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without the rails, the churchwardens present to the bishop the act of parliament, or other deed, in consequence of which the house has been erected or rebuilt; and his lordship placing the same on the table, and standing on the north side of it turns himself to the congregation, and says:
"Dearly beloved in the Lord, forasmuch as devout and holy men, as well under the Law as under the Gospel, moved by the secret inspiration of the blessed Spirit, or by express command of God, by their own reason and sense of the natural decency of things, have erected houses for the public worship of God, and separated them from all profane and common uses, in order to fill men's minds with greater reverence for his glorious Majesty, and affect their hearts with more devotion and humility for his service; which pious works have been approved and graciously accepted by our heavenly Father: let us not doubt but he will also graciously approve this our godly purpose of setting apart this place in a solemn manner, to the performance of the several offices of religious worship; and let us faithfully and devoutly beg his blessing on this our undertaking, and say "Then the bishop, kneeling down, uses the following prayer.
"O eternal God, mighty in power, and of majesty incomprehensible, whom the heaven of heavens cannot contain, much less the walls of temples made with hands; and who yet has been graciously pleased to promise thy especial presence, in whatever place even two or three of thy faithful servants shall assemble in thy name to offer their supplications and their praises to thee: vouchsafe, O Lord, to be now present with us, who are gather ed here together to consecrate this place, with all humility and readiness of heart, to the honour of thy great name; separating it from henceforth from all unhallowed, or dinary, and common uses, dedicating
it entirely to thy service, for reading therein thy most holy word; for celebrating thy holy sacraments; for offering to thy glorious Majesty the sacrifice of prayer and thanksgiving; for blessing thy people in thy name, and performing all other holy ordinances. Accept, O Lord, this service, and bless it with such success as may tend most to thy glory, and the furtherance of our happiness, both temporal and spiritual, through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour. Amen."
Then the bishop, standing up, turns towards the people, and prays thus.
"Regard, O Lord, the supplications of thy servants; and grant that whosoever shall be dedicated unto thee in this house by baptism, may be sanctified by thy Holy Spirit, delivered from thy wrath, received into the ark of Christ's church, and ever remain among the number of thy faithful and elect children. Grant, O Lord, that they who, at this place, shall in their persons undertake to renew their promises and vows, made by their sureties for them at their baptism, may be enabled faithfully to fulfil the same, and grow in grace to their lives' end. Amen.
"Grant, O Lord, that whosoever shall receive in this place the blessed sacrament of the body and blood of Christ, thy Son, may come to that holy ordinance with faith, charity, and true repentance; and, being filled with thy grace and heavenly benediction, may, to their great and endless comfort, obtain remission of their sins, and all other benefits of his passion. Amen.
"Grant, O Lord, that by thy holy word, which shall be read and preached within this place, the hearers thereof may both perceive and know what things they ought to do, and may have grace and power to fulfil the same. Amen.
"Grant, O Lord, that whosoever shall be joined together in this place, in the holy estate of matrimony, may faithfully perform and keep
the vow and covenant betwixt them made, and may remain in perfect love together unto their lives' end. Amen.
"Grant, we beseech thee, blessed Lord, that whosoever shall draw near unto thee in this place, to give thee thanks for the great benefits they have received at thy hands, to set forth thy most worthy praise, to confess their sins unto thee, to beg thy pardon, for what they have done amiss, or to ask such other things as are requisite and necessary, as well for the body as the soul, may do it with that sted fastness of faith, that seriousness of attention and devout affection of mind, that thou mayst accept their bounden duty and service, and Vouchsafe to them whatsoever else in thy infinite wisdom thou shalt see to be most expedient for them: and this we beg for Jesus Christ his sake, our blessed Lord and Saviour. Amen."
Then the chancellor, by the direction of the bishop, publicly reads the sentence of consecration, drawn up in writing; which being so read, the bishop signs and promulges the same, and commands it to be recorded and registered in the registry, among other records.
Then the minister begins Morning Prayers; and Psalms and Lessons suitable to the occasion are read, viz. Psalm lxxxiv., cxxii. and cxxxii. First Lesson; 1 Kings viii. 22-01. Second Lesson; Heb. x. 19-26. After the Collect for the day, the minister who reads the service stops till the bishop hath prayed as follows.
"O most blessed Saviour, who by thy gracious presence, at the feast of dedication, didst approve and honour such religious services as this which we are now performing unto thee, be present at this time with us by thy Holy Spirit; and because holiness becometh thine house, for ever sanctify us, we pray thee, that we may be living temples, holy and acceptable unto thee; and so dwell in our hearts by faith, and possess
our souls by thy grace, that nothing which defileth may enter into us but that, being cleansed from alk carnal and corrupt affections, we may ever be devoutly given to serve thee in all good works, who art our Saviour, Lord, and God, blessed for evermore. Amen."
The minister who officiates then proceeds to the end of the morning service, after which is sung Psalm xxvi. 6-8.
The Communion Service is then read by the bishop. After the Collect for the King, the following prayer is introduced.
"O most glorious Lord God, we acknowledge that we are not worthy to offer unto thee any thing belonging unto us. Yet we beseech thee, in thy great goodness, graciously to accept the dedication of this place to thy service, and to prosper this our undertaking. Receive the prayers and intercessions of us and all others thy servants, who, either now or hereafter entering into this house, shall call upon thee; and give both them and us grace to prepare our hearts to serve thee with reverence and godly fear. Affect us with an awful apprehension of thy Divine Majesty, and a deep sense of our own unworthiness; that so approaching thy sanctuary with lowliness and devotion, and coming before thee with clean thoughts and pure hearts, with bodies undefiled and minds sanctified, we may always perform a service acceptable to thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."
The two chaplains then read; one the Epistle, and the other the Gospel; the Epistle being, 2 Cor. vi. 14-17; the Gospel, John ii. 13
Then the bishop reads the Nicene Creed, after which the hundredth Psalm is sung.
The sermon being ended, the bishop proceeds to administer the sacrament in the usual manner; and, immediately before the final bene. diction, he introduces the following prayer.
"Blessed be thy name, O Lord God, for that it pleaseth thee to have thy habitation among the sons of men upon earth, and to dwell in the midst of the assembly of the saints upon earth. Bless, we beseech thee, the religious perform ance of this day; and grant that in this place, now set apart to thy service, thy holy name may be worshipped in truth and purity, to all generations, through Jesus Christ our Lord." Amen.
To the Editor of the Christian Observer.
PERMIT me, under the impression of the importance of the inquiry, to request an answer to the following letter, through the means of your excellent publication.
unlettered and uneducated persons, you cannot perhaps expect to meet with very enlarged notions of Christ's holy sacraments. Indeed, the frequent excuse made to me is, that they are no scholars, and therefore are afraid to concern themselves in such matters. I endeavour, as well as I am able, to do away such notions; to convince them, that if they have good reasons to suppose that the grace of God has any influence on their hearts, and that they are Christians in deed and in sincerity, they need not fear to approach the table of their Redeemer.
This, I hope, you will approve of. But when this reasoning has not the desired effect, what is to be done? Is it to be urged and pressed upon them, that they must communicate? Is it to be held forth to them that their chance of obtaining an heavenly inheritance may be much hazarded by their not complying with Christ's positive command, to eat his flesh, and drink his blood?
Permit me also to inquire, whether there is much efficacy to be at
About two years from the date of this, I became the curate of a large and populous village. You will acknowledge that it requires some time to become acquainted with the spiritual state of a large parish. It is difficult, at first, to discern who are, and who are not, attributed to a man's receiving the satendants at church; and of those who absent themselves, it is desirable to know from what cause they do it; whether it is from a total disregard of religion, or from a conscientious dissent as it respects either the Articles of Religion, or the form of church government.
The point, however, on which I wish more immediately to solicit your opinion, respects the sacrament of the Lord's Supper. In endeavouring to discover the spiritual state of my parishioners, I meet with numbers of an advanced age, who have never been partakers of this holy communion; and among these are persons, who, as far as I am able to judge (God alone knows the heart), are fit to appear at the table of their Saviour. In a congregation consisting entirely of
crament for the first time, when he is at an advanced age. Ought it to be urged upon him, when he has perhaps only a few days to live, and has never communicated before? And in such cases, if a clergyman be in some doubt, as to the fitness of a man to receive the sacrament, is he, nevertheless, to administer it; on the principle that it is better that an unworthy person should receive it, than that a worthy person should be denied it?
Will you, or some one of your correspondents, have the kindness to afford me your opinion on these points, whenever a convenient opportunity occurs? In doing so, you will greatly oblige your sincere well-wisher and admirer,
SOME ACCOUNT OF THE LIFE OF THE LATE REV. DR. KERR, SENIOR CHAPLAIN OF THE PRESIDENCY OF MADRAS.
(Concluded from p. 611.)
IN noticing the progress and final success of the press established by Mr. Kerr, a period has been anticipated which it becomes proper to retrace, in order to view him as engaged in objects more immediately appertaining to his clerical character. A variety of unexpected occurrences having intervened to obstruct the building of a church, first at Ellore, and afterwards at Masulipatam, the whole of the private contributions raised for the purpose had been returned to the subscribers. -But soon after his removal to Madras in 1796, Mr. Kerr suggested that a chapel should be erected in the Black Town, for the convenience of the Protestant inhabitants of that extensive settlement. The proposal being seconded by the wishes of many respectable persons, he undertook to address the Government on the subject; and solicited that the donation of one thousand pagodas, formerly granted on the part of the East-India Company towards building a church at Ellore, might be allowed to form the basis of a fund for carrying into execution at Madras a similar design; and to obviate any objection that might be made to the proposal, as involving a permanent additional charge to the Government, he pledged himself to perform gratuitously the duties of the chapel, in addition to his ministerial functions in the church of Madras.
His individual exertions to obtain contributions for the chapel, were as ardent and unremitted as those he had formerly evinced at Ellore; and the building was undertaken as soon as a sufficient sum was procured. The worthy biographer of
Mr. George Herbert tells us, that when that eminently pious divine was engaged in building the church of Leighton Bromeswold, in Huntingdonshire, he became impatient and restless until the work was finished : so also was Mr. Kerr unceasingly anxious for the completion of his. chapel. At length, towards the end of the year 1799, the building was finished; divine service being performed in it on the first Sunday in the year 1800; and Mr. Kerr, except when prevented by sickness or absence, continued regularly to officiate at the chapel every Sunday evening until his death.
It is impossible to contemplate Mr. Kerr, while discharging with punctuality the duties of his ministry as a chaplain at Madras, and superintending the various details of an extensive charity, at the same time undertaking, without any view to private advantage, the establishment of a printing-office, and, after surmounting numerous difficulties, at length rendering it eminently conducive to the benefit of the Asylum and of the East-India Company; suggesting at the same time other extensive plans for the public good; collecting contributions for a chapel, and, finally, performing the supererogatory duty of its minister; without admiring the vigour of his mind which conceived, the disinterestedness, benevolence, and piety, which prompted him to undertake, and the perseverance and judgment which sustained, and ultimately enabled him to accomplish these various and important objects.
In September 1801, on the departure for England of the senior chaplain, the Rev. Archdeacon Richard Leslie, Mr. Kerr succeeded to
his situation during his absence.
It has been already mentioned, that in the year 1792, Mr. Kerr had it in contemplation to proceed to
England to receive the order of Fortunately, he was not destitute of
the means of entirely effacing these unfavourable impressions, and of conciliating the good opinion of the Court of Directors, and of his ecclesiastical superiors. By letters demissary from the Bishop of London, he was ordained priest by his friend and patron the Bishop of Sodor and Man, on the 27th February, 1803; and being entitled, from his standing in his college, to the degree of D. D., that honour was conferred upon him, about the same time, by the University of Dublin.
On the 1st December, 1803, Dr. Kerr arrived at Madras, where he was cordially welcomed by his friends; who, in his amended appearance, saw with satisfaction the beneficial influence which this visit to his native country had produced on his health.
priesthood, but that, in consequence of his detention and subsequent avocations at Madras, he had been in duced to abandon that intention. The distance of the scene, and the difficulty of obtaining priestly ordination by the imposition of hands in conformity to the rites of the Established Church, had induced some of his predecessors to perform the duties of the priesthood under an authority which could not perhaps be sustained as strictly regular: and Mr. Kerr, influenced by similar motives, and by a conscientious desire to fulfil the purposes of his ministry, had followed an example which appeared to be of sufficient authority, as being recorded on the archives of the church in which he officiated. The consequence of this measure, however, produced, in the year 1802, a severe persecution, over Previously to his embarkation to the particulars of which I am de- return to India. he was specially sirous of drawing a veil; and the commissioned, by his Grace the circumstance is only noticed here Archbishop of Canterbury, to celefor the purpose of mentioning, that, brate the solemn service for the in order to counteract the designs consecration of the chapel in the formed against him, he determined Black Town. This ceremony was to proceed to Engiand, to receive performed, agreeably to the instruc priest's orders by the impositions he had received, on the 5th tion of hands; and in this manner February, 1804, in the presence of to obviate the objections which, a numerous and respectable conunder the powers he then possessed, gregation. were alleged to attach to his performance of certain offices of the church.
He accordingly embarked for England on the 8th September, 1802. The low state of his finances permitted not his family to accompany him. Antecedently to his departure, he received from the Government, from the Directors of the Asylum, and from some of the most respectable inhabitants of Madras, testimonials expressive of the high sense entertained of his public services, and of his exemplary private demeanour. Nor were these attestations unnecessary. On his arrival in England, he found that his character had been represented in a manner as remote from the truth as it was injurious to his reputation.
The Rev. Mr. Leslie, who had returned to India and resumed his situation of senior chaplain, died on the 28th June, 1804, to the great regret of all to whom he was known. Dr. Kerr did justice to the memory of this amiable, meek, and exemplary divine, in an impressive discourse which he delivered on the
On the death of Mr. Leslie, Dr. Kerr again became the senior chaplain of Madras. His active mind, constantly directed to objects of public benefit, suggested about this period, as a modification of a plan
At the suggestion of Dr. Kerr, a small but beautiful mariile monument has been erected in the church of Madras, at the expense of the vestry, to the memory of his departed colleague.