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have before shewn) who rejected the Sardican canons, and forbade on pain of deposition any one to make appeals to Rome as proposed in these canons, allowed the appeals to the Emperor, which the earlier council of Antioch had admitted; which council of Antioch was confirmed with the authority of a general synod at Chalcedon. It is clear, therefore, that the English Church which follows the course pointed out by the canons of Antioch, Carthage, and Chalcedon, and admits in her princes the right of ordering a spiritual cause to be re-heard, is beyond reproach from the canons of the unacknowledged council of Sardica, even if they could be proved to be genuine, and not open to the gravest and most insuperable objections.
If it be objected that in the English Church more than this is done, that the appeals to the king in spiritual causes are determined not by a greater synod of bishops, according to the rules of the Catholic Church, as set forth in the canons of Constantinople, 6, Antioch 12, and others, but by his privy council, which is mostly, if not wholly, composed of laymen; and that the appointments to vacant Sees are made not at the advice of the metropolitan and bishops of the Province, according to the rules of the Catholic Church, (see canons of Nice, 4, 6; Antioch, 19,) but by the king's or prime minister's arbitrary and compulsory choice, and that in both these points there is a departure from
Catholic rules: indeed these things are true, and deeply and sorely have they been, and are still regretted by the members of the Church. But all this avails nothing to reprove the Church of England, unless it can be shown that she has consented to these things; which she has never done: no constitution or canon of hers can be produced even recognizing them. They rest on the acts of the civil legislature (25 Hen. viii. c. 19 and 20,) passed without the consent of the bishops or clergy, and enforced by the severe and extreme penalties of præmunire. So far has the Church of England been from being implicated in these things, that she may safely aver that they are in violation of her recognition of the king as supreme. For the only supremacy which she acknowledges to be in the king over the Church, is the same which he has over the State ; that is, to govern the Church according to its rules and constitution by the advice of his spiritual counsellors, as he governs the nation according to its rules and constitution, by the advice of his civil counsellors. Anything beyond this is not recognized by the Church of England, though under the tremendous penalties above-mentioned her bishops and clergy have submitted to it, as the bishops of Rome in former days were often constrained to submit to acts on the part of the Christian Emperors, which were in violation of the canons of the Church. I maintain, therefore, and repeat that with
the exception of the single non-essential point of internal discipline, the marriage of the clergy after ordination, no testimony can be adduced from the general councils of the first seven centuries, against the Church of England.
Next let us, in like manner inquire whether the Church of Rome, according to the faith and discipline which she now professes, is justified or condemned by these primitive witnesses. The plain answer is, that these councils furnish, not designedly or premeditatedly, but in point of fact do furnish, one uniform, consistent, and continuous body of evidence against the Church of Rome. It matters little whether we call them general councils, or, to please the inconsistent Romans, deny them that character when they witness against Roman innovations. Whatever their style may be, they were the most solemn and important assemblies of Christian bishops ever convened; and the testimony which they bear against modern Rome, is unimpeachable. It is indeed a wonderful thing to consider how many errors of the modern Church of Rome were witnessed against, by a sort of prescience before they had appeared, the testimony of which, by the providence of God, has been preserved to these times. Thus the canons of Nice, 4, 6, 1st Constantinople, 2, 3, 6, Ephesus 8, Chalcedon, 1, 9, 28, and 3rd Constantinople, and 36th of the Quin-Sextine, wholly and entirely disprove all idea of any Roman supremacy in the Catholic Church in those ages. The canons of 1st Constantinople 3, and Chalcedon 1, 9, 28, show that the pre-eminence of rank of the bishop of Rome, was not of divine right, or as the successor of St. Peter; but of ecclesiastical regulation, the ground of it being the pre-eminence of his city in the Roman empire. The Fathers in the first council of Constantinople who style the Church of Jerusalem the Mother of all churches, bears witness against the Church of Rome, which has made it a term of Christian communion, and necessary to salvation to ascribe that title to Rome. Against the celibacy of the clergy which Rome compels, we have the transactions of Nice; the 4th canon of Neocæsarea, and the 13th of the Quin-Sextine. The 8th canon of Ephesus witnesses to the independence of the British Churches. The 6th of 1st Constantinople and 22d of Antioch, condemn the Roman bishops and clergy who have intruded into the British dioceses, as schismatics and heretics. The invocation of angels is condemned by 35th of Laodicæa. Transubstantiation indirectly by 49th of Laodicæa. The Roman canon of Scripture forbidden by 59th and 60th of the same. The infallibility of the Pope disproved by the 3rd Constantinople. And the new creed of Pope Pius utterly condemned by the decrees of Ephesus and Chalcedon.
The result then of the examination of the witnesses of the first seven centuries, the unavoidable verdict which they compel us to pronounce is this, that whatever the Church of Rome has that is Catholic she has in common with the Church of England; and that in whatever points she differs from the Church of England, she has herself departed from the primitive, orthodox, Catholic and A postolic standard.