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confirmed ; so that it is impossible to evade the difficulty by thus slightly passing it over as a matter of no consequence. For if I were ever to be a Clergyman, I must swear before God that I heartily accept, and unfeignedly believe, everything in the Prayer Book ; that I give my unfeigned assent, and consent, to everything therein contained; which I could not do as long as I entertained
any doubts about any one page; nay, any one sentence in that volume. There are, however, many parts of the Prayer Book which seem to me highly objectionable; and the office for Confirmation is one; on which, having now offered you my observations, I shall conclude this letter.
&c. &c. &c.
FROM THE SAME TO THE SAME.
The position in which the Clergy of the Establishment are placed, with regard to the people, is such as cannot be assumed in the Church of Christ. The Clergy are Priests, having derived their office and functions and title from the Church of Rome; but for this office, function, and title there is no authority in Scripture ; which no where teacheth that the preachers of the Gospel should inherit by metastasis the name and privi. leges of the Levitical caste.
There is amongst members of the Church of England a confused and uncertain opinion on the sacerdotal character of the Clergy, which would be surprising if we did not trace it to its right source,
-the struggles made by common sense against the barriers of superstition and the decrees of the Prayer Book. The High Church prelatical Clergy are pretty generally agreed amongst themselves that they are in the fullest sense of the word Priests; in which opinion they are also joined by the Evangelical clergy.
It matters not, however, what they think or do
not think on the subject; for the Prayer Book, to which they are chained down by many oaths, speaks too plainly to be misunderstood on the subject. The pious Clergy may gloss over these things, as they do also some other stumblingblocks—such as baptismal regeneration; but after all they say and write on these topics, they cannot persuade disinterested persons to agree with their forced interpretations, until the English language shall be altered, and new meaning given to words.
A clergyman then is, by the Prayer Book, a Priest; a new-coined Levite from the Mint of Rome, and has, by the Pope's institute, full power of remitting sin, as is manifest in his Ordination Service; which directs the Bishop to say to the Priest at his ordination, “ Receive the Holy Ghost for the office and work of a Priest in the Church of God, now committed unto thee by the inspiration of our hands : whose sins thou dost forgive, they are forgiven; and whose sins thou dost retain, they are retained.”
A Priest is a person consecrated and set apart, by peculiar ceremonies and ordinations, to perform atoning services for the people in the worship of God, which service none but a Priest can perform.
This being the true and pure idea of a Priest, I say that in the Church of Christ there is no Priest but Christ himself, who is a Priest for ever, after
the order of Melchisedek; and who is passed into the Heavens, into that true tabernacle which the Lord pitched, and not man: and the Gospel names
other Priest but Him; therefore it is a daring act of usurpation and deception for any set of men calling themselves Christians to take upon themselves this abolished office.
The Book of Leviticus is a code of sacerdotal functions, describing chiefly the duties of the Priests, which they were to perform for the people, and in their stead; "the Priest shall burn all on the altar, to be a burnt sacrifice and offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the Lord,"-" the Priest shall make an atonement for the people,"_"the Priest shall offer every man's burnt offering,”—“the Priest shall minister in the Sanctuary,” &c., is the language of this book throughout.
Now it requires but a very slight knowledge of Christian theology to know that a Priesthood, in the Levitical sense, was never instituted by our Lord or the Apostles ; not one word has been dropped by the Founder of the Christian religion whereby it could be surmised that he wished the preachers of the Gospel to be Priests; or that he gave them the exclusive privilege of administering the Sacraments,—of standing at an altar in white robes,—of helping themselves first to the Eucharistic elements,- of standing with the elements in his hands whilst the people kneeled, -of absolving
from sin,-and of repeating certain prayers which the Deacon and people have no right to repeat.
Our Lord never intimated his desire that the preachers of the Gospel should be called “Reverend,” “Right Reverend," “ Very Reverend,” “ Reverend and Venerable,” “ Most Reverend," &c. He never taught us that we were to make a distinction between the " Clergy,” and “ the Laity;"' and that the term “ spiritual persons," in the sense we technically understand it, should be aj plied to a caste of priests. He ordered not any set of men to take the name of “ Clergy," and to remit sin; in short, he never directed the Church to have a Priesthood, a sacerdotal caste, takers of tithes, and priesting it for the people: if therefore we do in any supposed Christian Church find such institutions, we find a rank heresy, an enormous defection from the purity of the Gospel, over which all good men ought to lament, and from which all good men should escape, lest they be plagued with the plagues of the beast.
To say anything about the Roman Catholic Priesthood is superfluous, for the pretensions of that corporation are notorious ; without a Priest nothing can be done in the Popish worship; the Priest says and does everything; he prays; he supplicates; he' fumigates; he deprecates; he absolves from sin; he changes the bread into the real presence; he averts divine wrath; he blesses, and he curses. The office of mediator is his