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dence of one bishop, was reckoned one particular and local church, with respect to this one bishop; so all the local churches of all the cities, of all the provinces, and of all the nations of the world, come under the denomination of the ONE CATHOLIC CHURCH, in relation to the ONE Supreme Governor of them all, who is Christ, the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls.
That some time would elapse before churches thus constituted, and thus distributed, could be brought under a regular system, is not to be doubted. But that the systematic plan of settlement, which the apostles acted upon, was, as above described, we have as complete evidence as the directions which Scripture contains, and the early and genuine records of the fact itself, can well be thought capable of affording us.
On this footing then, the supreme government of the christian church, as a society, stood vested in Christ alone; and by him was it delegated, under the express assurance of his continued presence, to the apostles, and their regular successors, the several bishops of the several particular churches which the apostles planted, all of whom possessed an equal share of such delegated power, authority, and jurisdiction, without the least pre-eminence, or inherent superiority among them. For, as brethren, they were all equally honoured, by having the same commission imparted to them; for the
due discharge of which, they were all, in the first instance, equally amenable to Christ, and in the second, by mutual consent, amenable to each other. Thus was the church governed, the gospel preached, nations converted, and the purity of the faith maintained, under all the opposition, which cution from without, and corruption from within, could throw in its way. And thus did matters go on for some more than three hundred that the civil powers becoming christian, and the bishops of the church meeting with the countenance and favour of the state, ambition and worldlymindedness began to exhibit the influence which they had obtained ; an influence, which in the end produced the most fatal effects.
With the purest intention, and for order's sake, the general Council of Nice did introduce into the church the new title of PATRIARCH; which title the Council bestowed upon the following bishops ; viz. those of Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem. Of these five, the first twothe bishops of Rome and of Constantinople, soon conceived a jealousy of each other, by reason of the temporal dignity of their respective Sees, Rome having been the imperial city, and Constantinople, now enjoying imperial honours. Upon this pretext, added to others equally frivolous, did the churches of Rome and Constantinople continue at open warfare for six or seven hundred years; until at length a formal and final separation was declared, which his
torians have terined the Great Schism between the Eastern, or Greek church, and the Western, or Latin 'church ; and which is kept up with unabated zeal to this very day. The title of Pope, it is well known, was originally a title bestowed on all bishops, especially on such as were of great age, or of long standing in the church. Yet this title did the bishop of Rome exclusively assume, in order to preserve the claim of supremacy, which his undue ambition led him to found upon some imaginary privileges bestowed on the apostle St Peter ; and that he might more successfully propagate the vain conceit, that he is St Peter's immediate successor, who is asserted to have been bishop of Roine, but for which assertion, (notwithstanding the unwieldy fabric raised upon it), there is no better foundation than a disputable sort of tradition.
In virtue however of his unsupported and unwarrantable powers, as universal Bishop, the Pope and his adherents condemn all who dissent from the Romish church, (the British churches among the rest), and stigmatize them as schismatics from the holy catholic church, because they refuse obedience to the l'ope, its universal bishop. On their premises, the conclusion is undeniable. But we reject their premises, as self-assumed; and therefore are in nowise affected by the conclusion. It is true, that a schism has now for a considerable time subsisted between the church of Rome and the episcopal churches of England and Scotland. This is no less matter of fact, than it is matter of lamentation. When they of the Romish persuasion state the fact, however, they charge this schism, as wilful, to our account: in our statement of it, we think ourselves justified in charging it to their account, who constrained us to separate from them. For according to the definition which I have given of primitive catholicism, and to which they cannot reasonably object, it is apparent, that at the period of the separation complained of, the church of Rome had openly and judicially departed from the old established standards, and principles of the catholic church in the first and purest ages.
In proof of this, let it be remembered, that the Romish pretensions had shaken the very foundation of the christian church ; and by building on another foundation than that which an apostle had declared to have been laid', had put the person of St Peter in the place of our Lord Jesus Christ; the catholic faith had become vitiated by the intermixture of new and unscriptural doctrines; the instituted form of government, by a conjunct episcopate, had been changed into the despotic tyranny of One individual; the sacraments of Christ's appointment had been profaned, by the advancement, to the same rank of dignity and honour, of other five of human institution, as well as mutilated by withholding the eucharistic cup from the laity; the
purity of public worship, as well as of private devotion, had been adulterated with impure, and unwarrantable addresses to creatures; and, upon the only hope of salvation annexed, by the gospel, to the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, and to the merits of his intercession, had been superinduced hopes new and fallacious, annexed to the names and intercession of particular saints, and to the unscriptural doctrine of supererogation : While not satisfied with practising these unjustifiable deviations from the primitive standard, the church of Rome did not cease, in consequence of the universal dominion claimed by her, (against which claim the sister churches of this Island did ever strenuously contend), continually and indefatigably to endeavour, by the terror of spiritual anathemas, and by the most torturing corporal punishment, to wreath the yoke of subjugation around the necks of every individual church in Christendom. These are facts, stubborn facts, detailed in the history of every European nation, and protestants have repeatedly and fully urged them, by proofs and arguments which never can be refuted; insomuch that our separation from a part of the catholic church, so imperious and so polluted as is the Romish church, being founded on truly catholic principles, cannot, with any shadow of propriety, be included under the obnoxious term · Schism. Indeed froin the danger, as well as from the imputation of that dreadful evil, we are warranted in believing ourselves completely safe. We liave merely resumed the original rights of depen