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are many of these white-robed youths not victorious Saints, but are unreclaimed sinners carried captive in the thraldom of their passions.
I shall now offer a few remarks on the Church of England compared with the Church of Christians, as seen in the Acts of the Apostles ; and in the remainder of this letter shall adhere to this one subject.
In the first chapter of the Acts of the Apostles we find “ the disciples " electing an Apostle. Now, according to the doctrine of the Church of England, the Apostles appointed Bishops, and Bishops ruled the Church with monarchical sway; but here the disciples, one hundred and twenty in number, elect an Apostle, “ from whom all Episcopal authority flows," whereby it is clear that the Church elected its own overseers, or Bishops-nay, that the very first act of the Church, as a body, was to do this very thing. The whole scheme of Prelacy seems to me to be overthrown by this one example, and in what way any writer, however ingenious, can reconcile the mode of elevating an English Prelate to the Episcopal throne with the narrative contained in this chapter I know not. In our English Church, the Prime Minister names the Bishop, the King issues the congé d'élire to the Dean and Chapter of a cathedral, and they, by law, are compelled to elect the person whom the King appoints. I need not say, that this is
not the way of electing Bishops according to the narrative in the Acts of the Apostles.
Again, in the sixth chapter of Acts, I find the whole multitude of the disciples employed in electing Deacons or Ministers of the Church. “ Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, it is not reason that we should leave the word of God and serve tables ; wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this busi
; and the saying pleased the whole multitude, and they chose Stephen.” Here, again, the Church of Christians, in its collective body, men and women, “the multitude of disciples,” elect the Deacons to attend to the widows in the daily ministrations—a process unknown in the Church of England, and which, as the Church of England is now constituted, is impossible, for the government of that Church is monarchical; one Prelate issues his commands in his diocese, no other authority but his exists or is known, and the multitude of believers are no more consulted, and have no more power, than the men of the Antipodes. This, therefore, to me is another proof that the Church of England is a Popish and not a Christian Church.
Again, when Peter received Cornelius, a heathen centurion, 'into the faith, he gave an account of it to all the Church. “ Then they that were of the circumcision contended with him, saying, thou wentest in unto men uncircumcised and didst 'eat with them : but Peter rehearsed the matter from the beginning.” (Acts xi. 3.) Peter, a maker of Bishops, according to the Prelatical theory, stands up and exculpates himself before the multitude of believers in Jerusalem ; he thinks himself bound so to do, because he never dreamed of exercising a lordship over his brethren. The dignity
. and authority of a Diocesan Prelate he knew nothing of; he was a believer, and so were those to whom he addressed himself; he had not the most distant idea of writing a stately letter only to the Priests of the Church (for, indeed, no Priests did then exist); he never supposed he had any authority to issue his commands to them, styling them “My Reverend Brethren," and signing himself “ Peter Babylon," or “ Peter Rome” (whichever his diocese might be), but believing the whole body of the faithful to have an equal authority with himself, he, as one of their loved preachers, stood up, and, in a friendly way, explained the motives of his conduct to his brethren in the Lord," and when they heard these things they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto faith.” They were satisfied with the explanation, and fully acquitted Peter of having done anything contrary to the will of God. Here, therefore, I find again that the Church, that is, the
multitude of believers, was totally different in its constitution from the Church of England.
Again, the Church of Jerusalem, in its collective form of all believers, sent Barnabas to Antioch. “Then the tidings of these things came unto the ears of the Church which was in Jerusalem, and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch, who, when he came and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that, with purpose of heart, they would cleave unto the Lord.” (Acts xi. 22.) The believers at Jerusalem took upon themselves an office which none but a Prelate is supposed capable of executing in the Church of England; for if letters of union were to be sent to some foreign Church from the Church of England, the matter would of course be arranged and commanded by the Bishops :. the Bishops would cry out“ treason” if any one proposed to send the mission without consulting them, and the believers in York or in Canterbury would be no more consulted than if they existed not. In the Church of Jerusalem, I can find the Saints acting with unquestioned authority; in the Church of England, the Saints are unknown, unheeded, and unconsulted. The Prelates command every thing. The law knows no authority but theirs ; the Priests rule the people and the Bishops rule the Priests, which is, in fact, having the supreme authority, and there is no authority above the Prelate's, excepting an Act of Parliament; and all this, again and again, my dear Uncle, convinces me that the Prelatical and Sacerdotal power is a usurpation, and that the Church of England is a Popish fabric, and is not the Church of Christ.
In a similar way the Church of Antioch, directed by the Holy Spirit, sends forth Barnabas and Saul to the Gentiles (Acts xiii.); and in the 14th Chapter we find, when this mission had been executed, that Paul and Barnabas gave an account of the result of their labours to all the believers, who had sent them forth; not to any Bishops or Priests, not to a Chancellor's Court-to Surrogates, Proctors, or Grand Vicars--but to the believers : “ And when they were come and had gathered the Church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles : and there they abode long time with the disciples."
Thus, also, in the celebrated council held at Jerusalem to settle the disputed question of circumcision, we see clearly that the matter was settled by the whole Church collectively. (Chap. xv.) “Then pleased it the Apostles and Elders, with the whole Church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas, and wrote letters by them after this manner: The Apostles and Elders, and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch, and Syria, and Cilicia; forasmuch as we have heard