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LETTER FROM AN ABSENT MOTHER TO HER DAUGHTER,
PREVIOUS TO HER FIRST COMMUNION.
MY DEAR Cuild,—Since I am from consequences of sin, and that He necessity obliged to commit the care bore them in the fullest degree, not of your youth to strangers, I can only merely in his body, but in great afflicsupply the want of a mother's daily tion of soul as the Friend of man, who instruction by using the few opportu- was willing to be made like unto him in nities I enjoy of writing to you; and his fallen state, sin only excepted, that I now sit down to give you my thoughts so the nature which had sinned might on the important step which, accord- be made to suffer in the greatest posing to my desire, you are about to take, sible degree, it being fit that it should of drawing near in faith to that table appear to angels and to men that sin where the appointed memorials of the deserved suffering ; and our Saviour christian sacrifice are consecrated being no less than the Son of God, and partaken of in fellowship; which this dignity made His sufferings of is what the Church calls communion, inestimable account, and God hereaccording to the expression of St. upon has given power over all flesh Paul, “Is it not the communion of into His hand, so that whosoever applies the body and blood of Christ ?'' to and places himself under His care
I wish you, my dear child, to un- shall be saved and brought to God, if derstand, what it is that gives you a so they remain obedient to Him, and right to approach this table, and the seek His will and ways above all benefits you are to seek and hope for things. Therefore, my dear child, by so doing.
what I wish you to do when you come You have had the inestimable favour to the Lord's table is this, to give of being dedicated to God in baptism, yourself up to Him, that He may a favour which comes to us by ineans teach and save you, for He is the of our Saviour, who came down to Prophet and King as well as the earth to atone for our sins and to
Priest of His Church. All good thoughts and to shew us the way to heaven; and desires come from Him; and it and you did, I hope, give yourself up you
feel your mind dark and your to Him at your confirmation ; and heart wandering, you must consider thus, I trust, you are prepared to it is because you do not come enough commemorate His dying love. The to this good Saviour, and that you are knowledge of a heavenly state, and taken up with other things, and this the power to attain unto it was lost you must lay before Him in prayer by the fall of man. Both are only and humble confession and intreat restored by the Lord Jesus, and there- Him to give you wisdom to stay your fore I charge you to take great heed mind upon Him. In baptism you to all the words He spoke and left on were made a member of His Church, record in the New Testament, and and in receiving the Holy Commualso all that His servants the holy nion, you profess to take Him as your Apostles have written concerning Him. Saviour. You must therefore beg of He Himself instituted this important Him to give you a heart to know sacrament, wherein His death is shewn Him, and you must not be discouraged forth; therefore you should consider because you find yourself so ignorant, that this is the Gospel set before your but learn to turn simply to Him to eyes, for you to lay hold on as your enlighten your understanding, to warm hope, even as the preaching of pious your heart, and to pardon all of your and instructed men is the Gospel sins. This you may do secretly in given to your ears. Christ has or- your heart during the course of the dained that the representation of His day, when you are busy at work, and body broken, and of His blood poured you will find such thoughts often reforth, should be given in the Churches, peated will draw your mind towards that we might ever remember and lay heaven, and give you a confidence to heart, that death and pain are the that you have a Friend there, and this
will be a means of preserving you you retire for prayer;
and from doing any thing you know or help your preparation for that blessed suspect to be wrong, lest you should ordinance of which you are called to offend your Divine Friend.
partake. I beg you to read over this letter Your affectionate mother, more than once, and think of it when
REVISION OF THE LITURGY. No. II.
By the Rev. C. H. Davis, M. A., Oxon.* In a former paper attention was in- opinion among members of the vited to a summary of the principal Church.” His Grace carefully abarguments which have from time to stains from the expression of any time been advanced both against and personal opinion, either way, respectfor a Revision of the Liturgy. The ing the desirableness of revision, probalance of the evidence there adduced vided the circumstances of the Church would seem to be in favour of such a were such as to render any attempt Revision, if practicable. The point of the kind practicable or safe. To therefore, to be next considered is the guide, therefore, and influence the practicability of Revision. Assuming public mind, and by the moral means it to be desirable (to say the least) of fair and candid arguments, and for the ultimate peace of the Estab- calm and open discussion, to remove lished Church, Is it practicable? Can the prevalent objections to any such it be effected? If so, in what way attempt which at present exist among and by what means is it to be effected? the rulers, ministers, and members of What steps should be taken by those our Church, seems to be the first step who wish that it should be done? And necessary to be taken in this imporhere, the history of the past will
sup- tant matter. For the Bishop of St. ply considerable precedent for the Asaph, in relating the origin of the guidance of the present-if it be rightly Reformation, tells us that a certain followed.
question by certain circumAnd first, to some it has appeared stances* " brought under discussion;" that the Reply to a lay address given and truly adds, that “whenever this by the Archbishop of Canterbury, is the case, it may always be hoped dated “Dec. 11” 1850, and still more that truth will ultimately prevail,” recently his Grace's speech in par- (History of the Church of England, liament, in July last, respecting the s. 302, p. 163). And so in this case Revival of Convocation, indicate a the event has proved. Now Dr. determined resolution on his Grace's M'Neil thus forcibly states his own part, ever to resist all attempts at view of this important question, and Liturgical Revision. But this does describes the opposition which has to not appear to be his Grace's meaning: be encountered in attempting to effect The terms of his letter of “11 Dec.”
it: “I am increasingly, impressed are these : “ Men's minds are at pre- with the absolute necessity of some sent in so excited a state that any alteration of the Prayer-Book or Act of Uniformity is further removed than vocates of reform at this moment not only had Those who object to any part
to contend against their open enemies," says of the Liturgy should be reminded Bp. Short, “the friends of the old superstition, that it treats of subjects on which
but were equally endangered by the injudicious there always has been difference of
zeal of their own hasty and unthinking allies;"
they “ without waiting for authority, began to • Author of " Hints and Suggestions on a remove images," while Bp. Gardiner "conti. Revision of the Liturgy." Published by J. H. nued to maintain their utility," so that, says Jackson, Islington Green and Paternoster Row, Bp. Short, " the question was brought under
discussion," &c., as quoted alove in the text.
• The circumstances were these : "The ad
movement in this direction for the it is difficult to estimate the mass of preservation of our Church. I fear injury they have done to mankind. none will be made. Dread of altera- By means of them, pride, and indotion is as intense as it could be-and lence, and obstinacy, have bolstered as it ought to be-if all our ritual in themselves up in their favourite inertits most minute details, were of ex- ness, gaining the too ready concurpress Divine appointment. While rence of the timid and feeble-minded for the sake of details of human good. Nor have these sayings, when origin, and of at least questionable listened to, ever failed to justify themwisdom, we are involved in a con- selves. For they withhold men from tinued violation, towards many Chris- conceding, until the concession is extian brethren, of that loving forbear- torted from them, and then it is ance which is indeed of Divine ap- yielded grudgingly, reluctantly ; it pointment.” (Church and the Churches, does not come as an act of grace, and c. iii. pp. 83, 84, 2nd Edit.)* Dr. thus carries no grace to the receivers, M`Neil then proceeds to quote the who, initiated by long contention, and following forcible remarks of Arch- having learned their own strength deacon Hare: “I know that they from the constraint they have exwho desire to act in the manner here ercised over their adversaries, have recommended, are sure to be met been prepared to crave for more, and with those stupid and mischievous emboldened to insist upon it. Surely
that one concession brings on a wise man will say, If a concession another, and that, when you have ought to be made, let it be made forthonce begun to give way and to change, with, and thus gain that only real you can never tell where you will be strength which arises from being in the able to stop. Harmless as these say- right. Then, should a concession which ings may seem in their utter fatuity, ought not to be made, be demanded of
me, the very strength accruing to me • Well does Rev. J. B. Marsden speak of this
from this act will better enable me to subject, writing on the year 1595, as follows: “ How far the clergy might be indulged in a
refuse it. O that people could be partial conformity, even supposing them sin:
brought to believe that right is always cerely attached, upon the whole, to the commu
might, and that wrong is always nion of the English Church, was then, as it still
weakness !" (Adn. Hare's The Unity continues to be, an anxious question. The rude
of the Church, pp. 43, 44, as quoted hand of arbitrary power, and the contemptuous by Dr. M'Neil, p. 84). spirit of insubordination, feel no difficulty.
The several sections of the AntiGentler spirits, embued with a deeper love of
Reform-movement class of Churchmen justice, hesitate and pause. If the enactment have been thus graphically described must be rigidly obeyed, it should be framed so by the Rev. J. B. Marsden : “ There as to sit easily upon a scrupulous conscience,- is always a large class who content nay, upon an independent spirit. Otherwise themselves with the decent formalities the energy of the Christian Minister is lost, to of religion, and condemn its warmth say nothing of his integrity. Again, since and fervour as so much enthusiasm ; every society, whether secular or ecclesias
there are the stubborn who admit no tical, forced or voluntary, must be governed change, and the timid who, with by its peculiar laws, which, from the variety general longings for improvement, of men's minds, will necessarily press with
condemn every specific attempt at unequal weight upon its various members,
reformation as ill-timed or injudicious. and which therefore cannot be alike acceptable
And even the clerical body has never, to all; it follows that each member must be content to sacrifice much of his inclination,
in any Church, been without its sloth
ful members, who shrink from toil, nay, it may be, something of his conscientious
and condemn the zeal of others chiefly principles, of his abstract ideas of what, in par
because it reflects upon their own inticular instances, would be the most fitting and the best,--for the sake of mutual co-operation,
competence." (History of Early Puriand all those other advantages which result
tans, c. iv. s. 14, p. 110). Against from united as opposed to solitary action.”
the adverse pleas of the formal, “the (Marsden's History of the Early Puritans, c. vii. stubborn," and the “slothful,” the S. 4, p. 190).
arguments of Adn. Hare, before
quoted, will here suffice. But in reply hope and expect to see it in due time to the pleas of "the timid " who in Scripturally and efficiently accomtheir hearts desire Liturgical emen- plished.* For surely it cannot be the dation, but yet fear the difficulties fact, that the rulers and members of and dangers attendant on the attempt, our Church, after having been blessed may be urged the following senti- for no less than three centuries with ments of the Rev. P. Gell : “ The
an open Bible, and after having for principle of lawful revision is retained nearly two centuries given a fair trial by our liturgy in itself. Nothing has yet to our Book of Common Prayer in its been considered final or unchangeable, present form, as settled at the last as the Preface shews ... Clearer appre- review in 1661, are in this nineteenth hensions of Scripture, and changing century less capable of changing a exigency of times and occasions, form few sentences in its ritual (which exno unimportant considerations for perience has proved to have ever been seeking a lawful advance in the work.
a prolific source of strife and confu... I reverence most deeply some of sion), than our forefathers, then just the ablest defenders of our Church, merging from Popish darkness, were who desire to repress the discussion to change the entire worship and of it, and deprecate any meddling faith of the nation in the sixteenth with our Liturgy, as a whole so as- century ? Surely, it cannot be so? IF tonishingly excellent, lest it should
IT BE, to our shame be it spoken! The be spoiled. I would, however, that writer of these remarks, however, will their faith in the care of God were not believe it, till it has been proved stronger : though nothing would I that so it is. On the contrary, heprecipitate. But I am also most
without affirming that this particular firmly convinced that others, who
year, or even the next year, is the throw all idea of improvement from one exactly fitted to begin so great a them with contempt, are really che- work, yet—believes that the present rishing the weakness of our Church, circumstances of the Church are, on (and some weak parts she has), in- the whole, far more favourable for stead of increasing her spiritual in- Liturgical revision, than they have tegrity and strength, by removing been before, at the previous Revisions occasions of disparagement. Such in 1552, 1559, 160Ā, and 1661. Our occasions preclude many most valua- bench of bishops contains prelates ble men from her communion, and eminent for piety and learning, and are the very vantage ground for bat- sound common sense, more numerous tle against some of the most faithful than have existed together at any one that are in it.” (Gell's Essay on Spiri- time together on the English and tual Baptism, &c., p. 8, note, Hatch- Irish bench since the Reformationards, 1847). “Not to take this latter age ;-certainly far superior to those way is to perpetuate interminable dispute; to take it wisely would be for the peace and health of the Church • Let us take courage when we remember on this subject for ever,” (p. 16).* the discouraging circumstances which attended
Let the subject, then, of Liturgical the commencement of the Church Missionrevision be taken up in the spirit of ary,” fifty years ago, –a Society now in a most true faith and earnest and continued flourishing state! Also the opposition to Rev. prayer for the Divine blessing and C. Simeon's ministry at Cambridge, who subse. guidance, t and we may reasonably quently became so highly honoured and emiof 1661-2,*
nently blessed! Nay, let us remember the feeble
origin of the Tractarian movement, which now the excellent articles-signed "C. A.”-in the shakes our Church to its very centre-the meet" Christian Guardian " for March, 1851, (No.15), ing of a few Oxford “fellows,” in a room at one pp. 97—99; and September, (No. 21), pp. 406- of the colleges. (See Perceval's Collection of
Papers). Union and perseverance, and the use + See the Remarks and an accompanying form of the press, enabled them to turn the tide of Prayer for social use, with reference to this of public opinion into a torrent - the effects subject, in the “Christian Guardian" for April, 1851, (No. 16), pp. 169–170.
• The writer would here refer his readers to
"Fas est et ab hoste
of which we now feel.
when the Liturgy was last stitutionally attempt to bring it about? revised. Our parochial clergy, as a (i.) The history of the past will supply body, are immeasurably superior to precedents for the present. Imme the clergy of those times, as are also diately on the accession of King the lay-members of our Church.t James I., was presented to his Majesty Moreover, both clergy and laity are the famous “Millenary petition," so now heartily attached to the Liturgy called because it professed to repreas a whole, so that the discussion sent the wishes of a thousand clergywould not have now to be carried on men, though the names actually subwith a violent party, like the Puritans scribed were only about 750 or 800. in 1604 and 1661, who really wished This petition requested a revision of for the total abolition of the Liturgy, the Liturgy and the reformation of but only with those who may wish certain ecclesiastical abuses. The for comparatively slight changes in a immediate result was, in 1603-4, the few particulars. Let any candid per- celebrated Hampton Court Conference son contemplate the names of Arch- of representatives of both parties, and bishops Sumner and Musgrave; of a revision of the Liturgy, by the Bishops Sumner, Kaye; Davys, Short; king's authority in a Royal ProclamaOllivant, Pepys, Longley, Lonsdale, tion, without the intervention of either Gilbert, Graham, O'Brien, Daly, D. Parliament or Convocation—though Wilson, Dealtry, Harding, Anderson, Convocation afterwards accepted the Perry, &c., and the names of the fol. Liturgy so revised, in and by its lowing eminent writers on the Liturgy Eightieth Canon. (See an account of or Ecclesiastical History, Revs. W. the whole matter in Bp. Short's HisGoode, J. B. Marsden, Dr. M.Neil, tory of the Church of England, (J. W. C. Benson, T. H. Horne, S. Jenner, Parker, London), sections 501-512, S. Rowe, Dr. Cardwell, T. Lathbury, pp. 343–355, and Rev. J. B. MarsJ. C. Robertson, Jeremiah Smith, den's History of the Early Puritans, J. W. Bennett, Esq., J.C. Fisher, Esq., (Hatchards), c. x. sns. 3—29, pp. 249 (of Cockermouth,) &c, &c.; and let -276). (ii.) On the restoration of him maintain, if he can, that we have Charles II. the Non-conformists prenot men as fit to revise the Liturgy sented a petition praying for the corin the nineteenth century, as were rection of certain abuses, and for a those who have revised it on for- renewed Revision of the Liturgy (See mer occasions? Nay, does not the Bp. Short, sns. 661–666, pp. 482history of the past rather give an ad- 488), the consequence of which was a vantage to the present generation, Royal Commission, in 1661, consists which was not possessed by their fore- ing of representatives of both parties, fathers ? Assuming, then, the times
who discussed the details of the proto be on the whole not unfavourable posed Revision at the Savoy Confor Revision, the next question is, ference, (see Bp. Short, sns. 660—679, How can its friends lawfully and con- pp. 482—503). The result was, our
Liturgy in its present form.* In 1689,
a Royal Commission was formed for * See the comparative view of the English Episcopate in 1661 and 1851, in two lis's, in
the purpose of revising the Liturgy,
but its deliberations were never carthe “ Christian Guardian," for January, 1851,
ried into effect. An account of its (No. 13), p. 37.
proceedings may be seen in Bp.Short's + The vigorous efforts to support Church Ex
History, sns. 806–810, pp. 585-593, tension, both at home and in the colonies, and
as also in vol. v. of Rev. P. Hall's Missions to Jew and Gentile, are a practical
“Reliquiæ Liturgicæ," Preface, pp. proof of this improvement. Let the candid reader only peruse the accounts given of the
13–18. state of religion and of the Church in the reigns * It has, indeed, been affirmed by some that of Elizabeth, James I., and Charles I., in Bp. the Revision of 1661 was a retrograde moveShort's History of the Church of England, or
In a few particulars it may, perhaps, be Rev. J. B. Marsden's History of the Early Pu- so considered. But as a whole the Liturgy was ritans, and he will be convinced of the truth of much improved by that revision, as could easily
be proved by many of the details.