صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

with us, it hath not seemed expedient to offer the edge of the axe unto all three boughs at once, but rather to single them, and strike at the weakest first, making show that the lop of that one shall draw the more abundance of sap to the other two, that they may thereby the better prosper. All prosperity, felicity, and peace, we wish multiplied on ach Estate, as far as their own hearts' desire is : but let men know that there is a God, whose eye beholdeth them in all their ways; a God, the usual and ordinary course of whose justice, is to return upon the head of malice the same devices which it contriveth against others. The foul practices which have been used for the overthrow of Bishops, may perhaps wax bold in process of time to give the like assault even there, from whence at this present they are most seconded.* Nor let it over-dismay them who suffer such things at the hands of this most unkind world, to see that heavenly estate and dignity thus conculcated, in regard whereof so many their predecessors were no less esteemed than if they had not been men, but angels, amongst men.

With former Bishops it was as with Job in the days of that prosperity which at large he describeth, saying, “ Unto me men gave ear, they (Job waited and held their tongue at my counsel; after my words 22, 25.] they replied not; I appointed out their way and did sit as chief; I dwelt as it had been a King in an army.” At this day, the case is otherwise with them; and yet no otherwise than with the self-same Job at what time the alteration of his estate wrested these contrary speeches from him, " But now (Job they that are younger than I mock at me, the children of 1, 8, 9.) fools, and offspring of slaves, creatures more base than the earth they tread on; such as if they did shew their heads, young and old would shout at them and chase them through the street with a cry: their song I am, I am a theme for them to talk on." An injury less grievous, if it were not offered by them whom Satan hath through his fraud and subtilty so far beguiled, as to make them imagine herein they do unto God a part of most faithful service. Whereas Cyp. the Lord in truth whom they serve herein is, as St. Cyprian Ep. '3.

[In the struggle for a thorough Reformation much that is not defensible must have occurred, but impartial history has pronounced its judgment on the provocations. Of the infringements made and maintai by Authority in relation Religion the reader may in part judge from what is before him: of those relating to Civil Affairs, Dr. WARNER, Rector of St. Michael, Queenhithe, in Vol. II. p. 247, of his Eccl. Hist. of England, 1757, has not hesitated to denominate Queen Elizabeth, "a Tyrant, who violated the Laws by which she held her Crown.”]

telleth them, like, not Christ (for he it is that doth appoint and protect Bishops), but rather Christ's adversary and enemy of his Church. A thousand five hundred years and upward the Church of Christ hath now continued under the sacred Regiment of Bishops.* Neither for so long hath Christianity been ever planted in any Kingdom throughout the world but with this kind of Government alone; which to have been ordained of God, I am for mine own part even as resolutely persuaded, as that any other kind of Government in the world whatsoever is of God. In this Realm of England, before Normans, yea before Saxons, there being Christians, the chief Pastors of their souls were Bishops. This Order from about the first establishment of Christian Religion, which was publicly begun through the virtuous disposition of King Lucie not fully two hundred years after Christ,t continued till the coming in of the Saxons; by whom Paganism being every where else replanted, only one part of the Island, whereinto the ancient natural inhabitants, the Britons, were driven, retained constantly the Faith of Christ, together with the same form of spiritual Regiment, which their fathers had before received. Wherefore in the

Histories of the Church we find very ancient mention made Sulpit. of our own Bishops. At the Council of Ariminum, about liber the year three hundred and fifty-nine, Britain had three of

her Bishops present. At the arrival of Augustine, the Monk, whom Gregory sent hither to reclaim the Saxons from

Beda,
Eccl.

. [" It is well observed by Gerhard, that a Bishop, ' phrasi Apostolica,' that is, a Bishop that is the same with a Presbyter, is of fifteen hundred years' standing; but a Bishop, phrasi Pontificia,' that is, a distinct Order superior to a Presbyter invested with sole power of Ordination and Jurisdiction, is but a novel invention."—An Answer to a Book entitled An Humble Remonstrance, &c. By SMECTYMNUUS. 1641. 4to. p. 19.]

t [“ The story of king Lucius is manifestly a fable; the bare relation of which will suffice to expose its absurdity. The earliest writer that mentions him is Nennius (Hist. Brit. c. 18), who lived in the seventh century, and states that, ' In the year 164, from the incarnation of our Lord, Lucius monarch of Britain, with all the other petty kings of Britain, received baptism from a deputation sent by the Roman emperors, and by the Roman pope Evaristus.' That this short relation contains as many ridiculous falsehoods as it does incidents, will be apparent to an ordinary understanding. For if there ever existed such a person as this king Lucius, which is extremely doubtful, he could be no other than a petty prince, holding his limited authority by favour of the Roman governor. But to complete the farce, two Pagan emperors are represented as uniting with the Pastor of the Roman Christians, in sending forth Missionaries to convert and baptize a people into the faith which they persecuted ! . Gildas, the most ancient of our historians, who was himself a Briton, and a zealous Christian, makes no mention of this extraordinary event; which affords good ground to believe that it was no other than a pious fraud ented by the Monks to delude the people.” Wilson, Hist. and Antiq. of Dissenting Churches, fc. 1814. Vol. IV. App. chap. ii. pp. 453, 4. On the authenticity of this pretended introduction of Christianity into Britain, T.C. (lib. ii. p. 476) concludes a statement of four pages with saying, “ Upon all which matter may appear, what follies they be which the Doctor (Whitgift) avoucheth for truth.”]

lib. ii.

1066.

Gentility about six hundred years after Christ, the Britons he Hist. found observers still of the self-same Government by Bishops c. 2. over the rest of the Clergy; under this form Christianity took root again, where it had been exiled. Under the self- An. same form it remained till the days of the Norman Conqueror. By him and his successors thereunto sworn,* it hath from that time till now, by the space of above five hundred years more, been upheld. O nation utterly without knowledge, without sense! We are not through error of mind deceived, but some wicked thing hath undoubtedly bewitched us, if we forsake that Government, the use whereof universal experience hath for so many years approved, and betake ourselves unto a Regiment neither appointed of God himself, as they who favour it pretend, nor till yesterday ever heard of among men.t By the Jews Festus was much complained of, as being a Governor marvellous corrupt, and almost intolerable: such notwithstanding were they who came after him, that men which thought the public condition most afflicted under Festus, began to wish they had him again, and to esteem him a ruler commendable. Great things are hoped for at the hands of these new Presidents, whom Reformation would bring in: notwithstanding the time may come, when Bishops, whose Regiment doth now seem a yoke so heavy to bear, will be longed for again, even by them that are the readiest to have it taken off their necks. I But in the hands of divine Providence we leave the ordering of all such events, and come now to the Question itself which is raised concerning Bishops. For the better understanding whereof, we must beforehand set down what is meant, when in this question we name a Bishop.

2. For whatsoever we bring from Antiquity, by way of What a defence, in this cause of Bishops, it is cast off as impertinent is, what matter; all is wiped away with an odd kind of shifting Name answer, That the Bishops which now are, be not like unto port, and

義 *

“ Alfredus Eboracensis Archiepiscopus Gulielmum, cognomento Nothum, spirantem adhuc minarum et cædis in populum, mitem reddidit: et religiosis pro conservanda Repub. tuendaque Ecclesiastica Disciplina sacramento adstrinxit.” Nabrig. lib.i. c. 1.

† [See p. 3, Note.]

1 [2 Pet. ii. 20—22. Hooker's prediction affords but a partial triumph to the Cause of Episcopacy, while SCOTLAND,-notwithstanding the example of her neighbours, the benefit of her own experience, and the effort still more to enlighten her by an additional argument (as History amply records) of the most forcible nature, even the ultima ratio,--cannot be persuaded to prefer her reputed Solomon's adopted “religion of a gentleman” before that against which Hooker exhausted the energies of his mighty mind!]

what cloth be

he is a

them which were.

We therefore beseech all indifferent long to judges to weigh sincerely with themselves how the case Office as doth stand.

If it should be at this day a controversy Bishop. whether Kingly Regiment were lawful or no, peradventure

in defence thereof, the long continuance which it hath had sithence the first beginning might be alleged; mention perhaps might be made what Kings there were of old, even in Abraham's time, what Sovereign Princes both before and after. Suppose that herein some man, purposely bending his wit against Sovereignty, should think to elude all such allegations by making ample discovery through a number of particularities, wherein the Kings that are, do differ from those that have been, and should therefore in the end conclude, that such ancient examples are no convenient proofs of that Royalty which is now in use. Surely for decision of truth in this case there were no remedy, but only to shew the nature of Sovereignty; to sever it from accidental properties; make it clear that ancient and present Regality are one and the same in substance, how great odds soever otherwise may seem to be between them. *

In like manner, whereas a question of late hath grown, Whether Ecclesiastical Regiment by Bishops be lawful in the Church of Christ or no? in which question, they that hold the negative, being pressed with that general received Order, according whereunto the most renowned Lights of the Christian world have governed the same in every age as Bishops; seeing their manner is to reply, that such Bishops as those ancient were, ours are not, there is no remedy but to shew, That to be a Bishop is now the self-same thing which it hath been; that one definition agreeth fully and truly as well to those elder, as to these latter, Bishops. Sundry Dissimilitudes we grant there are, which notwithstanding are not such that they cause any equivocation in the Name, whereby we should think a Bishop in those times to have had a clean other definition than doth rightly agree unto Bishops as they are now. Many things there are in the state of Bishops, which the times have changed ; many a Parsonage at this day is larger than some ancient Bishoprics were; many an ancient Bishop poorer than at this day sundry

* [The cases are not parallel; for who doubts that Civil Officers may not be accom, modated to circumstances? But Scriptural Church Officers have a definite character and purpose.]

under them in degree. The simple hereupon, lacking judgment and knowledge to discern between the nature of things which changeth not, and these outward variable accidents, are made believe that a Bishop heretofore and now are things in their very nature so distinct that they cannot be judged the same. Yet to men that have any part of skill, what more evident and plain in Bishops, than that augmentation or diminution in their precincts, allowances, privileges, and such like, do make a difference indeed, but no essential difference between one Bishop and another ?* As for those things in regard whereof we use properly to term them Bishops, those things whereby they essentially differ from other Pastors, those things which the natural definition of a Bishop must contain ; what one of them is there more or less appliable unto Bishops now than of old ? The name Bishop hath been borrowed from the Grecians,t with whom it signifieth one which hath principal charge to guide and oversee others. The same word in Ecclesiastical Writings being applied unto Church-governors, at the first Acts unto all and not unto the chiefest only, grew in short time pe- Phil. culiar and proper to signify such Episcopal authority alone, as the chiefest Governors exercised over the rest: for with all names this is usual, that inasmuch as they are not given till the things whereunto they are given have been sometime first observed; § therefore generally, things are ancienter than the Names whereby they are called.

Again, sith the first things that grow into general observation, and do thereby give men occasion to find Names for them, are those which being in many subjects are thereby the easier, the oftner, and the more universally noted ; it followeth, that names imposed to signify common qualities or operations are ancienter, than is the restraint of those names, to note an excellency of such qualities or operations in some one or few amongst others. For example, the name

XX, 28.

i. 1.

• (And therefore none between a Bishop and the Universal Bishop, or Pope !]

και οι παρ' Αθηναίων εις τας υπηκόους πόλεις επισκέψασθαι τα παρ' εκάστους πεμπόμενοι, επίσκοποι και φύλακες εκαλούντο, ους οι Λάκωνες αρμοστάς έλεγoν. Suid. Κατέστησεν εφ' εκάστους των πάγων άρχοντα επίσκοπόν τε και περίπολον της ιδίας μοίρας. Dionys. Halicar. de Numa Pompilio, Antiq. lib. ii. “ Vult me Pompeius esse quem tota hæc Campania et maritima ora habeat 'Enso Kotov, ad quem delectus et negotii sumina referatur.” Cic. ad Attic. lib. vii. Epist. 11.

[The deduction then must be, that according to Hooker, the name of the Scriptural Bishop is now so exclusively appropriated as to be properly applied only to ultra-Scriptural Officers.]

§ “ And God brought them unto Adam, that Adam might see or consider what name it was meet he should give unto them.” Gen. ii. 19.

« السابقةمتابعة »