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of this something, which we hear popularly named Protestantism, it cannot be concealed that fears, deep and powerful, have fastened themselves upon many minds, lest the step thus taken be found to offend in so many essential points against sacred principles of the government of the Church of God, that there remains no door for a hope, that God, provided that He be the Author of the scheme of ecclesiastical government which has hitherto, with more or less of tampering on the part of individual human rulers, guided the destinies of his Church, can vouchsafe His blessing to it, for God cannot bless the sinner in his sin, true though it be that in the end He maketh the wrath of man to praise Him: it being plainly impossible to hope for a blessing upon Bishop Alexander's mission, if the very position itself, and the course marked out for him, imply a violation of any fundamental maxim of the divine ecclesiastical government, - provided, that is, that God be an ecclesiastical as well as a moral Governor.
How deeply many amongst us feel the position of Bishop Alexander to be a wrong one, may be gathered from the words of one respected member of our Church,* who scruples not to say of it, that it has had a most griecous effect in weakening the argument for our Church's Catholicity, and in shaking the belief of it in individuals. May that measure utterly fail and come to nought, and be as though it had never been!” This mode of speaking of the measure is in accordance with the piety and deep thought of the one who has thus spoken: it does not express any unbecoming censure upon those in authority; it does not bring any accusation, much less a railing one, against God's high priests who have been concerned actively in the Bishop's mission; it simply and solemnly lays the matter before God and the conscience of the Church, with the prayer that God would utterly bring to nought a measure, which the utterer of the prayer believes to be in contradiction to the sacred principle of the Divine rule and government which has hitherto governed the Church; it plainly and earnestly records the speaker's conviction, that in sending Bishop Alexander to Jerusalem to be bishop over a Church planted by the two great Protestant powers of Europe,' (ride Statement published by authority,) we have rendered ourselves liable to the judgment, that every plant which God himself has not planted shall be rooted up.
It need scarcely be added, that our own deep sympathies are with such a mode of protest. In a day when the enemy without is eagerly seeking every occasion to blaspheme and to vilify the sanctity of that living hierarchical order, by which our branch of the Church is ruled and governed, they of the household seem only the more strongly called upon to abound in expressions of loyalty and affectionate submission toward their rulers, charged as they are with the fearful burden of bearing rule over us in God's name. It is idle, nay, it is worse, it is ruinous, it is sinful in us, to speak lightly in censure and dispraise of the acts of those who sit in the seat of government over us; God's will be done! and they are required to act in God's name; if then there be cause to fear that they have not acted in this matter with that forethought and knowledge which becometh the high priests of God, to us now be the shame, as to us assuredly will be the punishment and detriment which the Church shall thereby receive. Let it be our care not to make the case more grievous than it is, by suffering the measure in question to foster undutiful and disaffected feelings towards our rulers. The event is now in the hand of God, and there we must be content to leave it.
* Mr. Newman, Sermons on Subjects of the Day, page 378.
In what follows, then, we should be happy if our readers would understand that it is our earnest desire to abstain from the expression of mere opinions, not to say crude opinions, upon so serious a question. It is too serious to those who regard it thoughtfully, to admit of its affording matter for mere speculation. And as a question of Catholic discipline and principle, sufficient has been already written in the pamphlets of Dr. Pusey, Mr. Hope, Mr. Wm. Palmer, and others. We have scarcely any other object in view than the fulfilment of an old promise, to make our readers acquainted with the general character and details of the Prussian Liturgy, now brought into a sort of alliance with our own; and which we have been assured by a sort of authority, if that can be called authority which is anonymous, that it agrees in all points of doctrine with the Liturgy of the English Church; to which the addition of a few extracts from some of the ephemeral writings which have appeared in various parts of Germany, upon the mission of Dr. Alexander, may prove, we would hope, not unacceptable.
The ritual and liturgical provision for the kingdom of Prussia, as compiled and formed by the desire and under the direction of his late Majesty Frederick William III., consists of two parts, the Agende, or office in prose, for congregational worship on Sundays and other festivals; and an authorized Hymn-book, from which each congregation is at liberty to make choice of such hymns as are most agreeable to their own taste, or to the occasion.
The design and scope of its compilation will be best explained in his late Majesty's own words, which stand as the preface to the form published in 1829.
· We, Frederick William, by the grace of God King of · Prussia, &c., make known and declare by these presents:• Our ancestors, together with such other princes who at the ' time of the great Reformation of the Church, accepted a re• storation of the pure doctrine of the Gospel, soon perceived the strong need of introducing into their dominions such Church ordinances and rituals as might bring about a wholesome and • intelligible unity into the usages of the public service of God, ' and put a stop to the progress of any caprices contrary to the • mind of the reformers, yet without seeking to fetter the dearly • earned liberty of faith and conscience. It was by means of
such rituals, as were drawn up by persons of reputation, who ' for the most part acted under special counsel and advice, or at • least such as were conceived in the spirit of the Reformers, and were put in circulation in virtue of their having received proper sanction and authority, inasmuch they all were grounded upon 'the same principles, that an almost complete uniformity was 'brought about in the liturgic usages of the Evangelical Church . then forming herself in Germany. For centuries these excel• lent Church ordinances maintained themselves in their original • form, and in continued and blessed use. But in proportion as * unsound views upon Church questions, eagerness for change, • lukewarmness, and indifference, began to gain the upper hand, they fell into disuse to such an extent that in some places scarce even a traditional remembrance of them remained. All * therefore who entertained a deep concern for the internal
peace and coherence of the Evangelical Church, have long felt the ' urgent need of putting an end to the caprice and disorder which
has become thus widely spread. One only measure promised to succeed; viz. the attempt to recover those truly Christian ordinances of the Evangelical Church, from the disuse into which they had fallen, and to bring them to life again, not
neglecting at the same time to take into consideration the de'mands and requirements of the present age. These reasons occasioned the drawing up of the Ritual which appeared in the year 1821, for the use of the cathedral church of Berlin. The approbation which this Ritual obtained on all hands, drawn up as it was in conformity with the principles above mentioned, by several divines well acquainted with our royal purpose, and • of good repute themselves, occasioned the frequent expression of a wish that its general use might be no longer delayed. To prepare the way for this, we were minded to send to the Clergy of every province a preliminary form of inquiry; in reply to • which they were required to declare themselves either in favour of, or against its general adoption. Notwithstanding the obstinate and unjust attacks of the opposers of the Agende, the
* result may be said to have been in the highest degree favourable, ‘inasmuch, as by far the larger part of the Evangelical Churches, • in a very short time, declared themselves in its favour. Stilí • many things now suggested themselves as desirable, and as re
quiring consideration, which were often of a very contradictory • nature, and which indeed could scarcely be otherwise under the
circumstances, arising, as they did, partly from local associa* tions, partly from the strong attachment which men have to that ' to which they have been long used; to all which, other very dif• ferent reasons were joined on, in order to justify the rejection
of the Ritual. In this predicament, therefore, that we might . act with all possible deference, compatible with our principles • and the object desired, and with a view to afford to such matters of provincial origin, as the persons we had consulted referred to in the expression of their sentiments, such consideration as * they might be entitled to from their character and origin; we • adopted the plan of causing all these various questions and * points for consideration to be collected by the different consis• tories of the provinces, in order that they might then be sub
mitted to a careful examination, by a commission acting upon • fixed principles, and composed of the chief members (Räthen)
of the provincial consistory, in conjunction with others of the • most deserving Clergy of the province, and that we ourselves ' might be informed of the result through the minister of spiritual • affairs. After this had been completed, which was done some
time ago, in the province of Brandenburgh, we directed that • what had been consented to and proposed by the collective • Clergy of the province, should be drawn up in the form of a
special appendix to the Kirchen Agende, a task which has been • now completed by the Clergy of the province. Simultaneously
with this appendix, we have caused this new and enlarged • edition of the Kirchen Agende to be prepared, in order that • the whole may now appear in a better and more coherent form. - Whatever was found to have no other foundation beside some • local peculiarity, or predilection, or peculiarity of views, and such
as could not be applied to any permanent purpose of general 'utility, has been considered inadmissible, to the intent that the
fundamental principle of fitness for general use might not be “transgressed. The Consistory of the province, however, is * provided with full power to show the utmost possible deference
to all such points. After all that has now been done in this • weighty matter, we look forward with confidence that the
whole Clergy of the province, in gratitude for our princely and • fatherly intentions, and our unwearied care for the inward and
outward welfare of the Evangelical Church, will apply them‘selves willingly and obediently, as becometh good subjects, to
promote this our design, and labour with all honesty and
diligence so to influence their congregations, and to remove all erroneous notions and misunderstandings, that this revised • Ritual (Kirchen Agende,) allowed by us, and published by
our authority, may, with all possible speed be introduced, and “ maintained unchanged in continual use. . May Almighty God take this work under his merciful
pro‘tection; may He bless it and preserve it to us and our succes
sors to the end of time, for the furtherance of the true fear of · God, together with all other Christian graces. * Berlin, 19th of April, 1829.
• The need of a firmly established Order for the public celebra• tion of Divine worship and the ministration of Church ordinances, has been long held to be a fundamental principle in the Christian Church. Besides, the continual endeavour either to • introduce such an order, to uphold it, or to recover it, serves to * indicate how strongly the feeling has been manifested, that “the need belongs to the very nature of the case.
It is plain also how much the very agreement in the forms of public worship contributes to maintain and to strengthen Christian com'munion, and how much every Christian who seeks edification
must desire to be able to procure a reception everywhere, for ' that which is preserved pure and sound, and, at the same time, where it has been lost, again to find a home for it.
• The Ritual for the Evangelic Church in the kingdom of • Prussia, originated proximately from the design to recover this agreement, the gradual loss of which had latterly been noticed
with considerable sorrow; and to secure to the ordinances of ' the Church the possession of a form grounded upon the evan
gelical system of doctrine capable of protecting them from the • changeableness of human views and modes of celebration ; at
the same time without shutting out a certain degree of variety, ' and entirely precluding all liberty of action.
• Forasmuch as modern attempts in the way of liturgical * works have given sufficient warning, by their failure, that the ` mode of expression commonly used in the transactions of the ‘present day, is less suited to the solemn tone and expression
proper to congregational devotion and public confession, which • requisites the remains of antiquity so largely possess; and