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CH A R G E.
If any apology be requisite for recalling your attention to the momentous controversy which, unhappily for the peace of our Church, has been engendered in its bosom, I am willing to believe that an excuse may be found in the variety and importance of the questions which it involves, and in the obligation which is laid upon us earnestly to contend for the faith once delivered to the Saints, from whatever quarter it may be assailed. I have always been accustomed to regard the Church, in which it is our privilege, no less than our duty, to dispense the word and sacraments, as the great bulwark of the Reformation. Established on the basis of those fundamental doctrines, in which our own articles and the foreign confessions are essentially agreed, it may with the utmost justice, be esteemed the pillar and ground of the truth. Any endeavours, therefore, to remove it from this basis-to revive obsolete errors-to
adulterate the purity of its doctrines—to diminish its claims upon our attachment and veneration, by disparaging the merits of those holy men who effected, under the Divine blessing, the great work of the Reformation, should not only be viewed with distrust and suspicion, but, if I mistake not, should be met by the most firm and vigorous resistance.
As the errors, to which I have alluded, bear a singular affinity to those which are incorporated with the papal system, consistency in our Protestantism must require that, if we protest against the latter, we should not fail to protest against the former.* Had any doubts of that affinity existed in my mind, they would have been effectually dissipated by an avowal, which is made in the preface to two additional volumes of the remains of a deceased contributor to the Tracts for the Times. After vindicating the writer from some strictures which had been made upon his journal, and assigning reasons which, in the judgment of his editors, ought to withhold the theological student from broadly and positively condemning the author for wishing “to have nothing to do with such a set” as the principal Reformers ; they proceed to say :-“And this more especially, if he take into consideration likewise certain less palpable, but not less substantial, differences in the way of thinking and moral sentiments, which separate the Reformers from the Fathers, more widely, perhaps, than any definite statements of doctrine. Compare the sayings and manners of the two schools on the subjects of fasting, celibacy,
* See Appendix, No. 1.
religious vows, voluntary retirement and contemplation, the memory of the saints, rites and ceremonies recommended by antiquity, and involving any sort of selfdenial, and especially on the great point of giving men divine knowledge, and introducing holy associations, not indiscriminately, but as men are able to bear it; there can be little doubt that, generally speaking, the tone of the fourth century is so unlike that of the sixteenth, ou each and all of these topics, that it is impossible for the same mind to sympathise with both. You must choose between the two lines : they are not only diverging, but contrary.” * It cannot be denied that this most remarkable
passage possesses the merit of placing the controversy between the writers of the Oxford Tracts and their opponents upon clear, distinct, and intelligible grounds. After such an avowal there can be no wavering,—no vacillating between the two systems,—no futile and nugatory attempt to combine a deference to the opinions of the Reformers with a submission to patristic authority. A line of distinction is drawn, which precludes the possibility of any approximation between the contending parties. The points at issue are too numerous, and of far too great practical consequence, to admit of any compromise. The questions in debate are not of an abstract, speculative, and theoretical nature, upon which diversity of sentiment may be conscientiously entertained, without the slightest estrangement of feeling. On the
Remains of the late Reverend R. H. Frowde. Part 2nd., vol. i. Preface, p. xxxiii.-See Appendix ii.
contrary, they include, either directly or collaterally, some of those tenets which characterise the apostacy of the latter days.* If the germs of that apostacy may be easily detected in the writings of the Fathers of the fourth century—if the seeds of papal superstition were then profusely scattered in the Christian Church—if the mystery of iniquity, which had begun to work in the days of St. Paul, were more fully unfolded in that century, and in a course of progressive development, till, in due time, every impediment being removed, it attained to the full revelation of the man of sin ;-then it is obvious that there can be no sympathy between those, on the one hand, who venerate the Reformers, espouse the doctrines which they espoused, and reject the corruptions which they rejected; and those on the other, who disown their authority, and, substituting that of the Fathers of the fourth century in its stead, take up a position, which is, to a considerable extent, occupied in common by themselves, and by the Church of Rome.
To corroborate the statement which has here been made, it will be sufficient to adduce some specimens of the erroneous tenets and superstitious usages of that period, extracted from Cyril's Catechetical Lectures, a new translation of which has been put forth by the ardent partisans of patristic lore.
Celibacy is one of the points which have been specified as placing the Fathers and the Reformers, and, consequently, their respective adherents, in irreconcileable contrariety to each other. On this point let Cyril be
* See Appendix iii.
heard :-“ As to the doctrines of chastity,” says this writer of the fourth century, “let the order of Solitaries and of Virgins attend to it, who are establishing in the world an angelic life ; and then the rest of the Church's people also.
Great is the crown laid up for you, brethren."* Again, speaking of the grace of the Holy Spirit, he says :—“Consider, I pray, of each nation, Bishops, Priests, Deacons, Solitaries, Virgins, and other laity; and then behold the great protector and dispenser of their gifts ;-how throughout the world he gives to one chastity, to another perpetual virginity, to another almsgiving, to another voluntary poverty, to another power of repelling hostile spirits." +
il's Catechetical Lectures. Lect, iv., § 5. 24. + Ib. Lect. xvi., § 5. 22. In the learned Joseph Mede's unanswerable treatise on “ The Apostacy of the latter times," of which the reader will find a concise outline in Appendix iii. ; these “Solitaries,” who are so highly eulogized by Cyril, are thus spoken of:—“ Prohibition of marriage and difference of meats are inseparable characters of monastical profession, and, therefore, common to all that crew of hypocrites, whether Solivagant Eremites, or Anchorites, which live alone; or Cænobites, which live in society.”—Mede's Works. B. iii., c. vii., p. 849. The following extract from Mosheim will not only supply the reader with a further delineation of the character of these Solitaries or Anchorites, and their associates in superstition, extravagance and fanaticism, but will likewise afford additional evidence that some of the most repulsive features of popery do not possess quite so much novelty as certain writers are disposed to ascribe to it:“ The monastic order, of which we have been taking a general view, was distributed into several classes. It was first divided into two distinct orders, of which one received the denomination of Cænobites, the other that of Eremites. The former lived together in a fixed habitation, and made up one large community under a chief, whom they called father, or abbot, which signifies the same thing in the Egyptian language. The latter drew out a wretched life in perfect solitude, and were scattered here and there in caves in deserts, in the hollow of rocks, sheltered from the wild beasts only by the