Page images
PDF
EPUB
[blocks in formation]

Christ and His Apostles ; and what they began, they only can end. The Papacy began in the exertions and passions of man; and what man can make, man can destroy. Its jurisdiction, while it lasted, was “ordained of God;" when it ceased to be, it ceased to claim our obedience; and it ceased to be at the Reformation. The Reformers, who could not destroy a Ministry, which the Apostles began, could destroy a Dominion which the Popes founded.

Perhaps the following passage will throw additional light upon this point :

“ The Anglican view of the Church has ever been this: that its portions need not otherwise have been united together for their essential completeness, than as being descended from one original. They are like a number of colonies sent out from a mothercountry. ... . Each Church is independent of all the rest, and is to act on the principle of what may be called Episcopal independence, except, indeed, so far as the civil power unites any number of them together. . . . . Each diocese is a perfect independent Church, sufficient for itself; and the communion of Christians one with another, and the unity of them altogether, lie, not in a mutual understanding, intercourse, and combination, not in what they do in common, but in what they are and have in common, in their possession of the Succession, their Episcopal form, their Apostolical faith, and the use of the Sacraments. ... Mutual intercourse is but an accident of the Church, not of its

... Intercommunion is a duty, as other duties, but is not the tenure or instrument of the communion between the unseen world and this ; and much more the confederacy of sees and churches, the metropolitan, patriarchal, and papal systems, are matters of expedience or of natural duty from long custom, or of propriety from gratitude and reverence, or of necessity from voluntary oaths and engagements, or of ecclesiastical force from the canons of Councils, but not necessary in order to the ance of grace, or for fulfilment of the ceremonial law, as it

may be called, of unity. Bishop is superior to bishop only rank, not in real power; and the Bishop of Rome, the head of the Catholic world, is not the centre of unity, except as having a

essence. .....

convey

[blocks in formation]

primacy of order. Accordingly, even granting for argument's sake, that the English Church violated a duty in the 16th century, in releasing itself from the Roman supremacy, still it did not thereby commit that special sin, which cuts off from it the fountains of grace, and is called schism. It was essentially complete without Rome, and naturally independent of it; it had, in the course of years, whether by usurpation or not, come under the

supremacy of Rome; and now, wbether by rebellion or not, it is free from it: and as it did not enter into the Church invisible by joining Rome, so it was not cast out of it by breaking from Rome. These were accidents in its history, involving, indeed, sin in individuals, but not affecting the Church as a Church.

“Accordingly, the Oath of Supremacy declares that no foreign prelate hath or ought to have any jurisdiction, power, preeminence, or authority within this realm.' In other words, there is nothing in the Apostolic system which gives an authority to the Pope over the Church, such as it does not give to a Bishop. It is altogether an ecclesiastical arrangement; not a point de fide, but of expedience, custom, or piety, which cannot be claimed as if the Pope ought to have it, any more than, on the other hand, the King could of Divine right claim the supremacy; the claim of both one and the other resting, not on duty or revelation, but on specific engagement. We find ourselves, as a Church, under the King now, and we obey him; we were under the Pope formerly, and we obeyed him. Ought' does not, in any degree, come into the question.”

Conclusion.

One remark may be made in conclusion. It may be objected that the tenor of the above explanations is anti-Protestant, whereas it is notorious that the Articles were drawn up by Protestants, and intended for the establishment of Protestantism ; accordingly, that it is an evasion of their meaning to give them any other than a Protestant drift, possible as it may be to do so grammatically, or in each separate part.

But the answer is simple:

1. In the first place, it is a duty which we owe both to the Catholic Church and to our own, to take our reformed confessions in the most Catholic sense they will admit; we have no duties toward their framers. [Nor do we receive the articles from their original framers, but from several successive convocations after their time ; in the last instance, from that of 1662.]

2. In giving the Articles a Catholic interpretation, we bring them into harmony with the Book of Common Prayer, an object of the most serious moment in those who have given their assent to both formularies.

3. Whatever be the authority of the [Declaration) prefixed to the Articles, so far as it has any weight at all, it sanctions the mode of interpreting them above given. For its injoining the “ literal and grammatical sense,” relieves us from the necessity of making the known opinions of their framers, a comment upon their text; and its forbidding any person to

affix

any new sense to any Article," was promulgated at a time when the leading men of our Church were especially noted for those Catholic views which have been here advocated.

4. It may be remarked, moreover, that such an interpretation is in accordance with the well-known general leaning of Melanchthon, from whose writings our Articles are principally drawn, and whose Catholic tendencies gained for him that same reproach of popery, which has ever been so freely bestowed upon members of our own reformed Church.

[blocks in formation]

“Melanchthon was of opinion,” says Mosheim, “that, for the sake of peace and concord many things might be given up and tolerated in the Church of Rome, which Luther considered could by no means be endured. ... In the class of matters indifferent, this great man and his associates placed many things which had appeared of the highest importance to Luther, and could not of consequence be considered as indifferent by his true disciples. For he regarded as such, the doctrine of justification by faith alone, the necessity of good works to eternal salvation ; the number of the sacraments; the jurisdiction claimed by the Pope and the Bishops; extreme unction; the observation of certain religious festivals, and several superstitious rites and ceremonies.”—Cent. XVI. $ 3. part 2. 27, 28,

5. Further : the Articles are evidently framed on the principle of leaving open large questions, on which the controversy hinges. They state broadly extreme truths, and are silent about their adjustment. For instance, they say that all necessary faith must be proved from Scripture, but do not say who is to prove it. They say that the Church has authority in controversies, they do not say what authority. They say that it may enforce nothing beyond Scripture, but do not say where the remedy lies wben it does. They say that works before grace and justification are worthless and worse, and that works after grace and justification are acceptable, but they do not speak at all of works with God's aid, before justification. They say that men are lawfully called and sent to minister and preach, who are chosen and called by men who have public authority given them in the congregation to call and send ; but they do not add by whom the authority is to be given. They say that councils called by princes may err; they do not determine whether councils called in the name of CHRIST will err.

[6. The variety of doctrinal views contained in the Homilies, as above shown, views which cannot be brought under Protestantism itself, in its greatest comprehension of opinions, is an additional proof, considering the connexion of the Articles with the Homilies, that the Articles are not framed on the principle of excluding those who prefer the theology of the early ages to that of the Reformation ; or rather let it be considered whether, considering both Homilies and Articles appeal to the Fathers and Catholic antiquity, in interpreting them by these, we are not

VOL. VI.-90.

G

[blocks in formation]

going to the very authority to which they profess to submit themselves.

7. Lastly, their framers constructed them in such a way as best to comprehend those who did not go so far in Protestantism as themselves. Anglo-Catholics then are but the successors and representatives of those moderate reformers; and their case has been directly anticipated in the wording of the Articles. It follows that they are not perverting, they are using them, for an express purpose for which among others their authors framed them. The interpretation they take was intended to be admissible ; though not that which their authors took themselves. Had it not been provided for, possibly the Articles never would have been accepted by our Church at all. If, then, their framers have gained their side of the compact in effecting the reception of the Articles, let Catholics have theirs too in retaining their own Catholic interpretation of them.

An illustration of this occurs in the history of the 28th Article. In the beginning of Elizabeth's reign a paragraph formed part of it, much like that which is now appended to the Communion Service, but in which the Real Presence was denied in words. It was adopted by the clergy at the first convocation, but not published. Burnet observes on it thus :

“When these Articles were at first prepared by the convocation in Queen Elizabeth's reign, this paragraph was made a part of them; for the original subscription by both houses of convocation, yet extant, shews this. But the design of the government was at that time much turned to the drawing over the body of the nation to the Reformation, in whom the old leaven had gone deep; and no part of it deeper than the belief of the corporeal presence of Christ in the Sacrament; therefore it was thought not expedient to offend them by so particular a definition in this matter; in which the very word Real Presence was rejected. It might, perhaps, be also suggested, that here a definition was made that went too much upon the principles of natural philosophy; which how true soever, they might not be the proper subject of an article of religion. Therefore it was thought fit to suppress this paragraph; though it was a part of the Article that was subscribed, yet it was not published, but the paragraph that follows, The Body of CHRIST,' &c., was put in its stead, and was received and published by the next convocation ; which upon the matter was a full explanation of the way of CHRIST's presence in this Sacrament; that 'He is present in a heavenly and spiritual manner, and that faith is the mean by

« PreviousContinue »