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At page 5 he recommends the placing of “two lights” upon the altar. This matter has acquired some degree of celebrity of late from the fact of having received the sanction of the Bishop of London in his famous charge of 1842; " provided that the candles are not burning, except when the church is lighted up
lighted up for evening service ;” a proviso which, it has been said, was made on the principle—in accordance with the spirit of the times—of utility versus symbolism ; but we trust that some of the remarks which follow will show that his lordship may have had a better reason for this proviso, while kindly falling in with, so far as he was able, a desire which he found manifesting itself among some of his clergy'. Altar candlesticks, too, are much in vogue with some at present, as Mr. Potter, of Southmolton-street, can thankfully testify. We desire, therefore, to avail ourselves of the present opportunity to say a few words on the practice in question.
We are willing to make the advocates of it a present of all that can be adduced in the way of prescriptive usage; as, for instance, the injunctions of King Edward, as also the Provincial Constitution of Archbishop Walter, in 1322, which desires that “tempore quo Missarum solennia peraguntur, accendantur duæ candelæ, vel ad minus una ;” and even the Constitution of Winchelsea, of seventeen years previous date, which mentioned “ Candelabrum pro cereali paschali,” if this can be pressed into the service. For what of all this? Obsolete Constitutions cannot be counted to have much weight now; and as to the Injunction of Edward, let the real wording of it be carefully considered. It is as follows : ... shall suffer from henceforth no torches nor candles, tapers or images of wax to be set before any image or picture, save only two lights upon the high altar before the sacrament, which, for the signification that Christ is the very true light of the world, they shall suffer to remain still.” To our minds the passage appears only as permissive, not mandatory—“shall suffer to remain”—at least we think it is fairly open to this construction. And let it be observed further, that this—whether permissive or mandatory-was only “before the sacrament ;" in other words, before the consecrated wafer reserved in the pyx, as might have been fairly supposed in absence of all proof, and as the wording of Queen Mary's Act renders certain. But since our present Prayer Book enjoins most explicitly that “if any” bread and wine “remain of that which
· The reader may perhaps not be uninterested at hearing another reason which a witty papist once assigned in our hearing. “Ah,” said he, "you have them, but not lighted; the reason is clear—it is to signify that the light has gone out from your church.”
was consecrated, the priest, &c. shall, immediately after the blessing, reverently eat and drink the same,” it follows that there can now be no sacrament to reserve; and, consequently, the whole intent of the suffering the two lights, contemplated in the injunctions, is removed.
But, lastly, were all this otherwise ; suppose it could be shown that the passage of the injunctions had actually enjoined the use of the two lights, and this without assigning any cause now done away; and suppose it could be demonstrated that the Act of Parliament intended to enforce these injunctions; still we must think that it would savour of Erastianism-more, probably, than the compiler of this manual would care to be charged with were any one, upon consideration, to attempt to urge such purely lay and civil interference as binding upon the ministers of religion ; and this, not only in the absence of all canonical or synodical authority, but against our customs ecclesiastical: for we do hold, and we desire strongly to press it at the present moment, that, in cases of mere ceremonial observance, we have no such custom is quite sufficient plea ; and hence we recognize the wise caution of the prelate to whom we have already referred, who merely gave to the candles a permissive sanction-" I see no objection to them.” In cathedrals, indeed, and in college chapels, the “custom” of two candles, though not lighted, has continued ; and, therefore, unmeaning though they be, may still be "suffered.”
The compiler further recommends a cross in the middle" between the two lights. Now, what we have just been saying, will likewise apply to this point. Does he mean to reconmend this cross on the ground of its being ordered in the aforesaid Rubric for “the Order of Morning and Evening Prayer,” or as included in " the spirit of Article XXXIV."? If on the former ground, we tell him that there is not a shadow or pretext for supposing a cross upon the Lord's Table to have been contemplated. There is not a word about it in the Injunctions or in the Act of 2 Edward VI. On the contrary, unless it can be affirmed not to be an “image of stone, timber, or alabaster, or earth,” its removal is made imperative by 3 and 4 Edward VI., c. 10. If he ground his recommendation on “ the spirit of Article XXXIV.," then it ought to be found in the
common authority” to which this Article refers. But is it so ? “ Common authority” must be determined by use : but had a cross in the middle” of the Lord's Table been the
usage Church down to 1562? We believe not.
We believe not. Both then and now it must be acknowledged of this, that “ we have no such custom.”
In page 107 we are favoured with another note, which appears to us highly objectionable.
“No doubt our alms, oblations, and prayers, in this place are to be regarded as synonymous with the prayers, supplications, and thanksgiving (ευχαριστίας),we question whether any reader, not versed in ancient liturgical language, will perceive exactly how these terms should be synony
But we pass on “ which, according to the Apostle's exhortation, we offer to Almighty God for all men, not forgetting the faithful departed, in whose behalf we bless (evloyover, a purely liturgical term) his holy name. • Without doubt,' says St. Augustin of Hippo, 'the dead are assisted by the prayers of holy Church, and by the health-giving sacrifice and 'alms which are offered for their spirits; that with them God may deal more mercifully than their sins have deserved. . . . And when, for the sake of those who are to be commended, works of mercy are performed, who doubts that they are benefited, for whom prayers are not emptily said ?'"
Now, in spite of the high authority of St. Augustin, and of St. Chrysostom (for he cites a passage from him too), we do very much question whether this notion of the dead being benefited by our alms will stand the test of Scripture.
We cannot tell whether these passages be correctly quoted, and whether the context bears out the meaning, which it is now attempted to attach to them, for we are writing at a distance from books. But granting that the passages be correctly cited, and bear out the meaning here affixed to them, we submit that, before teaching doctrines which (to say the least of them) are not commonly held now-o'-days, true charity would be careful to ascertain their Catholicity. For to suppose that an isolated passage drawn from the voluminous works of one or two ancient bishops, can stamp a doctrine with a Catholic imprimatur (supposing, of course, that the passages are taken from the genuine writings of those Fathers), is simply absurd'. It is to make those writers infallible. It is, at all events, to attribute higher authority to them than they claimed for themselves; as one passage out of many from St. Augustin will show.
He confesses that “even they who have passed out of this life in the
* We remember a very short passage near the end of St. Augustin's Tract“ de cura pro mortuis,” which asserts—but neither so explicitly nor unhesitatingly-the same opinion ; an opinion which he would seem to have derived from a relation in 2 Macc. xii., which he quotes in an earlier section of the same tract.
Catholic faith, and have left to posterity any Christian writings," may “in some places of their works (such is human infirmity), unable with the mind's eye to penetrate into the more hidden things, err from the truth whilst following what was like the truth-veri similitudine aberrantes a veritate." And if any readers have thereby become imbued with error, he teaches for a remedy that “the authority of the Catholic Church, and of other most learned men esteemed highly as disputants and writers in its truth, is to be set above such opinions.”—S. August. de Catech. Rud. $12.
In speaking of "the minor saints” of the Church's calendar, “who have been selected” as “apt representatives of her catholicity,” the writer indulges in what appears, to say the least, somewhat extravagant language; he says
“When we duly consider how our Church adopts these holy men as her peculiar doctors, rather than her reforming bishops, whom she does not even once mention in her formularies, great as their services undoubtedly were in restoring her ancient privileges, and purging her from superstitious usages, we shall be at no loss to discover where her mind and doctrine are to be primarily learned."-pp. v. vi.
It puzzles us to conceive how our Church should "mention her reforming bishops in her formularies," under which designation the writer seems to include the Calendar. Has the Reformed Church of England ever canonized any holy person? (Certain individuals, not the Church, do indeed speak of Saint Charles the Martyr.) Or, when that Calendar was drawn up, had the requisite time elapsed since their deaths, to canonize any of our reforming bishops? Yet the Calendar mentions none but canonized saints. But really, canonized or not, to tell us that the Church adopts the minor saints of her Calendar as “her peculiar doctors" -as the fountain whence we are to "learn primarily her mind and doctrine,” and that in preference to her reforming bishops——this does startle us. Why, of four-fifths of these minor saints we know scarcely more than the fact of their deaths (unless we are to believe the trash which Messrs. Newman and Oakeley published a few years ago)! How, then, can we go to them to learn the Church's "mind and doctrine ??? One of these “peculiar doctors" is St. Dunstan; of whom Bishop Overall says, “ After his death he was sainted, but God knows why."
We have noticed this book more at length than we should have done, from the conviction that its compiler is one of a set of gentlemen who, doubtless with the best intentions, are doing much harın to the cause of the Church. There is an evident prurience of desire to press points which, however good in themselves, may not wisely be pressed. This did not he Reformers. We have seen it somewhere well observed, that “those who will consider the preface to the Commination Service, will not fail to note how our Church would rather make good and maintain ground possessed, than advance in a direction debateable.” But these gentlemen appear to make it their business to hunt out the ecclesiastical practices of other days; and forthwith, because such and such a thing is primitive, or obtains on the other side of the English Channel, provided it be not absolutely prohibited by our own laws, they introduce it into their mode of conducting Divine service. We remember once hearing of a clergyman, whom the Bishop of London had brought up for some alleged irregularity, beginning to quote St. Cyprian to him. The Bishop, however, so the story goes, speedily stopped him, desiring him to take notice, that he belonged to the diocese of London, not of Carthage. The parties to whom we allude, shake their heads very gravely if they catch a brother clergyman omitting any prescribed order of the Anglican Church; but never seem aware that they, in transgressing the litera scripta of the present Prayer Book, are just as faulty as their brethren who omit aught prescribed. Keep to the Prayer Book, and we are safe ; fail to do so, either going beyond or falling short, and we . have not a leg to stand upon. Thus break the barrier, and any amount of what is objectionable and erroneous may follow. Departure from the litera scripta, whether in excess or in diminution, is equally the offspring of a wilfulness of private judgment.
There is some good matter in the volume; but as a whole, we are far from being able to recommend it.
10.-Discourses on Tleavenly Knowledge and Heavenly Love. By
Francis GARDEN, M.A. Edinburgh : Grants. 1848.
A series of seven sermons, preached at various times in the course of his ministrations, cannot fail to prove acceptable to some persons in the present day. The first sermon, entitled, Our Present Knousledge of Heavenly Things Unsystematic, has an important bearing upon the theological divisions of the day. It is professedly directed against the tendency to methodize the various glimpses of heavenly truth with which the word of revelation has furnished us—to build up a scheme upon