Page:Tracts for the Times Vol 1.djvu/51

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God from flowing in those channels in which He has destined it to flow; and the Christian congregations of the present day, who sit at the feet of ministers duly ordained, have the same reason for reverencing in them the successors of the Apostles, as the primitive Churches of Ephesus and of Crete had for honouring in Timothy and in Titus the Apostolical authority of him who had appointed them.

The Church of EnglandA branch of this holy Catholic (or universal) Church has been, through God's blessing, established for ages in our island; a branch which, as has been already stated, we denominate the Church of England. Its officiating ministers are divided into the three original orders of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons, and into no other. In the exercise of that authority which is inherent in every society, of making salutary laws and regulations for its own guidance, it has been found expedient to vest in two of the principal members of the episcopal order in England a certain authority over the rest, and to style them Archbishops, but this is not by any means to be understood as constituting them another order in the Church. They are but, in strictness of language, the first and leading Bishops of our land.

The Priests and Deacons, (whom we usually class together under the common name of Clergymen,) who officiate in the Churches and Chapels of our Establishment, have each received ordination to the discharge of their holy office by the laying on of the hands of a Bishop, assisted, in the case of Priests, by members already admitted into the presbytery or priesthood, as was St. Paul in the ordination of Timothy, (iv. 14.)

And each Bishop of our Church has, at the hands of another Bishop, (himself similarly called to the office,) received in the most solemn manner the gift of the Holy Ghost, and that Apostolical power over the Church, for the support of which the Redeemer pledged Himself that His assistance should never be wanting to the end of time.

Wonderful indeed is the providence of God, which has so long preserved the unbroken line, and thus ordained that our Bishops should, even at this distance of time, stand before their flocks as the authorized successors of the Apostles;—as armed with their power to confer spiritual gifts in the Church, and, in cases of necessity, to wield their awful weapon of rejection from the fold of Christ;—as commissioned, like Titus, to bid, on heavenly au-