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sumed, evidently appear, that the opinion of the world can constitute no standard, by which the judgment of any reader of them ought to be determined.
The kingdom of CHRIST, confessedly, is not of this world: it was established with the intent, that this world should be conformed to it; not that this kingdom should, from time to time, be made conformable to the Auctuating opinions of a capricious world. As this kingdom then, according to the account given of it in Scripture, is to endure to the end of time; it is to be expected, that the government of it should correspond with its nature. no less than with the character of the faith it was intended to preserve, that of being “ the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever.”
That fucli is the case, (we have authority for af. serting) no honest enquirer, properly qualified, can entertain a doubt. “ It is evident (fays our Church, in the preface to her Consecration Service) unto all men diligently reading Holy Scripture, and ancient authors, that from the Apostles' time there have been these orders of ministers in CHRIST's Church Bishops; Priests, and Deacons. And, therefore, to the intent that these orders may be continued, and reverently used and esteemed, in the Church of England, no man shall be accounted, or taken to be, á lawful Bishop, Priest, or Deacon in the Church of England, or suffered to execute any of the said functions, except he be called, tried, examined, and ad
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 fubject. Hence it is, that in her Canons she exclusively appropriates the title of a true and · lawful Church to that society of Chriftians in this
country assembled under episcopal, government; and determines- all separatists from it to be schismatics; the fin 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 fin, which in the Act for Uniformity, 14, c. il, 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 fo, 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 congregation of faithful men, in the which the
pure word of God is preached, and the facraments duly administered according to Christ's ordinance, in all those things that of necessity are requisite to the
fame." -Art. 19. For, on the ground that a commission autliorising the administration of the facraments constituted an effential part of Chiptis 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 adminifter 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 commiffion 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 safe 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 determinat on of this question, the establishment of her own:
King on the Creed, 310, 325
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 well, informed reader is competent to decide for himself, what was fchism in the days of the Apostles, must continue to be schism still. For, on the assumption that the body of Christ, under its appropriate govern, ment, 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 ori, ginal constitution of the Christian Church. Nay, we say further, that no point of doctrine professed in the Church, stands on equally unquestionable ground with it. For we know of no doctrine, however clearly revealed, that has not, during the progress of Christ. janity 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 schism; at the same time that the general position respecting the divine origin and establishment of Epif, copal government was admitted on both fides. In fact, the position relative to the Apostolic government of the Church by Bishops, stands confirmed by the testimony, not of this or that country only, but by the united, and for a long time uninterrupted testi. mony,
of all Christendom. For the first fifteen centuries, 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 fin, which must otherwise necessarily attach to a needlefs 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, with. out, 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