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in any one respect to the imputation of superstition or ungodliness; but whoever reads it, will be convinced that it is drawn up with the utmost caution, and with every possible attention to propriety: it guards against the admission of unworthy persons into the order of deacons and priests, by enjoining previous examination into their moral (c) and literary
character, (c) I cannot omit this opportunity of expressing a most earnest wish, that both parochial clergymen and the governing part of colleges in our universities, would be more correct upon the subject of signing testimonials, than it is to be feared they are at present. They should reflect, that the interests of religion are deeply concerned in the moral character of its ministers; that for the moral conduct of the candidates for orders, bishops must necessarily depend upon the testimony of others; and that whoever recommends for ordination an unworthy young man, makes himself responsible for all the mischief of which he may be the cause when invested with Holy Orders. A greater degree of strictness upon this point would, I am convinced, be productive of very extensive benefit; and colleges in particular would quickly experience a material difference in the behaviour of those who are designed for our holy profession. Young men would naturally become more diligent, more regular, more virtuous in every respect, if they knew that they should fail in the main object of their education, that all the hopes and expectations of themselves and their friends would be disappointed, unless by their positive good conduct they merited that recommendation to the
character, and also into their religious knowledge and principles : it requires, at the time both of ordination and consecration, an explicit declaration and solemn promise, relative to the great points of faith and practice: the
prayers are devout and appropriate, and all the ceremonial parts of these offices are simple and grave, and admirably adapted to their respective occasions. The service for the ordination of priests is indeed so solemn and impressive, and contains such an excellent summary of the duties of ministers of the Gospel, and such earnest exhortations to the discharge of those duties, that every clergyman, whatever may be his age or his station in the church, would do well to read it carefully and attentively at least once in every year.
AND THEREFORE WHOSOEVER ARE CONSE
CRATED OR ORDAINED ACCORDING TO THE
RITES OF THAT BOOK, SINCE THE SECOND YEAR OF THE FORENAMED KING EDWARD UNTO THIS
TIME, , bishop, which now they trust, and in most cases I fear with too much reason, that they shall certainly obtain, unless they be guilty of some gross immorality. I say not this from any want of respect for the Universities, but from a real regard for their best interests, and from a conviction that the discipline which they observe is of great importance to the cause of religion, and to the welfare of the kingdom at large.
TIME, OR HEREAFTER SHALL BE CONSECRATED OR ORDERED ACCORDING TO THE SAME RITES;' WE DECREE ALL SUCH TO BE RIGHTLY, ORDERLY, AND LAWFULLY CONSECRATED AND ORDERED. This latter part of the Article has a retrospective view, and the reason of adding it was this: a new form of ordination was composed by the bishops, and approved by King Edward the Sixth, in the third year of his reign; and two years afterwards it was confirmed by Act of Parliament, together with the Book of Common Prayer, of which the form of ordination was declared to be a part. Mary's reign this Act was repealed, and the Book of Common Prayer, and the Book of Ordination, were by name condemned. When Elizabeth came to the throne, queen Mary's Act was repealed, and King Edward's Prayer Book was again authorized; but the book of Ordination was not expressly named, because it had been a part of the Common Prayer Book; and therefore it was no more thought necessary to specify the office of ordination, than any other office of the Common Prayer Book.
But bishop Bonner contended, that as the Book of Ordination had been by name condemned in queen Mary's reign, and had not been since revived by name, that it was still condemned in law; N N 2
and consequently, that all ordinations, conferred according to that form, were illegal and invalid. To obviate this objection, it was declared in a subsequent session of parliament, that the office of ordination was considered as a part of the Common Prayer Book; and it was farther declared, that all ordinations, which had been performed according to that office, were valid; and upon the same principle a similar clause was inserted in this article.
With respect to those who are now CONSECRATED OR ORDERED, ACCORDING TO THE RITES OF THAT BOOK, as these rites are prescribed by just and proper authority, and are conformable to the practice of the Apostles, as far as it is known, it follows that such persons ARE RIGHTLY, ORDERLY, AND LAWFULLY, CONSE
CRATED AND ORDERED.
It appears from a variety of authorities, that in the early ages of Christianity, the ordination of priests and deacons was performed by bishops. The second of the apostolical canons directs that a presbyter should be ordained by one bishop. In the first Council of Constantinople it was decreed, that all ordinations performed by Maximus were invalid, because he himself was not a lawful bishop, having been consecrated by presbyters only. The Council of Sardis, and also a council held at Alexandria, decreed the same thing concerning Ischyras. Ischyras,” says Athanasius, in his Second Apology, “ to be so much as a presbyter? Who ordained him? Did Colluthus ? This is all that can be pretended. But as Colluthus died a presbyter, all ordinations by his hands were invalid, and all persons ordained by him are still laics.” And even Jerome, at a moment when he was endeavouring to lower episcopacy, asked, “ What does a bishop do, except ordaining, which a presbyter may not do ?”
also 66 How came