John Keble on Apostolic Succession

Today we conclude our series of excerpts from John Keble. Today’s excerpt focuses on Apostolic Succession. Note the fervency and humility in Keble’s writing. Notice too the focus on tradition in the form of Apostolic Succession. This is Anglo-Catholic teaching about the Church at its finest.

Why then should any man here in Britain fear or hesitate boldly to assert the authority of bishops and pastors of the church, on the grounds strictly evangelical and spiritual, as bringing men nearest to Christ our Savior and conforming them most exactly to his mind, indicated both by his own conduct and by the words of his Spirit in the apostolic writings? Why should we talk so much of an establishment of the national church and so little of an apostolic succession? Why should we not seriously endeavor to impress our people with this plain truth–that by separating themselves from our communion they separate themselves not only from a decent, orderly, useful society, but from the only church in this realm which has a right to be quite sure that she has the Lord’s body to give to his people [because of apostolic succession]? Nor need any man be perplexed by the question, sure to be asked, “Do you then unchurch the Presbyterians, all Christians who have no bishops? Are they to be shut out of the covenant, for all the fruits of Christian piety, which seem to have sprung up not scantily among them? Nay, we are not judging others, but deciding on our own conduct.

Tract 4 (1833)