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that early period, when the Church was still groaning under the iron rod of persecution-all this shows us, as in a faithful mirror, the infirmities of poor human nature; and the ease with which the demon of ambitious self-aggrandizement, can appear to be an angel of light. And yet many of these men were unquestionably eminent for piety and zeal; nor do I doubt their sincerity in believing that their supremacy over the Church, if once established, would tend powerfully to preserve it in unity and peace. But they erred in imagining that any human invention could be a real improvement upon the system of God, established by the inspired apostles; and therefore they stand as a warning to the Church not to place confidence in man, however exalted in station or eminent in character. There is nothing infallible, but the Word of God.

In the second place, my brethren, we may here learn a lesson of admiring confidence in the Providence of the Almighty Ruler, that the very writings of the primitive fathers should be handed down to us by the Church of Rome herself, not indeed in their perfect integrity and purity, for many of their own writers acknowledge that they have been grievously interpolated, but yet so far genuine, as to afford us the clearest proof of the state of the primitive Church, and the most satisfactory evidence that its original government was altogether changed into a totally opposite system; the vast republic of the Catholic Church (see Laud's Conf. with Fisher, 166) converted into a stupendous monarchy-the various dioceses with their bishops, once equal and independent, debased into inferior jurisdictions, subject to the arbitrary dominion of a single head—so that no two things bearing the same name can be more different, than the free and moderate episcopacy of the time of Cyprian, and the despotism which afterwards super. seded it in the supremacy of the pope of Rome, True indeed it is, that these writings of the fathers afford abundant material in support of the Roman doctrines, after the first four cen

turies passed away. True likewise, that an ingenious application of certain passages in the earlier fathers can be made to look like Romanism, as you have doubtless perceived, my brethren, in the course of these lectures. But we have great reason to be thankful, that a thorough examination of these primitive witnesses will be rewarded by so much that is pure and Scriptural; and that in this way, the very authorities to which the Church of Rome appeals in support of error, can be made tributary to the establishment of truth.

Lastly, we should surely rejoice in the especial goodness and mercy of God, that after centuries of darkness and delusion, our forefathers were enabled to regain so happily the faithful likeness of the ancient Church of Christ, and perpetuate it in the leading doctrines, government, and worship of the Church of England. For you perceive, beloved brethren, that every examination we make into the authority of Scripture, the great rule of faith, and into the interpretations and practice of primitive Christianity, only serves to corroborate, more and more, the truth and correctness of her religious principles. Those principles, freed from every political admixture, have descended to us, and form the most precious part of the many privileges derived from our father-land. May we cherish the doctrines thus inherited, with increasing devotion. May we, in our turn, hold up the lamp of sacred instruction, to all who need its blessed light. May we watch over our own ways, under the humbling conviction, that our responsibility before Christ must be in proportion to our advantages; and earnestly seek that grace, through which alone we can hope that our labour will not be in vain. And may we live to see the day, when the Church of Rome, which we desire to love notwithstanding all her errors, shall adopt the writings of those fathers which she professes to venerate, and find her way back again to the primitive pattern of apostolic truth and order.

LECTURE VIII.

JOHN, Xviii. 36.—Jesus answered; my kingdom is not of this world.

OUR two last discourses, my brethren, were occupied by that cardinal doctrine of the Church of Rome, which asserts

the supremacy of the pope, as the vicegerent of Christ himself, the head of the whole Church, at once the centre of unity and the fountain of authority; and makes this proposition an article of faith, necessary to every man's salvation. The first of these two lectures was devoted to the examination of the Scriptural evidence, on which the advocates of Roman supremacy rely; and the second, to the testimony of the earlier fathers. We proved, as I trust, conclusively, that the claims of this universal monarchy over the Church universal, were contrary to the plain and repeated testimonies of the sacred volume; and further, that the texts to which its advocates were accustomed to appeal, were interpreted by the fathers, not according to the Roman doctrine, but according to our own. We stated that the first germ of the papacy was indeed to be found very early, in the history of the attempts made by the bishops of Rome to govern the other bishops with a high hand. We showed that their pretensions grew out of the superior wealth and influence of the great metropolis, ancient Rome, which was, at the time when Christianity found a place within it, and for several centuries afterwards, the acknowledged mistress. city of the world. And we promised, in the present lecture, to set forth the rise, progress and extent of the papal dominion,

prior to the Reformation, and the condition in which it stands at the present day. To these topics I shall now invite your attention, and shall state those facts only which the unquestionable authorities of the Church of Rome herself will fully justify. You will then be enabled to see the striking contrast between the doctrine of the papacy, and the declaration of our blessed Saviour in the text, which I have set down in the words of the Roman Catholic version, called the Doway Bible: "Jesus answered, my kingdom is not of this world." For you will behold the pope claiming a kingdom over the whole earth, wielding his authority over all other monarchs, not only becoming a temporal prince in his own dominions, but bringing every other European sovereign in homage to his feet.

To show the progress of this extraordinary history the more clearly, I shall state first, the condition of papal power between the beginning of the 4th and the 8th century; secondly, its condition from the 8th to the 16th century, which was the period of the Reformation; and thirdly, its condition from that time to the present: all of which will be important to those who desire to estimate correctly the character of this fundamental article of the Roman Catholic faith.

At the time when Constantine the great became a convert to Christianity, which was about the year of our Lord 312, the Roman empire might be said to embrace the whole civilized world. In its political division, it included several extensive districts, which were then called dioceses, and the emperor conformed the government of the Church to the same limits. The chief political ruler of each of these large dioceses was called Exarch, and the chief ecclesiastical ruler was the Patriarch. Every patriarchate contained several provinces, and the chief bishop of a province was called the metropolitan. Every province contained several parishes, or, as we now call them, dioceses, over each of which a bishop presided, under whom were the inferior clergy. Amongst all these there was a regu

lar system of subordination, gradually rising from the lowest ecclesiastic to the patriarch. But amongst the patriarchs there was no subordination, for all were equally supreme. The only distinction among them was the order of honour, or precedence, derived from the customary respect paid to their respective sees; and the highest honour was naturally and properly accorded to the patriarch of Rome, because Rome was the imperial residence, the mistress city of the whole.

This condition of the government of the Church, brethren, as you will at once perceive, was partly of apostolic and partly of human authority. The original three orders of the ministry, the bishops, priests, and deacons, continued to be the only orders acknowledged universally as of indispensable obligation. To these the Church by degrees appended others. The subdeacon, the reader, the door-keeper, the acolyth, were below the order of deacon, and were designed to assist in the various offices of the house of God. The archdeacon, and archpriest or dean, were posts of distinction among the deacons and priests, calculated to aid the bishop in the discharge of his duties; and the metropolitan or archbishop, and the patriarch, were distinctions amongst the bishops themselves, intended to be useful auxiliaries in the work of government. All these, however, were of simply human device, and the higher ranks proved, in the end, liable not only to the abuses which pollute even the ordinances of God when ministered by man's infirmity, but to those peculiar dangers of ambition and pride, which belong, more or less, to every scheme of mortal invention, in the arduous and tempting field of authority and power.

It was not long after his conversion to Christianity, before the emperor Constantine formed the plan of transferring his imperial residence to that celebrated city which bears his name, Constantinople. Raised by the immense treasures which he had at his command, to a surpassing height of grandeur, and made the seat of one of the great patriarchates, it

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