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“ The work is designed as subsidiary to, not as a substitute for, the pobi service of the Church : and, indeed, to the true and lively Churchman, we could compensate for the absence of the one thing which must be wanting 3 every domestic service thus conducted—the authoritative declaration of ab solution and remission of sins, to all that truly repent, and unfeignedly believe Christ's holy gospel?'"
It is upon these connected passages that we shall anon offer a remark or two.
The concluding part of Mr. D.'s work, entitled “ The Family Chaplain,” consists of sermons suited to the Sunday services throughout the year, and for these “the Compiler of the • Domestic Liturgy'is alone and altogether responsible.” They are Mr. D.'s own discourses, and we think he has done well in departing from his original intention, which was “to have selected appropriate sermons from authors of high name aud approved orthodoxy." In addition to the reasons assigned by himself, we may obserre, that no name probably would secure a wider acceptance to “ the Family Chaplain” than his own; and doubtless it is a great recommendation of the volume that it contains fifty-eight original sermons from the pen of so impressive and practical a preacher as the late vicar of St. Bride's. We give Mr. D. full credit for the concluding paragraph of his Preface. He observes :
“ In the preparation or adaptation of these discourses, the author can truly aver that he has never willingly deviated from one great principle-the prieciple, that the teaching of the Church's ministers should accord and harmonize with the spirit of the Church's prayers. How far he has succeeded, must be left to the judgment of others. For himself he would only say, in the words of an apocryphal writer, that if he has done well, it is that which be desired; but if slenderly and meanly, it is that which he could attain unto.' Nor will he consider that his labours have been in vain, if he shall be made instrumental, however humbly, in diffusing through any of the homes of England, the pure apostolical spirit of her Church, and in directing Christian households to the reasonable service, the bounden duty, the invaluable privilege of 'Common Prayer.'".
We sincerely trust Mr. Di's warmest hopes will be realized, and that many a family may have occasion to bless him as their domestic chaplain, though speaking by proxy, and, as the Church's minister, furnishing them with so useful a compilation from her consecrated Prayers. “Family religion," as Mr. Cecil observes, “is of unspeakable importance,” and. when rightly conducted, is “an engine of
· Remains, p. 274. The whole of Mr. Cecil's remarks (pp. 274–277) on the subject of Family Worship appear to us highly valuable, and we beg specially to recommend them to attention. It would be easy to multiply passages having the authority of great names to sanction and enforce the practice of family prayer. We subjoin two, as quoted in Archdeacon Wilberforce's Preface, which we bappen to have at hand.
“One principal part of religion,” says Archbishop Tillotson, “ consists in the setting up the constant worship of God in our families, by daily prayers to God every morning and evening, and by reading some portion of the Holy Scriptures at those times, espe cially out of the Psalms of David, and the New Testament. And this is so necessary
vast power.” Wherever established and kept up in Christian simplicity, its benefits are incalculable. “It diffuses a sympathy" through the family circle. " It calls off the mind from the deadening effect of worldly affairs. It arrests every member, with a morning and evening sermon, in the midst of all the hurries and cares of life. It says,
« There is a God!" “There is a spiritual world !” “ There is a life to come!
- It fixes the idea of responsibility in the mind. It furnishes a tender and judicious father or master with an opportunity of gently glancing at faults, when a direct admonition might be inexpedient. It enables him to relieve the weight with which subordination or service often sits on the
to keep alive, and to maintain, a sense of God and religion in the minds of men, that where it is neglected I do not see how any family can in reason be esteemed a family of Christians, or indeed to have any religion at all.”
Daily public worship “ being impracticable in country parishes, by reason of the difficulty of getting the people together from their several distant habitations, the next thing that is practicable is to be said in its stead, and that is family prayer.”—From one of Prideaur's Addresses to the Clergy of his Archdeaconry.
“ There was also provided a family book, to be authorized by this Convocation (1689): it contained directions for family devotions, with several forms of prayer for worship every morning and evening, suited to the different circumstances of the families in which they were to be used. There was room to hope that this work might have been of great use towards the restoring of family devotion among us, and thereby make religion flourish in the land. For families may be considered as lesser churches, of which the national one is the aggregate: and the introducing of religion into the parts seems the most effectual way of making it fourish in the whole.”- Life of Dean Prideaux, p. 61.
" Whereas these (the Church) prayers are many of them proper only to be used by men in orders: many families of the nobility and gentry, where there were no chaplains, began to disuse them: and nothing being substituted in their room, this was, in a great many families, the occasion of totally neglecting the duty.”—Ib. p. 61. Archdeacon Wilberforce himself justly observes, that family worship
“ is not only recommended by its own usefulness, but it has in its favour the concurrent testimony of every age of Christians."
There is truth, but not the whole truth, in the following passage, which we quote from the Preface : “ It was exactly on this principle that it was proposed by the Convocation of 1689 to put forth an authorized form of family devotion. Had that great crisis of our religious history been marked by a measure which, making this custom nearly universal among churchmen, would have brought the lofty principles of our faith into immediate contact with the realities of life, it seems scarcely possible that it should have been followed by the age of indifference which succeeded. “But the abandonment of this purpose was one evil which resulted from that interference with the liberties of the English Church, to which the critical state of his affairs, the res duræ et regni novitas,' incited the yet unestablished monarch.”—(Pref. pp. xvi. xvii.) : ... It is perhaps more important to remark (as the Archdeacon has done), that at the era of the Reformation, when those causes began to operate which led to the disuse of the daily church service," the need of something which might be substituted in the place of what was abandoned was at once perceived. It was then, accordingly, that the forms of prayer appeared, which are appended to our older copies of the Scripture.” He refers to certain godly prayers” found attached to most Bibles printed in the reign of Elizabeth ; and to the many forms of prayer for families printed separately about the same period. It is observable that while the prayers thus printed show the importance attached to family devotion, they do not follow the plan of adapting the congregational Liturgy to domestic use, or of copying its general outline, much less do they restrict social and family prayer to forms composed or compiled by the Church. Like the forms of prayer provided in the Family Book they are appropriate, and “suited to the different circumstances of the families in which they were to be used.” Happily we we have now an abundauce of such forms, Our eye at this moment falls on an advertisement by one house alone, (Hatchards') specifying fifteen “ Books of Family and Private Devotion." most of which we know to be of great value-and to what extent the list might be enlarged, it is impossible to say.
minds of inferiors.” Who that has made the experiment, or shared the benefit of such an experiment, does not concur in these views The individual who sketches these lines knows no blessing for which he has more reason to be thankful than the early impression upon his youthful, almost infant, mind, of family prayer-10 solace greater under after cares and troubles not a few, than that which he has enjoyed through a series of years in the sacred exercises of the social circle; nor is it to be questioned that the observance of family worship is in a sense the test of a vital social Christianity. What can be said of the families who “ call ” not “ upon the name of the Lord ?” or how can we hope that our cities, towns, and villages will ever be leavened with a vital Christianity, unless the obligation and privilege of family prayer become more generally recognized than they have ever yet been? It is not overflowing congregations, or even large communions that can be regarded as a clear and satisfactory test of the amount of our religion. There is much here that is deceptive even in parishes the most hopeful; but let the families be marked who consecrate their homes by the daily devout worship of Almighty God, and we shall approach pretty nearly to the real standard of a nation's piety. Next to the sacred transactions of the closet, the social exercises of devotion must doubtless be regarded as the most natural genuine development of real religion ; and just in proportion as these floa. rish, may we conclude that religion has found a home among us, and will extend its pervading influence to all the nations and people with whom the providence of God connects us. We say not this in derogation of the solemnities of public worship, or of the value of what are called, by a just distinction, the Church's prayers. But, unless we greatly mistake, the danger ever has been and still is, of resting in a public service, and of so magnifying its importance as to throw into shade and greatly peril the free and natural exercise of social piety. The present attempt to force “ the daily service" as “a law in God's kingdom” i appears to us ominous of evil ; and hence the interest we feel in all such works as the one under notice-works which have for their object the service and extension of what we would call domestic Christianity. Next to an energetic faithful ministry of the word-plain, earnest, and abundant preaching in the pulpit, and, so to speak, from house to house-we know of no means so likely to effect a revival of pure and undefiled religion among us as the inculcating upon seriousminded Christians the great importance of family prayer, and the
See Archdeacon Manning's Sermon under this title, vol. i., p. 186. Does not Mr. Dale's idea of Temple Worship and priestly ministration approach too nearly this trans cendental notion of the Archdeacon's? It is one of the beau ideals of the Tractarian School, and involves considerable danger.
prevailing upon them to adopt the practice under a deep sense of personal responsibility, and to throw themselves into it, not as a perfunctory exercise, but as a spontaneous earnest act of vital piety, and an essential means for the advancement of personal, social, and public Christianity. The Bishop of London would, in our opinion, do more by urging this point than by throwing open all the churches of the metropolis for the celebration of daily service, and we would humbly warn him against a hasty zeal on this latter point, under the peculiar circumstances which have forced it into notice. More frequent public service, connected to some extent with catechetical instruction or pulpit exposition and lectures, is doubtless desirable, especially in the denser populations; but a detached celebration of daily public worship seems to us neither practicable nor safe under all the circumstances of our present position. Let any one visit our Tractarian churches at daily service, or take a peep into Tractarian families ; let them read with care the sermon to which we have referred in a note, and compare it with all that has been written of late on priestly ministration, and then let them say what is profitable and safe in the present emergency. We are bold indeed to confess that the Church of England would appear to us to pursue a wiser course, were she just now to abate somewhat of her priestly attitude, and recognize with greater distinctness the social claims and character of Christianity—the office of the Christian people, and their capability of serving God by the exercise of their gifts and graces in social ministration as effectually as their consecrated brethren in the more public services of the Church. This, however, is not the direction which we seem inclined to take ; and if we have any fault to find with Mr. Dale's most laudable endeavour to provoke attention to the duty of family worship and to assist in the discharge of it, it is that he assumes too stately a gait, and appears to us needlessly to restrict and fetter the social exercise of devotion. Appreciating as we do his zealous piety, and, in the main, his sound discretion, we feel reluctant to criticise a passing remark with any thing like severity, nor do we wish on such an occasion to raise a controversy, It is possible too we may misunderstand Mr. D. ; but we would just submit in conclusion whether it might not have been safer to guard himself a little in regard to the doctrine of absolution—the
1 “The necessity of reading the Liturgy, aud nothing but the Liturgy, both at Morning and Evening Prayer, is an invincible obstacle to the opening of the churches with any effect, except on a Sunday. It is doubtful whether our arrangement of time, and the universal pressure of business, would allow of the attendance of a large congregation
church on week-days, under any circumstances : but it certain that in order to overcome those disadvantages, something more attractive is needed than the mere uniform reading of the same prayers, and going through the same forms day after day, both in the morning and the evening."--Dr. Arnold. The remark touching uniformity applies a fortiori to family worship.
use of the term priest--the proper limits between free and absolutely constrained prayer—and the true nature of consent and agreement in that blessed exercise as indicated in the gracious promise to which he refers. The remarks we have quoted from his Preface as touching on these points have not wholly satisfied us, or left us without fears that our valued brother, as one who is met in slippery places, may be less useful than he might in guarding us against the evils which threaten to come in upon us as a flood, and are already overflowing our borders. But we must not enter upon these wide and important questions. We believe that Mr. Dale sincerely desires to be instrumental in diffusing through the homes and households of England “the pure apostolical spirit of her Church ;” and rather than hazard unseemly contention, Fe would pray for more of the same mind ourselves, and unite with him in doing what we may to call attention to the object of his work
-" the reasonable service, the bounden duty, and the invaluable privilege of COMMON PRAYER.” We may have another oppor; tunity of expressing ourselves more fully on this subject, and should be glad to do it without the appearance of personality.
One remark, however, we wust just add,-- which is, that the following prayer in Mr. D.'s Selection for Daily Use adapted from the Confirmation Service) appears to us highly objectionable.
“ Almighty and everlasting God, who hast vouchsafed to regenerate thy servants by water and the Holy Ghost, and hast given unto us forgiveness of all our sins: strengthen us, we beseech thee, O Lord, with the Holy Gbest the Comforter," &c.
We are aware that it would not be difficult by an abstract argument to put a favourable gloss upon this unusual mode of invocation; but practically it appears to us to admit of no justification, and is utterly repugnant to the tone and style of our public se vices as intended for the purpose of common prayer. The only approach to it is the Collect for Christmas-day, which, however, the Table of Collects attached to our old Prayer Books (as ur, Faber reminds us) is said to be a prayer for Regeneration, ada ought, in our opinion, to be so used," not, of course, on the ground that none in the congregation are regenerated, but on te ground that there may be some present who have received the outward sign of baptism without the inward grace." Similari, we are prepared to argue, the strong terms gratuitously adopted by Mr. D. from the Confirmation Service, would, for any other purpose and in any other sense, be indefensible. Their use in the Confirmation Service is a distinct question ; but we sincerely boje Mr. D. will see the propriety of expunging them from his Dan Services as adapted to domestic use. We are the more free in alverting to this point, because Mr. D. appears to us, so far as