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given "The bishop, with the priests [presbyters] present, shall lay their hands severally upon the head of every one that receiveth the order of priesthood; the receivers humbly kneeling, and the bishop saying: Receive the Holy Ghost, for the office and work of a priest in the church of God, now committed unto thee by the imposition of OUR hands," etc. We know that there is among them a difference of opinion about the reason why this is done. One portion regard the bishop as the only source of authority.* The other suppose that the presence and act of the presbyters express the assent and confidence of the churches, and that it is essential to a valid ordination. But, whichever opinion is maintained, it is, in fact, a Presbyterian ordination. If not, it is an unmeaning and idle ceremony; and the presence of the presbyters is mere pageantry and pomp.
We have now passed through the argument. Could we enter farther into it, we could prove, we think, positively, that there were no ministers in the apostolic churches superior to presbyters "in ministerial powers and rights;" and that a presbytery did actually engage in an ordination, and even in the case of Timothy.† But our argument does not require it, nor have we room. We have examined the whole of the claims of Episcopalians, derived from the New Testament. Our readers will now judge of the validity of those claims. We close, as Dr. Onderdonk began, by saying, that if the claim is not made out, on scriptural authority, it has no force, or binding obligation on mankind.
Who can resist the impression, that if the New Testament had been the only authority appealed to in other times, Episcopacy would long since have ceased to urge its claims, and have sunk away with other dynasties and dominations, from the notice of mankind? On the basis which we have now
*Hooker's Eccl. Pol., book vii. 26.
† 1 Tim. iv. 14.
examined, this vast superstructure; this system which has in other ages spread over the entire Christian world; this system which, in some periods at least, has advanced most arrogant claims, has been reared. The world, for ages, has been called to submit to various modifications of the episcopal power. The world, with the single exception of the Waldenses and Albigenses, did for ages submit to its authority. The prelatical domination rose on the ruins of the liberties of cities, states, and nations, till all the power of the Christian world was concentrated in the hands of one man-" the servant of the servants of God!" The exercise of that power in his hands is well known. Equally arrogant have been its claims, in other modifications. The authority has been deemed necessary for the suppression of divisions and heresies. prelates," says Milton, "as they would have it thought, are the only mauls of schism." That power was felt in the days when Puritan piety rose to bless mankind, and to advance just notions of civil and religious liberty. Streams of blood have flowed, and tears of anguish have been shed, and thousands of holy men have been doomed to poverty and want, and imprisonment, and tears, as the result of those claims to supremacy and validity in the church of God. It may surprise our readers to learn, that all the authority from the Bible which could be adduced in favour of these enormous claims has now been submitted to their observation. And we cannot repress the melancholy emotions of our hearts, at the thought that such power has been claimed, and such domination exercised by man, on so slender authority as this.
We have little love for controversy;—we have none for denunciation. We have no war to wage with Episcopacy. We know, we deeply feel, that much may be said in favour of it, apart from the claim which has been set up for its authority from the New Testament. Its past history, in some respects, makes us weep; in some others, it is the source of sincerc
rejoicing and praise. We cannot forget, indeed, its assumptions of power, or hide from our eyes the days of the Papacy, when it clothed in sackcloth the Christian world. We cannot forget the days, not few or unimportant, in its history, when even as a part of the Protestant religion, it has brought "a numb and chill stupidity of soul, an inactive blindness of mind upon the people, by its leaden doctrine;" we cannot forget "the frozen captivity" of the church, "in the bondage of prelates;"* nor can we remove from our remembrance the sufferings of the Puritans and the bloody scenes in Scotland.
we do not charge this on the Episcopacy of our times. We do not believe that it is essential to its existence. We do not believe that it is its inevitable tendency. With more grateful feelings we recall other events of its history. We associate it with the brightest and happiest days of religion, and liberty, and literature, and law. We remember that it was under the Episcopacy that the church in England took its firm stand. against the Papacy; and that this was its form when Zion rose to light and splendour from the dark night of ages. We remember the name of Cranmer,-Cranmer first, in many respects, among the reformers; that it was by his steady and unerring hand that, under God, the pure church of the Saviour was conducted through the agitating and distressing times of Henry VIII. We remember that God watched over that wonderful man; that he gave this distinguished prelate access to the heart of one of the most capricious, cruel, inexorable, bloodthirsty, and licentious monarchs that has disgraced the world; that God, for the sake of Cranmer and his church, conducted Henry, as "by a hook in the nose," and made him faithful to the Archbishop of Canterbury, when faithful to none else; so that, perhaps, the only redeeming trait in the character of Henry is his fidelity to this first British prelate under the
Reformation.* The world will not soon forget the names of Latimer, and Ridley, and Rogers, and Bradford; names associated in the feelings of Christians, with the long list of ancient confessors "of whom the world was not worthy," and who did honour to entire ages of mankind, by sealing their attachment to the Son of God, on the rack or amid the flames. Nor can we forget that we owe to Episcopacy that which fills our minds with gratitude and praise, when we look for examples of consecrated talent, and elegant literature, and humble, devoted piety. While men honour elevated Christian feeling; while they revere sound learning; while they render tribute to clear and profound reasoning, they will not forget the names of Barrow and Taylor, of Tillotson, and Hooker, and Butler; -and when they think of humble, pure, sweet, heavenly piety, their minds will recur instinctively to the name of Leighton. Such names, with a host of others, do honour to the world. When we think of them, we have it not in our hearts to utter one word against a church which has thus done honour to our race, and to our common Christianity.
Such we wish Episcopacy still to be. We have always thought that there are Christian minds and hearts that would find more edification in the forms of worship in that church, than in any other. We regard it as adapted to call forth Christian energy that might otherwise be dormant. We do not grieve that the church is divided into different denominations. To all who hold essential truth we bid God-speed;
It may be proper here to remark, that Cranmer by no means entertained the modern views of the scriptural authority of bishops. He would not have coincided with the claims of the tract which is now passing under our review. He maintained "that the appointment to spiritual offices belongs indifferently to bishops, to princes, or to the people, according to the pressure of existing circumstances. He affirmed the original identity of bishops and presbyters; and contended that nothing more than mere election, or appointment, is essential to the sacerdotal office, without consecration or any other solemnity."-Le Bas's Life of Cranmer, vol. i. p. 197.
and for all such we lift our humble supplications to the God of all mercy, that he will make them the means of spreading the gospel around the globe. We ourselves could live and labour in friendliness and love in the bosom of the Episcopal Church. While we have an honest preference for another department of the great field of Christian action; while providential circumstances, and the suggestions of our own hearts and minds, have conducted us to a different field of labour, we have never doubted that many of the purest flames of devotion that rise from the earth, ascend from the altars of the Episcopal Church, and that many of the purest spirits that the earth contains minister at those altars, or breathe forth their prayers and praises in language consecrated by the use of piety for centuries.
We have but one wish in regard to Episcopacy. We wish her not to assume arrogant claims. We wish her not to utter the language of denunciation. We wish her to follow the guidance of the distinguished minister of her church, whose book we are reviewing, in not attempting to "unchurch" other denominations. We wish her to fall in with, or to go in advance of others, in the spirit of the age. Our desire is that she may become throughout—as we rejoice she is increasingly becoming-the warm, devoted friend of revivals and missionary operations. She is consolidated; well marshalled; under an efficient system of laws; and pre-eminently fitted for powerful action in the field of Christian warfare. We desire to see her what the Macedonian phalanx was in the ancient army; with her dense, solid organization, with her unity of movement, with her power of maintaining the position which she takes; and with her eminent ability to advance the cause of sacred learning, and the love of order and of law, attending or leading all other churches in the conquests of redemption in an alienated world. We would even rejoice to see her who was first in the field at the Reformation in England, first, also,