« السابقةمتابعة »
or at least so far removed to one side as not to obstruct the view of the altar. It may, I know, be said by inany, that these things are of very little importance, and that, in descending to these particularities, we are forgetting those great principles which are of far more importance that any ritual observance; but let us look well that, while we are guarding the citadel, the outworks be not carried; for should they be, the consequences are likely to be fatal. Moreover, when men are taught to look with little respect upon the altar itself, they will soon come to lightly regard that oblation which is offered upon it, and will turn their backs upon the table of their Lord with as much carelessness as if he had not said, “ Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you." I would respectfully put it, then, to those who have the superintendence of the erection of the new churches in London, whether it would not be advisable to arrange them so as that the object which should be more particularly before the eyes of the people may not be hidden from their view; but that, following primitive antiquity, and the former usages of our church, the pulpit may be so arranged as not to obstruct the prospect of the holy table? It is not the part of the writer to suggest in what way this object may be effected; but there would appear no difficulty to its accomplishment.
Let us, then, as far as our own generation is concerned, leave a witness to posterity that we have followed our pious forefathers in their adherence to the usages of Christ's holy catholic church; that they may look upon our temples with as much pleasure and reverence as we do on those of past ages. I close with the following quotation from St. Gregory Nyssen,* that it may appear with what reverence the altar was regarded in primitive times :-“This altar," says he, “ whereat we stand, is by nature only common stone, nothing different from other stones, whereof our walls are made, and our pavements adorned; but, after it is consecrated, and dedicated to the service of God, it becomes an holy table,-an immaculate altar,which may not be promiscuously touched by all, but only the priests in time of divine service.”
St. Peter's College, Cambridge.
CHANCELS OF CHURCHES, ETC.
Sir, At a time when so many, upon this side of the Atlantic, appear to be under the influence of an ultra-protestant monomania, which leads them to regard with suspicion many of their brethren, who have as great an abhorrence as they have of the abominations of the Romish church, but do not see the expediency of adopting puritan prejudices and puritan phraseology, it may not be amiss that I forward to you an extract or two from the last-published journal, being
* De Baptismo Christi.
the fifty-first, of the convention of the protestant episcopal church in the diocese of New York. It will be seen by these extracts, that the worthy bishop of the church in that part of the American Union has no such morbid sensitiveness as some of our divines have about the use of the term “altar” when applied to the communion-table. He does not think, either, that there is any thing so very popish in the affix of the ornament of a cross on the outside of a Christian church. As many new churches are now in the course of erection, it is not unlikely that some, who coincide with Bishop Onderdonk, may take a hint from his remarks upon the good taste exhibited at Zion church, Greene, and at St. John's church, Medina.
In the bishop's address or journal I observe, that he, upon two several occasions, administered the right of confirmation singly to persons who were confined to their beds by sickness. To this practice I should rejoice that the attention of our own right reverend fathers were called. It had often occurred to me that such an administration of confirmation would be strictly proper,—that, were I so situated, and unconfirmed, I should much desire it to be so administered to myself, when the bishop was making a visitation of the churches in my own neighbourhood. But I have never, till now, seen a record of its being administered in modern times in the sick room. This is one of the many advantages of small diocesan charges,—that the bishop may be made intimately acquainted with the wants of all the members of our communion in the parishes which are under his spiritual supervision ; and I trust that the time may not be far distant, when the revival of suffragan bishops may make such an efficient supervision practicable among ourselves. But now for the extracts.
“Monday, June 6, 1836.-Consecrated Zion church, Greene; the chancel of which, I think it my duty to observe, comes nearer what a chancel should be than any which I had previously seen, combining as it does the important requisites of sufficient height and sufficient dimensions. If there is any value in the decent and impressive solemnities of our ritual, they ought not to be concealed from the people. And yet, in such chancels as are usually provided in our churches, the solemn services of communion, confirmation, and ordination, are almost as effectually removed from their view as if performed behind an intervening screen.”
“The floor of the chancel,” the bishop observes, in a note at this place, “should be, at the very least, two feet higher than that of the church; and it should be so large as to allow a perfectly easy passage between the altar and the rails, and to admit of being occupied by a number of clergy on solemn occasions." - Journal, p. 25.
“ Tuesday, Sept. 13.--Consecrated St. John's church, Medina, Orleans county, and administered the communion; and, in the afternoon, baptized 2 adults and 3 children, and confirmed 11.
“This is probably one of the chastest and best proportioned Gothic churches in the diocese. I spoke before of the chancel of the church at Greene as a good model for our churches. This at Medina is in some respects its superior. It consists of a platform running nearly across the church, and raised above the level of its aisles three or four steps; the communion table is against the centre of the wall in the rear of the platform, and in front of the platform, on the extremity at the right of the altar, is the reading-desk, and on that at the left, the pulpit—the three standing on the same level, and the desk and pulpit being exactly alike. The effect of this is the very proper one of presenting the altar as the chief place in the church, and the desk and pulpit as subsidiary to it--a plan every way preferable to the so common one of making the altar a mere appendage to the desk.
“ Another peculiarity in the construction of the church in Medina, in which, I
believe, it and thảt at Geddes stand alone in our diocese, is the surmounting of its spire with a cross. The conceding of the epithet catholic to the church of Rome, as in any peculiar way appropriate to it, and regarding the sign of the cross as symbolizing its distinctive principles, I cannot but consider as serious errors, inconsistent with sound protestantism. It is generally granted by Christians, in accordance with the teachings of nature and the sanction of holy writ, that it is meet and right to have, in the construction of churches, a due regard to becoming ornament. Emblematic representations are frequently introduced into them. Why should one so full of deeply-interesting meaning, and the very name of which is made in holy writ to represent the essence of the Christian's faith, and all that is well-founded, holy, and true in the Christian's hopes, be discarded? Why should it be given over to degrading association with heresy, corruption, and idolatry ? Let it not be. Let the cross stand on every temple devoted to the true Christian worship of the CRUCIFIED, as indicative of this its sacred purpose, and as symbolizing the holy faith in which that worship is conducted.”-Ibid. pp. 10, 11.
To this aspiration of the Right Rev. Benjamin T. Onderdonk, and to the preceding remarks, your correspondent would humbly subscribe.
ON CERTAIN IRREGULARITIES IN THE CELEBRATION OF DIVINE
WORSHIP. MR. EDITOR, - Will you permit me, through the medium of your Magazine, to remind the clergy of some few irregularities which are continually occurring in the celebration of divine service ? They are as follow:
I. “ The first (or second] lesson appointed for this morning's (or evening's] service is," &c., is very often said before each lesson, instead of “ Here beginneth the chapter of -" &c., as the rubric
. II. “The morning for evening) of the month : the — psalm,” is continually said, instead of the correct form_" The day of the month, morning for evening) prayer: the - psalm.'
III. The rubric directs that “the curate shall declare unto the people what holydays or fasting days are, in the week following, to be observed,” immediately after the Nicene creed. How frequently is this injunction disregarded !
IV. The rubric directs that, after the above declaration, shall follow the sermon, or one of the homilies, and that over, “ The priest shall return to the Lord's table,” and repeat the prayer for the whole state of Christ's church,“ together with one or more collects, concluding with a blessing.” The latter injunction is systematically neglected.
V. The rubric directs that holy baptism shall be celebrated “ upon Sundays and other holydays when the most number of people come together”-“either immediately after the last lesson at morning prayer, or else immediately after the last lesson at evening prayer.” How generally is this command disobeyed; and how grievous have been the consequences ! even the degradation (so far as lies in man) of that blessed mystery of the new birth into a mere unmeaning, unsacramental ceremony!
VÍ. The rubric directs that, “ upon the day and at the time ap
* What is the authority for this form ?-Ed. VOL. XII.-Oct. 1837.
pointed for the ministration of the holy communion, the priest that shall execute the holy ministry shall put upon him the vesture appointed for that ministration--that is to say, a white alb plain, with a vestment or cope. And where there be many priests or deacons, there so many shall be ready to help the priest in the ministration as shall be requisite. And shall have upon them likewise the vestures appointed for the ministry—that is to say, albes with tunicles.” By what authority have copes, albes, &c. come into disuse ? and why have not surplices been cast off also ? The same act of parliament enjoins the wearing of both.
VII. The rubric directs that not only in cathedral and collegiate churches and chapels, but) in all parish churches, two lights be set upon the altar at the times of divine service, as a significant ceremony to represent the light which Christ's gospel brought into the world. This injunction is, also, almost universally neglected.
And now, Mr. Editor, I will ask those clergymen who may commit all or any of the above irregularities, two weighty questions :
I. How can they reconcile such irregularities with the solemn vow and promise which they have all made before Almighty God, that they will “ use the FORM in the Book [of Common Prayer) prescribed in public prayer, and administration of the sacraments, and none other” ?
II. How can they, with justice, censure any who may leave out the creeds, or the Lord's Prayer, or the cross at baptism, or the absolution, or make any other omissions or alterations in the church service, when they themselves are equally guilty of flagrant rebellion to the rubric ?
I will conclude with the following remarks by a great prelate of our church :
“ This,” says he, “I have observed further ; that no one thing hath made conscientious men more wavering in their owne mindes, or more apt and easie to be drawne aside from the sincerity of religion professed in the church of England, than the want of uniforme and decent order in too many churches of the kingdome. "Tis true, the inward worship of the heart is the great service of God, and no service [is] acceptable without it; but the external worship of God in his church is the great witnesse to the world, that our heart stands right in that service of God. Take this away, or bring it into contempt, and what light is there left to shine before men, that they may see our devotion, and glorifie our Father which is in heaven ? And to deale clearely with your Majesty (Charles I. M. ] these thoughts are they and no other, which have made me labour so much, as I have done, for decency and an orderly settlement of the external worship of God in the church. For of that which is inward, there can be no witnesse among men, nor no example for men. Now, no external action in the worlde can be uniforme without some ceremonies. And these in religion, the ancienter they bee, the better, so they may fit time and place. Too many overburden the service of God; and too few leave it naked. And scarce anything hath hurt religion more in these broken times, than an opinion in too many men, that because Rome hath thrust some unnecessary, and many superstitious, cere. monies upon the church, therefore the reformation must have none at all; not considering therewhile, that ceremonies are the hedge that fence the substance of religion from all the indignities which prophanesse and sacriledge too commonly put upon it. And a great weaknesse it is, not to see the strength which ceremonies (things weake enough in themselves, God knows) adde even to religion itself."-Laud's Conference with Fisher. Dedication. Fol. 1639.
I am, Mr. Editor, yours, &c.,
A FRIEND TO ORDER.
DEVIATIONS FROM THE RUBRIC.
SIR,—Having been a constant reader of your Magazine ever since its commencement, I beg to tender my best acknowledgments for that advantage and information which, as an humble member of the truly apostolical church happily established in these kingdoms, I have ever derived from a perusal of its pages.
Among other subjects, for the discussion of which your Magazine seems most admirably adapted, there is one which has particularly interested me as a layman, on account of its practical bearing at the present day; and which, as it had long occupied my own attention, I am glad to see now taken up by several of your correspondents, more able than myself to discuss it correctly. I refer to those deviations from the directions given in our book of Common Prayer for the guidance of both the minister and people in the celebration of divine worship. Many of these deviations have been noticed by your correspondents, which I have myself witnessed, in various parts of the country, whenever I have attended the services of our church, as I always make a point of doing wherever I am. There is one service in particular-namely, the celebration of the Lord's supper, in which the variety of modes adopted by the minister cannot but cause doubt and perplexity to the mind of the devout and humble worshipper who sincerely desires to have conveyed to him, personally, that benefit which was intended to be applied by the authorized ambassadors of Christ, to each faithful communicant individually. For, besides the distracting uncertainty what to expect, which confuses the mind at a time requiring its most serious and fixed attention, we have also the doubts arising from the fear of ourselves partaking in the apparent irregularities thus introduced.
Being myself humbly desirous of doing all things in order, and according to the intentions of our venerable church, in which I have the fullest confidence as “the pillar and ground of the truth” to me, and being desirous also of submitting, in all teachableness, to her authorized ministers, I still cannot help a feeling of perplexity when I am called upon to unite in so many various ways of proceeding in those things in which the church has willed a uniformity to be observed in all the congregations of her charge.
Moreover, there is another unpleasant idea suggested by many of the deviations now in vogue with some parties-namely, that those very things are altered or neglected which the dissenters have singled out for attack; and thus it appears as if we had got those among our clergy who have scarcely yet fully determined whether our church or the dissenters are to be followed ; and a simple-minded layman is thus left to infer that those things which he had thought the beauty and distinctive excellence of the church's rites, and especially that doctrine of uniformity which she boasts of maintaining, must be deemed of no material importance, but subject to be changed or wholly neglected, according to the fancy or caprice of individual ministers.