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briefly and simply given. This shall be followed by the regular Morning-prayer in connection with the Lord's prayer, the whole service not to be extended much beyond a half-hour.
In like manner every evening, the Minister shall hold a similar exercise at a suitable hour, reading a chapter, explaining and improving it as above, and concluding with the Evening-prayer in connection with the Lord's-prayer.
of the Preparatory Service. On the afternoon of the day preceeding the administration of the Lord's Supper, a sermon shall be preached upon the benefits and right observance of the same. At the same time also a true christian self-examination shall be instituted, according to the directions which the Minister will find in the Catechism, and in the formula for administering the Lord's Supper. On this occasion the evening prayer for the day may be omitted.
OF THE CATECHISM.
In the Christian Religion a Catechism is a brief and simple statement of the principal doctrines of our Religion, in the form of questions and answers, to be used orally in the instruction of the young and unlearned. For all pious people from the commencement of the Christian Church have been careful to instruct their children in the fear of the Lord, as well at home, as in schools and churches; and undoubtedly for the following reasons, which should also incite us thereto.
I. In the first place they knew well, that the natural depravity of the heart, would gain the ascendency, and destroy both the ecclesiastical and civil authority, if not counteracted in time by wholesome instruction.
II. In the next place, they felt constrained to do so by the express command of God, seeing that the Lord saith : (Deut. 6; 7.) “And thou shalt teach these words (the ten commandments) diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.'
III. And finally, just as the children of the Israelites, after their circumcision, when they reached the years of understanding, were instructed in the mysteries of that sign of the covenant, as well as in the covenant of God itself, so also shall our children receive instructions concerning the Baptism they received in infancy, and the true christian faith and repentance, so that they may make a proper confession of their faith before the whole congregation before they are admitted to the table of the Lord. This custom of using the Catechism, originating as it did in the command of God was maintained in the Christian Church, until malicious Satan, by means of Antichrist, destroyed this excellent regulation, as he also did all others that were good, and instead thereof substituted his deceitful daubings and flatteries,' and other abominations, which he called the true foundation. And whereas our more aged people were brought up under the Papacy, without Catechetical instruction, and may readily forget the leading doctrines of the Christian Religion it is thought necessary, that in villages and smaller towns on all Sabbaths, on which the Lords Supper is not celebrated, the minister before preaching shall read from the pulpit, distinctly and plainly several questions of the Catechism so that the entire Catechism may be publicly read at least twice in each year.
But inasmuch as the Catechism is written somewhat in detail, in order that it may not prove tedious and burdensome to less educated persons, and youth it has been thought best to designate the most important questions by an asterisk *, which they may be able to learn and understand, until they have advanced sufficiently in years and understanding to take up and comprehend the rest.
In larger towns the Catechism shall be taken up and explained more fully, on every Sabbath afternoon as directed above.”
Hereupon follows the Heidleberg Catechism and the summary referred to a few pages back, with the principal texts quoted in full under each answer; and then the texts of Scripture for all stations and circumstances in life &c., with which the first general division of the Liturgy is closed. A translation of the principal prayers, given in the second part, is reserved for the next No. of the Review.
Having but a day or two ago met with a recent issue of the Presbyterian Board of Publication, in which, among a variety of other things, they set forth some five or six objections to Liturgies, which are evidently considered conclusive upon the subject, I think it appropriate briefly to notice them in this connection, and expose what seems to me their utter imbecillity and unfairness.
" Presbyterians," it is said, " object to Liturgics because, 1. The
), Schmierword u. Backonstruich,,!
Holy scriptures, particularly under the New Testament, prescribe no such forms, do not intimate their expediency, and especially do not impose them. The evidence is all the other way, showing that Christians prayed as they are moved by the Spirit, and expressed their wants, sins, and desires in their own language."
Good Richard Sibbes says (in that excellant volume of his pub. lished by this Board,) that the true " way to scan a reason is to see whether it will hold water or not.” I fear if this test is applied to the above objection, it will hardly be found to hold enough even to moisten a preacher's lips for the announcement of a psalm or hymn. For where do the Holy Scriptures prescribe forms for congregational use 'in singing God's praises ? Or where do they intimate their expediency, or impose them? Or what evidence is there that primitive Christians did not sing as they were moved by the Spirit, expressing their joyful praises in their own language, at least at times, and especially when they spoke with tongues or prophesied ? Is it said that the Scriptures furnish the Psalms of David ? So too do they furnish the prayers of Jacob, of Moses, of Gideon, of Ilannah, of David, of Solomon, 'af IIezekiah, of Isaac, of Manasseh, of Ezra, of Nehemiah, of Habakkuk, of Zechariah, the father of the Baptist, of Simeon, and above all the great Pattern-prayer which our Lord gave to His disciples at their own request (instead of telling them to go and pray from their hearts, whatever came uppermost,) and the Sacerdotal prayer of Jesus Christ contained in the 17th chap. of John. If therefore the objection urged above, against all forms of prayer be valid, must we not burn our hymn-books too?
2. “No man can be so intimately acquainted with the hearts of all other men as to express their precise views, fcelings, wants and desires, and hence precomposed forms, which are to
eet the cases of Christianity under all the varying circumstances of the world, must necessarily be inadequate.
And what follows then ? Why evidently these four things. First.-We must have no Liturgies, as above stated. Secondly.There should be no oral public prayer by Ministers—for what Minister can be so intimately acquainted with the hearts of all present in his congregation, as to express their precise views, &c., &c.; and if none, how inadequate and inappropriate must such prayers be! But who would submit to this ? Surely it will suggest itself to every reflecting mind, that whilst there are indeed individual cases
and circumstances, which no public prayer, whether it be written or extemporaneous, can fully reach, the general wants and condition of all christians are so nearly the same, that they may be more befittingly comprehended in a written form, than if left to the accidental diction of those whose sermons, (as alas ! may be the case with too many of us) allow them no time to meditate upon their prayers before they rise to offer them. With but occasional exceptions ( for which all our German Protestant Liturgies make provision) we have the same sins to confess, the same mercies to thank God for, the same general and particular favors to crave, on each sabbath of the year. The difficulty therefore on which this objection rests is purely a fiction.
Thirdly.--No prepared psalmody dare be used in our churches. For our psalms and hymns express in various metres, the supposed views and feelings, wants, joys and desires, of those for whose use they are designed. But if these cannot be sufficiently well preconceived to be expressed in plain and solemn prose, how can they be expressed in less pliant poetry ? Or if one or another of the hymns or psalms should esactly suit the case of one half of the congregation, how are the feelings of the other portion to be met? And how finally is the Minister at all events, by whom the particular hymns to be sung are selected, to determine his choice among the seven or eight hundred before him? How shall he be kept from announcing the 51st Psalm, when the state of feeling amongst the majority of his congregation would be far better expressed by the 71st., 2nd part? And yet if I. am to receive the objection stated as valid, it leaves me defenceless against the unmusical Quaker, and when he mocks at the songs of my Zion I can only blush or weep.
So it follows in the fourth place, if this objection be a good one, that after all silent worship, as they have it at the corner of 4th and Arch, is most consistent with the Bible, individual devotion, and common sense!
3. “Liturgies are an unwarrantable infringement of Christian liberty. It is incredible that God ever intended a man, under the strong emotions of repentance, faith, hope and love, to be confined in the expression of these emotions to a form of prayer, written, perhaps, by one insensible to such strong feelings; and it is incredi. ble that it was ever designed to make men use from week to week, forms of prayer which do not express their present emotions."
This is in substance a repetition of the previous objection, only more warmly and eloquently expressed, perhaps under an irritating conviction of its weakness. It has therefore been met already. It may be added however, that all Protestant Liturgies bear very strong proofs of having been composed or compiled by very good men, by men who felt what they introduced into them, and who appear prayerfully to have sought divine guidance in their work. The Liturgy for instance, of which translated specimens have been given above appears to me to be the work of men of as deep and fervent piety, as those who wrote the Confession of Faith, or the Shorter Cate. chism. As for other Liturgies they may speak for themselves, which some at least are well able to do. Besides all these forms of prayer &c. are designed to deepen and animate Christian devotion, and stir
up those whose emotions may be languid or cold. And doubt. less good prayers are as well adapted to do this as soul-reviving hymns. And where is the Christian that has not often had his dull faith and lukewarm affections aroused and kindled by Watt's version of the 5th, 25th, 86th, 116th, &c., &c., Psalms, or by those precious Hymns,
“Ye humble souls, approach your God, &c."
“How sweet the name of Jesus sounds, &c." and scores besides? Did they ever interfere with his inward emotions? Were they not rather pinions to aid their upward flight? Or channels all cut and cleared, through which their gushing joys could flow on with less impediment, and greater peace? If then, my Brother,.you and I, with many others, have often experienced this, how can we accept of the objection urged against such wel. come aids?
4. “All Liturgies, however well prepared, must necessarily, from constrained and constant repetition, produce lifelessness and formality in devotion, and hence they are always most acceptable to those who have least spirituality of mind, and know least of the power of godliness."
It seems then the previous objection implied a little too much,