« PoprzedniaDalej »
the Sacraments and the Discipline of Christ, as the Lord hath commanded. To oppose all such erroneous and strange Doctrines as are contrary to God's Word. To use both publick and private Admonitions and Exhortations as well to the Sick as to the Whole within his Cure, as Need shall require, and Occasion shall be given. To offer up the Prayers in the publick Asemblies. To maintain Quietness, and Peace, and Love among all Christian People, especially among those committed to his Charge. To faThion and frame himself and Family according to the Doctrine of Cbrift ; and to make himself and them Examples to the Flock he feeds. To . exercise all these Duties with Diligence and Fidelity, and to forsake and set aside (as much as may be, all worldly Cares and Studies ; since the Employment of his Function is sufficient to engage all his Time and all his Thoughts. The facerdotal Powers none must undertake, but such as have received their Commission from Bishops, who only have Authority to send Ministers inco the Lord's Vineyard.
Q. What Qualifications are required in a Priest, or Minister of the Gospel, to enable him to discharge his Duty?
A. A thorough Knowledge of the whole Will of God, since it is the Priest's Lips must preserve Knowledge ; and except they have it themselves how can they communicate it to others ? Faithfulness in the Instruction of those that are committed to their Care, that they may deliver no, thing for the Will of God, but what is contained within the Bounds of their Commiffion, and that they may conceal nothing that is necessary for the People to believe and practise ; and this,
though it contradicts the Prejudices of fome, and the corrupt and worldly Maxims of others. For by this particular Application to the Consciences of Men, according to their Wants and Necellities, it will be plain they consult not so much what will please them, as what will do them good. Great Prudence in all their Conduct; which, tho' it will not permit them to neglect any Part of their Duty, yet it implies the performing it in such a Manner as may render Instructions and Persuasions most effectual, by taking the most convenient Seafons, and teaching Things of prefent Use, and by avoiding all unnecessary Provocations. A faithful Servant doth what he is commanded, and a wise Servant doth it in the most effectual Manner. But above all, exemplary Holiness, which is necessary not only for his own Salvation, but to make all his Endeavours for the Salvation of others effectual.
Q. What Care bath the Church of England taken, that unfit Persons Mould not be admitted to Holy Orders?
A. Besides the solemn Profession of the Candidates in the Presence of God, that they think themselves truly called according to the Will of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Church requires that the Bishops be well assured, either by their own Knowledge, or by the Testimonials of credible Persons, that the Candidates be Men of good Lives, and free from all noted Crimes, as well as of fufficient Learning for the Discharge of
their Office. To this End it is wisely enjoined, Can. 34. that the Candidates shall bring fufficient Testi
monials of their fober Life, from such as have known and lived near them for three Years before. Moreover, they are to undergo the Trial
and Examination of the Arch-deacon, who is to assure the Bishop he thinks them apt and meet, both for Learning and godly Conversation. And yet, to prevent any scandalous Intruders, the Bishop, betore he gives them their Commission, makes a publick Application to the Congregation, to enquire whether they know any Impediment, why the Persons presented should not be ordained; and if any Crime is objected against any one, the Bishop is to delay giving him Orders till he has cleared himself. And, as a farther Security in this Matter, if a Bishop shall Can. 35. be convicted of any culpable Neglect in admiting Candidates, he shall be suspended by the Archbishop of the Province from conferring Orders for two Years. It is to be heartily wished, that all Perfons concerned would be very conscientious in signing Testimonials, that this admirable Method might not be rendered ineffectual by an ill-timed Complaisance ; for which they must severely answer at the dreadful Tribunal of God; since eminent Hands may mislead a Bishop the best disposed to do his Office.
Q. What is the Office of a Bishop?
A. The Office of a Bishop contains and includes in it all the Sacerdotal Powers; and by consequence the Powers of the inferior Orders; as, to dispose of the Church's Alms, to preach; to pray, to adminifter the holy Sacraments, and absolve Penitents. And moreover contains peculiarly the Power of confecrating Bishops to fucceed them in vacant Sees, and of ordaining those inferior Officers, Presbyters and Deacons, and of confirming those that renew the folemn Vow, that was made in their Names at their Baptism. It hath the inherent Right of administring the I
Censures of the Church, and the Power of ruling and governing it, and providing for its Welfare by good Laws.
Q. How were the Bishops called in the Apofto
lical Age ? Euseb. lib. A. Those whom we now call Bishops, were 1. c. 12. in the first Age of the Church styled Apostles, Phil.2.25. and by St. John in the Revelation, Angels. And 2 Cor. 8.
the Words Bishop and Presbyter in the same Age Gal
. 1.19. were used often promiscuously to denominate Rev. 2.
the same Order ; and generally that which we now call the Order of Priests. But in the fucceeding Age, and that whilst St. John was alive, the Governors of the Church abstained from the Name of Apostles, and were contented with that of Bishops; and then the second Order were called altogether Presbyters. And that the Title of Bishop was appropriated thenceforward to those that had the Power of Ordaining, Confirming, and Governing, is plain from the Ecclefiaftical Writers of that Age. So that it is not so much the Name as the distinct Powers which are contended for ; of which there will be an Account given on the next Season of these Ember Fasts.
Q. What do you mean by an Archbishop ?
A. When Christianity began to spread over the Provinces of the Roman Empire, the Bishops of leffer Cities were subordinate to those of the greater, after the Method of the Civil Government; which chief Bishop was originally styled the first Bishop or Primate, and in the following Ages Metropolitan and Archbishop; who was not fuperior to other Bishops in Order, but only in Jurisdiction. All learned Men agree that Metropolitans were of very great Antiquity,
and some of an eminent Character have thought them of Apoftolical Institution, and that Timotby and Titus were such. The Privileges that belong to these chief Governors of the Church, are, to confirm the Elections and Consecrations of all Bishops in their Provinces; to summon the Bijbops in their Provinces to hold Synods under them; to enquire into the Manners and Opinions of the Bishops under their Jurisdiction, and to censure with Suspension or Deprivation, according to the Heinousness of the Crime; and lastly to hear and determine Causes between contending Bilhops, and to interpofe their Authority in all Affairs of their Provinces which are of great Moment.
Q. What Solemnity was anciently used in admitting Men into holy Orders ?
A. According to primitive Practice, Men: were admitted Officers in the Church of Christ Mat.9.38. by Fafling, Prayer, and Imposition of Hands. Our 10. 1. Saviour directed his Disciples to pray, immediately before he created them Apostles; and Luke 6. doth himself retire to pray to God for Success 1 2. in a Matter of such great Importance. In this Manner did the Apostles convey the spiritual Powers they received from their Ma-Aas 6. 6. ster; and the Custom was observed regularly in!3:2, 3.
1 Tim. 4. the succeeding Ages of the Church; neither is
14. it reasonable that Men should be admitted to so honourable an Office as the Care of Souls, without fome folemn Investiture, when no Office of Trust is conveyed without some Form of Creation
Q. What may we learn from the Institution of these several Orders in Chriit's Churcb? A. To be thankful to God for his great Good