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Distinguished divines in the Episcopal Churches. munion of the Episcopal church ; and this too, when habits of education and motives of interest might have led them to espouse another cause. To what writers is the christian world so much indebted for learned expositions of doctrine and forcible persuasives to duty, as to Bull, Beveridge, Hall, Tillotson, Taylor, Seed, Secker and Porteus? To whom are we indebted for that translation of the holy scriptures which has so long withstood the assaults of infidels and heretics, but to members of the church of England? And who has not found his understanding enlightened, and his faith invig. orated by the compositions of the pious Milner; the evangelical Cooper, and the devout Scott? I would not wish to be understood as desirous of having one rest his belief solely upon human authority; but as we must, in many respects, be dependent upon this, where shall we go with greater confidence, than to those who have been most distinguished for the ability with which they have supported and defended the revelation of God.”
Perhaps 'we have lingered long enough at this point, in surveying this bulwark of Zion. In the next chapter we design to direct the attention of the reader to another of the outworks of Zion, which in our view adds not a little to her beauty and safety.
The Triple Porch on the South side of the Temple.
FORMS OF PRAYER.
“ There is no note on the harp of Gabriel more welcome to Jehovah, than the cry of a penitent for mercy, or the supplication of a child for grace.”
All that was absolutely essential to the temple built by Solomon, was divinely delineated in the plan he received from his father David. There were, however, several appendages to this stupendous fabric, that were left to be constructed, according as taste or utility might suggest. Hence, connected with the second temple, there were many things different from those which belonged to the first. Among these, I might mention the triple porch, that stood on the south side of the temple, that was in Jerusalem at the time our Saviour was on earth. Though in the first temple, porches, by divine appointment, were to surround the house of the Lord, we have no account of any, that bore the slightest similitude to this. This porch was supported by four rows of Corinthian columns, hewed from white marble, of immense diameter, and not less than sixty feet in height-restis.g on these as a base, it peered aloft into the heavens, till from its summit, the bottom of the valley below could scarcely be seen. Who could have stood and glanced his eye over this splendid piece of architecture, and not have been struck with the magnificence of this part of the vast pile that rose before him? And who would be prepared to say, that this triple porch did not add greatly to the beauty, and defence, and convenience of the temple. And so, in this our walk about Zion, should there meet our eye, some tower, or bulwark, or stately porch, in reference to whose erection there is no express divine command, we are not hastily to conclude that it has been raised up without good and substantial reasons. If it adds to the
President Dwight and Dr. Paley on forms of Prayer. safety and defence and well-being of Zion, we are the rather to conclude, that its erection is in accordance with the will of God. Amid the bulwarks of Zion we meet with such a structure, in the Liturgy of the Episcopal Church. In our view, this liturgy is both a tower of safety and a porch of entrance to the audience chamber of the King of Kings. We must then linger here for a while, and go round about it,' and mark well this bulwark of Zion.
President Dwight, a well known and distinguished divine, of the Congregational Church, though a warm advocate for extemporaneous prayer, closes his discourse on the subject of forms, with these remarks:
“I have no controversy with those who think forms of prayer most edifying to themselves. Very many unquestionable and excellent Christians have worshipped in both these methods. In both these methods, therefore, men may be excellent christians, and worship God in an acceptable
On this subject, whether considered as a subject of speculation, or of practice, no debate ought ever to arise, except that which is entirely catholic and friendly; and no feel. ings beside those which are of the most charitable nature.”
In the justness of these remarks we fully concur, and hum. biy hope that there will be nothing in this chapter, in discord. ance with the sentiments they inculcate.
Before we enter fully into the argument in favour of forms of prayer, however, we wish to offer two preliminary remarks.
The first is this,—that in advocating forms of prayer, and expressing our decided preference, of this mode of conducting worship, over that of extemporaneous devotion, our remarks are intended to apply simply to public worship in the sanctuary. We do not object to extemporaneous prayer in private circles, convened for the purpose of social worship.
And secondly, that in proposing, that public worship should be conducted by a prescribed form, we do it solely on the ground of expediency. Our views on this subject are entirely coincident with those of Mr. Paley, as expressed in his Mor. al and Political Philosophy.
* Liturgies or preconcerted forms of public devotion, being neither enjoined in scripture, nor forbidden, there can be no good reason for either receiving or rejecting them but that of expediency; which expediency is to be gathered from a com
Advantages and disadvantages in modes of conducting pubřic worship. parison of the advantages and disadvantages attending upon this mode of 'worship, with those which usually accompany extemporary prayer.'
I have no doubt there are advantages and disadvantages connected with both these modes of conducting worship. We must, therefore, choose that which secures the greatest amount of good, with the least amount of evil.
One of the principal designs of public worship is to produce an effect upon ourselves. We do not expect to produce a change in the purposes of the unchangeable Jehovah. But when we come before him with right views-and express and feel the sentiments, which become sinful suppliants at the footstool of divine mercy, a change is wrought in us, which renders it consistent with the immutable principles of the divine government, to grant our petitions.
This is an important fact to be kept in sight while discuss. ing the question before us—the great design of prayer is to produce a change in ourselves.
The devotional exercises of the sanctuary are intended to awaken in our minds a sense of our guilt, of our danger, of cur necessity, of our helplessness, of our entire dependance, of our littleness, and of the greatness, and goodness, and wis. dom, and power of our Maker, that our hearts may turn with earnest longings towards God—that our eyes may wait upon him, even as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters--and that we may thus be prepared for the blessing
Now that mode of worship, whatever it may be, that is best adapted to make such impressions upon the heart, and secure such results is, most indisputably, the best. The great question then is, by which mode can this effect be most invari. ably produced? We think by a precomposed form of prayer.
We have no doubt that under certain circumstances, all the ends of public worship will be most happily attained, where the devotions are conducted without a prescribed form. # And could such a coincidence of circumstances always be cal. culated upon, we cannot say but that, on some accounts, we should prefer this mode of conducting public worship. But
we need. *
* See Magee on the Atonement, vol. I, p. 104 ; also vol. II, p. 185. Dwight's Theology, vol. v. p. 75.
Prayer, a difficult kind of composition--an incident. here is the difficulty: and with us it is an insurmountable difficulty. Where you find this happy concurrence of cir. cumstances in one instance, in ten other instances you will fail to find it: and in all those instances, the great end of public worship is not fully attained.
I will illustrate my meaning. If all ministers had that pow. er of intellect, and that facility of expression, and readiness of utterance by which they could pour forth, on the spur of the moment, a strain of devotion as intelligent and edifying and spiritual, as that contained in a precomposed liturgy: and if they were always, when called upon to lead the devotion of others, in a truly devotional frame of mind, we should think that this mode of conducting public worship had some decided advantages over a prescribed form of prayer, though even then, in other particulars we should regard it as wanting decided advantages, which a prescript form of prayer possessed.
But there are several things here supposed, which we can. not expect to find in all those who minister at the altar. Not one in ten of those who minister at the altar can present their thoughts, in a form as correct, and impressive, and as well calculated to produce deep effect, on the spur of the moment, as if they had previously written what they had to offer.
Prayer is the most difficult kind of composition. The fact, that in the various manuals of devotion, composed by ministers of different denominations, we have so few good prayers, is a striking proof of the truth of this remark.
In further illustration of the same idea, I will here state an incident which is somewhat to the point.
A young gentleman, who was educated a Congregationalist, was spending some weeks at a watering place, shortly after he had been brought to a knowledge of the truth. It was at that early period with him in his religious experience, when the heart beats warm with the various emotions which swell and refresh it, in that new world of light and love into which it has been born from above. A young friend was associated with him on this occasion, who was just beginning the first exercises of his untried ministry. At this watering. place, the company, as usual, was blest with the
presence no small number of experienced and devoted clergymen, whose excessive labors rendered a visit to the springs indis. pensable to their refreshment and health. Among these was