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recognizes a power of regulating externals which is guided by general scriptural rules, not by specific scriptural enactment or precedent.

4. Every church and every sect from the foundation of Christianity has practised a number of rites and matters of discipline which are not in scripture. Bingham, in tracing the rites of the primitive church in the administration of the sacraments and public worship, exhibits a multitude of various rites, ceremonies, and disciplines, in the churches of the East and West, which cannot be traced in scripture". Tertullian says, “Let us then enquire whether no tradition (in this case) should be admitted unless, it is written. We will allow that it should not, if no examples of other practices prejudge the case, as being maintained on the title of tradition only, and the strength of custom, without any authority of scripture. To begin with baptism; when entering the water, and a little before in the church, under the bishop's hand, we protest that we renounce the devil, his pomps, and his angels. Then we are plunged three times, replying something more than our Saviour in the gospel has prescribed. Received thence, we taste a mixture of milk and honey; and from that day we abstain from the daily bath during the whole week. The sacrament of the eucharist ordained by our Saviour, both at the time of repast, and for all, we receive in our assemblies before daylight; nor from the hands of others than those who preside. We offer for the dead, and on an annual day for the martyrs' birthdays, &c. I “The day would fail me,” says St. Basil, “if

See Bingham's Antiquities of cipi ? Plane negabimus recethe Christian Church.

piendam, si nulla exempla præ“Ergo quæramus an et tra- judicent aliarum observationum, ditio nisi scripta non debeat re- quas sine ullius scripturæ instruI were to relate to you all the rites transmitted to the church without scripture. I omit the rest: this profession of faith in God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (the creed), from what scripture have we it k?"

I adduce these passages, merely to show that the primitive church practised many rites which are not contained in scripture. Such also it is plain, has been the invariable custom of all the Oriental, all the Roman, all the British churches, down to the present day. The Lutherans and the Calvinists also followed the same rule, as might be instanced in their use of liturgies, organs, surplices, and other ministerial vestments, lights, crosses, kneeling at the eucharist, cross in baptism, observation of holy days, fonts, creeds, use of the ring in marriage, churching of women, burial of the dead with hymns and prayers, titles and offices of antistes, præpositus, archbishop, dean, chancellor, provincial and national synods, moderators, &c.' These

mento, solius traditionis titulo et Oblationes pro defunctis, pro exinde consuetudinis patrocinio natalitiis annua die facimus. Die vindicamus. Denique ut a bap- Dominico jejunium nefas ducitismate ingrediar, aquam adituri

, mus, vel de geniculis adorare. Eaibidem, sed et aliquanto prius in dem immunitate a Die Paschæ in ecclesia sub antistitis manu con- Pentecosten usque gaudemus. testamur nos renuntiare diabolo, Calicis aut panis etiam nostri aliet pompæ, et angelis ejus. De- quid decuti in terram anxie patihinc ter mergitamur, amplius mur. Adomnem progressum atque aliquid respondentes, quam Do- promotum, ad omnem aditum et minus in evangelio determinavit. exitum, ad calceatum, ad lavacra, Inde suscepti, lactis et mellis con- ad mensas, ad lumina, ad cubilia, cordiam prægustamus, exque ea

ad sedilia, quæcunque nos converdie, lavacro quotidiano per totam satio exercet, frontem crucis sig. hebdomadam abstinemus. Eu- naculo terimus." - Tertull. De charistiæ sacramentum, et in tem- Corona, c. ii, iii, iv. pore victus, et omnibus manda- * Basil. De Spiritu Sanct. c, tum a Domino, etiam antelucanis xxvii. n. 67. t. iii. oper. p. 56. coetibus, nec de aliorum manu I See Durel on the Reformed quam præsidentium sumimus. Churches.


Traditional Rites approved by the Reformation. (PART III.

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rites were practised by some or all branches of the foreign Reformation. Indeed all their confessions of faith or doctrine expressly approve of the continuance of such human traditions or rites, as are not contrary to the word of God. The Confession of Augsburg says, “that those rites are to be observed, which may be observed without sin, and are conducive to quietness and good order in the church, as certain holydays, feasts, and the like.” “Nor is it necessary that human traditions, or rites and ceremonies introduced by men, should be alike everywhere". The Apology of the Confession says: “ We willingly observe the ancient traditions which were constituted in the church for the sake of utility and quietness,” &c." The Tetrapolitan Confession, drawn up by Bucer in 1530, observes, “The opinion of our party concerning the traditions of the fathers, or those which the bishops and churches approve now, is this: they include no traditions among the human traditions which are condemned in scripture, except such as are repugnant to the law of God...Those which agree with scripture and were instituted to promote good manners and the public utility, even though they be not expressly written in scripture, yet since they arise from the precept of charity, are to be accounted divine rather than humano.” The same views are taken by the Bohemian”, the Polish “, the Helvetic' Confessions, the Formula Concordiæ, &c. Calvin expressly defends the obligation of human traditions, and amongst the rest ap

a Declaratio Thoruniensis, art.

V, vi.

m Confessio August. pars i. art. xv, and vii.

Apologia Confessionis, viii. De tradit. humanis in Ecclesia.

• Confess. Tetrapolitana, cap. xiv.

P Confess. Bohemica, art. xv.

Confessio Helvetica, cap. xxvii. s Pars i. art. x.

Calvini Institut. lib. iv. c. ii, sect. 27.--32.


proves of the constitution of the primitive church, of synods, patriarchs, primates, archbishops, metropolitans, bishops, archdeacons, subdeacons, readers, acolytes, and in short the whole hierarchy. This system he regarded as scarcely in any respect dissonant from the word of God'. In fine, the dissenters themselves adopt a number of rites and matters of discipline which are not mentioned in scripture. One of the chief foundations of their dissent is the right of the people to elect their own pastors, yet they admit that there is not an instance in the Bible of a particular church electing its own pastor'. They administer the eucharist to women; exact from candidates for baptism, for “church-membership,” or for the ministry, confessions of their “experience" and their doctrine; constitute members of the church by a ceremony different from baptism; give the titles of " reverend” and “divine” to their ministers, who are also styled “doctors of divinity and law,” “masters of arts," &c.; constitute congregational and baptist unions, conferences, &c.; build chapels and colleges, and establish trustees, committees, and professors. None of these things are mentioned in scripture, nor do we read there any such expressions as "congregational” or “baptist” churches; and therefore we claim the whole mass of dissenting communities as effective, though reluctant, witnesses in favour of our position.

Hence I conclude that it is lawful, it is not antichristian, to continue, or even institute rites and discipline not mentioned in scripture, provided they be not opposed to the truths or the principles of scripture. For if it be otherwise, all christians from the begin

• Ibid. cap. iv.

"James, Church Memb. Guide, p. 12. 2d ed.

ning must have mistaken their own religion, and acted as enemies of Christ, until at last in the sixteenth or seventeenth century, a handful of Puritan and Anabaptist schismatics discovered the truth: a supposition which is too absurd to merit a serious refutation.

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Having proved that traditions of rites and discipline not taught by scripture, may be lawfully adopted and continued in the church, it now remains to examine, by what rule we may discriminate those traditions or customs of the church in general which are unchangeable, from those that are changeable ?

Rites are found in scripture, which every one admits to be changeable, i.e. the institution of deaconesses, the kiss of peace, feasts of charity, the use of long hair and of a covering for the head by women. In the same manner rites appear to have been universal in the earliest ages which were relinquished afterwards; such as trine immersion in baptism, the administration of confirmation at the same time, the administration of the eucharist in both kinds, &c.

Are then all rites and points of discipline contained in scripture and tradition non-essential and variable ? I reply that they are not.

First, there can be no doubt of the perpetual obligation of those rites which Christ declared necessary to salvation, and which all christians from the beginning believed to be so: I mean baptism and the eucharist. And we are bound by a sense of the importance of those rites, to adhere to that form of administering them which is found in scripture, and which the uni

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