« PreviousContinue »
The Pelagian Heresy, as was before hinted" had spread ittelf among the British Christians; but they were resettled in the true Faith by Lupus and Germanus, two French Bishops: and when that. Herefy began to get Ground again, it was a second time quelled by the faid Ger manus, and one Severus Bishop of Triers, Bed. L. 1. C. 17.8 21.
And even in the most degenerate Times of Chriftianity, the English Church was never corrupted to fuch a degree as some others; of which I will give two Instances, viz. that in Scotland it was carried by Vote, in a Provincial Synod, that the Pater Nofter might be said to the Saints. Archbishop Spotswood's Hift. p. 92. Bc. (tho' the Prefident chanced to be a Man of better Sense than to permit it to be enacted): And that in Germany, Priests were openly licensed to keep Concubines ; nay, at last they were obliged to pay an annual Tax to the Official for such a Licenfe, whether they made use of it or not: Of this the German Princes openly complain'd, in the Diet of Noremberg. 1523; and this is mentioned in two of the Čentum Gravamina, Grav. lxxv.and xci, which may be seen in the Fascicul. Rer. Exp. and which we are assured by the Writer of the History of the Council of Trent, L. 1. were actually sent to the Pope : But it does not appear that ever fuch lewd Opinions or Pra&ices prevailed in England.
The Doctrine of the present Church of England is in all respects Catholick and Orthodox. The Nicene or Conftantinopolitan Creed is inser. ted into the most folemn Office of our Liturgy, and what has been adjudgʻd Heresy by the Four
first General Councils, is allow'd to be fo, even by our Statute Law. i Eliz. 1.
Besides the Creeds, our Clergy subscribe to the Thirty Nine Articles of Religion, drawn up in Convocation, A.D. 1562. The greatest part of which are either Affirmations of some antient Truths, or Renunciations of the Errors of some old Herefies, or of the Papists, or some inodern Seets.
Some would have it thought, that the 17th Article asserts the Doctrine of absolute Predeftination, which was condemn'd in the 3d Council of Mentz, An. Dom. 848, and at several other Times and Places; but these Men are certainly mistaken: For that Article afferts Predefina. tion in general Terms only, which all allow, The Question is, Whether God país'd thefe De. erees absolutely and unconditionally ? In this the Article is filent; and why should we unders stand it in the most harsh and severe. Sense when the Words do not of necessity import any fuch. Meaning?
But it will appear unreasonable to understand this article of abfolute Predestination, if it be considered, that in the very foregoing Article it is exprefly declar'd, that we may depart from Grace given ; whereas they who are for the abfolute Decrees, muft ofconsequence affert, That a Man cannot fall from Grace : For if we may fall from the Means, we may also fall from the End: And if we are not absolute predefinated to per severe in Grace, we cannot be absolutely predestinated to Salvation: And indeed the Puritans, in the beginning of King James the First's Réign, were fenfible that this Doctrine
of the defectability of Grace was inconsistent with their Opinion of abfolute Predestination, and therefore delir'd that these Words might be added at the End of the aforesaid Clause of the 16th Article, viz. tbo' not finally; but the King and Bishops would not hearken to it. See Con. ference at Hampton Court.
Farther, our Church positively affirins, that God the Son redeemed all Mankind; which can never be reconciled to the Doctrine of absolute Election and Reprobation.
CHA P. III.
Of the Worship of the Church of England.
S there is no room to doubt, but that every A ftated Forins for celebrating the Sacraments, and other Publick Offices of Religion, so the antient Britains had the same with the Gallic Church. See Comb. Hif. Lit. Part 2. 162. Stilt. Or. Br. 216
It seems very evident from the fixteenth An. fwer of Ecgbřibt, Bishop of York, that the Missal, and other Service-Books of the Church of Rome, were ufed here front the first Times of the Nation's Conversion to Christianity. It is true, Pope Gregory, in his Answer to Augu. stine’s Second Question, gives him Liberty to compose a Liturgy of his own, by félecting what he esteem'd best out of the Romish, French, or any other Forms; but it does not appear
that Augustine ever did this. And if he had, it seems probable, that Gregory would have recall'd this Privilege granted to him, after he himself had reform'd the Sacramentary. His former Indifference to the Romish Forms, seems to have proceeded from his Dislike to the Share his Predecessor Gelafius had in the drawing of them. See my Note on Gregory's ad Answer in my Collection and Preface to that Book, Sect. 1. The Council of Cloves-hoo, A. D. 747. Ca. 10, 13, 15, 18.
But Bishop Still. Or. Br. p. 216. has well ob. ferved, that there are many Things in the Roman Offices, and have been there a long time, which do not owe their Beginning to the Pope, or that Church, but were borrow'd by them from others, viz.
1. Alternate singing of Psalms was taken from the Church
of Milan, and was long be. fore used in the East.
2. Singing Gloria Patri, &c. after every Pfalm, was the first Praétice of the Gallic Church. At Rome it was used of old, but af. ter the Responsoria.
3. Te Deum was composed, not by one of the Church of Rome, but by St. Ambrose of Milan, or Woetius of Triers. Quesnel ascribes this Hymn to Sifebutus the Monk. See Quesnel's Observations on the Breviar. Mont. Call. in Pe. tit's Theodore's Penitential.
4. The Creed was not used after the Gospel at Rome, till the Year 1014; but this Custom began in Spain, in 531.
5. Only Epifles and Gospels were antiently read at Rome; but in the East and Gaul, Lef:. fons out of the Old Testament.
6. In Rome, of old, there were no Sermons; but at Milan, and in the Gallic Church, every Sunday.
7. Litanies were first used in the Greek Church, afterward in the Gallic, and from thence taken by the Church of Rome; and thisis especially true of the short Litany, or Kyrie Elegfon.
And as for the Gloria Patri itself, the Sura fum corda, the Trisagium, Gloria in Excelfis, Prayers for the wbole Estate of Christ's Church, Commemoration of Saints departed, the Words of the Institution of the Sacrament, and the likey'tis hard to say where they were first used; they indeed seem to be Apoftolical Forms, in troduc'd by those who first settled Churches in every Country:
By this it will appear, That our Rerforiners transcrib'd nothing into our Liturgy, but what was truly Primitive; nothing but what was borrow'd by the Church of Rome from other Churches, or what was used by that Church as well as others, while her Faith and Worship were uncorrupted; fo that it may justly be said. of our Liturgy, that it is the inost primitive and compleat Colle&tion of publick Devotion that is used in any Church in the World.
Therefore no Clergyman ought to think the Liturgy too longtho' perhaps he may not have ftrength of Body to read all that is prefcrib'd to be read every Sunday Morning at one Breath, as is now commonly done, and then proach a-Sep