Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

The Evangelical Clergy had always maintained that the Eastward Position was the Key of the whole position in the conflict.

That point was now yielded to their opponents, and still they remained passive.

By this decision in the Ridsdale or "Folkestone Ritual Case," the following second Rubric was virtually added to the former :

It shall be lawful also for the Priest to stand with his back to the people during the Prayer of Consecration, that being the Sacrificial and Sacerdotal position, and implying an Altur, a sacrifice, and a Sacrificing Priest."

The tide of error flowed on more and more rapidly, till we reach the year 1892, when, the Church association having prosecuted the Bishop of Lincoln for Romanising Ritual in respect (1) of mixing water with the wine at the Holy Communion; (2) of rinsing the cup and drinking the rinsings; (3) of singing the Agnus Dei immediately after the Prayer of Consecration; (4) of assuming the Eastward Position; (5) of using “Altar” Lights, Judgment was given in the Bishop's favour by the Highest Court of Appeal.

Thereby, that Highest Court of Judicature, the Final Court of Appeal, confirmed, on August 2, 1892, the decision which had already been given in November, 1890) at Lambeth, in the Archbishop's Court, by the Archbishop of Canterbury (Dr. Benson) and his Assessors, the Bishop of London (Dr. Temple), the Bishop of Hereford (Dr Atlay), the Bishop of Oxford (Dr. Stubbs), the Bishop of Rochester (Dr. Thorold), and the Bishop of Salisbury (Dr. Wordsworth),

These Decisions are known respectively as the Bennett Judgment, the Ridsdale Judgment, and the Lincoln Judgment.

By the last, the following third Rubric was virtually appended to the preceding ones.

" It shall be further lawful to havo Altar Lights, to mingle Water with the Wine (in the Vestry), to sing the Agnus Dei to Christ brought doron upon the Altar by the Priest, and lying there, or elevated by the Priest-for adoration by the faithful."

The Mass has now become re-established under Legal Protection in the Church of England--and the Protestantism of that Church is practically destroyed.

On every side, now, may be seen her Churches turned into Masshouses, her Ministers claiming to be Sacrificing Priests, and Auricular Confession enjoined, practised, and, where possible, enforced.

It was hoped that in this solemn crisis, fraught with issues so momentous to the Church and to the nation, the Evangelical Clergy would at length have risen to the occasion, and taken decided action.

The most earnest appeals were addressed to them, but in vain.

This third (and perhaps the last) opportunity for unitedly vindicating God's imperilled Truth, and saving the Reformation, has been allowed to puss, and the Established Church has been permitted to pursue her tatal course unmolested towards un-Protestantizing the nation.

Some of her ministers, however, there were. who could not conscientiously remain within her pale, and these have taken counsel to. gether in the hope, and with the prayer, that by the blessing of God upon their humble efforts & SECOND REFORMATION may be inaugurated.

They have desired to gather up the threads where they were broken in 1553, and to pursue to their legitimate conclusion the principles of the Reformers of the reign of King Edward VI.

The first thing to be done was to remove from the Book of Common Prayer the dangerous errors re-introduced into it in 1559, 1604, and 1662.

Partial efforts to this end had been made by the excellent "Society for the Revision of the Book of Common Prayer," which was originated by the late Lord Ebury, the Rev. the Hon. E. V. Bligh, the Rev. R. Glyn, the Rev. Dr. Jacob, Mr. Maynard, and other well-known and respected clergymen and laymen, and by various other Bodies. Their valuable labours have been of great assistance in the preparation of the present Volume. But the Revisers have in the present case carried out a more thorough and complete Reform.

The Blots of Popish error have been entirely removed, nor is there left, as they believe, a single phrase upon which the now prevalent Romish and Romanising doctrines and practices can possibly find support.

The Calendar has been purged of Saints' Days, the Lessons are taken from the Inspired Scriptures alone; the preliminary Rubrics, now so great a stumbling-block, have been swept away. The word "Priest has been eliminated, and "Minister" substituted throughout.

It will be no longer asserted in the "Absolution" that God hath given power and commandment to His Ministers to declare and PRONOUNCE to His people, being penitent, the “ ABSOLUTION and remission of their sins"-upon which (with other phrases) the Romanising priests ground their doctrines of Auricular Confession and Priestly Absolution.

The Athanasian Creed (so called) (with the Condemning Clauses expunged) is retained for reference, but is not to be publicly read.

In the Litany a prayer for deliverance from the Bishop of Rome and his cruelties has been re-inserted; certain repetitions have been omitted, and some valuable additional suffrages introduced.

The Collects have been in some instances changed, and new ones (suggested by the Revisers of 1689) have been adopted, bearing upon the Epistle and Gospel following ; and occasionally their language has been slightly modified.

The Communion Service has been purged of every doubtful phrase, and not a syllable has been retained that can possibly be quoted as suggestive, or permissive, of any "real" or "essential,” or “corporal, Presence in, or with, the elements of bread and wine.

The "Manual Acts" have been abolished.

A slight change in the order of the Prayers has been made, and some prayers have been introduced, to be used at the discretion of the Minister; and it is hoped that the Service as it now stands will more closely harmonise with those feelings of Faith and Love, and realised oneness with Christ, which should ever be associated with the Supper of the Lord.

The Catechism has been purged of " sacramental" leaven (the title of "Sacraments" giving place to that of “Figurative Ordinances "), and has been expanded and enlarged, so as to bring out Scriptural Truth,

To the Question of Baptism the Revisers addressed themselves with an earnest desire to appeal " to the Law and to the Testimony," and in this point, as in all others with which they have been dealing, to abide by the teaching and practice of Christ and His Apostles.

What is the divinely given key?

We find it in Mark's Gospel xvi. 15, 16. “Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved.”

There are thus three stages. 1. The preaching of the Gospel. 2. Faith, coming by hearing it preached. 3. The Baptism of the believing person.

Again, in Matt. xxviii. 19, 20. “Go ye therefore and teach (or make disciples of) all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost : teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and, lo, I am with you alway, even to the end of the world." Here is consciousness and intelligence inplied on the part of the taught or “Discipled" ones.

See, again, Gal. iii. 26, 27. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.' Faith in Christ, and the Putting on Christ, here, are conscious acts.

See, further, 1 Peter iii. 21. "The like figure whereunto eren Baptism doth now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience towards God) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ." Here also we find that Baptism was the act of intelligent persons, making a profession of their faith, and so putting on Christ.

See, again, Col. ii. 12. “Buried with Him in Baptism, wherein also ye are risen with Him, through the faith of the operation of God Who hath raised Him from the dead."

The Established Church of England herself admits that “ Repentance and Faith are required of persons to be baptized."

Believers' Baptism therefore resumes its rightful, because Scriptural, place.

But as Christian parents, in accordance with the gracious words of the Lord Jesus, "Suffer little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not," must always desire to present and dedicate their children to God, a simple service of Dedication is accordingly provided.

The Psalms are arranged for a Month of Thirty-one days, and are divided into three portions for each day, according to the admirable method proposed by the late "Society for the Revision of the Prayer Book.

The Service for the Visitation of the Sick has been remodelled.
The Service for the Fifth of November has been re-instated.
The Marriage Service has been somewhat altered.
The Burial Service more generally and guardedly worded.

The Commination Service has been changed into one suitable for special days of humiliation - the Lenten Season and Fast having been given up (as unscriptural, and, indeed, of Pagan origin)--and certain prayers have been adopted, modified, or composed for urgent occasions, and for the Conversion of Israel, and of the Gentile world.

The “XXXIX. Articles of Religion " have always been regarded, aud justly so, as the stronghold of Protestantism. But even their language is sometimes not sufficiently pronounced and clear. Mr. Newman charged Church of England with teaching with the "stain. mering lips" of ambiguons Formularies, and in dealing with the Articles, in “Tract Xo.," it must be acknowledged that he was able to indicate, and to avail himself of, various weak points.

For instance, in Art. XXII. "The Romish Doctrine concerning Purgatory, etc., is condemned, and it has been argued that other views of a somewhat similar, though not identical, kind on these subjects are admissible.

In Art. XXVIII. the language certainly may be construed as in some measure favouring the "Real Presence, particularly the clanse -"The Body of Christ is given, taken, and eaten, in the Supper, only after a heavenly and spiritual manner."

In Art. XXXI. The Romish Mass, as such, is not denounced with sufficient plainness, but certain well-known applications of Masses are described as "blasphemous fables and dangerous deceits."

In Art. XXXII. of the Marriage of Priests (De conjugio Sacerdotum), “ Bishops, Priests, and Deacons are not commanded," etc., language constantly quoted as indicating a Priesthood.

These and other points were pressed home against Protestants with great subtlety and force by Sacerdotal writers, and the Revisers have endeavoured to make the Articles bear full and decisive testimony to Protestant Truth.

With respect to any special and distinctive Dress to be worn by Officiating Ministers during Divine Service, the Revisers recall the fact that in 1552 it was prescribed in the Rubric immediately before the Order of Morning Prayer, that “The Minister at the time of the Communion, and at all other times of his ministration, shall use neither Alb, Vestment, nor Cope: but being Archbishop, or Bishop, he shall have and wear a rochet: and being a Priest, or Deacon, he shall have and wear a Surplice only."

When, however, upon the accession of Queen Elizabeth in 1558, the "Ornaments Rubric" was introduced, enjoining, as in the Prayer Book of 1549, the wearing by the Priest, at the Communion Service, of "a white Albe plain, with a Vestment or Cope," and the wearing by his assistant Priests or Deacons of "Albes with tunicles," there were not wanting men who demanded that Popish “ Habits” of every kind should be put away, and who ventured to predict that if the Surplice, "Tippet,” and Square Cap were retained, and their use enforced, Popery would assuredly come back again. The retention of these garments was indicative of a disposition antagonistic to a thorough and complete Reformation, and the prognostication of evil results has been too fully realised.

Taught by experience, the Revisers do not hesitate to discard all Ecclesiastical “Vestinents." The only distinctive dress that may be worn by the Minister at any time of his Ministration shall be a Black Gown with the Hood of his Degree. And the wearing of such Gown and Hood shall not be imperative, but shall be left to the discretion of the individual Minister, acting in concurrence with his Church officers as the representatives of the Congregation.

The Government of the Protestant Church of England shall be that of a Modified Episcopacy.

In the New Testament, besides the Apostles, who had no successors, we find but two orders: Presbyters, or Bishops; and Deacons.

Presbyters elected by the Church in Synod assembled to act, either for a time or permanently, as Presidents or Moderators, will direct the affairs of the Church, not constituting a separate Order, but as Bishops Primi inter Pares.

It is believed and hoped that a Body of Christian People basing 1 beir Faith and Teaching entirely upon God's Inspired Word, with a Scriptural Form of Church Government and Discipline, and the simple mode of Worship prescribed in this Book may be now gathered out and take their position as a “Protestant Church of England" retaining all that is good and precious in the Book of Common Prayer, while rejecting all those elements of superstition and falsehood that have in these days yielded such disastrous fruit.

An additional reason for such a "gathering together" of the people of God, in so perilous à time, is the danger arising in an opposite quarter - from the Rationalistic or Broad Church section of the Established Church,

In 1860 there was published & volune entitled “Essays and Reviews," in which the Word of God was "freely handled," and treated as “any other book." The Mosaic Cosmogony was derided as false, and the Fundamental Verities of our most holy Faith were assailed.

In 1864, in the case of Williams Bishop of Salisbury, judgment was given in the Court of Final Appeal, in favour of the Writers of the “Essays and Reviews," and as a result we have the Inspiration of the Bible, or of various Portions of the Sacred Volume, openly deniedthe Atonement rejected as an “immoral doctrine" (!); the deity of Christ repudiated; the non-eternity of the punishment of the wicked asserted by Clergymen of the Established Church.

The spectacle presented to us by the Establishment at this time is that of an Institution disseminating Superstition and Idolatry on the one hand, and Infidelity on the other, and thereby corrupting and deceiving the Nation.

[ocr errors]

The Revisers would respectfully and earnestly press upon all within her pale who value Protestant Truth the serious consideration whether, in view of the alarming and portentous condition of affairs herein presented, it has not become their duty to " go forth without the camp, bearing Christ's reproach."

In concluding their work, the Revisers desire to express their sense of obligation to those who have preceded them in the same path.

Much valuable matter and many excellent suggestions were found in the “Copy of the Alterations in the Book of Common Prayer Prepared by the Royal Commissioners for the Revision of the Liturgy in 1689."

“The Society for the Revision of the Book of Common Prayer" afforded them considerable assistance by the Volume which it published on June 30, 1873.

The Prayer Book of the Church of Ireland, those of “The Free Church of England," of the “ Reformed Episcopal Church" in England, of the “Reformed Episcopal Church in the Dominion of Canada," "The Revised Prayer Book suited to the Church of Ireland and other Protestant Churches," and inany similar publications, have been carefully examined and duly weighed.

From first to last the Revisers have earnestly sought the Divine guidance and blessing, and these, they believe, have not been withheld.

To the Great Head of the Church they most humbly dedicate their work, and they pray that He Who is so often pleased to employ the weakest and inost imperfect instruments to accomplish the good pleasure of His Will, may condescend to use this Book as a Witness for His Truth, and a comfort to His people, in the dark and dangerous days of a closing Dispensation.

Signed on behalf of
The Committee of Revision,
CHARLES STIRLING, M...,

CONVENER.

[merged small][ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »