Religious Society at Madeley

Fletcher’s Barn & Vicarage

Our chapel’s class meeting aims to have no practice without historical consideration or precedent. As a consequence,  we’ve examined a number of Protestant Rules (especially Wesley’s) going back to Josiah Woodward’s discipline in the 1690’s. While ultimately adopting Wesley’s 1739 Order for ourselves, we noticed slight variations from local society to society. Recently read was the Rule for the Society at Madeley written by the Rev. John Fletcher. Fletcher’s Rule is fascinating, if nothing else, for his frequent reference to Church authority for the Evangelical Society.  And, by this preoccupation with Establishment, we get a glimmer of how Religious Society was inspired by the Prayer Book and exhortations for Holy Communion. In other words, Fletcher hints an older connection between Evangelical and High Church principle.  Continue reading

Smith’s Temporal Salvation

Winning Heathens at Jamestown

The following essay takes quotes from a Sermon, delivered for our 1790 Independence Day, by the Rev. Dr. William Smith of the American Episcopal Church. The address considers our Temporal and Spiritual Salvation as a nation, and how sorts of blessings work together for the expansion of Kingdom of Christ.  Dr. Smith reminds his esteemed audience their duties following their Independence, and how our early-Republic fit into a latter-day Gospel economy. Smith’s sermon(s) lay much groundwork for an American civil religion, identifying the American states with God’s elect, and their extension to the fullness of Gentiles. Smith gives us a nice example Christian Patriotism. The larger text is from the Book of Isaiah, Chapter 52, reading thusly:  Continue reading

Burkitt on Family Religion

Family Life

Regular Family Instruction

The Rev. William Burkitt, a late-Stuart rector who also saw the reign of William of Orange, was best known for his biblical commentaries (recommended by the Victorian Charles Spurgeon). But, he also wrote a number of pastoral advises anticipating the early Anglican evangelical movement. An SPCK favorite was The Poor Man’s Help enjoying more than thirty editions throughout the 18th century. Within the Help is a chapter on the ‘Glorifying God in Family Worship’, accompanied with a number of private prayers and a basic catechism for family governors. Burkitt’s work also shows the relation the early-evangelical movement had with the Lord’s Table, building off the deposit of devotional works common to the interregnum. Continue reading

Degrees of Benevolence

Samaritan

the Good Samaritan

Modern liberals have basically run amok with the Christian notion of Love, turning it into a radical leveling or egalitarian creed disconnected from other salutary virtues such as Duty or Justice. The older Protestant view better joined these categories. I’ve discussed this subject in relation to John Wesley’s recommended ‘circles of reproof‘ with the second-half of the same essay touching wider Anglican divinity. Not long thereafter I came across the same in Bishop Gilbert Burnet’s Exposition of the Church Catechism, and it appears to be quite a familiar notion in England’s Long Reformation as to what it means to ‘love thy neighbor’. Below are relevant extracts from Burnet’s Exposition coupled with his late-contemporary, the Rev. Dr. White Kennett, on Christian charity.  Continue reading

1928 BCP’s Penitential Office

Welsh Desk

Dissenting Reading Desk w/ Pulpit

Note: This essay was also posted at River Thames Beach Party (RTBP).

Oftentimes the 1928 BCP is identified as part of PECUSA’s downward slide by reason of eroding older penitential language. Some changes were indeed unfortunate but few consider the flexibility of rubrics which may compensate for much of what’s missing. Shouldn’t we be more careful about lumping, say, the 1928 BCP together with its 1979 counterpart? Or, for that matter, doing the same with any of the American BCPs? In time, I’d like to develop a robust defense of the 1928 and older American versions, but in this post I will begin to tackle a common complaint about the 1928, namely, its tendency to displace ‘sin’ out of the prayer book, starting with the Penitential Office. Continue reading

Alternative Phrase for Infants

I usually keep posts related to Liturgical matters confined to the River Thames Beach Party (RTBP) blog. However, since the following essay is basically a continuation of ‘Cummins’s Lost Evangelicals’, I felt it worthwhile to link the post here. This essay examines a third-point of relief wanted by mid-19th century Evangelicals, namely, amending the Baptismal Office for Children by either omitting or explaining the controverted term “regenerate”. Indeed, this is an old demand, and one considered nugatory by successive reviewers of the Prayer Book on the Anglican-side. Even for the 1689 Commission (which sought comprehension with moderate Dissent) this was true, and from that same sensibility the 1785 American Book was also based. Anyway, here is the post at the RTBP blog.

Cummins’ Lost Evangelicals

george cummins

Bp. George D. Cummins

The Rev. George D. Cummins (former assisting-bishop of Kentucky for the Protestant Episcopal Church [from 1866-73], then, first Bishop of the Reformed Episcopal Church in New York [until his death in 1876]) gives something of a retrospect of the Book of Common Prayer respecting the ‘germs of Romanism’ or sacerdotalism therein. In the midst of this letter, Cummins interestingly reflects upon those conditions that might have kept the Evangelical clergy in the Episcopal Church, at least prior to his own departure.

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