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The Church of England Episcopal in its Government.
The Episcopacy of the Holy Scriptures established in the Epistles of St. Paul to Timothy and Titus, 32.—The Apostolica! origin of Episcopacy; how much insisted upon by ancient and modern Church writers ; and wherein--the continuing and abiding portions of their office-Bishops are successors of the Apostles, 32, 33.-Proofs of ancient British Episcopacy from the Council of Arles, in the time of Constantine the Great; and from the latter conference of the British clergy with Augustine, the Roman missionary, 33, 34.
That the Church of Christ has been episcopal in its government, even from the Apostles' times, 31 is evident to those who consider the Epistles of St. Paul addressed to Timothy and Titus. In the century succeeding that of the Apostles, 32 « Tertullian," observes Stillingfleet, “puts the proof of apostolical churches upon the succession of bishops from the Apostles, which were a senseless way of proceeding, unless it were taken for granted, that wherever the Apostles planted Churches, they appointed bishops to take of them.” Tertullian, in his work on Prescription, here referred to by Stillingfleet, challenges his opponents of the newly risen Heretics ;
33 “ Let them shew," says he, “the Original of their Churches, that their first bishop had either some apostle, or some apostolical man, living in the time of the Apostles, for his author, or immediate predecessor." Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, almost contemporary with Ter. tullian, observes, in his epistle to Cornelius, Bishop of
•31 Morton's Episcopacy of the Church of England justified to be Apostolical, IV., iii., 78, &c. London, 1670. 3: Stillingfleet, II., 116, quotes Tertullian de Præscript., XXXII.
*3 For the original Latin of Tertullian and Cyprian, see Potter's Discourse of Church Government, 168, note*; 179, note t.
Rome ; “We ought to labour, and employ diligence, in order to obtain that unity, which is derived from our Lord, through the Apostles to us, their successors.” 34 The bishops then upon the departure or death of the apostles became “ their successors," as learned Bishop Pearson remarks, in the continuing and abiding portions of their office ;-in the ruling of the Church, and in ordaining and appointing the various orders of men for its service. 35 And if, from the loss of our Church records, arising from political changes, and various persecutions, we cannot, in Britain, trace up the Episcopal succession to the Apostolic times, yet immediately the Church had breathed from the lengthened persecution of Diocletian, and Constantine had summoned the first general Western Council, at Arles, in Gaul, we have sufficient proof, taken in conjunction with the universality of Episcopal Government, that the British Church had, from its origin, agreed with 36 « the Church," in the words of Irenæus, " diffused over the whole earth.” For in this general Council of Arles, we have, as subscribing to its Canons :
37 Eborius, Bishop of York,
Restitutus, Bishop of London,
Adelfius, Bishop of Caerleon. 38 Other councils, foreign and domestic, might be adduced to the same effect ; but this is unnecessary, especially * when we shall have the concessions of Salmasius and Blondel, when pleading for parity in matters of Church government.
Let it then suffice
34 Pearsonii Oper. Posthum. De Successione, &c., IX., iii., 72, 73, &c., compared with ix., 82-84. Londini, 1688. Barrow's Treatise on the Pope's Supremacy, III., $7—10, 116-118. London, 1680.
* Stillingfleet, ibid.
34 Irenæus adv. Hæres, I., X., 48, 49. Paris, 1710. Stillingfleet's Rational Account of the Grounds of the Protestant Reli. gion, II., i., in his Works, IV., 288.
- Stillingfleet's Orig. Britan., or the Antiq. of the British Churches, II., 112-115.
38 Ibid., Index, under Council, David. . In this Tract, 40.
to refer to the Anglo-Saxon Church historian, Bede, for further proof, if needed, of the Episcopal Church of Britain ; 39 particularly in the latter conference held with Augustine, as already noticed.
The Church of England Scriptural in its Belief. Holy Scripture, the Rule of Faith, according to the VI.th Article of Religion, 35.—Proof of the orthodox Faith of our ancient British Church, from Bede, the Anglo-Saxon Church writer; and from Athanasius, Jerome, and Chrysostome, eminent members of the ancient Church, 35.–The agreement of the Anglo-Saxon Church with the reformed Church of England, declared from Bede, 36.-The doctrine of the Church of England much corrupted in the time of Wiclif, 36.— The power of the Roman Bishop disowned under Henry VIII. Further Reformation under Edward VI. and Elizabeth, 36, 37.
Wherein, as a conclusion arising from these Sections, the Claims of the Church of England, in opposition to Popery and Dissent, are considered and asserted.
1. As to Popery, 37.-The Ancient British Church independent of the Church of Rome, evident from Bede's Church History, 37.-The rights of the Anglo-Saxon Church maintained in the case of Wilfrid, 38.- King Henry II.'s remarkable assertion, 38. The tyranny, extortion, and unscriptural doctrines of the Roman Church demanded the Reformation in England, 38, 39.
2. As to Dissent, 39.—The ancient British Church, as a portion of the Universal Church, Episcopal, 40: _Hooker on Episcopacy, 40.-The Confessions of the learned Presbyterians, Salmasius and Blondel, in favour of Episcopacy, 40, 41.-Luther, Melancthon, and Calvin, desirous of Episcopacy, 41. – Calvin's definition of a Church, 41.-The Faith and Practice of the Church of England, 41, 42. Calvin on the Unity of the Church, 42.- The peculiar tenet of the Anabaptists refuted, 42, Dissent from the Church of England unscriptural, and particularly opposed to the Unity of the Church ; while Communion with the Roman Church is, upon scriptural grounds, impossible ; from her tyranny, errors, and Idolatry, 42, 43.-Calvin's proofs, 43.
39 See in this Tract, 21, 22.
-Romish Tyranny, Errors, and Idolatry exhibited, 43, 44.Hammond on the Reformation of the Church of England, 44,Deuteronomy iv. 8 ; vi. 7, 44. That the Church of England is scriptural in its belief, the Sixth of our Articles of Religion, attached to the Book of Common Prayer, will sufficiently declare : “ 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.”
But it is desirable to glance at this assertion concerning our Church from the earliest times, as far as the history of those times will permit. Bede, " saith as little as he well could that tended to the honour of the British Churches,” tells us, Britons preserved the faith whole and inviolate, with an unbroken peace," until the persecution of Diocletian; in which, * as we have seen, Alban and many others underwent martyrdom. And though in Britain, as elsewhere, Arianism and Pelagianism made inroads, 42 yet, as we have also seen, Athanasius particularly notices the Britannic Churches as “ adhering to the Nicene Faith ;” and both St. Jerome and St. Chrysostome mention “ their agreeing with the other Churches in the true faith.” If we advance to the time of the mission of Augustine from Rome, 43. find, from Bede, that he invited the co-operation of the British bishops and clergy in preaching the Gospel with him to the Anglo-Saxons ;-a sure proof that he esteemed their belief to be orthodox. And though, through the increasing darkness of succeeding cen
41 66 The
40 Stillingfleet, II., 102. Usser, VIII., 103.
42 See the places of Athanasius, Jerome, and Chrysostome in Stillingfleet, IV., 258, and notes, compared with this Tract, 14, 15. 43 See in this Tract, 21, 22.
turies, error was, by degrees, making its way in the Anglo-Saxon Church, yet 43 * Bede, A.D. 701, the principal writer of those times, will assure us that the Scriptures are the rule of faith ; that the Canon of Scripture is that of the Reformed, and not of the Roman Church; that prayer should be addressed to God alone ; that images should not be worshipped ; that the Sacraments are two only in number ; and, contrary to the Romish doctrine of Transubstantiation, that our Lord Jesus Christ gave to his disciples, at his last Supper, "the figure of his holy body and blood.”
After the overthrow of the Anglo-Saxon rule, under William the Norman, A.D. 1066, the scriptural doetrine of the English Church became more seriously affected, insomuch that, 44 in the condemnation of the doctrines of John Wiclif, in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, we may see the doctrines of the Bible, held in the purer ages of the Church, were opposed, beclouded, and overwhelmed, by those 45 who made “the Word of God of none effect through " their “ tradition.”
46 But in the very outset of the Reformation, A.). 1530, and shortly after, under Henry VIII., the usurped jurisdiction of the Roman Bishop was first denied by the Convocations of the Clergy, and the two Universities ; and its concurrent evils and extortions abolished ; for they had replied to the King's inquiry, that “ The Bishop of Rome had not any
43 • Birckbeck's Protestant Evidence ; Century, viü. 250—963, London, 1657. Pantin's Novelty of Popery, I. 13, II. 13: Lobdon, 1837. Cosin's Scholastical History of the Canon of Scrip ture, cvi. 147 : London, 1657.
** James's Apologie for John Wickliffe, shewing his conformitie with the now Church of England, &c. : Oxford, 1608 ; compiled for the most part from Wiclif's Work, De Veritate Scripturæ-Of the Truth of the Scripture. Wilkins' Concilia Magnæ Britanniæ et Hiberniæ, III.: Londini, 1737, in the Indes, under Wycliffe.
45 Matihew xv. 6 ; Mark vii. 13.