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The Oxford Movement grew out of the Whig reforms of the early 1830s, particularly the 1832 Reform Act and the alliance of the Whigs with the Dissenters in the cause of religious freedom. The Whigs clearly disliked the attitude of a majority of bishops in the House of Lords during the Reform Bill debates, and their tampering with the Irish Church made many staunch supporters of the Anglican Church fear that a reformed parliament would end by reforming not only the State but the Church. Many High Churchmen were alarmed at the Whig attitude towards the Anglican Church - which explains why Gladstone was a member of the Oxford Movement.
The ideas of the Oxford Movement were confined largely to the intellectual elite of Oxford University which concerned itself hardly at all with the problems of industrial Britain. All those involved in the movement agreed that the Anglican Church was in danger of final spiritual decay because it had forgotten the doctrines of the apostolic succession, the priesthood and the sacramental system.
John Henry Newman led the way by publishing Tracts for the Times, starting in 1833. This was the same year that John Keble delivered his sermon on 'National Apostasy'. The tracts were always short. By the end of 1834, some 46 tracts had been written and distributed. Newman converted to Roman Catholicism in 1845 because he found that all his arguments defending the Anglican Church were more appropriate to the Roman Catholic claim to be the true Church. Later he was created a Cardinal in the Catholic Church.
THIS DOCUMENT has been taken from Project Canterbury.
IT is often urged, and sometimes felt and granted, that there are in the Articles propositions or terms inconsistent with the Catholic faith; or, at least, when persons do not go so far as to feel the objection as of force, they are perplexed how best to reply to it, or how most simply to explain the passages on which it is made to rest. The following Tract is drawn up with the view of showing how groundless the objection is, and further of approximating towards the argumentative answer to it, of which most men have an implicit apprehension, though they may have nothing more. That there are real difficulties to a Catholic Christian in the Ecclesiastical position of our Church at this day, no one can deny; but the statements of the Articles are not in the number; and it may be right at the present moment to insist upon this. If in any quarter it is supposed that persons who profess to be disciples of the early Church will silently concur with those of very opposite sentiments in furthering a relaxation of subscriptions, which, it is imagined, are galling to both parties, though for different reasons, and that they will do this against the wish of the great body of the Church, the writer of the following pages would raise one voice, at least, in protest against any such anticipation. Even in such points as he may think the English Church deficient, never can he, without a great alteration of sentiment, be party to forcing the opinion or project of one school upon another. Religious changes, to be beneficial, should be the act of the whole body; they are worth little if they are the mere act of a majority. No good can come of any change which is not heartfelt, a development of feelings springing up freely and calmly within the bosom of the whole body itself. Moreover, a change in theological teaching involves either the profession or renunciation of erroneous doctrine, and if it does not succeed in proving the fact of past guilt, it, ipso facto, implies present. In other words, every change in religion carried with it its own condemnation, which is not attended by deep repentance. Even supposing then that any changes in contemplation, whatever they were, were good in themselves, they would cease to be good to a Church, in which they were the fruits not of the quiet conviction of all, but of the agitation, or tyranny, or intrigue of a few; nurtured not in mutual love, but in strife and envying; perfected not in humiliation and grief, but in pride, elation and triumph. Moreover, it is a very serious truth, that persons and bodies who put themselves into a disadvantageous state, cannot at their pleasure extricate themselves from it. They are unworthy of it; they are in prison, and CHRIST is the keeper. There is but one way towards a real reformation,—a return to Him in heart and spirit, whose sacred truth they have betrayed; all other methods, however fair they may promise, will prove to be but shadows and failure.
On these grounds, were there no others, the present writer, for one, will be no party to the ordinary political methods by which professed reforms are carried or compassed in this day. We can do nothing well till we act "with one accord;" we can have no accord in action till we agree together in heart; we cannot agree without a supernatural influence; we cannot have a supernatural presence unless we pray for it; we cannot pray acceptably without repentance and confession. Our Church’s strength would be irresistible, humanly speaking, were it but at unity with itself: if it remains divided, part against part, we shall see the energy which was meant to subdue the world preying upon itself, according to our SAVIOUR’S express assurance, that such a house "cannot stand." Till we feel this, till we seek one another as brethren, not lightly throwing aside our private opinions, which we seem to feel we have received from above, from an ill-regulated, untrue desire of unity, but returning to each other in heart, and coming together to GOD to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves, no change can be for the better. Till [we] [her children] are stirred up to this religious course, let the Church, [our Mother,] sit still; let [us] be content to live in bondage; let [us] work in chains; let [us] submit to our imperfections as a punishment; let [us] go on teaching [through the medium of indeterminate statements] and inconsistent precedents, and principles but partially developed. We are not better than our fathers; let us bear to be what Hammond was, or Andrews, or Hooker; let us not faint under that body of death, which they bore about in patience; nor shrink from the penalty of sins, which they inherited from the age before them.
But these remarks are beyond our present scope, which is merely to show that, while our Prayer Book is acknowledged on all hands to be of Catholic origin, our articles also, the offspring of an uncatholic age, are, through GOD’S good providence, to say the least, not uncatholic, and may be subscribed by those who aim at being catholic in heart and doctrine. In entering upon the proposed examination, it is only necessary to add, that in several places the writer has found it convenient to express himself in language recently used, which he is willing altogether to make his own. He has distinguished the passages introduced by quotation marks.
ß 1.—Holy Scripture and the Authority of the Church.
Articles vi. & xx.—"Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation; so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the Faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation. . . . . . . The Church hath [power to decree (statuendi) rites and ceremonies, and] authority in controversies of faith; and yet it is not lawful for the Church to [ordain (instituere) any thing that is contrary to God’s word written, neither may it] so expound one place of Scripture, that it be repugnant to another. Wherefore, although the Church be a witness and a keeper of Holy Writ, yet [as it ought not to decree (decerne) anything against the same, so] besides the same, ought it not to enforce (obtrudere) anything to be believed for necessary of salvation."
Two instruments of Christian teaching are spoken of in these Articles, Holy Scripture and the Church.
Here then we have to inquire, first, what is meant by Holy Scripture; next, what is meant by the Church; and then, what their respective offices are in teaching revealed truth, and how these are adjusted with one another in their actual exercise.
First, the Scripture or Canonical books are said to be those "of whose authority was never any doubt in the Church." Here it is not meant that there never was any doubt in portions of the Church or particular Churches concerning certain books, which the Article includes in its Canon; for some of them,—as, for instance, the Epistle to the Hebrews and the Apocalypse—have been the subject of much doubt in the West or East, as the case may be. But the Article asserts that there has been no doubt about them in the Church Catholic; that is, at the very first time that the Catholic or whole Church had the opportunity of forming a judgment on the subject, it pronounced in favour of the Canonical Books. The Epistle to the Hebrews was doubted by the West, and the Apocalypse by the East, only while those portions of the Church investigated separately from each other, only till they compared notes, interchanged sentiments, and formed a united judgment. The phrase must mean this, because, from the nature of the case, it can mean nothing else.
And next, be it observed, that the books which are commonly called Apocrypha, are not asserted in the Article to be destitute of inspiration or to be simply human, but to be not Canonical; in other words, to differ from Canonical Scripture, specially in this respect, viz. that they are not adducible in proof of doctrine. "The other books (as Hierome saith) the Church doth read for example of life and instruction of manners, but yet doth not apply them to establish any doctrine." That this is the limit to which our disparagement of them extends, is plain, not only because the Article mentions nothing beyond it, but also from the reverential manner in which the Homilies speak of them, as shall be incidentally shown in Section 11. [The compatibility of such reverence with such disparagement is also shown from the feeling towards them of St. Jerome, who is quoted in the Article, who implies more or less their inferiority to Canonical Scripture, yet uses them freely and continually, as if Scripture. He distinctly names many of the books which he considers not canonical, and virtually names them all by naming what are canonical. For instance, he says, speaking of Wisdom and Ecclesiasticus, "As the Church reads Judith, Tobit, and the Maccabees, without receiving them among the Canonical Scriptures, so she reads these two books for the edification of the people, not for the confirmation of the authority of ecclesiastical doctrines." (PrÊf in Libr. Salom.) Again, The Wisdom, as it is commonly styled, of Solomon, and the book of Jesus son of Sirach, and Judith, and Tobias, and the Shepherd, are not in the Canon." (PrÊf ad Reges.) Such is the language of a writer who nevertheless is, to say the least, not wanting in reverence towards the books he thus disparages.]
A further question may be asked, concerning our received version of the Scriptures, whether it is in any sense imposed on us as a true comment on the original text; as the Vulgate is upon the Roman Catholics. It would appear not. It was made and authorized by royal command, which cannot be supposed to have any claim upon our interior consent. At the same time every one who reads it in the Services of the Church, does, of course, thereby imply that he considers that it contains no deadly heresy or dangerous mistake. And about its simplicity, majesty, gravity, harmony, and venerableness, there can be but one opinion.
It is laid down that, 1. Scripture contains all necessary articles of faith; 2. either in its text, or by inference 3. The Church is the keeper of Scripture; 4. and a witness of it; 5. and has authority in controversies of faith; 6. but may not expound one passage of Scripture to contradict another; 7. nor enforce as an article of faith any point not contained in Scripture.
From this it appears, first, that the Church expounds and enforces the faith; for it is forbidden to expound in a particular way, or so to enforce as to obtrude; next, that it derives the faith wholly from Scripture; thirdly, that its office is to educe an harmonious interpretation of Scripture. Thus much the Article settles.
Two important questions, however, it does not settle, viz. whether the Church judges, first, at her sole discretion; next, on her sole responsibility, i. e. first, what the media are by which the Church interprets Scripture, whether by a direct divine gift, or catholic tradition, or critical exegesis of the text, or in any other way; and next, who is to decide whether it interprets Scripture rightly or not;--what is her method, if any; and who is her judge, if any. In other words, not a word is said, on the one hand, in favour of Scripture having no rule or method to fix interpretation by, or, as it is commonly expressed, being the sole rule of faith; nor on the other, of the private judgment of the individual being the ultimate standard of interpretation. So much has been said lately on both these points, and indeed on the whole subject of these two Articles, that it is unnecessary to enlarge upon them; but since it is often supposed to be almost a first principle of our Church, that Scripture is "the rule of faith," it may be well, before passing on, to make an extract from a paper, published some years since, which shows, by instances from our divines, that the application of the phrase to Scripture is but of recent adoption. The other question, about the ultimate judge of the interpretation of Scripture, shall not be entered upon.
"We may dispense with the phrase ‘Rule of Faith,’ as applied to Scripture, on the ground of its being ambiguous; and again, because it is then used in a novel sense; for the ancient Church made the Apostolic Tradition, as summed up in the Creed, and not the Bible, the Regula Fidei, or Rule. Moreover, its use as a technical phrase, seems to be of late introduction in the Church, that is, since the days of King William the Third. Our great divines use it without any fixed sense, sometimes for Scripture, sometimes for the whole and perfectly adjusted Christian doctrine, sometimes for the Creed; and at the risk of being tedious, we will prove this, by quotations, that the point may be put beyond dispute.
"Ussher, after St. Austin, identifies it with the Creed’—when speaking of the Article of our LORD’S Descent to hell, he says,--
"‘It having here likewise been further manifested, what different opinions have been entertained by the ancient Doctors of the Church, concerning the determinate place wherein our Saviour’s soul did remain during the time of the separation of it from the body, I leave it to be considered by the learned, whether any such controverted matter may fitly be brought in to expound the Rule of Faith, which, being common both to the great and small ones of the Church, must contain such varieties only as are generally agreed upon by the common consent of all true Christians.’—Answer to a Jesuit, p. 362.
"Taylor speaks to the same purpose: ‘Let us see with what constancy that and the following ages of the Church did adhere to the Apostles’ Creed, as the sufficient and perfect Rule of Faith.’—Dissuasive, part 2, i. 4, p. 470. Elsewhere he calls Scripture the Rule: ‘That the Scripture is a full and sufficient Rule to Christians in faith and manners, a full and perfect declaration of the Will of GOD, is therefore certain, because we have no other.’ Ibid. part 2, i. 2, p. 384. Elsewhere, Scriptures and the Creed: ‘He hath, by His wise Providence, preserved the plain places of Scripture and the Apostles’ Creed, in all Churches, to be the Rule and Measure of Faith, by which all Churches are saved.’—Ibid. part 2, i. 1, p. 346. Elsewhere he identifies it with Scripture, the Creeds, and the first four Councils: ‘We also [after Scripture] do believe the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene, with the additions of Constantinople, and that which is commonly called the symbol of St. Athanasius; and the four first General Councils are so entirely admitted by us, that they, together with the plain words of Scripture, are made the Rule and Measure of judging heresies among us.’—Ibid. part 1, i. p 131.
"Laud calls the Creed, or rather the Creed with Scripture, the Rule. ‘Since the Fathers make the Creed the Rule of Faith; since the agreeing sense of Scripture with those Articles are the Two Regular Precepts, by which a divine is governed about his faith,’ &c.--Conference with Fisher, p. 42.
Bramhall also: ‘The Scripture and the Creed are not two different Rules of Faith, but one and the same Rule, dilated in Scripture, contracted in the Creed.’—Works, p. 402. Stillingfleet says the same (Grounds, i, 4. 3.);l as does Thorndike (De Rat. fin. Controv. p. 144 &c.). Elsewhere, Stillingfleet calls Scripture the Rule (Ibid. i. 6. 2.); as does Jackson (vol. i. p. 226). But the most complete and decisive statement on the subject is contained in Field’s work on the Church, from which shall follow a long extract.
"‘It remained to show,’ he says, ‘what is he Rule of that judgment whereby the Church discerneth between truth and falsehood, the faith and heresy, and to whom it properly pertaineth to interpret those things which, touching this Rule, are doubtful. The Rule of our Faith in general, whereby we know it to be true, is the infinite excellency of GOD..... It being pre-supposed in he generality that the doctrine of the Christian faith is of GOD, and containeth nothing but heavenly truth, in the next place, we are to inquire by what Rule we are to judge of particular things contained within the compass of it
"‘ This Rule is, 1. The summary comprehension of such principal articles of this divine knowledge, as are the principles whence all other things are concluded and inferred. These are contained in the Creed of the Apostles.
"‘All such things as every Christian is bound expressly to believe, by the light and direction whereof he judgeth of other things, which are not absolutely necessary so particularly to be known. These are rightly said to be the Rule of our Faith, because the principles of every science are the Rule whereby we judge of the truth of all things, as being better and more generally known than any other thing, and the cause of knowing them.
"‘3. The analogy, due proportion, and correspondence, that one thing in this divine knowledge hath with another, so that men cannot err in one of them without erring in another; nor rightly understand one, but they must likewise rightly conceive the rest.
"‘4. Whatsoever Books were delivered unto us, as written by them, to whom the first and immediate revelation of the divine truth was made.
"‘5. Whatsoever hath been delivered by all the saints with one consent, which have left their judgment and opinion in writing.
"‘6. Whatsoever the most famous have constantly and uniformly delivered, as a matter of faith, no one contradicting, though many other ecclesiastical writers be silent, and say nothing of it.
"‘7. That which the most, and most famous in every age, constantly delivered as a mater of faith, and as received of them that went before them, in such sort that the contradictory and gainsayers were in their beginnings noted for singularity, novelty, and division, and afterwards, in process of time, if they persisted in such contradiction, charged with heresy.
"‘These three latter Rules of our Faith we admit, not because they are equal with the former, and originally in themselves contain the direction of our Faith, but because nothing can be delivered, with such and so full consent of the people of GOD, as in them is expressed, but it must need be from those first authors and founders of our Christian profession. The Romanists add unto these the decrees of Councils and determination of Popes, making these also to be the Rules of Faith; but because we have no proof of their infallibility, we number them not with the rest.
"‘Thus we see how many things, in several degrees and sorts, are said to be Rules of our Faith. The infinite excellency of GOD, as that whereby the truth of heavenly doctrine is proved. The Articles of Faith, and other verities ever expressly known in the Church as the first principles, are the Canon by which we judge of conclusions from thence inferred. The Scripture, as containing in it all that doctrine of Faith which CHRIST the SON of GOD delivered. The uniform practice and consenting judgment of tem that went before us, as a certain and undoubted explication of the things contained in the Scripture. .... So then, we do not make Scripture the Rule of our Father, but that other things in their are Rules likewise; in such sort that it is not safe, without respect had unto them, to judge things by the Scripture alone,’ &c.—iv. 14. pp. 364, 365.
"These extracts show not only what the Anglican doctrine is, but, in particular, that the phrase ‘Rule of Faith’ is no symbolical expression with us, appropriated to some one sense; certainly not as a definition or attribute of Holy Scripture. And it is important to insist upon this, from the very great misconception to which the phrase gives rise. Perhaps its use had better to be avoided altogether. In the sense in which it is commonly understood at this day, Scripture, it is plain, is not, on Anglican principles, the Rule of Faith."
ß 2.—Justification by Faith only.
Article xi.—"That we are justified by Faith only, is a most wholesome doctrine."
The Homilies add that Faith is the sole means, he sole instrument of justification. Now, to show briefly what such statements imply, and what they do not.
"The instrumental power of Faith cannot interfere with the instrumental power of Baptism; because Faith is the sole justifier, not in contrast to all means and agencies whatever, (for, it is not surely in contrast to our LORD’S merits, or GOD’S mercy,) but to all other graces. When, then, Faith is called the sole instrument, this means the sole internal instrument, not to sole instrument of any kind.
"There is nothing inconsistent, then, in Faith being the sole instrument of justification, and yet Baptism also the sole instrument, and that at the same time, because in distinct senses; an inward instrument in no way interfering with an outward instrument, Baptism may be the hand of the giver, and Faith the hand of the receiver."
Nor does the sole instrumentality of Faith interfere with the doctrine of Works as a mean also. And that it is a mean, the Homily of Alms-deeds declares in the strongest language, as will also be quoted in Section 11.
"An assent to the doctrine that Faith alone justifies, does not at all preclude the doctrine of Works justifying also. If, indeed, it were said that Words justify in the same sense as Faith only justifies, this would be a contradiction in terms; but Faith only may justify in one sense—Good Works in another:--and this is all that is here maintained. After all does not CHRIST only justify? How is it that the doctrine of Faith justifying does not interfere with our LORD’S being the sole Justifier? It will, of course, be replied, that our LORD is the meritorious cause, and the Faith the means; that Faith justifies in a different and subordinate sense. As, then, CHRIST justifies in the sense in which He justifies alone, yet Faith also justifies in its own sense; so Works, whether moral or ritual, may justify us in their own respective senses, though in the sense in which Faith justifies, it only justifies. The only question is, What is that sense in which Works justify, so as not to interfere with Faith only justifying? It may, indeed, turn out on inquiry, that the sense alleged will not hold, either as being unscriptural, or for any other reason; but, whether so or not, at any rate the apparent inconsistency of language should not startle persons; nor should they so promptly condemn those who, though they do not use their language, use St. James’s. Indeed, is not this argument the very weapon of the Arians, in their warfare against the Son of GOD? They said, CHRIST is not GOD, because the FATHER is called the ‘Only God.’"
First, it is the pleading or impetrating principle, or constitutes our title to justification; being analogous among the graces to Moses’ lifting up his hands on the Mount, or the Israelites eyeing the Brazen Serpent,--actions which did not merit GOD’S mercy, but asked for it. A number of means go to effect our justification. We are justified by CHRIST alone, in that He has purchased the gift; by Faith alone, in that Faith asks for it; by Baptism alone, for Baptism conveys it; and by newness of heart alone, for newness of heart is the life of it.
And, secondly, Faith, as being the beginning or perfect or justifying righteousness, is taken for what it tends towards, or ultimately will be. It is said by anticipation to be that which it promises; just as one might pay a labourer his hire before he began his work. Faith working by love is the seed of divine graces, which in due time will be brought forth and flourish—partly in this world, fully in the next.
ß 3.—Works before and after Justification.
Articles xii. & xiii.—"Works done before the grace of CHRIST, and the inspiration of HIS SPIRIT, [‘before justification,’ title of the Article,] are not pleasant to God (minimË Deo grata sunt); forasmuch as they spring not of Faith in JESUS CHRIST, neither do they make man meet to receive grace, or (as the school authors say) deserve grace of congruity (merentur gratiam de congruo); yea, rather for that they are not done as GOD hath willed and commanded them to be done, we doubt not but they have the nature of sin. Albeit good works, which are the fruits of faith, and follow after justification (justificatos sequuntur), cannot put away (expiare) our sins, and endure the severity of GOD’S judgment, yet are they pleasing and acceptable (grata et accepta) to GOD in CHRIST, and do spring out necessarily of a true and lively Faith."
Two sorts of works are here mentioned—works before justification, and works after; and they are most strongly contrasted with each other.
3. Works before "have the nature of sin;" works after are "good works."
4. Works before "are not pleasant to GOD;" works after "are pleasing and acceptable (grata et accepta) to GOD."
Two propositions, mentioned in these Articles, remain, and deserve consideration; First, that works before justification do not make or dispose men to receive grace, or as the school writers say, deserve grace of congruity; secondly, that works after "cannot put away our sins, and endure the severity of GOD’S judgment.
Now, that this is what it means, is plain from the following passages of the Homilies, which in no respect have greater claims upon us than as comments upon the Articles:--
"Therefore they that teach repentance without a lively faith in our SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST, do teach none other but Judas’s repentance, as all the schoolmen do, which do only allow these three parts of repentance,--the contrition of the heart, the confession of the mouth, and the satisfaction of the work. But all these things we find in Judas’s repentance, which, in outward appearance, did far exceed and pass the repentance of Peter. . . . This was commonly the penance which CHRIST enjoined sinners, ‘Go thy way, and sin no more;’ which penance we shall never be able to fulfil, without the special grace of Him that doth say, ‘Without Me, ye can do nothing.’"—On Repentance, p. 460.
To take a passage which is still more clear:
"As these examples are not brought in to the end that we should thereby take a boldness to sin, presuming on the mercy and goodness of GOD, but to the end that, if, through the frailness of our own flesh, and the temptation of the devil, we fall into the like sins, we should in no wise despair of the mercy and goodness of GOD: even so must we beware and take heed, that we do in no wise think in our hearts, imagine, or believe, that we are able to repent aright, or to turn effectively unto the LORD by our own might and strength." Ibid. part i. fin.
The Article contemplates these two states,--one of justifying grace, and one of the utter destitution of grace; and it says, that those who are in utter destitution cannot do anything to gain justification; and indeed, to assert the contrary would be Pelagianism. However, there is an intermediate state, of which the Article says nothing, but which must not be forgotten, as being an actually existing one. Men are not always either in light or in darkness, but are sometimes between the two; they are sometimes not in a state of Christian justification, yet not utterly deserted by GOD, but in a state of something like that of Jews or of Heathen, turning to the thought of religion. They are not gifted with habitual grace, but they still are visited by Divine influences, or by actual grace, or rather aid; and these influences are the first-fruits of the grace of justification going before it, and are intended to lead on to it, and to be perfected in it, as twilight leads to day. And since it is a Scripture maxim, that "he that is faithful in that which is least, is faithful also in much;" and "to whosoever hath, to him shall be given;" therefore, it is quite true that works done with divine aid, and in faith, before justification, do dispose men to receive the grace of justification;--such were Cornelius’s alms, fastings, and prayers, which led to his baptism. At the same time it must be borne in mind that, even in such cases, it is not the works themselves which make them meet, as some schoolmen seem to have said, but the secret aid of GOD, vouchsafe, equally with the "grace and Spirit," which is the portion of the baptized, for the merits of CHRIST’S sacrifice.
[But it may be objected, that the silence observed in the Article about a state between that of justification and grace, and that of neither, is a proof that there is none such. This argument, however, would prove too much; for in like manner there is a silence in the Sixth Article about a judge of the scripturalness of doctrine, yet a judge there must be. And again, few, it is supposed, would deny that Cornelius, before the angel came to him, was in a more hopeful state, that Simon Magus or Felix. The difficult then, if there be one, is common to persons of whatever school of opinion.]
2. If works before justification, when done by the influence of divine aid, gain grace, much more do works after justification. They are, according to the Article, "grata," pleasing to GOD;" and they are accepted, "accepta" which means that GOD rewards them, and that of course according to their degree of excellence. At the same time, as works before justification may nevertheless be done under a divine influence, so works after justification are still liable to the infection of original sin; and, as not being perfect, "cannot expiate our sins," or "endure the severity of GOD’S judgment."
ß 4.—The Visible Church.
Art. xix.—"The visible Church of CHRIST is a congregation of faithful men (cœtus fidelium), in the which the pure Word of GOD is preached, and the Sacraments be duly ministered, according to CHRIST’S ordinance, in all those things that of necessity are requisite to the same."
This is not an abstract definition of a Church, but a description of the actually existing One Holy Catholic Church diffused throughout the world; as if it were read, "The Church is a certain society of the faithful," &c. This is evident from the mode of describing the Catholic Church familiar to all writers from the first stages down to the age of this Article. For instance, St. Clement of Alexandria says, "I mean by the Church, not a place, but the congregation of the elect." Origen: "The Church, the assembly of all the faithful." St. Ambrose: "One congregation, one Church." St. Isidore: "The Church is a congregation of saints, collected on a certain faith, and the best conduct of life." St. Augustin: "The Church is the people of God through all ages." Again: "The Church is the multitude which is spread over the whole earth." St. Cyril: "When we speak of the Church, we denote the most holy multitude of the pious." Theodoret: "The Apostle calls the Church the assembly of the faithful." Pope Gregory: The Church, a multitude of the faithful collected of both sexes." Bede: "The Church is the congregation of all saints." Alcuin: "The Holy Catholic Church,--in Latin, the congregation of the faithful." Amalarius: "The Church is the people called together by the Church’s ministers." Pope Nicolas I.: "The Church, that is, the congregation of Catholics." St. Bernard: "What is the Spouse, but the congregation of the just?" Peter the Venerable: "The Church is called a congregation, but not of all things, not of cattle, but of men, faithful, good, just. Though bad among these good, and just among the unjust, are revealed or concealed, yet it is called a Church." Hugo Victorinus: "The Holy Church, that is, the university of the faithful." Arnulphus: "The Church is called the congregation of the faithful." Albertus Magnus: "The Greek word Church means in Latin convocation; and whereas works and callings belongs to rational animals, and reason in man is inward faith, therefore it is called the congregation of the faithful." Durandus: "The Church is in one sense material, in which divers offices are celebrated; in another spiritual, which is the collection of the faithful." Alvarus: "The Church is the multitude of the faithful, or the university of Christians." Pope Pius II.: "The Church is the multitude of the faithful dispersed through all nations." [And so the Reformers, in their own way, for instance, the Confession of Augsburgh. "The one Holy Church will remain for ever. Now the Church of Christ properly is the congregation of the members of Christ, that is, of saints who truly believe and obey Christ; though with this congregation many bad and hypocrites are mixed in this life, till the last judgment." vii.—And the Saxon: "We say then that the visible Church in this life is an assembly of those who embrace the Gospel of Christ and rightly use the Sacraments," &c. xii.]
These illustrations of the phraseology of the Article may be multiplied in any number. And they plainly show that it is not laying down any logical definition what a Church is, but is describing, and, as it were, pointing to the Catholic Church diffused throughout the world; which, being but one, cannot possibly be mistaken, and requires no other account of it beyond this single and majestic one. The ministration of the Word and Sacraments is mentioned as a further note of it. As to the question of its limits, whether Episcopal Succession or whether intercommunion with the whole be necessary to each part of it,--these are questions, most important indeed, but of detail, and are not expressly treated of in the Articles.
This view is further illustrated by the following passage from the Homily for Whitsunday:--
"Our Saviour CHRIST departing out of the world unto His FATHER, promised His Disciples to send down another COMFORTER, that should continue with them for ever, and direct them into all truth. Which thing, to be faithfully and truly performed, the Scriptures do sufficiently bear witness. Neither must we think that this COMFORTER was either promised, or else given, only to the Apostles, but also to the universal Church of CHRIST, dispersed through the whole world. For, unless the HOLY GHOST has been always present, governing and preserving the Church from the beginning, it could never have suffered so many and great brunts of affliction and persecution, with so little damage and harm as it hath. And the words of CHRIST are most plain in this behalf, saying, that ‘the SPIRIT of Truth should abide with them for ever;’ that ‘He would be with them always (He meaneth by grace, virtue, and power) even to the world’s end.’
"Also in the prayer that He made to His FATHER a little before His death, He maketh intercession, not only for Himself and His Apostles, but indifferently for all them that should believe in Him through their words, that is, to wit, for His whole Church. Again, St. Paul saith, ‘If any man have not the SPIRIT of CHRIST, the same is not His.’ Also, in the words following: ‘We have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.’ Hereby, then it is evident and plain to all men, that the HOLY GHOST was given, not only to the Apostles, but also to the whole body of CHRIST’S congregation, although not in like form and majesty as He came down at the feast of Pentecost. But now herein standeth the controversy,--whether all men do justly arrogate to themselves the HOLY GHOST, or no. The Bishops of Rome have for along time made a sore challenge thereto, reasoning with themselves after this sort: ‘The HOLY GHOST,’ say they, ‘was promised to the Church, and never forsaketh the Church. But we are the chief heads and the principal part of the Church, therefore we have the HOLY GHOST for ever: and whatsoever things we decree are undoubted verities and oracles of the HOLY GHOST.’ That ye may perceive the weakness of this argument, it is needful to teach you, first, what the true Church of CHRIST is, and then to confer the Church of Rome therewith, to discern how well they agree together. The true Church is an universal congregation or fellowship of GOD’S faithful and elect people, built upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, JESUS CHRIST Himself being the head cornerstone. And it hath always three notes or marks, whereby it is known: pure and sound doctrine, the Sacraments ministered according to CHRIST’S holy institution, and the right use of ecclesiastical discipline. This description of the Church is agreeable both to the Scriptures of GOD, and also to the doctrine of the ancient Fathers, so that none may justly find fault therewith. Now, if you will compare this with the Church of Rome, not as it was in the beginning, but as it is at present, and hath been for the space of nine hundred years and odd; you shall well perceive the state thereof to be so gar wide from the nature of the Church, that nothing can be more."
This passage is quotes, not for all it contains, but in that respect in which it claims attention, viz. as far as it is an illustration of the Article. It is speaking of the one Catholic Church, not of an abstract idea of a Church which may be multiplied indefinitely in fact; and it uses the same terms of it which the Articles does of "the visible Church." It says that "the true Church is an universal congregation or fellowship of GOD’S faithful and elect people." &c., which as closely corresponds to the cœtus fidelium, or "congregation of faithful men" of the Article, as the above descriptions from Fathers or Divines do. Therefore, the cœtus fidelium spoken of in the article is not a definition, which kirk, or connexion, or other communion maybe made to fall under, but the enunciation of a fact.
ß 5.—General Councils.
Article xxi.—"General Councils may not be gathered together without the commandment and will of princes. And when they be gathered together, forasmuch as they be an assembly of men, whereof all be not governed with the SPIRIT and Word of GOD, they may err, and sometimes have erred, in things pertaining to GOD."
That great bodies of men, of different countries, may not meet together without the sanction of their rulers, is plain from the principles of civil obedience and from primitive practice. That, when met together, though Christians, they will not be all ruled by the SPIRIT or Word of GOD, is plain from our LORD’S parable of the net, and from melancholy experience. That bodies of men, deficient in this respect, may err, is a self-evident truth,--unless, indeed, they be favoured with some divine superintendence, which has to be proved, before it can be admitted.
General councils then may err, [as such;--may err,] unless in any case it is promised, as a matter of express supernatural privilege, that they shall not err; a case which [as consisting in the fulfilment of additional or subsequent conditions,] lies beyond the scope of this Article, or at any rate beside its determination.
Such a promise, however, does exist, in cases when general councils are not only gathered together according to "the commandment and will of princes," but in the Name of CHRIST, according to our LORD’S promised. The article merely contemplates the human prince, not the King of Saints. While councils are a thing of earth, their infallibility of course is not guaranteed; when they are thing of heaven, their deliberations are overruled, and their decrees authoritative. In such cases they are Catholic councils; and it would seem, from passages which will be quotes in Section 11, that the Homilies recognize four, or even six, as bearing this character. Thus Catholic or Œcumenical Councils are general councils, and something more. Some general councils are Catholic, and others are not. Nay, as even Romanists grant, the same councils may be partly Catholic, partly not.
If Catholicity be thus a quality, found at times in general councils, rather than the differentia belonging to a certain class of them, it is still less surprising that the Article should be silent about it.
What those conditions are, which fulfil the notion of a gather "in the Name of CHRIST," in the case of a particular council, it is not necessary here to determine. Some have included among these conditions, the subsequent reception of its decrees by the universal Church; others a ratification by the pope.
Another of these conditions, however, the Article goes on to mention, viz. that in points necessary to salvation, a council should prove its decrees by Scripture.
St. Gregory Nazianzen well illustrates the consistency of this Article with a belief in the infallibility of Œcumenical Councils, by his own language on the subject on different occasions.
In the following passage he anticipates the Article:--
"My mind is, if I must write the truth, to keep clear of every conference of bishops, for of conference never saw I good come, or a remedy so much as an increase of evils. For there is strife and ambition, and these have the upper hand of reason."—Ep. 55.
Yet, on the other hand, he speaks elsewhere of "the Holy Council in NicÊa, and that band of chosen men whom he HOLY GHOST brought together."—Orat. 21.
ß 6.—Purgatory, Pardons, Images, Relics, Invocation of Saints.
Article xxii.—"The Romish doctrine concerning purgatory, pardons (de indulgentiis), worshipping (de veneratione) and adoration, as well of images as of relics, and also invocation of saints, is a fond thing (res est futilis) vainly (inaniter) invented, and grounded upon no warranty of Scripture, but rather repugnant (contradicit) to the Word of GOD."
Now the first remark that occurs on perusing this Article is, that the doctrine objected to is "the Romish doctrine." For instance, no one would suppose that the Calvinistic doctrine containing purgatory, pardons, and image-worship, is spoken against. Not every doctrine on these matters is a fond thing, but the Romish doctrine. Accordingly, the Primitive doctrine is not condemned in it, unless, indeed, the Primitive Doctrine be the Romish, which must not be supposed. Now there was a primitive doctrine on all these points,--how far Catholic or universal, is a further question—but still so widely received and so respectably supported, that it may well be entertained as a matter of opinion by a theologian now; this, then, whatever be its merits, is not condemned by this Article.
This is clear without proof on the face of the matter, at least as regards pardons. Of course, the article never meant to make light of every doctrine about pardons, but a certain doctrine, the Romish doctrine, [as indeed the plural form itself shows.]
And [such an understanding of the Article is supported by] some sentences in the Homily on the Peril of Idolatry, in which, as far as regards relics, a certain veneration is sanctioned by its tone in speaking of them, thought not of course the Romish veneration.
The sentences referred to run as follow:--
"In the Tripartite Ecclesiastical History, the Ninth Book, and Forty-eighth Chapter, is testified, that ‘Epiphanius, being yet alive, did work miracles: and after his death, devils, being expelled at his grave or tomb, did roar.’ Thus you see what authority St. Jerome (who has just been mentioned) and that most ancient history give unto the holy and learned Bishop Epiphanius."
"St. Ambrose, in his Treatise of the Death of Theodosius the Emperor, saith, ‘Helena found the Cross, and the title on it. She worshipped the King, and not the wood, surely (for that is an heathenish error and the vanity of the wicked), but she worshipped Him that hanged on the Cross, and whose Name was written on the title,’ and so forth. See both the godly empress’s fact, and St. Ambrose’s judgment at once; they thought it had been an heathenish error, and vanity of the wicked, to have worshipped the Cross itself which was imbrued with our SAVIOUR CHRIST’S own precious blood."—Peril of Idolatry, part 2, circ. init.
In these passages the writer does not positively commit himself to the miracles at Epiphanius’s tomb, or the discovery of the true Cross, but he evidently wishes the hearer to think he believes in both. This he would not do, if he thought all honour paid to relics wrong.
If, then, in the judgment of the Homilies, not all doctrine concerning veneration of relics is condemned in the Article before us, but a certain toleration of them is compatible with its wording; neither is all doctrine concerning purgatory, pardons, images, and saints, condemned by the Article, but only "the Romish."
And further by "the Romish doctrine," is not meant the Tridentine [statement], because this Article was drawn up before the decree of the Council of Trent. What is opposed is the received doctrine of the day, and unhappily of this day too, or the doctrine of the Roman schools; a conclusion which is still more clear, by considering that there are portions in the Tridentine [statements] on these subjects, which the Article, far from condemning, by anticipation approves, as far as they go. For instance, the Decree of Trent enjoins concerning purgatory thus:--"Among the uneducated and vulgar let difficult and subtle questions, which make not for edification, and seldom contribute aught towards piety, be kept back from popular discourses. Neither let them suffer the public mention and treatment of uncertain points, or such as look like falsehood." Session 25. Again, about images: "Due honour and veneration is to be paid unto them, not that we believe that any divinity or virtue is in them, for which they should be worshipped (colendÊ) or that we should ask any thing of them, or that trust should be reposed in images, as formerly was done by the Gentiles, which used to place their hope on idols."—Ibid.
If, then the doctrine condemned in this Article concerning purgatory, pardons, images, relics, and saints, be not the Primitive doctrine, nor the Catholic doctrine, nor the Tridentine [statement] but the Romish, doctrina Romanensium, let us next consider what in matter of fact it is. And
Now here there was a primitive doctrine, whatever its merits, concerning the fire of judgment, which is a possible or a probable opinion, and is not condemned. That doctrine is this: that the conflagration of the world, or the flames which attend the Judge, will be an ordeal through which all men will pass; that great saints, such as St. Mary, will pass it unharmed; that others will suffer loss; but none will fail under it who are built upon the right foundation. Here is one [purgatorian doctrine] not "Romish."
Another doctrine, purgatorian, but not Romish, is that said to be maintained by the Greeks at Florence, in which the cleansing, though a punishment, was but a pœna damni, not a pœna sensös; not a positive sensible infliction, much less the torment of fire, but the absence of GOD’S presence. And another purgatory is that in which the cleansing is but a progressive sanctification, and has no pain at all.
None of these doctrines does the Article condemn; any of them may be held by the Anglo-Catholic as a matter of private belief; not hat they are here advocated, one or other, but they are adduced as an illustration of what the Article does not mean, and to vindicate our Christian liberty in a matter where the Church has not confined it.
[For what the doctrine which is reprobated is, we might refer, in the first place, to the Council of Florence, where a decree was passed on the subject, were not that decree almost as vague as the Tridentine; viz. that deficiency of penance is made up by pœnÊ purgatoriÊ.]
"Now doth St. Augustine say, that those men which are cast into prison after this life, on that condition, may in no wise be holpen, though we would help them never so much. And shy? Because the sentence of GOD is unchangeable, and cannot be revoked again. Therefore let us not deceive ourselves, thinking that either we may help others, or others may help us, by their good and charitable prayers in time to come. For, as the preacher saith, ‘Where the tree falleth, whether it be toward the south, or toward the north, in what place soever the tree falleth, there it lieth:’ meaning thereby, that every mortal man dieth either in the state of salvation or damnation, according as the words of the Evangelist John do plainly import, saying, ‘He that believeth the SON of GOD hath eternal life; but he that believeth not on the SON, shall never seen life, but the wrath of GOD abideth upon him.’—where is then the third place, which they call purgatory? Or where shall our prayers help and profit the dead? St. Augustine doth only acknowledge two places after this life, heaven and hell. As for the third place, he doth plainly deny that there is any such to be found in all Scripture. Chrysostom likewise is of this mind, that, unless we wash away our sins in this present world, we shall find no comfort afterward. And St. Cyprian saith, that, after death, repentance and sorrow of pain shall be without fruit, weeping also shall be in vain, and prayer shall be to no purpose. Therefore he counselleth all men to make provision for themselves while they may, because, when they are once departed out of this life, there is no place for repentance, nor yet for satisfaction."—Homily concerning Prayer, pp. 282, 283.
Now it would seem], from this passage, that the Purgatory contemplated by the Homily, was one for which no one will for an instance pretend to adduce even those Fathers who most favour Rome, viz. one in which our state would be changed, in which GOD’S sentence would be reversed. "The sentence of GOD," says the writer, "is unchangeable, and cannot be revoked again; there is no place for repentance." On the other hand, the Council of Trent, and Augustin and Cyprian, so far as they express or imply an opinion approximating to that of the Council, held Purgatory to be a place for believers, not unbelievers, not where men who have lived and died in GOD’S wrath, may gain pardon, but where those who have already been pardoned in this life, may be cleansed and purified for beholding the face of GOD. The Homily, then, and therefore the Article [as far as the Homily may be taken to explain it], does not speak of the Tridentine purgatory. The mention of Prayers for the dead in the above passage, affords an additional illustration of the limited and [relative] sense of the terms of the article now under consideration. For such prayers are obviously not condemned in it in the abstract, or in every shape, but as offered to rescue the lost from eternal fire.
[Hooker, in his Sermon on Pride, gives us a second view of the "Romish doctrine of Purgatory," from the schoolmen. After speaking of the pœna damni, he says—
"The other punishment, which hath in it not only loss of joy, but also sense of grief, vexation, and woe, is that whereunto they give the name of purgatory pains, in nothing different from those very infernal torments which the souls of castaways, together with damned spirits, do endure, save only in this, there is an appointed term to the one, to the other none; but for the time they last they are equal."—Vol. iii. p. 798.]
Such doctrine, too, as the following may well be included in that which the Article condemns under the name of "Romish." The passage to be quoted has already appeared in these Tracts.
"In the ‘Speculum Exemplorum’ it is said, that a certain priest, in an ecstasy, saw the soul of Constantius Turritanus in the eaves of his house, tormented with frosts and cold rains, and afterwards climbing up to heaven upon a shining pillar. and a certain monk saw some souls roasted upon spits like pigs, and some devils basting them with scalding lard; but a while after, they were carried to a cool place, and so proved purgatory. But Bishop Theobald, standing upon a piece of ice to cool his feet, was nearer purgatory than he was aware, and was convinced of it, when he heard a poor soul telling him, that under that ice he was tormented; and that he should be delivered, if for thirty days continual, he would say for him thirty masses. And some such thing was seen by Conrade and Udalric in a pool of water; for the place of purgatory was not yet resolved on, till St. Patrick had the key of it delivered to him, which when one Nicholas borrowed of him, he saw as strange and true things there, as ever Virgil dreamed of in his purgatory, or Cicero in his dream of Scipio, or Plato in his Gorgias, or PhÊdo, who indeed are the surest authors to prove purgatory. But because to preach false stories was forbidden by the Council of Trent, there are yet remaining more certain arguments, even relations made by angels, and the testimony of St. Odilio himself, who heard the devil complain (and he had great reason surely), that the souls of dead men were daily snatched out of his hands, by the alms and prayers of the living; and the sister of St. Damianus, being too much pleased with hearing of a piper, told her brother, that she was to be tormented for fifteen days in a purgatory.
"We do not think that the wise men in the Church of Rome believe these narratives; for if they did, they were not wise; but this we know, that by such stories the people were brought into a belief of it, and having served their turn of them, the master builders used them as false arches and centries, taking them away when the parts of the building were made firm and stable by authority."—Jer. Taylor, Works, vol. x. pp. 151, 152.
Another specimen of doctrine, which no one will attempt to prove from Scripture, is the following:--
"Eastwardly, between two walls, was a vast place of purgatory fixed, and beyond it a pond to rinse souls in, that had waded through purgatory, the water being salt and colt beyond comparison. Over this purgatory St. Nicholas was the owner.
"There was a mighty bridge, all beset with nails and spikes, and leading to the mount of joy; on which mount was a stately church, seemingly capable to contain all the inhabitants of the world, and into which the souls were no sooner entered, but that they forgot all their former torments.
"Returning to the first Church, there they found St. Michael the Archangel and the Apostles Peter and Paul. St. Michael caused all the white souls to pass through the flames, unharmed, to the mount of joy; and those that had black and white spots, St. Peter led into purgatory to be purified.
"In one part sate St. Paul, and the devil opposite to him with his guards, with a pair of scales between them, weighing all such souls as were all over black; when upon turning a soul, the scale turned towards St. Paul, he sent it to purgatory, there to expiate its sins; when towards the devil, his crew, with great triumph, plunged it into the flaming pit. . . . .
"The rustic likewise saw near the entrance of the town-hall, as it were, four streets; the first was full of innumerable furnaces and cauldrons willed with flaming pitch and other liquids, and boiling of souls, whose heads were like those of black fishes in seething liquor. The second had its cauldrons stored with snow and ice, to torment souls with horrid cold. The third had thereof boiling sulphur and other materials, affording the worst of stinks, for the vexing of souls that had wallowed in the filth of lust. The fourth had cauldrons of a most horrid salt and black water. Now sinners of all sorts were alternately tormented in these cauldrons."—Purgatory proved by Miracle, by S. Johnson, pp. 8—10.
[Let it be considered, then, whether on the whole the "Romish doctrine of Purgatory," which the Article condemns, and which was generally believed in the Roman Church three centuries since, as well as now, viewed in its essence, be not the doctrine, that the punishment of unrighteous Christians is temporary, not eternal, and that the purification of the righteous is a portion of the same punishment, together with the superstitions, and impostures for the sake of gain, consequent thereupon.]
The history of the rise of the Reformation will interpret "the Romish doctrine concerning pardons," without going further. Burnet thus speaks on the subject:--
"In the primitive church there were very severe rules made, obliging all that had sinned publicly (and they were afterwards applied to such as had sinned secretly) to continue for many years in a state of separation from the Sacrament, and of penance and discipline. But because all such general rules admit of a great variety of circumstances, taken from men’s sins, their persons, and their repentance, there was a power given to all Bishops, by the Council of Nice, to shorten the time, and to relax the severity of those Canons, and such favour as they saw cause to grant, was called indulgence. This was just and necessary, and was a provision without which no constitution or society can be well governed. But after the tenth century, as the Popes came to take this power in the whole extent of it into their own hands, so they found it too feeble to carry on the great designs that they grafted upon it.
"They gave it high names, and called it a plenary remission, and the pardon of all sins: which the world was taught to look on as a thing of a much higher nature, than the bare excusing of men from discipline and penance. Purgatory was then got to be firmly believed, and all men were strangely possessed with the terror of it: so a deliverance from purgatory, and by consequence an immediate admission into heaven, was believed to be the certain effect of it. Multitudes were, by these means, engaged to go to the Holy Land, to recover it out of the hands of the Saracens: afterwards they armed vast numbers against the heretics, to extirpate them: they fought also all those quarrels, which their ambitious pretensions engaged them in, with emperors and other princes, by the same pay; and at least they set it to sale with the same impudence, and almost with the same methods, that mountebanks use in venting of their secrets.
"This was so gross, even in an ignorant age, and among the ruder sort, that it gave the first rise to the Reformation: and as the progress of it was a very signal work of GOD, so it was in a great measure owing to the scandals that this shameless practice had given the world."—Burnet on Article XIV. p. 190.
"The virtue of indulgences is the applying the treasure of the Church upon such terms as Popes shall think fit to prescribe, in order to the redeeming souls from purgatory, and from all other temporal punishments, and that for such a number of years as shall be specified in the bulls; some of which have gone to thousands of years; one I have seen to ten hundred thousand: and as these indulgences are sometimes granted by special tickets, like tallies struck on that treasure; so sometimes they are affixed to particular churches and altars, to particular times, or days, chiefly to the year of jubilee; they are also affixed to such things as may be carried about, to Agnus Dei’s, to medals, to rosaries, and scapularies; they are also affixed to some prayers, the devout saying of them being a mean to procure great indulgences. The granting these is left to the Pope’s discretion, who ought to distribute them as he thinks may tend most to the honour of GOD and the good of the Church; and he ought not to be too profuse, much less to be too scanty in dispensing them.
"This has been the received doctrine and practice of the Church of Rome since the twelfth century: and the Council of Trent, in a hurry, in its last session, did, in very general words, approve of the practice of the Church in this matter, and decreed that indulgences should be continued; only they restrained some abuses, in particular that of selling them."—Burnet on Article XXII. p. 305.
Burnet goes on to maintain that the act of the Council was incomplete and evaded. If it be necessary to say more on the subject, let us attend to the following passage from Jeremy Taylor:—
"I might have instanced in worse matters, made by the Popes of Rome to be pious works, the condition of obtaining indulgences. Such was the bull of Pope Julius the Second, giving indulgence to him that meeting a Frenchman should kill him, and another for the killing of a Venetian. . . . . I desire this only instance may be added to it, that Pope Paul the Third, he that convened the Council of Trent, and Julius the Third, for fear, as I may suppose, the Council should forbid any more such follies, for a farewell to this game, gave an indulgence to the fraternity of the Sacrament of the Altar, or of the Blessed Body of OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, of such a vastness and unreasonable folly, that it puts us beyond the question of religion, to an inquiry, whether it were not done either in perfect distraction, or, with worse design, to make religion to be ridiculous, and to expose it to a contempt and scorn. The conditions of the indulgence are, either to visit the Church of St. Hilary of Chartres, to say a ‘Pater Noster’ and an ‘Ave Mary’ every Friday, or, at most, to be present at processions and other divine service upon ‘Corpus Christi day.’ The gift is—as many privileges, indults, exemptions, liberties, immunities, plenary pardons of sins, and other spiritual graces, as were given to the fraternity of the Image of our SAVIOUR ‘ad Sancta Sanctorum;’ the fraternity of the charity and great hospital of St. James in Augusta, of St. John Baptist, of St. Cosmas and Damianus; of the Florentine nation; of the hospital of the HOLY GHOST in Saxia; of the order of St. Austin and St. Champ; of the fraternities of said city; of the church of our Lady ‘de populo et verbo;’ and all those that were ever given to them that visited these churches, or those which should ever be given hereafter—a pretty large gift! In which there were so many pardons, quarter-pardons, half-pardons, true pardons, plenary pardons, quarantines, and years of quarantines; that is a harder thing to number them, than to purchase them. I shall remark in these some particulars to be considered.
"1. That a most scandalous and unchristian dissolution and death of all ecclesiastical discipline, is consequent to the making all sin so cheap and trivial a thing; that the horrible demerits and exemplary punishment and remotion of scandal and satisfaction to the Church, are indeed reduced to trifling and mock penances. He that shall send a servant with a candle to attend the holy Sacrament, when it shall be carried to sick people, or shall go himself; or if he can neither go nor send, if he say a ‘Pater Noster’ and an ‘Ave,’ he shall have a hundred years of true pardon. This is fair and easy. But then,
"2. It would be considered what is meant by so many years of pardon, and so many years of true pardon. I know but of one natural interpretation of it; and that it can mean nothing, but that some of the pardons are but fantastical, and not true; and in this I find no fault, save only that it ought to have been said, that all of them are fantastical.
"3. It were fit we learned how to compute four thousand and eight hundred years of quarantines, and a remission of a third part of all their sins; for so much is given to every brother and sister of this fraternity, upon Easter-day, and eight days after. Now if a brother needs not thus many, it would be considered whether it did not encourage a brother or a frail sister to use all their medicine, and sin more freely, let so great a gift become useless.
"4. And this is so much the more considerable because the gift is vast beyond all imagination. The first four days in lent they may purchase thirty-three thousand years of pardon, besides a plenary remission of all their sins over and above. The first week of Lent a hundred and three-and-thirty thousand years of pardon, besides five plenary remissions of all their sins, and two third parts besides, and the delivery of one soul out of purgatory. The second week in Lent a hundred and eight-and-fifty thousand years of pardon, besides the remission of all their sins, and a third part besides; and the delivery of one soul. The third week in Lent, eighty thousand years, besides a plenary remission, and the delivery of one soul out of purgatory. The fourth week in Lent, threescore thousand years of pardon, besides a remission of two-thirds of all their sins, and one plenary remission, and one soul delivered. The fifth week, seventy-nine thousand years of pardon, and the deliverance of two souls; only the two thousand seven hundred years that are given for the Sunday, may be had twice that day, if they will visit the altar twice, and as many quarantines. The sixth week, two hundred and five thousand years, besides quarantines, and four plenary pardons. Only on Palm Sunday, whose portion is twenty-five thousand years, it may be had twice that day. And all this is the price of him that shall, upon these days, visit the altar in the Church of St. Hilary. And this runs on to the Fridays, and many festivals and other solemn days in the other parts of the year."—Jer. Taylor, vol. xi. pp. 53—56.
[The doctrine then of pardons, spoken of in the Article, is the doctrine maintained and acted on in the Roman Church, that remission of the penalties of sin in the next life may be obtained by the power of the Pope, with such abuses as money payments consequent thereupon.]
That the Homilies do not altogether discard reverence towards relics, has already been shown. Now let us see what they do discard.
"What meaneth it that Christian men, after the use of the Gentiles idolaters, cap and kneel before images? which if they had any sense and gratitude, would kneel before men, carpenters, masons, plasterers, founders, and goldsmiths, their makers and framers, by whose means they have attained this honour, which else would have been evil-favoured, and rude lumps of clay or plaster, pieces of timber, stone, or metal, without shape or fashion, and so without all estimation and honour, as that idol in the Pagan poet confesseth, saying, ‘I was once a vile block, but now I am become a god,’ &c. What a fond thing is it for man, who hath life and reason, to bow himself, to a dead and insensible image, the work of his own hand! Is not this stooping and kneeling before them, which is forbidden so earnestly by GOD’S word? Let such as so fall down before images of saints, know and confess that they exhibit that honour to dead stocks and stones, which the saints themselves, Peter, Paul and Barnabas, would not to be given to them, being alive; which the angel of GOD forbiddeth to be given to him. And if they say they exhibit such honour not to the image, but to the saint whom it representeth, they are convicted of folly, to believe that they please saints with that honour, which they abhor as a spoil of GOD’S honour."--Homily on Peril of Idolatry, p. 191.
"Thus far Lactantius, and much more, too long here to write, of candle lighting in temples before images and idols for religion; whereby appeareth both the foolishness thereof, and also that in opinion and act we do agree altogether in our candle-religion with the Gentiles idolaters. What meaneth it that they, after the example of the Gentiles idolaters, burn incense, offer up gold to images, hang up crutches, chains, and ships, legs, arms, and whole men and women of wax, before images, as though by them, or saints (as they say) they were delivered from lameness, sickness, captivity, or shipwreck? Is not this ‘colere imagines,’ to worship images, so earnestly forbidden in GOD’S word? If they deny it, let them read the eleventh chapter of Daniel the Prophet, who saith of antichrist, ‘He shall worship GOD, whom his fathers knew not, with gold, silver, and with precious stones, and other things of pleasure:’ in which place the Latin word is colet." ...... "To increase this madness, wicked men, which have the keeping of such images, for their great lucre and advantage, after the example of the Gentiles idolaters, have reported and spread abroad, as well by lying tales as written fables, divers miracles of images: as that such an image miraculously was sent from heaven, even like the Palladium, or Magna Diana Ephesiorum. Such another was as miraculously found in the earth, as the man’s head was in the Capitol, or the horse’s head in Capua. Such an image was brought by angels. Such an one came itself far from the East to the West, as Dame Fortune fled to Rome. Such an image of our Lady was painted by St. Luke, whom of a physician they have made a painter for that purpose. Such an one an hundred yokes of oxen could not move, like Bona Dea, whom the whip could not carry; or Jupiter Olympius, which laughed the artificers to scorn, that went about to remove him to Rome. Some images, though they were hard and stony, yet, for tender heart and pity, wept. Some, like Castor and Pollux, helping their friends in battle, sweat, as marble pillars do in dankish weather. Some spake more monstrously than ever did Balaam’s ass, who had life and breath in him. Such a cripple came and saluted this saint of oak, and by and by he was made whole; and lo! here hangeth his crutch. Such an one in a tempest vowed to St. Christopher, and ’scaped; and behold, here is a ship of wax. Such an one, by St. Leonard’s help, brake out of prison, and see here his fetters hang." . . . . . . "The Relics we must kiss and offer unto, specially on Relic Sunday. And while we offer, (that we should not be weary, or repent us of our cost,) the music and minstrelsy goeth merrily all the offertory time, with praising and calling upon those saints, whose relics be then in presence. Yea, and the water also, wherein those relics have been dipped, must with great reverence be reserved, as very holy and effectuous." . . . . . . "Because Relics were so gainful, few places were there but they had relics provided for them. And for more plenty of Relics, some one saint had many heads, one in one place, and another in another place. Some had six arms, and twenty-six fingers. And where our LORD bare His cross alone, if all the pieces of the relics thereof were gathered together, the greatest ship in England would scarcely bear them; and yet the greatest part of it, they say, doth yet remain in the hands of the Infidels; for the which they pray in their beads-bidding, that they may get it also in their hands, for such godly use and purpose. And not only the bones of the saints, but every thing appertaining to them, was a holy relic. In some place they offer a sword, in some the scabbard, in some a shoe, in some a saddle that had been set upon some holy horse, in some the coals wherewith St. Laurence was roasted, in some place the tail of the ass which our LORD JESUS CHRIST sat on, to be kissed and offered unto for a relic. For rather than they would lack a relic, they would offer you a horse bone instead of a virgin’s arm, or the tail of the ass to be kissed and offered unto for relics. O wicked, impudent, and most shameless men, the devisers of these things! O silly, foolish, and dastardly daws, and more beastly than the ass whose tail they kissed, that believe such things!" . . . . . . "Of these things already rehearsed, it is evident that our image maintainers have not only made images, and set them up in temples, as did the Gentiles their idols; but also that they have had the same idolatrous opinions of the saints, to whom they have made images, which the Gentiles idolaters had of their false gods; and have not only worshipped their images with the same rites, ceremonies, superstition, and all circumstances, as did the Gentiles idolaters for their idols, but in many points have also far exceeded them in all wickedness, foolishness and madness."—Homily on Peril of Idolatry, pp. 193—197.
It will be observed that in this extract, as elsewhere in the Homilies, it is implied that the Bishop or the Church of Rome is Antichrist; but this is a statement bearing on prophetical interpretation, not on doctrine; and one besides which cannot be reasonably brought to illustrate or explain any of the positions of the Articles: and therefore it may be suitably passed over.
In another place the Homilies speak as follows:--
"Our churches stand full of such great puppets, wondrously decked and adorned; garlands and coronets be set on their heads, precious pearls hanging about their necks; their fingers shine with rings, set with precious stones; their dead and stiff bodies are clothed with garments stiff with gold. You would believer that the images of our men-saints were some princes of Persia land with their prod apparel; and the idols of our women-saints were nice and well-trimmed harlots, tempting their paramours to wantonness: whereby the saints of GOD are not honoured, but most dishonoured, and their godliness, soberness, chastity, contempt of riches, and of the vanity of the world, defaced and brought in doubt by such monstrous decking, most differing from their sober and godly lives. And because the whole pageant most thoroughly be played, it is not enough thus to deck idols, but at last come in the priests themselves, likewise decked with gold and pearl, that they may be meet servants for such lords and ladies, and fit worshippers of such gods and goddesses. And with a solemn pace they pass forth before these golden puppets, and fall down to the ground on their marrow-bones before these honourable idols; and then rising up again, offer up odours and incense unto them, to give the people an example of double idolatry, by worshipping not only the idol, but the god also, and riches, wherewith it is garnished. Which thing, the most part of our old Martyrs, rather than they would do, or once kneel, or offer up one crumb of incense before an image, suffered most cruel and terrible deaths, as the histories of them at large do declare." . . . . . . "O books and scriptures, in the which the devilish schoolmaster, Satan, hath penned the lewd lessons of wicked idolatry, for his dastardly disciples and scholars to behold, reach, and learn, to GOD’S most high dishonour, and their most terrible damnation! Have we not been much bound, think you, to those which should have taught us the truth out of GOD’S Book and His Holy Scripture, that they have shut up that Book and Scripture from us, and none of us so bold as once to open it, or read in it?
Again, with a covert allusion to the abuses of the day, the Homilist says elsewhere, of Scripture,
"There shall you read of Baal, Moloch, Chamos, Melchom, Baalpeor, Astaroth, Bel, the Dragon, Priapus, the brazen Serpent, the twelve Signs, and many others, unto whose images the people, with great devotion, invented pilgrimages, precious decking, and censing them, kneeling down, and offering to them, thinking that an high merit before GOD, and to be esteemed above the precepts and commandments of GOD."—Homily on Good Works, p. 42.
Again, soon after:
"What man, having any judgment or learning, joined with a true zeal unto GOD, doth not see and lament to have entered into CHRIST’S religion, such false doctrine, superstition, idolatry, hypocrisy, and other enormities and abuses, so as by little and little, through the sour leaven thereof, the sweet bread of GOD’S holy word had been much hindered and laid apart? Never had the Jews, in their most blindness, so many pilgrimages unto images, nor used so much kneeling, kissing, and censing of them, as hath been used in our time. Sects and feigned religions were neither the fortieth part so many among the Jews, nor more superstitiously and ungodly abused, than of late years they have been among us: which sects and religions had so many hypocritical and feigned works in their state of religion, as they arrogantly named it, that their lamps, as they said, ran always over, able to satisfy not only for their own sins, but also for all other their benefactors, brothers, and sisters of religion, as most ungodly and craftily they had persuaded the multitude of ignorant people; keeping in divers places, as it were, marts or markets of merits, being full of their holy relics, images, shrines, and works of overflowing abundance, ready to be sold; and all things which they had were called holy—holy cowls, holy girdles, holy pardons, holy beads, holy shows, holy rules, and all full of holiness. And what thing can be more foolish, more superstitious, or ungodly, than that men, women, and children, should wear a friar’s coat to deliver them from agues or pestilence; or when they die, or when their be buried, cause it to be cast upon them, in hope thereby to be saved? Which superstition, although ((thanks be to GOD) it hath been little used in this realm, yet in divers other realms it hath been, and yet it, used among many, both learned and unlearned."—Homily on Good Works, pp. 45, 46.
"True religion, then, and pleasing of GOD, standeth not in making, setting up, painting, gilding, and decking of dumb and dead images (which be but great puppets and babies for old fools in dotage, and wicked idolatry, to dally and play with), nor in kissing of them, capping, kneeling, offering to them, incensing of them, setting up of candles, hanging up of legs, arms, or whole bodies of wax before them, or praying or asking of them, or of saints, things belonging only to GOD to give. But all these things be vain and abominable, and most damnable before GOD."—Homily on Peril of Idolatry, p. 223.]
Now the veneration and worship condemned in these and other passages are such as these: kneeling before images, lighting candles to them, offering them incense, going on pilgrimage to them, hanging up crutches, &c. before them, lying tales about them, belief in miracles as if wrought by them through illusion of the devil, decking them up immodestly, and providing incentives by them to bad passions; and, in like manner, merry music and minstrelsy, and licentious practices in honour of relics, counterfeit relics, multiplication of them, absurd pretences about them. This is what the Article means by "the Romish doctrine," which, in agreement to one of the above extracts, it calls "a fond thing," res futilis; for who can ever hope, except the grossest and most blinded minds, to be gaining the favour of the blessed saints, while they come with unchaste thoughts and eyes, that cannot cease from sin; and to be profited by "pilgrimage-going," in which "Lady Venus and her son Cupid were rather worshipped wantonly in the flesh, than GOD the FATHER, and our SAVIOUR CHRIST HIS SON, truly worshipped in the SPIRIT?"
Here again it is remarkable that, urged by the truth of the allegation, the Council of Trent is obliged, both to confess the above-mentioned enormities in the veneration of relics and images, and to forbid them.
"Into these thy holy and salutary observances should any abuses creep, of these the Holy Council strongly [vehementer] desires the utter extinction; so that no images of a false doctrine, and supplying to the uninstructed opportunity of perilous error, should be set up. . . . . all superstition also in invocation of saints, veneration of relics, and sacred use of images, be put away; all filthy lucre be cast out of doors; and all wantonness be avoided; so that images be not painted or adorned with an immodest beauty; or the celebration of Saints and attendance on Relics be abused to revelries and drunkenness; as though festival days were kept in honour of saints by luxury and lasciviousness."—Sess . 25.
[On the whole, then, by the Romish doctrine of the veneration and worshipping of images and relics, the Article means all maintenance of those idolatrous honours which have been and are paid to them so commonly throughout the Church of Rome, with the superstitions, profanities, and impurities consequent thereupon.]
By "invocation" here is not meant the mere circumstance of addressing beings out of sight, because we use the Psalms in our daily service, which are frequent invocations of Angels to praise and bless GOD. In the Benedicite too we address "the spirits and souls of the righteous."
Nor is it a "fond" invocation to pray that unseen beings may bless us; [for this Bishop Ken does in his Evening Hymn:—
O may my Guardian, while I sleep,
Close to my bed his vigils keep,
His love angelical instil,
Stop all the avenues of ill, &c.]
On the other hand, judging from the example set us in the Homilies themselves, invocations are not censurable, and certainly not "fond," if we mean nothing definite by them, addressing them to beings which we know cannot hear, and using them as interjections. The Homilist seems to avail himself of this proviso in a passage, which will serve to begin our extracts in illustration of the superstitious use of invocations.
"We have left Him neither heaven, nor earth, nor water, nor country, nor city, peace nor war to rule and govern, neither men, nor beasts, nor their diseases to cure; that a godly man might justly, for zealous indignation, cry out, O heaven, O earth, and seas, what madness and wickedness against GOD are men fallen into! What dishonour do the creatures to their CREATOR and MAKER! And if we remember GOD sometimes, yet, because we doubt of His ability or will to help, we join to Him another helper, as if He were a noun adjective, using these sayings: such as learn, GOD and St. Nicholas be my speed: such as neese, GOD help and St. John: to the horse, GOD and St. Loy save thee. Thus are we become like horses and mules, which have no understanding. For is there not one GOD only, who by His power and wisdom made all things, and by His providence governeth the same, and by His goodness maintaineth and saveth them? be not all things of Him, by Him and through Him? Why dost thou turn from the CREATOR to the creatures? This is the manner of the Gentiles idolaters: but thou art a Christian, and therefore by CHRIST alone hast access to GOD the FATHER, and help of Him only."—Homily on Peril of Idolatry, p. 189.
Again, just before:
Terentius Varro showeth, that there were three hundred Jupiters in his time: there were no fewer Veneres and DianÊ: we had no fewer Christophers, Ladies and Mary Magdalens, and other saints. Œnomaus and Hesodius shew, that in their time there were thirty thousand gods. I think we had no fewer saints, to whom we gave the honour due to GOD. And they have not only spoiled the true living GOD of His due honour in temples, cities, countries and lands, by such devices and inventions as the Gentiles idolaters have done before them: but the sea and waters have as well special saints with them, as they had gods with the Gentiles, Neptune, Triton, Nereus, Castor and Pollux, Venus, and such other: in whose places be come St. Christopher, St. Clement, and divers other, and specially our Lady, to whom shipmen sing, ‘Ave, maris stella.’ Neither hath the fire escaped their idolatrous inventions. For, instead of Vulcan and Vesta, the Gentiles’ gods of the fire, our men have placed St. Agatha, and make litters on her day for to quench fire with. Every artificer and profession hath his special saint, as a peculiar god. As for example, scholars have St. Nicholas and St. Gregory: painters, St. Luke; neither lack soldiers their Mars, nor lovers their Venus, amongst Christians. All diseases have their special saints, as gods the curers of them; ...... the falling-evil St. Cornelio, the tooth-ache St. Apollin, &c. Neither do beats nor cattle lack their gods with us; for St. Loy is the horse-leech, and St. Anthony the swineherd." --Ibid., p. 188.The same subject is introduced in connexion with a lament over the falling off of attendance on religious worship consequent upon the Reformation:
"GOD’S vengeance hath been and is daily provoked, because much wicked people pass nothing to resort to the Church, either for that they are so sore blinded, that they understand nothing of GOD and godliness, and care not with devilish example to offend their neighbours; or else for that they see the Church altogether scoured of such gay gozing sights, as their gross fantasy was greatly delighted with, because they see the false religion abandoned, and the true restored, which seemeth an unsavoury thing to their unsavoury taste; as may appear by this, that a woman said to her neighbour, ‘Alas, gossip, what shall we now do at church, since all the saints are taken away, since all the goodly sights we were wont to have are gone, since we cannot hear the like piping, singing, chanting, and playing upon the organs, that we could before ?’ But, dearly beloved, we ought greatly to rejoice, and give GOD thanks that our churches are delivered of all those things which displeased GOD so sore, and filthily defiled His house and His place of prayer, for the which He hath justly destroyed many nations, according to the saying of St. Paul: ‘If any man defile the temple of GOD, GOD will him destroy.’ And this ought we greatly to praise GOD for, that superstitious and idolatrous manners as were utterly naught, and defaced GOD’S glory, are utterly abolished, as they most justly deserved: and yet those things that either GOD was honoured with, or His people edified, are decently retained, and inour churches comely practised."--On the Place and Time of Prayer, pp. 203, 294.
"There are certain conditions most requisite to be found in every such a one that must be called upon, which if they be not found in Him unto whom we pray, then doth our prayer avail us nothing, but is altogether in vain.
"The first is this, that He, to whom we make our prayers, be able to help us. The second is, that He will help us, The third is, that He be such a one as may hear our prayers. The fourth is, that He understand better than ourselves what we lack, and how far we have need of help. If these things be to be found in any other, saving only GOD, then may we lawfully call upon some other besides GOD. But what man is so gross, but he well understandeth that those things are only proper to Him, who is omnipotent, and knoweth all things, even the very secrets of the heart; that is to say, only and to GOD alone? Whereof it followeth that we must call neither upon angel, nor yet upon saint, but only and solely upon GOD, as St. Paul doth write: ‘How shall men call upon Him, in whom they have not believed?’ So that invocation or prayer may not be made without faith in Him on whom they call; but that we must first believe in Him before we can make our prayer unto Him, whereupon we must only and solely pray unto GOD. For to say that we should believe in either angel or saint, or in any other living creature, were most horrible blasphemy against GOD and His holy word; neither ought this fancy to enter into the heart of any Christian man, because we are expressly taught in the word of the LORD only to repose our faith in the blessed TRINITY, in whose only name we are also baptized, according to the express commandment of our SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST, in the last of St. Matthew.
"But that the truth thereof may better appear, even to them that be most simple and unlearned, let us consider what prayer is. St. Augustine calleth it a lifting up of the mind to GOD; that is to say, an humble and lowly pouring out of the heart to GOD. Isidorus saith, that it is an affection of the heart, and not a labour of the lips. So that, by these plans, true prayer doth consist not so much in the outward sound and voice of words, as in the inward groaning and crying of the heart to GOD.
"Now, then, is there any angel, any virgin, any patriarch, or prophet, among the dead, that can understand or know the meaning of the hear? The Scripture saith, ‘it is GOD that searcheth the heart and reins, and that He only knoweth the hearts of the children of men.’ As for the saints, they have so little knowledge of the secrets of the heart, that many of the ancient fathers greatly doubt whether they know any thing at all, that is commonly done on earth. And albeit some think they do, yet St Augustine, a doctor of great authority, and also antiquity, hath this opinion of them; that they know no more what we do on earth, than we know what they do in heaven. For proof whereof, he allegeth the words of Isaiah the prophet, where it is said, ‘Abraham is ignorant of us, and Israel knoweth us not.’ His mind therefore is this, not that we should put any religion in worshipping them, or praying unto them; but that we should honour them by following their virtuous and godly life. For, as he witnesseth in another place, the martyrs, and holy men in time past, were wont, after their death, to be remembered and named of the priest at divine service; but never to be invocated or called upon. And why so? Because the priest, saith he, is GOD’S priest, and not theirs: whereby he is bound to call upon GOD, and not upon them. ...... O but I dare not (will some man say) trouble GOD at all times with my prayers we see that in kings’ houses, and courts of princes, men cannot be admitted, unless they first use the help and means of some special nobleman, to come to the speech of the king, and to obtain the thing that they would have.
"CHRIST, sitting in heaven, hath an everlasting priesthood, and always prayeth to His FATHER for them that be penitent, obtaining, by virtue of His wounds, which are evermore in the sight of GOD, not only perfect remission of our sins, but also all other necessaries that we lack in this world; so that this Holy Mediator is sufficient in heaven, and needeth no others to help Him.
"Invocation is a thing proper unto GOD, which if we attribute unto the saints, it soundeth unto their reproach, neither can they well bear it at our hands. When Paul healed a certain lame man, which was impotent in his feet, at Lystra, the people would have done sacrifice unto him and Barnabas; who, rending their clothes, refused it, and exhorted them to worship the true GOD. Likewise in Revelation, when St. John fell before the angel’s feet to worship him, the angel would not permit him to do it, but commanded him that he should worship GOD. Which examples declare unto us, that the saints and angels in heaven will not have us to do any honour unto them that is due and proper unto GOD."—Homily on Prayer, pp. 272—277.
Whereas, then, it has already been shown that not all invocation is wrong, this last passage plainly tells us what kind of invocation is not allowable, or what is meant by invocation in its exceptionable sense: viz. "a thing proper to GOD," as being part of the "honour that is due and proper unto GOD." And two instances are specially given of such calling and invocating, viz., sacrificing, and falling down in worship. Besides this, the Homilist adds, that it is wrong to pray to them for "necessaries in this world," and to accompany their services with "piping, singing, chanting, and playing" on the organ, and of invoking saints as patrons of particular elements, countries arts, or remedies.
Here again, as before, the Article gains a witness and concurrence from the Council of Trent. . "Though," say the divines there assembled, "the Church has been accustomed sometimes to celebrate a few masses to the honour and remembrance of saints, yet she doth not teach that sacrifice is offered to them, but to GOD alone, who crowned them; wherefore neither is the priest wont to say, I offer sacrifice to thee, O Peter, or O Paul, but to GOD." (Sess. 22.) Or, to know what is meant by fond invocations, we may refer to the following passage of Bishop Andrews’s Answer to Cardinal Perron:—
"This one point is needful to be observed throughout all the Cardinal’s answer, that he hath framed to himself five distinctions:—(1.) Prayer direct, and prayer oblique, or indirect. (2.) Prayer absolute, and prayer relative. (3.) Prayer sovereign, and prayer subaltern. (4.) Prayer final, and prayer transitory. (5.) Prayer sacrificial, and prayer out of, or from the sacrifice. Prayer direct, absolute, final, sovereign, sacrificial, that must not be made to the saints, but to GOD only: but as for prayer oblique, relative, transitory, subaltern, from, or out of the sacrifice, that (saith he) we may make to the saints.
"For all the world, like the question in Scotland, which was made some fifty years since, whether the Pater noster might not be said to saints. For then they in like sort devised the distinction of—(1.) Ultimate, et non ultimate. (2.) Principaliter, et minus principaliter. (3.) Primarie et secundarie: Capiendo stricte et capiendo large. And as for ultimate, principaliter, primarie et capiendo stricte, they conclude it must go to GOD: but non ultimate, minus principaliter, secundarie, et capiendo large, it might be allowed saints.
"Yet it is sure, that in these distinctions is the whole substance of his answer. And whensoever he is pressed, he flees straight to his prayer relative and prayer transitory; as if prier pour prier were all the Church of Rome did hold; and that they made no prayers to the saints, but only to pray for them. The Bishop well remembers, that Master Casaubon more than once told him that reasoning with the Cardinal, touching the invocation of saints, the Cardinal freely confessed to him that he had never prayed to saint in all his life, save only when he happened to follow the procession; and that then he sung Ora pro nobis with the clerks indeed, but else not.
"Which cometh much to this opinion he now seemeth to defend: but wherein others of the Church of Rome will surely give him over, so that it is to be feared that the Cardinal will be shent for this, and some censure come out against him by the Sorbonne. For the world cannot believe that oblique relative prayer is all that is sought; seeing it is most evident, by their breviaries, hours, and rosaries, that they pray directly, absolutely, and finally to saints, and make no mention at all of prier pour prier, to pray to GOD to forgive them; but to the saints, to give it themselves. So that all he saith comes to nothing. They say to the blessed Virgin, ‘Sancta Maria,’ not only ‘Ora pro nobis:’ but ‘Succure miseris, juva pusillanimes, refove flebiles, accipe quod offerimus, dona quod rogamus, excusa quod timemus,’ &c. &c.....
All which, and many more, shew plainly that the practice of the Church of Rome, in this point of invocation of saints, is far otherwise than Cardinal Perron would bear the world in hand; and that prier pour prier is not at all, but that ‘To dona cœlum, Tu laxa, Tu sana, Tu solve crimina, Tu duc, conduc, induc, perduc ad gloriam; Tu serva, Tu fer opem, To aufer, Tu confer vitam,’ are said to them (totidem verbis); more than which cannot be said to GOD Himself. And again, ‘Hic nos solvat ý peccatis, Hic nostros tergat reatus, Hic arma conferat, His hostem fuget, Hic gubernet, Hic aptet tuo conspectui;’ which if they be not direct and absolute, it would be asked of them, what is absolute or direct?"—Bishop Andrews’s Answer to Chapter XX. of Cardinal Perron’s Reply, pp. 57—62.
Bellarmine’s admissions quite bear out the principles laid down by Bishop Andrews and the Homilist:—
"It is not lawful," he says, "to ask of the saints to grant to us, as if they were the authors of divine benefits, glory or grace, or the other means of blessedness. . . . . . . This is proved, first, from Scripture, ‘The LORD will give grace and glory.’ (Psal. lxxxiv.) Secondly, from the usage of the Church; for in the mass-prayers, and the saints’ offices, we never ask any thing else, but that at their prayers, benefits may be granted to us by GOD. Thirdly, from reason: for what we need surpasses the powers of the creature, and therefore even of saints; therefore we ought to ask nothing of saints beyond their impetrating from GOD what is profitable for us. Fourthly, from Augustine and Theodoret, who expressly teach that saints are not to be invoked as gods, but as able to gain from GOD what they wish. However, it must be observed, when we say, that nothing should be asked of saints but their prayers for us, the question is not about the words, but the sense of the words. For, as far as words go it is lawful to say: ‘St. Peter, pity me, save me, open for me the gate of heaven;’ also, ‘give me health of body, patience, fortitude,’ &c., provided that we mean ‘save and pity me by praying for me;’ ‘grant this or that by thy prayers and merits." For so speaks Gregory Nazianzen, and many others of the ancients, &c."—De Sanct. Beat. i. 17.
[By the doctrine of the invocation of saints then, the Article means all maintenance of addresses to them which intrench upon the incommunicable honour due to GOD alone, such as have been, and are in the Church of Rome, and such as, equally with the peculiar doctrine of purgatory, pardons, and worshipping and adoration of images and relics, as actually taught in that Church, are unknown to the Catholic Church.]
ß 7.—The Sacraments.
Art. xxv.—"Those five, commonly called Sacraments, that is to say, Confirmation, Penance, Orders, Matrimony, and Extreme Unction, are not to be counted for Sacraments of the Gospel, being such as have grown, partly of the corrupt following (prav’ imitatione) of the Apostles, partly from states of life allowed in the Scriptures; but yet have not like natuire of sacraments (sacramentorum eandem rationem,) with Baptism and the LORD’S Supper, for that they have not any visible sign or ceremony ordained of GOD."
This Articles does not deny the five rites in question to be sacraments, but to be sacraments in the sense in which Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are sacraments; "sacraments of the Gospel," sacraments with an outward sign ordained of God.
They are not sacraments in any sense, unless the Church has the power of dispensing grace through rites of its own appointing, or is endued with the gift of blessing and hallowing the "rites or ceremonies" which, according to the Twentieth Article, it "hath power to decree." But we may well believe that the Church has this gift.
If, then, a sacrament be merely an outward sign of an invisible grace under it, the five rites may be sacraments; but if it must be an outward sign ordained by GOD or CHRIST, then only Baptism and the LORD’S Supper are sacraments.
Our Church acknowledges both definitions;—in the Article before us, the stricter; and again in the Catechism, where a sacrament is defined to be "an outward visible sign of an inward spiritual grace, given unto us, ordained by CHRIST Himself." And this, it should be remarked, is a characteristic of our formularies in various places, not to deny the truth or obligation of certain doctrines or ordinances, but simply to deny, (what no Roman opponent now can successfully maintain,) that CHRIST for certain directly ordained them. For instance, in regard to the visible Church it is sufficient that the ministration of the sacraments should be "according to CHRIST’S ordinance." Art. xix.—And it is added, "in all those things that of necessity are requisite to the same." The question entertained is, "what is the least that GOD requires of us." Again, "the baptism of young children is to be retained, as most agreeable to the institution of CHRIST." Art. xxvii.—Again, "the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was not by CHRIST’S ordinance reserved, carried about, lifted up, or worshipped." Art. xxviii.—Who will maintain the paradox that what the Apostles "set in order when they came" had been already done by CHRIST? Again, "both parts of the LORD’S sacrament, by CHRIST’S ordinance and commandment, ought to be administered to all Christian men alike." Art. xxx.—Again, "bishops, priests, and deacons, are not commanded by GOD’S law either to vow the estate of single life or to abstain from marriage." Art. xxxii.—[In making this distinction, however, it is not here insinuated, though the question is not entered on in these particular Articles, that every one of these points, of which it is only said that they are not ordained by CHRIST, is justifiable on grounds short of His appointment.]
On the other hand, our Church takes the wider sense of the meaning of the word sacrament in the Homilies; observing—
"In the second Book again the Adversary of the Law and the Prophets, he [St. Augustine] calleth sacraments holy signs. And writing to Bonifacius of the baptism of infants, he saith, ‘If sacraments had not a certain similitude of those things whereof they be sacraments, they should be no sacraments at all. And of this similitude they do for the most part receive the names of the self-same things they signify.’ By these words of St. Augustine it appeareth, that he alloweth the common description of a sacrament, which is, that it is a visible sign of an invisible grace; that is to say, that setteth out to the eyes and other outward senses the inward working of God’s free mercy, and doth, as it were, sealing our hearts the promises of God."—Homily on Common Prayer and Sacraments, pp. 296, 297.
Accordingly, starting with this definition of St. Augustine’s, the writer is necessarily carried on as follows:—
"You shall hear how many sacraments there be, that were instituted by our SAVIOUR CHRIST, and are to be continued, and received of every Christian in due time and order, and for such purpose as our SAVIOUR CHRIST willed them to be received. And as for the number of them, if they should be considered according to the exact signification of a sacrament, namely, for visible signs expressly commanded in the New Testament, whereunto is annexed the promise of free forgiveness of our sins, and of our holiness and joining in CHRIST, there be but two; namely, Baptism, and the Supper of the Lord. For although absolution hath the promise of forgiveness of sin; yet by the express word of the New Testament, it hath not this promise annexed and tied to the visible sign, which is imposition of hands. For this visible sign (I mean laying on of hands) is not expressly commanded in the New Testament to be used in absolution, as the visible signs in Baptism and he LORD’S Supper are: and therefore absolution is no such sacrament as Baptism and Communion are. And though the ordering of ministers hath this visible sign and promise; yet it lacks the promise of remission of sin, as all other sacraments besides the two above named do. Therefore neither it, nor any other sacrament else, be such sacraments as Baptism and the Communion are. But in a general acception, the name of a sacrament may be attributed to any thing, whereby an holy thing is signified. In which understanding of the word, the ancient writers have given this name, not only to the other five, commonly of late years taken and used for supplying the number of the seven sacraments; but also to divers and sundry other ceremonies, as to oil, washing of feet, and such like; not meaning thereby to repute them as sacraments, in the same signification that the two forenamed sacraments are. And therefore St. Augustine, weighing the true signification and exact meaning of the word, writing to Januarius, and also in the third Book of Christian Doctrine, affirmeth, that the sacraments of the Christians, as they are most excellent in signification, so are they most few in number, and in both places maketh mention expressly of two, the sacrament of Baptism, and the Supper of the LORD. and although there are retained by order of the Church of England, besides these two, certain other rites and ceremonies, about the institution of ministers in the Church, Matrimony, Confirmation of Children, by examining them of their knowledge in the Articles of the Faith, and joining thereto the prayers of the Church for them, and likewise for the Visitation of the Sick; yet no man ought to take these for sacraments, in such signification and meaning as the sacraments of Baptism and the LORD’S Supper are: but either for godly states of life, necessary in Christ’s Church, and therefore worthy to be set forth by public action and solemnity, by the ministry of the Church, or else judged to be such ordinances as may make for the instruction, comfort, and edification of CHRIST’S Church."—Homily on Common Prayer and Sacraments, pp. 298-300.
Another definition of the word sacrament, which equally succeeds in limiting it to the two principal rites of the Christian Church, is also contained in the Catechism, as well as alluded to in the above passage:—"Two only, as generally necessary to salvation, Baptism and the Supper of the LORD." On this subject the following remark has been made:—
"The Roman Catholic considers that there are seven [sacraments]; we do not strictly determine the number. We define the word generally to be an ‘outward sign of an inward grace,’ without saying to how many ordinances this applies. However, what we do determine is, that CHRIST has ordained two special sacraments, as generally necessary to salvation. This, then is the characteristic mark of those two, separating them from all other whatever; and this is nothing else but saying in other words that they are the only justifying rites, or instruments of communicating the Atonement, which is the one thing necessary to us. Ordination, for instance, gives power, yet without making the soul acceptable to God; Confirmation gives light and strength, yet is the mere completion of Baptism; and Absolution may be viewed as a negative ordinance removing the barrier which sin has raised between us and that grace, which by inheritance is ours. But the two sacraments ‘of the Gospel,’ as they may be emphatically styled, are the instruments of inward life, according to our LORD’S declaration, that Baptism is a new birth, and that in the Eucharist we eat the living bread."
Article xxviii.—"Transubstantiation, or the change of the substance of bread and wine, in the Supper of the Lord, cannot be proved by Holy Writ; but is repugnant to the plain words of Scripture, overthroweth the nature of a sacraments, and hath given occasion to many superstitions."
What is here opposed as "Transubstantiation," is the shocking doctrine that "the body of CHRIST," as the article goes on to express it, is not "given, taken, and eaten, after an heavenly and spiritual manner, but is carnally pressed with the teeth;" that It is a body or substance of a certain extension and bulk in space, and a certain figure and due disposition of parts, whereas we hold that the only substance such, is the bread we see.
This is plain from Article xxix., which quotes St. Augustine as speaking of the wicked as "carnally and visible pressing with their teeth the sacrament of the body and blood of CHRIST," not the real substance, a statement which even the Breviary introduces into the service for Corpus Christi day.
This is plain also from the words of the Homily:—"Saith Cyprian, ‘when we do these things, we need not whet our teeth, but with sincere faith we break and divide that holy bread. It is well known that the meat we seek in this supper is spiritual food, the nourishment of the soul, a heavenly refection, and not earthly; an invisible meat, and not a bodily; a ghostly substance, and not carnal.’"
Some extracts may be quoted to the same effect from Bishop Taylor. Speaking of what has been believed in the Church of Rome, he says:—
"Sometimes CHRIST hath appeared in His own shape, and blood and flesh hath been pulled out of the mouths of the communicants: and Plegilus, the priest, saw an angel, showing CHRIST to him in form of a child upon the altar, whom first he took in his arms and kissed, but did eat him up presently in his other shape, in the shape of a wafer. ‘Speciosa certË pax nebulonis, ut qui oris prÊbuerat basium, dentius inferret exitium,’ said Berengarius: ‘It was but a Judas’ kiss to kiss with he lip, and bite with the teeth.’"—Bp. Taylor, vol. x. p. 12.
"Yet if this and the other miracles pretended, had not been illusions or directly fabulous, it had made very much against the present doctrine of the Roman Church; for they represent the body in such measure, as by their explications it is not, and it cannot be: they represent it broken, a finger, or a piece of flesh, or bloody, or bleeding, or in the form of an infant; and then, when it is in the species of bread: for if, as they say, CHRIST’S body is present no longer than the form of bread remained, how can it be CHRIST’S body in the miracle, when the species being gone, it is no longer a sacrament? But the dull inventors of miracles in those ages considered nothing of this; the article itself was then gross and rude, and so were the instruments of probation. I noted this, not only to show at what door so incredible a persuasion entered, but that the zeal of prevailing in it hath so blinded the refiners of it in this age, that they still urge those miracles for proof, when, if they do any thing at all, they reprove the present doctrine."—Bp. Taylor’s Works, vol. ix. p. ccccxi.
Again: the change which is denied in the Article is accurately specified in another passage of the same author:—
" I will not insist upon the unworthy questions which this carnal doctrine introduces . . . neither will I make scrutiny concerning CHRIST’S bones, hair, and nails; nor suppose the Roman priests to be such [karcharodontes] and to have such ‘saws in their mouths:’ these are appendages of their persuasion, but to be abominated by all Christian and modest persons, who use to eat not the bodies but the flesh of beasts, and not to devour, but to worship the body of Christ in the exaltation, and now in union with His divinity."—On the Real Presence, 11.
"They that deny the spiritual sense, and affirm the natural, are to remember that CHRIST reproved all senses of these words that were not spiritual. And by the way let me observe, that the expressions of some chief men among the Romanists are so rude and crass, that it will be impossible to excuse them from the understanding the words in the sense of the men of Capernaum; for, as they understood CHRIST to mean His ‘true flesh natural and proper,’ so do they: as they thought CHRIST intended they should tear Him with their teeth and such His blood, for which they were offended; so do these men not only think so, but say so, and are not offended. So said Alanus, ‘Apertissime laquimur, corpus Christi vere a nobis contrectari, manducari, circumgestari, dentibus teri [ground by the teeth], sensibilter sacrificari [sensibly sacrificed], non minus quam ante consecrationem panis,’ [not less than the bread before consecration] . . . I thought that the Romanists had been glad to separate their own opinion from the carnal conceit of the men of Capernaum and the offended disciples . . . . but I find that Bellarmine owns it, even in them, in their ruse circumstances, for he affirms that ‘CHRIST corrected them not for supposing so, but reproved them for not believing it to be so.’ And indeed himself says as much: ‘The body of CHRIST is truly and properly manducated or chewed with the bread in the Eucharist;’ and to take off the foulness of the expression, by avoiding a worse, he is pleased to speak nonsense: ‘A thing may be manducated or chewed, though it be not attrite or broken.’ . . . But Bellarmine adds, that if you will not allow him to say so, then he grants it in plain terms, that CHRIST’S body is chewed, is attrite, or broken with the teeth, and that not tropically, but properly. . . . How? under the species of bread, and invisibly."—Ibid. 3.
Take again the statement of Ussher:—
"Paschasius Radbertus, who was one of the first setters forward of this doctrine in the West, spendeth a large chapter upon this point, wherein he telleth us, that CHRIST in the sacrament did show himself ‘oftentimes in a visible shape, either in the form of a lamb, or in the colour of flesh and blood; so that while the host was a breaking or an offering, a lamb in the priest’s hands, and blood in the chalice should be seen as it were flowing from the sacrifice, that what lay hid in a mystery might to them that yet doubted be made manifest in a miracle.’ . . . . The first [tale] was . . . . of a Roman matron, who found a piece of the sacramental bread turned into the fashion of a finger, all bloody; which afterwards, upon the prayers of St. Gregory, was converted to its former shape again. The other two were first coined by the Grecian liars. . . . . The former of these is not only related there, but also in the legend of Simeon Metaphrastes (which is such another author among the Grecians as Jacobus de Voragine was among the Latins) in the life of Arsenius, .... how that a little child was seen upon the altar, and an angel cutting him into small, pieces with a knife, and receiving his blood into the chalice, as long as the priest was breaking the bread into little parts. The latter is of a certain Jew receiving the sacrament at St. Basil’s hands, converted visibly into true flesh and blood." Ussher’s Answer to a Jesuit, pp. 62—04.
Or the following:—
"When St. Odo was celebrating the mass in the presence of certain of the clergy of Canterbury, (who maintained that the bread and wine, after consecration, do remain in their former substance, and are not CHRIST'S true body and blood, but a figure of it:) when he was come to confraction, presently the fragments of the body of CHRIST which he held in his hands, began to pour forth blood into the chalice. Whereupon he shed tears of joy; and beckoning to them that wavered in their faith, to come near and see the wonderful work of GOD; as soon as they beheld it they cried out, ‘O holy Prelate! to whom the SON of GOD has been pleased to reveal Himself visibly in the flesh, pray for us, that the blood we see here present to our eyes, may again be changed, lest for our unbelief the Divine vengeance fall upon us.’ He prayed accordingly; after which, looking in the chalice, he saw the species of bread and wine, where he had left blood.....
"St. Wittekundus, in the administration of the Eucharist saw a child enter into every one’s mouth, playing and smiling when some received him, and with an abhorring countenance when he went into the mouths of others; CHRIST thus showing this saint in His countenance, who were worthy and who unworthy receivers."—Johnson’s Miracles of Saints, pp. 27, 28.
The same doctrine was imposed by Nicholas the Second which runs thus:—
"I, Berengarius .... anathematize every heresy, and more particularly that of which I have hitherto been accused .... I agree with the Roman Church .... that the bread and wine which are placed on the altar are, after consecration, not only a sacrament, but even the true body and blood of our LORD JESUS CHRIST; and that they are sensibly, and not merely sacramentally, but in truth, handled and broken, by the hands of the priest, and ground by the teeth of the faithful."—Bowden’s Life of Gregory VII., vol. ii. p. 243.
Another illustration of the sort of doctrine offered in the Article, may be given from Bellarmine, whose controversial statements have already been introduced in the course of the above extracts. He thus opposes the doctrine of introsusception, which the spiritual view of the Real Presence naturally suggests:—
He observes, that there are "two particular opinions, false and erroneous, excogitated in the schools: that of Durandus, who thought it probable that the substance of the body of CHRIST in the Eucharist, was without magnitude; and that of certain ancients, which Occam seems afterwards to have followed, that though it has magnitude, (which they think not really separable from substance;) yet every part is so penetrated by every other, that the body of CHRIST is without figure, without distinction and order of parts." With this he contrasts the doctrine which, he maintains, is that of the Church of Rome as well as the general doctrine of the schools, that "in the Eucharist whole CHRIST exists with magnitude and all accidents, except that relation to a heavenly location which He has as He is in heaven, and those things which are concomitants on His existence in that location; and that the parts and members of CHRIST’S body do not penetrate each other, but are so distinct and arranged one with another, as to have a figure and order suitable to a human body."—De Euchar. iii. 5.
We see then, that, by transubstantiation, our Article does not confine itself to any abstract theory, nor aim at any definition of the word substance, nor in rejecting it, rejects a word, nor in denying a "mutatio panis et vini," is denying every kind of change, but opposes itself to a certain plain and unambiguous statement, not of this or that council, but one generally received or taught both in the schools and in the multitude, that the material elements are changed into an earthly, fleshly, and organized body, extended in size, distinct in its parts, which is there where the outward appearances of bread and wine are, and only does not meet the senses, nor even that always.
Objections against "substance," "nature," "change," "accidents," and the like, seem more or less questions of words, and inadequate expressions of the great offence which we find in the received Roman view of this sacred doctrine.
In this connexion it may be suitable to proceed to notice the Explanation appended to the Communion Service, of our kneeling at the LORD’S Supper, which requires explanation itself, more perhaps than any part of our formularies. It runs as follows:—
"Whereas it is ordained in this office for the Administration of the LORD’s Supper, that the communicants should receive the same kneeling: (which order is well meant, for a signification of our humble and grateful acknowledgement of the benefits of CHRIST therein given to all worthy receivers, and for the avoiding of such profanation and disorder in the holy communion, as might otherwise ensue ;) yet, lest the same kneeling should by any persons, either out of ignorance and infirmity, or out of malice and obstinacy, be misconstrued and depraved,—It is hereby declared, that thereby no adoration is intended, or ought to be done, either unto the sacramental bread or wine there bodily received, or unto any corporal presence of CHRIST’S natural flesh and blood. For the sacramental bread and wine remain still in their very natural substances, and therefore may not be adored, (for that were idolatry, to be abhorred of all faithful Christians ;) and the natural body and blood of our SAVIOUR CHRIST are in heaven, and not here, it being against the truth of CHRIST’S natural body to be at one time in more places than one."
Now it may be admitted without difficulty,—1. That "no adoration ought to be done unto the sacramental bread and wine there bodily received." 2. Nor "unto any corporal (i. e. carnal) presence of CHRIST’S natural flesh and blood."
3. That "the sacramental bread and wine remain still in their very natural substances." 4. That to adore them "were idolatry to be abhorred of all faithful Christians;" and 5. That "the natural body and blood of our SAVIOUR CHRIST are in heaven."
But "to heaven" is added, "and not here." Now, though it be allowed that there is no "corporal presence" [i. e. carnal] of "CHRIST’S natural flesh and blood" here, it is a further point to allow that "CHRIST’S natural body and blood" are "not here." And the question is, how can there be any presence at all of His body and blood, yet a presence such, as not to be here? How can there be any presence, yet not local?
Yet that this is the meaning of the paragraph in question is plain, from what it goes on to say in proof of its position: "It being against the truth of CHRIST’S natural body to be at one time in more places than one." It is here asserted then, 1. Generally, "no natural body can be in more places than one;" therefore, 2. CHRIST’S natural body cannot be in the bread and wine, or there where the bread and wine are seen. In other words, there is no local presence in the Sacrament. Yet, that there is a presence is asserted in the Homilies, as quoted above, and the question is, as just now stated, "How can there be a presence, yet not a local one?"
Now, first, let it be observed that the question to be solved is the truth of a certain philosophical deduction, not of a certain doctrine of Scripture. That there is a real presence, Scripture asserts, and the Homilies, Catechism, and Communion Service confess; but the explanation before us adds, that it is philosophically impossible that it should be a particular kind of presence, a presence of which one can say "it is here," or which is "local." It states then a philosophical deduction; but to such deduction none of us have subscribed. We have professed in the words of the Canon: "That the Book of Prayer, &c. containeth in it nothing contrary to the Word of God." Now, a position like this may not be, and is not, "contrary to the word of God," and yet need not be true; e. g. we may accept St. Clement’s Epistle to the Corinthians, as containing nothing contrary to Scripture, nay, as altogether most scriptural, and yet this would not hinder us from rejecting the account of the Phœnix—as contrary, not to GOD’S word, but to matter of fact. Even the infallibility of the Roman see is not considered to extend to matters of fact or points of philosophy. Nay, we commonly do not consider that we need take the words of Scripture itself literally about the sun's standing still, or the earth being fixed, or the firmament being above. Those at least who distinguish between what is theological in Scripture and what is scientific, and yet admit that Scripture is true, have no ground for wondering at such persons as subscribe to a paragraph, of which at the same time they disallow the philosophy; especially considering they expressly subscribe it only as not "contrary to the word of GOD." This then is what must be said first of all.
Next, the philosophical position is itself capable of a very specious defence. The truth is, we do not at all know what is meant by distance or intervals absolutely, any more than we know what is meant by absolute time. Late discoveries in geology have tended to make it probable that time may under circumstances go indefinitely faster or slower than it does at present; or in other words, that indefinitely more may be accomplished in a given portion of it. What Moses calls a day, geologists wish to prove to be thousands of years, if we measure time by the operations at present effected in it. It is equally difficult to determine what we mean by distance, or why we should not be at this moment close to the throne of GOD, though we seem far from it. Our measure of distance is our hand or our foot; but as an object a foot off is not called distant, though the interval is indefinitely divisible; neither need it be distant either, after it has been multiplied indefinitely. Why should any conventual measure of ours—why should the perceptions of our eyes or our ears, be the standard of presence or distance CHRIST may really be close to us, though in heaven, and His presence in the Sacrament may but be a manifestation to the worshipper of that nearness, not a change of place, which may be unnecessary. But on this subject some extracts may be suitably made from a pamphlet published several years since, and admitting of one or two verbal corrections, which, as in the case of other similar quotations above, shall here be made without scruple:—
"In the note at the end of the Communion Service, it is argued, that a body cannot be in two places at once; and that therefore the Body of CHRIST is not locally present, in the sense in which we speak of the bread as being locally present. On the other hand, in the Communion Service itself, Catechism, Articles, and Homilies, it is plainly declared, that the Body of CHRIST is in a mysterious way, if not locally, yet really present, so that we are able after some ineffable manner to receive It. Whereas, then, the objection stands, ‘CHRIST is not really here, because He is not locally here,' our formularies answer, ‘He is really here, yet not locally.’
"But it may be asked, What is the meaning of saying that CHRIST is really present, yet not locally? I will make a suggestion on the subject. What do we mean by being present? How do we define and measure it? To a blind and deaf man, that only is present which he touches: give him hearing, and the range of things present enlarges; every thing is present to him which he hears. Give him at length sight, and the sun may be said to be present to him in the day-time, and myriads of stars by night. The presence, then, of a thing is a relative word, depending, in a popular sense of it, upon the channels of communication between it and him to whom it is present; and thus it is a word of degree.
"Such is the meaning of presence, when used of material objects;—very different from this is the conception we form of the presence of spirit with spirit. The most intimate presence we can fancy is a spiritual presence in the soul; it is nearer to us than any material object can possibly be; for our body, which is the organ of conveying to us the presence of matter, sets bounds to its approach towards us.’ If, then, spiritual beings can be brought near to us, (and that they can, we know, from what is told us of the influences of Divine grace, and again of evil angels upon our souls,) their presence is something sui generis of a more perfect and simple character than any presence we commonly call local. And further, their presence has nothing to do with the degrees of nearness; they are either present or not present, or, in other words, their coming is not measured by space, nor their absence ascertained by distance. In the case of things material, a transit through space is the necessary condition of approach and presence; but in things spiritual, (whatever be the condition,) such a transit seems not to be a condition. Thc condition is unknown. Once more: while beings simply spiritual seem not to exist in place, the Incarnate SON does; according to our Church’s statement already alluded to, that ‘the natural body and blood of our SAVIOUR CHRIST are in heaven and not here, it being against the truth of CHRIST’S natural body to be at one time in more places than one.’
"Such seems to be the mystery attending our LORD and SAVIOUR; He has a body, and that spiritual. He is in place; and yet, as being a spirit, His mode of approach— the mode in which He makes Himself present here or there —may be, for what we know, as different from the mode in which material bodies approach and come, as a spiritual presence is more perfect. As material bodies approach by moving from place to place, so the approach and presence of a spiritual body may be in some other way,—probably is in some other way, since in some other way, (as it would appear) not gradual, progressive, approximating, that is, locomotive, but at once, spirits become present,—may be such as to be consistent with His remaining on GOD’S right hand while He becomes present here,—that is, it may be real yet not local, or, in a word, is mysterious. The Body and Blood of CHRIST may be really, literally present in the holy Eucharist, yet not having become present by local passage, may still literally and really be on GOD’S right hand; so that, though they be present in deed and truth, it may be impossible, it may be untrue to say, that they are literally in the elements, or about them, or in the soul of the receiver. These may be useful modes of speech ac cording to the occasion; but the true determination of all such questions may be this, that CHRIST’S Body and Blood are locally at GOD’S right hand, yet really present here,— present here, but not here in place,—because they are spirit.
"To assist our conceptions on this subject, I would recur to what I said just now about the presence of material objects, by way of putting my meaning in a different point of view. The presence of a material object, in the popular sense of the word, is a matter of degree, and ascertained by the means of apprehending it which belong to him to whom it is present. It is in some sense a correlative of the senses. A fly may be as near an edifice as a man; yet we do not call it present to the fly, because it cannot see it; and we call it present to the man because he can. This, however, is but a popular view of the matter: when we consider it carefully, it certainly is difficult to say what is meant by the presence of a material object relatively to us. It is in some respects truer to say that a thing is present, which is so circumstanced as to act upon us and influence us, whether we are sensible of it or not. Now this is what the Catholic Church seems to hold concerning our LORD’S Presence in the Sacrament, that He then personally and bodily is with us in the way an object is which we call present; how He is so, we know not, but that He should be so, though He be millions of miles away, is not more inconceivable than the influence of eyesight upon us is to a blind man. The stars are millions of miles off, yet they impress ideas upon our souls through our sight. We know but of five senses: we know not whether or not human nature be capable of more; we know not whether or not the soul possesses any thing analogous to them. We know nothing to negative the notion that the soul may be capable of having CHRIST present to it by the stimulating of dormant, or the development of possible energies.
"As sight for certain purposes annihilates space, so other known capacities, bodily or spiritual, may annihilate it other purposes. Such a practical annihilation was involved in the appearance of CHRIST to St. Paul on his conversion. Such a practical annihilation is involved in the doctrine of CHRIST’S ascension; to speak according to the ideas of space and time commonly received, what must have been the rapidity of that motion by which, within ten days, placed our human nature at the right hand of God? Is more mysterious that He should ‘open the heavens,’ to use the Scripture phrase, in the sacramental rite; that He should then dispense with time and space, in the sense in which they are daily dispensed with, in the sun’s warming at thc distance of 100,000,000 of miles, than that He could have dispensed with them on occasion of His ascending on high? He who showed what the passage of an incorruptible body was ere it had reached GOD’S throne, thereby suggests to us what may be its coming back and presence with us now, when at length glorified and become a spirit.
"In answer, then, to the problem, how CHRIST comes to us while remaining on high, I answer just as much as this,—that He comes by the agency of the HOLY GHOST, and by the Sacrament. Locomotion is the means of a material Presence; the Sacrament is the means of His spiritual presence. As faith is the means of our receiving It, the HOLY GHOST is the Agent and the Sacrament the leans of His imparting It; and therefore we call It a sacramental Presence. We kneel before His heavenly throne, and the distance is as nothing; it is as if that throne were the Altar close to us.
"Let it be carefully observed, that I am not proving or determining any thing. I am only showing how it is that certain proposition which at first sight seem contradictions in terms, are not so,—I am but pointing out one way of reconciling them. If there is but one way assignable, the force of all antecedent objection against the possibility of any at all is removed, and then of course there may be other ways supposable though not assignable. It seems at first sight a mere idle use of words to say that CHRIST is really and literally, yet not locally, present in the Sacrament; that He is there given to us, not in figure but in truth, and yet is still only on the right hand of GOD. I have wished to remove this seeming impossibility.
"If it be asked, why attempt to remove it, I answer that I have no wish to do so, if persons will not urge it against the Catholic doctrine. Men maintain it as an impossibility, a contradiction in terms, and force a believer in it to say why it should not be so accounted. And then when he gives a reason, they turn round and accuse him of subtleties, and refinements, and scholastic trifling. Let them but believe and act on the truth that the consecrated bread is CHRIST’S body, as He says, and no officious comment on His words will be attempted by any well judging mind. But when they say, ‘this cannot be literally true, because it is impossible;’ then they force those who think it is literally true, to explain how, according to their notions, it is not impossible. And those who ask hard questions must put up with hard answers."
There is nothing, then, in the Explanatory Paragraph which has given rise to these remarks, to interfere with the doctrine, elsewhere taught in our formularies, of a real super-local presence in the Holy Sacrament.
Article xxxi.—"The sacrifices (sacrificia) of Masses, in the which it was commonly said, that the priest did offer CHRIST for the quick and the dead, to have remission of pain or guilt, were blasphemous fables and dangerous deceits (perniciosÊ imposturÊ)."
Nothing can show more clearly than this passage that the Articles are not written against the creed of the Roman Church, but against actual existing errors in it, whether taken into its system or not. Here the sacrifice of the Mass is not spoken of, in which the special question of doctrine should be introduced; but " the sacrifice of masses," certain observances, for the most part private and solitary, which the writers of the Articles knew to have been in force in time past, and saw before their eyes, and which involved certain opinions and a certain teaching. Accordingly the passage proceeds, "in which it was commonly said;" which surely is a strictly historical mode of speaking.
If any testimony is necessary in aid of what is so plain from the wording of the Article itself, it is found in the drift of the following passage from Burnet:—
"It were easy from all the rituals of the ancients to shew, that they had none of those ideas that are now in the Roman Church. They had but one altar in a Church, and probably but one in a city: they had but one communion in a day at that altar: So far were they from the many altars in every church, and the many masses at every altar, that are now in the Roman Church. They did not know what solitary masses were, without a communion. All the liturgies and all the writings of ancients are as express in this matter as is possible. The whole constitution of their worship and discipline shews it. Their worship always concluded with the Eucharist such as were not capable of it, as the catechumens, and those who were doing public penance for their sins, assisted at the more general parts of the worship; and so much of it was called their mass, because they were dismissed at the conclusion of it. When that was done, then the faithful stayed, and did partake of the Eucharist; and at the conclusion of it they were likewise dismissed, from whence it came to be called the mass of the faithful."—Burnet on the XXXIst Article, p. 482.
These sacrifices are said to be "blasphemous fables and pernicious impostures." Now the "blasphemous fable" is the teaching that there is a sacrifice for sin other than CHRIST’S death, and that masses are that sacrifice. And the "pernicious imposture" is the turning this belief into a means of filthy lucre.
1. That the "blasphemous fable" is the teaching that masses are sacrifices for sin distinct from the sacrifice of CHRIST’S death, is plain from the first sentence of the Article. "The offering of CHRIST once made, is that perfect redemption, propitiation, and satisfaction for all the sins of the whole world, both original and actual. And there is none other satisfaction for sin, but that alone. Wherefore the sacrifice of masses, &c." It is observable too that the heading of the Article runs, "Of the one oblation of CHRIST finished upon the cross," which interprets the drift of the statement contained in it about masses.
Our Communion Service shows it also, in which the prayer of consecration commences pointedly with a declaration, which has the force of a protest, that CHRIST made on the cross, "by His one oblation of Himself once offered, a full perfect and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world."
And again in the offering of the sacrifice: "We entirely desire thy fatherly goodness mercifully to accept our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, most humbly beseeching Thee to grant that by the merits and death of Thy SON JESUS CHRIST, and through faith in His blood, we and all Thy whole Church may obtain remission of our sins and all other benefits of His passion."
[And in the notice of the celebration: "I purpose, through God’s assistance, to administer to all such as shall be religiously and devoutly disposed, the most comfortable Sacrament of the Body and Blood of CHRIST; to be by them received in remembrance of His meritorious Cross and Passion; whereby alone we obtain remission of our sins, and are made partakers of the kingdom of heaven."]
But the popular charge still urged against the Roman system, as introducing in the Mass a second or rather continually recurring atonement, is a sufficient illustration, without further quotations, of this part of the Article.
"With what earnestness, with what vehement zeal, did our SAVIOUR CHRIST drive the buyers and sellers out of the temple of GOD, and hurled down the tables of the changers of money, and the seats of the dove-sellers, and could not abide that a man should carry a vessel through the temple. He told them, that they had made His FATHER’s house a den of thieves, partly through their superstition, hypocrisy, false worship false doctrine, and insatiable covetousness, and partly through contempt, abusing that place with walking and talking, with worldly matters, without all fear of GOD, and due reverence to that place. What dens of thieves the Churches of England have been made by the blasphemous buying and selling the most precious body and blood of CHRIST in the Mass, as the world was made to believe, at dirges, at months minds, at trentalls, in abbeys and chantries, besides other horrible abuses, (GOD’S holy name be blessed for over,) which we now see and understand. All those abominations they that supply the room of CHRIST hare cleaned and purged the Churches of England of, taking away all such fulsomeness and filthiness, as through blind devotion and ignorance bath crept into the Church these many hundred years"—On repairing and keeping clean of Churches, pp. 229, 230.
Other passages are as follow:—
"Have not the Christians of late days, and even in our days also, in like manner provoked the displeasure and indignation of ALMIGHTY GOD; partly because they have profaned and defiled their Churches with heathenish and Jewish abuses, with images and idols, with numbers of altars, too superstitiously and intolerably abused, with gross abusing and filthy corrupting of the LORD’S holy Supper, the blessed Sacrament of His body and blood, with an infinite number of toys and trifles of their own devices, to make a goodly outward shew, and to deface the homely, simple, and sincere religion of CHRIST JESUS; partly, they resort to the Church like hypocrites, full of all iniquity and sinful life, having in vain and dangerous fancy and persuasion, that if they come to the Church, besprinkle them with holy water, hear a mass, and be blessed with a chalice, though they understand not one word of the whole service, nor feel one motion of repentance in their hearts all is well, all is sure?"—On the Place and Time of Prayer, p. 293.
"What hath been the cause of this gross idolatry, but the ignorance hereof? What hath been the cause of this mummish massing, but the ignorance hereof? Yea, what hath been, and what is at this day the cause of this want of love and charity, but the ignorance hereof? Let us therefore so travel to understand the LORD’S Supper, that we be no cause of the decay of GOD’S worship, of no idolatry, of no dumb massing, of no hate and malice; so may we the bolder have access thither to our comfort."—Homily concerning the Sacrament, pp 377, 378.
To the same purpose is the following passage from Bishop Bull’s Sermons:—
"It were easy to shew, how the whole frame of religion and doctrine of the Church of Rome, as it is distinguished from that Christianity which we hold is common with them, is evidently designed and contrived to serve the interest and profit of them that rule that Church, by the disservices, yea, and ruin of those souls that are under their government . . What can the doctrine of men’s playing an after game for their salvation in purgatory be designed for, but to enhance the price of the priest’s masses and dirges for the dead? Why must a solitary mass, bought for a piece of money, performed and participated by a priest alone, in a private corner of a church, be, not only against the sense of Scripture and the primitive Church, but also against common sense and grammar, called a Communion, and be accounted useful to him that buys it, though he never himself receive the Sacrament, or but once a year; but for this reason, that there is great gain, but no godliness at all, in this doctrine?"—Bp. Bull’s Sermons, p. 10.
And Burnet says:—
"Without going far in tragical expressions, we cannot hold saying what our SAVIOUR said upon another occasion, ‘My house is a house of prayer, but ye have made it a den of thieves.’ A trade was set up on this foundation. The world was made believe, that by the virtue of so many masses, which were to be purchased by great endowments, souls were redeemed out of purgatory, and scenes of visions and apparitions, sometimes of the tormented, and sometimes of the delivered souls, were published in all places: which had so wonderful an effect, that in two or three centuries, endowments increased to so vast a degree, that if the scandals of the clergy on the one hand, and the statutes of mortmain on the other, had not restrained the profuseness that the world was wrought up to on this account, it is not easy to imagine how far this might have gone; perhaps to an entire subjecting of the temporality to the spirituality. The practices by which this was managed, and the effects that followed on it, we can call by no other name than downright impostures; worse than the making or vending false coin: when the world was drawn in by such arts to plain bargains, to redeem their own souls, and the souls of their ancestors and posterity, so many masses were to bc said, and forfeitures were to follow upon their not being said: thus the masses were really the price of the lands."—On Article XXII., pp. 303, 304.
The Truth of these representations cannot be better shown than by extracting the following passage from the Session 22 of the Council of Trent:—
"Whereas many things appear to have crept in heretofore, whether by the fault of the times or by the neglect and wickedness of men, foreign to the dignity of so great a sacrifice, in order that it may regain its due honour and observance, to the glory of GOD and the edification of His faithful people, the Holy Council decrees, that the bishops, ordinaries of each place, diligently take care and be bound, to forbid and put an end to all those things, which either avarice, which is idolatry, or irreverence, which is scarcely separable from impiety, or superstition, the pretence of true piety, has introduced. And, to say much in a few words, first of all, as to avarice, let them altogether forbid agreements, and bargains of payment of whatever kind, and whatever is given for celebrating new masses; moreover importunate and mean extortion, rather than petition of alms, and such like practices, which border on simoniacal sin, certainly on filthy lucre. . . . And let them banish from the church those musical practices, when with the organ or with the chant any thing lascivious or impure is mingled; also all secular practices, vain and therefore profane conversations, promenadings, bustle, clamour; so that the house of GOD may truly seem and be called the house of prayer. Lastly, lest any opening be given to superstition, let them provide by edict and punishments appointed, that the priests celebrate it at no other than the due hours, nor use rites or ceremonies and prayers in the celebration of masses, other than those which have been approved by the Church, and received on frequent and laudable use. And let them altogether remove from the Church a set number of certain masses and candles, which has proceeded rather from superstitious observance than from true religion, and teach the people in what consists, and from whom, above all, proceeds the so precious and heavenly fruit of this most holy sacrifice. And let them admonish the same people to come frequently to their parish Churches, at least on Sundays and the greater feasts," &c.
On the whole, then, it is conceived that the Article before us neither speaks against the Mass in itself, nor against its being [an offering, though commemorative,] for the quick and the dead for the remission of sin; [(especially since the decree of Trent says, that "the fruits of the Bloody Oblation are through this most abundantly obtained; so far is the latter from detracting in any way from the former;")] but against its being viewed, on the one hand, as independent of or distinct from the Sacrifice on the Cross, which is blasphemy; and, on the other, its being directed to the emolument of those to whom it pertains to celebrate it, which is imposture in addition.
ß 10.—Marriage of Clergy.
Article xxxii.—"Bishops, Priests, and Deacon, are not commanded by God’s law, either to vow the estate of single life, or to abstain from marriage."
There is literally no subject for controversy in these words, since even the most determined advocates of the celibacy of clergy admit their truth. [As far as clerical celibacy is a duty, it] is grounded not on GOD’S law, but on the Church’s rule, or on vow. No one, for instance, can question the vehement zeal of St. Jerome in behalf of this observance, yet he makes the following admission in his attack upon Jovinian:—
"Jovinian says, ‘You speak in vain, since the Apostle appointed Bishops, and Presbyters, and Deacons, the husbands of one wife, and having children.’ But, as the Apostle says, that he has not a precept concerning virgins, yet gives a counsel, as having received mercy of the Lord, and urges throughout that discourse a preference of virginity to marriage, and advises what he does not command, lest he seem to cast a snare, and to impose a burden too great for man’s nature; so also, in ecclesiastical order, seeing that an infant Church was then forming out of the Gentiles, he gives the lighter precepts to recent converts, lest they should fail under them through fear."—Adv. Jovinian. i. 34.
And the Council of Trent merely lays down:—
"If any shall say that clerks in holy orders, or regulars, who have solemnly professed chastity, can contract matrimony, and that the contract is valid in spite of ecclesiastical law or vow, let him be anathema."—Sess. 24, Can. 9.
Here the observance is placed simply upon rule of the Church or upon vow, neither of which exists in the English Church; "therefore," as the Article logically proceeds, "it is lawful for them, as for all other Christian men, to marry at their own discretion, as they shall judge the same to serve better to godliness." Our Church leaves the discretion with the clergy; and most persons will allow that, under our circumstances, she acts wisely in doing so. That she has power did she choose, to take from them this discretion, and to oblige them either to marriage [(as is said to be the case as regards the parish priests of the Greek Church)] or to celibacy, would seem to be involved in the doctrine of the following extract from the Homilies; though, whether an enforcement either of the one or the other rule would be expedient and pious, is another matter. Speaking of fasting, the Homily says:—
"GOD’S Church ought not, neither may it be so tied to that or any other order now made, or hereafter to be made and devised by the authority of man, but that it may lawfully, for just cause, alter, change, or mitigate those ecclesiastical decrees and orders, yea, recede wholly from them, and break them, when they tend either to superstition or to impiety; when they draw the people from GOD rather than work any edification in them. this authority CHRIST Himself used, and left it to His Church. He used it, I say, for the order or decree made by the elders for washing ofttimes, which was diligently observed of the Jews; yet tending to superstition, our SAVIOUR CHRIST altered and changed the same in His Church into a profitable sacrament, the sacrament of regeneration, or new birth. This authority to mitigate laws and decrees ecclesiastical, the Apostles practiced, when they, writing from Jerusalem unto the congregation that was at Antioch, signified unto them, that they would not lay any further burden upon them, but these necessaries: that, ‘that they should abstain from things offered unto idols, from blood, from that which is strangled, and from fornication;’ notwithstanding that Moses’s law required many other observances. This authority to change the orders, degrees, and constitutions of the Church, was, after the Apostles’ time, used of the father about the manner of fasting, as it appeareth in the Tripartite History. . . . . Thus ye have heard, good people, first, that Christian subjects are bound even in conscience to obey princes’ laws, which are not repugnant to the laws of God. Ye have also heard that CHRIST’S Church is not so bound to observe any order, law, or decree made by man, to prescribe a form in religion, but that the Church hath full power and authority from God to change and alter the same, when need shall require; which hath been shewed you by the example of our SAVIOUR CHRIST, by the practice of the Apostles, and of the Fathers since that time."—Homily on Fasting, pp. 242—244.
To the same effect the 34th Article declares, that,
"It is not necessary that traditions and ceremonies be in all places one, and utterly like; for at all times they have been divers, and may be changed according to diversities of countries, times and men’s manners, so that nothing be ordained against God’s Word. Whosoever, through his private judgment, willingly and purposely doth openly break the traditions and ceremonies of the Church, which be not repugnant to the Word of GOD, and be ordained and approved by common authority, ought to be rebuked openly."—Article XXXIV.
ß 11.—The Homilies.
Art. xxxv.—"The Second Book of Homilies doth contain a godly and wholesome doctrine, and necessary for these times, as doth the former Book of Homilies."
This Article has been treated of in No. 82 of these Tracts, in the course of an answer given to an opponent, who accused its author of not fairly receiving the Homilies, because he dissented from their doctrine, that the Bishop of Rome is Antichrist, and that regeneration was vouchsafed under the law. The passage of the Tract shall be here inserted, with some abridgment.
"I say plainly, then, I have not subscribed the Homilies, nor was it ever intended that any member of the English Church should be subjected to what, if considered as an extended confession, would indeed be a yoke of bondage. Romanism surely is innocent, compared with that system which should impose upon the conscience a thick octavo volume, written exactly, sentence by sentence: I cannot conceive any grosser instance of a pharisaical tradition than this would be. No: such a proceeding would render it impossible (I would say), for any one member, lay or clerical, of the Church to remain in it, who was subjected to such an ordeal. For instance; I do not suppose that any reader would be satisfied with the political reasons for fasting, though indirectly introduced, yet fully admitted and dwelt upon in the Homily on that subject. He would not like to subscribe the declaration that eating fish was a duty, not only as being a kind of fasting, but as making provisions cheap, and encouraging the fisheries. He would not like the association of religion with earthly politics.
"How, then, are we bound to the Homilies? By the Thirty-fifth Article, which speaks as follows:—‘The second Book of Homilies . . . doth contain a godly and wholesome doctrine, and necessary for these times, as doth the former Book of Homilies.’ Now, observe, this Article does not speak of every statement made in them, but of the ‘doctrine.’ It speaks of the view or cast or body of doctrine contained in them. In spite of ten thousand incidental propositions, as in any large book, there is, it is obvious, a certain line of doctrine, which may be contemplated continuously in its shape and direction. For instance; if you say you disapprove the doctrine contained in the Tracts for the Times, no one supposes you to mean that every sentence and half sentence is a lie. I say then, that in like manner, when the Article speaks of the doctrine of the Homilies, it does not measure the letter of them by the inch, it does not imply that they contain no propositions which admit of two opinions; but it speaks of a certain determinate line of doctrine, and moreover adds, it is ‘necessary for these times.’ Does not this too show the same thing 1 If a man said, the Tracts for the Times are seasonable at this moment, as their title signifies, would he not speak of them as taking a certain line, and bearing in a certain way? Would he not be speaking, not of phrases or sentences, but of a ‘doctrine’ in them tending one way, viewed as a whole? Would he be consistent, if after praising them as seasonable, he continued, ‘yet I do not pledge myself to every view or sentiment; there are some things in them hard of digestion, or overstated, or doubtful, or subtle?’
"If any thing could add to the irrelevancy of the charge in question, it is the particular point in which it is urged that I dissent from the Homilies,—a question concerning the fulfilment of prophecy; viz. whether Papal Rome is Antichrist? An iron yoke indeed you would forge for thc conscience, when you oblige us to assent, not only to all matters of doctrine which the Homilies contain, but even to their opinion concerning the fulfilment of prophecy. Why, we do not ascribe authority in such matters even to the unanimous consent of all the fathers.
"I will put what I have been saying in a second point of view. The Homilies are subsidiary to the Articles; therefore they are of authority so far as they bring out the sense of the Articles, and are not of authority where they do not. For instance, they say that David, though unbaptized, was regenerated, as you have quoted. This statement cannot be of authority, because it not only does not agree, but it even disagrees, with the ninth Article, which translates the Latin word ‘renatis’ by the English ‘baptized.’ But, observe, if this mode of viewing the Homilies be taken, as it fairly may, you suffer from it; for the Apocrypha, being the subject of an Article the comment furnished in the Homily is binding on you, whereas you reject it.
"A further remark will bring us to the same point Another test of acquiescence in the doctrine of the Homilies is this:—Take their table of contents; examine the headings; these surely, taken together, will give the substance of their teaching. Now I hold fully and heartily the doctrine of the Homilies, under every one of these headings the only points to which I should not accede, nor think myself called upon to accede, would be certain matters, sub ordinate to the doctrines to which the headings refer—matters not of doctrine, but of opinion, as, that Rome is the Antichrist; or of historical fact, as, that there was a Pope Joan. But now, on the other hand, can you subscribe the doctrine of the Homilies under every one of its formal headings? I believe you cannot. The Homily against Disobedience and Wilful Rebellion is, in many of its elementary principles, decidedly uncongenial with your sentiments."
This illustration of the subject may be thought enough; yet it may be allowable to add from the Homilies a number of propositions and statements of more or less importance, which are too much forgotten at this day, and are decidedly opposed to the views of certain schools of religion, which at the present moment are so eager in claiming the Homilies to themselves. This is not done, as the extract already read will show, with the intention of maintaining that they are one and all binding on the conscience of those who subscribe the Thirty-fifth Article; but since the strong language of the Homilies against the Bishop of Rome is often quoted, as if it were thus proved to be the doctrine of our Church, it may be as well to show that, following the same rule, we shall be also introducing Catholic doctrines, which indeed it far more belongs to a Church to profess than a certain view of prophecy, but which do not approve themselves to those who hold it. For instance, we read as follows:—
1. "The great clerk and godly preacher, St. John Chrysostom"—1 B. i. l. And, in like manner, mention is made elsewhere of St. Augustine, St. Ambrose, St. Hilary, St. Basil, St. Cyprian, St. Hierome, St. Martin, Origen, Prosper, Ecumenius, Photius, Bernardus, Anselm, Didymus, Theophylactus, Tertullian, Athanasius, Lactantius, (Cyrillus. Epiphanius, (Gregory, IrenÊus, Clemens, Rabanus, Isidorus; Eusebius, Justinus Martyr, Optatus, Eusebius Emissenus, and Bede.
2. "Infants, being baptized, and dying in their infancy, are by this Sacrifice washed from their sins . . . and they, which in act or deed do in after this baptism, when they turn to GOD unfeignedly, they are likewise washed by this Sacrifice," &c.—1 B. iii. 1. init.
3. "Our office is, not to pass the time of this present life unfruitfully and idly, after that we are baptized or justified," &c.—1 B. iii. 3.
4. "By holy promises, we be made lively members of CHRIST, receiving the sacrament of Baptism. By like holy promises the sacrament of Matrimony knitteth man and wife in perpetual love."—1 B. vi;. 1.
5. "Let us learn also here [in the Book of Wisdom] by the infallible and undeceivable Word of GOD, that," &c.—1 B. x. 1.
6. "The due receiving of His blessed Body and Blood under the form of bread and wine."—Note at end of B. i.
7. "In the Primitive Church, which was most holy and godly . . . open offenders were not suffered once to enter into the house of the LORD . . . until they had done open penance . . . but this was practised, not only upon mean persons, but also upon the rich, noble, and mighty persons, yea, upon Theodosius, that puissant and mighty Emperor, whom . . . St. Ambrose . . . did . . . excommunicate." 2 B. i. 2.
8. "Open offenders were not . . . admitted to common prayer, and the use of the holy sacraments"—Ibid.
9. "Let us amend this our negligence and contempt coming to the house of the LORD; and resorting, thither diligently together, let us there . . . celebrating also reverently the LORD’S holy sacraments, serve the LORD in His holy house."—Ibid.
10. "Contrary to the . . . most manifest doctrine of the Scriptures, and contrary to the usages of the Primitive Church, which was most pure and uncorrupt, and contrary to the sentences and judgments of the most ancient, learned and godly doctors of the Church."—2 B. ii. 1. init.
11. "This truth . . . was believed and taught by the old holy fathers, and most ancient learned doctors, and received by the old Primitive Church, which was most uncorrupt and pure."—2 B. ii: 2. init.
12. "Athanasius, a very ancient, holy, and learned bishop and doctor."—Ibid.
13. "Cyrillus, an old and holy doctor"—Ibid.
14. "Epiphanius, Bishop of Salamine, in Cyprus, a very holy and learned man."—Ibid.
15. "To whose (Epiphanius’s) judgment you have . . . all the learned and godly bishops and clerks, yea, and the whole Church of that age," [the Nicene] "and so upward to our SAVIOUR CHRIST’S time, by the space of about four hundred years, consenting and agreeing."—Ibid.
16. "Epiphanius, a bishop and doctor of such antiquity, holiness, and authority."—Ibid.
17. "St. Augustine, the best learned of all ancient doctors."—Ibid.
18. "That ye may know why and when, and by whom images were first used privately, and afterwards not only received into Christian churches and temples, but, in conclusion, worshipped also; and how the same was gainsaid, resisted, and forbidden, as well by godly bishops and learned doctors, as also by sundry Christian princes, I will briefly collect," &c. [The bishops and doctors which follow are:] St. Jerome, Serenus, Gregory, the Fathers of the Council of Eliberis."
19. "Constantine, Bishop of Rome, assembled a council of bishops of the West, and did condemn Philippicus, the Emperor, and John, Bishop of Constantinople, of the heresy of the Monothelites, not without a cause indeed, but very justly."—Ibid.
20. "Those six Councils which were allowed and received, of all men."—Ibid.
21. "There were no images publicly by the space of almost seven hundred years. And there is no doubt but the Primitive Church, next the Apostles’ times, was most pure." —Ibid.
22. "Let us beseech GOD that we, being warned by His holy Word . . . and by the writings of old godly doctors and ecclesiastical histories," &c.—Ibid.
23. "It shall be declared, both by GOD’S Word, and the sentences of the ancient doctors, and judgment of the Primitive Church," &c.—2 n. ii. 3.
24. "Saints, whose souls reign in joy with GOD."—Ibid.
25. "That the law of GOD is likewise to be understood against all our images . . . appeareth further by the judgment of the old doctors and the Primitive Church."—Ibid.
26. "The Primitive Church, which is specially to be followed, as most incorrupt and pure."—Ibid.
27. "Thus it is declared by GOD’S Word, the sentences of the doctors, and the judgment of the Primitive Church."—Ibid.
28. "The rude people, who specially, as the Scripture teacheth, are in danger of superstition and idolatry; viz. Wisdom xiii. xiv."—Ibid.
29. "They [the ‘learned and holy bishops and doctors of the Church’ of the eight first centuries] were the preaching bishops .... And as they were most zealous and diligent so were they of excellent learning and godliness of life and by both of great authority and credit with the people.—Ibid.
30. "The most virtuous and best learned, the most diligent also, and in number almost infinite, ancient fathers, bishops, and doctors . . . could do nothing against images and idolatry."—Ibid.
31. "As the Word of God testifieth, Wisdom iv."—Ibid.
32. " The saints, now reigning in heaven with GOD."—Ibid.
33. " The fountain of our regeneration is there [in GOD’ house] presented unto us."—2 B. iii.
36. "Somewhat shall now be spoken of one particular good work, whose commendation is both in the law and in the Gospel [fasting]."—2 B. iv. 1.
37. " If any man shall say . . . we are not now under the yoke of the law, we are set at liberty by the freedom of the Gospel; therefore these rites and customs of the old law bind not us, except it can be showed by the Scriptures of the New Testament, or by examples out of the same, that fasting, now under the Gospel, is a restraint of meat, drink and all bodily food and pleasures from the body, as before: that we ought to fast, is a truth more manifest, then it should here need, to be proved . . . Fasting, even by CHRIST’S assent, is a withholding meat, drink, and all natural food from the body," &c.—Ibid.
38. "That it [fasting] was used in the Primitive Church, appeareth most evidently by the Chalcedon council, one of the first four general councils. The fathers assembled there . . . . decreed in that council that every person, as well in his private as public fast, should continue all the day without meat and drink, till after the evening prayer. . . . . This Canon teacheth how fasting was used in the Primitive Church."—Ibid. [The council was A.D. 452.]
39. "Fasting then, by the decree of those 630 fathers, grounding their determinations in this matter upon the sacred Scriptures . . . is a withholding of meat, drink, and all natural food from the body, for the determined time of fasting."—Ibid.
40. "The order or decree made by the elders for washing ofttimes, tending to superstition, our SAVIOUR CHRIST altered and changed the same in His Church, into a profit able sacrament, the sacrament of our regeneration or new birth." —2 B. iv. 2.
41. "Fasting, thus used with prayer is of great efficacy and weigheth much with God, so the angel Raphael told Tobias."—Ibid.
42. "As he" [St. Augustine] "witnesseth in another place, the martyrs and holy men in times past were wont after their death to be remembered and named of the priest at divine service; but never to be invocated or called upon."—2B.vii.2.
43. "Thus you see that the authority both of Scripture and also of Augustine, doth not permit that we should pray to them."—Ibid.
44. "To temples have the Christians customably used to resort from time to time as to most meet places, where they might . . . receive His holy sacraments ministered unto them duly and purely."—2 B. viii. 1.
45. "The which thing both CHRIST and His apostles, with all the rest of the holy fathers, do sufficiently declare so."—Ibid.
46. "Our godly predecessors, and the ancient fathers of the Primitive Church, spared not their goods to build churches."—Ibid.
47. "If we will show ourselves true Christians, if we will be followers of CHRIST our MASTER, and of those godly fathers that have lived before us, and now have received the reward of true and faithful Christians," &c.—Ibid.
48. "We must . . . come unto the material churches and temples to pray . . . whereby we may reconcile ourselves to GOD, be partakers of His holy sacraments, and be devout hearers of His holy Word,"—Ibid.
49. "It [Ordination] lacks the promise of remission of sin, as all other sacraments besides the two above name do. Therefore neither it, nor any other sacrament else, be such sacraments as Baptism and the Communion are." 2 Hom. ix.
50. "Thus we are taught, both by the Scriptures an ancient doctors, that," &c.—Ibid.
51. "The holy apostles and disciples of CHRIST . . . the godly fathers also, that were both before and since CHRIST, endued without doubt with the HOLY GHOST, . . they both do most earnestly exhort us, &c.... that we should remember the poor . . . St. Paul crieth unto us after this sort .... Isaiah the Prophet teacheth us on this wise. . . And the holy father Tobit giveth this counsel. And the learned and godly doctor Chrysostom giveth this admonition .... But what mean these often admonitions and earnest exhortations of the prophets, apostles, fathers, and holy doctors?" 2 B. xi. 2.
52. "The holy fathers, Job and Tobit."—Ibid.
53. "CHRIST, whose especial favour we may be assured by this means to obtain," [viz. by almsgiving]—2 B. xi. 2.
54. "Now will I . . . show unto you how profitable it is for us to exercise them [alms-deeds] . . . [CHRIST’S saying] serveth to . . . prick us forwards . . . to learn . . . how may recover our health, if it be lost or impaired, and how it may be defended and maintained if we have it. Yea, He teacheth us also therefore to esteem that as a precious medicine and an inestimable jewel that hath such strength and virtue in it, that can either procure or preserve so incomparable a treasure."—Ibid.
55. "Then He and His disciples were grievously accused of the Pharisees, . . . because they went to meat and washed not their hands before, . . . CHRIST, answering their superstitious complaint, teacheth them an especial remedy how to keep clean their souls, . . . Give alms," &c.—Ibid.
56. "Merciful alms-dealing is profitable to purge the soul from the infection and filthy spots of sin."—Ibid.
57. "The same lesson doth the HOLY GHOST teach in sundry places of the Scripture saying, ‘Mercifulness and almsgiving,’ &c. [Tobit iv.] . . . The wise preacher, the son of Sirach, confirmeth the same, when he says, that ‘as water quencheth burning fire,’"&c.—Ibid.
58. "A great confidence may they have before the high GOD, that show mercy and compassion to them that are afflicted."—Ibid.
59. "If ye have by any infirmity or weakness been touched or annoyed with them . . . straightway shall mercifulness wipe and wash them away as salves and remedies to heal their sores and grievous disease."—Ibid.
60. "And therefore that holy father Cyprian admonisheth to consider how wholesome and profitable it is to relieve the needy, &c.... by the which we may purge our sins and heal our wounded souls."—Ibid.
61. "We be therefore washed in our baptism from the filthiness of sin, that we should live afterwards in the pureness of life."—2 B. xiii. 1.
62. "By these means [by love, compassion, &c.] shall we move GOD to be merciful to our sins."—Ibid.
63. "‘He was dead,’ saith St. Paul, ‘ for our sins, and rose again for our justification’ . . . He died to destroy the rule of the devil in us, and He rose again to send down His HOLY SPIRIT to rule in our hearts, to [endow] us with perfect righteousness."—2 B. xiv.
64. "The ancient Catholic fathers," [in marg.] IrenÊus, Ignatius, Dionysius, Origen, Optatus, Cyprian, Athanasius, .... "were not afraid to call this supper, some of them, the salve of immortality and sovereign preservative against death; other, the sweet dainties of our SAVIOUR, the pledge of eternal health, the defence of faith, the hope of the resurrection; other, the food of immortality, the healthful grace, and the conservatory to everlasting life."—2 B. xv. 1.
65. "The meat we seek in this supper is spiritual for the nourishment of our souls, a heavenly refection, and an earthly; an invisible meat and not bodily; a ghostly substance and not carnal."—Ibid.
66. "Take this lesson . . . of Emissenus, a godly father, that . . . thou look up with faith upon the holy body a blood of thy GOD, thou marvel with reverence, thou touch with thy mind, thou receive it with the hand of thy heart and thou take it fully with thy inward man."—Ibid.
67. "The saying of the holy martyr of GOD, St. Cyprian —2 B. xx. 3.
Thus we see the authority of the fathers, of the first councils, and of the judgements of the Church generally, holiness of the Primitive Church, the inspiration of Apocrypha, the sacramental character of marriage other ordinances, the Real Presence in the Eucharist, Church’s power of excommunicating kings, the profitableness of fasting, the propitiatory virtue of good works, the Eucharistic commemoration, and justification by a righteousness [within us], are taught in the Homilies. Let it said again, it is not here asserted that a subscription to; and every of these quotations is involved in the subscription of an Article which does but generally approve the Homilies: but they who insist so strongly on our Church holding that the Bishop of Rome is Antichrist because the Homilies declare it, should recollect that there are other doctrines contained in them beside it, which they [themselves] should be understood to hold, before their argument has the force of consistency.
ß 12.—The Bishop of Rome.
Article xxxviii.—"The Bishop of Rome hath no jurisdiction in this realm of England."
By "hath" is meant "ought to have," as the Articl in the 36th Canon and the Oath of Supremacy show, in which the same doctrine is drawn out more at length. "No foreign prince, person, prelate, state, or potentate, hath, or ought to have, any jurisdiction, power, superiority, pre-eminence, or authority, ecclesiastical or spiritual, within this realm."
This is the profession which every one must in consistency make, who does not join the Roman Church. If the Bishop of Rome has jurisdiction and authority here, why do we not acknowledge it, and submit to him? To say then the above words, is nothing more or less than to say "I am not a Roman Catholic;" and whatever reasons there are against saying them, are so far reasons against remaining in the English Church. They are a mere enunciation of the principle of Anglicanism.
Anglicans maintain that the supremacy of the Pope is not directly from revelation, but an event in Providence. All things may be undone by the agents and causes by which they are done. What revelation gives, revelation takes away; what Providence gives, Providence takes away. GOD ordained by miracle, He reversed by miracle, the Jewish election; He promoted in the way of Providence, and He cast down by the same way, the Roman empire. "The powers that be, are ordained of GOD," while they be, and have a claim on our obedience. When they cease to be, they cease to have a claim. They cease to be when GOD removes them. He may be considered to remove them when He undoes what He had done. The Jewish election did not cease to be, when the Jews went into captivity: this was an event in Providence; and what miracle had ordained, it was miracle that annulled. But the Roman power ceased to be when the barbarians overthrew it; for it rose by the sword, and it therefore perished by the sword. The Gospel Ministry began in CHRIST and His Apostles; and what they began, they only can end. The Papacy began in the exertions and passions of man; and what man can make, man can destroy. Its jurisdiction, while it lasted, was "ordained of GOD;" when it ceased to be, it ceased to claim our obedience; and it ceased to be at the Reformation. The Reformers, who could not destroy a Ministry, which the Apostles began, could destroy a Dominion which the Popes founded.
Perhaps the following passage will throw additional light upon this point:—
"The Anglican view of the Church has ever been this: that its portions need not otherwise have been united together for their essential completeness, than as being descended from one original. They are like a number of colonies sent out from a mother-country. . . . . Each Church is independent of all the rest, and is to act on the principle of what may be called Episcopal independence, except, indeed, so far as the civil power unites any of them together. . . . Each diocese is a perfect independent Church, sufficient for itself; and the communion of Christians one with another, and the unity of them altogether, lie, not in a mutual understanding, intercourse, and combination, not in what they do in common, but in what they are and have in common, in their possession of the Succession, their Episcopal form, their Apostolical faith, and the use of the Sacraments. . . . . Mutual intercourse is but an accident of the Church, not of its essence. . . . . Intercommunion is a duty, as other duties, but is not the tenure or instrument of the communion between the unseen world and this; and much more the confederacy of sees and churches, the metropolitan, patriarchal, and papal systems, are matters of expedience or of natural duty from long custom, or of propriety from gratitude and reverence, or of necessity from voluntary oaths and engagements, or of ecclesiastical force from the canons of Councils, but not necessary in order to the conveyance of grace, or for fulfilment of the ceremonial law, as it may be called, or unity. Bishop is superior to bishop only in rank, not in real power; and the Bishop of Rome, the head of the Catholic world, is not the centre of unity, except as having a primacy of order. Accordingly, even granting for argument’s sake, that the English Church violated a duty in the 16th century, in releasing itself from the Roman supremacy, still it did not thereby commit that special sin, which cuts off from it the fountains of grace, and is called schism. It was essentially complete without Rome, and naturally independent of it; it had, in the course of years, whether by usurpation or not, come under the supremacy of Rome; and now, whether by rebellion or not, it is free from it: and as it did not enter into the Church invisible by joining Rome, so it was not cast out of it by breaking from Rome. These were accidents in its history, involving, indeed, sin in individuals, but not affecting the Church as a Church.
"Accordingly, the Oath of Supremacy declares ‘that no foreign prelate hath or ought to have any jurisdiction, power, pre-eminence, or authority within this realm.’ In other words, there is nothing in the Apostolic system which gives an authority to the Pope over the Church, such as it does not give to a Bishop. It is altogether an ecclesiastical arrangement; not a point de fide, but of expedience, custom, or piety, which cannot be claimed as if the Pope ought to have it, any more than, on the other hand, the King could of Divine right claim the supremacy; the claim of both one and the other resting, not on duty or revelation, but on specific engagement. We find ourselves, as a Church, under the King now, and we obey him; we were under the Pope formerly, and we obeyed him. ‘Ought’ does not, in any degree, come into the question."
One remark may be made in conclusion. It may be objected that the tenor of the above explanations is anti-Protestant, whereas it is notorious that the Articles were drawn up by Protestants, and intended for the establishment of Protestantism; accordingly, that it is an evasion of their meaning to give them any other than a Protestant drift, possible as it may be to do so grammatically, or in each separate part.
But the answer is simple:
"Melanchthon was of opinion, says Mosheim, "that, for the sake of peace and concord, many thing might be given up and tolerated in the Church of Rome, which Luther considered could by no means be endured. . . . In the class of matters indifferent, this great man and his associates placed many things which had appeared of the highest importance to Luther, and could not of consequence be considered as indifferent by his true disciples. For he regarded as such, the doctrine of justification by faith alone; the necessity of good works to eternal salvation; the number of the sacraments; the jurisdiction claimed by the Pope and the Bishops; extreme unction; the observation of certain religious festivals, and several superstitious rites and ceremonies."—Cent. XVI. ß 3, part 2. 27, 28.
[6. The variety of doctrinal views contained in the Homilies, as above shown, views which cannot be brought under Protestantism itself, in its widest comprehension of opinions, is an additional proof, considering the connexion of the Articles with the Homilies, that the Articles are not framed on the principle of excluding those who prefer the theology of the early ages to that of the Reformation; or rather since both Homilies are Articles appeal to the Fathers and Catholic antiquity, let it be considered whether, in interpreting them by these, we are not going to the very authority to which they profess to submit themselves.]
An illustration of this occurs in the history of the 28th Article. In the beginning of Elizabeth’s reign a paragraph formed part of it, much like that which is now appended to the Communion Service, but in which the Real Presence was denied in words. It was adopted by the clergy at the first convocation, but not published. Burnet observes on it thus:—
"When these Articles were first prepared by the convocation in Queen Elizabeth’s reign, this paragraph was made a part of them; for the original subscription by both houses of convocation, yet extant, shows this. But the design of the government was at that time much turned to the drawing over the body of the nation to the Reformation, in whom the old leaven had gone deep; and no part of it deeper than the belief of the corporeal presence of CHRIST in the Sacrament; therefore it was thought not expedient to offend them by so particular a definition in this matter; in which the very word Real Presence was rejected. It might, perhaps, be also suggested, that here a definition was made that went too much upon the principles of natural philosophy; which how true soever, they might not be the proper subject of an article of religion. Therefore it was thought fit to suppress this paragraph; though it was a part of the Article that was subscribed, yet it was not published, but the paragraph that follows, ‘The Body of CHRIST,’ &c., was put in its stead, and was received and published by the next convocation; which upon the matter was a full explanation of the way of CHRIST’S presence in this Sacrament; that ‘He is by which He is received.’ This seemed to be more theological; and it does indeed amount to the same thing. But howsoever we see what was the sense of the first convocation in Queen Elizabeth’s reign, it differed in nothing from that in King Edward’s time; and therefore though this paragraph is now no part of our Articles, yet we are certain that the clergy at that time did not at all doubt of the truth of it; we are sure it was their opinion; since they subscribed it, though they did not think fit to publish it at first; and though it was afterwards changes for another, that was the same in sense."—Burnet on Article XXVIII., p. 416.
What lately has taken place in the political world will afford an illustration in point. A French minister, desirous of war, nevertheless, as a matter of policy, draws up his state papers in such moderate language, that his successor, who is for peace, can act up to them, without compromising his own principles. The world, observing this, has considered it a circumstance for congratulation; as if the former minister, who acted a double part, had been caught in his own snare. It is neither decorous, nor necessary, nor altogether fair, to urge the parallel rigidly; but it will explain what it is here meant to convey. The Protestant Confession was drawn up with the purpose of including Catholics; and Catholics now will not be excluded. What was an economy in the reformers, now a protection to us. What would have been a perplexity to us then, is a perplexity to Protestants now. We could not then have found fault with their words; they cannot now repudiate our meaning.
The Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul,
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