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mitted thereunto, according to the form hereafter following, or hath had formerly episcopal confecration or ordination." On this fupposed unquestion able ground, established by historical proof of the uniformity of the Ecclefiaftical Conftitution for a long fucceffion of ages, the Church of England has proceeded with confidence in her judgment on this important fubject. Hence it is, that in her Canons fhe exclufively appropriates the title of a true and lawful Church to that fociety of Christians in this country affembled under epifcopal government; and determines all feparatists from it to be fchifmatics: the fin of fchifm, according to its old and established definition, confifting in a wilful and needlefs feparation from a true and lawful church. In praying, therefore, against fchifm in her litany, the Church prays against that fin, which in the Act for Uniformity, 14, c. ii, is defcribed as attaching to thofe Chriftians, who, " following their own fenfuality, and living without knowledge and due fear of GOD, do wilfully and fchifmatically abstain from, and refufe to come to, their parish churches," &c.
With the fame view of the fubject, the visible Church of Chrift (which the Church on earth was defigned 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 facraments duly administered according to Chrift's ordinance, in all those things that of neceffity are requisite to the
fame."-Art. 19. For, on the ground that a com miffion authorifing the administration of the facra. ments constituted an effential part of Chrift's ordi nance; as the Apostles could not become stewards of the mysteries of the Gofpel, till our Saviour thought fit to make them fuch; and consequently did not administer the facraments previous to their having received a commiffion from him, authorising them fo to do: therefore the facraments cannot, in the judgment of the Church of England, be duly ad miniftered according to Chrift's ordinance, but by those ministers, who, being "lawfully called and fent into the LORD's vineyard," thereby receive the fame divine commiffion tranfmitted to them from the Apostles, for the discharge of the fame facred truft. And a commentator on the Apostles' Creed has obferved, that those two articles," the boly Catholic Church, and the Communion of Saints," were inferted on purpose to prevent fchifm; and that that alone is their true fenfe and aim. No fchifmatic, therefore, can with a fafe confcience repeat these two articles; inafmuch as by his fchifm he far too clearly and emphatically declares his disbelief of any peculiar holinefs in the Catholic Church, and his difregard of the duty and the bleffing of a Communion of Saints."*
The question then is, Has the Church of England judged correctly on this fubject, or not? To the deter mination 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 wellinformed reader is competent to decide for himself, what was fchifm in the days of the Apostles, muft continue to be fchifm ftill. For, on the affumption that the body of Chrift, under its appropriate government, remains what it originally was; no circumftances of piety, learning, or wisdom, joined with fchifm, can change the nature of the fin.
But we venture to say, and it is by no means an hafty pofition 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 demonftration with that of the original conftitution of the Chriftian Church. Nay, we fay further, that no point of doctrine profeffed in the Church, ftands on equally unquestionable ground with it. For we know of no doctrine, however clearly revealed, that has not, during the progress of Christianity in the world, met with its occafional oppugners. But fuch, for the space of the first fifteen centuries of the Christian æra, was not the cafe with respect to the Apoftolic Government of the Church. Bishops, indeed, were occafionally fet up against bishops, and thereby the communion of the Church broken by fchifm; at the fame time that the general pofition respecting the divine origin and establishment of Epifcopal government was admitted on both fides. In
fact, the pofition relative to the Apoftolic government of the Church by Bishops, ftands confirmed by the teftimony, not of this or that country only, but by the united, and for a long time uninterrupted teftimony, of all Chriftendom. For the first fifteen centuries, no Church of Chrift, in any part of the world, was known to exist under any other government and it has been only fince that period, which unfortu nately gives date to the introduction of a different form, that Epifcopacy has met with oppofition from thofe, who have found themselves obliged to write it down, as the only way to discharge themselves from that fin, which muft otherwife neceffarily attach to a needlefs feparation from it. At the fame time, the attacks that for this purpose have been made on the Epifcopal government of the Church, from the earlieft date down to the prefent time, have served to prove the strength of the ground on which that government ftands.
But it is much more eafy to cavil about words, than to argue upon fubjects; to start trifling objections, than fairly to defend them. And this mode of proceeding, the opponents of Epifcopacy well know, is calculated to anfwer good purpofe; because it throws ftumbling-blocks in the way of ignorant minds, without, at the fame time, furnishing fufficient information to qualify the parties to remove them; and every, degree of doubt created, relative to the truth of any caufe, becomes a step in advance towards the oppofite
conviction. But firely never does the human mind fo much expole its weakness, as when it deferts the public road of long-established knowledge, and ventures to strike out new paths for its devious movements; entangling itself with briars and thorns, and ftumbling over ftones, and ftumps of trees, till it at last loses itself in an impervious wilderness. 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 facred writings; and the order of Bishops not being to be clearly traced up to the Apoftles; it is enough to say, that to us fufficient information appears to have been communicated in them to determine both thofe points. But were the information conveyed in the Apoftolic writings on these fubjects more scanty than it really is, this deficiency has been abundantly made up by the unequivocal teftimony borne to thefe points by fubfequent writers; fome of whom were contemporaries, with the Apostles, and fupreme administrators of that government of which they fpeak. Proofs on this head will be found in their proper place. Suffice it for our prefent purpose to obferve, with Bishop Taylor, that either CHRIST hath left no government for his Church, and in fuch cafe the Apostles must have greatly misunderstood an effential part of