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The Truth is, 'tis a common Practice for Men to catch at every Expression in the Homilies, which they think favorable to their own private Notions ; and thereby to drag the Church into the Controversy, merely to cait an Odium upon their Adversaries, as Apoitates from what they have subscribed. And yet the very fame Persons, when they are pressed upon other Heads, with Arguments drawn in the very same Manner, from the very same Homilies, have the Face to interpret their Subscription to the Thirty fifth Article exactly as I have done, tho' that Interpretation destroys the Force of their own Reasonings in behalf of their beloved Tenets. It certainly becomes good Christians always to argue fairly, and not to triumph in an Authority, which, as they manage it, is as often against them, as for them. We are ready enough on all sides to receive the true Interpretation of our Subscription with respect to the Homilies, when the false one leads us into insuperable Difficulties : and therefore we ought not to press a false Interpretation upon any sort of Adversaries, when the true one does not affect them. Let us take due Care to state, what we mean by the Church's Doctrins, in such a Manner, as fhall be equally reasonable, and readily acknowledged, in all Instances whatsoever : and then, as we shall not be guilty of using diverse Weights and Measures ; so I dare say, we shall agree in what our Church teaches, much better than our contending Parties seem to imagin.
To evince the Truth of which Affertion, I shall take the Liberty of quoting and comparing the Words of Two eminent Prelates, whose Judgment has been in many Cases, almost implicitly) fol. lowed by vast numbers of Admirers.
Arch-Bishop Laud was Bishop Burnet, in his charged at his Tryal (a- Exposition of the Thirty mongst other Particulars) fifth Article, which is with thwarting the Do- intituled Of Homilies, ctrin of the Homilies, faies, which are confirmed in By this Approbation of the the Thirty fifth Article, Two Books of Homilies it is upon the account of his notmeant,thatevery Passage countenancing Images in of Scripture, or Argument Churches, &c. To this that is made use of in them, he replies,
isalways convincing, orthat My Answer was, First, cveryExpresion is to severeThat though we Subscribed ly worded, that it may not generally to the Do£trine of need a little Correction or -the Homilies, as good; yet Explanation. All that we we did not express, or mean profess about them, is only thereby to justifie and main- that they contain a godly tain everyparticular Phrase and wholesom Doctrine. or Sentence contained in This rather relates to the them. And Secondly, That main Importance and Defign the very Words of the Arti- of them, than to every Pafcle to which we fubfèribe, fage in them.----- --This are, That the Homilies Approbation is not to be do contain a godly and stretched so far, as to carry a wholesom Doctrine, init a special Asent to every and necessary for those Particular in thatwholeVoTimes. Godly, and whole- liime; but a man must be som for all Times; but ne- persuaded of the main of the cessary for those, when Peo- Do£trine that is taught in ple were newly weaned froin them.--------By neceffary the Worship of Images: Af- for these Times, is not to terwards, neither the Dan. be meant, that this was a ger, nor the Scandal alike. Book fit to serve a Turn ; Mr. Brown in his Reply but only that this Book was faid, That since the Do- necessary at ibat Time, to ctrine contained in the instruɛt the Nation aright, Homi.
Homilies was wholesom and so was of great use then.
and good, it must needs But though the Dočtrine in . be necessary also for all it, if once true, must be al
Times. But this worthy ways true, yet it will not be
Gentleman is berein much always of the same Necesity E
mistaken. Strong Meat, as to the People. p. 375,376. well Spiritual as Bodily, is good and wholesom; but tho' it be so, yet if it had been necessary at all Times, and for all Men, the Apostle would never bave fed the Corinthians with Milk, and not with Meat: The Meat always good in it felf, but not necessary for them which were not able to bear it. Hift. of his Troubles and Tryal, P. 312.
I will add, that the Author of The Herditary Right of the Crown of England asserted, having confuted diverfe Mistakes in the Homily against Rebellion, excuses himself by saying, p. 63. If any should be offended with the Liberty bere taken with the Homily, I must again asure my Reader, it proceeds not from the least Disaffežtion to the Composers, much less to the Doctrine of it, which is the only thing we are obligod to maintain; not the Arguments made use of to prove it.
I need not observe, that Arch-Bishop Laud, Bishop Burnet, the aforesaid Author, and my self, do exactly agree in our Sense of what this Article faies touching the Homilies.
I know of no Difficulty that remains, except it should be imagin'd, that those who subscribe the Thirty fifth Article in this Sense, can't honestly
read the Homilies ; because, perhaps, whatsoever Homily they read, may contain something which they disapprove. But I desire it may be remembred, that tho' he who is presumed to preach his own Sermon, is thereby supposed to deliver his own Sense in every Clause and Proposition ; and consequently must, to avoid the Guilt of lying, inwardly approve what he utters with his Mouth: yet the Case is vastly different, when a Man professes, and is understood, to read an Homily composed by another. For then, tho' he is obliged by his Subscription to own the general Doctrin, yet he is not esteemed by the Auditory to deliver what is precisely the Sense of his own Mind; but such a Latitude is indulg'd him, that he may in smaller Matters difsent from the Form he pronounces, without the least imputation or color of Insincerity; the bare Suspicion of which a Clergyman ought to avoid and abhorin the whole Course of his Actions.
ly set forth in the time of Edward VI. and confirmed at the samne time by authority of Parliament, doth contain all things necessary to such consecration and ordering; neither bath it any thing that of it self is superstitious and ungodly. And therefore whosoever are confecrated or ordered according to the rites of that book, since the second year of the aforenamed King Edward, unto this time, or hereafter shall be consecrated or ordered according to the same rites, we decree all such to be rightly, or, derly, and lawfully confecrated and ordered,
In the Act for Uniformity of Public Prayers passed in the Fourteenth' of King Charles the Second, we have these Words following.
Provided always, That whereas the six and thirtieth Article of the nine and thirty Articles agreed upon by the Archbishops and Bishops of both Provinces, and the whole Clergy, in the Convocation holden at London, in the Year of our Lord One thousand Five hundred Sixty two, for the avoiding of Diversity of Opinions, and for establishing of Consent touching true Religion, is in these words following, viz.
** That the Book of Consecration of Archbishops, and “ Bishops, and Ordaining of Priests and Deacons, lately
set forth in the Time of King Edward the Sixth, and
confirmed at the same time by Authority of Parliament, és doth contain all things necessary to suchConsecration and “ Ordaining, neither bath it any thing that is of it self “ Superstitious and Ungodly; and therefore whosoever “ are Consecrated or Ordered according to the Rites of " that Book, since the Second Year of the aforenamed “ King Edward unto this time, or hereafter shall be “ Consecrated or Ordered according to the same Rites ; “ We decree all such to be rightly, orderly, and law
fully Consecrated and Ordered.
It be Enacted, and be it therefore Enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That all Subscriptions hereafter to be bad or made unto the faid Articles by any Deacon, Priest, or Ecclesiastical Person, or other Person whatsoever, who by this Act, or any other Law now in Force, is required to subscribe unto the said Articles, Mall be construed and taken to extend, and shall be applied (for and touching the said Six and thirtieth Article) unto the Book containing the Form and Manner of Making, Ordaining, and Confecrating of Bishops, Priests and Deacons, in this Aet mentioned, in such fort and manner as the same did heretofore extend unto the