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the death against the Pope, they were equally rancorous for that holy man John Calvin: there was something earnest and true in all this; there was religion in it: bad, false religion; but still a sense of responsibility and judgment to come: they made sacrifices and endured the cross for what they believed to be the truth. When their time came to harry the parsons, they harried them with a smack of triumph: but they lost their own ears, and never blenched at the branding-iron, and bore the scoff and contumely right cheerfully, when they were the losing side. But now we find religious men, ministers of the Gospel, monopolists of evangelical teaching, calling upon church wardens and vestries -and this with a peculiar official knowledge of what English churchwardens and vestries, especially in large towns, have come to be—to vindicate the rights of the laity, by refusing to collect alms for the poor! As soon as we are told that the ends of • charity are more directly moved by a faithful exhibition of the
Gospel, than by a continued exhortation to the duty,' (Chancellor Raikes)--a statement of the most practical Antinomian bearing-we can quite understand how
far this person is responsible for the vestry meetings at St. George's in the East and Shoreditch. If the rights of the laity mean that they will not give money for the relief of the poor, and that they think the daily service antichristian, and that they much prefer hearing about faith to being told to practise it-be it so! Only let this be called by some other name than religious scruples.
In a word: Whatever difficulties we may have felt about stirring this rubrical question, as to the propriety of conformity on a general scale, however much we may regret that the great Church revival has taken this merely external form, we cannot but think that the very deadliest blow which has yet happened to the Church of England will be the probable fact, that not one of its ministers can bear up against the civium ardor prara jubentium. Surely they who introduced these changes, are bound to show that they are not mere formalists; that they had a real religious object at heart; that they did feel that these things were truths without which they had found their sermons and other teaching powerless, and mutilated and halting: and this they can only do by consistency; by firmness tempered with discretion, but still by consistency. Every possible reason for abstaining from improved ritual observances we could have acquiesced in before the tumults of Exeter: but now we cannot accept a single apology for yielding.
It may be expected of us to say something about the specific points which are now subjects of dispute. It is an inquiry which does not, as we have shown, especially interest us, for we think the question rather moral than historical, and, if we are so to call it, ecclesiological : yet we have formed opinionsdecided opinions-upon the controverted matters of Rubric, and we may as well relieve a disquisition which has hitherto only touched upon abstract views of duty with some facts.
1. As to the prayer for the Church Militant when there is no communion. It really does puzzle us how any person of common sense can doubt what the directions of our Prayer-book are on the subject. Whether it is right, and whether it has the slightest sanction of primitive antiquity, to collect alms from those who are not communicants, some of whom have, perhaps, not been baptized, and some of whom are most probably schismatics and heretics, every Sunday, and to dedicate such alms from such persons upon the altar, and to offer them with the oblation of bread and wine, those more skilled than ourselves in the Canons of the Church must decide. We own to having a very strong opinion on this point. But that the Church of England does require this practice, and does enjoin this prayer of oblation to be read every Sunday, we make no doubt. Mr. Benson—and his bias would certainly not be in this direction-has taken, as we think, superfluous pains to clear this question; and when we cannot recall any higher literary authority for the opposite interpretation than the Bishop of Worcester, we do think an elaborate statement upon it thrown away. We think it right, however, to extract Mr. Benson's most convincing proof, because it applies so clearly to a pamphlet mentioned in our heading, by Mr. Wickham.
But the Bishop of Worcester* asserts that upon this point the Rubrics are certainly inconsistent.” This opinion has been readily embraced by many individuals, in their anxiety to get rid of a part of the Communion service, which has, in some places, proved so offensive to the Laity, both in its own nature, and, still more, because of the illegal mode in which the collections then made were employed. I confess, however, that I cannot, upon mature consideration, satisfy my own mind that any real inconsistency is to be found. Let us consider the four Rubrics which relate to this subject. The first of these immediately precedes the Offertory sentences in the Communion service, and directs that, after the sermon, “then shall the Priest return to the Lord's Table, and begin the Offertory, saying one or more of the sentences following."
• The second immediately follows the Offertory sentences, and says: “Whilst these sentences are in reading, the... ... ... ... Churchwardens
......... shall receive the alms for the poor, and other devotions of the people in a decent bason............ and reverently bring it to the Priest, who shall humbly present and place it upon the holy Table.”
· Hence it is clear, that every Sunday, after the sermon, some of the sentences are to be read, alms to be collected, and the product of the collection in due form to be placed upon the Communion Table.
* See his Charge to Candidates, 1844, p. 9.
· The third Rubric is consecutive to the last-mentioned, and is expressed in these terms: “ And when there is a Communion, the Priest shall then place upon the Table so much bread and wine as he shall think sufficient. After which done, the Priest shall say” the prayer for the Church Militant.
• Taking this last injunction into consideration in connexion with the two former ones, and with those alone, the conclusion would naturally be, that as the bread and wine are to be placed on the holy Table only when there is a Communion, so, only when there is a Communion is the prayer for the Church Militant to be read. But I have said that there is a fourth Rubric relating to this matter. It is placed at the very end of the Communion service, because it refers not only to the Offertory, but also to the concluding Collects of that service. It runs thus: “Upon the Sundays and other Holydays, if there be no Communion, shall be said all that is appointed at the Communion, until the end of the general prayer (for the whole state of Christ's Church Militant here in earth), together with one or more of these Collects last before rehearsed, concluding with the Blessing."
• From this it is as evident as words can make it, that the prayer for the Church Militant, as well as some of the Offertory sentences, is to be read on Sundays, even when there is no Communion.” But how is this to be reconciled with the former Rubric, which seems to require the
prayer to be read only when there is a Communion? Simply and easily, by first saying, and then showing, that it only seems to require this, there being in fact no real inconsistency between the two. For the Rubric, which I have placed the third in order, does not merely specify that, after the alms have been collected and placed upon the Table, the Priest shall, when there is a Communion, read the prayer for the Church Militant. Had it said no more than this, I admit that it would have been hard to reconcile it with the language of the fourth Rubric. But it says more than this. It enjoins that after the alms have been placed on the Table," then the Priest shall, when there is a Communion, place upon the Table so much bread and wine as he shall think sufficient. After which done,” and consequently not until then, he is to go on and say the accustomed Prayer for the Church Militant. Let us, then, keep this remark in view, and changing, for the sake of illustrating the argument, the order in which these two Rubrics stand in the Communion service, see whether they may not be made most entirely to harmonize. The one, which I have numbered as the 4th, requires the Offertory sentences and Prayer for the Church Militant to be read on Sundays, though there be no Communion. This being admitted, then comes the other, which I have numbered the 3rd, and tells the Minister what he would not otherwise have known, and that is, at what time, when there is a Communion, he is to put the necessary bread and wine on the Table,-namely, before he reads the above-mentioned prayer. The objects of the two Rubrics are in fact different, and had they been placed together in our Prayer-book, as I have placed them here, had that which requires the Church Militant prayer to be read on Sundays, though there be no Communion, stood the first in order, and then that which instructs us as to the time of putting the bread and wine on the Table, no one would ever have been betrayed into a supposition of their being irreconcilable with each other.
• From what has been said, it follows, as a necessary consequence, that, every Sunday morning, after the sermon, the Rubric requires the Offertory sentences and the Prayer for the Church Militant to be read. This may be an unwelcome conclusion to many, but I firmly believe it to be inevitable and incontrovertible.'—Rubrics and Canons of the Church of England considered, pp. 50–52.
2. The surplice question is by no means so easy; and it was, doubtless, with especial reference to it, that the Archbishop alluded when he spoke of the difficulty of determining the intention of the Church with absolute certainty from the records of early practice. There is one consideration—the preliminary one-to which we have not seen due weight attributed. It is this:
The reason that many things are not clearly defined in our present Rubric is, because, in framing technical and formal directions for the external conduct of Divine worship, the revisers of the services had both in their minds and before their eyes, a practical system already at work: much of this, as they acknowledge, they intended to preserve. Many things, therefore, they called no attention to, because they foresaw no doubt nor difficulty in the matter. They supposed that all things would go on much in their existing course, except where they ordered a change; and this on the unbroken strength of the old tradition. The reformed Rubrics naturally assumed many things as too plain and too palpable to require formal injunctions and directions. Where the old principles and practices required no change, they thought it superfluous to re-enact them. The revisers of the services in Edward's time did not foresee the Puritan opposition. The only danger which they contemplated was on the ultraceremonial side. With these feelings, they were called upon only to prescribe in those cases where they wished a change, and this, of course, in the less formal direction. Nothing, therefore, can be argued from the silence of the Rubrics, any more than it canwe desire the parallel to be taken with reverence from the silence of Scripture. In either case an existing practice is presupposed and assumed. Orders are given where doubts might be anticipated: but, on matters which presented no difficulty, enactment seems superfluous. Let us illustrate this.
It is quite conceivable that the first Book of Edward VI. might have remained in use without the miserable interferences of Bucer: there can be no question,-we assume this for the sake of the morality of the parties concerned,—that the compilers of the Book of 1549 intended it to remain in use, at least when they put it forth. Now in this book there is no direction whatever for the covering of the altar; not a word is there about white linen, or carpet, or silk, or anything else. Now would any person in his senses, knowing what the then practice of the Church in 1549 was, say that because the first Prayer-book of Edward VI. said nothing about the white linen cloth, therefore it was prohibited by that book? Other circumstances occurred; the Book was revised; and then this linen cloth was mentioned. But it is quite conceivable that the first Book might have come down unchanged to the present day, without one single word about this white cloth; because the compilers of the service never anticipated perplexity or hesitation about it. They found the white cloth in use; they intended it to remain in use; and therefore they said nothing about it.
Take another case, the bearing of which shall be the other way, but in which the force of the argument, from the silence of the Rubric, or the absence of direct orders, is equally strong. In the second Book of Edward VI., (1552,) the recitation of the Decalogue, with the responses in the Communion office, was first introduced. As at present, the Lord's Prayer and Collect were ordered to be said by the priest standing at the north side of the Table,’ (1552); but no position is ordered for the saying of the Ten Commandments. The present Rubric, “turning to the people,' for the Decalogue, was added at 1662; and the subsequent one, prefixed to the prayer for the King, standing as before,' i. e. at the north side, was also added at 1662. But in the book of 1552 this latter Rubric was, 'the Priest standing up and saying.' No position whatever, in the interval between 1552 and 1662, was enjoined for the distinct rehearsing' of the Ten Commandments, only the Priest was ordered to stand up after it. Supposing, from this remarkable omission, and for the equally superfluous direction to stand up at the Collect for the King, that some precisian was to have argued, that as the Rubric said nothing about 'standing up' at the Decalogue, it was to be rehearsed kneeling. How would common sense have answered this, but by appealing to the fact that the Lessons were ordered to be said standing, and turning to the people, and that the Decalogue, being of the nature of a lesson, must follow this universal practice and custom ?
Both these are cases in which the silence of the Rubric proves no inhibition, although express directions were subsequently introduced; because, in either case, the implied tradition was supposed to be sufficiently strong to rule the order. Unless, indeed, any
of those who are to make so much of the silence of the