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There were other things in which Ærius dif. [ fered from the common notions of the time; he condemned prayers for the dead, stated fasts, the celebration of Easter, and other rites of that nature, in which the multitude erroneously imagine that the life and soul of religion consists.' His great purpose seems to have been that of reducing Christianity to its primitive simplicity; a purpose, indeed, laudable and noble when considered in itself; though the principles from whence it springs, and the means by which it is executed, are generally, in many respects, worthy of censure, and may have been so in the case of this reformer."

bitter and abusive treatise, which is still extant."

XXIII. Among all the religious controversies that divided the church, the most celebrated, both for their importance and their duration, were those relating to Origen and his doctrine. This illustrious man, though he had been, for a long time, charged with many errors, was held, by the most part of Christians, in the highest veneration, and his name was so sacred as to give weight to the cause in which it appeared. The Arians, who were sagacious in searching for succours on all sides to maintain their sect, affirmed that Origen had adopted their opinions. In this they were believed by some, who consequently included this great man in the hatred they entertained against the sect of the Arians. But several writers of the first learning and note opposed this report, and endeavoured to vindicate the honour of their master from these injurious insinuations. The most eminent of these was Eusebius, bishop of Cæsarea, as appears by his learned work, entitled An Apology for Origen. It is extremely probable, that these clamours raised against the memory and reputation of a man, whom the whole Christian world beheld with respect, would have been soon hushed, had it not been for the rise of new commotions, which proceeded from another source, and of which we shall treat in the following section.

XXII. The progress of superstition in this century, and the erroneous notions that prevailed concerning the true nature of religion, excited the zeal and the efforts of many to stem the torrent. But their labours only exposed them to infamy and reproach. The most eminent of these worthy opposers of the reigning superstitions was Jovinian, an Italian monk, who, towards the conclusion of this century, taught first at Rome, and afterwards at Milan, that all those who kept the vows they made to Christ at their baptism, and lived according to those rules of piety and virtue laid down in the gospel, had an equal title to the rewards of futurity; and that, consequently, those who passed their days in unsociable celibacy, and severe mortifications and fastings, were in no respect more acceptable in the eye of God, than XXIV. The monks in general, and the those who lived virtuously in the bonds of mar- Egyptian monks in particular, were enthusiasriage, and nourished their bodies with modera- tically devoted to Origen, and spared no labour tion and temperance. These judicious opinions, to propagate his opinions in all places. Their which many began to adopt, were first con- zeal, however, met with opposition, nor could demned by the church of Rome, and afterwards, they persuade all Christians of the truth and by Ambrose, in a council held at Milan in the soundness of the notions invented or adopted by year 390. The emperor Honorius seconded the that eminent writer. Hence arose a controversy authoritative proceedings of the bishops by the concerning the reasons and foundations of Oriviolence of the secular arm, answered the judi- genism, which was at first managed in a private cious reasonings of Jovinian by the terror of manner, but, afterwards, by degrees, broke out coercive and penal laws, and banished this pre- into an open flame. Among the numerous tended heretic to the island Boa. Jovinian pub-partisans of Origen, was John, bishop of Jerulished his opinions in a book, against which Jerome, in the following century, wrote a most

1 Epiphanius, Hares. lxxv. p. 905. Heres. cap. Ini.

Augustin. De

2 The desire of reducing religious worship to the greatest possible simplicity, however rational it may appear in itself, and abstractedly considered, will be considerably moderated in such as bestow a moment's attention upon the imperfection and infirmities of human nature in its present state. Mankind, generally speaking, have too little elevation of mind to be much affected with those forms and methods of worship, in which there is nothing striking to the outward senses. The great difficulty here lies in determining the lengths, which it is prudent to go in the accommodation of religious ceremonies to human infirmity; and the grand point is, to fix a medium, in which a due regard may be shown to the senses and imagination, without violating the dictates of right reason, or tarnishing the purity of true religion. It has been said, that the Roman church has gone too far in its condescension to infirmities of mankind. And this is what the ablest defenders of its motley worship have alleged in its behalf. But this observation is not just: the church of Rome has not so much accommodated itself to human weakness, as it has abused that weakness by taking occasion from it to establish an endless variety of ridiculous ceremonies, destructive of true religion, and only adapted to promote the riches and despotism of the clergy, and to keep the multitude still hoodwinked in their ignorance and superstition. How far a just antipathy to the church puppet-shows of the Papists has unjustly driven some Protestant churches into the opposite extreme, is a matter that I shall not examine, though it certainly deserves a serious consideration.

3 Hieronymus Jovinianum, tom. ii. opp. Augustin. De Heres, cap. lxxxii. Ambros. Epist. vi, &c.

salem, which furnished Epiphanius and Jerome with a pretext to cast an odium upon this prelate, against whom they had been previously exasperated on other accounts. But the ingenious bishop conducted matters with such admirable dexterity, that, in defending himself, he vindicated, at the same time, the reputation of Origen, and drew to his party the whole monastic body; and also a prodigious number of those who were spectators of this interesting combat. This was but the beginning of the vehement contests concerning the doctrine of Origen, that were carried on both in the eastern and western provinces. These contests were particularly fomented in the west by Rufinus, a presbyter of Aquileia, who translated into Latin several books of Origen, and insinuated, with sufficient plainness, that he acquiesced in the sentiments they contained, which drew upon him the implacable rage of the learned and choleric Jerome. But these commotions seemed to cease in the west after the death of Rufinus, and the efforts which men of the first order made to check, both by their authority and by their writings, the progress of Origenism of those parts.

XXV. The troubles which the writings and

4 Codex Theodosianus, tom. iii. p. 218. tom. vi. p. 193. 5 See Just. Fontaninus Historia Literar. Aquileiensis lib. iv. cap. iii. p. 177, &c.

ground considerably; and the universities, schools, and churches became the oracles of Calvinism, which also acquired new votaries among the people from day to day." Hence it happen ed, that when it was proposed, under the reign of Edward VI. to give a fixed and stable form neva was acknowledged as a sister church; and the theological system, there established by Calvin, was adopted and rendered the public rule of faith in England. This, however, was done without any change of the form of episcopal government, which had already taken place, and was entirely different from that of Geneva; nor was this step attended with any alteration of several religious rites and ceremonies, which were looked upon as superstitious by the greatest part of the Reformed. This difference, however, between the two churches, though it appeared at first of little consequence, and, in the judgment even of Calvin, was esteemed an object of tole ration and indulgence, was nevertheless, in after-ages, a source of many calamities and dissensions, that were highly detrimental both to the civil and ecclesiastical constitution of Great Britain.

gion. Even the peace, which they obtained from Henry III. in the year 1576, was the source of that civil war, in which the powerful and ambitious house of Guise, instigated by the sanguinary suggestions of the Roman pontiffs, aimed at nothing less than the extirpation of the royal family, and the utter ruin of the pro-to the doctrine and discipline of the church, Getestant religion; while the Huguenots, on the other hand, headed by leaders of the most heroic valour and the most illustrious rank, combated for their religion and for their sovereigns with various success. These dreadful commotions in which both the contending parties committed such deeds as are yet, and always will be remembered with horror, were, at length calmed by the fortitude and prudence of Henry IV. This monarch, indeed, sacrificed the dictates of conscience to the suggestions of policy; and imagining, that his government could have no stable nor solid foundation, as long as he persisted in disowning the authority and jurisdiction of Rome, he renounced the Reformed religion, and made a solemn and public profession of popery. Perceiving, however, on the other hand, that it was not possible either to extirpate or suppress entirely the protestant religion, he granted to its professors by the famous edict drawn up at Nantes in the year 1598, the liberty of serving God according to their consciences, and a full security for the enjoyment of their civil rights and privileges, without persecution or molestation from any quarter. 1


XVI. The church of Scotland acknowledges as its founder John Knox, the disciple of Calvin; and, accordingly, from its first reformation, it adopted the doctrine, rites, and form of ecclesiastical government established at Geneva. These it has always adhered to with the utmost uniformity, and maintained with the greatest jealousy and zeal; so that even in the last century the designs of those who attempted to introduce certain changes into its discipline and worship, were publicly opposed by the force of



A quite different constitution of things is observable in the church of England, which could never be brought to an entire compliance with the ecclesiastical laws of Geneva, and which retained, but for a short time, even those which it adopted. It is well known, that the greatest part of those English, who first threw off the yoke of Rome, seemed much more inclined to the sentiments of Luther concerning the eucharist, the form of public worship, and ecclesiastical government, than to those of the Swiss churches. But the scene changed after the death of Henry VIII. when, by the industrious zeal of Calvin, and his disciples, more especially Peter Martyr, the cause of Lutheranism lost

11 This edict restored and confirmed, in the fullest terms, all the favours that had ever been granted to the protestants, by other princes, and particularly by Henry III. To these privileges others were also added, which had never been granted, nor even demanded before; such as a free admission to all employments of trust, honour, and profit; the establishing courts and chambers, in which the professors of the two religions were equal in number; and the permitting the children of protestants to be educated, without any molestation or constraint, in the public universities.

12 Benoit, Histoire de l'Edit. de Nantes, tom. i. lib. v. p. 200.--Daniel, Hist. de France, tom. ix. p. 409.-Boulay, Hist. Academ. Paris. tom. vi.

13 Salig. Hist. Aug. Confession. part II. lib. vi. cap. i. p. 403.- Dr. Mosheim alludes, in this passage, to the attempts made under the reign of Charles II. to introduce episcopacy into Scotland.

XVII. The origin of these unhappy dissensions which it has not as yet been possible entirely to heal, must be sought for in the conduct of those persecuted fugitives, who, to save their lives, their families, and their fortunes, from the bloody rage and inhuman tyranny of Queen Mary, left the places of their nativity in the year 1554, and took refuge in Germany. 15 Of these fugitive congregations some performed divine worship with the rites that had been authorized by Edward VI.; while others preferred the Swiss method of worship as more recommendable on account of its purity and simplicity. The former were called Conformists, on account of their compliance with the ecclesiastical laws enacted by

14 Loscheri Hist. Motuum, part 11. lib. iii. cap. vii. p. 67. Salig. Hist. Aug. Confession. tom. ii. lib. vi. cap iii. p. 317 15 I cannot help mentioning the uncharitableness of the Lutherans, upon this occasion, who hated these unhappy exiles, because they were Sacramentarians (for so the Lutherans called those who denied Christ's bodily presence in the eucharist), and expelled from their cities refuge from popish superstition and persecution. Such as such of the English Protestants as repaired to them, as a sought for shelter in France, Geneva, and those parts of Switzerland and Germany where the Reformation had taken place, and where Lutheranism was not professed, public worship. But it was at Frankfort that the exiles were received with great humanity, and allowed places of were most numerous: and there began the contest and division which gave rise to that separation from the church of England which continues to this day. It is, however, a piece of justice due to the memory of the excellent Melancthon, to observe, that he warmly condemned this uncharitable treatment, and more especially the indecent reproaches which the Lutherans cast upon the English martyrs who had sealed the Reformation with their blood, calling them the Devil's Martyrs, "Vociferantur quidam (says this amiable reformer) Martyres Anglicos esse Martyres Diaboli. Nolim hac contumelia afficere sanctum spiritum in Latimero, qui annum octogesimum egressus fuit, et in aliis sanctis viris, quos novi." These are the words of this truly Chistian Reformer, in one of his letters to Camerarius, Epist. lib. iv. p. 959. and in another of his letters, speaking of the burning of Burgius at Paris, he thus severely censures Westphal's intolerant principles: "Tales viros ait Westphalus esse Dia. boli Martyres. Hanc judicii perversitatem quis non detestetur ?" Ep. lib. ii. p. 387. Such were the humane and liberal sentiments of Melancthon, which have rendered his name so precious to the lovers of piety, probity, and moderation; while the zealots of his own church have treated his memory with obloquy, and composed disscitations de Indifferentismo Melancthonis. N.

the prince now mentioned; and the denominations of Non-conformists and Puritans were given to the latter, from their insisting upon a form of worship, more exempt from superstition, and of a more pure kind, than the liturgy of Edward seemed to them to be. These denominations became permanent marks of distinction, which still continue to denote those different religious communities which divide the British nation. The controversy concerning the ceremonial part of divine worship that had divided the exiles abroad, changed scenes, and was removed with them to England, when the auspicious succession of Queen Elizabeth to the throne permitted them to return to their native country. The hopes of enjoying liberty, and of promoting each their respective systems, increased their contests intead of diminishing them; and the breach widened to such a degree, that the most sagacious and provident observers of things seemed to despair of seeing it healed. The wise queen, in her design to accomplish the reformation of the church, was fully resolved not to confine herself to the model exhibited by the Protestants of Geneva, and their adherents the Puritans; and, therefore, she recommended to the attention and imitation of the doctors, that were employed in this weighty and important matter, the practice and institutions of the primitive ages.' When her plan was put in execution, and the face of the church was changed and reformed by new rules of discipline, and purer forms of public worship, the famous Act of Uniformity was issued forth, by which all her subjects were commanded to observe these rules, and to submit to the reformation of the church on the footing on which it was now placed by the queen as its supreme visible head upon earth. The Puritans refused their assent to these proceedings; pleaded the dictates of their consciences in behalf of this refusal; and complained heavily, that the gross superstitions of popery, which they had looked upon as abrogated and abolished, were now revived, and even imposed by authority. They were not, indeed, all equally exasperated against the new constitution of the church; nor did they in effect carry their opposition to equal degrees of excess. The more violent demanded the total abrogation of all that had been done towards the establishment of a national religion, and required nothing less than that the church of England should be exactly modelled after that of Geneva. The milder and more moderate Puritans were much more equitable in their demands, and only desired liberty of conscience,

1 Dr. Mosheim seems disposed, by this ambiguous expression of the primitive ages, to insinuate that Queen Elizabeth had formed a pure, rational, and evangelical plan of religious discipline and worship. It is, however certain, that, instead of being willing to strip religion of the ceremonies which remained in it, she was rather inclined to bring the public worship still nearer the Romish ritual, and had a great propensity to several usages in the church of Rome, which were justly looked upon as superstitious. She thanked publicly one of her chaplains, who had preached in defence of the real presence; she was fond of images, and retained some in her private chapel:+ and would undoubtedly have forbid the marriage of the clergy, if Cecil her secretary, had not interposed.+ Having appointed a committee of divines to review king Edward's liturgy, she gave them an order to strike out all offensive passages against the pope, and to make people easy about the corporal presence of Christ in the sacrament. §

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with the privilege of celebrating divine worship in their own way. The queen did not judge it proper to grant to either the object of their requests, but rather intent upon the suppression of this troublesome sect (as she was used to call it,) permitted its enemies to employ for that purpose all the resources of artifice, and all the severity of the laws. Thus was that form of religion established in Britain, which separated the English equally from the church of Rome, on the one hand, and from the other churches which had renounced popery on the other: but which, at the same time, laid a perpetual foundation for dissensions and feuds, in that otherwise happy and prosperous nation.*

XVIII. The incident that gave rise to these unhappy divisions, which were productive of so many and such dreadful calamities, was a matter of very small moment, and which did not seem to affect, in any way, the interests of true religion and virtue. The chief leaders among the Puritans entertained a strong aversion to the vestments worn by the English clergy in the celebration of divine worship. As these habits had been made use of in the times of popery, and seemed to renew the impressions that had been made upon the people by the Romish priests, they appeared to the Puritans in no other light than as the ensigns of Antichrist. The spirit of opposition being once set on foot, proceeded, in its remonstrances, to matters of superior moment. The form of ecclesiastical government, established in England, was one of the first and main grievances of which the Puritans complained. They looked upon this form as quite different from that which had been instituted by Christ, the great lawgiver of the church; and, in conformity with the sentiments of Calvin, maintained, that, by the divine law, all the ministers of the gospel were absolutely equal in point of rank and authority. They did not indeed think it unlawful, that a person, distinguished by the title of a bishop, or superintendant, should preside in the assembly of the clergy, for the sake of maintaining order and decency in their method of proceeding; but they thought it incongruous and absurd, that the persons invested with this character should be ranked, as the bishops had hitherto been, among the nobility of the kingdom, employed in civil and political affairs, and distinguished so em.. inently by their worldly opulence and power. This controversy was not carried on, however, with excessive animosity and zeal, as long as the English bishops pretended to derive their dignity and authority from no other source than the laws of their country, and pleaded a right, purely human, to the rank they held in church and state. But the flame broke out with redoubled

2 No writer has treated this part of the Ecclesiastical history of Britain in a more ample and elegant manner than Daniel Neal, in his History of the Puritans, or Protestant Nonconformists, in four volumes 8vo. The first part of this laborious work was published at London, in the year 1732, and the latter part in 1738. The author, who was himself a nonconformist, has not indeed been able to impose silence so far on the warm and impetuous spirit of party, as not to discover a certain degree of par tiality in favour of his brethren. For, while he relates, in the most circumstantial manner, all the injuries the puri. tans received from the bishops, and those of the established religion, he in many places diminishes, excuses, or suppresses, the faults and failings of these separatists. See also, for an account of the religious history of these times, Strype's Lives of the archbishops of Canterbury un der Queen Elizabeth, viz. Parker, Grindal, and Whitgift

fury in the year 1588, when Bancroft, after- festivals or holidays that were celebrated In honour wards archbishop of Canterbury, ventured to of the saints, the use of the sign of the cross more assert, that the order of bishops was superior to especially in the sacrament of baptism, the nomithe body of presbyters, not in consequence of nating godfathers and godmothers as sureties for any human institution, but by the express ap- the education of children whose parents were pointment of God himself." This doctrine was still living," and the doctrine relating to the valireally adopted by many, and the consequences dity of lay-baptism. They disliked the readthat seemed naturally to flow from it in favouring of the apocryphal books in the church; and, of episcopal ordination, happened in effect, and with respect to set forms of prayer, although gave new fuel to the flame of controversy. For they did not go so far as to insist upon their bethey who embraced the sentiments of Bancroft, ing entirely abolished, yet they pleaded for a considered all ministers of the gospel, who had right to every minister, of modifying, correctnot received ordination from a bishop, as irregu- ing, and using them in such a manner, as might larly invested with the sacred character; and tend most to the advancement of true piety, and also maintained, that the clergy in those coun- of addressing the Deity in such terms as were tries where there were no bishops, were desti- suggested by their inward feelings, instead of tute of the gifts and qualifications that were those that were dictated by others. In a word, necessary to the exercise of the pastoral office, they were of opinion, that the government and and were to be looked upon as inferior to the discipline of the church of England ought to Roman catholic priests.

XIX. All these things exasperated the Puritans, whose complaints, however, were not confined to the objects already mentioned. There were many circumstances that entered into their plan of reformation. They had a singular antipathy against cathedral churches, and demanded the abolition of the archdeacons, deans, canons, and other officials, that are supported by their lands and revenues. They disapproved of the pompous manner of worship that is generally observed in these churches, and looked, particularly, upon instrumental music, as improperly employed in the service of God. The severity of their zeal was also very great for they were of opinion, that, not open profligates, but even persons whose piety was dubious, deserved to be excluded from the communion of the church; and they endeavoured to justify the rigour of this decision, by observing, that the church being the congregation of the faithful, nothing was more incumbent on its ministers and rulers than to watch against its being defiled by the presence of persons des. titute of true faith and piety. They found, moreover, much subject of affliction and complaint in the rites and ceremonies that were imposed by the order of the queen, and the authority of her council; among these were the

3 See Strype's Life and Acts of John Whitgift, archbishop of Canterbury, p. 121. The first English Reformers admitted but two orders of church officers to be of divine appointment, viz. bishops and deacons ; a presbyter and a bishop, according to them, being but two names for the same office; But Dr. Bancroft, in a sermon preached at Paul's cross, January 12, 1588, maintained, that the bishops of England were a distinct order from priests, and had superiority over them jure divino.

4 The Puritans justified themselves in relation to this point, in a letter addressed from their prison to Queen Elizabeth, in the year 1592, by observing, that their sentiments concerning the persons subject to excommunica. tion, and also concerning the effects and extent of that act of church discipline, were conformable to those of all the reformed churches, and to the doctrine and practice of the church of England in particular. They declared more especially, that according to their sense of things, the censure of excommunication deprived only of spiritual privileges and comforts, without taking away their liberty, goods, lands, government private or public, or any other civil or earthly commodity of this life: and thus they distinguished themselves from those furious and fanatical anabaptists, who had committed such disorders in Germany, and some of whom were now making a noise in England.

5 By this council our author means, the High Commission court, of which it is proper to give here some account, as its proceedings essentially belong to the ecclesiastical history of England. This court took its rise from remarkable clause in the act of supremacy, by which


the queen and her successors were empowered to choose persons to exercise, under her, all manner of jurisdic tion, privileges and pre-eminences, touching any spiritual or ecclesiastical jurisdiction within the realms of England and Ireland, as also to visit, reform, redress, order, correct and amend all errors, heresies, schisms, abuses, contempts, offences and enormities whatsoever. Provided that they have no power to determine any thing to be heresy, but what has been adjudged to be so by the autho rity of the canonical scripture, or by the first four general councils, or any of them; or by any other general council, wherein the same was declared heresy by the express and plain words of canonical scripture, or such as shall hereafter be declared to be heresy by the high court of Parliament, with the assent of the clergy in convocation." Upon the authority of this clause, the queen appointed a certain number of commissioners for ecclesiastical causes, who, in many instances abused their power. The court they composed, was called The Court of High Commission, because it claimed a more extensive jurisdiction, and higher powers, than the ordinary courts of the bishops. Its jurisdiction reached over the whole kingdom, and was much the same with that which had been lodged in the single person of Lord Cromwell, vicar general of Henry VIII. These commissioners were empowered to make enquiry, not only by the legal methods of juries, they could devise, that is, by rack, torture, inquisition, and witnesses, but by all other ways and means which and imprisonment. They were vested with a right to examine such persons as they suspected, by administering to them an oath (not allowed of in their commission, and therefore called ex officio), by which they were obliged to answer all questions, and thereby might be obliged to accuse themselves or their most intimate friends. The fines they imposed were merely discretionary; the im prisonment to which they condemned was limited by no rule but their own pleasure; they imposed when they thought proper, new articles of faith on the clergy, and practised all the iniquities and cruelties of real inquisition. See Rapin's and Hume's Histories of England, under the reign of Elizabeth, and Neal's History of the Puritans passim.

6 Other tites and customs displeasing to the Puritans, and omitted by our author, were, kneeling at the sa crament of the Lord's supper, bowing at the name of Jesus, giving the ring in marriage, the prohibition of marriage during certain times of the year, and the licensing it for money, as also the confirmation of children by episcopal imposition of hands.

7 The words of the original are, "nec sacris Christianis pueros recens natos ab aliis, quam sacerdotibus, initari patiebantur." The Roman catholics, who look upon the external rite of baptism as absolutely necessary to salva. tion, allow consequently, of its being performed by a layman, or a midwife, where a clergyman is not at hand, nay, (if such a ridiculous thing may be mentioned) by a surgeon, where a still birth is apprehended. The church of England, though it teacheth in general, that none ought to baptize but men dedicated to the service of God, yet doth not esteem null baptism performed by laicks or women, because it makes a difference between what is essential to a sacrament, and what is requisite to the regular way of using it. The Puritans, that they might neither prescribe, nor even connive at a practice that seemed to be founded on the absolute necessity of infant baptism, would allow that sacred rite to be performed by the clergy alone.

have been modelled after the ecclesiastical laws, and institutions of Geneva, and that no indulgence was to be shown to those ceremonies or practices, which bore the smallest resemblance of the discipline or worship of the church of Rome. XX. These sentiments, considered in themselves, seemed neither susceptible of a satisfactory defence, nor of a complete refutation. Their solidity or falsehood depended upon the principles from whence they were derived; and no regular controversy could be carried on upon these matters, until the contending parties adopted some common and evident principles, by which they might corroborate their respective systems. It is only by an examination of these, that it can be known on what side truth lies, and what degree of utility or importance can be attributed to a contest of this nature. The principles laid down by the Queen's commissioners on the one hand, and the Puritans on the other, were indeed very different.

For, in the first place, The former maintained, that the right of reformation, that is, the privilege of removing the corruptions, and of correcting the errors that may have been introduced into the doctrine, discipline, or worship of the church, is lodged in the sovereign, or civil magistrate alone; while the latter denied, that the power of the magistrate extended so far and maintained, that it was rather the business of the clergy to restore religion to its native dignity and lustre. This was the opinion of Calvin, as has been already observed.

Secondly, The Queen's commissioners main tained, that the rule of proceeding, in reforming the doctrine or discipline of the church, was not to be derived from the sacred writings alone, but also from the writings and decisions of the fathers in the primitive ages. The Puritans, on the contrary, affirmed, that the inspired word of God being the pure and only fountain of wisdom and truth, it was from thence alone that the rules and directions were to be drawn, which were to guide the measures of those who undertook to purify the faith, or to rectify the discipline and worship, of the church; and that the ecclesiastical institutions of the early ages, as also the writings of the ancient doctors, were absolutely destitute of all sort of authority.

Thirdly, The Queen's commissioners ventured to assert, that the church of Rome was a true church, though corrupt and erroneous in many points of doctrine and government; that the Roman pontiff, though chargeable with temerity and arrogance in assuming to himself the title and jurisdiction of head of the whole church, was, nevertheless, to be esteemed a true and lawful bishop; and, consequently, that the ministers ordained by him were qualified for This was a performing the pastoral duties. point which the English bishops thought it absolutely necessary to maintain, since they could not otherwise claim the honour of deriving their dignities, in an uninterrupted line of succession, from the apostles. But the Puritans entertained very different notions of this matter; they considered the Romish hierarchy as a system of political and spiritual tyranny, that had justly forfeited the title and privileges of a true church; they looked upon its pontiff as Antichrist, and its discipline as vain, superstitious, idolatrous, and diametrically opposite to the injunctions of the gospel; and in consequence of this they renounced its communion, and regarded all ap

proaches to its discipline and worship as highly dangerous to the cause of true religion.

Fourthly, The court commissioners considered as the best and most perfect form of ecclesiastical government, that which took place during the first four or five centuries; they even preferred it to that which had been instituted by the apostles, because, as they alleged, our Saviour and his apostles had accommodated the Form, mentioned in Scripture, to the feeble and infant state of the church, and left it to the wisdom and discretion of future ages to modify it in such a manner as might be suitable to the triumphant progress of Christianity, the grandeur of a national establishment, and also to the ends of civil policy. The Puritans asserted, in opposition to this, that the rules of church government were clearly laid down in the Holy Scrip tures, the only standard of spiritual discipline; and that the apostles, in establishing the first Christian church on the Aristocratical plan that was then observed in the Jewish Sanhedrim, designed it as an unchangeable model to be followed in all times, and in all places.

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Lastly, The court reformers were of opinion, that things indifferent, which are neither com. manded nor forbidden by the authority of Scripture, such as the external rites of public worship, the kind of vestments that are to be used by the clergy, religious festivals, and the like, might be ordered, determined, and rendered a matter of obligation by the authority of the civil magistrate; and that, in such a case, the violation of his commands would be no less criminal than an act of rebellion against the laws of the state. The Puritans alleged, in answer to this assertion, that it was an indecent prostitution of power to impose, as necessary and indispensable, those things which Christ had left in the class of matters indifferent; since this was a manifest encroachment upon that liberty with which the divine Saviour had made us free. To this they added, that such rites and ceremonies as had been abused to idolatrous purposes, and had a manifest tendency to revive the impressions of superstition and popery in the minds of men, could by no means be considered as indifferent, but deserved to be rejected without hesitation as impious and profane. Such, in their estimation, were the religious ceremonies of ancient times, whose abrogation was refused by the queen and her council.

1 By this they meant, at least, that nothing should be imposed as necessary, but what was expressly contain. ed in the holy scriptures, or deduced from them by ne cessary consequence. They maintained still farther, that supposing it proved, that all things necessary to the good government of the church could not be deduced from holy scripture, yet that the discretionary power of supplying this defect was not vested in the civil magistrate, but in the spiritual officers of the church. 2 Dr. Mosheim, in these five articles, has followed the account of this controversy given by Mr. Neal, in his History of the Puritans. This latter adds a sixth article, not of debate, but of union, "Both parties (says he) agreed too well in asserting the necessity of a uniformity of public worship, and of calling in the sword of the magistrate for the support and defence of their several principles, which they made an ill use of in their turns, as they could grasp the power into their hands. The standard of uniformity, according to the bishops, was the queen's su premacy, and the laws of the land; according to the Puri. tans, the decrees of provincial and national synods, allowed and enforced by the civil magistrate: but neither party were for admitting that liberty of conscience, and freedom of profession, which is every man's right, as far as is consistent with the peace of the government under which he lives."

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