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DEATHS OF EMINENT CHRISTIANS.
ROBERT ABBOT, BISHOP OF SALISBURY*.
(Died 1617, aged about 57.)
Dr. Robert Abbot filled the see of Salisbury only two years and three months. When preaching on St. John xiv. 16, "I will pray the Father; and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever," many of his hearers presaged his departure from them. This indeed proved his last and farewell sermon; for, soon after he came out of the pulpit, he was seized with most dreadful fits, from a disorder which was brought on by a sedentary life and close application to study. But in all these bodily tortures his soul was at ease; for the assurance of heavenly things caused him most cheerfully to part with earthly; and the quick sense he had of the "powers of the life to come" deadened the sense of his bodily pains. There were many came to From "Last Hours of Christian Men; or an Account of the Deaths of some eminent Members of the Church of England;" by the rev. H. Clissold, M.A. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.
visit him on his death-bed, and among others the judges, being then at Sarum in their circuit. To them he spared not his Christian admonitions; and, when he discoursed before them, he insisted very much upon the benefit of a good conscience, rendering many thanks to his Creator for the great comforts he felt thereby now in his extremity. He also admonished all who heard him, so to carry themselves in their most private and secret actions, as well as in their public, in order to obtain that at the last, which would stand them in more stead than what all the world could afford them besides.
Having, when death approached, summoned his domestics, and with broken speeches in the language of a dying man beginning to make a profession of his faith, his friends persuaded him to refrain, as his principles were manifest in his writings. He yielded to their advice, and signed all his works with these words: "That faith which I have defended in my writings is the truth of God, and in the avouching thereof I leave the world." Thus with exhortations, benedictions, and the pains of his disease, he became quite worn out, and lay as it were slumbering, with now and then a short ejaculation. At length, with leyes and hands uplifted for the space of two or
three hours, he departed this life. His last words were, Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly; finish in me the work that thou hast begun into thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit; for thou hast redeemed me. O God of truth, save me, thy servant, who hopes and confides in thee alone. Let thy mercy, O Lord, be shown unto me: in thee have I trusted. O Lord, let me not be confounded for ever"*.
AN ARGUMENT FOR PATIENCE.-Lord Clarendon, in his "Tracts," thus reasons: "If we could give no other argument for Christian patience, it should be enough that never any man found ease, benefit, or relief by impatience, but increases and extends and multiplies the agony and pain and misery of whatever calamity be audergoes by it. Whereas patience lessens and softens the burden, and by degrees raises the constitution and strength to that pitch, that it is hardly sensible of it."
OR CONCISE AND POPULAR EXPLANATIONS OF THE CONTROVERTED PORTIONS OF THE BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER.
minds us that in the Corinthian church "it is most true, that in one instance of a flagrant, undeniable, and scandalizing sin, the apostle does command separation. But in reference to those generally, who were envious, and who fomented strife and divisions, those who were guilty of frauds in business, and irregularities in worship, and those who questioned or even denied the resurrection of the body, the apostle does not command separation," &c. (p. 61).
Dr. M'Neile further reminds us that the rubric directs the minister not to exclude from the communion, unless the offence be of a nature so
that the congregation be thereby offended;" and therefore that any members of the congregation who may be actually "offended" ought to be prepared to give solid proof of the offence to the minister, without which they have no right to complain if he does not reject the offender from the Lord's table.
On the law of the case, see Wheatly on the Common Prayer, c. vi. sec. 1 p. 253; Adn. Sharp' charges, No. iii. pp. 40-52; the bishop of St. Asaph's History of the church of England, s. 591, p. 429; and Cripps' Laws relative to the Church and the Clergy, b. VI. c. v. pp. 695-697; which latter work seems to show that a minister would not (as some suppose) render himself liable to an action for libel or defamation of character, in fulfilling his duty according to the rubrics, since of Wadham College, Oxford; Chaplain of the these rubrics are a part of the statute law of the land*.
BY THE REV. C. H. DAVIS, M.A.,
Stroud Union, Gloucestershire.
THE SACRAMENTAL SERVICES; OR CERTAIN CLAUSES IN THE COMMUNION SERVICE, AND THE BAPTISMAL SERVICES.
HAVING in a former paper discussed certain clauses in "the three creeds" of the church which have occasionally been the subject of misunderstanding or of controversy, the next point to invite our attention will be the sacramental services of our church, or certain clauses in these services, viz., in I., The Communion Service; and, II., The Baptismal Services.
I. The Communion Servicet.
1. The introductory rubrics will first call for some slight notice; inasmuch as it is sometimes objected that we are entirely destitute of proper ecclesiastical discipline in our church, and that we habitually admit unconverted persons to the Lord's table. The whole subject is ably treated in rev. Jos. Baylee's" Institutions of the Church of England," pp. 49-57. To search the heart belongeth only to the Lord. All the communicants in our church profess to join in her expressions of penitence, faith, and obedience, and on this profession ought not, unless "convicted of notorious sin" (in which case these rubrics empower the minister to exclude them), to be refused admission to the Lord's table.
Some excellent practical remarks on this subject are to be found in Dr. M'Neile's "Letters to a Friend," on the church of England (Hatchard, 1834), No. V., pp. 60-63, and 88-96. He re
* Fuller's "Abel Redivivus;" Life and Death of Robert Abbot, 1651.
t The term "holy communion" is founded on 1 Cor. x, 16, 17.
2. It has appeared to some to be frivolous to read the communion service in a different place from that in which the prayers are read; and also objectionable to differ from our authorized bible version in the decalogue, and other portions of scripture which occur in this service. To the first of these objections it may be replied that, the communion service being a distinct and complete ser vice in itself, the change of place is well calculated to keep this fact in remembrance, as well as to avoid monotony, and to secure a pleasing variety in the morning service of the church. To the second, that the portions of scripture which occur in our communion service, are according to an authorized version of scripture, viz., "the translation of the great English bible, set forth and used in the time of king Henry the Eighth, and Edward the Sixth," from which the prayer-book psalter is also taken.
3. It has appeared to some that, by the insertion of two passages from the apocryphal book of Tobit among the offertory sentences,_ the church regards that book as holy scripture. But it is not unworthy of notice that in the present rubric the offertory sentences are spoken of (not as "sentences of holy scripture," as they were termed in the liturgy of 1549, but) simply as "sentences." The change thus made in 1552 (see Keeling, p. 181) is significant. The actual use of these
tention to receive the communion. But this direction appears * Some persons object to the requirement of notice of into be designed (1), to enable the minister to provide a sufficient quantity of bread and wine; (2), to enable him to admonish any notorious evil-liver to abstain from coming to the Lord's table. Still it has been ruled in the ecclesiastical court of the diocese of Down, that ministers have no legal power to enforce this rubric. It relates rather to the people than to the minister, who is not positively commanded to refuse admission to those who have not given the notice.
sentences is left entirely to the minister's "discretion."
should stand "before" the table to "order" the elements, and then return to the north side to say the prayer of consecration" (sce Wheatly, c. vi. s. 22, p. 296; and bp. Mant's Prayer-book, p. 363)*.
With respect to the supposed petition for the dead, as the homily on prayer (pt. iii. pp. 298, &c.) expressly condemns the practice, so this cannot possibly be the meaning of the petition; but the words merely mean, "so that we"-"in order that we" may hereafter join the departed faithful in God's blessed kingdom (see a full discussion of the subject in bp. Mant's letter of 1843 on the prayer for the church militant, pp. 11, 12). The same remarks will apply to a similar clause in the burial service.
5. In the "Warning for the celebration of the holy communion," objection has sometimes been made to the phrase "that holy mystery" (and to the parallel phrases," meet partakers of those holy mysteries," and "hath instituted and ordained holy mysteries," and "who have duly received these holy mysteries"); to that, "increase your damna.. tion" (and "eat and drink our own damnation"); and to the concluding clause, as seeming to countenance the Romish practice of "auricular confession" and sacerdotal absolution.
But the words "mystery" and "mysteries"
seem to mean
4. In the prayer for the church militant, it has been supposed that, by the use of the word "oblations," the church refers to an offering of the elements of bread and wine as a propitiatory sacrifice; that the word has a direct reference to a previous rubric respecting the placing of the elements on the table, to comply with which a "credence table" is needed; and that at the close of the prayer a petition is made for the departed, implying a supposed benefit to them from this propitiatory sacrifice. To this it is to be replied, that the word "oblations" refers (not as some suppose, to the elements, but) to the "other devotions of the people," spoken of in a previous rubric. In the Scotch liturgy of 1637, in the parallel rubric," the devotions of the people" are expressly termed "oblations." And this it was, no doubt, which suggested to our reviewers, in 1661-2, the additions then made after the word "alms" both in the rubric and in the prayer, viz., in the former-" and other devotions of the people;" and in the latter-" and oblations," with obvious reference to the same. They also added, at the same time, a rubric at the end of the service respecting the distribution of the collections to "pious and charitable uses" generally, which did not before exist. Dr. Cardwell says, indeed, that "it was proposed in Mr. San-"symbols." For in the writings of the early croft's book that the rubric should stand thus: fathers the words "mystery" and "sacrament" 'The priest shall then offer up and place upon the seem to be used as convertible terms. Thus, in table; but the words 'offer up' were not adopted. Ephes. v. 32, the vulgate translates μvorni as Had it been otherwise, a different interpretation might have been suggested for the word oblations" (Conferences, p. 382, note). Clearly, then, the very rejection of the proposal proves that the word "oblations" does not refer to the elements, but to "other devotions of the people." This interpretation is confirmed by the homily on the sacrament, &c., pt. i. p. 399, which, in affirming that there is "no other sacrifice or oblation" than Christ's for sin, proves that the "oblations" in the prayer cannot refer to any propitiatory sacrifice, oblation, or offering, but only to pecuniary offerings (see a discussion of the subject in rev. J. C. Robertson's "How shall we conform to the Liturgy?" pp. 207-209; and the bishop of Rochester's charge of 1843, p. 14). With respect to the rubric, no "credence table" is necessary. The elements may be brought from the vestry by the minister or churchwardens at the proper time; or they may be deposited under the table until the proper time; or, being placed (according to custom) on the middle of the table, before service, the minister may comply with the rubric before the prayer thus, viz., by then removing the elements, and uncovering them, and pouring out into the cup or cups "so much wine as he shall think sufficient" to be consecrated. He will then have, before the prayer of consecration, to bring them nearer to him (according to the rubric), so as to consecrate them most conveniently before all the people. For the meaning of the latter rubric appears to be that the minister
* In this sense the word is used by Hooker, b. v. c. 74, s. 4; and in Acts xxiv. 17 we read of "alms and offerings", clearly of money. The eucharist is of course a "sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving" for redeeming mercy. But this is quite another thing.
66 sacramentum." And we know that the words "mystical" and "symbolical" mean much the same thing. Thus in the baptismal services, the phrase "mystical washing away sin" means obviously the symbolical or emblematical washing away of sin. And even in the catechism of a Scottish bishop, the late Dr. A. Jolly, we find this statement: "What is the effect of these words? By them the bread and cup are made authoritative
representations or symbols of Christ's crucified body, and of his blood that was shed."
As to the word "damnation," that it means simply "condemnation" has been shown by archbishop Secker, as quoted in bp. Mant's prayerbook, p. 353, col. 2. It is the old English word for it. Thus in an old statute of 2 Henry VII. c. xix. it is said of certain fraudulent fabrics that they "may not be sold, but" are "utterly to be damned." Knox's Scottish Confession of Faith also contains this passage: utterly damn the vanity of those that affirm sacraments to be nothing else but naked and bare signs."
As to "auricular confession," the practice is expressly condemned in the homily on repentance (pt. ii. pp. 479-481). And this exhortation speaks of absolution (not by the word of man-such as any liturgical form of absolution-but) by "the ministry of God's holy word", by a close and individual application of God's written word (such as
In some churches the communicants kneel during the exhortations previous to the confession, and sit during the prayer of consecration. This is a mistake: they should certainly kneel so as to join in the prayer of consecration, and not kneel during the exhortations till the words "meekly kneeling upon your knees."
1 John ii. 12) to the heart and conscience, by some "discreet and learned minister." On this subject more will be said in a future paper.
6. The "proper prefaces" for Christmas and Whitsuntide-as also the collects for these dayshave been supposed to speak too dogmatically of the time of Christ's birth (which is doubtful and uncertain), and of the descent of the Holy Spirit at the feast of Pentecost. But, whenever Christ was born, his birthday (like those of earthly kings) may surely be kept" on another day? And our Whitsuntide is kept according to the Jewish computation of the months of the year. Moreover, in the "prefaces" and "collects," the word "as," occurring as it does before the words "at this time," may well be taken to explain the language as meaning that we celebrate the festivals "as" at such times, though without asserting that the facts commemorated did actually occur at those precise periods of the year.
7. It has been asserted that our communion service teaches the doctrine, if not of transubstantiation, at least of consubstantiation, by the use of the following terms: "Grant us therefore, gracious Lord, so to eat the flesh of thy dear Son Jesus Christ, and to drink his blood," &c.; "may be partakers of his most blessed body and blood;" "to feed us, who have duly received these holy mysteries, with the spiritual food of the most precious body and blood of thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ;" which interpretation is confirmed, they argue, by the catechism, which teaches that the body and blood of Christ" are verily and indeed taken and received by the faithful in the Lord's supper."
But the communion service explains itself in one of the previous exhortations, which runs thus: "Then we spiritually eat the flesh of Christ,
aud drink his blood;" while the 28th article ex-pressly affirms that the body of Christ is received and eaten only after an heavenly and spiritual manner". And the Communion Ser
vice thus admonishes the communicant: "Feed on him in thy heart by faith." Dean Nowel, in his "Second Catechism" of 1572, which received the sanction of convocation, thus explains the matter: "The body and blood of Christ, which are given, taken, eaten, and drunken of the faithful in the Lord's supper only after a heavenly and spiritual manner, but yet verily and indeed" (p. 55 of the Prayer Book and Homily Society's edition). The Puritan directory for public worship of the Westminster Assembly of 1645, which By a "spiritual reception" of the body and blood of Christ, is meant a mental reception in opposition to a bodily reception; a mental reception of Christ with all his mediatorial excellency as spiritual food," in opposition to a bodily reception of his natural flesh and blood. Everything is presented to us in holy scripture, and commemorated in the Lord's supper; and the receiving act is faith. And the Christian, beholding in the elements the symbols and pledges of his redemption, with thankful joy receives them, and thus is "quickened" to "feed on Christ by faith." And thus through them, when faithfully received, the Holy Ghost effectually works. Thus sacraments are "not physical but moral instruments of salvation, &c." (Hooker, book v. chap. 57, sec. 4). And "the real presence of Christ's most blessed body and blood is not therefore to be sought for in the sacrament, but in the worthy receiver of the sacrament" (Hooker, book v. chap. 67, sec. 6). The language in the exhortation as to our being "one with Christ," &c., is founded on 1 Cor. x. 16, 17; and the warnings against unworthily receiving the sacrament, upon 1 Cor. xi. 29-32.
is now the standard of the established Presbyterian kirk of Scotland, is far stronger than our Communion Service. On giving the bread, the minister is there directed to say, "Take ye, ent ye. This is the body of Christ, which is broken for you. Do this in remembrance of him." "This cup is the New Testament in the blood of Christ, which is shed for the remission of the sins of many; drink ye all of it" (see Hall's Reliques, vol. iii. p. 57). And in the "Corner Stone," by Jacob Abbott (an American congregationalist) in c. vii. pp. 216-17, is to be found language equally strong with that employed in our service, if not stronger, respecting the design and effects of the Lord's supper.
8. It has been supposed by some that, by the prayer of consecration, the church teaches that wine, confers on them some mysterious, undefined, the priest in laying his hands on the bread and is a mistake*. The rubrics respecting the "takinherent virtue, some change of substance. This ing" and laying hands upon the elements are merely for the designation of that portion of the elements which is to be "consecrated," that is, to be set apart for a holy use in the ordinance. Thus the rev. Mourant Brock, in a short tract on the Lord's supper, observes that "the act of consecration is merely a separation, or setting apart the elements from profane to holy uses" (p. 8). So again, the rev. S. Rowe remarks, that "by this act the elements are set apart from all ordinary and common uses, but their nature is not changed. In substance they are the same as before consecration, in purpose totally different" (Appeal to the Rubric, p. 18).
II. The Baptismal services. And here the of the office of infant baptism, will first invite our ground of infant baptism, and sponsorial provisions attention. The 27th article of our church affirms to be retained in the church, as most agreeable that "the baptism of young children is in any wise For we infer with the institution of Christ's.
* So unimportant as regards the essence of the sacrament did our reformers consider these rubrics, that in the liturgy of 1549, only the two respecting the "taking" of the bread and of cup were retained. In 1552, even these were removed. Nor were they restored until 1661-2, when the rest were added.
† Rev. M. Brock's tract on "The Sacrament of the Lord's
Supper," is an useful little manual. So is the rev. C. Kemble's "Manual for Communicants," of which it is scarcely possible to speak too highly. Rev. J. Phillips' "Help to Communi
cants", is also an useful tract.
In like manner Wheatly, speaking of the consecration of the baptismal water, says, "Not that the water contracts any new quality in its nature or essence, by such consecration; but only that it is sanctified or made holy in its use, and separated from common to sacred purposes" (Illustration of the Book of Common Prayer, c. vii. s. 3, p. 339). So also rev. S. Rowe observes that, by the act of consecration of a church or churchyard, "no indwelling holiness is attributed or superstitious honour paid to the building itself, where the living assemble to worship their Lord, nor to the surrounding cemetery where the dead sleep their last long sleep of the grave" (Appeal, &c., p. 21).
This cannot of course mean that infant baptism is in itself more agreeable with Christ's institution than adult baptism; but that "its retention" is most agreeable; i. e. that it is "most agreeable" with Christ's institution to admit infants to the sacrament rather than to exclude them, when provision is made according to his "institution," as recorded in Matt. xxviii. 18-20, for following up the rite by teaching the baptized "to observe" his commandments-an important feature in the institution. Or "most agreeable" may mean very agreeable," as we sometimes say "most certainly."
from scripture that the children of one or both professedly Christian parents (1 Cor. vii. 14) may lawfully be baptized, and are thus privileged to receive the seal of the covenant under which they are born (Gen. xvii. 7, Gal. iii. 8, 13, 14, 29), when security is given for the training "them up" (Prov. xxii. 6) in the observance of Christ's commandments, according to his " institution", as recorded in Matt. xxviii. 19, 20-a provision which our own church attempts to secure through the medium of the sponsors, whose "parts and duties to see" to all this is strongly enforced in the concluding exhortation of the baptismal service. And our church rightly deems the bringing of a child to baptism in this manner to be a "charitable work," which the Lord "favourably alloweth", i. e. permits or approves. Any such provision, however, would of course suffice as the general scriptural ground for infant baptism. But our own church has deemed the sponsorial method to be the most suitable for her own members; and accordingly we find in the church catechism, in reply to the question, "Why then are infants baptized, when by reason of their tender age they cannot perform them?" (i. e. repentance and faith) the following answer: "Because they promise them both by their sureties; which promise, when they come to age, themselves are bound to perform." Upon which rev. C. Benson justly argues, from the permission of private baptism without sponsors, that "the promise of the sureties.... is the reason only why children are, not why they may be baptized; the reason only why it is expedient, not why it is lawful; the reason only why the church permits herself, not why she is permitted by the gospel to do so" (Theological Inquiry into the Sacrament of Baptism, dis. iv. p. 70)t.
With respect to the sponsors themselves, they are special intercessors for the child at the font; and witnessess, spiritual guardians, and authorized monitors through life. They are called "godfathers and godmothers"; because they are parents in things pertaining to God; "sponsors," because they promise for the child; "sureties," because they give security to the church for its Christian education; and "witnesses," because they witness the child's baptism, and are to remind him of his consequent obligations to lead a Christian life.
According to the 29th canon, parents are not permitted to become sponsors, in order, doubtless, to provide additional care-takers and spiritual guardians for the childt. By the same canon, On this subiect see rev. C. Benson's "Theological Inquiry," disc. iii. p. 55; Dr. M'Neile's "Lectures on the Church of England, iv. p. 238; and "Church and the Churches," c. viii. pp. 393 395; and rev. E. A. Litton's sermon on John iii. 5, pp. 25-33).
* See Hooker, book iii. chap. 1 sec. 12 and 13, and book v, chap. 60, sec. 6. The church by its ministers dedicates and presents to the Lord the children born within its pale the children of professedly Christian parents.
† Prior to the last revision in 1661-2, the answer in the catechism stood thus, "Yes; they do perform them by their sureties, who promise and vow them both in their names; which when they come to age, themselves are bound to perform" (Keeling, p. 282). On the subject of infant baptism generally see Dr. M'Neile's "The Church and the Churches," chap. viii. p.368; and rev. E. H. Hoare's "Baptism according to Scripture" pp. 65, 66.
The Prayer-book, however, makes no exception against
those who are not communicants are also forbidden to stand as sponsors; and apparently for this reason, "because the Christian who does not go to the Lord's supper has no real regard for his soul, and therefore is unfit to take the charge of another's. It would be of unspeakable benefit were this regulation strictly enforced. How many children might be saved from ruin had each of them three sponsors, who felt as they ought the weight of their responsibility" (Prophetic Herald, b. i. 1845, p. 320; compare archd. Sharp's charge vi. p. 106).
With respect to the sponsions, in the baptismal service, they closely resemble those in "the order of public baptism in the church of Scotland" (i e. the established Presbyterian kirk), as given at p. 75 of Dr. Cumming's "Baptismal Font." In this form "the parents, who are the sponsors," present their "child during public worship," and the minister interrogates them whether it is their "desire" that the child should be baptized "into the visible church"; whether they "believe" the articles of Christian faith in the apostles' creed; and whether they "promise and vow" to "train up" their "child in the nurture and admonition of the Lord", &c. And then, after prayer, the child is baptized, and prayer is again offered up to God in its behalf.
Now the objections to the sponsions in our service often arise from a mistaken notion that the questions are addressed to the infant. Thus Mr. Binney considers it an astounding" fact that the minister has "actually in the course of" this office" to interrogate a babe, and to receive its replies through the lips of adults, who answer for it "("Conscientious Clerical Non-conformity," p. 32). But this is a mistake. In king Edward's first liturgy of 1549, it is true, the preceding rubric stood thus: "Then shall the priest demand of the child .... these questions following." But in the second liturgy of 1552 it was altered to this form: "Then shall the priest demand of the godfathers and godmothers these questions: Dost thou forsake the devil?" &c. At the last revision in 1661-2, this rubric was removed (for a previous rubric declares that the address is made "unto the godfathers and godmothers"), and the words in the name of this child" were added to the question*. The ques parents. And, as a minister is liable to suspension for refusing Prayer," it might be a serious experiment to positively refuse or delaying to baptize according to "the Book of Common to receive parents as sponsors. On the abstract question see the bishop of St. Asaph's History of the Church of England, sec. 672 p. 496, note. In the American rubric parents are formally permitted to act as sponsors to their own children.
In the American liturgy the rubric has been restored, and in a form, too, which removes the ambiguity, viz., “The minister shall then demand of the sponsors as follows; the questions being considered as addressed to them severally, and the answers to be made accordingly." Doubt is sometimes felt whether or not, when several children are presented at the font by the several sets of sponsors, these questious should be altered to the plural," Do ye, in the name of these children, renounce ?" &c. But, since there is no change of type, as in the other parts of the office where such changes are to be made; and since in the liturgies from 1552 to 1604 (inclusive), while all the previous parts of the service assumed more children than one to be presented, and so were worded in the plural number throughout, yet in this part the singular number was used as it is now (see Keeling, pp.244, 245), it would seem that the singular number should be here retained.