« PreviousContinue »
The Reverend RABSHAKEH GATHERCOAL to the Dissenting Ministers of Tuddington.
I HAVE received your letter, and am glad that it has been written, as it affords me an opportunity of declaring my intentions and opinions in so clear a manner as to make any further correspondence between us unnecessary: You will please, however, to take notice that by answering this letter I do not recognise your assumed characters of ministers, for as there is no order of ministers but that which was appointed by our Lord, and has come down to our days in an unbroken line of succession from the apostolical times, it would be sinful in me to recognise any leaders of schism as Christian Ministers or Pastors.
The sermon which you heard on Sunday morning last in the Church of the blessed Saint Mary is to be considered as the irrevocable declaration of that Gospel which I have been appointed to preach by his Grace the Archbishop of York by laying on of the hands of the Presbytery according to the rites and ceremonies of the Church of England; and you may depend upon it that I never will, in the
smallest degree, relax from those principles, on which I am persuaded depends the salvation of immortal souls. My sermon will be published in a few days, and by that sermon I intend to direct all my actions in my government of the people put under my care by apostolical commission and the laws of the land. If I did not know the judicial blindness always attending the schismatical delusion, I would conjure you, now that the true Church of Christ has been faithfully explained in your hearing, to shut up your conventicles, and to seek as penitent sinners pardon for your wickedness by humbly submitting yourselves to "the delegated authority of the Head of the Church," for you must in your consciences be fully aware that your conventicles" have not the slightest pretence to be considered Churches," for as" the episcopal is the only form of government instituted by God through the medium of his inspired apostles for the regulation of his Church, no other ought to be obeyed or can be obeyed without great wickedness: obedience to any other amounts in fact to the rejection of Christ, as King and Head of the Church; and I am at a loss to imagine what claim persons who will not submit to that particular mode of government and discipline laid down by the Saviour can have to the title of Christians. A Christian is one who bows
to the authority, institutions, and commands of
*L. S. E. p. 187.
Christ, and he who does not do so cannot be a Christian. Church discipline cannot be settled according to the wild notions and vagaries of any hot-headed fanatical pretender to inspiration, having nothing in view but his own selfish ends*." But the true authority which "Christ committed to his apostles has been transmitted down from one bishop to another in regular succession to the present time; and the clergy of the apostolical Church of England, having received their authority in this way-in a direct line of succession from Christ, the fountain of all authority to his Church, they are the only legitimate and authorised ministers amongst us, and he who despiseth them despiseth Christ, and he who despiseth Christ despiseth Him that sent himt."
"Truth therefore constrains me to tell you are not ministers of the Gospel, but ministers of heresy and schism-you are not the servants of Christ chosen by him, but the servants and hirelings of your hearers, chosen and paid by them—you have received no commission or authority from Christ, but from your people, who scriptually have none to give, and you are equally wicked as they for submitting to mob government, in direct opposition to truth, in direct opposition to reason, and in direct opposition to the dictates of your conscience‡;" in short, you are a club of unordained ministers, a union of ignorant, *L. S. E. p. 175. + Ib. p. 176. Ib. p. 186.
upstart religious funguses," who have "presumed to dethrone Christ, and snatch the crown from his head."
Such, therefore, being the dreadful state of sin in which your rebellious principles have plunged you, I conjure you to see yourselves as you really are, "false prophets, and false teachers, wolves in sheep's clothing, but still wolves by nature, for though you may have put on the appearance of being very pious and holy men, and may have transformed yourselves into ministers of righteousness, and made such pretensions to deceive, if it were possible, even the very elect, yet still you are ministers of Satan," "and are under the heavy curse of God‡."
I have endeavoured to be explicit in this letter; if, however, any thing further is wanting to make you understand my views, I desire you to take notice that I shall lay the axe to the root of the tree of Dissent, hew it down, and cast it into the fire. Whatever opposition you may make to my
delegated authority," I shall be able to crush it, and though it may make some stir in an illmanaged, ill-governed town, yet it will be but the writhings of a patient losing a mortified limb.
Your appointed Superior and Pastor,
*L. S. E., p. 187. Ib. p. 187. Ib. pp. 184, 185.
From the Reverend AUGUSTUS O'NEIL, Catholic Priest of Tuddington, to the Reverend RABSHAKEH GATHERCOAL.
I HAVE just finished reading your sermon on Jude, 8th verse, which you have printed and published, and I hope you will not be offended at my offering some few remarks thereon for your consideration.
You are, I perceive, on the confines of the truth, and may, I trust, be finally led to the only means of salvation of which you seem to have some glimpses. You are quite right in your doctrine concerning the true Church of Christ, and have well said that there is none other Church than that which is in obedience to episcopal government, as it was first instituted by Christ himself, and as it has come down to our days in an unbroken line of succession. I am, however, somewhat surprised to find you winking at the evident and unavoidable deduction from this argument, that as this line of episcopal succession has come down through the holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church, and as all the archbishops of