« السابقةمتابعة »
has been maintained because its continuance was only popular, for cruelty was the same thing in those days as it would be now; but because humanity has become now more prevalent, and we may almost say popular, therefore we shall hear little of continuing the barbarous and cruel sports of the people, a fact that may shew us that it was really untenable in Mr. Windham's time, for what led to its extermination but its untenableness, which only needed to be shewn by rational appeals, and, as it were, made popular ?
May I request some of your correspondents to let us know the condition of country wakes in their various neighbourhoods, and whether in any case they have been put down or ameliorated, and by what means? In this county they seem to wax worse and worse, and this, notwithstanding some very awful cases of loss of life, occasioned by fighting and intemperance.
I am, sir, your obedient servant, A COUNTRY CLERGYMAN. P.S. There is a society established in London, by parochial clergy
for the purpose of disseminating tracts, and circulars, as well as ornamented sheets for cottage walls, on this subject—have you seen any? and are they written in the true spirit of the church ?
ON THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE COMMUNION. SIR,—To comply with the rubric, in every jot and tittle of its requirements, wheresoever it is practicable, is doubtless obligatory on all clergymen in virtue of their canonical vow; and it is gratifying to observe the useful remarks which from time to time are put forth in your Magazine for the clearing up of obscurities, and bringing into notice what has been forgotten or neglected. In this way we may hope to attain unto a perfect uniformity of practice in our sacred ministrations, and do all things, as the apostle enjoins, both “ decently and in order," and with one mouth as well as one mind glorify God. My wish is at present to draw attention to a point in our service on which there prevails some little difference of opinion and variety of usage, and that is, the mode in which the officiating priest, in the holy sacrament of Christ's body and blood, partakes of the consecrated elements. In college chapels and parochial churches, as far as my observation has extended, the minister when he communicates himself repeats aloud the form prescribed for administering to the people, making the necessary variation in the pronouns, as, The body of our Lord Jesus Christ which was given for me," &c. When Bishop Chase was in this country, he was in the habit, I have been told, of repeating aloud the form precisely as it stands, drawing a distinction between his office and his person, ministering as a priest and receiving as a private individual. I know some clergymen who since that time have followed his example. It strikes me that both these modes are erroneous, and contrary to the intention of the rubric; though I have sought in vain for any authority to confirm my opinion. The former is obviously wrong, for there are no italics to suggest or allow any change of person in the prescribed formula, and to me there has always appeared to be something of presumption, or at least of over confidence in the public and unqualified declaration, “ I feed on Him in my heart by faith with thanksgiving,” something which differs from the spirit of that diffident, yet believing, father in the gospel, who said with tears
, “ Lord, 1 believe; help thou mine unbelief!" The latter mode of receiving is too fanciful and metaphysical to be easily adopted without something better to recommend it than mere private authority. The rubric, in the general office of communion, gives no warrant to it, and it appears to me that the rubric in the communion of the sick plainly overthrows it. It is there enjoined that the priest shall first receive the coinmunion himself, and then minister to the others. Here a plain distinction is taken, and ministering to himself is out of the question. My notion is that the minister ought to “receive” in silence, with such mental ejaculations as he may think proper, or rather with such kind of secret prayer as the formulary itself suggests. I am of opinion that the rubric, when carefully considered, will be found, at least tacitly, to enjoin this. For it is said that “the minister shall first receive the communion in both kinds himself.” This is the first thing to be done before he proceeds further. But no form of administration has hitherto been given, and he may be supposed to be ignorant of the existence of any form till the occasion arises which demands it. If then he closely confine himself to the authorized rule, suiting the deed to the word as he advances in the service, he will have received before he comes to his instructions for the mode of administering.
UNIFORMITY OF PRACTICE. Mr. Editor,— Among the many topics interesting to all churchmen which have been from time to time discussed in your Magazine, few can be considered so much so as those relating to the establishment of something more like general uniformity than at present exists in the performance of the sacred offices and services of our church. All our clergy have the same rule to walk by; but all, unhappily, do not “walk by the same rule.” For instance, on the 5th of November just past, a sad want of uniformity appears to have prevailed in our churches; and the using or omitting the proper service of the day seems to have been looked upon rather as an optional matter, to be decided by the political opinions or external circumstances of each individual clergyman, than as it really is, a subject placed beyond all dispute, by the constraining authority of that church which demands, in all such matters, unequivocal obedience from her dutiful children. That a particular solemn service for the day in question is enjoined by competent authority, seems undeniable ; why, then, is not a general, an universal, obedience more solemnly enforced among the clergy, since in some cases an enforcement appears needful? What has become of the beautiful accordance which was intended to prevail in every one of our churches ? or what of the grave discipline whereby, in cases of contumacy, uniformity may be restored and preserved. Surely, one of the most distressing signs of the times is the general laxity of the principles of Christian obedience - the frequent preference of the Roman characters of that protestant pope, “private judgment,” over the red letters of our legitimate ecclesiastical authority, the rubric. All clergymen alike promise most solemnly to “ use the form prescribed in the Book of Common Prayer, and none other.” And yet the “private judgment" of one whispers that this prayer is too long, and so he shortens it; or that prayer too old and antiquated, and so it is omitted. Another clergyman, acting under the same instigation, shrinks from making use of the whole of the service for holy matrimony, because it is not, as he thinks, quite agreeable to the drawing-room decorum of the present day. And a third minister curtails and mutilates the baptismal service, because, forsooth, he does not believe in baptismal regeneration, whatever the church whereof he is an ordained pastor may believe. Far be it from me to accuse the great body of the clergy of such flippant and presumptuous conduct; but still too many of us are, I fear, each going on in his own way, instead of all walking together in the way of our holy church. The interference of our spiritual superiors by means of calm rebuke and admonition might be most salutary; but this, whether from ignorance of the facts or any other cause, does not very frequently take place. Very often, I believe, negligence and disobedience in rubrical matters arises rather from carelessness and ignorance than from wilfulness and presumption. But it should be recollected, carelessness and ignorance, even with regard to the merest minutiæ of their duty, form but very poor excuses in the mouths of those who are to instruct others on the most serious and momentous subjects. It is partly with the hope that these plain and humble observations may meet the eye of some of our spiritual fathers in God, and possibly bring the subject before their notice, and partly with the view of introducing a discussion of rubrical obedience in general, by far abler hands than myself, that I have put together these few hasty remarks. I remain, therefore, in hopes of seeing the subject taken up, in all its bearings, Mr. Editor,
Your constant reader, Operpoy. P. S. Although not at all connected with the subject of my letter, may I put a question for some of the able contributors to your Magazine, who may be able and willing to give the required information, to answer ? The perusal of Southey's “ Life of Wesley,” and of the strange accounts of conversions therein contained, has led me to inquire, What were the opinions of the first three centuries respecting Conversion ? Or if these cannot be detailed at length, where, at least may they be found to be stated and explained most fully?
PROCEEDINGS AT VESTRY MEETINGS. DEAR SIR, I lament that I did not sooner notice the remarks in the British Magazine for September, on the Church Notices
Act. The most material part of the Act came into operation at the date of its becoming a portion of the Statute Law-viz., 12th July, lust. The following are the words of the Act, 1 Vict. c. 45, s. 1 :—“From and after the passing of this act, so much of the said first-recited act”-viz., 58 Geo. III., an act for the regulation of parish vestries —" as directs the publication of such notices to
– be made in the parish church or chapel, on some Sunday, during, or immediately after, divine service, shall be and the same is hereby repealed.” As to the other matters mentioned in the preamble, the act does not come in force till the 1st of January next.
With regard to vestry meetings for making church-rates and passing churchwardens' accounts, has it been decided that the chairman may, or rather must, refuse to put a motion for adjournment? That not being a part of the notice, cannot-I maintain, on the provisions of the Vestry Act, respecting notices—be legally put. The act closely confines the business of the vestry meeting to the subjects specified in the notice. Therefore, if that notice does not specify an adjournment as part of the matters to be discussed, it cannot be entertained. The meeting must decide for or against a rate ; and an insufficient rate will, I conceive, be held to be no rate at all; and the church wardens may proceed to make a rate on their own authority. Much trouble will be saved if the chairmen of vestries can feel assured that they can legally reject, and indeed are by law required not to suffer the question of adjournment to be raised at all. A ballot is desirable—the names being carefully taken at the time, in order that those who refuse the rate may be personally and individually proceeded against.
I am, Sir, very truly yours, A CHAIRMAN,
APOSTOLIC SUCCESSION. THE “DUBLIN RECORD.” Sir,—There have lately appeared, in the “Dublin Record,” some notes of a sermon preached by the Rev. J. C. Crosthwaite, at an ordination of the Bishop of Kildare; and in one of the leading articles of the paper are to be found some very severe strictures on the sentiments which these notes express. I do not stop to inquire whether or not it is becoming in the editor of a newspaper so far to take upon himself the office of a bishop as to call the presbyters of the church of England to account for the opinions which they deliver in the pulpit, when no political subject is alluded to; or to animadvert on the coarseness of his style, and the palpable injustice of some of his charges against Mr. Crosthwaite, ex. gr., "attributing to our bishops a sort of papal divinity;" “making void the law of God by his traditions ;” and reviving maxims which contravene the scripture principle, that we ought to obey God rather than man. Neither do I think it necessary to discuss the probable accuracy of the notes which the reporter has furnished; for although there are a few things not very intelligible in them, yet I imagine that, on the whole, they give a tolerably correct view of the opinions which Mr. Crosthwaite deli
vered on the occasion. I hope, however, that the sermon itself will be published, that the valuable matter which it contains may be put before us unencumbered by any inaccuracies.
In the meantime, will you allow me to draw the attention of your readers to one observation which the editor has thought fit to make in his strictures on this sermon? It is on a subject of no small importance-viz., “ the apostolic succession.” After ridiculing, among other things, the doctrine of “passive obedience” as “a servile and exploded maxim ;" a thing “ grubbed up from its forgotten dust,” he makes this remark (the italics, and note of admiration, are his own): “ The Puseyism of Oxford, with its opus operatum of sacraments, and its apostolic succession, derived through popish priests ! is but a trifle to this.” There is no misunderstanding this. The writer, in order to express in the strongest possible manner his disapprobation of a certain tenet, in order to finish the climax of reproach, compares it to the doctrine of the apostolic succession, as if nothing could set it in a more discreditable light than such a comparison. And thus he would lead his hearers to conclude that this is a doctrine justly exploded for its extravagance and absurdity, and which has deservedly been hid for ages, and required some such learned explorer as Dr. Pusey to search for it amidst other useless relics of antiquity. Is it not a melancholy reflection that a paper which can put forward such opinions is patronised (as I believe it is) by a large and respectable body of the Irish clergy ?-that ministers of the church, zealous and able men in some respects, should countenance statements as false in point of fact as they are feeble in point of argument, and sanction principles which go to destroy the validity of their own orders? This paper insinuates, if it do not directly assert, that the apostolic succession is an obsolete doctrine, and that he that brings it forward has to
from its forgotten dust. Now if this were true, it would afford a very poor argument to enforce the rejection of the doctrine ; for on the same ground justification by faith, and most of those which are termed the great doctrines of the Reformation, must be rejected also ; these having lain hid for years, and requiring pious and learned explorers to bring them to light. But the statement, or insinuation, is not true; and one only wonders that a paper, professedly a religious one, could venture to make it. It must be acknowledged, that the apostolic succession, like many other things important to Christianity, has been much lost sight of; and the multiplied schisms which have rent the church have, I have no doubt, in a great measure been caused by the neglect ; but surely it has not been so long forgotten as to require learned research to bring it forth. Does Bishop Hall belong to the dark ages, and are his volumes buried so deep in antiquity that we must “grub” (to use again the elegant phraseology of the “Dublin Record”) before we can light upon his Tract on Episcopacy? If the editor should ever see this very ancient document, let him turn to the third section of the second part, and read the following sentence :
“ They (i.e., the apostles) were, withall church governors, appointed by Christ to order and settle the affairs of his spirituall kingdome; and therein (beside the