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tion of which she desires.* The full ministerial privileges and authority conferred upon the Apostles, as they have been ascertained in the foregoing examination of the Divine declarations, are expressly attributed to the Priesthood of the Church, and fully exercised in her services. The reverence and observance of
* By the "godly discipline of open penance," the Church means the discipline observed in the primitive ages of the Church,—not the secret or auricular confession, the secret absolution, and, for the most part, the secret penance practised by the Church of Rome, which are designed more for keeping the people in subjection to the clergy than as a restraint upon ungodliness, and which tend to obscure spiritual religion and sanctification by the habit of enjoining superstitious or formal acts as penitential observances, in place of the public confession and exclusion of offenders from participating with the congregation in the privileges of religion, as observed in the primitive Church. The inefficacy of Popish penitential discipline for producing religious sentiments and knowledge among the people is evident from the deplorable state of ignorance of the nature, principles, and duties of religion—of the character of Christian holiness, and even of the moral laws of the Gospel, which prevails in countries exclusively popish. In such countries, where the number of ministers, regular and secular, of the Romish Church is immense,-where they are supported by the civil power, where the authority of the Priesthood is very great, and their office held sacred, the effect of the Romish discipline may be ascertained under the most favourable circumstances; and it must be confessed to be highly defective if it be found in such countries, 1st. That immorality and debauchery are not dissociated from religion, but that persons living in vice and depravity are zealous participators in the rites and privileges of religion. 2nd. That while other nations advance in arts, sciences, and civilization, the people of those countries remain in their original ignorance without simplicity, and in the servile subjection of superstitious fear. 3rd. That the Word of God is not read by the people; and that their ideas of religious duties consist of pilgrimages to shrines, of relics holy wells, images, &c., of frequent repetitions of prayers or creeds, and of formal acts, and payment of sums of money; and, 4th. That the rites of the Romish Church, or extreme unction, and absolution of the dying, are looked to by the people as means of their salvation more than a life of faith in Christ, and obedience to His will. If such be the condition of the Roman territory, marked as it is by the hand of God as the seat of pestilence and squalid misery, and of Italy, Spain, Ireland, and all other Romish countries in proportion to the degree in which the Popish discipline prevails and is enforced, it may be inferred as the conclusion of experience, that a system exercising the greatest power over men's consciences and lives is maintained at an incalculable expense of human submission, depression, and spiritual bondage, and that, far from preserving the people in the knowledge and practice of religion, it sinks them into the deepest degradation of moral and religious ignorance, and, by the power of superstitious fear, represses their instruction, recovery, and improvement.
sacred things and ordinances are prescribed with the closest regard to the declarations of Holy Scripture, and so as to be subordinate and accessory to spiritual religion. Every Scriptural precept and ordinance of devotion are observed with such exact precision as never to transgress or fall short of the authority of Holy Writ, and as always to tend to edification, and to the glorification of Christ. It may therefore be concluded that, by the mercy of the Lord, the Anglican Church is a pure national Branch of the Church Catholic and Apostolic*, and keeps her obedient children in
The following extract from Bishop Bull explains the Apostolic character of the Anglican Church against the objection to its Apostolic character from the changes effected in it at the Reformation. "As for ourselves, that which we maintain is this, that our Church, and the pastors thereof, did always acknowledge the same rule of faith, the same fundamental articles of the Christian religion, both before and since the Reformation; but with this difference, that we then possessed the rule of faith, together with the additional corruptions of the Church of Rome; but now, God be thanked! without them, so that the change, as to matter of doctrine which hath been in our Church, and her pastors, is for the better; like that of a man from being leprous becoming sound and healthy, and yet always the same man. This a learned prelate of our Church (Bishop Hall, Old Relig, ch. 3) solemnly proclaimed to all the world in these words, 'Be it known to all the world, that our Church is only reformed or repaired, not made new; there is not one stone of a new foundation laid by us; yea, the old walls stand still, only the overcasting of those ancient stones with the untempered mortar of new inventions displeased us: plainly, set aside the corruptions and the Church is the same. And what are these corruptions, but unsound adjections to the ancient structure of religion? These we cannot but oppose, and therefore are unjustly and imperiously asserted. Hence it is that ours is by the opposite styled an ABLATIVE or NEGATIVE RELIGION; for so much as we join with all true Christians in all affirmative positions of ancient faith, only standing upon the denial of some late and undue additaments to the Christian belief.' Indeed the question is the same with that threadbare one which the Papists use to reiterate, when they have nothing else say for themselves, Where was your Church before Luther? To which the answer is easy: our Church was then where it is now, even here IN ENGLAND. She hath not changed one thing of what she held before, any way pertaining to the being or well-being of a Church; only she hath made an alteration in some things, which seemed to her (and so they will to all indifferent judges) greatly prejudicial to both. She still retains the same common rule of faith (the three creeds). She still teaches the necessity of a holy life, and presseth good works as much as before; only she has grown more humble, and dares not ascribe any merit to them. She still observes all the fundamental ordinances and institutions of Christianity, she baptiseth, she feeds with the holy Eucharist, she confirmeth. She retaineth the same Apostolical government of Bishops,
the fellowship of the Apostles, and the reception and observance of the worship and sacraments as they “gave directions" to the Churches.
Priests, and Deacons. And because she finds that a set form of Liturgy is used by all Christian Churches in the world, without any known beginning, she hath hers too, and that a grave, solemn, excellently composed one, conformed, as nearly as she could devise, to the pattern of the most ancient offices. A Liturgy, for its innocence and purity, so beyond all just exceptions, that the Papists themselves, upon its first establishment, could not but embrace it; and therefore for several years they came to our Churches, joined in our devotions, and communicated without scruple, till at last a temporal interest of the Church of Rome rent the schism wider, and made it gape like the jaws of the grave. Nay, it is transmitted to us by the testimony of persons greater than all exception, that Paul the Fourth, Pope of Rome, in his private intercourse and letters to Queen Elizabeth, did offer to confirm and establish the Common Prayer Book, if she would acknowledge the primacy and authority, and the Reformation derivative from him. And this method was also pursued by his successor Pius the Fourth. (Camden's Annals, A.D. 1560. Baker's Chron. Eliz., anno 1560, p. 343.)-But let us proceed. As to Catholic customs, our Church (so far is she from the love of innovation) possesseth all reverence and respect unto them. Upon this score she still observes all the great and ancient festivals of the Church with great solemnity, viz., the feasts of the nativity, circumcision, passion, resurrection, and ascension of our Saviour; the descent of the Holy Ghost, or the feast of the Pentecost, &c.; she still honours the memory of the holy Apostles, saints, and martyrs, and hath days wherein to express this, and to bless God for them, and propound their virtues to the imitation of her sons. The ancient fasts of the Church she hath not rejected and, therefore, because she finds a Lent or solemn fast, before the great festival of Easter, presently after the Apostles, universally observed in the Church of God, she recommends the same observation to her sons, in the full number of forty days, to be kept as days of stricter temperance, and prayer too, by all those whose health and other circumstances will permit them to undertake it; she still observes the fasts of the four seasons, or ember weeks. She still recommends the two weekly stations of the primitive Church to the observation of her sons, Wednesday and Friday. Indeed she hath made no change or innovation, but of things that were themselves manifest changes and innovations, yea, somewhat worse; such as image worship, the worship and invocation of saints and angels, the dry communion, the senseless and unreasonable service of God in an unknown tongue.....In a word, the authors of our reformation dealt with our Church as they did with our temples, or material Churches. They did not pull them down and raise new structures in their places, no, nor so much as new consecrate the old ones; but only removed the object and occasions of idolatrous worship, and took away some little superstitious trinkets, in other things leaving them as they found them, and freely and without scruple making use of them." (Bull, Vind. of the Ch.
It is the strongest possible confirmation of the declarations of Holy Scripture respecting the Church, and its Ministry and
of Eng. s. 26.) Thus fully does this great Bishop refute the objection, that the Apostolic character and authority of the Church was affected by her throwing off the errors and corruptions of the papacy at the reformation. The history of the Church contains many accounts of the "falling and rising again" of Churches,—of national Churches in a state of lukewarmness, worldliness, error, and corruption, restored to faithfulness and purity, without a doubt or question having ever arisen concerning the continuance of their spiritual privileges as Apostolic Churches, which they never were supposed to have endangered or departed from while they held the Catholic creeds, and retained the Apostolic succession. Even when Churches lapsed into the worst heresies, as Arianism, Sabellianism, &c., although they were excommunicated by the Catholic Churches during the period of their heresy, yet on their return to the true faith, and on their making profession of the Catholic creed, they were restored to the communion of the Church without re-ordination of their Clergy, or any other mark of their having by their heresy forfeited their orders or other Church privileges. During the lives of the Apostles themselves several of the Churches departed from the purity of the Gospel : the "Laodiceans were neither cold nor hot in their professions of religion." (Rev. iii. 16.) The Church of Pergamos was infected with the doctrine of Balaam, and eat things sacrificed to idols, and had fallen into the heresy of the Nicolaitanes (Rev. ii. 14, 15); and so of other Churches, who did not therefore forfeit their character as Churches while they retained the creeds and ministry of the Apostles, but were "counselled to repent," lest their "candlestick should be removed,"-lest they should be abandoned altogether by the Lord, and utterly lose the faith and worship of the Gospel. The Jewish Church several times lapsed into great error, corrupted the revelation of the Lord by human traditions, and even fell into idolatry, both Kings, Priests, and people,—still the Temple, the Law, and the successive Priesthood remained, and continued the Church of God to the seasons of repentance, and to the coming of the Lord: they still sat in the seat of Moses, they still preserved "the lively oracles, and of them were the fathers and the Temple." Though the seat of Moses was filled by Sadducees, the lively oracles corrupted by human traditions, and the Temple turned into a den of thieves, the Church still continued, the Priesthood was everlasting in its generations, and every tittle of the Divine promises and designs was accomplished. It therefore is without the least reason that its continuance in the corruptions of Papacy is alleged against the Anglican Church as an objection to her Apostolic character and authority. Those who vainly imagine that they are on this ground released from the obligation to "hear her" as the Church of the Lord, would do well to consider what would have been their condition had they so acted in the Jewish Church, even where "its traditions made void the word of God," and its high Priesthood was filled by murderers and Sadducees. They would no doubt then have scorned and rejected so corrupt and criminal a Church, yet our blessed Lord's words are,
Tradition, to find them so professed and exercised in a community, the principle of which is the perpetuation and maintenance of the faith and worship of the primitive Church. The promises and declarations of Christ and His Apostles, LITERALLY received, describe the character and authority of the Church; and where its character and authority are possessed and exercised by the national Church, it should be received as the institution of the Lord, and its precepts and ordinances religiously observed. The existence and ministration of the Church is the practical exemplification of the promises of the Lord: His high graces, privileges, and necessary authority are exercised and imparted before our eyes by the national Church. The promises and declarations of Christ are therefore exemplified and confirmed by the Church, while its Apostolic authority and character are in their turn confirmed by the words of the Lord. We are not reduced to the hard trial of faith in
even while the Church was in this condition, "Salvation is of the Jews;" and His sentence on those who worshipped after their own imagination of purity and true religion in a separate community is, "Ye worship ye know not what." There is nothing in the history of the Jewish religion, or of the Church, which affords the least sanction or excuse for departure from the system of religion which is the continuation of the original institution of Divine worship, but, on the contrary, sufficient evidence to prove that even in a state of corruption, and departure from the purity of its original constitution, it is a religious duty to hear the Church, and those who sit in the seat of its first divinely commissioned ministers. If corruption and error justify departure from the Church, it could never stand, for each individual would esteem that to be corrupt and erroneous which he does not approve, and would therefore suppose himself justified in departing from, and opposing, the Church. It would be vain to expect the continuance of any system of authority with a rule of actions, if men were left at liberty to adopt and obey it as they approved of its precepts and ordinances. Symeon, Zacharias, Anna, and no doubt many others, served the Lord in the way accepted by Him, as conformable to His institution, in the Temple day and night, or at morning and evening daily services, and other times of public worship, notwithstanding the deplorable condition of the Jewish Church. Therefore, in place of rebelling against God's sacred institutions, and rejecting His graces, because men have corrupted and perverted them, piety and reverence would require increased attachment and obedience to the institution itself; avoiding, as far as may be, participation in what is erroneous or ungodly, observing what the corrupt and wicked ministers "teach in their sacred office, but not doing as they do," striving to reform and amend, not to divide and to destroy, and praying earnestly that the Lord would restore and reform His Church, which for the sins of men He has allowed to be corrupted and obscured,