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between them as to Faith, Discipline and Worfhip; that was one and the fame in all Places: So if ever the Church be as firmly united again, it must be upon the fame Principles and PraEtices. The Church never was united but upon the Principles and Ufages which obtained at the Time of the Nicene Council: And we have therefore good Reason to believe that it never can be united, but upon those Principles and Ufages. That Church then which shall firft reftore all thofe Principles and Usages, may be justly faid to lead the Way to Catholick Union.: And this is the Reason why I cannot forbear to plead fo earnestly in Behalf of these Primitive Doctrines, and am fo defirous to fee them revived amongst us, if poffible.
in Second Edition of a Book called, An
Account of Church-Government, &c. which I publifh'd in the Year 1710. I have, Page 38, &c. charged the Nonjurors with Conventicling and Schifm; I do here, in the Face of the World, recall that Charge, Retracting ( as I then declared should be ready to do upon better Information) whatever I have there, or any where else, laid down or afferted in Oppofition to my present Practice, or in Vindication of that Compliance to which I then thought it my Duty to fubmit: Referring all those who have been mifguided by the Erroneous Arguments made ufe of upon that Occafion to this small Treatife of the Independency of the Church'; and another I lately publifh'd, entituled, Dr. Bennet's Conceffions to the Non-jurors, &c. Lond. 1717. In which they will find the Reafons and Grounds of that Accufation fufficiently answered and confuted, and the Non-jurors vindicated from the Imputation of Schifm. And to this End, I earnestly intreat them to give them both an impartial Reading.
HE pure Spiritual Powers of the Church are, (a) to publifh the Gospel of Chrift, and thereby to make Converts to his Religion (b) to admit fuch Converts into the Church by Baptifm; (c) to im pofe Hands on them for their Reception of the Holy Ghost, which we call by the Name of Confirmation; (d) to ordain Bishops, or other inferiour Paftors, in every City or other Place, as there fhall be Occafion, to feed and watch over the Flocks committed to
(a) Matth. xxviii. 19. Mar. xvi. 15.
. (b) Matth. xxviii. 20. Mar. xvi. 16. Alt. ii. 38... (c) A&. viii. 17. and xix. 6. Hebr. vi. 2.
(d) Ad.vi. 3,6. and xit. 23. 1 Tim. ivt 14, 2 Tim. 6a Tit. 15.
their Charge; (e) to require the People to receive and obey the Spiritual Guides thus fet over them; (f) to give them a fufficient Maintenance; (g) and to account of them as the Minifters of Christ, and Stewards of the Myfteries of God; (h) to keep ftedfaftly in the Communion of their Rightful Paftors, to affemble with them for Religious Worship to offer up Prayers and Praises to God, and to receive from their Hands the Holy Communion of the Body and Blood of Chrift; (i) to excommunicate or repell notorious Offenders from the Communion of the Church, and to re-admit them again upon due Teftimonies of Repentance. Thefe are plainly the Spiritual Powers of the Church; and it is evident from the Scriptures, that Chrift committed all this Power to his A postles; that they likewife committed the fame Power to others whom they fet over the feveral Churches which they founded in the feveral Parts of the World, with Authority to continue this Succeffion of faithful Paftors throughout all Ages; and this without any Application to the Roman Emperor, or any other Civil Magistrate whatsoever,for his farther Commiffion to authorize or empower them to do thefe Things. Nay, the Civil Magiftrate frequently impeded them in the Exercise of thefe Powers; and it was foon made Death by the Imperial Laws to exercise or obey any fuch Powers, that is,to be either a Chriftian Priest or Laick; and thefe Laws continu'd in Force against them (only as they were for fome fhort Intervals fufpended, or the Non-Execution of them connived at) for three hundred Years: In which Space Chri
(e) Phil. ii. 29. 1 Theff. v. 12,13. 1 Tim. v. 17. Hebr.xiii. 7,17. (f) 1 Cor. ix. 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14. Gal. vii. 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. I Tim. v. 17, 18.
(g) 1 Cor. iv. 1. Col. i. 25.
(h) Act. ii. 42. and xi. 26. 1 Cor. x. 16. and xi. 20. Hebr. X. 25.
(i) · 1 Cor. v. 3, 4, 5. 2 Cor. ii. 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.
ftians endured ten very fevere Perfecutions.
that time the Church not only continu'd to exist, but wonderfully increas'd every Day, till at last it brought both Emperor and Empire into its Communion, and obtain'd the Protection of the State. But did this transferr any of thefe Powers to the Emperor, or any Civil Magiftrate whatfoever? By no means. The Emperor or Sovereign, by becoming Chriftian, did not acquire any Spiritual Power or Authority; he could neither preach the Word, nor adminifter Sacraments,nor commiffion any Perfon to perform thofe Offices, who had not before derived an Authority from Chrift, or according to his Inftitution in that Cafe. The Emperors were admitted into the Church, by no other Means, nor on any other Conditions, than other Men: Their Admiffion, like that of all others, was by Baptism, adminiftred to them exactly in the fame Form as to all others; confequently they could acquire no more Spiritual Rights or Privileges by it, than any other Men. They were thereby, indeed, made Spiritual Sons of the Church, but by no means Spiritual Fathers: That is a Power to be acquired no otherwife than by Ordination.
§ II. It has been objected by fome (weakly enough) that the Scripture itself (k) tells us, That Kings and Queens fhall be the Nurfing-Fathers and Mothers of the Church. From whence they would inferr, that every Chriftian King and Queen is a Spiritual Father and Mother. But after all, there is no fuch Words as Father or Mother in this Text, except in our English Tranflation; and there it is far from meaning what fome heedlefly and unwarily would gather from it. For the Tranflators fairly tell us in the
(k) Ifa. xlix. 23.
Margin of the Bible, that the Word which they tranflate Nurfing-Fathers, in the Hebrew, or Original, is no more than Nourishers; and they might alfo have told us, that the Word which they translate Nurfing-Mothers, fignifies only Nurses giving Suck; and fo all other Tranflations, but ours, have rendred both thefe Words. So that those who would build any thing of a Spiritual Fatherhood or Motherhood from this Text, have nothing but a meer Anglicifm on which they can lay their Foundation. But read the whole Text, and the Matter will be yet more clear. Kings fhall be thy Nurfing Fathers, and their Queens thy Nurfing-Mothers: They fhall bow to thee with their Face towards the Earth, and lick up the Duft of thy Feet. What can be plainer from hence, than that Kings and Queens, like true Nourishers and Cherishers, fhould protect and défend the Church from all outward Wrong and Violence, and fhould bow down before the Guides and Governors of it, to receive the Word and Sacraments at their Hands, and to fubmit to the Doctrine and Discipline of Chrift, as miniftred by them? And ought not all Christian Kings and Princes to do this? Nay, have not all godly Princes acted in this manner?
§ III. However, the Pope, the grand Corrupter of Christianity, taking upon him, under Pretence of maintaining the Independency of the Church, to exempt fome Caufes, and fome Perfons, from all Civil Subjection to their Princes, gave the Princes a juft Occafion to reject this ufurped Power: And at the Reformation, when divers Princes and States, and ours among the reft, not able to bear these Ufurpations and Encroachments, found it neceffary to shake off the Papal Yoke, gave Occasion to many Controverfies on this Subject, and many Books were written, and Laws made concerning this Matter. And because the Pope had strained the Matter