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ceeded to the consideration of the form of Churches, and the differ ent degrees of sarcity which were attached to particular parts of them. The first direct and regular description which is given to us of an ancient Church, is contained in Eusebius. Previous to his time it is probable, that they were far less beautiful than that which he describes. The frequency of persecution, not only deterred men from becoming Christians, but it also deprived those who were already so of many opportunities of displaying their love for their religion. This comparatively little band, im poverished by the extortion, and harrassed by the brutal outrages of their enemies, would never erect a lofty edifice, which, in proportion to its magnificence, would be. come the object of greater violence. Wood, and sometimes even logs, covered with reeds, and small interwoven rods, formed the materials of those simple structures. But when Christianity became the established religion of the empire, the face of things was entirely altered. The munificence of the rich and powerful was displayed in the service of their religion. All the costly materials of the heathen temples were employed in erecting Churches, upon their ruins, or the Temples themselves, being cleansed from all their impurities, were devoted to the service of the living God.
But however various night be their size or the materials of which they were composed, the ancient Churches were always divided into three parts. These were called-1, The NARTHEX, or VESTIBULUM, which was sometimes divided into the outer and inner Narthex ; in which last, was placed the Font, by which they intendcd to signify, that by baptism we enter and become members of the Church :-2, The NAVS or NAVIS, which also had sometimes its subdivisions :-and 3, The BEMA or SANCTUARY. Concerning the two first, I shall make but few observations, since they do not fall within those bounds which I have prescribed for myself. It may however be proper to observe, that the NARTHEX was occupied by penitents of the lowest order, and even this was denied to those who had committed any atrocious crime, as appears from the conduct of Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, who forbade the Emperor Theodosius to enter even within the walls of the Church, because he had given orders for the massacre of the inhabitants of Illyricum, on account of a riot which they had raised. (k)
East of the NARTHEx, and separated from it by gates which were called the bcautiful, was the Navs or Navis.* This was the large est division of the Church, and was the station appointed for the communicants or faithful of the highest order. It was generaliy of an oblong form, in the proportion of a ship, as its name imports; and this was intended to signify that the Church, like the Ark its prototype, although in the world, is yet wholly scparated from it, and that there is no safe passage through the storms and tempestuous sea of the present life, but that which is proffered to us by God in the ark of his own appointment. (1) Elevated above the Nave, and sepa. (k) See Cave's Lives of the Fathers, Ful. in visâ Amb. vol. 2, p. 409; and Ancient Univ. llist. vol. 10, p. 448.
• Hence the English word NAVE. (1) Sce the Icarucd Parker's Bibliotheca Biblica. 4to v. 1, p. 203. . .
rated from it by rails,* appeared the Bema, or third grand division of the Church. This was held in the greatest veneration by the primitive Chistians. The Greeks gave it the distinguished title of the Holy Place, and the table or altar, on which was celebrated the Lord's supper, was thence named the Holy of Holies. Behind the altar was erected the throne or chairt of the bishop, and on each side, a step lower than that of the diocesan, were placed the seats of the presbyters. From this eminence he delivered his expositions of the scripture, pronounced his exhortations to the faithful, and gave his blessing to the congregation while they kneeled to receive it. In this sanctuary the Laity were permitted to have no place. They were allowed, it is true, to advance as far as the altar, and present their oblations, but after that was done they immediately retired without the rails. In this there was no respect of persons, and even to the imperial dignity no other distinction was granted but the privilege of communing in the sanctuary. Neither was this custom universal; at least it was not permitted in the western Church even in the fourth century, when such a mark of respect, had it ever been suffered to exist, would surely not have been omitted.( m )
From what has been said, it is I think evident that the coincidence between the rites of the Jewish, and those of the Christian Church extended even to the form of the buildings in which they worship- . ed. The NARTHEX or VESTIBULUM answered to the court of the Gentiles, and was employed for the similar purpose of receiving the -heathen, and others who were unconverted to the faith, as well as those who by their crimes were rendered unworthy of a place among the faithful. The Nave answered to the court of the Israelites, and the SANCTUARY to the holy place. Indeed the more comprehensive view we take of the Christian Church, the more shall we be persuaded of the truth of the proposition advanced by a learned and eminent author, that the greater part of the ancient Christian ordinances were derived from the Jewish. Nor is this, as many modern Christians insinuate, any disparagement to Christianity, since, as we may infer from the words of our Saviour himself, (n) the last covenant has an intimate dependance upon the first;, and it is as certain that many of our ordinances are derived from the Jews, as it is that our Lord and his Apostles were descended from the lineage of Israel.(0)
The object which the writer of these observations has in view is to illustrate some of the ordinances of the Church, by developing the causes from which they derived their origin. Ignorance in that respect has been and still continues to be, the source of many cor
• Cancelli in Latin. Hence the word chancel.
† Called by the Latins Cathedra. Hence, in England, the principal Church in each diocese is called a Cathedral.
# From this circumstance the Latins gave it the name of Adyta.
(m) When Theodosius the younger, after having made his offering at the altar, waited according to the eastern custom, to receive the sacrament within the sanctuary, the bishop ordered the chief deacon to tell him that although the people made himn an emperor, it did not make him a priest. The good emperor received the rebuke as became him, and ever after partook of the sacrament without the rails..... Sec Cave's Lives of the Fathers, in via Amb. fol." 2 vol.p. 411.
(nj Math v. 17. (0) Vid. Bp. Hooper's works. Fol. Ox. 1757.p. 199.
ruptions and abuses. But in nothing has the pernicious influence of corruption and abuse been more conspicuous than in the ideas which many have entertained concerning the nature of the chancel. No sanctity has been attached to it; no veneration entertained for it ; it has been considered in no other light than as the most conspicuous part of the Church, and devoted to no other purpose than that to which a similar eminence in any other place would be applied. Not anfrequently have we seen, (and there is too much reason to believe that the practice has in many places become habitual), Laymen, who are not even members of our Church, introduced into the sanctuary. To ignorance, it must again be observed, to ignorance, and not to any intention of disrespect for sacred things, will charity attribute this abuse. But ignorance, though it may be alledged as an extenuation of a fault, can never be deemed an excuse for a dereliction of duty. In the present age, it is dangerous to relax even in things of the smaltest moment. The enemies of our faith, it is true, no longer dare openly attack us. They have changed their mode of attack. They have substituted intrigue for open war, and endeavour to obtain by artifice what they cannot effect by force. But they are still as implacable and far more formidable than before. They are now more than ever alert, and vigilant, and vigorous. They watch us with a scrutinizing eye; they spy out the least defect; they are prepared to attack us whereever they find a spot unguarded. As therefore we imitate the ancient Catholic Church in her doctrines. her discipline, and her ceremonies, let us also imitate her in the firminess with which she adhered to them. Let us oppose an impenetra. ble barrier against the assaults of our enemies. Let us also be alert, and vigorous, and undismayed. And though our firmness in the faith may be termed bigotry, and our opposition to error, illiberality of sentiment, yet let us consider these charges but as the mere suge gestions of an enemy, which are intended either to frighten us into submission, or lull us into a fatal security. In the words of the learned and pious bishop Beveredge (and with them I will conclude) (n)“ Finally, since our Church, as at present reformed, is truly constituted according to the divine will, let each one in his place study to guard and vindicate her from the malevolent designs of all her adversaries in whatever shape they may oppose themselves. And that we may be prepared and equal to a task so truly weighty, let us diligently read all the monuments of ecclesiastical history, the acts of councils, and the writings of the fathers, that from these we may demonstrate both her antiquity and purity.”*
Z. (p) There is also another practice which, owing to the want of knowledge, concerning the sanctity of the chancel, has become very common and not so easy to be remedied as that which I have mentioned. I mean the practice of placing the reading desk within the rails of the chancel. If none but the clergy performed the service of the Church, this would be a matter of little moment, but as, on account of the small number of the clergy and the scanty resources of many parishes, laymen are sometimes permitted to read a part of the ritual, it becomes a serious evil.
* Beveridge's Thesaur. 8vo. vol. 4. p. 170.
THE ARTICLES OF THE CHURCH NOT CALVINISTĪC. The following discussion from the late controversy on Episcopacy in the State
of New York, is so detached from the main point in hand, that it might ap pear to advantage in an extract, whilst its importance, and clearness of il lustration, entitles it to a place in the Magazine.
[Edit] “ THE author of Miscellanies also asserts, that the articles on the Church of England are Calvinistic; and that the seventeenth arti. cle in particular maintains the Calvinistic doctrine of “ election and reprobation;" and that those Episcopalians who oppose this doctrine, 6. attack” the articles of their Church.
“ These are very serious assertions: for, if true, they involve the great body of the Clergy of the Church of England, and almost eve. ry individual among the Episcopal Clergy in this country, in the crim, inality and odium of opposing the doctrines of their Church...
“ It is of importance to ascertain what are the peculiar lenets of Calvinism.
“ Many Calvinists indeed, with a disingenuousness for which it is difficult to find an apology, are in the constant practice of ranking among the peculiar tenets of Calvinism, of appropriating exclusively to the religious system so called, the doctrines of the corruption and guilt of man-of the atonement and grace of Jesus Christ- of justifica, tion through a true and lively faith in him, as the only mediator between God and man of the sanctification of the soul through the grace of the Holy Spirit. But these were doctrines that prevailed in the Church long before Calvin imposed his gloomy system. They were the glory and the consolation of primitive martyrs, long before St. Ausg TIN, in the fifth century, first introduced the doctrine of particular absolute election. They have been espoused by a host of eminent Di. Fines, who, while they opposed the peculiar tenets of Calvinism, were zealous in proclaiming the doctrines of salvation through the cross of Christ. These, indeed, are the doctrines of the Church of England. Bat the pretensions, that would confine these doctrines to the system of Calvin, are equally unfounded and arrogant.
“ No! the tenet which is peculiar to Calvinism, and distinguishes this system from all others, is the doctrine of PARTICULAR ABSOLUTE ELECTION. This doctrine is laid down in the institutes of Calvin, in terms that are revolting to every idea which reason or scripture af: fords us of the attributes of God. He divides the whole human race into the Elect and the Reprobate ; and thus lays down the decree of election and reprobation concerning them.
“For all are not created in like estate, but to some eternal life, to others eternal death, is foreanpointed,” Cal. Inst. lib. iii. chap. 21. 5. • “But those whom he appointeth to damnation, to them, we say, by his just and irreprehensible, but also incomprehensible judgment, the entry of life is blocked up.” Cal. Inst. lib. ii. chap. 21. 7.
“ Therefore if we cannot assign a reasou why he should confer mercy on those that are his, but because thus it pleaseth him ; neither in. deed shall we have any other cause in rejecting of others, than his own will." Cal. Ins. lib. iii. chap. 22. 11. .
6 As God by the effectualness of his calling towardsthe elect, per fects the salvation to which by his eternal counsel he had appointed them ; so he hath his judgments against the reprobate, by which he executes his counsel concerning them. Whom therefore he hath creo ated to the shame of life and destruction of death, that they may be vessels of his wrath, and examples of his severity, them, that they may come to their end, sometimes he deprives of the power to hear his word, and sometimes he more blinds and confounds, by the preaching of it." Cal. Ins. lib. iii. chap. 24. 12.
"Behold, he directs his voice to them, but that they may become the more deaf: he lighteth a light, but that they may be rendered the more blind : he showeth forth doctrine, but that they may be made more dull: he applies to them a remedy, but not that they may be heale ed.” Cal. Ins. lib. iii. chap. 24. 13.
“ Well might Calvin himself confess, that this decree of election and reprobation is a “. HORRIBLE DECREE.” “ Decretum quidem horribile fateor.” Cal. Ins. lib. ü. chap. 23. 7.
"Well may CYPRIAN have declared, “if there are any doctrines un. charitable in themselves ; if there are any doctrines that would ex. ite my zeal to extirpate them from the Church of Christ, they are he doctrines of election and reprobation as taug ht in the institutes of Calvin.”
“And yet this HORRIBLE DECREE, so contrary to the attributes of God, and to the explicit declarations of his holy word, Calvin hesitates not to found on some doubtful and obscure passages of scripture, on texts evidently applied, not to the eternal destiny of individuals, but to the spiritual privileges of nations and communities in the present world. ,“ This doctrine is thus laid down in the Confession of Faith of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America. It is laid down in similar language in the Confession of Faith of the other Calvinistic Churches. : -6 By the decree of God, for the manifestation of his glory, some men and angels are predestinated unto everlasting life, and others foreordained to everlasting death.” Conf. of Faith, ch. ii. sec. 3. . «The next section of this chapter of the Confession of Faith represents the number of the predestinated and foreordained, as a particularly and unchangeably designed,” as “ certain and definite." .« The next section declares that those « predestinated unto life, God hath chosen in Christ unto everlasting glory, out of his mere free grace and love, without any foresight of faith or good works, or perseverance in either of them, or any other thing in the creature, ce conditions or causes moving him thereunto."
6 The conclusion of the sixth section declares, “ Neither are any other redeemed by Christ, effectually called, justified, adopted, or saved, but the elect only." « The seventh section deserves particular notice, as it contains the doctrine usually distinguished by the term REPROBATION.
The rest of mankind, God was pleased, according to the unsearchable counsel of his own will, whereby he extendeth or with draweth mercy as he pleaseth, for the glory of his sovereign power