Imatges de pÓgina
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tures to opposite purposes ; but I feel it an
indispensible duty to endeavour to affix a de-
termined meaning to those civil authorities,
which affect the question under our conside-
ration.

The king (or queen) * of this realm, in The king to be
whom the constitution places the supreme ther in his na-
executive power, is to be considered either political capa-
in the natural capacity of a human indivi- city.
dual, or in his political capacity as an in-
tegral component part of the legislature.
Some things are faid of the king, which are
true only as applicable to his natural ca-
pacity, and false, if pretended to be applied
to his political capacity; and so vice versa.
It will be my endeavour to keep my readers
attention to the difference. His natural ca-
pacity he receives immediately from Al-
mighty God; his political capacity imme-
diately from the people or community ; but
not without the permission of Almighty God,
from whom the people receive immediately
their

power and right to confer it: thus are
reconciled the words of St. Peter, calling
kings a human ordinance, or buman appoint-
ment, with the words of St. Paul, styling ma-
gistrates the ordinance of God.

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• Whenever I shall in future speak generally of the king, I beg also to be understood of a queen regnant, such as were Mary, Elizabeth, and Anne.

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The king is a corporation in his political capacity.

But as

The king, in his political capacity, is a corporation fole : now *“ corporations fole consist of one person only and his successors in some particular station, who are incor. porated by law, in order to give them fome legal capacities and advantages, particularly that of perpetuity, which in their natural persons they could not have had. all personal rights die with the person, and as the necessary forms of investing a series of individuals, one after another, with the same identical rights, would be very inconvenient, if not impracticable, it has been found necessary, when it is for the advantage of the public to have any particular rights kept on foot and continued, to constitute artificial persons, who

may

maintain a perpetual fuccession, and enjoy a kind of legal immortality.” So in this fense is it said, that the king never dies : and those, who are his heirs in his natural capacity, are called his fuccessors in his political capacity; for a corpcration can have no heirs, as nemo est beres viventis, and a corporation never dies.

* Blak. Com. b. i. c. xviii.

CH A P. which

CH A P. X.

OF THE SUPREME HEAD OF THE CHURCH

OF ENGLAND.

I

Ihnt ecclefia

macy vetru in

Shall follow the common order of affo

ciating our ideas of church and state, by first considering the king as supreme head of the church of England. Now, although in this discussion I shall rather consider, what the constitution now is, than what it heretofore was ; yet, as whatever ecclefiaftical supremacy ait:cal surreover the church of England is now vesed the king. by the constitution in the person of the king, is generally supposed to be vested in him by the continuance, recognition, revival, or transfer of an old power, and not by the creation, donation, and investiture of a new one, as I shall endeavour to make appear, it will be incumbent upon me to make some researches into the origin and establishment of Spiritual or ecclesiastical power in this country. I will presume it useless to repeat any thing I have heretofore faid, to prove that the majority of the community, who must conclude the whole, have not only an indefcafible

Right and duty right, but an indispensable obligation and of individu is duty to adopt that divine cult or worship, dictates o: Gude 7

which they shall conscientiously think God requires from them, and to countenance and support it with what civil sanctions they shall think proper. My examination therefore will not be, whether our ancestors exercised their right, and fulfilled their duty more or less judiciously or perfectly than their successors; but in what manner and to what extent they actually made a religious establishment an essential part of their civil constitution. This discussion has often been a subject of such rancorous controversy, that I am not totally free from fear, left the liberality even of the present day, may be at first unequal to form a perfectly unbiased judgment upon the subject. I am now to examine the truth, not the reason of facts.

As true as it is, that in the twenty-fourth year of the reign of king Henry VIII. the majority of the people of England did, by

the act of their representatives in parliament, Acknowledge renounce and throw off the Spiritual sument of the pope's spiritual premacy of the pope of Rome; so true is Tupremacy no usurpation.

it, that they had uninterruptedly acknowledged and submitted unto it for near one thousand years before the twenty-fourth of Henry VIII. A.D. 1532. It is frivolous in the extreme, to treat this spiritual supremacy

of

of the pope as a papal usurpation; for who can be so simple as to believe, that such submission could have been forced

upon

the English nation, who were ever jealous of their liberty, against their consent, by one hundred and seventy-one popes, who during that space of time filled the papal see.

We must allow to our ancestors the same right and the same obligation of following the dictates of their consciences, which we claim and acknowledge ourselves. By the tenets of the religion, which they then professed, the spiritual primacy of the visible succeffor of St. Peter was an effential article of their belief; their submission therefore to the bishop of Rome, as such visible acknowledged head of the church was as free, as their adoption of the religion, which taught the necessity of such a primacy. What an absurdity would it not be, to speak of the belief and profession of the Roman catholic religion in Poland or Portugal as an usurpation? And if our ancestors thought proper consent of the to make a free voluntary tender and security to the bishops of Rome, either of Peter Pence, first fruits, or any other civil advantage, or benefit, how can that be called an usurpation, which could neither have been originally imposed, nor continue to be en

forced

nation inconfif. tent with usur. ration,

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