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church. It will be geen 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 primitire 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 a
But if it should appear that Christian princes have some authority in ecclesiastical affairs; that the crown of England exercised in the present instance 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 be
Eccl. History, vol. ii. Records,
a Assemani Codex Liturgicus, tom. vi. p. xcv.
“ Certain Considerations, &c.” Collier's
long 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 Cæsar the things that are Cæsar's,” he added, “ and unto God the things
that are God's.” But the authority of Christian kings and governors in ecclesiastical affairs, when properly exerted, is certainly very great; and to deny its existence, and the validity of all its acts, is to oppose ourselves to the universal practice of the catholic church.
Secondly, if the authority of the state was exercised in the present instance in the abolition of one liturgy and the substitution of another, the same had been done by Christian emperors and kings before, and it had been admitted as valid and lawful by the catholic church. In France, the ancient Gallican liturgy was abolished and the Roman introduced, by the emperor Charlemagne.
emperor Charlemagne. Cardinal Bona says, “ that I may in the first place separate the certain from the uncertain, I suppose this as most clear, that the old rites were abrogated in the churches of Gaul, and the Roman introduced by command of the most pious kings Pepin and Charlemagne b.” In the kingdoms of Castille and Leon, the ancient Spanish liturgy was abolished, and the Roman introduced by king Alphonso, who threatened death and confiscation to all who opposed this change, and so prevailed; although the clergy and people of all Spain were disturbed at being compelled to receive the new office,” and at last it became a proverb that, “ quo volunt reges vadunt
These kings have never been blamed by the Christian church for introducing a new liturgy
b “Ut autem certa ab in- jussu piissimorum regum Pi. certis ante omnia secernam, pini et Caroli Magni. Rer. Lihoc tanquam exploratissimum turg. lib. i. c. xii. p. 78. suppono, veteres ritus in Gal. c Rodericus Toletanus, de licanis ecclesiis abrogatos, et Rebus Hisp. lib. vi. Romanos introductos fuisse quoted above p. 167. vol. i.
into their dominions; and therefore the crown of England cannot be said to have exercised an improper authority in the present case, by any who would defend the Christian church from a charge of culpable neglect, or unprincipled subserviency.
It may be replied, that the cases are different ; for, in the first place, the patriarch of Rome approved of the changes in Gaul and Spain, and disapproved of those in Britain. I reply, that this patriarch had no right to interfere in the business, except in the way of friendly advice and counsel. For he never had, either by divine right, by the canons, or in fact, any universal jurisdiction over the catholic church; nor did he by the decree of any lawful general council, or by primitive custom, possess any patriarchal jurisdiction over Gaul, Spain, or Britaind. Therefore his constitutions relative to these churches were indebted for their authority solely to the consent of the catholic bishops and Christian princes therein; and of course his approbation or disapprobation did not affect the lawfulness of changes that were made in the ecclesiastical affairs of those churches. Therefore, although he approved of the changes in Gaul and Spain, and disapproved of that in Britain, those changes were all equally valid.
It may be objected, in the second place, that the cases are different, because the liturgy to be introduced in Gaul and Spain was orthodox, while that to be introduced in Britain was heretical. I reply, that there is no truth in the assertion. It is impossible to shew one single spot of heresy in the Eng
d See the chapter on the English ordinations, at the end of this volume.