Изображения страниц

ly returned to the exercife of her original rights, as an independent national church. It was on this footing that he threw off the yoke, under which fhe had fo long bowed to the papal tyranny. But when the thus feparated from the corruptions of Rome, she did not alfo throw off a just regard to the doctrines and inftitutions of the church of Chrift.Her reformed bifhops faw the neceffity of continuing that Epifcopal ordination, which they themselves had duly received: And Archbishop Parker having been regularly confecrated by four of these bishops, on the 17th of December, 1559, and placed by Queen Elizabeth in the See of Canterbury, the public regifters will fhew not only the year, month and day when, but also the perfons by whom, every particular bishop has been confecrated, from that period to the present time.

Such is the regular manner, in which the Epifcopal fucceffion has been canonically carried on, and can be clearly traced, in the Church of England: And it is alfo well known that on two remarkable occafions, has that church contributed her friendly aid to preferve the fame fucceffion in her fifter-church of Scotland. After the reforming party in this country had gone on for a courfe of years, with much noife and tumult, eftablishing and altering their various plans of church government, King James at laft, having fucceeded to the crown of England, was enabled to put matters on a more decent and regular footing. For that purpose having defir


ed three of thofe perfons who had been nominated to bifhopricks in Scotland, to repair to London, he told them at their firft audience," that he had with

[ocr errors]

great charge recovered the temporalities of the "church out of lay hands, and bestowed them, as " he hoped, upon worthy perfons; but as he could "not make them bifhops, nor could they affume "that honour to themselves, he had therefore cal"led them to England, to receive regular confecra❝tion from the bishops there, that on their return "home, they might communicate the fame to the "reft, and thereby ftop the mouths of adverfaries "of all denominations."* These three perfons were accordingly confecrated on the 21st of October 1610, by the bifhops of London, Ely and Bath; and on their return to Scotland, communicated the Epifcopal powers which they had now received in a right and canonical manner, to their former titular brethren; by which means a regular Episcopacy was introduced into the reformed church of Scotland, and continued to enjoy the fanction of legal establishment, till the troubles broke out in the reign of Charles the First, when the church was again. thrown into the utmoft confufion, and a "folemn league and covenant" was entered into for effecting the entire extirpation of "prelacy, or the go"vernment of the church by Archbishops and Bifhops, and all the ecclefiaftical o.ficers depending on that hierarchy."

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

See Skinner's Ecclefiaftical Hiftory of Scotland, Vol. II. p. 251.

Things continued in this disordered and ruinous ftate, till the restoration of Charles the Second; on which happy event, the Church of England immediately revived, and fhewed herself worthy of the diftinguished place fhe had always held among the reformed churches. Her eftablished rank and fplendour were restored to her. Nine of her bifhops had furvived the late calamities, of whom the worthy bishop of London, Dr. Juxon, who had attended his dying fovereign on the fcaffold, was promoted to the See of Canterbury. The other eight took poffeffion of their former bifhopricks, and the rest of the fees that had been vacant, were foon filled with learned and able prelates. A fimilar refolution was adopted by government, with regard to Scotland; but before Epifcopacy could be reftored in this country, the neceffity of the cafe required that application fhould again be made to the English church for affiftance. The Scottish bishops, who had been driven into exile by the violence of the times, had all died, except one, without being able to provide for the Epifcopal fucceffion. It was therefore determined, by thofe who had the object at heart, that this neceffary provision should be made by having recourfe to the fame expedient, which had been adopted about fifty years before: And accordingly four of the perfons who had been nominated for the Scottifh Epifcopate, were confecrated at London, on the 15th of December, 1661, by four of the English


bishops. But neither on this, nor on the former occafion, did any of the two archbishops officiate; left their prefiding at the confecration fhould have been confidered as claiming from the church of Scotland, the acknowledgment of any fubjection to the metropolitical Sees of Canterbury or York. On returning to Scotland, the four newly confecrated. prelates took poffeffion of the feveral Sees to which they had been appointed, and the other ten bifhopricks were afterwards conferred on the perfons, who for that purpose had received confecration from their hands.

Thus was Epifcopacy once more restored in Scotland, and continued to be the established form of church government, till the revolution took place in

[blocks in formation]

In the year 1789, Bishop Abernethy Drummond, Bishop Strachan and I, being at London, foliciting relief to our church from certain penal statutes; at the defire of Bifhop Seabury of Connecticut, who fome years before had been confecrated by the bishops in Scotland, we applied to the archbishop of Canterbury for an attefted extract of the confecration of the Scotch bishops in 1661, and through his Grace's condescending attention, re ceived what follows

"Extract from the Register-book of Archbishop Juxon, in the library "of his Grace, the archbishop of Canterbury, at Lambeth palace"Fol. 237.

"It appears that James Sharpe was confecrated archbishop of St. An« drews, Andrew Fairfull archbishop of Glasgow, Robert Leighton bishop "of Dunblenen, and James Hamilton bishop of Galloway, on the 15th "day of December, 1661, in St. Peter's church, Westminster, by Gilbert bishop of London, Commiffary to the archbishop of Canterbury, and that "the right Rev. George, bishop of Worcester, John, bishop of Carlisle, "and Hugh, bishop of Landaff, were present and affifting.

"Extracted this 3d day of June, 1789, by me, William Dickes, Secretary."

1688, when the bishops unanimously refusing to comply with that change, and to renounce the allegiance, which they had fworn to King James, were obliged to fuffer the confequences of fuch refufal; and however imprudent their conduct may appear in a worldly view, it is evident, from the facrifices which they made, that they acted with integrity, and from the moft difinterefted and confcientious motives. But whether it was owing to the offenfive principles maintained by the bishops, and their followers, or rather to that article in the Claim of Right, fet up by the convention of the eftates of Scotland, which declared "prelacy, or any fort of Epifcopal

[ocr errors]

fuperiority, to be a great and infupportable grie"vance and trouble to this nation;"-whichever of these caufes operated most powerfully in producing the defigned effect, fo it was, that the fame convention, having been turned into a parliament, paffed an act on the 22d of July, 1689, for "abolish❝ing prelacy, and all fuperiority of any office in "the church of this kingdom above prefbyters.". In confequence of this abolition, which was followed, the year after, by the establishment of the prefbyterian form of church government, the bishops were deprived of every thing connected with their office, which the civil power could take from them. They loft their revenues, and temporal jurisdiction; but their spiritual authority ftill remained, and that gift of God," which they had received by the impofition of Epifcopal hands, they confidered them


« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »