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all their votes and resolutions about the circumstances of public worship, had no other view, than the cutting off those illegal additions and innovations, which the superstition of the late times had introduced, and reducing the discipline of the church to the standard of the statute law. No man was punished for acting according to law; but the displeasure of the house ran high against those, who, in their public ministrations, or in their ecclesiastical courts, had bound those things upon the subject which were either contrary to the laws of the land, or about which the laws were altogether silent.
THE ANTIQUITY OF LITURGIES, AND OF THE EPISCOPAL
ORDER, DEBATED BETWEEN BISHOP HALL AND SMECTYMNUUS. PETITIONS FOR AND AGAINST THE HIERARCHY. ROOT AND BRANCH PETITION. THE MINISTERS' PETITION FOR REFORMATION. SPEECHES UPON THE PETITIONS. PROCEEDINGS
AGAINST PAPISTS. The debates in parliament concerning the English liturgy and hierarchy engaged the attention of the whole nation, and revived the controversy without doors. The press being open, great numbers of anonymous pamphlets appeared against the establishment, not without indecent and provoking language, under these and the like titles: Prelatical Episcopacy not from the Apostles. Lord Bishops not the Lord's Bishops. Short View of the Prelatical Church of England. A Comparison between the Liturgy and the Mass-book. Service Book no better than a mess of Pottage, &c.—Lord Brook attacked the order of bishops in a treatise of the “Nature of episcopacy," wherein he reflects in an ungenerous manner upon the low pedigree of the present bench, as if nothing except a noble descent could qualify men to sit among the peers. Several of the bishops vindicated their pedigree and families, as, bishop Williams, Moreton, Curle, Cooke, Owen, &c. and archbishop Usher defended the order, in a treatise entitled, “The apostolical institution of episcopacy *;" but then by a bishop his lordship understood no more than a stated president over an assembly of presbyters, which the Puritans of these times were
Nalson, in his Collections, vol. 2. p. 279, 280, and after him, Collyer, Ecclesiastical History, vol. 2. p. 808, have abridged the arguments of this piece ; but these abstracts do not shew, as Dr. Grey would intimate, the extent of jurisdiction, or the nature of the power, according to bishop Usher's idea, exercised by the primitive bishops. They go to prove only a superiority to elders : and by a quotation from Beza, it should seem that this prelate, as Mr. Neal says, meant by a bishop only a president of the presbytery of a place or district. The Presbyterians are charged with misrepresenting the bishop's opinion, and with printing å faulty and surreptitious copy of his book. If this were done knowingly and designedly, it must rank with such pious arts as deserve censure. Dr. Grey.--ED.
willing to admit. The most celebrated writer on the side of the establishment, was the learned and pious bishop Hall, who, at the request of archbishop Laud, had published a treatise entitled, “Episcopacy of divine right,” as has been related. This reverend prelate, upon the gathering of the present storm, appeared a second time in its defence, in " An huinble remonstrance to the high court of parliament;" and some time after, in “ A defence of that remonstrance,” in vindication of the antiquity of liturgies and of diocesan episcopacy.
The bishop's remonstrance was answered by a celebrated treatise under the title of “ Smectymnuus," a fictitious word made up of the initial letters of the names of the authors, viz. Stephen Marshal, Edmund Calamy, Thomas Young, Matthew Newcomen, and William Spurstow. When the bishop had replied to their book, these divines published a vindication of their answer to the “Humble remonstrance ;” which, being an appeal to the legislature on both sides, may be supposed to contain the merits of the controversy, and will therefore deserve the reader's attention.
The debate was upon these two heads;
1. The bishop begins with liturgies, by which he understands “certain prescribed and limited forms of prayer, composed for the public service of the church, and appointed to be read at all times of public worship.”. The antiquity of these, his lordship derives down from Moses, by an uninterrupted succession, to the present time. “God's people (says he) ever since Moses' day, constantly practised a set form, and put it ever to the times of the gospel. Our blessed Saviour, and his gracious forerunner, taught a direct form of prayer. When Peter and John went up to the temple at the ninth hour of prayer, we know the prayer wherein they joined was not of an extempore and sudden conception, but of a regular prescription : and the evangelical church ever since thought it could never better improve her peace
and happiness, than in composing those religious models of invocation and thanksgiving, which they have traduced unto us, as the liturgies of St. James, Basil, and Chrysostom, and which, though in some places corrupted, serve to prove the thing itself.”
Smectymnuus replies, that if there had been any liturgies in the times of the first and most venerable antiquity, the great inquiries after them would have produced them to the world before this time; but that there were none in the Christian church is evident from Tertullian in his Apology, cap. 30, where he says, the Christians of those times, in their public assemblies, prayed “sine monitore quia de pectore,” without any prompter except their own hearts." And in his treatise of prayer, he adds, there are some things to be asked “according to the occasions of every man.” St. Austin says the same thing, ep. 121. “ It is free to ask the same things that are desired in the Lord's prayer, aliis
atque aliis verbis, sometimes in one manner of expression, and sometimes in another.” And before this, Justin Martyr in his Apology says, Tpoeotws, the president, or he that instructed the people, prayed according to his ability, or as well as he could. Nor was this liberty of prayer taken away till the times when the Arian and Pelagian heresies * invaded the church ; it was then first ordained, that none should pray “pro arbitrio, sed semper easdem preces ;” that they should not use the liberty which they bad bitherto practised, but should always keep to one form of prayer. Concil. Load. can. 18. Still this was a form of their own composing, as appears by a canon of the council of Carthage, anno 397, which gives this reason for it, “ut nemo in precibus vel patrem pro filio, vel filium pro patre nominet, et cum altari adsistitur semper ad patrem dirigatur oratio ; et quicunque sibi preces aliunde describit, non iis utatur nisi prius eas cum fratribus instructioribus contulerit ;" i. e. " that none in their prayers might mistake the Father for the Son, or the Son for the Father; and that when they assist at the altar, prayer might be always directed to the Father; and whosoever composes any different forms, let him not make use of them till he has first consulted with his more learned brethren.” It appears from hence, that there was no uniform prescribed liturgy at this time in the church, but that the more ignorant priests might make use of forms of their own composing, provided they consulted their more learned brethren; till at length it was ordained at the council of Milan, anno 416, that none should use set forms of prayer, except such as were approved in a synod. They go on to transcribe, from Justin Martyr and Tertullian, the manner of public worship in their times, which was this; first the Scriptures were read; after reading, followed an exhortation to the practice and imitation of what was read; then all rose up and joined in prayer; after this they went to the sacrament, in the beginning whereof the president of the assembly poured out prayers and thanksgivings, according to his ability, and the people said Amen; then followed the distribution of the elements, and a collection of alms. This was Justin Martyr's liturgy or service, and Tertullian's is the same, only he mentions their beginning with prayer before reading the Scriptures, and their love-feasts, which only opened and concluded with prayer, and were celebrated with singing of psalms. Although the Smectymnuans admit that our blessed Saviour taught his disciples a form of prayer, yet they deny that he designed to confine them to the use of those words only, nor did the primitive church so understand it, as has been proved
It is to be wished that Mr. Neal had used the word opinions instead of heresies. It was indeed the style of the times, when he wrote, and of many preceding ages : but the application of the term conveys not only the idea of error, but of error accompanied with malignity of mind and guilt. There may be great errors, without any of that criminality, which the word heresy, in the Scripture meaning of it, implieth. Besides pronouncing opinions, heresies is rather the language of authority and infallibility, than of the inquirer after truth, and prejudices the mind.—ED.
from St. Austin. The pretended liturgies of St. James, Basil, and St. Chrysostom, are of little weight in this argument, as being allowed by the bishop, and the most learned critics both Protestants and Papists, to be full of forgeries and spurious insertions. Upon the whole, therefore, they challenge his lordship to produce any one genuine liturgy, used in the Christian church for three hundred years after Christ *.
From the antiquity of liturgies in general, the bishop descends to a more particular commendation of that which is established in the church of England, as that it was drawn up by wise and good men with great deliberation; that it had been sealed with the blood of martyrs; and was selected out of ancient models, not Roman but Christian.
In answer to which these divines appeal to the proclamation of Edward VI. wherein the original of it is published to the world. The statute mentions four different forms them in use, out of which a uniform office was to be collected, viz. the use of Sarum, of Bangor, of York, and of Lincoln; all which were Roman rather than Christian; they admit his lordship’s other encomiums of the English liturgy, but affirm that it was still imperfect, and in many places offensive to tender consciences.
The good bishop, after all, seems willing to compromise the difference about prayer.
“ Far be it from me (says his lordship) to dishearten any good Christian from the use of conceived prayer in his private devotions, and upon occasion also in the public. I would hate to be guilty of pouring so much water upon the spirit, to which I should gladly add oil rather. No, let the full soul freely pour out itself in gracious expressions of its holy thoughts into the bosom of the Almighty; let both the sudden flashes of our quick ejaculations, and the constant flames of our more fixed conceptions, mount up from the altar of a zealous heart unto the throne of grace; and if there be some stops or solecisms, in the fervent utterance of our private wants, these are so far from being offensive, that they are the most pleasing music to the ears of that God unto whom our prayers come; let them be broken off with
Bishop Burnet says, (Hist. Ref. part 2. p. 72.] that it was in the fourth century that the liturgies of St. James, St. Basil, &c. were first mentioned ; that the council of Laodicea appointed the same prayers to be used mornings and evenings, but that these forms were left to the discretion of every bishop ; nor was it made the subject of any public consultation till St. Austin's time, when, in their dealing with heretics, they found they took advantage from some of the prayers that were in some churches ; upon which it was ordered, that there should be no public pray. ers used but by common advice. Formerly, says the bishop, the worship of God was a pure and simple thing, and so it continued, till superstition had so infected the church, that those forms were thought too naked, unless they were put under more artificial rules, and dressed up with much ceremony. In every age there were notable additions made, and all the writers almost in the eighth and ninth centuries employed their fancies to find out mystical significations for every rite that was then used, till at length there were so many missals, breviaries, rituals, pontificals, pontoises, pies, graduals, antiphonals, psalteries, hours, and a great many more, that the understanding how to officiate was become so hard a piece of trade, that it was not to be learned without long practice,
sobs and sighs, and incongruities of our delivery, our good God is no otherways affected to this imperfect elocution, than an indulgent parent is to the clipped and broken language of his dear child, which is more delightful to him than any other's smooth oratory. This is not to be opposed in another, by any man that hath found the true operations of this grace in himself --". 66 What I have professed concerning conceived prayers, is that which I have ever allowed, ever practised, both in private and public. God is a free spirit, and so should ours be, in pouring out our voluntary devotions upon all occasions ; nothing hinders but that this liberty and a public liturgy should be good friends, and go hand in hand together ; and whosoever would forcibly 'separate them, let them bear their own blame--the over-rigorous pressing of the liturgy, to the justling out of preaching or conceived prayers, was never intended either by the law-makers, or moderate governors of the church.” If the bishops, while in power, had practised according to these pious and generous principles, their affairs could not have been brought to such a dangerous crisis at this time.
2. The other point in debate between the bishop and his adversaries, related to the superior order of bishops. And here the controversy was not about the name, which signifies in the Greek no more than an overseer, but about the office and character; the Smectymnuan divines contended, that a primitive bishop was no other than a parochial pastor, or a preaching presbyter, without pre-eminence or any proper rule over his brethren. His lordship on the other hand affirms, that bishops were originally a “distinct order from presbyters, instituted by the apostles themselves, and invested with the sole power of ordination and ecclesiastical jurisdiction;" that in this sense they are of divine institution, and have continued in the church by an uninterrupted succession to the present time. The bishop enters upon this argument with unusual assurance, bearing down his adversaries with
a torrent of bold and unguarded expressions. His words are these; “ This holy calling (meaning the order of bishops as distinct from presbyters) fetches its pedigree from no less than apostolical, and therefore divine institution. Except all histories, all authors fail us, nothing can be more plain than this; out of them we can and do shew on whom the apostles of Christ laid their hands, with an acknowledgment and conveyance of imparity and jurisdiction. We shew what bishops so ordained lived in the times of the apostles, and succeeded each other in their several charges under the eyes and hands of the then living apostles. Weshew who immediately succeeded those immediate successors in their several sees, throughout all the regions of the Christian church, and deduce their uninterrupted line through all the following ages to this present day; and if there can be better evidence under heaven for any matter of fact (and, in this cause, matter of fact so derived evinceth matter of right) let episcopacy be for ever abandoned out of God's church.—Again, if we do not shew, out of the genuine and undeniable writings of