صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

one Sunday to another. It was far otherwise under the Law.

These words,' says Moses to the children of Israel, which I command thee,' &c. And as they were commanded this, so it is obvious how much the constitution of that law was adapted to effect it, and keep religion ever in view. And without somewhat of this nature, piety will grow languid, even among the better sort of men ; and the worst will go on quietly in an abandoned course, with fewer interruptions from within than they would have were religious reflections forced oftener upon their minds, and consequently with less probability of their amendment. Indeed, in most ages of the Church, the care of reasonable men has been, as there has been for the most part occasion, to draw the people off from laying too great weight upon external things, upon formal acts of piety. But that state of matters is quite changed now with us. These things are neglected to a degree which is, and cannot but be attended with a decay of all that is good. It is highly seasonable now to instruct the people in the importance of external religion. ... The frequent returns, whether of public devotion, or of any thing else, to introduce religion into men's serious thoughts, will have an influence upon them, in proportion as they are susceptible of religion, and not given over to a reprobate mind. For this reason, besides others, the service of the Church ought to be celebrated as often as you can have a congregation to attend it. But since the body of the people, especially in coantry places, cannot be brought to attend it oftener than one day in a week, and since this is in no sort enough to keep up in them a due sense of religion, it were greatly to be wished they could be persuaded to any thing which might in some measure supply the want of more frequent public devotions, or serve the like purposes."-Charge to the Clergy of Durham, 1751.

The above extracts were collected by a friend of the writer, when a student for holy orders, about 24 or 25 years since, and have not long since come to hand accidentally. It appeared desirable that they should be published, with as little alteration as possible, even in form or order, so as to establish the fact, that we have always had in our prayer-books, and in the writings of our ritualists, and other eminent divines, a witness against our neglect of this duty; and a witness so clear and decided, as to arrest the attention of a young person studying these books at the very time when the daily service was most completely disused, and in a manner forgotten.

It will be seen, therefore, that this collection does not pretend to be a Catena, nor to contain all the testimonies in favour of this practice, which are to be found in the divines of our branch of the Church.

It is believed, however, that any one who will seriously consider the extracts that are here set forth, will find in them enough to convince him,

First, That the objections against the practice, and the difficulties in the way of restoring it, are not so great as they are supposed to be.

Secondly, That the duty itself is of such importance, one might perhaps say of so great necessity, for the maintenance of true religion, that it would be no more than right to make some venture, and, if need be, patiently to suffer discouragement and mortification for the sake of performing it.

And, at any rate, it is quite certain that this view of the daily service is very far from being in any way modern or

newfangled."

It has been made a point of conscience to quote the passages exactly as they stand in the books whence they are taken, and in such a manner as to give a fair impression of the views entertained by the respective writers.

In consequence, there are one or two statements contained in them, which seems to the person who sends this collection to call for some kind of protest on his part.

It is submitted that the excuse for the neglect of the service in country villages, which Dr. Best suggests in extract 50, would

be a plea for omitting it in town churches, and even in cathedrals, where there may be no congregation. And it should be considered whether what he says in that passage be in any way reconcileable to his opinions as more solemnly and distinctly expressed in the extract that follows. And the first part of this observation appears applicable also to a statement of Dr. Bisse, in No. 30, that “the daily offering cannot be observed in lesser parish churches."

Further, from the extracts here made from Wheatly and Nicholls, it would seem that they thought the Church meant to “ discontinue” or discourage all “solitary” repeating of her services. And indeed the language used by Dr. Nicholls does not appear suitable to the seriousness and sanctity of such a subject.

But the writer of this notice begs leave humbly to submit, that, although the services ought, if possible, to be read in the church, or in some family congregation, yet should any clergyman be prevented from saying them thus "openly,” he is bound by the rubric to say them to himself “privately," unless prevented by some urgent cause. Such, it is apprehended, was the view of the rubric generally entertained in the seventeenth century.

And the writer would venture to express his conviction, that if a churchman were, under such discouraging circumstances, to persevere in the private practice of this duty, he would gain thereby the greatest comfort and advantage ; and when restored to a more full enjoyment of the means of grace, would find his delight and edification in the services increased beyond any thing he could have possibly anticipated.

He thought, moreover, it might be useful to add four fresh authorities,—one from the most simple and practical, as well as the most learned (perhaps) of our ritualists, and the others as illustrating the practice and opinions of three very distinguished bishops.

Bishop SPARROW.--" Whatsoever the world think, thus to be the Lord's remembrancers, putting Him in mind of the people's

wants (Isaiah lxii.), being, as it were, the angels of the LORD, interceding for the people, and carrying up the daily prayers of the Church in their behalf, is one of the most useful and principal parts of the priest's office. So St. Paul tells us, who, in the First Epistle to Timothy, chap. ii., exhorts Bishop Timothy, that he should take care, first of all, that this holy service be offered up to God. I exhort, first of all, that prayers and supplications, intercessions and giving of thanks, be made for all men ; for kings,' &c. What is the meaning of this first of all ?' I will that this holy service be offered up daily. And the faithful know how we observe this rule of St. Paul, offering up daily this holy sacrifice morning and evening. See Chrysostom on the place,

“St. Paul, in the first chapter of this Epistle, at the eighteenth verse, bad charged his son Timothy to war a good warfare,' to hold faith and a good conscience,' and presently adds, I exhort therefore, that first of all prayers, &c. be made. As if he had said, You cannot possibly hold faith and a good conscience in your pastoral office, unless, first of all, you be careful to make and offer up prayers, &c. For this is the first thing to be done, and most highly to be regarded by you. Preaching is a very useful part of the priest's office, and St. Paul exhorts Timothy to • preach the word, be instant in season, out of season, and the more because he was a bishop, and had to plant and water many churches, in the infancy of Christianity, among many seducers and temptations : but yet, first of all, he exhorts, that this daily office of presenting prayers to the throne of grace, in behalf of the Church, be carefully looked to.

“ This charge of St. Paul to Timothy, holy Church here lays upon all those that are admitted into that holy office of the ministry, that they should offer up to God this holy sacrifice of prayers, praises, and thanksgivings, this savour of rest, dailymorning and evening. And would all those whom it concerns look well to this part of their office, I should not doubt but that God would be as gracious and bountiful to us in the performance of this service, as He promised to be to the Jews in the offering of the lamb, morning and evening, Exod. xxix. 42, 43. He would meet us and speak with us,' that is, graciously answer our petitions ; 'He would dwell with us and be our God,' and we should know by comfortable experiments of His great and many blessings, that He is the LORD our God."- Rationale of the Common Prayer on the Rubric which orders the daily service, p. 9.

ARCHBISHOP LAUD.—“I stayed at Lambeth till the evening, to avoid the gazing of the people. I went to evening prayer in my chapel. The Psalms of the day, Ps. 93 and 94, and Chap. 50 of E sai, gave me great comfort. God make me worthy of it, and fit to receive it.”Diary, p. 60.

Bishop Ken."But your greatest zeal must be spent for the public prayers, in the constant and devout use of which the public safety, both of Church and State, is highly concerned: be sure then to offer up to God every day the morning and evening prayers; offer it up in your family at least, or rather, as far as your circumstances may possibly permit, offer it up in the church, especially if you live in a great town, and say over the Litany every morning during the whole of Lent. This I might enjoin you to do on your canonical obedience, but, for love's sake, I rather beseech you, and I cannot recommend to you a more devout and comprehensive form of penitent and public intercession than that, or more proper for the season. Be not discouraged if but few come to the solemn assemblies, but go to the house of prayer,' where God is well known for a sure refuge; go, though you go alone, or but with one besides yourself; and there, as you are God's remembrancer,' keep not silence, and give Him no rest, till He establish, till He make Jerusalem a praise in the earth."--Bp. Ken's Pastoral Leller to his Clergy, concerning their behaviour during Lent. 1688.

Bishop Wilson.—From Archdeacon Hewetson's advice to him the day he was ordained Deacon, the Festival of St. Peter, 1686.

“VI. To say the morning and evening prayers, either publicly or privately, every day, is, T. W. knows, the Church's express command, in one of the rubricks before the calendar.

“VIII. Never to miss the Church's public devotions twice a day, when unavoidable business, or want of health, or of a church,

« السابقةمتابعة »