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FELLOW OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF EDINBURGH, MINISTER OF ST. PAUL'S
EPISCOPAL CHAPEL, EDINBURGH,
AND AUTHOR OF “ MEMOIRS OF THE LIFE AND WORKS OF THE LATE
RIGHT HON. SIR JOHN SINCLAIR, BART.”
ST. PAUL'S CHURCH YARD,
The following treatise originally belonged to a larger work, entitled, “Dissertations vindicating the Church of England with respect to some essential Points of Polity and Doctrine.” At the request of various friends, Bishops as well as Presbyters, and under a growing sense of the importance of the subject, the Author is now induced to reprint, as a separate publication, in a form adapted to popular use, his defence of Episcopal Church polity. He is more and more convinced, that the conscientious inquirer into the constitution of the Church will find no resting place for the sole of his foot between the Apostolical succession and the all-denomination scheme. He that rejects the claims of Episcopacy will be driven by degrees from every intermediate position, and forced at last to the conclusion, that the Church of Christ has no canonically-appointed officers at all; that all pretensions to a peculiar right of teaching and administering the sacraments are alike invalid; that whoever will, may take this honour upon himself; and that, in the pointed words of Dr. Samuel Johnson, “ Any man may be a minister, who can get himself a congregation.”
As the Dissertations were designed chiefly for members of the English Establishment, the Author assumed, in general, the language of an English clergyman, though the sphere of his professional labours has for some time been without the territorial limits of the Anglican Church. He is induced to continue this style of expression, not only as more convenient, but also from the respect which he naturally entertains for the Establishment in Scotland, the reputation of whose ministers for eloquenice and talent, as well as piety, reflects honour upon his native country.
The Greek and Latin original of the quotations is for the most part omitted, because the reader, who wishes to ascertain their accuracy, may consult the former edition of the work.
Edinburgh, March, 1839.
FROM THE PREFACE
In the first of the following dissertations on the subject of Church polity, the Author has stated as succinctly as that extensive subject would permit, the whole argument for Episcopacy, both from Scripture and antiquity. Without referring to individuals, in the present day, who have written against this important Apostolical institution, he has endeavoured to condense their objections, and to offer, (in a manner impossible to be thought personally offensive,) a satisfactory refutation.
Next to Church polity, he considered forms of Divine worship to require discussion. On this topic he has confined himself at present to a general view of Liturgies. Another treatise in continuation, (for which he has already collected materials, and which bears a particular reference to the Church of England liturgy,) may, he conceives, be more advantageously laid before the public at some future opportunity, after the doctrines have been vindicated, of which that liturgy must be regarded as an invaluable compendium.
As the chief weapon of assault in the hands of the Romanist is the assumed authority of his Church, the next