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THERE are several well-known and distinguished writers on the Rites and Ceremonies of the Church. The subject has engaged the labours of Comber, Wheatly, Nichols, Shepherd, and the present Bishop of Down and Connor. Archdeacon Berens also in his Lectures on the Offices of the Church of England, (referring his readers for full information to the works I have mentioned) has given a practical and devotional ten
dency to those offices, in his usual calm and Christian spirit. “Miller's Christian Guide for Plain People,” in a portion of which the offices of the Church are treated of as “a rule of life,” may well be consulted by all who love and value a candid and judicious expounder of scriptural truths. The present little undertaking is confined to one office only, and it is that for the Burial of the Dead. The remarks which follow, as the different parts of the service fall under review, lay no claim to originality, being for the most part taken from other writers, but selected, arranged, and above all, compressed in a form which the Compiler hopes will be considered as not without its use, particularly for the least instructed.
The applications made are of the same character, being chiefly culled from well
known authors, attention being always directed to their harmony with the word of God.
Nor are the selections made only from Divines of the Establishment ; for there are some of a different persuasion, of whom (as was justly observed by Johnson, in his Life of Watts and with his name I would associate Doddridge and several others, ‘Happy that reader whose mind is disposed by the perusal of their works to imitate them in all but their nonconformity, in their benevolence to man, and their reverence to God;') we may, I think, sometimes avail ourselves of their able writings, and always of their excellent examples.
The cause of pure and genuine Christianity is ever promoted, especially where there is agreement in essentials, by conciliatory language and courteous inter
course with those (happily many are the living instances of such intercourse) who on some few minor points very honestly hold differences of opinion.
The attempt is to tie together in a small compass the various contributions of different authors, without as-signing to each his separate portion, and on this point it may be worthy of remark, that when Archdeacon Berens says, and says truly, that Wheatly has borrowed much from Comber, and indeed often taken word for word, the Bishop of Down feels himself obliged to put their names together at the end of several notes, without any attempt to assign to the one or the other his exact and distinct portion ; indeed Wheatly himself professes to deliver the substance of every thing Liturgical in Bishop Sparrow, Mr. L'Estrange, Dr. Comber, Dr. Nichols,
and all former Ritualists and Commentators.
It must be distinctly understood in all comments on the office for the Burial of the Dead, that the whole service proceeds upon an idea that the
buried has died in communion with the church; yet as parents often feel most acutely pained when their children die unbaptized and the minister declines to perform the usual ceremony, it should be observed that the church does not determine any thing concerning the future state of the departed, before they are admitted to baptism, but only that the minister is not authorised by her sanction to perform the rite. There are two other causes of exclusion from participation in the service, mentioned in the first rubric of the Book of Common Prayer, but ecclesiastical discipline is not now exercised