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if the Church of Rome has not always had the succession? has she always been a true Church. If she has always been a true Church, is it not schism to be out of her pale? By what argument can the Church of England be justified in leaving her communion, and, as Bishop Hobart says, "in setting up opposing altars and rending the body of Christ"? How, can Mr. B. justify the epithets that were applied to her by those Reformers, and is not he living in schism himself, while remaining out of her fold? Has he not an opposing altar to the Romish Priest, who administers the true sacraments and delivers from the pains of purgatory? Or, does he take the position of Mr. Palmer and plead prior possession? But before he can argue, with any safety, under this new law in polemics; he must establish the legality of such a claim.
Again, if this is a correct construction of the passage, then God is with all in this succession! Trace up this line through all the filth and corruption of the dark ages-through all those monsters in iniquity, whose names are on the succession catalogues; and who will blasphemously say, that God was with them? But, if the succession could be preserved through one generation without the presence of God, it might be thus preserved through another, and thus, the existence of the succession proves nothing in favor of the presence of God. This, then, is the only alternative. Either the succession exists without the special presence of God, thereby destroying the Rector's argument, or else, it must be admitted that God is specially present with all those found in the succession. A dilemma not very pleasant to the successionist. Again, it has already been shown, that the existence of this succession is problematical. Hence the highest assurance that God is present with them is probability, and this, Mr. B. says, is the strongest evidence we have of the truth of the Savior-that he has fulfilled his promise. The argument stands thus.
The strongest evidence we have of the Savior's veracity is the existence of the succession.
It is probable the succession exists.
Ergo, it is probable that Jesus Christ is a Being of truth!!! Such a doctrine gravely advocated by a divine of the nineteenth century, may appear strange to a person not initiated into the mysteries of high Churchism.
Again, if we admit this construction of the Savior's promise, then are we called upon to denounce all not in this fancied succession, as not having the presence or blessing of God. All those holy and successful ministers of the gospel who are not in this line, are impostors, unblessed of God; and who are these? The greatest revivalists in every age; those who have done the most; suffered the most; accomplished the most in spreading scriptural holiness; in saving men from sin: Luther, Calvin, Zuinglius,
Melancthon, Whitfield, Wesley, Asbury. The tens of thousands pious ministers in other Churches, all like Nadab and Abihu, whom the Lord consumed with fire; like Korah and his com pany, who "went down into the pit, and the earth close upon them, and they perished from among the congregation"; like King Uzziah, who was smitten of the Lord with leprosy, for approaching with a censer the sacred place? What, though they be able, in pointing to the souls blessed through their instrumentality, to say as Paul did when catechised by the high Churchmen of his day, "are ye not my work in the Lord ?-If I be not an Apostle unto others, yet doubtless I am to you, for the seais of my Apostleship (not of a prelatical ordination, for this he never had) are ye in the Lord." Yet being out of the succession, ye are not Christ's ambassadors! What though ye forsake all and preach the gospel to this people, ye cannot trace your title up the stream of succession "through the Augean stables of papal apostacy!" therefore, go out of these vineyards which ye have fenced, and planted, and tilled, for the Lord is not with you, ye are thieves and robbers!
Can a construction of scripture which involves such absurdities, not to say blasphemies, be the true one. Rather does not the passage mean, as Protestants teach, that God will be with his ministers whom he moves by the Holy Ghost to preach his Gospel? That in a marked and special manner, he will attend their labors, support them by his grace under all their trials, give them success in their work? God has been faithful to his word; he has been with his ministers, whether in the Church of Rome, of England, the Protestant Episcopal, Baptist, Presbyterian, Lutheran or Methodist Churches-owning their labors, and giving them seals of their ministry. Think ye, the Rector will make the people believe that God was not with Whitfield and Edwards? With Asbury and McKendree? With the pious men through whose instrumentality this wilderness now buds and blossoms as the rose? When they forget the history of the past, and commit their consciences and their intellects to the keeping of the priest, then, and not till then, will they believe it. Who, in Mr. B's succession, had a holier standard, lived a more exemplary life-was more successful in bringing souls to Christ-who labored more, endured more, loved more-who gave more evidence of the divine presence and approbation than these? "By their fruits ye shall know them," is an evangelical test, which comes to us with a "thus saith the Lord;" and this with Protestants who take the scriptures as a sufficient rule both of faith and practice, will be preferred to any or all of papal origin. I have now examined all the reasons assigned by Mr. B., why I should be more cautious in the future how I ridicule his doctrine of personal succession; and the degree of reverence for this doctrine, which
those reasons should inspire. The reader must now judge be tween us, of the necessity of the rebuke, and the reverence which should be paid to his scheme of succession.
In concluding my remarks upon this point, I will notice a few out of many reasons, why I have no very high regard for the doctrine as now set forth by high Churchmen. My want of high veneration for this prelatical monopoly is founded
First, On the fact, that there is no express declaration in scripture that such an original conveyance of right and power to a corporation of triple ordained bishops, was ever made. To what part of this original record (the Bible) shall we turn, to find that Jesus Christ has transferred to this body, to have and to hold, for the benefit of his Church, the only and exclusive right to perpetuate the Christian ministry, which shall be effected by laying on of their hands on whomsoever they may see fit?-that he has made over to this corporation, all right and interest, whatsoever, in his earthly heritage, so that the fee simple is now in them, to be perpetuated by those whom they may select as their heirs and assigns to this high patrimony; or, if they see fit by a refusal of appointment, to dissolve the corporation and annihilate the Christian Church? that they, instead of Jesus Christ, are now "head over the Church?"-that they, instead of Jesus Christ, are, as Bishop Hobart says, Prophets, Priests, and Kings? For such a declaration, I have searched the scriptures and find no authority for and until such a conveyance of all those rights claimed can be distinctly traced in the original record, either in express declaration, or by proper exegesis, I shall reject the claim as an unwarranted assumption.
A second fact which has had some influence in diminishing, or, rather in preventing an increase of veneration for this personal succession, is, that the present pretended holders of this treasure cannot, by "good and sufficient evidence," prove their chain of title. So if it could be shown that an original conveyance of this right had been made to such a corporation, it would avail the present claimants nothing. Indeed, the present holders are in dispute among themselves as to where the true title is, or through what channel it is to be traced. Some say it is in the Eastern, some in the Western Church, and some in neither. The Protestant Episcopal Church sometimes attempt to trace it, by way of the beast of the seven hills, sometimes through the Anglican Church, but fails in all, We would not assert that they have no evidence of their succession; but, as Mr. Bolles says of our Episcopacy, they "have no good and sufficient evidence." We would not say, that they have no catalogues of incumbents in the Episcopal See, from the Apostles down to the "Right Reverend Father in God, Willinm H. De Lancey, D. D. Bishop of the Diocese of Western New-York." But it is one thing to insert
names in tabular form, and another and a very different one to show that each of the individuals named, have in regular succession, lawfully held this patrimony-whether each conveyance was made according to the laws, that are by the Lawgiver designed to govern the case. Let us see what is necessary, then, admitting that an original conveyance was made. What must the present incumbent prove, to make out this title? It is essential that he show a perfect chain from himself up to the Apostles. That each link, or person in that chain, was canonically inducted into that place, or that each instrument of conveyance was legally made out. That as the original charter requires certain moral qualifications, therein stated, of all who fill or exercise this office, it is essential, that it be clearly shown, that all such person or persons thus elevated, possessed, not only at the time of their consecration, but at all times when they performed the act of ordination, all those excellencies which the scriptures point out as requisite traits of God's ministers.
Can these points be established? Will Mr. B. trace his title from Peter at Rome? Why, he cannot prove that Peter was ever at Rome, much less that he was the fixed and resident Bishop there. Will he trace it from Paul? Who can prove that Paul was the Bishop of that Diocese; elevated to that office by a triple consecration performed by canonical Bishops? There is no proof of either facts in the case. Thus they are defective in proof in their first link. They say that Linus succeeded either Peter or Paul, they do not know which; but, who was Linus? What moral qualifications did he possess, and how was he elevated to the Episcopate? Who can tell? No one. Here, then, the title is broken; for its validity cannot be established. But, who succeeded Linus? Some say one, some another; some say, three held it in co-ordinate jurisdiction; others denounce this position as infamous. Thus we might go on, and every step would show, that this stream, as one of their own Prelates said, is as "muddy as the Tiber itself."
Will Mr. B. attempt to trace the succession through the Anglican Church? Who then was its first Diocesan Bishop? Will he say that it was Paul? Where is the proof, not the supposition, but the proof that Paul was? Stillingfleet says, "that by the loss of records of the British Churches, we cannot draw down the succession of Bishops from the Apostle's times." Rev. Hen, ry Cary says, "we have no mention of Bishops in the British Church, nor do we find any further information on that subject AT ALL, until the year 314.' Rev. E. Bloomfield says, "on the authority of the British triades, we are informed, that Caractacus, a valient British Prince, having been carried prisoner to Rome, found the Gospel preached in that city; and saw, in progress of time, Brennus and some others of his family, converted to the
Christian Religion. On their return to Britain, they esteemed themselves happy, in being permitted to bear such a precious treasure to their countrymen. They were accompanied, by seve eral christian teachers, among whom was Aristobulus, probably the same as is mentioned by the Apostle Paul, in his Epistle to the Corinthians." This, and a mass of other testimony might be adduced to show, that the successional waters of the Anglican, are a branch of the Church of Rome; for who can show its separate starting point? And who can distinguish in the comming ling of the streams during the revolutions, during the troubles and disorders of England, when sometimes the Pope was acknowledged as the supreme head of the Church, and sometimes, the King; the consecration being sometimes received from Rome, and at other periods conferred by the act of the British Parlia ment. Had I space, I would present some examples of the manner in which this power in England and Scotland, from which the Rector professes to have derived his ordination, has been con veyed, which would show how frail the foundation is on which this mighty superstructure has been reared. As these are given in my Lectures, I will here only refer the reader to Powell on the succession, Neal's history of the Puritans, Bishop Burnet's history, Smyth's Lectures, Duffield on the succession, &c. where he will find facts in abundance.
It cannot be successfully denied, that up to the time of the Reformation the Roman and Anglican Churches were identical. At this time, the Church of Rome either was, or was not, a true Church. If a true Church, then it was schismatical for England to break off from her, and she and her daughter in this country are living in sin against God. If she was not a true Church, then she could not transfer to others what she did not possess herself, and all the ordinances in her branches are null and void. Again the English bishops were all excommunicated, at the time of the Reformation, by the Church of Rome, and, hence, she regards the English and the Protestant Episcopal Church, as being no part of the Church of Christ-having no part in the covenanted mercies of God, and destitute of the true succession. Now, if the promise, "Lo I am with you always," &c. means, as Mr. B. supposes, that Jesus Christ is with his Church to preserve the succession of Diocesan Prelates, we should expect, the evidence of its fulfilment would be seen in the preservation of registers, duly authenticated, sufficient to establish this claim so clear that he who runs might read. But, can they present any such Church Chronicles-any such documentary evidence? Surely, if the mouldering records of antiquity contained them, these ecclesias tical antiquarians-these lovers "of fables and endless genealo gies" would have, ere this, drawn them forth. But such evi❤