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erring and accommodated to general use, he draws a conclusion, which is directly the reverse of that which his premises warrant :namely, that the Rule is of no use at all, unless there be an infallible judge to enable men to understand it. His premises and his conclusion, I say, manifestly destroy each other.The unerring certainty of the rule, and its being adapted to the abilities and circumstances of mankind, take away the necessity of an infallible interpreter; and the necessity of an infallible interpreter is founded, by the common consent of his own writers, and even by his own confession, solely on the supposed uncertainty and insufficiency of the Rule itself.
The Church of England, in maintaining the Scriptures to be the sole Rule of Faith, necessarily maintains, that this Rule is unerring, and sufficient, with those means and helps which are provided (chiefly, in the institution of the Priesthood,) for leading men into all necessary truth. So that, unless this writer contrive to transfer, as he presently wishes to do, the properties of the divine rule to the comment of the human interpreter, and to slip in upon us the infallibility of the Romish Church, in the place of that legitimate authority which every Church possesses, he is in a fair way of having the whole controversy to himself.
From this statement of Dr. Milner, in which he has wished to follow, but in following has mutilated and travestied the argument of
Scheffmacher, let us turn to the more distinct exposition of the question, to be found in other Romish writers. "The children of God," says Bossuet, "acquiesce in the judgment of the Church, believing that from her mouth they hear the oracle of the Holy Ghost; and upon account of this belief it is, that after having said in our creed, I believe in the Holy Ghost,' we add immediately, the Holy Catholic Church;' by which we oblige ourselves to acknowledge an infallible and perpetual verity in the universal Church; because this very Church, which we believe existent in all ages, would cease to be the Church, if she ceased to teach the truth revealed by God. So that those who apprehend lest she should abuse her power to establish a lie, have no faith in Him by whom she is governed." Expos. of the Cath. Faith, Art. Author. of the Church.
In this passage, there is a distinct assertion of infallibity in the universal Church; and not, according to Dr. Milner, merely a certainty and sufficiency in the Rule of faith itself." This supreme authority of the Church is so necessary," Bossuet afterwards goes on to say, "toregulate the differences which arise in matters of faith, and about the sense of Scripture, that our adversaries themselves, after having decried it as an insupportable tyranny, have been at last obliged to establish it amongst themselves." The assertion is, however, a palpable misrepresentation. Sound Protestants have never denied the legitimate authority of their
respective Churches; and so far from having established amongst themselves the supreme, by which is here evidently meant, the infallible, authority of any Church, "to regulate differences in matters of faith," they continue to decry it in the very terms used by Bossuet, as an insupportable tyranny, subversive of the inalienable right of private judgment.
It may be here observed, that Dr. Milner, stands not unrivalled in the controversial art of substitution. In place of the universal Church of Christ, just described as infallible, we are soon presented by Bossuet with the Church in communion with the successor of St. Peter; and what he tells us is necessarily true of the former, he unhesitatingly predicates of the latter.
These preliminary observations will suffice, it is trusted, to warn the reader of that silent introduction of the Church of Rome in the place of the universal Church of Christ, which is continually made in the controversy, and enable him to distinguish between the legitimate authority of a fallible judge, and the "supreme authority" of an unerring oracle.-They will serve to shew, that those passages of Scripture, on which the stress of Romish proof is usually laid for establishing the infallibility of the Church of Christ, even if they could be admitted as sufficient for that end, are completely beside the purpose, until it can be shewn, that the Church in communion with the Bishop of Rome, is exclusively possessed of those marks, which accompany the true Church of Christ.
This, however, Dr. Milner persuades himself that he has succeeded in evincing, even on the Chuerh of England's own principles.—As this is one of the most important parts of his performance, I entreat the reader's attention to it, that a just estimate may be formed of this writer's mode of reasoning.
"How is this Church more particularly described in the Nicene Creed, which makes part of your public liturgy? In this you say: I believe in One Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.' Hence, it evidently follows, that the Church which you, no less than we, profess to believe in, is possessed of these four marks: unity, sanctity, catholicity, and apostolicity. It is agreed upon, then, that all we have to do, by way of discovering the true Church, is to find out, which of the rival Churches, or communions, is peculiarly, one, holy, catholic, and apostolic." End of Con. Letter xiii. p. 121.
That the universal Church of Christ, which is the only one spoken of in the Creed, is possessed, notwithstanding its division into many independent societies, of these four properties, has been already shewn. That the Church of Rome, a part only of the whole body, cannot be exclusively possessed of all those properties, which constitute the different members, one, in their collective capacity, might have been taken for granted And that it has no greater claim to any of them, than the Church of England possesses, it is supposed will be made
manifest, by considering the particulars, on which the exclusive claim is founded.
I. His first mark is unity of doctrine, worship, and government; and the Church of England's want of this mark of unity, which is said to be possessed by the Church of Rome, he strives to prove, by the number and variety of those sects which dissent from her faith and discipline; forgetting, that the members of them are in no other point of view dissentients from her, than from the Church of Rome herself. The objection, if it has any force, lies not against the unity of a particular Church, but against that of the universal Church, which he professes to believe. He has deceived himself by the appellation of Protestants; as if all Protestants composed but a single Church; and yet he says, that the term (Protestant) "expresses nothing positive, much less any union, or association of persons: it merely signifies one, who protests, or declares, against any person, or persons, thing, or things; and, in the present instance, it signifies those, who protest against the Catholic Church." End of Controv. 124. If, for Catholic Church, he had, as he was bound in fairness to do, substituted Romish Church, his account of Protestantism, though he mistakes as to the origin of the name, would have been sufficiently correct for our purpose. No Protestants protest against the Catholic Church, but all join in disclaiming the leading errors of the Roman Church. He himself has just told us, that this is their sole principle of association. What consis