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in its penitence and strictness the marks of a Divine instituztion. It is plain that if it be the Apostolic form of worship committed to the Church to be perpetuated for ever, to reject it from unwillingness to fulfil its precepts as too rigid and severe is to oppose the judgment of the Apostles, and reject the authority of Christ from reluctance to worship Him in the manner He has directed, and with the full service He requires. This awful sin is involved in the deliberate rejection of the worship and devotion of the Church, if they are of Apostolic institution and authority. And if their claim to that sanction and character be invalid, no spiritual danger or loss is to be apprehended from their observance.
In considering, therefore, the FAITH, MINISTRY, AND WORHIP of the Church, it is to be concluded that in the acceptance and observance of each of them the highest and most necessary spiritual advantages are to be obtained,--that if they are of Apostolic authority, the rejection of each of them involves the most awful sin, as a violation of the authority and institutions of Christ from reluctance to obedience and devotion,—that even if they are destitute of a Divine sanction, no serious danger or loss is to be apprehended from observing them,-and that the analogy of temporal things requires men to pursue their spiritual interest where the prospect of advantage is proposed even though success should be doubtful, and many obstacles and objections should oppose the attainment of' it.
It is also to be considered that every Christian must have a religious community or Church, å form of doctrine or creed, and a ministry, and that therefore in rejecting the Church, and its ministry and tradition, he has to account for his preference of the system of human interpretation which he adopts. If it should appear to Him who is the searcher of hearts that his choice was deterrnined from unwillingness to accept and obey the perfect rule of faith and devotion prescribed by the Apostolic Church, he must certainly have incurred a heavy sin, and be in the condemnation of the rebellious Israelites, who would not endure the yoke of Jehovah, and followed their own inventions. It is, then, highly incumbent upon all who desire to fulfil the will of the Lord, and walk in his ordinances, to examine their own hearts, and ascertain whether they be right towards the Lord, and are free from stubborn disinclination to the rule of devotion which is conformable to His will, however severe it may seem, and however much it may depress the pride of reason and of the world.
It is also a question of the most sacred obligation to determine the grounds on which he has preferred to those of the Apostolic Church the peculiar creed and ministry which he has adopted. It is a fearful consideration for an humble mind to reflect whether it is justified in a choice which
have caused its exclusion as a heathen from the Church, which is the house of the living God. Surely some most essential spiritual benefits must be supposed to belong exclusively to that system of faith and ministry for which the promises and privileges of the Church Apostolic are forfeited.
It is one of the advantages of the Apostolic Church that its creed and worship are CERTAIN, and EASILY KNOWN. Some religious systems disclaim all creeds and forms of worship ; and none can affix any sacred authority or obligation to their creeds, for they regard them but as the compilations of men made by private judgment, liable to error, and strongly controverted. This is a poor security for those who have doubts of their own capacity to ascertain the correctness of their religious creeds and forms of worship by interpretation of Holy Scripture. The same may be said of all ministries save the Priesthood of the Church. It must, therefore, strike any one at starting that the choice lies between a system claiming to be a Divine institution, and systems confessedly doubtful and of human institution. What devout and humble mind can therefore hesitate between the danger and consequences of rejecting the institution of Christ, or the inventions of men ?
There is not even the excuse for rejecting it afforded by a confessed opposition between the general sense of mankind in interpreting Scripture, and the faith and worship of the Church. For of the numerous systems which oppose the Church, each advances a peculiar creed condemned by the rest;
that the faith of the Church is in every subject confirmed by the judgments of a great majority of those who dissent from her, and who are thus self-condemned. Thus, those who reject her rite of infant baptism, and set up a separate communion on that account, are convicted of error by the private judgments of all other denominations, who, although they have their own peculiar objections against the faith of the Church, yet confirm her teaching on this question, and so convict the opposers of infant baptism of having mistaken the sense of Scripture in the interpretation which they oppose to the Church, and of, therefore, being guilty of the sin of schism. The same observation applies to those religious communities which believe the sinless per
fection of the saints, and the merit of human works—to those who believe that it belongs to the congregation to call persons to the ministry, and appoint them to the holy office—who reject the use of creeds, and hold unconditional election, and certain perseverance and salvation of the elect -to those who hold immediate inspiration in prayer and preaching, and that saving faith is an inward sense by an individual of his own salvation—and to those who adopt the Calvinistic doctrines of predestination, &c., and the appointment of lay elders and general assemblies as the Scriptural form of Church Government. Each of these, and of infinite other peculiar opinions, are condemned by the private judgments of all the rest, who agree in denying that the peculiar sentiments of any one are truly deduced from Scripture, and therefore confirm the doctrine of the Church to which they are opposed. In this manner it is plain that a reasonable man, in addition to incurring the danger of rejecting the Church of Christ to adopt a human institution, must also consider that whatever human system
may adopt in preference to the Church, that system is condemned not alone by the Church, but by the private judgment of all other systems of religion which agree with the Church in the peculiar doctrines which it opposes, and which are supposed to justify its schism. It is thus that the Church stands by the judgment of her opposers, and, to leave the error of each without excuse, possesses the attestation of all the rest to confirm her faith, and condemn as unscriptural the peculiar objections and opinions of each one of her opposers.
The Popish errors are a remarkable contrast to this observation. Of all the systems framed by human interpretation of Scripture, not one ever deduced the propriety of denying the sacramental cup to the people-of worshipping images-of praying to Saints and Angels or of adoration of the host-or of any other of her numerous superstitions : not one ever accepted as the faith of Scripture the doctrine of purgatory---transubstantiation--indulgences—or any other of her additions to the Apostolic tradition. It is therefore to be observed that as the various systems of religion which oppose the faith of the Apostolic Church are self-condemned by the judgment of almost the whole number of themselves agreeing with the Church against the peculiar errors of each; so, on the contrary, the errors of Popery are, with scarce an exception, opposed by the unanimous judgment of all who interpret Scripture for a rule of faith, and may therefore be said to be contrary to the sense of mankind in understanding Holy Scripture.
The religion of Christ is divided into two parts. 1st. That which Christ has done for the salvation of His people, or the mysteries of redemption, which are contained in creeds as articles of faith. 2nd. The worship, duties, and ordinances which Christians are required to observe.
“ The fundamental principles of the Christian religion, undoubtedly delivered in the Scriptures, and allowed by the whole Church of God, are by the consent of all (Catholic) Christians acknowledged to be contained in that form called the Apostles' creed, or rule of faith*,” and afterwards more fully expressed in the creeds of Nice and of St. Athanasius. These creeds the Anglican Church, with all other Apostolic Churches, receives as the “ form of sound words” containing the Apostolic Tradition of the Church, and requires the solemn profession of them before baptism, and by all her members in her public services, as a confession of faith and act of worship. They contain a summary of the Gospel history of Christ,-a precise statement of the Holy Trinity of our salvation through the incarnation, crucifixion, suffering, burial, resurrection, ascension, and glorification of Christ, His future advent to judge the world, and His everlasting Kingdom.-The creed also contains the expression of faith in the Holy Ghost as the Lord and Giver of life, proceeding from the Father and the Son, who is with them to be worshipped and glorified, and who spake by the Prophets. Also the faith in ONE CATHOLIC AND APOSTOLIC CHURCH,One baptism for remission of sins,—The resurrection of the dead,- And the life of the world to come. These articles of faith were the whole which in the primitive Church were required to be believed. The profession of them was deemed sufficient to entitle those who made it to Church communion, and was considered evidence of their being free from heresy. The Anglican Church gives a more explicit confession of faith to her Clergy,—they profess that“ Christ truly suffered, was crucified, dead and buried, to reconcile His Father to us, and to be a sacrifice not only for original guilt, but also for the actual sins of men.”+ That" original sin is the fault and corruption of the nature of every man born of Adam, whereby he is very far gone from original righteousness, and is of his own nature inclined to evil, so that the flesh lusteth always contrary to the spirit, and this infection of nature
* Bp. Bull, Vindication of Church of England, s. 27. + Article 2.
doth remain in them that are regenerated.”* That “the condition of man is such that he cannot turn and prepare himself, by his own natural strength and good works, to faith and calling upon God : wherefore we have no power to do good works pleasant and acceptable to God without the grace of God by Christ preventing us that we may have a good will, and working with us when we have that good will.”+ * That we are accounted righteous before God, only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, by faith, and not for our own works or deservings : wherefore, that we are justified by faith only is a most wholesome doctrine, and very full of comfort.'
.I The creeds contain the doctrines of redemption, or the first great division of the Christian religion. The Ministry, rules of devotion, forms of Divine worship, and of administration of the sacraments, are comprised in the article of "the one Catholic and Apostolic Church” by which they are continued and administered as its essential rules and offices. The Anglican Church prescribes a daily morning and evening public service of confession, absolution, praise, prayer, and reading of the Old and New Testaments.
The litany, responses, and absolution are formed from the primitive rituals, and most of the prayers are of ancient usage in the Church. The Apostles' Creed is included in both morning and evening services. The Book of Psalms is appointed to be read monthly; the whole of the New Testament three times in the year, and the Old Testament once.
The Lord's Supper is directed to be administered on each Sunday if there be a congregation of four persons to receive it, and on festivals or other days at the discretion of the priest. The service for the Communion is copied after the ancient liturgies, and includes the reading of the Ten Commandments and the repeating of the Nicene Creed. A collection is directed to be made at public service for the poor, and to be presented
on the HOLY TABLE” as an “ offering” to the Lord ; and a sermon to be preached to the people. Proper services are appointed for the celebration of Baptism, of Confirmation, and of Marriage,--for the Thanksgiving of Women after Childbirth,- for Visitation of the Sick,- for Burial of the Dead, for several great National Deliverances, and for other occasions,--for the Twenty-seven prescribed annual Festivals,for the Ordination of Priests and of Deacons, and for Consecration of Bishops,—and also a Catechism for the Young,
* Article 9.
+ Article 10.
I Article 11.