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Christians than “ the most trifling difference of taste" ought to separate the “ brothers of a family." The awful question, then, is, Who makes the separation ? Are the “ brothers” wbu, on account of this "TRIPLING DIFFERENCE," leave the family, or the brothers who continue in the family, the persons who make the separation ? Both may be to blame, sure enough, in their lack of a brotherly spirit of accommodation. But most certainly those brothers are intolerant who will have the most “ trifling difference of taste" altered to their own mind, or otherwise leave the family for the sake of that “ trifling" difference.
Now, common sense speaks here for itself. But Mr. Noel has concealed this true state of the case, and bas never so much as hinted that the fastidious “ taste” of these brothers made them leave the family, because the family would not consent to change their ancient modes of taste for other modern notions. But did not Mr. Noel know that this representation enters precisely into the facts of the case ? Yes, he knew it well. Then how came he to conceal it ? No doubt, because of that misconception of things under which he all along labours. Mr. N., for instance, misplaces the primary act, or seat of schism, as if it did not consist in separating from the parent family, where the scriptures mainly place schism, or in the spirit which leads to that separation, but in a fancied or mysterious something of jealousy or ill-will between the brothers in consequence of this separation, which separation, nevertheless, had become an absolute duty (as Mr. N. conceives) in all the conscientious separatists, on account of their mode of viewing the “ meaning of scripture.”
Another error of Mr. Noel's (perhaps the parent of the former, and the foundation of all the bewilderment,) is, the false notion and false importance, and therefore the false office, assigned to“ private opinion."
This is perhaps the most unscriptural part of Mr. Noel's Tract. The scriptures never allow of any pleas of conscience in any man for dividing the church of God and setting up other “ interests" separate from it. “ Private judgment” the legitimate ground of public division and separation! This is the very sin against which our Saviour's prayer, “ that they may be one,” levels a deadly blow. It is the very offence against which St. Paul inveighs with such holy sharpness“ Mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned, and avoid them."
“ Withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly.” And, again, “ If any man obey not our word, by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed; yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish as a brother.” (Rom. xvi. 17; 2 Thes. iii. 6, 14, 15.) When Mr. Noel quotes part of these texts of scripture, it never seems to enter his mind that they have any application but to such as are guilty of “bigotry” and “ intolerance.” (p. 19.) In objection to the foregoing remark on“ private judgment," it will, doubtless, be said, that I am treading upon tender ground. Be it so; yet I ask, where in scripture do we find any authority for allowing persons, on their “ private judgment," to separate from and divide the church of God?' And if Mr. Noel cannot, as I am convinced, pro
duce scriptural authority for thus dividing the church, I hope he will confess that, instead of giving us, as he professes to do in this important matter, the prescriptions of God's word; he has been “ teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” (p. 18.) I know where it is written, and where Mr. Noel has quoted such texts as the following: “ Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind;" (pp. 18, 19.) “Who art thou that judgest another man's servant ? to his own master he standeth or falleth ; wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us." (pp. 9, 10.) But I ask, do these texts authorize any man, under profession of being “ persuaded in his own mind," to violate the unity of Christ's church, and set up another more agreeable to his own taste ? Nothing can be further from the truth. These words are precisely in the face of such intolerance. They apply wholly for union, and not division. They have no relation whatever to any separation from Christ's church, but to brotherly forbearance of each other in that church. We have no more scriptural right to usurp authority over the consciences of our brethren in matters respecting his personal conduct about trivial or “undecided points" than our brother has to tyrannize over us, by demanding of us to alter our usual and ancient rites to his mind, under the threat that he will otherwise divide the church of God.
Tolerance of weak consciences is a sacred duty, and constantly enjoined in the word of God. And every man acquainted with the imperfection of judgment in himself, and with the deceitfulness of his own heart, will bear with the infirmities, the weaknesses, and the prejudices of his brethren, and will know and acknowledge how much he needs them to bear with in him. This is full in the apostle's mind and heart when he
says, “ Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” I argue, with Mr. Noel, that “ differences of opinion must arise among wise and thoughtful men, and especially when the evidences are on both sides so partial and obscure.” And what then ? Exactly what he advises" Let them be candid, tolerant, and brotherly towards each other.” (pp. 14, 15.) But if I separate from the great family, and set up an interest of my own, on account of some “ trifling difference," which, after all, may be revealed in scripture in but a “ partial” and “ obscure” manner, I am, in bible phrase, uncandid, intolerant, and unbrotherly. I may, indeed, see some rites and ceremonies in a different light, and may interpret some texts of scripture in a different ineaning, to many of my brethren in the church of God; but if I say,
“ You shall receive these points in my sense of them, and change your opinions for mine, or I will divide from you," I am, in so doing, a pope and a tyrant.
BISHOP TAYLOR'S CONTEMPLATIONS ON THE STATE OF MAN.
SIR,-In your Magazine of August, page 168, your correspondent “ E. C.” has taken much pains in his examination of a treatise ascribed to Bishop Taylor, entitled, “ Contemplations on the State of Man,” &c., and considers there is no good authority for such ascription, but internal evidence sufficient to prove it spurious. Whether it be genuine or not, I leave to more competent persons to decide. As I happen to possess, I believe, the original MS., I should be most willing for your correspondent to examine it. The date on the titlepage is 1693, and the motto that often affixed to Taylor's effigy, “ Non magna loquimur, sed vivimus.” There are only twelve Contemplations in this MS., to which is prefixed Robert Harris's Address to the Reader and a Table of Contents. These twelve are, in Bishop Heber's edition of Jeremy Taylor's works, the following:-Lib. i. chap. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 9; lib. ii. chap. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5;—vol. iii. 409_510.
I am, Sir, yours respectfully, Thos. MARRIOTT. 12, Windsor Terrace, City Road, Aug. 24, 1837.
USE OF THE WORD “ALTAR.” Sir,-It was not till within these last few days that your number for July fell under my observation. In it I perceive a reply, by two of your correspondents, to my paper on the use of the terms “altar and sacrifice,” as applied to the holy communion. I beg to thank them for the courtesy they have shewn in their remarks, but at the same time to express my regret that they have not fairly met my statement of a simple fact, nor the inference which I attempted to draw from it, and which so much condemns them. " A. P. P." would treat the subject as one in which I alone was interested. He must know that the question is no way affected by my “satisfaction” or “dissatisfaction;" the point is, has the church, through its authorized agents, formally expressed its opinion on the matter ? I am myself content to hold one of the lowest offices in the church of Christ, sensible that my strength falls far short of its duties: but if my authority was such as necessarily to demand canonical obedience, I presume he would hardly yield it, if called upon to act contrary to to the declared sentiments of the church, as settled at the Reformation. In the subject before us, the church has been (I say) explicit in propounding one sentiment. The same persons who were authorized to arrange our liturgy, and settle our articles of religion, have, from reasons to me highly satisfactory, pronounced, in their collective capacity, that " it was not convenient to administer the communion at an altar," and, in accordance with this sentiment, have intentionally excluded the word “altar" from the rubric, and from every part of the order of divine service. Now, in answer to this, both your correspondents agree, at least, in one point-i.e., in condemning our pious reformers. “ A Country Clergyman” condescends, indeed, to find an excuse for them, in " the circumstances of the season” —(and are circumstances much altered for the better?). But even this poor excuse “A. P. P.” will not allow them, but wishes that their “ warped” opinions had remained buried in the oblivion which they merited. But I would ask, and with every degree of respect, does our church allow such a degree of latitude to her clergy? Are we still in so unsettled a state, that any individual
may indulge his private notions, in opposition to the avowed sentiments of the founders (not of our “ faith," or our religion, but) of our liturgy and form of worship? If so, in what is ours better than the dissenting system? To what confusion must it necessarily lead! If one is justified in calling that an “ altar” which the church, in her rubric, after due consideration, pronounces to be only a table, may not another speak of the consecrated elements as the corporal presence of Christ ? And, then, what hinders the influx of all the absurdities and blasphemies of transubstantiation, or consubstantiation, which borders so closely on it? And, moreover, what becomes of the order, uniformity, and decency of our boasted Anglican church ? We are all at large again, and need “reform" indeed. It is no answer to this to say, that the table has been replaced to its former position. This was done by lawful authority, and not at the caprice of unauthorized individuals.
And here I might safely leave the case ; it is the position which, from the first, I wished only to occupy-viz., that the practice of your correspondents has been formally condemned by their church as “ inconvenient.” It would, however, be easy to shew that they are far from establishing the point at which they aim. The word “ sacrifice," I allow, is often used figuratively; and this meaning alone it bears in our liturgy, and frequently in this sense it occurs in the holy scriptures. And, abstractedly considered, there can be no objection to the use of this term. So much, however, cannot be said of the word “ altar.” The holy communion, as well as every other act of worship,-every prayer, every psalm, addressed to God, -is a sacrifice; but not a sacrifice upon an alta uch an association may well be pronounced to be “ inconvenient" and dangerous; for it must necessarily lead the mind to regard the Lord's supper as an expiatory offering, instead of a commemorative act of thanksgiving for an event already transacted, and for mercies already received. I would then humbly inquire, why is the term “sacrifice” exclusively applied by your correspondents to the Lord's supper; and upon what authority is the table at which it is received called an “ altar ?"
The appeal to scripture seems to me particularly unhappy. Who can suppose
that our blessed Lord (in Matt. v. and xxiv.) alluded to the communion table to be set up in his future church, when he was addressing a people who already had an altar, and he was probably pointing to that very altar in the temple. And in those words of the author of the epistle to the Hebrews, “ We have an altar,” I find it to be the opinion of no commentator whom I have been able to consult, that allusion was intended to the sacramental table. He is speaking of the offence of the cross, which some temporizing Christians wishing to avoid, professed a sort of compound Judaism and Christianity, But Jesus Christ, the great Sin-offering, was sacrificed without the camp, an altar to which they dare not go to partake.
With regard to the passover, I readily admit it was a sacrifice, but not a sacrifice upon an altar ; it was a commemorative, not a propitiatory, sacrifice. The unleavened bread and bitter herbs that were eaten with the lamb formed a part of the sacrifice, according to the Mosaic institution; but the wine was not added till many ages after,
and that without divine appointment. As in the sister sacrament of baptism, so with regard to the Lord's supper, the Saviour found a custom prevailing among the Jews; he sanctioned its use by his own example while on earth, and commanded its continuance in his future church. But before his coming in the flesh, we know not that the baptism with water as an initiatory rite, or the “ cup of blessing" with which the passover was usually concluded, had been adopted through the divine appointment.
I cannot conclude without remarking, it is wonderful that St. Paul, when chiding the Corinthians for their irreverent celebration of the Lord's supper, and when it was his express object to give them more exalted ideas of its nature, did not adopt these terms, so suitable to his purpose, if their application was so very correct and proper !
I am yours, &c.,
T. G. Sept. 20th, 1837.
ON CHURCH ACCOMMODATION. SIR,
-As my opponent has said that the subject of church-pewing is an important question, perhaps you will permit a few lines to be inserted in your valuable Magazine, in answer to his letter. My letter was not written for the purpose of controversy, and certainly does not shew, in any part of it, a want of proper feeling. I would wish any candid person to read both, and say whether his letter is an answer, or anything like an answer, to mine. He has mystified a part, and added circumstances that are not even hinted at.
In the matter of pewing, I do not think an architect has any business to intermeddle. A clergyman only can judge of what may be the better plan for his congregation.
Again, I say, as society is now constituted, it is utterly impossible to have our churches with open seats or benches. Why, then, should there be the slightest difference in the shape or size? In church we should be forcibly reminded that “the rich and poor meet together, the Lord is the maker of them all.” My opponent forgets, if he ever knew it, that the greater part of our churches were built for Romish processions, &c., and on this account arises the difficulty of arranging pews so as to make them equally good for hearing. The whole of the first paragraph is mystified; I merely said, a certain number of seats were left free, and I asked, if these could be engaged constantly by our poorer brethren, why they should not be considered so engaged till the service had commenced ? I consider courtesy has nothing to do with the matter in question. From experience I am now convinced that dissent among our poorer brethren arises from this circumstance, and, I will add again, from this circumstance alone.
The font is in the most conspicuous place in my church, as it properly ought to be, and is in most churches, and not enshrined in pews, as your correspondent would lead us to suppose. I suggested that the desk and pulpit might be placed one on each side, for the sole purpose of having the altar seen from every part of the church. I will only add, that no pew ought to be narrower than three feet six inches, and