V. Palmer on Faith and Unity

[British Critic, Oct. 1838]

{179} IT has been long observed, and lamented, that rich as our theology is, both in writers and in works, we have very few large systematic treatises for the use of our clergy and of divinity students, such as abound in other religious communities. We have no ecclesiastical historian as Fleury or Mosheim, no fully furnished polemic as Bellarmine, and no dogmatic writer whom we can compare to Petavius or Vasquez. Pearson's Work indeed on the Apostles' Creed is a methodical treatise, but not even the lapse of nearly three centuries has given us a standard expositor of the Thirty-nine Articles. Our theology has proceeded in another direction. As a living writer has observed, it has been called forth by the pressure of external and occasional circumstances. For the most part it has not been the production of men detached from secular connexions, or blessed with the solitude of the cloister,—men who lived for the completion of great works, and whose employments were determined from within; but of those who had the charge of parishes or dioceses, or were confronted with opposition, or stimulated by contemporaneous events. There are indeed some great exceptions, such as Pearson's Comment, already mentioned, Bingham's Antiquities, and Taylor's Ductor Dubitantium;—but on the whole our divines {180} have written, because they were obliged to write, and so far as they were obliged. They have written answers to particular assailants, have grown out of pamphlets into folios, and, like great musicians, have worked out profound movements from subjects which the chance of the moment offered. Thus the works of Jewell, Bramhall, Horsley, and Waterland, are in great measure the gradual increase of controversy with a disputant, developing itself in fresh and fresh replies, handling and elaborating the same matter again and again. Hooker is almost all through his writings engaged with Travers, Cartwright, or their fellows; Bull in his more considerable works with Petavius, Episcopius, or Luther. Stillingfleet often requires a comment in the words of adversaries for his illustration. Leslie is controversial from first to last.

This peculiarity of English divinity has its advantages and its evils. There is in consequence vastly more character and life in it than in the divinity of other schools. Men wrote because they felt,—when their feelings were excited, and their hearts thrown open. About Hooker there is the charm of nature and reality; he discourses, not as a theologian, but as a man; and we see in him what otherwise might have been hidden, poetry and philosophy informing his ecclesiastical matter. In spite of his method and exactness, he preaches as well as proves, and his discussions are almost sermons. Bull, again, is, beyond his other traits, remarkable for discursiveness. He is full of digressions, which can only be excused because they are so instructive and beautiful. If he is often rhetorical, he is never dry; and never tires, except from the abundance of his matter. The same remark applies mutatis mutandis to Pearson's Vindicię and Wall's Infant Baptism. These are certainly advantages, {181} and yet the advantages are not less. Works which have been called forth by particular circumstances require a knowledge of those circumstances to understand them. The late Bishop Lloyd used to say with much truth, that if we did but know the respective occasions which led St. Paul to write his Epistles, we should at once have the best of comments upon them. The case is much the same as regards our theological writers. A knowledge of the history of their times is one main step towards understanding them. This is a considerable difficulty in the way of making use of them. They are uninviting on first taking up, as requiring some effort of mind in the reader, as alluding to matters of which perhaps he knows little, or as plunging at once into a subject of which he has to learn the rudiments. Again, it is difficult to find in them any particular point which we may want to see discussed. We cannot be sure that the subject will be exhausted, or if so, in what order; before we can make them books of reference, we must have mastered them from beginning to end. And then moreover the most important parts often come in by the bye, where one would least expect it, like the treasures of nature, lying in veins and clefts of the rock, not sorted and set out to advantage as in a market. All this has a tendency to perplex the mind of the student; and in fact nothing is more common than to hear it asked by clergymen, when urged to give attention to theology, "Where am I to begin? how am I to get into the subject? I open a book, and read some pages, and shut it in despair of making anything of my experiment." And even when a student has mastered some great work of our theology, the idea of its subject left upon his mind is often not more complete and adequate than that (to use a familiar illustration) which a ride across country gives of the relative {182} position and importance of the tracts passed over, or which a stroll along green lanes affords of the lie of the neighbouring fields and villages. An experienced eye will be instructed, but a stranger will be at once enchanted and perplexed, and will either recollect little of what has passed before him, or will regard it as a picture rather than a reality.

And, moreover, if an inquirer be ill-disposed to receive what he reads, this absence of method and order will greatly strengthen his prejudice against it. Harmony of parts is the external test of a view being real. When one thing fits into another, when all the parts mutually support and are supported, when a theory is capable of accounting for all questions, and thus is, in a certain sense, self-balanced and self-sustained and entire, we have a phantasia of truth forced upon our minds, even against our will. In this lies the attraction whether of the Roman or the Calvinistic theology, that, at first sight at least, each theory has no flaws. Now when this appearance is gained by exceeding the limits of the revealed word, (as we conceive it is in the case of those theologies,) it is a mere substitution of reason for faith; but as far as Revelation has joined truths together, and has made one depend and throw light on another, it is not for us to put asunder, what, when viewed as one, enlists the reason, or at least the imagination on its side. Facts are improbable only so far as they are isolated; what is called giving causes to them is in truth only giving them a connexion with other facts. They are said to be accounted for, when they are made parallel with each other, when marshalled in line, and reduced in theory to one common principle. Such is the rhetorical effect of order upon the beholder, whether we call it consistency as in conduct, or law as in physics, or design {183} as in religion, or system as in theology. And its persuasiveness seems to proceed on the latent principle, that, since nothing can really exist that is self-destructive, or that contains in it the seeds of self-destruction, or, in other words, since the results of any one thing must, as proceeding from one, harmonize and duly adjust with each other, and whereas in consequence things which are discordant cannot result from one principle, therefore there is a probability at first sight that various phenomena, found together, and withal consistent and uniform, do belong, and therefore do witness, to some one real principle existing as the cause of them. Now English theology and English treatises are deficient in this internal presumption of truth, and in consequence are at a disadvantage when an inquirer is suspicious or hostile. Not only are our best writers but partially systematic, but one writer can often, fairly or unfairly, be brought to oppose another, till our edifice seems, from foundation to summit, to be rather a random heap of stones cast together from without, than a living body developing and expanding itself from within. Hasty reasoners, then, instead of viewing it as a theology, or separating what really belongs to it from what is adventitious or accidental, refer its actual parts to distinct sources, Roman, Lutheran, or Calvinistic, and refuse to consider Anglicanism as anything more than a name for a certain assemblage, in time and place, of heterogeneous materials.


These thoughts are suggested to us by a recent "Treatise on the Church of Christ, designed chiefly for the use of students of theology," by Mr. Palmer, of Worcester College, a work which, not only from the {184} name of its author, but in connexion with the line of thought which we have been pursuing, deserves the attentive consideration of all who have at heart our Church's well-being. It does, in fact, as far as it goes, profess to provide a remedy for the fortuitous origin and personal characteristics of our classical works on theology, being a careful mapping out of its province, as regards some of its most important departments. It is divided into four parts,—on the Notes of the Church as applied to existing Christian communities, on the theological aspect of the British Reformation, on Scripture and Tradition, and on the Church's Authority; and, though this division does not pretend to be very scientific, the separate heads give promise of the methodical treatment of great matters, and the discussions which respectively follow them amply fulfil it.

This work, on which we shall now offer some remarks, will also be found of service, as directed against a distinct class of misapprehensions from those of which we have hitherto spoken. It does the Church a service, not only of a remedial nature, with reference to the unmethodical divinity of the seventeenth, but also as regards the meagre and attenuated divinity of the eighteenth century, though we suppose the author did not intend it. There are at this day, as in the last century, a vast number of religious persons, who think that there is no such science as theology, or, to speak more correctly, that though there be, yet it has no concern with religion, but rather is prejudicial to it. This opinion must necessarily follow from the ultra-Protestant theory, that every man is his own divine; that divinity, of which every man is capable, being in fact nothing at all. Accordingly it is not unusual, in certain quarters, to speak as if vital truth lay, as it is sometimes expressed, "in a nutshell," as if there {185} was nothing to learn, nothing to determine. Because Scripture speaks of faith being all in all, and the Apostles say "repent," or "believe in Christ," or "obey," persons consider, sometimes that religion is a certain apprehension of the merits of Christ, and nothing more,—sometimes that it is sincerity and morality, and nothing more. Now it is evidently a great assistance to such speculators, to remove from public view all appearance of a theological system. If persons can be got to forget the fact that there is such a thing as a science professing to be divine in origin as well as in matter, then they will be more easily persuaded that each man can be his own teacher. There is on the face of the case no reason why they should not be. Those who maintain the necessity of teachers, are met with the previous question, whether there is anything to teach. The unlearned condition, then, of our Church during the last century, has favoured the growth of ultra-Protestantism, not only as letting slip the means by which it was to be refuted in detail, but as confirming its main position concerning Private Judgment, by tacitly allowing, as a point confessed on all hands, that there was nothing which individuals might not find out for themselves, that in fact there was no real body of doctrine, no matter of instruction forthcoming, that faith had no objective character, but was either an internal feeling on the one hand, or a good life on the other. This benefit then, if no other, and a great one it is, results from works such as that before us, that the author has claimed for us, or rather reclaimed, a territory, where none was before suspected,—that he has opened the windows which were blocked up, and let in light upon our prison-house, and showed us the fair and rich country which is our portion by inheritance. He has pointed out large and great questions, more or less {186} bearing upon our personal interests, our most sacred duties, and our future prospects, which individuals cannot settle for themselves, in which they must depend on others, in which, from the nature of the case, it must surely be the Divine Will, that they should accept such guidance as promises fairest, and should abandon both extremes, whether of seeking an infallible assurance of their spiritual safety, or of acquiescing in a worldly security. This is the true exercise of Private Judgment, and to this Mr. Palmer's book leads,—not the taking up as truth what comes first, or what we like,—but the patiently guiding ourselves amid the obscurities of our actual position, by those helps which seem most probably to come from the Father of Lights, and in using which we shall best approve ourselves to Him.

There is another reflection which suggests itself from an inspection of Mr. Palmer's work, as compared with those of some other living writers of our Church. In all important matters, as being of the same communion, he cannot but agree with them; yet he so far differs from them in detail, as to show he cannot be called, in any true sense, of one school or party with them. No one can be ignorant that in the last few years there has been a remarkable return in our Church to sounder principles than have been for many years in fashion. It is not wonderful that the phenomenon should be attributed, by those who did not share in it, to the influence of certain places or persons. They were obliged to do so, by their own disagreement with them; it was a position almost necessary to be assumed, in order to prove that the opinions in question were not true. It accounted for the rise and extension of those opinions which otherwise might have to be referred to their intrinsic claims upon attention. Now this theory, for it is merely such, is exposed, {187} as soon as examination is made into the writings of the different persons who are the subjects of this criticism. The characteristic of a party theology is a sameness of view in minor matters; whereas it is undeniable, that in the disquisitions of Mr. Hook, Mr. Keble, Mr. Woodgate, and our present author, we have traces of schools of thought as distinct from each other as is the history of the respective writers themselves. Mr. Palmer, if we are not mistaken, came to Oxford from Dublin; and his work is as independent of the other divines mentioned, as has been his theological education.

And this variety in minor matters between writers, who one and all are upholding the great principles of the English Church, leads to a still further reflection,—that her teaching, as a scientific system, is not yet sufficiently cleared and adjusted. In all the great questions of faith and practice, her voice has ever been plain and decisive; always sufficient for the guidance and comfort of her members. But it is not to be denied, that as regards the intellectual expression of certain truths, or the due development of them, or their bearings upon each other, or their relative importance, much remains to be done. Many difficulties remain to be sifted and settled; the points of mutual agreement, the limits of fair compromise, the line between open and close questions, the generalized forms of parallel views, the best modes of teaching, and the best modes of attacking, and the best modes of receiving an attack, are still to be ascertained in a variety of matters. The view to be taken of history and prophecy, of the world and of the civil power, of the other branches of the Church, of outlying bodies, the rules of Scripture interpretation,—these and other most important matters, have, we do not say, to be determined, {188} for some of them never will be, but to be thoroughly examined, that we may know just where we are, and where others are. And at present each fresh writer is, in some sense of the word, an experimentalist, endeavouring, by his researches into Antiquity, and the exercise of a calm and subtle judgment, to develop justly and accurately, under present circumstances, and in our existing medium of thought and expression, that Truth which the Apostles left behind them.


To this work Mr. Palmer has brought very remarkable powers of mind. We use the word "remarkable" with a definite meaning. No one indeed is a good critic about the ability of a writer to whom he has to come as to a teacher; this is our position towards Mr. Palmer, and this is our disadvantage; but in spite of it, let us be allowed to say what has struck us concerning this author, as a hint to other readers. If then, any one takes up Mr. Palmer's work with the expectation of having the evidence of originality or power forced upon him by it, he will be much disappointed. Though Mr. Palmer often warms with his subject, and writes eloquently, yet we doubt whether there is one sentence in it which men far inferior to Mr. Palmer might not have written. Persons might take it up and lay it down, and wonder what the author was aiming at, accuse it of indecision or inconsistency, or pronounce it to be a feeble production of a very learned man. Its learning, indeed, and its great value as a learned work, no one could doubt; but those who dip into it will most probably resign themselves to the conclusion that it is a useful book of reference for facts, and nothing more. A closer study of it, however, {189} on the part of such persons, would probably change their opinion; and they would gradually discover that underneath the unpretending exterior which it assumes, it is the subtle working out of a system upon a few great principles, which sometimes come to the surface, but are generally hidden. It is an attempt, well weighed and wrought out with great patience and caution, to form, out of the phenomena before our eyes which are presented by the different parts of Christendom, a theory of the Church, which shall be at once conformable to ancient doctrine on the subject, and to the necessities of the modern English communion; an attempt to place us in a position in which we can defend ourselves against both Romanists and sectaries; an attempt to which, as far as we can judge, facts throughout the work are made subservient from beginning to end, though of course we cannot pretend to have actually studied it, except in parts, or with equal exactness everywhere even in these, or have mastered the drift and bearings of other portions of it. And we conceive that Mr. Palmer's view is as original in itself, as it is subtly carried out; by which epithets we neither express praise nor blame, but merely mean to state the fact that, while defending many Catholic truths, he has placed them in a light which has not commonly been adopted by other writers. Without further preface we shall now attempt to draw out some portions of his view, passing, as it does, from positions in which all Churchmen are pretty nearly agreed, to others about which they may fairly differ.

Men find themselves then, he seems to say, (though we are constituting ourselves his interpreters,) with many spiritual wants, with a consciousness that they need a Revelation and a desire to receive it. For a long while {190} Providence left them in this unhappy state, with no certain communications from Him; nay, to this day such is the state of the greater part of the world. But us He has blessed with a message from Him, the Gospel, to teach us how to please Him and attain to heaven; He has given us directions what to do. So far all parties, Roman-Catholic, Sectarian, and Anglo-Catholic, agree; but now comes the turning question, where those directions are, and what? The ultra-Protestant says they are in the Bible, in such sort that any individual taking it up for himself, in a proper spirit, may, by divine blessing, learn thence, without external help, "what he must do to be saved." On the other hand, Mr. Palmer (without of course infringing upon his reverence for the Bible, as God's gracious gift to us, as inspired, and as the record of the whole revealed faith), maintains that not the Bible, but the Church is, in matter of fact, our great divinely-appointed guide into saving truth under divine grace, whatever be the abstract power or sufficiency of the Bible. As the ultra-Protestant would say to an inquirer,—"Read the Bible for yourself," so we conceive Mr. Palmer would make the inquirer reply,—"How can I, except some man should guide me?" He would consider the Church to be practically "the pillar and ground of the truth;" an informant given to all people, high and low, that they might not have to wander up and down and grope in darkness, as they do in a state of nature.

Then comes the question at once, where is the Church? We all know where the Bible is; it is a printed book, translated into English; we can buy it and use it; but where are we to find the Church, and what constitutes consulting and hearing it? Thus we are brought to the first subject which engages Mr. Palmer's attention, viz. {191} the Notes of the Church, the criteria by which she is discriminated and known to be God's appointed messenger or prophet. And here, at very first sight, it is plain that, if the Church is to be an available guide to poor as well as rich, unlearned as well as learned, its notes and tokens must be very simple, obvious, and intelligible. They must not depend on education, or be brought out by abstruse reasoning; but must at once affect the imagination and interest the feelings. They must bear with them a sort of internal evidence, which supersedes further discussion and makes their truth self-evident. This is the way in which, as it would appear, the Bible does affect us. It carries with it, in its style, matter, and claims, internal marks of something unearthly and awful. Such evidence may of course be disparaged by sophistry, or the Bible itself may be put out of sight; still these possible contingencies are no disparagement to the innate and practical influence of the Bible in convincing men of its own divinity. And similar evidences of course we are bound to find of the Church's divinity; not such as cannot possibly be explained away or put out of sight, but such as, if allowed room to display themselves, will persuade the many that she is what she professes to be, God's ordained teacher in attaining heaven.

Mr. Palmer is fully sensible of the necessity of plainness and simplicity in the Notes of the Church. Indeed he takes this necessity for granted as an axiom, and uses it freely as an argument for or against particular points in debate. Thence he goes on to assume as an axiom that there can be no real difficulty in finding the true Church. We notice this because it will serve as an instance to illustrate what we have said above, that his work is at first but partially intelligible to readers, from {192} their not understanding the principles on which it is conducted. For instance, the following passages might easily be criticized on this score by persons who opened the book at random, though they are really but simple and natural exhibitions of his main position.

He says:

"The Churches of England did not necessarily change their religion because in one age certain opinions and practices were introduced, and in another were corrected or removed. To prove that the Church of England differs, in articles of faith, from her belief in any former age, it would be necessary to go into a very long examination of particular doctrines, and of the mode and degree in which they have been held by the Church in different ages, which would obviously lead to great inconvenience; for the great body of mankind are totally incapable of instituting such a comparison. Therefore this objection cannot afford any excuse for being separate from our branch of the Catholic Church."—Vol. i., pp. 245, 246.

That is, Consistency in doctrine is not a Note of the Church: therefore the less the inquirer thinks about her changes, the better. Again:

"As to the other Western synods which were previously held, and which are said to contradict our doctrine, we are prepared to show that they were merely particular synods, not confirmed by Catholic authority; and, moreover, that several of those objected in no degree differ from our doctrine. This is the position we maintain; but to enter" [that is, for the inquirer to enter] "into a particular examination whether it is well or ill-founded, cannot be requisite to determine whether the Church of England is a portion of the Catholic Church; because it would lead to lengthened investigations which must be impossible to the great majority of men. Suffice it to say, that we are prepared to prove that the Catholic Church has never condemned any doctrine which we maintain. This being the case, there can be no presumption of our heresy in any point."—Vol. i., p. 230.

That is, it ought to be enough for the inquirer to know that we are prepared to prove our point, and have a {193} case; for how can he be supposed able actually to enter into the proof? And again: "The English and other Churches—

"which differ in some points from her, may yet all be connected by this unity of the Catholic Faith. To prove that either of them is separated from this unity, we must enter into a most extensive examination of doctrines in controversy, with a view not merely to ascertain what the truth of Revelation really is, but to determine whether it is believed or denied by particular Churches; or whether the difference is apparent rather than real; whether it is a difference between individuals or Churches; and, finally, whether it is obstinately maintained. The inconvenience of such a process, and its unsuitableness to the great mass of mankind for the discovery of the true Church, is sufficiently obvious."—Vol. i., p. 231.

Such are Mr. Palmer's initial principles, viz., that the Gospel is to be learned by the individual from the Church; and that the Church is to be known by certain Notes or tokens; and that these Notes are of an obvious and popular character. He comes next to the question what these Notes are; and, taking the Creed for his guide, he has no difficulty in answering. Thence he learns that the Church must be One, must be Holy, must be Catholic, and must be Apostolic. These characters he sets down as her Notes. That existing body in any country which bears these marks, he would determine to be that Church once for all set up from the beginning, from which Christ has willed that individuals should learn the words of eternal life.

It is not to our purpose here to enter into the meaning of these characteristics, or to show that they are practically sufficient for the purpose for which they are assigned. We believe them so to be, but we are quite aware that the general opinion of the day will be against both Mr. Palmer and ourselves. This, however, we regard very lightly, and recommend Mr. Palmer to do {194} the same. We disregard it, because it is merely the opinion of the day; a long day perhaps, above a hundred years past, still a day which had a beginning, and assuredly will have an end.

                             "The darkest day,
Live till tomorrow, will have passed away."

So says the poet, and we trust we shall see it fulfilled in the present instance. The English people have had all along the privilege of the Church's presence among them, but their governors have done their best to hide her characteristic badges. At no time, indeed, could they really rob her of what was part of herself, the stamp of features and the royal stature which her Maker gave her; but they have kept her out of the light that she might not be seen, or have put tawdry or homely attire upon her that she might not attract attention. They have shut her up within walls, that, if so be, she might cease to be "Catholic;" have made her eat and drink with sectaries that she might forget her "Apostolic" birth: and, as she could not appear "Holy" while she suffered the latter indignity, neither could she seem "One" while she suffered the former. Indignity, however, has seldom been added; they knew she was too dear to the nation to admit safely of such experiments upon her; so they gave her golden chains, and fed her, not with bread and water of affliction, but in kings' palaces and at kings' tables. However, anyhow, they hid her divine Notes, and in their stead they gave her some of their own special devising. For One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic, they have substituted political and civil watchwords, and with such spells they have thought, nay even still think, to work for her those miracles which her divine gifts accomplished of yore. She is, it seems, in the judgment of the day, not "the {195} Catholic Church," but the mere "Church of England," or "the National Religion," or "the Religion of the majority;" not Apostolic, but "by law established," so that even divines, who really held the doctrine of the Apostolical Succession, have deemed fit to hold it only in their closets, as true indeed but not an influential or practical truth,—a truth which little concerned the multitude, which had no charm in it, which the many could not understand, which was no topic for the pulpit; in short, not as a "Note of the Church:" while in place of Unity and Sanctity they have been full of "our venerable establishment," "part and parcel of the law of the land," "the Episcopal Church," "Protestantism," "the glorious memory," "Martin Luther," and "civil and religious liberty all over the world." In short, they have taken tavern toasts for the Notes of the Church.


Leaving, however, Mr. Palmer and the age to settle it between themselves concerning the respective influence of the old and the modern tokens of the Church's authority, we come to consider certain very serious objections which weigh against the reality of the former in this period of the world. Protestants of course will say that there are no Notes at all, for the Church is invisible; and, even if we suppose that Notes exist at this day, sufficient to determine for us the particular communion which is the very Church set up by the Apostles in the beginning, still what is the use of ascertaining it, considering that our object in ascertaining is to learn thereby the one true teaching, and she, the one true teacher, teaches one thing in this place, and another thing in that? Granting that in each country there is a dominant Christian body, a body {196} such that there can be no mistake as to its superior importance to the rest, and no question of its power of drawing men to join it from the fact of that superiority, still this dominant body (1) teaches different doctrines in different countries; nay, (2) is at enmity with itself, excommunicating itself as found on its right hand or left. Either then there is no longer any Church remaining, or else religious truth is of a variable nature, dependent on time and place, and it matters not what a man believes, so that he conforms to the state of things under which he finds himself. In other words, to attempt in the present state of things to be a Catholic, is (it may be urged) to be in heart a latitudinarian and a liberal; and the only escape from this conclusion is to take refuge in Romanism, which certainly does provide a Church one and the same in many places, as in form so in doctrine.

(1.) The most formidable aspect of the objection is the latter, viz., that the Church itself does not even profess to be one; not only differs from itself, but is aware that it differs, being separated into parts, each of which almost denounces, certainly shuns the rest. The Roman, Greek, and English, are its three great portions; and if the English does not reprobate the Roman or despise the Greek, at any rate the Greek and Roman denounce each other, and agree, to say the least, in keeping aloof from the English. Of the three it is obvious that the Roman communion is the least open to the objection, because it is the widest spread and the best organized; it seems to be universal, yet one. Accordingly it professes to dispense with both Greek and Anglican branches, and in many instances has actually carried its own succession into their sees. The Greek Catholics have no pretensions at all to universality; but Anglo-Catholicism might certainly have equalled Romanism in territory, if our Protestant {197} governors had felt any sufficient zeal in its cause. Considering the colonies of England in all parts of the world, it is not easy to estimate what the strength of the English Church at this day might have been, had not ministers been too jealous, and commerce been too avaricious and democratical. However, she has hitherto most honourably refrained from imitation of "the Roman Obedience," as Mr. Palmer calls it, in disowning her sister Churches and identifying her communion with Catholicism. She has accepted their Orders, and respected their territory; though, by the way, it is remarkable that at this very moment a grasping and domineering spirit is at work among us in some directions, very unlike that which we have hitherto cherished,—a spirit, which would imitate one of the worst features of the Papacy in past centuries, and tends to interfere with Rome in France and with Constantinople in the Archipelago—which seems bent, after the precedent of Hildebrand, on reducing the whole of Christendom to the model of the reformed Prayer Book and the Thirty-nine Articles.

But to return to Mr. Palmer; he, as might be expected, acknowledges both Greece and Rome in their respective places to be parts of the Church Catholic, though of course only parts; but then comes the anxious question, which must be satisfied before we can safely settle ourselves down in such a theory, viz., whether local bodies which have separated from each other can possibly be part of one and the same body; for if they cannot, we shall be driven perforce either to deny that there is a Catholic Church, or else to deny either the Roman Communion or our own to be part of it. Here, indeed, lies the common stratagem of Roman controversialists. They prove, what is plain enough, that there is one, and can be but one, Church; and then assuming that Rome and {198} England cannot be part of one, they argue, that if one must be taken in preference to the other, surely the Roman Church (allowing ever so much for its shortcomings in point of universality) is far nearer Catholic than the English. Mr. Palmer, however, denies the assumption on which this conclusion is based; and, heading a chapter with the question "Whether the external Communion of the Universal Church can ever be interrupted," answers it in the affirmative.

This question, indeed, is one of the critical points of the controversy between us and Romanists; Mr. Palmer argues in defence of the English determination of it as follows:—He allows to the Romanist, that, even though different religious societies should agree together in fundamental doctrines, (whatever those doctrines are,) still if they have gone so far as to excommunicate and anathematize each other, they cannot be branches of one and the same Church Catholic; but he denies that breaches short of this extreme character are fatal to unity, or that those which exist between the Roman, Greek, and English communions bear that character. He argues that misunderstandings and quarrels were certain to arise in the Church in the course of years, and, as it extended, quarrels such as could not be settled without a centre of unity which does not exist; that where bishops and churches were free and equal, there was no possible arbiter; that both parties, to a certain extent, would be right, and both wrong; that in consequence they would be so circumstanced that either both parties ought to be reckoned as schismatical, or neither,—both cut off from the Church, or neither; and that while it is impossible to suppose both parties severed from the Living Vine without denying the present existence of the Church and holding that the prophecies respecting {199} her have failed, so it is more accordant to God's known mercies to suppose that He will bear with those human infirmities which are discernible both on the one side and the other. He grants, then, that acts of schism do separate from the Church, but denies that mere estrangement, though a sin somewhere, necessarily involves a schism, in that it is no act of rebellion against a constituted authority; and while Romanists argue antecedently in behalf of a centre of unity from the necessary occurrence of estrangements without it, Mr. Palmer argues, from the fact that there is no centre of unity, that therefore such estrangements are not schisms.

Again, unity cannot be more strictly a condition of the Christian Church than absence of idolatry of the Jewish; now the Jews did not cease to be God's people ipso facto on their idolatry, though they were punished for it; nor do Christian communities cease to be part of the Christian Church, though they break communion, not denying that heavy judgments may be the consequence. Moreover, Mr. Palmer admits that the Fathers sometimes say strong things against the possibility of divisions really existing in the Church Catholic, as when St. Cyprian says, "Unity cannot be severed, nor the one body by laceration be divided;" but he answers that they were not competent judges of a state of things not actually before their eyes. They used statements which were not realized to their minds, except in that form in which we accept them as fully as the Romanists. The Novatians, for instance, in Cyprian's time, were establishing a rival communion to the Church in Rome and elsewhere. The point virtually in debate then was, whether two true Churches could be rivals in one place; but the question whether two Churches in two places could be in a state of estrangement, had never fairly been contemplated {200} at that time, and the words of the Fathers are but words and not ideas, which seem to bear, and do not bear, upon a state of things existing now, but not then.

Further, he argues in favour of his position from the fact that branches of the ancient Church were divided at times from each other, yet neither was considered ipso facto cut off from Christ. Thus

"Innocentius of Rome, with whom St. Augustine communicated, was himself not in communion with the eastern Churches."—Vol. i., p. 79.

"I need not dwell," he proceeds, "on the excommunication of the Asiatic Churches by Victor and the Roman Church; nor on that of Cyprian and the Africans by Stephen, who, when some African bishops came to Rome, forbade the people to communicate with them, or even to receive them into their houses; nor on the excommunication of Hilary of Arles by Leo. In all these cases, different parts of one and the same Catholic Church were separated from external communion. But we may observe instances in which this division was carried to a greater extent, and involved the whole Church. Fleury (himself of the Roman communion) says, with reference to the death of Chrysostom, 'His death did not terminate the divisions of the Churches of the East and West; and while the Orientals refused to re-establish his memory, the Roman Church, followed by all the West, held firm to the resolution she had taken not to communicate with the oriental bishops, especially with Theophilus of Alexandria, until an ecclesiastical council should be held to remedy the evils of the Church."—Vol. i., p. 80.

He then proceeds to mention the division in the time of Acacius of Constantinople, when communion between East and West was suspended. This state of things lasted thirty-five years. And, next, he alludes to the great schism of the West, A.D. 1379-1414, when the Latin Church was divided into two or three Obediences, subject to as many rival Popes, and in great degree estranged from mutual communion. But if division in the branches of the Church, where there is no rebellion {201} against constituted authority, is not ipso facto formal schism, length of time cannot make it such. If thirty-five years do not deprive a secluded branch of its Catholicity, neither does a hundred. The best answer, as Mr. Palmer observes, that Roman controversialists have made to such historical facts, has been to maintain that the estranged parties had right motives, and communicated all along with some third party. But it may be replied, if so, then that third party, and not the Pope, was the centre of unity. Again, Mr. Palmer disputes the matter of fact, there being no third party, with whom East and West were in communion, in the time of Acacius. Besides, he says that such a circumstance is at best only an alleviation, and does not tend to destroy the fact that there is a breach of communion between the parties at variance. Moreover, he acutely remarks that, if good motives, and the internal union kept up by present communion with a third party, are sufficient to retain all parties in a state of grace, then the same good motives, and the internal union resulting from past derivation from the universal Church, may do the same. And, further, he takes the definition of schism provided by Romanists themselves, and shows that it does not apply to the case under consideration. Schism is said to consist in "a separation from the communion of the Universal Church, which happens either when the Church excludes any one from its body, or when any one leaves its communion." There is evidently a supposable case, unprovided for by this definition, which is the very case in point; viz., that of the Church's being divided on some question, and each portion simply keeping to itself and discontinuing its intercourse with the other, yet without anathema. Lastly, he shows that Roman theologians allow what he contends for. "We do not pretend," {202} says Nicole, "that the actual unity which consists in the effective union of all the Church is essential to the Church, because this union may be troubled by divisions and contests which God permits." He even lays down two conditions, on observance of which the parties at variance are not to be accounted schismatics,—the first, that "all those who are divided in good faith by some controversy which is not ruled or decided, tend sincerely to unity;" and the second, that they must "acknowledge a common judge, to which they refer their differences, which is a General Council."

This is an abstract of Mr. Palmer's observations on this important point; and it affords a specimen of the pains and completeness with which his work is executed. And in the same careful way he goes into the Greek and English histories, and shows that, whatever unhappy quarrels exist, no formal excommunications are pending between them and Rome, or between each other. Nor is this mode of treating the subject any evasion of the real difficulty. If, indeed, the question were a moral one, there is no doubt that we are as far separated from Rome as any formal excommunication could make us. Our opinions, habits, and feelings, as a nation, have very little in common with the Roman Church and system. But it is a question of positive religion; the Church Catholic is a positive institution, and its essence, as being such, lies in formal observances; and the same mode of arguing which would infer that the Church had failed, because its portions are virtually in schism, would avail to prove that the registration of infants among certain Dissenters is baptism, because, though water is not used, a religious dedication is intended. {203}


(2.) Now let us proceed to the other branch of the difficulty above mentioned, and observe how Mr. Palmer disposes of it. Granting that the Church has not committed suicide in the unnatural warfare of member against member, still the question remains, whether the differences of doctrine within it are not themselves such,—whether Rome, Greece, and England, are not so far opposed in their notions as to what the Gospel is,—that either religious truth is of a variable nature, or it is an absurdity to call the Church of England practically one with the Church of Rome. This is what may be objected; and "what," it may be asked, "becomes of the Notes of the Church, what purpose do they serve, what relief and guidance is afforded to the inquiring mind, if the Church thus indicated preaches Popery in Rome, and Zwingli-Lutheranism in England?" The difficulty is certainly considerable; apparently insurmountable by those who hold that the Roman communion is the communion of Antichrist; for they either contract the Catholic Church into a few countries, with the Donatists of old; or, if they allow Rome to be part of the Church still, in spite of its teaching heresy, they seem to go against the prophecies which speak of the Church's teachers never being removed, nor the Divine Word in her mouth failing.

Mr. Palmer does not seem to consider that the formal doctrine of the Roman Church is of so erroneous a nature as it is often considered, though of course he is quite alive to the pernicious characters of the existing Roman system viewed in action; nor does he pursue the mode which most of our divines have taken, when they would rescue her from the extreme sentence which ultra-Protestants {204} would pass upon her. It has been usual with them to contend, that, with all her errors, she "holds the foundation," as they express it, and therefore is to be accounted a branch of Christ's institution, though a corrupt branch. Accordingly, they have employed themselves in determining what the foundation is, or laying down those Fundamentals of faith which are sufficient for the being of a Church, in spite of the wood, hay, and stubble heaped upon them. Now the advantage of this view in the controversy is obvious. If it be once certain what the general range of doctrines is, which constitutes "the Faith," it is certain what are not those doctrines, that is, what are additions to it; and thus we are so far released from the discordant teaching of antagonist Christian bodies, and may throw ourselves on historical evidence, being thereby provided not only with means for opposing such Churches as have added to the primitive faith, but with the satisfaction, while opposing them, of knowing that, while they hold the original deposit or foundation, as well as their own additions, they enjoy the rights and privileges of the Christian Church. We may grant or maintain without inconvenience that those additions are great and serious; and, on the other hand, we may grant without embarrassment the existence of defects in our own system. This is the theory of the Via Media. However, Mr. Palmer does not adopt it: he thinks that Fundamentals of faith cannot be assigned; and consequently, since the Catholic Church is promised general unanimity and freedom from error in some sense or other, and since Fundamentals do not exist thus absolutely true and universally received, he is led to consider that she does even at this day preach everywhere, in Rome, London, Constantinople, and St. Petersburg, one and the same doctrine, {205} and that, the true doctrine,—except in very minor and secondary points, or except as popular errors interfere with it. This will appear from the following passages.

He observes, for instance, that "it is very probable that in reality she," the English Church, "agrees in all matters of faith with other Churches, for she admits the same rule,—Catholic Tradition."—Vol. i., p. 226. Speaking of the Oriental Churches, he says, "It does not appear that they differ, in articles of faith, from the rest of the Church. The Roman Churches claim them as agreeing with themselves on almost every point; and if we may judge by their published sentiments, we should conclude that the Oriental Church, as a body, denies no article of faith which we ourselves maintain."—P. 182. As to the great Western Councils in the middle ages, "several of those objected to in no degree differ from our doctrine."—P. 230. "We account for the absence of communion between ourselves and other Churches without imputing heresy, schism, or apostasy to them or to ourselves."—Pp. 251, 252. Speaking of the Archbishop of Moscow's summary of Christian Divinity (1765), he says, "The doctrine of this work in all matters of faith and morality appears generally unexceptionable. It only differs from ours in defending certain practices which we have judged it more wise and pious to remove, and in the verbal dispute about the Procession," etc.—Vol. i., p. 181. Again: "It is confessed that some doctrinal errors, and some superstitious practices, prevailed in them [the Western Churches] in latter ages; but, as no article of the faith appears to have been denied or corrupted by these Churches in general, there seems no reason whatever to dispute their Christianity."—P. 277.

Elsewhere he has the following very observable passage: {206}

"Our adversaries, however reluctantly, are obliged to bear witness to the general orthodoxy of our faith. The very points on which we are assailed by some Romanists, are relinquished by others. The points of difference are acknowledged to be but few, by some of their most noted and learned writers; and the Church of England is triumphantly cleared of heresy on every point by their confessions. Are we charged by Bossuet with denying the authority of the Church, and rendering it subservient to the civil power? Milner replies to him, that the Church of England holds on these points the principles of the Catholic Church. Are we accused of denying the Real Presence? Milner and Hornyold acknowledge our perfect belief of that doctrine. I will not here dwell at length on these things; it is sufficient to add, that the Articles of the Church of England have been approved in almost all points by Davenport and Du Pin; and that various Romanists of note have held the difference between us to be so small, as to render a reunion of the Churches by no means impossible."—Vol. i., pp. 231, 232.

He adds in a note the confession of "Dr. Charles O'Conor, by far the most learned writer who has arisen among the Papists of these countries, in modern times;" who says:

"I am confident that above three parts of those debates which separate Protestants from Catholics might be laid aside; that they serve only to exasperate and alienate us from each other; and that if our Church were heard canonically, she would not only reject with horror the false doctrines and notorious abominations so often imputed to her, but she would also smooth many other difficulties which lie in the way of reconciliation and peace."—Columbanus, Letter 3, p. 130.

Such, on the whole, is Mr. Palmer's judgment of the state of Christendom generally. And, speaking in particular of the English and foreign Churches, he says: "Our communion is interrupted by accidental circumstances, misunderstandings, faults, etc., which do not, strictly speaking, involve either party in schism or {207} heresy."—Vol. i., p. 237. "It is true that their Church [the Roman] is in error on several points, and even perhaps in matters of faith, but it seems that they were prevented by so many excusable circumstances from seeing the right way, that we ought not to judge too harshly, and exclude from the Church of Christ so vast a multitude of believers, so many nations, and such a crowd of ancient Churches ... Nor is there evidence that any of their doctrines have been ever formally and clearly condemned by the Catholic Church. No one pretends that they have been so; and the truth is, that many of their theologians so explain and teach the doctrines in dispute, that the difference, as represented by them, is in most points not considerable."—P. 286-7. "There is scarcely a point in debate between us, in which our doctrines might not be proved simply from Romish theologians. I have observed a thousand proofs of this."—Ibid. "The opinions and practices common to the Western Churches, which were objected to, were not contrary to faith, according to the opinion of the Reformation, evidenced by the Confession of Augsburgh."—Vol. ii., p. 130.

And on the character of the differences between parties in our own Church at the time of the Reformation he speaks as follows:

"We deny that any new important truth unknown for ages to the Catholic Church, or never heard of before, was promulgated at [the] time [of the Reformation] in the Church of England. We by no means admit that the Royal Supremacy then acknowledged by the Church of England was novel. We suppose that some superstitious opinions, commonly received by abuse in some Churches, e.g., the Papal Infallibility and Universal Jurisdiction, Purgatory, Transubstantiation, were suppressed; some doctrines were defined more accurately which had been vaguely and imperfectly held; the Scriptures were more freely circulated; several superfluous and {208} absurd rites were removed, and others were corrected. There was nothing in all this which required any extraordinary mission or superlative sanctity … The Lutherans always, as we know, asserted that they did not differ in any article of faith from the Catholic or even the Roman Church, but only as to certain abuses and erroneous opinions."—Vol. i., p. 429.

Thus Mr. Palmer seems to hold that the existing Church in every age, in spite of and allowing for the clouds of popular or scholastic error which are upon her, though not of her, is one and the same, sufficient teacher of her children; and, being an ordinance of God so visible, so distinctly marked, so incommunicable in her attributes, can always be found by those who seek for her.


Now we doubt not that many persons fresh from the study of Burnet and Tomline will be moved by some of the above statements;—whom we request to respect the liberty of the English Protestant. The Revolution did not change Articles or Liturgy, though it brought in another mode of thinking; what divines said before it, they may, if they please, say now. We do not indeed concur, as far as we are able to form an opinion, in the particular theory which seems to have led Mr. Palmer to the statements above quoted, but we do vindicate for him in this matter, and for any one who agrees with him, a freedom of judgment which our Church has never taken from us, and which many of our most revered divines have exercised. For instance, Hammond, as quoted by Mr. Palmer, makes a suggestion, which, if breathed now, would in some quarters create a panic or rouse a persecution:

"As we exclude no Christian," he says "from our communion that will either filially or fraternally embrace it with us, being ready {209} to admit any to our assemblies that acknowledge the foundation laid by Christ and His Apostles, so we as earnestly desire to be admitted to like freedom of external communion with all the members of all other Christian Churches, and would most willingly, by the use of the ancient method of Litterę Communicatorię, maintain this communion with those with whom we cannot corporally assemble, and particularly with those who live in obedience to the Church of Rome."—Of Schism, ch. ix., sec. 3.

Mr. Palmer then has a full right, if he thinks fit, to hold the doctrine which is contained in the foregoing passages of his work; and that, whether the arguments for its truth, which approve themselves to him, are satisfactory to others or not. We shall not here attempt to call them in question; all we profess to do is to draw attention to the state of the case, and show to what his doctrine leads and what it accomplishes.

The received notion in the English school seems to be, as has already been observed, that the faith which the Apostles delivered, has ever existed in the Church whole and entire, ever recognized as the faith, ascertainable as such, and separable (to speak generally) from the mass of opinions, which with it have obtained a footing among Christians. It is considered definite in its outline, though its details admit of more or less perfection; and in consequence it is the property of each individual, so that he may battle for it in his day, how great soever the party attacking it; nay, as not receiving it simply from the Church of the day, but through other sources besides, historical and scriptural, he may defend it, if needs be, against the Church, should the Church depart from it; the faith being the foundation of the Church as well as of the individual, and the individual being bound to obey the Church, only so far as the Church holds to the faith. This is the doctrine of Fundamentals, and its peculiarity is this; that it supposes the Truth to be {210} entirely objective and detached, not lying hid in the bosom of the Church as if one with her, clinging to her and (as it were) lost in her embrace, but as being sole and unapproachable as on the Cross or at the Resurrection, with the Church close by, but in the background.

Now what the advantages of this doctrine are, will be seen by observing the disadvantages of the opposite, which Mr. Palmer adopts; but at the same time it is confessedly a less simple and a more difficult doctrine than his. The chief difficulty obviously lies in determining what is the fundamental faith. A number of our most considerable divines have said that it is the Creed; but others take a different view of it. Waterland enumerates no less than eight distinct opinions, besides his own. Mr. Palmer urges this objection with great force, insisting upon the apparent absurdity of laying down, as if to settle controversies, what is more difficult to settle than anything else, and raises more disputes than it even professes to extinguish. In this opinion he agrees with a writer, who has attracted some notice of late, and whose thoughts are not the less deep because they happen to be ardent. "Your trumpery principle," observes Mr. Froude, in a letter to a friend, "about Scripture being the sole rule of faith in fundamentals (I nauseate the word), is but a mutilated edition" of the Protestant principle of the Bible and the Bible only, etc., "without the breadth and axiomatic character of the original."—Remains, vol. i., p. 415. It is not the habit of Mr. Palmer's mind to speak thus absolutely, and he is writing a formal treatise; yet the following sentences contain as decisive an opinion on the subject, if less frankly expressed. Of Fundamentals he says, "As an ambiguous term, as conveying no one definite notion, it seems unqualified to be of any practical utility {211} in questions of controversy."—Vol. i., p. 122. "It can only cause confusion and perplexity, while it affords the most perfect facility to sophistical reasoners to escape from cogent arguments by changing imperceptibly the sense of the propositions."—P. 127. Thus argues our author; yet surely it is unfair to represent the question as one about the use of a word. With whatever variations it has been used, still in the mouths of opponents of Romanism it denotes an idea as well; viz., the idea of a doctrine fully distinguished from other religious opinions, and already disengaged from its witnesses, and once for all recorded, whether this was done in the apostolic or in the primitive age; and, as being such, it is opposed to the Roman theory of the faith, as being even down to this hour partially latent in the Church, and capable of growing into new definitions and being developed into new members any day. It is indeed as fair to urge the difficulty of determining what the Fundamentals of Faith are, as, on the other hand, to urge the difficulty of determining what the Church's formal decision is, whether in the Pope, or in General Council, or in the Church diffusive; but it might as truly be said, that the Church's "judgment" was an ambiguous word, because divines differed in what it consists, as to ridicule the question of Fundamentals as a verbal dispute, because Protestants differ one with another what to call fundamental.

We have already said, it is not our intention here to enter into the question itself; but it should be clearly understood that it is no trifling point which is in debate,—that, while its decision this way or that is very important, so again it is one of considerable difficulty. It appears to us, very plain that the primitive ages held the existence of a fundamental faith, and also very hard {212} to determine what that faith was. On the other hand, the theory that the Church is absolutely our informant in divine truth, is most simple and unembarrassed certainly; but then, if we assume as a principle, we fight to disadvantage against the Romanists, for unless we can appeal to the past, how can we condemn the present? and how can we detect additions unless we know what it is which is added to? Accordingly, Mr. Palmer seems to be led on to hold, that the faith of the Church admits of addition; again, that there is no test of apostolic doctrine beyond universal consent, and that any doctrine which has once been generally received must be apostolic, or, in other words, that the majority cannot be wrong. For instance, in answer to the objection of Romanists against the Greeks, that the latter have not received the definitions of faith concerning papal primacy, purgatory, etc., made in the Councils of Lyons, Florence, and others, he does not contend that such subjects are not part of the faith once delivered, and therefore the denial of them cannot be heresy, but "the Western Churches, at the time of such definitions, were not evidently greater and more numerous than the Eastern, and therefore their acceptance of the above synods was not a sufficient proof of the approbation of the majority of the Catholic Church."—Vol. i., p. 203. He adds, "This position is of so much importance that it deserves a more particular notice." And after analyzing the state of East and West in this respect, and comparing the number of dioceses in each at various times, with the respective losses of the former from the Saracens and the Nestorian and Eutychian heresies, and of the latter in Africa, and again the gains of the former in Russia and of the latter in Germany, Denmark, etc., he concludes: {213}

"There is therefore no probability that the Eastern Church in the middle of the eleventh century, and even long afterwards, fell short of the Western, either in the number of its bishops, the extent of its jurisdiction, or the number and variety of the nations it embraced. It is impossible to determine precisely the number of bishops on each side; but there is neither proof nor presumption that the majority of the Church took part with the Roman Pontiff against the Greeks; and it is impossible to affirm with any certainty that the Western Churches were greater than the Eastern, up to the period of the Reformation."

Accordingly he takes one by one the Councils of the Middle Ages, and shows that, for one reason or another, they were not really ecumenical, or their decrees consequently binding on our faith. Whether or not we think this necessary, (for some will think that the mere fact that they went beyond the creed or fundamental faith, is a sufficient disproof of their Catholicity,) at any rate it is interesting to see the argument worked out historically, and this Mr. Palmer has done in a very masterly way. Thus against the Fourth Lateran, which is commonly held to have established the doctrine of Transubstantiation, he urges, among other considerations, the following:

"This synod consisting only of Latin bishops, and, having never been received by the Oriental Churches, cannot be considered as invested with the authority of the Catholic Church. It was not acknowledged as ecumenical by the first edition of the Synod of Florence, nor in the licence of Pope Clement VII. for publishing that synod, nor by Cardinal Contarenus, nor by the historians Platina, Nauclerus, Trithemius, or Albertus Stadensis. The general doctrine of the decree on faith was directed against heretics who denied all that was most sacred in Christianity. But this decree has not the authority which might have been expected, because it appears not to have been made concilialiter, with synodical deliberation, discussion, and giving of suffrages; but Innocentius caused it to be read with many others in the presence of the synod, and the bishops seem to have remained silent … {214}

"This objection alone would render the authority of such decrees very dubious, according to Bellarmine, Bossuet, Delahogue, etc., for the promises of Christ to aid His Church in determining the truth always suppose the use of ordinary means. These decrees were indeed known in the Western Church afterwards, rather under the name of Pope Innocentius, than of the Lateran synod. Hence, if we admitted that it was the intention of this synod to define the modern Roman opinion of Transubstantiation as 'de fide,' it would not follow that its definition was binding on the Church …

"That the whole Western Church believed the common opinion of Transubstantiation not to be a matter of faith, may be inferred absolutely and conclusively from the fact, that while this opinion was held by the majority of scholastic theologians till the period of the Reformation, several other opinions, entirely inconsistent with it, were openly held and taught by writers of eminence, without any condemnation or censure. Durandus a S. Porciano, about 1320, taught that the matter of bread and wine remain after consecration. Nevertheless he was so far from being censured, that the Pope made him Bishop of Annecy, and afterwards of Meaux; and he is praised by Trithemius and Gerson, the latter of whom recommended his writings to students in the University of Paris. Cardinal d'Ailly, who presided at the Council of Constance, A.D. 1415, says, that 'although Catholics agree that the body of Christ is in the Sacrament, there are different opinions as to the mode. The first is,' etc. … Thus we see that the common opinion of Transubstantiation was only an 'opinion,' and that different opinions were held by 'Catholics.' In fine, the scholastic theologians generally mention the different opinions, without imputing heresy to those that receive them."—Vol. ii., pp. 219-225.

Our limits will not allow us to say more on the subject of Mr. Palmer's book, or we should be tempted to set before the reader other specimens of its most instructive contents. It must not be supposed, because we have been led to discuss the main principle of his Treatise, that the work is mainly engaged in laying down principles, and is of an abstract or merely rudimental character. This indeed would be misrepresenting one of the most various, comprehensive, and elaborate works {215} which the present day has produced. But the discussions it contains would at best be but defectively exhibited in a Review, whereas it is both practicable and may prove useful to describe the basis on which the Treatise rests. For till Anglo-Catholics get a clear view of their elementary principles, not merely of the general character of their theology, as to which Mr. Palmer has no difference with other Anglican divines, they cannot hope to make a satisfactory fight against the enemies which surround them. Our author's theory of the revealed system issues, of course, in the same opinions and doctrines as that of other English divines; the only question is, as to what is the elementary formula, or key, to which the phenomena of that system may best be referred.

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