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I HAVE already in the last chapter noticed the various books which were anciently used in the celebration of the eucharist. The particular details relating to the liturgy of the church of England will be found in the following chapter; but I wish first to consider some of the objections made to it, which, though in a few instances treated more at large in other parts of this work, I think it advisable to bring together here, that the reader may be able to estimate their amount and value. I do not mean to produce the multiplied objections of the more irregular sects who have unhappily departed from the church in this empire, because they have been already answered by many writers. Yet the present work may convince them, of the injustice of representing the English ritual WOL. II. B
as derived from the modern offices of the Roman church. It will be seen that Romanists are loud in their hostility to our liturgy, which in form and substance rather resembles the ancient Gallican, Spanish, Egyptian, and Oriental liturgies, than the Roman; while the expressions of our ritual are either taken from those liturgies just mentioned, or else from the ancient English offices which had been used in this country from the sixth century, and were then derived from the primitive Roman offices of the first four or five centuries after Christ. So that most of the expressions of the English ritual have continued in this church for above twelve hundred years, and in the Christian church for fourteen hundred years; many parts we trace back for sixteen hundred years, much to the apostolic age. If the modern Roman offices bear any resemblance to the English, it is in those points in which both resemble the offices of the primitive church. The objections advanced by Romanists seem to merit more attention in this place, first, because they are more plausible and dangerous; secondly, a few of them have not yet perhaps been so formally refuted as their nature requires; and, thirdly, being advanced by men who preserve some external unity amongst themselves, they are uniform in their character and definite in their number. I have therefore taken considerable pains to collect all the arguments which such men have advanced against the English ritual, and will now proceed with the greatest brevity to notice and refute them. The objections resolve themselves into two classes; first, general objections against the whole ritual; secondly, objections against particular parts of it.
FIRST, It is argued that the English ritual having only been authorized by the king and parliament, who had no lawful jurisdiction in ecclesiastical affairs; and having been resisted and condemned by the bishops and clergy, who had the lawful jurisdiction in such matters; it is devoid of all spiritual sanction and authority, uncanonical and illegitimate". But if it should appear that Christian princes have some authority in ecclesiastical affairs; that the crown of England exercised in the present inu stance an authority for which there are precedents in ecclesiastical history; and that the bishops and churches of England assented to the introduction of the English ritual; the objection falls to the ground. First, it is not true that Christian princes have no authority and jurisdiction in ecclesiastical affairs. The Christian church indeed does not derive her peculiar and spiritual right of jurisdiction from man, but from GoD ; and of that power she can only be deprived by him who gave it. The pastors and teachers of the church are those whom Christ has given us for “the work of the ministry,” for the preservation of unity and truth: and the Holy Ghost has commanded us to “obey” them. It is, however, also true, that “the powers that be are ordained of God,” and that the duty of obedience to the civil government is imperative on Christians. Now while it is certain that ecclesiastical affairs
* Assemani Codex Liturgi- Eccl. History, vol. ii. Records cus, tom. vi. p. xcv. “Certain p. 89. Considerations,” &c. Collier's
belong chiefly to the church, and civil affairs to the state, yet the word of God does not expressly mark the particular cases which form the limit of civil jurisdiction, and in fact the church has always allowed it to extend to many points of the ecclesiastical polity. It is indisputable that Christian emperors and kings have erected bishoprics; promoted sees from the suffragan to the metropolitan and patriarchal rank and jurisdiction; withdrawn churches from the jurisdiction of one patriarch, and placed them under another; given to bishops the power of receiving appeals in ecclesiastical causes; summoned, presided in, and confirmed, councils national and general; made constitutions and canons on every subject relative to ecclesiastical discipline; confirmed and invested bishops; directed special prayers to be repeated in churches; and made regulations for the performance of divine service. This sort of authority has been conceded and fortified by the church, not only as a tribute of high respect to rulers, but because it tends to dispose them to be favourable towards religion, and to assist, or at least not to oppose, the spread of the gospel. But some limits there are where concession must cease. No human authority and power can justify the enactment of any thing contrary to the law of God, or the essential discipline of the church. No prince can have such a right; his jurisdiction would in that instance be annulled, and the church would be bound by her allegiance to the King of kings, of whom all earthly princes are the “ministers,” to suffer every extremity of persecution rather than obey. If Christ said, “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's,” he added, “and unto God the things