Imatges de pÓgina
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spirit, to communicate with Churches of all communions. Thus, some who communicate ordinarily with the Church of England, make no scruple to communicate in prayers and sacraments with Presbyterian and Independent Churches; and Presbyterians communicate with the Church of Eng land and with Independents, whom, formerly, they charged with downright schism; and some think it very indifferent whom they communicate with, and, therefore, take their turns in all. But this is as contrary to all the principles of Church commu nion, as any thing can possibly be. Christ hath but one Church and one body; and, therefore, where there are two Churches divided from each other by separate communions, there is a schism and rent in the body; and whoever communicates with both these Churches, on one side or other, communicates in schism. Now, if schism be an innocent thing, and the true Catholic spirit, I have no more to say, but that the whole Christian Church, ever since the Apostles' times, has been in a great mistake. But if schism be a very great sin, and that which will damn us as soon as adultery and murder, then it must needs be a dangerous thing to communicate with schismatics.

"The sum of all in short is this: besides these men who justify their separation from the Church of England, by charging her with requiring sinful terms of communion, (which is the only thing that can justify their separation, if it could be proved). there are others who separate lightly and wantonly, fo want of a due sense of the nature of Church communion, and our obligations to preserve the

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unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. They have no notion at all of a Church, or no notion of our Church, or know not wherein the unity and communion of the Church consists; and these men think it is indifferent whether they communicate with any Church at all, or that they secure themselves from schism by communicating sometimes with one Church and sometimes with another; that they may choose their Church according to their own fancies, and change again whenever their humour alters. But I hope whoever considers carefully what I have now written, and attends to those passionate exhortations of the Gospel to peace, and unity, and brotherly love, which cannot be preserved but in one communion, which is the unity of the body of Christ, and the peace and love of fellow members, will not only heartily pray to the God of peace to restore peace and unity to his Church, but be careful how he divides the Church himself, and will use his utmost endeavours to heal the present schisms and divisions of the Church of Christ."*

I would only observe, in addition to what has been said, and with a view of narrowing this subject as much as may be, by confining it to the Christians of this country, that that established orthodox national Church of which we boast, can bring forward more arguments to justify her in challenging conformity to her communion, than perhaps any Church that ever yet existed in the

* See "Resolution of some Cases of Conscience with respect to Church Communion," by Dr. Sherlock, in London Cases, vol. i. p. 88, et seq.

world. For in addition to the Apostolic doctrine and government which it possesses in common with other Churches, it has the legal establishment of the country in which it is situated; which, upon the supposition that nothing sinful is commanded, has a claim to the obedience of every subject.

To which consideration must be added, the experience of the dreadful consequences that have followed the destruction of its establishment; together with the testimony which has been borne to the excellency of it, by the most unprejudiced persons. From whence it will follow, that separation from such a Church must, of all separations of the kind, be the most unwarrantable.

To establish the point respecting the testimony of unprejudiced persons, I take leave to remind you of the opinion, which learned foreigners have formed on this subject.

The names of Calvin and Beza have, I think, been already brought forward for this purpose. They declared that those Christians were worthy of every anathema, who separated from such an episcopacy as that of the Church of England; and at certain times, they scrupled not to speak most decidedly and unequivocally upon the excellency of our Church establishment.

The foreign divines at the synod of Dort, in answer to what our English clergy had urged on the necessity of episcopal government in the Church, according to the Apostolic plan, said, "that they had a great honour for the good order and discipline of the Church of England, and heartily wished that they could establish themselves

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upon this model, lamenting that they had no prospect of such a happiness; and since the civil government had made their desires impracticable, they hoped God would be merciful to them."*

A long and decided quotation to the same point, from the celebrated Monsieur Le Clerc, has been already produced in my book. A short one, from another celebrated foreigner, Monsieur Daille, who engaged in a learned controversy with one of our best divines,t and not likely to be biassed by any partiality of judgment, shall be added. "As to the Church of England, (says he) purged from foreign wicked superstitious worships and errors, either impious or dangerous, by the rule of the Divine scripture, approved of by many and illustrious martyrs, abounding with piety towards God, and charity towards men, and with most frequent examples of good works, flourishing with an increase of most learned and wise men from the beginning of the reformation to this time, I have always had it in true and just esteem, and till I die I shall continue in the same due veneration of it."

The testimony of Melancthon to the excellency of episcopal government, though not directly ap plied to that of the Church of England, may be considered, when we recollect the intimacy that prevailed between him and Cranmer, and the interest he took in the reformation of the English Church, as designed to refer to it; and must,

* Collier, v. ii. p. 178. + Hammond.
De Confess adversus H. Hammond, c. i. p. 97, 98.

therefore, on that account, be deemed as valuable as it is strong.

"Would to heaven (says he) that I could not only not enfeeble the power of bishops, but establish their dominion; for I see but too well what sort of a Church we are likely to have, if we demolish ecclesiastical government; I am sure that the tyranny we have escaped (viz. that of Rome) will then be nothing to that which we shall see established."*

How truly this prophecy of Melancthon was verified in the succeeding century in this country, when, as the late amiable and pious Bishop Horne has expressed it, "the little finger of presbytery proved to be thicker than the loins of prelacy," forms too conspicuous a page in our history, to require being pointed out.

There is still one additional testimony, that of the learned Grotius, which I take leave to trouble you with on this occasion; because the celebrity of its author forbids its being passed over unnoticed.

From some passages to be met, with in the letters of that learned person, Henry Newton, ambassador extraordinary from the Queen of Great-Britain to his Royal Highness the Grand Duke of Tuscany, it appears plainly that this great man, Hugo Grotius, had the highest opinion of the Church of England. In a letter to John Clerc, there is the following passage, taken from a letter written by Viscount Scudamore, at that time ambassador from England to France, to Archbishop Laud: "The *Seward's Anecdotes, v. iii. p. 129.

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