ART. VI.—Lectures on the Principal Doctrines and Practices of the Catholic Church. By Nicholas Wiseman, D.D. London: Booker. 1836.

[British Critic, vol. 19, Oct. 1836.]

{373} WE are no friends to Popery, as our readers will bear us witness; yet, we confess, we were not displeased at the publication of Dr. Wiseman's Lectures. In truth, the foundation of the English Church lies very deep, while the views and principles of a number of her children are very shallow; so there is no inconsistency in welcoming a controversy which will be an advantage to them, yet no harm to her. Much as we sympathize, as we ought, with those of our own body, and strong as our party feelings necessarily are when they enter into the lists, yet we have brought ourselves to believe, that in the present case defeat and perplexity are for their good. Reverses in argument may humble and sober them, may make them see they have something to add to their present stock of theological knowledge, and teach them somewhat more clearly what it is they are defending, and on what principles the English Church stands; and on this account we can bear to contemplate what in itself will be a pain to all who are connected with them, and a triumph to the enemy. We conceive the controversy with Rome will have the effect of recalling them to those good and true views of divinity which numbers of them have nearly abandoned. Moreover (if it may be said) our very devotion to the Church herself inspires us with somewhat of a serious feeling against such of her champions as are not able to defend without degrading her;—who maintain her, as if she were a mere establishment, and as they would support the new system for administering the poor laws or the London police. Let us be candid; there is still another reason which {374} somewhat increases our satisfaction at Dr. Wiseman's and similar publications. The line of argument against Romanism adopted by our great divines has not been deemed good enough by many of us moderns; it has been judged severe and uncharitable to Dissenters of various denominations to walk in the steps of Hammond and Beveridge; and if some isolated individuals have ventured to do so, they have been promptly and unscrupulously ranked as confederates with the corrupt system which they professed to oppose. Well, then, let us see whether these more clear-sighted religionists (as they think themselves), these pure Protestants and rigid Scripturists, will make a better and more satisfactory fight when they come into close contact with their foe, that crafty foe which shelters its errors under the truths which such adversaries wantonly, unreluctantly surrender to it as its own. Hitherto they have either skirmished with the enemy, or have engaged at an advantage which they can never expect again. It is a very different thing to attack Romanism on ultra-Protestant principles in an open field, or to have the law and the multitude on our side. The latter has been the condition of things during the last 150 years; Protestantism was the sovereign religion of the state, and the great object of policy was to repress and keep under Romanism. The English Church has been upheld, not on its own merits, but as a useful antagonist to the church of Rome, and a substitute for it. Irreligious statesmen thought it a stopgap, and they confronted it to the Romanists, as much as to say, "we have our Church as well as you; we can make a church for the occasion." They used it (we speak in sober sadness, and with shame) as if it were an abbot of Unreason in mock controversy with the abbot of Kennaquhair. We could enlarge upon this fact were it decorous to do so. Another principal use of the English Church in the eyes of politicians has been its suppressal of enthusiasm and extravagance in religion. And to these must be added the more obvious national blessings which it dispenses, and which are so fully understood and so eloquently stated at conservative meetings and dinners. All these circumstances have invested the cause of the English Church hitherto with a popularity external for the most part to its own principles; and Romanism has had to contend since the Revolution rather with the power of the civil sword than the arguments of divines. Arguments indeed have been used, but they have been drawn from any quarter without weighing whether they had too much or too little in them for the purpose of the English Church, rather as if to comply with a rule of the game, than as if the words used were intended to have any particular meaning. But now that the English Church has been bereft of its civil defences, it has but an alternative of defending itself, or retreating backward into the lines {375} of that mixed multitude of denominations, which alone the state seems to recognize and cherish. Its defenders must either reform their arguments, or modify their conclusions; must either reason as true Catholics, or profess themselves mere Latitudinarians.

And there is danger certainly, and (as some persons think) a very considerable one, of the English Church, at this era of her history, acquiescing in the latter alternative. There is certainly a strong party in the Church, who would be pleased to obliterate her distinctive marks, in order to increase her political security. We are not accusing such men of what is commonly called worldly-mindedness. They think the religious advantages of an establishment such, that it is tanti to make, what seems to them, but a little alteration in its doctrines, for the sake of preserving it. The government says to them, "you must reform, (to use the fashionable word), or others will reform for you;" so to prevent evil men from altering the political relations of the Church, they consent to alter its principles. And certainly our Church has before now been betrayed in this manner by those who are her consecrated defenders; which throws an additional shade over the prospect of the future. Yet, whatever be her present weakness, whatever treachery there be within the camp, we conceive that her controversy with Rome will advantage her rather than otherwise. Many men, doubtless, will run from fear of Popery into the opposite extreme, and thus fulfil Horace's remark. Such of the laity, especially, as lightly employ themselves in the controversy, being bound by no obligations to the principles of our Church, will, it is to be feared, take refuge in ultra-Protestantism. With the Clergy we should hope it would be otherwise; they are tutored in the words and services of the Church, even when they do not understand her spirit; and the collision with Rome must in consequence rather bring them nearer to Rome (in those points in which Rome has preserved neglected truths) than drive them further off. An untaught layman, for instance, who never read the Ordination Service, may scoff at the doctrine of the ministerial commission when brought forward by the Romanist; but one who has had the awful words pronounced over him, in which it is conveyed in our ritual, cannot deny the doctrine, and at the very utmost will but keep silence—cannot go further than doubt—when it is urged upon him. He may have forgotten, he cannot oppose it. The clergy, in fact, are bound to true Catholicism by firm, though (of late) neglected ties; and the controversy with Rome will but remind them of them, and lead them to use them. At the same time that this will lead to a still wider separation between the views of Churchmen and those of our civil governors it is impossible to deny. {376}

Nor do we think that the controversy will tend, on the other hand, to any dangerous spread of Romanism. That it will spread is likely enough, though we have no proof of its success among us hitherto; but, if it spreads, it will spread among Dissenters and irregulars. Men who are one day of one religion and another of another, will at length become victims of Rome,—they are its fit prey. Far from lamenting them, we shall consider them better off than when they were carried about by every wind of doctrine. The tyranny will be profitable, though it be a "house of bondage" and an iron yoke; and for corruption of faith, they have not so much purity to boast of at present, that we should think their case very pitiable. It is better to be fixed and quiet than ever to be restless and changing; better to be superstitious than profane; better to have the ordinances of grace than to be without them; and Romanism will benefit in these three ways the mere Protestants whom it converts.

For all these reasons we hear with great equanimity the rumours of the impression which Dr. Wiseman's lectures have made upon the mixed multitude of London. Romanism has great truths in it, which we of this day have almost forgotten; and its preachers will recall numbers of Churchmen and Dissenters to an acknowledgment of them: Dissenters who never had them will embrace them in their Roman form; Churchmen who have received, but forgotten them, will discern them, and use them in the Church. We cannot hope for unity and peace in our time. We have but a choice of evils, and perhaps pure Anglicanism and pure Romanism would not be worse than the present unmeaning conglomeration of sects and parties, which tends to the ruin of all that is devotional, generous and humble-minded.

How far we have degenerated from the characteristic principle of our Reformation in the sixteenth century, appears in nothing more than in this; that, while to say a word in favour of any part of the Roman system is reckoned a symptom of Popery, yet the very persons who so consider it will have no scruple whatever, not only in recommending, and giving away the works of Dissenters, but in co-operating with them. Multitudes who consider themselves sound members of our Church, and are so, as far as good feeling and religious sentiment go, would feel no remorse at giving away Doddridge's Rise and Progress, or Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, while they would be surprised to hear any thing good said of Dr. Wiseman's lectures, as tending, not indeed to the end which he anticipates, but to the revival of certain truths which have been for some years forgotten. They would consider this as all one with recommending Popery; but if so, how is our Church's doctrine a via media? quite as fairly, {377} to say the least, might they be called Dissenters for circulating the peculiar works above mentioned.

With this explanation of the feelings with which we view Dr. Wiseman's appearance in the metropolis, we turn to his published lectures. The doctrines he discusses are far too ample for the limits of a review; it may be best therefore to confine ourselves to the subject most elaborately treated in them, and indeed the most important, viz. what is commonly called the Rule of Faith. He undertakes, of course, to justify his own Church's doctrine concerning it, and his arguments are of the following kind:—Romanists, or, as he calls them, Catholics, consider there is a living infallible authority in matters of faith. Protestants, among whom he includes the English Church, consider the Bible the sole authority; the latter principle is, in every way of viewing it, ill suited, or rather inadequate for the purposes of a rule, the former is simple, intelligible and applicable on all occasions; there is, then, a very great antecedent probability in favour of the Roman and against the English rule. Next he professes to prove the Roman rule from Scripture; and then to confirm its divine original from its fruits. Now this statement affords abundant matter for exception.

Dr. Wiseman would make it appear as if there were no medium between the two alternatives above stated; between an infallible living guide, and no guide besides Scripture itself. Now this is far from being the case; for at least English theology does admit a guide, though not an infallible one, but subordinate to Scripture. It considers that Scripture is not an easy book, and, as so considering, believes also that Almighty God has been pleased to provide a guide. The 20th Article expressly declares, that the Church "hath authority in controversies of faith." There is, then, at least there is professed, whether or not it can be maintained, a middle view between the two extremes with which he opens his lectures.

In his second lecture Dr. Wiseman acknowledges this; but then he attempts to show that the article above quoted is unmeaning, and leaves matters as it finds them. He frankly acknowledges in the most candid way, that, as far as the wording of the Articles go, there is no countenance therein given in matters of faith to the exercise of private judgment on the text of Scripture. He says, quoting the 6th Article, "in this passage there is not one word about the individual right of any one to judge for himself; it is only that no one is to be charged with the belief of any doctrine, no one can be required to give his adhesion to any article which is not contained in the word of God."—p. 28. He goes on to state most clearly and truly what the drift of the article really is; "the rule," he says, "is more to prevent some one, {378} not named, from exacting belief beyond a certain point; it is a limitation of the power to require submission to the teaching of some authority. That this authority is the Church there can be no doubt;" and then he quotes the 20th Article; "the Church hath authority in controversies of faith," provided it ordains nothing "contrary to God's word written," or so expounds "any passage of Scripture as to be repugnant to another."

Nothing can be clearer; the English doctrine does not encourage private judgment in matters of (necessary) faith, but maintains the Church's authority. But Dr. Wiseman sees so much perplexity in this view, that after this clear exposition of it, he abandons it, from inability to apply or use it. His first objection is, that there is a practical absurdity in saying that the Church has authority and yet must go by Scripture; for, he argues, who is to judge whether it goes by Scripture or not? Either then, he says, the article is nugatory or it throws us upon some higher tribunal; as for instance, private judgment. No surely; the article need not be nugatory, though we do not have recourse to any further tribunal. How shall we know, does Dr. Wiseman say, whether the Church goes by Scripture or not in her decisions? Why, suppose she herself confesses she does not, and maintains she need not. Dr. Wiseman says the article aims at "some one not named;" perhaps he is aware of "some one not named," who, claiming to be the Church Catholic, also claims to decide by tradition, without Scripture, in matters of faith. What need of a further tribunal when we have "confitentem reum?" Will he reply that the Roman Church does not grant that it can decree things contrary to Scripture? true, but it claims to decree points of faith beyond Scripture. And this is the authority which we deny it. We do not deny that many things may be true which are not in Scripture; but we deny such are points of what is emphatically called the faith, i.e. points necessary to be believed in order to salvation; and whether or not it be easy to determine what doctrines are in Scripture and what not, at least we may safely take the Roman Church's own word, when she confesses she is determining from tradition, not from Scripture. For instance, the Council of Trent makes it necessary to salvation to believe that it is "good and useful suppliantly to invoke the saints," and this on the ground of its being "juxta Catholicæ et Apostolicæ Ecclesiæ usum à primævis Christianæ religionis temporibus receptum, sanctorumque Patrum consentionem, et sacrorum Conciliorum decreta;" not a word being said of Scripture sanction. This is the principle which we altogether disavow; we allow that the Church may pronounce doctrines as true which are not in Scripture, so that they are not against it, but we do not think that she may declare points to be necessary to be believed in order to salvation, and may act accordingly, {379} unless she professes to derive them from Scripture. We consider that her decision in such extra-scriptural matters is not secure from error; is entitled indeed to veneration, but has not, strictly speaking, authority, and therefore may not rightly be enforced. This distinction is made at the end of the twentieth article. "As it (the Church) ought not to decree any thing against the same, so besides the same ought it not to enforce any thing to be believed for necessity of salvation." The Church must not enforce beyond Scripture; it way decree, i.e. pronounce, beyond it, but not against it.

Here, then, we have a most consistent meaning given to these articles, a plain and obvious drift. They are directed against the Church of Rome, which does professedly violate the principle therein propounded. But Dr. Wiseman will ask, how this helps us in a case where the Church does profess to be guided by Scripture. "It so happens," he may say, "that the Roman Church affords a case when the rule has a meaning; but this is but a fortunate exception. May the Church always be judge in its own cause; and, as her witness is to be taken when she owns she goes beyond Scripture, is it also decisive when she professes to deduce from it? In short, is this article intended to explain to us a positive theory, or is it merely directed against the Romanists? It restrains the authority of the Church, does it define it?"

Now this very article does not supply the full limitations which Anglicans put upon the Church's authority; we find another limitation mentioned elsewhere. In the Canon of the very Convocation, (1571), which confirmed the Articles, it is declared that nothing should be preached to be religiously held by the people, but what is agreeable to Scripture doctrine, and gathered thence by the "Catholic Fathers and ancient Bishops." This then is a second restriction, and, acting under these two, we may safely say that the Church, i.e. the Church Catholic, has absolute authority in matters of necessary or saving faith, and supersedes so far private judgment upon the text of Scripture—that, as ruling herself by Scripture and antiquity, she may securely and implicitly be trusted in all matters of necessary doctrine; nay further, we may even grant (to imitate Dr. Wiseman's mode of varying his proposition, p. 30,) she literally cannot, that is, she has a promise that she never will, enforce any thing as a point of necessary faith which is not at once Scriptural and primitive, and that so she is a sure authority. As it is her duty ever diligently to study Scripture and antiquity, so it is her privilege to be assured she shall be kept ever from departing from these two joint guides. And this is one token that the Church of Rome is not the Church Catholic, but a particular Church; because she has avowed and used a different rule. {380}

The doctrine we have elicited as the Anglican, in the course of these remarks, viz. that the Church Catholic is indefectible in matters of necessary and saving truth, will, perhaps, startle some persons till they are assured that it is taught by our Principal divines; some of whom express it in the very words which we have just used. Let the force of our words be clearly understood. By matters of faith are meant, not all doctrines which may be gathered from the Bible, but fundamental and necessary to be believed; nor again, new doctrines, but the old and original articles; for by the hypothesis the Church ever will be guided by antiquity. Again, we speak of the Church Catholic; not of portions of the Church; of these, another of our Articles declares expressly, that "as the Church of Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Antioch, have erred, so also the Church of Rome hath erred ... in matters of faith." (Art. 19.) We mean that the whole Church, all over the world, will never agree together in teaching and enforcing what is not true. With these explanations, is not the doctrine as true in fact, as it is natural and probable in itself? There is surely no harshness, even at first sight, in supposing that so far Divine Providence may watch over his own work; and, in fact, the supposition is, and ever has been, much more than fulfilled. All over Christendom that faith which St. Athanasius, for instance, held, is still held as the Christian faith. All its branches, one and all, believe in the Trinity and Incarnation, which have ever been considered the fundamental or essential doctrines of the Gospel.

But the reader shall have the very words of some of our standard Divines. "In this troublesome and quarrelsome age," says Laud, "I am most unwilling to meddle with the erring of the Church in general. The Church of England is content to pass that over; and, though she tells us that the Church of Rome hath erred even in matters of faith, yet of the erring of the Church in general she is modestly silent. But since A.C." Fisher's partisan, "will needs have it, that the whole Church did never generally err in any one point of faith," (he uses faith here not for necessary doctrine only,) "he should do well to distinguish, before he be so peremptory. For if he mean, no more than that the whole universal Church of Christ cannot universally err in any one point of faith, simply necessary to all men's salvation, he fights with no adversary, that I know, but his own fiction, for the most learned Protestants grant it".—Conference with Fisher, p. 160; vide, also, p. 139, 240. Bramhall says, "We do readily acknowledge that the true Catholic Church is so far infallible, as is necessary to the salvation of Christians; that is the end of the Church."—p. 282. Again, "We believe the Holy Ghost doth lead the Catholic or Universal Church into all truths, which are simply necessary to {381} salvation, and preserves it from all such damnable errors, as are destructive to saving faith; so that the gates of hell never prevail against it. But we believe also that it is the property of the Church triumphant, to be without all spots and wrinkles; particular Churches are of another matter, they have no such privilege, no not Rome itself."—p. 1018, vide also p. 30. Stillingfleet says, in his Grounds of the Protestant Religion, "The most that we assert is, that there is and shall always be a Church, for that is all that is meant by a Church being infallible in fundamentals; now for this we have the greatest assurance possible, that there shall be, from the promises of Christ, and that there is, from the certainty we have of the faith and baptism of Christians."—Grounds, p. 518. Again, "This is all which is meant by saying, that the present Church is infallible in fundamentals; viz. that there shall always be a Church; for that which makes them a Church, is the belief of fundamentals."—p. 233. In like manner Hammond, treating of Œcumenical Councils, makes a still larger admission. "Though I make it no matter of faith," he says, "because delivered neither by Scripture nor Apostolic Tradition, yet I shall number it among the piè credibilia, that no general council, truly such," (i.e. not the professed and pretended general councils of which our 21st Article speaks historically,) "first, duly assembled; second, freely celebrated; and third, universally received, either hath erred, or ever shall err, in matters of faith."—Of Heresy, § 9.

Ussher's authority is still more valuable, on account of his being supposed to hold some private uncatholic opinions. "In all places of the world," he says, in his Sermon on Eph. iv. 13, "where the ancient foundations were retained, and these common principles of faith, upon the profession whereof men have ever been wont to be admitted by baptism into the Church of Christ, there we doubt not but our Lord had his subjects, and we our fellow-servants; for we bring in no new faith, nor no new Church. That which in the time of the Ancient Fathers was accounted to be 'truly and properly Catholic,' namely, 'that which was believed every where, always, and by all,' that in the succeeding ages hath evermore been preserved, and is at this day entirely professed in our Church. And it is well observed by a learned man, (Serranus, Appar. ad Fid. Cath.) who hath written a full discourse of this argument, that 'whatsoever the father of lies either hath attempted, or shall attempt, yet neither hath he hitherto effected, nor shall ever bring it to pass hereafter, that this Catholic doctrine, ratified l)y the common consent of Christians always and every where, should be abolished, but that in the thickest mist rather of the most perplexed troubles, it still obtained victory, both in the {382} minds and in the open confessions of all Christians, no way overturned in the foundation thereof; and that in this verity, that one Church of Christ was preserved in the midst of the tempests of the most cruel winter, or in the thickest darkness of her wanings.' Thus if at this day, we should take a survey of the several professions of Christianity that have any large spread in any part of the world, as of the religion of the Roman and the Reformed Churches in our quarters, of the Egyptians and Ethiopians in the South, of the Grecians and other Christians in the Eastern parts, and should put by the points wherein they did differ one from another, and gather into one body the rest of the articles wherein they all did generally agree; we should find, that in those propositions which without all controversy are universally received in the whole Christian world, so much truth is contained, as, being joined with holy obedience, may be sufficient to bring a man unto everlasting salvation. Neither have we cause to doubt, but that, 'as many as do walk according to this rule,' neither overthrowing that which they have builded, by superinducing any 'damnable heresies' thereupon, nor otherwise vitiating their 'holy faith' with a lewd and wicked conversation, 'peace shall be upon them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.' Now these common principles of the Christian faith, which we call [choinopista], or things 'generally believed' of all, as they have universality, and antiquity, and consent concurring with them, which, by Vincentius's rule, are the special character of that which is truly and properly Catholic, so for their duration we are sure that they have still held out, and been kept as the seminary of the Catholic Church in the darkest and difficultest times that ever have been; when, if the Lord of Hosts had not in his mercy reserved the seed unto us, we should long since have been as Sodom, &c."

Considering the importance of the point in question, the little acquaintance of most persons with our standard divines, and the consequent confusion in the popular mind between true Catholicism and Popery, we have not scrupled to make extracts instead of setting down references at the foot of the page. The above passages, to which many more might be added, are facts against Dr. Wiseman,—facts in evidence that it is possible to protest against Romanism without holding in consequence that Christian doctrine is of a variable or private nature, left for individuals to deduce from Scripture, by their own ability, apart from the testimony of the general Church. They speak of the Church as always holding indefectibly, or knowing infallibly, those doctrines which are the fundamentals of faith; from which position its absolute authority in respect to them necessarily follows. What the {383} Church Catholic now is, whether the Church in communion with Rome, or the mere multitude of professing Christians poured over all countries, or the Church Episcopal throughout the world, or the established Churches in various countries, this is a question most incumbent on us to answer, but not entering into the present discussion; which is merely on this one point—do our Articles mean what they say, and what Dr. Wiseman allows they say, when they give the Church "authority in controversies of faith," whatever "the Church" is? On the other hand, what fundamentals are, may, as Ussher intimates, be exactly ascertained by referring to those times when there is no doubt either what and where the Church was, or what her faith was. What were considered the necessary articles of faith in the early Church is a matter of history; these are they which we Anglicans consider the Church indefectibly to preserve even to the end; these accordingly are the points in which she has authority," not as a judge or arbiter, so much as a witness. The characteristic difference then, between the English and Roman doctrine in the point under consideration is this—that Romanists conceive that the Church may create articles of necessary belief; that what was not necessary to be believed in order to salvation before her decision, becomes so afterwards; whereas we consider that the one saving faith has, from the first, been ever promulgated; that the Church does not, by her decision, make any part of it saving, but merely declares it: in other words, they consider the Church an infallible arbiter pro re natâ; we, a faithful and indefectible guardian of what was, in the first instance, given as saving. Both parties consider "the faith" to be necessary to salvation; but we say the faith is prior to the Church; they, the Church is prior to the faith.

Now, before continuing our examination of Dr. Wiseman's argument in order, let us pass on for an instant to his fourth lecture, in which he adduces some of the texts on which his Church builds her claim to absolute infallibility. He quotes the 54th and 59th chapters of the prophet Isaiah, which address the Church as follows:

"Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations; spare not, lengthen thy cords and strengthen thy stakes ... with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee. My kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee ... All thy children shall be taught of the Lord, and great shall be the peace of thy children … No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shall condemn … This is my covenant with them, saith the Lord; My Spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of {384} the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the Lord, from henceforth and for ever."

These are certainly most remarkable and impressive promises, and grow upon the mind the more we meditate upon them. The first question is, "Of whom speaketh the Prophet this?" And we may, doubtless, as confidently answer, "Of the Church which the apostles founded," as St. Philip answered the Ethiopian's question, by "preaching unto him Jesus." But is not the prophecy fulfilled abundantly, if it so happen, as we maintain, that the Church then founded, whatever have been its errors and sins, has, up to this day, kept that deposit of necessary faith which was pronounced to be necessary at the time it was set up? That it is not fulfilled in its highest conceivable sense, even Dr. Wiseman must confess. He must confess that heresy and schism have been infringements of the letter of the prophecy; being spots and wrinkles in the Church during the time of their growth, and an enfeebling of her when they were cast out. As, then, he considers it as fulfilled by there being one place (Rome) where perfect purity of all doctrine ever has been, so we surely may account its fulfilment to lie in there having been ever in all places, perfect maintenance of fundamental doctrine. And, while we do dispute his fulfilment, he cannot dispute ours; for he cannot deny, that in matters of faith the whole Church descended from the Apostles now holds fundamental what the early ages held to be so; he will only claim to his Church, which he identifies with the true one, the power of adding to the fundamentals. The same remarks apply to the other passages quoted by Dr. Wiseman, such as Matt. xxviii. 19, 20.

But to return. If we have correctly drawn out the Anglican doctrine, it is as distinct from Romanism as from common Protestantism. The Romanist gives to the existing Church the ultimate infallible decision in matters of saving faith; the Ultra-Protestant to the individual; and the Anglican to antiquity, giving authority to the Church, as being the witness and voice, or rather the very presence of Antiquity among us. And here we arrive at another misunderstanding of our doctrine, into which it has already been implied Dr. Wiseman has fallen. We are indeed surprised that so well-read a man should not have recollected more of the divinity of our standard authors, than to assert that the fundamental principle of Protestantism, as recognized in the English Church (for he speaks of us Anglicans all along) is, that "the Word of God alone is the true standard and rule of faith." Now let us be understood here; we know full well that this is a popular mode of speaking at this day; we know well it is an opinion in our Church; but it is by no means an opinion universally {385} received, much less a principle. And Dr. Wiseman as a well read divine ought to recollect this. Let it be observed, that he interprets the above principle to mean that "each one must have studied the Word of God, and must have drawn from it the faith which he holds."—pp. 8, 9. Now can this be truly, nay fairly said, we will not say, by a well read divine, but by an intelligent observer of the English Church for the last twenty years? Is Dr. Wiseman a stranger to the continual and violent charges brought against far the larger portion of the Church, of its making the Prayer Book "a safeguard" to the Bible? Has not the body of the Church opposed the Bible Society on this ground? Nay, to go higher, do we not read in our service, the Athanasian Creed, which, whether it allows private judgment or not, clearly propounds that unless private judgment terminate in the reception of certain most definite statements of doctrine, it incurs the Church's direct and absolute anathema? Considering the assaults conducted by individuals on this Creed; considering the continued struggle against what is sometimes called the High Church party, for a series of years past, on the ground of its enforcing one certain interpretation of the Word of God, under what impression, or in what state of mind, does Dr. Wiseman take for granted that the English Church consigns the Bible to each individual, and bids him draw his faith thence; confessing, as he does, at the same time, there is nothing in the Articles to countenance such a proceeding? That many individuals in the Church do so, is true; but with what show of reason does he fasten it on us as the "essential ground?"

But he will appeal, perhaps, in his defence, to a phrase in use among us, viz. that the Bible is "the rule of faith;" a phrase most correct in one sense, most untrue in another. By "Rule" may be meant either Standard, as Dr. Wiseman correctly explains it in one place, or Guide. Now the Bible is not our only guide or teacher; it is our only standard, test, or depository of faith. Now the Romanists deny that the Bible is a rule in either sense; when the Anglicans say that the Bible is the rule of faith, they say it in opposition to the Romanists; and since the Romanists deny it in any sense, they do not think it worth while to stop and define, and make irrelevant distinctions. But when the Ultra-Protestant comes upon them, and catches up and perverts their words, and says, "You admit the Bible is a rule of faith; therefore it is our sole guide," we answer, as our Church has ever answered, "No; it is our sole document, basis of proof, record, standard of appeal, touchstone of the faith, not the sole guide, for the Church is a guide, having 'authority in matters of faith.'" Dr. Wiseman has looked at the English Church not even superficially. {386}

For ourselves, we confess, we are willing to 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 the 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 a little further, 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, Scripture 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. 1, p. 131.

Laud calls the Creed, or rather the Creed with Scripture, the Rule. "Since the Fathers make the Creed the Rule of Faith, {387} 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 Scriptures 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.) 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 we are tempted to make a long extract.

"It remained to show," he says, "what is the 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 the 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.

"2. 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 more 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 matter of faith, and as received of them that went before them, in such sort that the contradictors and gainsayers were in their beginnings noted for singularity, novelty, and division, and afterwards {388} 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 professions. The Romanists add unto these, the decrees of Councils and determinations 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 the 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 them 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 faith, but that other things in their kind 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 symbol 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 misconceptions to which the phrase gives rise. Perhaps its use had better 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.

Returning to. Dr. Wiseman, we must express our regret, that he should, in a popular lecture delivered to numbers who would have no means of being set right, display so very little knowledge of our real principles. It is no vindication of such neglect, that some Protestant preachers do the same; because he himself complains of them; and implies he is going to set them an example, and because his reputation for learning loads him with an additional responsibility. When our use of the Athanasian Creed implies that we do not think a man may choose his own doctrine from Scripture at his pleasure,—when our Articles expressly declare that the Church has authority in faith, when our great Doctors, in the clearest and strongest terms refer to the Ancient Church as an unerring guide in necessary matters, and when our existing government has for the last 20 or 30 years {389} incurred an especial weight of odium for resisting the alleged right of private interpretation, it is really a little hard that we should be gravely accused of teaching that "each one must have drawn from the word of God the faith which he holds." And what makes Dr. Wiseman's conduct still less comprehensible, is that he does refer to the Articles, does acknowledge the plain sense of them as investing the Church with authority, and then, from a notion of the "complexity and confusion" (p. 29) of the view resulting, takes the Rule "on the terms on which it is commonly understood, namely, that it is the prerogative, the unalienable privilege of every Christian, to establish for himself the truth of his doctrines from that Book which God has revealed to man." p. 31. Now really, unless it were a serious subject, one could not help smiling at so very simple a sleight of hand, as this sentence exhibits. Dr. Wiseman states the Ultra-Protestant doctrine about the "Rule of Faith." He says, "let us look into the 39 Articles for it." He finds there neither the name nor the thing. Then he says, "this is so obscure, I despair making anything of it; therefore let us take the popular Ultra-Protestant sense of the doctrine." Well add good; let him do so, if he will, provided he no longer includes the English Church, as a Church, in his subsequent discussions. The Article is not a dead letter to us, though it be to him; we see in it, what he himself allows, a something discriminating us off from the mass of Protestants. Yet he no-where says this; he no-where gives his reader any caution that he is forthwith not speaking of the English Church; no one would suppose, from any thing he goes on to say, that the Church existing in this country, the State Religion, the religion of the mass of the population, was really clear of a tenet which he is imputing to this whole country. Let him but except the English Church, and he may, for us, declaim against Protestantism as he will.

But Dr. Wiseman will say in his defence, that he has appealed to standard writers of our Church, particularly to Bishop Beveridge, in proof of our holding the Ultra-Protestant view. Now this circumstance, it is much to be feared, increases our reasons for dissatisfaction with him. He says our Articles are perplexed; under such circumstances, the plain way certainly would be to go to our principal writers for their explanation. Does he do so? No. He has indeed "carefully perused" Mr. Hartwell's Horne's chapter on the subject of the Rule of Faith; but we hear not a word of the mighty dead. But surely Beveridge is a standard writer? he is so, but we ask a little patient attention. In the first place, Dr. Wiseman acknowledges that Bishop Beveridge speaks a language contrary to the Article; how then {390} is it fair to take him as a guide to explain its consistency and applicability? But in truth he does not in any sense refer to him as a commentator on the Article, but as a substitute for the Article, as the patron of an opposite view; he does not in any degree attempt to ascertain the drift and scope of the Article; but he puts it aside. Now there is much complaint, on the part of Roman writers, of our injustice in interpreting the Tridentine Decrees by the sentiments of Roman divines. When we have done so, it has been promptly replied, that the doctrines adduced were but the opinions of individuals, opinions of the schools, and the like. Yet Protestants who have so acted (and most justifiably, as we would maintain, but that is another matter) have at least not referred to Roman divines who opposed the Decrees of Trent; but Dr, Wiseman, not content with going to private doctors, and in so doing, taking the very course which his friends do to this day condemn in us, selects a passage from one of our divines which actually runs counter to the authorized decision of our church. Such is his conduct towards the Church itself; towards the learned and pious Beveridge, who is truly in every sense of the word, one of the Lights of our Church, his conduct is not less inconsiderate. Suffice it to say, that the passage he quotes from Beveridge, in illustration of the Ultra-Protestant theory, does not even tend to prove that the writer thought he was bound to gather his creed from Scripture for himself, and even if it did, it is found in a volume, most interesting indeed and deservedly popular, but which, being written for the private purpose of settling his own principles and conduct when he was but 23 years old, and published not till after his death, can in no sense be taken as an authority in a controversial subject.

That Bishop Beveridge in his riper years, and his own publications, gave no countenance to private judgment when directed against the testimony of the Church Catholic, is abundantly manifest to those who are ever so little acquainted with him. But since persons often will not believe, unless they see, we refer Dr. Wiseman, as one out of many places which are in point, to his 6th sermon, which runs as follows:—

"The Eternal Son of God, having with His own blood purchased to himself an Universal Church, we cannot doubt but that he takes due care of it, that, according to his promise, 'the gates of hell shall never prevail against it.' For which end, He, the head of this mystical body, doth not only defend and protect it by His Almighty power, but He so acts, guides, directs, and governs it by His Holy spirit, that though errors and heresies may sometimes disease and trouble some parts of it, yet they can never infect the whole; but that is still kept sound and entire, notwithstanding all the power and malice of men or {391} devils against it. So that, if we consider the Universal Church or congregation of faithful men," [vide Article 19,] "as in all ages dispersed over the whole world, we may easily conclude, that the greatest part, from which the whole must be denominated, was always in the right; which the Ancient Fathers were so fully persuaded of, that, although the word [katholikos] properly signifies universal, yet they commonly used It in the same sense as we do the word orthodox, as opposed to an heretic, calling an orthodox man a Catholic, that, is, a son of the Catholic Church; as taking it for granted, that they, and only they, which constantly adhere to the doctrine of the Catholic or Universal Church, are truly orthodox; which they could not do, unless they had believed the Catholic Church to be so. And, besides that, it is part of our very Creed, that the Catholic Church is holy; which she could not be, except free from heresy, as directly opposed to true holiness. He therefore that would be sure not to fall into damnable errors, must be sure also to continue firm and stedfast to the doctrine of the Universal Church, as being grounded upon the Scriptures rightly understood; for so every thing is, that she hath taught us. For the Catholic Church never undertook, as the Romish hath done, to coin any new doctrines of her own head: no, she always took the Scriptures for the only standard of truth, and hath accordingly delivered her sense of them in such worth as she judged to agree exactly with those which are there used."

And presently, he continues,

"Be sure, no sober man but must acknowledge, it is more possible for himself, yea, and for any particular Church to err, than it is for the Universal Church to do so; and, therefore, it must be the safest way to use Scripture words in such a sense as the Universal Church hath always put upon them, &c."

Certainly Beveridge does give the Church "authority in controversies of faith," as fully as Laud or Hammond.

Even this is not the limit of Dr. Wiseman's misconception. He is acquainted with Leslie's works, and speaks of him as "an eminent divine of the Protestant [i.e. English] Church, and one who has written the most strongly, perhaps, in favour of its grounds of faith," p. 298. He says this in the recapitulation of his argument, showing that in his discussions upon the Rule of Faith, he has all along had the English Church in view, as his principal antagonist. Indeed in this passage he speaks of the "respective opinions of the two Churches," and quotes Leslie in confirmation of his own description of the nature of the controversy existing between them. He quotes Leslie, as observing that "the whole of modern religion may be said to differ essentially on this one point, what is the ground-work whereon faith is to be built." It is evident then, that Dr. Wiseman believes that Leslie, not being a Romanist, took that Ultra-Protestant alternative which he himself has been employed in combating. But after all such is not Leslie's view; on the contrary, the following {392} passage is enough to show that he agrees with Bramhall, Field, Hammond, and the rest above quoted.

"There is a Tradition," he says in his Case between the Churches of Rome and England, "which (for the evidence of it) we are willing to admit; that is, according to the Rule of Vincentius Lirinensis 'Quod semper, quod ubique, et ab omnibus.' ... And we are willing to join issue with you upon this Tradition as to Purgatory. This is universal Tradition; and you would not desire we should be concluded by any particular Tradition of this or that Church or place; for you know there are many deceits in such."—Vol. iii. P. 156.

We have not pursued Dr. Wiseman's misconception about the English Church to its end. As if he felt it a strong measure to reject our authorized Article, and to adopt instead of the consensus doctorum, the unpublished opinion of a young man of twenty-three, just entering into orders, he brings, ex abundanti cautelâ, two additional testimonies, to wit, a couple of Dissenters, "the Rev. Jeremiah Jones, a celebrated nonconformist divine, at the end of the last century," (p. 33); and "another and still more celebrated divine of nearly the same period, the celebrated Richard Baxter." (p. 35.) In explanation, as it would seem, of this extraordinary selection, he adds, that the works of the former were "published at Oxford in 1827;" and that "the last of these divines was"—what we did not know before—"one of the most zealous upholders of the Established Church." Valeant quantum. It is a second, perhaps a heavier injustice, to Bishop Beveridge to put him in such company.

One more observation must be made on Dr. Wiseman's argument. Besides the above-mentioned authors, he does quote one other writer, of the English Church—"a very modern one, and which in the Church of England should be considered essentially orthodox." Then follow some quotations from Mr. Newman's work on the Arians, which he represents as spoken well of "by many who are considered very accurate in their acquaintance with the doctrines of that Church." [Note] He quotes from this work some passages which speak of the authority existing, and acknowledged as existing, in the Primitive Church Catholic, considered as the teacher of Gospel truth. Now let the purpose with which he quotes them be carefully observed. Here is an Anglican writer who both avows his own belief in Church authority, and witnesses to its actual existence in the early Church. But Dr. Wiseman quotes him only in evidence of the latter fact, not in any sense as an indication (as far as an individual can be) of the doctrine of his Church. It seems, then, Jeremiah Jones's conclusions are to be substituted for our real ones; and then our own premises made {393} to tell against ourselves. We differ from Dr. Wiseman in logic as much as in divinity.

However, in consideration of the uses which he may supply in our warfare with Separatism, and similar evils of the day, we are almost willing to forgive Dr. Wiseman the above combined offences. He cannot lastingly obscure the character and genius of the English Church, though his mistakes about it may mislead others for a time. He cannot long be ignorant himself; he will shortly grow impatient of such authorities as "the celebrated Richard Baxter," or Mr. Hartwell Horne, or Mr. Tottenham, or the Jubilators of 1835, and crave after the more solid food supplied by Bramhall and Laud, Field and Hammond, Bull and Beveridge: or, at least, if such folios are not to be found in Rome, he can take with him thither Bishop Jebb's pocket volume of "Pastoral Instructions," which will give him in a few pages abundant authorities for the views which have been above maintained; and when he arrives at a truer view of the English Church, he will cease to apply to it what does not really apply, and will direct his arms against our Dissenters, who are his legitimate victims, and whom we surrender to him to plague and persecute in Moorfields, Lincoln's-Inn-Fields, and any other field but Smithfield.

As a specimen of his powers that way, we will present our readers with several passages from his Lectures. He argues, from the structure of the Bible, and the circumstances under which it comes to us, that it was not intended to be the instrument of teaching individuals the Christian doctrine. It is common for Ultra-Protestants to argue, on the other hand, that a written record must be the sole instrument of revealed teaching, because oral tradition is in its nature vague and uncertain. We, however, follow Bishop Butler, in considering that none of us antecedently knows any thing, or can determine any thing, about what is likely or unlikely as to God's way and degree of communicating to mankind supernatural truths; that Providence often gives us a little knowledge and obscure notices; and that the very least is more than man has a right to ask. The following argument of Dr. Wiseman also, in part, offends against Butler's principle, and so far can only be looked upon as a good argumentum ad hominem; but with a slight alteration it may be made to escape this defect, and rise to a higher level:—

"We are to suppose that God gave his Holy Word to be the only rule of faith to all men. It must be a rule, therefore, easy to be procured, and to be held. God himself must have made the necessary provision, that all men should have it, and be able to apply it. What, then, does he do? He gives us a large volume written in two languages, the chief portion in one known to a small and limited country of the {394} world. He allows that speech to become a dead language, so that countless difficulties and obscurities should spring up regarding the meaning of innumerable passages. The other portion he gives in a language spoken by a large body of mankind, but still by a very small proportion, considering the extent of those to whom the blessings of Christianity were intended to be communicated; and he gives this book as a satisfactory and sufficient rule.

"1. In the first place, then, he expects it to be translated into every language, that all men may have access to it. In the second place, it must be so distributed, that all men may have possession of it; and, in the third place, it must be so easy that all men may use it. Are these the characteristics of this rule? Suppose it to be the only rule of all who believe in Christ, are you aware of the difficulty of undertaking a translation of it? Whenever the attempt has been made, in modern times, in the first instance it has generally failed; and even after many repeated attempts, it has proved unsatisfactory. Had I time, or were it necessary, I could show you, from various Reports of the Bible Society, and from the acknowledgment of its members, that many versions, after having been diffused among the natives of countries to be converted, have been necessarily withdrawn, on account of the absurdities, impieties, and innumerable errors which they contained. And this is the rule that has been put into the hands of men! But look to the history of even more celebrated translations, such as are put forth by authority. I speak not of those early versions which were made when the knowledge of the facts and circumstances was fresh, and when those who wrote better understood the language. But look at any modern version, such as that authorized in these realms. Read the account of how often it was corrected, what combinations of able and learned men it required to bring it to a tolerable degree of perfection. Then its worth, as a rule, must depend upon the skill and fitness of individuals for the task of translating; and we cannot suppose that the providence of God would stake the whole usefulness and value of his rule upon the private or particular abilities of man. And this is the first difficulty to its being considered the ordinary rule appointed of God.

"2. Secondly, what are the difficulties attending its diffusion. Oh, my brethren! could we look at this consideration in another age front the present, you might better understand them. You fancy, possibly, that because Bibles are now multiplied by thousands, and by millions, their application as a rule is obvious and easy; that because there is one nation on the globe possessed of immense wealth and mighty empire, and have ships that frequent the farthest bounds of earth; that because there are men willing to devote their time, and wealth, and zeal, to the publication and diffusion of these books; that because, in this country, and at the present time, a combination of political, commercial, and literary circumstances facilitate this distribution, therefore the rule is sufficiently accessible to all mankind. But God does not plan the rule of his faith in accordance with the possible literary or commercial prosperity of any country; nor so construct the groundwork of his truth as to depend upon the mechanical inventions of man. The Gospel's being the rule of faith {395} can have no connexion with the circumstance, that the press, by the aid of the strongest mechanical power applied to it, has now produced the Bible in measureless abundance. God could not mean that, for 1,400 years, man was to be without a guide, and that mankind should have to wait until human genius had given efficacy to it by its discoveries and inventions. Such cannot be the qualities or conditions of the rule. We must look for it as one for all times, and for all places; as something coming into operation as soon as delivered, and destined to last until the end of time. We cannot, therefore, admit, as the only necessary rule of faith, that which depends for its adoption on the accidental instrumentality of man, and requires essentially his unprescribed co-operation.

"For I think, that, on reflection, any unprejudiced mind will rather wonder how, in the Word of God, there should have been no provision made for this important condition. Why do we never find any precept given to the Apostles to disseminate the Scriptures, after having them translated into all languages? How comes it that no intimation is ever given therein of the duty of ministers to provide copies of the sacred volume for those whom they are bound to instruct? If this dissemination of the written word was and is an essential part of Christianity, and if in Scripture alone is to be found the rule and criterion of all that is essential, how comes this important provision to be there omitted? Nay, as our acquaintance with history proves to us the utter impossibility of the Bible's being extensively circulated without the aid of the press, why was not its invention provided for, as the necessary instrument for arriving at the rule and groundwork of faith? Surely the Bible Society is no part of the economy and machinery of Christianity, and yet, without it, the Scriptures could not have been diffused to the extent which we have witnessed in modern times."—vol. i. p. 44-46.

The following remarks on the words in the Apostolic Commission, (Matth. xxviii. 20,) "Lo, I am with you always," &c., seem to us truly important and valuable. It will be observed they are used by Dr. Wiseman to prove the absolute infallibility of the Church, i.e. in communion with Rome; they seem, however, quite as clearly and fully satisfied by what we see at this day—the indefectibility of the whole Church, whether united to Rome or not, in fundamentals. The passage, however, is very striking, and much to the purpose when directed against Ultra-Protestants.

"On examining the practice of Scripture we find, that whenever God gives a commission of peculiar difficulty, and one which to those that receive it appears almost, or indeed entirely, beyond the power of man, the way in which he assures them that it can and will be fulfilled, is by adding to the end of the commission, 'I will be with you.' As if he should thereby say, 'the success of your commission is quite secure, because I will give my special assistance for its perfect fulfilment.' A few passages will make this position quite clear.

"In the 40th chapter of Genesis, 3d and 4th verses, God says to Jacob, 'I am God, the God of thy father; fear not to go down into {396} Egypt, for I will make thee a great people. I will go down with thee into Egypt.' That is, I will accompany thee, I will be with thee, and therefore fear not. This assurance is added as a special guarantee for the truth of the promise, that the descendants of Jacob should be a great people. They were to become, by fulfilling the command given them; subjects of another state: their chances of becoming a mighty nation seemed greatly lessened; yet God pledged his word that he would so protect them that the promise should be fulfilled, and this he does by adding the assurance, 'I will go down with thee.' But this is still clearer in the book of Exodus, where the Almighty commands Moses to go unto Pharaoh and liberate his people. He execute this commission! who had been obliged to flee from Egypt under a capital imputation—who was now not only devoid of interest at court, but, was identified with that very proscribed and persecuted race, whose extermination Pharaoh had vowed—who, should he come forward, could only ensure his own destruction, and the more certain frustration of the hopes which God had given to his captive people! How then does God assure him, that in spite of all these apparent impossibilities he shall be successful? 'And Moses said unto God, Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt? And he said unto him, I will be with thee.' The fulfilment is secure, no other assurance is given; Moses has the strongest guarantee that God can propose to him that he will be successful. Again, when Jeremiah is sent to preach to his people, and considers himself unfit for the commission, God promises him success in the same terms, and with the very introductory phrase used in the commission given to the Apostles, 'and behold!' and with no other less extraordinary coincidences. In the first chapter of that Prophet (verses 17-19) we thus read, 'gird up thy loins, and arise and speak unto them all that I command thee; and behold! I have made thee this day a walled city … And they shall fight against thee, but they shall not prevail, for I am with thee, saith the Lord. Here is a command given precisely such as we have seen delivered to the Apostles, to tell the people all that God had commanded; and to it is appended the very same form of assurance as is addressed to them.

"Thus, therefore, we have a clear axiom deduced from the simple examination of similar forms in other parts of Scripture, that whenever a commission is given by God to accomplish what appears impossible by human means, he guarantees its complete success and perfect execution by adding the words 'I am with thee.' And thus we have a right to conclude, that in the text under examination Christ, by the same words, promised to his Apostles and to those who should succeed them till the end of the world, such a similar scheme of especial providence as shall be necessary and sufficient to secure the full accomplishment of the commission therewith to them given. We have consequently only to see what the commission is, and the case is closed. 'Go teach all nations;' that is one part of the commission to teach all the nations of the world. And what are the things to be taught? 'To observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you!' Therefore we have the guarantee {397} of Christ that he will aid his church with a special and efficacious providence, to teach all things that he has commanded to all nations, and till the end of time.

"I ask you, is not this a commission exactly comprising all that I said we might expect to find? Does it not institute a body of men to whom Christ has given security that they shall be faithful depositories of his truths? Does it not constitute the kingdom whereunto all nations should come? Does it not establish therein his own permanent teaching in lieu of prophecy, so as to prevent all error from entering into the church? and is not this church to last till the end of time? Now this is precisely all that the Catholic Church teaches, all that she claims and holds as the basis and foundation whereupon to build her rule of faith. The successors of the Apostles in the church of Christ have received the security of his own words and his promise of 'a perpetual teaching,' so that they shall not be allowed to fall into error. It is this promise which assures her she is the depository of all truth, and is gifted with an exemption from all liability to err, and has authority to claim from all men, and from all nations, submission to her guidance and instruction."—pp. 107-109.

We do not see cause for disagreeing with Dr. Wiseman, till we come to the application of the above statement. He considers all the tenets of the Church of Rome as part of the "all things whatsoever;" we think that those in which it differs from the Church Apostolic and Catholic are not so. He would say the doctrine of Purgatory was part; we say it is a human addition. He says it is divine, because the Roman Church holds it; we say it is not, because the Church Catholic does not. But this is altogether a subsequent question. The doctrine which the above extract illustrates is very solemn, and Dr. Wiseman writes with a good deal of feeling and eloquence.

We shall but direct attention to Dr. Wiseman's remarks on the different success which has attended the preaching of Catholics and Ultra-Protestants, and then bring this review to an end. Audi alteram partem is a necessary rule; so we must wait to hear what the party assailed will say against him, before we form a judgment, especially since the above examination of Dr. Wiseman's treatment of the Anglican doctrine does not inspire us with any great confidence in the completeness or evenness of any inquiry of his in which the interests of his own Church are concerned. All that can be said is, that he professes to cite Protestant witnesses in his review of the Protestant Missions; whereas his judgment of the English Church is formed from doctrines held by enemies or strangers to her.

He observes that the practical success of the Protestant (Ultra-Protestant) or Catholic (Roman) Rule of Faith (i.e. mode of teaching) in converting heathen nations, must necessarily be a test {398} of the divinity of the one or the other, since success was promised to the true preaching of the Gospel, when it was said, "Lo, I am with you always." And he then proceeds to argue that Romanism has had most remarkable success in its missions in heathen countries, and that Ultra-Protestants, though attempting much more, have done little or nothing. Of recent missions from the latter party, he mentions the Baptist Missionary Society, instituted in 1792; the London, in 1795; the Scotch, in 1796; the Church, in 1800; and the Wesleyans and others since. Others also have been lately founded in America, Germany and France, and have exerted themselves with extraordinary zeal and diligence in their momentous object. The expenditure on the whole in the work of conversion was said, in 1824, to amount to £1000 a day, or £365,000 per annum. In addition to this charitable outlay, the Bible Society, in 1835, expended above £125,000; and in the course of the last thirty-one years above two millions sterling, in great measure for the same purposes; and has circulated, with other similar societies in Europe and America, above fifteen million copies of the Scriptures. "If the true way of working conversion," says Dr. Wiseman, "be the dispersion of the Written Word, surely an abundant harvest might by this time have been expected."—p. 168. By a subsequent statement he shows that the present yearly income of Missionary Societies is even £300,000 more than the foregoing calculations give, though probably in this account are included some Societies, as that for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge, which have really no place there. He then notices the government grants, though here again he includes the English Church in his survey; whereas its fortunes, whether prosperous or otherwise, do not come under a review of the proceedings of Societies which consider the Bible as the appointed means of conversion. Next he calculates the number of missionaries employed, and considers it to amount to 3000, exclusive of Americans and other foreigners, which he supposes to be three or four times the number employed by the Church of Rome. The allowance of these missionaries has sometimes been as high as £100 a year; in others, particularly in Asia, as high as £240, with £40 additional for every wife, and £20 more for every fresh child. Dr. Wiseman also speaks of the political advantages which Englishmen enjoy in India.

He then professes to go through the returns of conversion and reports of the progress of the Gospel in different countries, and sums up after the following manner: that in India, for instance, the utmost number of converts in a course of years is twelve in one place, four in another, and four in another, and so on; that among the Calmucks, the Moravians had been employed fifty-six {399} years without making one convert; and that Mr. Bickersteth declared, in 1823, that in the course of the first ten years the Church Missionary Society never heard of a single individual who passed from Idolatry to Christianity. He then describes at length the manner and effect with which the Bible Society acts in heathen Countries.

"You must not allow yourselves to be led away by those Reports which speak of the immense number of copies of the Bible and the New Testament distributed among the natives of heathen countries,—you must not suppose that this gives any evidence of conversion,—or that, because missionaries ask for innumerable quantities of Bibles, any thing like a proportionable number of conversions are made. For these Bibles are sent out in cargos, and accumulated in warehouses abroad, or distributed to persons who make no use of them at all, or make them serve any purpose, as you, will see by a few examples, which I will give you just now. General Hislop, for instance, in his 'History of the Campaign against the Mahrattas and Pindarris,' says, that 'these missionaries think that this distribution of the Gospels in Chinese, Sanscrit, &c., is sufficient to obtain their purpose; and as they send out these books to English agents and magistrates, in different places, so they reckon the number of their converts, and the success of their labours, in proportion to the copies distributed.' He says, that he knew several residences where no vessel ever arrived without a case or bale of Bibles for distribution. The residents send them in every direction, by hundreds at a time. The Chinese took at them, and say that they have more beautiful histories in their own literature, and have not the least idea whether they are intended for amusement or instruction, and, after having read them, throw them aside; so that the resident could not possibly distribute any more: but the ardent zeal of the Malacca missionary continued to supply them, by ship after ship, in such quantities that they were obliged to be placed in a warehouse! He adds, that 'this is the missionary who had written to the Bible Society that they might send him out a million of Bibles; and in this way it would have been easy to dispose of them.'

"I have also seen a letter, and will quote it, although it is from a Catholic authority, written a few years ago by the Vicar Apostolic of Siam, who relates precisely the same circumstance,—'That two English emissaries bad arrived, and were distributing Bibles in every direction; the people used them to wrap up their merchandize in the shops; some of them, however, brought them to the Catholic clergy as of no use.' He then remarks, 'in this way reports are sent over, and the number of converts are reckoned by the number of Bibles distributed. I know that not a single conversion has been made by them.'

"In the French 'Asiatic Journal,' we are assured, on the authority of a letter from Macao, that copes of Dr. Morrison's Bible, which had been introduced into China, were afterwards sold by auction; and that the greater part of them were bought by manufacturers for different purposes, but principally by the makers of slippers, which they used to line with them! It is painful, and humiliating, and unbecoming the solemnity {400} of this place, to mention such circumstances; but they are important towards undeceiving those who think that all these Bibles are put to a useful purpose, instead of this degrading and disrespectful use being made of the Word of God."—vol. p. 198-200.

Such are some of the exceptions which Dr. Wiseman takes to the Protestant missions. When he turns to the Roman Catholic, he is, perhaps, less to be trusted, it being easier to be candid towards an opponent whom we do not fear, than impartial in our own case. If we are to take his account as it stands, Romanism has a success among the heathen, inferior indeed, but similar to that which attended the preaching of the first propagators of the Gospel. Nor are we unwilling to allow, that it has so much of the blessing of the true Church with it, as to have a measure of success, which Ultra-Protestant efforts, however zealous and praiseworthy in themselves, will not experience. We will but cite the contrast he draws between the conduct of the Dutch Calvinists and Romanists in the Island of Ceylon, which, if it may be trusted, is a remarkable instance of this.

"I will enter into some details respecting a portion of the Indian Church, that in the island of Ceylon, to show you how far this reasoning is correct; and I think it presents a case which will put the two ground-works of faith on a fair comparison. This island was first converted to Christianity in the following way:—The natives having heard of what was doing by St. Francis Xavier on the continent, sent a messenger, or rather an embassy, to him, requesting him to come among them. He replied that he could not go in person at that moment, as he could not abandon the mission at Travancore, but sent another missionary, who baptized many natives; after two years St. Francis landed there in person, and finished the work of conversion. Persecution soon arose; the king of Jaffnapatam put six hundred Christians to death in one year, and among them his own eldest son; so that this church may be said to have been watered by the blood of martyrs.

"In 1650 the Dutch became masters of the island, and instantly took two very important steps. The first was, as Dr. Davies tells us in his travels, to allow Wimaladarme, son of Raja Singhe, to send messengers to Siam for twelve Buddhist idolatrous priests of the highest order. These came to Candy, anti ordained twelve natives to the same order, and many to the lower order; and thus they restored the religion of Buddha for the purpose of extirpating Catholicity from the island. In the second place they excluded the Catholic bishops and priests from the country, and forbad the natives to meet for religious purposes; they built Protestant churches in every parish throughout the island, and compelled every one to attend that worship; and they allowed no one to hold any post or office unless he subscribed the Protestant profession of faith.

"Here, then, we have a church established for less than a century, which yet had obtained a strong footing in the island. After this {401} we have another religion introduced, and every thing done to counteract and destroy what had been effected in favour of the other by a double method; first, by giving those who were so inclined permission to return to their old superstitions, and affording these protection and means of propagation; and secondly, by proscription, and by endeavouring to substitute in its stead the Protestant religion. For 150 years, till it came into the possession of the English, the island of Ceylon remained in this state. During all this time the native Catholics had no spiritual succour but what they received from the Portugueze priests of the order of St. Philip Neri, who landed there from time to time at the risk of their lives, and administered the sacraments privately, going from house to house. We have an interesting account given by the missionary D. Pedro Cubero Sebastian, how during the time of this persecution he landed, and disguising his character applied to the governor Pavellon for leave to remain some time in the town of Colombo. Leave was given him, on condition that a guard of soldiers should constantly accompany him, as he was suspected. He contrived however to elude their vigilance, and having lulled the attention of his guards in the middle of the night, assembled the whole Christian community of the place, and administered to them the comforts of religion. The transaction was discovered, he was immediately sent for by the governor, and ordered instantly to quit the island. He did so, and landed on the other side, but found that in the meantime a courier had arrived over land to put the governor of that district, Hoblaut, on his guard. A still more severe guardianship was the result; but in the middle of the night he again assembled the Christians, and administered the sacraments.

"These attempts, however, were not always so successful; for we learn that while Father Joseph Vaz, a zealous Portuguezc missionary of the order of Oratorians, was celebrating mass on Christmas night for a congregation of 200 persons, they were suddenly surprised by guards, who broke in the door and carried the entire congregation, men, women and children to prison. They were very cruelly treated, and next morning brought before the Dutch judge, Van Rheede, who dismissed the women and imposed fines on the men. Eight of these, however, were reserved to a severer doom, of whom one, a recent convert from Protestantism, was put to death with studied cruelty; the other seven were condemned, after a severe scourging, to irons and hard labour for life.

"Such were the means resorted to to put down the church which had been established by St. Francis in that island; and this course was continued for 150 years, until the British took possession of it in 1795. Indeed the laws which proscribed the Catholic religion were not repealed till 1806, when Sir Alexander Johnston, to whom the Catholics of that part of the world owe more than they can repay, obtained equality for all religions, and consequently the free exercise of ours.

"And what do you think has been the consequence of this step? Hear how Dr. Buchanan speaks on the subject:—'In the island of Ceylon, in which, by a calculation made in 1801, there were 342,000 Protestants—it is a well known fact that more than 50,000 have gone {402} over to the Catholic religion from want of teachers in their own religion.' So that within a few years after liberty was restored, more than 50,000 have returned to the faith originally planted there, and afterwards crushed by persecution. 'The ancient Protestant churches,' he farther observes, 'some of which are spacious buildings, and which, in the province of Jaffnapatam alone, amount to thirty-two, are now occupied at will by the Catholic priests of the order of St. Philip Neri, who have taken quiet possession of the island. If a remedy be not speedily applied, we may calculate that, in a few years, the island of Ceylon will be in the same situation as Ireland, as to the proportion between Catholics and Protestants. I must further add, however painful the reflection may be, that the defection to idolatry, in many districts, is very rapid.'

"Here, then, are the results of an attempt to establish the Protestant religion, by building and endowing churches, and by doing precisely all that the Catholics did in the peninsula of India; and see what has been the event; that there were 340,000 Protestants in this neighbouring island, and the moment the pressure of the law is taken off, 50,000 returned to the Catholic faith, and a great many of the rest went back to their old idolatry!"—vol. i. p. 231-234.

If it be inquired why the English Church has done so little here and elsewhere in the way of missions to the heathen, an obvious reason may be assigned without reflecting either upon its principles or its members. There is zeal and charity in abundance within it, but political influences have prevented its using them. It is commonly understood that Archbishop Secker wished to impart the Succession to the American colonies, but was forbidden by the government of the day, although he asked for no civil privileges for the bishops he should send them, but merely such countenance as other forms of Christianity might enjoy. Ever since the State took on itself the care and disposal of the Church, it has been very jealous of its forming foreign relations, or advancing one step towards the realization of that Catholicity which is an essential element of the Christian spirit. It has shown a special unwillingness that the Church should learn (as it were) to walk alone, as if it would enforce as the very tenure of its establishment, that it should have no substantive existence except in the framework of the constitution. Zeal, therefore, was for a period a superfluous virtue in the Church; and having no legitimate outlet for its exercise, it turned to the injury of those sacred interests which it was intended to subserve. What was by nature missionary became schismatical. Wesley, instead of being the founder of a Church in America or China, as he might, perhaps, have been, dwindled into a separatist and heresiarch, and drew from the mother he loved some of her best and most generous blood. The civil power saw without concern events which weakened an ally, which was most useful to itself, except when it became {403} too powerful. This answer ought to satisfy such as think fit to object to our Church, what has in fact been its misfortune; and if Romanists consider they see cause for triumph in it, as if we had thrown ourselves into the arms of the State, and were but suffering as all should suffer who take rash steps, we would refer them to the condition of their own Church from A.D. 1000 to 1080, and remind them that one or two centuries are but a span in the history of an institution which has lasted almost two millenaries, and will outlive all other dynasties and polities, however powerful and however tyrannical in their day.

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Dr. Wiseman is mistaken in saying that it came out under Dr. Burton's sanction.
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