your correspondent "Vigil." I confess that I have been frequently perplexed as to the line of duty respecting them. It seems to be a matter to be regretted, that we have not more definite instructions from our bishops, on this and other points of church discipline. The late occurrence at Ipswich seemed calculated to call forth some explanation; but we are left in the same state of doubt as before. It appears to me that baptism administered by a Methodist preacher cannot be regarded in any other light than that of lay-baptism. The Wesleyan system appears to me to make no pretensions to clerical orders; and even if it did, there would be great room for questioning their authority. Nevertheless, they are in the common practice of baptising infants; or at least this is the case at the village where I am appointed to labour, and I believe that the same course is general throughout the kingdom. At the same time, there is no place for burial connected with the chapel, but persons so baptised are presented for burial at the church. Since the new Act for Registration came into operation, I have found it necessary to inquire as to the fact of baptism having been administered to infants before they are interred; and I am thus made acquainted with the circumstances above recited. It becomes then necessary to determine upon the validity or otherwise of the baptism thus performed. To proceed to inter, practically yields assent to its validity. Now, I am anxious to know, Mr. Editor, whether this is right-whether this is the view taken by our church- and whether I am acting in such a case, according to the vows and promises I have made at my ordination? The legal decision referred to in the late occurrence at Ipswich, I am not acquainted with, nor does it appear to be considered as final. The inference to be drawn from the letter of the Bishop of Lincoln is, that he demurs to it, and although he justly censured the language and manner adopted by the clergyman of that place, towards the Methodists, he appears to concur in his determination not to inter, and states that many others are of the same opinion. Would you, Mr. Editor, be kind enough to state the evidence on this point, or permit it to be discussed in your pages with a view to its being definitively and finally settled. By doing so, I doubt not, you would be the means of relieving the minds of many of your brethren, as well as that of your very obedient servant,


We will copy, for our correspondent's information, a few detached sentences from Sir J. Nicholl's well known decision in the case of Wickes, in 1811, which we suppose is the case referred to by the Bishop of Lincoln. In regard to our correspondent's supposition, that "it does not appear to be final," if he means that it does not settle the question in a theological view, he is correct; but he mistakes if he means there is any doubt whether it would be adhered to by the courts, both civil and spiritual. The matter has been agitated in scores, we believe we might say hundreds, of instances, and always with one result, that the clergyman has been obliged to yield, and usually to pay the legal expenses incurred on both sides. The reason why these litigations have not been more publicly known, is, that the refusing clergyman, after consulting his lawyer, and being perhaps advised by his bishop, and having most likely paid for an opinion at Doctors' Commons, and being threatened, if he persists, with an action by the " Society for protecting the Civil Rights of the

[APRIL Dissenters," the result of which is not doubtful, has come to a compromise before the matter arrived at extremities.

The following are the sentences to which we have alluded, from Sir J. Nicholl's judgment:

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"It is with some degree of surprise that the court has heard the suggestions of there being no law to compel the clergy to bury Dissenters. It is the duty of the parish minister to bury all persons dying within his parish, all christians. The canon has the single exception, expressly of excommunicated persons." Baptism by a woman or layman is valid, and a person who has been so baptised, is not to be baptised again.' "If administered by a laic, or by a heretic, or schismatic, it is valid baptism." "All private baptism was by a layman, antecedent to the time of king James. The same rubric expressly directs the pastors to instruct their parishioners in the form of doing it." "King James's children were baptised by presbyterian ministers. He could not mean to exclude them from burial." 66 Bishops Fleetwood, Hooker, Watson, Burnet, and Warburton, are decidedly of opinion, that lay-baptism is legal according to the law of the church.” "Does the Toleration Act, which allows Protestant Dissenters to have separate places of worship, require them to have separate places of burial? No such thing; surely this would be departing entirely from the principles of the Established Church. Its principle is to bring over by conciliation, not to force away by severity; to conciliate by indulgence, not to repel by persecution." "Dissenters are obliged by the Toleration Act itself, to pay their tithes, to pay church rates, and to contribute to the support of the church and its ministers; why are they to be excluded from its rites, as far as their conscience will allow them to partake in them? If the person is baptised, the canon enjoins the service."

We do not think the learned judge's statement about king James's children was correct; for Spottiswood, in his History of the Church of Scotland, says respecting one of them, (Henry), "the service did then begin; and upon the end thereof the English ambassador arose, and presented the prince to the bishop, who was appointed to administer the sacrament: this was Mr. David Cunningham, bishop of Aberdeen." The statement may therefore perhaps be classed with the venerable civilian's slip of the tongue in calling Hooker a bishop. Nor do we think that "all private baptism was performed by a layman antecedent to the time of King James." In the days of Popery, baptism being considered not merely "generally" necessary to salvation, but absolutely so, it was administered by some person attending at the birth of a child, where there was extreme danger, and a priest could not be procured in time. At the Reformation, the practice was not prohibited; but the rubrics of 2 and 5 of Edward the Sixth enjoined the laity not to baptize their children themselves "without great cause and necessity;" and a formula is given, which, where the case was urgent, they were to use. It was merely the repetition of the Lord's prayer, the naming the child, and dipping it, or pouring water upon it, with the usual words of baptism, in the name of the Holy Trinity. The same rubric was adhered to in the Prayer Book of Elizabeth.

The Convocation of 1575 directed that there should be a “lawful minister." Bishop Fleetwood however contended, that lay baptism is even now not considered invalid by any of the offices or rubrics; and that the church no where directs such as have been baptised by lay hands to be re-baptised. At the time of the Restoration there were reckoned to be two or three hundred thousand persons 66 'baptised by such as are called lay hands." Archbishop Secker and various bishops were thus baptised; nor is it stated that any person was ever refused holy orders because he had not been baptised by an episcopal minister.

We have not taken up the question theologically, or even rubrically; but we have perhaps said enough to induce our reverend correspondent seriously to consider the whole matter before he refuses to bury (the body of) a

person who was baptised by a Dissenting minister or Methodist preacher. He would, we presume, bury a person who had been baptised by a Romanist priest; but if when he asks the question, " By whom was the deceased baptised?" the reply is, "By Thady Flanagan, Catholic priest;" how is he to know that the said Thady was really a priest? he might live a thousand miles off, or have been dead fifty years; and even if living and at hand he could not be cited to exhibit his letters of Romanist orders. But supposing all these difficulties surmounted, will our correspondent upon his own authority undertake to affirm that the Church of England intended to include a Romish priest in the title of a "lawful minister," when the very profession of Popery was restrained by severe legal disabilities? Again he of course accounts the baptism of the Scottish and United States episcopal churches valid; but the bishops and Presbyters of those churches are not legally recognised in the expression “lawful minister," except it be interpreted in such a large sense as will throw open the whole question. Again, one of his own parishioners, who has communicated in his own church for half a century, and has had all his own children baptised in the Anglican communion, was perhaps baptised by one of Mr. Wesley's preachers. Will he, under these circumstances, refuse him Christian burial; or would he refuse to bury his own rector or curate for the same cause? there being scores-perhaps hundreds of clergymen now living who were baptised by Methodist preachers. We only say that if he makes up his mind to the principle, he must be prepared to carry it out into all its legitimate


It is not our habit to disguise our own convictions, be they right or wrong, from our readers; freely leaving others to claim the right of judging which we claim for ourselves. Our view respecting the duty of the clergy, in regard to baptism and burial, is as follows. When a child is brought to the font, "the godfathers and godmothers, and people with the children," being stationed thereat, the clergyman is to ask whether it has been already baptized. If the parties say "No," he is to proceed with the service. No direction is given to him to scrutinize whether their negative was justified; so that if the parents and sponsors of a child which had been baptised otherwise than in the church of England, afterwards considered the baptism invalid, and came to the font, and deposed that the child had not been baptised, the decision of the question would not be thrown upon the clergyman, unless they specially sought for his advice; which however, if he happened to know the facts, he might be bound in conscience to tender even unasked, at least if he considered their decision wrong.

But if they answer Yes, he is then to inquire, unless he baptised the child himself, by whom it was baptised, who were present, and what matter and words were used on the occasion. With regard to the first of these inquiries, the rubric directs that "If the child were baptised by any other lawful minister, then the minister of the parish where the child was born or christened shall examine and try whether the child be lawfully baptised or no." This rubric is rather indistinct. It says, "If the child were baptised by any other lawful minister," the minister of the parish where it was baptised ("christened ") is to examine whether it was lawfully baptised. Here the minister of the parish in which the child was baptised is required to examine and try for his brother who is to receive it into the church, whether it was lawfully baptised or no. By what rules he is to make this inquiry is not specified; he is left to his own judgment; and one clergyman might certify that a child was lawfully baptized, so that the solemnity ought not to be repeated, but that in virtue of it the candidate should be received into the church; whereas another might consider it

invalid by reason of want of authority to baptize on the part of the administrator, or from other circumstance.

But in the case of burial no inquiry of this nature is directed. The rubric merely says that "the office is not to be used for any that die unbaptised, or excommunicate, or have laid violent hands on themselves." Upon this direction we will offer two remarks.

1. It is not specified that the clergyman is bound to make any inquiry at all. Does our correspondent, who says that he always asks whether the deceased (there is no distinction in the case of infants and adults) was baptised, ask also in every case whether he was excommunicated or had laid violent hands upon himself? If he does not he is inconsistent; for if the rubric necessarily requires him always to put the first question, it equally requires him always to put the other two. He cannot separate them. But if he reply that he may lawfully take for granted, unless apprised to the contrary, that there was no objection on two grounds, it may be argued that he may apply the same reasoning to the third. Many clergymen act upon this principle. They consider the very circumstance of a corpse being brought for Christian burial a presumption, if they know nothing to the contrary, that the deceased had been introduced into the Christian church, and had not been ejected from it. They regard all their parishioners as their flock, and professedly enrolled among the faithful; and believe that the line of duty prescribed to them generally by the Church is not to seek for exceptions, but only to act upon them where they are presented to their notice. When a well-known aged communicant is brought for interment, does our correspondent ask whether he was baptised fourscore years before? If he omit to do so he proves that he does not consider the inquiry as essential in every instance; and we know not by what authority he is to make rubrics vacillate with "the new act for registration,” or the dimensions of a coffin. If instead of being a "rustic" clergyman, he were the officiating minister in some of the densely peopled parishes in the large towns, he would find it necessary to act upon some general principle; he could not personally know the people "connected with the chapel " from those who call themselves members of the Church; and he might perhaps feel himself justified, as many of his brethren do, in charitably assuming, from the very circumstances of the case, that the party deceased was a Christian brother or sister. How could he ascertain whether an aged pauper at the work-house had ever been baptised, either "lawfully" or unlawfully?

2. But the inquiry of our correspondent goes to the validity of the baptism; and on this the burial rubric touches not. In the baptismal office, when a person is brought for reception into the church, who is stated to have been baptized, the minister is to inquire who was the officiator; and he is to decide (though no specific directions are given for the purpose) whether the ceremonial was satisfactory; and in doubtful cases he may administer the sacrament hypothetically. But in the burial rubric no scrutiny as to the mode or officiator is directed. The clergyman, if he does not think it best, as a general rule, to take for granted, in the absence of any information to the contrary, that the party had been baptized, may ask the question; and if the relatives and friends answer "Yes," the rubric does not say that he is to make inquiries similar to those directed in the baptismal office; and he may perhaps account it a privilege that he is not personally the arbiter in the matter. He is not bound to assert with the Church of Rome, or with Sir John Nicholl, that lay-baptism is valid; or to determine what is lay baptism; he may have his own views upon such matters; but if upon inquiring whether the party had been baptized

he is certified in the affirmative, he is not obliged, or perhaps empowered, to demand an extract from a parochial register; or to settle, if to-day a person baptised by Archbishop Murray, to-morrow one by Bishop Chase, the next day one by Dr. Chalmers, the next one by Dr. Pye Smith, and the next one by Mr. Jabez Bunting, is brought for interment, which he will bury and which he will not. The Archbishop's court will oblige him to bury all, or to meet the legal consequences; and it is well for the clergyman's own peace, the peace of society, and the welfare of the Church, if he can see it to be his conscientious duty to do so; though we are far from saying there are no serious anomalies in the whole course of our existing ecclesiastical and civil relations.




1. The History of Christianity in India, from the commencement of the Christian Era. By the Rev. J. HOUGH, M.A., Perpetual Curate of Ham, late Chaplain to the Hon. East India Company. 2 vols.


2. Continental India; illustrating the antiquity, religion, and manners of the Hindoos, the extent of British conquests, and the progress of Missionary operations. By J. W. MASSIE, M.R.I.A. 2 vols. 1840. 3. India and India Missions. By the Rev. A. DUFF, D.D., Church of Scotland Mission, Calcutta. 1 vol. 1839.

4. La Martiniere; a reply to certain statements respecting the Bishop of of Calcutta, in a work entitled " Recent Measures for the Promotion of Education in England." By JOSIAH BATEMAN, M.A., Vicar of Marlborough, Wilts, and Chaplain to the Lord Bishop of Calcutta. 1839.

5. Travels in South Eastern Asia, embracing Hindustan, Malaya, Siam, and China; with notices of numerous Missionary stations, and a full account of the Burman Empire. By the Rev. H. MALCOM, of Buston, U. S. 2 vols. 1839.

6. The Colonial Magazine, Nos. 1 and 2. Edited by R. MONTGOMERY MARTIN. 1840.

7. Memoirs of the Life and Labours of Robert Morrison, D.D. &c. compiled by his widow, with critical notices of his Chinese works; by S. KIDD; and an appendix containing original documents. 2 vols.


8. Journal of three Voyages along the Coast of China. By CHARLES GUTZLAFF. With an Essay by the Rev. W. ELLIS. 1 vol.


9. A Sketch of Chinese History.


By the same. 2 vols.

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