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bishops, and the bishop of the diocese, were mentioned by name, as the King, the Queen, and the Prince of Wales, are in our service. The bishops are guides and governors of the church of Christ. With the highest dignity they have the weightiest charge. By being advanced above all, they become the servants of all.
After the Bishops we pray for Curates. By the word curates, the church does not mean in particular to describe what the term now generally imports; assistant curates, who for a stipend sometimes irregularly paid, and seldom equal to the wages of an ordinary mechanic, perform all the duties of a parochial minister. These indeed need our prayers, and their case demands assistance of another kind *. But by curates the church means all those to whom the bishop, as chief pastor under Christ, has committed the cure, or care of some part of his flock. Their office is to catechise the young, to instruct the ignorant, to encourage the good, to reprove the wicked, to help the weak-hearted, to comfort the afflicted, to relieve the distressed, to visit the sick, to present the prayers of the congregation, to preach the word of God, to administer the holy sacraments, and to perform the other rites and ceremonies appointed by the church. They are required not only to be diligent in teaching, exhortation, and prayer, and in the study of the holy Scriptures, but they are likewise to show themselves a pattern of all christian virtues and graces, that, both by their doctrine and example, they may be a means of saving the souls of those committed to their charge. When we reflect upon the extent and importance of the sacred oltice, we shall require no farther considerations to induce us to pray for the clergy; as well knowing that without the grace of God assisting his labours, the best endeavours of the ablest minister of the gospel will be unprofitable and vain. Even St. Paul himself, though possessing every possible qualification for the due discharge of the work of the ministry, was so sensible of his own insufficiency, that we find him repeatedly beseeching the churches to whom he addressed his epistles, “to pray for him; to pray that utterance might be given unto him to make known the inystery of the gospel.” (Eph. vi, 19. Col. iv. 3.) And notwithstanding all his perseverance and labour in the vineyard of Christ, he makes this modest and virtuous covfession, “ I have planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.” (1 Cor.iii. 6.)
The BENEDICTION. This, as it has been observed, is not strictly a blessing, but rather an intercessionary prayer, wherein the priest implores a blessing for himself, as well as for the congregation. Though it is pronounced by the minister alone, the congregation ought mentally to address it to God. The church has made it, and calls it a prayer t and therefore the ininister is directed to kneel. In this prayer, the minister commits himself and the people, to the care and protection of the ever-blessed Trinity, beseeching God, who is three persons in one nature, that the grace obtained by
. Since this was written, “ An Act for the better Support and Maintenance of Curates," has been paired, 't See the Rubric before the prayer for the King. ' Vol. II, Churchm, Mag. 1802. Sup. 3F
our Lord Jesus Christ in the redemption may absolve us, that the love of the Father, who is now reconciled through his blood, may justify us; and lastly, that by partaking of the communication of the Holy Ghost, we may be sanctified.
Though the Apostle's benediction is not literally copied from the benediction ordained by God himself under the law : (Numb. vi. 23 ) yet it virtually agrees with it. “On this wise shall ye bless the children of Israel, saying unto them,
The Lord bless thce and keep thee:
And th ancient form of benediction, in which the name of Jehovah is repeated three times, and in the Masoretic copies with a different accent each time, is, by the Jews themselves, supposed to contain a divine mystery. The pious Christian will, without hesitation, and with reverence, acknowledge that it contains a direct allusion to the persons of the ever-blessed Trinity, to the Father, that he may bless and keep us; to the Son, that he may make his face to shine upon us, and be gracious to us; and to the Holy Ghost, that he may lift up the light of his countenance upon us, and give us peace both now and everinore.
ON SINGING PSALMS.
The propriety of singing Psalms and Hymns will hardly be disputed by the most obstinate Dissenter. In the length of the present service of the Church of England, including three intire offices originally distinct, psalmody has been urged as necessary to remove the languor that may occasionally arise; formerly, the morning prayer was said at six, the litany about nine, and the office of the holy communion at a considerable distance of time after the litany. The custom of standing while this duty is performed, has been strongly recommended of late, and as to the manner, where the people are not skilled in the science of music, simple melodies are the most easily performed. Religious harmony, says Collier, “should be moving, but noble, grave, solemn, and seraphic; fit for a martyr to play, and an angel to hear.” Such are the notes of the 100th, and the old 104th psalm. As to the objections against the use of an organ, which are now daily wearing away, if it be considered merely as an accoinpaniment to the voice, it is a valuable acquisition. Whilst it regulates the singing, it certainly encourages the modest and diffident to join in this delightful act of divine worship.
n o. OF ABSOLUTION. 1. By way of concluding what we wished to appear rather as a vindica, tion of the doctrinals, than the ceremonials of the Church of England, and especially as the latter has been more ablý treated than our room will admit, we shall now borrow a-short retrospect of the objections of our opponents.
Agreeably to the doctrine of Holy Scriptures, the fathers unanimously inaintain, that “God alone can forgive sins." In their elaborate defences of the Christian faith, and their refutations of the crroneous
opinions of those who have been stigmatised as heterodox and heretical, we find them frequently pressing this arguinent, in proof of the divinity of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, that they, (viz, the Son and the Holy Ghost,) have the power of forgiving sins.
Declaratory absolution, which has likewise been called the absolution of word and doctrine, appears to be that which constitutes the most material part of the ministry of reconciliation, committed by Christ to his ambassadors on earth. (2 Cor. v. 18, 19.)
The exercise of this absolution consists in publishing the terms and conditions, on which remission of sins, reconciliation to God, and everlasting salvation, are promised in the gospel. Of these terms and conditions the ministers of Christ are authorized and enjoined to make public and general declaration. The apostles were commanded to “go into all the world, and to preach the gospel to every creature." And every priest of the Church of England has solemnly engaged, “out of the Holy Scriptures to instruct the people committed to his charge in all things necessary to their salvation *. In particular, he is bound to declare froin the word of truth, the terms on which God is graciously pleased to admit men to his favour, and what are the conditions, without the performance of which, they shall be excluded from it.—The terms, on which God, under the covenant of grace, remits, or retains sins, are unalterably fixed, and they are expressly declared in the gospel. The terms are thesc: God pardons and absolves all true penitents, and sincerc believers; and will give everlasting life to all his faithful and obedient servants. But the impenitent shall perish t. The unbelieving shall die in his sins 1. Indignation and wrath shall be the portion of the disobedient §.-Whenever the minister of the gospel, either in the public or private discharge of his office, fully and faithfully represents these truths to the people, he docs, in other words, declare and pronounce to them whose sins are remitted, and whose sins are retained by God..
The duty of the minister of Christ Jesus, as it is understood by our Church, consists principally in instruction and e. hortation. The one convinces the understanding, the other cigages the affections. And when instructions, united with exhortations, produce in the hearts of men, “ repentance, whereby they forsake sin; and faith, whereby they steadfastly believe the promises” of God made in the gospel, the priest may, in the scriptural sense of the words, be said to loose the people from their sins, for in Scripture the sinner is represented as holden with the cords of his sins.
The ministers of the gospel may, in a lax and popular sense of the words, be said to be instrumental in reconciling men to God, and accessary to their obtaining remission of sins, for to them " the ministry of remission is committed,” and “the word of reconciliation given." As the Jewish teachers, “by taking away the key of knowledge, did shut up the kingdom of heaven against men;" so “every scribe, instructed unto the kingdom of heaven, by opening to his hearers the door of faith," unlocks that kingdom. He is the instrument employed by God “to open men's cyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins.'
• Office of Ordination.
John viii. 24.
+ Luke xiij. 3.
3 F 2
Rom. xi. 8.
The 404 A New Anniversary proposed: Character of Luther, &c.
The absolution of word and doctrine, that is, the act of preaching the gospel, and properly applying Holy Scripture, may in a popular, but not in the strict sense of the terms, be likewise styled operative and efficacious. It may be said to be operative, so far as God employs it as the means of conferring his spirit upon men, and of working faith and repentance, by which remission of sins is obtained. Thus John, o preaching the baptism of repentance, for the remission of sins, and teaching the people that they should believe in him, which should come after him, that is, on Jesus Christ,” is said “ to turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God.” He did this by “ giving knowledge of salvation unto the knowledge of the Lord, for the remission of their sins." John had not properly any power to turn men's hearts. He, like the priests of the gospel was entrusted with the ministry of the word of the grace of God, which is able to convert men, and to build them up, and to give them inheritance among the sanctified. Thus whoever by the application of this word converts a sinner, is said to save a soul from death. The conversion of a sinner, and the saving of a soul from death, is a prerogative peculiar to God. Yet the ministers may be said to effect this, and to reconcile men to God, when they per, form the ministry of reconciliation, as they are said " to save their hearers,” when they successfully “preach the gospel, by which they are saved.” Thus the word is said to be " their word,” which is in truth the word of God.” Where the preaching of the gospel proves " the power of God unto salvation," the weakness of the ministry must be ascribed to men, “the excellency of the power is of God.” “ So then, neither he that planteth is any thing, nor he that watereth, but God that giveth the increase.” And this may suffice for the doctrine of absolu, țion as held by the Church of England.
A NEW ANNIVERSARY PROPOSED: CHARACTER OF
TO THE EDITORS OF TIIĘ ORTHODOX CHURCIIMAN's MAGAZINE.
GENTLEMEN, RESIDES announcing the circumstance of an ANNIVERSARY OF
D TIE REFORMATION still observed in Gerinany, and which is voorthy of adoption in every Protestant country, not to mention some other curious though local incidents, which transpire in the piece before you, I hope you will agree with me that it also contains an additional and animated testimony of that I lopenoise which Bishop Atterbury so justly attributes to our primitive reformer, in the masterly delincation of his character. (Vide an answer to some Considerations on the Spirit of Martin Luther; printed at the Theatre, Oxford, 1687.) The following warm effusion, by a German divine, a member of the university of Wittenberg, was written during a journey through that city in 1786. Its translation is much at your service.
WM HAMILTON REID
A Meditation upon the Tomb of Luther.
HERE rest the ashes of a man, who may justly be numbered among the greatest since the time of the apostles : a man, whose fiery piercing eye during his life-time, very few could long sustain ;-the ashes of that noble German who defied Emperors, Kings, Popes, and even the Spirit of the bottomless pit! A man, who not from others received his faith ; but who derived his conviction of religious truths from his own pene, tration and experience : acknowledging the Holy Scriptures as his only guide in matters of faith; a man, who had the courage to go to Worms, and meet his most powerful enemies with the declaration, “ that he would not retract a word in his writings, unless convinced of his errors, whatever might be the consequence.” He was a man whom God made the instrument of purifying his Church from the accumulated errors and abuses of several centuries; crrors, avowed and defended by the formidable power of the Bishop of Rome; a man, whose character was that of integrity, candour, firmness, fidelity, independence, and unconquerable heroism, and to whose writings the greatest part of Europe is at this day indebted for the light and freedom it enjoys.
Hallowed be the tomb of this great Reformer and lover of learning; the unfeigned worshipper of God; the sincere Christian: over this tomb his. Providence has never ceased, not only to protect his ashes from contempt, but has still preserved them in honour; even Princes contended for that of his interment. Here Melancthon pronounced his funeral oration ! Here the Emperor Charles V. being excited to dis-inter and burn the body of the supposed heretic, exclaimed “ Let him rest : I have nothing to do with Luther. He is now before his. judge; upon whose office I dare not intrude : know, I wage no war with the dead, but with the living who oppose me.” Beautiful, magnanimous, eren princely, were these words in the mouth of a monarch, who afterwards lived long enough to be convinced of the futility of all attempts to effect an unanimity among mankind in religious opinions, and much more to persecute. them on that account. But upon his mortal part I will no longer dwell: I will attempt to comprehend the magnitude of the mind that informed it, and which now enjoys all the privileges of its triumphs among the spirits of just men made perfect. May that spirit descend upon all the members of this university, and every preacher in his party. May I also be a partaker of the same, of a perfect love of truth ; courage to avow it, and virtue to bring it into action.- Methinks I feel an attachment to these virtues growing stronger and stronger. I ras also born in t Eisleben: 1 was baptized in the church of St. Peter's, and went to school in the house in which Luther was born. Nine years I was the stated preacher of the annual sermon in commemoration of his great work of Reformation ; and this, in the church and near the pulpit in which he himself had often stood, and from whence Doctor Jonas delivered his funeral sermon. What encouragement! Here I am surrounded with monuments and nicmorials of the greatest acts which God has performed by the first and the greatest Theologian in this quarter of the world. Almighty Ruler of the Universe ! since Thou disposest of individuals and nations according to