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this language would seem improper to fall from his lips also. Probably our opponents have a solution ready for this difficulty. We know of none. We cannot here bring into discussion what has been technically called “the power of the keys;'* and can only say, that it is obvious our Saviour intended by the words 6 whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them, and whose soever sins ye retain they are retained”—to convey to the Apostles the power, simply, of exercising discipline in the churches which they were to establish. They, and by consequence their successors, were to admit men to the church, to administer the laws which he had laid down for its government, and to exclude notorious offenders from its privileges. The power to perforın these duties resting with the church, it is conveyed in ordination, and it was thought best to adopt the words of our Saviour, so far, at least, as to allow them a place in the ordination office, as expressive of the original object of the ministry. No power to forgive sins, in the common acceptation of the term, is claimed by our church, as the declaration of absolution in the morning and evening services will readily convince any one.t The form actually used in or
* See Barrow on the Creed, p. 278. Bishop White's Lectures on the Catechism, p. 43.
7“ Declaration of absolution, or remission of sins to be pronounced by the Priest alone. Almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who desireth not the death of a sinner, but rather that he may turn from his wickedness and live ; hath given power and commandment to his ministers, to declare and pronounce to his people, being penitent, the absolution and remission of their sins. He pardoneth and absolveth all those, who truly repent and unfeignedly believe his holy gospel. Wherefore, let
daining priests is, as follows; “ Take thou authority to execute the office of a priest in the church of God now committed to thee by the imposition of our hands, and be thou a faithful dispenser of the word of God, and his holy sacraments. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost." If then it were admitted that the Bishops claim the power of conveying the Holy Ghost and forgiving sins, in their common acceptation, yet it is certain they do not attempt to exercise any such authority.
These four instances of false doctrine the Reviewer gives, as “ samples of the service book," and we suppose he would have his readers infer, that they are but samples of a thoroughly infected mass. He has indeed traversed the
book much in the same manner as a certain deistical writer once traversed the Bible; and as in his case too, the hasty conclusions of a distempered judgement are given to the world for indubitable facts ;—the rash constructions of a heated adversary are exhibited as unquestionable truths; and he who would be impartial is required to believe that this imputed deformity is radical in the very nature of the thing. We know not, and we are unwilling to believe, that Unitarianism has any advocates within the church; and we most devoutly wish that all the efforts of the Reviewer
may bé realised in keeping from her ministry
us beseech him, to grant us true repentance and his Holy Spirit ; that those things may please him which we do at this present, and that the rest of our life hereafter may be pure and holy; so that, at the last, we may come to his eternal joy, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.”
every man infected with it. We, like himself, can have no sympathy with such
- Sycophants who kneel,
It is a system which has no attractions for us; we see nothing in it to console us under affliction, or to smooth for us the bed of death. Knowing our native helplessness we feel the value of real Christianity,—we see our need of one 6 mighty to save." We are not perhaps prepared with Bishop Warburton to speak of Unitarianism as 6 infidelity in disguise;" nor with Mr. Wilberforce to consider it 6 a sort of half-way house from nominal orthodoxy to absolute infidelity;" yet it seems to us, as to Mrs. Barbauld, to be at least “ Christianity in the frigid zone."*
We come now to the very grave objection that “ the book of Common Prayer contains improprieties of language ;" and this is the more important because security from this objection is the “ single advantage” of forms of prayer! This charge however, is not produced by the Reviewer's own observation, but is based on the authority of the Protestant Dissenter's Catechism. We are permitted to understand that the extract refers to the English copy of the prayer book, and that in the American some few of the obnoxious passages are corrected.
With the Dissenter's Catechism we are not conversant, nor indeed do we much desire to be. We hope we mistake its object, but if it be, like that of the church, “ an instruction to be learned by every person” before they be admitted to 66 a participation in Christian
* See R. Adam's Religious world, vol. ü. p. 176.
ordinances" with protestant dissenters, it can have no very powerful tendency to produce “a good life and conversation ;" and it seems to us, a method as strange as any imaginable, of guarding against scandal.*
We have first a list of uncouth and obsolete words and phrases.” Without stopping to enquire upon what principle a word is to be termed obsolete while it is found in a standard book, of very extensive use, and admitted as authority by the best lexicographers, we remark that of the thirteen instances produced under this head, but four are to be found in the American prayer book, and on referring to Johnson we find that two at least of these are used by some of the best standard writers in our language. It is probable that his quotations from the Psalms are correct ; some of them we know to be so. We do not however think, that any of these expressions are so uncouth, as to cause any difficulty in understanding them, though some of them, might probably be altered to advantage. This translation of the Psalms was made chiefly from the Greek of the Septuagint, and from this cause may not possess in
* The British Critic, in a Review of the charge of Archdeacon Thomas to the clergy of Bath, 1819, referring to the obnoxious manner in which the principles of dissent are inculcated in England, says, " for full proof of this offensive mode of proceeding on the part of the dissenters, we need only refer to their Catechism ; which, instead of teaching the fundamental doctrines of Christianity, as might be expected from its title, is wholly designed to instruct, and establish young persons in the principles of non-conformity, by a regular attack upon the frame and constitution, the orders, the liturgy, the ceremonies, the articles, and the discipline of our church.'
Truly, the Reviewer must have an ample source to draw from
all vespects a literal conformity to the Hebrew, yet we are not aware of the existence of
uy gross mistranslations.” It was very properly retained in the American prayer book, as excellent in itself, and familiarised by custom. As to redundancies in the service, the Reviewer should have remembered that every repetition does not deserve to be thus classed, or if he thinks otherwise, still we shall not willingly concede our opinion to him, in regard to some, at least, of the instances he adduces. “ It is true neither in philosophiy nor fact," says a writer, “ that devotion abhors repetition.” Of the three instances of want of connection which he produces, one only is to be found in the American prayer book, and that one is not fairly stated.*
The next class of passages to which he objects, he calls absurd or unintelligible. The stumbling block in this case appears to be, not so much in the language as in the doctrines of the incarnation, and of the Trinity, which it conveys. Has it ever occurred to the Reviewer, or his party, to bring this same objection to the form of words directed by our Saviour to be used in baptism? Abundant pains have been taken to destroy its Trinitarian sense.
But if in this sense it is absurd or unintelligible, we have never seen a Unitarian explanation of
* We give the entire Collect referred to. 16 A Collect for Peace, (spiritual and temporal.] O God, who art the author of peace and lover of concord, in knowledge of whom standeth our eternal life, whose service is perfect freedom ; defend us thy humble servants in all assaults of our enemies, that we, surely trusting in thy defence, may not fear the power of any adversaries, through the might of Jesus Christ, our Lord.” If there is a want of connection here, it is certainly not in the words referred to by the Rejiewer.