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cannot allow Dissenters to be ministers of Christ, and therefore could not be present if one of them was to pray:
“ The Reformers,” says Neale, “ admitted the ordination of foreign churches by mere presbyters, till towards the middle of this reign (Elizabeth), when their validity began to be disputed and denied. Whitgift was the first who defended the hierarchy, from the practice of the third, fourth, and fifth centuries, when the Roman empire became Christian; but Bancroft divided the bishops from the priesthood, and advanced them into a superior order by Divine right, with the sole power of ordination and the keys of discipline: so that from this time there were reckoned three orders of clergy in the English hierarchy-namely, bishops, priests, and deacons. Thus the church advanced in her claims, and removed by degrees to a greater distance from the foreign Protestants.”
We know also, that several of the foreign Reformers, in the reign of Edward VI., were invited to England by that king. Peter Martyr had the Divinity chair given him at Oxford : Bucer had the same at Cambridge: while Ochinus and Fagius had canonries in English cathedrals.
The Nineteenth Article of the Church of England distinctly acknowledges to this day, that wherever there is “ a congregation of faithful men (consequently, the confession must be orthodox, as it is in the majority of Non-conformist, and as it is not in Popish and Socinian meetings), in which the pure word of God is preached (consequently, must have a minister), and the Sacraments be duly ministered (i.e. the Baptism with water and invocation of the Trinity, and the Supper in both kinds), according to Christ's ordinance in all those things that of necessity are requisite for the same," there is a true church: worded, as it seems, expressly to stop the mouths of her own schismatic sons, who would cut off their brethren for things not of necessity, such as surplices and bands. Moreover, the Prayer for the Clergy proves that only two orders are recognised, called therein “bishops and curates.”
The assumption of modern Episcopalians, that the right of ordination resides in bishops, in virtue of an ordination of a different kind or degree from that of ordinary ministers of the word and sacraments, is further proved to be false by the fact that no power of ordination is, or can be, exercised by them in their single episcopal capacity, but they are obliged to have other ministers joined with them: so that in this point a bishop has inferior power to a presbytery. Into the theological meaning of every part of the ordinance, I will not enter; but refer the reader to the Third Lecture on the Apocalypse by Mr. Irving, page 217 : for I must hasten to come to the point wherein schism, which is of various kinds, consists.
As modern Episcopalians have laid claim for their bishops to a dignity to which they are not entitled, so have many Nonconformists, who were not originally schismatic, become so in these latter days; one evil begetting another. It is matter of some surprise and much regret, that, as the Bishop of Winchester touched upon this subject in his late Charge, page 33, his lordship should have shewn how little he understands the real question of Dissent; for, if it be an evil, the blame is almost exclusively at the door of the hierarchy of his own church. The root of schism is pride, and, in the Dissenters, an entire ignorance of the nature of Christ's church during the present dispensation. One would have supposed that the fact of there being a Judas in the chosen little band of teachers whom our Lord selected for the founders of his Gentile church; that his own parables, which teach that the Gospel field is appointed to be filled with wheat and tares, which are not to be separated till the harvest, at the end of this dispensation; and the evident impossibility of finding an infallible outward sign of an invisible thing, might have been sufficient to instruct any persons, of ordinary discernment, into the veriest elements of truth. The endeavour to separate the wheat from the tares, is one schism of Scripture, and is the intention of the Close-communion Baptists, and indeed is the principle of all the Calvinistic Baptist churches, be they close or open.
Jude says, “ Beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the Apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, how that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.” “ Ungodly lusts ”--Enridupaç twv ageber—is rather “ irreverent desires ;” marking the pride which does not submit to lawful authority in the church.' “ Separate themselves”-ano dopcortes. The word opišw signifies to bound, a limit: and hence to define or mark oui determinatively, as it is used (defined) in Rom. i. 4: the force of the prepositions ano and da is to signify, define, or mark out determinatively from others: and no words can convey more exactly the meaning of what the Baptists do by all their forms of church-membership; and also all those sects who attempt, through the process of what is termed “ experiences,” which is neither more nor less than to mark out determinatively from others that they are the elect of God. On this passage of Rom. i. 4 it may be remarked, that even the Lord Jesus himself was not defined to be the Son of God until he rose from the dead. In this respect also, being exactly similar to his brethren, who shall not be manifested, defined from others, or known to be, the sons of God until their resurrection from the dead; marking, if possible, more strongly still the absurdity of those who would attempt to form visible churches here below which shall contain only the elect.
giving in their
By very far the worst class of schismatics are the INDEPENDENTS. I cannot now stop to examine their origin, relationship to the Brownists, &c.; but shall take the description of them as at present existing, from Mr. Rowland Hill's Journal through the north of England and Scotland, page 132:-“ It is their idea, that it is unlawful for a minister to hold communion with any people but his own; restricting the administration of ordinances alone to the people who elected him to the office... Nor is the interference of ministers at all necessary, even for their ordinations, only as their gifts and abilities may put a gloss upon the business before the congregation which attends. Their members, in some respects, may be somewhat less restricted than their minister, as they are at times permitted to be occasional communicants, if admitted by the suffrage of the people--the minister having equal authority with an old woman on these permissive occasions. Now, what conclusion is to be drawn from this restricted mode of discipline ? Why, that no churches but their own have a Christian ministry throughout the world; though the minister may have lived like an angel, have preached the Gospel for half a century, and have brought a thousand souls to Christ. And should such a minister choose to end his days with them, nothing of his former ordination is to be considered. There is no ordination but merely the people's choice. While thus they so freely use the knife of amputation, respecting the office possessed by all other ministers throughout Christendom but their own; in demanding such a re-ordination they have little reason to complain of the Church of England, or of Rome itself, in exacting a similar re-ordination for all who were not before Episcopally ordained..... A strict Independent congregation is therefore a compiete spiritual (ecclesiastical?) republic. All other republics are incomplete. In those, they act by their representatives ; but in this
, youngsters and old ladies all act for themselves. They neither have, nor can they have, rulers, overseers, or elders ; for each has a positive right to rule, to oversee, and to controul the conduct of his own Minister. As to Elders, the novice ranks with them the moment he is admitted. The Minister .... is without a vote himself, and without any possibility of redress.”
If I had space to enter upon the subject, the recent correspondence of Mr. Walker, in the World newspaper, with respect to Orange-Street Chapel, would afford some materials from which we might perceive the bondage in which the best and ablest Non-conformist ministers are held by the lay popes among
them. It is certainly not too much to say, that the Dissenting ministers
vastly exceed lay Dissenters in learning, gentlemanly manners, piety, meekness, and every quality which can command respect; and yet they are oppressed in a way that exceeds the belief of those who have not been at the pains to examine into the subject : the pride of these layınen urging the ministers to ape the habits, dress, &c. of the wealthier clergy of the Established Church, which the slender incomes, and often large families, of these worthy men can ill afford; while the means of doing this is eked out by doles from the disgusting ostentation of the purse-proud vulgarity of their lay heads; whereby the ministers become the retained dependents of those whom they ought to rebuke. It is not be wondered at that religion is at a low ebb among them. If half of the Dissenting ministers were to dare to preach the convictions of their souls, they would lose their daily bread.
The design of Polhill's work is to vindicate the Non-conformists from the charge of schism; which he does by shewing, that, though they have another altar, they have not an opposite altar : and his defence is complete. But that very argument, which justifies the Non-conformists of his time, condemns most of the modern Dissenters. I speak therefore now, only of those who set up dissent as a rival, not as an auxiliary, to the churches established in the land; which the Non-conformists did not do, and which far the greater proportion of modern Dissenters dothat is, the Independents (as they curiously call themselves) and all Baptists. " Schismatical separation issues out of pride and contempt. The Donatists thought themselves the only men: they boasted as if their communion were the only communion, as if their baptism were the only baptism. But do the Non-conformists separate thus ? do they say that they only are the church, or that they only have the ordinances ?” Now, what the Non-conformists did not even say, the Dissenters now actually do: many of them will not partake of the ordinances of Christ's church, if administered by the ministers of the Church of England ; and they justify themselves in this their sin of schism, by trying to torture Scripture into saying that to have a church the ministers of which shall be paid by the king, is a proof of apostasy, and the Babylon of the Apocalypse.
The extent of schism which we perceive in actual operation, is but the outward manifestation of the principle which lies deeper within : for, though pride, self-conceit, love of hearing themselves preach, spirit of domination, the stirrings of natural conscience seeking to be quieted, and many other such motives, may induce men to set up for teachers, the principle which is developed by them all is the schism, the cutting asunder, the separation of the visible thing from the invisible truth signified by it. We find pervading, not only Dissenters of all kinds, but the church at large, schism in Baptism, schism in preaching, schism in hearing, schism in the Supper. In all this the principle is the opposite of the superstition of the Papist: their error consists in making the outward and visible the real and invisible, the opus operatum, and the transubstantiation : that of Protestants, in cutting the one away from the other; dividing the outward ordinance from the spirit within. The kingdom of Christ is separated from the vice-regency of kings; the domestic duties of husband and wife are not seen as the counterparts of the relationship between Christ and his church : parental obligations are rent asunder by our artificial system of schooling, from infancy to second childhood. The headship of families is unknown as an epitome of the world viewed in the great Head and Father of all, his children, and those who minister unto them. Schism in the book of God; separating its bare letter from the Spirit which speaks by it; and from the living men, the voices of the preachers. Nay, schism in the very letter itself; cutting it up into extracts, and essential and non-essential texts. Schism in the very Christ; separating the crucified from the glorified, and confining men's knowledge of Him to a narrow and limited view of one of his
offices. No one can dispute the possibility of heresies arising at any time: and if they were to arise in such a state of the church as the present, who can point out a remedy, or probable means of counteracting them ? Heresies have arisen, and are largely afloat: the most striking of which is the denial of the human nature of our blessed Lord by numbers in the present day. There exists not in men's breasts sufficient reverence for the sages of antiquity, for the authority of the church, and for the opinions of others, even to get a fair hearing for the truth; and a torrent of falsehood and personality is the vehicle adapted to the taste of professors of Christianity, which renders the poison delightful to the ear, and procures it a ready acceptance in the heart.
Perhaps the greatest symptom of schism is to be found in the organization of religious societies : motley things, without a head; trying to convert the world, not by a living voice, but by a dead book : missionaries sent out, not by churches, but by laymen, whose qualifications to direct depend upon an annual payment of a guinea. If each church were to send out its own missionary, many hundred more would have been employed, and they would have been acting in conformity to the ordinance of Christ's church: but as they are at present constituted, they are, at best, but the out-breakings of Christian lay-zeal testifying against the remissness of the priesthood, both in the Established Church and amongst Dissenters.
Non sum ambitiosus in malis, nec augere lacrymarum causas