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take place. To that righteous judge of mankind, and supreme HEAD of the church, we chearfully commit our cause; not doubting but he will plead it before the impartial world; and with humble resignation wait the event.
CONSTITUTION OF THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND,
AND OF THE
CHURCH OF CHRIST.
THE church of Jesus Christ is a holy catholic church, and a communion of saints, a congregation of faithful men, in which the pure word of God is preached, and the sacraments duly ministered. Article XIX.
It is a holy church, represented as an immaculate spouse, to be presented to the great bridegroom, without spot or blemish, or any such thing, Eph. v. 27. A temple of the living God, which if any man defiles, him will God destroy, 1 Cor. iii. 17. A holy city or community, into which nothing that is defiled, no openly profane and immoral person, is permitted to enter, Rev. xxi. 27. These are spots in your feasts, Jude 12. The apostle says, cast out therefore from amongst you that wicked person, 1 Cor. v. 15.
Is the church of England such an holy church. formed upon this divine model? Is she not in this respect, in the sight of the whole world, a dissenter from the church of Christ? Does she not, by her test law, receive into her bosom multitudes of the most debauched, profligate, and profane men, and
in effect compel them to come in and partake of her most holy rites, and to eat and drink at the table of that Lord whose name they blaspheme, and whose religion they abhor? Is not this what our Saviour calls taking the childrens bread, and casting it to dogs?
Again, the church of Christ is a catholic church, and a communion or community of saints. It gathers together all the children of God, all righteous and good men, wherever dispersed abroad, whatever their particular sentiments or opinions may be, into one blessed society, one family, one body. They are all brethren, fellow members, in this one household or church of God, and as such are all to eat as at one table (a communion or common table) in token of their relation to Christ their common head, and of their affection to one another for we being many, are one bread, and one body; for we are all partakers of that one bread, 1 COR. X. 17.
But is the church of England thus catholic, and a communion of saints? Observe her conduct. At the same time that she admits to her communion crowds of notorious sinners whom the king nominates to a post, she rejects all foreign protestants upon the face of the whole earth, and all the most religious dissenters in these kingdoms, who, besides acknowledging obedience to all the commands of Christ, will not obey also an arbitrary injunction of her own: that is, all who refuse to eat this sacramental supper in any other than a table posture, as Christ, and his apostles,. and all the primitive christians undoubtedly did, and not in an adoring posture, as the pope and his cardinals, and all believers in transubstantiation, direct it to be done.
"There must be somewhere a very great fault,"
says Archbishop Potter,* "when any one of the "meanest believers is excluded from communion "who desires to embrace it on terms which God "has prescribed. As the christian religion has "been completely published to the world by our "blessed Lord and his apostles, no addition can "be made to it without a new revelation: here "then is no room for innovation."
In the church of Christ, the Lord's Supper is instituted and used only for spiritual and religious ends in the church of England it is notoriously both instituted and used for political and worldly ends, as a qualification for a civil or military post. In the former it was appointed with intention and as a mean of uniting all christians, and of destroying all variance and distinctions betwixt them: in the latter it is appointed with intention and as a mean of discriminating and dividing them; of separating some christians from other christians, and thus of strengthening and perpetuating divisions amongst them.
The rod with which the church of Christ chastises its delinquents is spiritual, not carnal; but the rod of the church of England is carnal, not spiritual. By the constitution of the former the excommunicated member is only to be deprived of spiritual privileges, such as fellowship in prayer, singing, sacraments; it meddles not with his civil rights but by the constitution of the latter, the excommunicated person is delivered over to the civil arm to humble and chastise him, to strip him of many invaluable natural rights, and, if he does not repent in forty days, to cast him into prison, where he may lie and perish.
Farther, the church of Jesus Christ is a kingdom not of this world, not formed upon the
+ John xviii, 36.
model, not supported by the powers, not shining with the pomps and splendors of this world: it was its glory that it made its way, and was established upon earth, not only without, but in direct opposition to them. Ye are not of the world, our Lord tells his disciples, as I am not of the world: I have chosen you out of the world.* The grand design of his religion is to call off men's attention from, and to mortify their affections to, the grandeurs and pomps and riches of this world; admonishing us that THESE are not of the FATHER, but of the WORLD, and will soon pass away: but he that doeth the will of God, the man of uncorrupted virtue, who holds fast the simplicity and purity of the gospel, the man who is never drawn by any emoluments of this world, nor ever tempted by its frowns, to violate his conscience, or to deviate from the path of TRUTH, and of RIGHT, this is the man who will rise into the preferments and dignities of the Messiah's kingdom, which is shortly to take place, and will there not only abide, but reign with him for ever.
But let any man attentively consider the church of England, and will he not see it to be most indisputably a kingdom of this world; a civil polity or constitution formed after the model, suited to the taste, supported by the powers, shining with the pomps and splendors of this world, an entire creature of the state? See, its bishops and pastors are princes of this world; have their palaces and thrones, which no duke, earl, or peer of the realm hath! They are seated, and rank amongst the nobles of this WORLD, sitting in the temple. (the church) of GOD, shewing themselves as Gods (rulers) amongst men; have large provinces subjected to their temporal dominion (for such it † 1 John ii. 16, 17. .
* John xvii. 16. xv. 19.
really is, though falsely called spiritual); have their courts, their chancellors, their registers, and a long train of inferior officers, by which they exercise lordship and temporal authority and jurisdiction over men, contrary to the express command and injunction of our blessed Lord, Mark x. 42, 43. It SHALL NOT be so amongst you!
Behold! the long and pompous train of archbishops, diocesan bishops, chancellors, deans, archdeacons, canons, chanters, rural deans, prebendaries, registers, sub deans, præcentors, rectors, vicars, curates. &c. Find you any of these offices in the grand charter of the christian church, the scriptures of the New Testament? Not the least sign of them there! Trace them back to their origin, they came not, you will see, from the apostolic fountain of Jerusalem, but from the corrupted source at Rome. Who were the first fathers and founders of this hierarchy? Were they not undoubtedly the pope and his conclave? Are they not the creatures of Romish avarice and ambition, of Italian extraction, sent over to deluded Britain in times of deep ignorance, fixing themselves by falsehood and fraud in some of the fairest and fattest of our provinces, grasping rich manors, worming themselves into posts of highest dignity and trust, and heaping so vast a load of riches and honours on that devouring idol the church, till it sunk under the enormous weight, and the reformation, a partial reformation took place?
But are there, Sir, no offspring of these Italian fathers, it may be asked, still existing in Britain, no successors to their dignities, their rich revenues, their powers, still visible amongst us? None who shine upon the thrones, fatten in the stalls, and bask in the rich livings of their Romish predecessors, committing ravages upon the church by commendams, dispensations, pluralities, non-re