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A N.

ACCOUNT

OF

OUR

Church-Government,

A N D GOVERNOURS.

Wherein is Shewed, That the Government of the

Church of England is most agreeable to that of the Primitive Church.

By THOMAS BRETT, LL.D. And Rector of

Betteshanger near Canterbury. Lhe Second Edition, with large additions,

and amendments.

Neque enim aliunde Hereses obörtæ sunt, aut nata sunt

Schismáta, quam inde, quod Sacerdati Dei non obtemperatur : Nec unus in Ecclesia ad tempus Sacerdos,

ad. Tempus Fudex vice Christi cogitatur. Cui si secundum Magisteria divina obtemperaret Fraterni.. tas Universa; Nemo adversum sacerdotum Collegium quidquam moveret. Cyprian. Epist. 55. ad Cornelium. Edit. Pamel.

London, Printed for John Wyat at the Rofe in

St. Paul's Church-Yard, MDCCX.

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PREFACE.

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HIS Book, as I informed the

World in my first Edition of it, was written on a Private Occasion; and I did hope, as I then said, that my imperfect Efsay might excite fome Person of greater Learning and Abilities, and better provided with Books, such as the Subject requires, than I was or am, to write à more Compleat Treatise about the Government of the Church: And, I thank God, I have lived to see some excellent Books written in Vindication of our present Form of Church Government, and rhe Divine Institution of Episcopacy in particular. That deteftable Book falsely called The Rights of the Christian Church afferted, &c. lias given fresh occasion to many Pious and Learned Men, who were justly provoked by his Impious Doctrines, to vindicate and assert the true Orthodox and Divine Rights of the Church of God, and to prove beyond all Contradiction, That the

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Church from the beginning had its peculiar
Rights and Privileges immediately from
Christ himself wholly independent on the
Civil Magistrate

, or any Temporal Authority whatsoever : That this power was given to the Aposlles, and from them derived to the BiShops as the chief Governors of the Church under Christ, the only supreme Head of the Catholick Church : And that Bishops as diflinct from Presbyters and having Authority over them, were settled by the Apostles themselves, according to the Institution of our Saviour, and by the Guidance and Direction of the Holy Spirit; And that no Ordination of Presbyters or Deacons was accounted valid in the primitive Church without the Impofition of Hands, not only of the Presbytery but of the Bishop also. Of this kind are several excellent Discourses lately written or Published by the Reverend and Learned Dr. Hickes, to which he has joyned most admirable Prefaces, with an almost inimitable Vivacity of Style, and full of Reason and Argument : And Dr. Potters very useful Discourse of Church Government, which to my Knowledge has given good fatisfaction to some Persons, (who tho’ they were before ready to think Episcopacy a good. Political Form of Church Government, yet looked upon it to be no more than a Prudential Institution) and fully convinced thein that the Original

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Constitution of the Church by Christ and his Apostles was under the Government of Bishops, and therefore that it was a Form not to be altered by any Authority whatsoever. For which Reason I cannot but with some Impatience desire to see the Second Part which he has given us some hopes to expect from him, where he promises to continue the Account which he has already given us of the Government of the Church for the three first Centuries, thro' some of the following Ages after the Church was taken into the Protection of the Civil Powers. To these I may add Dr. Turner's Answer to that pernicious Book falsely called the Rights of the Christian Church asserted, &c. and Mr. Bingham's Learned Treatise of the Antiquities of the Christian Church, wherein he has given us such a clear Account of the Constitution of the primitive Church for four or five Centuries, that by reading his Book only, a Man may have almost as distinct an Idea of the Constitution of the ancient Church as of the present. Besides these Books which have appeared since the Impious Author of the Rights published his wicked Book, (which is not levelled against the Church of England only, but the whole Christian Church in general,) there are two ethers that I have seen and read, that

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