Page images
PDF
EPUB

Council of Florence. But, to reject a doctrine not revealed in Scripture, nor handed down by unbroken tradition from the beginning, but “dug out," or developed by a part of the Church in later ages, and violently thrust upon the rest on false grounds, can never be heresy. If, indeed, it were confessed to be a novelty and a development, and sufficiently shown to be, notwithstanding, a legitimate and necessary development, there might be a greater responsibility in rejecting it.

On the other side, very many of the Greeks assert, not only that the Latin doctrine is false in itself, but also that it is a heresy, and that the Latins are heretics for maintaining it. But against this view it is fair to object

1. That those heretical consequences which seem to flow from the assertion of the Procession from the Son as well as from the Father, and on account of which the doctrine itself is said to be heresy, are clearly rejected and condemned as heresies by the Latins, no less than by the Greeks; which would seem to reduce the Latin error, if it be an error, to a mere misconception and misuse of words.

II. That all heresies spring from evil motives : but the motive which prompted the assertion of this doctrine is commonly admitted, even by the Greeks, to have been good, namely, the desire to maintain, against the Arians, and other heretics, the co-equality of the Son with the Father.

III, That the Greeks have repeatedly, and all along, offered to unite and communicate with the Latins, winking at all other faults, if only the form of the Creed were restored; which they could not have done, if the doctrine of the Procession from the Son had been held to be heresy in itself.

IV. That until not only some, or many passages, but all those passages in S. Augustine and other Latin Fathers which assert the Procession from the Son, have been shown to be corrupt or interpolated, or, in sense, to mean no more than they were stated to mean in the explanation given at Rome to Maximus the Martyr, in the seventh century, the Latins, even if they be in error, cannot be onlled heretics for adhering to a doctrine seemingly taught and bequeathed to them by great Saints, who are venerated as such by the Eastern Church, po less than by their own.

• We conclude then that, so long as the “ Filioqueis not interpolated into the Creed without the consent of a Council, the question of the doc. trine in itself is still open and pending; and that neither are the Greeks heretics if they deny it, nor the Latins if they assert it, so long as they both desire that the subject may be fairly and religiously examined and decided by an Ecumenical Council.'—Pp. 103, et seq.

The second subject in Mr. Palmer's eighth Dissertation is that of the Papal Supremacy. On this question the ancient Ecclesiastical Canons clearly laid down one idea, while modern Rome demands the reception of another wholly different, and anathematizes every branch of the Church which refuses to receive the latter.

We have been told, by a Roman controversialist of the present day, that merely to ascribe to S. Peter and his successors a primacy, denying him the supremacy of the whole Church as the one sole póvapxos, is in fact to put so great a slight upon him that it would be better to refuse him any superiority at all. It may be so; but it is singular that this is the very idea of ecclesiastical superiority implied in the Apostolical Canons—the thirtythird of which directs that the Bishop of every nation should

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

know his Primate Tòv év aŭtois apôtov, with no hint that one should be possessed of a power different in kind to all others, whilst the Council of Nice places the Bishop of Rome as Metropolitan equal to the Bishops of Alexandria and Antioch, in terms the clearest possible, which no Ultra-montanist controversialist has ever been able to shake or pervert, and the true force of which has been unanswerably established by Lannoy, the great opponent of Valesius on this question. The sixth Canon of this Council, supported and confirmed by Constantinople, Ephesus, and Chalcedon, speaks thus :- Let the ancient * customs be established which are observed in Egypt, Libya, and Pentapolis, so that the Bishop of Alexandria may have authority over all these places, such being the privilege of the • Bishop of Rome. At Antioch too, and in other provinces, let 'the rights of the Churches be preserved.' It was not till the Council of Sardica, held in the year 347, that any mention was made of a partial Supremacy of the Bishop of Rome; and even then it was accorded to him as a favour, not claimed by him as a right. It arose, too, from no tradition of a Supremacy of S. Peter, but simply from motives of temporal expediency, as he was the Bishop of the chief city of the West; not as he was head of the whole Church. In fact, the idea in those ages of the Bishop of the Church of the city of Rome, was simply what Bishop Beveridge has shown in his Codex' to have been that of the Apostles in founding, as they did, so many Churches in metropolitan cities,—Rome, Ephesus, Antioch, and the like; taking advantage of the secular arrangement to facilitate the government of the Churches, so that, as the Bishop says, and as is evidently the case, the Church followed the form of the State in having the same Provinces with their Capitals—in proof of which he instances our own Metropolitan See of Canterbury, which is the chief See of the English Church not as it is now the chief City of the country; but, as it was, when Augustin landed, the capital of the particular kingdom of Kent, the first in that country Evangelized. Either the Church of the early ages, then, including Rome herself, erred in her idea of her true constitution, we might almost say, with some Romish divines, of her true nature—or a veritable change has taken place in that, which, as a Divine work, and, in a mystical sense even part of the Divinity Himself, has generally been considered immutable. According to modern Rome it is no longer History, but Development, to which we are to look for our teaching on the subject. The whole idea is changed; the Church can, according to her, be no longer defined as S. Cyprian defined it,—Hoc erant utique et cæteri Apostoli quod fuit Petrus, pari consortio præditi et honoris et potestatis, sed exordium ab Unitate proficiscitur, et

primatus Petro datur ut una Christi Ecclesia et cathedra una monstretur. Et pastores sunt omnes et grex unus ostenditur • qui ab Apostolis omnibus unanimi consensu pascatur .... • Episcopatus’ (not • Episcopus') unus est, cujus a singulis in

solidum pars tenetur. But it must now be, `Aut Petrus aut nullus,' that is, there can be no true Church except such as has been planted by, and has received its succession from, or is in communion with, the Bishop of Rome; any other, though with a succession of Bishops, is, if anything at all, at best a mockery of a Church and à schism, and therefore a thing as such to be warred against and destroyed. It cannot be wondered at, then, if the East refuse to receive this idea of the power and position of the Bishop of Rome, or to submit herself to claims resulting from it, which have proved such a fruitful source of contention, not only to those Churches on which she has attempted to force them, but even to herself; and, appealing to the Canons and Fathers of the Church, refuse in her turn to be reunited to Rome, until these novel demands are wholly resigned, or very greatly modified.

Of this result Mr. Palmer does not despair :

• The Latin Church,' he says, iu concluding his observations on the subject, “bas communicated in former ages with the Eastern without exacting any confession of the Papal Supremacy as an article of faith, and without imposing any oath of obedience, or sending Bulls and Palls, in cases of fresh consecrations of Bishops or Primates, from Rome. And she might do so again, if she pleased, without waiving a tittle of her own claims or ideas concerning her own abstract rights and powers ; merely waiting her time, till the Easterns of themselves, or under the influence of some future events or circumstances, should ripen among themselves that development which buman scandals, and passions, and mismanagement, have hitherto prevented or retarded. To act thus economically with a Church which has never admitted the Papal Supremacy as a doctrine, would involve no such retractation or bumiliation for Rome, as would be involved if any of those Churches which have long been governed by her (if the Spanish Church, for instance, or even the Gallican) were to be suffered for the future to govern themselves free from all external interference.'-P. 107,

For ourselves, we wish we could go with the author in his views here expressed ; but, considering that it is the tendency of Rome ever to tighten the discipline, and rather to invent new claims than to relax an iota of any old ones, and remembering how great an impetus has of late years been given to her in this direction, we cannot but fear that Mr. Palmer's anticipations are destined to be disappointed, and his theory to fail. Indeed, this one reason alone would suffice to prevent us from entertaining any sanguine hope-humanly speaking—of there ever being any real and bonâ fide reunion of the Churches again. · A scarcely less serious difficulty in the way of such reunion is found in the fact that the Church of Constantinople rebaptizes all converts from the West who have not been baptized with trine immersion, except such as have been previously received by the Church of Russia. A prior difficulty, indeed, has to be met on the subject, and the East herself to be called to unity of practice; for whilst rebaptism is the custom of the Greeks, as above described, the Russians, on the contrary, receive Latin converts without the repetition of that sacrament; so that, as Mr. Palmer says, “the Eastern Church, as a whole, has, in consequence, two * contrary and irreconcilable doctrines and practices at once on - this important subject.'—P. 109.

The Greeks, of course, have sufficient grounds à priori for requiring trine immersion. It is expressly ordered by the 49th Canon of the Apostles, under pain of deprivation, that there be three Bantiopata, and not one only ; and such was the general practice of the Church until the time of Eunomius, who, as Sozomen tells us, (Hist. vi. 26,) first taught, or followed the doctrine and practice of Arius in teaching, one immersion, and of baptizing, not into the Trinity, but into the death of Christ. It was to oppose the same heresy in its doctrine of three distinct substances, that the Church of Spain, at the fourth Council of Toledo, directed that there should be one immersion only, 'to • avoid the appearance of approving the doctrine of heretics

when following their practice. And the Council explains the Sacrament to signify the Unity of the Godhead by the one immersion, and the Plurality of the Persons by the invocation of the three names of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. As regards the Greeks, Mr. Palmer tells us, that their occasional and incon

sistent usage of rebaptizing Latins seemed, after the Council of Florence, to be corrected and done away for ever, and one ‘uniform practice to be established for the future, by a Synod held at Constantinople in 1484, which all the four Patriarchs confirmed.-P. 108. • The enactments of this Synod,'he continues, were extended to Russia, in 1667, by a mixed Synod of Greek and Russian • Bishops held at Moscow ;' and the same rule was extended to • the baptisms of Lutherans and Calvinists by a Synod held at • Constantinople early in the eighteenth century. But in the middle of the same century a constitution published at Constantinople,' with the signatures of three Patriarchs, but without any • Synodal act, reversed all the former decisions,' and directed that

all Latin and other Western baptisms, as administered by sprinkling,' instead of trine immersion, · should be held to be

invalid; and all proselytes from Western communities, not • previously baptized by trine immersion, should be “baptized.” And thus,' he continues,the custom of rebaptizing being NO. LXXXI.-N.S.

introduced into the Greek Church, has been uniformly mainstained by it ever since; while the contrary custom of admitting

the essential validity of Latin Baptisms, grounded on earlier • decisions of the Greek Church, is still maintained by the Russian • Church.'-P. 109.

Mr. Palmer's hope is, that this rebaptizing of the Greeks may be considered to be virtually, though not in form, conditional or hypothetical, because many of them admit Clinic Baptism, without trine immersion, or, indeed, any immersion at all, to be valid; whilst they have not formally declared, at the time of the Council of Florence, or at any period since, that the Westerns need to be baptized; otherwise, as he forcibly observes, "all

other discussions about doctrine, even about the Filioque itself, or the Papal Supremacy, would have been secondary and out of place. The Latins having had no baptism since the time they disused trine immersion, and adopted effusion or sprinkling, could have no Sacraments and no Priesthood; so that to disa cuss with them other details with a view to union would have 'been, and would be still, quite superfluous. (P. 110.) He sees that the Greek in itself is the Ecumenical form of baptism ; and he thinks that, at an Ecumenical Council, there would be no difficulty in obtaining, as an indispensable preliminary to reunion, a decree even, if necessary, against the will of the Pope to correct the abuse ; or if not, he thinks that the retention of the Latin custom might be allowed by the East for the sake of unity, and to heal the grievous ills which have resulted from its outward obscuration.

The next question of moment between the Churches appears to be that of the Azymes, i. e. whether the Eucharist should be consecrated in leavened or unleavened bread--the East, since the separation, having adopted the former, and the West the latter. The plain words of our blessed Lord Himself, "With desire have I desired to eat this Passover with you,' surely prove that He was then celebrating the Mosaic feast, and therefore, of course, using unleavened bread.

The day of His triumphal entry into Jerusalem was [Palm] Sunday; and two days after, viz. Tuesday in Holy Week, He said, 'You know that after two days is the feast of the Passover.”? It was on the next day (Wednesday) that Judas betrayed Him ; and on the day following-of which S. Luke says, "Then came

the day of unleavened bread, when the Passover must be slain,'s -at sunset, according to the Jewish custom, the feast of the Pasch commenced. There would indeed be no possible question on the subject were it not that some other passages of the Gospel seem to point to the conclusion, that after all Friday, and not

i Luke xxii. 15. ? Matthew xxvi. 2. 3 Luke xxij. 7.

« PreviousContinue »