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* * An act of parliament,” says Sir Chriftopher Hatton, “is a law agreed upon by the king or queen of England, having legal authority, the lords fpiritual and temporal, and the commons lawfully assembled, which taketh strength and life by the affent royal.” An act of parliament therefore is an act of the highest human authority, which can be done in this or any other country; for as I. have frequently before said, it is the complete act of the representatives of the community or people, from whom all human power and sovereignty originate. We are to consider Acts of parliaan act of parliament, which gives any rights, deeds of grant or confers any privileges, or vests any authority in one or more individuals,' like any other human act or instrument, which operates in a similar, though inferior manner. We must therefore consider first the right, power, and capacity of the granting party, who is commonly called the grantor ; secondly the nature of the thing intended to be granted; thirdly the capacity or ability of the party, to whom the grant is intended to be made, who is commonly called the grantee; and fourthly the nature and operation of
ment like other
* A treatise concerning statutes, by Sir C. H. A. late chancellor of England, p. 2.
The grantors are the community of this nation. May granť what they can hold.
the act, deed, or instrument, by which the grant is intended to be effected.
The grantors in the present instance are, properly speaking, the whole community of this nation, and therefore are capable of granting whatever they are capable of holding; (that is) they are capable of deputing or delegating all those rights and liberties to others, which they are capable of possessing and exercising themselves. The thing sup. posed or intended to be granted, was the spiritual headship or supremacy of the religion, which the nation at that timè voluntarily and freely professed and followed: this was the Roman Catholic religion. The nature therefore of the thing intended to be granted can only be properly known by the nature of the submission and subjection, which the members of that communion pay and acknowledge to the spiritual head of their church. I say then, without apprehension of being contradicted, that the Roman catholic church never did allow the spiritual supremacy of the pope of Rome upon any other ground or title, than that of his spiritual ordination and election, by virtue of which they believe and maintain him to be the regular and law
ful successor of St. Peter, and the represen. tative or vicegerent of Christ upon earth.
man catholics call the spi. ritual supremacy,
church not at
Now it is evident and clear, that this title to that supremacy, which they thus acknowe. ledged, could not be in the gift or disposal . of the English nation; for the Roman catholics never acknowledged any spiritual fu- i . premacy, which they did not hold or believe i to extend, as the word catholic imports, over. the universal congregation of christians, who believed in the tenets of their faith. Now The real spi
ritual supre. no lay individual of this nation, nor the whole macy over the community collectively, ever pretended to the the power of conferring holy orders; nor have I ever met with a claim set up by the whole or any part of this nation, during the thousand years, that the Roman catholic was the church establishment of this country, to send deputies or representatives to vote in conclave for the election of a Roman pontiff.
As clear then as it is, that no share, por- The headship tion, or degree of this merely Spiritual su- of the civiles premacy was at the disposal or in the gift
at the disposal of the English nation, so clear is it, that of the nation. every particle of power, authority, and jurisdiction, which enters into it, or is derived from the civil establishment of religion, was in the gift or disposal of the community, as by their free assent alone it could ever have been adopted and settled. The headship therefore, or supremacy of the civil establish
nor women ca.
ment of religion must for ever in its nature be transferable or extinguishable by the community, which incorporate it with their civil
constitution. Neither infants According to the doctrine of the church pable of ordi- of England, every man is generally capable
of receiving ordination or holy orders; but it must be from the hands of those, who are qualified to confer them; and according to the same doctrine, no woman nor infant is capable of receiving ordination or holy orders. Though Sir Edward Coke should conjure up his virgin queen, like a new goddess, from an ocean of his fpiritualizing chrism, she would still remain destitute of every particle of that spiritual power, authority, or jurisdiction, which were given to
the apostles to guide, rule, govern, and preEven christian serve the church of Christ. Yet though uncessary for the anointed with this holy oil, nay even though of the civil ef not régenerated in the sacred font of christian tablishment.
baptisin, * queen Elizabeth would have been fully capable of receiving all that power, authority, or jurisdiction over the civil establishment of religion, which the community were capable of giving; and I have endeavoured
baptifm not ne
* It is singular, that the proof of christian baptism is not required by the law of England to qualify a person for any benefit or advantage in the state.
before fiaftical, from the crown, velut à fupremo capite, & omnium infra regnum noftrum magistratuum fonte & scaturigine, as from the fountain and original of it, &c. To this it was faid; 6 That all this is to be understood only The king's fu
before to prove, that they could confer whatever could not be imposed upon them without their consent.
It is my indispensible, and indeed my only duty, to consider the operation of the laws now subsisting, that affect the king's supremacy over the church of England, which I am happier to set forth in the words of others, than my own. *“ Here one interposed and desired to know, how all this would agree with our present laws, and since the reformation, and instanced the statutes 25 H. VIII. C. 19. and 37 H. VIII. c. 17. &c. with the commission, that archbishop Cranmer took out for his bishoprick from Edw. VI. which is inserted in bishop Burnet's Hift. of the Reformation, part 11. Collect. Record. to book i. n. 2. p. 90, and the like done by other bishops, whereby they held their
bisnopricks during pleasure of the king, and ·'owned to derive all their power, even eccle
premacy to be
understood oil. * Case of the Regale and Pontificat. p. 60. & seq.
ly of the civil
power, &c. S4 . of