« PredošláPokračovať »
and such has been more solemnly and frequently avowed by Protestant Divines upon the continent.
fore, in the Church of Rome, the profession of all the faith necessary for the salvation of Christians to believe, either in point of faith or morals.” (Epil. p. 146.) “ It is acknowledged on all hands,” says Mr. Davis,“ that the Church of Rome, in its original state, was apostolical and pure. And even at the present day, it has persevered in which, after the thirty-nine articles, is of all others the most sacred in the eyes of the established clergy,—the Book of Homilies,denies most positively this preservation of the apostolical delegation. This book, which these men, by their oaths and superscriptions, are solemnly bound to revere as containing, according to the thirty-fifth of the articles, 'a godly doctrine necessary for these times,'—this book distinctly states, that the whole Church had perished. For the whole Church,' it declares, ‘had, for upwards of a thousand years, been sunk in idolatry, &c.' Now, whence this contradiction in a point so vital ? Whence the circumstance that, whereas the most enlightened members of the Establishment do positively attest, that the Church, its government, and its ministry have subsisted regularly through every age,-this most important testimonial of the public faith just as positively declares the contrary? To reconcile the two things together is, indeed, impossible. But, what, then, is the cause of the inconsistency? Why, it is this :—the Protestants have regulated their maxims and their language exactly as the nature of their wants required them. At the beginning of the Reformation, it was necessary for them to pull down the ancient Church, ere they could erect a new one. Therefore, they then maintained that the Church had perished : and this, as the article states, was the doctrine"
necessary for these times.' Ere long, they succeeded in rearing the new edifice upon the ruins of the ancient one. Therefore, they now contended, that the Church had not perished. On the contrary, they now declared it to be imperishable and immortal: maintaining even that their own pastoral ministry, by being linked to the chain of the Catholic priesthood, is, hence, apostolical and divine. Such is the conduct, and such the character of error; for ever changing its maxims with the change of circumstances, and its language with the necessities of the times.'"- Dr. Fletcher's Comparative View, fc. p. 60.
Her discipline is nearly, her constitution is precisely, the same as ours. In our Liturgies, in the
all the fundamental articles of the true, and Christian, faith. And the sacraments ordained by the gospel, are here administered by a priesthood, which derives its appointment by an uninterrupted succession from the apostles, and its authority from our Great Master.' – The commission,' says Dr. Daubeny,' originally delivered by Christ to his apostles, has been handed down in regular succession. Under the authority of this commission, the religion of Christ was introduced into this country, at a very early period; and the appointment of ministers, under the sanction of the divine authority, has been uniformly received and preserved in the church, wherever it has existed, for fifteen hundred years.' In short, even those fierce enemies of every thing Catholic,—the authors of the British Critic, admit, that “the church government maintained by the Church of Rome, has been traced, without a single break in the chain, up to the immediate successors of the apostles; and the chain of the episcopacy was unbroken for fifteen hundred years.'
" It is difficult to imagine,” observes Dr. Fletcher, from whose valuable work these quotations are taken,“ how a church, which had retained the sacred privilege so long, should, since that time, have forfeited it. Because, not only during this whole length of interval has she always continued to be, what she had constantly been beforeunaltered both in her faith and constitution; but there has been issued no fresh mandate from heaven annulling her former titles.” "Such is the abridgment of our faith,” says the Con
administration of the sacraments, we approximate. But the great uniting link between us, is her code of morality. The insufficiency of man; the atonement for sin; the divinity of Christ; the necessity of good works for our acceptance before God, and of repentance to obtain forgiveness of our sins; the application of the merits of Christ for our sanctification, by means of the sacraments; the Decalogue of the old law, and the moral precepts of the new, are all points in which Catholics and Protestants are thoroughly united. Is it not, therefore, natural, that we should support the establishment, should we see it invaded by Calvinists and Levellers ? Catholics, most assuredly, have nothing to anticipate from the downfall of the Church. As long, however, as she is unjust and intolerant, we shall oppose her; but the mo
fession of Augsburgh, the most authentic and most solemn act of the Lutherans, “in which nothing will be discovered contrary to Scripture, or to the Catholic church, or even to the Roman church, as far as we can know it from its writers. The dispute turns upon some few abuses which have been introduced into the churches without any certain authority; and should there be found some difference, that should be borne with, since it is not necessary that the rites of the church should be every where the same. (Art. 21, Anno 1530.)" For many similar acknowledgments, see the work from which this is taken, An Amicable Discussion, Vol. I. p. 59, &c.
ment that the support of her cause becomes sanctified by moderation and justice, she may rest assured of our assistance.ro) An Established Church has ever formed a part of the constitution of the country; she is the promoter of learning, the preserver of the splendid memorials of the piety of our ancestors; she is now become the encourager of the arts; she“ discharges many im
(9) “ At the same time, sir, I must protest against its being imputed to me that I am hostile to the establishment in this country. You would wrong me by such an imputation ; I have no unfriendly feeling towards it when it does not exceed its constitutional limits; but as an Englishman, viewing with conscious exultation the proud pre-eminence of my country, founded on her free institutions ; I execrate, with unfeigned reprobation, every attempt to trench upon the civil and political rights of the meanest individual in the community, be his oppressors who they may. And if a church establishment, of any form of worship, in any country, requires the sacrifice of the recognized rights of the subject to uphold its power, in my opinion it cannot fall too soon. A church distinguishing itself by the apostolical virtues of its leaders ; by its abstractedness from earthly pursuits, and preaching peace and Christian concord, serves well the cause of good government, and might, not only with safety, but with great benefit, be closely allied to it. But establishments, like most other things, must stand each on its own merits: they may be blessings, or they may be curses.” (Letter of Edward Blount, Esq. to a Protestant Gentleman; published in the Catholic Miscellany for February, 1828.)
portant duties besides those of her immediate vocation, and supplies what would otherwise be a chasm in the administration of public justice.” The property of the Church in the hands of laymen, or in possession of the sectaries, neither would nor could be half so advantageous to the country as it is now. I have already said why we have no wish to see it in our own. The sacrifice of the Church Establishment is, therefore, a sacrifice which we neither desire as Christians, nor as members of the State. While in all this I deliver only the sentiments of an individual, at
(n) There is certainly some difference in the relative connection between the Church and the State, in Catholic and in Protestant England. In Catholic times, the Church was invariably the opposer of the encroachments of the crown, and, in many cases, the able and effectual supporter of the liberties of the people; whereas, the system of translating from one bishopric to another (a system which exists in no other Christian state) and which has been subsequently introduced, has entirely altered the character of the Episcopacy, by destroying its independence, and by depriving it of the power of throwing its weight where it might be serviceable to the interests of the country. But this is an abuse, which, great as it is, the crown has always the power to remedy. It is the Minister, and not the Church, who is the greater delinquent; and we must hope to see the day when England shall
possess a premier, virtuous enough to overturn this system, which marks her prelacy as a dependant class,