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gregations under their government had been accustomed to acknowledge in the bishop of London, who had been the dioscesan of the colonies before the Revolution?

To demonstrate still further, the doctrine of the Church on this point, let it be observed that when the American Church did at last adopt the constitution of 1789, there was not a sentence in it, and there is not now, defining in any way, the office or the powers of the episcopate, the presbyterate, or the diaconate. The three orders of the ministry are recognised in it as things well known and understood; but in vain would any man search in that instrument for the slightest description of what was intended by the words bishop, priest, and deacon. So too, the first canon provides, that in this Church there shall always be these three orders in the ministry; but not one sentence is there in all the canons, which looks like a design to define or describe the proper official characteristics of these orders. Instead of which, on the contrary, the canons require the students of theology to be examined previous to ordination on the doctrines of Church government, (amongst other things) and refers to the course of study recommended by the house of bishops, as to the choice of authors; in which course of study, every book involving the point under consideration, is a standard of the Church of England, and Hooker's Ecclesiastical Polity is particularised for the Episсорасу.

I am really ashamed to be so precise on such an obvious matter, but the strange misconceptions existing in reference to it, seem to make some plain explanation necessary.

The result of the whole is simple. The bishop, presbyter, and deacon in our Church, are just what they were intended to be by the Apostles. The authority of the Church cannot change these offices from their first institution, with

out departing, pro tanto, from the authority of Scripture, and innovating upon the system of God. The channel through which these sacred offices descend to us, is that of the Church of England, and her sense upon the subject of their respective rights and duties, is the sense by which, next after Scripture, we are solemnly bound; saving and excepting those particulars only, in which our branch of the Church has thought fit to adopt a different rule.

The connexion of the Church of England with the State -the titles of honor possessed by her bishops in right of their being lords of Parliament-the various ranks of the superior and inferior clergy beyond the simple division of the three original orders-and the privileges of a temporal kind appended to the establishment in that country, are matters with which we have no concern. These things are of a political and civil, rather than of a spiritual and ecclesiastical nature. They have nothing to do with the succession of the ministry, nor are they transmitted by the rite of ordination, nor did they belong to the first and purest ages of the primitive Church. But that which the offices of bishop, priest, and deacon, signify in their scriptural and spiritual sense, as received, and professed, and understood by the Church of England and the Church of this country, at the time when the episcopal succession was transmitted, the same do they signify now, and will continue to signify while the world remains. Although the constitution and canons of the American Church, however, are by no means the source of the episcopal powers, yet they are the proper exponents of the limitations which it has been thought wise to adopt at this day, both for the sake of unity, and as a guard against all danger of encroachments upon the rights either of clergy or people. These limitations are sufficiently explained in the tenth of the preceding lectures; and

they leave our ecclesiastical rulers so little arbitrary discretion, that the dread of episcopal tyranny is truly the idlest of all affectation. With the wisdom of these regulations 1 am altogether satisfied. The responsibilities of the episcopal office are oppressive enough, notwithstanding. But it is essential to their discharge that they should be properly understood, for otherwise the performance of the appropriate duty becomes impossible: and the peace of the Church will depend not a little upon the conviction of the laity, that they have at least as much to fear from the clergy's love of party, as from the bishops' love of power.

Party spirit-party distinctions-party strife—are the besetting dangers of our age and of our country. They belong to the peculiar genius of our civil system, and find a ready admission into every circle of the community. Our citizens learn to be politicians in their own esteem, before they learn their grammar, and fancy themselves wiser than their governors while they are yet boys at school. Our clergy grow up to manhood in the atmosphere of independence, and sometimes form stubborn habits of insubordination, long before they give their hearts to the Prince of peace, or take the vows of the Church upon them. Hence, the yoke of Ecclesiastical order is sometimes found too heavy; hence the obedience to canons and rubrics is sometimes thought a bondage too severe; hence the same kind of transgression which would be severely punished if the laws of the State were concerned, is thought to be nothing when it is only the law of the Church which is violated; and hence the easy and popular refuge for all irregular clergymen is to question the right of the ecclesiastical judge to control them to talk about the constitution and canons as if they were the fountain of Episcopal authority, and to harp upon the favorite strings of tyranny, and Popery, and

the love of power on the part of those whom they have pledged themselves to obey; while they pathetically lament the danger to their liberties, to their rights of conscience, and to the republican institutions of the age, if any thing in the shape of government should be exercised upon them.

That the same feverish spirit of disorder which exists throughout the land, should sometimes find its counterpart in the Church, ought not to be a subject of much surprise. Thanks be to God! there is nothing to be feared from its progress, if the rulers of the Church are properly understood in their principal modern capacity, as the official judges of the Ecclesiastical constitution. The authority of the law is the vital principle of the civil commonwealth. The authority of the law is the great director of our religious system. The Scripture in chief, the practice of the primitive Church, and the canon law of England, limited and controlled, of course, by our own, afford the whole of our principles. The Scripture is the fountain from which issues the stream of all real ecclesiastical power. The rest are only the channels which determine its course, and the embankments which prevent it from overflowing. And the reasoner who should look for the appropriate powers of either priest or bishop in the constitution and canons alone, would commit a blunder as egregious, as if he should mistake the channel for the stream, or should adopt Montesquieu's Spirit of Laws,' and the Federalist,' for text books on Episcopacy.

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CHAPTER VIII.

Is it safe to commit the office of a Judge in ecclesiastical matters, to the hands of the bishop alone, in every diocese?

IF I have not entirely failed in my course of argument, both in the tenth lecture and in the foregoing chapter, the office of judge is in the bishops' hands already, and never was any where else by right or lawful authority. And hence, I must be permitted to question the soundness of the practice first introduced by the Church of Rome, but not sanctioned in the primitive ages, of a bishop's appointing a substitute, under the name of commissary, to perform this duty for him. It is a universal principle of law that the office of a judge may not be delegated at the judge's pleasure; and therefore it is not to be questioned, that if at any time the business became too oppressive for the bishop himself to oversee, the proper remedy would have been to lessen the size of the diocese, or employ suffragan bishops throughout its districts, rather than to make the office of ecclesiastical judge and that of ecclesiastical advocate, mere secular concerns, held and prosecuted for the sake of the salary and the fees, as has been the well known fact throughout Europe, for ages together.

But it does not follow from this doctrine, that the office of judge is committed to the bishop alone, for the true ecclesiastical constitution of the primitive Church plainly esteemed the presbyters of every diocese as the council of

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