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and no Church ever have found it out, nor received it till this present time; contrariwise the government, against which ye bend yourselves, be observed every where throughout all generations and ages of the Christian world; no Church ever perceiving the word of God to be against it. We require you to find out but one Church upon the face of the whole earth, that hath been or. dered by your discipline, or hath not been ordered by ours, that is to say, by episcopal regiment, sithence the time that the blessed Apostles were here conversant.” Preface, vol. i. p.193, 4. Ed. 1836.
Bishop Bancroft says, “ A very strange matter, if it were true, that Christ should erect a form of government for the ruling of his Church, to continue from his departure out of the world until his coming again : and that the same should never be once thought of or put in practice for the space of 1500 years, or at the least, (to take them at their best,) that the government and kingdom of Christ should then be overthrown, whereby all men's confessions, the divinity of his person, the virtue of his priesthood, the power of his office as he is a prophet, and the honor of his kingly authority was so godly, so learnedly and so mightily established." Sermon at St. Paul's Cross, 1586, pp. 10, 11.
On this subject I must borrow a note from Dr. Hook's visitation sermon : “ One of the falsehoods propagated in these days is, that the reformers did not hold the divine right of episcopacy, but that this doctrine was subsequently introduced. That our reformers were very generally of opinion, that where episcopacy could not be had, ordination by presbyters might, as a temporary measure, be tolerated—just as grace will be given to those who desire to receive the sacraments, but from circumstances are unable to do so, is not to be denied ; and I am not aware that any Churchmen of the present day would disagree with them in the opinion, although among the Protestants abroad there is not now. the same excuse for their want of episcopacy as there was in the time of the Reformation. But the episcopal succession was assumed as a necessary doctrine of the reformed Church of England, on the very first public occasion when our Reformers appeared in defence of the Reformation, after the accession of Elizabeth. At the authorized conference between the friends of the Reformation
and the advocates of Romanism, Dean Horn, in the name of the Reformers, observes, the Apostle's authority is derived upon after ages, and conveyed to the Bishops, their successors. Hence he contends for their apostolical authority to reform these Churches, without reference to the See of Rome, the Bishop of that See being only the equal of other Bishops. See Collyer, ii. 418. The Puritans did not at first declare themselves hostile to episcopacy, but as soon as they did so, the English Reformers asserted the authority of Bishops, as of divine right. Bishop Hutton maintained the doctrine before Lord Burghley and Sir Francis Walsingham, with precisely the same arguments as those which are now employed. See Strype's Life of Archbishop Whitgift, iii. 224. Dr. Bancroft has defended the doctrine that Bishops were jure divino superior to the other Clergy, even though the Puritans endeavoured to silence him by craftily bringing in practical considerations, and by contending that it was inconsistent with the Queen's supremacy. Ibid. i. 559. In short, the divine right of episcopacy was asserted before it was questioned; for men did not question at first, what for 1500 years had been undisputed ; and as soon as ever it was questioned, it was immediately defended on scriptural grounds, by a Bishop, and the Archbishop's chaplain.” Pages 108, 109.
Page 17, line 18. “ At the time when the thirty-nine Articles were drawn up, the word congregation made use of in the twenty-third Article had precisely the same signification as the word Church, and was used with the same latitude. Indeed, the two terms were at that time considered so perfectly synonymous, that in the translations of the Bible then used, Christ is called the Head of the congregation, which is his body,' and is mentioned, as saying to Saint Peter,
on this Rock I will build my congregation. To the same purpose we are told, that forty years after the drawing up of the thirty-nine Articles, the word congregation was used in the canonical prayer before sermons, lectures, and homilies, in which they were directed " to pray for the whole congregation of Chris
tian people dispersed throughout the world. Hence it is evident that the meaning of the article in question is plainly this, • It is not lawful (that is by the law of God) for any man to take upon him the office of public preaching or ministering the sacraments in the congregation, or Church of Christ, before he be thus lawfully called, and sent to execute the same. And those we ought to judge lawfully called and sent,' according to the law of God, which be chosen 6 and called to this work by men who have thus public authority given unto them in the congregation,' or Church of God, to call and send ministers unto the Lord's vineyard. The lawfulness of such public authority must mean its conformity to the law of God, because the Bishops and Clergy assembled in convocation, who were the compilers of the Articles, not being civil judges, had no right to declare what was lawful by the laws of the land, or any temporal Statute, but only what they deemed to be lawful according to the laws of God laid down in Scripture, for the spiritual government of his Church. And as the twenty-third Article is sufficient to show the necessity of such a lawful commission, so the thirty-sixth Article plainly declares, that the persons invested with such commission are the Bishops, Priests, and Deacons, who are duly consecrated and ordered, according to the rites of the book referred to in that Article ; and in which book the Church of England, by her prayers to Almighty God, acknowledges her belief, that every one of these orders was appointed by his Holy Spirit, and therefore was certainly of divine institution.” Bishop Skinner on Episcopacy, pages 169, 170.
« Tindall himself professes to do it, out of this reason, because the Popish clergy had appropriated to themselves the name of the Church, but however they rather made use of the word ; yet not so as that hereby they intend only to signify parishional meetings. So Eph. iii. 10. To the intent that now to the rulers and powers in heavenly places, might be known by the congregation, the manifold wisdom of God: do we think this blessed revelation confined to a parish, or common to the whole Church of God? So 1 Cor. xv. 9, they turn, I am not worthy to be called an Apostle, be
a See Brett Divine's Right of Episcopacy.
cause I persecuted the congregation of God: do we think his cruelty was confined to a parish ? So Matt. vi. 16. Upon this Rock will I build my congregation. Was this a parish only ?” Bishop Hall's Works, vol. ix. p. 684.
Page 17, line 2. It would be unjust to the subject, and not respectful to the individual, if I did not take notice of the argument brought forward against this statement, since this Sermon was preached. In a note to a Sermon preached at the consecration of the Bishop of Killaloe, and subsequently published, Dr. Dickinson says, “ To represent them as omitting on that or any other account, all mention of Church government, although they believed there was one form prescribed as essential to a Christian Church, would be to impute to them, (most undeservedly,) not merely a logical inaccuracy, but a dishonest sacrifice of a divine commandment, to supposed expediency.” I beg to say, this is very true, but does not touch upon the question. Those who hold the same opinions which I have advocated, do not say, that the compilers of the Articles omitted all mention of Church government, but that they used such words as would not give unnecessary offence, while at the same time, they were in accordance with their own sentiments promulgated in their proper place. In the definition of the visible Church, the Article directly refers to some instituted form; it speaks of duly administrating the sacraments, of those things that are of necessity requisite to the same, of Christ's ordinance. Now supposing the compilers to have held the opinions which I have attributed to them, I cannot perceive any dishonest sacrifice, when they had already given an explanation of what they considered as duly administering the sacraments, and of what they considered as requisite for the same.
Dr. Dickinson admits, that our Church regards the episcopal office as of apostolic institution, but he says, “it should be observed, that it has abstained altogether from deciding, that the Apostles did sanction any other form of government.” This does not appear to me fair reasoning; in the same manner it might be maintained, that our Church had abstained altogether from deciding that Christ did not ordain any other outward sign of the Lord's Supper ; it only states that He did ordain bread and wine. But let me quote the answer to this opinion, given by a writer who never was accused of overweening attachment to the authority of the Church, I mean Bishop Hoadly. “ None of the ancients, as far as appears, knew any thing of this difference, but all who speak professedly of episcopacy, speak of it as the government universally settled in all Churches, wherever there was a number of Christians and presbyters ; nay, St. Jerome, the chief patron of presbyters among the ancients, positively affirms, that wherever the institution of episcopacy was, it was all over the Christian world at the same time, and that before that all Churches were alike governed by presbyters. It may be said of this conjecture, that had there been any such variety in the Apostles' settlement of different Churches, the discovery of it would not have been left to persons at 1600 years' distance, but the ancient writers must have taken some notice of so remarkable a thing.” Hoadly's Works, vol. i. page 414.
This conjecture, as Bishop Hoadly calls it, was put into its least objectionable form by Bishop Stillingfileet in the Irenicum, but in endeavouring to guard against objections, he has rejected every thing which militates against the apostolic institution of episcopacy. See Hoadly's Works, vol. i. p. 415 : also, Brief Account of Church Government.
I feel great regret at being obliged to express my dissent from any opinions put forward by Dr. Dickinson, but the subject is so important, and such a use has been made of his name, that I am sure he will approve of the course I have taken. I have heard it industriously circulated, that the reasoning about the concluding commission in St. Mark's Gospel, was designed as a condemnation of the use of the Athanasian Creed, and though I must confess I cannot guard the reasoning against such an inference, yet I am sure Dr. Dickinson did not perceive the dangerous consequence, and will take care to remove the impression. I shall not enter into any discussion whether or not the instructions of our Lord,