Project Canterbury















"Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God."--Ps. lxxxvii. 3.











For the Orthodox Catholics while their Church is under Persecution.

Read 74th Psalm; then say,

ALMIGHTY GOD, our Heavenly Father, who hast purchased to thyself an Universal Church by the precious blood of thy dear Son, we beseech thee mercifully to look down upon that pure and apostolic branch of it in these realms, which is now suffering from the unhallowed counsels of daring and presumptuous men. We acknowledge with shame and sorrow, that we have richly deserved thy wrath, and that out sins and wickednesses and neglects of duty hare justly called forth this affliction from thy hands. Yet, O gracious Lord, who writest bitter things against us, and makest us to possess our former iniquities, we beseech thee now to turn away from thy great wrath, and from the fierceness of thy auger. Remove far from us, if it may please thee, for thy Son's sake, the evils that encompass and threaten us; or, if it be more for thy honour that they should be suffered to fall upon us, enable us by thy Holy Spirit to bear them as thy servants should, and in meekness, patience, and forgiveness of our enemies, to glorify thee in adversity, whom wo have failed to honour in prosperity. And, forasmuch as the preservation of pure and sound religion, and of the truths which our forefathers received from the Apostles, and have delivered unto us, depends, under thy Providence, on the firmness and fidelity of those who are [iii/iv] entrusted with the charge of spiritual things, we beseech thee so to guide and govern the minds of thy sen ants the Bishops and pastors of thy flock, that they may faithfully and wisely make choice of fit persons to serve in the sacred ministry of thy Church, So strengthen them, O Lord, with might, by thy Spirit, in the inner man, that no hope of human favour, no fear of earthly suffering, may induce them to make shipwreck of a good conscience, and to betray their trust, by choosing into the place of the Apostles unsound or improper men. We implore thee to forgive our rulers the sins which they have committed against ihee in profaning thy sanctuary, in despising thy ministers, and trampling upon thy sacred ordinances. Turn their hearts, O good Lord, we pray thee, and awaken them to such a sense of their misconduct, that they may yet glorify thy name, and obtain acceptance at thy hand, for Jesus' sake, and that thine anger may be turned away from this whole nation. And O blessed Lord Jesus Christ, as the time of thy return to visit and to judge the earth draweth nigh, pour out, we pray thee, upon thy people so large a measure of thy grace, and of the gifts of the Holy Ghost, that both the knowledge of thy mercy may be made known in distant lands which have not yet received thee, and an increase of faith and holiness lake place among those that are already called by thy name, that so it may please thee of thy gracious goodness, shortly to accomplish the number of thine elect, and to hasten thy kingdom, that we, with all those that are departed in the true faith of thy holy name, may have our perfect consummation and bliss, both in body and soul, in thy eternal and everlasting glory, where with the Father and the Holy Ghost, thou reignest one God, world without end. Amen.

Ember Week. September 1833.


Dark and evil must the days be in which necessity calls forth such a publication as this. Let the blame be to them who make, not to him who only answers to that call. If the prelates whose names are here mentioned are offended at it, I desire it may be considered that all that I have done is to transcribe their names from the public papers, and to state nakedly and distinctly some of the enactments of the Bill for which they voted, and some of the evils resulting from it, which they have aided to inflict upon the Church of Christ. If for so doing they deem any apology to be due from me, I do, in truth, in sadness and singleness of heart, offer them all the apology which a servant of Jesus Christ should offer, when, in contending for his Master's honour, he is forced to lift up the veil that would conceal or obscure conduct which is injurious to it. More they cannot require, unless they can maintain that I have offended against ecclesiastical discipline. If they can do this--if they can shew that during the first six centuries, or during any age of the Church, when a Bishop [v/vi] of one Diocese broached novel and strange doctrines, or assisted the persecutors of the Church, it was held unlawful for a presbyter in another diocese (praised be God for preserving my own diocesan from that snare; reward him, O Lord, and strengthen him for thy service, through Jesus Christ!) to point out to the orthodox the evil tendency of such conduct, then I will both recall this publication as far as shall be in my power, and make every amends which shall be judged right and proper. It is to their conduct as members of the civil legislature, not as Bishops of the Catholic Church, that I have ventured to call attention. If any of them, which God grant! is sorry for the part he took, is it too much to expect that, as the offence to the Church was open, the acknowledgment of it should be also? Or, let them prove, if they can, that the course which they pursued is according to the truth of Scripture, as the Catholic Church has received and taught it.




Very Reverend and Reverend Brethren,

Let me request you to read carefully the following list:--

The Most Rev. E. V. Harcourt, Archbishop of York.
The Most Rev. R. Whateley, Archbishop of Dublin.
The Right Rev. C. J. Blomfield, Bishop of London.
The Right Rev. C. R. Sumner, Bishop of Winchester.
The Right Rev. G. H. Law, Bishop of Bath and Wells.
The Right Rev. J. B. Sumner, Bishop of Chester.
The Right Rev. E. Maltby, Bishop of Chichester.
The Hon. and Rt. Ret. E. Grey, Bishop of Hereford.
The Hon. and Rt. Rev. H. Ryder, Bp. of Lichfield and Coventry.
The Right Rev. E. Copleston, Bishop of Llandaff.
The Right Rev. H. Bathnrst, Bishop of Norwich.

It contains the names of those among the Clergy who, on the 10th of July, 1833, were found united with Dissenters, Papists, Socinians, and other reckless laymen, in forcing through the civil legislature, a measure affecting the Church in Ireland, which the Spiritual Pastors of that Church did, with almost unanimous voice, [7/8] declare to be injurious to the spiritual interests of their flocks. Under the sanction of these names, a decree has gone forth, that the number of the Apostles in the Orthodox Catholic Church in Ireland shall be reduced nearly one half: that the Sees from which the Bishops are to be taken shall, as they fall vacant, be conferred upon men holding other Sees, without their consent being asked in the matter, and without the intervention of any Ecclesiastical authority whatsoever: and that the remainder of the Bishops shall be subjected, in the discharge of some of their Apostolical and Episcopal functions, to the control of a mixed board of Ecclesiastics and laymen, removable by men (the King's Ministers) whom the law of the land, since 1829, contemplates as not necessarily being in the communion of the Church. No disrespect is here intended to those whose names are given, nor ought it to be supposed that they will consider themselves aggrieved by it. That which they, as public men, have openly done in the face of God and man, is fairly open to comment and observation. They cannot think, nor do they probably wish, that it should be forgotten. At all events it can matter very little to them whether it is recorded here or not: there is one book in which the record has been entered with an indelible pen: I mean the book of God's remembrance, to whom at the great day they must one and all account for their share in this transaction, He, [8/9] and not mortal man, will be their Judge at that day; He who can read the heart, and understand the motive that prorapted them, which man cannot do. If we must allude to motives at all, we are bound to judge as Christians; and, with the charity which "thinketh no evil," to believe that they thought themselves to be actuated by amiable and praiseworthy motives in the course which they adopted. This does not, and cannot affect the matter. A Bishop in the earlier days of persecution, might have thought that he was actuated by a praiseworthy love of peace, and an amiable regard to the temporal comforts of his Clergy, when, in the hope of staving off persecution, he offered sacrifice and endeavoured to persuade his Clergy to do the same. The Church, as far as I am aware, never inquired into or listened to the motives; these were before his Judge, his conduct was before the Church, and with that they dealt It is only to the simple facts of the conduct of these most reverend and right reverend prelates, and to what they have done, that there is any desire to call your attention. Is it not beyond the reach of denial, that the Act which these prelates assisted to pass invades the spiritual authority of the Church; removes the safeguard which the prescience of the Holy Spirit has placed for the preservation of the Catholic Faith; and tramples under foot the ordinances of the Son of God! For whereas our blessed Lord has entrusted in [9/10] Ireland the care of the spiritual wants of his Church to the spiritual officers of that Church, the Bishops and Clergy, this Act of Parliament decrees alterations in things spiritual, not only without consulting them, but in direct opposition to their solemn remonstrances; in which they protest against it "as deeply injurious to the spiritual privileges, rights, and interests of the Church," as "totally opposed to their system of Ecclesiastical polity, inconsistent with the spiritual authority of the prelates, calculated to impede the extension of the principles of their Church among the people, and highly injurious to the progress of true religion in that country." [See Petition of Irish Clergy presented to the House of Lords by the Archbishop of Canterbury.]

It was in defiance of this solemn remonstrance, that the prelates, whose names are here given, aided a party composed in part of persons out of the pale of the Church, to do that which they, whom God had made the judges of the matter, did in their Master's name declare to be hurtful and injurious to the Church.

When, before, in the annals of the Church, if we except the usurpations of the Bishop of Rome, in the abuse of his patriarchal office, was it ever known that Bishops presumed to dictate to Bishops, in the regulation of the affairs of their own dioceses? Yet here a handful of Bishops in the [10/11] provinces of Canterbury and York, together with the Metropolitan of Leinster, not in a synod of the Church, but in an assembly which is actually composed in part, and for any thing that the law says to the contrary, may be composed entirely, of persons out of the Communion of the Church, join hands with the Socinians, who deny the Divinity of the eternal Son of God, with the Romanists, who pay to a dead woman the honour due to the Almighty, and with other Dissenters from the Church, to pass decrees by which all the Bishops, in the provinces of Ulster, Leinster, Munster, and Connaught, and all their metropolitans, are commanded, in certain points, to order the affairs of their dioceses, at the direction of a mixed board of laymen and ecclesiastics, removable by the ministers of the crowni whom, as was before observed, the law of the land contemplates as Dissenters, Romanists, and Socinians. [In the Psalter of our Lady, what David ascribed to the Lord, is ascribed to the Virgin Mary, by the substitution of her for his, and Lady for Lord. This book, which received the highest encomiums at the time of its appearing, has never been disowned by the Romish Church. They in that Church who assumed the authority of placing "the Holy Scriptures" on the list of forbidden books, have never placed "the Psalter of our Lady" there.] Thus the rules of the Catholic Church are openly violated; [Extract from the eighty-eighth Canon of the Code of the universal Church. The Canon was made A.D. 341. "It seems good that he (the Metropolitan) should have precedence in honour: and that the other Bishops do nothing of great importance, without him, according to the ancient decrees of our fathers; or those things only which belong to their respective dioceses, and to the districts which are attached to them. For each Bishop has authority over his own diocese, and governs it according to the measure of his piety, and has the care of all the country under it; so as both to ordain Presbyters and Deacons, and to determine every thing with judgment. But, beyond this let him undertake nothing without the Metropolitan; nor be without the consent of the rest."] the Divine [11/12] commission set aside; [Luke xxii. 29. Matt, xxviii, 20.] and the express injunctions of the Holy Ghost made of none effect; [Heb. xiii. 17. Tit. i. 5.] "So that we are become an open shame to our enemies, a very scorn and derision unto them that are round about us." [Psalm lxxix. 4. See the letter of Dr. M'Hale, one of the Romish Bishops in Ireland, to the Bishop of Exeter.]

To show how directly this Act of Parliament is at variance with the commands of the Holy Spirit, as set forth in Scripture, look to the mixed commission, in which men who may be lay members of a Bishop's flock, are empowered to controul him whom God has commanded them to obey; and that in a point of such intimately spiritual moment as the ordaining Elders to places it) his diocese. The Bishop says to the lay-commissioner, "by warrant of Holy Scripture," Heb. xiii. 17.1 require you to obey me in spiritual matters." The lay-commissioner answers, "By virtue of Act [12/13] of Parliament, I will, on the contrary, controul you in the discharge of your duties." The Bishop says, "By warrant of God's word, (Tit. i. 5.) I am commissioned to ordain Elders, in my diocese, where they shall seem to me to be needed." The commissioner, be he layman or ecclesiastic, it matters not, replies, "By warrant of Act of Parliament, §. 116. I am commissioned to forbid you." The Bishop says, "I am answerable to Almighty God that I do ordain them." The commissioner replies, "But you are answerable to Lord Grey, and the House of Commons, that you do not." Thus "the kingdom of this world" is put in direct opposition to "the kingdom of our Lord, and of his Christ." "The kings of the earth stand up, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed. Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us." (Ps. ii. 2, 3.)

Very Reverend and Reverend Brethren, as the safety and welfare of the Church depends, under God's Providence, in a very great degree upon the soundness and fidelity of the Chief Pastors, [13/14] it is natural that at this trying juncture the eyes of the whole Church should be turned to you; and with this view have f ventured to address you, that, in the event of the removal of the Bishop to whose cathedral your Chapter is annexed, you may not be taken by surprise, but may have well and maturely considered, and made up your mind, as to the course which your duty to Christ and to his Church requires at your hands, remembering the solemn account which you must one day give before the tribunal of God. [The opinion of the early Church, both before and after the Nicene Council, on the subject of translations, may be gathered from the following rules: Eleventh Canon of the Ante-nicene Code, commonly called Apostolical. "Let not a Bishop be allowed to leave his own diocese and leap into another, though he be violently importuned by many, without some just cause compelling him to do so, on account of his being able to bring greater good to the people thereby his godly doctrine; and this not of his own head, but by the judgment and earnest request of many other Bishops," Hundredth Canon of the Post-Nicene Code, or Code Universal. A.D. 341. "Let not a Bishop be translated from one diocese to another, either of his own accord, or by any force of the people or Bishops, bat let him remain in the Church to which he was first called." First Canon of the Council of Sardis, A.D. 347. "If any Bishop remove from a lesser city to a greater, through covetous-ness, and an affectation of power, it seems good to all the Bishops that such ought not to enjoy even lay communion."] As to what that course should be there is no desire here to express an opinion; nor can you need to know the sentiments of one who has rather need to learn of you. The opinion of others, if favourable to the election of any man, would not clear you of guilt in the sight of God, if you proceeded to elect him, while your own heart told you it was wrong; [14/15] nor, if unfavourable, need it weigh with you to reject him if, seriously and conscientiously, you believed that the interests of the Apostolic Church, and the holy ordinances of our Lord, might be safely committed to his charge, It is a simple matter of conscience, a matter which involves the honour of our blessed Master, the essential character of the Catholic Church, the welfare of true religion, the spiritual interests of the members of Christ's flock, and the eternal salvation of your souls.

Brethren, the position which you hold in the Church, the trust which is committed to you is one of the most awful and tremendous responsibility. By what means it has come to pass that the right which formerly was acknowledged to be in the whole body of a diocese to choose their chief pastor has become vested in a few clergy who hold offices in the cathedral, but need not have any cure of souls in the diocese, there is no need to inquire. [See Note at the end.] It is enough that, for the present, in your hands is placed the trust, on your heads rests the responsibility. Let the person recommended to you for election be who he may, you are the individuals whom the Church at present vests, and recognizes as vested, with authority to judge of his fitness. If, upon due deliberation, you are conscientiously satisfied that he is indeed [15/16] well fitted for the office, you proceed at once to the election; and your fellow-men are bound to suppose that you have good grounds for your decision. In the formal instrument of address to the Bishop Elect you declare such choice to have been made after "prayers to Almighty God, and after mature and serious consideration:" we are no judges of the sincerity of those prayers, of the strict and conscientious nature of that consideration; we are bound in charity to believe that it is as you solemnly declare it to be. Any failure in any of these points is a matter for which He only whose servants you are can and will call you to account.

But if, upon calm deliberation, you shall feel convinced that the person recommended to you is unfit for the office, then painful it becomes your duty, as you value the honour of your Lord and Saviour, as you tender the preservation of Catholic and Apostolic truth, as you regard the welfare of true religion and the safety of the souls of your fellow-men, by all your hopes of heavenly happiness, by all your fears of the wrath of God, as you shall stand before His tribunal to account to Him for what you do in this life, to reject that man and to refuse to elect him.

Are you unprepared for such a step? Well then consider, with the eyes of men, of Christians, of angels, and of God himself upon you, what other you will choose. Brethren, I beseech you, suffer [16/17] the word of exhortation, I am speaking to faithful men, who are zealous for their Master's service. But we have lived so long in peace and safety that many among us are unprepared for scenes of a different kind: we have been so long surrounded by those who professed friendship to our Zion, that we require some consideration before we can see clearly what course our duty points out when the foes of God stalk forth from their hiding-places and array themselves in open day against the kingdom of His Son. It is probable that they who have not as yet well weighed our altered circumstances, will be apt to pause to consider the consequences of such a course as that here recommended. Let me, with veneration and affection, remind them that, in matters of duty and fidelity to our crucified Redeemer, whose commission we bear, we have, if I may so speak, nothing to do with consequences. The points to be aimed at are to clear our own consciences, to save our own souls, to defend our Master's honour; the consequences being left to God. Let us do our duty, and leave the rest to him, in the full and certain faith which, as Christians, we must have, that that must in the end be the wisest and most prudent course, which is most in accordance with His will. This rule will hold the same let the consequences be never so tremendous. Yes, brethren, though exile or death were before us, we may not shrink. "He that saveth his life shall lose it, but he that [17/18] loseth his life for Christ's sake shall keep it unto life eternal." Luke ix. 24. John xii. 25.

Nevertheless, let us, if you will, consider the consequences; that even our enemies may not be able to say that the thing was taken in hand rashly and wantonly, but soberly, discreetly, advisedly, and in the fear of God. Let us first consider personal consequences: for, after much uninterrupted peace, men, not unnaturally, are apt to be timid and sensitive on that score. Let us suppose then--forgive the supposition--that some man should be tempted to turn aside from the course which his conscience tells him to be most in accordance with his duty to God, through fear of worldly personal consequences. The first which will probably occur to his imagination is the possible loss of his stall or canonry. If the eyes of any individual, thus halting between two opinions, shall light upon these pages, let me entreat him, before he proceeds further, to retire to his room, and in singleness of heart let him pray for guidance to his Father which seeth in secret; and let him, in his thoughts, place before him, on one side the clearing of his conscience before his Almighty Judge, on the other the proceeds of his chapter dividend; and then "utrum horum mavis accipe." May he receive grace and strength firmly to adhere to that which the Spirit of his God shall point out to him as the most valuable! But perhaps it is not so much for himself, but on account of his family [18/19] that he hesitates, and cannot bring his mind to do what conscience clearly indicates to be right, through fear of the inconveniences to which they may be exposed thereby. Beloved brethren, the voice of nature is strong, and it will needs cost many a tug at the heart-strings to adopt a course which may, even by possibility, be hurtful to the comfort of those so near and dear. But the voice of the God of nature is stronger; and what saith the Scripture? "He that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me." (Matt. x. 37.) In this respect "I am as thou art;" and indeed it seems very probable that, before the trial is over which awaits those who are faithful to their Lord, many of us, laity and clergy alike, may be put to many privations; which, after the abundance which hitherto it has pleased Almighty God to grant us, it will be hard and grievous to bear. But what then, brethren? shall I, on that account, shrink back and disobey my Master's call, when he bids me suffer for His sake? Surely I cannot in sincerity believe that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came down from heaven, and suffered on the cross for my salvation, but what I must be willing rather to earn a scanty maintenance by labouring with my hands, or beg my bread from door to door, than wilfully dishonour Him, and betray the trust which He has committed to me. And this I am sure will he the feeling of your breasts also, especially if you take into consideration these three things:

[20] First, if, by a compromise of your duty, and by acting contrary to the dictates of your conscience, in a matter so intimately affecting the honour of your Saviour and the welfare of His Church, you shall succeed for a time in securing the possession of your present earthly income, whose pay and wages will you be receiving? It cannot be God's; no Christian, no, nor Heathen, can suppose that God will pay a man for dishonouring Him, and loving this world better than the next. Whose wages must they be? Think of that, whosoever thou art that waverest, and then ask thyself whether it can be kind to thy wife and children to feed them with the bread of such a master?

Secondly, consider that no compromise or surrender on your part can avail to save your cathedral preferments. The spoiler has gone round and marked your dwellings, and his ruthless hand will be laid upon you, whether you are faithful to your Lord or not. And the only question is, whether honour or dishonour shall attend the overthrow of those noble monuments of the piety and devotion of a better age.

Lastly, consider that if a concern for the well-being of your families weighs, as it needs must weigh with you, you can no otherwise secure that well being, you can no otherwise secure that every thing that is really good for them shall be provided for them, than by adhering strictly to the honour and service of him from whom every good gift and [20/21] every perfect gift proceedeth: remembering our Lord's injunction, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness," and having confidence in his promise that, in that case, "all these things shall be added thereto." Confirmed as that promise is by the previous testimony of one who says, "I have been young, and now am old, and yet saw I never the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging their bread."

But perhaps it is worse than this, and that not only loss of income but imprisonment may await you, if, in a matter committed to your trust, you act according to your conscience, and do your duty to your God and Saviour. It is even so. The nation which has struck from her statute book, as foul and loathsome blots, every restraint upon the civil and religious liberty of Dissenters, Romanists, and Socinians, still retains upon it laws whereby the commissional servants of God in the Orthodox Catholic Church, are liable to loss of worldly goods, and to perpetual imprisonment (25 Hen. viii. c. 20.) if they refuse respectively to elect and consecrate to the place of Apostles in the Church of Christ, any men whom the Prime Minister of the day may recommend to them; that Prime Minister being contemplated by the eye of the law as a Dissenter, Romanist, or Socinian. [It is a mere quibble to say that it is not the Minister but the King who appoints. All that the King of England does, is by the advice of his Ministers, or rather they do it in the King's name. Such quibbling would not hold in things of earth; will it hold in points of conscience, and in things of Heaven?] Yes, though the man [21/22] whom such a Minister may recommend may be unsound in his faith, unholy in his life; if the Chapter hesitate to elect him, if they hesitate to declare that they have done so after solemn prayer to Almighty God, and due and mature deliberation; or if faithful Bishops shall hesitate to consecrate such a one, both Bishops and Clergy are liable to the pains and penalties of a praemunire, to outlawry, loss of all their worldly goods, and to perpetual imprisonment. [Note at the end.] It is not probable that any Minister would dare to advise his Majesty to enforce the penalties of that profane and wicked statute; but we should be prepared for all consequences, and it is certainly possible that they might Well, brethren, suppose they did, and that to prison you must go. You will have for your companions the noble Paul, the affectionate Peter, the faithful Silas; you will have Polycarp and Ignatius with you, Cyprian and Basil, Latimer and Ridley, Ken and Sancroft, yea, the whole noble army of martyrs and confessors. Shall the look of their prison make you and me shrink back from joining their blessed company? Alas! my brother, if it does, with what hearts shall we behold the day of judgment? when, together with them, we shall be placed before the dread tribunal, and see them receive the crown of glory that fadeth not away, eternal in the heavens, [22/23] while from us our Saviour's face will be averted in shame before the holy angels, because we have been ashamed of him in this adulterous and sinful generation? Mark viii. 38.

Here the power of the oppressors ends. Not even their statute book wilt warrant them in adding death to confiscation and imprisonment, for fidelity to our Master's service. But, if it did, still I trust we should be ready to go, not to prison only, but also to die, for the testimony and the truth of Jesus. Cease then to calculate personal consequences. They ought to have, and can have, no weight with those whose hearts and affections are devoted to the Lord, to turn them from the right path.

But what will be the consequences to the Church? the next inquiry will be. Surely, our best and wisest plan will be to leave those to Him who has promised to take care of them. One thing is certain, the spiritual interests of the Church of Christ can never be promoted by compromise of duty, by gulping conscience. Let us be true to our God, and we may rely upon it that he will be true to us and to his Church, according to his most sure promise, "The gates of hell shall not prevail against it." So long as, in faithfulness and truth, we adhere to him, vain will be all the machinations of our enemies: "He that dwelleth in heaven shall laugh them to scorn; the Lord shall have them in derision." Still it will be [23/24] the part of prudent men to anticipate the probable consequences, that we may not be taken unawares, nor, in the hour of trial, have to seek and to doubt about our course, as men destitute of forethought and consideration.

Let us first consider the probable consequences, which are these. If the ministers of the crown are, what with their lips they profess to be, friends to the orthodox Catholic Church, hitherto established in this kingdom, the mere knowledge of the wishes and conscientious feeling of the Clergy, will induce them to be cautious in their recommendation, and to name only such persons as are beyond the reach of reasonable exception. Thus the whole difficulty will be removed, and things be as they ought to be; the State co-operating with the Church, in providing for the welfare and preservation of sound and apostolic religion. [Lest any in their zeal should be inclined to suppose that the fact of there being now no security against the Minister of the Crown being a person out of the Communion of the Catholic Church, is in itself a reason for rejecting at once any one recommended from that quarter, let them consider that so far is this from being so, that St. Paul mentions it as highly desirable that one, otherwise duly qualified for the ministry, should "have a good report of them that are without." 1 Tim. iii. 7.] But if the Ministers of the Crown be, what from their acts we should naturally judge them to be, hostile to the Apostolic Church, and aiming either at its disgrace, or at its separation from the State, by [24/25] any means, fair or foul, then they will persist in some obnoxious recommendation. If the Clergy, as fearing the wrath of God, refuse to comply, and choose another, the only step which it seems probable that the Ministers of the Crown will take, is, to content themselves with confiscating the temporalities of the See, and saying to the Clergy, "as you will not violate your consciences to please us, we will plunder the endowments which not we, but others, have dedicated to the service of your God, and you may provide for your Bishop as you may." If such is the line they adopt, then [25/26] "arise, O God, maintain thine own cause; remember how the foolish men blaspheme thee daily;" make their faces ashamed, O Lord, that they may seek thy name; "that this people may know that thou art the Lord God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again." [To deter any clergyman from undertaking the spiritual charge of one of the condemned dioceses, now stripped of all its temporal emoluments (the only apparent object of such gratuitous service could be the honour of God,) the Lord Chancellor of England (I heard him myself) suggested a clause (happily, it was not pressed,) that such person should be incapable of holding any ecclesiastical benefice whatsoever. Have these men no fear of God? "Remember the children of Edom, O Lord, in the day of Jerusalem, how they said, down with it, down with it, even to the ground." It is no excuse for their wickedness to say that they only "follow a multitude to do evil," and do what they think will please the people; for not only is this forbidden by the Holy Ghost, (Exod. xxiii. 2.) but even the very heathens acknowledged that it was inconsistent with the character of an honest and upright man. "Justum et tenacem propositi virum, non civium ardor prava jubentium ...... mente quatit solidâ." If these men are Christians, (let it always be remembered that we have no security from the law that any of them shall be, unless the Socinians, who blaspheme our Lord, are to be accounted such,) let me entreat them, not in their council-chamber, but in their private closets, to read the passages which follow; and when they lie down at night, on the bed from which it is possible they will not rise again in this world, let them, calmly, and in the fear of God, consider how far the conduct which they have been pursuing, resembles that here spoken of. "Pilate, willing to content the people, released Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus, when he had scourged him, to be crucified." Mark xv, 15. "Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the Church. And he killed James the brother of John with the sword; and because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also." Acts xii.] And now I think I hear the men of this world, whose only estimate for the value of any thing is the price which it will bring in the money-market, asking in scorn, "whom will you get to undertake the office, when we have taken away the emoluments of it?" Servants of the living God! let us reply by asking another question, "Where is the man, whom the Lord has admitted into his household, who, so long as his Master gives him 'food and raiment,' will dare to hazard his salvation by refusing, when duly called upon, to serve his Master in the hour of need, through such [26/27] considerations?" "Curse ye Meroz, saith the angel of the Lord, curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof, because they came not to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty."

But it is right to take into account, not the probable consequences only, but also the possible ones. Let us consider, then, what other course it would be in the power of the ministers of the crown to pursue. If a chapter of a vacant diocese, on proceeding to elect a Bishop, shall, through conscientious conviction of the unfitness of the individual, in the fear of God, refuse to elect the nominee of the crown, and shall choose in his stead some faithful man in whose soundness, judgment, firmness, and fidelity, they may safely rely, the impious statute of Henry VIII. gives the King the power, as far as an Act of Parliament can, to set aside the canonical election of the ministers of God's Church; [It will not be necessary for them at once to take this step. If they have hope that the civil power will be accessible to reason, and to a regard to decency and religion, it will be sufficient for them to reject the unworthy candidate; and to wait till the ministers of the crown, having made more accurate investigation, shall have found some one to recommend, who, in the judgment of the electors, is fitted for the office. It will be a matter for their discretion which course they adopt. If they proceed at once to elect another, no one can deny that it is free for them to do so, and that such a course is strictly canonical.] to sentence them to outlawry, loss of worldly goods, and perpetual imprisonment; and, by letters patent under the [27/28] great seal, to nominate and present to the See the rejected and unworthy candidate.

It is doubtful whether such an impious exercise of arbitrary power, would be attempted in the present day; but, for the sake of the argument, we will suppose that it would: what would be the next step?

The person nominated by the Crown would either be a Bishop already, or he would not. In either case some assistance of the spiritual officers of God's Church would be necessary to carry the wishes of the Crown into effect, either by investment and installation, if already consecrated; or by consecration if not. The first difficulty would arise, probably, from the individual himself; who, if not altogether destitute of conscientious feeling, and the fear of God, would hesitate to persevere, as knowing that by no fiction whatever could he believe that he was "called according to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ," (answer of Bishop Elect at Consecration Service) to the office of a Bishop in that diocese, in which the ministers of God had canonically rejected him. Before we need proceed further with the case, we must suppose that there must be more persons than one among those listed in the household of God, thus madly and presumptuously wicked, else the scheme would stop short at once; for none would consecrate, and none lend their hands to institute a canonically rejected person (" that it may please [28/29] thee to bless this our brother elected, and to send thy grace upon him, that he may duly execute the office whereunto he is called," (prayer of the Archbishop at consecration). But let us still suppose (craving pardon of our prelates and clergy for the grossness of the supposition) that it were otherwise, and that by an abuse of the authority of the civil power, the person were enabled to present himself to the diocese which had rejected him, and claim to be their Bishop. What course would it be their duty then to pursue? There is no difficulty in answering the question. They must refuse to receive him. If it seem rash presumption in a single Presbyter to answer such a question, let it be replied, that the answer is furnished, not by him, but by the Church of God. The rules of the primitive Church supplied it. "If a Bishop availing himself of the assistance of secular princes, shall obtain a Church by their means, let him be deposed and excommunicated, and all who communicate with him." The words form the thirtieth of the Canons of the Primitive Code, the antiquity and authenticity of which the learned Beveridge so ably vindicated; it occurs in that part which was afterwards adopted both into the Eastern and Western Code; so that it has all the authority of the Ante and Post-Nicene Church. Thus the course for the clergy of the diocese to pursue with regard to the rejected candidate is broadly and distinctly marked out. But [29/30] what, in the mean time, will be the method most proper to be pursued with regard to the person duly and canonically elected, if they have adopted this course? There is as little hesitation in answering this question. Let them apply to the neighbouring Bishops for his consecration. If those nearest at hand refuse, to those farther off; until they have made application, and been refused, by all the orthodox Bishops in England, Ireland, Scotland, Sweden, and America, they cannot say that God has put it out of their power to provide conscientiously for the safety of His House. Let them do this, and let them not fear that they will fail. "Them that honour me," saith God, "I will honour, and those that despise me shall be lightly esteemed." 1 Sam. ii. 30.

If such a course shall lead to the separation of Church and State, let the blame fall where it is due, on those who would tyrannize over the Church of God. If the only condition on which the State will agree to the continuance of the connection be, that the Clergy shall violate their consciences, and betray their trust, and make a mock of holy things, by choosing as "meet to be elected," a person, whom in their consciences they believe to be unfit, then, indeed, it is no longer possible that the connection shall continue; but let God above bear witness that the separation is by their compulsion, not of our seeking.

This consideration may serve to remove the [30/31] fear which good men may, at first, entertain lest this be a resistance to "the powers that be," and therefore contrary to Scriptural injunction. Let us "compare spiritual things with spiritual," and set this text by the side of that: "Render unto Caesar the things which be Caesar's, and unto God the things which be God's;" by which it will appear that unlimited obedience is indeed due to the civil power, in the things which belong to it--that is, in civil and temporal matters; and accordingly in this address you will find no allusion to the temporal enactments of the Irish Bill, harsh and unequal as they appear to be. [Let it never be forgotten, that when the Irish Clergy were reduced to the extreme of privation, and subsisting, in part, upon the charitable succours of others, the government of this country (Earl Grey being Prime Minister) imposed burdens upon that impoverished class which had heretofore fallen upon the nobles and wealthy land-owners. It is a new aera in wickedness when the rich turn highwaymen, and the pauper's last shilling is the object of their plunder.] If the supreme civil power in the State were arbitrarily to deprive us of all our temporal goods, personal as well as ecclesiastical, I know no resistance which the Christian religion warrants but meek endurance, and supplication to Almighty God to strengthen us and to forgive them. "Here is the patience and the faith of the saints." But spiritual things God has committed, not to the civil but to the spiritual authorities. These are "the powers that be" in [31/32] these matters: and if the civil power attempts to trample upon the ordinances of God, we are not only not bound, we are forbidden by Scripture to aid or acquiesce in such a transaction: for " we ought to obey God rather than man;" and we must " render to God the things which be God's."

But what, then, becomes, another will ask, of your acknowledgment of the King as head of the Church? It is very true that the Bishops and pastors of Christ's flock, for the sake of peace and of the well-being of the state, have agreed to invest the supreme civil governor with such a portion of their authority that, so long as he acts according to the laws of the Church, the supreme decision of all ecclesiastical matters should be referred to him. But in every case where the supreme civil power turns round and becomes a persecutor, and attempts to set aside the laws of the spiritual Church, and the Divine ordinances, that headship falls to the ground. The pastors of Christ's flock cannot, even if they wish it, invest him with authority to do this. The primitive Christians could not have given the Roman senate power to set aside the decrees of the Church and of the Holy Ghost.

But will not the oath of allegiance militate against such a course? No, by no means. For the very fact of taking the oath acknowledges the supreme sovereignty of Almighty God; and it is impossible that, in the act of doing this, we can [32/33] bind ourselves to obey a deputed earthly sovereign against our Supreme Heavenly One: or if such is the meaning of the engagement, its blasphemy and impiety make it of none effect,

But, brethren, although as long as these impious laws remain on the statute-book, it will be our duty to submit with meekness to the punishments that they award, and to endure the loss of all things, rather than do dishonour to our Lord and Master; our duty to ourselves, to our families, to the nation, to the Church, and to the Founder of that Church, justifies us in using all the lawful means within our reach for procuring the repeal of them. Let all the Clergy who desire permission to exercise their spiritual functions unfettered by the fear of human tyranny, let all the laity who consider that the loss of all their worldly goods and perpetual imprisonment [The evil, monstrous as it has ever been in, theory, was not much felt in practice, while the government was necessarily in the hands of communicants of our Church, who were wont to consult the metropolitan as to the persons to be recommended by the Crown. But It becomes intolerable when the advisers of the Crown axe no longer necessarily members of our Church, and, whatever their profession may be, act hostilely to it, and are so far from consulting its wishes that not even the most solemn remonstrances can induce them to turn from a course which is declared to be injurious to true religion.] ought not to await their pastors for fearing God, and endeavouring to discharge their consciences to Him, and their duty to the whole body of the Church; in short, [33/34] let all in the Apostolic Church who fear God, and value the consciences of the teachers of their religion, unite in sending up, from every diocese and from every parish, humble petitions to those to whose hands is entrusted the power of making laws, entreating them for relief from such great and intolerable grievances.

There can be little doubt that success will attend our exertions. The members of the present administration cannot with decency refuse to the Orthodox Catholics that freedom from civil penalties in matters of conscience which they sought and obtained for the members of the Church of Rome. The members of the late administration will not deny to those of their own communion that liberty of conscience which they procured for all others. On the other hand, who will venture to oppose the prayer of our petition? Who will dare to stand up in the face of God and man and say that outlawry, loss of worldly goods, and perpetual imprisonment ought to be the lot of the commissioned servants of God if they dare to act according to their conscience in providing for the spiritual wants of the Church over which the Holy Ghost has made them overseers? No one. The case needs only to be stated to be admitted. It is the cause of truth and right, and must prevail.

And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of His grace; may His Holy [34/35] Spirit direct, support, and strengthen you in and to every good work! And I beseech you, brethren, pray for me that, having spoken the word of exhortation to others, I may have grace and strength to act according to it myself, when the hour of trial comes. And may the Lord bruise Satan under your feet shortly! The struggle that awaits us may possibly, nay probably, be severe: but something seems to whisper that it will not be for long. The greatness of the enemy's wrath, we are told, is to arise "because he knoweth that he hath but a short time." Rev. xii. 12. We have waited for thy salvation, O Lord! Surely the night is far spent, the day is at hand; already upon the mountains do our seers fancy they can trace the harbingers of light, and discern the faint rumblings of His chariot wheels, who returns to judge the earth.

I am,

Very Reverend and Reverend Brethren,

Your faithful but unworthy fellow-servant
in the Gospel of Christ,




THE mode of election into the number of chief pastors, which was exercised by the Apostles of our Lord, is recorded in the first chapter of Acts; where we find that, at a solemn meeting, consisting of one hundred and twenty disciples, two were chosen, and, after solemn prayer to Almighty God, it was decided by lot, which of the two should succeed to the vacant office. Who these one hundred and twenty were, whether only Apostles and their assistants in the ministry, (the Elders, Luke x. 1. and the Apostles alone would exceed eighty) or a mixed assembly, the remaining thirty-nine being simple brethren, we are not informed; we only know that they formed but a small portion of those who believed in the Lord Jesus, St. Paul speaking of "above 500 brethren" being assembled "at one time," on some previous occasion, when the opportunity of seeing their risen Lord was afforded them. 1 Cor. xv. 6. Thus under the immediate sanction of the Holy Ghost, the principle was recognised of a small portion of the Church, of whom it is not unreasonable to suppose that two thirds, if not the whole, consisted of persons in the ministry, being entrusted with this matter, which so immediately affects the interests of the whole body.

None of the Canons which have come down to us, (see Beveridge Codex Primitivae Ecclesiae Vindicatus) of the Church, between die decease of the Apostles, and the establishment of the Christian religion under Constantine, set forth any method of [37/38] election, as authorized by the Church, during that time. But we have reason to conclude that the wishes of the people were not of necessity consulted, because the thirty-seventh Canon contemplates the case of a newly-ordained Bishop going to his diocese, and "not accepted by reason of the perverseness of the people;" and the Council of Ancyra (Canon 18.) A.D. 315, afterwards received into the code of the universal Church, speaks of the same case.

But some light is thrown upon the matter by the Canons of the great Nicene Council, (A.D. 325,) which expressly state as follows.

Canon 4. "A Bishop ought to be constituted by all the Bishops that belong to the province; but if this be not practicable by reason of urgent necessity, or the length of the way, three must by all means meet together, and when they have the consent of those that are absent, signified by letter, then let them perform the ordination, and the ratification of what is done must be allowed to the Metropolitan in every province." For, as the fathers in that Council adopt as their motto, "let ancient customs prevail," (Canon 6.) it is not probable that they made any violent alteration in this matter. At any rate, such is the method acknowledged by the Church in the fourth century, which, if it goes no further, recognizes, first in the Bishops of the province, and then, in the Metropolitan, the right of rejecting an unworthy candidate. This is further confirmed by the Council of Antioch, (A.D. 341,) the Canons of which were received into the universal code: "Let not a Bishop be ordained without a Synod, and the presence of the Metropolitan, who is to call all his fellow-bishops to the metropolis by letter, and it is best that all meet; but if this be not practicable, yet a majority, at least, ought to be present, or to give their consent by letter, and then let the ordination be performed, with the presence or suffrage of the majority; but if they proceed contrary to the decrees, let the ordination be of no force: but if some contradict, out of an affectation of dispute, let the majority of voices prevail." Conc. Ant. Can. 19.

[39] " ........ Let the constitution of the Church be observed, namely, that a Bishop be made no otherwise than in a Synod, Mid by the judgment of the Bishops, who have power to promote a deserving man, when the former Bishop is gone to rest." Conc. Ant. Can. 23.

So again, the Council of Laodicaea, A.D, 367, whose Canons also were received into the Code Universal, speaks,

"That such Bishops ought to be constituted in their ecclesiastical government by the discretion of the Metropolitan and the neighbouring Bishops, as have been for a long time tried in relation to their faith, and in the dispensation of the sincere word." Conc. Laodic. Can. 12.

And both this Council and that of Antioch show how little claim was allowed, as of right, to the people in the matter; for the Council of Antioch, Can. 18, speaks of a Bishop "not going to the parish to which he was ordained by reason of the aversion of the people;" and the Council of Laodicaea, Can. 13, provides, that "the multitude be not permitted to choose them who are to be ordained to the Priesthood."

But though these Canons were received into the code of the whole Church (they form the 4th, 38th, 97th, 98th, 116th, 117th, of that Code in Justell's edition), in the West much greater weight was allowed to the wishes of the people and of the clergy.

The 6th Canon of the Council of Sardis (A.D. 347), which after the defection of the Arians, was composed of Western Bishops, says, "If one Bishop in a province neglect to meet, and consent to the ordination of a Bishop desired by the people, let him be summoned by the letters of the Exarch of the metropolis (i. e. the Metropolitan); but if he do not come nor send any answer, let the people have their desire." And from the decrees put forth by Siridus, Boniface, Coelestine, and Leo, Bishops of Rome, about the end of the fourth and beginning of the fifth century, it is clear, that both the clergy and the people of the vacant diocese, were consulted (as of right) [39/40] before the Bishops of the province proceeded to consecrate, or the Metropolitan assented and ratified the deed.

Siricius, in Ms 10th and 11th Canons, speaks of obtaining the Episcopal Chair by election of clergy and people. Boniface complains of parties made among the clergy and people, for the election of a new Bishop, on occasion of his sickness. Coelestine's 18th decree directs, "none to be ordained without clergy and people." Leo acts forth a somewhat detailed account of the process, 15th decree: "they are not to be reckoned Bishops who are not chosen by the clergy, nor requested by the people, nor consecrated by corn-provincial Bishops, according to the judgment of the Metropolitan."

The writer has no wish to see the election taken out of the hands of the Chapters in England. The system has worked well while the government of the country was in the bands of friends and members of the Church; and if only the Chapters and the Bishops be allowed liberty of conscience, which it seems hard to deny to Christian clergymen, it may continue to work well, though the government may be hostile to or alien from the Church. The saying "Let well alone," does not seem liable to any just exception. But, at the present day, it seems to be established, that it is not enough for a thing to be good in practice, unless it also squares to some theory; a reason, in short, is asked for every thing, and, if it be not forthcoming, the thing is condemned. As it will be difficult to assign a reason why a handful of clergy, who need have no cure of souls in the diocese, should have the exclusive privilege of electing the Bishop, in all probability some change in the mode of election will be asked for and obtained, especially if the cathedral establishments are to be removed or remodelled. In that case it may be as well that the ancient modes, in use in the beat times, should be present to the minds of those woo have to consider the matter. And, with this view, the following method, founded upon ecclesiastical and scriptural precedent, has been drawn out, and is, with the utmost deference, [40/41] submitted to the opinion of those who may be called upon to determine it.

Upon the vacancy of a Diocese, the Archdeacon, or, in his absence, the Dean or chief officer of the Church attached to the see, shall give notice of the same to the Deans of the Rural Deaneries within the diocese, who shall thereupon proceed to election as follows:

Each Rural Dean shall summon a meeting of the Churchwardens, two from every parish in his Deanery, who, after attending divine service, shall, in his presence, agree among themselves as to two clergymen within the limits of the diocese to he recommended as fit and proper to succeed to the vacant Bishopric; and if they cannot agree, it shall be determined by a majority of votes: and the Rural Dean shall transmit the names of the persons so recommended to the Archdeacon, or in his absence to the chief officer of the Church attached to the see.

The Archdeacon, or chief officer as aforesaid, as soon as he shall have received from the Rural Deans the names of the persons recommended from their Deaneries, shall summon a meeting of the clergy of the diocese, to be held in the Cathedral or diocesan Church, and shall submit to their consideration the names of the persons (two from every Deanery) recommended for the office of Bishop; thereupon the clergy, having attended divine service, shall, in his presence, choose out of the list of persons so recommended, two whom they shall judge best qualified, and if they cannot agree, it shall be decided by a majority of votes. And the Archdeacon shall transmit the names of the persons so chosen to the Archbishop or Metropolitan of the province.

The Metropolitan shall then summon a Synod of Bishops of the province, and shall submit to them the names of the persons recommended by the people and elected by the clergy. If it shall seem to the Episcopal Synod that they are liable to no just exception, then, after solemn prayers to Almighty God, it shall, in their presence, and in open court, be decided by lot which of the two shall be Bishop.

[42] But if it shall seem to the Episcopal Synod that either or bath of the individuals whose names hate been transmitted to them is or are unqualified for the office, then it shall be in the power of the Metropolitan, with the consent of two-thirds of all the Bishops of the province, to return to the Archdeacon of the vacant diocese the name of the person or persons against whom exception has been taken, And the Archdeacon shall SBnuaon the clergy, who shall choose one or two others, as the case may be, out of the list of those recommended by the Churchwardens; and these being returned to the Archbishop, he shall proceed to decide between the two as above stated.

If none but lay-communicants were allowed to vote at the election of the Churchwardens, every member is communion with the Church, and none else, would have a share in the election and appointment of the chief pastor.

This is merely a rough outline, thrown out for the consideration of others, who may fill it up if they think it worthy of attention.

If each diocese consisted of one hundred parishes (and there can be little hope of reviving primitive Christianity till they are reduced to that, or below that number), divided into Deaneries of [42/43] ten parishes each, (which was the original size, as the name implies,) there might be, if each Deanery recommended different persons, as many as twenty for the clergy to select out of; and perhaps it might be as well to allow the clergy, in case some one individual eminently qualified had been omitted by the Churchwardens, to add his name to the two taken out of the Churchwardens' list, and send up three instead of two to the Archbishop. [This would make the number of dioceses in England and Wales somewhere about 140; in which case it might perhaps be advisable to restore St. David's to its ancient Archiepiscopal rank, and to raise Lincoln and Exeter into Archbishopricks, each province consisting of about 28 Bishoprics, being six more than Canterbury now reckons. If it seem to any that so large an increase would be wholly superfluous, let him consider that in the places where Christianity was first planted, and where it flourished the purest, the number of Bishops was much larger in proportion to the extent. In that part of Asia Minor, which was in the Patriarchate of Constantinople, and which contains 132,000 square miles, there were nearly 400 Bishops. In part of Italy, containing 30,000 square miles, there were 140 Bishops. In the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, embracing 19,000 square miles, there were 48 Bishops, and so on in other districts. Bingham's Antiq. Book 7. and Preface. The celebrated Archbishop Usher, whom the learned Bingham quotes with approbation, recommended that each Rural Deanery should have its Bishop. And certainly if any body thinks that a Bishop with one hundred parishes under his superintendence, would not have enough to do, he has very little considered the nature of his office,--what it is, or rather ought to be, when property administered.]


Terms of the penalties in 25 Edw. III. and 16 Ric. II. to which, by 25 Hen. VIII. c. 20. the Clergy who refuse to elect, the Archbishop and Bishops who refuse to confirm, invest, and consecrate the nominee of the King (Prime Minister), are liable, let the man's character for doctrine or morals be what it may--

They "their Procurators, Executors, and Notaries, shall be attached by their body, and brought to answer: and if they be convicted, they shall abide in prison without being let to main-prise or bail, or otherwise delivered, till they have made fine and ransom to the King at his will, and to the party that shall feel himself aggrieved. And nevertheless, before they be delivered, they shall make full renunciation, and find sufficient surety, that they shall not attempt such things for the time to come."

"They, their Notaries, Procurators, Maintainers, Abettors, Fautors, and Counsellors, shall be put out of the King's protection, and their lands and tenements, goods and chattels, forfeit to our Lord the King."


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