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think, injure the established religion. By taking out of this noble edifice, the sandy and mouldering stones of error, and by replacing them with the adamant of truth, they may insure its perpetuity.
The hints, therefore, that Mr. Knox, the author of these Observations, (with those of many other writers) has here thrown out, respecting a review and reform of the common prayer, deserve serious attention. He writes on this subject, not with the asperity of a sectary, but with the mildners of a friend to the national church; and has pointed out, in a difpassionate and agreeable manner, many defects in the Liturgy, which evidently require amendment.' Anxious for its prosperity and reputation, he longs to have its public service rendered less objectionable.
Unlike his namesake, John Knox, of reforming memory, he is not for any violent alterations. He proposes no change in the conftitution or discipline of the church; he merely suggefts the propriety of removing a few expressions from the Liturgy, which he thinks it can very well spare. He would however expunge, without hefitation, that opprobrium of orthodoxy, the Athanafian cred, and, though profelling himself a trinitarian, he would seject the Nicene creed likewise ; because neither are drawn in terms of scripture, nor can be proved to have been used in the primitive church. In the apoftles' creed, he seems diffatisfied with the holy catholic church, the communion of faints; would leave out, he descended into hell; and alter the phrase fitting at the RIGHT HAND of God, for, says he, hereby we express a belief that God has hands.' But many will think this laft objection frivolous. Who, possessed of the least reflection, ever understood these words literally? Of the Deity, we muft, for the most part, speak figuratively
With more reason, he intimates the impropriety of the petitions in the litany being addrehted to Chrift rather than to the Father; for in no one place in the New Testament has he held himself forth as the great obje& of prayer ; but expressly commands his disciples to pray to THE FATHER, in his name, and is represented by his apoftles as our Mediator and Advocate with the Father. He thould boldly, therefore, have recommended the removal of every thing from this admired composition which militates against this idea, and not have contented himself with proposing, in the 2d and 3d petition, the change of the word God for Eternal, and in the 4th, to read, O holy and glorious Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, one God blessed for ever more : for these are alrerations without amendments. Eternal Son and eternal Holy Ghat are phrases equally unscriptural with the word
Mr. Knox thinks that this creed has made more deiits than all the oppofers of Christianity.
person ; and to the use of the word trinity even Calvin 'objected, on this ground.
On some other particulars, Mr. Knox very properly animadverts ; but after thus employing himself in the serious business of reformation, he dashes away into the regions of conjecture and hypothesis, We have endeavoured to follow bim ; but we cannot say that bis airy flight has given us much pleasure. The subjects which be here discusses, are, from their very nature and the scanty information about them in scripture, so pressed with difficulties, that every attempt at explanation is open to some objections. Concerning the FALLEN ANGELS, we have scarcely any thing; and of the FALL OF MAN, very little. Mr. Knox laughs, not improperly, at the vulgar notion conveyed by scripture prints, of a large Snake twined round an apple tree, and presenting Eve with an apple: but it is easier, in this matter, to laugh at erroneous conceptions, than to unveil the truth. We with the late Mr. Farmer (the author of a Dissertation on Christ's Temptation, and other ingenious and learned works) had favoured the public with a Dissertation likewise, on the Temptation of our general mother by the serpent. The learned world is in great want
of something ably written on the heading chapters of the book of first thre
Genesis. Great learning is requisite for this undertaking; we cannot therefore subscribe to the compliment which this gentleman pays himself, p. 57.
• That that acquaintance with human policy which his fituation (as under secretary of state) gave him, may have led him into a train of thinking which may enable him better to develope the mazes of celestial and infernal polity, than the most studious and contemplative way of life could have done.'
He supposes that the fall of the angels was subsequent to the creation of man*, and that the cause of their fall was their endeavours to excite this new creature to disobey the divine commands. He imagines that Lucifer's reason for undertaking the seduction of our first parents, was the prescience which he and the other angels were perinitted to acquire of man's deftination and future exaltation above them ; whereby his pride (he being of the firft order) was so alarmed, and his indignation so excited, that he formed in his mind the stratagem of misleading man to offend against his Maker, in order to prevent his exaltation. With this intention, he came to Eden, in the Shape of
* His reasons for this supposition are curious :
• If angels had fallen before man was made, it could not have been said with truth by David and St. Paul that man was made a little lower than them ;-besides, St. Paul asserts in his Epistle to the Corinthians, man's fuperiority to the fallen angels; Do ye not know rhat the saints fhall judge the world ?-Do ye not know that we fhall judge angels
those angels who were the messengers of God to our first parents, which was that of a flying dragon, surrounded with luminous rays, (How is this to be proved?) and thus beguiled them. Setting the matter in this light, he finds an excuse for their viola. tion of God's commands, removes the charge of disbelief, and voluntary disobedience, and leaves them the objects of compasfion and mercy; while the insolent presumption and base treach. ery of Lucifer and his associates render them, for ever, subjected to the Divine displeasure, and exclude them from all title to his favour and forgiveness.
Here, however, we must remark, without taking notice of other objections to which this hypothefis is liable, ihat, if the crime of the first pair was in itself lo inconsiderable as Mr. Knox makes it, their punishment seems to have been too great. According to this account, they could scarcely be said to have dilo obeyed. They might have concluded, if Lucifer was not to be diftinguished from one of those angels who bore the Divine commands, that the prohibition was withdrawn, and that now they had a permission to eat; and does it comport with our ideas of Divine justice to punish new inexperienced creatures, by banihment from Paradise, hy, making them inhabitants of a cuiled world, and by death itself, for a mere mistake? or does this ac. count of the fall of man accord with the history of Redemption?
As one end of man's creation was to put the virtue of angels to the proof, so Mr. Knox considers the redemption by Christ as designed to fill up the void in the celestial choirs, which the aportacy of Lucifer and his associates had occafioned. Are we hence to infer that heaven will admit only a certain number; and chat the multitude of the fallen angels was so grea!, that all the souls of men who are to be saved by Chiilt, will only fill this void ? Where do those books, which Christians receive as the bafis of faith, lay down, or even intimate, such a doctrine?
Mr. Knox's explanation of the phrase, in the image of God, tending to thew (to use his own words, p. 79.) that every man appears to be a TRINITY within himself, that hence he mighi deduce a Trinity in the Divine nature, will, we believe, give little satisfaction to any judicious and intelligent reader.
In short, however laudable his intention may be, Mr. Knox seems to have undertaken the discussion of topics to which he is unequal, and on which we have thus been prompted to dwell, in hopes that some able biblical scholar (not an enthusiast, or myftic, for such would soon give us enough of it) will oblige us with the history of the serpent,
The Journals of the American Convention, which are added as an Appendix, contain the history of the toleration and settlealent of the Episcopal church in the United States ; and the
correspondence correspondence with our Prelates respecting the ordination of American Bishops. To this we shall have occasion to refer in a subsequent article.
Art. IV. The Book of Common Prayer, and Administration of the
Sacraments, and other Rites and Ceremonies, as revised and propoled to the Use of the Protestant Episcopal Church, at a Conven. tion of the laid Church in the States of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and South Carolina, held in Philadelphia, from September 27th to October 7th 1785. 8vo.
45. Boards. Philadelphia printed; London, reprinted for Debrett. 1789. FORMS of Prayer for public worship appear to be attended
with so many advantages, that we wonder at those Christian churches, who altogether exclude, rather than at those who admit them. A well-composed Liturgy serves to facilitate Divine worship, gives the laity a more immediate part in prayer, and secures, in all places, as far as this goes, a decent service, We mention these particulars with no view of depreciating extemporary or free. prayer, for which, we are perfuaded, much may be said; and which, when conducted by men of real sense and piety, cannot fail of exciting true devotion : but when we recollect what abilities and self-poffeflion it requires in the officiating minifter, how many circumstances may contribute to derange the ideas and introduce confufion; and moreover when we recollect what rhaplodies and incoherencies we have sometimes heard, instead of PRAYER, we have been disposed to think that it would be prudent in all churches to admit at least a few fixed forms, though there may be reasons for not having the whole service entirely to consist of them.
We were, therefore, not difpleased at the fight of an American Common. Prayer Book; and we think this trans-atlantic Protestant Episcopal Church could not have adopted a better model than the Liturgy of the Church of England. On this, however, the American Episcopalians have considerably improved, by retrenching superfluities, and expunging many passages which have long appeared to the reflecting part of mankind objectionable; and we cannot but be of opinion that they would have carried their reformation still further than they have done, had they not been afraid of offending our right reverend Prelates, from whom their Bishops were to receive ordination ; and who gave the Americans to understand that their prayer to this purpore could not be granted, unless the new church agreed with the old in doctrine and discipline. The great doctrines are indeed retained ; and, in sum and substance, it is the same with our Liturgy. Wherein it differs, it may gratify our readers to
be informed. It will not be expected of us to point out every little variation; but we will mention what may be sufficient to give a general idea of the whole.
To begin with the Articles of Religion, though placed at the end of the prayers : these are reduced from thirty-nine to twenty in number; the doctrines, however, are of the fame caft with those of the church of England, but rather less exceptionably expressed. Their first article (which includes the subitance of our first five), though it aflerts a Trinity, does not declare, as ours do, the three persons of one substance, power, and eternity. There are other alterations which we have not room to specify.
In going through the book, we observed that the commination or cursing Ăsh-Wednesday service, the Aihanasian and Nicene Creeds, were altogether omitted *; and the words, he descended into hell, expunged from the Apofles' Creed. In the Te Deum for, thou did not abhor the virgin's womb, the American Episcopalians read, thou dids bumble thyself to be born of a pure virgin. From the Ministration of Infant Baptism, they have expunged that clause which obliges the sponsors to engage that the child who is to be baptised should renounce the devil and all his works, &c.; from the Form of Matrimony they have struck out, with my body I thee worship; from the Burial Service, the fure and certain hope;
* They are so in the book before us, but we fear, neverthelefs, that the American church has not got rid of both of them. This, as the title shews, is the Book of Common Prayer as settled in 1785; but at the Convention in the following year, it appears by the Journals annexed to Mr. Knox's Observations, &c. of which we have given fome account in the former article, that in consequence of the remonftrances of the Prelates of England, the Convention debated these points afresh, and re-admitted the Nicere Greed, and the expunged article respecting Chrif's descent into hell into the Apostles' Creed. The Archbishops plead for the two discarded Creeds, as reSpectable for their antiquity ; and observe of the descent into hell
, that it was an article which was thought necessary to be inserted with a view to a particular heresy in a very early age of the church, and has ever fince had the venerable fanction of universal reception.' But here it might be asked, are we, in our search after truth, and in forming our religious sentiments, to overlook reason and scripture, from a Superfitious respect for antiquity? Might not the Papift say of the doctrine of Tranfubftantiation, and the Pagan of Polytheism, that they are venerable for their antiquity ? and if our Bishops could say nothing more in behalf of the Athanasian and Nicene Creeds, had they not much better have said nothing? How, likewise, we beg leave to ask, can an article, so long and so often objected to, be said to have had the venerable fanétion of universal reception? We cannot likewise avoid noticing the difference between our present right reverend Prelates and Archbishop Tillotson, who, respecting the Athanasan Creed, wilhed that ibe church was fairly rid of it.