Postscript

{454} I HERE subjoin, what had quite gone out of my mind, Mr. Palmer's disavowal of some of the opinions which I ascribed to him in my review of his Treatise on the Church (vid. above, Essay iv.) His remarks upon it are to be found among the "Notices of Books" in the British Critic for April 1839, and have accidentally met my eye since the publication of these volumes. Neither at the time did they lead me, nor do they lead me now, to change the judgment which I formed of the direct drift of his teaching; but in fairness he ought to have the benefit of them. They run as follows:—

"I have not anywhere maintained that the whole Catholic Church 'does even at this day preach everywhere one and the same doctrine, except in very minor and secondary points, or except as popular errors interfere with it,' British Critic" [supr., vol. i., p. 169]. "A reference to what I have above stated, p. 567, will show that I am not on principle bound to sustain this position; nor do I practically admit it, because, in my opinion, several of the errors and abuses of the Roman Church are of a very important nature, and very detrimental to Christian piety, though they be not, strictly speaking, contrary to the articles of faith.

"I know not what part of my work had led to the notion that I hold 'that the faith of the Church admits of addition,' and that 'any doctrine which has once been generally received must be apostolic, or in other words {455} that the majority cannot be wrong'" [supr., vol. i., p. 176], "I have expressly argued against the latter position, vol. ii, p. 136, etc. As to the former, I have distinctly stated that the articles of our faith were but once revealed and admit of no addition, vol. i., p. 89. Perhaps it may be supposed that, in admitting that, before the universal Church has decided some question of controversy, different opinions may be held without heresy, while I hold, that, after the judgment of the Church, there should be no more diversity, I may seem to admit the articles of faith to be capable of addition. This was not my intention; I only mean, that, in the heat of controversy when different opinions are supported by men of learning, it may for a time be doubtful what the revealed truth is, and therefore persons may for a time not receive that truth, may even hold what is contrary to it; and yet, until the authority of the universal Church has decided the question, and left them without excuse, they may be free from the guilt of formal heresy. I only speak here of controversies which the Church had not decided in former ages; or in which the testimony of tradition as well as Scripture is disputed."

November, 1871.

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