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pal Churches with respect to this point. I utterly deny the correctness of his alleged facts on this subject; and have no fear in repeating my assertion, that the history of any number of Episcopal Churches exhibits quite as large a share of heresy, contention, and schism, as the history of any corresponding number of Presbyterian Churches. I am perfectly willing to go for an example to the Church of England, or to any part of the world, where Prelacy has ever existed; and am sure that no impartial student of ecclesiastical history will be of a different opinion. What does Dr. Bowden mean by unity, as applied to a Church? Does he mean unity of spirit, or unity of name? If the latter, then no one who understands Christianity can respect or value it if the former, then it may be shown, that the Church of England, (which probably Dr. B. would consider as the most favourable specimen the world has ever seen,) is, and has long been, as much a stranger to it, as any of her neighbours. If all manner of discordant sentiment; if every grade of heresy, from that of Arminius, to the cold, gloomy, semi-deistical scheme of Socinus ; if the constant public manifestation of this discor dance, and of these contending heresies; and that not only among the people, and the inferior clergy, but also among the Prelates themselves; if em bracing multitudes of clergy who disbelieve her Articles, who dislike her Liturgy, and who yet have con. sciences which admit of their canonically swearing to the belief and support of both;if these things
constitute unity, then indeed she may be said to possess it. But this is a kind of unity of which the Apostles knew nothing, and which, if they were now on earth, they would pronounce of no value. There is unspeakably more real unity among all the different portions of Presbyterians in the United States, though called by different names, than exists, or has for near 200 years existed, in the Church of England, though nominally one. They have the same confession of Faith, the same mode of worship, the same form of church government, and are, in all important points, so entirely united, that many of their best members often wonder and lament, that they are not one in name as well as in reality.
With respect to the doctrine of Uninterrupted Succession, I have little to add to what is contained in my former Letters. Dr. Bowden is indeed right in suspecting that I lay no great stress on this doctrine, as he understands and states it. That there always has been, since the days of Christ, and that there always will be to the end of the world, a true Church, and a true and valid gospel ministry, in that Church, I firmly believe. But as to the historical proof that this succession in the ministry has never been interrupted, by any event which might be called an irregular or uncanònical ordination, I neither care for it, nor believe in it. The promise of the Saviour that neither the church nor her ministry shall ever become extinct, is
enough to satisfy me. That the succession in this ministry will be kept up in the same exact manner in every age, I consider neither Scripture nor common sense as requiring me to believe. There is no Presbyterian who contends more zealously for a strict adherence to ecclesiastical rules than I am disposed to do; nor one who deems it of more importance that we set our faces against every kind of spurious investiture, and that we retain the scriptural method of ordination by the laying on of the hands of the Presbytery; yet I have no hesitation in saying, that if it were to be discovered, that, about two hundred or five hundred years ago, the regular succession of our ordinations had been really interrupted by some ecclesiastical oversight or disorder, I should not consider it as in the least degree affecting either the legitimacy of our present ministry, or the validity of our present ordinances.
The learned and acute Episcopal divine, Chillingworth, if I understand him, takes the same ground, and views the subject in the same light. Though he is a warm advocate for the apostolical institution of Prelacy; yet he evidently considers the doctrine of uninterrupted succession, and especially the idea of attaching fundamental importance to it, as a Popish error; and the historic proof of the fact as equally ridiculous and impossi ble*.
* See his Safe Way of Salvation, Part 1. Chapters 2, & 6.
Dr. Bowden, however, objects that, even on Presbyterian principles, the Episcopal succession is better than ours; or rather that ours is utterly invalid, because, at the æra of the Reformation, the Presbyters, in different parts of Europe, who first began to ordain, had not the ordaining power specifically . or professedly imparted to them by the Bishops who ordained them; so that they did not even stand on equal ground with modern Presbyterian ministers, on whom in their ordination, the ordaining power is formally bestowed. But this objection has no force. The Popish doctrine," that it is the intention of the administrator which constitutes the validity of an ecclesiastical ordinance," is discarded by all Protestants. And as the first Presbyters who undertook to ordain, after emerging from the darkness of Popery, were regularly invested with the power of preaching the gospel, and administering sacraments, all Presbyterians consider the right to ordain as necessarily included in those powers, whether the fact be mentioned, or even thought of at the time of ordination or not.
Dr. Bowden, toward the close of his last letter, expresses much irritated feeling at my having represented clerical imparity as a " Popish doctrine." He demands, in a tone to which I forbear to give a name, whether I "know what Popery is?" In the next page he calls 66 upon me to lay my hand upon my heart, and in the fear of God to say, whether "I do not think that I have most grossly libelled
the whole Episcopal Church throughout the "world," and adds, that "something explicit upon this point will be expected from me." This good gentleman shall have "something explicit." Let me assure him, then, that, after the most serious and conscientious review of all that I have written, I am so far from thinking that I have "libelled" the Episcopal Church in representing Prelacy as a "Popish doctrine," that all my inquiries convince me, more than ever, of the justness of my representation, and embolden me to repeat and urge it with new confidence. In answer to Dr. Bowden's question, what is Popery? I answer, Popery, strictly speaking, as was remarked in a former Letter, is the ecclesiastical supremacy usurped by the Bishop of Rome. But, more generally speaking, it implies that system of corruption, both in doctrine, government, and practice, which characterizes, and has, for nearly 1500 years, characterized the Romish or Latin Church. Hence Transubstantiation, Purgatory, Auricular Confession, the worship of Images, the invocation of Saints, and the adoration of the Cross, are all spoken of by the most accurate writers, as Popish errors; although most of them had crept into the Church, long before the period which Dr. Bowden, assigns for the rise of the Papal usurpation; and although none of them, excepting perhaps the first, could ever be traced to the Roman Pontiff himself as their immediate author.
I say then, again, that, in this sense, clerical im