we are


words of St. Peter*. St, Panl also af. " It appears, therefore, that the terms flicted Elymas with blindness, which he binding and loosing might be, and were, told him should continue for a season t. used in early times to express the imposing Whenever be inflicted such diseases, he and withdrawing of ecclesiastical censures. might be said to bind the sinner, or to But since the power of iuflicting such allow Satan to bind him, which is the very punishments as these bas long since ceased, expression used by our Saviour towards whereas the power given by Christ to his the woman, who had a spirit of infirmity: apostles was to last for ever, he says that. Satan had bound her these obliged to conclude, that the power of eighteen years 12'

binding and loosing means something else, “ The same power, which punished a in its primary and real signification, than sinner by bodily diseases, could also with- the power of punishing sinners with sickdraw them; and as the Church in the ness, and of restoring them again to health, name of an apostle could bind the offender, This power was superhuman and extraorso she could also loose him. In the case dinary; and was, perhaps, the highest exof the Corinthian mentioned above, St. ercise of authority which the apostles, or Paul promises, tbat when the Church the Church in the name of the apostles, thought proper to forgive him, he would possessed.” P. 71. also forgive him: and the whole passage The immense distance between may be consulted, as explaining the power the Apostles and their uninspired and the practice of the Church in such cases g.

successors we are most ready to ac“ Forgiveness, in this instance, cannot knowledge—and wherever there is be construed to mean an entire remission allusion in the primitive Church to of all sins, so as to make the penitent cer- iniraculous power, the case is inaptain of salvation : it can only mean, that plicable to the question before us. what God allowed St. Paul to inflict, God But the author ought not to have also allowed him to withdraw. The bind.

passed so slightly over the passage, ing and loosing must be relative and coextensive : and though when our Saviour 2 Cor. ii. 6–11., and the remarks said to the woman mentioned above, 'Wo- upon Simon Magus are in the bighest man, thou art loosed from thine infirmity, degree sophistical.

Peter prayed he may certainly have intended to forgive for his forgiveness, and thus “evi. her all her sins, we cannot argue from the dently showed that he had not the omnipotence of the Son of God to the

power to loose him !!" Where is limited and delegated powers of an apostle it evidently shown, or what im. and of the Churcb.

“ That the apostles had not power to aginable reason has Mr. Burton to forgive sins in the highest sense of the believe, that Simon Magus was qualiterm, seems demonstrably plain from the fied to receive forgiveness? What words of St. Peter to Simon Magus ||, proof is there of his penitence ? * Repent of this thy wickedness, and pray Who imagines that St. Peter could God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart forgive the impenitent? Although may be forgiven thee.' If Peter could have forgiven him of himself, why should

Simon had “ believed and been baphe exhort him to pray to God? Peter evi- tized,” yet was his “heart not right dently felt uncertain, whether God would in the sight of God," « he had forgive him or no: and it is equally evi- neither part nor lot in this matter." dent, that Simon Magus did not know of To argue that the Apostle had any absolving power being resident in the

no power to absolve because this apostles, when he said, “ Pray ye to the Lord for me, that done of these things, person was not absolved, can only which ye have spoken, come upon me.

prove that arguments are scarce. We may remark farther, that St. Peter

The observation respecting St. uses the very expression of Simon being Paul and the incestuous Corinthian, . in the bond of iniquity,' and yet he evi- may also be applied to Mr. Burton's dently shows, that he had not power to remarks on the customs of the loose him.

Apostolical Fathers, and the earlier ages

of the Church. Such customs * Aets v. + Acts xii. 11.

are not conclusive evidence of the Luke xiii. 16. 0 % Cor, ii. 6-11.

real meaning of Scripture-nor are | Acts viii. 22.

they sufficiently uniform to establish or subvert the hypothesis before us. bonds ! Such an interpretation appears But every reader and every quoter at first sight extremely forced, and nsed of the Fathers, can produce abun- merely in justification of a power, which daut proof of the high sense which usurped. It must be confessed, however,

the Church of England has improperly was entertained of the absolving that little as we might be led to affix this power of the Priest-Mr. Burton is meaning to the solemn words, “I absolve not justitied in taking it for granted, thee from all thy sins, in the name of the that ecclesiastical history gives bim Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy any material support. Although he Ghost,' there is certainly some reason, if may prove easily enough that it is not an absolute necessity for concluding, completely at variance with the ab- that the Church does not suppose the surd pretensions of the Church of penitent to receive a full pardon from God

in these words. Rome-he is not at liberty to infer,

“ In the prayer, which follows this abthat the power of the keys was con- solution, the minister is directed to pray, fined as he desires to confine it. It 'O most merciful God, wlio, according to was applied beyond all question to

the multitude of thy mercies, dost so pat baptism. But that is not the point away the sins of those who truly repent, under debate-Was it applied to

that thou rememberest them no more; open

thine eye of mercy upon this thy servant, baptism only? Mr. Burton knows who most earnesily desireth pardon and better than to make such an as- forgiveness. Renew in him, most loving sertion-but some of his readers Father, whatsoever hath been decayed by will believe that he entertains the the frand and malice of the devil, or by his opinion, and others must regret that

own carnal will and frailness; preserve and he has not more expressly disowned continue this sick member in the unity of it, and shewn that such a renunci- the Church ; consider his contrition, ac ation is not inconsistent with his . cept his tears, assuage his pain, as shall

• seem to thee most expedient for him. And theory.

forasmuch as he putteth bis full trust only On the subject of our own Church in thy mercy, impute not unto him his for. formularies, the author has the fol- mer sins, but strengthen him with thy lowing observations.

blessed Spirit; and when thou art pleased

to take him hence, take him unto thy “ It has been said, however, that the favour, through the merits,'&c. Church of England lays claim to the ab

“ I liave quoted these words at length, solving power for her ministers in the high- because they demonstrably prove, that the est sense wbich the words will hear. In penitent is not at that time supposed to her office for the Visitation of the Sick we

have received pardon from God, nor to be certainly find a direction for the priest to certain of going to heaven. He still use the following words ; By his an

• earnestly desireth pardon and forgivethority committed to me, I absolve thee ness, and therefore cannot have received from all thy sins, in the name of the

it. We may agree in thinking that the Father, and of the Sou, and of the Holy words of the absolation are too strong, Ghost.'

and we may regret that they were admit“ These words are undonbtedly very

ted into our Prayer Book: but when we strong: and I should never wish to defend

take them in connexion with the prayer the Charch of Englaod, in her doctrines or

which follows, it is certainly unfair to say, her ceremonies, hy an equivocal or forced

that the Church of England claims for her interpretation of words. It cannot be ministers a power of plenary absolution. denied, that the form of absolution just Some interpretation far short of this must quoted, seems to contain an immediate be affixed to them. It is not the ohject and positive remission of sins. The mi

of this dissertation to decide what this innister, who uses it, appears to think him. terpretation should be: the Church of self authorized to assure the penitent, that England certainly thinks, that it is necess from that moment he is fully pardoned by sary to pray for further forgiveness after God: and we might perhaps be inclined

these words are uttered : and consequently to think little of the judgment or sincerity she cannot be said to hold the doctrine, of that man, who interprets these words to that a priest may absolve a penitent from mean, that the Church did only intend the remission of ecclesiastical censures and

• Wheatley.

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bis sins, and declare him to be pardoned given by Jesus to his Church. Whatby God." P. 68.

ever power he gave, the Church may And the concluding summary fur- and ought to use--and the prudent ther states,

use of it perunitted to the ministers

of the Church of England, is no blot That every minister of the Gospel exerrises the Power of the Keys, the power

upon the shield of their faith. of birding and loosing, or ot' remitting and

As to Mr. Burton's objection, that retaiuing sios, when lie admits cbildren or

absolution on these principles may adults into the Christian covenant by bap- be given every day, and the inference tism : that beyond this the Church has 10 that the Popish practice is on this absolving power whatever: that she reminds supposition not only excusable but hier niembers of the mercy of God in ac.

meritorious, we confess we think that cepting the atonement of Jesus Christ : and points out to them, that the merits of himself better ihan in detending

Mir. Burton might have employed this atonement may obtain remission of all their sins, if they will truly repent, superstition and knavery at the exand have faith in Christ; but that she pence of our own communion. On cannot do more than this ; she cannot no scriptural principles, and on no declare, that God has actnally forgiven Church of England principles, is it the penitent, and blotted out his trans- possible that absolution, (we mean gressions, so that liis final salvation is cer.

snich a personal absolution as that tain." P. 103.

contained in the Visitation Service) To the first of these statements can be granted every day. —" As he we have little to object. We are may believe and repent every dayno advocates for the doctrine of the priest might give him absolution remission of sius by the priest; we every time that he professed this believe the real sense, both of the faithi and repentance.”—The priest Church and the Scripture, is in Nr. who did so, would be onworthy of Burton's own words, • that the his ofhce-such faith and repentance priest declares in the name of God, could be nothing but a mockerythat if the man truly repent him of and it is by acting upon a different his sins, (of which God only can supposition that Papists have fallen judge) he may then be absolved;" into the worst and most corrupting or as the sentence ought to have of their errors. concluded, be is then forgiveni.-- The Church “ cannot declare Unless a clergyman believes this, we that God has actually forgiven the know not how he can subscribe to the penitent," -- because she cannot be Articles, or officiate in the services sure that the penitent has actually of the Church. And the best ex- repented.--Mr. Burton admiis, p.58. planation of the Visitation Service that admission into the Christian is, that it is a more solen:n and covenant comkeys a litle to forgive. personal application of that con- ness of sins committed subsequently solatory message which the priest to admission. Why then should he delivers in general terms to the object to a solemn declaration of whole congregatiou. That abso- that consoling fact? " Absolution,' lution is only to be used, after re- be tells us, “in the primitive Church, peated expressions of penitence; it was positive and authoritative only is only to be given to those who so far as concerned the censures of “humbly and heartily desire it," the Church; with respect to the to those who feel the sting of sin in sinner being pardoned by God, the their souls, and wish for the strongest priest only prayed that he might be assurance of God's meruy and forgive- pardoned, and comforitd him with ness. The words, I absolve," are the gracious assurances of Scripture," not in themselves appropriate—but p. 81. And what are these assuthey are qualified and explained by rances ? that there is no certainty of the preceding allusion to the power pardon to such as sin after bapREMEMBRANCER, No. 64.


tism? such ought to be Mr. Burton's answer—but such we are persuaded

The Book of the Church. By Roit would not be. On this, the true

bert Southey, Esq. LL.D. Poet difficulty, he is not very explicit,

Laureate, Honorary Member of When he talks of our not being at

the Royal Spanish Academy, of

the Royal Spanish Academy of liberty to say that an absolved sin

History, of the Royal Institute ner,

" if he were to die that moment, is certain of going to heaven," he

of the Netherlands, of the Cymm

rodorion, of the Massachusetts merely states that to which every man of sense would assent.-The

Historical Society, of the Ameri

can Antiquarian Society, of the priest cannot know the reality of the

Royal Irish Academy, of the Brisrepentance, and therefore cannot

tol Philosophicul and Literary certify the reality of the pardon.But when, as in the concluding sum

Society, 8c. In Two Volumes.

8vo. il. 4s. Murray. 1824. mary he tells us that the Church can do no more than point to the merits It is certain that an extraordinary of Christ, he appears to us to re- degree of ignorance prevails amongst nounce the doctrine of the Com. Englislunen as to the real nature of munion in which he ministers, not those claims which National less than the practice of antiquity Church has to their respect and and the declaration of Scripture. affection. Even amongst those who The Church may give absolution in are brought up in her communion, terms much more forcible than those and enjoy the blessing of her ordi. which Mr. Burton is inclined to put nances, and who have been qualified into her mouth; and if he is unwilling by their education to inquire into to learn these facts, and the use to her history and to appreciate her which the custom may be applied, merits, how rarely do we meet with from such humble critics as those an individual who is aware of the into whose hands his work has full extent of her deserts. They fallen, we recommend him to study are content to take the Established the following passages from Hooker, Religion as they find it, without with which we gladly conclude our troubling themselves to enquire by observations.

what process it became so inti. “ Strange it were unto me that mately interwoven with our civil inthe Fathers who so much every where stitutions, or to what causes it owes extol the grace of Jesus Christ, in its preponderance and stability. This leaving to his Church this heavenly is, perhaps, a natural consequence and divine power, should, as men of long continued security. It is whose simplicity had universally only when their Church is reviled, been abused, agree all to admire assaulted, or removed from its place, and magnify an useless office.” that men set themselves in good

“ It hath therefore pleased Al- earnest to investigate its claims to mighty God, in tender commiseration respect. From such trials the Engover these imbecilities of men, to lish Church has always come forth ordain for their spiritual and ghostly triumphant. In the time of her comfort consecrated persons, which need, not only have martyrs sufby sentence of power and authority fered in her cause, but inquirgiven from above, may, as it were, ing and able men have risen up to out of his very mouth, ascertain plead in her behalf, and to convince timorous and doubtful minds in their the great body of the people how own particular-ease them of all inseparably her interests are contheir scrupulosities— leave them set- nected with the well-being of true tled in peace, and satisfied touching religion, and with the security of the mercy of God towards them." the commonwealth. It requires only

a disp1-30 ate and careful survey


of our national annals, to understand this country. It is impossible for us the greatness of those services which to do justice to the merits of his the Church of England bas rendered work in the limits of this journal; to the cause of pure Christianity bui we shall extract some of the and rational freedom. Unfortu- most striking and important pasnately, of our ecclesiastical histories, sages, in the hope, that they may some deter the ordinary reader by direct the attention of our readers the length of their details, while to a book, which cannot be too others offend the more criticalstudent widely circulated, in the present by the unfaithfulness of their repre- age of prejudice and misrepresentations. From one cause or other, sentation. The following is Mr. it is a line of study into which the Southey's introduction. common course of education hardly “ Manifold as are the blessings for ever leads; and yet there are few which Englishmen are beholden to the departments of history more inte- institutions of their country, there is no resting or instructive, not merely to

part of those institutions from which they

derive more important advantages than the Clergy, but to every one who from its Church Establishment, none by wishes to obtain a correct know which the temporal condition of all rauks ledge of the growth and principles has been so materially improved. of the English constitution.

many of our countrymen would not be The ignorance of which we com

ungrateful for these benefits, if they knew plain, bas of lale years displayed how dearly they were prized by our fore

how numerous and how great they are, itself in a most remarkable manner.

fathers, and at how dear a price they were The language in which the Church purchased for our inheritance ; by wliat has been spoken of, even in the religious exertions, what heroic devotion, great council of the nation, has what precious lives, consumed in pious been in such outrageous defiance labours, wasted away in dungeons, or offer. of all historical truth, so contrary ed up amid the flames. This is a knowto fact as well as principle; and so

ledge which, if early inculcated, might arm

the young heart against the pestilent errors little knowledge of her real and

of these distempered times. I offer, there. substantial title to our affectionate fore, to those who regard with love and regard has been manifested, even reverence the religion which they have by those who, on such occasious, received from their fathers, a brief but com-, have stood up in her defence, that prehensive record, diligently, faithfully, we have long earnestly wished for and conscientiously composed, which they the appearance of some plain, per, Herein it will be seen front what leathenish

may put into the hands of their children. spicuous statement of the historical delusions and inhuman rites the inhabitants arguments which may be urged in of this island have been delivered by the her behalf, as being a more tangible Christian faith ; in what manner the best proof, at least one more easy of interests of the country were advanced by comprehension to the “ children of the clergy even during the darkest ages of this generation,” than a setting forth papal domination; the errors and crimes of of her higher and more sacred titles the Romish Church, and how when its

corruptions were at the worst, the dayto respect.

break of the Reforination appeared among This bas been furuished by Mr.

us: the progress of that Reformation Southey, iu a manner which en- through evil and through good; the po titles him to the gratitude of every tablishment of a Clíurch pure in its docone, who is attached, either from trines, irreproachable iu its order, beautiful habit or principle, to the Established in its forms; and the conduct of that Church. The one will be instructed,

Church proved both in adverse and in and the other refreshed, by the lu- ciples when it adhered to the inonarchy

prosperous times, alike faithful to its priuuninous and affecting sketch which during a successful rebellion, and when it he has given of the most important opposed the monarch who would have features in the religious history of brought back the Romish superstition, and

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