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Churchcommissioners.

JUXON, but likewise commanded the imposing whatever shall be truly Abp. Cant. decent and becoming his public service. That after St. Paul duen but he had laid down some particular rules for praying, thanksgiving,

prophesying, &c. he concludes with this general precept, · Let all things be done evo xnuóvws,' in a decent manner: and

that there may be uniformity in these circumstances of decency, 1 Cor. xiv. the apostle adds, “let there be a táxis,' a rule, or canon, for

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that purpose.

883.
Rom. xii.

“ 2. Superiors, not inferiors, must be judges of what is decent and convenient : those who have authority to order that every thing be done decently, must of necessity first judge of the quality of things.

* 3. These rules for decency, made and enjoined by superiors, ought to be obeyed by inferiors, till it is made as clear that they are not bound to obey in the particular case, as it is evident in general, that it is their duty to obey their superiors: for if the exemption from obedience is less clear than the command to obey, it must be sin not to obey.

“ 4. Pretence of conscience is no discharge from obedience, for the law, as long as it continues, binds to obedience : it is the apostle's doctrine, ' Ye must needs be subject. As to the pretence of a tender or reluctant conscience, this plea can never disable the law : for it neither takes away the authority of the legislator, nor makes the matter of the law unlawful. Besides, if pretence of conscience was a sufficient excuse for non-obedience, laws would signify nothing; for every body might pretend this plea ; which, if allowed, anarchy and confusion must inevitably follow.

“ 5. Though charity moves for compassion, and may dispose superiors to relieve those that are really over-scrupulous and perplexed, yet we must not break God's command out of good nature; and, therefore, we must not suffer the public service to be indecently or disorderly performed for the ease of tender consciences."

Having premised this general answer, the Church-commissioners proceed to argue,

Their an

“1. That those things which they call indifferent, because fierto para neither expressly commanded nor forbidden by God Almighty,

have something of natural proportion, goodness, and decency in

II.

them, and for this reason they are imposed. Thus, by St. CHARLES Paul's rule, and many others in Scripture, authority is given to governors to impose signs, which certainly are never the 1 Cor. xiv. worse because they carry a signification of decency and regard. On the other side, if the Church should enjoin the use of ceremonies which were wholly insignificant, such an exercise of power might rather be questioned.

“ 2. To make such laws upon the score of decency is no violation of Christ's royalty: it is only exercising a branch of that authority granted to his Church; and, therefore, disobeying such commands of superiors is a plain opposition to his sovereignty. Farther, making laws for the sake of decency does by no means imply a charge of insufficiency upon our Saviour's institutions : for it is evident, by the precepts themselves, that our Saviour never intended to determine every minute circumstance of time, place, and manner: He only commanded the substance of religious duties in general, and directed to the right ends of the performance. As to other matters, our Lord left every man to the suggestions of reason, for private services; and appointed governors of the Church to determine such particularities for the public. Thus, for instance, our Saviour commanded prayers, fasting, &c.; but time and place for these duties are undetermined. Thus, by parity of reasoning, to make laws for regulating the points of decency is no imputation upon his oeconomy: for it is plain it was not his design to state these matters. He has left us governors for this purpose : their commission is express to all imaginable advantage : “As my Father sent me, so send I you;' Obey those that have the rule over you.' He has likewise told us, that, if we will not hear his Church, we must be reckoned no better than “heathens and publicans.'

“ And whereas the Nonconformists - plead they cannot obey the commands of the Church, for fear of violating the precept which forbids adding to the Word of God ;'"-to this the Church commissioners answer,

66 these ministers do not well Deut. xii. consider, that it is no addition to the Word of God to command things for order and decency, provided they are not enjoined as God's immediate instructions, but only as regulations of human authority. But, on the other hand, to affirm that superiors are not allowed to command things unforbidden hy God Almighty, is an undeniable addition to the Word of

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Rom. xiv,

JUXON, God.' And likewise, to deny ecclesiastical or civil governors Abp. Cant, that power which the Scriptures have given them, is demolish

ing God's Word, which is no less forbidden in the text last mentioned.

“ And, supposing some people continue perplexed and under scruples, the Church may, notwithstanding, without sin, insist upon her commands for complying with decent ceremonies; and all this without being guilty of offending our weak brother :' for here the scandal is taken, and not given : it is the prejudice and mistake of the scrupulous person that disturbs himself ; and, therefore, he may be justly said to lay the stumbling-block in his own way.

“ Neither will the case of St. Paul's not eating flesh if it offended his brother' do any service to the complainants : for here, it must be observed, the apostle speaks of things not commanded by God or his Church, of matters which had nothing of decency or significancy for religious purposes ; and therefore, in a case thus foreign and unrelated to divine worship, St. Paul was willing to resign his liberty rather than

offend his brother.' But, if any man should venture to break a just law or custom of the Church, the apostle marks him for a contentious' person.

“ That these ceremonies have occasioned many divisions, as it is pretended, is no more their fault, than the misunderstandings between the nearest relations accidentally consequent upon the preaching of the Gospel can be fairly charged on the Christian religion."

After this they proceed to justify the use of the surplice, by alleging, “ that both reason and experience may inform us that decency in ornament and habit strike the senses and excite reverence and regard. Upon this view, they are made use of in the equipage of princes, and in courts of justice. And why, then, should the service of God be refused this common advantage? And, to come to the particular case, no habit is more suitable at holy ministrations than white linen : it is an emblem of purity and beauty : angels have appeared in this dress ; and, therefore, what colour can be more proper for those whom the Scripture dignifies with that name? And

that this habit was anciently used in the Church, we may learn Chrysost. Hom. 60. ad from St. Chrysostom.

“ The cross," continue these episcopal divines, “ was always

1 Cor. xi. 16.

Luke xii.

Rev. i.

pop. An

tioch.

II.

Tertull. de

Milit. Minut, Felix.

.

לל

used in the Church in immortali lavacro. To testify, there- CHARLES fore, our communion with the saints of former ages, as our Creed teaches us, and to signify we are not ashamed of the Coron. cross of Christ,-—for these reasons, they conceive it proper this ceremony should be continued, and cannot imagine it should trouble the conscience of any person that desires to be satisfied.”

As to the posture of kneeling, they argue “it best becomes the solemnity of the holy eucharist : that the most valuable blessings ought to be received with the greatest marks of reverence and submission. That postures of familiarity are not acceptable to God Almighty upon so solemn an occasion, may be collected from Malachi i. 6, 8. That, when the Church used standing at her prayers, the manner of receiving was 884. more adorantium ; that, since this posture of standing has been St. August disused, and kneeling practised instead of it,-since this cir- Cyril. cumstance is thus altered by the Church's appointment,—to Mystag

. 5. stand at the communion now, when we kneel at prayers, would be by no means decent, neither was it ever the custom of the best times.”

The Church commissioners conclude their general answer with taking notice " that there were ancient liturgies in the Church, as appears plainly from St. Chrysostom's, St. Basil's, and others : and the Greeks,” say they, “mention St. James's, much older than the rest. And though we cannot trace entire liturgies through all the centuries of Christianity, yet that there were such in the earliest ages, may certainly be concluded from the fragments remaining : such as

Sursum corda,' &c., Gloria Patri,' · Benedicite,' • Hymnus,' Cherubinus,' &c., Vere dignum et justum,' &c., Dominus vobiscum, et cum spiritu tuo,' with several others : and notwithstanding the liturgies now extant may be interpolated, yet Papers that

passed bewhere the forms and expressions are agreeable to Catholic doctrine, they may well be presumed uncorrupted remainders, wioners at and primitive usage, especially since general councils are silent the Savoy as to the original of these liturgies.”

To this answer the Nonconformists put in a reply too long reign of K. to insert. And here I shall only observe, that though they Edw. 6. could not break the answer of the episcopal commissioners; though truth is inflexible, and the nature of the cause made it impar congressus : yet it must be said they did not make the

tween the Commis

Conference. See above, under the

JUXON, worst defence, nor shewed themselves unqualified with parts

Abp. Cant. and learning.

Some farther As to their more particular exceptions against the rubric exceptions of and the offices in the Common Prayer, they seem not altoconformists gether free from prejudice and a disputing inclination. To mon Prayer. give some instances :—“In the litany they would have, from

all other deadly sin,' altered to "from all other heinous sins.' · From sudden death,' they moved might be changed to "unprepared dying suddenly".' They take check at the Church's praying for all that travel,' and insist the expression may be qualified to those that travel.' In the office for the visitation of the sick, they except to the form of absolution, press for declarative and conditional expressions; as I pronounce thee absolved if thou dost truly repent and believe.” To this the Church commissioners answer, 66 that the form of absolving in the liturgy is more agreeable to the Scriptures than that which these ministers desired. For where the apostles and their successors, the bishops and priests, are commis

sionated for this purpose, it is declared, 'whose sins ye remit, John xx.

they are remitted,' not whose sins you pronounce remitted ;' neither needs the condition be expressed, being always necessarily understood.

“ In the office for churching of women, they would have this prayer, with the responsal, omitted; "O Lord, save this woman, thy servant. Answer. Which putteth her trust in thee,' The reason of their exception is, that it may happen a woman may come to give thanks for a child born in adultery or fornication. But to this the episcopal divines reply, that in such cases she is to do penance before she is churched.' And, which is the last I shall mention, they except against the rubric's enjoining the woman to offer the accustomed offerings:' this they pretend looks too like a Jewish purification. To this the Church commissioners return, that offerings are required as well under the Gospel as under the law; and that when we give thanks for special blessings and deliverance from danger, it is a proper occasion for such religious acknow

ledgments.” The rest of the Nonconformists' objections, Papers that though all of them not altogether so slender as some of those passed be

1 This suggestion is important : all may cordially deprecate untimely death, but not

sudden death, which may, perhaps, be sudden glory, and a consummation devoutly to be the Savoy

tween the Commissioners at

wished.

Conference,

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