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or is there not, any ground for the imputation thus cast upon the Christianity of the second and third centuries, beyond the necessity of casting it on the part of the caster,- beyond the right of self-defence, and the duty of selfpreservation ?

“ However necessary and becoming as is such a struggle for life, I do not think it will avail the Protestant who makes it. The problem before him is to draw a line between the periods of purity and alleged corruption, such as may have all the Apostles on one side, and all the Fathers on the other, which may insinuate and meander through the dove-tailings and inosculations of historical facts, and cut clean between St. John and St. Ignatius, St. Paul and St. Clement; low enough not to encroach upon the book of Acts, yet so high as to be out of the reach of all extant documents besides. And at any rate, whether he succeeds or not, so much he must grant, that if such a system of doctrine as he would now introduce ever existed in early times, it has been clean swept away as if by a deluge, suddenly, silently, and without memorial; by a deluge coming in a night, and utterly soaking, rotting, heaving up, and hurrying off, every vestige of what it found in the Church, before cock-crowing; so that when they rose in the morning' her true seed were all dead corpses'-nay, dead and buried-and without grave. stones. “The waters went over them; there was not one of them left; they sunk like lead in the mighty waters. Strange antitype, indeed, to the early fortunes of Israel!-then the enemy was drowned, and · Israel saw them dead upon

the sea-shore. But now, it would seem, water proceeded as a flood out of the serpent's mouth,' and covered all the witnesses, so that not even their dead bodies ‘lay in the streets of the great city. Let him take which of his doctrines he will, his peculiar view of self-righteousness, of formality, of superstition; his notion of faith, or of spirituality in religious worship; his denial of the virtue of the sacraments, or of the ministerial commission, or of the visible Church; or his doctrine of the divine etticaey of the Scriptures as the one appointed instrument of religious teaching; and let him consider how far antiquity, as it has come down to us, will countenance him in it. No; he must allow that the alleged deluge has done its work; yes, and has in turn disappeared itself; it has been swallowed up ia the earth, mercilessly as itself was merciless.

"This representation has been usually met by saying, that the extant records of primitive Christianity are scanty, and that, for what we know, what is not extant, had it survived, would have told a different tale. But granting this, the hypothesis that history might contain facts which it does not contain, is no positive evidence for the truth of those facts; and this is the question, what is the positive evidence that the Church ever believed or taught a Gospel substantially different from that which her extant documents contain? All the evidence that is extant, be it much or be it little, is on our side : Protestants have none. Is none better than some? Scarcity of records-granting for argument's sake there is scarcity-may be taken to account for Protestants having no evidence; it will not account for our having all that is to be had; it cannot become a positive evidence in their behalf. That records are few does not show that they are worthless.

“Whether, however, there be a scarcity of primitive documents or not, I consider that, supposing the appeal to facts be allowed at all, not only there is none for them, but there is enough for us. But the advocates of Protestantism do not allow the appeal; they aver that the Apostolic system of the Church was certainly lost, when they know not, how they know not, without assignable instruments, but by a great revolution,–of that they are certain; and then they challenge us to prove it was not so.Prove,' they say, if you can, that the real and very truth is not so entirely hid in primitive history, as to leave not a particle of evidence betraying it. This is the very thing which misleads you, that all the arguments are in your favour. Is it not possible that an error has got the place of the truth, and has destroyed all the evidence but what witnesses on its side! Is it not possible that all the Churches should everywhere have given up and stifled the scheme of doctrine they received from the Apostles, and have substituted another for it? Of course it is; it is plain to common sense it may be so. Well, we say, what may be, is; this is our great principle : we say that the Apostles considered episcopacy an indifferent matter, though Ignatius says it is essential. We say that the table is not an altar, though Ignatius says it is. We say there is no priest's office under the Gospel, though Clement affirms it. We say that baptism is not enlightening, though Justin takes it for granted. We say that heresy is a misfortune, though Ignatius accounts it a deadly sin; and all this, because it is our right, and our duty, to interpret Seripture in our own way. We uphold the pure unmutilated Scripture; the Bible, and Bible only, is the religion of Protestants; the Bible and our own sense of the Bible. We claim a sort of parliamentary privilege to interpret laws our own way, and not to suffer an appeal to any court beyond ourselves. We know, and we view it with consternation, that all antiquity runs counter to our interpretation, and therefore, alas, the Church was corrupt from very early times indeed. But mind, we hold all this in a truly Catholic spirit, not in bigotry. We allow in others the right of private judgment, and confess that we, as others, are fallible men. We confess facts are against us; we do but claim the liberty of theorising in spite of them. Far be it from us to say, that we are certainly right; we only say, that the whole early Church was certainly wrong. We do not impose our belief on any one; we only say, that those who take the contrary side are Papists, firebrands, persecutors, madmen, zealots, bigots, and an insult to the nineteenth century." -(pp. 326–330.)

This passage is stained, from beginning to end, with a criminal misrepresentation of the question. A few plain statements will set the matter in the light of truth.

1. It is grossly to misrepresent the question, to speak of it as a dispute between those who maintain, and those who deny, episcopacy, infant baptism, the doctrine of the trinity, the sin of schism, &c. Mr. Newman knows that these are not the points in dispute, but that those who defend and those who reject, the Tracts for the Times, alike maintain all these doctrines.

2. Mr. Newman stoops to the artifice of here giving, as an argument used by Protestants, that which is a mere invention of his own. The whole of this striking caricature of an entire loss of all the evidence in favour of the Protestant system, by some deluge sweeping it away, is a fiction of Mr. Newman's. The position universally taken by Protestants is entirely different. They are accustomed to find their faith in the word of God; where, and where alone, the Church of England directs them to seek it. Turning from this only infallible rule, to the early ecclesiastical writers, they find, in the first ages, a general agreement. Only a few trifling errors are gradually discernible. Ignatius (if his epistles be not interpolated) assigns more supremacy to the episcopal office than did the Apostles. He also uses the word “altar” in an ambiguous way. In like manner a single isolated expression may be found in Justin, or in Clement, which is inconsistent with Scripture, and which proves that inspiration was not

Avugst, 1842

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possessed by them. This is the whole state of the case, as to the apostolic and really primitive Church. Of the Nicene system, with its adoration of the Virgin, and of the bones of the dead; its twenty years' penances, its prayers to departed bishops, its use of fasting and almsgiving as satisfaction for sin, and its special fond. ness for celibacy,—not a syllable is to be found, either in Scripture, or in Clement, or Ignatius, or Justin, or Polycarp. It is “the Church system,” or what Mr. Newman calls by that name -not Protestantism-which is wholly “without a particle of evidence” in the early, records.

3. So that, in point of fact, the real state of the case is this: Mr. Newman and the Tractarians, asserting their reverence for “antiquity,” yet plainly tell us, that the “ Antiquity” they mean, is "the Church of the fourth century.” Now we reply, that this is too modern for us. We prefer, and will adhere to, the Church of the first century. Whatever Mr. Newman can shew us to have been inherited by Ambrose, Basil, and Athanasius, from Paul, and Peter, and John, we will admit, and consent unto. But whatever there is reason to believe that Ambrose and the other churchmen of the Nicene age invented and added to "the Catholic system,”— all that we reject, on Tertullian's principle, “Whatever is first, is true; whatever is later, is adulterate.” The question, then, is, not whether we can find all Luther's notions, or all Cranmer's, in Clement or Justin,-as Mr. Newman would represent it; but whether Mr. Newman can shew us the Nicene system, in the writings of the apostles and their successors for the first 100 or 150 years. For instance :

One of Mr. Newman's own favourite exhibitions of “the Church of the fourth century” is, the discovery of the bones of Gervasius and Protasius, and the miracles said to be wrought by those bones. Now, had anything at all resembling this been thought of for the first 150 years, it could not but have been sometimes alluded to, either by St. Paul, St. Peter, St. John, St. James, or St. Jude: or by Clement, Polycarp, Ignatius, or Justin. To these writers the graves of apostles and the earliest martyrs were known. Do they tell us anything of the veneration with which these remains were regarded, -of the sanctity of the receptacle,—of the power of heal. ing lodged in the relics, -of the protection of towns and cities from evil spirits and earthquakes by the mighty power of their presence ? Not one syllable of the kind can be adduced.

Again, a favourite doctrine of the fourth century, was, the glory and excellency of virginity and the celibate life;—that it was something “as much above marriage, as heaven was above earth." Do the apostles, or the uninspired writers of the first 150 years,

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give the least countenance to such notions as these? On the contrary, is it not a plain and undisputed fact, that when a sect arose in 172, calling themselves the Continent, they were condemned as heretics? It is not alleged that they denied any article of the creed, or propounded any false doctrine except that which Ambrose and Basil afterwards exalted to the highest sign of saintship. But at that time, we learn from Irenæus, (l. 1. c. 24), that the profession of celibacy was in itself a heresy.

The same remark applies to “abstaining from meats,”—another mark which St. Paul had given, of the apostacy which should reveal itself. This was part of the Encratite system, and was, with the twin doctrine of celibacy, condemned by the whole Church in the second century. But in the fourth the scene is entirely changed: “What doth God require of thee," asks Athanasius, “but a pure heart, and a body unsoiled (by marriage) and brought down by Fasting.” Celibacy and Fasting were now become the beginning and ending of religion. Christ was “become of none effect.” Salvation was placed in ascetic observances, in the first instance; or, when these had been departed from, in long penances, and ecclesiastical censures and absolutions.

Again, in Gregory's sermon or oration on his friend Basil, we meet with the following language-we copy from Mr. Newman :

“O, that thou, divine and sacred heart, mayest watch over me from above, and that thorn in my flesh, which God has given for my discipline, either end it by thy intercessions, or persuade me to bear it bravely! and mayest thou direct my whole life, even to the end, towards that which is most convenient! and if I depart hence, then mayest thou receive me there in thy tabernacles.”—(p. 173.)

Here we see the spreading of demonolotry, or the worship of dead men.

“ It may be observed,” says Dupin, “that the Church in the time of Gregory, believed, that the martyrs and saints took care of men upon earth; that they interceded for them; and that it was very profitable to pray to them for the obtaining of spiritual and temporal favors.”ı Mr. Newman adds, with his usual candor, “The English Church has removed such addresses from her services, on account of the abuses to which they have led.Is not this to imply, or rather to assert, that our Church saw no objection to such addresses in themselves, but merely to some other things resulting from them? But those very Homilies which Mr. Newman has declared to contain “a godly and wholesome doctrine,” thus speak of the intrinsic character of saint-worship :"Is there any angel or virgin, any patriarch or prophet among the dead, that can understand or know the meaning of the heart ?

Dupin, vol. ii. p. 167.

The scripture saith, It is God that searcheth the heart and

reins, and that he only knoweth the hearts of the children of men.” The Holy Ghost doth plainly teach us, that Christ is our only mediator and intercessor with God, and that we must not seek or run to another.” “But that we should pray unto saints, neither have we any commandment in all the Scripture, nor yet example which we may safely follow. So that being done without authority of God's word, it lacketh the ground of faith, and therefore cannot be acceptable before God.”-(Homily on Prayer.)

And, like the former instances, this corruption of the Nicene age is wholly without support either from the apostles, or the early fathers. It is an addition, both unauthorized and opposed to the general tenor of Scripture and the primitive Church. Considering these things,--and the list might be greatly enlarged, did time admit,--must we not be greatly astonished, to find any man entertaining any value for his own character, venturing the following assertion :

“If any one inquired how we know that Gregory or Ambrose was right, and our Church right, in receiving St. Paul's Epistles, what answer should we make? The answer would be, that it is a matter of history that the Apostle wrote those which are ascribed to him. And what is meant by its being a matter of history? why, that it has ever been so believed, so declared, so recorded, so acted on, from the first down to this day; that there is no assignable point of time when it was not believed, no assignable point at which the belief was introduced; that the records of past ages fade away and vanish in the belief; that in proportion as past ages speak at all, they speak in one way, and only fail to bear a witness when they fail to have a voice. What stronger testimony can we have of a past fact?

“Now the same evidence have we for the Catholic doctrines which Ambrose or Gregory maintained; they have never and no where, not been maintained; or in other words, wherever we know any thing positive of ancient times and places, there we are told of these doctrines also. As far as the records of history extend, they include these doctrines, as avowed always, everywhere, and by all. This is the great canon of the Quod semper, quod ubique, quod ab omnibus, which saves us from the misery of having to find out the truth for ourselves from Scripture on our independent and private judgment. He who gave Scripture, also gave us the interpretation of Scripture; and He gave the one and the other gift in the same way, by the testimony of past ages, as matter of historical knowledge, or what is sometimes called, by tradition. We receive the Catholic doctrines as we receive the canon of Scripture, because, as our Article expresses it, of their authority' there was never any doubt in the Church.'"-(pp. 172, 173.)

We meet these bold assertions by an equally straightforward denial of the fact. We say that “the Catholic doctrines which Ambrose and Gregory maintained,” were unknown to the early Church, save as heresies, condemned whenever they appeared

. And we say that, however easy it might be to prove this, negatively,—the burden of proof rests on Mr. Newman and the admirers of the Nicene age. It is a violation of all the rules of

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