III. Apostolical Tradition

[British Critic, July 1836]


{102} A SMALL volume has just now made its appearance which well deserves notice, as being the record of what the title-page styles a "Brothers' Controversy"—that is, an interchange of letters between a clergyman and his Unitarian brother-in-law on the subject of the cardinal doctrine which separates them in religion.

The disputants are men of education and ability: the clergyman orthodox, serious, amiable; his opponent a man of candour and good sense; and "the whole" correspondence professes to be sent to the press "faithfully, without comment, without altering a word or syllable" on one side or on the other.

If men are to argue with each other, they must, of course, find some common ground to argue upon. What gives this controversy to us a painful interest is that this common ground, accepted on either side in this case, is nothing short of a common error, so that in the event the combatants leave off pretty much where they were when they began. It is better, certainly, to hold the truth on wrong grounds than not to hold it at all; but it is better still to hold it on grounds which, not being erroneous, cannot be made a starting-point for distinct religious error in the long run. If the principles on which a controversy is conducted {103} are false or uncertain, it is likely to be little more than a trial of strength between the parties engaged in it, and is doomed to failure from the first.

Such is the judgment that we are obliged to pass on the assumptions on which these friends are content to place their issue. They take it for granted, as beyond all question, that, if we would ascertain the truths which Revelation has brought us, we have nothing else to do but to consult Scripture on the point, with the aid of our own private judgment, and that no doctrine is of importance which the Christian cannot find for himself in large letters there. Not, of course, that, in calling this a mere assumption and a mistake, we would for an instant deny that Scripture has one, and but one, teaching, one direct and definite sense, on the sacred matters of which it treats, and that it is the test of revealed truth; but, as Anglicans, we maintain that it is not its own interpreter, and that, as an historical fact, it has ever been furnished for individuals with an interpreter which is external to its readers and infallible, that is, with an ecclesiastical Tradition, derived in the first instance from the Apostles—a Tradition illuminating Scripture and protecting it; moreover, that this Tradition, and not Scripture itself, is our immediate and practical authority for such high doctrines as these friends discuss. To attempt to prove against adversaries our Lord's Divinity and Incarnation by Scripture without Tradition, seems to us a mistake as great as that of attempting to speak a living language by studying its classics, or to ascertain physical facts by pure mathematics without experiment or observation.

We have said that the common ground, on which these disputants erect their arguments, admits of being used in behalf of error; but we must go further. {104} Their first principle really is inconsistent with there being any certainties in Revelation whatever; for, if nothing is to be held as revealed but what every one perceives to be in Scripture, there is nothing that can be so held, considering that in matter of fact there is no universal agreement as to what Scripture teaches and what it does not teach: and why are one man's opinions to be ruled by the readings of another? The right which each man has of judging for himself ipso facto deprives him of the right of judging for other inquirers. He is bound to tolerate all other creeds by virtue of the very principle on which he claims to choose his own. Thus ultra-Protestantism infallibly leads to Latitudinarianism.


However, our proper business here is not to prove what is so very much of a truism, but to fulfil an intention which we expressed some time since, of attempting an exposition and an explanation of the Anglican doctrine on the subject. First, however, by way of introduction, we mean to devote a few pages to the volume which has given us the opportunity of redeeming our pledge.

The Unitarian, then, as we have said, claims the right of private judgment, and the clergyman grants it to him. Says the former,—

"The Protestant Church says that the Gospel is addressed to every individual; and I say that he, who does not use his most serious and powerful understanding in endeavouring rightly to comprehend it, hides his best talent, instead of improving it."—P. 32.

Says the clergyman in response,—

"As to the duty of free inquiry, it is impossible for any one to advocate it more entirely than I do; only let Scripture authority {105} be paramount. But, if any one tampers with Scripture, ... then, be he friend or foe, I will join in reprobating such conduct."—P. 51.

Manifestos such as these profess to enunciate some large principle, maxim, or law, of axiomatic or enthymematic force, carrying its proof in its very wording; yet how evident an assumption is involved both in the former of these two statements and in the latter! If by "the Gospel" the Unitarian means the written document of Matthew or of Mark, of Luke or of John, then he has to prove, what he takes for granted, that that document is addressed to every individual inquirer of all times and places as a summary of the Christian religion; but, if he uses the word in its primary sense of "good tidings," then his "understanding," whether "powerful" or not, need in no sense be taxed by what is in its very idea nothing else than an oral message of peace, requiring on his part no sagacity, labour of thought, perseverance, or learning,—in short, no intellectual effort at all beyond that of faith. And in like manner, the clergyman must be asked on his part why it is that he advocates "the duty of free inquiry," and yet withdraws the "authority of Scripture" from its action? If inquiry is a healthy exercise as regards the creed, why not as regards the canon? but if we may not "tamper with" the authority of "Scripture," why with the authority of Tradition?

Of course both disputants will maintain that in fact no authoritative Tradition now exists, so as to admit of any such appeal to it as we have supposed; but they ought to bear in mind that others believe in its existence, if they do not, whereas the layman is so supremely unsuspicious that Anglicans hold it, as to bring it against us, as a reductio ad absurdum, that we grant St. Paul never to have taught the orthodox creed in {106} his catechizings and preachings, but solely in certain obiter dicta of his extant Epistles. He asks with reference to the Book of Acts,—

"Can I believe that concerning Jesus, whom the Apostles so preached" [i.e., as a mere man] "year after year to Jews and Gentiles, professing their own inspiration and express commission to teach, saying that they had taught all the gospel, it was afterwards for the first time revealed in a letter written by one of them to a church he had established in a heathen country" [vide Rom. ix. 5], "and in this letter, not by direct declaration of the writer, but incidentally, by way of allusion, in a parenthesis, that He was the very and eternal God?"—P. 70.

Strange that a grave controversialist should impute to a school so sober as the Anglican so unnatural and poor a view of the process by which the Catholic truths were first presented to the world! Yet he reiterates,—

"It is to me inconceivable that the Apostle could possibly, in the winding up of a sentence in an Epistle, intend to reveal the astonishing doctrine that Christ was God ... that the Apostle, having preached Christ crucified and risen, should, after years of such preaching, bring out this revelation in so cursory and elliptical a manner."—P. 129.

An additional remark is in place here. Our disputant in this passage insists on the silence of the Apostles, year after year, on the subject of our Lord's Divinity, while protesting nevertheless that they had "taught all the gospel." Let it be observed, then, that in that very address delivered at Miletus, to which the Unitarian specially refers, as being that in which St. Paul declares that he has preached "the whole counsel of God," far from being silent as to our Lord's Divine nature, he even declares it with startling explicitness. He exhorts the elders whom he had called around him to "feed the flock of God, whom He hath purchased with His own blood." {107}


But let us observe how the clergyman, a sensible and well-instructed man, replies to his opponent. We do not find that he anywhere expresses surprise at his brother-in-law's unwarrantable assumption, but, in handling the argument founded upon it, he curiously flutters about what we deem the real answer to it, without ever lighting upon or touching it. He leaves the ground of Biblical criticism, and appeals to the belief of the early Church. So far good; and he quotes from Irenĉus and Tertullian, whose testimonies are of some authority, "as showing" the layman's "notion to be erroneous" (pp. 95, 96). Presently he says, "I have shown by quotations from Irenĉus and Tertullian that the primitive Christians understood it in the sense we attach to it" (p. 107). This is promising; he is now in the right track: alas! he raises our hopes only to disappoint them. One would think, before he appealed to the primitive Church, that he ought to have ascertained why the fact of its testimony tells in favour of the interpretation of Scripture, whatever that turns out to be, to which it testifies. The plain reason is this—that that testimony comes close upon the Apostles, and thereby is more likely to convey to us their sense of a Scripture passage; in other words, it has a certain Apostolical authority in explaining Scripture; and, in consequence, it is a source of Christian truth in some sense independent of Scripture—a guide to a certain extent superseding the need of private judgment. If it have not this authority, and on this account, it is no more than the opinion of any other generation of men, and quite irrelevant in a question in controversy. Almost as reasonably might the clergyman require his brother-in-law to yield to his {108} own interpretation as to Irenĉus's, if that Father's proximity to the Apostles has no weight in the dispute, except indeed that a second opinion corroborates a first.

Nevertheless, in spite of his wishing to avail himself of the Fathers, he does not fully understand why he quoted Irenĉus. The layman boldly says,—

"Your quotations from Irenĉus and Tertullian prove that the now received construction existed in their time, and was received by them; in other words, that they were Trinitarians, and this is all."—P. 130.

In his reply to this plain speaking, the clergyman not only misses the true force of his own argument, but suggests a novel basis for it—viz., that, since creeds did not exist in the primitive Church (a position running counter both to fact and to the necessities of his argument), the primitive belief in the doctrine of the Trinity is an evidence of what is the true sense of Scripture, as witnessed by unbiassed and unprejudiced judgments. He says,—

"It is difficult to find persons in these times who have never heard of creeds before they read the Bible; but it appears to me that the most satisfactory way of ascertaining the truth of your remark will be to observe what doctrines those minds found in the Bible who certainly could have their minds prejudiced by no creed, save that which they received from the mouth of the Apostles, or which they learned from the inspired writings."—P. 195.

In this extract let us observe carefully the clause, "save that which they received from the mouth of the Apostles." The writer not only burns, he has the truth in his hands; yet, as his whole argument shows undeniably, he scarcely has caught hold of it but he lets it go again. It is a game of Blind-man's Buff. The notion of an Apostolical creed authoritatively interpreting Scripture is, after all, quite beyond him. He continues:— {109}

"Let us next see what Clement of Rome believed, while as yet unschooled by creeds and articles, etc. ... Trying Ignatius by the same test, we find him, etc. ... As to the object I had in view in quoting these passages, since I find that Barnabas, Clement and Ignatius, without creed preceding, arrived at the same conclusion that I have—namely, that Christ was God, and also Creator of the world—I am little inclined to distrust that 'orthodox education' to which you seem to attribute the inferences I draw from the study of the Scriptures."—P. 196.

Elsewhere he enlarges on this view in a genuine Protestant tone:—

"We say, reason from Scripture, and expound Scripture by comparing it with itself, instead of with the dogmas of men; and this is the appeal I wish everywhere to be made."—P. 115.


"I assert that neither the Church of England, nor I, have ever required persons to take their creeds for granted, or forbidden the unbiassed comparison of them with the words of Scripture ... The eighth Article of our Church says, 'The three creeds ought thoroughly to be received and believed.' And why? Because the Church says so? No; but because 'they may be proved by most certain warrant of Holy Scripture.' The word of God is the test by which we pronounce they are to be tried."—Pp. 185-7.

All this is true, but not the whole truth. The reason of the clergyman's misapprehension is obvious: he is hampered by the ultra-Protestant sense in which he reads our Articles. At the time they were drawn up, the rights of Scripture, as the test of Tradition, were disparaged; and therefore they contain a protest in behalf of the former. Were they drawn up now, it would be necessary to introduce a protest in behalf of Tradition, as indeed incidentally occurs, even as it is, in the famous clause of the Twentieth Article, which declares that "the Church" (i.e. the Church Catholic) "has authority in controversies of faith"—viz., as being the steward of Apostolical teaching. However, the {110} circumstance that the direct statements of the Articles are mainly in defence of the authority of Scripture has given specious ground for the school of ultra-Protestants to assert that Scripture is a sufficient guide in matters of faith to the private Christian, who may put on it whatever sense he thinks the true sense, instead of submitting to that one sense which the writers intended, and to which the Church, in matter of fact, has testified from the first. We see in the controversy before us the consequences of this mistake. Our orthodox disputant has to argue points which have been ruled in his favour centuries upon centuries ago, as if inquiry were never to have an answer and an end. He is obliged to have recourse to grammatical criticism, to consult Dr. Elmsley in the Bodleian about the meaning of particles (p. 48), and, after all his toil, is met with the candid and perplexing avowal on the part of his opponent, that for himself he does not think it necessary to rest his faith on any one "certain sentence in a letter written by an Apostle" (p. 65). The clergyman, in consequence, is obliged to look about for philosophical evidence, and fortifies his scheme of doctrine by the shallow and dangerous argumentations of Mr. Erskine. After all, he takes the desperate step of referring the personal reception of the orthodox truth to a supernatural influence—a resolution of his difficulty which of course dispenses with the necessity of arguing altogether.

At length his unlucky first principle is after all too strong for him; and, in spite of his appeal to Heaven and its inscrutable grace, overcome by the logic of his adversary, he allows himself to accept, however hesitatingly, those latitudinarian views which are the legitimate issue of the ultra-Protestantism with which he started. He condemns, though reluctantly, the anathemas {111} of the Athanasian Creed: why, except as investing with undue sanctions mere deductions made by the private human intellect from the text of Scripture?

"Nothing that I have advanced upon the subject of the Athanasian Creed is, as I conceive, in the least degree inconsistent with my joining in the sentiment of Tillotson, and wishing it removed from our Church service. If I were called upon to give my vote on the subject, it would be for its omission; but this would not at all imply that I felt less uneasiness as to the future salvation of those who deny the Lord that bought them; nor do I see how the entertaining such fears necessarily leads to any breach of charity."—P. 108.

We do not set much by this salvo, which seems to us but the protest of true Christian feeling against the latitudinarian conclusions of an inexorable logic. Is it indeed possible for the run of men, if they are bound to hold that the high doctrines about our Lord are only the private, uninspired inferences of individuals from the Scripture text, to hold also that they are necessary to be believed in order to salvation? Does not, then, as we have said, the theory that Scripture only is to be the guide of Protestants, lead them to a certainty, when it is mastered, to become liberals? We do not for an instant suppose that the Catholic doctrine is not in Scripture, and that clear and unprejudiced readers will not find it there; still, while belief in the document—"the Bible and the Bible only"—is made the first thing, and belief in the doctrine is only the second, and is considered nothing more than an inference of the private student, it inevitably follows in the case of the multitude, who are not clear-headed or unprejudiced, that the definition of a Christian will be made to turn, not on faith in the doctrine, but on faith in the document, and Unitarianism will come to be thought, not indeed true, but not unreasonable, not unchristian, not perilous. {112}


Leaving, then, this halfway house to latitudinarianism, which this anxious clergyman has in all good faith done his best, on a Protestant basis, to put into habitable condition, let us go on to our proper subject—that is, to try whether, as regards such sacred dogmas as relate to our Lord's Person, a better stand against the liberalism of the day cannot be made by the Anglican theology. This theology teaches the existence, the uninterrupted continuance from the time of the Apostles, of a tradition of our Lord's Divinity—a tradition interpretative of what is also said of Him in Scripture, and dispensing, as far as its subject-matter extends, with the need of private judgment on the sacred text, as being the voice of Christendom in every time and place. This is the hypothesis which, apropos of Mr. Blanco White's recent work, we pledged ourselves some months back to consider; and, though our most careful treatment of it must be worse than imperfect, yet we shall gain as much as we aim at, if we succeed in any measure in directing the attention of our readers to an important subject, especially important in this day.

Much as we differ from Mr. White in the main conclusions to which he has come, he fully bears out what we have been saying above; he denies an Apostolical tradition of doctrine, and therefore he is consistently a Unitarian. He thinks that Scripture has no authorized interpreter, and that dogmatic statements are no part of Revelation. Chillingworth and Locke thus spoke before him, nor would he consider that we paid him a bad compliment in saying so. Every clear-headed thinker, he would say, must so determine. Bible religion, so called, and a creed with anathemas never can stand together, except at the {113} bidding of the law of the land, or under the prejudices of education, or with the inducements of self-interest. Men in general, it is true, are ruled by habit, by authority, by prejudice, by associations, and against these ordinary motives of action philosophers indeed may strive in vain; but still there is no doubt what will ever be the result, when an age or a people begins to think.

"Certainly," says Chillingworth, "if Protestants be faulty" [in playing the Pope], "it is for doing it too much, and not too little. This presumptuous imposing of the senses of men upon the general words of God, and laying them upon men's consciences together, under the equal penalty of death and damnation—this vain conceit that we can speak of the things of God better than in the words of God—this deifying of our own interpretations, and tyrannous enforcing them upon others—this restraining of the Word of God from that latitude and generality, and the understandings of men from that liberty wherein Christ and the Apostles left them—is and hath been the only fountain of all the schisms of the Church, and that which makes them immortal: the common incendiary of Christendom, and that which tears into pieces, not the coat, but the bowels and members of Christ. Take away these walls of separation, and all will quickly be one."—Rel. of Prot., iv. 17.

In like manner Locke:—

"When they have determined the Holy Scriptures to be the only foundation of faith, they nevertheless lay down certain propositions as fundamental which are not in the Scripture; and because others will not acknowledge these additional opinions of theirs, nor build upon them, as if they were necessary and fundamental, they therefore make a separation in the Church, either by withdrawing themselves from others or expelling the others from them. Nor does it signify anything for them to say that their confessions and symbols are agreeable to Scripture, and to the analogy of faith. For if they be conceived in the express words of Scripture, there can be no question about them ... but if they say that the articles which they require to be professed are consequences deduced from the Scripture, it is undoubtedly well done of them who believe and profess such things as seem unto them so agreeable to the rule of faith. But it would be very ill done to obtrude those things upon {114} others, unto whom they do not seem to be the indubitable doctrines of the Scripture. This only I say—that, however clearly we may think this or the other doctrine to be deduced from Scripture, we ought not therefore to impose it upon others, as a necessary article of faith, because we believe it to be agreeable to the rule of faith. I cannot but wonder at the extravagant arrogance of those men, who think that they themselves can explain things necessary to salvation more clearly than the Holy Ghost, the eternal and infinite Wisdom of God."—Letter on Toler., fin.

And Hoadley, in his life of the semi-Arian, Dr. S. Clarke, speaking of him and his opponents in the Trinitarian question:—

"Let me add this one word more, that, since men of such thought and such learning have shown the world in their own example how widely the most honest inquirers after truth may differ on such subjects, this, methinks, should a little abate our mutual censures, and a little take off from our positiveness about the necessity of explaining in this or that one determinate sense, the ancient passages relating to points of so sublime a nature."

And lastly, Dr. Hampden, to whose lot it has fallen to state objections to Catholic Truth in a more distinct shape than they have been found in the works of Churchmen for some time. He says:—

"The real causes of separation are to be found in that confusion of theological and moral truth with religion, which is evidenced in the profession of different sects. Opinions on religious matters are regarded as identical with the objects of faith, and the zeal which belongs to dissentients in the latter is transferred to the guiltless differences of fallible judgments. Whilst we agree in the canon of Scripture, in the very words, for the most part, from which we learn what are the objects of faith, we suffer disunion to spread among us through the various interpretations suggested by our own reasonings on the admitted facts of Scripture. We introduce theories of the Divine Being and His attributes, theories of human nature and of the universe, principles drawn from the various branches of human philosophy, into the body itself of revealed wisdom. And we then proceed to contend for these unrevealed representations of the Wisdom of God, as if it were that very Wisdom as it stands forth {115} confessed in His own living oracles. The Wisdom that is from above is at once 'pure' and 'gentle'; surely it has no resemblance to that dogmatical and sententious wisdom which theological controversy has created."—Observ. on Rel. Diss., pp. 7, 8. 


We agree then with these writers in their strong protests against the assumption that private judgment is compatible with dogmatic certainty; but a man need not be a liberal because he is not a Protestant. Granting that Scripture does not force on us its full dogmatic meaning, that cannot hinder us looking for that meaning elsewhere. Perhaps Tradition is able to supply both interpretation and dogma. For that there should really be no definite, no dogmatic meaning at all in Scripture in its sacred revelations, is, to say the least, a very paradoxical position.

This is what these authors forget when they write so magisterially and fluently. They agree in ignoring the existence, in fact—nay, the probability, or the very possibility—of an Apostolical Tradition, supplementary to and interpretative of Scripture. The idea of such an aid to Christian teaching does not seem even to enter into their comprehension. They take for granted that the accumulated knowledge about our Lord and His religion which must have flowed from the lips of the Apostles upon their converts, in their familiar conversations, catechizings, preachings, ecclesiastical determinations, prayers, was clean swept away and perished with the closing of the canon and the death of St. John. All the information of the great forty days came to nought, except so far as it accidentally strayed into one or other passage of the Apostolic Epistles. No one had ever any curiosity to ask the Apostles, during the remnant of their lives, any point {116} of faith; no one had felt interest enough to ascertain from them who their Master was, why He died, and with what results. No one retained any memory of their teaching concerning God, or the human soul, or the unseen state, or the world of saints and angels, or the Church on earth; no one had sought for explanation of any verse in St. Matthew or St. Luke, of the doctrine contained in the first or in the sixth chapters of St. John, or of the symbol of "the Lamb," or of the nature of "the Spirit"; or, anyhow, nothing had been asked, nothing answered, but what already was recorded by a singular chance in the books of the New Testament, or at least nothing that was of the slightest importance and worth preserving. The great Churches of the day, at Corinth, Rome, Antioch, and Ephesus, the learned school of Alexandria, knew in the year A.D. 100 and onwards as much of all these matters as we do now, and no more. Their interpretations of the sacred writings were just on a par with the private judgments of clever commentators, orthodox or heterodox, now—one as good as another, conjectural, personal, inferential, unauthoritative. "Pious opinions," as they have been called, "theories upon facts," "dogmatical and sententious wisdom," "hieroglyphics, casting shadows," "metaphors explanatory of metaphors," "vain conceits," "presumptuous impositions,"—it seems nothing better than these remains to us, these are all the leavings, if we are to credit Chillingworth, Locke, Hoadley and the rest, of the contemporaries and the disciples of our Lord.


Dr. Hampden, however, is bolder still, and goes farther: in order to deprive us of the barest dream of enjoying an Apostolical voice in illustration and confirmation of an Apostolical writing, he assures us that {117} the very idea of Tradition is a mistake, that there is no such thing as a succession of preaching and hearing, that what is called Tradition teaches us—nay, professes to teach us—nothing more than Scripture, nothing at all, true or false; that it has nothing to do with the transmission of knowledge, and for this plain reason—because it is but the judgment of ecclesiastics exercised on Scripture. He says, "Tradition is nothing more than expositions of Scripture, reasoned out by the Church, and embodied in a code of doctrine" (p. 4). It is but the gold and silver of inspired writers taken out in coppers.

This surely is a most startling and paradoxical statement. We had fancied that St. Paul "delivered" to his converts "that which he also received;" we had fancied that St. Irenĉus enumerated the succession of Bishops, through whom the tradition of gospel doctrine had come down to his day, and that Tertullian testified to a like tradition, and that Vincent of Lérins had even gained a name in theological history by appealing to the testimony, not of Scripture, but of antiquity and catholicity, as the warrant for the creed of his day. But it seems, after all, that the celebrated "Quod semper, quod ubique, quod ab omnibus," means nothing more than "The Bible, and the Bible only, is the religion of Protestants." Nor shall we surely be singular in being thus surprised at such an issue of this great controversy. It will sound strange, we think, to the hosts of Protestant controversialists, especially to Hales and to Chillingworth, to Tillotson and Newton, who have in good faith taunted the Pope and his Bishops for so long a time as determining their creed by traditions of men and lying legends. Nor will it be a less surprise to the theologians of Rome themselves, whose very profession and boast it is that their Church has ever {118} preserved inviolate, and is ever transmitting to posterity, not merely by the canon of Scripture, but by a living observance, that very religion of which the Apostles commenced the delivery, and which, they would say, Protestant doctors have supplanted by that process of deduction which after all is, according to Dr. Hampden, simply identical with Tradition itself.

Had Scripture never been written, Tradition would have existed still; it has an intrinsic, substantive authority, and a use collateral to Scripture. This surely, and nothing else, is the doctrine of Bellarmine and his co-religionists. "Totalis regula fidei," he says (De V. D. non Scr. 12), "est Verbum Dei, sive Revelatio Dei ecclesiĉ facta, quĉ dividitur in duas regulas partiales, Scripturam et Traditionem." And he has a chapter on the tests by which we ascertain what traditions are Apostolical; and among the uses of Tradition he places that of interpreting Scripture doctrine. He says, "It happens very often that Scripture is ambiguous and perplexed, so that, unless there be an interpreter who cannot err, it cannot be understood. Examples abound: the equality of the Divine Persons, the Procession of the Holy Ghost, etc. ... and many similar points admit, indeed, of being deduced from the sacred writings; but with such difficulty that, if Scripture testimonies were the sole weapon, the controversy with heady men would never come to an end." And Bossuet in like manner (Expos., ch. xvii., xviii.): "Jesus Christ, having laid the foundation of the Church by preaching, the unwritten word was consequently the first rule of Christianity; and, when the writings of the New Testament were added to it, its authority was not forfeited on that account; which makes us receive with equal veneration all that has been taught by the {119} Apostles, whether in writing or by word of mouth." Yet Dr. Hampden rules it absolutely in half a sentence, that "Tradition is nothing more than expositions of Scripture reasoned out by the Church."

Nor will Anglican writers be less surprised at a statement which, if it can be maintained, is fatal to the authority of Vincent of Lérins, and to the corner-stone of our theology. Certainly, if Tradition is but a subtle mode of arguing and deducing from the Bible, the interference of critics of our theological school in "the Brothers'" controversy is a simple blunder, as we shall have no case as against the combatants and the first principle which they hold in common. But what would Bishop Jebb say to the doctrine that Tradition was nothing else than Scripture inference? Jebb considers that the Church of Rome has erred, not certainly in fancying Tradition to be all one with Scripture, but in considering the former as so separate from the latter, and so independent of it, that it may be true and authoritative, though it says what Scripture is silent upon. "The Church of Rome," he says, "maintains, not only that there are two rules of belief, but that these two rules are co-ordinate; that there is an unwritten, no less than a written Word of God, and that the authority of the former is alike definitive with the authority of the latter." What, again, must the present Bishop of Lincoln think of this same doctrine, who is still more explicit than Jebb in enunciating Jebb's principle, and whose language is so strong and so apposite to the course of thought which we are pursuing, that we cannot refrain from setting it before the reader?

"If we mistake not the signs of the times," says Dr. Kaye, in his work upon Tertullian, "the period is {120} not far distant when the whole controversy between the English and Romish Churches will be revived, and all the points in dispute again brought under review. Of those none is more important than the question respecting Tradition; and it is therefore most essential that they who would stand forth as the defenders of the Church of England should take a correct and rational view of the subject—the view, in short, which was taken by our divines at the Reformation. Nothing was more remote from their intention than indiscriminately to condemn all Tradition ... What our Reformers opposed was the notion that men must, upon the mere authority of Tradition, receive as necessary to salvation doctrines not contained in Scripture ... In this, as in other instances, they wisely adopted a middle course: they neither bowed submissively to the authority of Tradition, nor yet rejected it altogether."—P. 297, ed. 1826.

In another place he speaks still more distinctly. "Tertullian," he says, "appeals to Apostolical Tradition, to a rule of faith, not originally deduced from Scripture, but delivered by the Apostles orally to the Churches which they founded, and regularly transmitted from them to his own time. How, I would ask, is this appeal inconsistent with the principles of the Church of England, which declares only that Holy Scripture contains all things necessary to salvation? Respecting the source from which the rule of faith was originally deduced, our Church is silent."—P. 587.


This is the doctrine of genuine Anglicanism; and surely it embodies a principle as consonant to the considerateness of Revealed Mercy, as it is welcome to those who would profit by that Revelation to the full. Certainly there are strong reasons, prior to evidence {121} for weak human nature to desire, nay, almost to expect such an informant as we are supposing, to help them in determining the meaning of Scripture where the clearness of its teaching is not on a level with its importance. Such a guide is not a superfluity. Scripture is not written in a dogmatic form, though there are dogmatic passages in it; it contains portions and tokens, nay, the promise, of a boon, which nature so intimately desiderates that it betakes itself to false teachings if it cannot get true. To the millions for whom Redemption has been wrought, creeds and catechisms, liturgies and a theological system, the multitudinous ever-sounding voice, the categorical, peremptory incisiveness, the (so to say) full chime, of ecclesiastical authority, is a first necessity, if they are to realize the world unseen. Yet, strange to say, this need is denied by writers, because they cannot have it supplied just in the way they wish. Dr. Hampden here again distinguishes himself by paradox. He "asks," in his Bampton Lectures with the Unitarian above quoted, "whether it is likely that an Apostle would have adopted the form of an epistolary communication for imparting mysterious propositions to disciples with whom he enjoyed the opportunity of personal intercourse, and to whom he had already 'declared the whole counsel of God'" (p. 375). This argument, let it be observed, is intended to prove that Christianity is not dogmatic, because Scripture is not dogmatic in its form or its profession. Let us suppose that there was not one dogmatic sentence in the New Testament—let the argument be, Christianity is not dogmatic, because its Scriptures are not dogmatic,—is it not far more reasonable to argue that, considering the need, if Christianity is not dogmatic in its books, we must look for its dogmas elsewhere? {122}

We shall think it safe to assume the latter proposition as a sound one, and under its controversial force and the countenance of the learned Prelate whose words are given above, we now proceed to apply the doctrine of Apostolical Tradition to the purposes of that controversy which "the Brothers" attempted to settle on the ground of private judgment.


First, then, every one knows that a definite doctrine concerning our Lord's origin and nature is taught at this day all over the Church, and that this doctrine, in matter of fact, was, strictly speaking, taught to the present generation—not learned by it so much as taught it—taught it by the generation immediately before it, not gathered in the first instance by its own inferences from Scripture. This was the fact; and there is as little doubt that that previous generation of men was in like manner taught in the same matters by their own predecessors; and further, that this process of transmission and acceptance—that is, of tradition—has gone on for many centuries: nay, we might say, up to the very first or Apostolic century; but (not arbitrarily to place it so high), at least to the fourth century of our era—that is, up to little more than 200 years from the death of St. John. We will stop, then, at the year 325, being sure that no one will deny that our Lord's Divinity has ever since the fourth century been an article of the Christian creed, and has ever since been acknowledged through the whole extent of Christendom as a fundamental, or rather as the cardinal, doctrine of revealed religion. The question is, whether the events of A.D. 325 and the following years do not bear conclusive testimony to the fact that this great {123} article of faith, then publicly acknowledged, was also taught 200 or 250 years before by St. John and St. Paul—whether the year 325 does not transmit to 1800 what it had received from A.D. 60 or 90. We answer this question in the affirmative, and our reasons are as follows:—

In the second decade of the fourth century a controversy arose in Alexandria about our Lord's proper Divinity. It was brought before the Bishop, and, when his authority was unequal to the settlement of it, it led to the summoning of the first Ecumenical Council at Nicĉa, in A.D. 325, which was attended by 318 bishops from all parts of the world, as representatives of the whole Church Catholic. Out of this number so collected more than 300 at once pronounced that that doctrine concerning our Lord, such as we hold it now—viz., that He was "God of God"—was the doctrine taught by the Apostles in the beginning. This was their concurrent and energetic testimony, as history records it; and now, was or was not that testimony practically decisive on the question what it was that after our Lord's departure the Apostles had taught about our Lord in Jerusalem, Antioch, Ephesus, Alexandria, and Rome?

Here, then, first let it be observed that no external authority interfered to incline them to the doctrine to which they subscribed. Constantine had originally considered the dispute which led to their meeting as little better than a question of words, and had written to Alexandria to order both parties engaged in it to tolerate each other and keep quiet. On finding, however, both before and at the Council, the general opinion to be against Arius, the originator of the disturbance, he changed his course in favour of orthodoxy, at the cost of abandoning thereby his personal friends, and {124} zealously defended the side professed by the majority. After a few years he changed back again, and exposed the Bishops and populations of the Church to the revenge of an exasperated faction. Constantius, who succeeded him, also sided with the heretics, and far more decidedly. He fiercely persecuted the orthodox, assembled Council after Council to destroy the authority of the Nicene, and at the end of his reign dragooned 400 bishops in the West and 150 in the East into giving an indirect denial to the doctrine witnessed to and solemnly professed in 325. Thus political influences told strongly against, not for, the triumph throughout Christendom of the tradition of orthodoxy. The creed of Nicĉa was not the imposition of secular power.

Nor did it proceed from a powerful coalition of mutually sympathizing and allied hierarchies. On the contrary, there were long-existing rivalries between those several Churches which took part in the Council. There had been at an earlier date serious disputes between Rome and Ephesus, Rome and Carthage, Rome and Antioch, Rome and Alexandria; and, if it be said that the Bishop of Rome himself was not at Nicĉa—only delegates from him—in the same degree as his influence would not be felt there, is it remarkable that he should have so zealously co-operated in the West in carrying out the determinations of the East. Moreover, whatever local influence there was of a theological character at Nicĉa was in favour of the heresy, for a member of the original Arian party, and a friend of Arius, was in possession of its see. Further, there was an old jealousy between Alexandria and Antioch, which, as far as it was allowed to act, would tell powerfully in the direction of blunting or thwarting any such keen assertion of the orthodox doctrine as the Council carried out. {125} Moreover, there was at that time a schismatical communion called the Novatian, of about seventy years' standing, spreading through Asia Minor and Africa as well as Italy, bitterly opposed to the Catholics and the see of Rome, and representing at the Council the theology of A.D. 250. This communion is known to have held the dogmatic symbol adopted at the Council as zealously as its Fathers, and afterwards suffered persecution from the Arians.


Again, it must be borne in mind that the great Council at Nicĉa was summoned, not to decide for the first time what was to be held concerning our Lord's nature, but, as far as inquiry came into its work, to determine the fact whether Arius did or did not contradict the Church's teaching, and, if he did, by what sufficient tessera he and his party could be excluded from the communion of the faithful. That authoritative and formal interpretation of the written word, which we have above treated as a probability, is in truth a matter of history in the early Church. The fact of a tradition of revealed truth was an elementary principle of Christianity. A body of doctrine had been delivered by the Apostles to their first successors, and by them in turn to the next generation, and then to the next, as we have said above. "The things that thou hast heard from me through many witnesses," says St. Paul to Timothy, "the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also." This body of truth was in consequence called the "depositum," as being a substantive teaching, not a mere accidental deduction from Scripture. Thus St. Paul says to his disciple and successor Timothy, "Keep the deposit," {126} "hold fast the form of sound words," "guard the noble deposit." This important principle is forcibly insisted on by Irenĉus and Tertullian before the Nicene era, and by Vincent after it. "'O Timothy,'" says Vincent, "'guard the depositum, avoiding profane novelties of words.' Who is Timothy today? Who but the universal Church, or, in particular, the whole body of prelates, whose duty it is both themselves to have the full knowledge of religion, and to instruct others in it? What means 'guard'? Guard the deposit because of enemies, lest, while men sleep, they sow tares upon the good seed, which the Son of Man has sowed in His field. What is 'the deposit'? That which hath been intrusted to you, not that which thou hast discovered; what thou hast received, not what thou hast thought out; a matter, not of cleverness, but of teaching, not of private handling, but of public tradition."

This doctrine of a deposit leads to another remark. It involves in its idea a teaching which had no natural limit or circuit. Such teaching, carried on as it might be in the lifelong contact of master and scholar, was too vast, too minute, too complicated, too implicit, too fertile, to be put into writing, at least in times of persecution; it was for the most part conveyed orally, and the safeguard against its corruption was the number and the unanimity of its witnesses. The canon of Scripture was an additional safeguard—not, however, as limiting it, but as verifying it. Also it was kept in position, and from drifting, by the Creed: that is, by a fixed form of words, the articles of which were the heads and main points, and memoranda for the catechist and preacher, and which were rehearsed and accepted by every candidate for baptism, by way of avowing his adherence to that entire doctrine which {127} the Church was appointed to dispense [Note 1]. The Divinity, then, of our Lord could not have been asserted and recorded at Nicĉa, unless the separate Churches there represented had severally found it in their depositum fidei.

A further remark is in point. It followed from the very Catholicity of the Church that its tradition, as now described, while one and the same in its matter everywhere, or at least in its substance, was manifold, various and independent in its local manifestation. Each Branch of the extended body had its own distinct line of traditional teaching from the Apostles; and each branch was loyally, nay, obstinately, attached to its own traditions, whatever their peculiarities might be, and reluctant, on grounds of conscience, to yield any portion of them in favour of the traditions of other churches, even when they related to what was indifferent or of minor moment, or at least only of expedience. Thus the dispute between Ephesus and Rome related to the time of keeping Easter. Thus there was a question of the authority of the Apocalypse and other books of Scripture, and a more serious question relative to the baptism of heretics. In such controversies the one party religiously refused to yield to the other. The unanimity at Nicĉa, then, was not a mutual sacrifice of views between separate churches for the sake {128} of peace; not merely the decision of a majority; but simply and plainly the joint testimony of many local bodies, as independent witnesses to the separate existence in each of them, from time immemorial, of that great dogma in which they found each other to agree. Indeed, it is hard to suppose that they could be found to disagree in what was obviously so primary and elementary a question in the revealed system.

And there is evidence in the history of the Council that this duty of faithfulness to a depositum was directly before the minds of the assembled Fathers. On the contrary, it is observable that the handful of Bishops who supported Arius did not make any appeal to any uninterrupted tradition in their favour. They did but profess to argue from Scripture and from the nature of the case; if they went further, it was but to profess that they had been taught their doctrine by a certain presbyter of Antioch, whose disciples they avowed themselves to be, and that with a sort of esprit de corps; they did not commit themselves to immemorial tradition. Athanasius takes advantage of their dating one of their numerous confessions of faith, to insist upon this contrast. "Having composed," he says, "a creed according to their tastes, they headed it with mention of the consul, and the month, and the day, as if to suggest to all men of understanding, that now from the time of Constantius, not before, their faith dates its rise ... They say, 'We publish the Catholic Faith,' and then they add consulate, month, and day, that, as prophets marked the period of their histories and their ministries by dates, so they might be accurate in the date of their faith. Nay, I wish they had confined themselves to speak of their own private faith, (for in fact it did then begin,) and had let alone {129} the Catholic faith; whereas they wrote, not 'Thus we believe,' but 'We publish the Catholic faith.' ... On the other hand [the Nicene Fathers], many as they were, ventured nothing such as these men ventured; but, whereas about the Easter Feast they said, 'This is our decree,' they did not use the word 'decree' when speaking of the faith, but said, 'Thus believes the Catholic Church;' for what they set down was no discovery of theirs, but the doctrine which was taught by the Apostles."—De Syn. 3-5.

Nor can it be successfully maintained that an identity of doctrine, such as is found in A.D. 325, in such various quarters of Christendom, was the gradual, silent, insensible, homogeneous growth of the intermediate period, during which the vague statements of Apostles, parallel to those in Scripture, were adjusted and completed. This theory of a development into a higher view of our Lord's Person is not tenable. For, not to mention the existence of the Novatians, who had split off from the Church within 150 years of St. John's death, and yet were as determined in upholding the Nicene doctrine as the Catholics, it so happens that in the very age of the Apostles a sect arose external to the Church, which opened upon theologians all those more subtle questions concerning the nature of Christ which were agitated within the Church during the fourth and fifth centuries. "What think ye of Christ? whose Son is He?" had been the question from the first; it was, as was natural, the first and direct question before the minds of preachers, catechists, hearers, and converts, in the propagation of the Gospel. Wherever the truth was taught, there was the probability of an heretical opposition to it; and such opposition brought out in the earlier centuries, as {130} well as the later, the protest of Catholic theologians. We confidently affirm that there is not an article in the Athanasian Creed concerning the Incarnation which is not anticipated in the controversy with the Gnostics; not a question which the Apollinarian or the Nestorian heresy raised, which may not be decided in the words of Ignatius, Irenĉus, and Tertullian. If, then, our Lord after all was by the Apostles accounted and preached as a mere man, are we to believe in the phenomenon of this one and the same substitution everywhere of a new doctrine about Him, in the course of 220 years (nay, perhaps of only 70), in times of persecution, among peoples of different languages, characters, attachments, and religious attainments, and in spite of the safeguard of episcopal transmission? All this, moreover, without record of the change, or assignable reason why it should be made anywhere, or what brought it about:—lastly, with the unaccountable belief on the part of the Fathers in the Council that the view which they enforced was that which the Apostles had bequeathed them.

We have been viewing the argument on its hierarchical side; the witness of the Christian people for the orthodox truth is not less striking—nay, more so—than that of the Bishops. One or two of the great cities were corrupted as time went on, but the mass of the laity was decided and fervent in its maintenance of the sacred truth that was in jeopardy. The population of Alexandria, Antioch, Edessa, Cĉsarea, Rome, and Milan, were even patterns in their profession of the dogma to the distressed, menaced, and hardly-used ecclesiastics [Note 2]. {131}


So much, then, on the argument in behalf of our Lord's Divinity from Apostolical Tradition; and perhaps the reader may consider that enough has now been said upon the subject: but, before dismissing it, he must be prevailed upon to attend to one or two collateral illustrations of it, by way of showing, in corroboration of what was observed above, how natural and reasonable this argument from Tradition must be considered.

First, we take a passage from "The Brothers' Controversy" itself. The clergyman objects to his Unitarian brother-in-law, that the mass of men, as being unlearned, cannot safely decide about the doctrine of the Trinity by means of reasonings from the text of Scripture, since the original is to them an unknown tongue. He is answered as follows:—

"I have never crossed the Atlantic, and cannot know, but by reading voyages and histories, or by oral communications, that any land exists there; voyagers and historians have often lied or erred; yet I am as much convinced of the existence of a continent there as I am of the field now before my eyes. Do I, then, rely upon the testimony of men, who may be deceivers? No, it is not in the nature of things, it is absolutely impossible, that such concurrence should take place in the relation of falsehoods. The history of the death and resurrection of Christ was written in a language as unknown to me as are opposite shores of the ocean I have never traversed; yet the concurrence of translators is as convincing to me as if the account were in my native language, and I do not rely on human authority."—P. 155.

What is this but a statement of the argument from Tradition? Why will not such a disputant consider the Fathers interpreters of Scripture as regards Catholic doctrine?

Again, let us refer to Paley's argument for the truth of the received Christian history, as contained in the seventh chapter of the first part of his "Evidences." It {132} will be found that what he there advances for the facts of the Religion may be transferred, with little alteration, in proof of its doctrines. He begins by asking "Whether the story which Christians have now be the story which Christians had then?" which has been our very question as regards the doctrines of our Religion. He answers in the affirmative, upon these four considerations. First, because "there exists no trace or vestige of any other story." "There is not a document or scrap of account, either contemporary with the commencement of Christianity, or extant within many ages after that commencement, which assigns a history substantially different from ours." Now, this is clearly fulfilled as regards doctrine also. It is true there were some few who taught differently from the Catholic Faith; but even they did so, not as witnessing an historical fact, or from Tradition, but as claiming to interpret Scripture for themselves—a ground of argument which does not interfere with the argument from Tradition. Or again, if they appealed to Tradition, as the Gnostics did, it was to a secret Tradition, known and delivered only by a few of the Apostles, and professedly contrary to the public teaching of those Apostles—a pretence which was evidently adopted to evade the difficulty of their discordance from Catholic teaching, and which grants, in the very form of it, that Apostolical Tradition was against them. The only real exception which we remember is the same heretical party at Rome, in the beginning of the third century, which boldly pronounced their heresy to be Apostolical; and even these soon abandoned their claim.

Paley proceeds: "The remote, brief, and incidental notices of the affair, which are found in heathen writers, so far as they do go, go along with us." The same may {133} be said of the theological doctrine also. Pliny witnesses to the worship of Christ as a God by His disciples, and Celsus objects against them the same observance.

Then Paley says: "The whole series of Christian writers, from the first age of the institution down to the present, in their discussions, apologies, arguments, and controversies, proceed upon the general story which the Scriptures contain, and upon no other. This argument will appear to be of great force, when it is known that we are able to trace back the series of writers to a contact with the historical books of the New Testament, and to the age of the first emissaries of the Religion, and to deduce it, by an unbroken continuation, from that end of the train to the present." This surely applies word for word to the received doctrine also.

Next,—"Now, that the original story, the story delivered by the first preachers of the institution, should have died away so entirely as to have left no record or memorial of its existence, although so many records and memorials of the time and its transactions remain, and that another story should have stept into its place and gained exclusive possession of the belief of all who professed themselves disciples of the institution, is beyond any example of the corruption of even oral tradition, and still less consistent with the experience of written history; and this improbability, which is very great, is rendered still greater by the reflection that no such change as the oblivion of one story and the substitution of another took place in any future period of the Christian era." Here Paley even adds a consideration which we had passed over: "If the catholicity of the fourth century is not in substance the catholicity of the first, can we feel sure that our present MSS. of the New Testament in substance agree with the MSS. of St. Jerome?" {134}

Further,—"The religious rites and usages that prevailed amongst the early disciples of Christianity were such as belonged to and sprang out of the narrative now in our hands; which accordancy shows that it was the narrative upon which these persons acted, and which they had received from their teachers." The same holds good as regards the doctrines also: Baptism witnesses to the doctrine of the Trinity, and the Eucharistic Rite grows out of and teaches the doctrines of the Incarnation and Atonement—that is, these two rites are continuous mementos of doctrines such as those which we at this day believe to be Apostolic.

Lastly,—"The story was public at the time" when the Gospels were written; "the Christian community was already in possession of the substance and principal parts of the narrative. The Gospels were not the original cause of the Christian history being believed, but were themselves among the consequences of that belief." Paley says this to show that the story, coinciding though it did in its details with the Scripture narrative, yet rested on authority wider and other than it. The same may be said of Catholic doctrine also. While no one can deny that at least it is reconcilable with the sacred text, we find even our opponents contending that it was not the object of the text to enforce it, nor the result of the text to construct it.

Paley concludes by maintaining that "these four circumstances are sufficient to support our assurance that the story which we have now is in general the story which Christians had at the beginning"; meaning by in general "in its texture and in its principal facts"; and we can desire nothing more to be granted to us as regards the received teaching concerning our Lord's Divinity and Incarnation. {135}

Illustrations might be multiplied on this subject without limit; one more shall be added from the universal practice of infant baptism. "Since the proofs drawn by consequences from some places of Scripture for any side of this question," says Wall, in his preface to his well-known work, "are not so plain as to hinder the arguments drawn from other places for the other side from seeming considerable ... it is no wonder that the readers of Scripture, at this distance from the Apostles' times, have fallen into contrary sentiments about the meaning of our Saviour's command, and the practice of the Apostles in reference to this baptizing of infants. When there is in Scripture a plain command to proselytize or make disciples all nations, baptizing them ... there is nobody that will doubt but that the Apostles knew what was to be done in this case, and, consequently, that the Christian Churches in their time did as they should do in this matter. And since the Apostles lived, some of them, to near the end of the first century, … it can never sink into the head of any considering man, but that such Christians as were ancient men about 100 or 150 years after … the Apostles' death, which is A.D. 200 or 250, must easily know whether infant-baptism were in use at the time of the Apostles' death or not, etc." It seems, then, that those who deny the force of the argument from Catholic Tradition discard the true and sufficient interpreter of Scripture, not only according to the Roman Bellarmine, but according to the Anglican Wall.


Our discussion has run to an exorbitant length. However, before parting with us, let the reader do us {136} the favour to observe how the Fathers are accustomed to speak of those private and self-authorized interpretations of the sacred volume, which writers of this day, accepting some of them and rejecting others, view one and all benignantly, calling them, (heretical and orthodox alike,) "pious opinions," "guiltless differences," "theories of the Divine Being and attributes," and so on. "Perhaps some one will ask," says Vincent of Lérins, "whether the heretics also do not make use of testimonies from Holy Scripture? Yes, indeed, they do use them, and lay great stress on them; for you may see them ready quoters of each book of God's sacred law—the books of Moses, of Kings, the Psalms, the Apostles, the Evangelists, the Prophets. Whether they are among their own people or among strangers, in private or in public, discoursing or writing, at convivial meetings or in the open ways, scarcely anything do they advance of their own notions without attempting to present them in the words of Scripture ... If one of them be asked whence he proves, whence he teaches that I ought to abandon the universal and ancient faith of the Catholic Church, he promptly replies, 'Because it is written;' and on the spot is ready with a thousand texts, instances, authorities, from Law and Psalms and Apostles and Prophets, precipitating the unhappy soul, by a new and perverse interpretation of them, from the citadel of Catholicity into the abyss of heresy."—Comm. 35-38.

Tertullian, in like manner, two centuries earlier:—"Thy faith hath saved thee, not thy practice in the Scriptures. Faith rests in the Rule [i.e., the Creed]. You have a law, and in the keeping of it is salvation … To know nothing in opposition to the Rule is to know all things ... As for that person, if there be such, for whose sake you enter upon the discussion of {137} the Scriptures, to confirm him when in doubt, will he in consequence incline to truth or rather to heresies? … Therefore I do not advise appeal to the Scriptures. It is a ground on which there can be either no victory, or a doubtful one, or at least not a certain."—De Prĉscr., 14-19.

It would seem as if Tertullian and Vincent had little more respect for mere deductions from Scripture in matters of faith than the modern writers above quoted: differing from them, however, in calling such deductions not "pious," but "impious opinions." What they would have called Dr. Hampden's own opinions, it is neither difficult nor to our purpose to determine.

July, 1836.

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Note on Essay III

THE doctrine of the foregoing Essay is, on the whole, so consonant with what I should write upon its subject now, that the reasons which are given above in the Advertisement, for preserving the original text in these volumes generally, do not apply here. Accordingly I have availed myself of the liberty thus allowed me to make large alterations in it of a literary kind.

In consequence of imputations which were freely cast on my friends and myself at the time of its first publication, and from circumstances have never been retracted, I repeat here what I stated in a footnote then, that it was written before Dr. Hampden's appointment to the Regius Professorship of Divinity in February, 1836, being a continuation of a series of protests conscientiously made against his theology by the author and others from the date of November, 1834.—Vide Apologia, p. 57, 2nd Ed.

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1. Here we have light cast on a question which may, for what we know perplex us before many years are over. It is notorious that there are persons in the Church who wish its recognition of baptismal regeneration removed. Now, inasmuch as one of the articles of the Nicene Creed witnesses to the "one baptism for the remission of sins," and since, anyhow, the doctors of the early Church would so explain the less complete form of words which occurs in the Apostles' Creed, "the forgiveness of sins," it follows, if the above view is correct, that to deny baptismal regeneration is heresy, and that a Church which indulged its members in such denial would have forfeited its trust, and would have done much to deprive it of any claim upon our allegiance.
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2. Vide "History of the Arians," Ed. 4, and Note V., p. 445.
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