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BISHOP LUSCOMBE'S VISITATION SERMON. Sir,-Enclosed you have an analysis of the sermon which Bishop Luscombe preached at the British Episcopal Church at St. Omer, on the occasion of his visitation.
T. W. Ephes. 11. 20.—Built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets,
Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone. The sermon commenced by proving that the death and resurrection of Christ were not considered by God as his last mercy towards mankind. He made his will known unto them, and sinners were to be pardoned upon their coming to him, and upon the conditions upon which he offered them pardon. They were to have the religious burdens, under which the Jews laboured, as well as the wicked superstitions of the Gentiles, removed from them. He gave men the assistance of the Holy Spirit to remove their ignorance and prejudices, yet men did not universally receive him. Yet Christ had in view the overcoming all this difficulty, before he could successfully bring into action his purpose of raising up his church, and of edifying the body of which he was the head.
For this purpose he was pleased to appoint certain ministers to fill the various offices to obtain his end. He gave some apostles, and some prophets, and some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the perfecting of the saints---for enabling holy persons for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.
The preacher then proved that, in the Old Testament, a well-connected chain of events led to the incarnation of the promised Redeemerto God manifest in the flesh. A Christian inust keep in view, and follow this unity of design, in order that his faith may be founded, not on any foundation of man's laying, but on the foundation “ built on the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone." A Christian will regard the patriarchs, prophets, priests, and kings, as representing, in types, the great prophet, and true priest, and everlasting king; and every occurrence connected with their offices, as pointing to similar future occurrences in the christian dispensation, and all the laws and the ceremonies—the tabernacle and the temple, will be referred by him to the true temple not made with hands, and what then related to the priesthood, as the rule and model of the christian priesthood for ever. As (according to St. Paul) Christians “ bave an altar," they must have a priesthood to minister at the altar. The same apostle shows that the Jewish and Christian churches are a continuation of the one church of God, and it is highly necessary for man to know where he is to find the communion which has been continued to the ministers of the christian church. Such an appointment was of divine authority,
and regularity and order in the church can only be preserved by following the path which the finger of God has traced, and in which all future generations of men were directed to walk. We have no right to make any alteration in the line traced out by God, and the benefits of the gospel are not to be expected by those who turn away from it. In all human societies, order is necessary for their very existence, and without it no ecclesiastical body or spiritual society can long be held together.
The church must also be constituted in order and unity, and none but its authorized ministers are allowed to be “ stewards of the mysteries of God.” For this we have the authority of God himself, who, St. Paul tells us, appointed officers in his church. Nothing can more strongly prove that every ministry which cannot be traced to Christ himself, through his apostles, is a wicked intrusion into the sacred office. As a priesthood was regularly instituted under the patriarchal and Mosaic economy, so, in the New Testament, we are taught that it must be continued until the end of time. “As my Father sent me," said the Saviour to his chosen apostles, “ even so I send you, and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world."
During the life-time of our Lord, his apostles were his personal attendants, receiving his commands from his own mouth. After his ascension, they were ministers of his church for the regular service of it, and he had given them authority to send others for the same purpose, in order that the same plan for the service of the church might be carried on for ever. The apostles ordained others for the ministry, and, as in the Jewish church, no interruption was allowed in the ministry, so the christian dispensation was to be similarly distinguished, and it has so continued unto the present day. Bishops, as true successors of the apostles, are found in every part of the christian world, exercising similar offices with them, ordaining other ministers, and administering the necessary rite of confirmation, regulating the affairs of the church, exercising their episcopal authority, and preserving peace, order, and unity, among its members.
God having been pleased to establish order, in this way, in his church, you must not seek any other way, you must look for the old paths, and keep in them-you must follow what God has been pleased to tell you is of his appointment, if you would find peace unto your souls. But you will never find it, if you seek it in the inventions of man-in every scheme of man's devising, or in the false systems of duty which craft or delusion holds up to your imitation. You may think that schism, or separation from the church is not sinful, because so many are guilty of it; you may allow custom to pass for truth, but the primitive christians never thought thus. You may think it illiberal to stamp the character of a dissenter with a mark so deep, but this is the weakness of a mind undisciplined in the school of Christ—a worldly. mindedness, which is ashamed of his gospel, and the unbending principles laid down therein-a sinful indifference to what you ought to think of the first importance—that schism is a sin of the darkest dye, against which you pray, at the moment, perbaps, that you are committing it.
However firm may be your faith, and sound your notion of the church, you cannot think these observations uncalled for, when you dispassionately consider the state of the public mind on matters relating
to the church—when you see so many persons following unauthorized ministers, and presumptuously expecting a blessing from their ministry. Believe me that every such minister, who dares administer the holy sacrament and preach the gospel, is an arrogant intruder on the holy office-a mere layman, who risks the divine displeasure, and deceives his credulous hearers.
Truth will not shrink before the uncharitable charge of bigotry and intolerance. I, for one, fearlessly proclaim, that if once the apostolical succession of the christian ministry be deemed unnecessary for the due administration of the sacraments, and if ever their true meaning be frittered away—if the regenerating power of one, and the renewing and sanctifying influence of the other, be denied or questioned, incalculable mischief will follow; the church will be, for a time, shaken and injured, though the gates of hell shall not finally prevail against it, for it is founded on the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone, “and he has promised to be with it, even unto the end of the world."
Our blessed Redeemer prayed for the unity of his church : an apostle exhorted us to “ endeavour to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.” Our Liturgy breathes the same spirit; and I now pray that you will continue to be members of that pure and reformed branch of the catholic church, of which, by God's blessing, you are members ; that you will dutifully submit to its government and discipline, abide in its worship and in its sacraments with its authorized ministers ; hold fast the faith once delivered to the saints; live piously and holily towards God in brotherly love with the members of the church, and in charity with all men.
ON THE REJECTION OF THE POPE'S SUPREMACY. Sir,—Your correspondent, A. B., does not appear to me to have clearly understood the argument of your reviewer of Palmer's work. It is this: If the rejection of the Pope's supremacy by Henry was schismatic, then all the subsequent ordinations were uncanonical. The orders, therefore, of our Reformers under Edward were uncanonical, whatever might be their purity of doctrine ; and, of course, the orders of those under Elizabeth were also uncanonical, and so down to the present hour. A. B. has admitted that the Pope's supremacy was ne. cessary to the unity of the church; and that a tyrannical usurpation, once sanctioned by custom, could not lawfully be shaken off by a church whenever it had power so to do. Now, surely, these are positions which every Anglicanist denies. The Papal supremacy was in England a most intolerable and degrading tyranny. It rendered our situation as a nation painfully insecure, by the intrusion of foreigners, who might be agents and spies of foreign powers, and often were, into every situation of influence over every rank. It drained our treasury; it demoralized our church to a horrible extent, by almost annulling the power of our bishops, by removing appeals to Rome, and by the traffic in spiritual matters so created. In short, without referring to doctrinal matters at all, we see that it threatened subjugation to the body and destruction to the soul. Could any plea of tendency to break the unity of the church
rightly prevail against the mending such a present state of thngs ? Even that unity might not have been broken had the Pope done his part as a christian pastor. To say that this rupture was the effect of so paltry and unworthy a cause as Henry's rage against the Pope, is, as it appears to me, to run into the general mistake which the Papists are so assiduous in inculcating. In all great revolutions the beginning is comparatively utterly contemptible. But, then, we should consider that its first fact is also the last fact of the previous state of things-just as the first drop of the stream which flows from the brim of a vessel is the last drop which caused the vessel to overflow. Such a fact was the business of Henry's divorce. It began a revolution in which the whole nation, clergy and all, embarked, glad of the first occasion, however trifling, of delivering itself from so accursed, so impious a tyranny.
I would only add, that, seeing this to be so leading a fact, would it have been fair-and, therefore, to come to your correspondent's principle, politic-to keep it in the back ground ?
ON SAINTS' DAY SERVICES. Sir,--I am obliged to your two correspondents who have noticed my question respecting the Saints' Day Services; but I do not observe that they refer me to any authorized rule of the church upon this subject. Wheatly merely gives his private opinion; and I do not think it would be right to request the opinion of a bishop in a case where there is no decided rule of the church to guide hiin. Bishops might differ in opinion upon the subject, and direct their clergy accordingly; so that a compliance with the direction in the Preface to the Book of Common Prayer, might not have the effect of producing a general uniformity of practice in this matter. I am one of those who think that a general uniformity should be observed by the clergy in their public ministrations, and that nothing connected with the church service should be left to their discretion. Let there be one rule for our direction, that we may all speak the same thing in the public worship of the church. This, I am aware, cannot be the case without a general revision of the rubric, of which there is little chance; but if there be no rule (and I believe there is none) upon the subject to which I have led your attention, I think one might be made upon competent authority. Let the bishops, at one of their meetings, when most of them are in town during the session of Parliament, decide this question, and agree to a rule which each should act upon, when applied to by any of the clergy upon the matter, in conformity with the direction in the Preface to the Prayer Book; or let them notify to the clergy the rule they have agreed upon at their visitations, or by circular letters. This, in the absence of a better, would be a legitimate method of obtaining uniformity in this one point; and the same mode might be adopted respecting the interpretation of doubtful rubrics-a matter which requires attention. If there were an authoritative interpretation of them, there need be no diversity of practice among the clergy in their public ministrations.
I am, &c. T. M.
COMMENTARY OF THEODORET, BISHOP OF CYRUS, IN SYRIA
ON ST. PAUL'S EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS.
(Concluded from page 686.)
CHAPTER XIV. 1. Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not into distinctions of opinions.* By weak he means him who was yet a slave to legal observances. 2. For one believeth that he may eat all things; that is, the Gentile convert; another, who is weak, eateth herbs. Some declare that the Jewish proselytes, in order to cast shame on the Gentile converts, abstained not only from swine's flesh, but even from all animal food, under the pretext of self-restraint and temperance; whence the holy Apostle says, he who is weak eateth herbs ; for not having a perfect faith, * he thought that he would be defiled by such kind of food. 3. Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not. For the Gentile converts despised the Jewish, as not possessing a sound faith, and as on this account being unwilling to partake of such kind of food. And let not him that eateth not judge him that eateth. And the Jewish indeed condemned the Gentile converts, esteeming their indiscriminate use of every kind of food transgression. For God hath received him ; that is, the Gentile convert; and he goes on in his rebuke of the Jew: 4. Who art thou that judgest another's servant ? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Every servant while living is a source of profit to his own Master, and on death again brings him loss; and this man then the Lord of all things has bought, having given His own blood as the price of his purchase; and having said “ to his own Master he standeth or falleth,” he necessarily adds, Yea, he shall be holden up; and establishes what he says by the power of God, for God is able to make him stand. Having spoken thus much concerning foods, he transfers his discourse to the matter of days. 5. One man esteemeth one day above another; another esteemeth every day alike, (for this purpose.) For some abstained from the meats forbidden by the law at all times, and some on particular days (only). Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He lays not this down as a principle of universal application ; for neither does he so bid us reckon as regards the doctrines of religion, seeing that he passes an anathema on those that permit themselves to preach contrary to the truth, (Gal. i. 9 :)“ For if any one preach unto you,” says he, “any other gospel than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” Concerning foods, then, only is it that he allows this power to each man's own mind. For so indeed this custom remains in the churches even to the present day, and one man embraces abstinence, and another without scruple takes of all kinds of food, and neither does the former condemn the latter, nor the latter find fault with the former, but mutually glory in
* uñ eis õlakploeus Aoyouwv. Not so as to make any difference between him and others on account of his ideas respecting clean and unclean meats; as the whole context of the chapter seems to demand. Compare on diakploeus, Matt. xvi. 3 ; Acts xv. 9; 1 Cor. iv. 7; James ii. 4; Jude 22, &c.; and on noylouwr, Rom. ii. 15; 1 Cor. iii. 20; and see Whitby, in loco.-E. B.
+ telelav, weaned from ancient prejudices to understand the full liberty of the Gospel. Comp. Heb. v. 12, to end; 1 Cor. viii. 7, 11 ; Gal. v. 1, &c.-E. B.
VOL. XXII. NO. XII.