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World that the Church of England did not approve of Atheism, Deifin or Socinianifm? Who ever imagined this was not fufficiently done already in the Articles, Homilies and Liturgy? Or that our publick Worship and publick Preaching were not fufficient to de monftrate that the Clergy of this Church in general abhorred fuch Principles? But that which is alledged to make a Convocation needful at this time is, that it is to be hoped it might find out a Method to put an effectual ftop to fuch open Profaneness as now feems to have over-run the Nation both in Principle and Practice. And as (a) my Lord Bishop of Chrift Princes. Lincoln fays very well, were a better Difcipline fettled in the Church; and a Vigorous Law made in Defence of our Faith, and to restrain those Scandalous Attempts that are made against it, this might poffibly reduce our Disorders within fome tolerable Bounds; but any thing short of this, would, I fear, fignify very little. And when our other Circumftances fhall be fo favourable, as to encou rage the Government to think of this, I shall then readily confefs, that it will not only be very fitting, but a matter of Duty in the Prince, to call a Convocation; and to require them to confider, how to restore the Honour of Religion, and to fuggeft to his Parliament fuch Heads, as may be proper for them to pass into an Act, for the better Prefervation of it in times to come. I heartily fubfcribe to his Lordships opinion, and think that in these Words he has fufficiently fhewn how neceffary it is for a Convocation to fit and act upon this occafion at this time. For when can it be more neceffary to endeavour to put an effectual stop to these Disorders? Should it be long delayed they may get fuch an Head,


that it may be out of the Power of the Convocation even with the Affiftance of the Parlia ment it felf to fupprefs them. What his Lordship means by saying when other Circumstances fhall be fo favourable as to encourage the Government to think of this, I do not fo well underftand. For if the Government be fo wholly. taken up at this time of War as not to think of these Matters, fure it behoves the Governours of the Church, especially thofe who are of the Privy-Council, to put them in mind of 'em. Nor are times of War at all unfit for fuch a Reformation, they are rather calls to it, if we may believe the Scriptures, where we fhall find that almost all the Reformations made in the Jewish Church were effected when they either feared an Invasion or were actually engaged in War: And their Reformations ever procured for them Deliverance and Victory.

Since therefore a Convocation is the most likely means to procure a Reformation of this Land from that Atheism and Profanefs,that Corruption and Debauchery which over-fpreads the Face of our Earth, by confidering of proper Methods to restore the loft Difcipline of the Church; And fince we can never hope for a more favourable Opportunity to have this Difcipline reftored than now, whilft we are fo happy as to have a Glorious, Triumphing Princefs fitting on the Throne of our Ifrael; one that as fhe as been bred up in no other Church but ours, fo fhe has the most Cordial Love for It, greater than any of our Kings have had fince her Royal Grandfather, which he has te ftified by her unparalled Bounty to the Clergy as well as many other Teftimonies of her Zeal G C


and Affection to it: I think this a most proper Time for us all to Pray, and endeavour that it would please God alfo to put into Her Heart to reftore our Provincial Councils as at the firft, and our Convocations as at the Beginning. Which would be a moft effectual means to free the Clergy and Religion with them, from that ftrange Contempt into which they are now fallen, and prove the best Means to preferve the Church in a fafe and flourishing Condition to all


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Of the Election of Bishops in the Primitive

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S to what concerns the Election of Bifhops, the Apostles themselves whilst they lived, placed them by their Apoftolick Authority in all Churches which they Conftituted, as has been already fhewed. After their Deaths the Provincial Bishops met together with their Metropolitan to Conftitute a new Bishop. This we may learn from the * Council of Nice, (which was very careful to inquire into and preferve the ancient Customs of the Church) where it is Declared and Decreed, That a Bifhop ought chiefly to be Conftituted by all the Bishops of the Province; But if this be too difficult, either thro' urgent Occafions, or the length of the Way; yet Three must be prefent for that purpofe, and have the Confent of the abfent under their Hands, and fo to make the


'Confecration: But the Confirmation of all 'things done in the Province, must be referved to the Metropolitan. The Council of Gan. 12, 13 Laodicea Decreed alfo about the fame time, That Bishops long approved both in Faith and Doctrine, fhall be conftituted for the 'Government of the Church, by the Metropolitans and Neighbouring Bishops. And 'that the Multitude fhall not Elect any Per'fons to be Ordained.

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But though the Bishops had the undoubted Right of Constituting other Bishops, yet were not the People wholly fhut out; their Confent was generally asked, and they had a Right of making Exceptions to any Perfons nominated, tho' herein they were confidered as Witnesses rather than Judges, as the late Antiq. of Bus. Bishop of Worcester has obferved. Sometimes Churches. 97. it may be the Bishops might permit them to nominate a fit Perfon themselves, but they could never challenge this of Right or Cuftom. And it is very probable, that the Bishops did frequently Confecrate a Perfon recommended to them by the People, but no doubt if he was unfit, or they judged him to be fo, they refufed him. And Gratian proves from a great + Dist. 62. p. tof, many very ancient Decretal Epiftles, That Bishops were to be Elected by the Clergy, ' at the Petition of the People, and Confecrat'ed by the Metropolitan and Provincial Bi'fhops. So it feems as if the People commonly recommended fome Perfons to the Clergy by whom one was Elected and Prefented to the Metropolitan and other Bifhops, whom they either Confecrated or rejected, and appointed another in his ftead, as they thought beft. Therefore, tho' we do meet with the Cc 2

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+ Hift. Eccles lib. 6. c. 28.

Can, 16.

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Suffrages of the whole People in the Election of Athanafius, and the Plebis Vulgique Judicium be fpoken or by St. Jerom, and in the famous Election of Fbian, recorded by † Eufebius, mention is made of all the Brethren gathered together for the Election of a Bishop, yet this does not prove but that the Metropolitan and other Bishops were fill Jges of the Perfon, and might reject him that was thus Chofen, and Confecrate another if they thought it expedient. For the Bishops had certainly fuch a Right; and tho' the People fhould Elect one who needed no Confecration, yet this gave him no Title to the Bishoprick, unless the Bifhops of the Province Confirm'd his Election: For the Council of Antioch declares, That if a vacant Bishop (That is, a Bishop which has no Diocefs of his own, as Beamon explains it) getting into a vacant Church, takes Poffeflion of the See without a perfect Synod, he is to be ejected, altho' all the People of that See which he has taken Poffeffion of should Elect him. But a perfect Synod is that where the Metropolitan is alfo prefent. But S. Cyprian in a Letter which he and his Clergy Wrote to the Clergy and People of Spain (upon the occafion of their choofing Sabinus and Falix in the room o Bafilides and Martialis, who had lapfed in the time of Perfecution, and been guilty of Idolatry) fets this matter in a clear Light. Where having first obferved from the Acts of the Apostles after what manner Matthias was Subftituted in the room of fuda, and alfo how the Seven Deacons were Elected and Ordained: Therefore, fays he, that Rule is diligently to be observed and kept, which from Divine Tradition, and • Apoftolical

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