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that " there is no other head of the church but the Lord Jesus Christ."'* For the first three hundred years after Christ, there was no regal, and for six hundred years there was no pontifical headship, in the sense at least in which it is now understood. During all that time the church was distinct from, and independent of both the crown and the pope. The supremacy of the crown is entirely of a temporal nature, and is confined to the civil government of both clergy and laity. This state of subjection to the civil power—" the powers that be"-existed from the first.

The apostle commands “ every soul to be subject to the king as supreme." Our Saviour himself, the divine and only Head of the church, set us an example of submission to the imperial supremacy. He suffered under Pontius Pilate. He acknowledged the civil authority of that unjust judge, but at the same time reminded him that he received his power from God. There is not one word in Scripture which exempts the clergy from the sword of the prince, even in heathen times, far less now when he is a member of the church. There is not a word in Scripture which either confers or permits a spiritual supremacy, either in the pope or any other ecclesiastical person. By degrees the pope usurped a jurisdiction superior not only to his own canon law, but also to the municipal law of all king

In England this was exerted so tyrannously, trampling on the just rights of the prince, the people, and the church, that it could be borne no longer. Henry VIII. had the courage to shake it off, and suppressed the pope's power in England for ever. To unrivet those usurpations on the ecclesiastical and even on the civil state, under the rague pretence, in ordine ad spiritualia, the oath of the king's supremacy was framed. It was the severest blow which the religion of Rome ever received. It laid the axe to the root of popery, for the supremacy is the real pirot on which popery hinges. As it has been since modified, the oath is as follows: I, A. B. do swear that I do from my heart abhor, detest, and abjure as impious and heretical, that damnable doctrine and position, that princes excommunicated or deprived by the pope or any authority of the see of Rome, may be deposed or murdered by their subjects, or any other what

And I do declare that no foreign prince, person, prelate, state, or potentate hath, or ought to have any jurisdiction, power, superiority, pre-eminence, or authority ecclesiastical or spiritual within this realm. So help me God.”

The consequence to the church, of Henry's breach with Rome was merely a change of masters. He threw off nothing of popery but the foundation of its whole power—the supremacy. He did not restore the church to her freedom; he assumed the same supremacy which the pope


+ Westminster Confession of Faith, ch. XXX.

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had exercised. In all other respects he lived and died a zealous papist. The public worship continued as formerly in an unknown tongue. Image worship, invocation of saints and the Virgin Mary, and prayers for the dead, were still retained. The doctrines of purgatory, transubstantiation, and works of supererogation, were still maintained, and the seven sacraments were solemnized as heretofore. Whoever opposed, wrote, or spoke against his supremacy or these doctrines, suffered death as heretics. This statute was executed with unrelenting severity, and many both of the clergy and laity were burnt at the stake. Nothing was more common than to see a staunch Romanist, for denying the king's supremacy, and a zealous protestant, for non-compliance with the ceremonies, chained together, back to back, and burnt alive at the same stake. The supremacy, as claimed by Henry, was a stumblingblock to many pious clergymen. He assumed that same spiritual power which the pope had usurped and exercised. But the supremacy which reverted to him on the abolition of popery, was not that exorbitant lawless power which the pope had exercised, but only the ancient legal authority and jurisdiction in matters ecclesiastical, which the kings of England had exercised over the clergy, from the first introduction of Christianity into the kingdom. Henry considered himself plainly as a pope in his own dominions. This assumption was opposed by the protestant bishops, and therefore the first parliament of Elizabeth altered the style to

supreme governor.” This is a distinction without much difference : but the act expressly confined the supremacy of the crown to the temporal and civil government of the clergy. The supremacy of the crown, therefore, is now entirely of a temporal nature, and confined to civil affairs in the persons of both the clergy and laity. This matter is settled by the Thirty-nine Articles, and removes all doubts as to the nature of the supremacy. It extends over all men, both spiritual and temporal, in so far only as the civil sword reaches to the persons of ecclesiastics. It can reach no farther than this world. The power of the keys, which was committed to the church alone, and is to be exercised by the church alone, reaches to the world to come. The two powers are therefore essentially and decidedly distinct and separate, and held by separate persons, as the Articles of Religion distinctly show.

“ The king's majesty hath the chief power in this realm of England, and other his dominions, unto whom the chief government of all estates of this realm, whether they be ecclesiastical or civil, in all causes doth appertain; and it is not, nor ought to be, subject to any foreign jurisdiction.

“ Where we attribute to the king's majesty the chief government, by which titles we understand the minds of some slanderous folks to be offended; we gire not to our princes the ministering either of God's word, or of the sacraments, the which thing the injunctions also lately set forth by Elizabeth our queen do most plainly testify; but that only prerogative, which we see to have been given always to all godly princes in Holy Scripture, by God himself; that is, that they should rule all states and degrees committed to their charge by God,

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whether they be ecclesiastical or temporal, and restrain with the civil sword the stubborn and evil-doers. The bishop of Rome hath no jurisdiction in this realm of England.'

The supremacy is also settled and determined by the canons of the church; that is, the fundamental laws as agreed upon in both houses of convocation, and assented to by the king in the same manner as an act of parliament. The first canon says :

As our duty tv the king's most excellent majesty requireth, we first decree and ordain, that the archbishop from time to time, all bishops, deans, archdeacons, parsons, vicars, and all other ecclesiastical persons, shall faithfully keep and observe, and as much as in them lieth shall cause to be observed and kept of others, all and singular laws and statutes made for restoring to the crown of this kingdom the ancient jurisdiction over the state ecclesiastical, and abolishing of all foreign power repugnant to the same. Furthermore, all ecclesiastical persons having cure of souls, and all other preachers, and readers of divinity lectures, shal! to the utmost of their wit, knowledge, and learning, purely and sincerely (without any colour of dissimulation) teach, manifest, open, and declare, four times every year at the least, in their sermons and other collations and lectures, that all usurped and foreign power (forasmuch as the same hath no establishment nor good ground by the law of God) is for most just causes taken away and abolished, and that therefore no manner of obedience or subjection within bis majesty's realms and dominions is due unto any such foreign power; but that the king's power within his realms of England, Scotland, and Ireland, and all other his dominions ar.d countries, is the highest power under God, to whom all men, as well inhabitants as born within the same, do by God's laws owe most loyalty and obedience, afore and above all other powers and potentates in the earth.”+

No person shall be received into the ministry, nor admitted to any ecclesiastical function, except he shall first subscribe (amongst others) to this article following: That the king's majesty under God is the only supreme governor of this realm, and of all others his highness's dominions and countries, as well in all spiritual or ecclesiastical things or causes, as temporal ; and that no foreign prince, person, prelate, state, or potentate, hath or ought to have any jurisdiction, power, superiority, pre-eminence, or authority, ecclesiastical or spiritual, within his majesty's said realms, dominions, and countries.":

Sir Edward Coke says that the act of Elizabeth was an act of restitution of the ancient jurisdiction ecclesiastical, which always belonged of right to the crown of England. It was not introductory of a new, but declaratory of the old, and that which was, or of right ought to be, by the fundamental laws of this realm, parcel of the king's jurisdiction. By which laws the king, as supreme head, had full and entire power in all causes ecclesiastical as well as temporal. As in temporal causes, the king doth judge by his judges, in the courts of justice, by the temporal laws of England : so in causes ecclesiastical, they are to be determined by the judges thereof, according to the king's ecclesiastical laws. By a solemn decision of all the judges, it was found that the kingdom of England is an absolute empire and monarchy, consisting of one head—THE KING—and of a body politic, made


many well agreeing members. All wbich the laws divide into two several parts,—THE CLERGY and the LAITY, and both of them immediately under God subject and obedient to the head. The kingly head

* 37th Article of Religion.

+ Canon 1. 1663.

: Canon %.

of this united body politic is furnished with prerogative and jurisdiction to render justice and right to every part and member of this body, of what estate or degree soever ; otherways he would not be at the head of the whole.*

The church of England is governed by two archbishops, and twenty-four bishops, and has twenty-six deans and chapters, sixty archdeacons, five hundred and forty-four prebendaries, and about nine thousand seven hundred rectors or vicars, many of whom have at least one curate, and many of them more, as it is physically impossible for one man to do the whole official duties of a parish in the more populous towns. The archbishops assist at the coronation of our monarchs, the archbishop of Canterbury places the crown on the king's, and York on the queen consort's head. The archbishops are the chief of the clergy in their provinces, and they have besides, their own dioceses wherein they exercise episcopal jurisdiction. They consecrate bishops, and receive appeals from inferior jurisdictions within their provinces, besides a number of other duties. They are the guardians of the spiritualities, as the king is of the temporalities of every bishopric during its vacancy. The archbishop of Canterbury has also the power of granting dispensations in any case not contrary to the Holy Scriptures and the law of God, where the pope used formerly to grant them.

This is the foundation of his granting special licenses to marry at any tiine or place, to hold two livings, and the like. On this is also founded the right he exercises of conferring degrees, in prejudice of the two universities. The archbishops and bishops also confirm young people in their several dioceses, consecrate churches and burial grounds, and ordain priests and deacons, and are obliged to visit every parish church in their diocese every three years. They also give institution, and direct induction to all ecclesiastical livings in their dioceses.

Rectors or vicars, are the parish ministers, and are so called on account of the peculiar nature of the tithes. There is also another description of ministers termed perpetual curates, whose stipends are of course inferior to that of the rectors and vicars, although many of these have benefices which are not worth £80 per annum. All these ecclesiastics, either themselves, or by curate, if they are obliged to employ one, regularly perform divine service in the parish churches, at least once, and in many cases, as in large cities and towns, three times every Sunday, and on all the other days set apart for public worship by the church of England. They also celebrate marriages and baptisms both in public and private, and church women after childbirth, visit the sick, administer the holy communion on the first Sunday of every month, and on other days, and also to the sick at their own

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houses. They likewise perform the last duties of the church to the dead, by reading the burial service at funerals in the churchyard.*


The reading so large a portion daily of the Sacred Scriptures in the established church of England, is alone so great a blessing, as in the judgment of many, much more than counterbalances all the imperfections, real or supposed, with which the national church is accused. Another obvious advantage is the perpetuity of her creed and liturgy. The articles remain the same compendium of scriptural truth, the homilies the same deposite of “ godly and wholesome doctrine," and the liturgy the same sublime and spiritual service as they ever were. They are all, too, as necessary for these as they were in any former times, and will be for all future generations. It is therefore devoutly to be wished that they may remain immovably fixed to enlighten and comfort the people of that favoured land, till time shall be swallowed up in eternity. In a country, however, where the right of private judgment is so fully recognised, it cannot be expected that unanimity in religious opinions should exist. In its principles the church of England is perfectly tolerant. She not only appoints large portions of the Scripture to be read in her public worship, but she directs her members “ to read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest” them. There has been no mental slavery in England since the Reformation; therefore men reading the Scriptures judge for themselves. Hence there will necessarily be a diversity of private opinions respecting both doctrine and discipline.

The laws of England, therefore, consider all denominations of Christians who differ from the established church in doctrine and discipline as dissenters. These generally dissent from the established church both in the mode of worship and in government. The first time we read of dissenters in England, was in the reign of queen Elizabeth. Evans says,

on account of the extraordinary purity which they proposed in religious worship and conduct, they were reproached with the name of puritans." That queen had no great favour for the puritans. She was of opinion that there was very little difference in their sentiments and

that "

* Claims of the Established Church.-Lloyd's Historical Account of Church Government as it was in Great Britain and Ireland when they first received the Christian Religion. W. F. Hooke on the Establishment.--Bishop Walker's Life of Archbishop Whitgift.Jewel's Apology of the Church of England. -- Burn's Ecclesiastical Law.— Blackstone's Commentaries.- Tomlin's Law Dictionary.–Gibson's Coder Juris Ecclesiastici Anglicani. -Ordination Service.-Hody's History of English Councils and Convocations - Wake's State of the Church.--Kennet's Ecclesiastical Synods.—Johnson's Vademecum.-Statutes at Large.

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