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ceive that he, whatever his earthly rank or station, could bestow, or even aid in bestowing, the gifts imparted thereby.
Many ages ago the civil rulers of our country recognised the principle that a Christian nation should, as such, consider itself a branch of the Apostolical Church of Christ; they therefore acknowledged, and gave temporal dignity, and a voice in the general councils of the State to her ministers ; privileges which they to the present day enjoy. And the Church, on her part, the above principle having been adopted by the State, acknowledged the head of that State, the King, to be her temporal head; investing him with that general supremacy in ecclesiastical affairs, which he already possessed in civil. But we are not thence to infer that she gave, or that she could give, to an earthly monarch, or to his temporal legislature, the right to interfere with things spiritual, with her Doctrines, with her Liturgy, with the ministration of her Sacraments, or with the positions, relative to each other, of her Bishops, Priests, and Deacons.
When corruptions, prevalent among the professedly Christian world, render it necessary for her to state the substance of her faith in articles, (as was done in A.D. 1562,) or when circumstances appear to require any change or variation either in the forms of her Liturgy, or in her general internal government, the King has the constitutional power of summoning the houses of convocation, a sort of ecclesiastical parliament composed of Bishops or Clergy, from which alone such changes can fitly or legally emanate.
Such are the circumstances under which a branch of Christ's Church is domiciled among us, and claims over us, while acting according to His Spirit, the delegated authority of her Founder. She makes no pretensions to that immediate inspiration of the Spirit which, by positively securing her ministers from error, would clothe her decisions with absolute infallibility. She puts the Bible into the hand of every member of her communion, and calls upon him to believe nothing as necessary to salvation which shall not appear, upon mature examination, to be set down therein, or at least to be capable of being proved thereby ; but showing, at the same time, her authority as its appointed interpreter, she cautions him not rashly, or without having fully weighed the subject, to dissent from her expositions, the results of the accumulated learning and labour of centuries. She warns him not, without cause, to run the risk of incurring the fearful sin of schism, or unnecessary separation from, and violation of the unity of Christ's fold; a sin of which, surely, none can think lightly, who remembers the Saviour's affecting and repeated prayer, (see John xvii.) that His followers might be one, even as He and His Almighty Father were one. She bids him in that Bible itself read her credentials ; she there exhibits, in the recorded indications of her Lord and Master's will, the rock on which she is built ; the foundation which, whatever changes may convulse the globe around it, is to abide, unmoved and immoveable, till time shall be no more.
The duties which our knowledge of these things, Brethren of the Laity, makes incumbent upon us, are almost too clear to need recapitulation. Filial love and affectionate reverence toward the collective Church, and toward those, her Pastors and Masters, who are set in spiritual authority over us ; a zeal for the inculcation of her pure doctrine and the extension of her heavenly fold; a determination in evil report and in good report to stand by her, and to approve ourselves her faithful members and children ; these, and such feelings as these, are, by our bond of communion with her, peremptorily required of us; these let us make it the business of our lives to cultivate and comply with ; and if tempted, as any one of us may be, hastily and needlessly to forsake her hallowed pale, let us reply to the temptation by addressing her in words somewhat similar to those of Peter to his Divine Master, “ To whom “ shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life; and we be“ lieve and are sure that Thou art the” Minister and Representative of “ Christ, the Son of the living God.”
THE following are the words addressed respectively to Bishops, Priests, and Deacons, when their offices are conferred upon them by the laying on of hands.
TO A BISHOP. “ Receive the Holy Ghost, for the Office and Work of a Bishop “ in the Church of God, now committed unto Thee by the Impo“ sition of our hands ; in the name of the Father, and of the Son, “ and of the Holy Ghost. Amen. And remember that thou stir “ up the grace of God which is given thee by this Imposition of “ our hands; for God hath not given us the Spirit of fear, but of “ power, and love, and soberness.”
TO A PRIEST. • Receive the Holy Ghost for the Office and Work of a Priest “ in the Church of God, now committed unto thee by the Imposi“ tion of our hands. Whose sins thou dost forgive, they are for“ given ; and whose sins thou dost retain, they are retained. And “ be thou a faithful Dispenser of the Word of God, and of His “ holy Sacraments ; in the name of the Father, and of the Son, “ and of the Holy Ghost. Amen."
TO A DEACON. “ Take thou authority to execute the Office of a Deacon in the “ Church of God committed unto thee; in the name of the Father, “ and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.”
These Tracts may be had at TURRILL'S, No. 250, Regent Street, at 3d. per sheet, 1fd. the half sheet, and ld. per quarter sheet.
W. KING, PRINTER, ST. CLEMENT's, OXFORD.
WHEN we look around upon the present state of the Christian Church, and then turning to ecclesiastical history acquaint ourselves with its primitive form and condition, the difference between them so strongly acts upon the imagination, that we are tempted to think, that to base our conduct now on the principles acknowledged then, is but theoretical and idle. We seem to perceive, as clear as day, that as the Primitive Church had its own particular discipline and political character, so have we ours; and that to attempt to revive what is past, is as absurd as to seek to raise what is literally dead. Perhaps we even go on to maintain, that the constitution of the Church, as well as its actual course of acting, is different from what it was ; that Episcopacy now is in no sense what it used to be; that our Bishops are the same as the Primitive Bishops only in name; and that the notion of an Apostolical Succession is “ a fond thing." I do not wish to undervalue the temptation, which leads to this view of Church matters; it is the temptation of sight to overcome faith, and of course not a slight one.
But the following reflection on the history of the Jewish Church, may perhaps be considered to throw light upon our present duties.
1. Consider how exact are the injunctions of Moses to his people. He ends them thus : “ These are the words of the covenant 66 which the LORD commanded Moses to make with the children “ of Israel in the land of Moab, beside the covenant which He “ made with them in Horeb. .... Keep therefore the words of “ this covenant, and do them, that ye may prosper in all that “ ye do..... Neither with you only do I make this covenant and “ this oath ; but with him that standeth here this day before the « LORD our God, and also with him that is not here with us this “ day.”. Deut. xxix.