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The third chapter of this work consists of a parrallel between ecclesiastical and civil government. Here Mr. Sikes discovers great penetration in detecting remote analogies. All governinent is divine. It is not, as moderns foolishly imagine, the creature of the people.

• Since no individual possesses power over his own life, it is impossible that he can transfer it to another. And if the

power

of life never belonged to the individuals of a community, it is evident, that the aggregate never could enjoy it ; for the mere circumstance of age 'gregation can create no new privilege, it can only shew the sum of in. dividual privileges. So the greatest majorities possible can no more invest any man with the power over his life, than the lowest individual which composes it for the sword of Justice is borne, we are expressly told (Rom. xiii.) by the Minister of God, not by the servant of the people. Hence it is, that the lawful Princes are called in the sacred scriptures “the Lord's Anointed,” and the King's Majesty is styled “Sacred!"

Simple monarchy by uninterrupted hereditary succession is, in Mr. Sikes's view, the only legitimate form of civil government; from which it is easy to determine with what feelings he regards the British government, and the provision made by our ancestors by which the succession to the crown was turned from the direct line and settled in the reigning family. Now the government of the Church is purely monarchical' by an uninterrupted succession of spiritual princes or Bishops. If the Church of Christ,” says he be a kingdom, it must have a king, who, to be a lawful one, must succeed in a right line from the founder of the kingdom. The first division of the world into spiritual kingdoms was effected under the immediate direction of Christ; and the apostles sent others to succeed them on their spiritual thrones. The Church, then, thus divided among an indefinite number of spiritual princes is not a republic, nor a democracy, but a kingdom of several principalities. If, because the Christian Church is called a Kingdom, the Romanists contend that there should be but one sovereign, as Mr. Sikes contends there should be many, our author is ready with the following spirited and conclusive reply.

• We might as well contend for one universal head of God's temporal kingdom ; for one universal Bishop is just as unreasonable a fiction, as one universal King. The truth is, that as God apportions to several heads or princes, the civil government of the world, so has our Lord assigned to divers spiritual Princes or Bishops, the ecclesiastical government of the world.'

In the outset of the fourth chapter, Of the right of the people to choose the pastor' the following extraordinary passage • The consent of every individual in the world cannot invest the civil governor with the power of life and death; because this power never resided in

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any,

therefore not in all, of those individuals, for aggregation cannot create it. The power of spiritual life and death (so far as it is included in the power of admitting men into a state of salvation, or exclud ng them from it) never yet resided in the people; nor can they, even by universal consent, turn the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven themselves, or depute representatives to do it.'

That every Christian is at liberty to attach himself to the pastor of his choice, is a notion that puts Mr. Sikes into a perfect rage; whether as adopted by dissenters who maintain the right of electing their own teachers, or by Churchmen who frequent the clergymen by whom they are likely to be the most edified. He is the most violent against the latter. The people, he contends, were never allowed, in any sound part of the Christian Church, the right of choosing a pastor. The Almighty always appointed the sacrificer as well as the sacrifice. We read of Melchisedec the priest of the most High God. “The people of Israel were apportioned in regular divisions; each being committed to its respective pastor. He affirms, what we know is contrary to fact, that among the patrons of that doctrine the actual choice of pastors never descends to the people.' In Mr. Sikes's view the bishops, who, it is to be observed, are appointed by the king, derive their authority from Jesus Christ, and parcel out, according to their wisdom, the cures among the inferior clergy; that is, license those who are presented to livings by individuals or corporate bodies. Although all this may be very expedient and beneficial, it must be confessed there appears nothing supernatural in the King appointing to certain sees what clergyman he may think fit, nor in patrons bestowing vacant livings on their friends or acquaintance. In all these transactions the finger of God is no more apparent than in popular elections of dissenting ministers. Forgetting that every man must give an account of himself to God, Mr. Sikes .contends there is no analogy between a man's choosing a physician or a lawyer and addicting himself to a religious teacher. The terins employed to describe the functions of the clergy seem to our author incompatible with popular election. For example.

““Son of Man,” says the Almighty to his servant Ezekiel," I send thee to a rebellious nation, that hath rebelled against me:- -they are impudent children and stiff-hearted. And thou, Son of Man, be not afraid of them, neither be afraid of their words, though briars and thorns be with thee, and thou dost dwell among scorpions :-be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they be a rebellious house. And thou shalt speak my words unto them, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear: for they are most rebellious.” Ezek. ii. Now suppose the Prophet, a Prophet upon the conventicle plan, what absurdity will Ezekiel speak! The Almighty sends his Prophet to a rebellious nation ; but it seems,

the Prophet cannot come, unless the rebels choose it. This, say they, is the ordinance of God, that Christian people shall not have a Prophet imposed upon them, without the people's call; they have a right at least of leaving him to prophesy to the walls, if they like him not. According to this doctrine, the Prophet should have had a conciliatory proviso added to his prophetical mission : Son of Man, I send thee to my rebellious people, if, peradventure, they will choose to acknowledge thee. But the Prophet is ordered to preach to them, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear; whether these impudent children will regard what he says or not.'

This there is no doubt appeared very witty and very cogent to Mr. Sikes. But the misfortune is, that it applies equally to all orders of the clergy of the English Church, since they, too, receive their benefices from those to whom it is their duty to announce the will of God. The following argument, founded on the phrase “ministers of the New Testament,” will be thought equally original and no less convincing.

• Now the administrator of a will is appointed for the purposes of seeing that the conditions of the will are complied with, and that the benefits are rightly dispensed; and standing between the two parties he has no interest, from the nature of his situation, to tempt him to an unfaithful discharge of his office. But make hint depend upon the legatees, both for his appointment and his reward, and a wide door is opened to corrupt conduct. Besides, if I can make any one I please, the executors of another's will, it plainly amounts to nearly the same thing, as if I had the administration of the will in my own hands; the mere appointment of another, is, while the power of dismissal rests in my hands nought but an empty form. And in such a case, is it probable that men will stand upon conditions ? The

performance of conditions is always with a view to the attainment of some end, not to be obtained without them. If they can command the end, without the performance of the conditions, will they not do it? But when a man makes his will, does he leave his administrators to be chosen by his survivors: by those very persons upon whom he would impose conditions ? By such an act as this, the testament would in fact become nugatory, its conditions be virtually annulled, and the beneficial interests distributed at the will of others. In fact, the testament would cease to be the will ‘of the testator, and would become the will of the legatees. And can we imagine that our Blessed Lord would constitute such ministers of his testament; or that the Apostle should call them “able Ministers?” We see then the force of the language used by the inspired writer, when he styles the Christian Priesthood, Ministers of Christ's Testament; and how plainly it precludes the people from choosing or rejecting for themselves.

He thus winds up the argument: • The argument resulting from these places will stand thus. As

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the sheaves or the vines cannot choose their reaper or dresser; nor the flock their shepherd, so in God's husbandry and harvest, it is he alone who sends forth labourers and shepherds. As children have no power to choose their parents, so the people have none to appoint their spiritual Fathers.'

In the practice of the popular election of ministers it should seem there are innumerable mischiefs. It puts an end to government-subverts discipline-has an affinity to the practice of the Romanists in choosing their confessor,-generates contentions—and, to crown all, by the right of choosing what guide in religion he pleases, a man may be said to purchase both his credenda and agenda.' - In the two following sentences Mr. Sikes appears to our apprehension to contradict himself, and represents the English Church as not the true Church.

• The true Church from its very commencement to the present day, has denied to the laity any right of interference in spiritual discipline.'— It appears [says he, speaking of the English Church) that the people, so far from having no voice at all, in the appointment of the clergy, have, in fact, almost the whole ofit to themselves.'

In the fifth chapter Mr. Sikes combats the notion that religious teachers may minister to whom they please. The Church is an army in which

every

officer has his own station. tent of a man's cure of souls is determined by the bishop; the parochial clergy being his deputies, whom he has a right of employing in the Church, as he judges will best conduce to the welfare of the Christian Society. This is Mr. Sikes's theorywhich every body knows is notoriously contrary to fact. For preaching in another's .cure, it seems, there is no extraordinary commission, and the ordinary commission by no means justifies such a practice. Indeed it is downright intrusion and robbery. Whitfield's arrogance, in saying, “ I will preach any where, all the world is my parish,” equalled that of the Pope who pretends to authority and jurisdiction over the whole earth.“ In institution, the parish congregation is formally given to the pastor, by divine authority, as a man receives his wife from the hands of the minister of Christ. Now to preach in this parish or to the inhabitants of it, “is an infidelity to the great head of the Church; and destroys the connexion between the Heavenly Spouse and his Church

• The clergy,' he continues, 'from the Bishop to the lowest Pastor, stand in Christ's stead (that is, as his vicarial agents) in all religious acts whatever ; and thus, as Christ himself is primarily the spouse of the Church, so are the clergy in a vicarial way: not of the Universal Church, as Jesus Christ by his omnipotence, truly is; but of those particular portions of the Universal Church, to which, by his prime authority, they are lawfully united; this authority, descending to the inferior Pastors through the Bishops.'

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Then, again, the incumbent's' temporal rights' are seriously injured by intruding teachers.'

• The incumbent, for his maintenance and encouragement, has & riglit to the manse, oblations, and tithes ; he has a right to the benefice and all its appurtenances by law. And what better right has an obtruding Minister, to his brother's oblations, his voluntary offerings, than to his manse or his tithes ? Voluntary oblations, indeed, cannot, from the nature of the thing, so easily be subjected to a legal determination, as a stated payment. But this circumstance does not at all invalidate the incumbent's right to them, whatever they may be. So that he who, intruding upon the congregation of another, receives gifts and payments, upon the score of his spiritual labours among them, defrauds the lawful Pastor of that which by the laws of God and man are his proper

due.' Mr. Sikes writes without any fear of consequences. he contends, ' fraud, robbery, rapine,' in dissenting or other ministers who have not been inducted to a living, to receive the voluntary contributions of their hearers. Now as the Presbyterian clergy are in Scotland the lawful ministers of all the parishes of that kingdom, the consequence from our author's premises is unavoidable, that the episcopal clergy of Scotland are thieves, robbers, and plunderers. Of all religious teachers, however,

those who are called evangelical or gospel preachers,' are the most obnoxious to Mr. Sikes. He styles them the irregular Clergy, and accuses them of the high crime of drawing sheep from other men's flocks, and preaching in parishes not their own.—The evils of this practice which our author combats, are of the same nature (but much more aggravated) as those of the popular election of ministers.

The next chapter of this discourse is' of the episcopal licence, considered as defining the nature and extent of the ministerial commission in the Church of England:' and in the following and concluding chapter our author proceeds to take a view of the subject of parochial communion. In scripture,' he says, 'we do not find a direct injunction for the mode of parochial subdivision ;' but the commonwealth of Israel being encamped in four divisions, the Levites lodged among them and took charge of them, as of their several parishes.' Notwithstanding its repugnance to historical verity, he atfirms, parishing Christians' must be considered as the Bishop's act and deed.” His notions of Church communion may be gathered from the following sentences worthy of the middle ages. « The Church is a society united to God and to one another. The former union is affected by a junction with those persons who are invested with the authority of God.' He adds, as a Christian cannot unite himself to any congregation he may choose, so neither can he withdraw himself from his proper congregation with which he has been assorted by ecclesiastical authority.'

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