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TRACTS FOR THE TIMES.

No. 74.

(Ad Populum.)

CATENA PATRUM.

No. I.

TESTIMONY OF WRITERS IN THE LATER ENGLISH CHURCH TO THE DOCTRINE OF THE APOSTOLICAL SUCCESSION.

The Baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven or of men? And they reasoned among themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven, He will say unto us, Why did ye not then believe him? But if we shall say, Of men, we fear the people; for all hold John as a prophet.

PERSONS Who object to our preaching distinctly and unhesitatingly the doctrine of the Apostolical succession, must be asked to explain, why we may not do what our Fathers in the Church have done before us, or whether they too, as well as we, are mistaken, or injudicious theorists, or Papists, in so doing? This question is here plainly put to them; and at the same time the attention of inquirers, who have not made up their minds on the subject, is invited to the answer, if any is forthcoming, from the parties addressed.

The doctrine in dispute is this: that CHRIST founded a visible Church as an ordinance for ever, and endowed it once for all with spiritual privileges, and set His Apostles over it, as the first in a line of ministers and rulers, like themselves except in their miraculous gifts, and to be continued from them by successive ordination; in consequence, that to adhere to this Church thus distinguished, is among the ordinary duties of a Christian, and is the means of his appropriating the Gospel blessings with an evidence of his doing so not attainable elsewhere.

The passages quoted below contain, it is presumed, this doctrine; but they are not intended as more than tokens and suggestions of the full testimony, contained in the works of their great authors.

1. Bilson.
2. Hooker.

3. Bancroft.

4. Andrews.

5. Hall,

LIST OF AUTHORS CITED.

23. Wake.

24. Potter.

25. Nelson.

6. Laud.

7. Bramhall.

8. Mede.

9. Mason.
10. Sanderson.

11. Hammond.
12. Taylor.
13. Heylin.

14. Allestrie.

15. Pearson.
16. Fell.

17. Bull.

18. Stillingfleet.
19. Kenn.

20. Beveridge.
21. Sharp.

22. Scott.

26. Kettlewell.

27. Hicks.

29. Law.

29. Johnson.
30. Dodwell.
31. Collier.
32. Leslie.
33. Wilson.
34. Bingham.
35. Skelton.

36. Samuel Johnson.

37. Horne.

38. W. Jones.

39. Horsley.

40. Heber.

41. Jebb.

42. Van Mildert.
43. Mant.

BILSON, BISHOP.-Perpetual Government of Christ's Church. ch. ix. p. 105.*

It will happily [haply] be granted the Apostles had their prerogative and pre-eminence above others in the Church of Christ: but that limited to their persons, and during for their lives, and, therefore, no reason can be made for their superiority, to force the like to be received and established in the Church of Christ for all ages and places; since their office and function are long since ceased, and no like power reserved to their successors after them. I do not deny but many things in the Apostles were personal, &c. . . . yet, that all their gifts ended with their lives, and no part of their charge and power remained to their aftercomers, may neither be confessed by us, nor affirmed by any, unless we mean wholly to subvert the Church of Christ. . . . The Scriptures, once written, suffice all ages for instruction; the miracles then done, are for ever a most evident confirmation of their doctrine; the authority of their first calling liveth yet in their succession; and time and travel, joined with God's graces,

As quoted by Dr. Spry in his Bampton Lectures, p. 311.

bring pastors at this present to perfection; yet the Apostles charge to teach, baptize, and administer the Lord's Supper, to bind and loose sinners in heaven and in earth, to impose hands for the ordaining of pastors and elders, these parts of the Apostolic function and charge are not decayed, and cannot be wanted in the Church of God. There must either be no Church, or else these must remain; for without these no Church can continue.

HOOKER, PRESBYTER AND DOCTOR.-Ecclesiastical Polity. Book v. 77.

In that they are Christ's ambassadors and His labourers, who should give them their commission, but He whose most inward affairs they manage? Is not God alone the Father of spirits? Are not souls the purchase of JESUS CHRIST? What angel in heaven could have said to man, as our Lord did unto Peter, "Feed my sheep-preach-baptize-do this in remembrance of Me. Whose sins ye retain, they are retained; and their offences in heaven pardoned, whose faults you shall on earth forgive?" What think we? Are these terrestrial sounds, or else are they voices uttered out of the clouds above? The power of the ministry of GoD, translateth out of darkness into glory; it raiseth man from the earth, and bringeth God Himself from heaven; by blessing visible elements, it maketh them invisible graces; it giveth daily the Holy Ghost; it hath to dispose of that flesh which was given for the life of the world, and that blood which was poured out to redeem souls; when it poureth malediction upon the heads of the wicked, they perish; when it revoketh the same, they revive. O wretched blindness, if we admire not so great power; more wretched if we consider it aright, and, notwithstanding, imagine that any but GoD can bestow it! To whom CHRIST hath imparted power, both over that mystical body which is the society of souls, and over that natural which is Himself, for the knitting of both in one, (a work which antiquity doth call the making of CHRIST's body,) the same power is in such not amiss both termed a kind of mark or character, and acknowledged to be indelible ..... "Receive the Holy Ghost; whose sins soever ye remit, they are remitted; whose sins ye retain, they are retained." Whereas, therefore, the other Evangelists had set down, that CHRIST did before His suffering promise to give His Apostles the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and being risen from the dead, promised moreover at that time a miraculous power of the Holy Ghost, St. John addeth, that He also invested them even then with the power of

the Holy Ghost for castigation and relaxation of sin, wherein was fully accomplished that which the promise of the keys did import. Seeing, therefore, that the same power is now given, why should the same form of words expressing it be thought foolish?

Ibid. § 68.

Now the privilege of the visible Church of God (for of that we speak) is to be herein like the ark of Noah, that, for any thing we know to the contrary, all without it are lost sheep; yet in this was the ark of Noah privileged above the Church, that whereas none of them which were in the one could perish, numbers in the other are cast away, because to eternal life our profession is not enough.

BANCROFT, ARCHBISHOP.-Sermon preached at Paul's Cross.

This hath ever been reckoned a most certain ground and principle in religion, that that Church, which maintaineth without error the faith of CHRIST, which holdeth the true doctrine of the Gospel in matters necessary to salvation, and preacheth the same, which retaineth the lawful use of those Sacraments only which CHRIST hath appointed, and which appointeth vice to be punished, and virtue to be maintained, notwithstanding in some other respects, and in some points, it have many blemishes, imperfections, nay divers and sundry errors, is yet to be acknowledged for the Mother of the faithful, the House of God, the Ark of Noah, the pillar of Truth, and the spouse of Christ. From which Church whosoever doth separate himself, he is to be reckoned a schismatic or an heretic. . . . .

There are many causes set down by the said ancient Fathers, why so many false prophets do go out into the world; but I will only touch four; whereof I find the contempt of Bishops especially to be one; for unto them, as St. Jerome saith, ever since St. Mark's time, the care of Church government hath been committed; they had authority over the rest of the ministry...." that the seed of schism might be taken away, &c."

Read the Scriptures, but with sobriety; if any man presuming upon his knowledge, seek further than is meet for him, besides that he knoweth nothing as he ought to know, he shall cast himself into a labyrinth, and never find that he seeketh for. GOD hath bound Himself by His promise unto His Church of purpose, that men by her good direction might in this point be relieved; to whose godly determination in matters of question, her dutiful children ought to submit themselves without any curious or wilful contradiction. I could bring many authorities to this effect.

ANDREWS, BISHOP AND DOCTOR.-Sermons on Whitsunday. No. 9. (Works, p. 695.)

The Holy Ghost may be received more ways than one. He hath many spiramina; Toλurpórws, "in many manners" He comes; and multiformis gratia He comes with. He and they carry the name of their cause; and to receive them is to receive the Spirit. There is a gratum faciens, the saving grace of the Spirit, for one to save himself by, received by each, without respect to others; and there is a gratis data (whatever become of us) serving to save others by, without respect to ourselves. And there is xápis diaxovias, the grace of a holy calling, for it is a grace, to be a conduit of grace any way. All these; and all from one and the same Spirit.

That was-here conferred, (in John xx. 22.) was not the saving grace of inward sanctimony; they were not "breathed on" to that end. The Church to this day gives this still in her ordinations, but the saving grace the Church cannot give; none but GoD can give that. Nor the gratis data it is not. That came by the tongues, both the gift of speaking divine languages, and the gift of dropdéyysoba, speaking wisely, and to the purpose; and (we know) none is either the holier or the learneder by his ordination.

Yet a grace it is. For the very office itself is a grace; mihi data est hæc gratia, saith the Apostle, in more places than one; and speaks of his office and nothing else. The Apostleship was a grace, yet no saving grace. Else, should Judas have been saved. Clearly then, it is the grace of their calling (this) whereby they were sacred and made persons public and their acts authentical, and they enabled to do somewhat about the remission of sins, that is not (of like avail) done by others, though perhaps more learned and virtuous than they, in that they have not the like mitto vos, nor the same accipite that these have.

Ibid.-Sermon on Absolution. (Appendix, p. 90.)

The power of remitting sin is originally in GoD, and in GoD alone. And CHRIST Our Saviour, by means of the union of the Godhead and manhood into one person, by virtue whereof, "The Son of man hath power to forgive sins upon earth."

This power being thus solely vested in GoD, He might, without wrong to any, have retained and kept to Himself, and without means of word or sacrament, and without ministers, either apostles or others, have exercised immediately by Himself from Heaven.

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