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and this, of course, not controversially. But as the volume may fall into the hands of some who are anxious to enquire more fully into the mind of the Church, as to some statements advanced in it, the author has ventured to prefix, as the most convenient method of meeting such enquiry, a short account of what seems to be the relation in which the Church stands, to the schisms by which she is encompassed.
The Church of England, among her many oppressions at the present time, seems to labour under none greater than that which arises from mistaken views of her character and position. She is called “a Protestant Church,” or “the Protestant Church,” or, “a part of the Protestant Church," as circumstances require : the persons who, often with the most honest intentions, use these terms, entirely forgetting or omitting to bring forward, that the Church of England is essentially Catholic, accidentally Protestant, and as such is a reformed Church, but in no way connected with the Continental
reformations, or with their off-shoots in Scotland, Ireland, and England : inasmuch as the Continental reformations and their off-shoots are essentially Protestant, not Catholic. And the use made of the mistaken assumption, that the Church of England is (essentially) Protestant, is to construct the following argument, namely, All Protestant Churches ought to unite among themselves, and make common cause against Rome: the Church of England, the Presbyterian Kirk of Scotland, the Synod of Ulster, the Dissenting Societies in the three kingdoms, are Protestant Churches, therefore they ought to unite among themselves and make common cause against Rome. In order to refute this formally correct argument, and show the falsity of its conclusion, the assumption is here denied ; for the Church of England is not a Protestant Church (essentially), and the other Churches (so called) are destitute of that which is essential to the existence of any branch of the Church of Christ, Apostolical Ordination ; and on other points do not teach Catholic doctrine. The first part then of the proof which will now be shortly laid before the reader is, that the Church of England is essentially Catholic, but accidentally Protestant.
And first, it should be carefully remembered that she both desires her children to profess belief in “the Holy Catholic Church," the “one Catholic and Apostolic Church,” and nowhere in her Liturgy or formularies speaks of a Protestant Church, or of herself as Protestant. The term Protestant is no more claimed by the Church of England officially (so to speak) than it is by the Church of Rome. But, it
But, it may be said, the Church of England at the Reformation became Protestant nevertheless ; i. e. in such manner as to be on a footing with the foreign Protestant Societies. It will appear, that as she never ceased to call herself Catholic, so every act of hers at the time of her Reformation was to the full as Catholic as at any other. Her Reformers were persons competent to reform, because they were both Apostolically ordained, and had the authority of station in the Church, which entitled them to make changes when necessary. They were not self-commissioned persons, nor Parish-Priests stepping out of their path of duty to reform ; but were the Archbishops, Bishops, and Clergy of the Church, acting in concert with each other, and with the civil power. Convocation assembled, declared change necessary in certain points, and made it.
And in the changes made, no doctrine or discipline was introduced, against which the Catholic Church had at any time protested, or which it had not avowed ; nor was any omitted which it had avowed always and in all places. The same Apostolical ordination was continued without intermission, and was declared to have been always "in Christ's Church ;” the Church plainly leaving it to be understood, that any Church (so called) which had not the three Apostolical orders, was not to be held a part of Christ's One Catholic and Apostolic Church. And she has since vigilantly
but calmly preserved this " foundation of all Christian Communion.”
The principal subjects on which the Church of England teaches Catholic doctrine, and other Protestant Churches (so called) teach differently, are these : Apostolical succession, (just mentioned as involving discipline also,)Baptism, Confirmation, the Eucharist, the Relation of the Sacraments to other parts of Christian duty and life, and the power of Absolution.
Of Baptism, the Church teaches, that the receiver of that Holy Sacrament is
Regenerate and grafted into the body of Christ's Church ?;" that it is “ a death unto sin, and a new birth unto righteousness : for, being by nature born in sin, and the children of wrath, we are hereby made the children of grace 2.
Of Confirmation, she declares, that “there shall none be admitted to the Holy Communion until such time as he be confirmed, or be ready and desirous to be confirmed ::" and the Bishop, (by whom Baptismal Office.
? Catechism. 3 Rubric to Confirmation Office.