Excerpt from The Hierarchioal Despotism: Sophisms of the Apostolical Succession Examined and Refuted by the Word of God; Lecture IV
IT was a declaration of Milton, worthy to be written in every language in the world, that to us nothing can be catholic or universal in religion, but what the Scrip ture teaches; whatsoever without scripture pleads To BE universal IN the church, IN being universal, IS but the more schismatical. This principle every generous Protestant will act upon, in argument as well as in practice.
It may be, however, that in regard to this lecture some may think the author not sufficiently guarded, in develop ing the absolute and entire freedom of the New Tr ment from any commanded form as to church government and ministerial ordination. Ihave endeavored simply, and Without prejudice, to follow what is written in the Word of God, and to mark what is not written there, which nevertheless the hierarchical and spiritual despotism seeks to enforce upon the conscience. The apostolical successionists have made out of ordination by the laying on of the hands of a diocesan bishop a sacramental mystery as inscrutable and powerful as any piece of Indian or Oriental magic. I have shown that there is not one passage in the New Testament, in which the laying on of hands is mentioned as a ceremony aecom panying introduction into the Christian ministry. The ceremony itself is to be regarded as suitable, becoming.
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