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worthy? Who is a fit and meet dispenser of the gifts of the Holy Ghost? What are, after all the petty differences between sinner and sinner, when viewed in relation to him who is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity.” *

Thus all the crimes of which the clergy have been guilty are to be glossed over, as, “the petty differences between sinner and sinner," in order that their apostolic character, and apostolic succession may not be impugned. It is true that some of the links in our chain have been guilty of murder, incest and adultery: it is allowed that some of them have lived in the constant commission of crimes, which cannot be named; but what are, after all “the petty differences between sinner and sinner ?"

And why may not the benefit of this apology be extended to the ungodly laity, as well as to the ungodly clergy? Why not upon the same principles, excuse the immoralities and crimes of which they may be guilty? And why not dispense with the labours of the pulpit, and the terrors of the law, and the commandments of God, for “what are after all the petty differences between sinner and sinner. Oh the iniquities of Puseyism ! “Oh my soul come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly mine honor be not thou united.”

* Tract No. 5, p. 10.

CHAPTER VII.

APOSTOLIC SUCCESSION AN APOLOGY FOR THE UNGODLY CLERGY.

True Successors—how to be distinguished from false ones

Succession of genius, &c.-A Tree and a Minister to be judged of in the same way—Morality or religion in a minister . no object-F. A. Glover-Awful sentiments of Mr. Melvill on this subject-Dean Swift and Dr. Watt's contrasted Tractarians prefer the former to the latter-Reasons for this preference.

Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of

thistles ? - Jesus Christ

A SUCCESSION of divine truth,* and a certain kind of ministerial succession none can deny. In darkest scenes, and notwithstanding all the fearfulapostacies and departures from the faith, God never left himself without witnesswithout men, who, succeeding to the ministry of the word, continued steadfast in the apostle's doctrine of breaking of bread, and of prayers. The mantle of Elijah fell upon Elisha : and the spirit which illumined and endowed, and armed with more than mortal might the first apostles of the Lamb, is not altogether withheld from their successors,—all the faithful ministers of Jesus Christ in this country, and throughout the world.

* Let succession know its place, and veil bonnet to the Scriptures. The succession so much pleaded by the writers of the primitive church, was not a succession of persons in apostolic power, but a succession in apostolic doctrine. Bishop Stilling fleet.

But the succession of the christian ministry in general is one thing, and the succession of it in a particular line—especially in the line of Roman pontiffs is quite another thing! How then are the true successors to be known, and to be distinguished from the mere pretenders to this high vocation? Not by an appeal to the musty records of antiquity; not by an appeal to endless genealogies, and old wives' fables ; think not to say within yourselves, we have Peter to our father, for God is able to raise up men of savage life, and of rudest name, and of men on whose heads, bishops hands were never laid, faithful preachers of his word.*

There has been a succession of genius, of poetry and of philosophy in the world. But it is only a madman who would pretend to be a poet, or a philosopher, merely on account of his regular descent from Homer or Milton, from Sir Isaac Newton, or Robert Boyle. Why then pretend to be ministers on account of a regular descent from Peter or Paul. If it should be said these cases are not parallel : it is replied that, they are parallel, because we have as much reason to believe that men are made poets, and orators, and philosophers, by regular succession, as that men are made good ministers of Jesus Christ by regular succession.

* Native teachers, and preachers in the South-sea Islands, and in many other places.

Let others boast their ancient line,-and their licence; or letters patent to preach the gospel ;—and their certificate of ordinationlet it be our prayer and our great anxiety to be able to say, “need we, as some others, epistles of commendation to you, or letters of commendation from you ? ye are our epistle written in our hearts: known and read of all men,”* For we reiteratet the principle, “By their fruits ye shall know them.” Look then not to any real or imaginary chain of spiritual ancestry, but look to the man, look not to his names and titles; but look to his character,--look not to the outward and visible signs of his union with civil, or ecclesiastical dignitaries; but look to the outward and visible signs of his union with Christ ;-look not to his decent performance of pompous rites and useless ceremonies,

but look to his fruits of usefulness, and of ministerial success.

According to the divine command, judge of the character of a minister as you would judge of a tree in your garden. If it produced corrupt fruit, it would be in vain to tell you that it came of an excellent stock-that it had a sacred or high sounding name—that it was planted by dignified hands, or that it was transplanted from the city of Canterbury, or the city of Rome. In reply to all this you would say; but the fruit is bad, and therefore it is good for nothing but to be hewn down and to be cast into the fire.

* 2 Cor. iii.,-1, 2.

+ Vide Chap. II.

And what if a minister be descended from Peter or Paul-what if he come from the nurseries of Oxford, or Cambridge,---what if he be placed in the ministry by episcopal hands, what though he be called a bishop, or a priest, or a deacon, and act conformably to the usages of ecclesiastical or civil law, if he is a man of immoral or unholy life, his apostolic descent is nothing ;—and his learning is nothing ;-and his name or title is nothing ;-and his eloquence is nothing ;-and his decent performance of rites and ceremonies is nothing ;-and he himself is nothing but a sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal.

Let an individual be a “faithful man, and able to teach others also;" then we say, there is an apostolic successor in the strictest, noblest sense of the term, and in the only sense in which the term is worth contending for. He may like his great exemplar be able to say,“silver and gold I have none;"—he may have had no episcopal ordination, and no formal contact with the prelates of the church, and the nobles of the land, yet he has the seal of heaven, and signature of God Almighty stamped

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