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BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER
CHURCH OF ENGLAND:
Being the Substance of every Thing Liturgical in Bishop SPAR-
CHARLES WHEATLY, M. A.
VICAR OF BRENT AND FURNEUX PELHAM IN
Ostendas Populo Ceremonias et Ritum colendi..
Exod. x 20. Velg..
AT THE CLARENDON PRESS.
THE following Edition being printed from one of
those which had received the Author's last corrections, it is thought unnecessary to repeat here the former part of his Preface relating chiefly to the alterations which he had made in his former Editions, as they followed each other. The latter part, containing a studied defence of his Opinion on an important Subject, is in justice to the Author here preserved in his own words, as follows:
And this I take to be the proper place to explain myself in relation to one passage particularly, which I know has been thought to need the greatest amendment, though I have let it stand without making any. And indeed an Explanation of it is so much the more needful, as it is not only judged to be indefensible in itself, but also to be inconsistent with what I have said. in another part of the book. The passage I mean, is concerning the Absolution in the daily Morning and Evening Service, which I have asserted to be "an "actual Conveyance of Pardon, at the very instant of "pronouncing it, to all that come within the terms proposed. And again, " that it is more than DECLARATIVE, that it is truly EFFECTIVE, insuring "and conveying to the proper subjects thereof the very "Absolution or Remission itself. This has been thought by some, from whose judgment I should be very unwilling to differ or recede, not only to carry the point higher than can be maintained; but also to be irreconcileable with my own notions of Absolution, as I have described them upon the office for the
sitation of the Sick, where they are thought to be more consistent with Scripture and Antiquity. I have there endeavoured to shew that "there is no standing au"thority in the Ministers of the Gospel to pardon and forgive Sins immediately and directly in relation to
"GOD, and as to which the censure of the Church "had been in no wise concerned." And again, "that "no Absolution pronounced by the Church can cleanse "or do away our inward Guilt, or remit the eternal "Penalties of Sin, which are declared to be due to "it by the sentence of GOD; any farther than by "the Prayers which are appointed to accompany it, "and by the use of those Ordinances to which it "restores us, it may be a means, in the end, of ob"taining our pardon from GOD himself, and the For"giveness of Sin as it relates to him." These passages, I acknowledge, as they are separated from their contexts, and opposed to one another, seem a little inconsistent and confusedly expressed: but if each of them are read in their proper places, and with that distinction of ideas which I had framed to myself when I writ them, I humbly presume they may be easily reconciled, and both of them asserted with equal truth. I desire it may be remembered that in the latter place I am speaking of a judicial and unconditional Absolution, pronounced by the Minister in an Indicative Form, as of certain advantage to the person that receives it. By this I have supposed the Church never intends to cleanse or do away our inward Guilt, but only to exercise an external authority, founded upon the power of the Keys; which, though it may be absolute, as to the inflicting and remitting the censures of the Church, I could not understand peremptorily to determine the state of the Sinner in relation to God. And thus far I have the happiness to have the concurrence of good judges on my side; so that it is only in what I assert on the Daily Absolution, that I have the misfortune not to be accounted so clear. But, with humble submission, I can see nothing there inconsistent with what I have said on the other. The Absolution I am speaking of is conditional, pronounced by the Priest in a Declarative Form, and limited to such as truly repent, and unfeignedly believe God's holy Gospel. This indeed I have