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written, does not contain the whole substance of what was spoken. Lectures, when printed, comprise in a more permanent shape, the instruction which had been, at first, orally delivered, and supersede the necessity of painfully preserving by mémory, or collecting by report, the viva voce lessons of the teacher.The authority of what is taught remains the It is the mode of transmission alone, which is changed, and thereby rendered more certain and convenient. But this is not all.

same.

For, if the acknowledged fact, that our Lord and his Apostles first taught by word of mouth, be adduced in proof of the authority of the unwritten word; the equally incontestable fact, that the Apostles subsequently committed to writing the leading truths of christianity, is a proof, that these inspired men found traditionary communication unsafe, as a permanent conveyance of the knowledge, which they had at first orally imparted. Besides, to allege the practice of our Lord and his Apostles, in proof of the permanent authority of the unwritten word, involves the absurdity of supposing, that because Tradition whilst recent, and subject to the correction of inspired teachers, was found to be an adequate mode of preserving knowledge, it must necessarily continue to be so, when men had no longer the same means of checking its silent aberrations from the truth. It supposes, that human memory, which may be sufficiently retentive for a time, and under certain circumstances,

must be so, for any length of time, and under other circumstances less favourable to its retentiveness. To resort to a supposed promise of infallibility in aid of the inherent defect of human memory, is to place the argument on a different footing.-It is no longer to appeal to the practice of the Apostles, which, in a case like this, might without any derogation from their inspired wisdom, have changed with a change of circumstances; but it is to make the whole authority of the unwritten word to depend on a new supposition, which must be proved before it can be admitted.Therefore, until positive proof from Scripture can be adduced, not merely for the first establishment of oral teaching, as a Rule of Faith, but for its continuance as such, in after ages, with the aid of supernatural support, the fact, that the Apostles adopted a new and more certain method of communicating some, and those the most important doctrines, will warrant the inference, that inconvenience had been experienced, under the mode of teaching first employed, which caused it to be no longer confided in. It by no means follows, that the Apostles did not continue to teach by word of mouth, as long as they remained on earth.The impressions made by the oral lesson would be the most lively, as long as they lasted, and no doubt, they would last for a long time; but it is obvious, that after a lapse of some years, these impressions would become more and more faint; and that when the inspired teach

ers were dead, their recorded sentiments would be soon appealed to, as the sole authority. This is the natural course of things; it is matter of common experience; and it requires positive proof, distinct from the circumstance of Tradition's being the first Rule of Faith, which is perfectly consistent with it, to shew, that it was not the course of apostolic instruction. The proof of this lies with the Romanists, and until that proof be adduced, the practice of the Apostles in having at first taught by word of mouth, when viewed in conjunction with their having afterwards committed a part, at least, of revealed truth to writing, so far from confirming, actually overthrows, the authority of Tradition, as a permanent Rule of Faith.

Dr. Milner is of a contrary opinion; and instead of feeling, that it is incumbent on his party to shew some peculiarity of circumstances under which the written did not, or could not, supersede the use of the unwritten word, he maintains, that it belongs to Protestants to prove, that the unwritten word was superseded by the use of the written; although the latter supposition is in the common train of ordinary occurrences, and is thus recommended by its own credibility. "It being granted," says he, "that the unwritten word was the first rule, it was incumbent on Bishop Marsh to demonstrate, and this by no less an authority than that which established the rule, at what precise period it was abrogated . . .. So far from

there being divine authority, there is not even a hint in ecclesiastical history, on which to ground this pretended alteration in the Rule of Faith. His lordship's only foundation is his own conjecture. It is improbable,'" &c. End of Controv. p. 97.

It is plain, I think, from this passage, that Dr. Milner totally mistakes the drift of the Bishop's reasoning, and the real question at issue. That Prelate is not supposing the abrogation of any rule established by Jesus Christ and his Apostles, whether written or unwritten. There is absurdity, as well as impiety, in the supposition. The only question is, whether what is now said, but not proved, to have formed a part of the unwritten communication, was ever promulgated by divine authority; and the Bishop's reasoning tends to prove, that the unwritten word, which under certain circumstances was a correct and the only Rule of Faith, was afterwards committed to written documents, when under a change of circumstances, the orignal mode of teaching had been found by the Apostles themselves to be an insecure conveyance of divine truth. If so, the written documents, in the absence of every other authenticated evidence of revealed doctrine, must necessarily become to us the sole standard of faith and practice. Prove the divine origin of any of the disputed Traditions, and Bishop Marsh in common with all other Protestants, admits the sufficiency of Traditionary evidence in their instance. But in the

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defect of such proof, and I add, with the undis puted fact, that most of the important doctrines were committed to writing, to supply the deficiency of oral communication, it is permitted to Bishop Marsh to insist on the improbability, that Divine wisdom, in imparting a new Revelation to mankind, should have suffered any important doctrine or article of faith, to be confided to a vehicle which had been found insecure, for the transmission of a part, at least, of the sacred deposit.

But Dr. Milner further objects, that," If Christ had intended that all mankind should learn his religion from a book, namely the New Testament, he himself would have written that book." End of Controv. p. 56. By the same mode of hypothetical reasoning it might 'be urged, that if Christ had intended that men should become acquainted with his religion by oral teaching, he would himself have instructed them by word of mouth in all its saving truths; whereas the Apostles themselves were slow to believe during his life time, the necessity of his crucifixion; and as slow after his death, the fact of his resurrection. The Apostles themselves, then, were not fully taught by Christ, even by word of mouth. They were led into all truth by the Holy Spirit.-But, continues he, "it does not even appear that Christ gave his Apostles any command to write the Gospel, though he repeatedly and emphatically commanded them to preach it. Mat. 10."―ibid. Is Dr. Milner aware that the word, ÕÈTE,

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