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lished their opinions in print, with this title, Two Papers of Proposals, Humbly presented to His Majesty, by the Reverend Ministers of the Presbyterian Persuasion-Printed at London, anno 1661. Besides other passages in these papers to the same purpose, in p. II and 12, are these words: 'And as these are our general ends and motives, so we are induced to insist upon the form of a synodical government, conjunct with a fixed presidency or Episcopacy for these reasons: That the prelacy disclaimed in that Covenant was the engrossing the SOLE power of ORDINATION and jurisdiction, and exercising the WHOLE discipline, absolutely by Bishops themselves, and their delegates, Chancellors, Surrogates, and officials, etc., excluding wholly the PASTORS of particular Churches from all share in it.' And there is one of prime note amongst them, who, in a large treatise of Church Government, does clearly evidence, that this was the mind both of the Parliament of England, and of the Assembly of Divines at Westminster, as they themselves did expressly declare it in the admitting of the Covenant, 'That they understood it not to be against ALL Episcopacy, but only against that particular frame, as it is worded in the article itself.' (Baxter on Church Government, p. 111. C. 1. tit., p. 275. 'An Episcopacy desirable for the reformation, preservation, and peace of the Churches, a fixed president, durante vita.' See p. 297, 330, ibid.). ... That this difference should arise to a great height, may seem somewhat strange to any man that calmly considers, that there is in this Church no change at all, neither in the doctrine nor worship: no, nor in the substance of the DISCIPLINE ITSELF. But when it falls on matter easily inflammable, a little spark how great a fire it will kindle! . . . II. When the house of Lords took the Covenant, Mr. Thomas Coleman that gave it them, did so explain it, and profess that it was not their intent to covenant against ALL Episcopacy; and upon this explication it was taken; and certainly the Parliament was most capable of giving the true sense of it, seeing that it was they that did impose it. . . That very scruple was made by some members of Parliament, and resolved, with consent of their brethren in Scotland, that the Covenant was only intended against PRELACY as it was then in being in England, leaving a latitude for Episcopacy, etc." (Works, vol. ii., p. 546 et seq.) Moreover, to all this evidence, must be added the further fact that in the very first Ordinal set forth for the use of the new Episcopal Church of Scotland in 1620, following the teaching of Cranmer and all the Elizabethan Reformers after him, following
what had been then, and was at this time (1629) the OFFICIAL view of the Church of England herself, it was distinctly asserted that there were but TWO ORDERS ONLY (in the technical sense of the word) in the Ministry of Christ's Church, viz.:-(1) Bishops (or Presbyters); and (2) Ministers (or acons) — See Proctor's Hist. Book of
Com. Prayer, p. 94.
In conclusion, then, we may affirm that it is perfectly evident from the above that whatever may have been the tendency at that time toward an exclusive theory of the Episcopate, a tendency which doubtless justified the fear of "prelacy" so called, it is absolutely certain that this tendency was a movement advocated by individuals only. It never had the authoritative sanction of the Church. In short, it is absolutely certain that both in her OFFICIAL teachings, as well as in her official dealings with the Scottish Kirk, the Church of England then stood squarely and unqualifiedly for a moderate view of Episcopacy only-for that view of the Episcopate, in other words, taught by the Reformers and reasserted, time and again, in her public acts and formularies throughout the trying period of the Reformation. Nor is there a shred of evidence to justify the supposition that what was then official doctrine has now ceased to be official. Aside from the fact that there is no evidence whatever of this, such a supposition implies that the present constitution of the Church of England, instead of dating from the days of the Reformation, as is universally acknowledged by friend and foe alike, dates from some period subsequent to the Restoration of 1662, a proposition which does not deserve consideration. If then the "Catholic" theory of the Episcopate and of the Church (which depends upon it as a corollary) is so diametrically opposed to this official view of the Church of England in the seventeenth century, it follows that it is equally irreconcilable with the official teaching of that Church to-day and this, no matter how popular "catholic" principles may be with a great portion of the Clergy and Laity of the Church, or how many volumes defending such principles may be falsely set forth in the name of that Church. Such pretensions cannot possibly change the facts.
We may summarize this portion of the argument then as follows: The Church of England in the seventeenth century, acting in her official capacity, made the following clear and specific admissions,— Ist. She admitted the validity of the former Presbyterial ordinations of the Kirk; 2d. She formally conceded the demand of the Kirk that from henceforth "ordinations of ministers were placed,
substantially, in their (the Bishops') hands as the head of the ordaining Presbytery only." (Resolution 2). 3d. In the first Ordinal designed for the use of this new Episcopal Church in 1620, officially "adopted by the Bishops," she repeated the declaration so often made by Cranmer and the English Reformers generally that there were but two Orders only in the Ministry, viz.:-"Bishops (or Presbyters) and Ministers" (i.e. Deacons), Proctor's Hist. Bk. Com. Prayer, p. 94. Note. Blunt's Dict. Heresies, etc., p. 545. These facts are, of course fatal to the whole "catholic" conception of the Episcopate as in any sense representing the official view of the Church of England, and the surprising thing is that they are not better known especially when even such a well-known authority as Blunt in his Annotated Book of Common Prayer, a work as popular as it is scholarly, distinctly tells us (p. 566) that “it was not till the close of the Sixteenth Century, that the distinction between the Orders of Bishop. and Priests was asserted" even. This statement is unquestionably true. The only trouble with it is that it is not the whole truth, for even then it was asserted by individuals only, and not by the Church as such. Nor, as we propose to show, has it ever been asserted by the Church as such, but is even to this day an unofficial assertion only of individual Churchmen of so-called "catholic" tendencies. Even in 1620, as we have just seen, the Church reasserted the view of the Reformers that Bishops and Presbyters were one and the same Order, as her official opinion, and we have only to turn to so late a work as the ninth edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica, Article "Order," p. 844, to find these words: "The Church of England expressly recognizes the Diaconate and the Priesthood, but no others, as distinct Orders," thus amply vindicating our contention that the official view of the Church to-day is the same as it was in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. As the Revisers of 1662 distinctly state in the Preface of their Prayer Book, no alteration in any doctrine was made by them. Thus the official doctrine of the Church in regard to the Episcopate, even as in regard to all other matters, is exactly the same to-day as it was in the days of Elizabeth. We shall speak more particularly of this matter in a subsequent chapter. For the present we merely desire to mention it, and to emphasize the fact that these objections are fatal to "catholic" conceptions of the official teaching of the Church of England on the subject of the validity of Presbyterian ordinations, and the integrity of Presbyterian bodies as true parts of the Holy Catholic Church.