« AnteriorContinuar »
interpretation." Let every reader ask himself, what is his meaning when he gives instruction about the doing of anything which he requires to be done. Does he intend that every method may be employed which he has not forbidden ? Does he not rather intend that his instructions, and his instructions alone, are to be followed ?
An attempt is made to avoid the force of this law by limiting "the authority of Parliament in the second year of Edward VI.” to the statute of 25 Henry VIII., c. xix., which enacted that all ecclesiastical offices and modes of worship which were not contrary to the then existing laws, and to the prerogative of the King, should remain in use until actually condemned. We are on this ground asked to allow that all things not positively forbidden by the law of Edward, and which existed at the time of the statute of Henry, may now be regarded as of lawful use. It is, however, fatal to this subtle process, that the statute of Henry was frequently renewed, and finally was appointed to be in force during the King's life. At the death of Henry the statute ceased to be; it died with the King; and the authority of Parliament” by which the law of Edward was passed, was no other than the authority of the Parliament then sitting. That was the authority alone by which all matters of ecclesiastical usage were then settled. This is obvious from the note in Edward's diary, given above. Evidently Edward regarded the existing Parliament as the one by whose authority the uniform order of prayer was instituted. The only just view, therefore, is, that this “ uniform order of prayer" is the one established by law, and by which the ministers of the church are required to regulate their ministrations.
It may be presumed that the compilers of Edward's Book of Common Prayer knew what they intended by it. They tell us that great diversity had obtained in the mode of conducting worship in the church, but “now henceforth [in] all the whole realm shall be but one use; also that “by this order curates shall need none other books for their public service, but this book and the Bible.” Nothing can be more clear than that they regarded this book as the sole authority and guide in all the future ministrations of the Church. Upon the fall of the Duke of Somerset, a desire was manifested by some to restore former usages. The result was, a proclamation was issued by Edward to the bishops, requiring them to obtain from the ministers under their episcopal authority " all other books of service, the keeping whereof shall be a let to the use of the said Book of Common Prayer," and so to deface them that they might not be " at any time a let to that godly and uniform order which by a common consent is now set forth.” This is conclusive evidence that Edward's Book of Prayer was that by which all the services of the Church were henceforth to be regulated, and that all the old books were doomed to destruction. These regulations were accordingly enforced by the reforming bishops of Edward's time. And upon the accession of Elizabeth in 1558, she issued an “injunction,” requiring the prescriptions of the Service-Book to be precisely followed, and forbidding the use of any other vestment than "the cope in the administration of the Lord's Supper, and the surplice in all other ministrations.” The Service-Book of Elizabeth was, with some slight modifications, the
Prayer-Book adopted by the Parliament of 1552; and this was a revised and more Protestant edition of the book of 1549. The churchmen of the times of Edward and Elizabeth had no idea of their Prayer-Book being a mere supplement to the old service-books of practically Popish times. They held that it was designed to supersede them, and to exclude them from all further use. Their immediate successors proceeded upon this supposition. And, as a high legal authority has said, “ Those who immediately succeeded to the Reformation must have best known the minds of the first Reformers.” The practice of the Church for three hundred years is expressive of the same judgment. We hold, therefore, that both law and precedent condemn the practices of those who are so enamoured with Popish ceremonies and doctrines as to imitate the one and to teach the other.
Were the question of law doubtful, as we are desired to believe, what, in that case, would be the becoming course for those to adopt who are dissatisfied with the mode of worship which has obtained so long in the Church of England ? Surely it would be to appeal to the competent authority for a judgment on the disputed points; and meanwhile to submit to the order of things which has acquired some. thing like the force of law by long usage and common consent. Upon their own principles, they certainly ought to have sought a deliverance on the subject from “ Convocation,” which they desire to exalt by conferring on it supreme legislative power. No such approach to modesty has marked their proceedings. They have presumed to decide for themselves, and thus to involve the Church in controversy and confusion. The authority of bishops has been treated by their own clergy in the most con. temptuous manner, with the intimation that there is but the slightest difference between it and that of the presbyter; and if the judgment of the bishop be wrong, the presbyter may set it at nought, himself deciding upon the question of its rightness. We must be prepared to accept the alternative to which they have reduced us, and carry the whole matter to the only court which has the power to declare wbat shall be regarded as the lawful ritual and doctrine of the Church established by law. It is to the high court of Parliament the appeal must be made. If the Anglican Church could remove these abuses, and place itself on a safely Protestant basis, we should be content to have it so But we see not the slightest prospect of this. Whatever incongruity we may see in an assembly like the British House of Commons legislating on doctrine and church worship, there seems to be no other course left open. The recommendations of the Royal Commission may be more or less satisfactory; but the final decision is with the highest authority in the State. Let the thousands of our evangelical Israel seek to exert a wise influence in these grave matters, that such decisions may be arrived at as shall preserve the Protestant character of our national institutions. Every lover of Christian worship, and of Protestant truth, must feel that he has a sacred duty to perform; and must awake to the performance of it with a full sense of its importance, and with all possible earnestness and resolution. The ark of God is in danger. Our fathers languished in prison, and died at the stake, for our deliverance from the dark and cruel tyrannies of Popery. Our religious liberties, our Christian truth, and our purity of worship, have been dearly bought. Shall we allow them to be stealthily invaded by a foe which we are cherishing with our national wealth ? Let the Christian people of this nation answer, and answer immediately, or it may be too late, and the great battle of truth may have to be fought again. By timely and energetic action we may avert so great a calamity.
The importance of the subject is our apology for this long digression from the current of Cranmer's history, to which we must return next month.
(To be concluded.)
MISSION-WORK IN THE WYNDS OF GLASGOW.* FOURTEEN years ago, a young man, a divinity student in the Free Church of Scotland, had his attention drawn to the deplorable condition of the population inhabiting the Wynds of Glasgow. It occurred to him, that as the time was approaching when he must exchange the seclusion and quiet of student life for the active labours of the Christian ministry, it would be a great advantage to add to his college course those“ practical studies, which could be best carried on in such a district; as a medical student would in the hospital, and by the bedsides of the poor.”
Before accompanying him on his first visit of inspection to a neighbourhood which became the scene of his subsequent labours, it will be necessary to glance at the state of the population. The Wynds of Glasgow, situated in the heart of the city, are described
long, narrow, filthy, airless lanes, with every available inch of ground on each side occupied with buildings, many of them far gone, yet packed from cellar to garret with human life....... Many a building yielding a large rental was left without repair. From the influx of thousands of Roman Catholics from Ireland; from there being so many dark, devious dens, to which the thief and the harlot, like beasts of prey, could retire, and from which, as night came down, they might creep out to seek their victims; from the gradual exclusion, to a large extent, from the district, of the sober, industrious, God-fearing, native element; from the multiplication of whisky-shops; from the wild orgies of Saturday night, and the annual saturnalia of the 'Fair' holidays, with their shows and dancing-booths; from the old churches gradually losing their hold of the district, by losing the members that lived in it, and watched over it; from all such reasons the Wynds became worse and worse every year.”
Accompanied by Mr. Hogg, an invaluable city missionary, who had been labouring for some time in this wretched district, the young stu dent began to reconnoitre the field of his future toil.
Among the Masses : or, Work in the Wynds.” By the Rev. D. Maccoll, Glasgow. London: T. Nelson and Sons. 1867.
“Our first visit,” he observes, “was to an upper room, which we reached by climbing half-a-dozen dirty, crazy stairs. My friend with. out ceremony lifted the lateb, and stood, like a sudden apparition from another world, upon the startled group within. Standing in his shadow, I [mentally) photographed the faces, and fixed the impression. The room was large, but with bare walls, and without chair or table. A few bricks in the fireplace had been blackened by an occasional fire. The boards of the ‘set-in' bed had evidently been turned into fuel, and only a few rags and a little straw lay in the corner. Three persons sat on the floor, with a broken bottle, and a couple of broken tea-cups. The householder—a little shrivelled man of fifty-sat opposite the door ; his wife, about the same age, with a draggled dress and dirty 'mutch,' (* cap,') from wbich her untidy hair escaped, sat close to him; and with bis back to us sat a stranger in good black dress, and with thin silky grey hair falling over a forehead that bore the marks of some culture. We learned afterwards that he had been once well off, with a dozen men in bis employment; but here, under the spell of the old tempting spi. rit, he was in the midst of another 'spree.' The old shrivelled face belonged to the Mission, and needed looking after : Weel, Jamie,' said Mr. Hogg, in reproachful tones, ‘hoo are ye getting on?' The old man, startled, and pow in sober earnest, dropping the cup from his hand, with what remained of its contents, cried, 'Just gaun to the deevil again, Maister Hogg!""
After describing other cases of poverty and sorrow, not by any means always the result of crime and intemperance, Mr. Maccoll says :
“ The work of visiting such a district was by no means pleasant. In the hot summer days, among ill-ventilated rooms and badly-drained closes,' it required considerable courage; and often by the bedside of the dying, how depressing it was to see the coverlet crowded with flies, and not a hand to keep from the clammy face the tormentors that would not admit repose! My first visit to such a case broke me down. The man was old, had been decent and industrious, but knew little of Christ. He was ignorant of many terms in common use among those accustomed to read and hear the Bible; and, as a divinity student, I got one of my first lessons in opening the ears of the deaf and the eyes of the blind.” "I gut my own eyes opened too,” it is significantly added, “ when I found my bottle of wine had been drained by a drunken daughter, and not a drop given to her dying father!”
It was among practical, deeply instructive studies like these, bring. ing him into close contact with the sins and sufferings of a swarming population, sunk low in misery, that Mr. Maccoll spent his summer vacation; "Dow standing beside a woman busy at her washing-tub, speaking about the things of her peace, till she would wipe away the soap-suds from her arms, and then the tears from her eyes ; again, sitting beside the shoemaker or the tailor, urging them to arise and seek the Lord." Admirable training this for the duties of a ministerial "charge," or of a Methodist " Circuit!”
After Mr. Maccoll had been engaged for ten months in making these preliminary experiments in Home Mission work, he drew up a report of the state of things in the Wynds, and presented it to Dr. Buchanan’s con.
gregation; who, it appears, had been sustaining a Mission in that district. Among various wise remarks in this report, there is so just a description of the qualifications requisite to form a successful evangelist in such a neighbourhood, that we cannot refrain from transcribing it:
“The man that would have even a probability of success, requires to combine most opposite extremes of character. He must be kind, and yet sometimes seem cold, that he may sympathize with the needy, and be proof against the designing. Frank and open, that the most timid may approach, and speak without stammering; and yet of sufficient firmness not to descend below the level of Christian manhood. With a firm grasp of the guiding principles of life, and of the great truths of the Gospel, he should be able with simplicity and point, in plain and earnest language, to speak to the heart. Besides all this, there is need of readiness in resources, and a quickness to seize on opportunities which occur but once to most men, and by their sudden appearance test a man's fitness for his place and time. He should have a ready sympathy with all pure delights; and, wbile sensitive to all that is most beautiful and good, should not be too easily driven from duty by the
He shonld be able to awaken sometimes in the dreary dens of vice a yearning for the sanctities of home; and, amid the dinginess and dirt of unswept courts, and the stilling air of unventilated rooms,– beneath a dark leaden sky that looks on do verdure and ripens no bloom,-he should be able easily to recall thoughts, as if newly gathered from the haunts of summer, and make some desolate heart feel as if he came from Araby the Blest, with its odours still lingering about him.”
As we read such a sketch of the kind of men needed for successful toil, on a large scale, amongst the thousands of people massed together in all our great towns, we are reminded very forcibly of the words of the Lord Jesus: “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few. Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth labourers into His harvest.”
After a period of preparatory work in the Wynds, a church was built by the aid of the Free Church Building Society. On the 22d of August, 1854, Mr. Maccoll received ordination to the ministry, and on the same day he entered upon the charge of this Wynd Church. Referring to this period, he says :
“I was ordained by the laying on of the hands of the Presbytery; and I received on the same day the hearty right band of fellowship at the door of the church, from those who were now members of the Wynd Church, and were the nett result of above three years' varied and most earnest mission effort. These members now intrusted to me numbered exactly ninety-nine, and were literally 'the poor, the lame, the maimed, and the blind. Yet out of their deep poverty, and in many y hard-earned pence, they had contributed about £50 to the Building Fund; and, at my suggestion, this, their first gift into the treasury, was expended on a circular pulpit window of stained glass, and with these verses inscribed :Our FATHER:''JESUS THE MEDIATOR : ' "THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH:' 'FATHER, I HAVE SINNED.' That last verse has more than once since then been the means of catching a careless but curious eye, and of helping a poor prodigal heart home.”