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ing their resemblance to the most abandoned profligates, that have infested the Church in any age? But this has actually been done by the present Bishop of Lincoln, in a late treatise, entitled, “ A Refutation of Calvinism.”
A book that tends to originate or strengthen erroneous opinions on any subject, is likely to be injurious in proportion to the station, character, and influence of its author. Multitudes believe, that “a saint in crape, is twice a saint in “ lawna ;” and far greater danger to the Church must be apprehended from the errors and misrepresentations of a Prelate, than from those of any theologian of inferior rank. Where will the majority of readers expect to find accurate statements of the true doctrines of the Church by law established, if not in a treatise composed by one of its own Bishops, professing the warmest zeal for “ the preservation of this most pure and “ reformed part of the Christian Church bus from the “ attempts of schism and enthusiasm,” which his Lordship deems “more secret, but not less “ dangerous” than “the open attacks of 'infi“delity and atheism”—especially when they are informed, that three chapters of this treatise include episcopal charges delivered at so many triennial visitations by the right reverend author, to the clergy of a very extensive diocese, and published at their requesto ? This circumstance adds another alarming feature to the portentous a Pope. Ref. p. 283.
c Pref. p. 4.
aspect which this publication bears towards the interests of the Church. Many readers will not afford either the time or thought requisite for the examination of such a volume. They will give his Lordship credit for being able to achieve what he has not actually accomplished; will suppose that proofs sufficient to support his numerous un substantiated assertions were ready at hand, if his Lordship had thought it necessary to produce them, and will take it for granted that the doctrine opposed, which in many points can be demonstrated to be the true doctrine of the Church, does really deserve that heretical and mischievous character, with which it has been stigmatized by his Lordship.
I am not sensible of any impropriety in calling your Grace's attention to this subject. It appears to me to fall completely within your spiritual jurisdiction, and to call for the exercise of, perhaps, a very delicate, but at the same time a most useful and necessary part of the 'archiepiscopal functions.
Whether the office of Metropolitan, as well as of Diocesan Bishops, has been of merely buman appointment, or was established under the immediate direction of inspired Apostles, it is natural to conclude the institution to have been designed for some important ends. There are, or ought to be, no sinecures in the Church of Christ. Nor can the episcopal or archiepiscopal office be thought to relate chiefly to the tempo.
ralities of the Church. The principal objects of contemplation, must be its spiritual concerns. And here it may not be foreign to the subject to introduce an observation of Mr. Gisborne, on the origin and advantages of the different clerical orders in the Church of England.
“ It is now admitted,” he says, “ by the gene
rality of Protestants, that no command was “ delivered either by Christ or by his Apostles,
assigning to the Christian Church any specific “ unalterable form of government; but that, s while various offices, suited to the situation and
exigencies of the new converts, were insti“ tuted at the beginning (some of which, as that " of Deaconesses, have long fallen into disuse ), “ Christians were left at liberty to adopt in future - times such modes of ecclesiastical administra. “ tion and discipline, 'as they should deem most
eligible in the circumstances under which they - should find themselves placed. The advantages “ to be expected from the mode of government
adopted in the establishment of our own coun“ try, are principally these. The distinction of - orders in the Church, bearing a strong resem“blance to the gradations of rank in civil life,
provides friends and companions among the
clergy, and the benefits which may result from “ their society and example, not merely for the
inferior, but likewise for the highest classes in " the communitya.”
a Gisb. Duties of Men, vol. i. p. 23, 4th edit.
That great champion of the Ecclesiastical Polity of the Church, Hooker, reasons respecting its advantages, in a similar manner. He consie ders it as a “principal commodity, that order (of “ Prelates) “ yieldeth,
yieldeth, or at leastwise is of its own disposition and nature apt to yield; Kings and Princes, partly for information of their own
consciences, partly for instruction what they “ have to do in a number of most weighty af. “ fairs entangled with the cause of religion,
having, as all men kuow, so usual occasion of “ often consultation and conferences with their
Clergy.---There is no judicious man will
ever make any question or doubt, but that fit “ and direct it is for the highest and chiefest or“ der in God's Clergy to be employed before “ others about so near and necessary offices as “ the sacred estate of the greatest on earth doth “ require. For this cause Joshua bad Eleazar; “ David, Abiathar; Constantine, Hosius Bishop " of Corduba; other Emperors and Kings their « Prelates, by whom, in private, ( for with Princes “ this is the most effectual way of doing good) “ to be admonished, counselled, comforted, and “ if need were, reproveda
But what success can be expected to attend the instruction, admonition, and reproof of Kings, Princes, or Nobles, unless the Prelates who perform this useful, but sometimes unwelcome office, add to all their other qualifications
a Hook. Eccles. Polit. book vii. sec, 18.
an unbending firmness of moral integrity, an eminent degree of “simplicity and godly sin.
cerity ap”. Though a Bishop possess splendid talents, extensive knowledge, and profound learning, it is difficult to imagine a greater blemish in his spiritual character, one more irreconcileable with “ simplicity and godly sincerity,” more fully exposing him to the censure of being “ double-tongued,” more completely incompatible with the qualities requisite to constitute a sound casuist, than a belief and avowal of sentiments and opinions inconsistent with those which he has most solemnly and repeatedly subscribed, and by virtue of which subscription, he first obtained and still holds all his preferments.
If it be the duty of Prelates in general to administer all seasonable counsel, admonition, and even reproof, to the greatest personages on earth; it must more peculiarly belong to a Metropolitan to observe, counsel, admonish, comfort, and if need were, reprove the Bishops of the inferior Sees. The Apostle of the Gentiles admonished one of the first Bishops of the Christian Church to “ hold fast the form of sound words," to “ take lieed unto himself and unto his doctrine, - to continue in them d.” He also particularly exhorted him to niake proper provision for the perpetuation of the true doctrines of Christ by a succession of “ faithful men who should be able
bi Tiin, ii, 8.
C2 Tim. i. 13.
a 2 Cor. i. 12. di Tim. iv, 16.