Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

ALTARS AND TABLES. It is well known that there have been many objections raised against calling the Lord's table an altar. Historically speaking, we believe that the custom of so calling it has never ceased, from the Reformation downwards, among the great body both of the Clergy and Laity, and especially theological writers. We may remark, however, that whilst we have only one word to express this idea, the Greeks and Latins have two; and that among the Greek fathers universally, and to a certain extent among the earlier Latins, a distinction was kept up, whereby Ovolaothplov and Altare were appropriated to the True God, and Bwuos and Ara to idolatrous worship. In the Romish Church at the present day, the word ara denotes the whole edifice like a tomb, which usually contains images and relics; whereas altare means the small slab of stone, consecrated by a bishop, let into the front of the table part, on which the sacramental elements are placed ; and which is sometimes removed, at the discretion of the priest, from fear of profanation. When, however, the whole altar is of stone, then this distinction does not exist, the whole being consecrated. We may, perhaps, suppose the real distinction to be, that ara signifies the whole edifice, altare simply the Lord's table. We believe that occasionally altars are to be seen even in Romish churches, which are mere tables, being boards or slabs of marble, supported on pillars or a single foot. In the first book of King Edward VI. the word allar is used ; although the holy table is more frequently called God's board : in his second book, and all the subsequent Liturgies of our Church, the word has been avoided. From the accession of Queen Elizabeth, down to the time of Charles I., the position of the holy table seems to have been a matter of much contention, which was not a little increased by the following canon, made in a synod, held in London during his reign, A. D. 1640 :

A DECLARATION CONCERNING SOME RITES AND CEREMONIES. Because it is generally to be wished, that unity of faith were accompanied with uniformity of practice, in the outward worship and service of God; chiefly for the avoiding of groundless suspicions of those who are weak, and the malicious aspersions of the professed enemies of our religion; the one fearing innovations, the other flattering themselves with a vain hope of our backslidings unto their popish superstition, by reason of the situation of the Communion Table, and the approaches thereunto, the Synod declareth as followeth:

That the standing of the Communion Table side-way under the east window of every chancel or chapel, is, in its own nature, indifferent ; neither commanded nor condemned by the word of God, either expressly, or by immediate deduction, and therefore that no religion is to be placed therein, or scruple to be made thereon. And albeit at the time of reforming this church from that gross superstition of popery, it was carefully provided that all means should be used to root out of the minds of the people, both the inclination thereunto, and memory thereof; especially of the idolatry committed in the mass, for which cause

all popish altars were demolished: yet, notwithstanding, it was then ordered by the injunctions and advertisements of queen Elizabeth, of blessed memory, that the holy Tables should stand in the place where the altars stood, and accordingly have been continued in the royal chappells of three famous and pious princes, and in most cathedral, and some parochial churches; which doth sufficiently acquit the manner of placing the said Tables from any illegality, or just suspition of popish superstition or innovation. And therefore we judge it fit and conveni. ent, that all churches and chappels do conform themselves in this particular to the example of the cathedral or mother churches, saving always the general liberty left to the bishop by law, during the time of administration of the holy Communion. And we declare that this situation of the holy Table doth not imply that it is, or ought to be, esteemed a true and proper altar, whereon Christ is again really sacrificed: but it is, and may be called an altar by us, in that sense in which the primitive church called it altar, and in no other.

And because experience hath shewed us, how irreverent the behaviour of many people is in many places ; some leaning, others casting their hats, and some sitting upon, some standing, and others sitting under, the Communion Table in time of divine service : for the avoiding of these and the like abuses, it is thought meet and convenient by this present Synod, that the said Communion Tables in all chancels or chappels be decently severed with rails, to preserve them from such or worse profanations.

And because the administration of holy things is to be performed with all possible decency and reverence, therefore we judge it fit and convenient, according to the word of the Service-Book, established by Act of Parliament, “Draw near, &c.” that all communicants, with all humble reverence, shall draw near and approach to the holy Table, there to receive the Divine mysteries, which have heretofore in some places been unfitly carried up and down by the minister ; unless it shall be otherwise appointed in respect of the incapacity of the place, or other inconvenience, by the Bishop himself in his jurisdiction, and other ordinaries respectively in theirs.

And lastly, whereas the Church is the house of God, dedicated to his holy worship, and therefore ought to mind us, both of the greatness and goodness of his Divine Majesty ; certain it is that the acknowledgment thereof, not only inwardly in our hearts, but also outwardly with our bodies, must needs be pious in itself, profitable unto us, and edifying unto others. We therefore think it very meet and behoveful, and heartily commend it to all good and well-affected people, members of this church, that they be ready to tender unto the Lord the said acknowledgment, by doing reverence and obeisance, both at their coming in, and going out of the said churches, chancels, or chappels, according to the most aucient custom of the primitive church in the purest times, and of this Church also for many years of the reign of Queen Elizabeth, The reviving therefore of this ancient and laudable custom, we heartily commend to the serious consideration of all good people, not with any intention to exhibit any religious worship to the Communion Table, the east, or church, or any thing therein contained in so doing, or to perform the said gesture in the celebration of the holy Eucharist, upon any

opinion of a corporal presence of the body of Jesus Christ on the holy Table, or in the mystical elements; but only for the advancement of God's majesty, and to give him alone that honour and glory that is due unto him, and no otherwise ; and in the practice or omission of this rite, we desire that the rule of charity prescribed by the Apostle, may be observed, which is, That they which use this rite, despise not them who use it not; and that they who use it not, condemn not those that use it.

FOR THE TABLES IN THE CHURCH.

Whereas her Majesty understandeth that in many and sundry parts of the realm, the altars of the churches be removed, and tables placed for the administration of the holy Sacrament, according to the form of the law therefore provided; and in some other places, the altars be not yet removed, upon opinion conceived of some other order therein to be taken by her Majesties visitors. In the other whereof, saving for an uniformity, there seemeth no matter of great moment, so that the Sacrament be duly and reverently ministred. Yet for observation of one uniformity through the whole realm, and for the better imitation of the law in that behalf, it is ordered, that no altar be taken down, but by oversight of the curate of the church and the church wardens, or one of them at the least, wherein no riotous or disordered manner to be used. And that the holy Table in every church be decently made, and set in the place where the altar stood, and there commonly covered as thereto belongeth, and as shall be appointed by the visitors ; and so to stand, saving when the Communion of the Sacrament is to be distributed : at which time the same shall be so placed in good sort within the chancel, as whereby the minister may be more conveniently heard of the communicants in his prayer and ministration, and the communicants also more conveniently, and in more number, communicate with the said minister. And after the Communion done, from time to time the same holy Table to be placed where it stood before.

This canon is the foundation of the practice observed since the Restoration in our Church, in regard to the position of the altar, and the almost universal custom of fencing it with rails. L'Estrange's observations upon it show the opposition which once was called forth by the enforcement of this innocent and decent practice.

SALVABILITY OF THE POPE. The distinguished critic and divine, John Alfred Bengel, being asked if he thought any one Pope of Rome could be saved, said, “I would not insist that he cannot; but it is likely to go very hard with him : for either he must really think he is what his deluded votaries imagine him, namely, worthy of the profound reverence which is paid him ; and that would be a huge abomination : or else he must know that he is not worthy of such reverence, and then he must be an abominable hypocrite.”—Burk's Memoir of Bengel, translated by the Rev. F. R. Walker. P. 505.

[merged small][ocr errors]

No. LIV.-FACULTY FOR ACCEPTING AND ERECTING AN

ORGAN.-FUTURE EXPENSES.*

IN THE CONSISTORY Court of LONDON. THE CHURCHWARDENS OF ST. JOHN'S, MARGATE, V. THE PARISHIONERS, VICAR, AND

INHABITANTS OF THE SAME.--3d Nov. 1794. This was a case before Sir William the church, is to be deemed necessary Scott, as Official to the Archdeacon or ornamental; because organs in some of Canterbury, on an application for churches may be necessary, though in a faculty for accepting and erecting others only ornamental. În cathedral an organ.

churches they would, I conceive, be Judgment. — Sir William Scott. deemed necessary, and the ordinary This is an application to the Court for might compel the dean and chapter the grant of a faculty for erecting an to erect an organ, as proper and necesorgan in the parish church of Margate; sary for the service usually performed and it is brought in the Court of the in such places. In parish churches it Archdeacon of Canterbury, who, by would be otherwise ; and though I do ancient composition with the Arch not concur in the observation, that bishop, exercises episcopal jurisdiction organs in such places are to be genein a great part of that diocese.

rally discouraged; it might be proper “ It originated in a citation with an to do so in some cases, and it would intimation, and an objection is made, depend on the circumstances of the that the size of the organ is not speci parish, what judgment the Court would fied, which is usual and convenient; form on the particular case. In the since the size may be a material ground present case it appears by the applicaof objection. But I think it is not a tion, that the offer of an organ has fatal objection, since the parish must been made by a parishioner, so that take the faculty, if it is granted, as no expense will be incurred in the first applying to a proper and convenient instance. organ only, and though the intimation “ It is said that a proper organ will is liable on this ground to objection, it cost more than the sun proposed to be may be cured in the way that has been given ; but I understand the proposal mentioned.

as not limited to any precise sum, but “ The law respecting church orna as the offer of a proper organ. There ments is now generally understood and may, however, be the expenses arising settled. The consent of the parishion out of it, as for erecting and keeping ers is not indispensably necessary, in order, and for an organist; and as unless to charge the parish with any these may fall on the parish, it may expense for the support of the orna- render the consent of the parishioners ment after it has been put up. But if necessary. On the effect of consent I there is no such charge incurred, the am disposed to hold the majority of the approbation of the majority of the parish binding on such a question as parishioners is not necessary, nor the this, though it might not bind in all disapprobation binding on the ordi- cases, as if an organ was to be voted nary.

without the authority of the ordinary. " Then if all objection on ground of In all cases where the parish is comexpense is removed, the ordinary is petent to act by its own power, it is not restrained by any want of consent ihe majority which must bind; and on the part of the parish, which is only the majority of a vestry, in cases fit to requisite when it is put to expense for be there decided, will bind the minority things not necessary, but merely orna- of the parish, though it will not bind mental. It may be difficult indeed in the Ordinary, in matters subject to his some cases to distinguish, whether an discretion. And if he sees that many addition of this kind to the service of of the parishioners object, though they

* For other Reports respecting the erection of organs, see CHRISTIAN REMEM, BRANCER, Vol. XV. pp. 501, 559. VOL. XX. NO. VI.

3 B

may be the minority, it may be very proper that he should not be totally inattentive to their opinion. It is usual, therefore, in cases of mere orna. ment, to tender affidavits showing what the majority in vestry was, in order that the Court may ascertain what may fairly be considered the predominant wish of the parish. In cases of this kind, the intimation goes out to all persons, and therefore every one not appearing must be regarded as consenting, by virtue of this notice, and also of the representative character of the church wardens who apply for this faculty.

“ 'The balance of number in favour of this application are 213 to 42, about five to one; and though it is said by the opposers that they could have brought more, but that they chose to stand on the merits; I must suppose they have brought all they could, as the merits on the present inquiry depend, in no small degree, on the numbers. In interest, it appears that the rental of the parish is about 12,0001.; of which a proportion of 4,4941. is for the organ, and 3,3531. against it. On this representation it is to be observed, that the whole interest is not brought forward; but it is reasonable to presume that all, who do not come forward on the call of the intimation, agree to the measure. There is then the legal consent of the vestry, and a sufficient constat to satisfy the Court, of the sentiments of the real majority of the parish, in favour of the application.

“ The consent, however, is not the only thing that is material, since the measure may be improper, in consideration of the parish or of the church, or private rights may be affected. It might be the duty of the Ordinary, therefore, under particular circumstances, to interpose, and protect the parish from its own indiscretion, if any inconvenience was to be apprehended from it; as if the parish was small, and the rent of houses very high, or there were other circumstances, that rendered such an addition to the church inexpedient. Attending to such considerations, the Courts have usually adopted the rule of inserting a clause, that no expense shall fall on the parish; but this rule is discre

tionary only, and though generally proper, by no means binding.

"In London, where parishes are small, and the rents high, an organ might be a considerable burthen, and therefore the rule is often adopted, though seldom well observed in practice; since the course pursued is, that several persons certify, that they are willing to subscribe to provide a settled fund, for the maintenance of the organist, though no permanent endowment is arranged; a fund for the present being all that is usually required. That there should be a settled fund is not prescribed by any rule of law, which is to be found in books, or in practice, except in particular cases in which the Ordinary may think it necessary. If the circumstances of the parish are different, where the parish is large, and the inhabitants are opulent, and desirous of such an instrument, is it unfit or beyond the discretion of the Court to sanction such a grant to them? A Faculty does not enjoin the raising of any rate; and if it is found a burthen, it may be removed by another Faculty.

“ Is it necessary then that such a clause should be inserted, either on principle or settled usage? I have already said that I know of no principle that can make such a rule obligatory in all cases; and as to usage, the cases, which have been cited by the counsel, relate chiefly to small parishes, in which the Ordinary would be unwilling to bind the inhabitants without in a very general consent. A case of real authority, as a negative, would be shown, if the Court had said,

-It would not grant without such clause, and the parish had refused to accept it on those terms. That would be a case in foro contentioso, whereas all the precedents cited have been of cases in which the parties have been willing to receive. I have seen grants of two or three Faculties, in the Consistory of London, on the application of some of the parish, without any provision for an organist : as for Fulham, in 1732; St. Matthew, Fridaystreet, in 1734.

“It is said, that this should be done only when the parish are unanimous. The rule of unanimity may be proper in some cases, and not in others; and

« ZurückWeiter »