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Title: On the apostolical succession - Parochial lectures, second series
Author: Irons, William J.
Language: English
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Transcribed from the 1847 Joseph Masters edition by David Price, email

                      On the Apostolical Succession.

                                * * * * *

                           PAROCHIAL LECTURES.

                            (_SECOND SERIES_.)

                                * * * * *

                         WILLIAM J. IRONS, B.D.,

                                * * * * *

                                * * * * *

                                * * * * *


                                * * * * *


                       EDWARD BOUVERIE PUSEY, D.D.

                      (LATE FELLOW OF ORIEL COLLEGE)

                         CANON OF CHRIST CHURCH,

                      AND REGIUS PROFESSOR OF HEBREW

                       IN THE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD;

                               THIS VOLUME

                           (BY HIS PERMISSION)


                        OF THE AUTHOR’S OBLIGATION

                                  TO HIM


                          HIS CHRISTIAN EXAMPLE,

                        AND HIS HONEST FRIENDSHIP.


VERY little needs to be said to introduce these Lectures to the reader.
They were delivered in Advent last, at Saint Mary’s, Newington; and there
is the same reason for publishing, which there then was for writing and
preaching them.  I desire to assist, as far as I am able, those who are
seeking to clear and define their thoughts, respecting the origin,
nature, and power of the Christian Ministry.  I have aimed only at
plainness and fairness in the statement of the argument; and have adopted
that arrangement of the subject, in which, as far as I can judge, it
originally came before my own mind.

In the Dedication of this Volume to the Regius Professor of Hebrew at
Oxford, I have acknowledged my great obligation to him for the
instruction which I hope I have derived from his writings—an
acknowledgment which, happily, I am so far from being singular in making,
that I suppose every one who has studied them, might make the same
statement.  But it is right that I should say, that as I have not learned
a lesson by rote, but, from the first, thought patiently and freely for
myself, so the Public must not consider the Professor answerable for
every opinion which I may have expressed.  And it may be well also to
add, that the general doctrine here set forth is not hastily taken up on
any man’s authority; but was maintained by the writer, both in private
and public, as many will bear witness, long before he had the happiness
and advantage of being acquainted with the works, or characters, of the
present leading Divines of the University of Oxford.

_St. Peter’s_, _Walworth_, _Surrey_.


                              LECTURE I.

                            THE DOCTRINE.
The Method of the Argument—Importance of a                           1
Ministry—Scriptural aspect of the subject—Apostolical
language concerning it—Compared with the Modern—What the
safe inference—The original Ministry possibly still
exists—And if so, what constitutes a Ministry—Scripture
Language—Compared with Popular and Modern notions—Theory of
the Inward Call—Erastian theory—The Common principle of all
such Theories—Illustrated—The Catholic DOCTRINE of the
Ministry—Compared with the Modern, and with Scripture—The
Continuance of the Ministry—DOCTRINE of the SUCCESSION
stated and explained—Reasons for the present Inquiry
                             LECTURE II.

                            THE EVIDENCE.
Importance of not hastily prejudging—Argued from the          41
parallel case of the Jewish Church—Necessity of considering
the Evidence for the SUCCESSION—Evidence of Scripture, how
far Important—Historical Evidence—Popular Difficulties—A
General reply.—On Evidence—Popular Notions—The expected
Evidence of the SUCCESSION—Illustrated by a parallel
case—Impossible—And even if attainable, not
satisfactory—What kind and amount of Evidence should be
looked for—Parallels of Evidence—For the Scriptures—The
Sacraments, and the Ministry of the Church—On what Evidence
the Common People must of necessity receive the Bible—And
the Apostolic Church—Literary Evidence of the Bible,
difficult—And of the SUCCESSION—Analysis of it, Theoretical
and Historical—Accumulation of the Evidence—Moral
                             LECTURE III.

                           THE OBJECTIONS.
Necessity of considering OBJECTIONS—Classification of               69
them—(1.)  As connected with the FACT of the Succession,
and its Consequences.—(2.)  And the DOCTRINE, and its

(1.)  General Corruption—Idolatry—Schism—Infringement of
Private Judgment—Popery and Superstition.

(2.)  Judaistic Doctrine—Carnality—Technicality—Scriptural
other Protestants—among whom may be seen many Evidences of
God’s Blessing and Religious Success—Explanation.

Catholic Charity—Theoretical and Practical—Review
                             LECTURE IV.

                             THE SUMMARY.
The Summary—Mistakes of the Ideality of                            109
Christianity—Erroneous popular Notions and
Arguments—Contrast of Rationalist and Catholic
theories—Comparison—And with Scripture—Analytical Review of
the Catholic Religion, illustrating the Doctrine of the
Ministry—Synthetical View of the same—Conclusion
NOTES                                                              145


FROM THE EPISTLE. {1}—“How, then, shall they call on HIM in Whom they
have not believed?—and, How shall they believe in Him of Whom they have
not heard?—and, How shall they hear without a preacher?—and, How shall
they preach except they be SENT?”—ROMANS x. 14.

AT this season of preparation for the ADVENT, the Apostolical Ministry is
one of the subjects especially brought before us by the CHURCH, as
doubtless peculiarly calculated to fit our minds for the right reception
and reverent contemplation of our SAVIOUR’S first and second Coming.  It
would be needless to enlarge on the suitability of the Epistle selected
for this Introductory Festival, opening and leading the way, as it does,
to those of the whole “glorious company of the Apostles.”  We can
scarcely read the passage now quoted, without recognizing at once much of
its appropriateness.  It contains a brief vindication both of the moral
necessity and the Divine authority of the Christian Ministry; and so
plainly, that, to some extent, all must perceive it.  But it may be
highly profitable to us to draw out and examine with attention the
subject, which St. Paul thus lays before us in epitome only; concerning
which we know that there is much diversity of thinking among professing
Christians, and, consequently, great danger of wrong thinking.

It is too much the practice of modern theologians to refer to the New
Testament, almost as if it were a book of aphorisms; and so, when a
quotation is made therefrom, it seems to be inquired, what meaning it
will _bear_; or what use can be _made_ of it; rather than, what meaning
it _must_ have had in such a connection; or what use _must_ have been
intended, under such circumstances.  And hence has resulted this fatal
consequence, that the apostolic writings are commonly interpreted by
modern opinions, instead of modern opinions being tested by the apostolic
writings.  There is but too painful evidence of this, in the manner in
which some men set about “proving” their peculiar system by the
Scriptures; evidently assuming from the first that their system is
_right_, and so (unconsciously, we trust,) sorting and arranging the
“best texts” to establish it.  Surely an attempt to treat any other
ancient book as the Holy Scriptures are thus treated, would not be borne
with.  Suppose, for example, any disciple of the schools of the modern
scepticism should attempt to show, from selected passages of some leading
treatise of ancient philosophy, that his own opinions precisely coincided
with those of the sage from whom he was quoting; it is evident that he
would hereby deceive no one but himself.  On a reference to the treatise
in question, it would be at once apparent, that it was written by one who
held opinions widely different from the modern.  Now since, among
Christians, there is an universal appeal to the Scriptures, would it not
be a rational method of testing the opinions of any of the various
classes among us, to inquire, whether it is likely that such writings
_would_ have proceeded from the pens of men holding such and such
opinions?  Might we not thus arrive at as sure a conclusion,
notwithstanding all arguments from texts and passages, that some
nominally Christian opinions now received, were not the opinions of the
sacred writers—as that the opinions of Locke were not the opinions of the
ancient Epicureans, notwithstanding the coincidences that might be found?
And if it should be seen that any class of opinions exactly harmonizes
with the literal writings of the Apostles, so that we may imagine the men
who held them to have naturally written what the Apostles wrote; then,
should we not have a highly probable argument for the Scriptural
character of those opinions?  Such an argument will in some degree
pervade these Lectures.

Few, perhaps, will fail to perceive some wide difference between that
state of mind which is implied by our popular Christianity, and that
which is implied by the Apostolic Epistles.  The complete unworldliness,
the quiet, elevated self-denial, the earnest humility, the obedience on
the one hand and authority on the other, which are the evident
characteristics of practical Christianity as it appears in the inspired
records, are strikingly different from all which we see now in our
popular religion; and may at times well suggest the fear that we may have
lost much of that faith which the first Christians possessed.  And in no
particular is this difference more remarkably seen, than in the language
held respecting the MINISTRY of the CHURCH; which from its undeniable
importance deserves no light consideration.  Of course it may be said,
that much of the difference of tone respecting the Ministry may be
ascribed to the “cessation of apostolic authority strictly so called.”
But however this be, which we pass for the present, it is apparent to
all, that there _is_ a difference: and so, men attempt to “account for
the fact,” rather than deny it.  To account, for example, for the
“magnified importance” plainly attributed in Holy Scripture to the living
voice of an APOSTOLIC MINISTRY, above and beyond, and often without
reference to other means of Christian instruction.  Not only the plea
just mentioned, but other similar ones are urged, as the “change of
circumstances,” the “alteration in the times,” and the like, to account
for the fact.  How dangerous all such arguments and evasions are, to
those who seek a religion exactly, or as nearly as possible, such as the
first Christians had, needs scarcely to be urged on any thoughtful mind.
For after all these suppositions and reasonings, it will still remain
very possible that THE MINISTRY first Divinely set up in the CHURCH, was
_not_ intended essentially to change with the changing circumstances of
this world; very possible that this might have been given as one
permanent if not paramount means of grace for mankind, notwithstanding
the subsequent introduction of other means, however efficacious and
invaluable.  And then, the actually existing ministry, its historical
continuity, its unconcealed pretensions, are facts not to be lightly set
aside when viewed in connection with this possibility only; even if it
were nothing more.  How much of Apostolical grace is lost from the
ministry, it may be impossible to say; but so also it would be equally
impossible to say how much is retained.  Hence, it must ever remain the
_safest_ course for a Christian man to adhere to an Apostolically
descended Ministry.  Let us not pass too hastily from these thoughts; let
us follow them out, into minuter detail; in order to enter into the state
of mind apparently implied by language such as that in the passage, for
instance, which constitutes our text.

Does it not here seem, by St. Paul’s way of putting his questions,
leaving them, as it were, to answer themselves in every Christian mind,
that they could in his esteem admit of only one answer?  That they must
conduct people to the inevitable conclusion of the necessity of a LIVING
MINISTRY?  Modern Christianity would easily find _other_ replies; and
does so practically.  But is there no danger in such a course?  No danger
in thus _assuming_ the sufficiency of what may be termed literary methods
of Christian instruction? nevertheless it is certain, that very often it
_is_ assumed.  “How shall they believe in HIM of whom they have not
_heard_?”  “By reading the Bible and judging for themselves,” would be
the reply of modern Christianity.  “How shall they hear without a
preacher?” asks the Apostle.  And modern believers might truly reply, “We
do not see the difficulty—Have we not our Bibles in our hands?”  “How
shall they preach except they be SENT?” is the inquiry of St. Paul.  And,
“surely every man who understands his Bible may teach it to another,”
might be the ready modern reply.  To the Apostle’s mind, on the contrary,
such questions seemed to carry with them their own unavoidable answers,
establishing beyond controversy the necessity of an authoritative
publishing of the truth by living teachers, and those duly sent
(αποσταλωσι): nor does the SPIRIT of inspiration (to whom every future
change was known) here give any hint of the future change of this system
of teaching.

But further: what St. Paul meant by being “sent,” or “apostolically
commissioned,” as well as the high importance which he attached to it,
may be gathered from the extreme anxiety with which, at the opening of
his Epistles to the Churches, he repeats, and dwells on, the fact of his
own apostolical character; which is so conspicuous, that the want of such
a preface has sometimes been urged as an argument against his authorship
of the Epistle to the Hebrews. {8}  “Paul an APOSTLE of JESUS CHRIST;”
“Paul CALLED to be an Apostle, separated unto the Gospel of GOD;” “Paul
an APOSTLE not of men, neither by man,” but “by the will of GOD.”  Such
are the beginnings of his Epistles.  Nor was such an anxiety at all
unnatural in him; because his apostolical character was not so regularly
derived as that of others, and had been greatly disputed in some
churches, and so needed constant vindication: of which the Apostle seemed
to be well aware.  But, on modern principles, this self-vindicating
anxiety is quite unintelligible.  It never could have been manifested by
St. Paul, if he had only thought, “that every man has a right to be a
Christian teacher, whether he has a mission or not, provided he is
persuaded of his own ability, and can persuade others of it too.”  To one
unacquainted with this notion, there certainly would seem to be some
powerful difficulty (which others would not see) in this question, “How
shall they preach except they be SENT?”  And therefore in the next
chapter to this which contains these questionings, St. Paul again glances
at this topic, and says, “Inasmuch as I am the Apostle (the SENT one) of
the Gentiles, I magnify mine OFFICE.”  Now, as we have said, it is very
easy to reply to all this, that St. Paul’s circumstances were different,
and that that will account for the difference of his feelings and
language.  For even granting this, is it either consistent with a
cautious reason, or a Christian humility, to assume in this way, that we
are right in differing from St. Paul, provided we can “account for the
difference?”  Or, supposing that our altered times do account for the
difference (as in some sense they do), does it follow that they justify
it?  Perhaps we may “account for” most of man’s transgressions against
GOD’S law, but does that _justify_ them?  But let us keep to the case
before us.  How can we be so sure, that if in the apostolic days the
common people had possessed Bibles, and were able to read them, and, in a
word, were outwardly circumstanced in all respects as we are, then St.
Paul’s principles, and St. Paul’s exhortations, would have been such as
ours now are?  Have we any right to say, without proof, that St. Paul
assigned such an importance to the teaching of a living ministry,
_solely_ because Bibles were not plentiful?  Might there not have been
other reasons?  Consider: is it not very conceivable that there might
have been that in Christianity which could only be perfectly conveyed by
an institution such as the living ministry?—and which, therefore, without
that ministry, would not be attained, even though men possessed every
other means?  Now, without saying that it is so, and not insisting on the
probability of it (arising from the analogy {10} of God’s past dealings
with mankind, and from the very nature of our social condition), it is
enough to affirm, that it is very _possible_, very conceivable, that an
apostolical ministry might have been made by GOD the perpetual channel of
a grace to man, which might be conveyed in no other way.  And the
possibility of this ought for ever to restrain us from the rash
conclusion, that Christian blessings may be sufficiently attained by
private reading of the Bible.—If any are inclined to such a conclusion,
by the consideration that possibly the apostolic ministry had a
miraculous blessing which no ministry had after the Apostles’ age; so
that language well suited to the first generation of the Christian
ministers, may not be suitable now; it might be answer enough to point
out, that such a supposition remains to be substantiated, and that it
must be hazardous to take up with a theory which incurs the risk of
realizing _on principle_ only a defective Christianity.  But more than
this may be briefly added, viz.: That as miraculous power was no
peculiarly apostolical prerogative (for all ranks of Christians had
possessed it), so neither can the want of it argue a deficiency in
apostolic grace and ministration; That the Apostles associated with
themselves Timotheus, Silvanus, Epaphroditus {11} and others, as
possessing the same MINISTRY with themselves, though no miraculous gift;
and, That if the same ministry be not to continue for ever in the church,
then it would follow that “Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of
the world,” has not been literally fulfilled; That the words of Scripture
which relate to the Church’s Ministry, must not be understood by us as
they certainly were by the first Christians, and, consequently, the plain
sense of the Bible is not our guide, as it was theirs so far as they
possessed it.  And so, finally, our Christianity may be proved at last to
come short of the standard of Scripture, and be fatally different in some
important points from that which was originally given to the world.

Nothing which has now been said is intended to call in question the
reality of those blessings which GOD may and sometimes does bestow apart
from His appointed means, or by some only of those means apart from the
rest.  But enough has surely been said to admonish men against that easy
and off-hand way of getting rid of those texts which imply high apostolic
power, by saying, that such passages only suit the primitive days and the
Apostles’ own ministry.  On the other hand, we would not pretend to
decide how large an amount of favour may be vouchsafed to those who have
not the blessings of a true priesthood.  Cornelius, we know, was a just
man, and largely acceptable unto GOD, before he saw St. Peter, or
received Christian baptism.  Some, again, of the earliest disciples had
embraced the truth in some degree, before they had heard “whether there
was any HOLY GHOST,” or had been baptized in the name of JESUS.  And when
the Philippian Church was deprived of the ministry of St. Paul, they were
still admonished to rely on GOD’S in-dwelling SPIRIT in the Church, and
“much more in the Apostle’s absence to work out _their own salvation_.”
GOD may dispense with His own appointed means, and may supply the lack of
them; but man cannot.  But if it were right to compare, or contrast, one
of GOD’S given means of grace with another, it might perhaps appear that
none of them are _so_ essential as the Church’s MINISTRY, whereby all the
rest seem to have been instrumentally preserved.  Much which we are too
apt think exclusively essential to the existence of Christian truth and
purity, had no being in the early Church.  It is likely that all
essential means of edification would be given to the first generation of
believers; and, in fact, was not the most exalted Christian grace
possessed in the Church previous to the Christian Scriptures?  Whoever
will reflect on these points, will at least be prepared seriously to
consider, what in primitive days was understood by the ministerial
mission to teach,—what the meaning of St. Paul was in such terms as he
applied to the ministers of CHRIST? (as that they were the “sent”
servants, “stewards of mysteries,” “ALLOWED of GOD and PUT IN TRUST with
the Gospel,”) and whether that may not be the true Christian meaning
still?—whether, notwithstanding the altered times, there may not be as
much meaning now as there ever was in the question, “How shall men preach
except they be SENT?”

HERE it may be rejoined, that there are many who acknowledge the
necessity of a Ministry in the CHURCH, and who allow that it ought, in
all main particulars, to resemble that of the primitive Christians; nay,
who notoriously assign a very high value to such a ministry, as a
peculiar means of grace having a peculiar promise of blessing annexed to
it, and yet do not acquiesce in the Catholic doctrine concerning it.  And
would it not be an unfairness to charge such with setting-aside the
apostolic ministry? or too little esteeming it?  Doubtless, it might be.
But yet this rather anomalous circumstance, that men who are generally
supposed to be somewhat lax, at least, respecting the subject of an
authoritative ministry, should also be often thought to give undue
prominence to “the Sermon” of a minister, even beyond other means of
grace; this, I say, only renders it the more important that we should
understand clearly what men mean by a “ministry” in the Church,—what they
consider its real powers and chief functions,—and what its special grace
and blessing?  For it can hardly be questioned, that many think that they
believe in a Christian ministry, when they are only believing in a
particular minister;—think that they are believing in a MINISTRY, when
they are only believing in eloquence.  Many make free use of words, when
they would shrink from the ideas which they naturally convey; and ascribe
a degree of blessing to a ministry, which in strictness of speech they
would never think of seriously attributing to any such cause.  And it
cannot serve the interests of truth to smooth over really different
opinions, by generalized expressions, just “for the sake of peace.”  The
truth is, there is the greatest possible vagueness of belief, or rather
opinion, respecting the Christian Ministry, in our times and country
especially.  There is, perhaps very generally, an indistinct impression,
that _something_ is required to make a man “a minister of the Gospel;”
but what it is, very few would be ready to say: and this may be well
looked on as a sort of instinctive testimony of the human mind to the
felt truth, “that it is not lawful for any man,” on the mere suggestion
of his own thoughts, to stand forth as a teacher of religion.  Common
sense seems thus to make the inquiry, “How shall they preach except they
be SENT?”

It is felt universally, that a teacher of religion should have some
credentials.  The most illiterate, indeed, will often take the word of
any man of outwardly respectable appearance, who can manage, with the
mixture of a few Scripture phrases, to talk in an incomprehensible way,
and look upon him directly as a “minister.”  The extent of this implicit
faith among some classes of sectaries is almost incredible to those who
have not personally witnessed it.  But yet even these will clothe their
ministers with spiritual powers; and believe their ministrations to
convey a grace, and to possess a primitive and apostolical value, such as
those very “ministers,” if pressed, would formally disown.  Hence many
persons of these sects are violently shocked, when we deny the validity
of their sacraments as the sure channels of God’s grace; little thinking
that their own ministers do not _suppose_ them to be so.  And so also the
multitude of sects which flourished in this country during the time of
the Great Rebellion, owed much of their success to their unscrupulous
assertions of a “divine mission;” persuading the people that theirs was
the “discipline of CHRIST;” and alleging a “divine right” for every part
of it.  And yet, notwithstanding this feeling planted in our very nature,
that a spiritual ministry must have a spiritual origin, it is astonishing
to see the facility with which almost any professed teacher is received.
Just as mere ignorance inclines the most illiterate, so the better
classes are induced, by indolence or habit, to receive almost any man as
a religious instructor.  “How their minister _became_ a minister?” is a
question which seems hardly to have occurred to the majority of people.
If a man has only ability enough to obtain a congregation and a chapel,
and especially if he assumes the outward appearance and style of a
clergyman, and is thought a “respectable man,” nothing more is generally
inquired.  But can this satisfy any one who thinks seriously?  The Bible
describes the Christian Minister in a very solemn way, as the “Savour of
life or death” to souls—as being an earthly vessel possessed of a
“Heavenly TREASURE,” the weight whereof he was not sufficient to bear!
and so, to the first Minister of the Church it was said, “What _thou_
shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven;”—Whatever this mysterious
language implies, are we to take a man to be all this on his own bare
word? or on the ground of his personal talents or sincerity?—Or can the
people’s support of any man endow him with these awful prerogatives of a
Divine Ministry?  Can a congregation, however numerous, give what they
themselves possess not?  Holy Scripture classes together CHRIST’S own
MISSION from His FATHER; and the APOSTLES’ MISSION from CHRIST.  Even the
SON of GOD “glorified not Himself” to be made an High Priest.  HE began
not His ministry till He was divinely pointed out at His baptism, and
from that time JESUS began to “preach and to teach.”  Even He confessed,
“As the FATHER hath SENT ME,” and, as “the FATHER hath given ME
commandment,” even “so I do.”  And His blessed Apostle said, “GOD was in
CHRIST reconciling the world unto Himself, . . . and hath COMMITTED unto
us the ministry of reconciliation;” and when the same Apostle was “about
to be offered,” and the “time of his departure was at hand,” he said,
“This charge I COMMIT unto thee, son Timothy;” and further, “the same
COMMIT thou to faithful men,” who shall TEACH others also.  Indeed every
Scripture precedent is against the notion so wholly inconsistent with the
idea of a “commission,” that a man may teach in the name of GOD, without
GOD’S authority so to do.  Surely the words of Scripture mean something.
“Pastors,” “stewards of mysteries,” “overseers,” “embassadors,”—those “in
CHRIST’S stead,” those “speaking in the person of CHRIST,” those whom the
Churches were commanded to “obey” as “watchers for souls,” and
“accountable.”—Those who were received as “angels of GOD,” even “as JESUS
CHRIST;” “workers together with GOD,” “angels of the Churches,” “stars in
CHRIST’S right hand!”  Are these the descriptions of an earthly dignity
wherewith a man of ability may clothe himself?  Do they mean less than
they say?—or rather do they not powerfully point the question, “How shall
men preach except they be SENT?”

But notwithstanding the vagueness of the popular creed, it is not to be
denied, that those who think attentively about religion and read their
Bible with care, and yet embrace sectarian views, have some way of
explaining all these, and similar expressions, so as to bring them, in
some degree, into conformity with their particular views.  Doubtless some
sort of explanation would be _necessary_ to give a measure of consistency
to their systems.  And into the examination of their manifold systems it
would be impossible now to enter.  Nor is it necessary; it is enough to
point out the fundamental error, of having a system, and then
“explaining” texts down to that system.  And this perhaps may be
sufficiently done by glancing chiefly at two classes of the most received
theories, with a view of showing that they alike proceed on a common
principle, and that (in consequence) instead of taking the words of
Scripture as they plainly stand, and accepting them as the Church does,
in their full natural meaning, they are obliged to “explain.”  Such,
indeed, we have already said to be our running argument.  “Would the
sectarians, or would Catholics, have been more likely to employ naturally
such and such words?”  And more than this we can scarcely attempt on this
occasion.  Indeed a formal confutation of many such systems as we are now
alluding to, would be almost impossible.  There is something so
indeterminate about them, that there is no tangible point of attack.  The
bare denial of an Apostolically descended Ministry is, frequently, all
that can be obtained from our opponents.  And where we are not presented
with this sort of vacuity of belief, we still meet with nothing more than
some thin theory of a _possible_ ministration, whereby a straining
ingenuity attempts to harmonize its own opinions with the facts and
statements of Scripture; as if we were set to inquire—what _may_ be, or
_might be_ a system of religious teaching? and not rather, what was from
the beginning?

One theory of a Christian ministry maintained, with more or less of
distinctness, by very many, is, that none are rightly “sent,” or
commissioned to teach CHRIST’S religion, unless they have what is termed
an “inward call.”  Now, if they mean by this, that every minister of
CHRIST ought to be inwardly impressed with the importance of his calling,
no one will question it: but they must mean more than this, or their
meaning amounts to nothing.  Their idea seems to be, that no man has a
right to become a “minister,” who has not some overpowering personal
conviction of his spiritual destination to the ministerial office, and
that this is a sufficient evidence of a true “call” to the office; and in
conformity with this notion they explain every text.  Now if any one
imagines that he has such evidence of a call within him, it is useless to
reason with him.  He is clearly beyond that.  If he can so persuade
himself, he may also persuade himself that all Scripture is on his side;
or any thing else.  Few, indeed, will be disposed to envy the venturous
self-confidence of one who could thus stand forth (with eternity before
him) and on his own sole authority profess, “I am an embassador for
CHRIST!”—“I am a ‘savour of eternal life and death!’”  Not to dwell, too,
on the opening thus given to fanaticism of every kind, it is certain also
that a man’s personal conviction can be no evidence to others; and yet
others are interested in the matter.  How far his apparent religious
success may be so, is another question, which had better be separately
examined, and which we shall hereafter consider.  But, it is plain, as we
have said, and again insist, that a man’s personal conviction alone is no
sufficient proof for _others_ that he is “sent” to preach Christianity.
The Apostolic Epistles, every where, imply as St. Paul does in his
question to the Roman Church, that the being “sent” was a matter which
other men could judge of.  It is certain, too, that the Apostles had
something _more_ at least than an “inward call.”  They were, according to
the Scriptures, _outwardly_ called, from the very first, by CHRIST
Himself.  And St. Paul, the only one who was not so, was outwardly
called, afterwards, by an express miracle.  So that the Bible, and
Apostolic example, are alike against the notion of the sufficiency of an
inward call.  And here it may be collaterally remarked, that, least of
all men, can the members of our Church admit this, at the best
inadequate, doctrine; for the 23rd Article is emphatically against it.
It reads thus:—“It is not lawful for any man to take upon him the office
of public preaching, or ministering the Sacraments in the congregation,
before he be lawfully called and SENT to execute the same.  And those we
ought to judge lawfully called and sent, which be chosen and called to
this work by men who have public authority given unto them in the
congregation, to call and send ministers into the LORD’S vineyard.”
Above all, therefore, the man who holds this doctrine of our Church will
see a force which the advocates of the inward call cannot understand in
St. Paul’s question, “How shall men preach except they be SENT?”

But another notion concerning the Ministry, practically entertained to a
very wide extent is, That the Government of a country has the prerogative
of making Ministers of Religion.  That this revolting opinion could
possibly prevail in a Christian land, is, perhaps, one of the most
fearful proofs which could be brought of Pagan ignorance, among nominal
believers.  And yet, under various modifications, it prevails to an
extent scarcely credible.  What but this is implied in the expression
which we often hear even educated people make use of, “that the State
makes Bishops?”  What but this is implied in our quiet acquiescence in
the notion, that an act of the State may abolish some of our bishopricks?
What but this is the ordinary practical interpretation of the phrase,
“the Church as by law established?” which sometimes is even cast at us as
an acknowledgment that our Church’s origin is an Act of Parliament.  Is
it not true, that many have no other idea of a clergyman, than that he
may be better educated, perhaps, than some other teachers, and so is
“patronized by the State?”  And, is this the idea of a minister of CHRIST
which the Bible would give?  Is it a doctrine of the first Christians,
that men, simply because they are governors, and happen to have civil
power, may clothe their fellow men with the awful prerogatives of a
Spiritual Mission?  Is it a doctrine of the Church of England—when our
Article expressly denies to kings all spiritual authority—and when Queen
Elizabeth allowed the oath of supremacy to be taken, with an accompanying
declaration to that effect?—It is easy, of course, to construct a
theoretical argument to prove, “That the governor of a State is bound to
provide religious instruction for the people,”—but certainly such an
argument will not prove that the civil governor can give to any man a
spiritual AUTHORITY.  It can only prove, that it is his duty to seek for
a rightly authorized and commissioned instructor, and give him the
_additional_ worldly advantage of a legal sanction and defence.  It may
be, that governors should look for and _find_ a religious teacher for the
people—but they cannot _make_ one.  Governors must be instructed and
saved by the same heavenly means as the people; and neither can
rightfully intermeddle with the administration of Divine things.  On the
leprous forehead of King Uzziah we may read the presumption of those who
will so invade the sacred office. (2 Chron. xxvi. 19.)  But it would be
impossible to draw out more minutely in this place {24} the arguments
either for or against the Erastian theory; and we are chiefly concerned
to show that it is wholly inconsistent with Scriptural and Primitive
doctrine, which taught, that men should “give unto Cæsar the things that
are Cæsar’s; but unto GOD alone the things which are GOD’S.”  The
argument which we would, again and again urge, is, Whether the notion of
the State commissioning the religious instructor is in harmony with the
language of the New Testament?  Does not the Christian mind at once
revolt from the thought, That a ruler of this world can commission any as
embassadors of the world’s SAVIOUR?  That the government of any country
can by their state-licence empower a man to “bless in the name of the
LORD?”—to be a “steward” of Holy mysteries?—to absolve penitents,—and
“deliver to Satan” the ungodly?  Such was the Minister of CHRIST
according to Primitive belief and Scriptural statement; acting “in the
person of CHRIST,” and marking with holy indignation any who refused to
“follow” in his steps.  He “fed the flock of GOD,” took “the oversight of
them,” and “stirred up the gift that was within him” by the laying on of
hands.  These are the very words of Scripture, and they, surely, never
would have been thought of, never could have been naturally used by the
inspired writers, if they had entertained the thought, that the State
could make a man a Christian Minister.

And such a thought certainly was not entertained by the Christians of the
first 300 years, any more than by the Apostles; who were not even
countenanced by governors, but in things spiritual “resisted unto blood,”
and were charged with “turning the world upside down,” rather than submit
to men in aught that pertained unto GOD.  Even as late as the fourth
century, the great president of the Nicene Council thus declared to the
Emperor the Christian doctrine: {26a} “GOD has put dominion into your
hands.  To us He hath entrusted the government of the Church; and as a
traitor to you is a rebel to the GOD who ordained you, so be afraid on
your part, lest usurping ecclesiastical power you become guilty of a
great sin.”  And again: “Meddle not with Church matters; far from
advising us about them, rather seek instruction from us.”  “Remember that
you are a man.”  “Fear the day of Judgment.”  And nothing can be plainer
than the language addressed by St. Hilary to the Arian bishops.  “O ye
bishops, I pray you, what suffrages did the Apostles make use of?  Did
_they_ receive their dignity from the palace?” {26b}  And, after all,
this is the unanswerable argument.  St. Paul was not received as an
Apostle, _because_ he was allowed to preach to “Cæsar’s household.”  St.
Luke was not admitted as a Minister simply because he was an educated
man.  We do not find the enquiry in Scripture or antiquity, How shall men
preach except they be “respectable?” or, how shall they preach except
they be favoured by the State? or, how shall they preach except they have
literary distinctions?  Necessary and useful as all these qualifications
may be, the distinctive question concerning the Ministry is, “How shall
men preach except they be SENT?”

Now we before observed, that the popular notions, such as these just
considered, concerning the Christian Ministry, seem, with all their
variations, to be the result of a common principle.  The principle, that
is, of reducing Christianity to a bare code, or system, of intelligible
precepts or dogmas.  And the advocates of these various notions are
obliged, in some way, to lay out of consideration whatever they meet
with, in Scripture or elsewhere, which is inconsistent with this
principle.  The further development of these remarks may serve more
clearly to elicit, and by contrast elucidate the Catholic doctrine of the

The advocates, for example, of the “inward call,” seem generally to
regard CHRIST’S religion as a code of doctrines; while the maintainers of
a government call, i.e. the Erastians, regard it chiefly as a code of
morals.  They both “simplify;” they both systematize; and their systems,
as such, proceed on very similar grounds.  The former system would
naturally consider all things subsidiary to what is called “the
application” of the revealed doctrines to individuals.  Whatever agency
seems calculated most powerfully to bring home the doctrine to the mind
of a man, that is the most desirable; and with a reference to this, and
_as so viewed_, every thing in Scripture is forthwith explained.  Thus:
Are Christians commanded in Scripture to be ONE?  This system interprets
it to mean, that they must have one general “doctrine.”  Are we said to
be united to CHRIST as “members” to a body?  This system calls it a
“metaphor,” designed only to inculcate charity and kindness.  Are we said
to be saved by the “washing of water?”  This system tells us to
understand it “spiritually:” for ‘that the water only represents the
SPIRIT.’  In a word, it simply regards Christianity as a divine mental
philosophy; and only values the visible Church as a useful means, in such
proportion as it effectually “applies” this to individuals.  Of course
there are countless varieties of this species of religion, yet they agree
in this, that they all regard it as an abstract code of principle, and
whatever they find in the Bible beyond this, they bend to their system in
one way or another.  Calvinists, Semi-calvinists, Arminians, and
Pelagians, all seem to believe in a kind of essence of Christianity, the
existence of which in an individual is to be tested by his possession of
a sort of religious sense, to which religious sense they indiscriminately
apply every expression of Scripture concerning the various states of the
true Christian.  Accordingly the possessor of this sense is
“regenerated,” “elect,” “enlightened,” “renewed,” “born again”—and
whatever else they can “accommodate” in any verse of the Bible.  A new
and intangible meaning is found for every term; every thing must be
sublimely doctrinal.  The very precepts of Holiness are looked on as
“consequences,” which need not, therefore, be too formally insisted on.
The Sacraments of CHRIST are “elevated,” or extenuated, into “shadows,”
and “signs.”  The Church itself is evaporated into an “invisible”

The other system, that of the Moralist, is rather more difficult thus to
maintain and adapt to Scripture.  Considering Christianity as a sort of
republication of the law of natural morality, with, perhaps, the
announcement of the necessity of repentance, and the assurance of
consequent forgiveness with the DEITY; all beyond this is regarded as
mere enthusiasm.  The defenders of this system would allow the existence
of a Ministry to be exceedingly “useful,” and so come to think it the
duty of the State to support it.  These, like the former class, would
maintain a visible Church, because it is “useful;” and so they themselves
will go to Church, they tell us, “for example’s sake.”  These, if they
are a little educated, soon become Socinians, {30} and find it necessary
to attribute something much less than inspiration to the Bible, and so
avoid its plain testimony against their system; and then their course is
a very plain one.  Those of the party who are more ignorant, are
generally found lulled in a complete religious torpor, from which it
seems almost impossible to wake them; for if disturbed they only shut
their eyes the closer, and more inflexibly, as if it were the duty of
“plain Christians,” and “sound old Churchmen,” to understand nothing.

Now in contrast to these and all other simplifiers of the Catholic truth,
we neither would attempt on the one hand, to reduce the Bible to a code
of spiritual principles, nor on the other to reject spirituality
altogether as extravagance.  Consequently we have no need to get rid of
any part of Scriptural truth, either by “explanations” or “criticisms.”
We see that Scripture does declare spiritual doctrines, and that it does
enforce practical morals.  But we see much more than this in the Bible;
for we take it all literally, and plainly.  We think that the
Scripturally recorded means, for applying the grace of CHRIST’S religion
are just as divine, and therefore, for aught we know, just as essential,
as either the doctrines or precepts of that religion.  Neither those
doctrines nor precepts may be rightly received, except in connexion with,
and as parts of, the WHOLE Divine Revelation; and of this the means of
heavenly grace included in the Church, are an undoubted portion.  Indeed
what may be called the DOCTRINE of the CHURCH, may be seen in a manner to
comprehend every other, so that even the truth of the Ministerial
Succession is but a part of that DOCTRINE.

It is very easy to mystify a plain subject, and to represent that the
word CHURCH is of doubtful meaning; but let any reader of the Bible
answer this question:—When St. Paul wrote a letter to “the CHURCH of
Philippi,” was there any difficulty in deciding whom he meant to address?
It is plain that there existed in that city a number of families BAPTIZED
in the name of CHRIST; and that number was ruled over by certain
spiritual officers; and, as a whole, was called THE CHURCH.  Wherever,
then, we find a similar body of men, we say, there is a Church.  Now, we
believe that such bodies of men, so organized, and constituting, in the
aggregate, the Church Universal, or Catholic, must exist to the end of
the world; because, at the very time when CHRIST promised to set up such
an institution, He promised to it a perpetuity.  “I will build My
CHURCH;” and the “gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”  All this
we believe simply as it stands, putting no invisible meanings upon it.
Wherever, indeed, we meet with a spiritual truth, we receive it; but we
desire not to make or imagine one where it exists not, just to carry out
an hypothesis of our own.

We know that the spiritual rulers of the CHURCH were made so at first by
CHRIST personally, and that all the members of the CHURCH were made so in
one way, namely, by Baptism. (Gal. iii. 27.)  We think that to the CHURCH
alone the peculiar promises of the Gospel were made. (2 Peter i. 4.)  We
believe that there was an awful power lodged in the CHURCH, and exercised
from the beginning, through her Rulers, a power which, for example, could
exclude unworthy members from Communion, and that those so excluded were
cut off from the CHURCH’S peculiar blessing. (Matt, xviii. 18.)  We think
that how much soever Excommunication might now be called a “form,” it was
no mere form in the Apostles’ days. (1 Cor. v. 5; Gal. v. 12; 1 Tim. i.
20, and v. 20.)  We look with reverence therefore on the powers of the
CHURCH, in her Ministers.  We dare not hastily pronounce any thing to be
“a mere matter of discipline” or “only a form,” because we feel that we
are ignorant of the mysterious ways of GOD: and none can determine the
limit which separates Divine Doctrine and Discipline.  In fine, we look
upon the CHURCH herself as One Eternal SACRAMENT: the One great outward
and visible Institute, set up by CHRIST, conveying to its members His
invisible grace, through many consecrated channels.

The permanent continuance of this One CHURCH on earth we see to have
been, in point of fact, connected, from the beginning, with One permanent
Ministry or Priesthood, with which, at the first, CHRIST the great High
Priest promised to be virtually present “to the end of the world.”  So
that, as it was promised that the CHURCH should never be prevailed
against; so also that Ministry which was essential to it, should never
cease.  To the CHURCH we know the New Testament was addressed: and by the
CHURCH (with all other means of grace) it was preserved.  By the CHURCH’S
instrumentality we, individually, are brought to that Font where the
“stewards of GOD’S mysteries” received us to the mystic body of the
faithful.  By the CHURCH we really are taught in the truth; for
notwithstanding every boast of independent thinking, the CHURCH is
practically to us, what it was to the first Christians, “the pillar and
ground of truth.” (1 Tim. iii. 15.)  From the CHURCH’S voice we learn
even the lessons of Holy Scripture.  And not only the transmitted Wisdom,
but the transmitted Grace of Christ is thus ours; for the CHURCH is the
“fulness of Him that filleth all in all!” (Eph. i. 23.)—On our head the
CHURCH directs that holy hands be laid.  In the CHURCH we obtain that
grace, whereby we go on “from strength to strength:” and in our partaking
of the mysterious Sacrifice which “showeth forth the LORD’S death,” glory
is given “unto GOD in the CHURCH, by CHRIST JESUS, throughout all ages.”
Nay we doubt not, that even “unto the principalities and powers in
heavenly places there is made known by the CHURCH the manifold wisdom of

This is the Catholic faith.  We trust in GOD—we rely on His word, and His
appointments; as being anxious to recognise His presence among us, as
really and truly as the Holy Apostles did, when their LORD stood visibly
before them and said, “Lo! I AM WITH YOU always!”  And it may safely be
left to any man to judge, how far these thoughts and feelings are in
harmony with the literal word of GOD.  Every one may see that _we_ have
nothing there to explain away—nothing to “account for.”  It is such as we
might have written ourselves, so far as the sentiments are concerned, to
the full extent that those sentiments may be apprehended.  How simple and
natural to us sounds the injunction, “Obey them that have the Rule over
you, for they watch for your souls!” and how awkward, to say the least,
when spoken of self-sent teachers, or those whom the people have
commissioned and “called.”—Believing that the CHURCH is the perpetual
depositary of those awful gifts, which CHRIST gave to men when He
“ascended up on high,” knowing that He gave some Apostles, “some
prophets, some pastors, and teachers,” for the perfecting of the saints,
“till we all come in the Unity of the faith, . . . unto the measure of
the stature of the fulness of CHRIST”—Not doubting that these, CHRIST’S
gifts, have remained and ever shall remain in His CHURCH; with what
thoughts must we regard the CHURCH’S Ministry!  How can _we_ feel the
thrilling solemnity of St. Paul’s exclamation, after he had absolved the
Corinthian penitent, “SUCH TRUST have we through CHRIST to
GOD-ward!”—“SUCH TRUST!”—words may not describe it—“SUCH TRUST!”—“not
that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves,
but our sufficiency is of GOD, WHO also hath MADE US Ministers of the New
Testament!”  What depth of meaning to us is there in such language as,
“Feed the flock of GOD over whom the HOLY GHOST HATH MADE you overseers!”
We feel that we are using it in the Apostle’s divine sense—yes, the very
same solemn sense!  All systematizers are obliged to put some lower
diluted meaning upon it!  And not on this alone, but on every similar
text of the Sacred Word!  Which of them can say, in the same sense as the
Apostles did, of the Ministers of CHRIST, that they are “Workers together
with GOD?”—Let any man revolve in his mind all those words so copiously
quoted already, concerning the unearthly responsibilities of those who
have to “save themselves, and them that hear them.”  Let a man deeply
think of his SAVIOUR’S words, “I give unto you the keys of the kingdom of
heaven,” “He that heareth you heareth Me,” and he will feel it strange
mockery, to apply such language to a minister self-authorized, or
commissioned by civil governors; and he will come to feel, as the
believers in an Apostolic Ministry feel, the power of the question; “How
shall men preach except they be SENT?”

Having now thus far explained the nature of the Catholic Doctrine of the
Ministry; not attempting to prove it by theoretical arguments, but simply
to contrast it with other doctrines, and compare it with Scripture; it
remains for us, next to consider the means whereby this Ministry hath
been continued in the Church; and for this purpose we must state the
Doctrine of the SUCCESSION.  The Evidences of the doctrine, and the
Objections urged against it, we must reserve to the following lectures.

It is affirmed, that before the Apostles quitted the field of their
earthly labours, they appointed “Successors;” and “laying their hands” on
them, transmitted all the Apostolical power which they had received from
CHRIST.  It is not supposed that the gift of Apostolical Ordination
contained necessarily any such grace, as is ordinarily understood by the
term miraculous; though many who were ordained at first, might of course
have possessed likewise such miraculous gifts, as were very common to all
classes of believers in the early Church.  It is also on record, that the
ordained Successors of the Apostles, before _they_ also died, bequeathed
their power and authority to others, by the same ceremony of “laying on
of hands.”  And it is not denied by any, that the same practice has
universally prevailed from that time to the present.  These Apostolical
Successors throughout the whole Church, were deemed the centres of Unity,
and sources of Sacramental grace to their respective communities,
dioceses, or Churches.  They were looked upon as Chief Embassadors of
CHRIST—Vicegerents of the SAVIOUR of mankind—all, in a word, which St.
Peter and St. Paul claimed to be:—Divinely “SENT.” (1 Tim. i. 12, ii. 7.)
They were at first called by various names,—Apostles, Superintendents,
Angels, and Bishops; but eventually this latter designation prevailed.
From these Bishops every other officer of the Church derived his power,
and “without the Bishop,” to use the words of St. Ignatius, the
contemporary of the Apostles, it was not lawful to do any thing in the
Church.  Finally, for more than a thousand years there was no Church in
all the world which was not so governed by Apostolically descended

Such is an outline of the Doctrine of the Succession.  A minuter
consideration of its details will necessarily follow on, when we
investigate the EVIDENCE, in our next lecture.  The solemn consequences
of the Doctrine itself, are such as may well dispose us to approach the
examination with all seriousness of soul.  For on the one hand, if we
reject the Succession, it follows, that we have not left on earth any
real Ministry of CHRIST; while if we admit it, we admit it with all its
exclusive claims.  Hard things may be said of the choice of such a
subject, and the revival of such an inquiry, but the overwhelming
importance of it will be a sufficient vindication to every reflecting
mind seeking for truth.  The time is come when questions like these may
not be suffered to remain undecided.  When Romanism has advanced so
rapidly among us, making boast of its exclusive Apostolic claims, dare we
be silent?  If we will care not to show our people our Divine claims on
their spiritual allegiance, can we wonder that they revolt to Rome?
Might we not expect the very “stones to cry out against us?”  In truth,
in very truth, we have been silent too long!  And the meagre Christianity
now prevalent on all hands, gives fatal evidence against us.  Christians
seem to have forgotten that they are already the members of an Eternal
community!—Well may we ask, Are these the elect of GOD?—His chosen
heritage?—with the unseen wall of fire around them, and an uncared-for
glory in the midst?  Yes, Christians seem almost wholly to have forgotten
their endowment of manifold gifts—almost forgotten the “taste of the good
word of GOD, and the Powers of the world to come,” (Heb. vi. 4.) so that
it may appear well nigh impossible to “renew them again to repentance!”
But shall the Churches venture thus to await, without an effort, the
Second Coming of the LORD?—GOD forbid!  “Whoso hath an ear to hear, let
him hear what the Spirit saith unto the Churches”—“REMEMBER from whence
thou art fallen! and repent! and do the FIRST works; or else I will come
unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place,
except thou REPENT!”


FROM THE GOSPEL. {41}—“It is written, MY house shall be called the house
of Prayer.”—Matt. xxi. 13.

THESE words may serve to suggest some profitable reflections, preparatory
to our entering on the subject of the present lecture.  They are the
words of an inspired prophecy, applied directly by our blessed LORD
Himself to the then existing temple of the Jews.  If we read them as they
stand in the Old Testament, among other glorious predictions concerning
the sanctuary of the LORD GOD of Israel, we are naturally inclined to
expect some more illustrious fulfilment of them, than seems to have been
ever vouchsafed to the “house of Prayer” at Jerusalem.  The words of
Isaiah (and the evangelist St. Mark has more exactly quoted them) are,
“MY house shall be called an house of Prayer, _for all people_;” a
prophecy apparently equivalent, or nearly so, in magnitude to that of
holy David, “_all nations_ whom Thou hast made shall COME and worship
before Thee, O LORD, and shall glorify Thy name!”  And it is very evident
that this was never realized in the fullest extent, with respect to the
Jewish Temple.  Must we say then that the prophecy did not refer at all
to the literal temple in Judea?  None, perhaps, would venture so to
affirm, seeing that our LORD Himself refers it to that temple.  Thus much
however we are bound to conclude, that this example shows us, how little
we are able to decide beforehand what amount, or kind of fulfilment, a
Divine prediction may have.  And the fact, that our LORD spoke of the
temple, such it was then, as GOD’S house, may serve also to check any
over-hasty accusations of total apostasy, in consequence of extreme
degeneracy among His people.  It may be useful here to premise this,
because it is not unusual to prejudice all enquiry, concerning the
Catholic doctrine of the Ministry of the Christian Temple, by a
precipitate and comprehensive assertion of its inconsistency with the
spirituality and dignity of the Divine designs; an assertion generally
supported by unmeasured charges of a corruption fatally destructive of
the Divine sanction, of the Sacred character of any institute.  Granting
that the present state of the Apostolically descended Ministry in the
Church Universal, is very far from what _we_ should have anticipated,
from some of the statements of Scripture, it would not follow, it seems,
that those statements are frustrated, but only that we had misinterpreted
them.  It would not follow, that the Ministry is not truly CHRIST’S, but
only that it needs His purifying.  Our LORD came to His temple of old, of
which such “glorious things” had been spoken, and He found it a “den of
thieves,” but still claimed it as His own, in the glowing words of the
prophecy, “MY house shall be called the house of Prayer.”  It was not the
glorious pile that Solomon had reared—it was not that which the returned
children of the captivity had built; and its Priesthood stood not forth
conspicuous for holiness.  The beautiful courts of that temple had been
restored and rebuilt by the crime-stained Herod; and they had been
horribly polluted by violence and outrage.  The sanguinary story of the
“forty and six years” when that structure was building, is truly a lesson
full of melancholy warning! and when at last CHRIST came to the holy
mount, He found there a temple, well nigh built in blood and served by
murderers; and yet He began to “purge it,” and said of it, MY HOUSE!  “MY
HOUSE shall be called the house of Prayer!”

But do we say this to justify aught in the present condition of the
Church Catholic?  GOD forbid! for though we trust it is not so deeply
fallen as was the Jewish Church, “our enemies themselves being judges,”
yet we would not hide from ourselves our real state.  But we bring
forward these words of our LORD, and the reflections that have thus
arisen out of them, in order to induce men to look calmly and fairly at
the Evidence for our Christian Ministry, not hastily prejudging the
question, in consequence of apparent moral and spiritual difficulties,
(of which they may be making a wrong estimate and use,) but simply
postponing, for a while, the objections which may be raised, and
separately and honestly looking at the proof and certainty of the FACT of
APOSTOLICAL SUCCESSION.  Should it be asked, Why we attach such
importance to an institution, which, even if real, seems to have
accomplished so little? we reply, That we pretend not to be able to
estimate the workings or the results of GOD’S plans.  It is enough for us
that they _are_ GOD’S.  And all we desire is, to ascertain the fact.  But
we have something further, on which our faith may repose.  There are
prophecies concerning GOD’S Church, (and perhaps our text is one,) which
seem as yet to have had but little fulfilment.  Haply that is to be done
to the Church at the second Advent, which the purging of the temple, at
the first Advent, only prefigured.  It appears but little likely that
that brief significative act of CHRIST, from which nothing seemed to
follow, was the whole fulfilment of the illustrious prophecy of Malachi
concerning the LORD’S “Coming suddenly to His Temple” to purify it.  It
requires no proof that _we_ need such purifying.  Is the main impression
now formed of the Christian temple—that it is a “house of Prayer?”  It is
written, “From the rising of the sun to the going down of the same, My
name shall be great among the Gentiles, and in every place incense shall
be offered in My name, and a pure Offering.” {45}  Hath this been yet
accomplished?  That which is written shall surely come to pass:—and on
this our faith relies.  And though there be no signs of a present
fulfilment—though we may be told that “thieves and robbers” have made
lawless entrance, and that very little betokens a Divine presence—a
consecrated Priesthood or a “pure Offering” among us, our faith is
unmoved.  A cleansing must come:—for “it is written, MY house SHALL BE
called the house of PRAYER.”

In our last Lecture we attempted to show, that not a regularly Succeeding
Ministry, but rather a self-commissioned one, is the really incredible
thing; and we endeavoured to give an outline of the Catholic doctrine of
the Succession.  In proceeding now to consider the Evidence of that
Succession, we shall not dwell on those traces of the doctrine and the
fact which we think are to be found in the New Testament: for several
reasons.  In the first place, this has been so often and so fully done,
{46} that it would be a superfluous labour.  And then there is a felt
unsatisfactoriness in all such arguments.  Scripture was not written
critically, and its terms were not precisely fixed; so that several of
the sects may and do build up plausible theories from passages of
Scripture.  And again, what we have already shown, amounts perhaps to all
that is of any real value in any such arguments: viz. that the Catholic
doctrine is not only in perfect _harmony_ with every part of Scripture,
but admits of a full and literal interpretation of all its strongest and
most solemn language on this subject, in a manner which no sectarian
doctrine can pretend to.  So far as Scripture then is concerned, we feel
no difficulty; and we now attempt no argument.  Our object is a very
distinct one.  Any man who reads the New Testament, may see that it
contains a “doctrine of laying on of hands.” (Acts xiii. 3, 4; 1 Tim. v.
22; Heb. vi. 2.)  Some may even perceive that the appointed and usual
means of transmitting Ministerial authority, was this “Laying on of
hands,” and that none had power to use this means save the Apostles and
those whom they authorized. (1 Tim. v. 22; 2 Tim. i. 6; Tit. i. 5.)  Many
a man may go so far as to admit the fact, that no Ministry was received
in the Christian Church for a thousand years, and more, {47} except that
which was commissioned through the Apostles and their reputed Successors,
the Bishops.  And yet any such may still feel difficulty in the
question—something almost amounting to a deficiency, at least, of clear
Evidence.  He may fairly be harassed by doubts such as these: “How am I
to know after all, that all these bishops from age to age were truly
ordained by a true Apostolic predecessor?  Is it not both possible, and
probable, that in some places, for example, a powerful man might have
usurped authority in a Church, and made himself a Bishop?—Or a learned
man, in ‘dark times,’ have imposed on the ignorant?  And if so, would not
all his Ministerial acts be worthless?  And might not one such break in
the chain, at some early period, have invalidated all subsequent
Ordinations?  Are there then any positive proofs that such has not been
the case?  Where are the documents?  What is the EVIDENCE of the facts,
on which an intelligent man may rely?” {48}  All which questions are
perfectly fair, and deserve to be honestly entertained.  And to these
(rather as connected with the fact than the doctrine) we address

Perhaps, indeed, there is a brief answer to them all, which may at once
satisfy many, better than a more tedious proof: namely, that if the
“doctrine of laying on of hands,” and the transmitted Ministry, be
received as contained in Scripture, and taught ever by the Church, so the
very same Holy Volume contains also the promise that CHRIST would be with
His Ministers to the end of time; and He would therefore of course
preserve to them all that was in the least degree essential.  The
faithfulness of CHRIST Himself would thus be a mighty proof to the
humblest Christian, that all that Scripture inculcated as necessary to
the Ministry, would truly be preserved in the Christian Church, as much
as it formerly was in the Jewish.  And he might also have this additional
proof of the fact, that no one (not even infidels) would attempt to
disprove it.  But we will now endeavour to go a little more narrowly into
the question, because it is frequently a stumbling block to many.

Let a man begin by analysing his own thoughts, and satisfy himself—first
of all, what _kind_ and _amount_ of evidence he requires of the fact,
that every Bishop of an Apostolic line was duly ordained by the “laying
on of hands?”  Does he expect to see the very documents written at the
time,—and the seal and sign manual of those who were present?—or, would
that suffice?  Perhaps many may be disposed to think that such evidence
must be satisfactory to the most incredulous.  But pause, and consider:
how should we know for certain that each separate document was quite
authentic?  How could we be quite sure that none were forged by some
crafty monk during those mysterious times, which some people, (as if
excusing their own want of light on the matter,) speak of as “dark ages?”
Or, suppose any one, or two, or three of the documents were destroyed by
all-corroding time? or had become illegible?  What then?  Surely such
evidence would be thought very unsafe to rely on.  Most persons would
look with great suspicion on such an array of unknown manuscripts, and
look about for something more satisfactory and possible.  And perhaps,
then, it might not be amiss to inquire what kind, or amount of evidence
it would be reasonable to look for?

Will it not be reckoned enough, if it should appear, that we have as good
evidence of the Succession of the Ministry from the first, as we have of
the reality of the institution of the Sacraments? or of the authenticity
of Holy Scripture?  This methinks will be enough at least for Christian
men in general, though it may not be satisfactory to every disputer; and
if we will attentively look into it we may certainly find the evidence to
be quite as strong as this.  The very same objections might be brought
against the Apostolic Scriptures, the Apostolic Sacraments, and the
Apostolic Ministry.  We have the same kind of moral certainty of them
all: and perhaps it might even be argued, that the highest degree of such
certainty, if a difference could be admitted, pertains to the
latter.—Thus much, at least, must be apparent on a very little
reflection, that the kind and amount of evidence which some persons
expect to have given them, of the Apostolic Succession, is impossible in
the very nature of things, and exactly similar to the evidence which
uneducated people, when they first begin to inquire, expect to find for
the authenticity of the Bible, and which infidels craftily demand for all
Revelation, well knowing that it cannot, in the nature of things, be had.
For, in the first place, we can none of us have the same kind of
certainty concerning any fact transacted in our absence, as of what is
done in our presence; much less of any thing which happened in a distant
place, a foreign country, or before we were born.  And still less if it
be removed farther back; as before our fathers or great-grandfathers were
born.  Whoever, therefore, undertakes to believe no farther than he
personally sees and knows, must suspend his faith in all history, and
even in the daily conversations and transactions of those around him.
And if any man is in this humour, we will not argue with him about it.
It is plain that these notions of strict personal evidence for every
thing must be abated, if we would exercise our common sense.

Let us take the case of a man who begins to examine the claims of the
Bible to be received as the Word of GOD.  Suppose him to be not very
learned; he is able at least to see that _his_ Bible is like other
people’s: and they, many of them being educated persons, believe it to be
GOD’S Word.  This is something.  And then it is the Authorized Version,
sanctioned by the Church and the State.  And this is something more.  And
he sees that even those who abuse the Church, are either very bad men, or
if they are sincere, well-meaning sort of people, and set up a new
Religion for themselves, they are obliged, after all, to make use of the
Church’s Bible, and generally the Church’s own Translation.  He therefore
has even so far tolerable ground for thinking that the Book which he has
received as the Word of GOD is truly such.

Now we do not in the least question that all this, taken in connexion
with the Internal excellence of The Volume, is very good evidence for the
generality to rely on.  It is just as good as, or perhaps better than,
they can get for any fact of history, or common knowledge, or daily life.
It is not demonstration—but it is sufficient, probable evidence—such as
men take and act upon in every other matter, without thinking it a
hardship, or unsafe.  And we affirm that this is just the kind and amount
of evidence which any man in this country may have either for the
Apostolic Sacraments, or the Apostolic Ministry of the Church.  He knows
that his Church is the Church of his forefathers; and that they were
baptized in it by her Ministers, before meeting-houses were thought of;
that the learned and the good have abounded in it, as all allow; and that
even those who depart from it, generally retain some similar outward
forms both of Sacraments and Ministry, though (consciously and candidly)
they own them to be then without any necessary grace in them.  So that he
regards his Church as a FACT borne witness to on all hands; a sure and
stable REALITY.  Over and above all which, there is an Internal evidence
also of Catholic Truth, which the humble and obedient surely possess at
length. (John vii. 17.)  For the Catholic Church teaches that the
Baptismal grace of Regeneration, if watered by prayer and holy teaching,
will at length expand into a certainty of persuasion of Her sacred
institutes, (Prov. iv. 18; 2 Tim. i. 12.) which heresy will labour vainly
to destroy.  A blessed feeling, akin to the indestructible reverence of a
child for its Mother, from whose lips the first words of prayer were
learned, and the first peaceful hopes of heaven.

But, going beyond this case, take that of a man who can enter with
sufficient care into the literary evidences of the truth of the Bible.
If skilled in its languages, he will go at once to the printed editions
of the originals.  Then he must inquire, from what manuscripts the
received text was printed?  And he will find it stated, that that of the
New Testament, for instance, is one of about the year eleven or twelve
hundred.  And for that fact he has to rely on the critical skill of
certain scholars and editors, some of whom saw the manuscript, and
thought it to be of that age.  But next comes the question: where are the
ORIGINAL manuscripts?  And it then appears that they are _lost_.  Then
where are the copies first taken? or even _soon_ taken, from the
manuscripts? and it seems that these are _lost_ too.  How then is he to
prove that the manuscript from which our New Testament is translated is a
faithful copy of what was written nearly eighteen hundred years before,
and so unfortunately lost?  He has thereupon a laborious task before him.
He must trace, for instance, the various quotations in the writings of
the Fathers of the Church; and then compare them with some early
translations.  In connexion with which, he might observe the reverence
with which Holy Scripture is always treated in the primitive writings;
and that the exact names of all the Sacred Treatises are preserved alike,
in various places.  And by pursuing these and kindred methods, he will at
length arrive at a strong probable conclusion as to the genuineness and
authenticity of the Holy Volume: a conclusion continually accumulating in
power and becoming at last morally irresistible, and practically
equivalent to a demonstration.  He sees, in fact, that there are certain
phenomena which can be explained by one hypothesis, and one only, and
that therefore that one must be admitted.  The actual state of Christian
literature can only be explained on the supposition of the existence of
some such Divine treatises as our New Testament at the close of the first

Now all this examination of evidence, satisfactory as it is in the
result, is very far from being that easy and off-hand way of “proving the
truth of the Scriptures” which untaught people vaguely imagine to be
possible and even necessary.  A similar series of remarks might be made
on the verification of the Sacraments of the Church, as being the same as
those originally instituted by our LORD, and ever practised by His
people.  But, passing now to our immediate subject, it will not be
difficult to see that the Apostolicity of the Ministry, if fairly
examined with equal patience, admits of the SAME kind of proof, as either
the SACRAMENTS or the SCRIPTURES of the Church.  Indeed there scarcely
seems a possibility of any traditive truth being supported by stronger
evidence than we have for the fact of the Succession; so that if this be
not true, it appears impossible to say what proof we could ever have to
substantiate any such fact.

So far back indeed as any genuine general records of past events exist,
we may boast that our Apostolical records exist.  So that during these
latter, which may be called the literary ages of the world, we may trace
the existing record of the Succession in our principal dioceses for many
centuries.  But this is not the kind of evidence which we could speak of,
as so abundantly satisfactory; nor could we esteem it so, even if it
reached to the Apostles’ days, and were cleared of all those doubts of
its genuineness, which we before alluded to. (page 47.)  It would not be
satisfactory, for this simple, though little thought of reason, namely,
That a Succession of Bishops in one See, is not and cannot ordinarily be,
a succession of one and the same Apostolical line.  So that if, for
example, we should produce a list of every Archbishop of Canterbury to
the very first, who was consecrated by a French Bishop, and should then
add the name of every one that had preceded that French Bishop in his
see, up to the Apostles’ days, still we should not have proved the
existence of any One line of Apostolical descent.  No single line of
Succession confined to a single Church is possible.  Every newly ordained
Bishop in every See comes of a new line; and that a threefold line, as we
shall presently notice.  In addition to which, it should be borne in
mind, that the Succession was transmitted in many lines, even from the
beginning.  Endeavour to examine these points more in detail.

We learn from Eusebius, that the Apostles selected various parts of the
world as the separate fields of their labour.  And wherever there was an
Apostle, there was one who had the power (which he did not neglect to
use) of transmitting the grace of the Ministry of CHRIST; consequently
there must have been several lines of Ministerial Succession from the
first.  Probably every Apostle ordained some, as “overseers,”
“presidents,” of Churches; and so became an originator, not of one, but
of several, lines of Apostolical grace.  If each of the Twelve had
ordained but one, there would still have been twelve such lines
Apostolical: but since the indefatigable Apostles doubtless did much more
than this, there must have been many Ministerial lines, from the very
first.  We are putting ourselves therefore in a very false position when,
in arguing with Romanists, we allow them tacitly to assume, as they seem
to do, that there was but one line of Apostolic Ministration transmitted
from the beginning.  But this error will be more apparent by examining

Let us endeavour to look at the case both historically and practically,
that so we may see not only its past, but also its present bearings.  In
so doing we may be led to understand its principle more clearly.  When,
at any time, a Bishopric might become vacant in the Church, and a new
Bishop was to be consecrated thereto by the “laying on of hands,” by whom
was this solemn rite to be performed?  Take, for example, a Bishop of
Antioch.  He dies, and a new one is to be consecrated.—Who is to do
it?—Several, probably, unite in “laying hands on him” with prayer and
fasting. (Acts xiii. 3.)  Suppose one of them to be the Bishop of
Alexandria; then the next question must be—Who consecrated _him_? and
those who were his coadjutors at Antioch?  And it might take us to as
many different Churches to decide this point, as there were Bishops at
that consecration.  By the laws and practice of the Church, {58} it is
necessary for three Bishops, if possible, to be present and unite in the
Consecration of every new Bishop.  Now suppose another of the three, in
the case just given, to have been a Bishop of Rome; then to trace the
Apostolical Succession we must proceed to ask, who consecrated that
Bishop of Rome?—Not the previous Bishop of Rome; for he, probably and
almost invariably, would be dead before his Successor was appointed.
Then, of course it must needs be some foreign Bishop, assisted by _two_
others from different parts of Christendom.  And then the question would
widen still farther, as each of _their_ ordinations would have to be
examined.  And so the inquiry would have to proceed, widening from Bishop
to Bishop, and from Church to Church, till we might arrive, if possible,
at the first Apostolic consecration of at least _one_ of the long line,
through which the manifold grace had flowed.  Except in the case of the
translation of a Bishop from one See to another (a practice unsanctioned
by primitive antiquity) it would never happen that the _same_ line of
Succession would be at all continued in any one Church, even during two
succeeding Episcopates.  And, even in that case, it would be mingled with
the Succession of the two other Bishops, who had joined in the new
consecration.  Hence a Succession of Bishops in any one Church is _not_ a
Succession of the same spiritual line of descent.  Nay, if we had no more
to allege than the line of the Bishops of a particular Church, even
though we could enumerate them quite up to the Apostles, we should not
have proved a valid Succession.  But rather the reverse; because it must
have been very possible that some one, or more, of the line might have
died suddenly, before the ordaining of the Successor; in which case the
Succession would be lost, unless some _other_ Church were applied to.  It
is plain that no particular Church, whether in Constantinople,
Canterbury, or Rome, can pretend to possess an exclusive line of
Apostolic grace.  It is plain that no Church can be strictly said to
“derive its orders” from another.  And it only evinces a want of
thinking, for any man to say, for example, “that such and such a Church
derives its orders from the Church of Rome.”  Every one must have
observed the false position in which English Churchmen have allowed
themselves to be put, by overlooking this simple point.  They have thus
admitted, practically, that the Church of Rome had a private line of
Apostolical Succession, of which she could impart to others!—forgetting
that the Bishop of Rome himself is necessarily indebted to the Bishops of
three other Churches for _his own_ consecration. {60}  The Succession is
and must be CATHOLIC, coming through all the Bishops of the Holy Church
throughout all the world.  And in this lies our security.  Just as our
persuasion of the genuineness of the Scriptures arose, not from our
seeing the originals, or the earliest copies, but from the united
testimony and criticism of Christian men; so our conviction of the
validity and necessity of the Succeeding Ministry results from a like
Catholicity of testimony.  Here too, as with the Scriptures, we have
unquestioned phenomena, (the whole history of the Catholic world,) which
can only be explained by admitting the _fact_.  The Church of Rome has no
more preserved our Orders, than she has our Bibles.  And in this fact
lies our chief security, that no particular Church, in Rome or elsewhere,
has the Succession in its keeping, so as to be able either to keep it, or
fatally corrupt it; for it is CATHOLIC.

And further: That very intricacy of the interwoven Catholic line, which
renders it so impracticable a thing to trace the individual private
Succession of any Bishop upwards to the Apostles, gives it an amassed
mightiness, and hitherto uncalculated strength, when tracked downwards
from the beginning.  The twelve Apostles began it, by ordaining the first
Bishops; and when in the very next generation the practice became
established, of three Bishops assisting at every fresh consecration, it
was at once morally impossible to pervert, or intercept the grace
Apostolical.  In the very next generation any three Bishops who came to a
fresh Ordination, would each bring a three-fold Succession, so as to
convey the Grace which had flowed through nine different Churches.  The
difficulty of failure would thence be still further augmented in the next
generation, and the next.  And what would be even at so early a stage, a
moral impossibility, would needs go on accumulating from age to age.  So
that if at any time by any possibility, the Church’s vigilance was
defeated, and one of the ordaining Bishops was of doubtful Apostolicity,
there were two more united with him, and so preserving the grace of the
institute. {62a}  This was in accordance with the very first of the
extant Apostolical Canons, {62b} which enacts, “Let a Bishop be ordained
by two or by three Bishops” (and the larger number was almost invariably
required).  The strictness with which this was kept up, is borne witness
to alike by Fathers, {63a} and Councils, and Historians, from the very
beginning.  And if this were not unequivocally and universally the case,
(as it certainly is, so as to make quotation and reference seem like
affectation,) it would be easy to bring abundant and overbearing evidence
of another kind.  For the watchful care and pains of all the Churches in
the matter of Ordinations is just as notorious, as that Christianity
existed and prevailed in the world.  The very faults of the early
Christians, no less than their virtues, contributed to secure the
Succession.  Far indeed from lethargy were those times.  Abounding
heresies, mutual jealousy, and religious zeal, all combined to augment
the Church’s watchfulness.  And, above all, the vigilantly sustained
Discipline, by which the whole community was so interwoven, that the
greatest and smallest affairs of Christian concern were alike
communicated to the whole body.  Not only would any new ordination be
known in each of the three Churches from which the ordaining Bishops
came; but it was very presently notified also to the Metropolitans {63b}
by Episcopal letters.  And beyond this, the election of a Bishop was a
matter well known, and publicly canvassed.  It was not a thing which
(like the Canon of Scripture) might have been for a time kept to
themselves, by the learned.  No, the common people knew perfectly of the
transaction.  An infraction of an Apostolic rule, even in a minor point,
was clamorously echoed from Church to Church, so that it was rarely
ventured on; much less would it be suffered in any important thing.  Even
evil men in their day were obliged to conform to the outward rules of the
faithful; or they found an universal outcry against them.  The State had
then nothing to do with the matter; and the people (such was their temper
and disposition) would have thought of owning a heathen for a Bishop, as
soon as a man not duly ordained.  Nay, there was even a holy emulation
among the Churches; in consideration of which we might in a qualified
sense, admit an additional kind of sacredness and certainty, so to speak,
in the Succession of those Episcopates, which were noted for peculiar
carefulness; as in the Ante-Nicene times that of Alexandria appears to
have been.

So was it from the first.—And in every subsequent generation of
Christians, as we thus see, the intricacy of the Succession, and
consequently the difficulty of breaking it, would be more and more
intensely augmented; as if indeed utterly defying the unfaithfulness or
fraud of man to set it aside.  Whatever else has at any time been charged
against the Catholic Church, it has never been said, that she failed in
duly Ordaining her Bishops; and even if this could be shown, still a
failure in one part would not touch the rest. {65a}  To break up the
Succession of the Apostolic Ministry nothing less, indeed, seems to be
required than a self-destroying conspiracy of the Church Universal.

We possess then all the Evidences of this illustrious fact, which human
testimony can furnish, or human industry bring together.  Universal
witnesses to support it; and not one against
it.—Scriptures,—Canons,—Councils,—Fathers,—and Churches,—the learned and
the common people—all evidencing one thing; and even heretics and
infidels not denying it as fact;—a fact too, which they are forced to see
has gathered and still shall gather fresh mightiness, as centuries roll
on! {65b}  For on the heads of the present Bishops of the Church
Universal, there rests the concentrated grace of all the Apostles.  And
this One Institute—the MINISTRY of CHRIST now stands, {66} as at first
Divinely set up, an abiding monument of the truth, that HE who determined
by the “weakness” and “foolishness” of preaching to save them that
believe, has manifested that the “foolishness of God is wiser than men,
and the weakness of God stronger than men.”—The things which man in all
his wisdom contrived, eighteen hundred years ago, are departed like
shadows.  What GOD ordained remains, and shall “till the consummation of
the world.”

Would that the thought of this stupendous grace might ever dwell with
each Bishop of the Church Universal, that those words of promise which
are the charter of the perpetuity, and the power which Christ hath given
might accompany them, as if ever and anon spoken by a heavenly voice,—to
elevate, console, and awe their inmost spirit,—“Lo, I AM WITH YOU!”—Nay,
what thoughts of glory and majesty may well possess us all! when, putting
aside the thankless debates, and presumptuous questionings of men, there
rises before our mind’s eye the august vision of the “whole family in
heaven and earth;” existing as for ever ONE to The Omniscient EYE, yet
mysteriously passing through the long and varying successions of time,
age after age; ministered unto throughout, by ONE succeeding Priesthood,
{67} ever subsisting “after the power of an endless life,” and so holding
together all the members of the eternal family, the living and the dead,
in mystic fellowship and communion, even reaching to a “fellowship with
the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ!”  Seems it not too great a
thought for mind of man to take in, in all its sublime fulness?—And has
it not some holy influence, forcing from us the exclamation of felt
unworthiness—‘Alas! for what we _are_,—and what we _should_ be?’—It is as
if (with earth’s pollutions yet unwashed from our spirits) we were borne
upwards in vision even “to heaven-gate,” and bidden by the Angel of an
Apocalypse to look in, and see, though from far, the eternal wonders,
behold the forms of distant glory, and feel, though but for a moment, the
thrilling air of heaven’s own Holiness.


FROM THE EPISTLE. {69}—“Now the GOD of patience and consolation grant you
to be likeminded one towards another, according to CHRIST JESUS.  That ye
may with One mind and One mouth glorify GOD.”—Rom. xv. 5.

OUR object in the present Lecture will, I trust, be the same as that of
the Apostle’s prayer in these words . . .

To confirm the truth of a doctrine, it cannot be supposed necessary to
answer all objections and difficulties which ingenuity might raise, for
in that case, perhaps, no doctrine would ever be established at all.  But
when any particular truth has been reasonably set forth and defended, it
is a kind of farther recommendation of it with the many to show, that it
is not in reality surrounded by such serious difficulties as might, at
first sight, be supposed.  Of course it is not right in any man to
suspend his belief of a proved truth, simply because it seems to be
attended by some difficulties; still we must deal with human nature as we
find it; and the majority do not appear to have that bold and honest mind
which will maintain right principles in defiance of all obstacles.
Neither have they that lofty faith in GOD which will trust Him in the
face of seeming improbabilities.  Therefore, surely, it is a Christian
thing to endeavour, now as far as we are able, to remove such
difficulties as obstruct the faith of some, concerning the Ministry of
the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church: only premising that our
object here is not to prove the truth, but to facilitate its reception.
The truth of the APOSTOLICAL SUCCESSION, being confirmed by foregone
proof, cannot, however, be affected by the measure of our success in
clearing up difficulties.

It would be a very vain waste of time to attempt to answer many light and
frivolous objections; for so far as they are really stumbling blocks to
any, they will soon be removed when the doctrine itself is at all
understood.  Necessarily there will seem to arise from time to time
numberless minor points which, however, any man whose judgment is worth
convincing would soon be able to explain for himself.  In such proportion
as a man apprehends the truth, or, if I may so express it, perceives the
spirit and scope of the Catholic Religion, he will come to see, at a
glance, the answer which, on Catholic principles, would be given to such
and such difficulties.  This is the Divine reward of an abiding humble

The common and most influential Objections may admit of a two-fold
classification; according as they arise from certain supposed
difficulties in the Fact, and in its consequences—or in the Doctrine, and
its consequences.  And we will at once proceed to consider, first, some
difficulties thought to be historically and practically connected with
the Fact of the Succession, and its consequences.

The Objection which requires, perhaps, the least trouble and information
to make, (and from its indistinctness is rather difficult to grapple
with,) and which, therefore, is more frequently employed than any other,
is founded on a charge of general and fatal Corruption of Christianity in
the middle ages.  Granting, it is said, the fact, that there was an
unbroken Succession of Bishops in the Church Catholic from the beginning,
still the gross and palpable corruption which so extensively pervaded the
Church for ages, was quite sufficient to rob the Succession of all
spiritual value.  Now this wide and gratuitous assertion might fairly be
met by asking the objector—how he comes to know this?—How he comes to be
so sure that personal human corruption would wholly obstruct the
super-human grace of a Divine institution?  How he arrives at such a
certainty that the grace of GOD is not mightier than the sin of man?  How
he _can_ be so sure that “where sin abounded,” grace did not “much more
abound?”  At the best, his objection rests on an unproved assumption in
principle—an assumption too, directly at variance with our experience of
GOD’S past dealings with man; as the history of the Jewish people bears
witness.  It would be difficult, as we remarked in our last Lecture, to
find any parallel in the history of the Christian Church to the godless
impieties of the Jewish, during four hundred years previous to CHRIST’S
coming, and yet the anointing oil of the Priesthood was not
inefficacious, nor even the Prophetical gifts withdrawn, up to the time
of the Advent.  Even CHRIST’S persecutor Caiaphas “_prophesied_, being
High Priest that year.”  It is, therefore, quite unsatisfactory, at the
least, to take for granted in this way, that general Corruption would
have totally destroyed the grace of Apostolic Succession.  The utmost
that can, with any show of fairness, be pretended is, that it _might_
have done so: and even this ought surely to be proved and not barely
assumed as it here is.  And even supposing that this were proved, then
there would be one thing more to be shown, namely, that the amount of
corruption in the Church had really, in point of fact, reached that
height, which would overwhelm the grace of Her instituted Ministry.  And
how this could be certainly proved, even if true, it seems hard to say.
In the nature of things, it would ever remain a point uncertain to man,
and known to GOD alone.  Our objectors, therefore, must assume this point
too.  And without, perhaps, being much justified in their assumption by
the facts of history.  For while a lofty moral sense is recognized among
men, and so long as humility and self-devotion to GOD, and disinterested,
even though untaught, zeal, are reckoned Christian virtues,—so long, in
spite of party misrepresentations, will the great body of our Christian
forefathers, lay and clerical, in the middle ages bear honourable
comparison with us their overweening children.  There is more of the
spirit of pride than the spirit of CHRIST—more of party vanity than of
Catholic generosity—more of historical ignorance than of philosophical
wisdom, in these self-congratulatory comparisons between our meagre
conflicting, though (if you will) enlightened, “systems” of Religion and
the One high-minded faith, and chivalrous piety, and unsystematized
benevolence of our less instructed ancestors.—At all events, the vague
objections drawn from these intangible charges of general corruption,
very plainly rest on two unproved assumptions—one of the principle and
one of the fact.  And this, perhaps, is all that is necessary to be
shown.  For is not the Succession itself a fact of sufficient magnitude
to make us pause before we say, it is WORTH NOTHING?  This undeniable
fact which we allege; this Succession of CHRIST’S Apostolic Ministry;
this, GOD’S sustained marvel of eighteen hundred years, is assailed by
man’s bare assertion, ‘that it has been SUSTAINED FOR NOTHING.’

But from among these general charges of Corruption, there sometimes is
one singled out, as of a magnitude too great to be doubtful, and to the
believer in Revelation too malignant to be of questionable effect: the
charge, I mean, of Idolatry.  If there were nothing else, it is said, to
impede the spiritual grace of the Succession, the Idolatry prevalent in
the Churches of the Roman Communion would be amply sufficient.  And in
proof of this, the case of the Jewish Church is confidently quoted, and
the fierce denunciations uttered and executed against GOD’S favoured
people for this especial sin, beyond all others.  Now here too we seem to
have some unproved assumptions; as well as some false reasoning from the
analogy of the Jewish people.  First of all there is the assumption which
we have previously noticed, namely, that there _is_ an amount of personal
human sin which _fatally_ cuts off, or obstructs, the instituted channels
of Divine grace; which has never yet been proved.  Then there is the
assumption that idolatry is the specific sin whose guilt would have this
effect.  And this may possibly be true—when the first assumption is made
good—but as yet, this has not been proved.  And then there is the third
assumption, that the Church in the middle ages was so fully and
universally guilty of this sin of idolatry, as to cut off the virtue of
the Apostolic Succession for ever.  And I need hardly say that this has
not been proved, for it must in any case remain a doubtful point—beyond
our power to settle for certain.  And yet how unheedingly these three
assumptions are made use of in the arguments so resolutely and
thanklessly urged from the parallel circumstances of the Jews.  In the
first place it is assumed that the grace of the Jewish institutions was
so cut off as to be _lost_ on account of idolatry, in the times before
CHRIST; which cannot be shown. (Rom. xi. 29.)  For even if it be shown
that that Divine grace was quite suspended during a season of idolatry,
it would still be certain, that when the Idolatry was repented of and
forsaken, the grace reflowed through the accustomed channels of the
Mosaic Institutes.  And in spite of all past idolatries, it had not been
wholly cut off even at the time of the Coming of CHRIST.  In the next
place there is a false assumption concerning the sin of idolatry itself;
which seems to have been so severely visited as it was, because it was
the specifically forbidden sin, the protesting against which was one
great special object of the national existence of the Jews amidst a
godless world.  It was not, surely, that GOD abhorred idol worship more
than murder, or uncleanness, or injustice; but it was, that “in Judah was
GOD to be known”—the one GOD—the forgotten GOD—amidst Gentile polytheism,
until the Coming of The Great Mediator.  Every Divine interference with
that nation seemed to bear this as its reason, “That all the earth may
know that there is a GOD in Israel.”—“The LORD, He is the GOD!  The LORD
He is the GOD!” (Joshua iv. 24; 1 Kings viii. 42, 43; Psalm lx.
throughout, &c.)  Idolatry in that nation had a heinousness beyond all
other sin.  And great as the guilt of idolatry must ever be, yet it can
hardly be called in the _same_ sense, the specific design of the
existence of the Christian Church, to protest against that sin beyond all
others.  And until this can be made good, the strict parallel cannot be
established.  In the third place, there is a further assumption of an
actual analogy of sinfulness in this particular, between the Jewish and
Christian Churches, which is not borne out by facts.  Jewish idolatry
implied a voluntary and intentional abandonment of the worship of
JEHOVAH.  Now this can in no wise be affirmed of the worst idolatry of
the Romish Hierarchy.  No one will say that the Churches in communion
with Rome, ever intended to abandon the worship of GOD, for the sake of
Angels and Saints.  It may be safely and truly said, that their reverence
paid to images, and their invocations of saints and angels, are of an
idolatrous nature, and calculated to lead, and have led, to idolatry in
the common people; but it would be unreasonable and untrue to say, that
the sin of the Church of Rome in this matter was the _same_ sin as that
of the Jews when they deliberately abandoned the worship of GOD.  And,
therefore, we cannot argue from the one to the other.

If we thus look into this objection fairly, we must see how very little
it amounts to.  It depends throughout on unproved assumptions.  And so
far as we may take the analogy in the case of the Jewish Church, it tells
directly against the objection.  For there cannot be shown more, at most,
than a suspension of the grace of the Mosaic Institutes.  And if even
Jewish idolatry, when repented of, was no impediment to the reflux of the
Divine blessing, so it might be in the Christian Church, even if it could
be proved universally guilty of the very sin of the Jews—which it cannot
be.  In different ages, and at different places, some Churches, in
communion with Rome, have paid a highly sinful honour to Saints and their
images.  The amount of such honour has varied greatly in degree, being
more or less sinful, at different times and places; yet at the worst, it
was never universal, in any essentially idolatrous degree.  And even if
it had been, there would only (if the analogy were ever so strictly borne
out) be a suspension of still latent Apostolic grace, which any branches
of the Church might, on repentance, again enjoy.  Far be it from us
indeed to palliate the sin, or the danger, of the idolatrous practices of
the present Church of Rome, but let a legitimate and not a superficial
estimate thereof be made.  Instead of being misled by words, let us look
to principles.  We are bound to protest against all which draws off the
heart from the true GOD and only SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST; and therefore
against Idolatry in all its forms.  The Churches throughout the world, in
communion with that of Rome, have conformed to the practices of the
ungodly world in one way; but so have we in another.  And as the
heathenish conformities and superstitions of Romanists are condemned by
St. Paul, when he forbids Christians even to “eat of things offered to
idols;” so the infidel coldness and individual selfishness of many
Protestants are equally condemned, when we are bidden to flee from
covetousness, “which is idolatry.”  Whether, with some, we make idols of
a particular Church and the Saints,—or with others, make idols of Private
Judgment and Mammon, we are alike guilty.  Let there be no rude,
impatient haste in judging of any Christians.  So long as GOD bears with
us, we may well bear with one another.  Idolatry, worse than the Romish,
was sanctioned by some of the Churches of Asia.  But still they were
addressed as “Churches.”  That very sanction of actual heathen idolatry,
which the Churches had been warned against, they were guilty of allowing.
Of both Pergamos and Thyatira it is said in sharp rebuke, that they
permitted some among them “to eat of things offered to idols,” which
almost amounted to an admission of those heathen gods.  And yet, as
CHURCHES still, they are warned to “repent and do the FIRST works,” lest
GOD should be provoked to “remove their candlestick out of his place.”
So it was not removed as yet.—While the Church Catholic endures
perpetually, GOD cuts off from time to time its irrecoverably corrupt
branches.  But it is for GOD, not us, to do it.  And with this, let us
dismiss the Objection concerning Idolatry.

One further Objection which we shall notice, as connected with the Fact
of the Succession, is that which is urged, though in very different
senses, against our own Church in particular, by Romanists on the one
hand, and Sectarians on the other; both anxious to deny us the possession
of that grace of Apostolical Ministry, which the former desire to
monopolize, and the latter to set at nought altogether.  ‘If (say they
with somewhat of _ambiguity_ of expression) the Succession is in the
Church CATHOLIC, they who are in a state of Schism, cannot be considered
to possess it.’  Now if we were to admit this position exactly as they
state it, they would then have to prove us Schismatics, with respect to
the CHURCH CATHOLIC, before they could, on this ground, invalidate our
Succession.  But, in truth, the objection ought to be a little more
carefully looked into.  The sin of Schism admits of various degrees.  Of
course, if it be clearly made out that any part of the Church is (not
partly torn only, but) totally severed from the Body Catholic, it
follows, that that part has not that Sacramental grace which the Church
alone possesses.  But it is certain that in its fullest sense, even
Romanists, acknowledging, as they do, Lay-baptism, could not thus cut off
as _totally_ Schismatic, all who are not of their communion;—all the
Churches of the East, and of the farthest West—The American, the Scotch,
and our own.  And the Sectarians cannot, for very shame, deny us a place
in the Universal Church.  That very liberality which they need for their
own sakes will afford us some shelter too.  And as to the special charge
of heinous Schism urged against us in the particular matter of our
Reformation; if we admit it, as fully, as any party can afford to urge
it, it could not go the length of invalidating our Orders Apostolical.
The Church Catholic anathematized us not; but only the Bishop of Rome,
who had not any right or power so to do, {81a} but was himself
Schismatical and Anti-christian in attempting it; as St. Irenæus might
have taught him.  The Church Catholic we would have been content to be
judged by. {81b}  We appealed to a General Council, and after wearisome
denial and delay, and artifice, they offered us the mockery of Trent.
About a hundred and fifty years after our Reformation, we were recognized
as a Church by the Greek Church: {82a} though the attempt to unite us
with them in one Communion unhappily failed.  At the time of our
Reformation, notwithstanding much temptation, much carelessness, and much
sin, our Apostolical Succession seemed marvellously guarded, as by a
heavenly hand.  The documents are as plain, the facts as sure, as
history, invidiously sifted, can make them; so that the candid Romanist
and the learned Jesuit cannot deny them.  Let any one examine it for
himself.  Any man, who will deal fairly with facts, will be obliged to
own that there have been greater confusions and Schisms {82b} in the see
of Rome itself, than in the see of Canterbury.—But they who go the length
of affirming a cessation of Apostolic grace in any particular Church or
branch of a Church on the ground of total Schism, from the whole body of
CHRIST, must excuse us if we ask them for proof of their assertion; and
tell them, that until it is proved, we must treat it as a pure (though a
very convenient) assumption.

Those further historical and practical Objections which might be urged
against the Apostolical Succession, either in the Church Universal, or in
our own particular branch of it, would be such as attempt to throw some
degree of doubt on the fact itself; {83} and they have already been
answered by anticipation in the last Lecture, in which we mainly dwelt on
the EVIDENCE of the fact.  To notice them here in any greater detail,
would therefore be only to repeat needlessly what has been already said.
But closely connected with the Objections thus briefly considered to the
facts of the Succession, there are generally supposed to be certain fatal
CONSEQUENCES, which it may be well just to glance at.  “Popery,” and its
fearful train of practical evils, an infringement of liberty of
conscience, and spiritual slavery, are apprehended as the sure result, if
the Apostolical line be admitted to be preserved.  But is it thus?  Are
any of us anxious for a “liberty” which is confessedly synonymous with a
freedom from obedience to GOD’S own laws and appointments?  Or can we not
admit the right of any man to “liberty of conscience,” without insisting
that such a liberty will suffice to guide him into all truth?  Doubtless
every man has a right to move on unshackled towards the “heavenly city,”
but shall he therefore dispense with the only effectual guide?  Granting
him the fullest “freedom,” may he not yet miss his way?—Whoever will take
the pains to think of it, will see that this Apostolical doctrine of the
Succession, is no other kind of restraint upon liberty of conscience,
than any other Apostolical doctrine.  It may certainly be said that if a
man be not blessed with the blessings of the Church Apostolical, he is in
a perilous condition; but it is difficult to see how this affects liberty
of conscience, any more than the assertion, “He that believeth not shall
be condemned.”  So that such an Objection is only that of the infidel, in
a slightly modified shape, when he complains of the “hardship of not
providing for the case of the conscientious unbeliever.”

And as to the fear of Popery; that seems a still more strange Objection.
Surely the very reverse is the more correct reasoning.  If it be a fact
capable of proof, and which was believed by all Christians for 1500
years, That there was a true Succession of Ministers from the
Apostles—are we not taking the very surest ground against Romanists, when
we show, that we possess just such a descended Ministry, in no degree
dependent on communion with _their_ Church, or any other single Church?
If we could _not_ show such a Ministry, then the man, who from
examination found out the truth of the necessity of an Apostolic Church,
might be obliged indeed to resort to the communion of Rome.  So that by
asserting our true Apostolical claims, we are so far from giving place to
Rome, that we are striking the only effectual blow at her supremacy—we
are so far from forcing a man to join the Papacy, that we are offering
him his only refuge from its spiritual tyranny.  And as to all such
half-infidel objections as, ‘that there would be nothing to check the
onward advance of corruption and error,’ and the like, if it were thus
taken to be unlawful to sin against, or set aside, the Apostolical
Succession, in any case; it would be quite enough to reply, that we ought
to be content to trust GOD for the success of His own appointed
institutions.  But there are facts, sufficiently strong to enable us to
speak much more explicitly on this head.  Among those who threw off the
Roman yoke in the sixteenth century, we see, that the Non-episcopal
communities of the Continent have gone down into worse than Roman
Corruption, “even denying THE LORD that bought them;” from which depth of
doctrinal corruption our Episcopal Church has been graciously preserved.
Not, indeed, that it is right to depend too much on this kind of
evidence, popular as it may be.  It is better for the Christian to
exercise a habit of unenquiring confidence in his Heavenly Father,
trusting Him for the “consequences” of His Own appointments, disregarding
the sophistries, and fears, and oppositions of the world.

Passing, now, from this class of Practical Objections, let us consider
some of those which are supposed to lie against the DOCTRINE of the
Succession.  They are, indeed, so peculiarly unchristian, so faithless in
their principles, and so indefinite in their shape, that it will not be
so easy a task to deal with them; but we must briefly attempt it.

One of the commonest and most comprehensive of these objections, is that
which is advanced against the whole Doctrine of an Authoritative Ministry
in the Church, though more especially against the notion of a Descended
Priesthood; viz.  That it is a going back to “beggarly elements,” a
perpetuation of Judaism in the Church.  They who urge this, do not
scruple to deny all similarity of office between the Christian and the
Jewish Priesthood, and they represent it as essentially Anti-christian in
any man in these days to pretend to the Priestly office.  “If,” say they,
“it be even granted that a separate order of Ministers is sanctioned by
the Gospel, still it is both arrogant and unscriptural to pretend to
institute any sort of parallel between the Christian and the Jewish
Ministries.”  It is strange that any man can speak so thoughtlessly, who
has had the advantage of reading even an English Testament.  Not only is
the principle of the necessity of a proper Ministry assumed throughout
the Christian Scriptures, but the very analogy which is now denied
between the Christian and the Jewish ministries is _throughout_ assumed,
and sometimes expressly insisted on, and drawn out.  If it were so
dangerous and Anti-christian an error to pretend to a Priesthood in the
Church, at all resembling that of the Temple, surely the Apostles would
have been especially anxious to avoid using any expressions which should
seem to imply any such thing.  St. Paul’s language, if not to be taken
simply as he employed it—that is, if it were not literally _true_—was
calculated much to mislead.  It could not have been safe, when the early
Church had so strong a tendency to Judaize, to make use of what may be
called “priestly terms” and allusions.  And yet this is done continually
in the New Testament, and even as a “matter of course.”  Observe, for
instance, that sentence of St. Paul, specially concerning the ancient
Priesthood, but so widely expressed as to convey a general principle,
assumed as known to be equally true now as of old—“No man taketh this
honour to himself, but he that is called of GOD as was Aaron.” (Heb. v.
1, 4).  So the Holy Baptist at the beginning of the Gospel puts forth
this as an Evangelical principle, concerning any Divine Ministry, not
excepting Christ’s Own; “A man can _take unto himself_ nothing” [margin].
(John iii. 27, &c.)  St. Paul likewise calls CHRIST Himself “the Apostle
and High-priest,” linking the two ideas together—joining the Apostolical
and the Priestly offices—but saying that even HE “glorified not Himself
to be made an High-priest.” {88}  The FATHER “sent” Him; and “as His
FATHER sent HIM, so He sent His Apostles.”  And what, again, might we not
fairly conclude from such an allusion as the following, even if there
were nothing more clear?  “WE have an _altar_ whereof they have no right
to eat which serve the tabernacle;” (Heb. xiii. 10.) which occurs
immediately after the injunction concerning the Ministry, “remember THEM”
(v. 7).  And in the verses immediately following, we find a similar
injunction, and similar sacrificial allusions; (v. 11, 15–17.)  Must we
not think that the Apostle recognized _some_ analogy between the Jewish
and the Christian Ministries? {89}  But we have, in addition to such
manifold allusions, some passages much more direct and indisputable.  In
writing to the Corinthians, St. Paul places the Eucharistic Table of the
LORD in a position precisely parallel with that of the Jewish Altar, and
founds his whole argument on it; (1 Cor. x. 13, &c.) and places together
on the same footing the Ministries of the Temple and of the Church, (ch.
ix. 13.)  His argument for the right of the Christian Minister to a
temporal maintenance is wholly derived from the analogy of the Jewish
Priesthood; this would, then, be no argument, if there were no analogy.
His words are, “Do ye not know that they which Minister about holy
things, live of the things of the altar? _even so hath_ THE LORD
_ordained_, that they that preach the Gospel should live of the Gospel.”
Evidently the former Ministry is assumed to be the pattern of the
_latter_.  But in another place, it is still more fully carried out.  The
Apostle shows the Corinthians, that the analogy between the two
Ministries was such as to raise the Christian Ministry immeasurably
superior to the Jewish, both in privilege and power.  What Jewish Priest
could ever use such exalted language as St. Paul had employed concerning
the punishment of sin? (1 Cor. v. 5.) or its pardon? (2 Cor. ii. 10, 11,
15.)  And so he declared his Ministry to be much superior to that of
Moses himself. (2 Cor. iii. 7.)  “If the Ministration of condemnation
(the Jewish Ministry) be glory, how much more doth the Ministration of
righteousness (the Christian) _exceed_ in glory?  For even that which was
made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of that _which
excelleth_; for if that which was done away was glorious, _much more_
that which remaineth is glorious.”  Moses, he further shows, had a
“veiled,” we an “unveiled” Ministry.  “WE all with unveiled face,
beholding as in a glass, the glory of the Lord.” (v. 18.)  “We preach not
_ourselves_,” indeed, he adds, “but CHRIST JESUS the LORD, AND Ourselves
your servants for JESUS’ sake; _for_ GOD . . . hath shined in OUR hearts,
to give the light of the knowledge of His glory.” (ch. iv. 6; see also
ch. v. 19, 20.)—The promises of abiding grace, “enduring” mercy, and
perpetual blessing to the ancient Israel, are commonly enough thought to
await fulfilment in the Church: so also, shall not the ancient promises
of an everlasting Priesthood, which were not fulfilled to the Jews, be
amply fulfilled in the CHURCH?—The ONE Priesthood of CHRIST “continueth
ever” manifested in HIS Church according to HIS will; “not after the law
of a carnal commandment, _but_ (_απαραβατον_) _after the power of an
endless life_.”

Perhaps it may be thought needless to dwell longer on this objection to
the doctrine of the proper Ministry of the Church.  The other objections,
however, which are commonly urged, are of so similar a character as to be
partly answered already, by what has been said.  It may be useful,
nevertheless, to bestow a few more remarks on them.  Some who scarcely
like to object to the Doctrine of the Ministry in open terms, are given
to speak of the “SUCCESSION” as a “carnal” doctrine, though without
clearly showing us any other doctrine to supply its place.  It would be
well for those who lightly adopt such language, if they would weigh its
_meaning_, before they make such use of it.  If by calling the Succession
a “carnal” doctrine, they mean that the doctrine is very different from,
and perhaps inconsistent with all that _they_ take to be “spiritual,”
there is nothing very fearful in the charge.  Only it is scarcely
consistent with Christian humility to adopt from Scripture a term of
opprobrium, in order to make of it a private use of our own.  Such
objectors may be reminded that there were some in the Church of Corinth,
who took themselves to be “spiritual” enough to dispute the APOSTLE’S
directions in some Church matters.  And St. Paul replied simply by
asserting his Ministerial authority, however “carnal” that might be
thought.  His words are, “If any think himself to be a prophet, or
_spiritual_, let him acknowledge that the things that I write are the
commandments of the LORD.” (1 Cor. xiv. 37.)  At all events the charge of
“carnality” ought to be a little explained, that we may know what meaning
to affix to it.  In what sense, for instance, the “Doctrine of laying on
of hands,” can be called carnal, and not also the doctrine of “Baptism by

But there are those who somewhat modify this objection, and say, that our
doctrine is too “technical” to be worthy of a Divine Revelation.  That is
to say, it is unworthy of the spirituality and dignity of CHRIST’S
religion to be thus necessarily allied to outward and sensible forms.
But surely this is as pure an _assumption_, as all the _other_ objections
which have been considered.  At least, it remains to be _proved_; and so
far as the analogy of GOD’S previous dealing with mankind may guide us,
we should be inclined perhaps to a very different conclusion.  What, for
instance, could be more “technical” than the Scriptural account of the
sin of Adam?  The moral aspect of the offence is _not_ dwelt on; it is
simply presented to us as a disobedience of a set injunction, a failure
in formal allegiance.—What, again, could be more “technical” than the
acceptable sacrifice of Abel?—Or the trial of Abraham’s faith?—And might
we not point in a similar way to the whole system established by GOD
among the Jews?—Or let the more Spiritual institute of “Prophecy” be
considered.  There was much in it that would now be thought very
“technical.”  The prophet Balaam, {93a} though an unholy man, had power
to “bless and curse;” there was a potency in his word.  And then we read
of the “_schools_ of the prophets.”  And the Spirit of Prophecy seemed
poured out in so technical and systematic a way, that there were certain
places, and hours, and modes, {93b} in which the Spirit was in active
energy, in such wise that strangers who came near were affected by it.
So we read, that king Saul and his messengers, when they came to the
company of prophets at Ramah, all began likewise to prophesy; (1 Sam.
xix. 23.) just as Saul himself had done on another occasion, previous to
his anointing (ch. x. 10).  Or, to come to a later period, how
“technical” does the Ministry of the Baptist appear throughout!  And yet
our Lord submitted to his “technical” Baptism, saying, “_Thus_ it
becometh us to fulfil all righteousness.”  And surely we might make the
same kind of remarks on the whole life of our LORD Himself.  Look at the
formal Genealogies at the beginning.—Is it not a strangely “technical”
appointment, that a grace so divine as that which redeemed mankind must
needs flow through the line of David?  And be recorded so scrupulously,
as though each link of the chain were important?—And in all that CHRIST
did, is there not much that might by some be called “technicality?”  His
conformity to the Jewish ritual: His temptation, His replies to the Jews,
His difficulties, questions, and dark sayings, and many of His miracles,
might surely by many be so esteemed. {94}  And then again, His Church and
Sacraments: and His injunctions to the Apostles; as that, to “begin at
Jerusalem” in their preaching, which they technically obeyed to the
letter. (Acts xiii. 46.)  But enough is plain, surely, from all this to
show us that the technical nature of an institution _may_ be no objection
whatever to the Divine sanction of it.  At all events, the contrary is an
assumption requiring proof.  Nay, further; if it be true, that man’s
sight cannot at present endure the light of unveiled truth, then it may
be that some sort of technical expression of truth might even be expected
in a Divine revelation.  GOD manifests Himself “in part,” and “in part”
He shrouds Himself from us still.

But after all that has been said, there will be some who will rejoin: If
this doctrine were of so great an importance, why is there not some much
plainer statement about it in Scripture—something, that is, which might
put it beyond doubt?  It might be worth considering in reply to this,
whether such a question does not arise from a complete misapprehension of
the nature and design of the Inspired Volume?  But, in any case, it is
evident that the Socinian, or even the Infidel might easily ask the very
same thing.  The Scripture testimony to the doctrine of the TRINITY,
plain as we think it, is evidently not _so_ plain as to prevent doubts
and differences of opinion.  Can that be a valid objection against the
doctrine of the Succession, which is none whatever against the TRINITY?
The Arians of the fourth age would gladly have accepted of any thing in
“Scripture-terms,” and pleaded hard for leaving the truth of the TRINITY
in a (so called) “Scriptural” vagueness of expression.  But the Catholic
Church determined otherwise.  And Her interpretation of those Scriptures
which contain the Apostolical Succession, is quite as uniform and
unequivocal as of those which contain the truth of the HOLY TRINITY.

Here, while leaving this class of objections also, (raised, like the
former, on pure assumptions) we must not omit to remind any who are
trying by the aid of such objections to rid themselves of the Catholic
truth, that there is, at best, a fearful uncertainty in the course which
they are so pursuing—an uncertainty which seems not to have one solid
advantage of any kind to recommend it.—But now before terminating our
remarks on the manifold objections of men to this truth of GOD, it is
important perhaps to make reference to some of the supposed, and the real
Consequences of admitting this Apostolical Doctrine.  In speaking of
these, perhaps, our opponents manifest less knowledge and more
unfairness, than with respect to any other of the topics in debate.  The
utmost pains are often taken to make out, on the ground of our
“exclusiveness,” a case of bigotry, superstition, and intolerance.  So
that there is the more occasion to direct attention to these, which,
imaginary as they are, form, nevertheless, the most cogent objections in
the popular mind.

In the first place, whoever puts forth any statement concerning any
subject, as the _truth_, necessarily implies that a different statement
would be false; and therefore liable to all the consequences of the
falsehood.  Whatever is put forth as TRUTH, is necessarily _exclusive_.
And is the Catholic doctrine more chargeable with “exclusiveness,” on
this ground, than the doctrine of any party, or even individual?—When any
man says that he thinks himself _right_ in any matter, he virtually says
that those who differ from him are _wrong_.  And as to the future
consequences of being wrong; it will scarcely be denied, that the
Sectarians are generally far more reckless in pronouncing judgments on
that matter than _we_.

The popular shape in which this objection is most successfully brought
forward is, That the doctrine of the Succession “unchurches” all the
Protestant communities of Christendom, which are not Episcopal.  This is
exaggerated and represented as the very acme of intolerance, and
equivalent to a judgment on our part that they must all necessarily
perish everlastingly.  It is melancholy to see the art with which this
misrepresentation is brought forward to check any half-formed conviction
of the truth, such as arises from a candid review of the unanswerable
Evidence.  It only shows us that there are some minds which it is
hopeless to attempt to convince.

Let us, however, look at the objection rapidly, first, in an historical,
and then in a theoretical light.  Doubtless, if the Apostolic Succession
be admitted, it follows that there can be no certainty of valid
Sacraments apart from it.  And those communities cannot be pronounced to
be true Churches, which have no Succession.  Now, upon this it is argued,
that there is an inconsistency between us and our early Reformers: for,
that _they_ did not pronounce the Continental Protestants to be
“unchurched,” which our principles oblige us to do; and that therefore we
are more “Popish” and bigoted than they.—How far this is the real state
of the case, they best can judge who are best acquainted with the
writings of our Reformers.  As to _their_ principles, they are certainly
not so doubtful as to be only arrived at by a silent deduction from their
actions.  Take, for instance, Archbishop Cranmer.  His opinions, even in
his later years, after he had well looked into the matter, and had passed
through some change of sentiments, are left on record in his Sermons.
{98}  In speaking of the necessary and exclusive Succession of the
Ministry, he goes to the utmost extent of the Catholic Doctrine.  But it
may be said, generally, that the necessity of Apostolic Ordination was
not a debated point at the Reformation.  And those, abroad, who
eventually departed from the Succession, did it with so much reluctance,
and with such ample admission of their regret, {99a} that it could only
be regarded as a temporary affliction of the Church.  When Rome was
exerting all her strength against the Reformed, it surely would have been
deemed an uncalled for severity, had the English Church been forward to
condemn the Continental brethren; especially as they did not defend the
_principle_ of separation from the Episcopacy; but just the reverse.  It
was surely enough that our Reformers asserted their own principles, (as
they plainly did {99b}) without proceeding formally to condemn their
“less happy” {99c} brethren abroad.  Add to all which, the fact, that
that generation of Protestants had, all of them, been baptized in the
Catholic Church; and most of their Ministers _had_ received Episcopal
Ordination; so that even the next generation might receive valid Baptism.
It would be natural of course to pronounce a very careful judgment, if
any, concerning such persons.  It might have been difficult to say that
such communities, however imperfect, were “not Churches.”  This might
have fully accounted for the reserve of our Reformers, even had it been
greater than it was; more especially as the restoration of the lost
Succession might not only have been hoped for, but, at one time, even
expected. {100}  But every one must surely perceive the difference of
_our_ position from that of our Reformers.  We assert precisely the same
principles, and in their _own_ language.  But _we_ have to act towards
men who on principle _reject_ the Succession; who are not _for certain_
possessed of any Catholically Ordained Teachers, or so surely Baptized
people: and who are perpetuating this awfully _doubtful_ and Schismatical
state of things.  If in our circumstances we were to imitate what is
thought the reserve of our Reformers, we might be fairly suspected as not
holding their _principles_.

But the theoretical view of this objection is, perhaps, still more
important to be considered.  Let any man examine, what this charge of our
unchurching so many other Protestants really amounts to, at the utmost.
To what extent of “uncharitableness” does our theory oblige us?—And,
first of all, how can we obviate the practical difficulty already alluded
to, which is urged with so much confidence, that unordained ministers of
many sects, have so large a measure of spiritual success?—It is
remarkable that they who urge this, do not see how _variously_ it is
often applied to support the most opposite and jarring sentiments.  And
who can ever decide on the real value of any such appeals?  We might
admit, safely, that good has, at times, been done by unordained teachers,
and yet, in that, admit nothing inconsistent with the exclusive Catholic
claims of the Ordained Ministry.  It has often been argued that even the
Heathen Philosophy and the Mahometan Theism, were over-ruled as GOD’S
instruments of good, though evil in their nature: and the corruptest kind
of Christianity may be well admitted to be much better than either of
them. {101}  We cannot indeed allow the distorted estimate, which human
vanity makes of its own good doings; but we will not question GOD’S
sovereignty over man’s sin, from which He often brings good.  We think it
wrong not to “receive CHRIST” (Luke ix. 53.); and “follow the Apostles;”
but we would not “call down fire from heaven.”  We think that it “shall
be more tolerable for Sodom in the day of judgment” than for a wilful
rejecter, or non-receiver of the Apostles; but _we_ judge not.  They are
in GOD’S hands. (Matt. x. 14.)—We have before said that we pronounce no
private judgment on others.

And let it not be supposed that this is only a tacit way of avoiding a
difficulty, to which our principles fairly conduct us.  If they be
honestly looked at, the Catholic principles have in them far more of real
charity than any others.  There is a large sense, in which every Baptized
man is included in the Catholic Church, and may be, according to his
measure, partaker of Her privileges; though he may not trace the grace to
its true source, but may mistake the hand that blesses him. {102a}  And
the wideness of the Catholic principle, as to the bestowal of Baptismal
grace, ought not to be lost sight of here.  In the Church there seems to
have been recognized a sort of threefold validity of Baptism.  The first,
{102b} as ordinarily received from a Minister of the Church; the second
{103a} pertaining to the grace of martyrdom, or “Baptism by blood;” and
the third {103b} even extending in cases of extreme necessity to
Christian Confession, and the _earnest desire_ of the Sacrament.
Doubtless, it is The All-seeing GOD alone who can decide on any
individual case.  Yet it is easy to see how the Catholic doctrine does at
least open a wide door of charitable _hope_. {103c}  How many even of
those who are outwardly Schismatical, may not be _wholly_ so, we can
never know here.  How far the sincerity of some, or the circumstances of
others, may avail as excuses before GOD, HE only can decide.  Still,
while our charity “hopeth all things,” we know that where there is
_doubt_ only, there may be danger; and charity itself would oblige us to
warn; for we think there _is_ this peril; and we warn those Churchmen of
their greater peril, who sanction Religious principles, or frequent even
doubtful assemblies, which the Church acknowledges not.  They not only
endanger themselves, but by their example may fatally mislead the souls
of their brethren.  But let us take the extremest case that can be
alleged, namely, that of persons wilfully guilty of total and deliberate
Schism from the Apostolic Church.  When we deny to such all share in the
Church’s peculiar grace here, or glory hereafter, are we denying them
aught which they do not deny themselves? aught which they even wish to
claim?  For instance—The Church has ever maintained that Baptism in the
Apostolic community conveys the most exalted and unearthly blessings, and
by consequence maintains, that the unbaptized possess them not.  But is
it not a fact, that all such persons totally reject the notion of there
being any spiritual value in Baptism?  Does our uncharitableness then
place them in a worse position than that which they voluntarily choose
for themselves, and resolutely defend?  Surely we are rather taking a
high view of our own privileges and grace in CHRIST, than in any degree
depriving others of theirs.  We leave them where they place themselves.
And it seems hard to call this a want of charity.  It is impossible to
say that we are depriving of Sacraments those who do not even pretend to
them, except in form.  It is strange and uncandid to say, that we
UN-church those, who (in our sense of the word) do not even pretend to be

This charge of want of charity generally proceeds, too, from those who
ought certainly to be the very last to bring it forward.  They are our
commonest assailants who themselves so gloomily narrow the circle of
possible salvation, as to affirm that all shall inevitably perish, except
that exceedingly small number whom they esteem in their peculiar sense,
“spiritual,” and “converted.”  We, on the contrary, whatever we think of
the Church’s Privileges, hold with St. Peter, that “in every nation he
that feareth GOD, and worketh righteousness, is accepted of HIM;” {105a}
and yet we are thought “uncharitable.”  Far from condemning on so
tremendous a scale as they will venture to do, we pronounce no judgment
personally on any:—and yet they call us “uncharitable.”  Doubtless we see
unspeakable danger in the very idea of differing or dissenting and
departing from the CHURCH {105b} as descended from the Apostles of
CHRIST; but methinks there is no bigotry in saying that.—“Now may the GOD
of patience and consolation grant you to be like-minded one toward
another, according to CHRIST JESUS!”

And now, at the close of this review of the objections urged by vain man
against the firm, abiding truth of GOD, it seems impossible wholly to
repress the feeling which rises, on looking back on such melancholy
indications of mental perversity.—The view of a series of such objections
to such a Truth, accompanied as they are by a guilty host of unnamed
minor objections, taking shelter beneath them, is almost enough to
dishearten the Minister of CHRIST.  It seems as if there were arranged
side by side all the elaborate tokens of a Father’s most tender care for
a reckless family; and of their thankless contempt for his love and
watchfulness.  The very design of CHRIST’S Ascension was to give
“Apostles and prophets” to his people; {106} but now there are objections
to them all.—It were surely a revolting task to take by the hand the
young but corrupted heir of some princely domain, and lead him through
the stately halls of his fathers, and find him heartlessly sneering at
their massy and unbroken grandeur, and treating with a rude contempt the
mighty things and the noble of past times—“Objecting” to every thing!
Mocking the now useless towers and unneeded battlements—Objecting to them
as ‘contrivances of cowardice.’  Or pointing to the chapel, to the Cross,
or to some ancestral effigy of Prayer—“Objecting” to them as symbols of
decaying superstition!  It would be miserable to witness such a wretched
lack of natural piety in the heart of a child.—But is there not some
parallel to it in what is seen among us, whensoever we “go about our
Spiritual Zion, telling the towers thereof; marking well Her bulwarks,
and considering Her palaces, to tell it to the generation following?”  We
are scarcely listened to with patience by many: and some even scorn to
accompany us through our time-honoured courts.  Too many modern
Christians, thankless, cold-hearted children of our Holy Church, come
very little short of realizing the picture we have drawn!  They
carelessly tread our solemn aisles, and we bid them move reverently
“because of the angels.” {107}  And they wonder at our “superstition” and
“weakness!”  And “the fathers” (say they) were ignorant men, and their
works the cumbrous records of departed folly!  And as to the Saints of
early days—there are decided objections to their views; objections to
their rules of sanctity; objections to their prayers and customs, and
heaven-ward observances; objections, in a word, to almost everything
received from the Holy Founders of our Faith, and loved by all our

The long line of the “departed just,” like a still-continued choir of
angels of Bethlehem, seem to be ever silently heralding “peace on earth,
good will to men,” while men weary not of raising objections thereto; as
if deeming it a hardship to be blessed!—Such is the Church’s mysterious
history.  An ALMIGHTY GOD ever “waiting to be gracious:” and man
rebelling against HIM ever!—GOD sending down His gifts of grace: Man
spurning the blessing!—GOD “bowing His heavens and coming down.”  And man
“objecting” still!—“How long shall it be, O LORD, to the end of these


FROM THE EPISTLE. {109}—“All the building fitly framed together groweth
into an Holy Temple in the LORD.”—EPH. ii. 2.

THE broad and essential distinction between the Catholic and the
Rationalist views of the Christian Ministry, seems necessarily to imply
distinct conceptions of the whole Christian Religion.  This was briefly
alluded to in our first Lecture, but must now be more fully drawn out
(though, I fear, at the risk of some repetition) in order to show the
bearing of the respective doctrines of the Ministry on the general
Religious theory, and on the two classes of interpretation of Holy
Scripture.  This is the more necessary, because no arguments, however
clear, will effectually touch the mind so long as a fundamentally
incorrect notion of their whole subject matter is inwardly cherished.  So
long as one theory is exclusively and implicitly relied on, the arguments
which are built on another, essentially distinct, may be looked at as
difficult, and perhaps unanswerable; still they will not shake the
previous faith of the listener.  The arguer is moving, so to speak, in a
parallel, or even a diverging line, in which his hearer sees, perhaps, no
exact flaw, but he is sensible that it touches him not.  Thus many will
attend to a train of reasoning, see that it establishes its conclusions
inevitably, and yet not be morally affected by it—not convinced, not
really touched.  Their minds fall back on some distinct and cherished
principle which they have previously been accustomed to admit, perhaps,
without questioning; having been ever taught it, and so relying on it as
a sort of “common sense” truth.  This has been peculiarly the case in
Religious controversy.—A certain view of the general system is received,
and unless you can bring a man to think that this may be erroneous,—that
is, unless you can shake a man’s faith in himself, and persuade him to
call in question or examine even his fundamental notions—you have
advanced but little towards convincing him of the truth; notwithstanding
the logical accuracy of your reasonings.  It is also to be feared that a
mistake as to the very ideality of the Christian Religion is not only
very possible, but very common. {111} It is not, therefore, with any
desire of mere systematizing that these two distinct theories of
Christianity are now drawn out; but with a firm persuasion that there is
a reality and a practical importance in the distinction.

Doubtless there are many modifications of opinion among Christians; but
there are two bases on which they are very generally raised, and perhaps
almost necessarily so; a basis of mental Principles, or a basis of Divine
Institutions; a basis of intelligible “Doctrines,” or of Heavenly
Realities; of that which is abstract, or that which is concrete.  And the
former of these may be (and I trust, without offence) described as the
Rationalized, or Sectarian,—the latter is the Catholic basis.  The
former, at first sight, seems more philosophical and elevated and
popular—the latter, more positive, more real, and yet more humbling to
the pride of human intellect.

It is with the latter, indeed, that we shall be especially concerned in
this Lecture; but we must so far dwell on the former, as may be necessary
for the sake of illustration and contrast.  Instead however of formally
arguing against the former theory, and attempting to disprove its basis,
(which would draw us too far from our object,) let us rather endeavour to
develope the true Catholic conception of Christianity, and show its exact
coincidence with the literal Scriptures of Truth.  An erring Christian
man may by observing this be more likely to suspect, at least, the
soundness of the opposite conception.  There is a power in truth; and it
is often as useful to state it clearly as to argue for it.  Many men do
not see even the apparent ground on which Church principles rest—they do
not enter into our theory, so as to understand what they themselves
dissent from.  And on the other hand, many right-minded believers, from
want of sufficient clearness of views, adopt a mode of defence which
sanctions, or implies, Sectarian _principle_.  How many Dissenters, for
example, oppose us, on the ground of our union with the State; or of our
having a written Liturgy; or written Sermons; or certain forms and
ceremonies; forgetting that these are not specific _Church_-questions;
that these might have been otherwise decided among us than they are, i.e.
that we might not have been allied to the State, nor have been accustomed
to a written Liturgy, nor written Sermons, and yet that our Churchmanship
might have been, in every principle, the same precisely.—And again, how
many Churchmen defend our general system just as if the Clergy were the
essential, that is, constituent body of the Church; or defend our
Episcopacy with confidence from insufficient texts; or defend our
Apostolicity on the ground of a Threefold order of Ministration being
traceable even to Apostolic times: little thinking how far such kinds of
defence are inaccurate, and even involve Sectarian principle.

But to resume;—the popular idea {113} seems to be, that Christianity is a
complete Revelation of certain truths concerning GOD and a future state;
and the end to be aimed at, therefore, is the impressing men strongly
with those truths, “applying them” (as the phrase is) “to individuals.”
The Catholic conception is, that Christianity is a sustained Revelation,
or Manifestation of realities; and the great end to be attained is the
participation therein.—Thus the Sectarian (according as his sentiments
might be) would dwell much on the idea of CHRIST’S moral teaching, as
being “pure” and “useful;” or again, would look on His Mediation and
Atonement, just as “doctrine” to be believed.  The Catholic would
endeavour to regard CHRIST in a less abstract, a more literally
Scriptural way, as The Mysterious Incarnation of Godhead (1 Tim. iii.
16); the now and Ever-existing link between us and DEITY (1 Tim. ii.
5.)—the medium whereby man is united unto GOD!  And His mysterious
Atonement would be regarded as an awful REALITY ever “manifest” in the
Church! (Gal. iii. 1; 1 Cor. xi. 26.)—a REALITY to be partaken of, and
more than a bare ‘truth’ to be believed in. (1 Cor. x. 16, 17.)  The
former would go no further than to think that the end to be attained is,
the formation of a certain character in individuals, by certain moral
means; and so the whole of the constitutions of Christianity—Scriptures,
Sacraments, Ministries, and Churches, are but the means of accomplishing
this end.  The latter believes much more; namely, that the great end to
be attained is the mystical incorporation of an unseen, yet eternal
community, called even now, the “kingdom of heaven.”  On the one system,
we are independent beings: on the other, we are “blessed with all
spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.”  On the one system, it
is metaphorically only that we are said to be “one body in CHRIST,” while
we really are, and shall only be dealt with, as separate individuals: on
the other, the very reverse is assumed; namely, that “we, being many, are
one body in CHRIST,” in a mystical and Divine sense.  The question
is—which view is more conformable to Holy Scripture?

Now, supposing the Sectarian idea to be fully adequate and right, is
there not something very unaccountable, to say the least, even in the
structure of the Christian system?  Supposing (that is) that we were so
discerning, and could see so far into GOD’S designs, as to be able, for
instance, to say, that the “conversion,” (as it is called) or the moral
change of an individual as such, were the sole end, to be produced by
certain doctrines inwardly received; and that this is the whole of
Christianity:—Is not the institution of what must then seem so strange a
rite as ‘Baptism with water,’ quite unaccountable?—Of course it will be
easy to say, that such a rite may be taken as a “type and sign” of
spiritual truth; but is this cumbrous explanation satisfactory?  Are not
mere types and signs out of place, “out of keeping,” so to speak, in a
system so purely abstract?—At all events, must not all allow, that the
existence of such an institution as Baptism (to name no other) is much
more in accordance with the CHURCH doctrine of mystical incorporation,
than with any other?—Much more suitable to a system which insists on a
hidden virtue infallibly conveyed by the ordinance of the SON of GOD,
than to a system which reckons it “not essential,” even if right at all?
A thoughtful man can hardly fail to perceive, that any such institutes as
those which are and ever have been common in all the Churches, are
incumbrances to what is now thought the “simplicity of the Gospel,”—are
at variance altogether with the modern spirit and principle.  If the
bringing of certain doctrines to the consciences of individuals were the
sole or specific design, what a strangely inapplicable and unwieldy array
of means must the whole Church system be!  And yet, a Church, and certain
institutions therein, are recognised in Scripture.  And if so, then the
Scriptural means of Christian edification scarcely seem, in the popular
sense of the word, “simple;” but rather most elaborate.—By Divine
direction, we see a Society of men enrolled, a community essentially
distinct from every human one, and therefore exciting much jealousy.  To
certain of the body a Power is given of receiving or cutting off members;
and spiritual consequences of incalculable magnitude seem annexed to the
privilege of membership.  The powers and prerogatives possessed by these
rulers are expressed also in language, however obscure, yet, most solemn.
(2 Cor. xiii. 10.)  Whatever that language may imply, (Matt, xviii. 18.;
1 Cor. v. 5.) it is certainly Scriptural.  There are very weighty
expressions in the Bible, relative to the Christian Ministry; and the
Sectarian systems are so far from _needing_ them, that they all find them
to be “difficulties.”  And it is equally certain that they mean
something.  Now, without inquiring here what they do mean, we primarily
point out their evident incongruity with a theory which makes individuals
every thing, and the Church and Her powers nothing.  We would point out
that they are quite needless, and even impediments to that brief system
which tells a man it is enough to “take his Bible and pray for the
personal assistance of the HOLY SPIRIT, and judge for himself.”  It is
quite certain that had the New Testament contained not one word about a
Church, a “washing with water,” a “laying on of hands,” a partaking “of
ONE bread,” and the like; the systems of Rationalists might still be just
what they are.  They who reduce Christianity to a code of principles,
would lose nothing, by the blotting out of every text containing any
trace of Christian Church authority from the Scriptures.  And must not
any hypothesis of Christianity which is thus partial, be suspected as
possibly not commensurate with the Divine teaching of our Heavenly
Master?  Let us not be mistaken as if we said, that there are not
“doctrines” to be believed, and “principles” to be inculcated in
Christianity; we only insist that such a statement does not contain a
complete idea of Christianity, and if taken alone, contains a positively
false, because inadequate idea.  And it is necessary to see the extreme
danger of theorizing, where we ought simply to believe, lest our theory
should be more compact than complete, more simple than true.

But let us attempt now still further to review the whole subject in an
analytical and practical way, apart from theories, though it be at the
risk of prolixity or tautology.  Observe how the Catholic Religion
embraces simply and honestly the view of truth just as it is historically
presented in the Scriptures.  At the beginning of the Gospel, the Baptist
announces “the kingdom of GOD” at hand.  Soon The Great TEACHER
appears,—GOD and Man in One Person.  HE preaches truths and corrects
errors;—but is that all?  Does HE leave the truth to propagate itself?
Or is it simply a system of Divine Principles, which HE inculcates?  Or,
has HE not to establish the “Kingdom of heaven?”—Yes, this Heavenly
Personage, this no common teacher or prophet, this SON of GOD, had to
found among men a celestial community.  HE soon began to incorporate a
Visible society endowed with invisible powers.  HE called twelve men, and
ordained them; declared that HE appointed unto them “a Kingdom even as
His FATHER had appointed unto HIM a Kingdom;” staid with them three
years; instructed them generally; “manifested Himself unto them otherwise
than unto the world;” gave them to see “mysteries of the kingdom of GOD;”
promised that they should “sit on twelve thrones” as Vicegerents in the
spiritual dominion; and ere HE left them, “breathed on them”—“gave them
the Holy Ghost,” accompanying it with most extraordinary words—told them
to “baptize, and teach whatsoever HE had commanded”—and promised to send
His SPIRIT to guide them, and in some exalted sense to be HIMSELF “with
them” (Matt, xxvii.) to the world’s end.—Acting literally on His
instructions, the Apostles no sooner received the SPIRIT promised, than
they proceeded to set up their spiritual kingdom: First setting forth the
truth, according to their Master’s example; then enrolling all who
received it as members of their new Society, by means of that literal
rite which had been Divinely commanded.  And literally did the Apostles
accept the statement of their LORD, that HE had given to them “a
Kingdom.”  Did any man receive their doctrine?—immediately he was
addressed in terms like unto the “follow Me” of CHRIST, “Arise and be
BAPTIZED”—“have fellowship with us”—“Be ye followers of us.”  So
systematically at first did they keep “together,” “with one accord,”
until much people was “added unto them.” (Acts ii. 41–47.)  So naturally
did they assume, {120} and the people allow, their heavenly rule, and
Power, that at the outset, as far as possible, every matter of
consequence to the new community was transacted by them, personally.  Was
property sold for the poor?—“they brought the money and laid it at the
Apostles’ feet.”  Were distributions made to the needy?—the Apostles
themselves did it, as matter of course; till finding it too burdensome,
at their own suggestion deputies were appointed for the work.  Were new
converts added? or did any thing of consequence transpire in distant
parts? even in “matters of discipline,” and “outward forms and
ceremonies?”—it was “reported to the Apostles and Elders at Jerusalem.”
(Acts xv. 2.)  And when, in time, Christian communities multiplied in
remoter regions, beyond the immediate personal inspection of the
Apostles, and their chief companions, subordinate Rulers were instituted;
while an Apostle having “the care of all the Churches,” travelled from
place to place as the organ of the Apostolic government; visiting again
and again the various Christian Societies; giving them the Apostolic
traditions (2 Thess. ii. 15.) and directions, “leaving them the decrees
for to keep.” (Acts xvi. 4.)  So indefatigable were the Apostles in
carrying out the arrangements of their spiritual kingdom, and so
prominent a part of their teaching was this notion of spiritual
sovereignty and power, that even their enemies were struck by it, and
charged them with setting up another “king, one JESUS” (a charge which
would never be brought by unbelievers against the mere teachers of new
principles {121}).  They taught everywhere, that a membership of their
spiritual “kingdom” was necessary to all who would enjoy its peculiar
privileges. (Acts ii. 41, 47; 1 John i. 3, 5; ii. 19.)  And that
membership was attained in the One only way which CHRIST appointed,
namely, by Baptism.  So that even a new Apostle, fresh called by CHRIST’S
voice from heaven, was not deemed a member, or in a state of spiritual
privilege with them—his “sins not washed away,”—till he was baptized.  As
it was said to St. Paul himself, “Arise, and be baptized, and wash away
thy sins.” (Acts xxii. 16.)  All the baptized people, that is, the
Christians, or the “Church” of every place, were commanded to “meet
together” at stated times.  And among those baptized communities,
marvellous gifts abounded, which were exercised in their assemblies in a
most wonderful manner. (1 Cor. xiv.)  But the most gifted of these were
alike subjected to the Apostles.  “If any man,” said St. Paul, “be
spiritual,” still let him submit.—All this, in point of fact, was the
manner in which the Apostles acted out the directions of their Master, in
establishing the “kingdom of heaven.”

And then, mark in what manner the Apostles put forth, by degrees, their
latent spiritual powers.  We saw that on the necessity arising,
assistants in some minor matters were appointed; but the _Apostles_
suggested it.  And these assistants (named Deacons) had thereupon the
full power of the Apostles, for executing a certain commission; but no
more.  They were the servants of the Apostles and of the CHURCH; not
endowed with the full grace of Apostolicity, but with specific authority
to execute certain duties in the Apostles’ names.  Had the Apostles found
it necessary to appoint other officers, doubtless they would have done
it; and so indeed they did, as necessity arose.  They “appointed Elders
in every city,” (Acts xiv. 23; Tit. i. 5.) still, by letters if not by
other means, retaining their own spiritual supremacy over all these
scattered communities; here and there, by degrees only, placing a
Spiritual Ruler, endowed with full Apostolic power—just as Timothy was
“sent” to Ephesus, and Titus “left in Crete,” (Tit. i. 4, 5.) to take the
oversight and charge of the Churches and their general teachers.  Thus
from year to year, with more and more of regularity, arose the kingdom of
heaven on earth.

It was indeed a mighty system rising throughout the world, and reduced by
slow degrees to regularity and form.  But two points seem settled and
clear from the very first,—the necessity of Baptism to membership in the
Community, and the necessity of the Apostles’ sanction to _every_ thing
in the Community Universal. {123}  And these two points being as clear
and undeniable as any can possibly be, they simplify and make plain many
of the supposed difficulties of that unformed state of things, which must
have presented itself first of all in the Christian societies.
Supposing, for instance, it were even made quite clear, that any
Christian man, at first, was permitted to administer Baptism (though
there really is no proof of this, but, on the contrary, a great deal
against it), yet, knowing, as we do for certain, the Supremacy of the
Apostles, we may be sure that no such thing would have been practised
without their temporary sanction.  The same Apostles who gave Deacons a
portion of their power, to “minister to the necessities of saints,” might
if they thought fit have given to other Christians, permission to
Baptize, in their absence.  And this might be more readily accorded to
those private Christians who had, as so many had, supernatural gifts.
But it took, and plainly must have taken, many years to reduce to uniform
order so far spread and rapidly-risen a system as that of the Christian
Church.  It would take time to ascertain in remote parts the will of the
Apostles; and in the interim, doubtless, many confusions would naturally
arise, especially in those scarcely-formed Communities which perhaps had
no settled Elders or Deacons, much less Bishops.  Since, then, the
principle is clear, that every Baptized man was held to be a subject of
the Apostles’ dominion, i.e. the “kingdom of heaven” or Church, it is
plain, that the validity of any act of a ministerial kind would be
derived from the Apostolical permission.  And it is on this principle,
and this alone, that Lay-Baptism can be said to have had any Primitive
sanction.  In so far as the Apostle, and afterwards the Bishop, might
allow it, it might have a _pro tanto_ validity; and so the Bishop was
deemed to complete Baptism by laying on his hands in Confirmation. (Acts
viii. 17)  Such is the language of the early Fathers, not only with
respect to Baptism, but every other matter; as for instance, Marriage,
which could not be sanctified by Roman Registrars had such existed, but
was reckoned base and unchristian unless it had the Bishop’s sanction.

From all this you perceive, that, strictly speaking, there is, in theory,
but One Order of Ministers necessary to CHRIST’S Church, and that Order,
as it consisted of Apostles at first, so it does now of those whom the
Apostles left as their Successors, just as CHRIST left Them.  The
Apostles, it seems, thought fit not to delegate their full authority to
many, but only to here one and there one.  They might have constituted a
plenary Successor of themselves in every congregation of the Baptized,
and have created no other Order of Ministers; but they did not so.  In
that case every ordained man must have been a Bishop, and capable of
ordaining others.  But the general Unity of their kingdom would have been
interfered with by such a subdivision into petty provinces.  Doubtless
they were led by the SPIRIT of CHRIST, and His own pattern when among
them, to adopt another course; and they created officers with derived and
partial powers, to exercise them to a certain extent and no farther.
First, they allowed certain persons to Baptize; and then, very soon, they
farther permitted others to consecrate the Holy Eucharist and rule the
Congregation, and use, in their absence, the powers of binding and
loosing souls; of which latter we have on record one very solemn
instance: (1 Cor. iv. 5.) “In the name of our LORD JESUS CHRIST, when ye
are gathered together, _and my Spirit_—_with_ the Power of the LORD JESUS
CHRIST, deliver such an one unto Satan.”  St. Paul thus commissioning
others in his absence to act in his name and CHRIST’S.  But there was yet
one exercise of power which the Apostles reserved to themselves and those
of their Coadjutors who, by the voice of all Antiquity, became their
Successors in the Church, and that was the power of “laying on of hands.”
And thus was accomplished and set in order, by Divine Inspiration, that
Threefold Ministry, shadowed forth in CHRIST’S own lifetime, and which
has continued ever since.

In the specific reservation of this Power of imparting the SPIRIT, which
the Apostles made to themselves, there is a sacred beauty and fitness, on
which, for a moment, we shall do well to meditate.—By retaining in the
possession of themselves, and a chosen few, the whole power of
spiritually Commissioning the Ministers of the Church, they effectually
provided for the Unity and subordination of their kingdom, and ensured
the reverent estimation of their unseen powers, as Vicars of a Heavenly
Master.  And then this was still farther secured by the retention of the
power of Confirmation.  For by this it came to pass that every member of
the Universal Church, every individual subject of the “kingdom of
heaven,” came necessarily into personal contact, so to speak, with him
who was the immediate representative of CHRIST.  Thus was recognised, in
a degree, that intimate union with Apostles or Apostolical men, the
contemplation of which in its fulness raised in after days all the
eloquent aspirations of St. John Chrysostom.  Thus immediately from the
hands of Apostles and their Successors every Christian man receives to
this hour the higher blessings of CHRIST.—There was a fatherly affection
in the appointment; as if the Holy Apostles were anxious, and their
Successors after them, to see with their own eyes each one of the
uncounted multitude of the great Catholic family. (Acts xx. 28.)

It must not be thought, however, that the ceremony of “laying on of
hands” was in itself essential either to Confirmation or Ordination.
{128}  For it is conceivable that any other ceremony might have been
adopted.  The INTENTION constituted the act of conveyance of the grace of
CHRIST, not only in Confirmation, but in Ordination.  Otherwise indeed
there would be no distinction between the two.  So St. Matthias was
ordained “by lot;”—and the first Apostles themselves by CHRIST’S
“breathing on them.”  Otherwise, also, Holy Orders, [if not Confirmation
too], would be a proper Sacrament, which it is not, because it was not by
CHRIST essentially tied to any form; although it is now virtually so to
us by Universal consecrated usage in the Church.  In thus speaking of the
intention of the Apostles as constituting the validity and essence of the
Gift which they conferred, (which it plainly must have done, else all
distinctions would have been destroyed, and whenever they laid their
hands even on a Deacon, or Deaconess, or a child, full Apostolical grace
must have been given, whether they meant it or not; which is absurd,)—it
must not be misunderstood as though it were meant to support any Romish
Doctrine of Intention.  It is just the reverse.  For if Holy Orders [or
Confirmation] were a proper Sacrament, it would have a positive grace
specifically annexed to a positive _form_, superseding all intention on
the part of the agent.  Neither, again, must it be taken to mean that the
intention of any particular Bishop is now necessary, to his official
action, to secure its validity, as the medium of grace.  We are not
speaking of any thing personal and private, but of that which may be
gathered from the heaven-guided practice—the official and authoritative
intention—of the Founders of the CHURCH, in this matter, which has ever,
_in fact_, descended to the Bishops, and is not now a mutable thing.
Before the decease of the Apostles, “laying on of hands” had become the
recognised ceremony of Ordination and Confirmation; and so at length, the
Apostle St. Paul, in his later years (A.D. 64, or 65), speaks of the
DOCTRINE “of laying on of hands,” (Heb. vi. 2,) which by that time was a
known and admitted point of rudimental Christianity.

Towards the close of the Apostolic career the Christian system universal
seemed to have become thus arranged with general uniformity of
discipline: so that after the destruction of Jerusalem, according to the
prophecy, “before that generation passed away,” the “SON of Man came in
His kingdom,” with more of fulness, completeness, and glory than
heretofore.  While, in the early history of the Acts of the Apostles, we
see the elements of the Christian kingdom gradually assembled and
composed, neither reason nor history justify us in looking for the
complete system of the Apostles until towards the close of their career.
Even the extant Epistles to the Churches, seem to indicate various stages
in the development of the Christian System. (1 Thess. iii. 10, 11; 1 Cor.
xi. 34.)  The Apostles imparted of their powers, for the edification of
the Body of CHRIST, just as necessity arose and Churches spread, and
miracles and gifts supernatural became less frequent.  And when they left
the world, they left their perpetual power to appointed Successors, in
all the great departments of the Spiritual kingdom; bequeathing likewise
the promise of the great King of saints, “Lo I am with you always.”—And
so, at last, (to return to the metaphor of our text,) “All the building
was fitly framed together,” and grew “into an Holy Temple in the LORD.”

Such is the clear historical view of Christianity, and the statement of
it is an analytical statement of the Catholic Religion from the
beginning.  We do not find the facts of Scripture and History to be
“difficulties.”—But let us now, finally, endeavour to combine what has
been said, and briefly consider, in a more synthetical way, our whole
Christianity, as it lies before us both in the Gospels and Epistles.

In the former, CHRIST is instructing His Apostles and witnessing to the
Jews.  In the latter, the Apostles, “in the person of Christ” (2 Cor. ii.
10), “as though Christ did it by them” (2 Cor. v. 20.), are instructing
the CHURCHES, and through them witnessing to the world.  The general
impression wrought on the mind by the Gospel narrative of CHRIST and His
followers, is that of an isolated company of men, having little in common
with those by whom they were surrounded, and among whom they moved, as
bent on some unearthly enterprise.  And in like manner, the impression
left by the perusal of an Apostolic Epistle is, of a separated band, a
“peculiar people,” in the midst of a world “lying in wickedness.”—Looking
a little closer, we soon recognize a Purity of principle and a Divine
mystery alike unsearchable.  CHRIST Himself in the Gospel speaks with a
heavenly emphasis of those who are endowed with a certain high character,
as “BLESSED;” telling us that “their’s is the Kingdom of heaven.”  And
every Epistle opens with an exalted delineation of the like persons—the
“elect,” the “called,” the “sanctified,” the “BLESSED in CHRIST JESUS.”
They who were so addressed were deemed, in a lofty sense, already the
heirs of GOD and “joint-heirs with CHRIST,” having “received power to
become sons of GOD” (John i. 12.), and having been Baptismally “born of
GOD.” (1 John iii. 9.)  Each had a Sacred character, yet not as an
individual, but as a member of a Sacred Body.  Among them there were
distinctions, and yet there was an identity; “diversity of gifts,” but
Oneness of grace.  They were “all members one of another,” but “all
members had not the same office;” they were “one,” they were “brethren”
in CHRIST (as He had commanded them to be); but some were to “rule,” and
some to “submit;” some to “overlook” and “watch,” and some to “obey.”—And
the idea of the Oneness of Christians, (and the mysterious nature of it,)
seems to pervade the whole New Testament, and is that which forces itself
upon our attention, open it wherever we may.  Not only did CHRIST pray to
His FATHER for this, but He appointed a Mysterious ordinance, by which
His people were to become One Body: And another more mysterious still, by
which their Oneness might be Divinely sustained.  “By ONE SPIRIT ye are
Baptized into ONE body;” and “know ye not that the SPIRIT of GOD dwelleth
in you?” said St. Paul; as if intimating somewhat which the Baptized
might apprehend, but which could not be spoken.  And again, “I speak as
to wise men,” said the same holy Apostle to the Corinthian
Church—glancing only, as it were, at The Mystery of unutterable grace—“I
speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say.  The Cup of blessing which WE
bless, is it not the COMMUNION of the BLOOD of CHRIST?  The Bread which
WE break, is it not the COMMUNION of the BODY of CHRIST?”  And then he
adds—passing from our Union with CHRIST to our Communion with all Saints
by means of the Most Holy Eucharist, “We are ONE body, . . . _for_ we are
all partakers of that ONE Bread!”  And in the judgment of the same
Apostle, no language seemed too severe to condemn the willing violaters
of this Union.  It was sacrilege to injure the least of the members; how
much more then to divide the Body?  That the Baptized were “One with
CHRIST,”—that the Communicating believer was already, as it were, linked
with the verities of eternity,—were transcendent Mysteries; not bare
metaphors, but earthly forms of stating Heavenly Truths.  And if every
member of CHRIST was thus sacredly looked on, so the more also was the
whole Body.  “Ye are a chosen generation,” says St. Peter, “a royal
priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people.”—Every Christian indeed was
a “Temple of the HOLY GHOST:” but as S. Clement of Alexandria saith, the
CHURCH is GOD’S great Temple—“builded together for an habitation of GOD
through the SPIRIT.”

Here, then, is opened to us the great Catholic idea of the Christian
Revelation—That the mystical COMPANY of CHRIST’S people, as such, were
clothed with the heavenly Powers, and “blessed with the heavenly
blessings.”—It was in the temple “builded together” that the Divine glory
vouchsafed to dwell.—To the Church, the elect assembly, the promises had
been made.  To the BODY, when in solemn meeting, the special and highest
grace of CHRIST had been granted; (and so at the appointed “gatherings
together” {134a} the Blessed Eucharist was usually celebrated.)—From the
beginning of the Gospel this had been indicated, so that even the
instituted Apostolate arose, as at CHRIST’S command, out of the CHURCH,
more as the Divine instrument of Her invisible power, than the possessor
of aught in itself. {134b}  CHRIST’S words, “Thou art Peter,” were
instantly connected with the promise of building the CHURCH against which
“the gates of hell should not prevail.”  The commission, “Whose soever
sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them, and whose soever sins ye
retain, they are retained,” was instantly followed by words conveying
this power of absolving and condemning, to the CHURCH, and not to the
_persons_ of the Apostles, {135} except as GOD’S instruments _in_ the
CHURCH; “_for_” it is directly added, “where two or three are _gathered
together_ in MY name, there am I.”  In accordance with which declaration,
we see (in a passage before quoted) that an Apostolic condemnation of a
sinner was pronounced.  “In the name of the LORD JESUS CHRIST, when ye
(i.e. the Church) are _gathered together_” (1 Cor. v. 4.)  In like manner
we may trace how, from the first, the highest Authority, as well as
sacredness and favour, (Luke xxiv. 33.) was attributed to the “assembling
together” of Christians, which therefore they were urged “not to
forsake.”  Thus when the door of faith was first “opened to the
Gentiles,” the Church was “_gathered together_”, (Acts xiv. 27.) and the
matter rehearsed.  When the question of Judaizing arose, again “the
Apostles and Elders _came together_” (Acts xv. 6.)  When the Apostle St.
Peter was to be miraculously delivered from prison, “there were many
_gathered together_ praying” for him. (Acts xii. 12.)  The announcement
of the risen SAVIOUR had been made to the “eleven _gathered together_”
(Luke xxiv. 33.)  And the blessings attendant on these united assemblings
was not to be disturbed by Jewish or Gentile jealousies.  Since, they had
all been “quickened _together_, and raised up _together_, and made to sit
_together_ in heavenly places in CHRIST JESUS.” (Eph. ii. 5.)  And so
Christians might be addressed as “heirs _together_ of the grace of life;”
(1 Pet. iii. 7.) exhorted to be “followers _together_” of the Apostles;
(Phil. iii. 17.) and admonished to “strive _together_” for the “faith of
the Gospel.”

The majestic privileges of the Saints, in Union with CHRIST and Communion
with one another, if we contemplated them aright, would so overwhelm our
spirits, that we could not think of the “solemn assemblies” without
coveting to be there!  Little as it is thought of, there is a special
awfulness in the “meeting together” of the members of this Heavenly, yet
earthly,—this Invisible, yet visible—Society; when GOD’S Eye is on every
one, when CHRIST, though unseen, is “in the midst,”—and the “hosts of
God” are encamping around!  All Christians then constituting, in some
sacred and lofty sense, a “kingdom of Priests;” {137}—yet ministering
only through that Consecrated organ which CHRIST, the great High Priest,
appointed,—the Bishop, or his representative.—“GOD is very greatly to be
feared in the Council of the Saints! and to be had in reverence of all
that are round about HIM.”—Well might the ancient Fathers delight to
speak of the dignity of being a Christian!  It is observable, however,
for our instruction and warning, even in this, that Tertullian, after he
embraced the Montanist heresy, carried out so erroneously the idea we
have been dwelling on, as to assign to any Christian, in cases of
necessity, the exercise of inherent Priestly functions.  Such, even then,
was the perilous rashness of Private Judgment.  For though the Priestly
functions are doubtless in the CHURCH, granted unto Her for Her
blessedness and perfection (1 Cor. iii. 22.); and though in our Solemn
Assemblies “all the people of the LORD are holy,” all the Baptized in
such wise sharers of the Priesthood, that they join in our ‘sacred
offerings;’ yet, we must beware of the “gainsaying of Core.” (Jude 11.)
The Catholic Church has ever held that Her Priesthood cannot be
effectually exercised otherwise than in conformity with the original
commands and ordinations of Christ.  And from HIM alone the first
Ministers of the Church derived their appointment, (St. Paul speaking of
HIS as “the Ministry received OF THE LORD:” See also Col. iv. 17.), and
afterwards conveyed it to others, whom they had chosen, and on whom they
“laid their hands.”  And thus St. Paul, while anxious to _vindicate and
prove to the Church_, as the constituent body, his right to the Ministry,
at the same time scruples not to claim and exercise its loftiest Powers
_as his own_, (2 Cor. xiii. 10) and commands the Church’s obedience. . . .
So mysteriously is “all the building fitly framed together, and
groweth into an Holy Temple in the LORD.”

Here let us pause: Let any man recall, in thought, the Scripture language
concerning the CHURCH’S privileges, and the MINISTERIAL PREROGATIVES; let
him compare it with all that has now been said; then let his mind revert
to the notions of the Rationalist; and draw his own conclusion;—And
whatever his personal _belief_ may be, he will hardly fail to perceive,
that the system which is every where supposed throughout the New
Testament, differs from a mere code of principles to be “applied” to
individuals—differs _in kind_,—as widely as the mysterious and appointed
Sacrifice of Abel differs from the Rational devotion of Cain.

MAY GOD give us grace to weigh these things; and “that not lightly, or
after the manner of dissemblers with HIM!”  Some, who are not yet members
of the Church, may be wishing, perhaps, to put these thoughts far from
them, sustaining themselves with the belief, that they _have_ partaken of
Christian blessings apart from the Church; and similar reflections.  We
only say to them, that self-deception on such a matter is but too easy!
And if that be true which we have now literally taken from GOD’S word,
then it is certain that they are, at the best, in a very deficient state,
and “come behind in many a good gift!”  More than this might indeed be
said, without overstepping truth or charity: for those who have heard
these things, cannot afterwards be as though they had not.  But let each
think of it for himself.  Whatever may be said of those who are
unwittingly out of the “kingdom of heaven” below, unbaptized, or only
doubtfully baptized by some one who had only his _own_ authority to do
it; whatever be thought of the present amount of grace, or future reward
of such, if they go on according to their best, in the course they find
themselves in,—some of them haply verging on the very borders of our land
of promise,—far different is _their_ case who _might_ have known and
embraced the truth.  To such we say, in CHRIST’S words, “Verily the
kingdom of GOD is come nigh unto you!” . . .  The foolish virgins in the
parable _thought_ their lamps seemed to burn brightly, and emulated the
light of the heavenly-wise; but when the Bridegroom came, they were found
unsupplied with the needful oil, and went out in utter darkness!

But let not those who are of the “household of faith” be self-confident!
“By the grace of GOD, we are what we are!”  And let the consciousness of
our sinful neglect stir us up to pray for the fuller restoration of the
Church’s grace to us Her degenerate children.  It is of little value to
believe in a Priesthood, without we _use_ it.  May GOD forgive His
Priests and people for their joint forgetfulness of their many unearthly
privileges!—the very belief whereof seemed a short time since almost
dying away from very disuse!  Of a truth, we of the English Church are
blessed beyond others, would we but apprehend our privileges!  Brought
nigh, as we are, to our LORD CHRIST, with such abundant mercy and
undeserved!  If we come short of plenary grace in HIM, what shall we dare
to plead in the Day of account?

“What manner of persons ought we to be?” for we have “come unto the City
of the Living GOD, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company
of Angels; to the general Assembly and Church of the first-born enrolled
in heaven!—to GOD the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the perfected
just; and to JESUS the MEDIATOR of the New Testament, and to the blood of
sprinkling!”—Would that the feeling of CHRIST’S first disciples were
ours!  “LORD, to whom else shall we go?  THOU hast the words of eternal
life.”  Would that we were more thankful to GOD for the present blessings
of His Church!  Would that we used our Prayers, and tried them well,
before we talked of amending them; or understood our holy offices,
instead of seeking to shorten them!—Have we now, in this late century, to
seek out new faith—some new instructor or guide?  GOD deliver us from
this blindness!  May HE help His people to see what treasures of unknown
grace lie hidden in His Holy Church among us!  “We have all and abound.”
Let us only “give diligence” thereto, that when CHRIST cometh, “we may be
found of Him in peace, without spot and blameless!”

“LORD, I have loved the Habitation of THY House, and the place where
THINE honour dwelleth!”—So holy David could say from the very depths of
his soul: and shall we who are brought into a holier place, “the
Habitation of GOD through the SPIRIT,” be forbidden to give utterance to
as ardent a love—a devotion as deep and pure?—

O HOLY CHURCH OF ENGLAND!  Brightest and fairest province of the realm of
heaven on earth!  What shining paths of truth and holiness are Thine!—And
they are thronged by all Thy many Saints, farther than eye can trace
through long past ages!  What rivers of full grace flow through Thy
mighty channels!  What living fountains send forth their waters,
refreshing evermore the weary and parched soul!  Within Thy hallowed
walls Thy saintly children trod in the ancient days—(the “old times of
which our Fathers have told us”),—they whose monuments of goodness and
glory are around us—in whose prayers we pray to the ETERNAL FATHER of
all—in whose Psalms “we praise THEE O GOD, _we_ acknowledge THEE to be
THE LORD,” from age to age.—O HOLY CHURCH of the many wise and good!  O
CHURCH of patient Martyrs and godly Confessors!—with whom we hold such
mystical Communion, such “fellowship one with another,” that the “blood
of CHRIST here cleanseth us!”—To GOD be glory in Thee, O CHURCH of our
Land! throughout all ages, world without end!  Amen.


No. I.

IT seems alike congruous to human nature, and consistent with every
Divine dispensation to say, that man is more effectually influenced by
the personal instrumentality of his fellow man, than by any other means.
Statesmen and politicians seem to have seen this; and in every age have
acted upon it; and have thought it necessary to give their sanction and
support to a priesthood, even for the attainment of worldly ends.  The
lower classes of the community also, bear unequivocal testimony to the
same truth—the suitability of the living Priesthood as the effective
means of influencing human nature.  Even among those classes of our own
people, who affect to make light of the authority of the Ministry, it is
remarkable how much that authority is _felt_ after all; and how much even
the systematic rejecters of the established Priesthood, are accustomed to
impute high power and efficacy to the ministrations, and often to the
very persons, of their own self-sent ministers.  Books have their use—but
Man directly influences man, in a more vital way.

And more than this.  Some men _naturally_ influence their fellows more
than others: and some men _Divinely_; that is by Divine appointment.  It
is true, for instance, that by the very necessity of our social nature
and condition, we affect one another in a very important degree; and that
it is even a duty sometimes to exert our moral influence on our brethren.
And the degree in which we are able to accomplish this, will be variously
determined.  But beyond the natural influence which we thus exercise,
there is an instituted influence, as much a matter of _fact_ as the
former.  Keeping to the religious view of this question only, I would
thus further explain:

It is evident that in every age, one man may be a blessing to another, by
personally instructing him to the best of his power: or by praying for
him, to Almighty GOD.  Every good man may possess this power of mediately
blessing his fellow men; but some men more than others.—A Howard may thus
bless very “effectually.”  And, generally, the “effectual fervent prayer
of a righteous man availeth much.”  But some there have been in every
age, who, according to the Divine testimony, have had POWER to give
authoritative blessing. (1 Sam. iii. 19.)  Some have been from time to
time appointed and endowed by the DEITY, “to bless, and to curse, in the
name of the LORD.” (1 Chron. xxiii. 13.)  Generally this was the assigned
function of the Priesthood, and was declared to pertain to them “for
ever.”  But “from the beginning it was so;” Job blessed his three
friends, (Job xlii. 8.) and Noah his sons, (Gen. ix.) and before the
Levitical priesthood was set up, Melchisedec “blessed Abraham.”  Isaac
“blessed Jacob and could not reverse it” though he heartily wished to do
so: and Joseph, again, blessed his two sons, _officially_, and contrary
to his own intention. (Gen. xlviii. 9.)  Balaam, we see, also, was sent
for to “curse” Israel, and he “blessed them altogether,” though he wished
not to do it: (Num. xxii. 11.) so that it was no peculiar privilege of
the Jewish nation or their ancestors to be able to impart an
authoritative blessing. (Matt. xxiii. 3.)  And we find the same to hold
in the Christian dispensation. (Acts x. 41.)  Being reviled “we bless,”
said the Apostle.  Say “PEACE be to this house,” was our LORD’S direction
to His Ministers; “and if the Son of peace be there, YOUR PEACE shall
rest upon it.”  So that at the end of his epistles St. Paul _sends_ his
Apostolic blessing “under his own hand.”  And “without all contradiction
(he argues) the less is blessed of the better.” (Heb. vii. 7.  Deut. xxi.
5; xxvii. 14.)  All men can pray for blessing, but _some_ can “bless.”
So, every man can _read_ “the Absolution,” but “GOD hath given POWER and
commandment to His MINISTERS, to declare and PRONOUNCE it.”  (So St.
James says, “If any man (not, if any _poor_ man, only, as some seem to
take it) be sick, let him call for the Priests of the CHURCH.”)—And this
depends not on the goodness of the MAN.  A Judas was an Apostle.

Let any one follow out in his own mind these hints; and he will see
nothing either unphilosophical or unscriptural in expecting in these days
also the blessings of an instituted Priesthood.  GOD’S plan ever is, to
use _men_ as instruments of good to men.  Revelation has ever recognized
such an institute as the living Ministry.  All infidelity is an attempt
at “codification.”


AT the close of the fourth Lecture I have made some observations on the
INTENTION of the Church Catholic, as constituting, in a measure, the
essence of the validity of certain of Her Ordinances.  It will be
difficult to clear this statement from the possibility of
misrepresentation, and even misapprehension: I would request that what I
have said at p. 128, &c. may be re-read and considered.  The Doctrine of
Laying on of hands is recognized in Scripture; but there is no command of
CHRIST concerning this, in the same way that there is a command
concerning Baptism and the Eucharist.  It seems an institute of the
Apostles and the Primitive Church; and may perhaps be looked on as an
instance of the early exercise of the Church’s inherent power and grace;
for the institute certainly received the sanction of Scripture, before
the close of the Sacred Canon.  So that it would be impossible to say how
dangerous it might not be, to depart from the Church’s Ordinance of
Laying on of hands.  I trust therefore that none will imagine, that what
is here said can fairly be made to sanction the loose notion, that any
part of the Church Catholic can now voluntarily originate and ordain a
Ministry in a _new_ way; and without imposition of hands.  The
uncertainty, not to say peril of presumption in any such case, will be
quite sufficient to guard against the fatal folly of such a thought.  How
far the grace of the Apostolate is ordinarily now allied even to the very
_act_ of “laying on of hands,” it may be impossible to say; still it is
important in many respects to observe, that the Laying on of hands is not
so strictly of the nature of a proper sacrament, as that the divine grace
is always necessarily allied to that form of ordination exclusively.
There is advantage in considering that in _theory_ it may not be so,
though there could be no safety or certainty in deliberately _acting_ on
such a doubtfully understood theory.

Even the Roman Controversialists do not agree that the Laying on of hands
is _the_ specifically Sacramental act;—the outward form to which only of
necessity the inward grace is allied.  Though I cannot help thinking that
it would much benefit their argument, if they were agreed on this point.
The Doctrine which attributes the essence of Ordination to the uniform
Intention of the Church Catholic may be, of course, very easily cavilled
at; but still even the Romanist must, to a certain extent, rely on some
such Doctrine, and such a Doctrine is that, perhaps, which alone will
harmonize the conflicting Roman theories.  In its very nature it is a
Doctrine which admits not of strict definition.  It rises simply out of
the truth, that the gifts of CHRIST were to the CHURCH, and not primarily
or inherently in individuals, as such.

This theoretical conception of these ordinances will serve greatly to
assist us in meeting a theoretical difficulty, not unfrequently brought
against the Doctrine of the Succession.  It is said: ‘Is it not very
conceivable, after all that has been urged, that during the long course
of ages, in _some_ countries at least, some one break in the Apostolic
chain _might_ have occurred?  Is it not a consequence, in that case, that
all subsequent Ordinations would be very doubtful?’  To which we reply,
‘Point out _the fact_.’  We challenge you to find it; a bare supposition
can have but little force as an argument.  And then, supposing the fact
to be discovered, That a certain Bishop had obtained his place in the
Church by invalid means—what is the consequence?  Could he perpetuate
such an invalid Succession?  Certainly not; for in Ordaining others, he
would be associated with _two_ other Bishops, whose valid grace would
confer true Orders, notwithstanding the inefficacy of the third coadjutor
in the Ordination.  But, putting the case at the very worst, even if such
an instance could be found, it would only affect the condition of the
single Church over which the nominal Bishop presided; and that only so
far as the particular functions of that Bishop were concerned; and it
would be corrected at his death.  And all this may be urged in reply even
by Romanists.  But we who deny Holy Orders to be a proper Sacrament of
CHRIST, can add more than this.  We suggest, that in the case of a Bishop
obtaining his place in the Church by some invalid means, which the Church
had mistaken for valid, the Church’s INTENTION might avail sufficiently,
for the time being at least, to counteract the effects of man’s sin; and
so give value even to the ministrations of the Church which had been so
severely visited, as to have such a Bishop set over them.  So we meet the
theoretical difficulty by a theoretical answer.


IT is not unusual with those who are more anxious to make difficulties
than to understand the Catholic truth, to speak of the “vagueness of the
rule of S. Vincent,” and the arduousness of the task imposed by the
Doctors of the _Via Media_ on all their scholars.  That it is easy enough
to construct a theoretical difficulty of this sort, no one will question.
But it behoves every Christian to consider well, whether any “dilemmas of
Churchmen” can be stated which might not (without any very great
ingenuity) be turned into ‘Dilemmas of CHRISTIANS.’  Doubtless it is a
_trial_, (and GOD intended it to be so, 1 Cor. xi. 19.) to see so many
diversities and divisions in the Church; yet candid judges will hardly
decide, that English Churchmen have more difficulties of this kind than
other men; or that we should be likely to escape similar “dilemmas” by
forsaking the CHURCH for any other community.  And in spite of the
ingenuity of men, common sense will generally understand the practical
use and application of S. Vincent’s rule, “Quod semper,” &c.  An instance
of the ordinary manner of its practical employment, may be seen, to a
certain extent, in Lecture II. p. 51, and will suggest at once to the
minds of many, the way in which the English Churchman can and does
proceed.  Difficult as the theory of the Via Media, and the popular
recognition of truth by S. Vincent’s test may in theory be made to seem;
yet it is, I imagine, practically and as a matter of experience acted on,
to a much wider extent, both in our own Church and the _Roman_, than is
commonly noticed, or thought of.  In illustration, the twenty-first
chapter of St. Luke might be advantageously consulted.  Our LORD there
assumes (what in fact is daily seen) that heresies should arise.  And He
tells His people not to follow the “Lo here is CHRIST!” and “Lo there!”
Of course it might always be easy to say—which is THE CHURCH?—and, which
is the heresy?—The “Lo here!”  But that is a difficulty which our LORD
did _not_ entertain.  It has very little existence in fact and
experience.  Every man, generally speaking, knows whether he is in “the
Church.”  Though, of course, there is such a thing as a “strong
delusion;” (2 Thess. ii. 11.)  The whole of our LORD’S address in this
chapter is one which the Catholic Church _feels_ the power of.  It is
full of “_difficulty_,” and “uncertainty, and vagueness,” to Sectarians
only, who have no test whereby they can be sure that they are not the
very persons aimed at by our LORD, as following false and _new_ teachers.
It seems to me, that the Sectarian _cannot_ act upon CHRIST’S directions
in this chapter.  Nay they _must_ have, to him, all the vagueness and
uncertainty which he charges on the Catholic rule.  “Keep to the ancient
Apostolic way; mind not novelties; ‘Go not after them.’  Keep to the
‘Quod semper, quod ubique, quod ab omnibus,’ in opposition to every ‘Lo
here is Christ!’”


THE holy Apostle St. Paul, good children, in the tenth chapter of his
Epistle to the Romans, writeth on this fashion: “Whosoever shall call
upon the name of the LORD, shall be saved.  But how shall they call on
Him on Whom they believe not?  How shall they believe on Him of Whom they
have not heard?  How shall they hear without a preacher?  How shall they
preach except they be Sent?”  By the which words St. Paul doth evidently
declare unto us two lessons.

The first is, that it is necessary to our salvation to have Preachers and
Ministers of GOD’S most holy word, to instruct us in the true faith and

The second is, that Preachers must not run to this high honour before
they be called thereto, but they must be ordained and appointed to this
office, and sent to us by GOD.  For it is not possible to be saved, or to
please GOD, without faith; and no man can truly believe in GOD by his own
wit, (for of ourselves we know not what we should believe) but we must
needs hear GOD’S word taught us by other.

Again, the Teachers, except they be called and Sent, cannot fruitfully
teach.  For the seed of GOD’S word doth never bring forth fruit, unless
the LORD of the harvest do give increase, and by His HOLY SPIRIT do work
with the sower.  But GOD doth not work with the preacher whom He hath not
sent, as St. Paul saith . . . Wherefore, good children, to the intent you
may steadfastly believe all things which GOD by His ministers doth teach
and promise unto you, and so be saved by your faith, learn diligently I
pray you, by what words our LORD JESUS CHRIST gave this commission and
commandment to His ministers, and rehearse them here, word for word, that
so you may print them in your memories, and recite them the better when
you come home.  The words of CHRIST be these:

“Our LORD JESUS breathed on His disciples and said, Receive the HOLY
GHOST; whose sins ye forgive, they are forgiven unto them; and whose sins
you reserve, they are reserved.”

. . . Now, good children, that you may the better understand these words
of our SAVIOUR CHRIST, you shall know that our LORD JESUS CHRIST, when He
began to preach, He did call and choose His twelve Apostles; and
afterward, besides those twelve, He sent forth threescore and ten
disciples, and gave them authority to preach the Gospel.  And after
CHRIST’S ascension, the Apostles gave authority to other godly and holy
men to minister GOD’S word, and chiefly in those places where there were
Christian men already, which lacked preachers, and the Apostles
themselves could no longer abide with them: for the Apostles did walk
abroad into divers parts of the world, and did study to plant the Gospel
in many places.  Wherefore where they found godly men, and meet to preach
GOD’S word, they laid they hands upon them, and gave them the HOLY GHOST,
as they themselves received of CHRIST the same HOLY GHOST to execute this

And they that were so ordained, were indeed, and also were called the
ministers of GOD as the Apostles themselves were, as Paul saith unto
Timothy.  And so the ministration of GOD’S word (which our LORD JESUS
CHRIST Himself did first institute) was derived from the Apostles, unto
other after them, by imposition of hands and giving the HOLY GHOST, from
the Apostles’ time to our days.  And this was the consecration, orders,
and unction of the Apostles, whereby they, at the beginning, made Bishops
and Priests; and this shall continue in the Church, even to the world’s

Wherefore, good children, you shall give due reverence and honour to the
Ministers of the Church, and shall not meanly or lightly esteem them in
the execution of their office, but you shall take them for GOD’S
Ministers, and the Messengers of our LORD JESUS CHRIST.  For CHRIST
Himself saith in the Gospel, “He that heareth you, heareth ME; and he
that despiseth you, despiseth ME.”  Wherefore, good children, you shall
steadfastly believe all those things, which such Ministers shall speak
unto you from the mouth and by the commandment of our LORD JESUS CHRIST.
And whatsoever They do to you, as when They BAPTIZE you, when They give
you ABSOLUTION, and distribute to you the BODY and BLOOD of our LORD
JESUS CHRIST, these you shall so esteem as if CHRIST Himself, in His own
person, did speak and minister unto you.  For CHRIST hath commanded His
ministers to do this unto you, and He Himself (although you see Him not
with your bodily eyes) is present with His ministers, and worketh by the
HOLY GHOST in the administration of His Sacraments.  And on the other
side you shall take good heed and beware of false and privy preachers,
which privily creep into cities, and preach in corners, having none
authority, nor being called to this office.  For CHRIST is not present
with such preachers, and therefore doth not the HOLY GHOST work by their
preaching; but their word is without fruit or profit, and they do great
hurt in commonwealths.  For such as be not called of GOD, they, no doubt
of it, do err, and sow abroad heresy and naughty doctrine.—CRANMER’S
“Catechismus.”  Edit. 1548.  A _Sermon of the authority of the Keys_.—See
also _Jewel’s Apology_, pp. 28, &c.  Ed. 1829.


THE arguments used in p. 87, 88, &c. respecting the Priesthood of CHRIST,
still manifesting the One Sacrifice of CHRIST in the Church, may serve
incidentally to illustrate the error of the Romanists respecting both the
Priesthood and the Sacrifice.  St. Paul certainly implies that an
_analogy_ exists between the Ministers and their functions in the
respective Churches of the Jews and Christians.  And in implying an
_analogy_, he evidently takes for granted that there is not an
_identity_.  The Romanist seems to overlook this: his error is truly a
Judaizing error; and it seems to result from a virtual forgetfulness,
that the ONE great Sacrifice “once for all” _has been_ offered, and that
the Christian Priesthood has only continuously to “manifest” it.  In
speaking of the “Priesthood” of the Church, and the Eucharistic
“Sacrifice,” we certainly imply that the Christian Presbyter has truly
holy functions to perform, in respect of the great atoning Sacrifice,
_analogous_ to those of the Jewish priest: but we must be careful not to
make them _identical_.  St. Paul, in the epistle to the Hebrews,
evidently assumes the analogy, but his argument is wholly inconsistent
with the notion of identity.  The Christian Priest cannot “sacrifice,” in
a Jewish sense of the word; but in a much better.  So it may be truly
said, that he has to “offer” continually The Sacrifice once made by The
DIVINE HIGH PRIEST. (Gal. iii. 1.)  But the term “offering,” among
primitive writers, is used _generally_; and does not exclusively refer to
the Consecrated Elements alone.—See note E. in the former series of
“Parochial Lectures,” on the Holy Catholic Church.  There is some
historical light thrown on our own Church’s view of this subject by the
volume just published by the Principal of St. Alban’s Hall, Oxford,
comparing the two Liturgies of King Edward VI.—Oxford, 1838.

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{1}  The Feast of St. Andrew.

{8}  Not _justly_ so; because in writing to his own people, there was not
perhaps the same necessity for vindicating his apostolate.

{10}  See Notes.  No. I.

{11}  Philippians ii. 22. 25.

{24}  They who would wish to investigate this subject further, may find
it fully treated in Leslie’s “Case of the Regale and Pontificate.”

{26a}  See Newman’s History of the Arians, p. 347.

{26b}  Quoted by Leslie, from Bp. Burnet, p. 30.

{30}  It has been well remarked, that the consequence of allowing it to
be said “that we are a Parliamentary Church,” has been, that the higher
ranks among us are verging towards Deism, and the lower to Fanaticism.
The former, not believing that there can be much Divine in a religion
which they can shape and modify as they please in the Senate.  And the
other, seeing nothing very “scriptural,” or heavenly, in a “State-made”

{41}  The first week in Advent.

{45}  This prophecy seems taken by the ancient Fathers to refer to the
Holy Eucharist.

{46}  It may be sufficient perhaps to refer to “Hey’s Threefold
Ministry,” as a synopsis of the Scriptural view of the subject.

{47}  See Bishop Hall’s Episcopacy by Divine right.

{48}  See Notes, No. II.

{58}  Originating probably from a _literal_ interpretation of Matt,
xviii. 20.  Just as the bowing at The Blessed Name seems derived, by
Catholic and pious practice taking _literally_ Philippians ii. 10.

{60}  And our false position is frequently increased by our tacitly
admitting the _popular_ antithesis between ourselves and the continental
Churches, which are taken _in a mass_—and called, all together, “The
Church of Rome!”—Thus we practically overlook the _fact_, That the Church
of Rome is one _particular_ Italian Church: and so increase our own
apparent difficulty.

{62a}  See Notes, No. II.

{62b}  Of the authenticity of the first fifty at least of the Apostolical
Canons, there can now be no doubt.  They consist of those rules which had
grown up in the Church in the Apostles’ days, and the first hundred years
after them.  They seem to have been composed very early indeed, but
gathered together about a hundred years after the death of St. John,
(probably, it is said, by Clement of Alexandria) and they are quoted as
_ancient_, about a hundred years later.

{63a}  See the Canons of Nice, and the earlier ones of Ancyra and
Neocesarea, in Routh’s edition of the Scriptor. Opus, and the Rel. Sacr.
vol. iii., and Tertullian adv. Hær. c. 36.

{63b}  Such was the extent of discipline indeed, that even common
Christians in passing temporarily to another Church, had to take letters
of communion from their Bishop.

{65a}  See Notes, No. II.

{65b}  “Per Successiones Episcoporum pervenientem (h. e. Ecclesiam) usque
ad nos, judicantes confundimus omnes eos qui quoquo modo . . . præter
quam oportet colligunt.”—S. Irenæus, in lib. iii. adversus Hæreses, c. 3.
In which may be seen the Evidence of the teaching of Polycarp, St. John’s

{66}  “Quis enim _fidelis_ servus et prudens quem constituit Dominus ejus
super domum suam ut det cibos in tempore?”—Quod ad _Apostolos ceterosque
Episcopos et Doctores_ parabola ista pertineat manifestum est: maxime ex
eo quod apud Lucam (cap. xii.)  Petrus interrogat dicens, “Ad nos
parabolam istam dicis? an ad omnes?”— . . . Ait Apostolus, (ad Cor. c.
iv.)  “Ita nos existimet homo, ut ministros Christi et Dispensatores
Mysteriorum.”—Hîc jam quæritur inter dispensatores ut _fidelis_ quis
inveniatur, &c.—Origen. in Matth. Tractat. xxxi.

{67}  See the next Lecture, towards the close.

{69}  The second week in Advent.

{81a}  See the Nicene Canons.

{81b}  See Jewel’s Apology.

{82a}  And again, virtually, by the Gallicans.

{82b}  This is worthy of their consideration who are apt to be too
disheartened at the divisions in the English Church.  When the Popedom
was a disputed matter for seventy years, what could the plain Catholic
laity have thought?  It was impossible to avoid the anathema of one Pope
or the other, both pretending to infallibility.  See Notes No. III.

{83}  Such, for instance, as those glanced at in p. 47, 48, and referred
to in Notes No. II. and III.

{88}  Connected with this part of the subject few books are so important
to be read as “Johnson’s Unbloody Sacrifice.”

{89}  See also, among others, that striking passage, Rom. xv. 15.##

{93a}  See Notes No. I.

{93b}  1 Kings xxii. 24.

{94}  As, for instance, the cure of the blind man, by the clay.  Or that
of the lepers.

{98}  Sermons on Baptism, Absolution, and the Eucharist.

{99a}  Bp. Hall’s Episcopacy by Divine Right, p. 6.

{99b}  See Jewel, and Hooker.  Ed.  Keble.  And Notes, No.  IV.

{99c}  “Non sumus _adeo felices_.”  Words of the President of the Synod
of Dort.

{100}  Melanchthon Ep. Luthero, quoted by Bishop Hall.

{101}  A parallel case, to a certain extent, may be seen in Judges xvii.
5, 6, 13. &c.  The priesthood of the LORD was associated partly with
idolatrous worship.  Micah had graven images and teraphim, yet he, with a
Levite for a Priest, was partly blessed by GOD.  It is not for us to say
how far GOD may bless those who are not strictly obeying Him;
nevertheless we must not calculate on this.  Obedience is still a duty.

{102a}  That is; Many who have departed and joined the sects in sincerity
and ignorance, may be attributing to human causes that re-invigoration of
spiritual life, which is but the forgotten Baptismal grace of Christ,
mercifully “_in them_, springing up to everlasting life.” (John iv. 14;
John vii. 38, 39.)  This may be also, one of GOD’S means of humbling and
reforming His too careless Church.

{102b}  John iii. 5.—The ordinary “entrance to the Kingdom.”

{103a}  Matt. xx. 22.; and perhaps 1 Cor. xv. 29.

{103b}  Rom. x. 10. (which conveys the principle); and Luke xxiii. 42.

{103c}  Our own Church recognizes this doctrine; speaking in her
Baptismal Office of the “great necessity of the Sacrament _where it may
be had_;” and in the Catechism of its “_general_ necessity.”  CHRIST
affirmed generally the necessity of being “born of water,” as the
preliminary of “entrance to His kingdom,” yet He promised admission
thereto to the dying thief, who _confessed_ Him with a penitent heart.

{105a}  Acts x. 35.

{105b}  See, on this subject, and generally, on the danger of Schism, S.
Jerome’s Ep. 69, &c.  And concerning the peril of departing from the
Bishops Catholic, see S. Ignatius ad Smyrn. ad Trall, et ad Phil.

{106}  Ephesians iv. 8–12.

{107}  1 Cor. xi. 10.

{109}  The Feast of St. Thomas.

{111}  See the former series of “Parochial Lectures,” On The Holy
Catholic Church, Lecture IV. p. 113, &c. in which I have explained this
more fully.

{113}  See Lect. I. page 27.

{120}  Of course there were some that disputed even in their own days the
Power of the Apostles themselves.—See 2 Tim. iv. 10, 16; 3 John 10.  The
Apostles shrank not from asserting their own “POWER which the Lord had
given them to edification”—“A Spirit of POWER and of love”—“Not that I
have not POWER,”—said St. Paul, (2 Thess. iii. 9.)

{121}  The manner in which modern sectarians sometimes profess to
recognise “only the kingship and headship of CHRIST,” affords a striking
proof of this; for no one misunderstands _them_, as some did the
Apostles, by supposing them to be establishing a temporal rule.  The
Apostolic system evidently had that in it, which furnished some apparent
ground for such a mistake; and so also the Catholic Church is sometimes
charged with “interfering with the State.”

{123}  Apost. Can. 37.  Ed. Coloniæ, 1538.

{128}  See the Homily of our Church, on the Common Prayer and Sacraments.
And Notes No. II.

{134a}  Called, therefore, “the συναξις” in the early Church.

{134b}  A similar principle seems hinted, John vii. 22.

{135}  This may perhaps throw some light on Tertullian’s meaning in a
passage quoted by Bishop Kaye, (p. 226.)  The word “consessus” seems to
allude to the expression of our Lord, “where two or three are _gathered
together_;” indeed in the same connexion, he quotes this very text.  And
I would suggest, that Tertullian’s argument in this place, however ill
expressed, may perhaps imply, and certainly requires no more than is
stated above, viz. that the Sacerdotal grace was primarily or essentially
in the CHURCH, and not originally in the _persons_ of any individuals as

{137}  See Notes, No. V.

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