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Number, is perhaps nearly as correct a view as we can obtain of the matter. Confusion arises in the minds of some persons, by not distinguishing between a type and an allegory. A type is a divinely intended representation; but an allegory, in the Apostle Paul's sense, is rather, I presume, an accommodated explication. The Apostle, in his allusion, in the Epistle to the Galatians, to the case of Sarah and Hagar, Isaac and Ishmael, does not say that they were express types; but only that their history might be allegorized to illustrate his subject. Other passages also, particularly in the Epistle to the Hebrews, may not impro perly be thus explained. The rites or customs alluded to were not direct types; but they were analogies which might be fitly adduced to throw light upon other points; though, having been thus pointed out by inspiration, we have an unerring assurance as to the particular instances thus divinely applied; but this is no authority for inventing new illustrations of our own, and finding types, allegories, or symbols, in other cases, which to our imagina
OCCASIONAL STATE PRAYERS.
For the Christian Observer.
We have now lying before us a unique and most valuable collection of State Prayers, or occasional forms of prayer, issued by authority, from the time of the Reformation down to the last of such documents; namely, the prayer and thanksgiving on his present Majesty's recovery in 1820-about the worst specimen on the whole list.
It is within the knowledge of many of our readers that, during some fifteen or twenty years, the Rev. Dr. Niblock has been endeavouring, at considerable labour and
expense, to collect from every accessible quarter, from historians, old church chests, public, parsonage, college, and private libraries, -a complete series of the above-mentioned class of ecclesiastical records. His researches have enabled him to amass several hundred forms of prayer or thanksgiving; but many others he has ascertained are still wanting to perfect his collection. He states to us, that he has met with much kind assistance from many of the clergy and laity; though in some instances he has experienced repulses in quarters where he might justly have looked for cordial concurrence. We should hope, that in future his object will
of itself be a sufficient passport to those episcopal and archiepiscopal libraries, in which large bundles of such documents are to be found, often in duplicate, triplicate, or multiplicate copies. We forbear alluding further to this point; except to say generally, in reference to one particular library, that we feel confident that those jealousies, or other causes, which in times past have sometimes barred the select legitimate access of scholars engaged in important ecclesiastical researches to the magnificent collections at Lambeth palace--which are the public property of the church--will not be allowed scope for exercise under the vigilant controul of that urbane prelate and eminent scholar who now presides over the province of Canterbury. The want of liberality of communication so often complained of in reference to certain of the libraries of this country, and which renders it far more difficult to procure access to some of our own public literary treasures than to those of the Bishop of Rome or the Grand Seignior of Turkey, is, we are persuaded, an affair of subordinate official dispensation and not of authoritative regulation. There is an intercommunion of scholarship which every true scholar is proud to cherish; and which would render literature, of course under all due precautions, as free as the air we breathe, and, least of all, "giving up to party what was meant for mankind." Least of all ought librarians to lock up their books, as idle gaolers do their prisoners, to save themselves the trouble of watching their movements.
Dr. Niblock's object in collecting these valuable records, is to publish a complete series of them, and thus "to fill up a chasm in our ecclesiastical documents; to present to the public a volume inferior only to the Liturgy; to revive the toomuch forgotten doctrines of the fathers and martyrs of our church; and to form a prayer-book for the family and the closet, applicable to
all the possible circumstances of life." We trust that he will meet with such respectable patronage for his work as will induce him, in due time, to commit it to press; and thus prevent the possible dissipation of his collection. From the scarcity, and the difficulty of procuring some of the documents, we are not likely to find a second person who will embark anew on the under. taking with the enthusiasm requisite to form a perfect series.
Dr. Niblock having favoured us with the loan of his treasures, we shall lay before our readers a few cursory notices which occur to us on glancing over them.
The immense number of these formularies strikes us at once as a most remarkable contrast to the apathy of modern times. A royal death, birth, or marriage; peace or war; a victory or a defeat; dearth or plenty; fire, plague, or tempest ; in short, almost every national occurrence, called forth from our pious forefathers a grateful tribute of praise or deep humiliation and earnest prayer to the infinite Disposer of all events. In some years there were issued by authority not fewer than from five to eight forms of prayer or thanksgiving; during the last ten years we have not had one! Is it that there have been no public mercies or judgments that demanded especial notice at the throne of Divine grace? or is it that, as a nation, God has not been in our thoughts? We do not perceive any similar instance in our annals from the time of the Reformation, except it be from 1728 to 1739, and from 1749 to 1758; during which periods Dr. Niblock has not hitherto discovered any occasional state prayers*. It is not a hopeful omen for the country that the recognition of the power, the providence, the mercies, and the
judgments of God, is silently sliding from our public proceedings; and that even such important documents as the speeches from the throne to parliament have of late lapsed from the pious models of former years. But we fear that it is too true that, notwithstanding the boasted progress of individual piety among us, we are every year wandering farther from God as a nation. A spirit of latitudinarianism, of scepticism, of infidelity, is afloat, which in all its stages, from pseudoliberalism to avowed deism, is hostile to that national allegiance to God which our Christian forefathers justly considered their bounden duty, and their strongest bulwark of defence. Who that observes the proceedings of our government and legislature, and listens to the reasons by which even good measures are defended, but must lament to perceive how little homage is paid in our public measures to the authority of God; and how rapidly we are foregoing our claim to be considered in our corporate capacity a nation of Christians. Those who feel most loyally and patriotically, as well as devoutly, will most lament this national declension.
The formularies before us present a curious record of the political and ecclesiastical thermometer of successive generations, from theincipient Reform of the eighth Henry to the present day. We cannot say that modern times gain by the comparison. There is in many of the earlier formularies a pathos, a tenderness of spiritual sentiment, a depth of humility, a spirit of filial access to God in Christ, a substantial embodying of the verities of Christian doctrine, and the mysteries of the Christian life, for which we look in vain in too many later productions. The following, for example, is the first collect in a form of prayer and order of fasting, at the time of the plague, anno 1625 (the first of Charles the First) "for averting God's heavy visitation, and drawing down his bless
ings upon us and our armies by sea and land." The form comprises, as do many of these forms, a complete service for morning and evening prayer; and was to be used every Wednesday and Friday during the continuance of the visitation. The collect which we are about to quote will shew the spirit of the whole service. We know not where we could find a prayer that exhibits more beautifully the union of deep humility with strong faith; renunciation of self with trust in God. Man cannot be more humbled, or God more exalted. Abasement and hope prevail in turns, or rather co-exist in harmony, by a paradox which only an intimate knowledge of the secrets of true Christianity can solve. The references to the Redeemer are in a tone of holy affection equally opposed to irreverent familiarity, and to mere frigid orthodoxy and the whole prayer is couched in a spirit of simplicity, and in a style of devout resignation and solemn pleading with God, which strongly resembles the strains of those inspired pages on which it is modelled. How affecting the references to the covenant of Divine mercy of God in Christ! how sublimely elevated above the common-places of modern state prayers!
"O Almighty, most just, and merciful God, we here acknowledge ourselves most unworthy to lift up our eyes unto heaven: for our conscience doth accuse us, and our sins do reprove us. We know also that thou, Lord, being a just Judge, must needs punish the sins of them that transgress thy law. And when we consider and examine all our whole life, we find nothing in ourselves that deserveth any other thing but eternal damnation. But because thou, O Lord, of thy unspeakable mercy, hast commanded us in all our necessities to call only upon Thee; and hast also promised, that thou wilt hear our prayers, not for any our desert (which is none) but for the merits of thy Son
our only Saviour, Jesus Christ, whom thou hast ordained to be our only Mediator and Intercessor; we lay away all confidence in man, and do flee to the throne of thy only mercy, by the intercession of thy only Son our Saviour Jesus Christ. And first of all, we do lament and bewail, from the bottom of our hearts, our unkindness and unthankfulnes towards thee, our Lord; considering that besides those thy benefits which we enjoy as thy creatures, common with all mankind, thou hast bestowed many and singular special benefits upon us, which we are not able in heart to conceive much less in words worthily to express. Thou hast called us to the knowledge of thy Gospel; thou hast released us from the hard servitude of Satan; thou hast delivered us from superstition and idolatry wherein we were utterly drowned, and hast brought us into the most clear and comfortable light of thy blessed word, by the which we are taught how to serve and honour thee, and how to live orderly with our neighbours in truth and verity. But we, most unmindful in times of prosperity of these thy great benefits, have neglected thy commandments, have abused the knowledge of thy Gospel, and have followed our carnal liberty, and served our own lusts, and through our sinful life have not worshipped and honoured Thee as we ought to have done. And now, O Lord, being even compelled with thy correction we do most humbly confess that we have sinned, and have most grievously offended Thee by many and sundry ways. And if thou, O Lord, wouldest now, being provoked with our disobedience, so deal with us as thou mightest, and as we have deserved, there remaineth nothing else to be looked for, but universal and continual plagues in this world, and hereafter eternal death and damnation, both of our bodies and of our souls. For if we should excuse ourselves, our own consciences would accuse us before Thee, and
our own disobedience and wickedness would bear witness against us. Yea, even thy plagues and punishments which thou dost now lay open upon us in sundry places, do teach us to acknowledge our sins. For seeing, O Lord, that thou art: just, yea, even justice itself, thou punishest no people without desert. Yea, even at this present, O Lord, we see thy hand terribly stretched out to plague us, and punish us. But although thou shouldst punish us more grievously than thou hast done, and for one plague send us many; if thou shouldst pour upon us all those thy testimonies of thy most just wrath, which in times past thou pouredst on thine own chosen people of Israel; yet. shouldest thou do us no wrong, neither could we deny but we had justly deserved the same.
"But yet, O merciful Lord, thou art our God, and we nothing but dust and ashes: Thou art our Creator, and we the work of thy hands: Thou art our Pastor, we are thy flock: Thou art our Redeemer, and we thy people redeemed: Thou art our heavenly Father, we are thy children. Wherefore punish us not, O Lord, in thine anger, but chasten us in thy mercy. Regard not the horror of our sins, but our unfeigned repentance. Perfect that work which thou hast begun in us, that the whole world may know that thou art our God and merciful Deliverer. Thy people of Israel oftentimes offended thee, and thou most justly afflictedst them: but as oft as they returned unto thee, thou didst receive them to thy mercy. And though their sins were never so great, yet thou always turnedst away thy wrath. from them, and the punishment prepared for them, and that for thy covenant's sake, which thou madest with thy servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Thou hast made the same covenant with us, O heavenly Father, or rather a covenant of more excellency and efficacy; and that namely through the mediation of thy dear Son Jesus Christ our Sa
viour, with whose most precious blood it pleased thee that this covenant should be, as it were, written, sealed, and confirmed. Wherefore, O heavenly Father, we now, casting away all confidence in ourselves or any other creature, do flee to this most holy covenant and testament, wherein our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, once offered himself a sacrifice for us on the cross, and hath reconciled us to thee for ever. Look, therefore, O merciful God, not upon the sins which we continually commit; but upon our Mediator and Peace-maker, Jesus Christ, that by his intercession thy wrath may be pacified, and we again by thy Fatherly countenance relieved and comforted. Receive us also into thy heavenly defence, and govern us by thy Holy Spirit, to frame in us a newness of life, therein to laud and magnify thy blessed name for ever; and to live, every one of us according to the several state of life whereunto thou, Lord, hast ordained us, in godly fear and trembling before thee. And although we are unworthy, O heavenly Father, by means of our former foul life, to crave any thing of thee; yet because thou hast commanded us to pray for all men, we most humbly here upon our knees beseech thee, save and defend thy holy church; be merciful, O Lord, to all commonweals, countries, princes, and magistrates, and especially to this our realm, and to our most gracious king and governor, King Charles and Queen Mary; increase the number of godly ministers, endue them with thy grace to be found faithful and prudent in their office, defend the king's majesty's council, and all that be in authority under him, or that serve in any place by his commandment for this realm. We commend also to thy Fatherly mercy, all those that be in poverty, exile, imprisonment, sickness, or any other kind of adversity; and namely, those whom thy hand now hath touched with any contagious
and dangerous sickness, which we
The whole service is in the humble, yet truly elevated, style of this collect *. Appended to it is an "Exhortation fit for the time," to be used "by the minister who is not a preacher;" the practice of licensing all clergymen, as a matter of course, to preach, not having commenced even so long after the Reformation as the reign of Charles the First. The word "Exhortation" is substituted for the term Homily, apparently from the latter being unpopular; for the preface to the Exhortation says, that "the name of Homilies by a misunderstanding conceit is not acceptable with many; and yet they are nothing else in effect but epistles or declarations grounded upon the word of God, to teach Christian men and women their duties to his Divine Majesty, how to believe, and what to practisc." Instead, therefore, of using this term, which, for whatever reason, was "not acceptable," compilers of the formulary have substituted the above. They say, "There is here set down, agreeable to the time, a godly exhortation or epistle, written unto you all here present, by such as are in authority,
from this particular service, where we happen first to observe it; but many of our state prayers are copied time after time in successive services, from the early periods of the Reformation to the present century, often with numerous alterations; so that it is not always easy to trace them to their source.
We have transcribed this collect