A History of the Nonjurors/Chapter 11

A History of the Nonjurors - ornament 5.png
 

CHAPTER XI.

 
Offices of Nonjurors.—Communion Office.—Deacon's Collection.—Its Departures from the Book of Common Prayer.—Differences between the Separatists and the Regular Body.—Reflections.—Neglect of Certain Rubrics traced to the Latitudinarian Spirit of the Revolution, and to the Practices of the Nonjurors.—The Rubrics Considered.—Obedience in General.—Lessons.—Mutilations.—Omissions.—Neglected Rubrics.—Surplice.—Prayer for Church Militant.—Offertory.—Conduct of the Objectors to the Rubrics.—Conclusion.
 

Of the principles on which the Nonjurors separated from the National Church, as well as of their internal divisions, an account has been given in the previous chapters: but some further particulars, relative to the Offices used by the two sections, after the second separation in 1733, or 1734, are necessary to complete the history of the body. From a preceding page, it will be seen, that Hickes usually administered the Lord's Supper according to the Form in King Edward's first Liturgy: but this practice was by no means common until the discussions arose respecting the Usages, the Nonjurors previously adhering to the Book of Common Prayer, in all its Offices, rejecting only the name of the reigning Sovereign. This is particularly mentioned by Bennet in 1716; so that the majority did not follow the example of Hickes. After the new Communion Office had been adopted by one section in 1718, the Book of Common Prayer was still used by the other: and even those, who received the new Office, still adhered to the Liturgy of the National Church in all other particulars. Subsequent to 1733, however, a considerable change took place. All the Nonjurors, with the very few exceptions previously specified, had then adopted the new Communion Office, or at all events the Usages: but in 1734 the parties, who separated from their brethren, and whom, for the sake of precision, I have denominated Separatists, departed altogether from the Liturgy of the Church of England, and adopted a new Book of Common Prayer. In Scotland, the English Book, with the exception of the Office for the Communion, was received by the Nonjurors: and, when they ceased to be a Nonjuring Church, the Prayer Book was retained as a matter of course, and is continued at the present time. I proceed, therefore, to give some account of the Communion Office, adopted by the regular body, and also of the Book which was introduced into public worship among the Separatists.

The new Communion Office is founded on that of King Edward's First Book, A. D. 1549, in which the particular practices, comprehended under the general term Usages, were retained. Not a few of our most eminent theologians, at various periods, have expressed their preference of the Communion Office in the First Book of Common Prayer, though they considered our present form as sufficient. This circumstance, therefore, should certainly make us cautious, in condemning the Nonjurors, or our Scottish brethren, for adopting that form, which, though rejected by our own reformers at the revision of the Prayer Book in 1551, was rejected in consequence of the scruples of some of the foreign reformers, for the sake of preserving peace and union. The four particulars, which have been specified in a previous chapter, and which are known as the Usages, were as a matter of course retained in the New Book. In the structure of the Office, the form of 1549 is followed, rather than that in our present Liturgy, though even the former is not regarded in every particular. The Usages were four, namely, mixing water with the wine,[1] Prayer for the Dead,[2] the Prayer for the Descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Elements,[3] and the Oblatory Prayer.[4] They were not however placed in precisely the same order in which they stood in King Edward's First Book. By this new form, therefore, the Holy Communion was celebrated by Collier's party, after the year 1718, and by all the regular body, subsequent to the union in 1733, until they became extinct.

Appended to the Office for the Communion were two others, for Confirmation and the Visitation of the Sick. Both these vary in some respects from our present Offices. The Chrism or Ointment is retained in the Office for Confirmation, together with the sign of the Cross. There is also a Form for Consecrating the Chrism.[5] It is stated in one of the Rubrics, that the matter of the Chrism is sweet oil of olives and precious Balsam, commonly called Balm of Gilead. In the Office for the Visitation of the Sick, the Priest is directed to place his hand on the head of the sick person, while he pronounces the absolution. The anointing with oil is also enjoined; and a form for administering the Holy Communion to the sick person is appended.[6]

These are the chief peculiarities of the new Communion Office. But it is necessary to remark, that whenever I have spoken of this Office, the forms for Confirmation and the Visitation of the Sick are to be understood as comprehended in the Designation, the name by which the Book is usually known.

Deacon's book was adopted by the Separatists: and an examination of its various Offices will shew how widely this party differed from their Nonjuring brethren, as well as from the Anglican Church. Deacon, though a man of considerable learning, was evidently fond of novelties. As the leader of the party he published in 1734, a collection of Devotions, to be used in their religious services. From this Book, the singular title of which was given in a previous chapter, the prayers used at the execution of the author's son, after the Rebellion in 1745, were taken. It was called their Book of Common Prayer.[7]

Besides this book, he published another very singular work, of which I have already given some account, A Full, True, and Comprehensive View of Christianity: and to these two works we must refer for an illustration of the differences between his party and the rest of the Nonjurors. Certain practices are enjoined in The Devotions, which are explained and defended in the other work: and the two together furnish a distinct view of the points at issue between these two parties. The one work bears upon the other in a singular manner, since the practices prescribed in the Prayer Book are explained in The Comprehensive View.[8] It is true, that on the question of the Oaths, both parties were agreed: but the principles of the Separatists, in many important particulars, were different from those of the other body.

Deacon's new Service Book contained an Order for Morning Prayer, and an Order for Evening Prayer, altogether different in structure from the Book of Common Prayer, to which the regular Nonjurors adhered. These Offices are so unlike the Services in the Anglican Book, that the original leaders of the Nonjuring separation could not possibly have sanctioned them. They were consequently rejected by all, except by Deacon's own party. After the Order for Morning and Evening Prayer there are Prayers for the Catechumens, the Energumens, the candidates for Baptism, and the Penitents. The Energumens were persons supposed to be possessed by evil spirits: and certain Prayers are appointed to be used by the Priest with special reference to such an opinion.

The next form is called the Penitential Office, and was appointed to be used on Wednesdays and Fridays, and on other specified occasions: and it is ordered, that none should be present, except the Faithful and the Penitents. Next in order stands The Communion Office, which not only differs from our own, but also from the Book of 1718.[9] The designation even of the Office is peculiar, differing from that of the Nonjurors, as well as from our own: and by a special Rubric none but the Faithful were permitted to be present at the administration. In addition to the mixture of water with the wine, the Priest is directed to sign his forehead with the sign of the cross to administer the elements to the Deaconesses, and also to Infants, saying simply "The Body of Christ, and The Blood of Christ, the cup of Life." Deacon, it seems, was as much dissatisfied with the Book, which had been arranged by Collier and Brett, as with the Office in the Book of Common Prayer; and therefore, he put forth a new Form, to be used by those congregations in which his authority was recognized.[10]

In "The Order of Confirmation" and "The Order for the Visitation of the Sick," Deacon differs from the Church of England, and also from the other Nonjurors. The Chrism is adopted, as in the Book of 1718, and the rite is ordered to be administered to infants.[11]

The remaining Public Offices in this collection are "The Ministration of Public Baptism;" "The Ministration of Private Baptism;" "The Churching of Women:" "The Order for the Burial of the Dead," "The Communion at the Burial of the Dead;" and "The Form of Consecrations;" all of which differ very widely from our own.

Public Baptism is only allowed between Easter and Pentecost. The sign of the Cross, a Form of Exorcism, the anointing with oil, and the Trine Immersion are enjoined. A portion of consecrated milk and honey, and white garments, as an emblem of innocency, were given to each child.[12] In the case of adults, the Priest was to retire, while the candidates were placed in the water, the males by the Deacons, the females by the Deaconesses. A Form for consecrating the milk and honey is appended to the office.[13] In Private Baptism, which was to be administered only in cases of necessity, the water was to be poured on the infant. As Deacon maintained the doctrine of Infant Communion, the Eucharist was ordered to be administered to the sick child.

In the Office for Churching of Women, there is not any material variation from our own Form: while in the Burial Service, the alterations consist chiefly of additions of prayers for the departed. The Form for "the Celebration of the Holy Eucharist at the Burial of the Dead" differs in several particulars from that in the First Prayer Book of King Edward.

The last of the Public Offices, the Service for Ordinations and Consecrations, is peculiar, especially as one part relates to Deaconesses. The sign of the cross is retained; the kiss of peace is also enjoined to be given by Bishops to the new Bishop, by the Bishop and Presbyters to a Priest, and by the Deacons to a Deacon. The service for Deaconesses is nearly similar to that for Deacons.[14]

The second part of the collection consists of Private Devotions. There are Devotions for the Morning: the Evening: for the ancient Hours of Prayer: to be used in the Church and at the Altar. There are also Offices for daily Private Communion, and for the Commemoration of the Dead. The Office for Private Communion contains a Form for a sick person to administer the sacrament to himself, the elements being reserved from the public administration.[15]

By the adoption of this book of Offices, Deacon's party, even apart from their irregular consecrations, was altogether at variance with the other, in the mode of celebrating Divine Service. But Deacon was not satisfied even with this new collection: for in the year 1746, he published, though without his name, another small volume, consisting of several special Forms, in which he departed still further from the other Nonjurors.[16]

The Form for admitting converts is much stronger in its expressions and requirements, than that which had been drawn up by Kettlewell, and which had been always used by the other party. The Chrism and the sign of the cross were enjoined in such cases. The Litany was to be used on certain specified occasions.

This account of the Offices adopted by the Separatists is sufficient to mark the striking differences between them and the Nonjurors of the regular body, who adhered strictly, with the exception of the Book of 1718, to the worship of the Anglican Church. It must strike the reader very forcibly, that all these differences would have been avoided, if the Nonjurors had followed the advice of Ken, or the example of Dodwell and Nelson. But the bitterness of feeling, under which many of them laboured, had greatly increased as early as the period of Ken's resignation to Hooper. Even before his resignation, he seems to have been anxious, that the schism should be closed. Writing to Hickes, he says, "I wrote to you not long ago, to recommend to your serious consideration, the schism which has so long continued in our Church, and which I have often lamented to my brother of Ely, now with God, and concerning which, I have many years had ill abodings." At this time the Clergy had made a noble stand in defence of the Church, and Ken imagined, that, in consequence, the breach might be healed. He, therefore, recommends Hickes to consult Bishop Lloyd, Dr. Smith, Wagstaffe, and Dodwell. Frampton he excepts, partly on account "of his remoteness" and "partly because he never interrupted communion with the Jurors, which has been the practice also of our friends at Cambridge." He suggested a meeting with Hooper, then the prolocutor of the Lower House of Convocation; but it is clear that no such interview ever occurred. In this Letter even, dated in the year 1700, Ken suggests his own and Lloyd's resignation; and further, that they should print a circular letter, declaring that their views remained the same, but that, to restore the peace of the Church, they were willing to resign. He thought, that such a Letter would enable them to attend the public prayers without being misunderstood.[17] It is singular, that this Letter should have been written to Hickes, the man who laboured more than any other to prevent the closing of the breach, after Lloyd's death.

It appears, that even Lloyd himself had some such thoughts, on the death of King William; for he wrote, begging Ken to repair to London " in this nice conjunction of affairs," to assist them with his counsel.[18] Subsequently, when Ken actually resigned to Hooper, he was much censured by some of the party. "The Jacobites at Bristol," says he, "fomented by those at London, are thoroughly enraged against me for my cession to one, whom all mankind besides themselves have a high esteem of." It seems that some one had previously solicited Ken to adopt clandestine consecrations. "If I should produce the frequent letters, a certaine person wrote to me, for near two yeares together, to importune me to consent to clandestine consecrations, they would discover the temper of the man, and the zeal he shewed to make the schism incurable, which I was always for moderating, forseeing how fatall it would prove."[19] This was written to Lloyd, who then approved of the step taken by Ken, though he afterwards endeavoured to retract his approval. In a subsequent Letter, Ken, alluding to the conduct of the Bristol people, says, "Though you are pleased to tell me, that others kindled this fire, and not yourself, I must take the freedom to tell you, that it is you yourself have most contributed to it. For it is still vehemently urged against me, that I acted quite contrary to your earnest remonstrances, which you know to be false: If I did, I do not remember that I ever put myself into your keeping, and was to do nothing but by your direction: but you yourself can acquit me in that particular, by only relating matter of fact." Ken then quotes Lloyd's own words, in which he had expressed his approval of his resignation, and adds: "No, good Brother, your native thoughts were the same with mine, but when you heard a cry against me, you flew to the distinction of person and cession."[20]

From these letters, it is clear, that Lloyd, had he been left to his own judgment and feelings, would have acted with Ken, and thus the schism would have ceased: but he was prevailed upon by others, among whom no doubt Hickes acted a prominent part, to retrace his steps, and to discountenance Ken in the matter of the resignation. But though it is to be regretted, that such a course was not pursued, yet it must not be supposed, that the Nonjurors, after Lloyd's death, were unable to plead any thing in justification of their conduct. The previous pages will prove the contrary. As an individual, I regret that all did not concur with Dodwell: and I have less sympathy with the second than with the first generation of Nonjurors: but I cannot join in an indiscriminate sentence of condemnation. On the contrary, I have done justice to their memory in this volume, having endeavoured to rescue it from those groundless charges, with which it has on many occasions been loaded by persons, who cannot be compared with the Nonjurors, either in learning or piety.

In reviewing the period embraced in this volume, the unbiassed reader must be struck with the important services rendered, by the Nonjurors, to the religion and the literature of our country. He who imagines that, when the danger from popery was averted by the elevation of King William to the throne, the Anglican Church was exposed to no further perils, is greatly mistaken in the opinion which he has formed. It has been shewn, that a Latitudinarian spirit came in with the Revolution, obtaining a strong hold of some of the principal actors of that period, both in Church and State. Tillotson, and Stillingfleet, and Kidder, as well as Burnet, together with many other estimable men, were strongly influenced by this dangerous leaven. Against this system the Nonjurors made a noble stand: and providentially the majority of the complying clergy united with them, in resisting the innovations, which otherwise would have been introduced. By their united efforts, the Anglican Church was rescued from the danger, by which she was threatened, and which, had it not been averted, would speedily have reduced her to a mere state establishment. She nobly withstood the shock of Romanism in the reign of King James: and, by the conduct of her Clergy, she was delivered from the danger, not less imminent than the former, arising from Latitudinarian indifference. When we remember, that she was assailed by professed friends, as well as by open enemies—by Latitudinarian Churchmen and Dissenters united in one common league against her sacred institutions—we cannot but feel grateful to Almighty God, for preserving the Church in her integrity amidst the shocks consequent upon the Revolution. It cannot be denied, that King William was indifferent, whether Episcopacy or Presbytery prevailed in England: many of his supporters entertained similar views: and even some of the Bishops did not regard their own sacred order as necessary to the constitution of the Church. Happily the great body of the Clergy were attached to the Church, though they had renounced their allegiance to King James. Accordingly they rallied round the Church, when the dangers appeared: and the Prelates, who contemplated many serious changes, were thwarted in their designs, by their own Clergy. Between the regular Nonjurors and the great mass of the Clergy, there were no differences of opinion on any other subjects than those of the Oaths and the Usages. On all Church questions they were united. Alive to the danger by which the Church was menaced, by that latitudinarian spirit which regarded discipline and government as matters to be set aside at pleasure, the Clergy united in opposing all innovations in either, as well as any alterations in the Book of Common Prayer. Had all the Bishops entertained the same views as Burnet, and had the Clergy generally concurred in opinion with the minorities in the Lower House of Convocation, in the reign of King William, we should not now have been permitted to worship God, in our parish Churches, with an unmutilated Prayer Book. A spirit was brought in with the Revolution, which, had it not been restrained, would have introduced most material changes in our Liturgy, our Articles, and our Ecclesiastical government: and it becomes all the friends of the Anglican Church to be thankful, that the evils to which I have alluded were mercifully averted.[21]

But though the danger was averted by the sound and orthodox portion of the Clergy, yet the latitudinarian leaven was not completely cast out. It was restrained from effecting any organic changes, but it remained in the Church, working its way among some of the Clergy. A new school of Theology arose, which exercised considerable influence, and the more so from the support which it received oftentimes from the Government. The leaders of this school were men of learning, of moderation, and of piety, but being Erastian in theory, they were ready to remodel every thing connected with the Church—her ceremonies, her discipline, and the Book of Common Prayer. They would have proposed many changes, if they had not been restrained by the great body of the Clergy, who were resolved to maintain the Church in her integrity.

For a series of years, some of the Rubrics in the Book of Common Prayer have been, not universally, but to a considerable extent, neglected. The Clergy, in many cases, have not observed them, as they have not been enforced by the Bishops. It may, therefore, be asked, to what causes is this neglect to be attributed? My own opinion is, that two causes, especially connected with the period to which this volume refers, may be assigned. These are, first, the Latitudinarian spirit of which I have spoken, and secondly, the practices of the Nonjurors.

With regard to the first, it may be observed, that the individuals, who adopted the Latitudinarian principles, which allowed of so much laxity in all matters of discipline and ceremonies, would by no means be anxious to conform to the Rubrics. Yet it was from this class, that the bishoprics and dignities of the Church were generally supplied for some years after the Revolution. Those, who held such principles, were not ready as Clergymen to practise, nor as Bishops to enforce conformity. Hence arose a variety in practice. The Clergy, who wished to preserve the Church in her integrity, complied with all her regulations: while the men, who in 1689 had sanctioned the alterations adopted by the Ecclesiastical commission, were not likely to adhere very strictly to ceremonies, which they had sought to abolish. Laxity on the part of some of the Bishops, and indifference on the part of some of the Clergy, were the consequences: and the parties, who advocated changes, soon ceased to comply with certain Rubrics, when their diocesans considered their breach as meritorious as their observance. The men, who were disappointed in not getting their proposed changes introduced, when promoted to high stations, were not very ready to enforce a compliance with Rubrics which they did not observe themselves.[22]

The second cause was not less operative in producing a neglect of some of the Rubrics, namely, the practices of the Nonjurors. That the Nonjurors were conscientious and scrupulous men is evident from the fact, that a regard to an oath led them to sacrifice station, influence, and worldly substance. The same feeling respecting oaths and pledges influenced them in all their actions. They had taken an oath to King James, and they could not violate it. They had also pledged themselves to strict conformity, and they could not break their pledge. Consequently, all the injunctions of the Church were strictly observed by these conscientious and upright men. Such conduct, therefore, on the part of the Nonjurors, was calculated to make the Latitudinarian section of the Clergy still more averse to strict conformity. Many of the Bishops, during several years, were indifferent about conformity: and as the Nonjurors were exceedingly particular in such matters, some of the Prelates did not scruple to let certain practices enjoined by the Church fall into comparative neglect. At a later period, when the Nonjurors adopted the Usages, and still later, when Deacon introduced ceremonies, which had never been recognized in the Anglican Church, the cry of Popery was raised even against some of the most excellent of the Clergy, while the laudable customs of the Church were neglected, lest, as it was ignorantly pretended, it should be supposed, that there was some foundation for such an unreasonable charge. To avoid the imputation of popery, some of the weak among the Clergy went into the other extreme, just as some in the present day, in their horror of Rome, rush into a state of schism and error not less dangerous than Popery. And it is well known how difficult it is to revive a practice after it has been discontinued. When, therefore, other Prelates, who were anxious to enforce conformity, came into dioceses in which inconformity had been permitted, they found it difficult to depart from the practice of their predecessors. Thus the irregularities became perpetuated; and though there ever were many Clergymen, who adhered to the Rubrics, yet compliance was by no means general.

These causes combined produced, by slow degrees, that state of things which at present exists. While some complied with the Rubrics, they were neglected by others. And as the Bishops, for some years after the Revolution, were selected from the school of Tillotson and Burnet, the Clergy who were irregular were as much countenanced as those who conformed in obedience to their vows. The result was a very extensive disuse of some of the Rubrics in the Book of Common Prayer.

At the last Review of the Liturgy in 1661 all the important directions of the previous Book were carefully considered. After all the objections alleged by the Presbyterian party had been weighed, our present Rubrics were duly sanctioned by the authority of the Church. Nor was there any material deviation from the letter, until after the Revolution. The attempt to introduce alterations in 1689 failed, so that the Government did not even venture to submit the proceedings of the Ecclesiastical Commission to Convocation: but the spirit, which prompted that attempt, produced, in subsequent years, indifference in principle and laxity in practice.

About the middle of the last century, the fruits of the Latitudinarian leaven were evidenced in an attempt by certain Clergymen, to procure such a revision of the Liturgy as would have opened the door to persons of almost all creeds. Happily the effort was unsuccessful, and the Liturgy and the Articles were preserved unimpaired. Yet these parties remained in the Church, though only a partial compliance with the Rubrics was observed.

For several years matters have been greatly improving, A large majority of the Clergy are anxious to comply with their solemn pledges. Some indeed there are who violate their promises without scruple: but happily the number is daily decreasing.

In considering the question therefore of the Rubrics, I shall first allude to those obvious irregularities which no honest man can justify; and secondly, to those Rubrical observances, which have been for a long time, not universally, as some would insinuate, but extensively neglected.

It cannot be concealed, that many of the objectors to the practices, which I shall consider under the second division, are notoriously irregular in other matters, which cannot be classed among disused or neglected Rubrics, matters which are observed by all consistent churchmen, and which cannot honestly be disregarded. Some of these may now be specified.

There are Clergymen who pretend, that they cannot read an Apocryphal lesson—who allege that their consciences will not permit them to do so. But it may be asked, how came such men in the Church? or why do they remain in a Church which enjoins the reading of such lessons? But whether they read or omit these chapters, they have by their subscription assented to the lawfulness of the practice. They have solemnly promised to read the Apocryphal Lessons at such times as they are appointed by the Church: and where is the difference, on the ground of conscience, between reading the chapters and declaring an assent to the Books? Then, surely, the violation of a solemn promise is a more heinous sin than reading an Apocryphal chapter. The men, who cannot read these Books, should not make the promise: they should avoid the Church altogether. No right-minded person can allow the plea of conscience to be set up in such a case. As long therefore as individuals remain within her pale, the plea must be regarded as a mere pretence to cover their dishonesty, in making a promise which they never intended to keep. Their sincerity can only be proved by their secession.

It is usually alleged, by those who object to the use of the Apocryphal Books, that they do not read them, because they are not canonical Scripture. This objection should be thought of before ordination: it would also justify any one, who entertained it, in quitting the Church: but it cannot be used, for not reading an Apocryphal chapter, by a man, who has solemnly promised that he will comply with all the regulations ef the Book of Common Prayer, to which he has given his unfeigned assent and consent. Besides, how can a man declare his assent and consent to the Book of Common Prayer, and the Thirty-nine Articles, if he cannot read these Books? The man, who subscribes the Articles and the Prayer Book, without intending to read only such lessons as the Church appoints, is obnoxious to the charge of dishonesty.

But the parties, who object to these Books on the ground of their want of Canonicity, though they have promised to read them, might, with quite as much reason, object to a sermon of their own, which is quite as destitute of Canonicity. Yet the objectors are usually persons who make their own Sermons a matter of great importance, though in every one of their productions there are necessarily sentiments and expressions, which could not be justified, and which, in many cases, are much further from the truth than any thing in the Apocrypha.[23]

It is remarkable, too, that such objectors are generally the persons who are guilty of other irregularities, such as omitting or mutilating some of the Prayers, shortening the occasional services, and even changing the Sunday Lessons, which are always canonical Scripture. Such dishonest evasions and practices, however, are confined to comparatively few: and the number must soon be diminished by the operation of the Church Discipline Bill, by which the Diocesan is enabled in a summary way to correct these irregularities. It is indeed in the power of the parishioners to see that the Clergy are consistent, in such clear cases as those to which I have referred: for whenever a Clergyman is reported to the Bishop for violating express and obvious Rubrics, a commission of inquiry must be issued. Nor should the parishioners be deterred from doing their duty, by any pretence of unkindness to the Clergyman: for surely it is an act of greater kindness to prevent a man from violating solemn vows and promises, than, by silence, to encourage him in a dishonest practice.[24] The Rubrics and the Calendar are as much a part of the Book to which the Clergy subscribe, as the various services which it contains: and the man, who urges the plea of Conscience for non-compliance, is guilty of dishonesty in subscribing to regulations which he never intended to follow.[25]

But, Secondly, there are other Rubrics, which, from the causes already stated, are more generally disregarded. When a Clergyman is in doubt respecting the meaning of a Rubric, the Church refers him to the Ordinary, whose decision is the law in that particular case. The Bishop may refer the matter to the Archbishop: but the decision of either, possessing the force of a Rubric, is binding. It is not in the power of a Bishop to dispense with any Rubric: he may recommend a Clergyman not to revive a practice, which, though enjoined, has been long discontinued, and the Diocesan's wish would not be likely to be disregarded: but still he cannot interfere so as to prevent compliance with anything positively enjoined, though it may have fallen into disuse. There is no power to dispense with disused Rubrics, should a Clergyman revive them, though a Bishop may not himself see it necessary to enforce them.[26] It seems necessary to notice this distinction in the present day: since many persons, who deny the Bishop's authority to revive, imagine that he is able, by merely issuing his command, to prevent the Clergy from reviving a neglected practice: and from not attending to this distinction, no small degree of confusion has arisen.

The questions, however, respecting which a division of opinion now especially exists, relate to the Use of the Surplice in the Pulpit, the Prayer for the Church Militant, and the Offertory when there is no Communion. In discussing these points, I shall confine myself strictly to the intentions of the Church, and to the meaning of the Rubrics, without reference to the question of the expediency of their revival. In my opinion the law of the Church is clear and express in each particular.

Undoubtedly it is a matter of indifference in itself whether the surplice or the gown be worn in the pulpit; and it is clear, that if the surplice is Popish in one part of our public services, it must be equally so in all: and in that case the Church of England is so committed, that nothing but the rejection of the vestment by Convocation can rescue her from the charge of favouring Popery. This consequence is inevitable, on the principle of those who pretend that the use of a particular vestment in a particular place—a vestment too used on all other occasions—indicates a tendency towards Rome. Yet this unreasonable sentiment has been very gravely put forth, though by persons little competent to give an opinion on such a subject. By the Puritans the surplice was branded as Popish, in the desk as well as in the pulpit: and there was a consistency, at all events, in their course, for they wished to abolish its use altogether. In the present day, however, there is no controversy respecting its use, except in the pulpit: but there is a sufficient reason for not alluding to its adoption in the public services, namely, that to do so would deprive the objectors of the character of Churchmen. Yet, from the tone adopted by many persons, it is evident that they rather sympathize with the Puritans, than with the Church, in this matter. To argue that the surplice, the vestment appointed by the Church for her most solemn ministrations, is the badge of a party, indicates the most lamentable ignorance, or the greatest obstinacy: for the allegation is nothing less than a charge against the Church herself. The question, therefore, is not whether the surplice be the badge of a party, but whether a Clergyman, who uses it in the pulpit, as well as in the desk, violates the laws and injunctions of the Church.[27]

That the Public Services cannot be celebrated except in the surplice, is admitted: but the Church neither prescribes nor sanctions the use of the gown in any part of her ministrations: and the only authority that can be pleaded in its favour is that of custom. If then the use of the gown be not enjoined by the Church in any way whatever, it would follow, if the surplice must not be used, that any vestment might be adopted. As the gown is nowhere prescribed, while the surplice is enjoined in all public ministrations, the objectors to the use of the latter in the pulpit must either resort to the plea of custom, or admit that the Church intended to leave the dress of the preacher indifferent, though in all her services a particular vestment is expressly enjoined. But if the matter be left to the preacher's choice, he is certainly as much at liberty to use the one as the other.

As a question of law, however, the matter is, I think, settled by the Rubrics, though the surplice is not actually specified. The Morning Service is to be read in the surplice, to the end of the Nicene Creed. Then follows the sermon. Singing is not prescribed: consequently singing was not intended at that part of the service, and it has only been introduced in order to allow the officiating minister to repair to the vestry. After sermon, the minister is to return to the Lord's Table, and read the Prayer for the Church Militant. This also must be read in the surplice. Now, as the Church does not prescribe singing, either before or after sermon, so as to allow of any pause for a change of dress, it appears scarcely possible to conceive, whatever the practice may be, that the surplice was not intended to be used in the pulpit, as well as at the communion table. As time is not allowed for a change of robes, it seems difficult to avoid the conclusion, that one and the same dress was intended to be used throughout.

And why should a priest officiate in two dresses rather than a Bishop, who performs all the offices of the Church in the same habit. Whether he read prayers or preach, his dress is the same: and as the Church has not prescribed a second in the case of the Clergy, it is reasonable to suppose that she only contemplated one.[28]

But whatever may be said against the use of the surplice in the pulpit, it cannot be denied that the Prayer for the Church Militant is to be read immediately after sermon, and in the same dress as was used in the former part of the service. To escape, therefore, from the difficulty, this prayer has been altogether omitted: and thus one irregularity is followed by another. Undoubtedly the prayer has been omitted, because it was inconvenient to change the gown for the surplice. Yet this very inconvenience supplies a strong argument in favour of the use of the surplice: for we may rest assured that when the regulation was made, no difficulty was experienced. It is incumbent on those, who contend that the Church never intended the surplice to be used for preaching, to explain this difficulty, and not to cut the knot by omitting the prayer. It is not sufficient to introduce a psalm or hymn: for though the unseemliness of keeping a congregation in silence, while the Clergyman is changing his robes, is thereby avoided, yet the difficulty is not removed, since no singing is prescribed at that particular time. If, however, it were intended, as I think is clear, that the whole should be performed in the same habit, that habit must be the surplice, since the gown was never enjoined by the Church.[29]

It is probable that some of the laity, who manifest so much sensitiveness on this subject, would, were they able, exclude the surplice from the desk, as well as from the pulpit. Their objections relate more to the thing itself, than to the place in which it is used. They can quietly witness obvious irregularities, such as changing the lessons, and mutilations in the Services; they can tolerate deviations from clear and express Rubrics; while all their virtuous feelings are aroused if a Clergyman, in obedience to his solemn vows, is particular in complying with the directions of the Church. How comes it to pass that they are so much more sensitive in the one case than in the other? Surely they would be equally sensitive in both cases, if they were influenced only by affection for the Church of England. It is evident that some of the complainants could readily dispense with the observance of many other Rubrics, as well as of those which are now the subject of dispute. Even the reading of the prayer for the Church Militant is by some persons considered as an innovation, though no Rubric can be more clear or express than that by which it is enjoined; and the Clergy who use it are censured as verging towards Rome by men, who, though calling themselves Churchmen, are verging fast towards dissent.[30]

The question of the Offertory may, as it appears to me, be settled as to the law (the expediency I have no wish to discuss,) by a simple reference to the Rubrics, taken in connexion with the history of the Book of Common Prayer, and those occasional forms which, from time to time, have been issued. It isasserted that the sentences are not to be read, nor the collection made, except when the Holy Communion is administered. Why the collection should be more appropriate at that time than on ordinary occasions, I cannot imagine. The Rubrics in the present book, taken in connexion with those in former books, appear to decide the question. That the Reformers intended a weekly collection, whether there were or were not a Communion, is certain: for in the Liturgy of 1549, the first of King Edward, the Offertory was expressly appointed to be read before the congregation dispersed.[31] At the close of the service there is also a Rubric, which removes all manner of doubt respecting the use of the Offertory, when there was no Communion.[32]

It becomes a question, therefore, seeing that the old Rubrics are decisive of the practices and intentions of the Reformers, whether any change in this respect has since been introduced. The present Rubric at the end of the Offertory enjoins: "While these sentences are in reading, the deacons, churchwardens, &c. shall receive the alms for the poor, and other devotions of the people." This is to be done, whether there be a Communion or not, since, by the very next Rubric, it is supposed at this point in the service to be uncertain, whether the administration will take place; for it stands thus: "When there is a Communion, &c." Up to this part of the Service, the Priest is not supposed to be certain, whether a sufficient number of persons will remain to admit of the celebration of the Lord's Supper. Yet the alms are already collected: and thus it is clear that the collection is to be made without reference to the Communion. Then the Rubric at the close of the Office orders, that when there is no Communion, all the Service is to be used to the end of the Prayer for the Church Militant, including necessarily the Offertory.

But it has been argued that the Offertory is abolished by the introduction of the Poor Laws. The objections, however, which lie against this argument are fatal. When the Book of Common Prayer was reviewed in 1661, the Poor Laws were in existence: yet the Rubrics respecting the Offertory were retained, though every part of the Service was carefully considered. Had the Convocation intended to abolish the Offertory, they would have rescinded the Rubrics by which it is enjoined. Besides, the argument derived from the Poor Laws would make against all Offertory collections, against those on Communion days, as well as those on other occasions. If the argument is of any force, it must go to prevent all such collections: so that, according to these objectors, the alms of the people could never be collected. This argument, therefore, cannot stand the test of the slightest examination, though it is most confidently put forth by its supporters.

The disposal of the offerings has also given rise to disputes, though the question appears to be clearly settled by the Rubrics. "The money given at the Offertory shall be disposed of to such pious and charitable uses as the minister and churchwardens shall think fit, wherein if they disagree, it shall be disposed of as the Ordinary shall appoint." It is clear that the money need not be all given to the poor: it is also clear that the minister and churchwardens are the judges: and provided the use to which it may be applied be a pious or charitable one, it is within the meaning of the law, and no one can interfere. Should the parties disagree, the sole disposal is in the Ordinary. It has been argued, that the pious and charitable uses are confined to the parish in which the alms are collected: but this is a mistake, for there is neither restriction nor limitation, and provided the minister and churchwardens agree in the disposal, or in case of their disagreement, the Ordinary is applied to, the decision is perfectly legal, whether the money be appropriated in the parish or otherwise. As the Rubric is the law on the subject, and it contains no restrictive clause, the only question to decide, a question of very easy solution, is, what is intended by a pious and charitable use.[33]

Considerable light is reflected on the whole subject of the Offertory, by the forms of prayer for special days of fasting and thanksgiving, which, from the period of the Reformation, were set forth at intervals.

It was the custom in these Forms to print the entire Service, at least to the period of the Revolution, even the Lessons, in order that the Clergy might use only one Book on such occasions. They prove, that the practice of reading the Daily Morning Service, the Litany, and the Communion Service, never varied from the days of Queen Elizabeth: for all of them are precisely similar in this respect, closing with the Prayer for the Church Militant. If then such a practice prevailed on these occasional days, there can be no doubt, that it was just the same on Sundays and other holy-days: for the directions in these special forms are precisely those of the Book of Common Prayer. These Services are, therefore, a most satisfactory comment on the Rubrics. By examining their structure, we ascertain the views of the Church from the period of the Reformation: and we find, that the Service was always performed in strict accordance with the Rubrics, as they stand in the Book of Common Prayer. In all these Forms, the Minister is directed to read the Morning Service to the end of the Litany: then follows the Communion Service: and after that the Sermon. The Minister is then directed to return to the Lord's Table, and after the Nicene Creed certain Offertory sentences are printed, the congregation being dismissed at the close of the Prayer for the Church Militant. Thus the manner of conducting Divine Service since the accession of Queen Elizabeth has ever been the same, as these Special Forms testify. The Communion was not administered on these occasions, yet some of the Offertory sentences were always read, for they are actually printed, and the Minister is directed to read them. Even as late as the last century, the Special Forms speak in a language not to be mistaken. In one of the date of 1714, just after the accession of George I. certain of the Offertory passages are printed with this Rubrical direction, "Sentences at the Offertory:" and in another in 1720, they are accompanied with the following Rubric: "After which for the Offertory shall these sentences be used."

It is not probable that the Minister changed his dress on these occasions. He is directed to proceed from the Lord's Table to the Pulpit, and to return and commence with the Prayer for the Church Militant, without any lengthened pause. He must on such occasions have preached in the surplice: and if on such occasions, undoubtedly he did the same on Sundays and other holy days.

The actual printing and enjoining of the Offertory sentences, in all these forms, may, at all events, be regarded as a recognition of the principle of the Offertory. Whether the alms were collected on these occasions or not, the intention of the Church, and also the right of the Clergy to make the collection, were recognized in the use of the Offertory sentences. Consequently, the introduction of the Offertory, when there is no Communion, is not an innovation, as is pretended by the opponents of the practice, but only a compliance with the Rubrics. It is now generally discontinued, except on Communion days; but it is as incumbent at one time as at another, if the intentions of the Church are to be regarded.

Whatever, therefore, may be the present practice respecting the Offertory: even though to disturb the prevailing custom were inexpedient: yet it must be granted, by those who understand the subject, or will take the trouble to examine it, that the Church enjoins the use of some of the Offertory sentences, with the collection of the alms, and other devotions of the people.

That the Communion Service, as far as to the end of the Prayer for the Church Militant, is to be read, on ordinary occasions, when there is no Communion, at the Lord's Table, has seldom been questioned: and it is with some degree of surprise, that I find a doubt on the subject entertained in a recent work.[34] To me the question appears to be so settled as to leave no room for doubt. After the sermon, the Priest is ordered to return to the Lord's Table to commence the Offertory: consequently he is supposed to have read the previous portions of the Service there, before he entered the Pulpit. No distinction in this respect is made between Communion and Non-Communion days. In the Occasional Forms to which I have referred, for seasons when no Communion was intended, the Minister was specially directed to stand at the north side of the Table, at the commencement of the second service: from which it must be evident, that such was the custom on Sundays and other holy days. Speaking of the Rubric, which orders the Minister to stand at the north side of the Table, Archdeacon Sharp observes, "which is to be understood even of that part of it which by another Rubric is appointed to be said, when there is no Communion." He also meets the case of large Churches, in which, when the Table stands at the east end of the Chancel, it may not be possible for the Minister to be heard by the people, remarking: "but then, pray let us observe that where this necessity for breaking through the Rubric cannot be pleaded by us: that is, where this service may be conveniently enough performed at the Table itself situated in the Chancel; there will be no excuse for us for reading it in the desk. Where this Rubric cannot be observed, an absolute necessity must overrule the order: but no prescription of nonobservance or customary neglect can avail to the setting it aside. It is true the Ordinary may connive at this customary neglect, but he cannot warrant, nor even excuse the minister in it, because he is bound by prior obligations of conformity, to obey the Church in what she commands in her Rubrics. And in all points where the Rubrics are plain and express, the Ordinary has no authority to release us from that obedience, as appears from the Preface concerning the Service of the Church, at the beginning of the Prayer Book. In which, though the Ordinary is allowed to interpret and determine the sense of the Rubric for us in all doubtful cases; yet it is with this proviso, that he shall not order nor determine any thing that is contrary to what is contained in the Service Book. That is, in points that are clearly expressed, the Ordinary is as much prohibited from making innovations, as the meanest parochial Minister amongst us."[35]

I am not contending for the revival of practices, which may have long been neglected: but, when Laymen, who usually are not much acquainted with such matters, presume to dictate to Bishops, and to designate a compliance with the Rubrics an innovation, it becomes necessary to expose such attempts. With respect to the matters, which I have discussed, it may be remarked, that if a Clergyman feels it to be his duty to practise them, the Bishop cannot prevent him: yet the Laity, who interpose, appear to imagine, that our Prelates can issue orders against the letter of the Rubrics, merely because they have been neglected. This is a mistake which ought not to be committed, yet they argue upon it, as though their position were indisputable. No Bishop can prevent a Clergyman from reading the Prayer for the Church Militant, from preaching in the Surplice, and from making a collection at the Offertory weekly. He may not enjoin these things, which he has the power to do: but he has no power to prohibit them. If therefore, a Bishop, who is as much confined by the law as the Clergy, makes any order, it must be an order for strict compliance with the letter of the Rubrics. He must do this, or he can do nothing. Were a Bishop to remain silent in such a diocese as London, for example, he would be reproached for pusillanimity: yet when he speaks, in obedience to the call of the Clergy, and delivers his judgment, as he necessarily must, in favour of strict compliance with the Rubrics, immediately his power is questioned, and an outcry is raised, from the mere circumstance of recommending obedience to the laws of the Church, as though some tremendous evil were impending. When, moreover, it is borne in mind, that the majority of those who raise the outcry, both Clergy and Laity, are not overscrupulous in complying with such Rubrics as have not fallen into disuse, an indifferent spectator can scarcely avoid the conclusion, that they cannot entertain any strong degree of attachment to other practices, which rest on precisely the same grounds, namely, the Rubrics, as those against which their hostility is directed. The objectors might be regarded as consistent, if they were scrupulous in other particulars; but it is notorious, that many of the Clergy, who object, are lax in conforming to Rubrics, which a Bishop must enforce, should the cases be brought before him: while some of the protesting laity can witness a change of Lessons, when no power is given to the Minister in such a matter, or even mutilations and omissions in some of the services, without a murmur or complaint; or even without manifesting any concern for the man, who can be so forgetful of his solemn vows and pledges.

Having detailed such particulars respecting the Nonjurors as I have been able to collect: and having also traced the neglect, into which some of the Rubrics have fallen, to the latitudinarian tendencies originating in the Revolution, and to the excesses of some of the Nonjurors, the subject must now be left to the reader's consideration. It has been my aim to present a just picture of the Nonjurors, together with a candid view of the times to which this volume refers. My opinions on certain matters, which necessarily fell under my notice, have been formed after much reflection and careful examination: and though I cannot expect every reader to concur with me, in the conclusions at which I have arrived, yet I am prepared to maintain, that they are justified by the facts on which they are grounded.

 

 
  1. The Rubric in the New Office orders: "And putting into the Chalice, or else into some fair and convenient cup, &c, putting thereto in the view of the people a little pure and clean water."
  2. The Prayer is restored as follows: "We commend unto thy mercy, O Lord, all thy servants, who are departed with the sign of faith, and now do rest in the sleep of peace: Grant unto them, we beseech thee, thy mercy and everlasting peace: and that at the day of the general resurrection, we and all they, who are of the mystical body of thy Son, may all together be set on his right hand."
  3. The restored Prayer stands thus: "And send down thine Holy Spirit, the witness of the passion of our Lord Jesus, upon this Sacrifice, that he may make this bread the body of thy Son, and this cup the blood of thy Son."
  4. In the New Office there are two passages, which though not precisely similar to the clauses which Collier and his supporters wished to be restored from King Edward's First Book, are the same in effect. One in the name of the Ministers is as follows: "That we may be worthy to offer unto thee this reasonable and unbloody sacrifice for our sins and the sins of the people. Receive it, O God, as a sweet smelling savour, &c. And as thou didst accept this worship and service from thy Holy Apostles: so of thy goodness, O Lord, vouchsafe to receive these offerings from the hands of us sinners, &c." The prayer from which this is taken is called A Prayer of Acceptance, and is abridged from the Liturgy of St. Basil. The other stands thus: "We offer to thee, according to his Holy institution, this bread and this cup, &c. and we beseech thee to look favourably on these thy gifts, which are here set before thee, O thou self-sufficient God: and do thou accept them to the honour of thy Christ."
  5. "He shall anoint every one, &c. with the Chrism or ointment, making the sign of the cross upon their forehead, and saying:

    N. I sign thee with the sign of the cross, I anoint thee with Holy Ointment."

    In the Rubric for the consecration of the Chrism, the Bishop is directed to "take some Chrism or Ointment: and putting it into a decent vessel, he shall stand and consecrate it in manner and form following."

  6. "Then shall the Priest anoint the sick person upon the forehead, making the sign of the cross and saying."
  7. Campbell was doubtless the nominal leader of this section, until his death, which took place in 1744: but as Deacon was the most active of the party, I am justified in speaking of him as the real leader even before Campbell's death.
  8. This work indeed is a regular commentary on the Book of Devotions, just as Wheatley's or Nichols's volumes are comments on the Book of Common Prayer. A reason is assigned for the various ceremonies contained in the Collection of Devotions.
  9. The title is as follows: "The Holy Liturgy: or, the Form of Offering the Sacrifice, and of Administering the Sacrifice of the Eucharist."
  10. A most laboured defence of the practice of infant communion may be seen in The Comprehensive View. He contends, that among the heathen, infants partook of the idolatrous feasts after the sacrifices. He proceeds: "The Eucharist is a feast upon a sacrifice, and it is designed to distinguish those who belonged to Christ, as the others were to distinguish those who belonged to the false gods of the heathen." He asks: "Had the Devil his meat and his cup to betoken those, who had communion with him, and has Christ his meat and his cup to betoken those, who are in communion with him? and is it reasonable to suppose, that he intended these should be as generally received by his family, as the others were by that of the Devil?" He further argues at considerable length in favour of the practice, from the fact, that the Old Testament Sacraments, as he terms them, were allowed to infants. He contends, that the Jewish children partook of the Feasts, and of the Passover: that the arguments for infant communion are as strong as those for infant baptism: and that it was practised in the early Church, pp. 366, 393.
  11. At the commencement of the Service is the following Rubric: "At the time appointed, all that are to be then confirmed, being placed, the adults and the sponsors with the children in their arms standing in order before the Bishop, he shall begin the office." In his Comprehensive View, Deacon contends, that infants are capable of receiving spiritual benefits, and that therefore Confirmation is to be administered to them, p. 238.
  12. "This dipping does very significantly express the three great effects of Baptism: for as immersion necessarily implies three several states or conditions; the descent into the water, the being totally covered with it, and the rising out of it again: so by these are represented Christ's death, burial, and resurrection: and in conformity thereto our dying unto sin, the destruction of its power, and our resurrection to a new course of life. By the person's descending into the water, is livelily represented his going down to the grave, and dying to sin: by his being totally covered with it, which is a kind of burial in the water, is denoted his being absolutely in the power of death, &c. and then by his emersion or rising up out of the water, is signified his entering upon a new course of life." He explains the trine immersion to represent the Trinity, and the three days burial of Christ, and his resurrection on the third day. Deacon's Comprehensive View, p. 231. He explains the white garments to signify "his having put off the lusts of the flesh." Ibid. 232.
  13. Deacon thus explains the milk and honey. "After the kiss of peace he receives a taste of consecrated milk and honey, in token of his spiritual infancy, that, now he is a child adopted into God's family, for sweet milk is the nourishment of new born babes." Ibid. 232.
  14. Alluding to the Deaconesses, Deacon says that their office "is to assist at the baptism of women, that the ceremony may be performed with all possible decency: to instruct (in private) children and women who are preparing for baptism: to visit and attend women that are sick and in distress: to overlook the women in the Church: and to introduce any woman who wants to make application to a Deacon, Presbyter, or Bishop." He states that the order was always received in the Ancient Church. Comprehensive View, p. 429. Elsewhere he says "that all occasion of scandal and immodesty may be prevented in so sacred a mystery as baptism, men and women are baptized apart: and the latter have Deaconesses to attend them, to undress, and dress them, &c." Ibid. 231.
  15. It may be remarked that the Chrism, the Milk and Honey, the Balsam, the Kiss of Peace, with the other ceremonies in the Collection of Devotions, are all explained in the Comprehensive View.
  16. The Form of admitting a Convert into the Communion of the Church. London, Printed in the year 1746. The volume contains also A Litany for the Use of those who mourn for the Iniquities of the Present Times. Prayers to be used upon the Death of Members of the Church: and, An Office for the Use of those who by unavoidable necessity are deprived of the advantage of joining in offering the Sacrifice, and of receiving the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist!
  17. Ken's Prose Works, by Round, 8vo. 1838, where this Letter is published for the first time, pp. 49-50.
  18. Ibid. p. 55.
  19. Ibid. p. 69.
  20. Ken's Prose Works, by Round, 8vo. 1838.
  21. Some persons at the period of, and subsequent to, the Revolution, had no better reason to assign for their partial conformity to the Anglican Church, than the fact, that it was established by Act of Parliament; nor is the race extinct in the present day.
  22. Ken's fears relative to the Latitudinarian tendences of the age caused him to rejoice at the appointment to the See of Bath and Wells of Hooper, to whom he readily resigned his own claims, as a man, who he believed would check the evil. There are several instances of Ken's fears on this subject, in the Letters not long since published. Writing to Lloyd; he says: "You cannot imagine the universal satisfaction expressed for Dr. Hooper's coming to my See: and I make no doubt, but that he will rescue the Diocese from the Apostacy from "the faith once delivered to the Saints," which at present threatens us, and from the spirit of Latitudinarianism, which is a common sewer of all heresies imaginable." Ken's Prose Works, p. 81. He was also encouraged by the course adopted by the Lower House of Convocation, thinking, as has been mentioned, that the schism might in consequence be healed. Thus in one of his recently published Letters, he says: "As for the schism, I believe I can propose a way to end it, but it is not practicable till the Convocation meets, and then if the face of affairs alter not, I make no question but Erastianism will be condemned, which by some of us has been proposed as a means of re-union." Ibid. 57. The plan to which he alludes was the resignation of himself and Lloyd, as was previously noticed.
  23. The Answer of the Bishops to the exceptions of the Presbyterians, previous to the last review of the Book of Common Prayer, is so admirably suited to the present times, that it ought to be quoted. The Presbyterians objected, the Bishops replied as follows. "As they would have no saints' days observed, so no Apocryphal chapter read in the Church, but upon such a reason as would exclude all sermons as well as Apocrypha: viz. because the Holy Scriptures contain in them all things necessary either in doctrine to be believed, or in duty to be practised. If so, why so many unnecessary sermons? Why any more but reading of scriptures? If their fear be, that by this means those Books may come to be of equal esteem with the canon, they maybe secured against that by the title which the Church hath put upon them, calling them Apocryphal." History of Nonconformity, 8vo. 1704. pp. 235, 236.
  24. I can see no difference between the man who subscribes to the Thirty-nine Articles, when at the same time he rejects some of their doctrines, and the man who subscribes to all things contained in the Book of Common Prayer, and then refuses to comply with his solemn pledges—both are equally dishonest.
  25. Those persons who systematically violate the Rubrics, would do well to ponder the following passage. "And that whosoever among the Clergy either adds to it, or diminishes from it, or useth any other rule instead of it, as he is in the eye of the law a nonconformist, so it behoves him to consider with himself whether in point of conscience he be not a breaker of his word and trust, and an eluder of his engagements to the Church." Sharp, pp. 8, 9. Such persons are very expert in charging others with a want of spiritual knowledge: but I cannot admit, that men, who make no conscience of vows and pledges, can either be considered as being spiritually minded themselves, or as judges of their brethren. The more spiritually minded a man is, the more anxious will he be to keep his pledges.
  26. "I must observe to you in general," says Archdeacon Sharp, "that no custom, however confirmed, can take place against them: (the Rubrics) that we cannot transfer our breaches of them into the list of approved practices, nor justify our neglect of them, by pleading the connivance, or, if you will, the approbation of our superiors. It is true, the Ordinary may forbear to blame, and he may neglect to reform, any customable deviations from, or any open defiances of, express and positive Rubrics. But as he hath no power to alter them, or to dispense with alterations made in them, so he cannot excuse or discharge us from our obligations to conform ourselves to them." Sharp on the Rubric, 97.
  27. In the diocese of Durham the surplice was constantly used by every preacher in the pulpit in 1753, when Archdeacon Sharp published his Charges. Sharp on the Rubric, p. 246.
  28. In College chapels, at least such is the case in Oxford, whenever a sermon is preached, the surplice is invariably used. If then the argument, that the Clergy are to preach in their academical dress, be sound, we might expect to see the adoption of the practice in the University. Yet it is only in the University Church, where the sermon is preached without the usual service, the audience having previously attended Morning Prayers in their respective chapels, that the gown is used.
  29. I do not say that it would be desirable, as some persons are so strongly opposed, to enforce the observance of the Rubrics, which are so generally neglected: but I cannot refrain from giving expression to my opinion, that, all things considered, the course adopted by the Bishop of London, in his Charge in 1842, was the wisest and the most consistent. Had his Lordship's recommendations been received, uniformity would have been secured in the diocese, and a check would have been interposed to all innovations, whether in the way of addition or diminution. Nor can I avoid the conclusion, that those recommendations would have been quietly put in practice, if all the Clergy had been influenced by a regard for the welfare of the Church, and a desire to fulfil those pledges which are involved in their solemn engagements at ordination and institution. The laity would not trouble themselves about such matters, were they not secretly encouraged by some of the Clergy. It cannot be denied that the recommendations were agreeable to the injunctions of the Church: and as the Bishop of London was compelled, by the circumstances of the diocese, to pronounce an opinion, he could not have decided in opposition to Rubrics and Canons. It was not possible to maintain silence, because the Clergy on all sides were anxious for their diocesan to speak. He was obliged to speak according to the laws of the Church: and that he was right in his decisions is pretty clear from the fact that both the extreme parties were displeased.
  30. Such objectors probably never attend divine service except on Sundays, or they would know that the Prayer for the Church Militant is always read on holy-days in all Churches and Chapels in which the festivals of the Church are observed. Every town, therefore, in the kingdom testifies of the practice on festivals, and why should the Sunday be excepted, when the Church places both on the same footing!
  31. "While the clerks do sing the Offertory, so many as are disposed shall offer to the poor man's box. Then so many as shall be partakers of the Holy Communion shall tarry still in the Quire, or in some convenient place nigh the Quire. All other (that mind not to receive the said Holy Communion) shall depart out of the Quire, except the ministers and clerks." Rubric, 1549.
  32. "And though there be none to communicate with the priest, yet these days the priest shall put, &c. and say all things at the altar, (appointed to be said at the celebration of the Lord's Supper) until after the Offertory." Rubric, 1549.
  33. When Archbishop Wake was appointed to the See of Lincoln, in the year 1707, he published the Farewell Sermon, which he had preached at James's, Westminster: and with the sermon is a curious folding 1 sheet with an account of the expenditure of the Offertory money. "An account of the Offertory money in the parish of St James's, Westminster, as it stands upon our books for every year since I came to the parish." It comprehends the various years from 1694 to 1706 inclusive. The money was appropriated under the following items: "Apprentices bound out yearly: Clothing the poor: Coals for the poor: For the poor at the Hospitals, chirurgeons and apothecaries: Disposed of in visiting the sick: The master for teaching the Offertory boys; The minister for reading the six o'clock prayers morning and evening." In this case the money was not all given to the poor. It is stated in the paper that certain sums were given to the poor at each public Sacrament, from which I infer, that the collection was made at other times, or on Sundays and other holy-days.
  34. How shall we Conform to the Liturgy of the Church of England. By J. C. Robertson, M. A. 8vo. London. The Presbyterians objected to reading the Service at the Communion Table, and the Bishops urged the practice as primitive. The reply of the Presbyterians proves that both parties referred to non-communion days. "That all the Primitive Church used, when there was no Communion, to say service at the Communion-table, is a crude assertion, that must have better proof before we take it as convincing. To prove that they used it when there was a Communion, is no proof that they used it when there was none." History of Conformity, p. 237.
  35. Sharp, on the Rubric, pp. 65, 66, 68, 69.
 
A History of the Nonjurors - fleuron 4.png
 

THE END.