Thursday, January 5, 2012

Bishop Cosin's Conditions for Unity

Upon reading this passage from Bishop Cosin (found in Kenneth Hylson-Smith's book High Churchmanship in the Church of England), I thought I'd post this here at the Hackney Hub.  I am rewording it a bit and proposing that it serve as a statement of belief or purpose for High Churchmen.

I would like to hear the opinions of the readers of this blog.

“We that profess the Catholic Faith and Religion in the Church of England do not agree with the Roman Catholics in any thing whereunto they now endeavour to convert us… If the Roman Catholics would make the essence of their Church (as we do ours) to consist in these following points, we are at accord with them in the reception and believing of:

1. All the two and twenty canonical books of the Old Testament, and the twenty-seven of the New, as the only foundation and perfect rule of our faith.

2. All the apostolical and ancient Creeds, especially those which are commonly called the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Creed of St. Athanasius; all which are clearly deduced out of Scripture.

3. All the decrees of faith and doctrine set forth, as well in the first four General Councils, as in all other Councils, which those first four approved and confirmed, and in the fifth and sixth General Councils besides (than which we find no more to be General), and in all the following Councils that be thereunto agreeable, and in all the anathemas and condemnations given out by those Councils against heretics, for the defence of the Catholic Faith.

4. The unanimous and general consent of the ancient Catholic Fathers and the universal Church of Christ in the interpretation of the Holy Scriptures, and the collection of all necessary matters of Faith from them during the first six hundred years, and downwards to our own days.

5. In acknowledgment of the Bishop of Rome, if he would rule and be ruled by the ancient canons of the Church, to be the Patriarch of the West, by right of ecclesiastical and imperial constitution, in such places where the kings and governors of those places had received him, and found it behooveful for them to make use of his jurisdiction, without any necessary dependence upon him by divine right.

6. In the reception and use of the two blessed Sacraments of our Saviour; in the Confirmation of those persons that are to be strengthened in their Christian Faith, by prayer and imposition of hands, according to the examples of the holy Apostles and ancient Bishops of the Catholic Church; in the public and solemn benediction of persons that are to be joined together in Holy Matrimony; in public or private absolution of penitent sinners; in the consecrating of Bishops, and the ordaining of Priests and Deacons, for the service of God in His Church by a lawful succession; and in visiting the sick, by praying for them, and administering the Blessed Sacrament to them, together with a final absolution of them from their repented sins.

7. In commemorating at the Eucharist the Sacrifice of Christ’s Body and Blood once truly offered for us.

8. In acknowledging his sacramental, spiritual, true, and real Presence there to the souls of all them that come faithfully and devoutly to receive Him according to His own institution in that Holy Sacrament.

9. In giving thanks to God for them that are departed out of this life in the true Faith of Christ’s Catholic Church; and in praying to God, that they may have a joyful resurrection, and a perfect consummation of bliss, both in their bodies and souls, in His eternal kingdom of glory.

10. In the historical and moderate use of painted and true stories, either for memory or ornament, where there is no danger to have the abused or worshipped with religious honour.

11. In the use of indulgences, or abating the rigour of the canons imposed upon offenders, according to their repentance, and their want of ability to undergo them.

12. In the administration of the two Sacraments, and other rites of the Church, with ceremonies of decency and order, according to the precept of the Apostle, and free practice of the ancient Christians.

13. In observing such Holy days and times of fasting as were in use in the first ages of the Church, or afterwards received upon just grounds, by public or lawful authority.

14. Finally, in the reception of all ecclesiastical constitutions and canons made for the ordering of our Church; or others which are not repugnant either to the Word of God, or the power of kings, or the laws established by right authority in any nation."

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