For further understanding of this communion of Christians, our inquirer resorted to their history, both in the past and present, with testimonies of churchmen upon mooted questions. In this record from differing stand-points there was much which reminded him of the 6 Cato ” and the “ Anti-Cato," written by the Ciceronian friend, the other by the

the one

[ocr errors]

Cæsarian enemy.

As, in the Indian mythology, Mirtlok lies between the two divisions of heaven and hell, he hoped to attain that position for observation, equally distant from either extreme. The following are


“ The Church of England has no real history apart from the Catholic Church, until the sixteenth century, although the Episcopal Church claims for itself independence of the Church of Rome for more than five centuries. After the Saxon invasion in the year 596, the Bishop of Rome, Pope Gregory the Great, sent Augustine with forty of his order to England as missionaries. Augustine founded an abbey at Canterbury,


and was the first archbishop in England. His doctrine soon spread throughout Britain.

“ The sixth archbishop from Augustine, Theodore, divided the land into parishes, in the seventh century.

“A writer of the English Church observes. We have now only to regard the Church of England, in common with the churches of the continent in the mediæval ages, as whilst emitting, here and there, an occasional ray of light, yet deeply involved in the corruptions and superstitions of the times.'

“For a long time the Northumbrian church refused to submit to the domination of Rome; but in 664, King Oswy compelled his clergy to submit to Rome, which now held undisputed sway over the whole of England.

“Marsden says that Elfric, one of the latest writers of the Anglo-Saxon church, A. D. 1014, informs us that there are seven ecclesiastical orders in the church — ostiary, reader, exorcist, acolyte, subdeacon, deacon, and priest.'

“It was not till the council of Winchester, in 1076, that celibacy was made imperative on the English clergy. (Eadie.)

“Henry the Eighth rebelled from the papal authority, though it had been in part successfully resisted by William the Conqueror. In 1534, the Church of England professed to be free. But this freedom was only nominal, or a transfer of tyrannical power from the

pope to the king. It was still the Church of Rome in all but the name. In 1539, parliament passed . An act for abolishing diversity of opinions.' The death penalty was affixed to the denial of the doctrine of

[ocr errors]

transubstantiation ; also to denial of all the other peculiarities of the Romish faith.

“Under the reign of Edward, and still more in that of Elizabeth, the reformation of the church rapidly progressed. From this period it assumed a thoroughly Protestant character. The names of Cranmer, Ridley, Latimer, and Hooper are associated with the reforms from the abuses of popery.


[ocr errors]


“The English Church, as such, has ever been characterized for a love of political and worldly emolument. In America, the Episcopal church seems to be, for the most part, the church of the wealthy. Their beginning in this country justifies the basis of this supposition; their subsequent history, the complete conclusion.

“The first Episcopalians of the New World, who were men of power in England, settled in Virginia, not for religious freedom, like the Puritans of New England, but for purposes of worldly emolument.' As early as 1621, the Virginia company set apart in each of the boroughs an hundred acres of land for a glebe, and two hundred pounds sterling for a standing revenue for a living, out of the profits of each parish.

" It has steadily increased in wealth, and at present has centralizations of church properties of immense value. It is exactly suited to accommodate that class of people whose wealth demands preservation from vulgar contact, and yet whose conscience would adhere to the faith which was once delivered to the saints. This class of persons take the church' as the most respectable road to heaven.

[ocr errors]

Love of Power. “This church, like every other composed of men, has displayed in times of prosperity a love of power.

“King James, who believed that Episcopacy was an aid and comfort to monarchy, used to say, “No bishop, no king. This sovereign was not alone in this style of argument. He understood the pith of the matter.

“ Archbishop Laud was an unqualified tyrant. He hated the Calvinists, and persuaded Charles to make this proclamation at the head of the Articles of Faith : “We will that all curious search into these things be laid aside, and these disputes be shut up in God's promises, as they be generally set forth to us in Holy Scripture, and the general meaning of the articles according to them.

“In 1662, the Act of Uniformity was passed — an act worthy of a body of men with pretensions to infallibility, which demanded a total withdrawal of all investigation. By this act, all the minişters in England must declare their unfeigned assent and consent to the entire Book of Common Prayer, or be ejected from their livings.' In that year, more than two thousand ministers who refused to subscribe, were made to feel this rod.

“ Two years later, the Conventicle Act declared that but five persons above the age of sixteen, besides the family, were to meet for worship.

“Next folowed the Corporation Act—that no



[ocr errors]

person shall be chosen into any office of magistracy, or other employment relating to corporations, who shall not, within one year next before such elections, have taken the sacrament of the Lord's Supper according to the rites of the Church of England.'

"The Five Mile Act, in 1665, 'imposed an oath on all non-conformists, binding them to attempt no alteration in either church or state; and provided that all ministers who did not take it, should neither live in, nor come within, five miles of any borough, city, etc.'

“By the Test Act, every person who held any office or trust must receive the sacrament of the Lord's Supper in the Church of England, within three months after his admittance to the office, or be subjected to severe penalties.'

“The Episcopalians of the New World, true to their education, having the power in Virginia, early passed laws to drive all sectaries from their colony. Six years after, a Congregational church of one hundred and one persons was dispersed, and their pastors banished.

“Sir Edinund Andros, a provincial governor of the colony of New England, and a zealous supporter of this faith, in order to build up the Episcopal church, pronounced no marriages valid unless celebrated by the Church of England. The Old South Church in Boston was demanded and used for the Episcopal service, until, in 1688, a church was built, called King's Chapel

“ The same spirit of proscription animates the clerical members of this body at present; and to perpetuate their power, they refuse practical acknowledgment of the validity of the ministry of all

[ocr errors]
« VorigeDoorgaan »