before of the impuwe find any thing in harmony with tation of moral agency. One intela general state of awakening and se. ligent being here promises for anoriousness like what is observed in a ther, without the power of controllo revival of religion? Where do we ing the heart, that he shall obey the find any pleading of the promises, laws of God! The obligation which any ardent wrestling for the imme. baptism imposes upon the infant is diate effusions of the divine Spirit? not that it belongs to the household Where are those deep and devout of God, from which it must break aspirations which are prompted by away to walk in the paths of the the presence of a multitude of im- wicked, but that some other person mortal souls solemnly and earnestly promises that it should do right! inquiring the way to eternal life? What is the penalty upon the godIt is all a dead form suited to the father in case of disobedience on idea that in baptism the original the part of the child ? What bestain of our nature is washed away, comes of the godfather if he can not and the regenerating influences of make his child believe and do the the Spirit are enjoyed in such a things which he promises that the measure that nothing farther is child shall believe and do ? needed than the gradual cultivation The authors of this service have of piety. We regard this defect of evidently taken the institution of inthe liturgy on the subject of baptism fant baptism merely as an historical as fundamental. It is evidently act, without entering at all into the composed to meet the views of men principles upon which it is founded. who had just awaked from the sleep They have retained the Romish cusof Popery, and had not received toms respecting it without correcting fully the Protestant religion. them by the Scriptures. If we un
We have another objection to this derstand it, baptism is beneficial to baptismal service, which ranges it an infant not because of any inheagain under the head of Popery— rent virtue in the water or the serwe mean its total silence in regard vice, but chiefly because it is an apto the foundation of infant baptism.. pointment of God by the observance Not a hint is given that it is a cov- of which the parent recognizes his enant transaction—no reference is obligation to train up a child in the made to the unfailing promise, “I nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Having recognized that obligation, prescribed for the occasion, that
In full accordance with the bap- of the same error as has already tismal service we find, “the order been noticed in regard to the con. of confirmation, or laying on offession in the creed, that mere intelhands upon those that are baptized, lectual assent to truth is the service and come to years of discretion.” of the heart which the Scriptures The qualifications for this ceremony mean by the term faith. It arises, are ability to say the creed, the in our opinion, from the idea never Lord's prayer and the ten com- absent from the liturgy, that the mandments, and “to answer such church to which the individual other questions as in the short cate- comes is a national church, a politchism are contained.” Of these ical authority to which external subpersons it is affirmed in the prayer jection is all that is necessary. This