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but it may be well to state briefly the historical facts which establish the spiritual rights of the orthodox ministry in this empire.
Romish authors are sensible that, while those rights are acknowledged, a powerful bond of unity exists among the orthodox, and a mighty barrier opposes itself to the tide of error. Hence we find them at one time endeavouring to represent our ordinations as invalid, and denying us the title or character of bishops, priests, and deacons; at another, affirming that if we have valid orders, yet we have no mission or right to exercise those orders.
It certainly is essential that the true ministers of God should be able to prove that they have not only the power, but the right, of performing sacred offices. There is an evident difference between these things, as may be seen by the following cases.
If a regularly ordained priest should celebrate the eucharist in the church of another, contrary to the will of that person and of the bishop, he would have the power of consecrating the eucharist, it actually would be consecrated; but he would not have the right of consecrating; or, in other words, he would not have mission for that act. If a bishop should enter the diocese of another bishop, and contrary to his will, ordain one of his deacons to the priesthood, the intruding bishop would have the power, but not the right of ordaining: he would have no mission for such an act.
of archbishop Potter on Church lue. Mr. Rose's able and eloGovernment, of bishops Taylor quent Sermons on the Comand Hall on Episcopacy, and mission and consequent Duties Leslie on the Qualifications re- of the Clergy should be in the quisite to administer the Sa
hands of every one. craments, are all of great va
In fact, mission fails in all schismatical, heretical, and uncanonical acts, because God cannot have given any man a right to act in opposition to those laws which he himself has enacted, or to those which the apostles and their successors have instituted, for the orderly and peaceable regulation of the church : he is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all the churches of the saintsb; and yet, were he to commission his ministers to exercise their offices in whatever places and circumstances they pleased, confusion and division without end must be the inevitable result.
Mission can only be given for acts in accordance with the divine and ecclesiastical laws, the latter of which derive their authority from the former; and it is conferred by valid ordination. It would be easy to prove this in several ways; but it is enough at present to say, that no other method can be pointed out by which mission is given. Should the ordination be valid, and yet uncanonical, mission does not take effect until the suspension imposed by the canons on the person ordained, is in some lawful manner removed.
I am now to state briefly the facts which shew that the clergy of this realm have mission, or a right to exercise their respective orders in the places, and over the persons, now entrusted to their care. They are proved to be the successors of the apostles, and the true ministers of God, by the succession of apostolical ordination; by prescriptive, rightful, and original possession; and by the succession of
1 apostolical doctrine.
b i Cor. xiv. 33.
First, The bishops who rule the churches of these realms were validly ordained by others, who by means of an unbroken spiritual descent of ordinations derived their mission from the apostles, and from our Lord. This continual descent is evident to any one who chooses to investigate it. Let him read the catalogues of our bishops ascending up to the most remote perioda. Our ordinations descend in a direct unbroken line from Peter and Paul, the apostles of the circumcision and the Gentiles. These great apostles successively ordained Linus, Cletus, and Clement bishops of Rome; and the apostolical line of succession was regularly continued from them to Celestine, Gregory, and Vitalianus, who ordained Patrick bishop for the Irish, and Augustine and Theodore for the English. And from those times an uninterrupted series of valid ordinations have carried down the apostolical succession in our churches, even to the present day. There is not a bishop, priest, or deacon amongst us, who cannot, if he pleases, trace his own spiritual descent from Saint Peter and Saint Paul.
Secondly, These bishops are the rightful successors of those who ruled the church in the beginning.
© The principal writers in
and other Romanists, to our defence of the validity of our ordinations. ordinations are, Mason, Bram- Bishop Godwin's work,"de hall, Burnet, and Elrington. Præsulibus Angliæ,” contains Amongst the Romanists, Cou- catalogues of all the bishops of rayer, canon regular of S. Ge- England, and their history from nevieve, distinguished himself the most remote period. Sir by a “ Defence of the validity James Ware has written the of the English ordinations,”and history of the Irish bishops by a masterly “ Supplement" from the time of St. Patrick, to the same work, in which he and bishop Keith has performoverthrows triumphantly all the
ed same office for the objections of Pere le Quien, church of Scotland.
The pastors who originally preached the gospel, and converted the inhabitants of these realms to Christianity, were legitimately ordained, and therefore had divine mission for their work. The ancient British bishops, who sat in the councils of Arles and Nice, in the fourth century, were followed by a long line of successors, who governed dioceses in Britain; so were those prelates from Ireland, who, in the seventh century, converted a great portion of the pagan invaders of Britain'; and so also was Augustine, archbishop of Canterbury, who was sent by Gregory of Rome about the same time, and who preached to another portion of the Anglo-Saxons. The churches, deriving their origin from these three sources, were governed by prelates, who all filled distinct dioceses; and those dioceses have been oc
e See Stillingfleet’s Origines which contained York, LancasBritannicæ, ch. 2 and 3. This ter, and the northern parts of work contains a learned his- England, and extended a contory of the antiquity of our siderable way into Scotland, church, which was in existence was chiefly converted by Aiin the second century, and was dan, another Irish bisbop. probably founded by S. Paul, Paulinus had been sent on this according to bishops Stilling- mission by Justus of Canter. fleet and Burgess, and other bury, successor of Augustine, divines.
but was soon obliged to retire, f The kingdom of Mercia, and paganism resumed its sway, containing the counties of Ches- until Aidan arrived under hapter, Nottingham, Derby, Staf- pier auspices, and converted ford, Salop, Northampton, Lei- the nation. Ibid. lib. iii. c. 3, cester, Lincoln, Huntingdon, 5, and 6. Essex, Middlesex, Rutland, Warwick, Worcester, and Hertford were converted Oxford, Glocester, Bucking- by Cedd, another Irish bishop, bam, Bedford, Hereford, and after they had relapsed into part of Hertford, was convert- paganism. Ibid. lib. iii. c. 22. ed to Christianity by Finanus, The Picts and Scots of ScotDiuma, Ceollach, and Trum- land were converted by Cohere, all Irish bishops. Beda, lumba, an Irishman, first ab. Historia, lib. iii. c. 21. The bot of Iona, in the sixth cenkingdom of Northumberland, tury. Ibid. lib. iii. c. 4.
cupied by a regular series of bishops, canonically ordained, from the beginning down to the present day. We can therefore not only prove that we are descended by valid ordinations from the apostles Peter and Paul, but can point out the dioceses which our predecessors have rightly possessed even from the beginning. We stand on the ground of prescriptive and immemorial possession, not merely from the times of Patrick and Augustine, but from those more remote ages, when the bishops and priests that were our predecessors attended the councils of Arles and of Nice, when Tertullian and Origen bore witness that the fame of our Christianity had extended to Africa and the east.
It is true, that there are some schismatical Romish bishops in these realms, but they are of a recent origin, and cannot shew the prescription and possession which we can. Some of these teachers do not profess to be bishops of our churches, but are titular bishops of places which we know not. Others usurp the titles of various churches in these islands, but neither are in possession themselves, nor can prove that their predecessors have ever occupied them. This sect arose in the reign of queen Elizabeth, when certain persons, unhappily and blindly devoted to the see of Rome, refused to obey and communicate with their lawful pastors, who, in accordance with the law of God and the canons, asserted the ancient independence of the British and Irish church : and the Roman patriarch then ordained a few bishops to sees in Ireland, which were already occupied by legitimate pastors. In Eng
g & The Irish bishops almost beginning of Elizabeth's reign, unanimously consented, in the to remove the jurisdiction of