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Persons recovered from Sickness. (See the Tract on Health and Sickness before quoted.)
The Absolution of a sinner is an advantage peculiar to Chris, tiauity; so that it may be truly said, the religion of Christ, is peculiarly the religion of the afflicted.* The comfort and benefits of it are great indeed; declaring that by Christ's authority, the penitent is absolved of ail his sins; i. e, so FAR, and To That, Extent, which Christ hath allowed his ministers to express, agreeable to the usage of the primitive church, whose practice so well authorises the custom of .our own. The learned Bingham slates that the antients challenged no power in this matfer, but that which was purely ministerial; leaving the absolute,sovereign^ independent, and Irreversible power only to God+, and supporting his assertion by quoting Tertullian, Novatian, St. Basil, A'-hanafius, Chrysostom, Hilary, Jerome, Victor, Cyril, &c. the indicative form Ego Te Absoi.vo, being first .used in the 12th, or.i3th centuries, as Morinus mews, and' not long before Thomas Aquinas, who was one of the rust that defended it %. Well therefore do our canonists and ri.iialilts fay that it is certain Christ did leave fu-'h a power with his church, and that there was never more need of it §, that it is the highest form used ;|j and that our church has herein shewn a gr;eat deal of wisdom and moderation, neither,omitting an antient usage so comfortable to the soul, nor retaining the Romish corruptions. The former part, is precatory, addresr sing God for pardon, and declaring the priejl does Not acl judicially, and authoritatively as in the Romish Church (which calls our form heretical) arrogantly divesting God of his peculiar privilege,5 Before the reformation the form ran i%.
* Dodd's Comfort for the Afflicted, p. 193.
f See Bingham's Works, Origines Eccles. B. 19. C. 1. p,
I Ibid. C. 2. p. 246.
J Comber on the Common Prayer, Visitation of the Sick. Consolations.
|1, Wheatley on the Common Prayer, ibid.
% Nichoiis's commentary on the Common Prayer, ibid. Notes 1 andit Fol. Edit. 1710, with the additional notes of bishop Cosins, Andrews, &c and the s.uppLEMENT,whlchsee,art,2.divis,4-. p, 5. and on the absolution of an excommunicate article, 2. p. 13, Sea abo Scripture proofs for this and every other part of our Common. Prayer, in Veneer's Exposition of the Common Prayer: (art, Absolution in the Morning Semee and Visitation Office.)
the name of St. Peter.. . Abfolvimus te vice Petri Apostolo
rum Principiis, cui Dominus potestatem ligandi atque sol
vendi dedit, &c.which, adds Dr. N.,beingboihsuper/litious
arid blasphemous, \i'ds omitted.
The use of the absolution then in Our Church is perfectly correct, and orthodox, and in strict conformity with the best and pureit ages of the primitive church. "This therefore is a "sure rule for us" ; as oiir homily expresses it,: " we desire "nothing of God but what may promote his glory, and is *'-'■ plainly consistent with it. We ask good things in them
." selves, and for good ends and purposes."* While we do
■ thus, we are secure from error and delusion of every kind, more especially that prevailing one of schism, which St.
- Austin reckons as "the greatest of all wickedness. "God" fays he, " punished it more severely than idolatry, since they
•who were guilty 0/ that, were destroyed by the sword; but schismatics were swallowed up os the earths. (See Numbers
. vi. 16. a part of scripture little noticed, and never regarded by our schismatics): And Dionysius of Alexandria tells the
• author of the Novatian heresy, that he had better havesufsered »ny thing than thus to have made a rent in the church:
and that it was as glorious a martyrdom, to die to prevent a schism, as to avoid idolatry ; insisting on it as a greater
• thing, one being a martyrdomsor the. church, the other for 'his own foul.'.'X "Let us then make it our care to preserve
'unity, than which nothing Is better'" "My foul be security ■.for them, says that holy father and martyr, St. Ignatius, that ■submit to their bishop, with their presbyter s and deacons, and may my portion be together with theirs in God; § Let none <' <oJyou besou-nd as a deserter."
In conclusion I must crave your, apology for the length bf
• this, from she importance of the subject: and for the errors 'which it may contain, being written in a sick room. Depending upon your usual indulgence,
I subscribe myself, Dear Sir. Newington Butts, Your obliged Servant.
July 1807. Juvenis, Senr.
-* Select Homilies, in-Discourses, by Dr. Nourse, Discourse I. ,- •sprayer, p. 18.
f. See: the passage/quoted in a very seasonable work, entitled Modern Pleas for Schism and infidelity, reviewed, &c. by J. Smith, .<■l-7-17.-p.45.
§ See archbishop Wake's epist. of the Fathcrsf Epist. pf St. Ignatius to St, Fob/carp. Sec. 1 and 6,
ACCOUNT OF LADY KATHARINE NEVllÆ.
By W. Matton, M. A.
SHE descended from two families truly honourable, and as illustrious for their virtues, as they were for their antiquity; Sir Arthur Ingram, of Temple-Nusome, in Yorklhire, being her father, and her mother eldest daughter to the Lord Fairfax, of Guillin, whose family was an ornament to the doctrine of the Church of England.
After her mother's decease, who departed this life during her minority, (he was committed to the care of an aunt, a rigid Independent, and, though daily solicited, yet she would never join in communion with them; but, through all those clouds of Ignorance and Entkufiasm, she happily discerned the beauties, and faithfully and heartily, to her dying day, adhered to the interests of the Church Of England, the glory and bulwark of the reformation.
Give me leave, therefore, to consider her in these two respects: ist. in respect of her duty, fidelity, and obedience to God. 2dly. in respect of her carriage and deportment to her fellow-Christians.
I hope I may have liberty to speak of her ladyship in this double relation without offence. Though I am no friend to funeral panegyricks, where there is nothing of extraordinary worth and merit in the person commended to give occasion for them; yet the good Providence of God having allotted me that happiness and honour of living upwards of ten years under her roof, in quality of her chaplain, which has given me an opportunity of being acquainted with her extraordinary virtues during the state of her health, as well as in her last lingering and painful sickness; therefore, whatever I shall say of her, by way of commendation, will, I humbly hope, be . thought as far from the least suspicion of flattery, as ic is of falshood.
First, then, let us consider her in respect of her duty, fidelity, and obedience to God.
She was ever very constant, sincere, and devout in his service; few, if any, were so strict, regular, and frequent in their private devotions; and none more constant in giving attendance to the public service of the church; for when God almighty was pleased to lay so heavy a burden upon her, as to disable her from walking, yet she would not be satisfied mniess (he was carried in a chair to the church, and supported by two to her seat. Nay, when the God of infinite wisdom was pleased to afflict her after a more calamitous manner, when (he was wholly deprived of the use of one whole side, yet she constantly had the service os the church read to her, and usually a repetition of the sermon.
She put not off her great work till she came to die, which made her depart this mortal state insure and certain hope of a glorious refurreclion to life eternal. She stedfastly believed the precious promises of God, the immortality of the foul, and the eternal glory of the world to come; which spoke great comfort and consolation to her mind, in the midst of all her sufferings.
During her whole sickness she had a constant calmness and serenity of mind, and under all the grievous tortures and afflictions of her body, she happily possessed her foul in great patience.
She ever looked upon religion as a matter of that weight and consequence whereon the eternal welfare and happiness of precious souls depended; and, therefore, no occasion or company (though otherwise never so acceptable and pleasing) were thought by her a sufficient excuse to neglect her solemn and daily addresses to the throne of grace: and had it happened (as it too often did) that she was interrupted in her ordinary course of meditation and prayer, yet she never would suffer her eyes to sleep, nor her eye-lids to slumber, neither the templesoj her head to take any rest, until she found out a places or the temple of the LORD, an habitation for the mighty GOD of Jacob; and, therefore was resolved to finish her pious course, though never so unseasonable and late, to the great prejudice of her bodily health, and decay of that excellent constitution with which she was blessed; not regarding what became of her worser part, her body, that so she might eternally preserve her better part, her precious and immortalized soul, alive in the day of the LORD.
God was pleased to try the greatness of her mind, and the sincerity of her conscience, by a most acute, lasting, and shocking distemper. A cancer, affecting the tenderest and most sensible part of human bodies, the breast, will make the stoutest heart to shrink and tremble; yet, in the midst of these tormenting pains, no one ever heard the voice of murmur; those severities, which would make beholders Oliver, and move them to pity, did never make her repine against, and complain of, the Almighty's proceedings.
She was a constant attendant at the Lord's table, where she always received the body and blood of our dearest Redeemer^ whenever administered; against which her preparation was so great and solemn, and hor' behaviour so unaffected and devout, as became a true disciple of cur Lord, and a faithful follower of the Lamb which, wasjlam; being highly sensible of those unspeakable advimages which attend those who are worthy partakers of so sublime and heavenly a mystery.
Though me received it last Christmas, yet, about two months before her dissolution, fearing a sudden change, she received it again; being well assured, that the application of the body and blood of our dearest Redeemer to the con* sciences of dying persons, is the surest viaticum to a truly Christian and penitent soul.
God was pleased to continue her so long amongst us, as to convince a wicked, distrustful world, by her great and glo. rious example, with how unparalleled a resignation her pious foul could bear the severest strokes of fortune; that, in all the time of her tribulation, which continued upwards of six months, as well as in all the time of her wealth; amidst the ghastly horrors of death, as well as in the greatest affluence and plenty of life, her heart was surely fixed where the most sincere and purest joys are ever to be found.
Secondly; We now come to consider her in respect of her carriage and deportment towards her fellow-christians; but more particularly with relation to those dependants and servants committed to her care and trust.
She had not only a singular regard to the salvation and happiness of her ownsoul, but consulted also the glory of God, and the eternal safety and preservation of all those about her.
Every morning and evening she had the service of the church in her family, where she constantly observed to have all her domestics and servants attend, especially before the confession; and was never moved at any thing more, • than when they were negligent in paying their early tribute of adoration and praise to the great God of their salvation.
She never thought she had sufficiently discharged her duty on the-Lord's day, unless she had, before morning service, assembled her whole family together, to return most sincere and; humble acknowledgments to the father of mercies for all his favours and Joving-kindneffes bestowed upon her and her's, especially for bringing them safe to the beginning of that day, and giving them that happy opportunity of glori