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p. 46, where I cast my eye on the Sortes Virgiliana of Charles I.
" At bello audacis populi vexatus, &c.” “This gave me some melancholy reflection for an hour or two, and made me call to my mind the story of Bernini and his bust, burnt in White Hall. It made me also call to mind the omens that happened at the coronation of his son James IId. which I saw, viz. the tottering of his crown upon his head, the broken canopy over it, and the Fent flag hanging upon the white tower over against my door, when I came home from the coronation. It was torn by the wind at the same time the signal was given to the Tower that he was crowned. I put no great stress upon omens, but I cannot despise them; most of them I believe come by chance, but some from superior intellectual agents, especially those which regard the fate of Kings and nations. I pray give my most humble service to Sir Philip Sydenham, and all my friends, and accept the same from him, who is with free respect,
In another letter, Dec. 15, 1714, the doctor particularly mentions the loss of his wife,—" To whose great and sole worldly care of me I owe, under God, my own long life. She had in her sicknesse a most lively sense of the blessed change she was to make, and of the happy place to which she was going, and dyed fearlesse of death, with the greatest courage, calmness, and serenity of mind, and with trust and sure confidence in the mercy of God through the merits of her Saviour.”
ON LAY BAPTISM.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCIIMAN'S
SIR, IN turning over the 4th volume of your entertaining
and instructive work, I found, at p. 228, a letter signed “ Erasmus,” wherein he considers some questions concerning “ Churching, Baptizing, Burials,” &c. On this latter subject he says;
“The next question, which relates to the burial of an infant child, that had not been received into the church agreeably to ecclesiastical appointment, seems to resolve itself into this consideration : either the child had or had not been duly baptized. In the former case it ought to have been admitted to all the solemnities of a christian burial. in the latter to have been denied them. The primitive fathers allowed the validity of private baptism by lay hands, and even by women; as may be seen in Hooker's Ecclesiastical Polity; but it was only in cases of the most urgent necessity; and on this consideration, and this alone, does the Church recognize those who have been baptized by the laity, as her true members.
By the laity is here meant all who have not had an Episcopal ordination.
Now, Sir, what I would request'of. Erasmus,'or of any of your correspondents, if any of them should coincide with him in opinion, is, to inform me where the Church recognizes, as her true members, those who have been baptized by the laity? If she any where does, I must acknowledge that I have ignorantly acted in opposition to her constitutions, and must take shame to myself for my ignorance and disobedience : for I did deny burial to
an infant who had not, in my opinion, been duly baptized; as having been baptized only by one who had not received Episcopal ordination. The circumstances attending my denial were these: The father and mother were married by me at our parish church : they did not receive the holy communion, as our excellent rubric recommends, at the firstopportunity after their marriage. On the first Sunday after they were married they made their appearance at church, but have uniformly ever since been absent. After the birth of the infant, the mother did not come to be churched, neither was the child brought to me to be baptized. On the death of the child, after a week had elapsed, notice was given me, at nine o'clock at night, to bury it the next day at three. Convinced, from their disregard to the service of our church, and from other circum-' stances, that the parents were Dissenters, I imagined it probable that the child had not received baptism according to the prescribed form of our liturgy. I therefore desired to have a certificate from the parish register of the child's baptism, and was told it had been baptized according to the form of the kirk of Scotland, at the Scotch church by London Wall. Upon which I refused to bury it.
The grounds of my conviction that I was acting right were these:-that by my declaration of conformity to the Liturgy, I was bound in conscience to comply with its directions. That it was plain that the offices of our church were designed to be administered only to the members of our church; and that consequently where the rubric before the burial service denies that rite to some, it implies that they to whom it concedes it, must be members of our body. Now, the only way of admission into the church is by the sacrament of baptism. They only have a right to administer the sacraments who are lawVol. VI. Churchm. Mag. Jan. 1804.
fully fully ordained thereunto--they only are lawfully ordained who are ordained after the uninterrupted practice of the christian church, that is by bishops the successors of the apostles, in an unbroken chain, from the time of its foundation. The deduction is obvious.
I conceived it my duty to state the matter to our venerable Diocesan; but as he was out of town, the shortness of the time would not allow me to wait upon him. I requested, however, the opinion of as sound a churchman as any of those whose contributions grace your excellent work, and I was happy to have the sanction of his approbation in confirmation of my decision.
I should be glad also to be informed by any of your correspondents, how far the right of a clergyman extends, as to refusing the ground in the church-yard, as well as the service of the church. To a Roman Catholic, I am told, we cannot deny the ground. Does the same obligation hold with respect to other Dissenters?
With the best wishes for the success of your pious labours, I am,
Your sincere friend, Jan. 17. 1804.
ON THE LAWFULNESS OF PRAYERS FOR
TO THE EDITOR OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCHMAN's
HAVING read your instructive Magazine with much
edification and pleasure, and having considered most attentively the subject of “the intermediate state,"
and whether the soul sleeps or not, I own I am still left in doubt. The discussion has been, by your correspondents, so long continued, that I would not wish by any means to prolong it. The question I mean to ask is, whether it is conformable to the liturgy of our established church to pray for deceased relations, friends, or enemies, after their death, knowing that they lived in habitual sin, and that they died in a state of total forgetfulness of God?
I am a very enthusiastic admirer of Dr. Johnson, and inclined to imitate him in many points. His Prayers and Meditations have ever been my delight; and I have accustomed myself to pray for families when I have left them, in the language he used for Mr. Thrale's, and with the same spirit of gratitude for benefits received under the roof of hospitality.
Dr. Johnson prayed for his departed wife; but it is to be supposed Mrs. Johnson was a religious woman; and I find no prayer, in the Doctor's collection, exactly suited to the case in point. In the prayer for the whole state of Christ's church militant here on earth, is the following sentence: “ And we bless thy holy name for all thy servants departed this life in thy faith and fear;” but the persons, for whom I wish to know whether it be allowable to make my supplications to Almighty God, are those who have died without either faith or fear. Your answer to this question, Mr. Editor, will much relieve my mind from anxiety. I will subjoin one of the very fine prayers of Dr. Johnson, on his wife, which admits of the belief of the administration of departed, spirits ; and add also the excellent Dr. Horne's (who was late Bishop of Norwich) opinion on Dr. Johnson's Prayers and Meditations. It is observable that Dr. Johnson, in his reflections on the death of his wife, and again of Mr.