Page images
PDF
EPUB

English Church, which alike condemns Popery on the one hand and Pelagianism on the other, the inevitable result is, that the typified inward grace is not always and INVARIABLY tied to the typifying outward sign.

The sign may subsist without the grace : and, conversely, the grace (as Hooker wisely rules) may be conferred without the sign.

Thus, in the Rubric to the Office of the Communion of the Sick, the Church very solidly determines, with an evident reference to the popish superstition of Transubstantiation : that, where, from any just impediments, a sick man does not receive the Sacrament of Christ's Body and Blood, provided he has the prerequisites for a worthy reception of it, “he doth eat and drink the Body and “ Blood of our Saviour Christ profitably to his soul's health, “ although he do not receive the Sacrament with his mouth.” The same analogy, as the Early Church well contended, appertains to the other Sacrament of Baptism. Hence originated the theological fiction, that unbaptised martyrs were baptised in their own blood : and hence the great Augustine, like the scarcely less great Hooker, pronounced; that Spiritual Regeneration may be received without Baptism, but not with contempt of Baptism.

In this manner, doth our Church, with her wonted sobriety, neither elevate the Sacraments into a sort of deities, nor degrade them to mere inefficacious forms. She assigns to them their true place : and it would be well if all her children did the same.

II. Mr. Gresley speaks of some exaggerating doctors, as I have called them, who wish to have our Baptismal Offices altered, and who, on their own responsibility, “ refuse to use those portions of " the Service in which Regeneration is asserted or implied.”

Though I never met with such cases myself, I am bound to conclude that Mr. Gresley is correct in his statement. For my own part, I can honestly say, as I have already said with my annexed reasons in my Primitive Doctrine of Regeneration, that most sorry should I be to see our Baptismal Offices either altered or muti. lated. When received, as common sense teaches us they ought to be received, not insulated and still less with an exclusive confinement to the Office of Infant Baptism, as Mr. Gresley would fain persuade us, but with the qualifying explanations contained in the rigidly strict Doctrinal Articles, they are wholly unexceptionable. He would strangely set Office against Article : those, whom he so indecently reviles, would interpret the Offices by the Articles.

He may, what certainly shews no great amount of clerkship, scoff at the “ hypothetical construction of the office for Infant Baptism ; the exactly parallel Office for Adult Baptism be wholly pretermits : but this very “ bypothetical” construction of both

Offices inevitably flows from the explanatory statements in the Articles. I mean no intentional disrespect for him : but it is impossible to read his two pamphlets without a full conviction that he is writing on a subject which he has never thoroughly studied.

III. His grave lecture to the collective Bench of Bishops, wherein he rates them soundly, because they do not concur to mount Tractarianism, like Dean Swift's Jack, upon a tall horse, and there enable him to eat custard in all the solitary dignity of exclusiveness, may be simply amusing from the very circumstance of its extreme badness of taste.

But his indecent personal attack upon those two excellent and truly apostolical prelates, the Bishops of Chester and Calcutta, whom it has long been my privilege to reckon among my most honoured friends, serves only to exemplify the familiar practice of an irreverent Tractarian, whenever his petulant humour is thwarted by the constituted Ecclesiastical Authorities. As long as a Bishop will submit to be the humble servant of the Party, he may expect to be lauded as the very impersonation of Christ upon earth. But let him put forth his hand, and touch, either positively or even negatively, all that Tractarianism hath: and it will curse him to his face. In the odd provincialism of our northern Palatinate, Tractarianism" is a very meek child, and cannot bear to be con“ tradicted.”

IV. We need not, I trust, apprehend any Real Danger to the Church of England from the mingled Heresy and Treason of “ the “ Evangelical or Puritan or Antichurch Party :" but, should Tractarianism ever be in the ascendant, I should be sorry to insure our Protestant Church for even half a dozen years.

The Laity, who have no great relish for Popery however disguised by the skill of Tractarian cookery, have given us a sufficiently intelligible hint, though it may not always have been expressed in the very wisest mode possible, that the Dominance of Tractarianism would be the Establishment of Dissent. We might, for a season, retain our churches : but, with some trifling exceptions here and there, we should find ourselves doomed to read, what, at Oxford, in my younger days, some half century ago, were facetiously denominated Wall-Lectures ; and, when once we had only the walls for our congregation, it may be doubted, whether even that respectable audience would not soon desert us. In short, if our Bishops wish to bring real danger upon the Church of England, let them call in Mr. Gresley as their Mentor.

G. S. FABER. Sherburn-House, Aug. 31, 1846.

TO THE EDITOR OF THE CHURCHMAN'S MONTHLY REVIEW. Sir,—Having read with attention the article on works on “Sacred Chronology,” in your Number for August, I beg to return to the Reviewer

my best acknowledgments for the courteousness of his style towards myself personally.

But being unable to acquiesce in the charges he brings against me of false and inconsistent reasoning, it is my intention to investigate the grounds upon which they rest, and I hope to show that the false reasoning is on the side of the Reviewer himself. But as that which I am preparing for the press will be too long to offer for insertion in your journal, I intend to publish it separately. I request therefore that

you

will do me the favour to insert this letter in your next Number, that such of your readers as feel an interest in the great question of the true date of the Passion of our Lord and Saviour, may be aware of my intention of vindicating the received date of that great event, as held by nearly all our best chronologers for some centuries, including the names of Usher, Scaliger, Petavius, Whiston, Prideaux, Vossius, Lloyd, Calmet, Kennedy, Bedford, L'Art de Verifier les Dates, not to speak of Blair, and I think Playfair, who are rather copyists than original writers; and of showing the utter futility of the arguments which the writer of your review advances against it.

When, however, any real errors are discovered in my works, I am so far from wishing to conceal them, that, on the contrary, I desire to be the first to acknowledge them to the public. I beg, therefore, now to state, that in the calculation of the time of the true new moon, in March, A.c. 33, which will be found in p. 172 of my Synopsis, there is an error of about 8hours. The new moon at Jerusalem was, on the 19th, about lh. 36m, in the afternoon, and not, as there given, at 10h. 9m.' This error arose from my omitting a figure in taking out the lunar anomalies for the equations of time; but it is happily not of sufficient magnitude to affect the accuracy of my reasoning in p. 134, as to the date of the 1st, and consequently the 14th of Nisan, in the year 33. To have justified Mr. Browne's date, the new moon at Jerusalem ought to have been, on the 18th, at 12 at night.

I have the honour to be, Sir,

Your most obedient Servant, Lainshaw, 17th Sept. 1846.

W. CUNINGHAME.

| This calculation is made from the table in Fergusson's Astronomy (Brewster's edit.) The tables in the Encyclopedia Britannica make the new moon about 50 min. earlier.

TO THE EDITOR OF THE CHURCHMAN'S MONTHLY REVIEW.

SIR,—As you have admitted some communications of correspondents in your valuable periodical, I take the liberty of sending a few lines to call attention to simple facts which appear to me to confirm the arguments of the Rev. H. McNeile, in his letter to the Rev. G. S. Faber, contained in your number for this month.

I am sensible of the value of Mr. Faber's works, and am very partial to those of them which I possess, always referring to them with pleasure; yet his favourite principle, that tradition must be our interpreter of Scripture quite puzzles me, and appears utterly untenable, for the reasons assigned by Mr. McNeile; which reasons are confirmed by the following illustration. It is well known that there are many different opinions as to the meaning of the clause in the creed “ He descended into hell ;” and as a profession of this creed is required at baptism, it is of some importance. Now the learned Bishop Pearson gives his reasons for concluding from Scripture that “ Hades” here means “the place of departed spirits ;” and he then refers to “the fathers” (whom he quotes largely) to prove this opinion; saying that “there is nothing which they agree in more than this which I have already affirmed, the real descent of the soul of Christ unto the habitation of the souls departed,” (p. 357. Dobson's Edit.); and that the “interpretation" is “ founded upon the general opinion of the Church of Christ in all ages,” (p. 355.) If we turn, however, to Bishop Beveridge on the 3rd Article, we find the tenor of his line of argument identical with that of Bishop Pearson : but he comes to a different conclusion ;-viz. that “hell” here means the place of torment, which interpretation is expressly noticed and rejected by Bishop Pearson, pp. 348–350. Bishop Beveridge, like Bishop Pearson, appeals to Scripture first, and gives his reasons for his opinion. At this point the case would stand thus, according to Mr. Faber, that the opinion of one was as likely to be the right one, as that of the other, and therefore that the consent of the Fathers is needful to decide since these learned doctors disagree. Now, Bishop Pearson makes this appeal, as I have showed. But lo! Bishop Beveridge does the same. Speaking of his interpretation, he says, “ Neither is this truth of yesterday's growth, but almost all the Fathers of the primitive church have acknowledged and received it as an article of faith,” (p. 134.) The Bishop also quotes from the Fathers. It would occupy too much time and space to enter fully on the subject, or to quote more from Bishops Pearson and Beveridge. I must therefore only say, that if any person will read Bishop Pearson's remarks on this Article of the Creed, and Bishop Beveridge on the 3rd Article, he cannot fail to be struck with the almost verbal identity of the line of argument pursued by these learned prelates, and also with the insufficiency of “the Fathers” to decide between the very opposite conclusions at which they arrive as to the import of the phrase “He descended into hell.”

In conclusion, I have only to allude to another fact. If any one will compare the remarks of Mr. Faber in his “Primitive Doctrine of Justification," --Preface, pp. xliv, xlv, and xlvi, and p.378 (2nd Edit.) “Primitive Doctrine of Regeneration,”—Preface, pp. xi--xxii, and “ Apostolicity of Trinitarianism," Introduction, p. xxvii, &c. with the remarks of the Rev. W. A. Hammond in his “Preface” to his translation of “the Canons of the Church," pp. ii, iii, v-vii, and with the remarks of Dr. Hook in his “Novelties of Romanism," pp. 5–7, &c. he will almost think he is reading the same author, so strikingly similar is the line of argument to prove the necessity of an appeal to the Fathers, in order to decide the true sense of Scripture : e. g. Mr. Faber and Mr. Hammond both contend that even in the case of Socinianism one man's private judgment is just as authoritative as another man's private judgment; and therefore, what has been called heresy, stands upon the very same footing of authority as what has been called orthodoxy!" (Faber on Justification, p. 378.) Surely then we may reasonably conclude that there is uniformity of doctrine among these three learned divines. Is it not, however, well known that Mr. Faber and Dr. Hook belong to very different schools of theology in the Anglican communion ? I much question (unless I altogether mistake their real opinions) whether Mr. McNeile and Bishop Mant, who both agree as to the sole sufficiency of Scripture (but who, as is well known, belong to very different schools of theology,) differ as much as Mr. Faber and Dr. Hook, who both assert the necessity of an authoritative interpretation of Scripture !

I must apologise for trespassing so long on your space, and at the same time declare that I make these remarks not because I undervalue Mr. Faber,—for I set a high value on the intrinsic excellence of his learned works to which I have referred,,but simply to elicit truth. To me the above facts have always appeared to overthrow Mr. Faber's favourite principle. If I am in error, I will gladly receive instruction.

I remain, Sir,

Your obedient servant, Sept. 1, 1846.

A COUNTRY CURATE.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »