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the constitution of it is concerned, with bishops
In answer to what you say, page 14, "that in
England, at this present hour, there are, or at least were within these few years, three classes of bishops, all claiming what each thinks the best right to the same bishopricks;" I have yet to add some brief remarks.
The non-jurors, it is to be observed, never did consecrate a bishop over any diocese. On the contrary, they purposely abstained from so doing, that no fresh difficulties might arise, to prevent the closing of what they considered to be a lamentable schism. In 1691 Archbishop Sancroft was deprived. On the 9th of February, 1691-2, he appointed Lloyd, the deprived Bishop of Norwich, his substitute, to transact all business incumbent on him, and with full powers to consecrate other bishops. About a year after this event, the Archbishop recommended Dr. George Hickes, the deprived dean of Worcester, to be a bishop, with the suffragan title of Thetford; as Lloyd of Norwich did Mr. Thomas Wagstaffe, with the title of Ipswich. In subsequent consecrations, even suffragan titles were, I believe, among the nonjurors, laid aside. Among the Papists, I understand they are still retained. But how do these unessential circumstances, admitting them all in their utmost extent, affect the episcopal character of any or of all these several claimants; or in any degree invalidate the episcopal functions, which they respectively perform among those over whom they preside? Are you to be reminded, (for I cannot suppose it necessary to inform you) that what you call bishopricks, as now constituted and settled by the law of the land, relate chiefly, if not solely, to the temporal
character of a bishop? The spiritual character of a bishop, and his particular local jurisdiction, have been, at different times and under different circumstances, separated from each other, without the consequent destruction of either. A man, at least as to all the spiritual part of his character, the only part that our argument calls on us now to consider, may be a true bishop; whether he has or has not any particular district, over which he is authorised to preside. Such, in a theological sense, I conceive the nonjuring bishops were, and Popish bishops in this country actually are. The latter being also what is called titular bishops, may, if you please, be an absurdity; but certainly it does not invalidate their episcopal function, regarded as their personal office; although, when considered in their connexion with this country, it furnishes them with no warrant, as constitutional bishops, for the discharge of it. It should at the same time be remembered, Sir, that to claim, and to prove a right to the thing claimed, are two very different things: nor can you argue so illogically as to infer, that because several different claims to the same bishopric are set up, therefore no true claim can be established.
To proceed: It has been observed, that to judge from what you and I have written on the subject of the Church, it should appear, that we have two very different subjects in view. My book professes to treat of the Church, as a visible society, subject to human government. Your definitions of the Church chiefly belong to it as an invisible society. Our premises, therefore, being different, it is not to be
expected that our conclusions should agree. is one definition, however, to which we hit scribe; namely, that which in page és vol me taken from the nineteenth Article; where wE TEL "that the risible Church of Christ is a m tion of faithful people, in which the pure wom of God is preached, and the sacramente in quis atministered, according to Christ's ordmans." catechism teaches, that these sacramenr ne que rally necessary to salvation. How then, i mr ME asked, can these so necessary sacramans le muy administered, but by persons authorised me nimnister them, by a commission regularly devel from their Divine Institutor? It might indent be supposed, that the history of Philip the dea (who, though full of the Holy Ghost, after hun converted and baptised the inhabitants of Samra, left their confirmation, as an act which exceeİNİ the limits of his office, to be performed by those superior ministers to whom it belonged;) compared with the cases of Nadab and Abihu,* of Korah Dathan, and Abiram,† of Saul,‡ of Uzza, and ef the sons of Sceva,§ should prevent every man from presuming to act as a minister of God, without being lawfully ordained thereto; and if so ordained, from exceeding the limits of his office.
I pass on to the quotation, made in page 27, from Lord Bacon, with the view of giving the reader what you call his lordship's "definitive description of the true Church." "There is (says his Lordship) an universal Catholic Church of God, dis
* Levit. x. 1 Sam. xiii.
+ Numbers xvi. 1 Chron. xiii.
§ Acts xix.
persed over the face of the earth, which is Christ's spouse, and Christ's body; being gathered of the fathers of the whole world, of the Church of the Jews, of the spirits of the faithful dissolved, and of the spirits of the faithful militant, and of the names yet to be born, which are already written in the book of life." These are certainly Lord Bacon's words: but to put the reader in possession of his Lordship's full sentiments upon the general subject of the Church, what immediately follows should have been added. "That there is also a visible Church, distinguished by the outward works of God's covenant, and the receiving of the holy doctrine, with the use of the mysteries of God, and the invocation and sanctification of his holy name. That there is also a holy succession in the prophets of the New Testament, and fathers of the Church, from the time of the Apostles and Disciples, which saw our Saviour in the flesh, unto the consummation of the work of the ministry; which persons are called from God by gift, or inward anointing, and the vocation of God, followed by an outward calling, and ordination of the Church' 971
From the whole of the foregoing extract taken together, his Lordship appears to have entertained a distinct idea upon the subject of the Church, both as an invisible and visible society: you have made use of his Lordship's authority, so far as it applies to the invisible Church, leaving the reader to conclude, that such was the only idea entertained by him on this subject. This is indeed not *Lord Bacon's Confession of Faith.