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mitted thereunto, according to the form hereafter following, or hath had formerly episcopal consecration or ordination.” On this supposed unquestionable ground, established by historical proof of the uniformity of the Ecclesiastical Constitution for a long succession of ages, the Church of England has proceeded with confidence in her judgment on this important subject. Hence it is, that in her Canons she exclusively appropriates the title of a true and lawful Church to that fociety of Christians in this country assembled under episcopal government; and determines all separatists from it to be schismatics: the sin of schism, according to its old and established definition, consisting in a wilful and needless separation from a true and lawful church. In praying, therefore, against schism in her litany, the Church prays against that sin, which in the Act for Uniformity, 14, c. ii, is described as attaching to those Christians, who, “ following their own sensuality, and living without knowledge and due fear of God, do wilfully and schismatically abstain from, and refuse to come to, their parish churches," &c.
With the same view of the subject, the visible Church of Christ (which the Church on earth was designed to be) is described in our Article to be " a congregation of faithful men, in the which the pure word of God is preached, and the sacraments duly administered according to Christ's ordinance, in all those things that of necessity are requisite to the
same."--Art. 19. For, on the ground that a commiffion authorising the administration of the facraments constituted an essential part of Christ's ordinance; as the Apostles could not become stewards of the mysteries of the Gospel, till our Saviour thought fit to make them such; and consequently did not administer the sacraments previous to their having received a commission from him, authorising them so to do: therefore the facraments cannot, in the judgment of the Church of England, be duly administered according to Christ's ordinance, but by those ministers, who, being
lawfully called and sent into the Lord's vineyard,” thereby receive the fame divine commission transmitted to them from the Apostles, for the discharge of the same facred trust. And a commentator on the Apostles' Creed has observed, that those two articles, “the boly Catholic Church, and the Communion of Saints," were in, serted on purpose to prevent schism; and that that alone is their true sense and aim. No schismatic, therefore, can with a fafe conscience repeat these two articles; inasmuch as by his schism he far too clearly and emphatically declares his disbelief of any peculiar holiness in the Catholic Church, and his disregard of the duty and the blessing of a Communion of Saints."*
The question then is, Has the Church of England judged correctly on this subject, or not? To the deter. minat.on of this question, the establishment of her own
* King on the Creed, 310, 329.
right to the title of a true Apostolical Church of Christ may be thought a neceffary preliminary. Admitting this right to be established, a point which every wellinformed reader is competent to decide for himself, what was schism in the days of the Apostles, muft continue to be schism ftill. For, on the assumption that the body of Christ, under its appropriate government, remains what it originally was; no circumstances of piety, learning, or wisdom, joined with schism, can change the nature of the fin.
But we venture to say, and it is by no means an hasty position that we advance, but one that has stood the test of deliberate and repeated investigation, that no ancient historical fact in the annals of mankind is capable of equal' demonstration with that of the original constitution of the Christian Church. Nay, we say further, that no point of doctrine profeffed in the Churchi, stands on equally unquestionable ground with it. For we know of no doctrine, however clearly revealed, that has not, during the progress of Christ. ianity in the world, met with its occasional oppugners. But such, for the space of the first fifteen centuries of the Christian æra, was not the case with respect to the Apostolic Government of the Church. Bishops, indeed, were occasionally set up against bishops, and thereby the communion of the Church broken by fchism; at the fame time that the general position tespecting the divine origin and establishment of Epifcopal government was admitted on both fides, In
fact, the position relative to the Apostolic government of the Church by Bishops, stands confirmed by the tęstimony, not of this or that country only, but by the united, and for a long time uninterrupted testimony,
of all Christendom. For the first fifteen cențuries, no Church of Christ, in any part of the world, was known to exist under
government and it has been only since that period, which unfortunately gives date to the introduction of a different form, that Episcopacy has met with opposition from those, who have found themselves obliged to write it down, as the only way to discharge themselves from that sin, which must otherwise neceffarily attach to a needless separation from it. At the same time, the attacks that for this purpose have been made on the Episcopal government of the Church, from the earliest date down to the present time, have served to prove the strength of the ground on which that government stands.
But it is much more easy to cavil about words, than to argue upon subjects; to start trifling objections, than fairly to defend them. And this mode of
proceeding, the opponents of Episcopacy well know, is calculated to answer good purpose; because it throws stumbling-blocks in the way of ignorant minds, without, at the same time, furnishing sufficient information to qualify the parties to remove them;, and every , degree of doubt created, relative to the truth of any cause, becomes a step in advance towards the opposite
coercion. But fre's serer does the human mind lo much exces welor's, 26 oken it deserts the public road of luzz-ebsihed kocwledge, and ventures to itrike out new pains for its devious movements; entarglog itself with brians and thorns, and stumbling over stones, and stumps of trees, till it at last loses itself in an imperious wherness. It being, however, our object to point out the beaten path of truth, rather than to trace the wandering course of error; to the objections that cavillers are continually bringing forward on this controverted subject, relative to the platform of Church Government not being found totidem verbis laid down in the sacred writings; and the order of Bishops not being to be clearly traced up to the Apostles; it is enough to say, that to us sufficient information appears to have been communicated in them to determine both those points. But were the information conveyed in the Apostolic writings on these subječts more scanty than it really is, this deficiency has been abundantly made up by the unequivocal testimony borne to these points by subsequent writers; some of whom were contemporaries with the Apostles, and supreme administrators of that government of which they speak. Proofs on this head will be found in their proper place. Suffice it for our present purpose to observe, with Bishop Taylor, that either Christ hath left no government for his Church, and in such case the Apostles must have greatly misunderstood an essential part of