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been necessary to inculcate with such care the preservation of even the words delivered. Moreover, observe, that he does not commit his doctrines to each individual in the Church, nor to its entire congregation collectively, but to one individual, whom he had clearly appointed to preside over it, as having to render an account to God for the souls of his flock.
Still farther, he thus addresses him, “Hold the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me in faith, and in the love which is in Christ Jesus. Keep the good thing committed to thy trust by the Holy Ghost who dwelleth in us.”* Here we have a beautiful recognition in practice of the teaching of the Holy Spirit of God, and the assistance of our Saviour, through the pastors of his Church ; and the consequence is, that the immediate disciple and successor of the Apostle, is exhorted to keep exactly the very form of words in which this teaching is couched. Some have said, that the form of words here alluded to is the creed or symbol of the Apostles. But, in the first place, we should have proof of this ; secondly, the preservation of this could not require to be so energetically inculcated to a bishop then, any more than now; since the more it was taught, and the more it was made the property of the flock, the less chance there was of its being lost or altered. Here, then, we have the first step in a system of traditionary teaching the delivery of the doctrine in words, by one sent primarily to preach them, to one whom he delegates to continue his work. Let us now see the next link in the chain. Timothy, after a few verses, is thus farther exhorted :-" The things which thou hast heard of me by many witnesses, commend to faithful men, who shall be fit to teach others.”+ Here, then, once more, St. Paul does not say, “ Treasure up this my epistle as a part of God's holy word, and give copies of it to those whom you have to instruct;" and this surely would have been the safest way of preserving the doctrines he had delivered; but he tells Timothy to chuse faithful or trustworthy men, and to confide the doctrines he * 2 Tim. i. 13, 14.
† Ib. ü. 2.
had received, into their hands, that they, in their turn, might communicate them to others. Is not this clearly assuming oral teaching as the method to be established and pursued by the Church of Christ ?
Before quitting the epistles of St. Paul to his chosen disciples, I cannot refrain from calling your attention to one or two more texts, as appearing strongly confirmatory of the Catholic rule. First, he says to Timothy: “I desired thee to remain at Ephesus when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some not to teach otherwise; nor to give heed to fable and genealogies without end, which minister questions rather than the edification of God, which is in faith.”* No dissent therefore is allowed, nothing which leads to questions, and diverts the mind from building up within itself the simple faith of God; and this was the principal object held in view by St. Paul, when he appointed Timothy to preside over the Church at Ephesus. Now, suppose this to be the commission of all bishops, and consequently that proper means are placed by God in their hands to secure these objects, a simple test of experience would show us which of the principles now adopted was the one to be used by Timothy. For surely experience must have shownl, that if thus appointed to hinder dissent, with no other principles, and no more power, than even episcopal Churches among “the reformed” admit, his means must have been sadly unequal to their purpose.t. Whereas, similar observation will show, that the bishops of the Catholic Church are effectually able to preserve unity among their flock, by their authoritative teaching. In vain would the former charge their clergy or laity “not to teach otherwise;" or to avoid topics “ which minister questions;" while the latter are secure that the danger is remote from their charge, and rule it without disturbance or dissension. Thus
* 1 Timothy i. 3, 4.
+ The dissensions which have burst out so flagrantly before the public in the Wesleyan Methodists' body, would afford a ground for many interesting observations on the necessity of rule and authority in religion.
may we plausibly conjecture what was the rule which Timothy had to follow.
To Titus, the language of St. Paul is still more remarkable. “A man," he writes, “that is a heretic, after the first and second admonition, avoid, knowing that he, who is such a one, is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned by his own judgment."* I am not going to dwell upon the first portion of this text, so to justify the conduct of the CatholicįChurch towards those who broach error, and corrupt the purity of faith by innovations of doctrines ; the argument to be drawn from this sternness of command, against changes of doctrines, I leave to your own reflections. It is the latter portion of the text which I think most important. St. Paul, at that early age, when hardly any one could have been born and brought up in heresy or error, necessarily means by the word, heretic, one who, having professed the true religion, turns away from it to embrace new opinions, without relapsing into idolatry; for such a man he would have called an apostate and not a heretic. Now, of such a person he tells us that he necessarily “ sinneth, being condemned by his own judgment.” But in our days, if a person changes from one Protestant community to another, so far from its being considered sinful, or involving a necessary self-condemnation, it is thought that a man may be, and is generally therein approved “ by his own judgment.” For this judgment is and ought to be his guide in matters of religion. The principle of Protestantism consequently is quite at variance with this awful doctrine of the apostle. For he supposes the existence of some internal principle, which necessarily condemns, in his own judgment, the man who abandons the truth. But this can only be a principle giving certain assurance that you possess the truth, a principle which convinces you that all that you hold is correct; for only by abandoning such a principle, could you stand self-convicted by the change. The doctrine of St. Paul, in this regard is precisely that of the Catholic Church. Putting aside the case of „Step 28,2 116 will. Tit. iii. 10, 11.
unwilling ignorance, no Catholic who really possesses within him the principles and rule of faith, whereby he is united to his Church, can offend heretically against any of its doctrines, without his own judgment condemning him as a violator of those essential principles, and convicting him of, a grievous sin.
From the instructions given by the Apostles of the Gentiles to the rulers whom he appointed over his infant Churches, let us turn to hear the exhortations which he directs to these. To the Thessalonians he thus writes; “ Therefore, brethren, stand fast; and hold the traditions which you have learned, whether by word, or by our epistle.”* Here again we have the two species of doctrines, some written but others unwritten, and both are exactly placed on an equal footing, so that both should be received by the Church with equal respect, and both be committed to the successors of the Apostles. Upon perusing these testimonials, and seeing the principle of an oral teaching, with authority thus prescribed, and at the same time observing the total silence on any thing like a written code of Christianity to be produced and substituted for it, can you hesitate for a moment, as to the course pursued by the Apostles, and the grounds on which they built their Church ?-Must we not conclude that an authority to teach was communicated to them, and by them to their successors, together with an unwritten code, so that what was afterwards written by them, was but a fixing and recording of part of that which was already in possession of the Church ?
But let us go a little farther into this consideration. I have said that we discover in the New Testament no hint or intimation whatever, that the Christian code was to be committed to writing; but on the other hand, we see the Apostles preach. ing the Gospel, teaching Christianity to many foreign nations; and, according to ecclesiastical history, not only over all Eu. rope, but to the furthermost bounds of the East. St. Thomas, for instance, is said to have preached in the peninsula of India; St. Bartholomew carried the faith into parts of Scy
* 2 Thessal. i. 14.
thia; St. Thaddeus into Mesopotamia; and other Apostles into the interior of Africa. We have had learned treatises written, among them one by the present Bishop of Salisbury, to prove that St. Paul preached in this island, and converted the Britons.
It must be interesting to discover the principle on which they proceeded, in converting and teaching these distant nations. Doubtless they based their doctrines on the true rule of faith; and took the proper means for these being well learnt and securely preserved in their respective Churches. Was the Scripture, then, the written word, this rule and foundation, and means of security ? If so, we surely must have translations of this sacred Book in the different languages of these nations. We have in some of them, as the Indian, works extant, written before the time of our Saviour; and is it credible that the first task of the Apostles would not have been to translate the Scriptures into them ? they, who had the gift of tongues, and could have done it without difficulty or error? If the presentation of the Bible to all men, and to each individual is the first step to Christianity, and its most vital principle, and if the only ground of faith is the personal examination of each article of belief, surely the only means for securing these requisites, would not have been neglected. Yet, the only versions of the New Testament that have come down to us are, the Latin one used in the west, called the Vulgate, and the Syriac translation.* Now, of the Latin Vulgate we do not know the origin. Probably, it was written in the first or second century, but we have the strongest reasons to believe that, for the two first centuries, it was confined exclusively to Africa ;t so that Italy, and Gaul, and Spain, countries whose language was Latin, used no Scripture, except the original Greek of the New Testament, and the Greek version of the old; not a text in the vernacular tongue, such as
* I omit the Coptic or Sahidic version, as less important, and probably not so old as the other two.
+ See " Two letters on some parts of the Controversy concerning 1 John v. 7, by N. Wiseman, DD.". Rome, 1835, Booker, Let. 2, pp. 45,-66,