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“ ing us, that, without such ordination, there can “ be no ministry; without a ministry, no church ; “ and without a church, no covenanted title to sal“ vation. In addition to all this, you assert the di. “ vine institution of Presbyterial government, in all “ its parts, excluding its habitual violators, cases of
unavoidable ignorance or involuntary error ex. “cepted, from the kingdom of heaven. If the “ Episcopal doctrine is of a nature nearly allied to " the claim of Papal infallibility, your doctrine “ must be the claim of Papal infallibility itself.” p. 117. Nay, he asserts, that Presbyterians carry their ideas of the importance of external order much further than Episcopalians. p. 22, 23. “I
proceed to observe that Presbyterians go much “ further than Episcopalians in their ideas of ex66 ternal order. Thus, not contented with making “ Presbyterial ordination essential to the existence " of the church, and to all covenanted title to sal“ vation, they tell us that Presbyterial government
is, in all its parts, sketched out in scripture ; that " it is the duty of all Christians to conform to it; « and that, in refusing or neglecting to do so,
they incur great guilt. The plan of ruling el“ ders and deacons, with mere temporal func“ tions; the whole system of church sessions, “ Presbyterial assemblies, Synodical assemblies, " and General assemblies, they say, is prescribed “ in the word of God. In fact, it is impossible “ to carry external order further than these men
carry it. See the language which they hold!
« Presbyterial government, in church sessions,
Presbyterial assemblies, Synodical assemblies, " and General assemblies, is established by the
Apostles, and is the law of God's house. All are 6 bound to conform to it. Habitual disobedience
of the divine commands will exclude from “the kingdom of heaven. Thus all but Presbyte“ rians are consigned to perdition. And what re“ lief do they give? Why, simply, that there are “ sins of ignorance and infirmity which may consist " with a gracious state. So that our opponents not “ only make Presbyterial ordination essential to the “ existence of the church, but they represent obe“dience to their particular mode of ecclesiastical
government as a condition of salvation : placing " all who reject it on the ground of the general
mercy which, it is hoped, God will extend to per“ sons labouring under unavoidable, or involuntary,
And is not this sir, the exact ground on 4 which those who depart from the Episcopal consti“ tution of the priesthood, are placed by the very “ men against whom you so bitterly inveigh ?" This is such a favourite topic of declamation with Mr. How, that he can scarcely get through a single page, without directly or indirectly recurring to it. His coadjutors seem to be never better pleased than when joining in the same strain. And truly it wants nothing to render it a very plausible argu. ment, but the single circumstance of having some foundation in fact. Of this, I am compelled to say, it is totally destitute.
To show that Mr. How, in writing thus, unjustly accuses our church, nothing more is necessary than to transcribe the following chapters from our Confession of Faith, and Form of Government. They are given entire, that there may be no suspicion of concealment or mutilation; that the several sections of each chapter may explain one another; and, I will add, that Mr. How, if he should ever happen to look into these pages, may have an opportunity of reading them, which, after perusing such remarks as are quoted above, I cannot suppose
he has ever yet
Confession of Faith. Chap. XXV. Of the Church.
“ I. The Catholic or universal church, which is invisible, consists of the whole number of the elect, that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one, under Christ the head thereof; and is the spouse, the body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.
“ II. The visible church which is also catholic or universal under the gospel, (not confined to one nation as before under the law,) consists of all those throughout the world, that profess the true religion, together with their children; and is the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, the house and family of God, out of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation.
“ III. Unto this catholic visible church, Christ hath given the ministry, oracles, and ordinances of God, for the gathering and perfecting of the saints, in this life, to the end of the world : and doth by
his own presence and Spirit, according to his promise, make them effectual thereunto.
“ IV. This catholic church hath been sometimes more, sometimes less visible. And particular churches, which are members thereof, are more or less pure, according as the doctrine of the gospel is taught and embraced, ordinances administered, and public worship performed more or less purely in them.
“ V. The purest churches under heaven are subject both to mixture and error: and some have so degenerated, as to become no churches of Christ, but
synagogues of Satan. Nevertheless there shall be always a church on earth, to worship God according to his will.
“ VI. There is no other head of the church but the Lord Jesus Christ. Nor can the Pope of Rome, in any sense be head thereof; but is that antichrist, that man of sin, and son of perdition, that exalteth himself, in the church, against Christ, and all that is called God.”
Form of Government. Chap. I. Of the Church.
" I. Jesus Christ, who is now exalted, far above all principality, and power, hath erected, in this world, a kingdom, which is his church.
“ II. The universal church consists of all those persons, in every nation, together with their chil,
. dren, who make profession of the holy religion of Christ, and of submission to his laws. * III. As this immense multitude cannot meet
together, in one place, to hold communion, or to worship God, it is reasonable, and warranted by scripture example, that they should be divided into many particular churches.
“ IV. A particular church consists of a number of professing Christians, with their offspring, volun. tarily associated together, for divine worship and godly living, agreeably to the holy scriptures; and submitting to a certain form of government.” Form of Government. Chap. II. Of the Officers of
the Church. “1. Our blessed Lord, at first, collected his church out of different nations, and formed it into one body, by the mission of men endued with miracu. lous gifts, which have long since ceased.
- II. The ordinary and perpetual officers, in the church, are Bishops or Pastors; the representatives of the people, usually styled Ruling Elders, and Deacons."
Form of Government. Chap. VII. Of Church Gom
vernment, and the Several kinds of Fudicatories.
“ I. It is absolutely necessary that the government of the church be exercised under some certain and definite form: And we hold it to be expedient, and agreeable to scripture and the practice of the primitive Christians, that the church be governed by congregational, presbyterial and synodical assemblies. In full consistency with this belief, we embrace, in the spirit of charity, those Christian's