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LONDON:
GILBERT AND RIVINGTON, PRINTERS,

ST. JOHN'S SQUARE.

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culous gifts consisted in their bearing witness to the inward and unseen ones which God still showers upon His Church.

J.-And which we dare not suppose to have ceased, merely because the outward signs of them did, when God Himself had promised that they should last for ever.

Dr.-Well ; the promise of support to the Apostles, in the performance of their ministerial duties, was equally perpetual; CHRIST was to be with them, we have seen, as the teachers and baptizers of all nations," alway, even unto the end of the world.” The reality of their powers, and, among others, of their power of conferring the Holy Ghost on others, was attested at first by miracles. (Acts viii. 17, 18.) But we have no more reason for supposing that the true powers of the ministry ceased with the outward signs, in the case of the Apostles, than we have for supposing, in the case just mentioned of the gifts of common believers, that from the moment miracles were no longer vouchsafed, the Holy Spirit withdrew Himself from the guidance of the Church for ever. That God has bestowed Apostolic gifts upon Apostles, and the regenerating influences of His Holy Ghost upon other believers, we know from the recorded testimony of those who witnessed the miracles by which the reality of those gifts and influences was at first established. That those gifts and influences will be alike perpetual in the Church, we are bound to believe upon the solemn word of Him who

gave

them. J.-Miracles, then, performed in one age, and handed down by history to others, form the standing proofs of the reality of those gifts which were given to the Church for ever; and one of those gifts was undoubtedly the Apostolic power ; which we must believe, upon this evidence, to be still existing.

Dr.--Exactly so; and infallibility of doctrine, itself a miracle, ceased with miracles in general. We cannot see any reason for the continuance of such a gift to the successors of the Apostles, when the Apostles themselves have recorded all things necessary to salvation in those sacred Scriptures, which have come down to our times, and to which we can all refer. Nor have we the slightest ground for doubting the permanence of those Apostolic privileges which were of perpetual necessity, merely because a miraculous gift, evidently no longer necessary, has been discontinued.

J.—This, Sir, I understand ; but there is one difficulty which occurs to me. As the rulers of the true Church are no longer infallible, what is to prevent their all falling together into error, and thus leading astray the whole Church committed to their care?

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Dr.-We may infer from Christ's promise already mentioned, that this will never happen to the whole Church at once; that some true Apostles will be found on earth in every age, until that last period of the world's history, which shall witness His coming. But that with regard to particular branches of His Church, this may happen, and has happened, is a melancholy truth. There is one simple test, however, by which we may at once assure ourselves that the Church of England has not so fallen away, or, as it is called, apostatized from the faith of her Lord and Master.

J.--And what is that, Sir ?

Dr.-As the eternal truth of God is contained in His revealed word, the Bible, no Church, whatever may be the errors of its individual members, can be said, as a Church to have fallen away, and consequently to have lost her claim to the obedience of Christ's true disciples, while she still reverences that Bible ;while she puts it into the hand of each of her followers, and bids him read it, and seek there, and there only, the proofs of the doctrine which she inculcates; and while she declares, as the Church of England does in her sixth Article, that " Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation ; so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man that it should be believed as an article of the Faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation."

J.:— Then according to you, Sir, the Church of England is not only the true, but the original Church of Christ established in this kingdom.— Now Sam Jones, the Catholic, who attends the Popish Chapel in the next parish, tells me that his is the original Church, and that the Church of England is a new one.

Dr.—That which is truly the Catholic Church, is indeed the oldest; but though we in a common way call the Papists, or followers of the Pope, Catholics, yet it is we who are the true Catholics ; for the term only means members of Christ's universal Church. The history of the Papists is this. Many centuries ago, strange and corrupt notions and practices prevailed in many of the Churches in Europe. Among others, people thought the Pope or Bishop of Rome was gifted with authority from Heaven to control all the branches of the Church on earth, and that his word was to be of more weight than even the Holy Scriptures themselves. But about three hundred years ago, the Bishops of the Church of England saw these errors in their true light; they saw that the Pope's authority was not founded on Scripture, and they consequently refused to acknowledge it, while they at the

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same time corrected, upon scriptural principles, the other errors and evil practices which I have alluded to. These changes did not make the Church of England a new Church, nor prevent that body which was Christ's true and original Church before from being Christ's true and original Church still. Some Bishops of that day, it is true, disapproved of these changes, and refused to accede to them ; but as, when they died, they providentially appointed no successors, there has never since been any real ground for doubt which was the true Church of Christ in this favoured land. The Bishops of the Church of England, and they only, are the representatives by succession of those who, more than a thousand years ago, planted the Gospel on our shores '.

J.-But there are persons whom the Papists call their Bishops -wbence do they come?

Dr.-They derive what they call their right from their appointment by foreign Bishops in an unauthorized manner.

The Pope and his followers would by no means acknowledge the changes which had taken place in England; they declared that our Church had apostatized from the faith, and refused to communicate with us, till we should return to all our ancient errors. They have since, upon the alleged ground that our line of Bishops was extinct, given commission from time to time to different persons to exercise episcopal authority here ; but as the ground was false, the commission was of course void. We acknowledge the Pope and his Bishops in foreign countries to be, by station, ministers of the Church, though we admit and lament the fact that they have led the branches of it over which they preside into apostasy and shame ; yet we feel that in sending their representatives hither, to act in defiance of the Church already established, they are exceeding the limits of their authority. We feel that God, who is not the author of confusion, but of peace, in all churches of the saints,(1 Cor. xiv. 33.) cannot sanction the intrusion of one Bishop, however duly consecrated, into the See of another, with a view to the usurpation of his name and office, and to the organizing a systematic opposition to his authority. We are compelled therefore to regard those who are ordained, as Popish Priests are, by these intruding Bishops, as unauthorized and schismatical ministers of religion, and as violaters, like the other dissenters around them, of the laws of Christ's Church, and of the unity of His fold.

1 In the same manner it may be shown, that the established Church of Ireland alone represents that Church which the labours of St. Patrick, in the fifth century, planted in that island. Those who preside over the Romanists have received consecration from Rome, at a very recent period. And the corruptions which prevail in their religion, and which distinguish it from ours, became prevalent long after the Saint's death. Our doctrines therefore approach more nearly to his than theirs do; and our Church is the true and original Church of Christ in Ireland, in every sense which the words will bear.

J.-I thank you, Sir, for giving me so good an answer to Sam when next I meet him. And I thank you, too, deeply and sincerely do I thank you, for teaching me the nature of one great branch of Christian duty which I never understood before. I seem now to see that there is a sin of which a Christian may be guilty, of which I never before thought; the sin, I mean, of refusing obedience to the command of our Redeemer to hear His Apostles ; to demean ourselves as dutiful members of the Church which those holy persons founded, and over which He Himself, invisibly, presides, a sin, of which they are deeply guilty who separate themselves from that Church altogether, and join one or other of the many sects which reject her authority. Pray, Sir, by what name is such a sin properly called ?

Dr.-It is called “schism," from a Greek word signifying “ division.” A man may forfeit the privileges enjoyed by him as a member of Christ's Church in two ways :-either on account of heresy," of his adopting opinions opposed to the great truths of the Word of God; or through schism, through a disregard of Church authority, and a notion that so long as his doctrine is pure, he may join what sect he pleases, or even set up one for himself. The exercise of such a privilege I have heard some people call “ Christian Liberty.” J. (smiling).— I understand you,

Sir : but

you

shall hear me use the words in this improper sense no more. The true liberty wherewith Christ has made us free, is theirs alone, who in reverencing His ministers, walk in the way of His commandments. Admitting, as I now do, the force of what you have said ; convinced, as I now am, that the Church of England is the Apostolic Church of Christ, established by our Lord Himself, I cannot but see that their sin is indeed great, who wilfully reject and despise it.

Dr.-Such persons would do well to consider our Saviour's words to those Ministers whose successors they slight. “He that despiseth you, despiseth Me; and he that despiseth Me, despiseth Him that sent Me." (Luke x. 16.)

J.-They would indeed, Sir; and I thank God that you have shown me the meaning of this text before I had completely separated myself from the Church to which my Saviour has commanded me to belong. God knows, I meant to do no such thing when first my curiosity led me to the meeting,

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