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should be violated, was spread through the nation. A Bill was introduced into Parliament by Lord Sidmouth, for bringing under new regulations the toleration of Dissenting Ministers. It contained provisions with respect to teachers at large, or those not connected with congregations, which were likely to cut off those supplies, by which alone the wants of congregations can be fed. It also pretended to prescribe certain qualifications, in a literary point of view, necessary to entitle the applicant to a license. To support this measure, instances were adduced of men, who thought themselves qualified to act as teachers, who were not only ignorant of the grammar, but also of the orthography of their mother tongue. Nay, some examples were produced of men who had petitioned for a license to preach, who could neither read nor write. The absurdity of such men setting up for teachers was indeed sufficiently evident; and, foolish as mankind generally are, it is to be hoped that they would not easily find a congregation, excepting such (a thing barely possible) as were greater fools than themselves. Should such a thing take place, it is one of those evils against which society cannot, and no wise society will attempt to provide. In every free government, the rights of the most ignorant must be treated with the same respect as those of the most intelligent. The cottage of the illiterate peasant is as sacred in the eye of the law, and as inviolable as the habitation of the philosopher and the sage. That government which does not recognize the right of the former to choose his own religion, and even to propagate his religious opinions, can never give the latter a sure pledge of those blessings. Against the dangerous bil formerly mentioned, many respectable Clergymen were petitioners, and it was very properly thrown out.

VOL. II.

2 A

Had it received the sanction of the Legislature, many would have been proud enough to disobey the law, and to contend for those rights which no Government can take away. The consequences would have been, the multiplication of imprisonments, and every sufferer would have called forth a host of candidates for the same honour. - In a free country, persecution is sure to excite compassion for the sufferers, and to rouse the indignant feelings of men against the persecutors. The established religion bears the load of all the severities inflicted upon Dissenters, till its pillars are shaken to the very centre. A bill of a very different kind was afterwards brought into Parliament, and obtained the sanction of the Legislature. It was introduced by the Ministers of the Crown, and it is to be hoped will long remain a monument of their moderation and patriotism. It gives se"curity to the Church, and liberty of conscience to the Dissenters; and fixes upon all a strong claim for gratitude to the most liberal and generous government in the world. By its provisions, Dissenting Ministers are obliged, only when they are called upon by the Magistrate, to give the test of their allegiance to the government, by taking the oaths. The Bench of Bishops gave, on that occasion, the most unequivocal proof of their attachment to the principles of religious liberty, and shed additional honour on their mitres. This is just as it should be. Kindness disarms the hostility of religious parties, and the union of firmness and moderation gives to an establishment a security, that the laws themselves are inadequate to supply.

By a bill passed in favour of the Socinians, in 1813, the penalties to which they, and other professors of religion who deny the doctrine of the Trinity, had been ex

we

posed, were repealed, and the enjoyment of toleration may now be said to be complete.

Having finished our Remarks on the History of the United Churches of England and Ireland, shall next attend to the WORSHIP

the WORSHIP of the UNITED CHURCH.

The Worship of the United Church is liturgical. It has long been the subject of dispute, whether the public worship of Christian Churches should be performed by extempore prayers, or by liturgical forms. Those who coutend for extempore prayers, and against liturgical forms, argue, that though forms may be of use to children, and to such as are extremely ignorant, yet restriction to forms, either in public or in private, seems neither to be scriptural, nor lawful. If we look, say they, to the authority. and example of Christ, and of his Apostles, every thing is in favour of extempore prayer. The Lord's Prayer, they obserye, was not given to be a set form, exclusive of extemporary prayer. They further argue, that a form cramps the desires, and inverts the true order of prayer; making our words to regulate our desires, instead of our desires to regulate our words: that it looks as if we were pot really convinced of our wants, when we want a form to express them: that it has a tendency to make us formal, and that it cappot be suited to the case of every individual. In answer to the charge brought against those who pray extempore, that they often fall into impious, or extravagant expressions, they observe, that this is neither generally, nor frequently the case, and that unprejudiced attention, to those who pray extempore, will convince us, that if their prayers be pot şu elegantly composed, as those of a set form, yet they are more

appropriate, and delivered with

more energy and feeling.*

The arguments by which the use of a liturgy is justified are such as follow. Its friends argue that it is evident the worship of the Jews was liturgical. The first act of public worship, say they, recorded in their history, was the divine hymn composed by Moses, upon the deliverance of the Israelites by the destruction of the Egyptians in the Red Sea. This was sung by all the congregation, alternately; by Moses and the men first, and afterwards by Miriam and the women; which could not have been done, unless it had been a precomposed set form. David appointed the Levites to stand every morning to thank and praise the Lord, and likewise at even.—1 Chron. xxiii. 30. The same practice was afterwards observed in the temple of Solomon, and restored after the captivity, at the building of the second temple.--Neh. xii. 24, 45, 46. Now, say they, it is evident that this was done after a prescribed form. The whole Book of Psalms, they observe, consists of forms of prayer, indited by the Spirit of God, for the common use of the congregation, as sufficiently appears from the titles of many of the Psalms themselves. That the Jews did always worship God by set forms, is attested by Josephus and Philo, and proved by Dr. Hammond and Dr. Lightfoot: so that they think 'there can be no more reason to doubt that the Jews bad, and used, a precomposed, settled liturgy, than that the Church of England has, and uses, the Book of Common Prayer.

Further, say they, that our Saviour continued in the communion of the Jewish Church, it is impossible for us

See Buck's Theological Dictionary. Article, Prayer.

to doubt; and as the worship of the Church was conducted by a liturgy, and consisted of set forms, it necessarily follows that our Saviour joined in those liturgical forms, and consequently gave them the sanction of his authority, by giving them that of his practice. Our Saviour's Apostles and Disciples too, they observe, undoubtedly, as members of the Jewish Church, used the same forms till our Saviour's Ascension, and even after we find them repeatedly attending the worship of the synagogue, which was managed by their liturgy. To those arguments the advocates for extempore worship reply, that it is neither reasonable nor scriptural to look for the pattern of Christian Worship in the Mosaic dispensation, which, with all its rites and ceremonies, is now abrogated and done away.

Those who contend for the use of a liturgy in public worship argue, that our Saviour's Apostles, both during the time of his life with them, and after his ascension, used that form of prayer which he taught them, and which for that reason is called the Lord's Prayer. The word oürws, in St. Matthew, vi. c. 9 v. may be rendered, they acknowledge, in this manner," and consequently may be considered as a directory, or pattern; but in St. Luke, xi. c. 2 v. it is evidently, say they, used as a form-“ When ye pray, say, Our Father, &c.” The advocates of extemporary prayer insist, that it was prescribed as a form, to continue only till the pouring out of the Holy Spirit should qualify them for the more enlarged and spiritual discharge of the duty of prayer. To this they reply, that upon the same pretext, Baptism and the Lord's Supper, and the most sacred institutions of Christianity, may be set aside. To another objection, that Christ afterwards commanded his disciples to pray in bis name, and that this form of

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