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character, pretended to be based on facts in nature, have vanished like the "baseless fabric of a vision." No person that makes any pretension to the knowledge of the very elements of geology, will hazard his reputation for a moment upon such conclu


Many opinions, too, of the friends of divine revelation have been set aside by geological discoveries. While the evidence of the convulsive action of a mighty deluge of waters over the earth, is irresistible, no one can trace to the Noachic flood the origin of those vast deposites of rock, petrifactions, animal and vegetable remains, which are spread over the earth. Other hypotheses, equally untenable, have been swept away.

But, while both these classes of results have been going on, the facts in nature have been found to be consistent with the truths of the bible, wherever the bible can be supposed to have referred to them. It has come to be agreed, however, that the bible is not designed to teach philosophy, nor natural history in any of its departments, nor astronomy; but that it is a record of the operations of divine providence for a moral object, and unfolds the moral history of our race as connected with the retributions of eternity. A thousand questions are at once seen to be ridiculous, and men are directed to the scriptures for moral reasons alone. The prevailing theory contains harmonious views of the operations of the great author of all, whether in relation to natural, or to moral and religious objects.

The natural is inferior to the moral; all nature is made subservient to great moral results, and it seems to exist only to answer moral ends. Science and knowledge and philosophy find their highest elevation in being handmaids to morals and religion. We rejoice in their advancement to the true place of their application. Progress in the understanding of nature has effected thus much; it will effect far more. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased;" knowledge shall be the result, practical and sympathetic, which will reach the hearts of men.


But we are not to suppose, that the discoveries in geology will lead to the general abandonment of infidelity, or of opposition to the word of God. This hostility is more deeply seated than the intellect, and it is to be effected by another power than reason, or argument, or evidence. An ingenious mind, and especially one which is fixed in the rejection of divine truth, will find some other method by which to maintain itself, when one is removed. It is rare that infidelity, generally having its root in

the heart, is really converted to the full and cordial reception of the truth by argumentation addressed merely to the head. As the discoveries in geology have shown more clearly the harmony of the works and word of God, the opposition has been continually changing its ground. The waves of sand, altered by every varying tide and current, are not more unstable than this spirit. It has an end to answer, which can be reached only by perseverance in error and sin. The history of infidelity, and every particular instance of it which has been developed, have shown to a certainty that its very origin and support is repugnance to religious obligation. It does not begin with reason; it is not supported by evidence. It is aversion to that high responsibility, which is portrayed by the pencil of divine inspiration-responsibility extending to all our actions, thoughts, words, motives and feelings, and involving in its results those tremendous consequences which might shake an angel's mind. It is aversion to this responsibility, and unwillingness to put under due subjection the desires and propensities of our natures, which is required by this responsibility, that forms the foundation of infidelity. Let truth be made ever so harmonious, let geology demonstrate the consistency of the word and works of God in all their relations, let science remove far away the obstacles which now are imagined to exist, no essential progress is made in the eradication of this deep seated hostility to divine truth. "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God." But a great advantage will be gained, even though the infidel is not arrested in his course. Many may be preserved from infidelity. The harmony of facts and revealed truth may affect hearts not yet hardened in unbelief. Truth may be the means of leading to correctness of feeling and action, as well as of conviction. When its sway shall be complete, the hearts of men will render homage and glory to the God of providence and grace, and to the Redeemer of our immortal spirits.

ART. III.-Origines Liturgica, or Antiquities of the English Ritual, and a Dissertation on Primitive Liturgies. By the Rev. WILLIAM PALMER, M. A., of Worcester College, Oxford. Oxford: 1832. 2 vols. 8vo.

THE subject of precomposed forms of prayer is one which, in some of its aspects, has been often discussed, and is daily undergoing dicussion, in this country. We are happy to add, that no topic in which Churchmen are particularly interested has usually called forth less of the bitterness of controversy. This may be owing to several causes. In the first place, prayer by a precomposed form obviously is not, and is not felt to be, essentially connected with Episcopacy as such,-although, in practice, it is indeed an appendage chiefly, though not exclusively, of Episcopalianism. Many, we suppose, do really prefer the use of a liturgy, as a matter of individual taste, and as a security for the preservation of sound doctrine, who heartily eschew the claims of bishops, no matter how moderately stated. And then the ground taken by our Articles on this point is so liberal-so far from deserving the mad-dog title of exclusiveness, which so usually settles the question of "Episcopal regimen," without the trouble of opening the lids of the Bible-that, unless the disputants on both sides choose another ground of their own, there can be no need of entering on the discussion with any particular offence as at arrogant pretensions, or shyness, as where the decision may require the public change of ecclesiastical relations. The decreeing of Rites and Ceremonies is left to the power of the Church,-of each branch of the Church Catholic, of course.* If any branch chooses to decree public worship by extempore prayer, we cannot question its power to do so, or denounce its action as without validity. So far as we have to do with such Church, in this matter, we are only entitled to expostulate with them for having made their decree without paying sufficient regard to what we believe to be the best rules of procedure in such case. But in fact, we more properly assume

Thirty-nine Articles. Art. XX. Of the Authority of the Church. "The Church hath power to decree rites or ceremonies," &c. Compare with this the definition of the Church, and the mention of particular Churches in the article next preceding.

as our Hooker has done―the attitude of Apologists. We simply contend, that our branch of the Church Universal has acted wisely, and with a just regard for the best rules of action, in decreeing precomposed forms of common prayer, and in assimilating them to the best forms that remain to us from the early days of the Church.*

It results of course from the practical connexion of this subject with Episcopalianism, that the current discussions on Forms of prayer are either contained in works on the Episcopal controversy, or have something of the controversial character. Though the whole subject may be presented, even in such treatises, still it is presented mainly in its exterior relations: the features which are brought out with the greatest pains are those which the stranger would first scan the most carefully; those which the family circle alone can the best appreciate are passed over with a hasty hand. Yet it is with the current treatises that Churchmen, as well as others, must be the most conversant. Those aspects of the subject which are necessarily prominent in such Apologies are those, therefore, in which it comes naturally to present itself to the minds of Episcopalians. Hence there is nothing in which they are more at home, than the authority which we have for our Forms, their operation to exclude violations of propriety from public worship, and their tried efficacy to incorporate sound views of the Gospel into the very mind and heart of the body of the people, after articles and subscriptions have failed to secure the preaching of orthodoxy from the pulpit.

But this may be said to be as much knowledge for others as for them. The subject has, besides these exterior relations, those which are interior. It presents many questions which can be of interest only to those who use the Liturgy in their public worship-- questions some of which no others can decide. Such, for instance, are those which relate to the origin and history of the English and American Prayer Book, the ritual principles upon which they were constructed, the occasion and propriety of successive alterations made in them, the interpretation of rubrics, the validity of certain customs not expressly enacted in any of our laws, and the many points of practice which are occasionally brought into discussion and sometimes settled with

We do not venture to assert that such moderation, in the attitude assumed, has in all cases been observed, on either side. Plenty of Churchmen have been "exclusive" enough, we dare say, as to forms, while Dr. Owen (as we somewhere have read) holds them to be utterly unlawful and sinful.

more or less of approach to authority. Now we cannot say that this sort of knowledge seems to be cultivated amongst us in its due proportion. It would appear to suffer under a sort of eclipse from the intervention of its more polemic satellite. Many a staunch Churchman-many a Church clergyman - may be armed at all points, a champion of the Liturgy as against others, and yet show himself comparatively ignorant of that other ritual knowledge, which he ought to carry with him into the House of Prayer. The book which he has triumphantly defended, he cannot use with the correct and beautiful propriety of one who has studied its structure as he ought. Many a bad custom, which has grown out of long past necessities or palliating circumstances connected with the growth of the Church in our country, or out of the previous habits of congregations composed of persons brought up under a different system, or finally out of ignorance and carelessness, is either sanctioned as true and valid, or tolerated without the slightest effort at reform.* The proper rules of interpretation are either so little known or so little regarded, that some serious and formal attempts at settling points of practice, have only substituted one unauthorized practice for anotherif they have not done worse. We need not speak of particular cases that have come under our observation, which show rather an utter contempt of all Church principles than merely ritual ignorance. Yet we have seen well-meaning and honest men come to practical results almost as mischievous, by an apparent inability to perceive the less obtrusive beauty of existing rites, and a careless attempt to incorporate coarse improvements of their own ceremonies as new at least as Laud's, and not many degrees more pleasing to our taste. And, as a general remark,

We have known Churches in which the Surplice was absolutely unknown; and when their ministers endeavored to introduce it, they were treated as if they were imposing some new and strange thing upon their people, and were forced to defend an established Church custom against Churchmen as they would against non-Episcopalians. The black gown, which rests for us upon the very same authority, seems never to have been scrupled at, apparently because the silk was considered as coming from the English market, but as for the linen, it was believed to have been invoiced at Babylon.

+ As a single specimen: The rubric (in the Communion Office) says, Here shall be sung a hymn, &c. THEN the Priest shall receive, &c. Some worthy clergyman, being desirous of improving the rubrical arrangement, by which a solemn silence is maintained through the receiving, cause their choir first to sing one verse of the Hymn; then the Priest partakes of the elements; then another verse is sung, and the first body of communicants partake; and so on throughout the administration. Now to say nothing of the breach of rubrics here, could any thing be devised less in the taste of the Prayer Book? The invention savors of importation- an honor which surely might have been reasonably withheld from such ware.

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