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is the Mediator between God and man, so too, he is the bond of union between man and man, in the fellowship of his Spirit. The genuine believer, united with Christ, is united with all that are His, in this land, and in all lands, in this age, and in all ages. And this is the Church, as the true Protestant and the true Christian have always held. This Church of Christ has never been wanting upon Earth, since the day when the Master, ascending from Bethany, gave the last look of blessing to his disciples. Its apostolical succession of faithful preachers has never failed. Its apostolical tradition of Christ's truth, “ written for our knowledge,” has never been lost, and shall never be, not one jot or tittle of it. Amid all trials, of pagan persecutions and imperial cruelties, of false prosperity and deep adversity, of cringing priests and lordly bishops, it has never yet been overthrown, nor shall it be, for the “gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” To this Church of Christ the heart of the true Protestant clings, and however the Romanist or the Puseyite may stigmatize it as a “chimera" because “ in visible," the Protestant, not without knowledge of the history of the past, and not without earnest hopes for the future, still professes, in that creed worthy to be named A postolic, his belief in “the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints," and loves it not the less, believes in it not the less, that it presents no outward tabernacle, that it enthrones no visible Head, that it supports no proud hierarchy, that it claims no degrading homage, that it utters no fearful anathemas.
Closely connected with this question of the true idea of the Church, or indeed identical with it in the last "analysis, is that of the Rule of Faith. In causis spiritualibus necessario admittendus aliquis supremus judex controversiarum is the old postulate of those who contend for a visible Church endowed with God's own infallibility. Grant them their postulate, in their own sense of it, and the whole theory of “Church principles," as the modern successors of Hildebrand complacently name their dogmas, will inevitably follow. On the other hand, let it be settled that the Scriptures, and the Scriptures alone, constitute the true rule of Christian faith and practice, and we shall have done for ever with the juggling priestcraft which has so long disgraced Christianity, and which finds its only hope of support in ecclesiastical tradition. The question, then, is a vital one. It is not a mere matter of detail, about which men can differ at pleasure. It is the Rubicon which separates Protestantism from Popery. It involves “a choice between the Gospel of Christ, as declared by himself and his a postles, and that deadly apostacy which Paul in his lifetime saw threatening,—nay, the effects of which, during his captivity, had nearly supplanted his own gospel in the Asiatic churches, and which, he declares, would come speedily with a fearsul power of lying wonders.”* In such a strife there can be no neutrality; the line is distinctly drawn, and every man must take his position on the one side or the other. The Church of God, according to the Protestant, is built upon the “ soundation of the prophets and the apostles, Christ himself being the chief corner stone;" according to the traditionist, upon the sands of antiquity as well. From the beginning the question has existed ; from the beginning men have made the word of God of none effect through their traditions.
So much has been written upon the Rule of Faith, and the questions collateral to it, that nothing absolutely new, as we have hinted before, can be said upon the subject. But the advocates of a traditional faith and traditional interpretation are reviving long-exploded fallacies, and presenting them in new forms, so that it is necessary to meet them by direct resutations, as well as to make men familiar with the general ground on which the argument rests. New books, even upon old subjects, and presenting only old arguments, find many readers who could have no access to original authorities. A judicious selection, too, can be made from the vast mass of materials which ages of controversy have accumulated, and
* Arnolds' Life, II. 110.
offered in a shape convenient and agreeable for general perusal. Such books are necessary, not merely for the laity, but for many of the clergy, who have neither the time nor the means for making extensive original researches. The Puseyites are diffusing their poison in every shape ; in heavy octavos on the Church, in pretty duodecimos containing prayers and pictures, in attractive three-volume novels, and one-volume poems, and in light-winged tracts scattered by thousands throughout the land. A commendable activity, truly, if it were only employed in a better cause. But the example must not be lost. It is the duty of all friends of the Bible to emulate and surpass its enemies in learning, zeal, and industry. We rejoice to say that this duty is felt, and, to a considerable extent, met. Since the commencement of the controversy, there have appeared, both in England and America, a number of valuable works, meeting the foe at all points.
Among the best and most useful of the publications, which the Oxford Tract Controversy has called forth in England is, “Goode's Divine Rule of Faith and Practice," which has been reprinted in this country, and has obtained, as it has deserved, extensive circulation. But it is too copious a work to be generally used by any but clergymen, and, with all its excellences, (which are manifold,) it is not a well-arranged nor well-written book. Moreover, it goes into full detail upon subjects collateral to the main question, such as the Apostolical Succession, the Eucharistic Sacrifice, etc., a course which, while it was necessary for Mr. Goode's special purpose of resuting the authors of the Tracts for the Times, destroys, to some extent at least, the unity of his book as a Treatise on the Rule of Faith. It is to be remembered too, that Goode is a Church of England Divine. While we are grateful for all the contributions to theological literature made by the clergy of that Church, we cannot but perceive that their stand-point is, in many respects, an unsuitable one for viewing the great questions involved in this controversy. It is only the mind of a master, such as Whately or Arnold that can relieve itself of all the difficulties of such a position ; and our sympathy is often called forth even for these, when we find them struggling with obstacles arising only from their relations to a Church, which, with all its excellences, retains far too much of kingcraft and priestcraft, far too much of that miscalled conservatism, which ever looks backward, and never forward, and which, as Arnold strongly says, is “always wrong, -not only foolish but suicidal." There was needed, we think, a book which should take up the question of the Rule of Faith from the stand-point of pure Protestantism, which should view it in its relations, not merely to the Church of England, but to the Church of Christ; and which should present the subject clearly and forcibly, in such a way as to serve the purpose both of a guide to the studies of those who wish to pursue their inquiries to the original sources, and of a manual for those who do not. Such a work, in our judgment, is the one named at the head of this article, to which we now invite the attention of our readers.
Dr. Peck remarks, in his Preface, that “in many instances the mere uprasking of an error is its refutation ;” and in accordance with this maxim, he proceeds, in his first chapter, to present all the essential features of the Traditionary system, and to exhibit the process of its development in the history of Christianity. Not content, however, with the negative argument against the system which this exposition of its nakedness supplies, he enters, in the second chapter, upon a careful examination of the arguments, by which its claims are generally supported; and, after a fair statement and pretty thorough refutation of these, he proceeds, in the third chapter, to bring up, in strong array, the crushing arguments of which the early reformers furnished so complete a supply, to invalidate the whole system. After thus disposing of the claims of Tradition, he finally adduces, in the fourth chapter, a series of positive arguments in proof of the Protestant doctrine that the Scriptures alone form a sufficient Rule of faith and practice. Thus the ground is admirably laid out. The
arrangement merits great praise for its neatness and precision ; no small merits in a work of this sort, designed for general circulation, or, indeed, in a work of any sort. In the compass of one small volume, Dr. Peck has treated of the topics above mentioned to a sufficient extent for all ordinary purposes, and with a sprightliness and perspicuity that must recommend the subject even to ordinary minds ; while, at the same time, the work will be a useful guide-book to the better informed, from its abundant and careful references to original authorities.
The ambitious curiosity of man seeks to know more of the invisible world than reason can develope. This thirst for hidden knowledge is united, in the mass of men, with a disposition to quench it at any stream, no matter whence it may take its rise. On the other hand, the few have made use of this thirst, in all ages, as a powerful means of lording it over the many; and it must be confessed that they have found willing vassals. Even among those who have, or profess to have, received an explicit revelation from God, the Jews and Mohammedans, as well as the Christians, this body of revealed doctrine has been overlaid by a vast stratum of allegorical or mystical interpretation, and still surther, by doctrines extraneous to the written books, professedly derived from God no less than they, but resting on traditions preserved in the hands of the priesthood, and made available for the subjection of the minds of men by claims of authority equal to that of the written books themselves. What the Dervish is to the Moslim, and the Rabbi to the Jew, that the modern priest, whether Romanist or Puseyite, is to Christianity. Nor was it at a late period in the history of Christianity that the system of priestly domination, which Rome and Oxford now uphold, took its rise. “In the extension of the Christian Church,” says Dr. Peck, “in numbers and political power, many became nominal Christians who were not wholly divested of notions of religion radically heathen, and consequently not in harmony with the Religion of Christ.” early as the Council of Nice, the authority of the holy fathers