ePub 版

bers to pray,

The Church avoids the danger of the duty of fasting becoming formal and ostentatious by prescribing only the seasons, and not the manner and form of fasting, which are left to the discretion and conscience of her members. Only, the fasting which she enjoins is not a change in the description of the food, which does not necessarily contribute to any of the spiritual ends of fasting. She teaches her mem

“ that the Lord will give us grace to use such ABSTINENCE that our flesh being subdued to the Spirit, we may ever obey his godly motions in righteousness and true holiness* ;” and she reads for their instruction and example the precepts and advantages of fasting recorded in Scripture. (Joel ii. 12 ; Matt. vi. 16 ; 2 Cor. vi. 1 ; Matt. iv. 1.)

The Church preserves her members in the communion of Saints and Angels, teaching them to feel as participating in Divine worship and spiritual communion with all the obedient creatures of God, of whom, with us, Christ is the common head and Lord. She declares in her morning service that the Angels, the Heavens, and the Powers therein, the Cherubim and Seraphim, continually cry Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of Sabaoth.—That the glorious company of the Apostles, the goodly fellowship of the Prophets, and the noble army of Martyrs, continually praise Him; and that the Holy Church throughout all the world doth acknowledge Him. And in another Canticle she directs her mem

“Oye Angels of the Lord, ye Priests of the Lord, -Oye servants of the Lord,-0 ye spirits and souls of the righteous,-0 ye holy and humble men of heart, bless ye the Lord, praise Him and magnify Him for ever.”+ In the festival of Saint Michael and all Angels, the Church directs her members to pray, “O everlasting God, who hast ordained and constituted the services of Angels and men in a wonderful order; mercifully grant that, as thy holy Angels alway do service in heaven, so by thy appointment

bers to cry,

* Collect for 1st Sund. in Lent.

+ This Canticle was an ancient hymn in the Jewish Church transformed into the Christian service. St. Augustin affirms it was used in his time on the solemn festivals. It is an imitation of the 148th Psalm. This and the Te Deum are the only hymns used in the Anglican service which are of man's composing. It may not be improper to inform the reader that these words are understood by some figuratively. Bishop Mant observes, “ When in the course of this hymn we call upon the Angels,' and 'Spirits of the Righteous, &c., it is only a figure of speech, though a very sublime one, lending it as it were a tongue even to inanimate creatures.(Bp. Mant in loc.)

they may succour and defend us on earth, through Jesus Christ our Lord."* In the service of the Eucharist, the

* “This festival is celebrated by the Church, in thankfulness to God for the benefits we receive by the ministry of the holy Angels; and because St. Michael is recorded in Scripture as an Angel of great power and dignity, and as presiding and watching over the Church of God with a particular vigilance and application (Dan. x. 13), and triumphing over the Devil, (Rev. xii. 7; Jude ix.); it therefore bears his name.” See Heb. i.7; Luke xvi. 22; Acts v. 19; Rev. iii. 5; Matt. xviii. 10; xxvi. 53; Col. ii. 18. (Bp. Munt on the Collect.)

St. Paul has even joined the ELECT ANGELS with God and the Lord Jesus Christ in his charge to Timothy to execute his office faithfully. “I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect Angels, that thou observe these things” (the rules for governing the Church), (1 Tim. v. 21); and also includes the Angels in the family of Christ. “ Ye are come unto Mount Sion and unto the city of the living God, the henvenly Jerusalem, and TO AN INNUMERABLE COMPANY OF ANGELS, to the general assembly and Church of the first-born, which are written in Heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant.” (Heb. xii. 22.)

The Holy Spirit has not vainly revealed the existence and ministry of Angels, or without the intention that the Church should duly estimate as an important portion of Divine truth such knowledge, and employ it to her edification, and to the praise and glory of God. The Church dispenses to her children liberally and wisely the things of God; and, as the "pillar and ground” of Scripture truth, she teaches them all it reveals, and enables them by her religious services to receive the benefit to edification which each Divine truth is designed to convey: Thus the Lord teaches us that His holy Angels minister for the heirs of salvation,—that the Angels of His children behold His face in Heaven,- that the Angels rejoice overevery sinner who repents; and he hath taught us by various examples that He employs His Angels to succour, deliver, and protect His righteous servants; and that they are the guardians of His Church and people,--joined in the Apostolic attestation to ministers, and in the family of Christ. From this revelation of Divine agency


mystery which the Holy Spirit hath graciously vouchsafed to communicate, the Church draws the following conclusions :- 1st. She praises God for this high testimony of His favour towards those whom He hath pardoned in Christ Jesus, in that He employs His holy and heavenly Angels, His own pure and bright ministers, whose praise and service constitute a portion of His glory, to minister His graces and mercies to His redeemed people. 2nd. She accepts the charitable ministry of Angels, and their interest and loving concern for the spiritual welfare and salvation of her children with great joy and thankfulness, as an evidence of the completeness of their justification and Divine acceptance, when Angels join with them in love as participators of the favour of God; and she holds it forth as a strong ground of confidence in their perfect admission to the full glories of heaven that Angels already joy in their redemption, and are prepared to receive them into their blessed comPriest and communicants say or sing, “ Therefore with Angels and Archangels, and with all the company of heaven, we laud and magnify thy holy name, evermore praising thee, and saying, Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of Hosts, Heaven and Earth are full of thy glory. Glory be to thee, O Lord most High.”

In the Collect for “ All Saints' Day,” the Church prays, “O Almighty God, who hast knit together thine elect in one communion and fellowship, in the mystical body of thy Son Christ our Lord : Grant us grace so to follow thy blessed Saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those unspeakable joys which thou hast prepared

munion of Divine service. 3rd. As ministering Angels for the salvation of the redeemed, always themselves praising and glorifying God, she teaches her children in their Divine services to indulge the higli conception that their worship forms a part of that universal praise of the Divine Being, which His bright and sinless creatures, and all uncorrupt beings join in, and offer up. 4th. As an actual gift and mercy of God, she teaches us to pray that God will appoint the Angels “to succour and defend us on earth, through Jesus Christ ;" feeling that'as the Lord hath taught us that He vouchsafes to us this high mercy, we are called upon by piety and gratitude to praise Him for it, and pray for its continuance. Even the Lord himself, when He wished to give an idea of the amount of Divine protection He might receive, directed the attention of His disciples to the Angels, as the means through which it would be afforded to Him. 66 That God would give Him more than twelve legions of Angels, if He should pray for them.” (Matt. xxvi. 53.) What an ungodly and unscriptural sentiment then is it which, in a vain imagination of spirituality, rejects the consideration of the Scriptural truths respecting Angels as superstitious and needless! The holy Church believes nothing Scriptural to be needless, and does not withhold from her children the full edification each Scripture declaration is designed to convey from any fear of superstitious consequences. She doubts not that the Lord foresaw the corruptions which men would involve His truths in when he revealed them; and that as that did not prevent His revealing them for the edification of those who would submissively and reverently receive them, so the Church is not so profane as to counteract His design by withholding or discrediting the least portion of His inviolable Word. The teaching and service of the Anglican Church on the subject of Angels is precisely Scriptural and Apostolicy-nothing of revealed instruction is left omitted, or without its spiritual application ; and she carefully avoids the sin into which other communions have fallen, through a voluntary humility of worshipping Angels intruding by carnal wisdom of man's reason and judgment into things unseen. She avoids the least appearance of giving His creatures the honour due to God alone, and “ sees that her children bow not down to those who are their fellow servants,” however exalted in nature and office they may be. (Rev. xix. 10.)

for them that love thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord.” In the Communion Service the Church says, And we also bless thy Holy Name for all thy servants departed this life in thy faith and fear; beseeching thee to give us grace to follow their good examples,” &c.

In the Communion Service, the Priest and people pray, “Grant us therefore, gracious Lord, so to eat the flesh of thy dear Son Jesus Christ, and to drink His blood, that our sinful bodies may be made clean by His body, and our souls washed through His most precious blood, and that we may evermore dwell in Him, and He in us.” In the prayer of Consecration the Priest says, “ Hear us, O merciful Father, we most humbly beseech thee, and grant that we, receiving these thy creatures of bread and wine, according to thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ's holy institution, in remembrance of His death and passion, may be partakers of His most blessed Body and Blood.” And delivering the consecrated bread and wine,” or elements,to the communicants, the Priest shall say, “The Body of our Lord Jesus Christ which was given for thee, or the Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ which was shed for thee, preserve thy body and soul unto everlasting life.” The Priest then prays the Lord “ to accept this our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving....and says, “Here we offerand present unto thee, O Lord, ourselves, our souls and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and lively sacrifice unto thee. ...And although we be unworthy, through our manifold sins, to offer unto thee any sacrifice, yet we beseech thee to accept this our bounden duty and service,” &c. The Church also says, “ Almighty and everlasting God, we most heartily thank thee, for that thou dost vouchsafe 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; and also dost assure us thereby of thy favour and goodness towards us ; and that we are very members incorporate in the mystical body of thy Son, which is the blessed company of all faithful people.” In the Catechism it is said, that the benefits of the Lord's Supper are “the strengthening and refreshing of our souls by the Body and Blood of Christ, as our bodies are strengthened by the Bread and Wine;' and that the inward part of that Sacrament is "the Body and Blood of Christ which are verily and indeed taken and received by the faithful in the Lord's Supper.”

In the Baptismal Service the Priest prays to the Lord that “whosoever is here dedicated by our office and minis



try, may also be endued with heavenly virtues ;” and says,

Regard, we beseech thee, the supplications of thy congregation; sanctify this water to the mystical washing away of sin,” &c. He baptizes the child " in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost,” and “receives the child into the congregation of Christ's flock, and signs him with the sign of the Cross, in token that hereafter he shall not be ashamed to confess the faith of Christ crucified,” &c.

From this abstract of the Faith, Worship, and Ministry of the Anglican Church it is observable, Ist. That in her daily reading of large portions of the Holy Scripture she well maintains, the office of the Catholic Church as the “Keeper and Witness of Holy Writ,” which she teacheth to contain all things necessary to salvation : so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man that it should be believed as article of the Faith, and that she therefore holds fully that article of Catholic tradition. * 2nd. That she holds the Apostles' Creed, and those of Nice and of St. Athanasius, as the rule of faith.† 3rd. That she holds the primitive faith and worship as the Apostolic tradition of the Church. I 4th. That she holds the perpetuation of the office, authority, and commission of the Apostles in the Bishops of the Church by successive ordination. 5th. That the Sacraments, duly administered by Priests of the Church, are as effectual means for the justification of the members of the Church by incorporating them into the body of Christ as they were when administered by the Apostles, 6th. That the body and blood of Christ are really and spiritually imparted in the Lord's Supper, and that the elements are to be solemnly consecrated. 7th. That Baptism is regeneration, and to be administered to infants.** 8th. That the Festivals and Fasts are to be observed,—that the Lord's day is set apart for celebration of Divine service, and of the holy Communion, -that daily public worship is to be observed, and absolution to be pronounced as an exercise of the Lord's gift of the keys, or power of binding and loosing.++ It is thus seen that the Anglican Church holds and exercises all the important doctrines and ordinances of Apostolic Tradition (see page 160 et seq.), with the exception of public excommunication and open penance of guilty persons, the disuse of which discipline she laments, and the restora* Page 163. † Page 164.

| Page 164. | Page 160. § Page 160.

|| Page 161. ** Page 160.

Page 167.

[ocr errors]
« 上一頁繼續 »