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it was not Episcopal during the reign points, on which a canonically conseof Constantine ?--whether the Popish crated bishop neither is nor can be Church is not as completely Episcopal called to an account by any human as our own ?-and whether one and all power. Thus, with the bishops, and of these Churches, if we may express with them only, does it rest, to confer ourselves so, have not admitted, and holy orders, to grant licences to preach, do not admit, the authority and use- and to assign to each spiritual person fulness of General Councils ? Perhaps within their jurisdiction the peculiar the Lower House of Convocation may province in which he is to labour; have taken too much upon itself in and for the exercise of this power they many instances; this is by no means are answerable to no man; but there improbable ; but to say that the Pres- are other matters again, on which they byters of an Episcopal Church have no both are, and must be, accountable right to interfere at all in the manage- to the society of which they are offment of ecclesiastical affairs, is surely cers. Hence a bishop is just as liable not warranted by history, or by com- to ecclesiastical censure for the pro
mulgation of heretical opinions, as any Since Episcopacy was first establish- other member of the priesthood; whilst ed, the peculiur duty of a bishop ap- the Church has surely a right to repears to consist in superintending the prove even a bishop, if he abandon general conduct of the clergy of his his diocese, and so neglect his duty. diocese; in seeing that the laws and If it be urged, that in the archbishops canons of the church be strictly obeyed; of provinces is vested the right of suin taking care that no person be ada perintending the conduct of their sufmitted into holy orders who is un- fragans, the difficulty is only pushed sound in the faith, or holds opinions a little farther off; it is not destroyed ; at variance with the authority of that for to whom but to the Church, in a church of which he is the guardian; collective capacity, are the archbishops but the bishops have no right to responsible? determine, of their own authority, It is needless to carry my general what shall, or what shall not, be the argument farther, for the purpose of duty of the Church. The English overthrowing every little objection bishops, for example, could not take which may be raised to the operations away a single article from the thirty- of a Synod in the Church of England. nine, at present subscribed by them. My purpose will be better served, if I selves and the clergy, nor add a single point out at once what the consequencanon to those by which the Church is ces of its abolition have been, and how governed. If, however, any change is completely that act has reduced our to be effected in the peculiar creed, or Church from the condition of a fedepeculiar laws, of a church, it must be rate ally, to that of a mere slave, or done, not by one order of churchmen, dependant upon the state. but by the Church at large. The What would the Kirk of Scotland Church, however, like all numerous say, were the Imperial Parliament, bodies, can only act by its delegates; without deigning to consult the Genor am I disposed to deny, that, in neral Assembly, to pass an act, declasuch cases, not only the inferior cler- ring those orders conferred in the gy, but the laity themselves, have a Scottish Church upon persons who had right to be represented. That the laity not attained to a certain age, should were admitted, even under the Saxon be “thereby null and void in law, as government, and for some time after, if they had never been given ?” What into Ecclesiastical Synods, is a matter would the Kirk of Scotland say, were of historical notoriety; nor can I, the Imperial Parliament, without though as warmly attached to Epis- deigning to consult the General Ascopacy as any member of an Episco- sembly, to pass an act, declaring, that palian Church, see the smallest objec- all persons ordained by an English or tion to the arrangement.
American Presbytery, in strict comStill less is the objection to synod- munion with the Scottish Church, ical assemblies valid, which depends were incapable not only of holding upon the right assumed by these bo- preferment, but of officiating in any dies, of holding even the bishops them- church or chapel within the kingdom selves responsible for their conduct and of Scotland, by virtue of these orders ?” opinions. There are, indeed, certain I am much mistaken in the spirit
which pervades your respectable esta- stitution. But into every society abublishment, if she would not tell the ses will creep; there is no constituted British Parliament, that, in passing body which requires not occasionally such acts, it had assumed to itself a to be new-modelled ; whilst the very degree of authority wbich no merely passage of time is continually creating civil government is capable of exer- new relations, for which some provision cising; for that it is no more in the must be made. How, then, has the power of the civil government to take English Church conducted herself? away orders, after they had been once Why, she has sat still, whilst the civil conferred, than to convey the spiritual Parliament has enacted, of its own au. character, and to confer holy orders. I thority, canon after canon, and disam much mistaken in the spirit which played all the powers of a regular repervades your respectable establish- ligious council. ment, if she would not tell the British There are few of your readers who Parliament, that it belongs no more to can be ignorant, that the Episcopal it to determine what is, and what is Churches of Scotland, and of the Uninot, the canonical age for receiving ted States of America, agree in every orders, than it belongs to the General essential point, both of faith and of Assembly to decide, whether the as- constitution, with the established sessed taxes shall be continued or with Church of England. All three are godrawn from the people of Scotland. verned by bishops, all three subscribe With respect to the act prohibiting the thirty-nine articles, and all three all foreign-ordained clergymen from use the Book of Common Prayer in officiating in an established place of the celebration of public worship. The worship, the Church of Scotland would, consequence is, that the Episcopal I suspect, reply, that as the Parliament churches of Scotland and America reahad no share in conferring the sacred dily admit the validity of English orcharacter, and is notauthorized to judge ders as the Church of England was whether that character has been cam wont, till within little more than twennonically conferred, or otherwise, so it ty years ago, to admit the validity of is not for it to determine any limits, theirs. within which the person ordained shall The Scottish Episcopalians having be incapable of exercising his holy been strenuous Jacobites, fell as such, functions. From a share in the nation- under the hatred of that Whig adal preferment, the Parliament has, in- ministration, which abolished the audeed, a right to exclude whom it will; thority of the English Convocation ; and it may farther require, that a li- they were of course prosecuted, and cence be procured from a civil magis. their places of worship shut up. But trate, before any stranger shall officiate as time passed, and political animosi. in one of the national churches; but ties became softened down, the persefor Parliament to declare such stran- cutions to which they had been subger incapable of officiating by virtue jected were gradually omitted ; till, of his foreign order, and so to require finally, in the year 1792, a bill was that he shall be ordained again, if he carried through both Houses of Parpersist in his desire of officiating in liament, and received the Royal asScotland, is to take upon itself a de sent, by which they were legally deliree of spiritual authority, to which it vered from all farther molestation. Aneither is, nor can be entitled. nexed to that bill, however, is a clause,
Such are the advantages which the which proves how completely the spihurch of Scotland enjoys, by pos- ritual rights of the Church were by essing an Assembly or Synod, capa- this time forgotten; and how little ble of defending its undeniable rights. “ the divine right of Episcopacy, and, Let us look next how the Church of to the valid administration of the SaEngland stands in these respects. From craments, the necessity of Episcopal the period when Convocation ceased to orders, derived by uninterrupted sucact, the Church of England ceased to cession from the Apostles," was esenjoy any of the rights which are en- teemed. joyed by every other spiritual society In the clause just referred to, it is under heaven. She could no longer declared, “ That no person exercising correct abuses, revise canons, institute the function, or assuming the office new regulations, or take any other step and character, of a pastor or minister for the reformation of her general con- of any order, in the Episcopalian com
munion of Scotland, shall be capable shop, though perfectly valid on the of taking any benefice, curacy, or other south side of the Tweed, and authospiritual promotion, within that part rising him who holds them to perform of Great Britain, called England, the every sacred function, cease to be ordominion of Wales, or town of Ber- ders at all, as soon as that river is wick-upon-Tweed, or of officiating in crossed. If the Scottish priest be deany church or chapel within the same, sirous of reading prayers in an Engwhere the liturgy of the Church of lish church, he must persuade some England, as now by law established, English bishop to ordain him anew. is used; unless he shall have been Would such a bill have passed, had lawfully ordained by some bishop of Convocation been in operative existe the Church of England or Ireland.” ence? Let me direct the attention of your To do them justice, the English bireaders somewhat closely to this en- shops opposed with all their might actment.
the progress of the bill just alluded Had the Imperial Parliament con- to. They pointed out, and especially tented itself by declaring, that no Bishop Horsley, that the passing of person ordained by a Scottish bishop such an act was not only destructive shall be capable of holding prefer- of the spiritual character of the priestment, or even a curacy, within the bood, but was tantamount to a comrealm of England, no fault could have plete denial of what had hitherto been been found with it. The temporali- the law of England, both civil and ecties of the Church confessedly come clesiastical,—that holy orders, wherefrom the state ; in one part as much ever conferred by a canonically conseunder the state's management, as is crated bishop, are unquestionably vaany other species of property, whether lid all over the world. But what personal or corporate, in the kingdom. could the bishops do? They no longNay, more; had the Parliament pro- er spoke as the church ; they were hibited every person so ordained from but twenty-seven peers of Parliament; officiating in England, until he should so the bill passed into a law, in spite have received a licence so to do, from of their opposition, and still holds good competent authority, even this, though throughout the empire. savouring a little of Erastianism, By means precisely similar, namely, would not have been pushing the mat- by the force of an act of the civil leter to its full extent. The power," gislature, the clergy of the United says Hales, “ of ecclesiastical order, States, whose Episcopacy was derived is not derived from the Crown; nei- directly from the Church of England, ther is it conceived so to be ; but so are excluded from discharging any clemuch as is not superstitious, is deri- rical office within the realm. Against ved from Christ. Hence it is, that this enactment no dissenting voice was the powers of order are not in them- raised ; indeed, the bishops appear to selves, nor, as to the efficacy of them, have grown, by degrees, so fully aware confined to any diocese or preçinct. of the helpless condition of the Church, But “ the determination of the exer- that they now permit the Parliament cise of those powers of order to time, to regulate her affairs as it may see place, person, manner of performance, best, without any attention being paid is derived from the crown.” Hales to obsolete opinions. is no very high churchman, we all As the measures already described know; but perhaps he is the better bore reference rather to the foreign authority for our purpose, on that ac- relations, if we may so speak, than to count. But the Parliament went far the internal affairs of the church, it beyond this, when it declared in po- may, perhaps, be imagined, that no sitive terms, that no clergyman of the great injury has been committed by Episcopal communion of Scotland this adoption. Now, not to dwell upshould be capable of officiating in an on the fact, that those very measures English church, unless ordained by place the Church of England in the an English or Irish bishop.
light of an excommunicated body, exThere is a direct interference with communicated too by the authority the spiritual character of the priests of the civil power, I proceed to point hood; a positive declaration by the out to your readers some of the encivil government of Great Britain ; actments, which completely justify that orders conferred by a Scottish bi- you Presbyterians in the opinion VOL. XVII.
which you hold of our utter enslave- or misinformation of an English biment, or rather absorption into the shop, one day before the person orstate.
dained had completed his twentyThe reader of ecclesiastical history third or twenty-fourth year, wherein must have noted, that during every consists the spiritual authority of the period, and in every Church, as well bishops, or the spiritual character of during the usurpation of Popery, as the priesthood ? May not the power since the Reformation, some particu- which is acknowledged to be compelar age has been determined by canon, tent to the annihilation of that spiriprevious to which no layman shall be tual character, claim, with the most admitted into holy orders. In the re- perfect consistency, the sole right to formed Church of England and Ire- confer it on whomsoever it will, withland, a dispensing power was wont to out the interposition of any bishop at be vested in the archbishops of pro- all? We speak with regret of the devinces, by the exercise of which young caying zeal both of our clergy and men might be admitted into the or- laity, and look back with a sigh to the ders of priest and deacon, before they period when our church was esteemed had attained the age specified in the divine in her constitution; can we
In the sister kingdom it ap- wonder that different opinions are now pears, that the power thus vested in held of her ? the archbishops was so frequently and The very great importance of my so grossly abused, that even the very subject will, † trust, stand as an exhighest churchmen admitted that it cuse, if I pursue it a little farther. ought to be withdrawn. But where All contest, if contest that may be was the body capable of withdrawing called, which consisted on the one side it? This was an arrangement purely of continual aggressions, on the other spiritual, affecting only the spiritual of quiet and sneaking submission, was interests of the Church, and hence now at an end, and the Church of could be entered into only by a spiri- England had become as complete a tool tual Assembly or Synod. The days of of the state, as Hobbes, or any other synod-holding had, however, long gone admirer of an absolute dependance of by; so the Imperial Parliament took religion upon law, should desire. The the matter into its own hands, and Parliament, accordingly, proceeded to managed it to its own perfect satisfac- legislate in spiritual affairs with the tion.
very same nonchalance as if it had In the year 1804, a bill to regulate been enacting laws for a colony, whilst the ages of persons to be admitted the Church was satisfied to receive its into holy orders was introduced into legislation with the most passive inParliament, and passed into a law. In difference. Hence, act after act has that law there is a clause which enacts, passed, each more conclusive than the “That in case any person shall, from other, that the idea of a spiritual chaand after the passing of this act, be racter being inherent in the clergy admitted a deacon, before he has at- otherwise than at the option of the tained the age of three-and-twenty state, is now pretty well exploded ; years complete, or a priest, before he and that the bishops, whatever they has attained the age of four-and-twen- may themselves affirm of their authoty years complete, such admission shall rity, derived by unbroken succession be merely void in law, as if it had never from the Apostles, are mere civil serbeen made, and the person so admitted vants. It is true, that by sufferance, shall be incapable of holding, and dis- they still enjoy the nominal power of abled from taking, any ecclesiastical making laymen priests ; but what preferment whatever, in virtue of such then? these priests are priests or no bis admission."
priests, according as the state deterFar be it from me to question the mines; they may be priests here, and right of the state to determine who only laymen elsewhere; nay, the state shall, and who shall not, enjoy its pre- has full power to unmake them all, ferment; but can any act of the civil exactly as it may cashier a sheriff, or power annul an ordination? If so, if it supersede a constable. be true, that the British Parliament So lately as the year 1819, the Archhas the power of rendering null and bishops of Canterbury and York, with void, as if they had never been given, the Bishop of London, or any other orders conferred, perhaps by mistake, bishop appointed by them, were au
thorised by Act of Parliament, to or- hibited from holding preferment, or dain men for the colonies. There was even officiating in an English church, nothing wrong in this; it was simply a Popish priest has only to renounce an exercise of legitimate power on the the errors of Popery, and to subscribe part of the state, whereby the dioceses the thirty-nine articles, when he inof these prelates were so far extended, stantly becomes à clergyman of the as that all foreign places, supporting Church of England. That man may no bishop of their own, were placed officiate wherever he pleases; he may - under the guidance of their Episcopal hold preferment in any part of his Maauthority. But the British Parlia- jesty's dominions; indeed, I am misment seems absolutely determined that taken if there be not at this moment a no act shall be passed by it relating in convert from the Church of Rome any way to church affairs, into which upon the Episcopal Bench of Ireland. some objectionable clause shall not be How happens this ?-It is extremely foisted. In the case before us, for ex- proper, indeed it is unavoidable, that ample, the prelates above-named are orders conferred by the Romish Church commanded to ordain for the colonies, should, at least by us, be admitted to but they are to ordain specially on such be valid all over the world ; for if they occasions, the speciality to be stated in be not valid, our orders, which are unthe letters of orders ; in other words, doubtedly derived from them, must be they are to convey to certain persons invalid also. But why grant to Popish a character partly spiritual, and part- priests privileges which are denied to ly not spiritual,-spiritual as long as clergymen ordained by Protestant bithey reside in certain climates and shops, when the orders of the one are countries, but losing its spiritua- quite as canonical as those of the lity as soon as they quit them !!- other? In like manner, the Bishops of Que- I have said, that a clergyman orbec, Nova Scotia, and Calcutta, as dained by a Roman Catholic Bishop well as the two newly consecrated Bi- has only to renounce the errors of shops of the West Indies, are bishops Popery, and subscribe the thirty-nine to all intents and purposes, and are articles, when he becomes instantly a acknowledged as such within the pre- minister of the Established Church ; cincts of their own dioceses; but let but it is necessary that I should quathem quit these dioceses and visit Eng- lify this assertion. It is only in case land, they immediately cease to be bi- the conforming party chance to have shops at all. The orders which they been ordained abroad, that his orders confer are not acknowledged here; are received in the English Church. indeed, persons ordained by the three If, on the other hand, he have derived last, are declared positively incapable his spiritual character from a Popish of holding preferment, or acting as bishop resident in England or Ireland, ministers of the established church in then is he in the situation of a priest any way, or on any pretence what- ordained by a Scottish or West Indian
bishop; he must be ordained again, if Were not the subject under consi- he desire to serve at the altar of the deration far too grave and too import- Church of England !!!-Surely acts ant to permit the exercise of the powers like these must have passed through of ridicule, what a field for their exer- both Houses of Parliament at a time cise is here presented !-But pass we
when the members were asleep, or enon to other and still more extraordi- gaged at some dinner-party, such as nary matters.
was given on a late occasion to the It is a curious fact, that, whilst the Whigs, by Mr M. Angelo Taylor.British Parliament thus wages war, as What possible difference can there be it were, against the spiritual character between the spiritual authority of a of the Established Church, straining Romish bishop in Dublin, and a Roevery nerve to bring Protestant Epis- mish bishop in Lisbon ? copacy into contempt, it has left the I will not pursue this subject any spiritual character of the Church of farther at present, lest those of your Rome in a great measure unmolested. readers who take but little interest in Thus, whilst a clergyman, ordained by such speculations should think that the Bishop of Calcutta, or Jamaica, or you devote too many of your columns even by the Archbishop of Canterbury, to a subject so dry ; but I cannot cone under particular circumstances, is pro- clude without entreating every genuine