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himself at the end or middle of the table. After a short discourse, he reads the institution, and blesses the elements ; then he breaks the bread and distributes it and the wine to those that are next him, who transmit them to their neighbours ; the elders and deacons attending to serve, and see that the whole is performed with decency and order. While these commu. nicate, the minister discourses on the nature of the sacrament; and the whole is concluded with singing and prayer. The minister then returns to the pulpit, and preaches a sermon. The morning-service ended, the congregation are dismissed for an hour; after wbich the usual afternoon-worship is performed. On the Monday morning, there is public worship with two sermons ; and these, properly speaking, closes the communion-service. No private communions are allowed in Scotland.
Marriage is solemnized nearly after the manner of the church of England, with the exception of the ring, which is deemed a great relic of “ popery." By the laws of Scotland, the marriage-knot may be tied without any ceremony of a religious nature : a simple promise in the presence of witnesses, or a known previous co-habitation, being sufficient to bind the obligation. That most ridiculous, often immoral, and almost always injurious practice, of marrying at Gretna-Green is still in use, where a blacksmith performs the ceremony according to the rites of the church !
The Funeral ceremony is performed in total silence. The corpse is carried to the grave, and there interred without a word being spoken on the occasion.
The whole income of this Kirk was, in the year 1755, about 68,5001. per annum. This was divided among 944. ministers ; and, on an average, made 726. a-piece per. annum.
OF THE SECEDERS.
“ DISSENTERS from the Kirk, or Church of Scotland, call themselves Seceders; for, as the term Dissenter comes from the Latin word dissentio, to differ, so the appellation Seceder is derived from another Latin word, secedo, to separate or to withdraw from any body of men with which we may have been united. The secession arose from various circumstances, which were conceived to be great defections from the established church of Scotland. The Seceders are rigid Calvinists, rather austere in their manners, and severe in their discipline.
They are also strict Presbyterians, having their respective associate synods, and are to be found not only in Scotland, but also in Ireland and in the United States of America. Both classes have had amongst them ministers of considerable learning and piety.
SECTION VI. VARIOUS DENOMINATIONS OF PRESBYTERIANS.
The title Presbyterian comes from the Greek word presbuteros, which signifies senior or elder, intimating that the government of the church in the New Testament was by presbyteries, that is, by associations of ministers and ruling elders, possessed all of equal powers, without any superiority among them, either in office or order. The Psesbyterians believe that the authority of their ministers to preach the gospel, to administer the sacraments of baptism and the Lord's supper, and to feed the flock of Christ, is derived from the Holy Ghost by the imposi. tion of the hands of the presbyteries. They affirm that there is no order in the church, as established by Christ, and his apostles, superior to that of the Presbyters; that all ministers, being the ambassadors of Christ, are equal by their commission; that presbyter and bishop, though different words, are of the same import ; and that prelacy was gradually established upon the primitive practice of making the moderator, or speaker of the presbytery, a permanent officer.
The doctrines of the Presbyterians in the United States, as well as those of the Church of Scotland, are Calvinistic, as may be seen in the confession of faith, as revised by the General Assembly at their session in Philadelphia in 1821, and the larger and shorter catechism ; though it is supposed that the clergy, when composing instructions, either for their respective parishes, or the public at large, are no more fettered by the confession, than the clergy of the Church of England are by the thirty-nine articles. For a particular account of the doctrines of Presbyterians, vide art. “ Calvinism,” p. 111. Also for a view of church government, vide “ Kirk of Scotland," p. 140.
The Presbyterians disclaim all human authority in matters of religion, and have at all times been determined enemies to arbitrary power, and all attempts to infringe the principles of civil and religious liberty.
All Presbyterians, at least in Britain, Ireland and America, have now laid aside the use of certain forms of prayer, and use extemporary prayer in the worship of God. They also differ from Episcopalians in this, that while the latter kneel in time of prayer, the former stand ; and in singing the praise of God they all sit, while all Episcopalians stand.
It is estimated that there are nearly 1400 congregations of Presbyterians in the United States, scattered over the eastern, middle and southern states.
OF THE INDEPENDENTS OR CONGREGATIONAL
The denomination of Independents which, at one period of the English history were so numerous, and held in their hands the government of the nation, have now almost ceased to exist. They have become mostly lost, and intermingled with various surviving sects.
The founder of this denomination was the celebrated John Robinson, who removed from England to Holland, with the greater part of his congregation, in the year 1607. They first fixed their residence at Amsterdam, but soon removed to Leyden, where the church greatly prospered under the ministry of their eminent pastor, till the year 1620, when an important part of the congregation emigrated to America, and established, at Plymouth, the first church in New England. Others followed their brethren to America in the succeeding years, and, at the death of their lamented pastor, which soon took place, the residue of the congregation became dispersed.
Mr. Robinson early adopted the sentiment that every church of Christ is an independent Christian community, possessing all requisite power for discipline and government. He inclined, at first, to the sentiments of the Brownists, who held that all ecclesiastical authority resides in the members of a church, and disowned the church of England, their mother church, as a church of Christ. Mr. Robinson soon became convinced that these sentiments were unscriptural, and subversive of the peace and prosperity of the church. His sentiments became at length, fully settled in that system of ecclesiastical order on which the churches of New England were established.
The sentiments of Mr. Robinson, with regard to ecclesiastical government, were adopted by numbers of the Puritans ; but his earlier views of more rigid independency prevailed the most in England, till, in the time of Cromwell, the Independents became the dominant party in the nation and held the government for several years.
The term Congregational has been occasionally applied to the English Independents, because they maintained that a single congregation possessed the power of regulating its own concerns. But their views of ecclesiastical government and discipline generally tended to destroy the distinction between the clergy and laity, and degrade the clerical office, which have rendered their churches unstable, and finally brought their sentiments into general disrepute.-The Separates, who were considerably numerous in this country half a century ago, were very similar, in sentiment and practice, to a large portion of the English Independents.
CONGREGATIONALISTS, who have ever constituted the great body of the people of New-England, hold that ecclesiastical government exists, essentially, in an individual church. The au
thority of the church resides with the pastor and the brethren conjointly ; the concurrence of the pastor being necessary to a regular act of the church, in cases of discipline. A vacant church, in the exercise of discipline, must ask the assistance of some minister, who, for the time being, becomes their pastor. Ministers of Christ are a distinct order in his church, to be set apart by ministers, by authority derived from him. Individual churches sustain a relation to each other, which produces the duties of brotherly love and christian watchfulness, similar to the relation which would exist between different professing Christians, residing contiguously, and in no covenant connexion with each other. It is therefore a duty, and highly expedient, for a convenient number of contiguous churches to consociate for mutual benefit, and unite in one body the powers of all the individual members. Thus forming a superior and ultimate ecclesiastical tribunal, to which cases of discipline may be carried from an individual church, not as from an inferior to a superior tribunal, but as from a part to the whole. When a church is in fault, the sentence of non-communion is to be passed against it, as well as against an individual.
These views of church government are believed by Congregationalists to be strictly scriptural. The first system of ecclesiastical government formed by the churches of New-England was the Cambridge Platform, in 1648. That system has ever been found defective with regard to the union of different churches, and, of course, the prevention of error and heresy. The Synod of Cambridge adopted the Confession of Faith which had then been recently formed by the venerable Assembly of Westminster. Another Platform of church-government was composed by an ecclesiastical convention at Saybrook, in 1708, designed to present in their true light the original principles of congregationalism. This convention adopted the Savoy Confession of Faith, containing a few variations only from that of Westminster.
Congregationalists allow the fullest latitude of private opinion in matters of religion. On this account, they cannot easily be classed under any general name with regard to doctrinal sentiment. In this respect, they can hardly be better described than by saying, they generally believe in the reality of experimental religion.
OF THE BAPTISTS.
It has been customary to call the members of this sect Ana. baptists; but that, as at present applied, is a very erroneous appellation. They are now divided into two branches, General Baptists and Particular Baptists. The first are Arminians and the second Calvinists.
This body of Christians, consider immersion in water as essential to Christian baptism, and disapprove of the admission of infants to that ordinance. As it happens that many of those whom this denomination baptize have undergone what the Baptists terin the ceremony of sprinkling in their infancy, the Baptists have been called Anabaptists, as if they had been rebaptized. This, however, they deny, and allege that those who have undergone this ceremony in their infancy, did not thereby receive Chirstian baptism.
Several Baptists emigrated from Great Britain to New-Eng. land soon after the settlement of that country, and have maintained their establishment in America ever since, and have gradually increased in number. At present, the Baptist congregations, in the United States alone, are computed to exceed 2000.
The members of this denomination are distinguished from all other professing Christians, by their opinions respecting the ordinance of Christian Baptism. Conceiving that positive institutions cannot be established by analogical reasoning, but depend on the will of the Saviour, revealed in express precepts, and that apostolical example illustrative of this is the rule of duty, they differ from their Christian brethren with regard both to the subjects and the mode of Baptism,
With respect to the subjects, from the command which Christ gave after his resurrection, and in which baptism is mentioned as consequent to faith in the gospel, they conceive them to be those, and those only, who believe what the apostles were then enjoined to preach.
With respect to the mode, they affirm, that, instead of sprinkling or pouring, the person ought to be immersed in the water, referring to what they consider the primitive practice, and obo serving that the baptizer, as well as the baptized having gone down into the water, the latter is baptized in it, and both come up out of it. They say, that John baptized in the Jordan, and that Jesus, after being baptized, came up out of it. Believers are said also to be “buried with Christ in baptism, wherein also they are risen with him;" and the Baptists insist, that this is a doctrinal allusion imcompatible with any other mode.
But they say that their views of this institution are much more confirmed, and may be better understood, by studying its na. ture and import. They consider it as an impressive emblem of that, by which their sins are remitted or washed away, and of thut on account of which the Holy Spirit is given to those who obey the Messiah. In other words, they view Christian baptism as a figurative representation of that which the gospel of Jesus is in testimony. To this the mind of the baptized is therefore naturally led, while spectators are to consider him as professing bis faith in the gospel, and his subjection to the Redeemer. The Baptists, therefore, would say, that none ought to be baptized, except those who seem to believe this gospel ; and