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HON. & REV. A. P. PERCEVAL, B.C.L.
PRINTED FOR J. G. & F. RIVINGTON,
ST. PAUL'S CHURCH YARD,
AND WATERLOO PLACE, PALL MALL.
TO THE CANDID READER.
LET every impartial person consider whether the state of the Irish Church, which forms the pretext for the measures openly threatened against her, be not mainly, if not wholly, attributable to the operation of the statutes of Henry VIII.; which are considered in the following paper. One of which, namely that relating to the appointment of Bishops, has been far more severely felt there than in England; since even the nominal election of the Chapters has been there dispensed with; and the appointment, till of late years, was understood to rest in the Lord Lieutenant. If to the one statute which denied the Church the power of avoiding any evil appointment which might be forced upon her, and to the other which tied up the hands of any of her well affected rulers from devising methods to remedy growing evils, the present weakened, and, in parts, inefficient condition of the Church there, is, in truth, to be
ascribed; then let all mankind judge whether the annals of the world will present a grosser instance of wanton abuse of power than will be afforded if the Civil Power of this nation, which has, by its oppressive statutes, disabled the spiritual rulers of the Church from enforcing discipline, shall turn round and make this defective discipline, which is the result of its own statutes, a plea for plundering the Church.
That the Church, if left to her spiritual liberty, and the exercise of the commission which she has received from her Founder, would never have sanctioned the abuses which have obtained in Ireland, (especially in the instance most commonly objected against her, namely, that of some of her dignitaries and beneficed clergy, who, forsaking their own parishes, are charged with having spent their time in idleness in other countries,) we might bring canon after canon to prove. Thus the 37th of the Primitive Code enacts," If any one, being ordained bishop, do not accept the Liturgy, and care of the people entrusted to him, let him be suspended from communion till he do accept it; and in like manner the priest and deacon;" and see 50 of the same Code; 3 and 17 of Antioch, &c. Let the Church be restored to her liberty; and if, after reasonable time allowed, these faults be not remedied, her rulers must not complain