Imatges de pÓgina
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them to the haven of eternal rest. And for all these ends nothing can be more important, than to have our Articles printed and circulated with our Prayer-Books.

Besides this point of the Articles, your Society is bringing forward another part of the formularies of the Church in our ordinary Prayer-Books; I mean, the Ordination Services, now, nearly for the first time, reduced from the great folios and quartos to the manuals and common editions for private use. As soon as I saw the small Prayer-Book with this service in it, I placed one directly in my own closet, that I might survey with the least inconvenience the vows by which I was bound; which, I fear, by others as well as myself, have been too much forgotten through not having them continually before us.

There is yet another thing which I may allude 'to, and that is, the Book of Homilies, those invaluable sermons of our Reformers. Where were these before this Society was established? Why, many persons in England did not know what they were. They were a collection of Sermons rare and obsoleté, in large and ponderous quartos, or a rarely-seen octavo. This Society broke them up and published them, for the first time, in little tracts for general use; and the circulation of many of these-as, for instance, the Homily on the Misery of Man, on the Salvation of Mankind, &c.—has been very useful. I know one case of a poor man who was dying, to whom my curate gave the Homily against the Fear of Death. If he bad given him the large entire volume, the dying man could not have used it; but your Society enabled us to put into his hand the Homily appropriate to his situation, and he was instructed and comforted.

By this general diffusion of the Homilies, you, moreover, teach your people how our Reformers understood the Articles of our Church; and thus you provide for the necessities of the present and every future age; for it is not at all impossible that attempts may be made in our own Church, as well as in others, to sap the foundations of our Reformation, and to cast into silence and oblivion our fixed and established Articles. It is possible that questions may be so framed as virtually to introduce new articles of faith. It is possible, that, instead of thirty-nine, we may have eighty-seven, or some other number proposed. Supposing such a case should arise, these sermons of our Reformers will be a barrier, in the understandings and hearts of our people, against innovation, which, by the providence of God, will greatly assist the appeals of our pious clergy. We shall be able to trust these important doctrines to that generous and religious feeling which animates

the larger part of our community, and show to any, who would pervert our faith, that it would be useless to attempt to impose new articles, however artfully disguised, on the conscience of the nation.

I think my friend, Mr. Jowett, said, that when he was in the Levant, he found that the sentiments and statements of our Reformers, in our Homilies, were peculiarly appropriate to the feelings of those who were the most peaceable and best disposed in the churches there. The arguments of men who have gone over the same ground, must answer the best of

purposes, to those who are making their way out of the errors of a corrupt church.

It is, further, of the greatest importance, that our chaplains and missionaries should not be without the Homilies, in Hindostan and different parts of the heathen world. The argument contained in these discourses may be applied to strengthen those, who have embraced Christianity, against the peril of relapsing into idolatry, of the existence of which our missionaries are well aware. Our Homilies will be a benefit in this case, which it is impossible for us to estimate.

Another thing I would mention, is, that in France, Switzerland, and other countries, many pious persons have a very high opinion of our Church; and therefore it is surely important that this Society should go forward with young blood and new life in its operations, in the midst of those other benevolent and religious institutions by which it is surrounded. From that excellent institution which met yesterday, the Bible Society, we come here to-day, to show, that while we cordially unite with others of every denomination and confession, we still feel attached to those prayers and formularies, and that paternal discipline of our excellent church, which we have bound ourselves to observe. I remember, Sir, an observation once made to me by an excellent French Protestant clergyman — “I wish we had your Liturgy

“ and Prayer-Book, and something like your platform of ecclesiastical discipline, among our Reformed Churches." His opinion was, that if the Reformed Churches in France had established at first an ecclesiastical system on the Episcopal model, there was every reason to believe that the whole, or the greater part of France, would have now been Protestant. When Henry the Fourth was on the throne, there was, perhaps, a third of France Protestants, and there was the most happy prospect of the diffusion of the Reformation in that country. It is, however, pleasing to know, that

. attempts are now making in different parts, to establish something of the kind; at Neufchatel they have adopted a Liturgy exactly similar to the Liturgy of the Church of England, and nearly taken from it.

I find, Sir, as I grow older myself, and observe the progress of opinion in my elder brethren, that the farther we advance in life the more we love the doctrines and forms of our Church. But our attachment is not that cold and blind attachment which would prevent'us from joining with other Christians, on points where we agree--as, for example, in the British and Foreign Bible Society: such an attachment to the Church I disapprove of from the bottom of my heart; and I am perfectly persuaded in my own mind, that that sort of regard to any church is the surest way to withdraw from it the favour of God and the good-will of man. But an enlightened and firm adherence to the Church, I most deeply feel. I find I can repose upon her scriptural forins of piety; I I can fall back upon them; they assist and elevate my devotion : and those Christians under my ministry are the most fruitful, and the most humble, who are the most contented with our services; while those who are dissatisfied with the Prayer-Book, complain next of the sermon, then of the minister; and thus overturn and unsettle the great springs of piety, and the prevalence of holy feelings in the soul.

I shall never forget one circumstance, which has raised my esteem of our Prayer-Book, and

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