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that he commanded one to be written. commanded his disciples to preach it to every creature: they had no types nor presses to put in requisition. It was a law, says St. Paul, 2 Cor. iii. (no verse) administered to us, and written, not with ink, but by the Spirit of the living God; not on tables of stone, but on the fleshy tablets of the heart. Jeremy c. 30. (no verse) had foretold its character, saying, I will give my law in their bowels, and on their hearts will I write it." As I cannot conceive by what link J. K. L. purposes to connect these descriptions, given by St. Paul and Jeremiah,* of the spiritual character of the Christian Law, as opposed to the ceremonial nature of the Jewish Institution, with the proof of its being in part, contained in Tradition; I must be forgiven, if I confess myself unequal to the answering of an argument, the bearing of which I do not understand. The passages have been often perverted in proof of a private inspiration, equally superseding written and unwritten doctrine; but never before, I believe, adduced in support of the Traditions of the Church of Rome, to which they seem to give no more countenance, than to the Talmud, and the Masora, and the Cabala, of the Jews themselves.
The fact, that our Lord never commanded a Gospel to be written, amounts to no more
* Their words, if literally understood, would deny the authority of the sacred writings altogether.
than this:-that he left the Apostles at liberty to use their own discretion as to the best mode of communicating divine truth; just as they were left at liberty to choose the most suitable length for their discourses, and the most convenient hours and places for delivering them. That there were "no types or presses in those days," is conceded; but it is maintained, that there was ink and parchment; That the Apostles taught by word of mouth, is admitted; but it is insisted, that they also composed books of instruction, as the ministers of religion still preach, and also write summaries of divinity. That traditionary doctrines, when proved to come from the Apostles, are of equal authority with what they delivered in writing, is not denied; but that all that was necessary to be believed, was not committed to writing; or, if any thing important to be believed, was unaccountably omitted, that this omission is supplied by the Romish Traditions, inasmuch as they are capable of being traced to the teaching of the Apostles;this is the point on which we desire to be informed; and the proof of this, as I take it, we shall in vain look for in J. K. L.'s desultory and flimsy compositions.
Romish proof of the divine authority of Tradi tion, drawn from the mode of teaching adopted by Jesus Christ and his Apostles.
The divine authority of the unwritten Word is further proved, according to the Romanists, by the mode of teaching adopted and recommended by Jesus Christ and his Apostles,
"Jesus Christ," says Bossuet, in his Expoposition of the Catholic Faith, “having laid the foundation of his Church by preaching, the unwritten Word was the first rule of Christianity; and when the writings of the New Testament were added, the unwritten Word did not, upon that account, lose its authority; which makes us receive, with equal veneration, all that was ever taught by the Apostles, whether by writing only, or by word of mouth, as St. Paul himself has expressly declared. 2 Thess. ii. 15." Now, this mode of stating the case includes, as Bishop Marsh has observed, a mere petitio principii. In artfully describing the New Testament, as added to the unwritten word, Bossuet takes for granted the thing to be proved, and which is denied by all Protest
ants, that a part, at least, of God's word was not contained in the Scriptures, For, on the supposition," that the whole of the then unwritten Word was afterwards recorded in the New Testament, there would be an absurdity in saying, that the new Testament was added to it." Comp. View. p. 63. The argument of Bossuet however, such as it is, is confidently repeated by Dr, Milner, in his " End of Controversy," and is a favourite one with all the Romish Controversialists. But, independently of its being a mere begging of the question, and even supposing that point granted which is thus gratuitously assumed; namely, that the Scriptures do not contain all that was taught by Jesus Christ and his Apostles; the argument will not prove what it is intended to prove by it. Concede the premises, and what is the inference? not surely that the precise traditions which are in dispute, were the matter delivered by our Lord and his Apostles in their discourses. There is a wide distance between those premises and this conclusion, And yet this is the only conclusion, which is available to the purposes of the Church of Rome. For, the question which mainly concerns Protestants, is not, whether Jesus Christ and his Apostles did, or did not, teach any thing besides the truths contained in Scripture; and there is no question at all between the Romanists and us, whether, if any thing had been so delivered, it would lose its authority, after the New Testament had been, as it then might
be properly said, added; but it is an enquiry into a simple matter of fact, whether we have, or have not, in this age of the Church, sufficient means of tracing what is supposed to have been left unwritten, to the same inspired source, as that of the Scriptures.
If we have not sufficient means, although it could be proved, that the Scriptures do not exhibit the whole of what was communicated by Jesus Christ and the Apostles, they are to be exclusively reverenced, as if they did; since every thing which is not contained in them, is with respect to us, as if it had not been communicated.
But, say the Romanists, it being granted, that oral teaching was the first mode established of imparting religious knowledge, it is in the highest degree improbable, that any truths thus communicated, should have been lost through the imperfection of the vehicle.: the same Divine Wisdom, which established oral teaching, as the primary Rule of Faith, it may be confidently presumed, would adopt precautions for securing its certainty. Now, admitting for the moment, the improbability that any part of a Revelation should be lost, there is nothing in the mere circumstance of its being at first communicated by word of mouth, from which it can be inferred, that the whole of that Revelation was not afterwards committed to
writing. What has been spoken, is equally capable of being written; and it still remains for the Romanists to shew, that what has been