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of this united body politic is furnished with prerogative and jurisdiction to render justice and right to every part and member of this body, of what estate or degree soever; otherways he would not be at the head of the whole.*

The church of England is governed by two archbishops, and twenty-four bishops, and has twenty-six deans and chapters, sixty archdeacons, five hundred and forty-four prebendaries, and about nine thousand seven hundred rectors or vicars, many of whom have at least one curate, and many of them more, as it is physically impossible for one man to do the whole official duties of a parish in the more populous towns. The archbishops assist at the coronation of our monarchs, the archbishop of Canterbury places the crown on the king's, and York on the queen consort's head. The archbishops are the chief of the clergy in their provinces, and they have besides, their own dioceses wherein they exercise episcopal jurisdiction. They consecrate bishops, and receive appeals from inferior jurisdictions within their provinces, besides a number of other duties. They are the guardians of the spiritualities, as the king is of the temporalities of every bishopric during its vacancy. The archbishop of Canterbury has also the power of granting dispensations in any case not contrary to the Holy Scriptures and the law of God, where the pope used formerly to grant them. This is the foundation of his granting special licenses to marry at any time or place, to hold two livings, and the like. On this is also founded the right he exercises of conferring degrees, in prejudice of the two universities. The archbishops and bishops also confirm young people in their several dioceses, consecrate churches and burial grounds, and ordain priests and deacons, and are obliged to visit every parish church in their diocese every three years. They also give institution, and direct induction to all ecclesiastical livings in their dioceses.

Rectors or vicars, are the parish ministers, and are so called on account of the peculiar nature of the tithes. There is also another description of ministers termed perpetual curates, whose stipends are of course inferior to that of the rectors and vicars, although many of these have benefices which are not worth £80 per annum. All these ecclesiastics, either themselves, or by curate, if they are obliged to employ one, regularly perform divine service in the parish churches, at least once, and in many cases, as in large cities and towns, three times every Sunday, and on all the other days set apart for public worship by the church of England. They also celebrate marriages and baptisms both in public and private, and church women after childbirth, visit the sick, administer the holy communion on the first Sunday of every month, and on other days, and also to the sick at their own

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houses. They likewise perform the last duties of the church to the dead, by reading the burial service at funerals in the churchyard.*

DISSENTERS.

THE reading so large a portion daily of the Sacred Scriptures in the established church of England, is alone so great a blessing, as in the judg ment of many, much more than counterbalances all the imperfections, real or supposed, with which the national church is accused. Another obvious advantage is the perpetuity of her creed and liturgy. The articles remain the same compendium of scriptural truth, the homilies the same deposite of "godly and wholesome doctrine," and the liturgy the same sublime and spiritual service as they ever were. They are all, too, as necessary for these as they were in any former times, and will be for all future generations. It is therefore devoutly to be wished that they may remain immovably fixed to enlighten and comfort the people of that favoured land, till time shall be swallowed up in eternity. In a country, however, where the right of private judgment is so fully recognised, it cannot be expected that unanimity in religious opinions should exist. In its principles the church of England is perfectly tolerant. She not only appoints large portions of the Scripture to be read in her public worship, but she directs her members "to read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest" them. There has been no mental slavery in England since the Reformation; therefore men reading the Scriptures judge for themselves. Hence there will necessarily be a diversity of private opinions respecting both doctrine and discipline.

The laws of England, therefore, consider all denominations of Christians who differ from the established church in doctrine and discipline as dissenters. These generally dissent from the established church both in the mode of worship and in government. The first time we read of dissenters in England, was in the reign of queen Elizabeth. Evans says, that "on account of the extraordinary purity which they proposed in religious worship and conduct, they were reproached with the name of puritans." That queen had no great favour for the puritans. She was of opinion that there was very little difference in their sentiments and

* Claims of the Established Church.-Lloyd's Historical Account of Church Government as it was in Great Britain and Ireland when they first received the Christian ReligionW. F. Hooke on the Establishment.-Bishop Walker's Life of Archbishop Whitgift. Jewel's Apology of the Church of England.—Burn's Ecclesiastical Law-Blackstone's Commentaries. Tomlin's Law Dictionary.-Gibson's Coder Juris Ecclesiastici Anglicani. -Ordination Service.-Hody's History of English Councils and Convocations-Wake's State of the Church.--Kennet's Ecclesiastical Synods.-Johnson's Vademecum.-Statutes at Large.

practices towards the civil government between them and the Jesuits, and in consequence she inflicted severe penalties upon them for nonconformity. Many of the authors of that period assert, that the puritans were a sect founded by the Jesuits; many of them, they said, were actually concealed Jesuits, for the purpose of sowing divisions in the church of England. The puritans opposed the decent, sober ceremonies of the established church, and made strenuous efforts to procure their total abolition. To this, queen Elizabeth would never agree. This dispute generated a great deal of disturbance and clamour on the part of the puritans, and severe measures to compel conformity, on the part of the crown. Their opposition to government occasioned harsh measures to be resorted to against them, and severe acts of parliament to be passed. The greater the severity of government, the deeper the prejudice of these men took root, and their peculiar opinions increased, in proportion as they were watched and controlled. "They were called puritans," says Dr Hurd," because they aimed at a purer reformation, but the worst of all was, they wanted to reform the church without reforming themselves." Elizabeth entertained a most thorough hatred at the puritans, and showed little mercy towards them. Grindall, archbishop of Canterbury, a man of great moderation, used all his influence with the queen to soften the rigour of the act of uniformity, but she was inexorable. She inherited all her father's tyrannical temper. She fined and imprisoned these puritans; and even executed such of them as denied her supremacy, as traitors. The first congregation which met separate from the church of England was at Ryegate in Surrey, in the year 1558. They took the new order of church government, then recently established by John Calvin at Geneva, for their model, as all the numerous sects of dissenters have done. It is somewhat curious that no sect of dissenters has chosen the episcopal form of government, but all have followed the presbyterian model, having parity among ministers as the fundamental principle of their government.

The rise and increase of the puritans alarmed queen Elizabeth, and she enacted several laws against them, and more were added by her successors. She usually dictated to her parliaments, which merely registered her will without much debate or consultation. 66 Every person not having reasonable excuse, shall resort to their parish church or chapel, on every Sunday and holiday, on pain of punishment by the censures of the church, or of forfeiting for every offence twelve pence.' "Every person above the age of sixteen, who shall not repair to some church, shall forfeit for every month twenty pounds. And if he shall forbear for a whole year, he shall be bound to good behaviour till he conform. Any person keeping a

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* 1 Eliz. c. 8, 14.

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66

schoolmaster who shall not repair to church or be allowed by the bishop, the keeper shall forfeit ten pounds a-month, and the schoolmaster be imprisoned for one year.' Every offender, having been once convicted, shall, without any other indictment or conviction, pay half-yearly into the exchequer £20 for every month afterwards until he conform; which if he neglected, the queen might seize all his goods, and two parts of his lands, if he had any."+

At a convocation of the church, held the 26th of March, 1565, the necessity and propriety of the uniform use of clerical habits were pressed. Those agreeing were required to subscribe volo, and dissentients to write nolo. Out of about one hundred puritan clergy present, sixty-one wrote volo, but the remainder declined, exclaiming, "we shall be killed in our souls for this pollution." These by order of the queen were suspended, and warned that a failure in compliance within three months would subject them to deprivation. It is to be remarked, that the puritans, up to this period, had not separated from the church, and their historian Neale says, that "the puritans were at a loss how to behave, being unwilling to separate from a church where the word and sacraments were truly administered, though defiled with some popish superstitions. But," continues the same author, "at length, after waiting about eight weeks to see if the queen would have compassion, several of the deprived ministers held a solemn conference with their friends, in which, after prayer and a serious debate about the lawfulness and necessity of separating from the established church, they came to this conclusion; that since they could not have the word of God preached nor the sacraments administered without idolatrous gear, (meaning the clerical habits,) and since there had been a separate congregation in London, and another in Geneva, in queen Mary's time, which used a book and order of preaching, administration of the sacraments and discipline, of which the great Mr Calvin had approved, and which was free from the superstitions of the English service; that therefore it was their duty, in their present circumstances, to break off from the public churches, and to assemble as they had opportunity in private houses, or elsewhere, to worship God in a manner that might not offend against the light of their consciences." It is sinful terms of communion that can alone justify separation from a true church, and the puritans, in the commencement of their schism, acknowledged the church of England to be a true church. But the puritans being determined to separate from the church, made the wearing the clerical habits a sufficient cause. "It was," says Neale," the compelling these things (the clerical habits) by law that made them separate." After separation, there seems to have

» 3 Eliz, c. 1. † 29 Eliz. c. 6.

Neale's Hist. of the Puritans, vol. i, 229. { Ibid.

A contention

been no bond of union nor authority lodged anywhere. raged as fiercely among themselves about the use of the Liturgy, as it had before been esteemed an intolerable grievance to wear a surplice. After much debate, it was determined to adopt the service-book of Geneva compiled by Calvin, but which was eventually laid aside for extemporary prayers.

On the 20th November, 1572, a number of the separated puritan divines assembled at the village of Wandsworth near London, and constituted themselves into a presbytery. These were afterwards joined by several others. They likewise chose eight lay elders, and added them to this court to compose a government. The queen getting notice of this new government, and yielding to her cherished dislike of the sect, issued a royal proclamation for putting the act of uniformity in strict execution. She also commanded an act of parliament to be passed, enacting that "if any person refusing to repair to church, shall be present at any assembly, meeting, or conventicle, under pretence of any exercise of religion, he shall be imprisoned till he conform, and if he shall not conform in three months, he shall abjure the realm; which if he shall refuse to do, or, after abjuration shall not go, or shall return without license, he shall be guilty of felony without benefit of clergy. And whether he shall abjure or not, he shall forfeit his goods, and shall forfeit his lands during life."

Neale, their historian and eulogist, in speaking of their general principles, says, "that they were not enemies to either the name or functions of a bishop, provided he was no more than a stated president of the college of presbyters in his diocese, and managed its affairs with their assistance. They did not object to set forms of prayer, provided a latitude was allowed to the ministers to alter or vary some expressions, and to use a form of their own conception before and after sermon: neither did they object to such decent and distinct habits for the clergy as were not derived from popery. But, upon the whole, they were the most resolved protestants in the nation, zealous Calvinists, warm and affectionate preachers, and determined enemies to popery, and to everything that had a tendency that way." Readily admitting the truth of Mr Neale's words, yet it seems strange that men professing attachment to episcopacy, should, for the unimportant matter of harmless articles of dress, have broke into an open schism, and established an ecclesiastical discipline in direct opposition to that to which they declared they had no objection, and to a church wherein they also declared that "the word and sacraments were truly administered.” But it is to be feared that schisms and divisions in the church are derived from the same source as "wars and fightings"* in the body politic.

*James iv. I.

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