« PreviousContinue »
"My Name is Christian, my Surname is Catholick. By the one I am known from Infidels,
"For the Church of God! For the Church of God!"-ABP. WHITGIFT's dying words.
PRINTED FOR J. G. & F. RIVINGTON,
ST. PAUL'S CHURCH YARD,
AND WATERLOO PLACE, PALL MALL.
MOST EXCELLENT MAJESTY.
A SERIES of Discourses on "The Church and her Ministrations" may be judged to appear with peculiar propriety under the auspices of one, whom the Church loyally recognises as her supreme Governor under God, and to whom, under God, she confidently looks for maintaining her in "the true profession of the Gospel, and the Protestant reformed religion established by the law." Permission therefore has been humbly sought, and is now gratefully acknowledged, and dutifully used, for inscribing this Volume to your Majesty.
Nursed as you have been, Madam, in the
bosom of the Church, and trained up in familiarity with her devotional formularies, your Majesty cannot but be alive to those qualities, which, independently of any special engagement on the part of the Sovereign, particularly recommend her to the Sovereign's good will and protection: such are her sense of the origin of all human government, especially of the royal authority, in the ordinance of God; her reverential and undivided allegiance to her temporal Governour, second only to her submission to God and the laws; her vows of faithful service, honour, and humble obedience in God to that Governour; and her encouragement of all her members to lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
Your Majesty, however, will here allow me to observe, that in the following Discourses the Church is considered, less as a part of the Constitution of this Kingdom, than as God's authorized dispenser of His means of grace and salvation. This distinction is apt to be overlooked by those who imagine, that, being by law established, she principally on that account lays claim to the people's respect and regard. But, whatever claim she
may derive from her legal establishment, your Majesty is aware that this is far, very far indeed, from conferring her principal and most powerful claim. Her intrinsick value is independent of the State. The Church of Christ is of God's creation: and the Anglican Church, being a true part of the Church of Christ, whether established by law or not, is essentially the same. The State cannot make a Church, which God has not made; nor can it unmake one, which God has made. The most that the State can do, in settling a national religion, is to associate itself with a true part of Christ's Church. Still in whatever degree such association may recommend the Church to the people, her chief and proper claim is derived from her own character, as a true part of the Church of Christ, and as thus ordained and constituted by God. Nor would that claim be abated, should the State choose to discontinue the association.
Under this character, Madam, most of all, I venture to say that the Church should be contemplated, and her pretensions put forward and maintained. Accordingly the following Dis