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absolute and perfect form, we must satisfy ourselves that every enlargement of our creed, whether by addition, expansion, comprehensiveness—every law imposed upon our practice, every assumption of power by those who require our submission, every principle which is enforced upon us, and the extent to which every principle is to be carried out—every minute iota, in short, of ecclesiastical ordinance, which, though insignificant in itself, may, if infringed, bring forth within us a dangerous tendency to independence-every demand which has been made on our faith or our obedience by the dominant rulers of the Church, rests on authority as absolutely divine, as distinctly the audible Word of God, as undoubtedly a revelation from the great Creator of man, as if it had been uttered amid the thunder of Sinai, or spoken by our Lord and by his Apostles. Inspiration, according to this argument, was no temporary gift -it dwells as fully on the lips of Popes and Fathers in council, as on those of St. Peter and St. Paul.
According to this theory, what is the New Testament? It is no Revelation ; it is but the obscure and prophetic harbinger of a Revelation. It is no great harmonious system of truths; it has but the rude outlines, the suggestive elements of those truths; it is no code of law, but a rudimental first conception of a law. Its morality is no establishment of great principles, to be applied by the conscience of the individual man, but a collection of vague and ambiguous maxims. Of the way of salvation it utters but dark and oracular hints; it has brought life and immortality but into a faint and hazy twilight; the Sun of Righteousness rose not to his full meridian till the Council of Trent. No doubt the interpretation, and still more the personal application, of the Scripture is a difficult task ; and, notwithstanding Mr. Newman's abstruse argument, we presume that its difficulty was intended in the Divine counsels. It is not in the cultivation of the earth alone that
Pater ipse colendi
But as to this interpretation, we dare affirm, that though very great deference be due to the earlier writers, as possessing peculiar opportunities of knowledge, yet were they not guaranteed in any especial manner from foreign influences, from the prepossessions and prejudices of their age, their position, their habits of thought and feeling; and there are advantages which belong to us, who may benefit by all that is valuable in their wisdom, and to it may add our own (our more accurate philosophy of language for instance, our wider acquaintance with languages in general)—so that we are bold to say, that, on the whole, Biblical Criticism is in a state of legitimate development to our own day.
Mr. Newman has given us an example of the manner in which he conceives that the obscure hints of the Scriptures are legitimately developed into doctrines binding in perpetuity on the whole Christian Church. But we are compelled to say, that if we were not familiar with the very peculiar structure of Mr. Newman's mind-now endowed with logical acuteness and precision almost unrivalled in his day, and which may have enabled him in earlier and more quiet times to do amicable battle with the future Archbishop Whately—now stooping to a rubbish of false inferences and incomplete analogies, of which a child would be ashamed ;—we should scarcely have believed that he would have ventured such passages in a work written with great caution, as we might have supposed, and after deep meditation.
It may be added that, in matter of fact, all the definitions or received judgements of the earlier and mediæval Church rest upon definite, even though sometimes obscure sentences of Scripture. Thus Purgatory may appeal to the saving by fire,' and entering through much tribulation into the kingdom of God;' the communication of the merits of the Saints to our receiving a prophet's reward' for receiving a prophet in the name of a prophet,' and 'a righteous man's reward' for receiving a righteous man in the name of a righteous man;' the Real Presence to "This is my Body;' Absolution to “Whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted ;' Extreme Unction to · Anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord ;' Voluntary poverty to "Sell all that thou hast;' obedience
to ‘He was in subjection to His parents ;' the honour paid to creatures, animate or inanimate, to Laudate Dominum in sanctis Ejus, and Adorate scabellum pedum Ejus, and so of the rest.-P. 112.
Now, of these scriptural expressions, some three, it is well known, are of contested application, and therefore Mr. Newman may have a right to affirm the sense in which they are held in his Church. We know too that the text of St. Paul to the Corinthians is the old desperate refuge of controversialists in favour of Purgatory; but it should be fairly quoted so as by fire,' oŰTWS kai és dià trupós; and thus out of one metaphorical expression, a mere similitude, is developed a whole Intermediate Realm between the heaven and hell of the Scriptures, with all its fertile consequences. We are wrong; there is another sentence, implying the difficulty of becoming a Christian and attaining Christian blessedness. So, too, the Communication of the Merits of Saints, a doctrine which, whether rightly or not, appears to trench most strongly on the very cardinal idea' of the Gospel, rests on a passage, “receiving a prophet's reward, which to ordinary reason bears as much relation to it as to any other doctrine the most remote from its purpose. We cannot find space to examine the rest, but it is curious that Mr. Newman, in his last clause, is obliged to take refuge in the Latin the original of “in sanctis Ejus, we humbly submit, signifying not in his Saints, but in his Sanctuary, his Holy of Holies ! And the footstool of God-of God, of whom Christ has spoken —whom man dare not worship but as pure Spirit! And is this the Biblical interpretation to which we are to go back in the present age of Christianity?
But even these dim forebodings of future doctrines, these obscure suggestions which the fertile imagination of the later Church is to quicken into immutable, irrepealable articles of faith, cannot be obtained without submitting the Scriptures to another subtle process. The plain sense of the New Testament is too stubbornly perspicuous. Mystic interpretation must be called in to throw its veil over the whole sacred volume. The simple narratives, the exquisite parables, the
pure moral maxims, must be refined into one vast allegory, which may make it mean anything, and consequently mean nothing.
And this has been the doctrine of all ages of the Church, as is shown by the disinclination of her teachers to confine themselves to the mere literal interpretation of Scripture. Her most subtle and powerful method of proof, whether in ancient or modern times, is the mystical sense, which is so frequently used in doctrinal controversy as on many occasions to supersede any other. Thus the Council of Trent appeals to the peace-offering spoken of in Malachi i. in proof of the Eucharistic Sacrifice; to the water and blood issuing from our Lord's side, and to the mention of waters' in the Apocalypse, in admonishing on the subject of the mixture of water with the wine in the Oblation. Thus Bellarmine defends monastic celibacy by our Lord's words in Matthew xix., and refers to 'We went thongh fire and water,' &c. in the Psalm, as an argument for Purgatory; and these, as is plain, are but specimens of a rule. Now, on turning to primitive controversy, we find this method of interpretation to be the very basis of the proof of the Catholic doctrine of the Holy Trinity.-P. 323.
It may almost be laid down (he says below) as an historical fact, that the mystical interpretation and orthodoxy will stand or fall together.
Still further, Mr. Newman quotes with full approbation the character of St. Ephrem, from a recent learned German 6 :
Ephrem is not so sober in his interpretations, nor could he be (the italics are Mr. Newman's), since he was a zealous disciple of the orthodox faith. For all those who are eminent in such sobriety were as far as possible removed from the faith of the Councils !
Mr. Newman has the extraordinary candour to contrast with this strange Christian cabbala (for it is nothing else), and to the disadvantage of Hales, whom he condemns as a latitudinarian, a well-known passage from the Golden Remains of that writer. The sum of Hales's argument is
The literal, plain, and uncontrovertible meaning of Scripture, without any addition or supply by way of interpretation, is that alone which, for ground of faith, we are necessarily bound to accept : except it be there, where the Holy Ghost himself treads us out another way
The doctrine of the literal sense was never grievous or prejudicial to any, but only to those who were inwardly conscious that their positions were not sufficiently grounded. When Cardinal Cajetan, in the days of our grandfathers, had forsaken that vein of postilling and allegorizing on Scripture, which for a long time had prevailed in the Church, and betaken himself unto the literal sense, it was a thing so distasteful unto the Church of Rome, that he was forced to find out many shifts, and make many apologies for himself.-P. 326.
And has Mr. Newman lived in such utter seclusion, or, what is more dangerous than seclusion, so completely environed by men entirely his inferiors, as to suppose that any power on earth can wring this great principle of the plain literal interpretation from the practical good sense of the English religious mind ? Sectarianism has also its allegorizing vein, and we will back the Pilgrim's Progress against the whole mass of Mediæval mysticism.
But not only the New Testament—the early Fathers also (of the three first centuries) give out but dim and oracular voices to be expanded into distinct and irrepealable decrees by the Mediaeval Church. After a dexterous quotation from Paley, who would account for the sparing manner in which the earlier apologists for Christianity urge the proof from miracles, on account of the general belief in magical powers, our author proceeds:
And, in like manner, Christians were not likely to entertain the question of the abstract allowableness of images in the Catholic ritual, with the actual superstitions and immoralities of Paganismı before their eyes. Nor were they likely to determine the place of St. Mary in our reverence, before they had duly secured, in the affections of the faithful, the supreme glory and worship of God Incarnate, her eternal Lord and Son. Nor would they recognize Purgatory as a part of the dispensation, till the world had flowed into the Church, and a habit of corruption had been superinduced. Nor could ecclesiastical liberty be asserted, till it had been assailed. Nor would a Pope arise, but in proportion as the Church was consolidated. Nor would monachism be needed, while martyrdoms were in progress.
Nor could St. Clement give judgement on the doctrine of Berengarius, nor St. Dionysius refute the Ubiquists, nor St. Irenæus denounce the Protestant view of Justification, nor St. Cyprian draw up a theory of persecution. There is a