« AnteriorContinuar »
will transcribe from a Protestant author, now living, a fair and candid, avowal of the whole proceeding :
" It is granted,” says Mr. Grier, “ that our first liturgy in 1548, expressed, as might naturally be expected, the Popish idea of the real pre
But in its next revision in 1552, a rubric was added, expressly denying the tenet. Queen Elizabeth, however,—who had not yet imbibed the pure spirit of Christianity, which had guided her youthful predecessor, and the venerable Cranmer,-expunged it in 1559 ; • her design being to unite the nation in one faith. The contrivance had the desired effect; as the Popish laity continued in connexion with the church of England for ten years, and only broke off when she refused to acknowledge the Pope's supremacy. In 1661, after the Restora tion, the old anti-popish rubric of King Edward's second book was restored, and holds its place in our liturgy without alteration to this day. These stages mark the successive improvements which it received ?"
Here then, intelligent reader, you have a fair, an open, and an undisguised acknowledgment, from the pen of a professed champion of the
1 l Burnett's Hist. of the Ref. vol. ii.
390. · Grier's Reply to the End of Religious Controversy, pp. 141 et 142.
established church, that the church which he defends has been often shifting her ground, and varying her belief, on this most essential article: and these changes are termed IMPROVEMENTS !!! What is this, but to own that divine faith forms no part of their religious system ; and that the truths which they profess, are to be viewed in the light of human opinions, which may be modified, altered, and improved by successive experience ?
That this cannot be said of true, real, and saving faith, appears from its nature and object. To have divine faith on any point, we must necessarily believe some truth, revealed by God, and proposed by some competent authority ; and the truth thus believed is, of its own nature, immutable and unchangeable as the God from whom it emanates. Surely the truths revealed by God, ought not, cannot by their nature, be subject to the arbitrary and capricious devices of
Where any variation or change can be discovered in tenets said to be revealed, there the nature of divine faith is destroyed; and to avow such a change, and term it an improvement, amounts to an acknowledgment, that such a system of religion, as authorizes the alteration, and is subject to such vicissitudes, consists of a mass of human opinions, ever variable and shifting, and in a ceaseless round of fluctuation and uncertainty. Such is the inevitable consequence of this avowal; of which it may be asserted without any extravagant exaggeration, that never did a professed and official defender give a more deadly blow to the cause which he espoused.
Perhaps this writer may allege in his own defence, that I rate too high the properties of divine faith, and that my demands are exorbitant, in requiring that faith should always be invariable. Let us then see the description of divine faith, as given by a Protestant archbishop of Canterbury. “ To believe, in general,” says Dr. Wake, “is to assent to the truth of any thing, upon the sole authority of the person who delivers it ; who, if he be a man only, the assent which I give to what he says, produces in me a human faith: if, as here, he be God, then the assent which I give to what is delivered, becomes properly a divine faith." I now request Mr. Grier and the catechist, to weigh well this description of divine faith, given by one of their illustrious archbishops of Canterbury; and I leave to them jointly to determine, whether any man, or any set of men, after receiving any tenet as divinely revealed, can, consistently with this notion of divine faith, make an alteration in the article
1 The Principles of the Christian Religion explained by Dr. William Wake, Archbishop of Canterbury, part ii. sec. 6, p. 26, 7th edit. Lond. 1757.
thus delivered, and call such a change an improvement. With this recommendation, I beg leave to drop the curtain, and terminate this long discussion, on one of the leading tenets of the Christian religion.
Why do you think it unlawful for laymen to receive the com
munion in one kind only?
1. Because Christ saith expressly to the disciples, not only
“Take, eat,” but also, “ drink ye all of this,” Matt. xxvi. 27. 2. The practice of the universal Church of Christ, for a thou
sand years together, is against it. 3. It is a novelty; for the council of Constance, in the year
1416, was the first that durst venture upon this sacrilege, and deprive the laity of the cup in the sacrament, notwithstanding Christ's institution, and the practice of the primi
tive church. 4. The priests in the Church of Rome dare not consecrate
without the cup, nor look upon the sacrament as perfect without it, nor receive it without the cup; and if the neglect
of it be sinful to them, must it not be so to the laity? 5. All the Eastern Churches at this day communicate the laity
in both kinds, and think it unlawful to do otherwise. 6. As much as the Church of Rome is against the laity's com
munion in both kinds, time was, when one of their own popes, Gelasius by name, who lived about five hundred years after Christ, said, “Let the people either participate of both parts of the sacrament, or be hindered and kept
from both.” 7. What they say of receiving whole Christ, or the whole sacra
ment in one kind, besides that they have the institution of the sacrament against them, how can they receive whole Christ in one kind, when they make this sacrament a sacrifice, where the blood must be separated from the body, else it is not considered as shed ? and how can they receive the whole sacrament in one kind, when the sacrament consists
of two distinct parts by their own confession ? 8. In communicating in one kind only, the significancy of the