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The church of England, if you duly weigh it, seems evidently constituted upon the congregational, or independent plau. It is from the peo-, ple, in other words, from the king and parliament, in whom the people have lodged their power,) that all the officers in this church receive their whole authority, and are directed how to act. In all their ordinations, jurisdictions, ministrations, its bishops and priests act entirely by an authority committed to them by the civil magis trate, which he received originally from the people. So that, as the people by their representatives, are supposed to have authorised, directed, and appointed them to act, sp and so only, are all the archbishops, bishops, and priests in this church to officiate, and discharge their several functions therein. And, if they presume to transgress the bounds which the people, by their representatives, have set them, and to officiate otherwise, than in the form and manner prescribed, their ministrations are illegal, and of no authority in this church.
This, Sir, (I appeal to all who know our constitution,) is the real and true nature of your boasted episcopal ordination as it now stands in our church. It is an ordination performed by a civil officer, i. e. by one who officiates only by an authority derived to him from the civil magistrate, and the legality of whose administrations, and their efficacy in this church, depend entirely upon his observing the manner and forms which the ma. gistrate hath enjoined. Ordinations, then, in the church of England, if traced to their proper origin and rightly considered, are, in truth, nothing but merely civil, or popular ordinations.
4 cording to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ, apd the DUB 5 ORDER of this REALM?" Note; it is not sufficient to make him a minister in this
church, that he is called according to the will or institution of Jesus Christ, if he be not also called according to the DUE ORDER of this REALM.
Nor let it be here replied, -That these bishops, who, by the laws of England, are empowered to ordain, are at the same time to be considered as successors of the apostles, and as having received power of ordination from these founders of the christian church by an uninterrupted lineal descent. For the constitution and law of England knows nothing at all of this : it rests not this power, which it commits to its bishops upon any such lineal succession or descent; (which it knows to be a rope of sand, a ridiculous chimera, a thing which no man upon earth is able to make out.) No: but it considers the king, vested (by act of parliament, or the suffrage of the people) with a fullness of all power ecclesiastical in these realms, as empowering and authorising bishops to ordain. This power of ordination was once delegated to Cromwell, a layman, as vicegerent to the king: and, by the constitution and law of England, this layman had then as much authority to ordain as any bishop in the realm; and any priest, whom he had ordained, would have been as much a minister in the church of England, and his ministrations as valid, as if all the bishops of the realm had laid their hands on his head. * But,
4. The only possible way of avoiding this difficulty is recurring to the wretched refuge of popish ordinations, and deriving the validity of your orders and ministrations, and your powers of ordination from the idolatrous church of Rome. If you derive them not from the civil magistrate, you must derive them from popish bishops, A desperate refuge this! attended with a train of monstrous absurdities ! all which you
* Heath and Day, the bishops of Worcester and Chichester, were deprived of their bishoprics by a court of delegates, who were all laymen. Vide Echard's Hist: of Eng. p. 310,
resolutely defend rather than admit the orders of foreign protestant divines, and the regularity of their ministrations.
That popery is an undoubted fundamental subversion of the whole scheme of christianity, that it is that apostacy from the christian faith, described by St. Paul, 1 Tim. iv. 1, 2, 3.-The man of sin and the son of perdition, sitting in the temple (or church) of God, opposing and exalting himself above all that is called God, foretold by the Holy Spirit, i Thess. ii. 3, 4.--and that the church of Rome is represented by the prophetic spirit in the Revelation of St. John, as an adulterous and bloody woman, who hath broken the marriage-covenant that espoused her to Christ, and is fallen into a state of abominable and open lewdness, multiplying her fornications; and instead of bringing forth and cherishing a faithful seed to the Redeemer, breathes out horrid threatenings and persecutions against them, makes war with the saints, destroys them from the earth, and is drunk with their blood; that the papacy, or church of Rome, is thus described by the Holy Spirit, is readily acknowledged by all protestant divines, those even of the church of England not excepted. How astonishing then is it to see, that from this idolatrous apostate church, you derive by ordination your spiritual and sacerdotal powers, and boast that you can trace from her by an uninterrupted line, your ecclesiastical descent. Strange! that, without shame, you declare yourselves before the world, the offspring of this "filthy, withered, old harlot," as your church expressly calls her; and that you rest the validity of your ordinations and holy offices in Christ's church upon their transmission to you from this antichristian and false church, even at the very, time that you acknowledge, that, for a thousand years pust, it has been so far from having the nature of the true church, that nothing can be more. What absurdities are here! That, which is no true church, nor has been any thing like it for a thousand years past, yet conveys true, regular, church offices and powers! An anti-apostolic church imparting genuine apostolic orders! The synagogue of Satan becoming the sacred repository, where the power of ordination to boly offices in Christ's church, for more than ten centu. ries, principally rested, and was almost only lọ be found! The church of Rome, which, by apostacy, hath cut itself off from the body of Christ, hath, nevertheless, his Spirit and authority dwelling in it, and is commissioned by Christ to examine, ordain, and send minister's into bis church for the edifying of his body and perfecting his saints! How marvellous and transcendent in every
view is this! “But, harlot as she is (you say) she may bring forth children, as well as a virtuous matron, and « soinetimes children far better than himself." * Poor consolation this! For, the children she brings forth in this state of her divorcement, must be born of fornication, a spurious and corrupt race.
This, Sir, is that church of Rome whom you own as your mother, and from whom you claim by ordination, to be ecclesiastically sprung; and the sons of this vile and detestable prostitute you acknowledge as your brethren, duly born into the church; ordained, because episcopally, in the valid and right manner; whereas, the glorious company of foreign reformed churches, together with the church of Scotland, and the dissenting ministers at home, you utterly disown as ecclesiastical brethren, and affirm,"That, having re“nounced episcopacy, and their ordination being “ irregular, their communion can neither be law“ ful nor safe.” Where, alas ! is the decency,
• II. Defence, page 52.
the consistency, and common sense, to say nothing of the christianity or charity, of this illiberal assertion ?
The church of Rome, by the XXIXth article of the church of England, cannot be a part of the true visible church of Christ; for, this it thus defines, “ A congregation of faithful men, in which “ the pure word of God is preached, and the sa“ craments be duly administered according to “ Christ's ordinance, in all those things that of
necessity are requisite to the same.” But, do you not acknowledge that the pure word of God is so far from being preached in the Romish church, that it is there corrupted by most erroneous and abominable traditions, idolatrous rites, and blasphemous fables, as your XXX Ist article most righteously styles them? Do you not confess the
wine to be an essential part of the Lord's supper? Is that sacrament then duly administered according to Christ's ordinance, in the church where the cup is taken from the laity?
In short, “ If blasphemies against God, and " tyranny over men; if defacing the ideas of
Deity, and corrupting the principles of moral “ honesty and virtue; if subverting the founda“ tion of natural religion, and acting directly “counter to the spirit and design, and over
throwing the essential articles of the christian « faith; if the most avowed and bold affronts “ offered to heaven, and the most bloody and “ brutal outrages executed on the best of men ; “ if all these, I say, are sufficient to exclude men s from being a part of the truly catholic aposto“ lic church, the Romanists can certainly have
no pretences to it."
The church of Rome, therefore, having, by her abominable immoralities, blasphemies, and idolatries, excommunicated and cut herself off from the body of Christ, she cannot have his spirit and power still dwelling in her; conse