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another. Now the 1 Eliz. cap. 2, still in force, confirms the CHARLES whole liturgy, and by consequence the religious keeping of Lent; and this with a severe penalty upon all those who speak in derogation of any part of the Common Prayer. And therefore that other act of 5 Eliz. cap. 5, must not be interpreted to a counter sense, and as if it prohibited the religious keeping of Lent. “ The observing saints' days is not enjoined as of divine, but Ansucer to
the sixth proof ecclesiastical institution: that therefore it is not necessary posul. they should have any particular appointment in Scripture : their being useful for the promoting piety, and serviceable to the general end recommended in holy writ, is sufficient for this purpose. That the observation of these solemnities was a primitive custom, appears by the rituals and liturgies, by the consentient testimony of antiquity, and by the ancient translations of the Bible : for instance, by the Syriac and Ethiopic versions, where the lessons appointed for holy days are particularly marked. Now the former of these translations comes near the apostolic age. Farther, our Saviour himself kept the feast of the dedication, which was a solemnity John x. 22. of the Church's institution. And the chief business of these days, being not for feasting, not for entertainment and diversion, but the exercise of holy duties, they are more properly called holy days than festivals: and though they are all of a resembling nature, it cannot be inferred they all require an equal regard. As for the people, they may be indulged working after evening service, if authority shall think fit. The other names excepted against, stand in the calendar, not that they should be kept as holy days, but upon the score of their being useful for preserving the memories of some eminent persons: they are likewise serviceable for leases, law days, &c.
“Their proposal touching the gift of prayer, makes the Answer to liturgy, in effect, wholly insignificant: for what else can be proposal. the consequence, if every minister may put in and leave out at discretion? As for the gift, or rather the spirit of prayer, it consists in the inward graces of the Holy Spirit, and not in extemporary expressions : such unpremeditated effusions are only the effects of natural parts, of a voluble tongue and uncommon assurance. But if there is any such gift as is really pretended, this extraordinary qualification must be subject to the prophets and the order of the Church.
1 Cor. xiv.
can. 106. Concil. Milev. can. 12.
Answer to the ninth
JUXON, Considering the mischiefs coming by impertinent, ridiAbp. Cant.
culous, and sometimes seditious, wicked, and blasphemous expressions, under pretence of giving liberty for exercising the gift of prayer; considering the honour of God is so highly injured, and religion suffers so much this way, it is reasonable those who desire such an indulgence in public devotions, should first give the Church security, that no private opinions should be put into their prayers : and that nothing contrary to the faith should be uttered before God, or offered up to him in the Church. To prevent which mischiefs, the former ages knew no better way than forbidding the use of any prayers in
public, excepting such as were prescribed by public authority. Carthag.
“ The Presbyterians' objections against the obsolete language, and mistaken sense in the translation used in the liturgy, are all true, and all amended."
The Church commissioners proceed to consider their excep
tions against reading Apocryphal lessons in the Church. proposal.
And here they observe, “the Presbyterians demand an alteration upon such grounds as would exclude all sermons as well as the Apocrypha. Their argument is, the holy Scriptures contain all things necessary with reference both to belief and practice. This plea is returned upon them with a dilemma: If the inspired writings, say the Church commissioners, are so comprehensive, to what purpose are there so many unnecessary sermons? Why have we any thing more than the reading of holy Scriptures ? But if notwithstanding the sufficiency of the Old and New Testament, sermons are necessary, there is no reason why these Apocryphal chapters should not be reckoned equally useful: for most of them deliver excellent discourses and precepts of morality: and it is much to be wished the sermons of these ministers were no worse: if they are afraid these books may by this regard come up to an equal authority with the canon ; the Church has secured them against this apprehension, by calling them Apocryphal : now it is the Church's testimony which teaches us to make this distinction. And lastly, to leave out these Apocryphal lessons, were to cross upon the practice of former ages.
“ That the minister should not read the communion service
at the communion table, is not reasonable to demand, since proposal.
it was the practice of all the primitive Church : and if we do not govern ourselves by that golden rule of the council of
Answer to the tenth
Nice, (“Let ancient customs be continued,') unless reason plainly CHARLES requires the contrary, we shall give offence to sober Christians by a causeless departure from Catholic usage, and put a greater advantage in the hands of our adversaries, than it is to be hoped our brethren the Dissenters would willingly allow. As for the priest's standing at the communion table, it seems an invitation to the holy sacrament, and reminds us that it is the duty of some of us at least, to receive every Sunday: and though we happen to neglect our duty, it is fit the Church should suggest recollection, and keep her standing.
“ It is not reasonable the word minister should only be used Answer to in the Common Prayer: for since some parts of the liturgy the eleventh
proposal. may be performed by a deacon, and others, such as absolution and consecration, by none under the order of a priest, it is fit some such word as priest should be used for those offices which are appropriated to his character: the term minister being of too low and lax a signification for this
The word curate likewise signifies those who are entrusted by the bishop with the cure of souls, and therefore very fit to be used. Sunday being a very ancient distinction of the day upon which our Saviour rose from the dead, there is no reason that name Just. Mart. should be disused.
Apol. 2. Singing of psalms in metre,” continue the Church com- Answer to missioners, “is no part of the liturgy, and by consequence no the twelfth
proposal. part of our commission.
“In answer to the fifteenth objection, they allege, that the answer to Church's phrase in her prayers, is no inore offensive than St.
number fifPaul's : this apostle, in his epistles to the Corinthians, Gala- 882. tians, and others, calls them in general the Churches of God sanctified in Christ Jesus, and saints by their vocation. And yet amongst these, there were many, who upon the score of their open irregularities, could not properly be styled such : however, St. Paul denominates the whole from the greater part, and puts the rest in mind of their profession, what they have undertaken in their baptism, and the privileges and honourable distinctions to which that sacrament has given them a title.
“ As to the connexion of the parts of the liturgy, it is Answer to conformable to the example of the Churches of God, and has the sixteenth
objection. as much coherence as usually occurs in many petitions of the same psalm. And the method of these offices they must
JUXON, believe to be admirable, and beyond exception, till the PresAbp. Cant.
byterians can suggest a better, which is not yet done.
“ The collects, by their brevity, are best suited to devotion, and resemble those short but prevalent prayers in Scripture, • Lord, be merciful to me a sinner. Son of David, have mercy
Lord, increase our faith.'" After this, proceeding to the remainder of the objection, they subjoin, “ We cannot imagine why the repeated name and mention of the attributes of God, should not be most acceptable to any person religiously disposed: or how this
repetition should seem any burthen, since David magnified one Psal.cxxxvi. attribute of God's mercy six-and-twenty times together. Nor
can we conceive why the name and merits of Jesus Christ should be less comfortable to us than to former saints and martyrs : and since the hopes of obtaining our petitions are founded upon the attributes of God, such prefaces of prayers as are taken from the divine perfections, are not to be censured as unsuitable and casual, though they should have no special reference to the following petitions.”
From hence they advance to the 17th exception: “ And
whereas it was objected there was no preparatory prayer in our jection.
liturgy for God's assistance or acceptance, they answer, this is plain misreporting the Common Prayer. For, besides a preparatory exhortation, there are several prayers upon the heads in which it is pretended they are deficient. The instances are these : Despise not, O Lord, humble and contrite hearts. These things may please him that we do at this present. O Lord, open our lips,'" &c.
“ As to the Presbyterian objection against the Church's Confession being couched in general terms, the episcopal divines answer, that this is rather a perfection than a disadvantage : that the offices are intended for common use: that general services would cease to be such, by descending to particulars. To come closer to the case : when confession of sins is general, all persons may and must join in it, considering in many things we offend all.' But if the enumeration of sin were particular, it would not be so well suited to the use of the congregation : for it may well be supposed to happen, that some persons may, by God's grace, have been preserved from several of those sins recited: and therefore, by confessing themselves guilty, they would lie to God Almighty; and thus stand in
Answer to the seventeenth ob
need of a new confession. As for original sin, they conceive it CHARLES sufficiently acknowledged in the Church's confessing, that, ' without God's help, our frailty cannot but fall; and that our mortal nature can do no good without him.'
“ And whereas the Presbyterians complained of the want of stated forms for several public occasions; the Church commissioners answer, they are not conscious of any
such defect: however, if any such thing can be made good, the Church will provide accordingly.
“ The Dissenters complain, the Liturgy goes too much upon generals, in their application for God's grace and protection, and instance in these expressions : that we may do God's will ; that we may be kept from all evil. Now these, reply the Church commissioners, are almost the very terms in the Lord's Prayer. So that they must reform that, before they can pretend to mend our liturgy in these petitions. The principal demand of the Presbyterians was, “ That Answer to
the eighteenth those rubrics which impose any ceremonies, especially the objection. surplice, the sign of the cross, and kneeling, might be abrogated." Their reasons for this demand are these
“1. It is doubtful," as the Presbyterians argue, 66 whether God has empowered men to impose such significant signs. For though they call them significant, they have no real goodness in the judgment of the imposers themselves : for they call them things indifferent, and therefore they cannot fall under St. Paul's rule of omnia decenter, neither are they suitable to the simplicity of Gospel worship'.
“ 2. Because it is a violation of the royalty of Christ, and an impeachment of his laws as insufficient."
Their other two reasons, drawn from their being scrupled by several learned and orthodox men, and giving occasion to divisions and persecution, have been mentioned already.
The Church commissioners, before they answer particularly to these reasons, premise some general rules for supporting their following discourse :
“ 1. They observe, that God has not only given a power, Five general.
1 Milton has expressed this objection with peculiar force : “How cruel," says he, must that indifferency be which can violate the strictest necessity of conscience."