This Tract is designed to be suggestive rather than exhaustive; to lead the way to thoughtful consideration and wise agitation, rather than to coerce conviction by attempted completeness of statement. The vital importance of the subject which it treats, the popular ignorance of the facts which it presents, and the general reluctance among those most nearly concerned to become acquainted with those facts, or to give due weight to them when known, are some of the reasons which have led to its publication. It is sent forth in these times of growing confusion with a due sense of the responsibility which is involved, and with the earnest prayer that the Blessed Spirit will commend its words to the hearts and consciences of the clergy and laity of the Protestant Episcopal Church, so far as those words accord with the divine mind and will, and that He will bless this sincere effort to advance the cause of evangelical truth, and the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ.
NEW YORK, August, 1868.
THE BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER has been cherished by many generations with a fond attachment, which has, with some, risen to the dignity of religious veneration. The purity and beauty of its diction, the deep spirituality of much of its devotional language, the singular wisdom which marks many of its arrangements, the blessed memories which hallow it, the tender associations which enrich it, its potent influence for good during three centuries, the precious communion of saints of which it is a strong bond;—these features and more have rightly enshrined it in many hearts, and made its utterances household words in many lands.
But as no human character, however lovely, is without its infirmities, so is no human composition, however noble, without its defects. Blind love for the Prayer-Book may assert that it can not be improved, and thus may show an over-fond appreciation of its merits. Intelligent affection will see and confess its faults, with the hope that they may be remedied, to the end that its friends may be multiplied and its influence increased. It stands to reason that a Service Book, born of the necessities of the sixteenth century, can not be adapted in every respect to the changed circumstances of the nineteenth. Not a few, therefore, of the Prayer-Book's best friends unite in desiring its amendment, that it may meet the demands of this busy, versatile, and advanced age. They would make it more comprehensive in its scope, that, instead of being a lord in our Christian household, it may become once more a servant.
Such amendment, however, would involve no question of right and wrong. It would pertain only to relative usefulness, and could not, therefore, be very seriously thought of in this time of conflict, when the great verities of our faith are in peril, and the salvation of many souls hangs upon the issue.
The inquiry which we now propose goes far deeper. It touches the [5/6] question of right and wrong. It asks, and in so doing may startle many, ARE THERE ROMANIZING GERMS IN THE PRAYER-BOOK? Left to ourselves, we should have chosen for this thankless task an hour of greater repose in the church of our love than is the present. But, pressed hard by a sense of duty, and spurred on by thickening calamities in our body ecclesiastic, we have no option but to intrude a question which, fairly considered, must increase the sad embarrassments and the weighty responsibilities of the times in which we live.
It is claimed as one of the chief advantages of a Liturgy, that it indoctrinates those whom it guides in worship. The wise Selden said: "To know what was generally believed in all ages, the way is to consult the Liturgies." [Table-Talk, P. 96.] Assuming this as indisputably true, one is led to ask, What if a Formulary indoctrinates with error? Manifestly, the great enemy of souls reaps the advantage. We feel quite sure, therefore, that every one in our communion who loves divine truth will cheerfully follow us in the proposed inquiry. If the answer is in the negative, growing anxieties in the minds of many of our clergy and laity may be confidently and joyfully dismissed. But if we are compelled to make an affirmative reply, then we must thoughtfully consider in what way we can best bring the Prayer-Book into accord with the word of God—Romanism, in its every phase, being assumed to be contrary thereto.
Is not the Bible as the meridian sun before whom moon and stars veil their faces? Or, is it not as an oriental king, in whose presence every mouth kisses the dust? Its light, being celestial, is ineffable; its authority, being divine, is supreme. Though the Prayer-Book is to be ranked among the chief and best of human compositions, is it not to be examined by the brightness of this celestial light, and must it not submit itself to the test of this supreme authority? Is it not our part to prove all things by the divine standard, and to hold fast that which is good?
II. WHAT IS MEANT BY ROMANIZING GERMS?
A GERM is defined to be the "Ovary or seed-bud of a plant; the fruit yet in embryo." The process of germination matures in the bringing forth fruit after its own kind or seed. In every department of life, the inexorable divine law is obeyed: "The fruit-tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself." Grapes bring forth grapes, and thorns beget thorns. Every germ prophesies of its fruit. The fruit points back with unerring exactness to its germ.
ROMANIZING GERMS are certain seminal doctrines, which, being [6/7] implanted and taking root, in due time spring up and bear Romanism as their fruit. It may be modified by the soil which nourishes it, and by the circumstances of its growth. It is Romanism still, and is the natural development of the germ.
WHAT IS ROMANISM? It is not necessary to gather proof of its character, but simply to sketch its well-known features. It is that manifestation of false doctrine, that apostasy from the truth, which finds its most potent and logical embodiment in the Papal system, but which, in subtler, less defined, and, therefore, more dangerous forms, is found among every Christian people. Rome might be lapped up with volcanic fire. Romanism would still live in some minds, and would express itself in some ecclesiastical organizations. It is emphatically the religion of the carnal heart, speaks derisively of the life of God in the soul of man as "vital piety," and, proportionately to the degree of its development, is condemned by, as it opposes itself to, the word of God. It hates and tries to extinguish the light which reveals its darkness.
ITS TWO PROMINENT FEATURES ARE:
I. A continued attempt to be reconciled to the Lord by propitiatory offerings. This is the real significance of the mass, and of Eucharistic views kindred thereto, whereby is denied the sufficiency of the one Sacrifice upon the Cross.
2. An exalting of the claims of human nature, by something done or added by human will. This uncovers the secret spring of penance, priestly power, and the intercession of saints, whereby the divine sacrifice for our sins is supplemented and perfected by human merit.
Hence, with righteous severity, Romanism is characterized as an apostasy from the simplicity of truth, or oneness of salvation which is in Christ. It originates and sets forth a dual salvation, in which both Christ and man bear part. In this way, it deceives, ensnares, and destroys many souls.
ITS RESULTS ARE THREEFOLD.
I. An objective religion, in which the heavenly kingdom of God is degraded to a worldly, ecclesiastical organization; and spiritual worship of God is changed into formal religiousness.
2. An exclusive priesthood, which puffs itself with pride; arrogates divine power as the one-appointed steward of God's mysteries; claims the right to deal with divine gifts and human necessities according to its own will; and, affecting to stand between the Saviour and the sinner, puts far from the Saviour His redeemed ones, and hides from the sinner his glorious Redeemer.
3. A class of religionists who are never at peace, because their salvation is always in abeyance, who do not enjoy the unrestricted fellowship of the Saviour because of the priests who intervene, and are ever under bondage to priestcraft and superstition in the degree of the development of their Romanism.
 These two prominent features, and their threefold results, mark Roman' ism as PAGANIZED Christianity; wherein the ministry becomes a dominant priesthood; the people, unsatisfied worshipers, bowing before images of wood and altars of stone; the sacraments, magical rites with potent incantations; the word of God, sibylline oracles full of mystery, except to those who commune with the Unseen One, and who, sitting upon a tripod, speak from amid smoke and darkness to waiting, anxious men. A sad picture this of poor humanity, turning away from the all-sufficient Saviour, and aspiring with vain frenzy to aid Him in His saving work!
We have dwelt at this length, upon the well-known characteristics of Romanism, that there may be no mistake, and no lack of definiteness in our minds as to the fruit which Romanizing germs invariably bring forth.
We need scarcely add, that by ROMANIZING GERMS IN THE PRAYER BOOK, we mean those seeds of doctrine implanted in that Formulary, which, when duly developed, yield the fruit already indicated.
The seeds of Romish doctrine which we would name are three:
1. The Bible is not the sole rule of Faith.
2. The ministry is an exclusive priesthood with supernatural powers.
3. The sacraments, when administered by this priesthood, are of singular efficacy.
Our limited space will not allow us to prove, but compels us to assume, as historic fact, that these seeds of doctrine, when developed, have uniformly germinated in Romanism. The supplementing of the Bible by human tradition as the Rule of Faith, and the acceptance of the sacerdotal and sacramental theories, logically result in a dual salvation, compounded of divine and human merit, and in a worldly hierarchy ruling over restless consciences. The history of the Romish system, traced back to its beginning, brings us to these seminal dogmas. In pursuing our inquiry, therefore, these doctrines will be the objects of our quest. We shall search for them, not in the ripeness of their fruit, but in their germinal forms; in single expressions, rather than in well-defined articles; in hints, rather than in statements. In other words, we shall look for those little seeds which, when dropped in some minds and hearts, and not hindered in their growth, must, following the law of their nature, bring forth the half-blown Romanism so abundant among us. It will, of course, be constantly kept in mind that these seeds are implanted in our otherwise Protestant Formulary.
We may be quickened in our inquiry by remembering that Romanizing germs are seeds, not merely of false dogmatism or of unsound doctrine, resulting only in harmless heresy, but of spiritual death to every organization in which they are allowed to root and grow. They choke, in due time, the most precious and fundamental truths of our faith. They change the sinner's sure and steadfast hope into a rope of sand. Salvation in Christ is no longer finished. Justification by faith ceases to bring peace. The grace of God does not flow freely and fully. [8/9] The Lord Jesus is not a personal Saviour. The Holy Ghost does not work, as the wind blows, where He listeth. The holy priesthood is abrogated. The blood of the Lamb is not the mighty power by which the world, the flesh, and the devil are overcome.
O Thou glorious One! anoint our eyes that we may see Thy beauty and perfectness, and desire no priest, no sacrifice, no intercessor, no saviour, but THEE.
III. REASONS WHY ROMANIZING GERMS SHOULD BE EXPECTED IN THE PRAYERBOOK.
THE bare suggestion of our inquiry will, doubtless, shock many who, from their childhood, have not allowed entrance to a doubt as to the doctrinal truthfulness of the Prayer-Book. To such we would name some well-known historical facts as reasons why we should be agreeably surprised if, in carefully pursuing our inquiry, we did not find some Romanizing germs.
The Continental Reformation was spiritual in its origin, and its after political aspect was simply incidental. Luther, Farel, and others like them, sorely pressed with a sense of their own sins, found in the Lord Jesus a personal Saviour, and then awoke and startled Europe by their proclamation of the free grace of the Gospel.
The English Reformation was, however, political rather than spiritual in its origin. The reins of its progress were kept well in hand by the civil authorities. While the German princes rallied, with drawn sword, for the defense of the Gospel and the Reformers, the Kings and Queens of England, (excepting, perhaps, Edward VI.,) viewed and regulated the Reformation with reference to the peace of the state and the stability of their thrones. When we trace the course of British history in Reformation times, it does not disappoint us that a kingdom which was all Romish did not at once, under royal leadership, seeking to assert its own supremacy, become, by a sudden transformation, all Protestant.
Henry VIII. simply warred against the Pope of Rome, and himself became Pope of England. When the Papal legate set his face toward Rome, the surging sea sounded upon the shore of Henry's island kingdom the swelling song of freedom from the Italian Pope's supremacy. Released from ecclesiastical bondage, earnest men began to search more diligently and boldly for the truth, and God gave them Edward VI. and the Gospel. During the reign of this pious prince, the Reformers attained what was for them, sedulously trained for years as they had been in Romish error, a glorious measure of divine truth. Discerning clearly such fundamental doctrines as justification by faith, they did not at once get entirely rid of all the Romish deceits. Every body knows that they continually progressed in their knowledge of divine things. When we appeal to their statements, we are careful to keep in mind the dates at which these were written. Creeping flames enwreathed their martyr brows, [9/10] and became their chariot of translation before the old leaven of error was altogether purged away.
If any find fault with this judgment, even they must confess that, when the Edwardian Reformers compiled the First and Second Books of Edward VI., they simply cast out all the error and put in all the truth which the exigence of the times would allow. As Calamy witnesses in their behalf:
"They rather got what they could obtain, than fixed things as they apprehended they should be; and they intended to go much further in conformity to Scripture, rather than designed their settlement as a continuance."
The Royal Proclamation of November 8th, 1547, admonished the Reformers—
"To stay and quiet themselves as men content to follow authority, and not enterprising to run before, and so, by their rashness, to become the greatest hinderers."
Thus animated and controlled, within three years the First Prayer-Book was revised. The issue from the press of the Second was delayed until sundry mistakes could be corrected, and a rubric, explanatory of kneeling at the Communion, could be added. So that we may safely conclude that, had the Prayer-Book been an original production instead of a provisional compilation, or had the Edwardian Reformers lived three years longer, a Third book would have been issued, and the subsequent appeals for revision would have been, as far as their labours were concerned, less frequent. When death knocked at the door of the studio where these diligent sculptors were at work, they dropped their chisels, took a last fond look at their nobly conceived but half-wrought statue, and, making speed to obey the summons which was of God, left that statue to be finished in perfect symmetry by other hands.
The ease with which the greater part of England fell back into Romish error during Bloody Mary's short reign showed how superficial had been the work of the Reformation in Edward's time. Burnet, speaking of Mary's career, says that—
"The old leaven had gone deep into the body of the nation."
Jewel testifies that—
"Superstition had made most extraordinary progress."
"of the teachings of the Reformation, which had passed away like a dream."
When Elizabeth came to the throne, being a sagacious politician and not an over-thorough Protestant, she enthroned the spirit of compromise, and so held the undivided allegiance of her subjects. She retained eleven of her sister's Romish counsellors and added eight Protestant ones of her own selection. She had framed such a "Liturgy as neither Protestant nor Romanist could except against." As Hume says: "She struck out ever thing that could be offensive." Papists "repaired to their parish churches without doubt or scruple," and priests officiated at the parochial [10/11] altars. The Liturgy was published early in Elizabeth's reign, when there was hope of compromise with Rome, and hence is Romish. The Articles of 1562 were not formally published until 1571, at which time a coolness had sprung up between Elizabeth and the Pope, and hope of compromise was gone, and hence are Protestant. So that we are compelled to conclude that the Reformation, as taken up and forwarded under Elizabeth's auspices, could not have been radically Protestant, nor the Liturgy, its written expression, altogether free from Romish taint.
James I. made some changes in the Prayer-Book, which, if we except the addition to the Catechism, were unimportant. The Hampton Court and Savoy Conferences, however, the temper of both of which is well known, showed clearly that the reactionary tide had fairly set in. Charles II. commanded it to flow on. The changes made in 1662 may appear to some, like Dean Goode, trifling and unimportant, but by others are regarded as vital and fundamental. The Royal Commission of 1689 sought to bring back our venerated Formulary nearer to the spirit of the Second Book of Edward of 1552, but the effort failed. When our American Church was organized, the alterations made were proposed by the two historic parties, and were of course antagonistic in their character. So that we can not fairly assert that the Prayer-Book which we now use is the one left us by the Edwardian Reformers. When interpreting the amended portions, we can not, of course, refer to those worthies any more than we can properly appeal to Hamilton and Jefferson to explain the amendments recently made to the Federal Constitution. The spirit of 1552 must testify of those parts of the Prayer-Book which have come down from that year. The spirit of the Elizabethan period of the Restoration and of the American Revolution must interpret the alterations then made.
Hence there are certainly good historic reasons why we should expect to find Romanizing germs in the Prayer-Book. When we reflect upon the diverse influences which have controlled the various revisions, we must be prepared to admit the probable truth of an historian's statement:
"The inevitable result of their successive manipulations is either open incongruity or studious ambiguity."
The Prayer-Book itself furnishes us an additional reason. It contains some significant alternative forms, which are regarded as expressions of diverse doctrinal views, and about which the two historic parties in our Church have ever ranged themselves. One of these parties is generally thought to be Romish in its tendencies. Is it not fair to presume that the chosen formula is used because it is doctrinally more acceptable than the rejected one?
When we call to mind that there always have been two antagonistic schools of theology within our Church, that both appeal to the Prayer-Book, and that it is the recognized standard of doctrine to both clergy [11/12] and laity, there is some prima facie evidence that it contains both Protestant and Romanizing germs. It was a strange admission made by Dr. Bayford, Gorham's own counsel, that "Roman Catholics might conform to the Church of England without violating their consciences." He doubtless called to mind the Elizabethan period, when Roman Catholics did use it. In view of these historic facts, we feel that we show no lack of loyalty to the Prayer-Book when we assert that there are cogent reasons why we should expect to find in it Romanizing germs.
IV. THE DOCTRINE OF THE RULE OF FAITH.
THREE DOCTRINES have been named as the elements to which Romanism may ultimately be reduced. Certain reasons also have been given to show that the germs of these doctrines may be expected in the Prayer-Book. It remains for us to ascertain, by careful investigation, whether or not this expectation is to be realized. Each of these three doctrines will, in turn, be made the subject of our investigation. The first one is fundamental, and is put in this dogmatic form, THE BIBLE IS NOT THE SOLE RULE OF FAITH! What is the teaching of the Prayer-Book on this point? The first paragraph of Article VI. reads thus:
"Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation; so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the Faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation."
To the same effect are the questions put at the ordination of "priests" and the consecration of bishops. With it accords the Subscription made by every clergyman. The Exhortation in the Ordinal confirms the same, as does Article XX., namely:
"The Church hath power to decree rites or ceremonies, and authority in controversies of Faith; and yet it is not lawful for the Church to ordain any thing that is contrary to God's word written; neither may it so expound one place of Scripture, that it be repugnant to another. Wherefore, although the Church be a witness and a keeper of Holy Writ, yet, as it ought not to decree any thing against the same, so besides the same ought it not to enforce any thing to be believed for necessity of salvation."
Thus far the Prayer-Book doctrine of the rule of faith is the very opposite of the Romish dogma. It proclaims the Bible to be in itself a sufficient revelation of the finished salvation which is in Christ Jesus, and of the way by which the sinner may appropriate to himself this priceless gift. It further recognizes the right and duty of private judgment when it declares that nothing is to be ordained by the Church contrary to God's word written; that the ministry are to teach nothing as necessary to eternal salvation but that which they are persuaded may be concluded and proved by the Scriptures; that they are to banish and drive away all erroneous and strange doctrine contrary to God's word, and to [12/13] minister the doctrine, sacraments, and discipline of Christ according to the commandments of God.
It will be seen at once that the Bible is thus made the higher law of the Church, and that no doctrine is to be believed and no law is to be obeyed which may seem to any one, seriously exercising the right of private judgment, to offend God's word. It may be added that our present effort to test the Prayer-Book by the Bible is plainly in the line of loyal service.
Were this the whole teaching of the Prayer-Book, we might thankfully rest here with the assurance that there is in it no trace of the Romanizing germ.
But, pushing our investigations further, we find that the TRADITIONS OF MEN (using the word traditions as comprehensive of what has been delivered) are united with the Holy Scriptures to instruct us in four important respects. These four teachers, who are introduced into our theological class-room arm in arm with God's word, are the APOCRYPHA, the HOMILIES, the ANCIENT AUTHORS, the ANCIENT CANONS. Their departments are, respectively, MORALITY, DOCTRINE, POLITY, and DISCIPLINE. With so formal an introduction, we may fairly conclude that they are entitled to our consideration, that their teachings are worthy of our confidence, and that our Church approves of what they may declare. If Holy Scripture is the ultimate standard, are not these traditions authoritative expositors? So that it seems obligatory either to ignore part of the Church's doctrine, or else to reject the Fathers. Is not our Church, then, built upon the foundation of the Apostles, Prophets, and Fathers? If it gives more Holy Scripture to the people than any other Protestant body, does it not also give more of the traditions of men?
Let us examine this matter more particularly. The concluding paragraph of Article VI. reads thus:
"And the other books (as Hierome saith) the Church doth read for example of life and instruction of manners; but yet doth it not apply them to establish any doctrine; such are these following:" (Here are named the Apocryphal books.)
Observe the first clause, "And the other books." What other books? Those which, being uninspired, had yet been made a part of the Romish canon. They are here rejected from the Canon, and yet are exalted above other works of a like character, such as the Epistles of Clement and the Apocryphal Gospels. Such honor is put upon them that portions of them are appointed to be read on certain saints' days in place of selections from Holy Scripture. Thus in our Church on St. Barnabas's Day the congregation listen to the Book of Wisdom, and in the Church of England, on November twenty-third, to the remarkable story of BEL AND THE DRAGON. In the Offertory, two sentences from Tobit are inserted between those from St. John and Proverbs, as of equal authority. Is not this an enthroning of the traditions of men side by side with the word of God, that we may have authoritatively [13/14] commended to us, "for example of life and instruction of manners," what the Lord has not written?
Again, Article XXXV., OF THE HOMILIES, reads thus:
"The second Book of Homilies, the several titles whereof we have joined under this Article, doth contain a godly and wholesome doctrine, and necessary for these times, as doth the former Book of Homilies, which were set forth in the time of Edward the Sixth; and therefore we judge them to be read in churches by the ministers, diligently and distinctly, that they may be understanded of the people."
Our American Book has added this qualification:
"This Article is received in this Church, so far as it declares the Books of Homilies to be an explication of Christian doctrine, and instructive in piety and morals. But all references to the constitution and laws of England are considered as inapplicable to the circumstances of this Church; which also suspends the order for the reading of said Homilies in churches, until a revision of them may be conveniently made, for the clearing of them, as well from obsolete words and phrases, as from the local references."
It is to be noted of this qualifying paragraph that it suspends the order for reading the Homilies in churches until they can be revised, in order to clear them of obsolete words and phrases, as well as local references. No revision of their doctrinal teaching, however, is hinted at. Every deacon at his "making" promises "to read Holy Scriptures and Homilies in the Church." This reading is to be diligent and distinct, that they may be understanded of the people. The Evangelical Knowledge Society publishes an abridged edition of them with a eulogistic introduction. The American Church Missionary Society announces its object to be "to extend and build up the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ, in accordance with the principles and doctrines of the Protestant Episcopal Church as set forth in her Articles, Liturgy, and Homilies." So that the Homilies are to be regarded as authoritative expositions of the subjects of which they treat. Accordance with them is made an article of our faith. In view of what has been previously said, it must be concluded that in the opinion of the Church they are at one with, and throw light upon, Holy Scripture.
Once more: the Preface to the Ordinal contains the well-known clause:
"It is evident unto all men, diligently reading Holy Scripture and ancient authors, that from the Apostles' time there have been these Orders of Ministers in Christ's Church—Bishops, Priests, and Deacons."
That is to say, our polity appeals to a "double witness." It is conceded that it is not until ancient authors are allowed to testify that Episcopacy first becomes unmistakably an historic fact, and that without such testimony Holy Scripture is not so clear or conclusive in reference to the primitive form of church government as some might desire. According to Article VI., Episcopacy is not, then, to be laid upon our consciences as a doctrine necessary to be believed, though we may cordially accept it as an historic fact, testified to by ancient authors. Thus our polity, so far as any would make it to be of divine origin, rests for its authority upon the traditions of men.
 Still again: in "the form of ordaining or consecrating a bishop," the presiding bishop says:
"Brother, forasmuch as the Holy Scripture and the ancient canons command, that we should not be hasty in laying on hands," etc.
Here also we find the traditions of men linked with the Holy Scripture to regulate our discipline.
Now, for the sake of illustration, let us take a devout young man who has been trained under the potent influence of the Prayer-Book. For it he has a real veneration, and in the exercise of his ministry desires to obey religiously all its requirements. Under its directions he studies the traditions of men, that he may the better understand the Divine Word. Unlike many of his brethren, he does not neglect or reject what his Prayer-Book commends. So he studies the Apocrypha "for example of life and instruction of manners," the Homilies for doctrine, the Ancient Authors for polity, the Ancient Canons for discipline. He naturally concludes that they rightly interpret the Sacred Word. Growing distrustful of his own opinion, and reverencing more and more his appointed teachers, he adds to their number, that he may be enriched by the wisdom of others. Jerome is quoted by the Prayer-Book as authority for the use of the Apocrypha; he quotes Irenaeus and Augustine for some other usage. Moreover, he reads "The Story of Susanna," "Of Bel and the Dragon," "The rest of the Book of Esther." True, he would not count them fit for his Sundayschool library, but then they are approved by Rome; and he ventures to add for his own edification the Legends of the Saints, certified by the same seal. The Homilies of Cranmer and his associates are excellent but are not the Homilies of Chrysostom and the saints of his time as weighty? The Ancient Authors testify to the fact of Episcopacy, why should they not of its prerogatives? The Ancient Canons command on one point of discipline, why not on another?
Is it not easy to understand how such a young man might, by gradual logical steps, in lapse of time develop from the Prayer-Book's fourfold appeal to the traditions of men such doctrine as this:
"Divine, or, as it is called, Catholic, faith is a gift of God and a light of the soul, illuminated by which a man assents fully and unreservedly to all which Almighty God has revealed and which He proposes to us by His Church to be believed, whether written or unwritten." [Manual of Instr. for Confir. Classes, by Dr. Dix, p. 30.]
This point having been reached, it follows as a necessary sequence that the sacramental and sacerdotal ideas with which all patristic writings are surcharged will be accepted and proclaimed. Were there any hesitation about such acceptance and proclamation, it would probably be removed by some statements of the Homilies which are to this effect: The Apocryphal books are described as "the infallible and undeceivable word of God." Baptism and justification are used as synonymous terms. Baptism is spoken of as the "fountain of regeneration." We are said to [15/16] be "washed in our baptism from the filthiness of sin." Matrimony is denominated a sacrament. The Fathers are appealed to as authorities. The primitive Church is recommended to be followed as most incorrupt and pure.
If it be said that these references do not fairly represent the evangelical spirit of the Homilies, it may be answered that they form an integral part thereof, and are to be read diligently and distinctly, that they may be understanded of the people. Some who read them without evil intent make such use of them as indicated above.
To conclude: in the PRAYER-BOOK DOCTRINE OF THE RULE OF FAITH we find a twofold Romanizing germ: First, the traditions of men are made authoritative; and, second, the traditions thus exalted contain more or less seeds of Romish doctrine.
V. THE DOCTRINE OF THE MINISTRY.
WE are now to examine the Prayer-Book Doctrine of the Ministry, to learn whether it contains the germ of the second element of Romanism heretofore named, namely, THE MINISTRY IS AN EXCLUSIVE PRIESTHOOD WITH SUPERNATURAL POWERS. In this examination we shall speak of the name, the function, and the character of the ministerial office.
I. The Name.—The Prayer-Book uses one generic term, MINISTER, and three specific terms expressive of THREE ORDERS, namely, bishop, priest, and deacon. These latter terms are used where some proper official act is to be performed. The ordinary, though not invariable, usage of "minister" is when any of the three orders may officiate. At the Savoy Conference, it was urged by the nonconformist divines, that as minister was used in the absolution rubric (as it then was) it should also be used in all other places. The Bishops' answer was: "It is fit that some such word as priest should be used for these offices, (Absolution, the Lord's Supper, etc.,) and not minister, which signifies at large every one that ministers in holy things, of what order soever he be."
Though this word, "minister," is eminently Scriptural, having been applied to our Lord and his Apostles, it has come to be a distinctively Protestant term, and first found its way into the Church of England in the second Prayer-Book of Edward VI., in 1552. Since then it has been an ecclesiastical nomad, against which many hands have been lifted up. Between it and "priest" there has been a continued strife for the mastery. One has successively given place to the other. In the Book of 1589, (Elizabeth died in 1603,) minister alone was used. In the Book of 1637, prepared for Scotland, "presbyter," or "minister," occurs everywhere in place of "priest" or "curate." In the other Books, minister and priest share the honors. And so is it at this day.
A deacon has been well defined as a "probationary priest." A bishop [16/17] may, without disrespect, be called a "promoted priest." So that "minister" and "priest" may be regarded as two representative terms. The first is generic, the second is specific. Minister conveys the idea of an ambassadorship, and is the Christian expression of the prophetic office. This is the idea taught in Article XXIII., and in the exhortation and questions in the Ordinal. The term "priest" has a more specific sense, and implies particular functions of the ministry. This is inferred from the history of the word, and from its substitution for minister in certain places.
What is its history? As every one knows, it is a contraction of rrpeor,Qurepoc, through the Anglo-Saxon proestre, and is found in this abbreviated form in all modern languages but the Spanish. So that presbyter and priest were, in mediaeval times, used synonymously, and signified one (or an elder) who officiated in holy things. The famous Presbyter or Prester John was spoken of also as Priest John. The Wickliffe, Tyndal, and Rheims translations render presbuteroV, in Titus i: 5, "priests." And the Douay version adds this note: "To establish priests, that is to say, bishops—as the same are called bishops, v. 7—and as St. Chrysostom and others observe, it is evident from this place that the word presbyter was used to signify either priests or bishops."
But when the sacerdotal theory was imported into the Christian Church, this word priest, which comes of such worthy ancestry, received a new significance. The ministry became a priesthood, the presbyter or prester or priest grew into a veritable priest. New functions were borrowed from the heathen religions and the Jewish ritual. Intercession and sacrifice became the chief offices. The word "priest" has not, for several hundred years, changed its meaning. A Protestant priest, a Romish priest, a Jewish priest, a heathen priest, have kindred character. To say that "priest" is a contraction of presbuteroV does not get rid of the difficulty. The derivation is undoubted, but the meaning is unalterably changed. If it be claimed (as we do not grant) that this meaning is not intended by the Prayer-Book, it is certainly unfortunate that such a word should be used, and that a locus standi should be thus given to those who claim for it the accepted significance.
But is there not some ground for this latter claim?
The Greek word for the Hebrew one, which signifies a Jewish priest, iereuV, is translated in the Septuagint, and is applied in the New Testament to the holy priesthood who offer unto God spiritual sacrifices, to the priests of the old dispensation, to the Lord Jesus Christ as our great High Priest, and in a single instance (Acts 14: 13) to the priests of Jupiter, who would have done sacrifice with the people to Paul and Barnabas, ministers of the Lord. The Vulgate consistently translates iereuV by sacerdos, and diakonoV by minister, and thus draws a distinction which, to say the least, seems to exist in the Prayer-Book. The Prayer-Book, it will be remembered, is a compilation. Parts of it are taken from the old Uses of Sarum, York, etc., in all of which, with the exception of a single [17/18] place in the Use of York, the word sacerdos occurs, and is rendered in our book priest, perhaps for the same reason that "mass" was retained in the First Book of Edward. But while that has been expunged, this has been retained. IereuV, sacerdos, and priest are thus in the line of direct descent. It is of no trifling importance to the people to know whether he who stands before them in the robes of the sacred office is a priest to intercede with God in their behalf, or a minister to proclaim to them the message which is from God.
II. The most important question in this connection remains to be considered. What are the functions attributed to the "priesthood" by the Prayer-Book? The priest may, of course, do whatever is appointed to the deacon, but there are certain official acts to be wrought by the priest to which the deacon can only aspire.
(I.) The first of these is: "The Declaration of Absolution, or Remission of Sins. To be made by the Priest alone, standing; the People still kneeling." This rubric has undergone many historic changes. The First Book of Edward contained no Absolution. In the Second Book it appears with this rubric, "Absolution, to be pronounced by the Minister alone." In 1604, the words, "or remission of sins," were added after absolution. In the Prayer-Books of 1627, 1638, and 1660, "minister" gave way to "priest." This change does not seem to have been authorized until 1661 or 1662. Some claim that this objectionable word (for objectionable it seems to be, even to those who consider it synonymous with presbyter) was surreptitiously introduced by Laud. As Laud was executed in 1645, this claim, if substantiated, would avail nothing. For the real significance of "priest" in this rubric, we must consult the reactionary spirit of 1662. We refer our readers to the writings of Sheldon and his associates.
An intimation of this significance is given by a trifling alteration. Some "ministers" had fallen into the habit of reading the Absolution on their knees. The word "standing" was introduced, as Bishop Andrews said, because the priest pronounced the Absolution "authoritatively."
In the order for Morning and Evening Prayer, the Absolution is general in its character, because spoken to a mixed company of penitents and impenitents. In the English office for the Visitation of the Sick, the declaration, being made to individuals, becomes positive: "I absolve thee." Happily, we are free from this phrase, but the original Absolution remains and is faithfully used. The insertion of "declaration" does not materially change its character. Morinus tells us that, for the first twelve centuries, absolution was given by an optative or precatory form. Palmer writes: "Sacerdotal benediction of penitents was in the earliest time conveyed in the form of a prayer to God for their absolution." [Ritual, etc., i. 215.] So that our Declaration is simply abreast of the first twelve centuries, which cover the formative period of the Romish system. And the question returns, if this is "only a declaration," why may not a deacon or layman read it, [18/19] after having interceded for the forgiveness of sins? The Proposed Book tries to answer this puzzling question by the following rubric: "A Declaration, to be made by the Minister alone, standing, concerning the Forgiveness of Sins." We object not to the Declaration in itself; but to the limiting its use to the "priest."
(2.) The second priestly function is the power, perhaps it ought to be called the privilege, of conferring Baptismal Regeneration, of which we shall hereafter speak more particularly. "In the absence of the priest," a deacon may baptize infants. In the Romish Church, in the absence of either priest or deacon, even nurses may exercise this function, which implies some delegation of priestly power to deacons and nurses because of the importance of the baptismal rite.
(3.) The consecration of the elements, and their due oblation, in the celebration of the Lord's Supper.
(4.) The bestowal of the benediction.
It is often claimed that these peculiar functions are limited to the priesthood simply as a matter of church order. But the exclusion pertains to the idea of the supernatural priestly power. This is clearly taught by the Ordinal. When a deacon is "made," the bishop uses these words:
"Take thou authority to execute the office of a Deacon in the Church of God committed unto thee: in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen."
Seemingly the special gift of the Holy Ghost is not needed for the due exercise of the diaconate. At any rate, it is not conferred, nor even prayed for. But when a priest is ordained, the Veni, Creator Spiritus is said or sung over him, and this form is most commonly used:
"Receive the Holy Ghost for the Office and Work of a Priest in the Church of God, now committed unto thee by the Imposition of our hands. Whose sins thou dust forgive, they are forgiven; and whose sins thou dost retain, they are retained. And be thou a faithful Dispenser of the Word of God, and of His Holy Sacraments: in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen."
Who can deny that the person thus ordained is called to exercise higher and different functions than belong to him who is made a deacon?
So much hinges upon this form of ordination, that it is necessary to dwell longer upon it. Its most, though not only, objectionable words are:
"Whose sins thou dost forgive, they are forgiven; and whose sins thou dost retain, they are retained."
This clause was not used during the first thousand years of the history of the Church, when the form consisted simply of a prayer for the Holy Ghost. Morinus publishes sixteen of the most ancient Forms of Ordination, in fifteen of which it does not occur. It was first found in a book belonging to the Cathedral of Mayence, in the thirteenth century. It was introduced in the darkest days of media?val superstition, because of the increase of priestly power imparted by the deeply significant words. They are avowedly used because they are Christ's words. [19/20] They are not, then, a prayer, nor can "sins" refer, as Wheatley says, to ecclesiastical censures. We incline rather to accept the Bishop of Oxford's assertion:
"All this is the most blasphemous frivolity, if it be not the deepest truth."
And Fisher writes with heartfelt earnestness:
"There is an assumption of spiritual power amply sufficient not only to countenance, but even to justify the most extravagant claims that any priesthood, whether Roman or Anglican, has ever hitherto advanced." [Liturgical Purity our Rightful Inheritance, pp. 52, 53.]
III. The character of the ministerial office remains to be considered. As we have seen, it is denominated a priesthood, and priestly functions are assigned it. A priesthood implies a direct and exclusive succession. Priests, and "promoted priests," hold in their hands the right to exercise the office. This is the character attributed by the Prayer-Book, in the Preface to the Ordinal, in the various prayers which recognize the Three Orders in Christ's Church, and by the phrase, "lawful minister," in the Office for Private Baptism of Infants. It is most explicitly stated in the Institution Office,t thus:
"O Holy Jesus, who hast purchased to Thyself an Universal Church, and hast promised to be with the ministers of Apostolic Succession to the end of the world." [Though the Institution Office is not legally a part of the Prayer-Book, it is so commonly published with it, even by the Evangelical Knowledge Society, that it may, for our present purpose, be regarded as a part.]
This "Apostolic Succession" implies far more than the historic succession of the ministry. It means a tactual succession whereby grace is communicated from one to another for the exercise of "sacerdotal functions" in a "sacerdotal connection." [Vide Institution Office.] The form for consecrating a bishop clearly states it:
"Then the Presiding Bishop and Bishops present shall lay their Hands upon the Head of the Elected Bishop, kneeling before them, the Presiding Bishop saying:
"Receive the Holy Ghost for the Office and Work of a Bishop in the Church of God, now committed unto thee by the Imposition of our hands: in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen. And remember that thou stir up the grace of God, which is given thee by this Imposition of our hands: for God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and love, and soberness."
In accordance with this view, exclusiveness is the prevailing practice of our Church. All ministers are reordained. Priests who are of the Succession, though they be Roman or Greek, are not reordained. A noteworthy circumstance is, however, often strangely overlooked. A man can not communicate the grace of an office which he never held. Who is bold enough to assert that Paul, and Peter, and James, and John were "priests"? The "priests" of the so-called "Apostolic" Succession must therefore derive their official grace from some other source than the Apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. Does it come from any of the various orders specified in the prayer used in consecrating bishops, namely:
"Some Apostles, some Prophets, some Evangelists, some Pastors and Doctors"?
 In the Prayer-Book Doctrine of the Ministry, we grieve to say that we find a SECOND ROMANIZING GERM. Its name, priest; its functions, priestly, that is to say, supernatural; its character, an exclusive priesthood—contain the seed of the more developed Romish dogma. Its influence upon the clergy and laity is most manifest. There has been startling progress made in the direction of sacerdotalism. For illustration:
In 1552, priests were thus ordained:
"Receive the Holy Ghost! Whose sins," etc., (as above.)
In 1662, the form was made to read:
"Receive the Holy Ghost for the Office and Work of a Priest in the Church of God, now committed unto thee by the Imposition of our hands. Whose sins," etc.,
in which the tactual succession is clearly recognized.
In 1552, a Bishop or Archbishop was thus consecrated:
"Take the Holy Ghost, and remember that thou stir up the grace of God, which is in thee, by Imposition of hands," etc.
In 1662, it was changed as it now reads:
"Receive the Holy Ghost for the Office and Work of a Bishop in the Church of God, now committed unto thee by the Imposition of our hands, in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen. And remember that thou stir up the grace of God, which is given thee by this Imposition of our hands."
Thus distinctly stated is the dogma of transmitted grace.
In 1662, the suffrage in the Litany, "Bishops, Pastors, and Ministers," was changed to "Bishops, Priests, and Deacons."
It does not surprise us, in view of what we have said, to read the following logical deductions from the Prayer-Book doctrine.
"The members of the Church of England, by God's blessing, well know that none but a priest can stand in their stead before the Holy Table, and offer in their behalf the solemn prayers and praises of the office of the Lord; that none but a priest can consecrate the elements. . . . A denial of the Christian sacrifice leads easily to the denial of the priesthood." [Liturgy of Church of England p. cxiv.]
In the Priests' Prayer-Book, a favorite manual with some, published in 1864, is found the following form of Absolution, to be used in the confessional:
"Our Lord Jesus Christ, who bath left power to His Church to absolve all sinners who truly repent and believe in Him, of His great mercy, forgive thee thine offenses, and by His authority, committed to me, I absolve thee from all thy sins."
Even Goode, who is ever slow to acknowledge that any thing in the Prayer-Book is not ultra-Protestant, says of the Ordination Form:
"The existence of such language in the Prayer-Book leaves it open here (unfortunately, I think) to adopt a papistical interpretation."
When with the eye of faith we behold our Great High Priest within the Holy of Holies, an all-sufficient sacrifice for our sins; when we gaze [21/22] upon Him exalted to be a Prince and a Saviour for to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins; when we call to mind the royal priesthood whom He has chosen to offer unto Him the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving continually; when we realize the finished salvation which is in Him, and the freeness of His grace as it flows from Him to the believer: we can not but wish that the Prayer-Book would set over us a Gospel ministry, whose designated functions would be to point us to Him who has reserved to Himself the precious privilege of conferring the gifts of His grace, and pronouncing the forgiveness of our sins.
VI. THE DOCTRINE OF THE SACRAMENTS. BAPTISM.
THE Doctrine of Baptism is beset with more difficulties than either of the two doctrines already considered, for two reasons: First, its representative terms have been subjects of protracted discussion. Second, the views prevailing in our communion with regard to it are not, on the whole, crystallized in well-defined forms. We shall try to steer our way amid these difficulties with as steady a hand as possible.
The Romish dogma is expressed with sufficient explicitness by the current phrase, BAPTISMAL REGENERATION. By the act of Baptism, when administered by a priest or his deputy in due form, the grace of the Holy Spirit is conferred, the heart of the baptized is regenerated or born again, the benefits of Christ's death are insured. The unbaptized, cut off from these gifts, are lost. Baptismal regeneration means thus, in plain words, salvation by baptism. We do not stop to prove, but simply assume, that this is contrary to God's word.
What is the GERM of this element of Romanism? Keeping clear of all theological controversy, we feel that the following statement is a true description of it:
In Baptism, when duly administered, a seed of grace, or "habit of righteousness," is deposited by the Holy Spirit. It may die, or it may live and bear fruit. The result is not so much a change of heart as of condition. There is a quasi-bestowal of the Holy Spirit, but the gift may be despised. This quasi-bestowal, whether despised or not, is regeneration or new birth. The future operation of the Holy Ghost is called renovation.
At this point we suppose the sacramentarian neophyte to begin, and by the very force of the unsatisfactory indefiniteness of this germ to move on by gradual steps to the fulness of the Romish dogma.
After this statement in regard to the germ, in quest of which we are now to proceed, we desire, even at the risk of appearing to be a biased examiner, to urge two objections to our Baptismal Office. The first is, [22/23] that it is not fashioned after the Scriptural model of neutrality as to doctrine; that is to say, it is not a precept to be obeyed, an act to be done, but rather a doctrinal formula, a means of grace to be administered and received. And second, that its doctrinal statements are so integral a part of the service that every baptized person, however illiterate, must become a party thereto.
We can not, however, admit that its doctrine is ill-defined or confused in expression. On the contrary, we hold that the service is positive in its declarations, logical in its sequent steps, and remarkably contrived to declare with great distinctness the doctrine involved. Objection to it belongs to its structure as much as to any of its expressions. It is an ecclesiastical monograph on the doctrine of Baptism.
Indeed, none deny that an undeveloped or modified form of baptismal regeneration, to say the least, is written upon its face. The stress of conscience under which many who use it are put, and the increasing attempts to prove that its real meaning is hidden and is the reverse of what its face indicates, simply demonstrate that its manifest sense offends the Scriptural ideas of the objectors. It is earnestly submitted whether the numerous discussions which centre about the baptismal offices have not arisen from the vain attempts of some to square their doctrine with their present advanced knowledge of divine truth.
The word "regenerate" conveys the central idea of these offices. We can not agree that this word has lost its ancient, or rather, its original meaning. We have failed to obtain from those who hold this view any satisfactory historic proof of such changes. It is, indeed, no longer used by all synonymously with "baptize," because all the Christian world does not now believe, as it once did, that the "baptized" are "regenerated." While regeneration means now the new or second birth, as it has always meant since it was imported from Scripture into our theological nomenclature, its efficient, operative cause is by many no longer thought to be "the grace of Baptism," but "the grace of the Holy Spirit." Not the power of the Holy Spirit in Baptism, but independent of Baptism. As the word remains in its former connection, it is not surprising that some have sought to give it a meaning which exigency demands, but which neither its history nor its etymology will allow.
Moreover, the Prayer-Book does not seem to leave much room for doubt upon this point. In Article XXVII. regeneration is used synonymously with new birth, and is a translation of the Latin renati. The explanatory clauses in the Baptismal Offices are many, and full: namely,
"Wash him, sanctify him with the Holy Ghost."
"Being delivered from Thy wrath."
"Steadfast in faith, joyful through hope, rooted in charity."
"May be born again, and made an heir of everlasting salvation."
"May receive the fullness of Thy grace."
"It hath pleased Thee to regenerate this infant with Thy Holy Spirit; to receive him for Thine own child by adoption," etc.
"Receive remission of sin by spiritual regeneration."
 The Confirmation Office says of the regenerate:
"Hath given unto them forgiveness of all their sins."
The collect for Christmas-day reads:
"Grant that we, being regenerate, and made Thy children by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by Thy Holy Spirit."
In the English Office for Private Baptism we read:
"Who, being born in original sin, and in the wrath of God, is now, by the laver of Regeneration in Baptism, received into the number of the children of Gcd and heirs of everlasting life."
(The substitute for this in the American Prayer-Book will be presently noted.)
The following proposed Prayer for Confirmation Service was passed unanimously by the House of Bishops in 1820:
"Almighty and everliving God, who hast vouchsafed in Baptism to regenerate these Thy servants, by water and the Holy Ghost, thus giving a title to all the blessings of Thy covenant of grace and mercy in Thy Son Jesus Christ, and now dost graciously confirm unto them, ratifying the promises then made, and their holy privileges," etc.
If, after this recital of these explanatory clauses, it is still asserted that regeneration or new birth means only some ecclesiastical change, we are constrained to inquire, What ideas of "the state of salvation" are prevailing among us?
Having thus settled our view of this central word, "Regeneration," as meaning what is expressed in Scripture by "born again," we pass on to speak particularly of the structure of the Public Office for Infants built about it.
(l.) The first feature to be noted is the vital importance of what is called "HOLY BAPTISM." The people are to be admonished "that they defer not the baptism of their children longer than the first or second Sunday next after their birth, or other holy day falling between, unless upon a great and reasonable cause." As this precludes the attendance of mothers in most cases, the matter must be urgent. In case of the sickness of an infant, supposed, of course, to be when it is under fourteen days old, so much of the service is to be used "as the time and present exigence will suffer." This phrase has reference not so much to the proprieties of a sick-room as to the possible nearness of death, and to avoid what a lord chief-justice spoke of "as the risk of the calamity of children dying unbaptized." In England, this is a calamity; for the Burial Service may not be read over them any more than over suicides and the excommunicated. English mothers, who, perhaps, have sent their babes to the Font before they themselves have recovered enough to be "churched," are comforted by this rubric:
"It is certain, by God's word, that children which are baptized, dying before they commit actual sin, are undoubtedly saved."
Those who delay "this charitable work" until they are able to take part in it must then write as the epitaph of their unbaptized babes, "Lost," though Jesus said, "Of such is the kingdom of heaven."
Our American book is not so harsh. It omits this rubric, and, in the [24/25] Burial Service, adds "adults" after unbaptized. It does not, however, change the principle of the vital importance of baptism, as set forth in the urgency of its immediate administration to puling babes. It modifies the application of the principle so far as to express no judgment about ··unbaptized infants," and to deny to unbaptized moralists, as to suicides and the excommunicated, the burial rites given cheerfully to baptized libertines, murderers, and adulterers!
(2.) The Public Office for Infants has a distinctly declared object. Its Exhortation sets forth the necessity of regeneration; its first prayer, given in two forms, is for the rich spiritual blessings which regeneration comprehends; its selection from Scripture, and the exposition thereof, set forth the willingness of Jesus to grant these blessing:.; prayer is again offered for the gift of the Holy Spirit and new birth; the sponsors are assured that Jesus will hear and answer their prayers; the promise is then exacted of them, not as the dondition of the fulfillment of Christ's part, but as their bounden duty, that the child shall renounce the devil and his works, believe God's word, and obediently keep his commandments; prayer is then offered for regeneration, in the burial of the old Adam and raising up of the new man, etc.; for the sanctification of the water, and that the child baptized therein may receive the fullness of grace, etc.
Thus the object declared in the beginning is sought by successive steps.
(3.) This object is declared to be GAINED. After the sanctified water is applied, the child is crossed as Christ's faithful soldier and servant, to continue so until his life's end. The blessed deed is done! The priest officially declares the child's regeneration; and is so sure about it, that he invites the congregation to unite with him in giving hearty thanks to God for the happy result. What is this result?
"That it hath pleased Thee to regenerate this infant with Thy Holy Spirit, to receive him for Thine own child by adoption, and to incorporate him into Thy Holy Church."
Is not this a spiritual change? He is spoken of in the following exhortation as a Christian. As soon as he can say the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, and the Ten Commandments, and is sufficiently instructed in the other parts of the Church Catechism, (not when he is spiritually recreated,) he is to be confirmed and to partake of the Lord's Supper. He is taught to say, as soon as he can repeat the words:
"In baptism, wherein I was made a member of Christ, the child of God, and an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven,"
"heartily thank his Heavenly Father, who bath called him to this state of salvation."
There is no word in the Prayer-Book which hints at the possibility of his after-conversion. He is treated as a converted or Christian child.
After a child has been baptized, may not a simple-hearted mother, who believes that ministers do not make a mock of or trifle about holy things, and do not say one thing when they mean another, do not express absolutely what they mean conditionally, nestle her babe to her bosom, and [25/26] sing, as a gentle lullaby, the words of George Wither, quoted by Attorney-General Roundell Palmer, in his Book of Praise:
"Though thy conception was in sin,
A sacred bathing thou hast had;
And though thy birth unclean hath been,
A blameless babe thou now art made.
Sweet baby, then forbear to weep;
Be still, my dear; sweet baby, sleep."
(4.) Regeneration, the object sought and gained in the vitally important rite of Baptism, implies the opus operatum. A protest against this Romish idea was inserted, in 1553, in the Article on Baptism. It was withdrawn in 1571, (Queen Elizabeth's reign,) and has not since been restored. In which respect we have ceased to be Protestant. The opus operatum is implied in the phrase, "Sanctify the water," or, as the adult service has it, "the element of water," "to the mystical washing away of sin." In the Liturgy of 1549, there were two prayers for the consecration of the baptismal water, the first of which read thus:
"Who hast ordained the element of water for the regeneration of Thy faithful people, . . . sanctify this fountain of baptism," etc.
The second prayer was like the one now in use down to the word "grant," and then began:
"Grant that all thy servants which shall be baptized in this water, prepared for the ministration of Thy Holy Sacrament, may receive," etc.
Bucer objected to such a consecration of the water, and these objectionable prayers were omitted from the Second Book. But the second one, changed as we now have it, was restored in 1662, the work of the reactionary divines.
The phrase, "Sanctify the element of water," etc., is the basis of the opus operatum theory, and is a relic of the old pagan idea of transelementation. It assumed "that the high powers and prerogatives of spiritual life are associated intrinsically with the forms of matter; and that, by consequence of the supposed descent of the Holy Spirit upon the baptismal waters, they acquire an inherent and all-efficacious virtue to wash away sin and to implant within the soul the living principle of spiritual life." A striking illustration of it is given by Prescott, in his description of Aztec Baptism: "After the head and lips of the infant were touched with water, a name was given to it, and the goddess Cioacoatl, who presided over child-birth, was implored, 'that the sin which was given to us before the beginning of the world might not visit the child, but that, cleansed by these waters, it might live and be born anew.'" The old Latin Liturgy has it, and others might be quoted to the same effect: "O God, whose Holy Spirit was in the very rudiments of the world borne above the waters, that the nature of waters might even then receive the power of sanctifying." This will explain the allusions in the first prayer [26/27] to Noah and his family, to Israel in the Red Sea, and to the Lord Jesus in the Jordan. The Gothic and other liturgies explain it:
"O God! who sanctified the Fount of Jordan"for the salvation of souls."
"The Lord was baptized, not seeking to be cleansed, but to cleanse the waters; that, being washed by the flesh of Christ, who knew no sin, they might have the privilege of washing. And, therefore, doth he, who cometh to the laver of Christ, put away all sin."
Jewel quotes, with seeming approval, from Ambrose: "The Holy Ghost cometh down and halloweth the water." Tertullian spoke of Christianity as "a religion of water." Cranmer wrote, "Grace cometh by water." This idea of transelementation is expressed in the old symbol, still in use, of a Font upon which the Holy Ghost is descending. Hence, also, comes the modern custom of covering and consecrating
What we have here affirmed of the Public Office for Infants acquires additional force from the construction of the Private Office. Sanctified water is applied to the sick child without the intervention of sponsorial promises, and the same result of regeneration is brought to pass. The Public Office was used for many years before these promises were introduced. The change made in our American Book in the form of certificate—"Who is now, by baptism, incorporated into the Christian Church," instead of, "Is now, by the laver of regeneration in baptism," etc.—indicated some uneasiness at the explicitness of the English form. It is, however, inconsistent with what precedes and follows it in the Office. The previous and succeeding prayers acknowledge what this certificate declares, and more. The less can not include the greater. Therefore we are obliged, by the force of logic, to admit that this certified statement is incomplete, or that incorporation into the Christian Church implies spiritual regeneration.
When Dean Goode wrote to Mr. Spurgeon that the baptismal service involved questions of "what might be called historic theology," he seemed to us to yield every thing. For baptismal regeneration was the prevailing belief among all classes of theologians for years after the Reformation. Nearly all, if not all, of the catechisms framed at that time are tainted with it. For illustration: Cranmer said:
"The second birth is by the water of baptism, which Paul calleth the bath of regeneration, because our sins be forgiven us in baptism, and the Holy Ghost is poured into us."
"He that is baptized may assuredly say, I am in a sure belief that I am made a Christian man."
"Baptism is the laver of regeneration, whereby I am washed from sin and grafted in Christ the Lord, and have put Him upon me."
Jewel quotes with approval the fathers who speak of baptism as
"The heavenly washing;' "The fount of regeneration."
 The prayers of Queen Elizabeth have such expressions as these:
"Washing of holy baptism;" "Regeneration of holy baptism."
These quotations might be multiplied indefinitely. Taken as representatives of a class, they certainly give reason for our assertion that the Edwardian reformers, as a body, believed in baptismal regeneration, and thus believed because, their thoughts being absorbed in controversies about the Lord's Supper, they did not have time to clear from their minds the Romish deceits about baptism. Or, should we admit Dean Goode's view, that they were Calvinists, and that to them the promises of God centred in baptism, as Cranmer said, "were knit and joined into the water," we must likewise admit their conclusion, that the promises of God in baptism are made unto the elect, limit our administration to the children of such—at any rate, of professing believersand distinguish between the regenerate and the predestinate, which would not help us out of our present difficulty.
But suppose we admit, for argument's sake, that Cranmer and his associates did not believe in baptismal regeneration, a new obstacle stands in our way.
The Prayer of Thanksgiving was added in 1662, at which time the idea of transelementation, as we have already seen, was restored. The opinions of Gunning, Morley, and others of the reactionary divines are on record. In reply to exceptions of the reforming party, they made answer as follows:
"The effect of a child's baptism depends neither upon their own present, actual faith and repentance, (which the Catechiser says expressly they can not perform,) nor upon the faith and repentance of their natural parents, or pro-parents, or of their godfathers or godmothers, but upon the ordinance and institution of Christ."
"Seeing that God's sacraments have their effects when the received cloth not tenere obicem, put any bar against them, which children can not do, we may say in faith of every child that is baptized that it is regenerated by God's Holy Spirit."
Before we reach our conclusion, we must call attention to another fact. Though Rome had a Baptismal Office for Adults, the Edwardian reformers, for some unexplained reason, framed none. The Church was without one until 1662—that ill-fated time, when our present service was fashioned by those who believed that "baptism is our spiritual regeneration." It was fashioned closely after the Office for Infants, the opening exhortations and prayers being the same, the exhortation being more sacramental, the prayer of thanksgiving being changed. Though adults are supposed to truly repent and to come unto God by faith, yet they occupy, before the font, the same status as infants. Both are alike subject to the wrath of God, and are to undergo the process of regeneration, that that wrath may be removed. The reason for this is evident. The infant places no bar, by reason of his tender age. The adult removes the bar by his repentance and faith. To each, baptism becomes the instrument of [28/29] regeneration. They alike receive the finished. salvation of Christ, not in the secret place from Christ Himself, but from the priest at the font, in the presence "of the Church." We leave to others the laborious task of reconciling this logical and natural interpretation of the Baptismal Offices with the word of God and with Article XXVII.
Having been led, by the importance of our subject, to dwell at this length upon the Doctrine of Baptism, we hesitate to tarry longer to examine one question closely connected with its practical aspects; yet it will not do to pass it by. It is this: How can evangelical men use these offices, and yet remain faithful to the truth as it is in Jesus? We would answer, in their behalf, that few of them administer baptism heartily; some under protest; some refuse; the majority of them apologize for their action, by putting a non-natural sense upon the offices. When asked to explain them, they explain them away. The most common justifying apologies are these:
(I.) The Robertsonian idea that the child's answer in the Catechism is declarative of its condition at birth as a child of God, etc., because of Christ's bloodshedding. But this in no wise accords with the language of the Office.
(2.) Some say that the baptismal language is used sacramentally. But this word is indefinite in its meaning, and darkens counsel.
(3.) Others claim that the regeneration is simply "historical, hypothetical, ecclesiastical." But, as we have already shown, this falls far short of the real significance.
(4.) Another class hold that the service really turns on the sponsorial office. Yet the sick child is regenerated when there are no sponsors. It seems puerile to assert that, in such cases, the sponsorial promises are taken for granted. If they are essential, why are they not used instead of the sanctifying prayer? If they are taken for granted, why are they afterward exacted? Moreover, is there any rubric which requires that sponsors shall be believers? Is there any Scriptural foundation for the theory of prevenient grace? Can one human soul be surety for another? Is not Jesus our only surety? Is it a tenable Protestant position to make so important a service as the baptismal hinge upon what can not be proven directly from Scripture? Wheatley declares that sponsors are spiritual guardians, appointed that children may not apostatize. They stand, then, not to impute, but to preserve faith!
(5.) What is called the "charitable hypothesis," and is so generally adopted, seems to have been first employed in the seventeenth century by those whose views of election made the Offices unacceptable. It supposes that the minister, not being able to judge the hearts of men, charitably concludes that all the prayer offered is sincere, and that the Lord answers sincere prayer. In other words, the child is regenerated because of faithful prayer at baptism. Yet, where in the whole service is there one word implying doubt? Could any declaration be more positive: "Seeing now, dearly beloved, that this child is regenerate;" "We yield [29/30] Thee hearty thanks, most merciful Father, that it hath pleased Thee to regenerate this infant with thy Holy Spirit"? Every evangelical minister, then, speaks to his congregation with a mental reservation, and heartily thanks God for doing what he does not believe, in all cases, is done! Is it possible that the servants of God, who, above all others, are to provide things honest before all men, are compelled to resort to such equivocation, and that public offices can be framed only on such a principle? If we suppose that this hypothesis is good when applied to the minister, what has charity to do with the child's own declaration, "Wherein I was made," etc.? Are we to teach our children to lie? What son or daughter of an evangelical clergyman, with a Webster's Dictionary at hand, can be easily taught that "made" means "sealed"? It is also to be remembered that, though the Church is said to charitably hope regeneration of all the baptized, it does not hesitate to judge all unbaptized adults worthy to be cast out with the excommunicate. If, as is claimed, all our services are designed for believers, is it not because they assume that all who use them are baptized?
Here are no less than five different explanations, all or any one of which destroys the unity of the Baptismal Service, and violates its plain letter. They are so constantly obtruded as to suggest great sensitiveness of conscience behind them. They have been unceasingly offered, but without relieving many of a sore burden which the service imposes. Some have outgrown the scruples of their consciences, but every new generation is obliged to pass through the same struggles as those who have gone before. The world is slow to believe that popular devotional formularies are so recondite in their meaning that a vast amount of historical lore is necessary for their right interpretation, and has been quick to style these various explanations "traditional, evasive expedients," bad in principle and unsatisfactory in result.
However satisfactory to the clergy these expedients may be, the laity, for the most part, are ignorant of or unwilling to accept them.
Godly men, in other years and lands, have had such doubts as are herein expressed. The pious Simeon said:
"In the Baptismal Service we thank God for having regenerated the baptized infant by His Holy Spirit. Now, from hence it appears that, in the opinion of our reformers, regeneration and remission of sins did accompany baptism."
Macaulay reckoned as
"Sophistical that peculiar form of mental aberration which refuses to recognize in the plain wording of the Baptismal Service the regenerating virtue of the sacrament."
Baptist Noel says:
"I once labored hard to convince myself that our reformers did not and could not mean that infants are regenerated by baptism. But no reasoning avails. The language is too plain." [Church and State, p. 418.]
The venerated Bishop Meade once wrote:
"Why could not another prayer on the same plan be introduced into the Baptismal Service, and [30/31] allowed to be used in the place of the one which we now must use, but which I never do without because its plain, literal meaning contradicts my belief?" [Bishop John's Memoir, p. 162.]
We are compelled to choose between two interpretations: One is the non-natural, offends many consciences, and results in a confused, deceiving formulary. The other is natural, logical, convincing to those who accept it. It teaches what Hagenbach asserts to be the teaching of the divines of the Church of England, "the doctrine of baptismal regeneration with caution." It is a part of what Dean Alford has recently called "a piece of the original scarlet . . . which was tolerated for old customs' sake, and for the sake of those who cared for it." Is not Neal's word historically true: "Neither among the Eastern Offices of Baptism, all of which I know well—Constantinopolitan, Copto-Jacobite, Armenian, Syro-Jacobite, Ethiopic, Nestorian—nor, to the best of my belief, among those of the West, is there one which so unequivocally asserts the unconditional regeneration of an infant as our own Office "?
So have we found in the Doctrine of Baptism a THIRD ROMANIZING GERM. The Holy Spirit's teaching during the past three hundred years has led many away from the old Romish dogma, but the expression of it still remains to distress those who have renounced the dogma, and yet are compelled to use the ancient formula which teaches it.
VII. THE DOCTRINE OF THE ACRAMENTS, (CONTINUED.)
THE LORD'S SUPPER.
IT will be kept in mind that during the progress of the English Reformation the Doctrine of the Lord's Supper was a leading subject of thought and discussion. By consequence, the views of the Edwardian reformers became especially clear on this subject. Their sturdy refusal to bow the knee idolatrously in the mass was, with some of them, the occasion, if not the cause, of their martyrdom. The Office for the Administration of the Lord's Supper, which they left behind them, was singularly Protestant in its character and lucid in its doctrinal statements. In it they threw no mystery about this Christian feast. Had we to-day the same service which they inserted in the Second Book of Edward, we should feel constrained to write only approving words. Even with the significant changes made in Elizabeth's reign, by the reactionary divines in 1662, and when our American Book was adopted, we might still pass over the Communion Office without serious censure, provided that the prevailing spirit of our Church were Protestant. But when the very air of our Christian home is surcharged with Romanizing [31/32] tendencies, we are constrained to object to what might, at other times, be innocuous.
There is much truth in the statement that, in 1662,
"Without any change of features which would cause alarm, a new spirit was breathed into our Communion Service."
This will be readily seen, if we state our objections to the present Office, and illustrate them by the changes which have been made.
I. We regard as unfortunate the use of the Scriptural language, "Eat my flesh and drink my blood," as it is used in some parts of the service. This particular language we hold to have no reference to the Lord's Supper. The blessed truth of which it is the expression is especially suitable to commemoration at that time. But the language has been so perverted by the Romish Church, and made to refer to the Communion, that the present position which it has in the Prayer-Book favors this erroneous application. In the First Book of Edward, the first clauses of the sentences of Administration, "The Body of our Lord Jesus Christ," etc., "The Blood," etc., were used. In the Second Book, these were dropped, and the second clauses, "Take and eat this," etc., "Drink this," etc., were introduced. The two were united by Elizabeth, and remain unto this day. They are constantly used to sanction high views of this sacrament.
II. We object to the Consecration and Oblation of the Elements, and to the Invocation. It is remarkable that in the Second Book of Edward there was NO PROVISION FOR CONSECRATION, and there was, therefore, NO OBLATION; and what now follows the Invocation, "And we earnestly desire Thy fatherly goodness," etc., is found after the prayer offered, when all have communicated.
In the present English Book the form of Consecration begins, "Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, who of Thy tender mercy," etc., and ends with, "Do this, as oft as ye shall drink it, in remembrance of me."
After the Lord's Prayer, these words are found as a form of prayer: "O Lord and Heavenly Father, we Thy humble servants earnestly desire Thy fatherly goodness to accept our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving," etc. The prayer which we now have before the Gloria in Excelsis is used in the English Book as an alternate form.
Observe, now, the significant changes made in our American Book. The Oblation and Invocation, which, at the instance of Bucer and Martyr, had been dropped from the First Book of Edward (which retained the word "mass") and were not restored in 1662, were imported from that Book to our own, through the Scottish Office, at the urgent solicitation of Bishop Seabury. The reason is given by an incident related of Bishop Seabury in Bishop White's Memoirs. He refused, at a meeting of the General Convention, to lead in the celebration of the Lord's Supper, because he did not deem the old form equivalent to a consecration. Hence we have in our service:
(I) The Consecration of the Elements, which is done by a priest, who [32/33] is to lay his hands upon all the bread, and upon every vessel in which there is any wine, that he may consecrate them. "If the consecrated bread and wine is spent before all have communicated, the priest is to consecrate more. What remaineth of the consecrated element is to be reverently placed upon the table."
(2.) The Oblation:
"Do celebrate and make here before Thy Divine Majesty, with these Thy holy gifts, which we now offer unto Thee, the memorial Thy Son bath commanded us to make."
(3.) The Invocation, a part of which reads:
"And, of Thy almighty goodness, vouchsafe to bless and sanctify, with Thy Word and Holy Spirit, these Thy gifts and creatures of bread and wine; that we, receiving them according to Thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ's holy institution, in remembrance of His death and passion, may be partakers of His most blessed Body and Blood."
In reference to these three features, we are to keep in mind (a) that the churches of Constantinople and, all the East omit the ceremony of taking the bread into the hands. [Palmer, Ritual, etc., ii. 9.] (b.) That the word "oblations" was introduced into the Prayer for Christ's Church Militant by the sacramentarian divines of 1662, and that it is not found elsewhere in the English Book. Its meaning in our Book is too plain to need exposition, especially when we remember that in the Scottish Office the words, "Which we now offer unto Thee," were always printed in capitals. (c.) The Invocation reminds us of the old Clementine form:
"Send down Thy Holy Spirit, the witness of the sufferings of the Lord Jesus, that He may make this bread the Body of Thy Christ, and this cup the Blood of Thy Christ."
III. We object to the doctrinal phrase,
"But also to be our spiritual food and sustenance in that Holy Sacrament."
It was inserted in 1662 instead of these words, "But also to be our spiritual food and sustenance, as it is declared unto us as well by God's Word as by the Holy Sacrament of His blessed Body and Blood." Whereby this sacrament, as a means of grace, is put on an equality with the word of God and not above it.
IV. In the English Book, there is a rubric which declares the reason for kneeling, "and that it is a signification of our humble and grateful acknowledgments of the benefits of Christ therein given to worthy receivers, and for the avoiding of such profanation and disorder in the Holy Communion as must otherwise ensue," and "that thereby no adoration is intended, or ought to be done, either unto the sacramental bread or wine there bodily received, or unto any corporal presence of Christ's natural flesh and blood."
As marking the growth of the sacramentarian theory, it is to be noted that the word "corporal" in the above rubric was substituted in 1662 for [33/34] "real and essential." Thus room was made for the entrance of the consubstantiation idea which now so extensively prevails among us. If this be the reason for the omission of the rubric from our Book, we may rejoice at what we should otherwise regret.
V. Instead of the rubric which now provides that "the minister and other communicants shall reverently eat and drink what remains of the consecrated bread and wine," it was provided thus, in 1552: "If any of the bread and wine remain, the curate shall have it to his own use."
VI. It is provided that the communion shall be administered first to the clergy, and then to the people. The reason for this is thus explained in the Book of 1552, and all cause to suppose that the exaltation of the priesthood is thereby intended is removed:
"Then shall the minister first receive the communion in both kinds himself, and next deliver it to the other ministers, if there be any present, (that they may kelp the chief minister,) and after that to the people in their hands, kneeling."
These changes are sufficient to illustrate the statement that some apparently trivial but really significant changes have been made in the Communion Office, and that they have been in a direction away from the Protestant simplicity of the Edwardian reformers, and toward the Romish dogma of transubstantiation, the Lutheran idea of consubstantiation being the intermediate step.
While in times of steadfast adherence to the truth we should not be disposed seriously to object to our present service, we feel that now, in the use of Scriptural language in a wrong connection, in the consecration and oblation of the elements, in the invocation, in the reverent handling and eating of what remaineth, in the doctrinal phrase alluded to, in the want of explanation of the reasons for kneeling, and for the participation by the clergy before the people, we have seeds which under certain circumstances will germinate into Romish error. Such germination is to be expected in view of the soil made ready by the Romanizing compost furnished by the Doctrines of the Rule of Faith, of the Ministry, and of Baptism. An illustration of this is given by Bishop Overall, who, in commenting on the words,
"Most humbly beseeching Thee to grant that, by the merits and death of Thy Son Jesus Christ, and through faith in His blood, we, and all Thy whole Church, may obtain remission of our sins, and all other benefits of His passion,"
"This is a plain oblation of Christ's death once offered, and a representative sacrifice cf it for the sins and for the benefit of the whole world, of the whole Church."
So we find in the Doctrine of the Lord's Supper a FOURTH ROMANIZING GERM.
VIII. THE CATECHISM.
WE propose to dismiss the Catechism with a few words. We regard it as a fruitful source of Romanizing doctrine, and as the instrument most useful in instilling in the minds of the young the germinal ideas of the sacerdotal and sacramentarian theories. We have, however, already dwelt so long upon our important theme that we ought not to tarry longer. Besides, we have already incidentally touched upon one at least of the Catechism's most objectionable features. We shall content ourselves, therefore, with some brief statements about it.
1. Its two aspects are sacramental and legal.
In the original Catechism, which ended with the exposition of the Lord's Prayer, there were thirteen questions and answers. Of these, five related to baptism. In the unauthorized addition made by Bishop Overall, in 16o4, (which includes all that follows the exposition of the Lord's Prayer,) twelve questions and answers were suffixed, every one of which refers to the two sacraments. So that out of twenty-five questions, SEVENTEEN are sacramental.
Of the eight that remain, one relates to the Creed, three to the Decalogue, and two to the Lord's Prayer. About all which there is a legal cast.
So that a child is taught what baptism is and what it has done for him; the things to be believed and the duties to be discharged by him as a baptized child; and the qualifications for, and the benefits to be reaped by, partaking of the Lord's Supper. This is the instruction which he is to learn before being confirmed. Left to this, he would know but little of the finished salvation which is in Christ, and of the precious grace which flows from Him to every believing soul.
2. This "instruction" is framed in the scholastic, patristic language formerly so much in vogue. Take as an illustration the qualifications for baptism: "Repentance, whereby they forsake sin"—the scholastic expression for reformation of manners and habits; "and Faith," not in the Lord Jesus Christ, as a personal Saviour, but that kind of belief which appropriates "the promises of God made to them in that sacrament." Whatever may be the meaning of this latter phrase, it certainly makes baptism the fountain of expectant hope.
3. This Catechism contains no reference to the Bible as the Rule of Faith, nor any to it as a book which has an existence, except in the citation of the place whence the Decalogue is taken. If it be said that the Catechism does not claim to be a complete manual of instruction, it is answered that it does set forth the things most important to be learned by children, to the end that they may be prepared to ratify their baptismal vows. A just inference is, that a participation in the sacraments is [35/36] more vital than a knowledge of the word of God; and that there are duties to be done rather than riches of grace to be enjoyed.
We commend Cranmer's Catechism of 1553 as a marked contrast, in some points of Christian doctrine, to our present manual. The large number of catechisms issued by the Evangelical Knowledge Society, and by other publishing houses, as well as by individuals, show how great is the want which they are designed to meet. The different character of the teaching they set forth is a standing protest against that which every clergyman is commanded to teach his children at least once a month. Doubtless, if the Catechism were less frequently taught, our people would less easily be led into Romanizing error.
Here we rest in our inquiry. Other points might be examined. There are rubrics, usages, and some parts of our prescribed formulary which might be brought forth to strengthen what has been already said. They will, however, readily suggest themselves to those who accept our view of the fundamental doctrines already considered. We hasten to a conclusion by offering some practical suggestions.
IX. MEN AND BRETHREN, WHAT SHALL WE DO?
IN view of what has been thus far said, we feel constrained to affirm that, THERE ARE ROMANIZING GERMS IN THE PRAYER-BOOK. They are imbedded in our otherwise Protestant formulary. They are found in the Doctrines of the Rule of Faith, of the Ministry, of Baptism, and of the Lord's Supper. Developed according to the fixed law of germination, they bring forth fruit after their own kind, such as: The Bible is not the sole Rule of Faith; the Ministry is an exclusive priesthood; Baptism is an instrument of regeneration; the Lord's Supper is an expression of Consubstantiation.
It is a noteworthy fact, that during three hundred years a large and influential sacerdotal party have existed within our Church, and come down to our time in uninterrupted succession. Their rallying cry has been these very doctrines. They have vindicated them by appealing to the natural interpretation of the Occasional Offices, our popular theological formulas. Embodied in the various members of that party, we see these Romanizing germs in their several degrees of development. Here is "the minister," who has, as yet, adopted no element of the priesthood but its "exclusiveness," has just begun to inwrap the sacraments in mystery, and to link together, as peers, the Bible and the Prayer-Book. There is a "priest," who, having taken the successive steps of sacramentarianism and sacerdotalism, places a crucifix above "the altar," reverently crosses himself as he passes out, and, closing the door of his vestry-room behind him, looks [36/37] wistfully across the street to the open door of Rome. Between this minister and that priest are many in transitu from the ministry of the Gospel to the priesthood of Romanism. To deny this, is to deny that the sun is shining in heaven, and that the ocean is dashing upon the sands of every shore.
This sacerdotal party are neither small in number nor aliens in our ecclesiastical commonwealth. Nor yet is their influence on the decline. They have been an integral part of our Church from its beginning. They have ever been numerous and influential enough to mould its prevailing sentiments, and, as we have seen, to establish their own doctrinal status by material changes in the Book of Common Prayer. Their growth, and the acceptance of their peculiar doctrines, have been at least coequal with the extension of the Church. Indeed, to the eyes of many they seem like a flowing tide gathering force, and sweeping away clergy and laity, churches, institutions, and dioceses. The evangelical party, the true representatives of the Protestant Edwardian Reformation, with all their societies and earnestness, have been as impotent to stay this tide as Canute on Britain's sands. They have, on the other hand, felt the power of this overshadowing influence, and have become in some degree infected with semi-sacerdotalism and semi-sacramentarianism, which has dashed their courage, weakened the force of their convictions, and unjointed their armor of aggressiveness.
Such a result must have some efficient cause. Searching for this cause, we are struck with the mighty influence of the Prayer-Book among us. It is the chief teacher of our clergy and laity. It is to most of them the ultimate standard of doctrine, and has demonstrated the power of a liturgy to indoctrinate. A "Prayer-Book churchman" is a current phrase ex· pressive of this fact. Dr. Pusey and his friends have ever declared in all sincerity that they have "made their way" by the Prayer-Book. It seems like folly to assert that a large body of our people, intelligent as they are, have been led to adopt a doctrinal system, the very opposite of that which they believe is taught by the Prayer-Book, their much-loved Formulary. The present position and influence of the sacerdotal party can, in our opinion, be accounted for in only one satisfactory way: they are built upon, and are the outgrowth of; the Romanizing germs in the Prayer-Book. So long as these remain, disciples thereof will multiply.
Another fact is here important to be observed. The Prayer-Book has less influence with the evangelical than with the sacerdotal party. Not because the former love it less, but because they exalt the Bible more. We are firmly convinced that clear views of Bible truth have led to the non-natural interpretation of the Offices. Yet how often have the Gospel teachings of the pulpit been neutralized by the instructions of the Prayer-Book! The Offices for Baptism, the Lord's Supper, and Ordination have implanted in many Romanizing germs which have warped them from Gospel simplicity. The constant repetition of the declaration of baptismal regeneration has forced many to believe, at last, what has been so often [37/38] spoken in unbelief. Defections from evangelical truth among us are to be traced to the insidious influence of the Offices. The testimony of the Articles has been but little felt, because they have been a sort of clerical dessert, (some decline dessert,) while the Offices have been daily food. Crowning with honor the evangelical heroes who have fought valiantly in the past, we can not forget that their victories have not been final, because the enemy have ever retreated and intrenched themselves impregnably behind the Offices. Humiliating as it is to confess all this, we feel that nothing is to be gained, and much may be lost, by attempting to conceal what is patent to the world.
Tracing the history of the sacerdotal party, we see, without surprise, their gradual but progressive Romeward development of doctrine. The Romanizing germs first sprang up in our own Church in the form of conservative High-Churchism. The warm spring-tide brought out the buds of Tractarianism. The summer called forth the blossoms of Ritualism. The autumnal season will see the full-blown flowers of Romanism. The law of germination is exact and inexorable. There is no process of reaction. This year's buds and blossoms may be blasted. They will come again next year, unless the germinal life is killed. One marvels, therefore, to see how busy are some Sacerdotalists in plucking the blossom of Ritualism from the plant of High-Churchism, as if it were of abnormal growth, and not the natural efflorescence. One grows sad while observing the many Evangelicals who try to stay the tide of High-Churchmanship by quoting the Prayer-Book.
In view of these facts, we are forced to regard the Prayer-Book as the fountain whence flows that stream of Romanizing influences which is rapidly growing into a mighty river, and, with its many branches, penetrating our whole Church.
We cheerfully accord to the sacerdotal party entire conscientiousness of conviction. Their doctrinal views doubtless seem to them in entire accordance with the Bible and the Book of Common Prayer.
This does not hinder us from expressing our earnest dissent from these doctrines, and our deep anxiety and sorrow at their existence and propagation. We hold them to be at variance with the unspeakably precious fact of the finished salvation which is in Christ, of the glorious, immediate fellowship of every believer with his risen Lord, and of the heavenly character of the Christian church. They deeply concern the future growth and very existence of our Church, the peace of mind of many of its ministers, the allegiance of a large body of the laity, the common interests of Protestantism, the salvation of many souls, and the glory of the Divine Saviour. They result in an ecclesiastical organism, in an exclusive priesthood, in sacramental efficacy, in patristic authority; which are to our eye the sure signs of spiritual death, the marks of a candlestick whose light has gone out, of a church that has a name to live but is dead. This being so, the fact that the Prayer-Book contains germs of [38/39] these destructive doctrines intrudes upon us in these embarrassing times the very serious and momentous question, MEN AND BRETHREN, WHAT SHALL WE DO?
Evidently, something must be done. The glory of the Edwardian Reformation, which is, as the Puritans said, "Worthy to be had in everlasting remembrance with gratitude and honor," is paling before the sickly glare of a Romanizing revival. Jesus, in the person of His truth, stands in the market-place stripped of His beautiful garments, while many who come and go pass Him by, seeking of men, at a great price, the salvation which He bestows freely.
Romanism, like a subtle poison, is coursing through our body ecclesiastic. Racking pains, partial paralysis, intestinal ulceration, general debility, testify of the poison's hold and power.
An increasing number of the clergy are struggling under stress of conscience, tortured with doubts as to their duty. They love the Church too much to abandon its communion and ministry, except as a last resource. They do not wish to get rid of their scruples by outgrowing them. Yet they can not, without deep pain, use parts of some of the Occasional Offices. They shrink from the continued repetition of unsatisfactory explanations. They regard with alarm the influence of the Prayer-Book upon many of the souls committed to their charge. This stress of conscience dulls their enthusiasm and abates their influence. Upon them the highest interests of truth and of our Church, as well as their own usefulness and happiness, press LITURGICAL REVISION as the great objective point of action.
So important a question is not to be got rid of by ignoring, poohpoohing, or postponing it. In spite of the many and vast difficulties with which it bristles, it must be boldly seized and manfully handled. A calm, courageous consideration of it, and an humble but earnest looking unto the Lord for His promised wisdom, will, doubtless, solve many perplexing questions.
Indeed, immense progress will be made toward a solution when our clergy and laity can be persuaded to give due attention to this momentous question. To this end, our first great need, after prayer, is AGITATION. Let us agitate, AGITATE, and AGITATE, without fear and with wisdom, in private conversation, through the press, in the pulpit, on the platform, until the moral sense of the evangelical party is thoroughly aroused; until they realize that, being within our Church the sole surviving heirs of the spirit of the Edwardian Reformation, it rests upon them to take up that Reformation where it was interrupted by Mary, and to present to the world the precious gift of a purely evangelical liturgy. Upon their banner they need to inscribe, so that he who runs may read, such principles as these, which the Protestant portion of the Prayer-Book expresses:
THE BIBLE THE SOLE RULE OF FAITH.
THE MINISTRY AN AMBASSADORSHIP, COMING DOWN IN UNINTERRUPTED HISTORICAL SUCCESSION FROM APOSTOLIC TIMES, DERIVING ITS AUTHORITY AND POWER FROM CHRIST.
 THE SACRAMENTS PLEDGES OF DIVINE LOVE AND OF HUMAN FAITH. THE SALVATION TO WHICH THE BIBLE, MINISTRY, AND SACRAMENTS POINT FINISHED IN CHRIST JESUS.
All subordinate questions of polity and discipline range themselves under these leading doctrines.
There can be, in the lapse of time, but one issue to such a movement—VICTORY. When, since the world began, have the servants of God contended earnestly for His truth and their cause been uncrowned with triumph?
Many deprecate, others shrink from, the agitating conflict which must precede the victory. What soul was ever awakened except by the thrust of the sword of the Spirit? What nation has ever risen to a height of moral dignity but by the blood-marked path of war? What reformation has ever been consummated but by earnestly contending for the faith once delivered to the saints? As The London Times justly observed in reference to Liturgical Revision:
"What controversy that such an attempt may raise can ultimately be so disastrous to the Church as the settled determination of millions to have nothing to do with the Prayer-Book as it is?"
Apart from this consideration, the interests of truth demand of us this agitation. Were the system of error which we now write against outside of our communion, we might not feel called upon to go out of our way to meddle with it. But it is firmly lodged in our own household. It meets us in our lying down and rising up. It contests with us our right to dwell within except by sufferance. We can not use or give a Prayer-Book without, in some sense, becoming a party to its errors. While we do not propose to yield, in any wise, our right of inheritance vested in the Protestantism of the Prayer-Book, yet we must acknowledge that our right is not undisputed. The conflict does not regard matters of mere policy, or expediency, or power. It concerns truth, and is, therefore, vital. In the evangelical and sacerdotal parties are embodied two opposing systems of doctrine, and the rival spirits of the Reformation. To suppose that such fellowship will ever exist between them as to lead one to labor for the advancement of the other is idle. An armed neutrality is the highest kind of peace which can be expected to exist between them. The question which the future is to decide, is not, whether this or that man is to be made bishop, but whether this or that system of doctrine is to prevail. That issue is in the Lord's hands, and we are called upon to decide with reference to it.
Some may urge that the present time is not favorable.
Our simple answer is this: Is any hour unpropitious for proclaiming and defending the truth? Are we ever released from this solemn duty? Truth needs no stratagems for her preservation. She shows her fair face on the battle-field. Her enemies flee away. She is more valuable than gold or precious stones, and far outweighs such interests as church unity, evangelical societies, vested rights, personal ease, and position.
 Past years have sounded in evangelical ears one ill-fated word—WAIT. The evangelical party has waited long, patiently, submissively, hopefully; sacrificed much to preserve outward unity and inward peace, and to prove their loyalty to the Prayer-Book. What has been the result? They have reached a time when they must be true to their convictions or abandon them; make bold and large demands in behalf of the truth, or else renounce it.
Many years ago, Hervey wrote these words concerning the Prayer-Book:
"There are some passages so justly exceptionable that every bishop will tell you that he wishes to have them expunged; and yet I know not for what political or timid reason it continues just as it did. Had our first reformers been thus indolent, we still had been papists."
In the years that have passed, what has been done to reverse this sad fact:
"The Prayer-Book deeply disquiets the consciences of many godly ministers and people"?
Is not the condition of such ministers and people worse now than then, because of the more highly developed Romanizing sentiment about them?
Still further it may be asked, Would not a revision to-day be less Protestant than it would have been twenty years ago? Will it not be still less Protestant if it takes place twenty years hence, supposing the policy of the future to be as in the past, Micawber-like? Have we power to hinder such revision if the dominant party resolve to make it? What, then, is our hope of diffusing evangelical truth throughout our communion, of relieving distressed consciences, of preventing a Romanizing revision, but in such agitation in reference to the Romanizing germs in the PrayerBook as will call attention to the doctrines which they naturally develop, and will prepare the way for their extirpation.
Those who sympathize with the sentiments of this tract do not now desire to interfere with those who prefer the Prayer-Book as it is, provided their own convictions of duty can be satisfied in some other way. They realize the vast difficulties which surround Liturgical Revision in so divided a church as our own. They would be content, until there is a further development of Romanizing germs, if there was granted them a reasonable liberty in the use of the objectionable parts of the Prayer-Book. For illustration: Suppose that all the Occasional Offices were popularly recognized to be optional, as the "Visitation of the Sick" now is; or that other Offices were prepared and duly set forth for such as might desire to avail themselves thereof. A precedent for this latter course might be borrowed from the fifteenth century, less free than our own, in the Uses of York, Sarum, Rome, Gaul, etc., or from the Sunday-School liturgies, Thanksgiving Services, and Forms for the Laying of Corner-Stones in our own time.
The outward unity of the Church would not be broken. The essentials of the Word, Ministry, and Sacraments would remain as now. The [41/42] unimportant manner of the Form of Administration only would vary. Augustine said: "Unity of belief is not infringed by variety of certain ordinances." Gregory wrote: "When the faith of the Holy Church is one, a difference in the customs of the Church doth no harm." Such liberty would then mark this century as has characterized the Church in all ages. The bestowal of it would be a generous act on the part of those who are in authority. It would be making good the oft-repeated boast that we are a comprehensive church, by proving that there is room within it for the free exercise of more than one class of opinions.
If it be urged that the Ritualists would make the same demand, we say heartily in reply, Let their demand be granted. If we are to have indeed a comprehensive church, let all shades of thought be free to develop themselves. We have enough confidence in the power of the truth to be without fear as to the ultimate result. But if we are not to have a comprehensive church, we ought to know it, that we may no longer "compromise honor and morality by the recital of common creeds and the use of a common ritual."
We have expressed herein the deep convictions of many clergy and laity who yield to none in their devotion to our Church as embodying liturgical worship and the Protestant faith. The Romanizing germs in the Prayer-Book are an offense to their consciences. They feel that they have a right to claim such relief as, not being unreasonable in itself, may be granted without yielding any essential of the faith or destroying the unity of the Church. If they are denied this relief, it will be necessary for them to seek it wherever they can find it. Their stress of conscience will not allow them to rest content in their present status. They feel the force of what a living writer has said:
"If any cause can generate schism in a church, it is a denial of its liberties. When liberties are conceded, men do not struggle to assert them. They even content themselves without any obtrusive exercise of them."
On St. Bartholomew's Day, 1662, two thousand clergymen, including such men as Baxter, Owen, Alleine, Howe, Flavel, Poole, went out from the Church of England, because relief to their conscientious convictions was denied. They and others like them are able to repeat the words of Chillingworth:
"The true reason (of separation) is not so much because you maintain errors and corruptions, but because you impose them."
And of Jeremy Taylor:
"Whether of the two is the schismatic? he that makes unnecessary and (supposing the state of things) inconvenient impositions, or he that disobeys them, because he can not, without doing violence to his conscience, believe them; he that parts communion, because without sin he could not entertain it, or they that have made it necessary for him to separate by requiring such conditions, which to no man are simply necessary, and to him in particular are either sinful or impossible?"
There is nothing new in the position here assumed. Stillingfleet, Burnet, Tillotson, Porteus, Shirley, and a multitude of others agree substantially with these words of Hervey:
 "I know that multitudes of pious men would labor in the Established Church, if they could get over these difficulties; and that consequently many thousands in the Establishment are deprived of their labors by means of these obstacles. I know that many conscientious ministers have gone heavily all their days, because they know not how to act—whether to use expressions which they did not approve, or to drop the use of them; or to relinquish the sphere of usefulness which they held in the Church, or leave a church which, with these small exceptions, they loved and admired above any upon earth"
We simply reecho the cry of every century since the Reformation. Will a legislative body ever be found wise and generous enough to hearken to this cry?
Agitation, with reference to future action, and the exercise of a reasonable liberty for present relief, are the practical measures which we suggest.
Having thus discharged what has pressed upon us as a duty, we send forth this tract, with the pressing question, MEN AND BRETHREN, WHAT SHALL WE DO?