Imágenes de páginas

XV. The Scottish army, desirous to return home with their spoil, carried the King northward from Newark to Newcastle, where they treated him with ceremonious respect. He was not, however, here exempt from the perverted theology and the vile taste of canting sermons. After one of these harangues from the appropriate text of 2 Sam. xix. 41-43, in which the Scots were made to denominatethemselves the men of Judah, who had ten parts in the King, he found that all their pledges of loyalty presupposed the condition of his taking their darling covenant. Two doubts, he stated, occasioned his reluctance to this measure; namely, whether episcopacy were not to be supported as jure divino; and whether his coronation-oath, which engaged him to support the established religion, could law, fully be violated. As he professed himself willing to discuss these two questions, and open to conviction, Henderson, a learned divine, and head of the Presbyterian party, arrived from Scotland, to banish the royal scruples. With this antagonist Charles entered into a controversy in writing (May 29, 1646), which may be considered as exhibiting the marrow of the arguments employed at this period by the two contending parties. The King, after alluding to his scruples already mentioned, demanded what warrant could be produced from Scripture for subjects forcing the conscience of the King. The Scotch divine answered, that the reformation of Henry VIII, was defective, by transferring the supremacy from one wrong head to another; and, like a bold rebel, threatened the King with the terrible denunciation (Esther, iv. 14), “ For if thou altogether hold thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father's house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?"

separate communion, on principles of rational liberty openly recognised. To this fast opinion I. liave the charity to subscribe. They petitioned for the Baptists, as well as for themselves,

He denied the apostolical institution of episcopacy, asserting the primitive identity of bishop and presbyter. There appears, said he, a beautiful superiority in degree, but not in order, in the New Testament; as no Evangelist is above another, so no presbyter is above another*. Many Episcopalians supposed that presbyters might ordain presbyters. King James had never asserted episcopacy by divine right. He entered a caveat against arguing from the usage of the primitive church; since Scripture was the only infallible rule. Even in the days of the Apostles, Diotrephes sought to have the preeminence, and the mystery of iniquity began to work. Was there no difference in

A sophism : supposing the King to have granted that bishop and presbyter were the same.

the effect of baptism performed by a midwife, and by a minister, though ordained by presbyters ? It was idle to plead the coronation-bath, since from any clause the party to be benefited by it might give release.

In a few days the King delivered in a second paper. No text, he maintained, could sanction a reformation unless under royal authority. That of Henry VIII. was improved by Edward and Elizabeth. Presbyters could not ordain presbyters: the Presbyterian discipline was never established before the time of Calvin ; and he would undertake to prove the apostolical institution, the succession, and the consequent necessity of episcopacy, if the aid of books, or of learned divines, were allowed him. To solve doubtful passages, primitive usage might be called in ; otherwise each private spirit would be the interpreter of Scripture; which would contradict 2 Peter, i. 19, and introduce all confusion. Diotrephes afforded no case in point. He openly opposed St. John. Baptisın administere by a woman, might, when administered, take effect; but could not be allowed to be regular : and in regard to the other sacrament, since a lawful minister was necessary, the question of episcopacy was of the utmost importance. On the subject of the coronation-oath, Henderson might be met: grounds; for the party benefited by clause, was in fact the church of Eng ļhe church of England therefore sh


their sovereign from that clause in the oath, then, but not till then, should he think himself at liberty. In the English reformation, Parliament had only given a civil sanction to the ecclesiastical regulations established by the King and clergy. : Henderson replied, that if the King neglected reform, the power fell to inferior magistrates, and, on their neglect, to the people. The jus divinum of episcopacy was never pleaded till lately: for merly bishops, were content to act under the authority of princes *. To the question, Where was presbyterianism before Calvin ? Ķre would return the saine answer as the Protestants gave to the Papists, when it was asked, Where was your church before Luther?-In Scripture $. The first church of Jerusalem contained more churchies than one, and was, governed by al presbytery (Acts, xv.), jhere the Apostles sate as elders *:Such was the --* If Henderson meant,' that Érastianisin had always prevailed till lately, all history contradicts his words. · If he meant, that Episcopalians, maintaining the jus divinum of episcopacy, denied the authority of princes in ecclesiastica matters, he calumniated episcopacy, or, did not understand it, The jus divinum of episcopacy was, in this respect, different from the jus divinum of the presbytery:

+ The cases were widely different. The promises of Christ's perpetual presence with his church, imply a perpetual existence of that church. Now episcopacy bad always: existfel, amidst the corruptions of Rome': but where had presbyterianism existed?

Both these i positions the Independents denied'; and the latter was disproved by the Episcopaligns I lo dona sil!

government at Ephesus, Corinth, Thessalonica; and when at length one presbyter presided with the name of bishop, Jerome declared it was by custom rather than by divine appointment*. That presbyters mayıördain is apparent from 1 Tim. iv. 14;:" The laying on of hands of the presbyterý.Even if bishops, and presbyters exercised distinct functions, the force of the presbyters? character does not on that account flow from episcopal ordination ; : for the seventy were inferior to the Apostles, and yet received their commission, not from them, but from Christ f. Though Jerome admits a difference of functions in his time, he ştates, that bishops and presbyters were the same in the days of the Apostles *. As to the coronation, oath, if the clergy. were to be first consulted, could a reformation ever be expected in Rome? The King was bound to attend to the good of the whole, and not exclusively to the good of the clergy: Salus populi suprema lex. It had been asked, " Could the King's conscience be forced $?” He replied, “ If it were amiss, it ought to be rec

* Quid facit episcopus quod, not facit presbyter, exceptâ ordinatione. Jerome.

+ During the lifetime of Christ, he was the sole bishop: the Apostles corresponded to priests, and the seventy to deacons. Was it ever pretended that presbyters could ordain deacons ?

* This is poor quibbling. The names might be the same, and the orders different.

$ This was making a king the only one in the realm wbo was not to judge of his own conscience.

« AnteriorContinuar »