« PreviousContinue »
TO THE EDITOR OF THE CHURCHMAN'S MONTHLY REVIEW. DEAR SIR,-I feel not a little flattered by your kind mentioning of me in your review of Mr. Close's Lectures on the Second Advent.
You say : “ Here comes in the one error of Mr. Faber (recently “ adverted to), by which he mistakenly passes the protestant “ boundary, and proposes ” (namely, as the Rule of Faith) “Scrip“ ture as interpreted by the early Fathers.”
And you subsequently describe me, as "holding, that Scripture “ alone is insufficient, and that we must have the recorded consent “ of Primitive Antiquity before we can maintain any doctrine."
The Italics of one error and alone have been employed by yourself. Hence, since no more than one error is ascribed to me, though certainly a very grave one, inasmuch as you exhibit it to consist in denying Scripture to be the alone Rule of Faith, you will not wonder at my feeling the personal necessity of DISAVOWING that one error.
I have so often and so fully explained ny real principle, that I will not undertake the apparently hopeless labour of going through the same task again. It is sufficient to say: that I deem Holy Scripture the sole Rule of Faith. Whence, of course I do not propose, under the aspect of a COMPOUND Rule of Faith, “Scrip“ ture as interpreted by the early Fathers : " and still less do I hold, or did I ever hold, that “Scripture alone is insufficient,” and that “we must have the recorded consent of Primitive Antiquity “ before we can maintain any doctrine.”
In full accordance with my repeated explanations in the course of several years, I EXPLICITLY DENY, that I maintain, or ever did maintain, the one error which you ascribe to me.
Scripture is our sole binding Rule of Faith : but we cannot, I suppose, use it as such, unless we annex some definite ideas to its language ; or, in other words, unless we interpret it. All that I have ever done, through sundry different Works (as, indeed, their very titles imply), is, through the concurring TESTIMONY of the ancient Creeds and the earliest Fathers, to ascertain, as far as I could ascertain, the sense in which the Primitive Church universally understood Doctrinal Scripture : that is to say, all which I ever did was to essay the establishment of a NAKED HISTORICAL PACT. When that FACT was ascertained, I freely left the use of it to the discretion of my readers. If you think the interpretation of any modern writers better than the interpretation of the Primitive Church, I have no quarrel with you. Every one to their taste. I would simply say, that some interpretation, whether ancient or modern, we must have : for, if we read our Rule of Faith without annexing any ideas to it, it is practically no Rule of Faith to us; we might just as well read so many sentences of a language which we do not understand. Even if I had ever maintained the error which you ascribe to me, you certainly would be liable to the retort courteous: “A very able writer in the Churchman's Monthly “ Review falls into the error of proposing, for our Rule of Faith, “not Scripture simply, but Scripture as interpreted by himself.” And again: our talented reviewer maintains : that “ Scripture “ alone is insufficient,” and, consequently, that “we must bare “ the recorded consent of himself and other moderns who agra " with him before we can maintain any doctrine.”
In justice to Mr. Close, I would remark in parting, that the argument, which you adduce from Chillingworth, leaves the true import of the millennian prophecy where it found it; thouge, doubtless, that gentleman's assertion touching the universal judg. ment of the Church is erroneous. Since the prophecy is as yet unfulfilled, the Primitive Church, unless by a special revelation from heaven (which, I believe, is not pretended), could pronounce upon the true import of the prophecy with not a whit more certainty than the Church of the fifteenth century. It is of con: siderable importance to ascertain the universal judgment of the Primitive Church touching the import of DOCTRINAL SCRIPTURE: but it is of no use at all to ascertain the OPINION of that Churen touching the import of an UNFULFILLED PROPHECY. Sherburn-House, Nov. 6, 1846.
G. S. FABER
[Mr. Faber, in his Primitive Doctrine of Justification, 2nd ..p. 362, says, “ Qualify yourselves, by a diligent study of Print
tive Antiquity, to decide what are really the doctrines taught i the Bible, and then exercise your right of judgment,” &c. 4 again, p. 365,4" In the settlement of Articles of Faith on the authority of Scripture the only rule, the Principle of the Anglican Church is that of an Appeal to the recorded consent of Primitice Antiquity from the very beginning."-Edit. C. M. R.]
CHURCHMAN'S MONTHLY REVIEW
THE DOMESTIC LITURGY AND FAMILY CHAPLAIN.
In Two Parts: the first Part being Church Services, adapted for Domestic Use, with Prayers for every Day of the Week ; selected exclusively from the Book of Common Prayer. The Second Part comprising an Appropriate Sermon for every Sunday in the Year. By the Rev. THOMAS DALE, M.A., Canon Residentiary of St. Paul's, and Vicar of St. Bride's. London: Longmans. 1846.
This useful work has now been some time before the public, and must, we presume, have met with a favourable reception. We should be sorry, however, to allow the year to close, without giving it a place among our brief notices. More will not be required. The object of the work is one of acknowledged importance, and it will not be supposed that we shall have any material fault to find with a volume which has attached to it the respectable name of Mr. Dale. We shall therefore simply give an outline of Mr. D.'s preface, in explanation of the design and plan: and perhaps add a remark or two suggested by the review.
The leading design of Mr. D.'s volume (a goodly quarto) is to enable the head of a family to take upon himself the office of “ domestic chaplain” on the Lord's day, in such cases as render it obviously expedient, e. g. the want of a second public servicedomestic sickness-or where it is the laudable custom to read a sermon to the assembled household on the evening of the Sabbath. “For the purpose, then” (to quote Mr. D.'s words), “of facilitating the ex1846.
ercise of this domestic ministry, without infringing on the peculiar functions of the priestly office, as defined by the Lord Jesus Christ himself (John ri. 22, 23), those portions of the Liturgy which the priest only may pronounce have been omitted, and the service so arranged that it may be properly and profitably used, without further alteration, by readers of the laity.'
This part of the work indeed is simply the usual Church service on the Lord's day, including the “ Prayers and Thanksgivings upon several occasions,” the Collects, Epistles, and Gospels, with the Prayer-Book version of the Psalms, but not extending to the Communion Office.
“ The principle of this arrangement has been to 'hold fast the form of sound words' which the restorers and second fathers of our Church hare transmitted to us as a legacy above all price: and not to admit the slightest deviation from the words of the original, which could be construed, by the most scrupulous or apprehensive, to touch the doctrine, or to affect the
So far, then, the “ Domestic Liturgy” is no more than an edition of the Morning and Evening Services, with the abridgment specified.
The second part, however, is a selection of prayers and thanksgivings, designed for daily use in families, taken or adapted from the Book of Common Prayer.
“To these no addition has been made in any instance: and only such omissions or alterations have been admitted as were necessitated by the circumstances of the case. Regard has been had to the order of the Church, as far as was practicable, by the use of the Daily Collects throughout the year, and the adaptation of the Litany for the Wednesday and Friday morning prayer. It is intended to combine, in each morning and evening act of worship, the four great essential parts or elements of Common Prayer,' Confession, Supplication, Intercession, Thanksgiving: and thus to assimilate the Family Service, as nearly as possible, to the pattern of the Temple Worship."
Mr. D. expresses a hope that this will be acceptable to all those who, to the question, “What prayers shall we use in the domestic circle ? ” would return the answer of the saintly George Herbert, “ The prayers of my mother, the Church of England: no prayers are equal to them !” adding
“ Indeed no better means than the exclusive employment of these consecrated formularies can be devised, it is thought, for the attainment of our Master's gracious promise, that' where any two of His people shall AGREE as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of his Father which is in heaven.'"
We cordially respond to Herbert's sentiment touching our Church prayers, and are free to acknowledge that Mr. D. has shown considerable skill and judgment in weaving from them a domestic Liturgy for daily use. But there seems to be some
i It does, however, strike us that Mr. Dale's daily service is by no means to be recommended as an exclusive one. We have never been satisfied with any adaptation of the
thing implied in Mr. D.'s remark here, from which we must express our dissent, as also in a previous remark which we have not yet quoted. Let us first complete our outline.
Another feature of the work before us, is an arrangement of “ Prayers from the Liturgy, in three distinct services, adapted for the Sick Chamber :” and to this is added a selection of “ Special Prayers,” adapted in like manner. This part, as well as the “ Prayers for every Day in the Week," appears to us, on the whole, judiciously compiled, and will, no doubt, in many cases, be very serviceable. Mr. D. remarks upon it
“ Here, as before, the design is only to supply, as circumstances will admit, the lack of pastoral visitation,-not to substitute the layman for the priest, and thus supersede the greater benefit by the less. But whenever our afflicted friends or relatives are precluded by local or physical impediments from the attendance of the Church's ministers, it must surely be most desirable that they should have at least the comfort of the Church's prayers : and that a judgment in the selection should be exercised on behalf of those who might be, at such a moment, too deeply affected to exercise it for themselves."
Mr. D. had previously observed (which is the remark we referred to):
Liturgy to this purpose ; and, to speak truth, we think it a great mistake to attempt to mould a full responsive service, intended for public use, into a number of short detached offices, which are to supersede all others and to be regarded as fully adequate for all the purposes of a domestic Liturgy. We do not see that reverence for the prayers or authority of the Church requires this. The Church has not bound us in this particular, and for ourselves we had rather be free. Some may regret that the Book of Family Prayer, drawn up to be authorized by the Convocation of 1689, was never published, but at last mislaid and lost. On the whole, however, we are inclined to another conclusion. Prescription and authority may greatly exceed in matters of this nature, and we are less disposed to regret the loss of a domestic Liturgy in the hands of Bishop Williams than the failure of some other projects in that memorable Convocation. At the same time, avoiding the pernicious, fatal ertreme of authoritative uniformity, we think that a Family Book might very advantageously be provided by the Church for the use of her members, and that it would tend much to promote the observance of domestic worship were the whole question brought before us in an authorized way, and the relative claims of daily public service and daily family prayer candidly considered with reference to the times. 6. The change which has taken place in our national habits during the last four centuries," (Archdeacon Wilberforce has well observed,)“ has disposed men to look for instruction much more from written and much less from oral communication. To this circumstance, as well as to the reaction consequent on that over-estimate of religious forms, for which the middle ages were remarkable, we must in great measure refer it, that daily custom of public worship has passed almost into disuse. It is obvious also that increased wealth and population have introduced a more bustling spirit than of old, so that the attendance on such a service in this mercantile age would require greater effort than it did formerly. It was at the era of the Reformation that these causes began to operate. The need of something which might be substituted in the place of what abandoned was at once pereeived. It was then, accordingly, that those forms of prayer appeared which are appended to our older copies of the Scripture.” We sincerely wish the Archdeacon of the East Riding had thrown as much zeal into this matter as he has into some others of less questionable utility, and that the important ideas thrown out in the interesting Preface to his father's Prayers had been thoroughly matured and brought out in a still more practical form. The field is a very rich and inviting one-and, if carefully surveyed, would lead, we think, to another conclusion than the Archdeacon's --" To return .... exactly to what was once practised might prove better still," i. e. the Duily Service. He sees this “cannot be," and might perhaps very safely say more.