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was plead both for and against the supreme divinity of Christ, and the trinity of persons in the Godhead. And in the fifth century, Catholic consent was set up as a test of the Orthodox faith.”—p. 15.
The substance of the system is, that Scripture is defective, and that Tradition is its complement, while both, with like authority from God, claim the obedience of man. Dr. Peck proves, with great clearness, the practical identity of the views of High-Churchmen, Puseyites, and Romanists, in their views of the rule and its authority. He quotes Archdeacon Manning, (an unexceptionable “Churchman,”) who makes the “rule of faith as recognized and contended for by the Reformed Church of England” to be “ Scripture and Antiquity, or universal tradition attesting both Scripture and the sense :" and who believes that the universal tradition of all ages is no less than the voice of God.” Compare with this the doctrine of the Newmanites, as exhibited in Tract No. 70:-“Catholic tradition teaches revealed truth, Scripture proves it ; Scripture is the document of faith, tradition the witness of it ; Scripture by itself teaches mediately and proves decisively ; tradition by itself proves negatively and teaches positively ; Scripture and tradition, taken together, are the joint rule of faith.” And, again, the Romish doctrine, as exhibited in the Tridentine Catechism, is, that “the whole of the doctrine to be delivered to the faithful is contained in the word of God, which is distributed into Scripture and Tradition.” Do these differ more than three peas from the same pod ? “ They are brethren, why should they disagree?"
Yet the Puseyites in England and their servile followers in this country, object strongly to being called Romanists, not that they dislike Rome, but that they love the emoluments and the influence of their Church position, and know that all that is necessary to the destruction of that influence is a thorough unmasking of their genuine principles. But so long as Archdeacon Manning admits the supremacy of General Councils; so long as Mr. Newman asserts that “the Church Catholic is unerring in its declarations of faith for saving doctrine;"
so long as Dr. Pusey declares that “to the decisions of the Church universal we owe faith," and Mr. Keble that “consentient tradition is God's unwritten word, demanding the same reverence from us ;” so long as the whole tribe unite in affirming that there are certain necessary doctrines not taught, or imperfectly taught, in the Bible; there can be no question of the substantial identity of the platform of Puseyism with that of Rome. The practical working of the Puseyite system has shown itself in the departure of the Capes, the Wards, et id genus omne, from the Church of England to the more congenial climate of Rome; may the time not be long until all that sympathize with them follow in their steps. But in the mean time, while so many of them remain to fill the minds of many young priests with aspiring views of spiritual dominion, and to poison the minds of simple people with their pestilential doctrines, it is well for Protestants to be continually reminded of their real character. This is well exhibited in Dr. Peck's second chapter, at the close of which he remarks :
“ There can be no doubt but the Puseyites stand upon the divine authority and infalliblity of the Church. This position is now boldly and unequivocally taken by their leading writers. When the new movement first commenced we heard much about antiquity-apostolical traditions—the Catholic rule of Vincentius, etc. But now they tell us plainly that private judgment upon antiquity is as sairly out of the question, as private judgment upon the Scriptures, and that we must take the authority of the Church' for every thing, without waiting to understand her 'dogmas.' · The duty of following the authorily of the Church of England' is a very different thing from 'going along with’ her, 'because she proves her doctrines, to the satisfaction of private judgment.' Implicit obedience to the voice of the Church is the bounden duty of all. And as the Bible is in the hands of the Church to be dealt with in such a way as the Church shall consider best for the expression of her own mind,' when the English Church shall consider best to deal with it as the Church of Rome does that is, to withhold it from the people altogether-the Oxford movement will have reached the ne plus ultra of perfection, for which the Tractarians now so ardently labor. This will be the legitimate practical issue of the system of Church prerogative for which many Churchmen now contend, who shrink from such a result.”—pp. 70, 71.
In fact, there can be no security for Protestants, except in a total rejection of the traditionary theory. There is the more need of saying this, because there are signs of a leaning to tradition in a branch of the Protestant Church, which has generally been considered as little likely to favor Popery as any other.* Our rebuke of any such leaning cannot be too decidedly given. Whether it be tradition beyond Scripture, or subordinate to Scripture, or blended with Scripture, or explaining Scripture, (that is, authoritatively,) it is still tradition instead of Scripture, and we will have none of it. - Let in but one little finger of tradition, and you will have in the whole monster, horns, tail and all.” Tradition, we mean, as authority binding upon any man's conscience or judgment. We do not, must not refuse to listen to the voices of faithful men, whether of the first century or the nineteenth, but we must remember still that they are but the voices of men. We do not despise the testimony of any church, still less of the Universal Church, could it be delivered, but we must recollect, notwithstanding, that God has given no promise of infallibility to the Church. We hold in great value, as an aid to interpretation, the symbols of the early churches, and the creeds which have been held throughout Christendom for ages. But we cannot for a moment admit, without treachery to truth and God, that any testimony, any creed, any symbol, unless expressed in the ipsissima verba of Scripture, is binding upon any man's conscience as the Rule of his faith and practice.
This point is one of such vital importance, that no man ought to rest satisfied with any but the clearest views of it ; yet there is much vagueness of conception in regard to it, even among Protestants. The Puseyites, and all who favor the Priestcraft theory, delight in this fog of opinion, and use the most strenuous efforts to make it as dense as that which covered Egypt of yore. It is an easy thing to prate of the authority of the Church, the primitive times, the Fathers, universal consent, and the like, without coming to any precise explanation of the meaning of terms; and the books of the Traditionists are full of this kind of mist. Putting good and bad things together, and offering the medley in the dark, they deceive many who would spurn them and their gifts in open daylight. Their system of Scripture and Tradition, or of Tradition interpreting Scripture, is far more insidious and dangerous than the open claim of Papal infallibility. But, as Dr. Whately has admirably shown, they come to the same result. If there can be no appeal from the interpretation of Tradition or of the Church, it is equally authoritative with Scripture at last.
* See Schaff on Principle of Protestantism:
We ask special attention from those who may read Dr. Peck's book, to his section on the “alleged necessity for Tradition.” The principal ground assigned for this is the obscurity of Scripture, and in this point Puseyites, High-Churchmen and Romanists cordially agree. In meeting the whole argument two inquiries are naturally suggested : first, whether there is, in fact, any such obscurity in the. Scriptures as is pretended; and secondly, whether Tradition is the appropriate remedy. In regard to the first, Dr. Peck proceeds as follows:
No one in his senses has ever asserted that 'the Scriptures are so clear that private Christians could not err in understanding them, or that there may not be a variety of opinions in relation to many points of minor importance among Christians. But are the Scriptures consequently so obscure that they do not constitute a perfect rule of faith and practice ? Have they therefore no sense in themselves? This consequence by no means follows from the premises. A written rule may certainly be so plain that common minds may, with suitable attention, so far understand its insport and application that none of its practical objects will necessarily be thwarted, without being so clear that they could not err under any circumstances. And we have never alleged that Divine revelation was so plain that there is no hazard through negligence or prejudice of misconceiving its true import. The Author of the Scriptures has so adjusted them that a clear apprehension of their import requires the exercise of our voluntary powers; and has made us accountable to himself for a right under
* Kingdom of Christ, Essay II. § 25.
standing and a proper application of their great principles of faith and rules of duty. There is, indeed, a wide difference between the fact and the allegations of our opponents-between the necessity of careful examination of the Holy Scriptures, aided by all the means within our reach, and the necessity of a traditionary sense handed down from the apostles.”—pp. 125, 6.
of a piece with this doctrine of the obscurity of Scripture is that of its defectiveness, a point in regard to which “Churchmen” quarrel among themselves, although the difference between them is only that between tweedledum and tweedledee. The whole traditionary system tends necessarily to weaken men's confidence in the Scriptures. What could work more effectually into the hands of infidelity than this perpetual ringing of the changes upon the obscurity of the Bible? When we hear one of the ablest of the traditionists declaring that the “ private student of the Scriptures would not ordinarily gain a knowledge of the Gospel from them,” we know not which should be greater, our indignation at the atrocious ingratitude of the man, or our pity for his blindness and our apprehension for his fate. God has given us a “light for our feet,” but these men tell us it burns so dimly that we shall not make our way with it: God has given us a “laip unto our path,” but they declare it to be a dark jack-o'lantern that leads only to bewilder: God has given us a revelation of “his will,” but they assert that the Pythoness spoke less ambiguously : God has given us a “sure word of prophecy,” but they tell us that tradition is surer. The Scriptures declare themselves " able to furnish a man thoroughly unto every good work;" but we are told many good works are required on which Scripture is silent, and so it must be mended by tradition. “As Argo was patched until there was nothing of the old ship left, so these men bave patched up the word of God until there is nothing of the word of God left in it."*
Here, after all, is perhaps the most fearful danger to be apprehended from the insidious teachings of Puseyism and
* Lightfoot, Works VI. 56.