網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

did not subsist before the Reformation, either abroad or in our own country; for even here, in England, some Churches followed the Salisbury ritual ; some that of Hereford; some that of York; and others that of Lincoln. You will observe, therefore, that the Dissenters, who give no heed to uniformity, tread in the steps of the Papists before the Reformation, who set up temple against temple, and erected altar in opposition to altar. Many parts in our own Liturgy agree with those of the primitive ages ; for, at the Reformation, it was a great object with the com-, pilers of our Book of Common Prayer, whilst they threw aside the corrupted additions of the Romish Church, to retain and to preserve as much as possible of the liturgies of the three first centuries.You will observe, that the title of Pope was not assumed till the year 581; and

therefore, although several of our prayers have been used by the Romanists, yet, if those

prayers were composed two hundred years before the Popish usurpation of ecclesiastical power commenced, they cannot be called Popish with propriety. A prayer, or a religious ceremony, good in themselves, cannot become bad because the Papists used them. Else the Lord's Prayer itself were bad; else the repetition of the Apostles' Creed; else the signing with the figure of the cross at baptism; else the use of a surplice were bad : and therefore, in judging upon cases of this kind, it were well not to reckon them correct or incorrect as they resemble the usages of the Romish Church, but as they resemble (which is the case of our own Liturgy) the prayers and sacred rites in use with the primitive Christians.-Many of our sectaries shew, at once, their rancour against the Church, and their ignorance of the practice of the purest ages, by esteeming many forms Popish, and calling them superstitious, which the apostles themselves, and their immediate disciples and converts, devoutly followed and constantly used.

The service of the Church, both at morning and evening prayer, is ordered, by the Rubric, to commence with the reading of one or more sentences of Holy Scripture, which earnestly call the sinner to repentance; put into his mouth the language of contrition, and teach him to deprecate the wrath of God. Repent ye, for the kingdom of God is at hand.”. “ The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit ; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.”—“O Lord, correct me, but with judgment, not in thine anger, lest thou bring me to nothing."

.)

“ Enter not into judgment with thy servant, O Lord; for in thy sight shall no man living be justified.”. Upon the basis of repentance, and a godly sorrow for transgression, the Church erects the beautiful fabric of her daily service. It is true, these sentences are not read at length, formally, every day; but they stand in the Common Prayer-Book; nor do I know how the time which intervenes, or ought to intervene, between your taking your seats and the beginning of the service, can possibly be spent better than in reading them seriously, and reflecting devoutly upon them. I

the time which ought to intervene ;—for the devotion of a large part of the congregation frequently suffers a sad interruption by the late coming into church of a great many to prayers. The scraping of the feet upon the pavement of the church ; the clanking

say,

of pattens; the clattering of keys by the pew-openers; the creaking and clapping of doors; the formalities of taking of seats ; the whisperings, the bowings, and other odious customs too frequent in the church, take away much of the solemnity attached to the confessional part of the Liturgy ; hurt the feelings of the devout; bring disgrace upon us all; cannot be blamed too severely; call aloud for reformation; and happy am I in this opportunity of protesting publicly against inattentions so culpable in any congregation of professing Christians.

As to any alteration in the time of beginning prayers, - this expedient has been tried in many places of worship, and it has been tried to no purpose. In those churches where the service begins latest, early attendance is by no means secured; the result of the whole base

« 上一頁繼續 »