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question whether the adherents of the latter in this country would think it wise to make so little reserve of their compulsory tenets. The new sect is far more reckless than the old one. Of all men, upstarts are the most offensive.
In the second lecture, the usual topics relating to the christian church' are treated in the usual way. It is shewn that the church is the congregation; that there is no foundation in scripture for the assertion that Christ or his apostles instituted a ministry consisting of three orders, and that to the first of these orders alone belongs the right of ordaining to the ministerial office; that the episcopal form of government, in its present shape, had no existence in the first christian churches, and that the whole system of prelacy is a mere human contrivance, devoid of all scriptural authority, and supported only by strained analogies and gratuitous assumptions. We have been impressed in reading this lecture, as we never fail to be when reading on the ecclesiastical controversy, with the immense use that has been made of terms. Archbishop Whately remarks in one of his works, that it would have been better if, from the very first, no scriptural terms had been introduced into systems of theology. It would have been as well if none had been introduced into discussions respecting ecclesiastical polity. The truth could not have failed to be perceived long ago if recourse had not been had to charmed words, and technicalities had not been made to do the work of arguments. "Words are the counters of wise men, and the money of fools.' And in no department have they possessed a greater value than in that of church government. 'Bishops,' churches,' 'ordination,' have acquired a particular signification, a sacred sense; and the moment they are heard, the minds of most confess its mighty presence. Must not christians be in churches ? Can there be churches without bishops? Can there be bishops without ordination ? are questions of potent force, importing to many selfevident propositions. But what are churches, bishops, and ordination ? The terms bear not a scriptural meaning, but a traditional one; and it would be about as wise and as valid to appeal to the chapel of Amos, or the 'general assembly of Paul, in favour of the objects which those expressions now represent, as to suppose that 'church,' 'bishop, ordination,' must embody episcopalian views. The voice of early ecclesiastical history unites with that of scripture in declaring a church to be a congregation, not a corporation; the bishop an overseer of people, not of ministers; and ordination, a mode of recognizing what is, not of conferring what is not.
The third lecture is occupied with the question of 'apostolic succession, and it is saying little for any discussion upon that doctrine, that if we did not know what power is exerted by education and prejudice, it would be matter of wonder how any one could read it without conviction. Indeed, there is a disadvantage possessed by those who contend against this strange notion, in the overwhelming force of the evidence by which it may be assailed. The suspicion is apt to be generated, that the case cannot be as it is represented, solely because of the absurdity which it involves, that there must be some great argument on the other side which is not noticed, but which would put the matter in quite a different position. And thus vision is prevented by excess of light. The silence of Scripture on so great a doctrine as apostolical succession, and the immense historical difficulties connected with it, can be considered as not essentially vitiating the whole claim by those only who believe that the proof of a doctrine may be small in the precise proportion of its magnitude. Even if Scripture had been clear as to the succession as a mode of transferring from one generation to another the awful powers that are alleged to be secured by it, the possession of them by any individual minister would be a question incapable of a satisfactory decision. To prove that they are somewhere, is not to prove that they are here; and when the many circumstances essential to the validity of an ordination are taken into account, and the innumerable irregularities which are known to have prevailed in some ages of the church are remembered, he must be a bold man who can be confident that the mysterious prerogatives have come down to him. Amid all the miracles which abounded in the dark ages, none are greater than that of a real and pure succession, and if a revelation were necessary to show that such a thing were intended to be by God, nothing short of a revelation would suffice to evince the partici. pation of its benefits in the case of every single and separate clergyman.
Besides the general argument, there are several considerations which place the Oxford Tractarians in an awkward predicament. Mr. Madge adduces some of these, and we shall give our readers a specimen of the manner in which he employs them.
* The claims set up by the churches of England and Rome were also set up in times past by churches now branded with the name of heresy. This was the case with the Arian churches. These churches, it is well known, once prevailed to a considerable extent, and through many countries. As to their ecclesiastical constitution or form of government they were episcopal, and had as fair a claim to the apostolical succession as any churches then in existence But the ortho. dox party, in spite of this claim,-in defiance of the apostolic title possessed by their bishops,—denounced them in the fiercest terms of condemnation. In the East, the Greek church also, which is at vari.
ance on points of faith with the Western churches, has quite as good a claim as they have to the grace of “apostolical succession.' ... But this avails nothing with the orthodox believers. With them it forms of itself no bond of fellowship and union, presents no barrier to rejection and exclusion from the true catholic church of Christ. The Nestorian, the Eutychian, and other churches, all condemned by councils as heretical, present exactly the same title to the possession of apostolic orders. So that, according to the showing of these high-church divines themselves, the simple fact of apostolical succession, does not, on that account, imply the inheritance of apostolical endowments. For what reason then, I ask, is the fact so earnestly insisted on, and so ostentatiously exhibited? It seems, after all, that there may be apostolic succession unaccompanied with apostolic gifts and graces. But if the possession of apostolic orders be no security against the inroads of error, and no safeguard for the preservation of the church, it ceases any longer to be a mark or sign of the true church.”—pp. 120–122.
Another consideration of which Mr. Madge makes good use, is the fact, that
‘As the church of England denies not to the church of Rome her apostolical descent, she ought not, on that ground, to claim for herself more than is allowed to the church which she has abandoned. And yet she does claim more. Notwithstanding her acknowledged derivation from the Romish church; at least, notwithstanding that her chief pretensions to holy apostolic orders are built upon her kindred to, or connexion with this church, she does not hesitate, at the same time, to speak of her spiritual relation in the most derogatory and degrading terms. She proclaims her to be polluted and corrupt; calls her an idolatrous church; and in the book of Homilies, which, by the twenty-fifth of the Thirty-nine Articles, is declared to contain a goodly and wholesome doctrine, the church of Rome is described in language so foul and loathsome that it is impossible for me to repeat it in this place. And yet this very church, thus stigmatized and branded, is admitted to possess the true apostolic succession. What, then, becomes of the wonderful virtue ascribed to this ‘succession,' if the very church to whose care it was first committed, and by whose instrumentality it has been conveyed, to other communions, could, after all, be guilty of such idolatrous practices as those charged upon the church of Rome 2 Can any thing, I ask, be more demonstrative than all this of the unspeakable weakness and folly of the claims and pretensions set up by the high-church or Puseyite party?'—pp. 124, 125.
The fourth and fifth lectures discuss the doctrines of ‘tradition’ and the ‘right of private judgment.” We like these lectures very much : they are the best in the book. If disposed to make exception, it would be to the statement (p. 221), that ‘the Roman catholics and the Anglo catholics, in asking us to submit to and abide by the decisions of their church or clergy, are still appealing to our private judgment. We have never been able to perceive the force or truth of this doctrine; it has always appeared to us rather an ingenious controversial weapon than a solid argument-more adapted for popular effect than philosophical conviction. Two distinct things are mixed up in it : our judgment, and our judgment in opposition to the judgment of the church. These are widely different : every one who asks a man to believe a doctrine or a fact, requires the exercise of his own powers; but it does not follow that he recognizes his right to form any but one opinion. The Church of Rome demands the exercise of our minds, but only in the reception of her traditions: it concedes no right of forming a private' opinion in opposition to the catholic' one. The 'private' judgment it condemns is not the individual, but the anti-church one; it asks for our faith, but only in the truth as it delivers it; it allows us to think, but only what it thinks. General arguments, to prove that we were made to think, that we are able to think, that we are responsible for our thoughts, and such like, however forcible they may be against the doctrine of persecution, have none against that of catholic consent.' What is wanted, and the only thing that possesses any import- ance, is the proof that “individuals' have the right to
judge' in a manner different from the church: no one denies the doctrine of 'private judgment' in any other sense.
Mr. Madge dwells largely upon the distinction between right and power. It is not easy to keep this distinction too prominently before the mind; no point in the whole controversy is more frequently lost sight of. Protestant doctrines have suffered from the zeal of their advocates in pushing them to every length without marking the conditions necessary to their application. They would often be more favourably received if more wisely stated. It is a common mistake of polemics to think that they honour their principles rather by the extent to which they carry them than by the accuracy with which they express them, forgetting that good may become evil, and truth error, by a change of circumstances. “Parties,' says Hallam, 'will always contend for extremes ; for the rights of bigots to think for others, and the rights of fools to think for themselves. We are glad to meet with the healthy sentiments contained in the following passage :
* Right, and competency properly to use the right, must not be confounded with one another. The one is not necessarily the accompaniment of the other. A man may have a right to do what he is ill qualified for doing wisely and beneficially. You have the right to choose your physician, your lawyer, your engineer, and it is important that you should choose well; and yet, from the circumstances in which you are placed, you may not be very competent to make a good choice. In such a case we cannot say it does not belong to you to determine the matter; that is left to another, who will do this for you, and to his decisions you must unhesitatingly bow. We could not address to any one language like this; but we might reasonably and becomingly say to him, before you come to a decision upon a matter of such great importance, take care that you have qualified yourself to judge rightly. - Avail yourself of the knowledge and experience of others. Learn from them the facts which will give you the means of coming to a sound and satistory conclusion. The power, the right of deciding, is unquestionably yours: that we do not deny. You may choose whom you please ; all we say is, see to it that you render yourself competent and qualified to choose well. Such advice-such recommendation as this, would be reasonable and proper. And if this were all that is meant by questioning the right of private judgment on the subject of religion,-if it were only intended to check presumption, to curb rashness, to prevent haste, to make men cautious and careful in their inquiries, willing to receive instruction, and anxious to avail themselves of all the light which the labours and learning of others might throw upon the subject of their meditation, if no more than this were intended by the advocates of church principles,' there could be little or nothing to object to. On the contrary, as has been judiciously observed in a discourse on this subject by Dr. Hawkins, Provost of Oriel College, Oxford, there is a duty as well as a right involved in the exercise of this privilege of judging for ourselves. In contending for the right, we are too apt to overlook and forget the duty.'-pp. 223—225.
The seventh lecture would supply us with matter of controversy with our author, if we were disposed, and had space, to enter upon it. In describing the essential principles of a christian catholic church, he maintains that the admission of the Messiahship of Christ, and his resurrection from the dead, is the only one necessary to christian communion. This opens up the whole question as to what is necessary to christianity. He is catholic in his own esteem who excludes not christians from his fellowship. The Romanist takes in all whom he thinks have any right to be admitted : the Unitarian does no more. The dispute then turns on who have the right. The mere recognition of Christ's Messiahship, apart from its design; the acknowledgment of Him as 'Teacher and Redeemer,' apart from what He teaches, and how He redeems, appears to us a matter of very small importance. And if infidels are allowed—as many Unitarians allow them—to possess sometimes equal moral excellence with christians, and to partake of the salvation of the gospel, we think that they have good reasons for denying the