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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 doctrine 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.D. 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, viii. 250—263, London, 1657. Pantin's Novelty of Popery, I. 13, II. 13: London, 1837. Cosin's Scholastical History of the Canon of Scripture, cvi. 147 : London, 1657.
44 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 Index, under Wycliffe.
45 Matthew xv. 6 ; Mark vii. 13.
greater power conferred on him by God, in holy Scripture, within this kingdom of England, than any other foreign bishop.” 47 And the holy Bible being translated and read in the churches ; and then with it, more particularly under King Edward VI. and Queen Elizabeth, 4 the ancient doctrine of the Church was restored ; 49 and those Articles of the Roman Church, afterwards embodied in the Creed of the Council of Trent were declared to be contrary to the Word of God.
The Church of England, then, in its first ages, and later in its Reformation, is scriptural in its belief, having, for its foundation, the Word of God as its rule of faith. I would consider, as a conclusion arising from its origin, government, and belief, wherein consist
The claims of the Church of England, in opposition to Popery and Dissent.
Having already shewn the claims of the Reformed Church of England, in opposition to Popery, upon scriptural grounds, I need now only to consider the claims of our Church, to our regard, in opposition to Popery, upon the grounds of Church polity, and her ancient and rightful independence.
That the Roman Bishop ever exercised any superiority in the British Church, for the first six centuries, 54 all attempts at proof have failed to shew ; and the very statement of Bede, himself one of the Church of the mission of Augustine, has clearly evinced its independence. 51 For he plainly tells us, that the British bishops utterly refused submission to the Church of Rome by rejecting the demand of Augustine, to receive him as their metropolitan. And though, in the times of the Anglo-Saxon Princes, great deference was shewn to the Roman See, yet we find, as in the remarkable case of Wilfrid, 52 whose name has already been mentioned, 53 the Roman Church was not only curbed, but its decisions for the restoration of Wilfrid to his bishopric of York, of which he had been deprived by Theodore, the metropolitan, were denied and disregarded. After the Norman invasion, we may take, as an instance of the assertion of the rights of the Church of England, the forcible inquiry and reply of King Henry II. to Hilary, Bishop of Chichester, when he contrasts the claims advanced by the Roman Bishop, as of human enactment with those of the King, as of Divine appointment. 54 « Do you deliberately ponder, and strive with wordy craftiness, in favour of the authority of the Bishop of Rome, which was bestowed upon him by man, against the authority of my Royal rights, bestowed upon me by God ?” Such were that King's exclamations, A.D. 1157. And without adducing other instances to the like effect, we may just notice that the extortions of the Roman Bishop upon the English Church, up to the time of the Reformation, in the provision for benefices and bishoprics, and the sums of money, under various pretences, obtained, or rather squeezed, from the Church and kingdom were enormous. To instance, also, in these respects,---in the reigns of Henry VII, and his successor, no less than four Italians, successively, held the bishopric of Worcester; -while, 56 in the thirteenth century, it is recorded, that so many Italians had been preferred in the English Church by the Roman Bishop's authority, that their revenues amounted to seventy thousand marks yearly ;-a much larger revenue than that of the King himself. Such was the effect of Papal
47 Ibid. 846, 856.
* Burnet's Exposition of the Thirty-Nine Articles, Index, Church of Rome, Trent Council, &c.
49 See in this Tract, 43. 60 Stillingfleet, III., 159, &c.
51 Bede, II., ii., as in 21-23, and note 3 of the former page, in this Tract. Stillingfleet, 533, &c.
52 See in this Tract, 28, 30.
64 Wilkins' Concil., I., 431, compared with Collier's Ecelesiastical History, II., 136, 138. London, 1714.
55 Godwin. de Præsulibus, 468, under the years 1497-1522.
56 Fuller's Church History of Britain, III., Cent. xiii., $ 29, 63. London, 1655.