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FOR THE GOSPEL MAGAZINE.
(With particular reference to the Frontispiece.)
HEAD of the Church! O deign to approve and bless
The never-ceasing care and watchfulness,
Of those who truly mourn and keenly feel
Thy "glorious honour" tarnished-sacred truth reviled,
Thy herald, Lord, of truth and peace, uphold;
The sacred volume, open to his view;
The holy Dove, distilling heavenly dew,
The parched to soften, the distress'd to soothe ;-
Till raised on high to chaunt the victor's glorious song.
Though dense and dark the clouds that intervene,
IN entering upon an undertaking like the present, with a deep sense of the importance and responsibility of the same, and knowing full well that faithfulness to God and his Church will draw down upon us the reproaches of some, the sarcasm and hatred of others, with the persecutions and misrepresentations of more, nothing could have induced us to undertake such an enterprise but the pressing exigency of the awful times in which we live, and a jealous regard for the honour and glory of that God and Saviour whose we are and whom we desire to serve. We therefore deem ourselves justified in this undertaking, and for the sake of transparency, thus define our views; for it must be self-evident to every enlightened mind, that in an age like the present, when error abounds and iniquity prevails; when hypocrites and false principles are fostered and the Saints and truths of God are abandoned; when popery and sectarianism are endeavouring to supplant the true Church of God in spiritual matters; and when republicanism is artfully labouring to extirpate monarchy in political matters; it is then the incumbent duty of every true Christian boldly to come forward in defence of the scriptural faith of the Church of England, which avowedly recognizes the doctrine of Divine Sovereignty both in Church and State; declaring "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." And while the Church is thus distinctive in repelling any "foreign power" from exercising dominion or authority in any matters Ecclesiastical or Spiritual, she is equally opposed to all political and religious factions at home; declaring respecting the spiritual leaders of such, that "it is not lawful for any man to take upon him the office of public preaching or ministering the sacraments in the congregation, before he be lawfully called, and sent to execute the same. And those we ought to judge lawfully called and sent, which be chosen and called to this work by men who have public authority given them in the congregation, to call and send Ministers into the Lord's vineyard." And who they are that are endowed with this public authority in the Church, is No. I. VOL. 1.-New Series.
evident from the preface of the Ordination Service:-" It is evident unto all men, diligently reading Holy Scripture and ancient authors, that from the Apostles' time there have been these orders of ministers in Christ's Church, Bishops, Priests, and Deacons. Which offices were evermore had in such reverend estimation, that no man might presume to execute any of them except he were first called, tried, examined, and known to have such qualities as are requisite for the same; and also by public prayer, and imposition of hands, were approved and admitted thereto by lawful authority," &c. Now as religious liberalism and self-constituted importance in spiritual matters always necessarily generate republicanism in political matters, our chief aim should be to exhibit the wickedness of the former, and if possible to do it away, as an infallible corrective of the latter. For if sectarianism, in its hydra form, had not been countenanced and connived at in its commencement, neither popery, nor infidelity, nor radicalism, could have found means of distracting, as they are now doing, the Catholic Church in these realms. Chastise the smaller evils with severity, and the greater will not shew themselves; for "Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth." It would have been well if our predecessors had conformed to the Apostolic injunction, "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have received; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple." From the foregoing observations it will be abundantly manifest, that every true churchman, in consistency with his profession," will be ready to banish, with all faithfulness, and drive away all erroneous and strange doctrines contrary to God's word," as practised both by papists and sectarians against Christ's Catholic Church, as by law established in this kingdom. For the accomplishment of this purpose, this Periodical will henceforth be an humble servant of the Church, defending her Apostolical government and discipline; giving a correct interpretation of her services and constitutions in accordance with the principles of her martyred Reformers; it is intended to put forth all its energies to guard the bulwarks of Protestantism against the false and papistical interpretations and groundless objections of unwise churchmen; the combined and unhallowed intrigues of papists, liberals, schismatics, and infidels, against Church and State. But especially is it intended, in unison with Episcopal government as clearly defined in the Holy Scriptures, to disseminate Apostolical doctrine and Evangelical practice in the salvation of souls, in and through Jesus Christ our Lord, to the alone glory of the Triune Jehovah. For it is greatly to be lamented that, while so many periodical publications are constantly issuing from the press, some of them giving correct views of Episcopal government, so few of them, as far as we can ascertain, promulgate sound doctrine. They are either so deeply tinctured with Pelagianism, semi-popery, the merit of works, or are altogether destitute of spirituality, as to be therefore comparatively useless, and in some instances to be very injurious. Our intention, then, is to take in all their scriptural views of the Divine origin of Episcopacy and Apostolical succession, but, at the same time, to evince that Church govern