« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
had been accustomed to such a constitution since the days of Moses. The Nethinim were subordinate to the Levites, the Levites to the Priests, the Priests to those twenty-four who were ChiefPriests, and they all to the High-Priest. So we have seen, in the Christian Church, Deacons subordinate to Elders or Priests, Priests to Bishops, and them all to the Apostles, and the Universal Head, even Jesus Christ. When the Bishops and Priests were confounded, they all had an equal power in administering the Word and Sacraments. When the distinction was made between them, they all retained this same power ; but the Bishops had an additional authority, which the Elders or Priests never had—authority to ordain other Ministers set apart for the service of Christ, to set in order all things that were wanting, to rebuke the Elders who erred. We find them Pastors of Pastors. We have seen Jesus Christ, the great Head of the Church, choosing the first Ministers in it; we have seen the Holy Ghost appointing others ; the Apostles ordaining more. son, calling himself a believer in Jesus Christ, has ever denied that the Apostles acted under the guidance of the Holy Spirit ? No one indeed can do so without rejecting Scripture altogether. Why then should any one, who professes to admit Scripture, refuse to admit the Apostolical constitution of the Church, and to recognize the three orders of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons ? It is not on
any human authority, not even on the testimony of those who lived with the Apostles, that we assert this was the constitution of the primitive Church of Christ—this was his Apostolical Church, which he promised to be with even “ until the end of the world.”
It were difficult to say why this constitution was ever questioned, did we not know that in every age there have been found men of proud and restless spirit, impatient of all authority, save that exercised by themselves. These were they against whom the Apostle warns Timothy, “the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears ; and they shall be turned unto fables."
Although, however, we do not found our belief upon their writings, we gladly receive the testimony of the ancient fathers, and others. This testimony gives us the most positive truth that for one thousand eight hundred years, from the very beginning to this day, the Church of Christ has been governed by Bishops, having permanent superiority, and ruling power over other Ministers of the Word and Sacraments, who are ordained to such office by them. In the times of the Apostles —in the times of the early Fathers, no one took this “honour of the Ministry upon himself; he
2 Tim. iv. 3.
was called of God, as was Aaron," and ordained by a Bishop by the imposition of hands. St. Cyprian says, A. C. 254, “ Ecclesia est in Episcopo" -'the outward being of a Church consists in the having of a Bishop.' When certain persons, in the second century, boasted they held the same things which they had received of such as lived with the Apostles themselves, Tertullian, as quoted by Hooker, thus spoke of them; “Let them, therefore, show the beginnings of their Churches; let them recite their Bishops one by one, each in such sort succeeding other, that the first Bishop of them have had for his author and predecessor some Apostle, or, at least, some Apostolical person who persevered with the Apostles. For so Apostolical Churches are wont to bring forth the evidence of their estates. So doth the Church of Smyrna having Polycarp, whom John did ordain.” And so does the Church of England having Linus, whom, according to Irenæus, St. Peter and St. Paul did consecrate Bishop of Rome. For through the Church of Rome we trace what we, by the blessing of God, boast to be our uninterrupted Apostolical succession.
The first connection of the Church in England with that in Rome, was in the year 597, when Augustine was sent from Rome and consecrated Archbishop of Canterbury. A Church had, however, existed long before in our Ísland, and Episcopacy in that Church. For we read of three British Bishops present at the Council of Ariminum, in the year 359 ; but as history does not give us sure information from what particular Apostle, or Apostolical person they derived their orders, we now trace our Apostolical succession in an unbroken line up to Augustine, and from him again, without interruption, up to Linus, St. Peter and St. Paul'. For nine centuries and a half, the Church in England continued in communion with that in Rome, viz. from the coming of Augustine to the decrees of the famous Council of Trent, and the promulgation of the Creed of Pope Pius IV. Then the Church in England, which long had complained of the corruptions and usurpations of Rome, considered, that as before the Churches of Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Antioch had erred, so now also had the Church of Rome erred ; and that in such a degree as to demand a cessation of communion. There was no act of schism in this. The two Churches, though in
For a list of the Bishops of Rome, see “ History of the Popes, by Archibald Bower, Esq. Vol. vii. Dublin. 1768." He gives a catalogue of the Popes from the foundation of the See of Rome to the time of his writing, marking the year of each Pope's election, and death. See also “Bullarium Romanum novissimum a B. Leone Magno usque ad S. D. N. Urbanum viii. Printed at Rome, by authority. 1638.” Also, Maclaine's Tables, in the last volume of his translation of Mosheim's Eccles. Hist., which also gives a list of the Archbishops of Canterbury from the time of Augustine. For which likewise see, to English History," by Peter Heylyn, D.D.
“ A Help
communion with each other, were distinct members of Christ's one Catholic and Apostolic Church. The Bishops in England, in regard to all their Episcopal functions, remained as they were before; they only denied the pretended superiority of the Bishop of Rome, and refused to admit into their own Church those errors, “pot only in living and manner of ceremonies, but also in matters of faith "," which they knew to be repugnant to Scripture, though declared essential by the sister member of the Universal Church. If either member was then guilty of schism, it was that which declared practices and doctrines necessary for man's salvation, some of which were contrary to, some not contained in, the Word of God. The Church in England did not become any new Church. As a member of Christ's Catholic Church, independent of any other member, she purified her doctrines by the strict text of Scripture. Cranmer, Latimer, Ridley, and the other great reformers, did not build any new edifice; other “ foundation did they not lay than was laid;" there was no new “ corner-stone;" the first story of the building they found unimpaired, and left unaltered and untouched; the ever-living influence of the great Master-Builder had cemented it with mortar so tempered that no lapse of time could in any way affect it; it was formed of Apostles and Martyrs,
1 Article xix.