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“the attention of the careless to that inestimable ordinance which is the means and pledge of the Saviour's
mercy ; to aid the Christian in receiving with lively penitence, gratitude, and faith, the hallowed symbols of the body and blood of his blessed Redeemer, by which he is to be nourished and strengthened unto everlasting life.”
To say any thing of the personal character of the late Bishop Hobart, would argue great presumption in the Editor; on the principle therefore, that "laudari a laudato viro" is one of the highest tests of merit, he will simply quote a passage from the writings of one whose " praise is" deservedly " in all the Churches,” the late Rev. Hugh James Rose, who thus alludes to the Author of this Manual.
“Since the first edition of this work appeared, this invaluable man is gone to his rest.—No words, which would not at least appear extravagant to those who did not know him, could convey my sense of his value, or of the loss which the Church of Christ has experienced in his removal; to those who did know him, no words are necessary on either subject. I esteem it a matter of especial thankfulness that I had an opportunity of enjoying the happiness and advan
1 Author's preface.
tage of free and familiar intercourse with such a
The English friends who shared that happiness with me, could have little hope, any more than myself, of ever seeing him again in this world. Yet they would, as I believe, concur with me in saying, that so strong a hold had he gained on our affections?, that if we had lost a very near as well as a very dear friend. They would all, I am sure, concur with me when I say that I shall bear his memory with me to the grave 3.”—The character of him who could elicit such an eulogium from such a man, must plainly be measured by no ordinary standard.
With regard to the principles on which this work is composed, it will be better to quote the author's own words :
“In the following pages the writer has endeavoured to keep in view two principles, which he deems most important and fundamental. These principles are—That we are saved from the guilt and dominion of sin by the Divine merits and grace of a crucified Redeemer; and that the merits and grace of this Redeemer are applied to the soul of the believer in the devout and humble participation of the ordinances of the Church, ad
2 During a visit which the Bishop paid to England in 1842. 3 Commission and consequent duties of the Clergy.
ministered by a priesthood who derive their authority by regular transmission from Christ, the Divine Head of the Church, and the source of all the power in it. These are the principles which, at first promulgated by the Apostles, "in demonstration of the spirit and with power," constituted the glory of the primitive Church—that Church, which was watered by the tears and blood of confessors and martyrs."
"It may possibly," says the author, " be objected to the strain of devotion in this work that it is visionary and enthusiastic.” It may be well to say a very few words on this point : visionary the writings of Bishop Hobart certainly are not ; on the contrary, their greatest charm is their eminently practical character. Enthusiastic they as certainly are; but let it be observed that the enthusiasm of Bishop Hobart was of a very peculiar nature. It was not the ill-directed enthusiasm, which seeks in the warmth of an excited imagination, or the glow of transient feeling, to find an excuse for the absence of that steady habit of practical piety, which is the only proof of the existence of the inward spiritual life; it was not the enthusiasm which, despising the so-called restraints of liturgical observances, seeks to do away with the forms and too often destroys the spirit of true religion at the same time; but rather was full of the most profound reverence for the teaching and the formularies of the Christian Church; full of the deepest humility, the most heartfelt repentance, the most implicit faith in the sacrifice of the Saviour for pardon and justification, and the most earnest resolutions and endeavours after a devout and holy life. It was in truth the language of the heart; "of a heart which nature had made ardent, and grace had awakened to a deep sense of redeeming love; therefore it was that it breathed forth its aspirations to heaven in a strain, which to minds of a colder temperament appeared false or enthusiastic. To him may be applied in due measure the words of the Holy Psalmist, 'My heart was hot within me; While I was musing the fire burned, then spake I with my tongue
Believing that it cannot at any rate be charged, by sound Churchmen, with extravagance either in sentiment or doctrine, the Editor commits this little volume to the press, in the earnest hope that, under God's blessing, it may have the effect of exciting in the minds of some of its readers, a greater degree of attention to the divinely constituted ordinances of the Christian Church; in the sincere conviction that “could Christians be persuaded heartily to embrace the principles on which it is founded, and to regulate their faith and conduct by them, the Church would be rescued on the one hand, from those baneful opinions which reduce the Gospel to a cold, unfruitful, and comfortless system of heathen morals; and on the other, from that wild spirit of enthusiasm and irregular zeal which, contemning the divinely constituted government and priesthood of the Church, endeavours to destroy entirely her order, unity, and beauty, and undermine the foundation of sound and sober piety 5."
4 From Early Years and Professional Life of Bishop Hobart. Edited by Dr. Hook, p. 204, 205.
5 Author's preface.
[Note.- In the introductory treatise the author has made free 118e of a tract on the Holy Communion by Bishop Gibson, au:) of a Sermon by the late Bishop Seabury ou the same subject. Some of the devotions at the Communion are not entirely original; for the meditations and prayers to be used in the week before the receiving of the Communion, the author is solely responsible. Author's preface.]