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extreme tenacity of ante-dating the time of Luther so strongly exists, the doctrines and practices of the Church of Sweden are, in some respects, more Catholic than many good people among ourselves will allow ours to be. It is of course by the sacraments and creeds only that doctrines can be judged; and the Church of Sweden maintains in these the Catholic creed maintained by the Church Universal. The doctrine of Baptism is also that of the true faith, and is the same as that held by the Church of England and the Bible, touching the " washing of regeneration and the renewal of the Holy Ghost.” Its connection with the second sacrament of the Lord's Supper is set forth in a prayer used at the altar service for holy communion, which also conveys an idea of the doctrine retained by Luther and by the Swedish Church on the latter. This prayer I will copy from the words of my good friend, the Adjunct; for literal English translation is more interesting than the emendations of a native would make it.
“Lord Jesu Christ, who in thy holy supper dost give unto us, in bread and wine, Thy precious body and blood, grant to those who now intend to partake of it, Thy holy spirit, that they may worthily receive it in support of their faith
and assurance of the remission of their sins. Give grace, that with a righteous heart they may remember Thy bitter sufferings and death, renew the alliance into which with Thee in baptism they have entered, and seriously determine with Thy help to persevere in a true faith, in godliness, in love, in a firm hope, and Christian patience; and consequently not to break the promises made before Thy holy countenance at the absolution ;* that they together with all faithful may at last be partakers of the great supper in heaven. Amen.”
The elements are administered in both kinds to all the communicants; but in other respects the form of administration nearly resembles that of the Roman Church. After the priest utters the words, “The peace of our Lord be with you," the communicants kneel, and the congregation unite in singing a slightly altered form of our beautiful prayer—"Lamb of God,” &c. Then says the Handbook, “During the singing of a hymn the priest shall deliver into the mouth of each of the communicants, who shall kneel then at the altar railing, first the bread, saying to each of them, Jesus Christ, whose body thou receivest, preserve thee unto everlasting life. Amen." Then the wine is administered, the priest saying, Jesus Christ whose blood thou receivest, &c.
* The Swedes, both priests and people, deny the doctrine of Absolution. I leave the word above as I find it; but they say this is only a prayer, not the conveyance of an absolution. The old word “ Shrift" is still retained; and the people go to Shrift before communion, at least such as will go. It is now a form of service, and not confession, which the Church of Sweden does not practise, and the people seem to contemn.
The prayer that follows is very beautiful
“We thank thee, Almighty Father, who, through Thy son, Jesus Christ, has instituted this holy supper for our comfort and salvation, and we pray Thee grant us grace so to celebrate the memory of Jesus in the world, that we also may become partakers of the great supper in Heaven. Amen.”
Indeed, all that is called the Altar Service--that is, all that is retained in any degree from the old service, for all this is performed at the altar, there being nothing analogous to our reading-desks or choirs in Sweden—is very beautiful; especially the general confession; and I have wondered much to see the people so indifferent until the psalm-singing or the preaching seemed to kindle their devotion.
A great many prayers follow the sermons from
the pulpit; and a good deal of State and family transactions are then made known; royal proclamations and acts of parliament read, marriages and deaths announced—and auctions, &c., also ; together with a vast variety of matters, curious enough to hear in the country parish churches.
The following forms for death and marriage are given me by the Adjunct. I copy his words, or his translation :
"A new remembrance of our mortality is given us this day, when, to this Christian congregation, is announced that the Highest hath pleased, according to His all-wise council, to call from the world A. B., after a life —4” and here follows the whole of a tombstone memorial, setting forth all that people wish to say, or to have said for them. “In submission to God's pleasure, we reverence His disposal, and desire grace to consider the departure that awaits us, that, when death shall call us, we may be prepared for a blissful decease.”
The following is the form he gave me of publishing banns :
"A Christian matrimonial conjunction is publicated to this congregation between A. B. &c.; and to them we wish good luck and benediction,
and happiness from God, who instituted matrimony."
There is no escape from this by means of any license. It must be very agreeable to have "a matrimonial conjunction publicated” three times in this way, and followed by a Bridal exhibition such as I described before. It might be worth making the conjunction for sake of the concomitants.
I am sure you will be very angry with me for jumping thus from grave to gay; from sacred things, to—I was going to say things profanebut holy matrimony is not a profanity, though people do sometimes make it very ridiculous.
I will only return to my former subject, to take one more extract from my Adjunct.
“When the Lord's Supper is not celebrated, and all is ended in the pulpit—(no trifling matter in Swedish Church Service)—a psalm or verse is sung; after which the Priest, turning to the people, says— The Lord be with you.'
“When the Priest says this, there shall be no response; but when he sings it, the people shall answer, With thee also be the Lord.
" Then the Priest shall say the Collect for the day. And then if he sings6. Let us thank and praise the Lord;
"Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah ! VOL. II.