Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

dico, allego, et in hijs Scriptis palam, publicè et expressè protestor." This act of Cranmer was called his “ Protestation." (See Strype's Cranmer, Appendix, No. 5. vol. ii. p. 683.)

Archbishop Laud, called a " Good Protestant” by King James, was a man who could not be suspected of having too friendly a feeling towards such Protestants, or ultra-Protestants, as those with whom we are now in controversy ; and he may therefore be adduced as a competent witness to show that the term Protestant, etymologically and ecclesiastically considered, is one which expresses better than any other, the position in which we stand, in common with other reformed churches, in regard to the Church of Rome. “I did this," said he,“ on one occasion, as holding it to be the best means to keep down Popery, and to advance the Protestant religion.” (See Le Bas' Life of Laud, p. 198.) Upon another occasion he declared, “ And here not the Church of England only, but all Protestants, agree most truly, and most strongly in this, that the Scripture is sufficient to salvation, and contains in it all things necessary to it.” (Conference between Laud and Fisher, p. 52.)

Laud's definition of Protestantism is very much to our purpose, and not less so is his sensible question, “ Why may not men without offence be called Protestants ?” . “ First, the Protestants did not depart : for departure is voluntary, so was not theirs. I say, not theirs taking their whole body and cause together. For that some among them were peevish, and some ignorantly zealous, is neither to be doubted, nor is there danger in confessing it. Your body is not so perfect, (I wot well) but that many amongst you are as peltish, and as ignorantly zealous, as any of ours. You must not suffer for these ; nor we for those ; nor should the Church of Christ for either. Next, the Protestants did not get that name by protesting against the Church of Rome, but by protesting (and that when nothing else would serve) against her errours and superstitions. Do you but remove them from the Church of Rome, and our protestation is ended, and the separation too. Nor is protestation itself such an unheard-of thing in the very heart of religion. For the sacraments both of the Old and New Testament are called by your own schoole, visible signes protesting the faith. Now if the sacraments be protestantia, signes protesting, why may not men also, and without all offence, be called Protestants, since by receiving the true sacraments, and by refusing them which are corrupted, they do but protest the sincerity of their faith against that doctrinal corruption, which hath invaded the great sacrament of the Eucharist, and other parts of religion? especially since they are men which must protest their faith by these visible signes and sacra. ments." (Conf. Laud and Fisher, pp. 135, 136.)

There is reason to think, that there would not be any dislike of the word Protestant, if there were not an unsettled feeling on the part of the objectors, and an uncatholic spirit in relation to Protestant churches, other than our own, which was not felt by the fathers of the English Reformation, or by their immediate successors. “The English Reformers," says Mr. Le Bas, in his Life of Cranmer, (vol. ii. p. 98.) “ framed their Articles, not as a wall of partition between Protestant and Protestants; but as a bulwark against the perversions with which

the scholastic theology had disfigured the simplicity of the Gospel. So far as they had an eye to the disputes which were beginning to distract the Protestant world, comprehension, and not exclusion, was manifestly their purpose."

Mr. Le Bas' sound and admirable observations in his Lives of Wiclif, Cranmer, Jewel, and Laud, whenever he has occasion to speak of Protestantism as distinguished from Romanism, or identical with the principles of the Church of England, express our own meaning so fully, that we beg our readers to consult the following passages fora sample of true Protestant views. Life of Wiclif. Introduction, pp. 31, 33, and pp. 365-6. Cranmer, vol. ii. pp. 2-3, 319. Jewel, pp. 200, 301. Laud, pp. 98, 199, 241.

In the early days of the Reformation, there was much of what Laud called peevishness and ignorant zeal, and yet the right hand of fellowship was not withheld from Protestants generally. Old Latimer, speaking of the minister of a German congregation, who was afterwards somewhat troublesome to our English bishops, said, “I could wish such men as he to be in the realm : for the realm should prosper in receiving them." “He that receivelh you, receiveth me,” said Christ. (Memorials of Cranmer, Strype, vol. i. p. 338.)

It is not necessary to overload this article with authorities, in proof of the readiness which the good and great of other days expressed for the designation Protestant, and of the fraternal sentiments which they cherished towards Protestants of other churches, and of the mauner in which they identified themselves with orthodox Protestants, “ taking their whole body and cause together.” The following passages, however, from two or three of our standard writers, will not be thought out of place. “ Let the Roman pontiffs, if they either can, or will, con. sider the matter by itself, let them examine the rise and progress of our religion, they will find that many causes, without even the appearance of human aid, have conspired to the downfal of their power. Whereas, against the determined opposition of so many pontiffs, of so many kings and emperors, our religion has made its way into every corner of the world, and gained admission into courts and palaces. This is surely a proof of assistance more than human. The will of Heaven has interposed to defeat all attempts that have been made to stop the progress of truth. It is planted where no human strength, nor even all the powers of hell, can tear it down. It cannot be infatuation in so many free cities, so many kings and princes, to revolt from the See of Rome, or, we should rather say, to join the banners of Christ." (Jewel's Apology, pp. 20, 21. Campbell's Translation.)

" When they talk of our splitting into various sects, and bearing, some the name of Lutherans, and some of Zuinglians, and say that we have never been able to come to any mutual agreement upon the leading points of doctrine, what would they have said, if they had lived in the primitive times, in the days of the apostles, and the holy fathers ? When one said, I am of Paul, another, I am of Cephas, another, I am of Apollos; when Paul reproved Peter; when Barnabas left Paul on account of a quarrel; when, as we find from Origen, the Christians were divided into so many factions, that the name of Christians was

the only common feature by which they could be known.” Ibid. pp. 99, 100.

“Unity and harmony are very proper indeed, in religion; yet they are not sure and peculiar marks, by which the Church of God is to be known. For there was the greatest unity among those who worshipped the golden calf, and among those, who, with one voice, cried out against our Saviour Jesus Christ, Crucify him. Because the Corinthians were harassed with dissensions among themselves, because Paul differed from Peter, and Barnabas from Paul, and because, upon some points, there were mutual discords among the Christians in the primitive times of the Gospel, the Church of God did not cease to exist among them. As for those, whom our adversaries, by way of contempt, call Zuinglians and Lutherans, they are in reality Christians, on both sides, and preserve the bonds of fraternity and friendship. They do not differ upon the principles, or fundamental parts of our religion respecting God, or Christ, or the Holy Ghost, nor with respect to the means of justification or everlasting life. There is only one point of difference, and that of no great weight or importance. We neither despair, nor even doubt, but in a short time harmony will be established ; and if there be any who are wrong in their opinions, we trust they will lay aside the partiality or prejudice of names, and that God will reveal to them his truth, so that, as was done before in the council of Chalcedon, upon due search and better information, every branch and all the roots of dissension will be torn up, and the dissensions buried in everlasting oblivion. This is the substance of our earnest prayer.” (Jewel's Apol. pp. 107, 108.) · “ But we speak now of the visible church, whose children are signed with this mark, One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism. In whomsoever these things are, the church doth acknowledge them for her children ; them only she holdeth for aliens and strangers, in whom these things are not found. For want of these it is that Saracens, Jews, and Infidels, are excluded out of the bounds of the church. Others we may not deny to be of the visible church, as long as these things are not wanting in them." (Hooker's Works, Book III. Eccl. Polity, vol. i. p. 352.) “ In which respect for mine own part, although I see that certain reformed churches, the Scottish especially and French, have not that which best agreeth with the sacred Scripture, I mean the government that is by Bishops, inasmuch as both those churches are fallen under a different kind of regiment; which to remedy it is for the one altogether too late, and too soon for the other, during their present affliction and trouble; this their defect and imperfection I had rather lament in such a case than exagitate, considering that men oftentimes, without any fault of their own, may be driven to want that kind of polity or regiment which is best; and to content themselves with that which either the irremediable error of former times or the necessity of the present, hath cast upon them.” (Hooker, Book III. Eccl. Polity, vol. i. pp. 422, 423.)

“ In the next place, the Protestant or Evangelical churches of our European world, do justly cry out of the high injustice of Rome, in excluding them from the communion of the truly Catholic Church of Christ. What a presumptuous violence is this! What a proud uncharit

ableness ! How often and how sadly have we appealed to the God of heaven, to judge between us. What is, what can there be required, to the entire being of a christian church, which is not to be found eminently conspicuous in these of ours? Here is one Lord, that sways us by the sceptre of his law and gospel; one faith, which was once delivered to the saints, without diminution, without adulteration; one baptism, the common laver of our regeneration ; one spiritual banquet of heavenly manna, whereby our souls are fed to eternal life ; one rule of our christian devotion. Shortly, here is a sweet communion of the members with their head, Christ; and of the members with themselves." (Bp. Hall's Works, vol. vii. sec. 4, p. 51.)

“The divisions of the church are, either general, betwixt our church and the other reformed; or special, and those within the bosom of our own church; both of which require several considerations. For the former, blessed be God, there is no difference, in any essential matter, betwixt the Church of England and her sisters of the Reformation. We accord in every point of christian doctrine, without the least variation : their public confessions and ours are sufficient convictions to the world of our full and absolute agreement. The only difference is, in the form of outward administration; wherein also we are so far agreed, as that we all profess this form not to be essential to the being of a church, though much importing the well or better being of it, according to our several apprehensions thereof." (Ibid. sect. 6, p. 56.)

Chillingworth’s “immortal work,” (“one of the most perfect models of controversial writing,” as Le Bas calls it, in his Life of Laud, p. 242,) viz." The Religion of Protestants, a safe way to Salvation,” which was brought out under the patronage of Laud, and Stillingfleet's productions, offer passages without end in support of our sentiments. But the title of one of the books of the latter is quite enough to show what his opinions were upon the subject:

" A Rational Account of the Grounds of the Protestant Religion ; wherein the true grounds of faith are cleared and the false discovered ; the Church of England vindicated from the imputation of schism ; and the most important particular controversies between us and those of the Church of Rome thoroughly examined.”

One more reference, and enough will have been said to show, that the varieties in discipline of the churches of the reformed faith, form no stumbling-block to those who have built their opinions on solid foundations, and no reason why members of the English Church should repudiate the term Protestant. Our two venerable Church Societies, “The Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge,” and “ The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts,” are considered to have spoken the sentiments of the Anglican Church, from their first institution. Just look at the manner in which the word Protestant is used in their reports and other documents. As soon as the “Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge" was constituted, its conductors put themselves in correspondence with foreign Protestants, and they engaged ministers ordained in foreign churches to be their missionaries. This practice has since been continued, and to this day their reports speak of their missionary proceedings under the head of "Prolestant Missions."

“ The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts" has been equally marked in its language, and the sermons of their episcopal preachers, published annually for a century past, abound in expressions of kind feeling and christian fellowship towards Protestants, as Protestants. At present this Society is occupied in proving that the expression “Protestant Clergy,” in certain public documents, applies in an especial manner to the “ Clergy of the Church of England," and a motion was lately submitted to the House of Lords, by the Bishop of Exeter, to this effect: to take the opinion of the Judges whether the words "a Protestant Clergy" in the 31 George III. c. 31, sec. 35–42, include any other than Clergy of the Church of England, and Protestant Bishops, Priests and Deacons, who have received Episcopal ordination. And if any other, what other?” Why then, to repeat the words of Laud, “Why may not we without offence be called Protestants ?"

W. S. G.

ON THE ADMINISTRATION OF BAPTISM AFTER THE

SECOND LESSON. SIR,-Every friend of religion must deplore the assaults which are being continually made upon the Church, by adversaries as various in their character, as they are unscrupulous in their system of warfare. While, however, it is melancholy to mark their virulence, it is cheering to reflect that, hitherto, their opposition has “ fallen out to the furtherance," rather than to the detriment, of her interests. It has awakened many of her members, whose energies had long lain dormant. They have heard the trumpet of the adversary, and are girding on their harness for the conflict. They are going about our Zion, “telling her towers," “ marking well her bulwarks," surveying her vulnerable points, and taking up their position on her ramparts, determined, if need be, to defend her to the last extremity. The shout of the foe, exulting in an anticipated triumph, has nerved their arms and inspirited their hearts. It has led them to investigate afresh the grounds upon which, both as an integral member of Christ's Holy Catholic Church, and also as a National Establishment, the Church of this country,--the Church of their sires,—endeared to them by a thousand constraining associations, claims their affectionate attachment.

They have risen from the inquiry refreshed and satisfied ; for they have seen that “ her foundations are upon the holy hills;" that she is “ built upon prophets and apostles, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone;" and that while she is scriptural in character, and apostolical in constitution, she is also the grand conservator of spiritual truth; the mainstay of England's prosperity; the great moral breakwater, that alone is capable of opposing an effectual resistance to the tide of infidelity, licentiousness, and misrule, that threatens to inundate our beloved land.

They are accordingly exerting themselves to render her, what she is capable of being made, to a still greater extent-"a praise in the earth ;" and if those who profess attachment to her, but whose adherence is somewhat equivocal, do not prove recreant, and “turn them.

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »