صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

pronounces her emphatic censure. Thus, in asserting that to such as rightly, worthily, and with faith partake of that Sacrament, the bread which we break is a partaking of the Body of CHRIST, and likewise the cup of blessing is a partaking of the Blood of Christ, she in fact condemns on the one side the Zuinglian infidelity which would resolve the reality of Christ's presence into the quickened apprehension of the devout worshipper, whilst on the other with even greater explicitness she condemns the Papal solution of the mystery, whether under the form of the gross material transformation of the bread and wine into flesh and blood, which is the belief of the common sort amongst her, or whether its grossness be disguised by that subtle fancy which pleases more educated minds. We may, I think, without difficulty gather what may be our teaching as to this great mystery. We should first, above all things, insist upon the reality and truth of that supernatural presence which our Lord is graciously pleased to vouchsafe in that Sacrament to the worthy receiver. Next we should discourage to the utmost of our power all speculation as to the mode of that presence, the reality of which we inculcate. Further, whilst we should distinctly condemn those specific forms of erroneous teaching concerning the mode of that presence, which our Church has actually censured, we must watch against that dogmatizing spirit which would lead us to anathematize all with whose statements our own do not exactly harmonize, remembering the moderation which has restrained our Church from censuring that doctrine of consubstantiation which she does not teach. And lastly, we should labour to lead our people from curious questions as to that which is eminently a mystery to be received simply by faith, to a humble and unquestioning belief in that working of the power of God which gives men to partake of their LORD, and to earnest long. ings for the great spiritual blessings, which, if they come aright, will be vouchsafed to them by this partaking of. CHRIST. And if at any time we are compelled to enter into further explanations of this mysterious subject, we should keep as closely as possible to the letter of Scripture, and to the inculcation of the doctrine as a revealed fact in its bearing upon practice. Remember what is even stated by Bellarmine himself, that though it is a matter of faith to believe that Sacraments are instruments whereby God works grace in the souls of men, yet that the manner in which He doeth so is not a matter of faith. Thus, for example, instead of speculating on what is received by the unfaithful in the LORD's Supper, or dogmatizing as to what may seem the unavoidable inference with regard to a matter on which Holy Scripture is silent, we should remember that, although our LORD's promise is sure, that when the whole appointed rite is duly performed in all its parts, including the oblation, consecration, and faithful reception of the elements, we are perfectly secure of His Body and His Blood, yet that we have no right to stop after the prayer of consecration, or at any other intermediate point, and to argue that at that time that divine presence must have been granted which is promised only to the act of duly giving and receiving, and not to any of its several parts. We shall therefore do well as to this mysterious ritual to confine ourselves to asserting with our Church that the ungodly are, in partaking of the consecrated elements, in no wise partakers of Christ, and yet that in eating of that bread and drinking of that cup unworthily they partake not of common food, but, as the Church teaches, to their own condemnation do they eat and drink. Suffer me, before I leave this subject, to sum up all I would impress upon you, in the words of one whose devotion and learning stamp him as a fit exponent of the view and temper of the English Church, and whom all posterity have consented to revere as a guide. • The fruit (says Hooker) of the Eucharist is the participation of the Body and Blood of Christ. There is no sentence of Holy Scripture which saith that men cannot by that Sacrament be made partakers of His Body and of His Blood, except they be first contained in the Sacrament, or the Sacrament converted into them. This is My Body and this is My Blood, being words of promise, since we all agree that by the Sacrament Christ doth really and truly now so perform His promise, why do we vainly trouble ourselves with so fierce contention whether by consubstantiation or else by transubstantiation the sacrament itself be first possessed with Christ or no ma thing which no way can either further us, or hinder us, however it stands ; because the participation of Christ in this Sacrament depends upon the co-operation of His omnipotent power, which maketh it His Body and His Blood to us, whether with change or without alteration such as they imagine, we need not greatly care to inquire.'

Mr. GRESLEY who never fails to cheer and comfort us in times of trouble and perplexity, has just printed a sermon on The Unity of the Church, preached at S. Paul's, Brighton. The Preface bears so admirably on our present trial in the Church, that we give it to our readers entire :

Having been requested to publish the following sermon, I take the opportunity of saying a very few words on the present position of the Church.

• Many seem to think that a great crisis is at hand. I question whether affairs are more critical now, than they have been for the last eighteen hundred years and more. The conflict between truth and error, the Church and the world, is always going on, and will continue till the end of time. At present the state of things is this—There is a considerable body within the pale of the English Church, who disbelieve the doctrine of the Sacraments, and are trying their utmost to alter those formularies in which it is set forth. I hope, and believe that they will signally fail. Meanwhile there are others who are so much grieved, by the impunity which is allowed by those in authority, to these depravers of the Church's doctrine, and by the divisions and distractions which have arisen in consequence, that they are tempted to prefer the superstition and corruption of Rome, to the schisms of the English Church.

“ I wish to record my opinion, that we are bound under all cir

66

cumstances, to maintain the position in the Church, in which GOD has placed us. By a wonderful providence, God has preserved to us all the essentials of a true Church, in the Creeds, the Sacraments, and the succession of the Ministry ; through which we are in union with Christ and His Apostles : and we may surely hope and believe, that the same good Providence will continue to preserve and bless us. The essence of the English Church, consists in that body of formu. laries, which has been deliberately adopted, and used for many generations ; not in the opinions of those who from time to time may happen to rule over us. Suppose the Bishop of a diocese were here. tical, that does not cut off bis diocese from the Church Catholic. Suppose, which God forbid, the majority of our Bishops were so, that is no reason why the priests or laity should leave the Church, so long as we have the catholic formularies and succession, which connect us with the ancient Apostolic communion, and the Church of

all ages.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

“ With regard to the doctrine of the Holy Eucharist, which is now called in question, we must consider that the Holy Eucharist, is rather a thing to be done, than a doctrine to be taught ; This do,' said our LORD, 'in remembrance of Me.' Now it is certain that in the Communion Service, we do precisely as He did; and therefore what we do must needs be right. We take bread, and break it, and consecrate it, and distribute it to the people, and likewise the cup. So long as I am permitted to do this, and am moreover directed to teacb, as a fundamental truth, that, “The Body and Blood of Christ are verily and indeed taken and received by the faithful in the Lord's Supper,' together with many other similar expressions in the office for the Holy Communion, and, (to glance for a moment at the Sacrament of Baptism,) so long as I am instructed to declare to the congregation, respecting each child whom I baptize, Seeing now, dearly beloved brethren, that this child is regenerate, and grafted into the body of Christ's Church,' it is of very small importance to me, what decision may have been come to by the Privy Council, or, in fact, by any other body, ecclesiastical or civil.

“ If by any authority, either internal or external to the Church, our Catholic formularies were essentially altered, if the doctrine of the Sacraments were expunged, so that our Church would be set at variance with the Ancient Apostolic Church, with which at present it is in harmony, still I do not see that the duty of those priests and bishops who hold the true faith, would be in any degree altered. The large majority of the English clergy and laity would continue to use those catholic formularies which we now use. And if this involved, as it probably would, a disruption of the Church, we should remain, as we now are, the Church of England, the other party would be the separatists.

“ However, I do not anticipate any such event. I believe that the same good Providence which, in so marked a manner, preserved the English Church, when others fell into schism, will still preserve it. So far from desponding, or from thinking that our Church needs apology, I thank God for having given me, in her, the means of grace and the hope of glory. I thank Him for the life and energy,

[ocr errors]

and awakened zeal which has sprung up within her pale. I believe that if only our true doctrines, and formularies, and services were carried out as they should be, we are the best and least corrupted branch of the Church in Christendom, and nearest the model of the Apostolic ages.”

The sermon we need not say is most excellent, and sets forth the true theory of unity in the following eloquent passage :

“ There is no authority in Holy Scripture, nor in the early Church, for submission to any one earthly head. There should be one body and one Spirit, one faith and one baptism, but it is no where said there must be one Pope-on the contrary it is said that the Church is built upon the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone.'—And when differences arose in the early Church, the decision was referred, not to any one of the Apostles, but to the collective body. Therefore it was no act of schism in the English Church to disclaim the authority of the Pope of Rome.

“ It is true that there were at that time, many wild and fanatical persons who would, if they could, have separated the English Church from the Church Catholic, as they did in other countries. But by an almost miraculous Providence Gop preserved not only the Apostolic Succession, but also all true and essential doctrines, while all important errors were reformed. It is, also, an undoubted fact that Roman Catholics did, for several years, conform to these changes, and attend our services, as they might do now, for there is not a word in our Liturgy which they could not join in. But about the 12th year of Elizabeth, from political causes, the Pope excommunicated our Queen and Nation, and set up a rival communion in England. Therefore they, not we, are guilty of the schism. We, as a Church, reformed abuses and corruptions, as it was quite lawful and necessary that we should do, without the consent of any foreign bishop : and they would have done well to have followed our example : and so this painful breach of unity would not have occurred. It is a grievous thing that this state of disunion should exist. We cannot too much deplore such a state of things, so contrary to what our Blessed Saviour prayed for. At the same time, brethren, though the unanimity of the Church Catholic is sadly marred—though the three great branches of the Church, the Roman, the Greek, and the English, are not only at variance with each other, but are, all of them, full of practical defects and corruptions—it by no means follows that they may not all be true Churches, and all capable of affording the means of Salvation to their several members, in those countries where the Providence of God has placed them. The essence of a true Church is to maintain the Apostles' doctrine and fellowship. The doctrine is summed up in the Creeds : the Fellowship consists in the Sacraments, and the Apostolic Succession of the Ministry, that is to say, the having a ministry who have received their commission from the Apostles. Churches possessing these requisites, are in union with the Apostles and the primitive Church, though misunderstandings and jealousies may unfortunately exist between themselves ; just as, to use our LORD's own illustration, the branches of the vine are all joined with the stem, though not otberwise connected, but rather divergent from each other."'--Pp. 16-18.

THE VOICE OF NATURE THE BEST SOOTHER

IN SADNESS.

Art thou afflicted ? is thy mind distrest ?
Go-list to nature's music-'tis the best
Of all soft barmonies to soothe thy pain,
And tune thy heart to peace and joy again!
Thou needest not companion, go alone,
Thou'lt find a soothing voice in every stone,
In every tree or plant, or pencill’d flower,
In glittering dews, or summer's fragrant shower.
Go, list the murmuring of the evening breeze,
As soft it whispers through the leafy trees,
Or gentle ripple of some graceful stream,
Whose crystal waves reflect the sun's bright beam;
List to the bleating flocks, the lowing herds,
The thrilling warblings of the joyous birds,
The busy humming of the honey bee,
Seeking her golden store o'er flowery lea!
The stork dove's plaintive note, the cuckoo's call,
Thou'lt find an echo in thy heart for all-
Oh let thine ear drink deep of sounds like these ;
They'll chase all sadness, and but breathe sweet peace
Over thy soul, and gently touch the string
From whence all holy sympathies do spring.
'Tis nature's voice, free from all sophistry,
'Twill commune with thee of its God on high,
'Twill speak of wondrous and creative love,
And echo harmonies from heaven above.
'Twill fill thy soul with extasy unspoken,'
With soothing charm thou fain wouldst keep unbroken,
'Neath sorrow's burthen thou no more shalt pine,
Over thy soul is breathed a calm divine,
Which lifts thee from this world of sin and woe,
And bids thy heart with holy joy overflow,
Then shalt thou join in nature's grateful hymn
Of praise, and joyful sing with seraphim,
O holy, holy, LORD, Thy glory fills
Both heaven and earth, the mountains and all hills,
We praise, we bless, we magnify Thy Name,
and is, and e'er shall be the same.

E. E.

Which was,

J. MASTERS AND CO., PRINTERS, ALDERSGATE STREET, LONDON.

« السابقةمتابعة »