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formers of a church, already in being, but as the partial and arbitrary institutors of a new church, unauthorized by the practice either of the apostles or fathers. They did not slavishly follow either the Lutherans or Calvinists who had quarrelled about the Eucharist, and other things, but took from both what they thought best. They gave us a liturgy in the vulgar tongue equally devout and rational, that we may know beforehand what we are to offer in our addresses to the Almighty God, and not depend on prayers uttered only in our name, and perhaps mixed with matter unworthy of the object. They gave us a system of articles, together with a book of homilies, to be subscribed by the clergy, that we may not have Papists, Arians, Jews, or Turks, but real Christians, for teachers. And lastly, they left the church to be governed, as it had been in every former age, by bishops, not by nominal bishops, subject to the control of the pope; but by bishops so constituted and empowered, as Timothy, Titus, and all other bishops were, before spiritual usurpation had sunk the dignity and sanctity of their office, and rendered it suspected to some, and odious to others.
A work, conducted on such principles, and with so much prudence, might have expected universal approbation from all the rational and candid; nor was it disappointed. Every one at home, who had any right to that character, closed with it, and rejoiced in it; while the most eminent foreign reformers, of the like temper and turn of mind, paid it their hearty congratulations, and lamented their own misfortune in not being able to bring their honest attempts to so happy a bearing
However even this could not satisfy all. The greater number of the Romanists still stood out; and many Protestants, too warm to be always governed by reason, dissented, to the reproach of the Reformation, and the infinite disquiet both of this church and nation. Whence then arose the separation of these latter, so well affected to the Reformation, and furnished with an establishment, to which no reasonable objection of any weight could be made? The Protestants, who had fled abroad from the persecution under Queen Mary, returned too strongly prejudiced against Episcopacy and a form of prayer, and too deeply tinctured with Calvinism, to approve of what had been done here, although
the English reformers, had leaned more to Calvin, than to any other foreign divine. But because they did not adopt his discipline, nor admit and reject, just as he had done in every thing, as loud a cry was set up against our church, as against that of Rome itself, by these men of more zeal than judgment, who from thenceforward could see nothing but faults in the English establishment, and laboured with too much success to make others see as they did.
First they were displeased with the ceremonies retained, both because they had conceived an utter aversion to all ceremonies, and more especially because those ceremonies had been used, although in a different manner, and with quite another view in the church of Rome. Besides, they could not bear to see any thing in the public service, although ever so good and proper in itself, that had ever made a part, in that of a church they hated with something more than Christian animosity. They suspected this ingenuous proceeding, of somewhat too like an inclination to relapse into Popery. They more particularly disliked our kneeling at the sacrament of the Lord's supper, because that posture was used by the Papists in adoration of the Host. All that was said in the public acts of the church, and the discourses of our divines, against that use of the posture, as idolatrous, was not sufficient to dissipate their suspicions. In short, the spirit of opposition to every thing used by the church of Rome, ran so high in them, as to affect their respect for the ancient creeds, and for the Eucharist, which because it had been so grossly adulterated and perverted, both in the opinion and practice of the Papists, was therefore held in a sort of contempt, and but seldom celebrated by these mistaken zealots. The Quakers afterward went a little farther, and threw out both that and the sacrament of baptism, calling them rags of Popery, and beggarly elements. This of all things gave the greatest check to the Reformation, for on this account the unconverted Papists held it in the utmost contempt, and looked with infinite abhorrence on men, whom they saw on the point of discarding the very essentials of religion, purely out of hatred to them. Hence it was that numbers of them, who were sufficiently dissatisfied with their own profession, were still less pleased with the Reformation, because they could neither see, in such a wood of parties, which was best
entitled to a preference, nor foresee where the extravagance of reformation was likely to end. They saw our church established indeed on a footing, not altogether disagreeable to them; but they had reason to apprehend, it would not long maintain its ground, in the midst of an opposition, maintained with all possible art and virulence. They thought it therefore better to settle on the lees of their old errors, than after a long and painful fermentation, to find the little religion they had, either soured into fanaticism, or evaporated into downright infidelity. Neither did they care to entail on their posterity an endless train of oppositions, disputes, uncertainties, wherein prejudices, as senseless as those they were to quit, were likely to predominate and involve their adherents in numberless mischiefs, temporal as well as spiritual. What,' said they, ‘have we to do among men, who had rather tear the body of Christ to pieces, than pray by a form of words, the most pious and rational, because sometimes uttered by a Papist, and who cut the throats of one another about surplices, organs, and rings! Is there no difference between reformation, and destruction ? Or have these spiritual physicians no other way to cure, than to kill? Less than this is usually sufficient to make men rest in an adherence, sucked in with their mothers' milk, and rooted in their hearts by a prepossession of many years.
The next thing the Puritans took offence at, was the hierarchy of the church. They looked on the bishops, as the instruments of papal tyranny, and the corrupters of true religion. They were therefore of Machiavel's mind, who said, if that monk, meaning Luther, who is now endeavouring at a reformation in Germany, does not cut the very core out of this boil, namely episcopacy, it will grow again, and render vain all he hath done. They, as if taught by this master, were, it seems, so ignorant, as not to know, that the bishops, of all men, had most reason to oppose
usurpation of the bishop of Rome, who had made himself the only bishop, and reduced all the rest to cyphers. Nor did they consider, whether it was in the power of man, to abolish at his discretion, an order of the church, instituted by God himself, merely because the men who filled this order, had degenerated, together with all the rest of the church, into superstition and luxury. Here again the scheme of our op
posers was not to reform, but to destroy; and what was equally bold, to begin a new ministry, with hardly any other mission, than such as a number of men, and sometimes one man only, wholly unauthorized, for aught that others could perceive, should assume. From men thus sending themselves, or sent by we know not whom, we are to receive the sacraments. And, what is marvellous beyond all conception, this new species of ordination, though apparently of human institution, is now become too sacred to be interrupted, while that which seems at least to be of Christ, is laid aside. But why, in the name of wonder, may we not as well have a new mission every day? Hath the church, or rather the multitude, lost its faculty, so prolific two hundred years ago in the equivocal generation of missions? We must not forget however, that these new orders lay claim to Scriptural institution, and primitive example. What, all of them? And without succession? Do we hear of
any man in Scripture who ordained himself, or who presumed to take the ministry of God's word and sacraments upon him, without being sent either immediately or successively by Christ? Or can an instance of this nature be assigned during the first fourteen centuries of the church? Or will even those Protestants, who adopted a new mission at the Reformation, now suffer any one to administer the sacraments among them, without ordination, obtained in succession from that adoption? Do they not by this strictness, practically confess at least the expediency of such a succession ? But if a succession of this nature may be warrantably founded on their invention, why not on Christ's institution?
Perhaps however they who gave rise to a new current of ordination, were immediately authorized so to do, by divine inspiration. This, I believe, will hardly be now insisted on. But if it is, and supernatural inspiration proved, even that will not serve the turn. So sacred a thing is the succession of ordination, that the Holy Ghost, who had already enabled Barnabas and Saul to preach the word, ordered them to be separated for the work whereunto he had called them, by fasting, prayer, and imposition of hands,' that is, to be ordained; the Spirit of God hereby plainly shewing, that he himself would not break the successive order of mission, established in the church. Without in the least regarding
this, or other passages of Scripture, that plainly point out the three orders, the reformers I am speaking of, though strenuously insisting on Scripture, as the only rule of reformation, threw out the episcopal order, and began a new method of authorizing orders, until that time, unheard of in the church. And this they did, first, because they were determined to receive nothing that must come to them, through the church of Rome; and secondly, because episcopacy was too like monarchy, and therefore opposite to the political maxims they had every where adopted. Their attachment to a republican form of government in the state, they carried with them into the church, and wherever they could, established it in both. The unhappy entail of this foreign principle on their religious system was as imprudent, as it was unscriptural, and proved the ruin of their cause in France, Spain, and other monarchies. The kings and bishops, equally jealous of their designs, which they saw, tended to the extirpation of both, opposed them with all
But as neither were at the time averse to a reformation, had the reformers wholly abstained from politics, pursuant to the express command of Scripture, and left the three Scriptural orders of the church, as they found them, all Europe might long ago have been reformed. Here indeed in Great Britain, where the civil constitution was mixed, they had a fairer prospect of success. But whether it was that God approved and blessed the wisdom of our reformation, or that he blasted the schemes of men, who had preferred their own prejudices to his institution, they were in part disappointed as to Scotland, and entirely, both as to England and Ireland. However, though the monarchy remains in all the three, they have established the ecclesiastical republic in the first, and continue a separate church in the two last; which we ought in justice to ascribe to the superior industry of their ministers in lecturing, examining, and teaching the people. Herein it must be owned, we too often fall as far short of them, as they do of us, in point of institutional authority. But on the other hand, it ought to be considered, that this is in no sort owing to the ecclesiastical government of either. Ours gives no peculiar encouragement to remissness, nor theirs to diligence. How much is it to be wished, that we could honestly resolve on