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Apostles, for the direction of their judgment on this subject... of godhonge ni 303 70 „J7929b
The establishment of the Christian Church being only temporary, to be altered as the future circumstances of society, and the different arrangements of civil policy might require, appears to be a position irreconcileable with the independence of the Christian Church, and calculated only to corrupt it. Before it be therefore admitted, some strong proof should be brought, that the establishment of the Church was designed to be of this accommodating nature. The language and conduct of the Apostles in the discharge of their office, together with the state of the Church for the first three hundred years of its existence, authorize us to draw the contrary conclusion. I ord
In fact, the connection of the Church with the state appears to be an accidental circumstance, which may, or may not, exist; and which, consequently, o did not constitute a part of the plan upon which it was originally established. The state may come into the Church, as in the days of Constantine; but the Church is not to accommodate itself to the state, to produce this effect: or the state may be in sopposition to the Church, as i in the days of the Apostles. Its establishment, therefore, as a spiritual society, must respect its permanent condition; as it exists in itself upon the authority of its Divine Founder, not its accidental one, as it is occasionally connected with civil policy. When kings and queens become the nursing fathers and nursing mothers to the Church, the Church is supported and benefited by their protection;
when those who ought to protect and support it, desert, or act in opposition to it, the Church is no longer in a flourishing condition with respect to temporalities, but its establishment is in both cases the same reftib aut jus p90002*0 #99<1αvýri 9d When Archdeacon Paley, therefore, talks about framing an ecclesiastical constitution, adapted to real lifes and to the actual state of religion in the country,” he appears (if I understand him right) to be placing the subject in that political point of view, in which it was never designed to stand, and to be giving scope to that innovating spirit, which must be the consequence of establishing the Christian Church upon a human, rather than a Divine, foundation.
Bud gordi Before Dr. Paley again commits himself on this important subject, he will do well to consider, what was to judiciously said upon it a hundred years ago, that in accommodating Church government to the frame and occasion of the state, nothing be disestablished or unsettled, that seems to have been settled by the authority of scripture. Therefore, whereas we see there the government of the Church first settled in the hands of bishops, that is, pastors that had authority over pastors; (see epistles to Timothy and Titus) and we find no other forms of Church government, neither in the scripture, snor in the practice of the universal Church, though the whole form and frame of episcopal government is not so expressly prescribed, but that the Church may, in many things, have power of making therein accommodations to the times and exigencies of the state; yet may not those acts of accommodation
amount to such a height, as to subvert or abolish the government, which by the judgment of her members, then infallible, was set on foot, because no judgment of her present members now, can come in any competition with her first. And if any state shall so accommodate itself, the accommo dators may, perhaps, be found fighting against the spirit of God, manifested both in the scripture, and in the judgment and practice of the universal Church of God."*
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A shorter and still more direct answer to the Archdeacon's eccentric position respecting the appointment of bishops, considered only as a matter of temporary accommodation to the circumstances of the primitive Church, will be found in the following judicious observation of the celebrated Mr. Law. "We do not say that episcopacy cannot be changed, merely because we have Apostolical prac tice for it; but because such is the nature of the Christian priesthood, that it can only be continued in that method which God has appointed for its continuance. Episcopacy is the only instituted method of continuing the priesthood; therefore episcopacy is unchangeable. The Apostólical practice, indeed, shows that episcopacy is the order that is appointed; but it is the nature of the priesthood that assures us that it is unalterable. So that the question is not fairly stated, when it is asked, whether episcopacy, being an Apostolical practice, may be laid aside? But it should be
"A Protestant's Account of his Orthodox Religion," p. 16, 17. Published in "Bibliotheca Scriptorum Ecclesiæ Anglicana;" by the Rev. George Hickes, D.D.
asked whether an instituted particular method of continuing the priesthood be not necessary to be continued Poo Whether an appointed order of receiving a commission from God be not necessary to be observed, in order to receive a commission from Him? If the case were thus stated, as it ought to be fairly stated, any one would soon per ceive, that we can no more lay aside episcopacy, and yet continue the Christian priesthood, than we can alter the terms of salvation, and yet be in covenant with God." Till the Archdeacon has answered what has been so ably advanced upon this subject by the celebrated writer above-mentioned, the reader will readily dispense with further enlargement upon it.
4.947 That a writer who sees the Christian Church in the light in which Dr. Paley appears to see it, rather as an appendage to the state, than as a society possessing an existence and government independent of it, should express himself on the the subject of creeds and co confessions in the ne manner he has
done, is but what was, to be expected. He who considers the establishment of the Christia Church as the mere result of human judgment, exercised on that particular subject at a certain given time, will consider the establishment of creeds and confessions as expressive merely of the, opinion or persuasion of the age in which they were composed, rather than as fixing any standard of judgment for mankind at any future
To such a person the establishment of the Christian Church, and the establishment of an article of
* Law's Second Letter to Bishop Hoadley.
Christian faith, will appear subjects equally open to discussion, and subjects upon which noosettled judgment can ever besformed because they must be continually varying with the opinions of mankind upon them. What was, therefore, an acknowledged article of faith in the primitive Church, may in process of time cease to be so, because (to make use of the Archdeacon's words) in consequence