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from the state, is true ; as such it existed for upwards of three centuries : but that this Church is, by its own constitution, necessarily precluded from receiving protection from the state, is no where implied in Scripture. On the contrary, we are referred by prophecy to its most triumphant and imperial times, when “ kings shall be its nursing fathers, and their queens its nursing mothers.*
Mr. Towgood's ignorance of the nature of ecclesiastical establishments in general is pretty evident from what has been stated ; and it will yet further appear from what follows :
Compare the constitution of the Church of England, and the constitution of the Church of Christ, and see if they are not societies of a quite different frame; the one a human, the other a divine institution; the one resting entirely on the authority and will of men, the other upon the will and authority of God.
If you enquire after the constitution and frame of the Church of Christ, where must you look for it? Only in the Bible. But, if you enquire after the constitution and frame of the Church of England, where must you look for that? In the Statute-book, in the Canons, and Common Prayer book, and in the Codes of the English law.--P. 17.
A comparison is here instituted between the Church of Christ and the Church of England, which are represented as two distinct Societies. The absurdity of this objection will best be seen by a paraphrase of its language.
“The City of London is no part of Great Britain: for, compare the constitution of the kingdom of Great Britain, and the constitution of the City of London, and see if they are not societies of a quite different frame; the one a municipal, the other a political institution; the one resting entirely on the authority and will of the Lord Mayor and Aldermen, and the other on the will and authority of the King and Parliament.
If you inquire after the constitution and frame of the kingdom of Great Britain, where must you look for it? Only in the Statute Book. But if you inquire after the constitution and frame of the City of London, where must you look for that? In the records of the City, in the resolutions of Common Council, in the standing orders of the Lord Mayor, and the decisions of the Court of Aldermen.'
Again, Mr. Towgood proceeds in the same strain :
The Church of England, and the Church of Christ seem to be two societies, absolutely distinct, and of a quite different constitution, as they have two different heads, or fountains of power, whence all authority, jurisdiction, and ministrations, in the two Churches, severally spring. In the Church of Jesus Christ, he himself is supreme head, the only Lawgiver and Sovereign. To us there is but one Lord. One is your master, even Christ. God gave him to be head over all things to the Church. All power is given to me in Heaven and in earth, go ye, therefore, teach all nations. Christ is the only fountain of influence, jurisdiction, and power, in his Church, by commission from whom alone, all its officers act.
But in the Church of England, you well know, Sir, the King, or Queen, is supreme head, “ vested with all power to exercise all manner of ecclesiastical jurisdiction; and archbishops, bishops, archdeacons, and other ecclesiastical, persons, have no manner of jurisdiction ecclesiastical, but by and under the king's majesty, who hath full power and authority to hear and determine all
# Isa. xlix. 23.
manner of causes ecclesiastical, and to reform and correct all vice, sin, errors, heresies, enormities, abuses whatsoever, which by any manner of spiritual authority, or jurisdiction, ought or may be lawfully reformed."-P. 22.
To this we shall reply, as before, by a paraphrase :
· The kingdom of Great Britain and the City of London seem to be two societies, absolutely distinct, and of a quite different constitution, as they have two different heads, or fountains of power ; whence al} authority, jurisdiction, and ministrations in the two bodies, severally spring. In the kingdom, the King himself is supreme head, the only lawgiver and sovereign. The King is the only fountain of influence, jurisdiction, and power in his kingdom, by commission from whom alone all its officers act. But in the City of London the Lord Mayor is supreme head,” &c.
It is unnecessary to pursue the parallel further. The absurdity must be apparent. If Mr. Towgood believed the Church of England and the Church of Christ“ to be two societies, absolutely distinct, and of a quite different communion, he acted quite rightly and consistently in his separation. If a Christian believes a spiritual society to be no part of the Church of Christ, he cannot, of course, communicate with it. But we have now seen the weakness of the ground on which Mr. Towgood rested his supposition; and we may be permitted to examine the real circumstances of the question..
A portion of the Church of Christ exists in England. It has pleased the State to take this portion of the Church under its protection, in order to afford it greater facilities of spiritual improvement. Liberal education and a certain provision are appointed for its ministers, whose labours are confined to different districts, that they may be concentrated and effectual. Its integrity and security are guaranteed by wholesome laws, which enable it to discharge its duties without interruption. In return for these advantages, it is only just that some stake should be pledged by the privileged party. The Church, therefore, so far as it is an establishment, and no further, is subject to the same authority as the state. The texts brought forward by Mr. Towgood against an earthly head of the Church do not go to touch the point. The Church of Christ in England, as a spiritual society, knows no other head than Christ, whether it be established, or otherwise. All the marks which Mr. Towgood instances as distinguishing the Church of Christ, are to be found in the Church of England. Her constitution, as a part of the Church of Christ, is to be found only in the Bible. But, so far as she is established or protected by the Government, so far she is subject to the government which establishes her. And the wisdom of such a subjection is evident from the effects of the establishment of the Romish church in this country, without the salutary balance of the law. Mr. Towgood ought to have known that the common phrase of “ Head of the Church," applied to the King of these realms, is never used by churchmen in a sense approximating to that of the same term when applied to Christ. The King is the head of the Church establishment, and nothing more. He is in a like sense head of the Church establishment in Scotland ; and whatever Mr. Towgood may say, he is even supreme over Dissenters; for no Dissenter, upon
whatever pretence of religion and liberty of conscience, can violate the royal peace: and every Dissenter's conventicle, and Dissenting minister, derive their right from the licence of the civil magistrate. Indeed, a negation of right on the part of the magistrate to control ecclesiastical individuals is much more a doctrine of Popery than of genuine liberty of conscience. It might be supposed that this old and senseless objection against the sovereign's exercise of power over ecclesiastical persons either individually or collectively, had been fully answered in our Thirty-seventh Article:
When we attribute to the Queen's Majesty the chief government, by which titles we understand the minds of some slanderous folks to be offended; we give not to our princes the ministering either of God's Word, or of the Sacraments, the which thing the Injunctions also lately set forth by Elizabeth our Queen do most plainly testify; but that only prerogative, which we see to have been given always to all godly Princes in holy Scriptures by God himself; that is, that they should rule all states and degrees committed to their clarge by God, whether they be ecclesiastical or temporal, and restrain with the civil sword the stubborn and evil-doers.
It must necessarily, from the very nature of the circumstances, be impossible to shew from Scripture that the Church, in the Apostles' time was thus subjected; because there were then no Christian sovereigns. But we have a strong Scripture case in point in the conduct of the Jewish monarchs. What did Mr. Towgood think of David even arranging the temple service ;* of Solomon removing Abiathar from the priesthood t, and appointing Zadok in his room ;I of Jehoash calling the higH-PRIESTS before him, and COMMANDING|| him to expend certain money in the repair of the temple ; of Josiah issuing a similar COMMAND, 1 and exercising authority over the highPRIEST ?** Surely these examples are sufficient to DEMONSTRATE that the ecclesiastical power claimed by our princes is no more than Christianity allows them.
That the early reformed monarchs, in many instances, interfered beyond their just prerogative in ecclesiastical matters, is elaborately proved by Mr. Towgood, and readily conceded : but how this affects the case of Dissenters, we are unable to discover. It certainly does not, in any degree, affect our definition of schism. The same princes equally overstepped the limits of political equity : but as these transgressions are not urged, or can be, as causes of alienation from our civil constitution, so neither should similar extensions of power estrange us from our ecclesiastical. The parliament were frightened into a formal surrender of their privileges to Henry VIII.; but do they the less enjoy them now? The liberties of the Church of England are, in like manner, protected at the present day. But, suppose they were not : the Church would then be in a state of persecution; and we know of no law by which communion with a persecuted church (merely because it is persecuted) is forbidden.
. 1 Chron. xxv.
+ 1 Kings xi. 27.
Ibid. 12; xxii. 4, &c.
1 Ibid. xxxv.
Mr. Towgood appears to be totally ignorant of the nature of our ecclesiastical constitution, when he affirms that the Church is “ a creature of the State." It is no more so than the state is a creature of the Church. It is established by law, but not created by it. The two things are widely different. The Church has (alas! we must correct had) its council under the King, as the State has its own in like manner; the King, by his Convocation, made laws for the Church, as, by his Parliament, he makes laws for the State. But those laws have nothing to do with religion, but merely with the administration of the external establishment. When, therefore, Mr. Towgood talks of “ the grand difficulty,” “ how the civil magistrate came by this authority in the Church of Christ? Who gave him this power to decree rites in Christian worship which Christ never decreed, and to make articles of faith which Christ never made ?” We answer, that this authority never was given to the civil magistrate ; and those instances which Mr. Towgood advances of royal interference in religious cases were unwarranted stretches of prerogative, no more affecting the allegiance which the Christian owes to the Established Church, than similar deviations from the doctrine of our civil constitution affect the excellency of its theory or the obligations of its subjects. After what we have adduced from the Thirty-seventh Article, it might seem unnecessary to say more on the ecclesiastical doctrine of the King's supremacy; but we will add, in confirmation, the testimony of the Second Canon, which is quite decisive, “ Whosoever shall hereafter affirm that the King's Majesty hath not the same authority in causes ecclesiastical, that the godly kings had amongst the Jews, and Christian Emperors of the primitive Church ; or impeach any part of his regal supremacy in the said causes restored to the Crown, and by the laws of this realm therein established, let him be excommunicated ipso facto,” &c. Once more we will trespass on our readers, which we are scarcely justified in doing in so clear a matter, by an extract from “ The King's Declaration ;" a production certainly not marked by any inclination to compromise the dignity of the royal prerogative. “We are supreme Governor of the Church of England ; and if any difference arise about the EXTERNAL POLICY, concerning the INJUNCTIONS, CANONS, and OTHER CONSTITUTIONS whatsoever thereto belonging, the Clergy in their convocation is to order and settle them, having first obtained leave under our broad seal so to do, and we approving their said ORDINANCES and constituTIONS," &c. Surely this is a power which no consistent Protestant can deem objectionable ; 'and this is all which the King possesses by the law of the land.
The Canons and Articles of our Church, must be allowed by all candid persons, the due guides to the right comprehension of its religious belief and civil constitution. Their testimony is very decisive to the point in question ; but as Mr. Towgood has chosen to evade it, and to attempt to shew that the practice of the Church has been otherwise, we are ready to meet him on this ground also ; not that practice would prove anything ; it might illustrate a disputed point of law ; but it could not negative the plain terms of an unequivocal legal authority.
Mr. Towgood does not sufficiently discriminate between acts purely ecclesiastical, acts of a mixed nature, and acts which are not ecclesiastical at all. Acts of the first description are ministerial,- such as administration of the sacraments-preaching the word-exercising pastoral authority and admonition, &c. ; with these the civil power has nothing to do; and did it claim interference in these cases, might immediately be repressed by the law of the land; or they are such as belong to the external policy of the Church, over which the King has control, and ought to have. Some acts, however, of the second description, manifestly requiring the concurrence of the civil authority, do not on that account make void the authority of the Convocation. This observation will negative the triumphant flourish of Mr. Towgood in p. 231.
See how the case stood when the church was in the zenith of its prosperity and power! I mean at the passing the act of Uniformity of Charles II. in the preamble of which you have the sentiments of the legislature, and those of your most religious king. It recites to this effect: “That, the book of Common Prayer, &c. having been enjoined to be used by the statute 1st Eliz, and since that by the neglect of ministers, great inconveniences and schisms having happened, for prevention thereof, and for settling the peace of the Church, &c. the king had granted his commission to some bishops, and other divines, to review the Common Prayer-book, and to prepare such alteration and advice as they thought fit to offer. And that, afterward, his Majesty having called a convocation, and having been pleased to authorise and require them to review the same book, and make such alterations as to them should seem meet, and to exhibit and present the same to his Majesty for his farther allowance or confirmation; and, the same having been done, his Majesty hath duly considered, and fully approved and allowed the same, and recommended to this present parliament that the same shall be appointed to be used in all churches, whereupon it is enacted, &c."
Behold how poor a figure the power of your convocation makes when shining in its highest glory! The Clergy are authorised and required by the King to propose alterations in Church ceremonies and forms, for his consideration and allowance as supreme head of the Church. The King approves and allows such of them as he thinks fit; but, in order to their having power at all to oblige the members of the Church, the King recommends them to his parliament; and, if they are approved of and passed, they thence acquire the force of a law. What, I pray you, did the Clergy in all this affair besides giving their advice; which might have been taken or refused ? So lawyers, though they may have no seat in parliament, are often consulted in forming and making laws : shall they, therefore, set up for a share in the legislative power, and exalt themselves from subjects to be rulers in the state ?
Now the truth is, the case in question was one of a mixed nature. The reformation of the Common Prayer Book was a task belonging to the clergy; it was therefore entrusted, first to a clerical commission, and next to the Convocation. The King's authority was necessary to sanction an act of the establishment; this authority was therefore given; but the King, in giving it, never intended to express any theological opinion. So far then was the act of the Convocation, the representatives of the Church, confirmed by the King, as supreme magistrate. But when the King recommended to his Parliament to enact, that the Common Prayer should be appointed to be used in all churches, assuredly he never recommended to Parliament a theological discussion of the Liturgy. The interference of Parliament was