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to exclude unsuitable expressions. In many instances in the episcopal service-book, this single advantage is waived. As it would be giving ourselves needless trouble to make out a list of such when it is done to our hand, we will give a specimen extracted from the fourteenth edition of the Protestant Dissenter's catechism.*
“Uncouth and obsolete words and phrases. «Prerent us in all our doings.- Let thy mercy lighten us.-Ordered by thy governance.—Thine honourable and true Son. That we be fulfilled with thy grace. Those things which we ask faithfully.-May do such things as be rightful.–For the more confirmation of the faith.-- T'hrough our sins and wickedness we be sore let and hindered.-Thy late plague of immoderate rain.—The spirit of ghostly strength.-Great marvels.-- Deadly sins, &c.'
“Many also occur in the version of the Psalms read in the church, which is done from the vulgate Latin, (besides several gross mistranslations;) e. go Tush.-Fie upon thee, fie upon thee.—Thou art my worship. He is an wholesome defence.--Blessed are the folk. The time thou hast plagued us.-0 thou most highest.-With trumpets and shawms.-We have wished you good luck.--How sweet are thy words unto my throut.--I will bless ber victuals, &c. &c.'
“Redundancies. Acknowledge and confess.- Not dissemble nor cloak them.--Pardoneth and absolveth.-Vanquish and overcome.Worthily deserved.-Graciously hear us 0 Christ, graciously hear us 0 Lord Christ. (See the end of the Litany.) We praise thee, we bless thee, we worship thee, we glorify thee, we give thanks to thee for thy glory, 0 Lord God, heavenly King, God the Father Almighty.' Communion service,
* The extract which follows of course refers to the English: copy of the prayer-book. In the American some few of the faulty expressions quoted are corrected; the rest stand.
“Want of Connexion; particularly between the Address and the Petition. Give peace in our time, O Lord, because there is none other that fighteth for us, but only thou, O God.-0 God who art the author of peace and lover of concord, in knowledge of whom, &c. defend us thy humble servants, &c.--Almighty and everlasting God, wbo alone workest great marvels, send down upon our Bishops and Curates, the healthful spirit of thy grace. In this last instance the connexion unhappily suggests, what the compilers cannot be thought to have intended, viz. that it is a marvellous thing for Curates, and even Bishops, to
"Absurd or unintelligible. "By the mystery of thy holy incarnation, by thy holy nativity and circumcision, by thy baptism, fasting, and temptation, &c. Good Lord deliver us.-Hast given us grace in the power of the divine majesty to worship the unityT'hose things, which for our unworthiness we dare not ask, vouchsafe to give us.- Thou only art holy, thou only art the Lord, thou only 0 Christ, with the Holy Ghost, art most high in the glory of God the Father, Amen.'-In one of the prayers in the communion service, God is styled Holy Father.-But the rubric orders that on Trinity Sunday this title shall be omitted; as if God was not Holy Father that day as much as any other.
“From this specimen of faults in the established Liturgy, it appears, that churchmen have not quite so much cause to boast of its perfection, and its supe. riority to extemporary prayers, even in point of expression, as might be imagined. And it should be considered, that in the latter case, improprieties, when observed, may be avoided; but in the former, the faults are established as well as the forms, and must be adhered to, even by those who perceive them."
From a remark with which Mr. Sparks begins his third letter, we are led to suppose that he thinks better of the world than it deserves.
“I propose next to consider that part of the twentieth article, which asserts, that the church hath authority in controversies of faith.' This you pass over entirely; yet, if I am not mistaken, there is no one thing in which the episcopal church differs more essentially from Protestant churches in general. Few churches, I believe, assume, as a fundamental doctrine, the right and authority of deciding in matters of faith."
We are afraid that the church is less distinguished than dishonoured by this claim; that it is a claim in which it mutually countenances, and is countenanced by, most of the sects in Christendom. Among dissenters the principle of toleration is indeed in better esteem, than when the presbyterian ministers and el. ders of London, convened* in provincial assembly in 16,19, declared it to be “contrary to godliness, opening a door to libertinism and profaneness, and a tenet to be rejected as soul poison;" or than when a president of Harvard colleget told our civil fathers, that “if ever toleration got footing among them, they might call its name Gad, for behold a troop cometh, a troop of all abuminations.” It has made some progress since those times, but it has yet great part of its destined triumph to achieve. Mr. Sparks exposes in this letter with great force the arrogance and futility of the attempt to establish, by the imposition of tests, a human authority over men's consciences, and the evil consequences which follow thence both to clergy and people; and concludes in the following strain of good sense and eloquence.
6. With equal propriety might the bounds of philosophical, physical, and political science have been fixed in the time of king Edward, as a standard of reli. gious knowledge. The king and parliament assembled had the same authority to establish certain sciences, and to decree, that no innovations or improvements
* Toulmin's History of Dissenters, p. 269. † Oakes, in his Election sermon.
should be made, as they had to settle the rules of faith in religion. They might have decreed, that the earth was immoveable, and the sun, moon, and all the stars, were whirled around it once in twenty-four hours, that the new system of Copernicus was a dangerous heresy, which all the king's well meaning subjects should carefully avoid. They might have enjoined it as a part of the philosophy of the realm, that alchymy and astrology were founded on the true principles of nature, as might be proved by most certain warrants' of physical phenomena; and we should now be edified with treatises on the philosopher's stone, transmutations, and a universal medicine. We should have books to tell us what planets ruled at our birth, interspersed with appropriate figures of horoscopes, schemes of nativity, and positions of the stars: They might have decreed, that the schoolmen were the only rational metaphysicians, and that every college in the kingdom should make the categories, analytics, topics, and sophistics of Aristotle an essential branch of edu. cation.
“There would have been just as much propriety in fixing rules of belief on these subjects, as there was in drawing up the thirty-nine articles, and the formularies of the church, and setting them forth as a standard of religious faith. Newton, and Bacon, and Locke, would have been considered meddling dissenters from the established philosophy; but still
, the force of truth would have been resistless, and would finally have prevailed. So it must be in religion. Error may be concealed and protected for a long time under the guise of forms, and in the mists of ignorance; but the light of truth will at length penetrate so flimsy a covering, and dissolve the cloud.
“It is said, that creeds have a tendency to keep schism out of the church, by causing all its members to think alike. This would be good reasoning, if the church were infallible; but on no other supposition. Unless it were infallible, there could be no certainty of its having the only true faith; and no church should
elaim authority to keep its members in ignorance and error to prevent schism. Milton, speaking on this subject with particular reference to the doctrines of the church, and the scbeme of prelacy, observes, "If to bring a numb and chill stupidity of soul, an unactive blindness of mind upon the people, by their leaden doctrine, or no doctrine at all; if to persecute all knowing and zealous christians by the violence of their courts, be to keep away schism, they keep schism away indeed; and by this kind of discipline, all Italy and Spain is as purely and politically kept from schism, as England had been by them. With as good plea might the dead palsy boast to a man, 'it is I that free you from stitches and pains, and the troublesome feeling of cold and heat, of wounds and strokes; if I were gone, all these would molest you. The winter might as well vaunt itself against the spring, 'I destroy all noisome and rank weeds, I keep down all pestilent vapours;' yes, and all wholesome herbs, and all fresh dews, by your violent and hidebound frosts; but when the gentle west winds shall open the fruitful bosom of the earth, thus overgirded by your imprison. ment, then the fluwers put forth and spring, and then the sun shall scatter the mists, and the manuring hand of the tiller shall root up all that burdens the soil, without thanks to your bondage.'
6'These remarks are but too applicable to fixed formularies of faith of every discription. They are made and imposed without authority; and any attempt to force them on the minds of men is an encroachment on the liberty, and an insult to the understanding of christiaus. The apostles took upon them no such power. St. Paul enjoins the Galatians to óstand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ had made them free, and not to be entangled again with the yoke of bondage.' And to the Corinthians he writes, “We have not dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your
* The Reason of Church Government urged against Prelaty. Prose Works, vol. i. p. 65.