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divinity and mission, which for the ing the infallible heads of so many most substantial reasons we never infallible churches as they severally can do; yet would it prove nothing founded. But where shall we find in favour of that infallibility which them? There is not any one that the Church of Rome professes to lays claim to this honour, but the have derived from him. For if it Church of Rome. Do they know did, then would it prove more than that they are infallible, and modestly that Church desires, or is willing to decline the claim? Or will it be allow. For if it proves that Peter said that Peter only, of all the in. was the foundation of that Church, fallible Apostles, acted infallibly, in and, as such, was infallible, having delegating his authority to his suchad the power of binding and loosing cessors? But how could he delecommitted to him, then must it gate a sole infallibility to his suc. prove that all who stand in the same cessors, when he had no such inrelation to the church, and have the fallibility to transmit? And if Peter same authority committed to them, possessed the special privilege of are alike infallible. But all the communicating this prerogative to Apostles and Prophets stand in the his successors, and acted on it, how same relation to the church, it being is it that St. John, who was his sur. “built on the foundation of the Apos- viver by many years, and who could tles and Prophets.” (Ephes. ii. 20.) not possibly have been ignorant of a And to them was given the power to circumstance of such importance, bind and loose, as well as unto never once makes mention of it in Peter: (Matt. xviii. 18 :) consequently the book he wrote after Peter's death? they also were infallible. But if so, And how is it that he never once how comes the Church of Rome to directs the Churches of Asia to avail arrogate this honour to herself ex- themselves of Peter's successor, that clusively? And how, without the living oracle, for the purpose of greatest possible effrontery, can she checking those heresies which were anathematize every other church as growing up among them? These schismatical and heretical? And considerations leave us no reason to with what truth can she say that no think that Peter has transmitted any salvation can be had out of her pale, such thing as infallibility to any when every church founded by the church. But even if we had reason Apostles is as infallible as herself? to believe the contrary, by what
But if the Church of Rome could process of reasoning will the Romish make it to appear that Peter was Church prove to us that this has infallible, which she never can do, been bestowed on her in preference how would this prove that Peter was to every other church? Why ento have an infallible successor, and trust so valuable a deposit to the has had one down to the present Bishops of Rome, rather than to the time? For as to any thing like evi. Bishops of the mother-church in Je. dence on these points, she adduces rusalem, or to the Bishops of one of none; and that for the best of rea- her elder sisters ? Say Antioch, 80ns, because she has none to ad. Cesarea, &c. We know that Peter duce. What, however, she lacks of preached the Gospel in those places'; proof, she endeavours to supply by but it is not certain that he did this bold assertions. But if Peter had in Roine ; much less that he founded bequeathed any such power as this its Church, and was its first Bishop. Church pretends to have derived How is it then that the Pope of from him, it is but reasonable to Rome claims to himself the singular suppose that he would have specie privilege of being St. Peter's sole fied the subject or subjects of it by successor in all his glorious powers name. And as no authority was and pre-eminence? To these puzgiven to Peter but such as was given zling questions the Church of Rome to the rest of the Apostles ; then for deigns no other answer but that the very same reason that Peter has Peter died a martyr there ; on which a successor still existing, they have supposed fact, she founds the idle their successors still in being, form- tale, that he was her illustrious founder and first Bishop. But if two and even three of these infallible from the testimony of some of the successors of St. Peter occupying Fathers we were to admit that he did the Papal chair at the same time, die a martyr there, we should re- and fulminating their anathemas quire very different proof from that against each other as schismatics, which is as yet given, that he was and as infamous heretics. Thus Benethe infallible head of the Church dict XIII. and Gregory XII. were which was founded there, and im- pitted against each other; and so also parted that infallibility to bis suc- were Eugene IV. and Felix V.; and cessors in the Papal chair. If it 80 were Martin V. and Clement VII. could be fairly argued from Matt. And if the Pope, apart from a xvi. 18, 19, that Christ bestowed in General Council, is not infallible ; 80 fallibility on Peter, and determined neither is he when connected with that it should descend in the line of and directing one. For in the fourth the Popedom to the latest genera session of the Council of Constance, tions; then would it follow that the held A. D. 1414; and in the second infallibility of the Romish Church is session of the Council of Basil, held a fundamental article of the Chris. A. D. 1431; the infallibility and sutian faith, in which case it would be premacy of the Church are declared downright heresy to disbelieve it. to be in a General Council ; whereas But if so, what is to become of the Leo and the Lateran Council assert Gallican and other Churches in the that it is requisite that all Christ's Roman communion, that disbelieve faithful people should be subject to it? And how can we be accounted the Bishop of Rome, who has authoheretics for denying that which rity over all Councils. (See Smith's others deny as well as we, who are, Errors of the Church of Rome, nevertheless, considered to be good page 67.) In the second and third Catholics by the Romanists them Lateran Councils, it is declared, that selves?
the ordination of schismatic Bishops But those who contend so strenu. is null and void. (Dupin's Biblio. ously for the infallibility of the thèque, Cent, 12th, page 207.) WhereChurch of Rome should tell us what as in the Council of Trent, the conthey mean by the church, whether trary is declared. (Paul's History of the Pope exclusively; or the Pope the Council of Trent, page 592, &c.) and dignitaries of the Priesthood; So that either the Lateran Councils, or the Pope and the whole of the or the Council of Trent, must have Clergy; or the Pope, Clergy, and erred. Now, if neither the Pope laity, that profess faith in Christ, alone, nor yet the Pope in General taken together. This is the more Council, is infallible, it surely will necessary, as the Romanists are any not be pleaded, that a General Counthing but agreed among themselves cil without the Pope is infallible. on this point. That the Pope, apart The first Council of Pisa, the Counfrom his Cardinals and Councils, does cil of Constance, and that of Basil, not constitute the infallible church, pronounced a General Council to be we have ample proof in the history above the Pope ; whereas the fifth Laof the Pontificate. Some of the teran Council declared this opinion to Popes have erred from the faith. be heretical. Thus we find Popes have Thus Pope Honorius was a Mono. been opposed to Popes, Popes in tbelite, and condemned as such by Council to Popes in Council, and the third Council of Constance. Councils themselves to one another. Pope Liberius was an Arian. (See What then shall we say of this Howel's History of the Pontificate, boasted infallibility? What? why, page 43) Marcellinus sacrificed to that it is an idle fiction, invented idols; (Idem ;) while Alexander VI. and maintained to prop the merce.. was a practical Atheist, and a mon- nary and malignant power of an ster of iniquity. (Idem.) And as a ungodly Priesthood. For if those further proof that the Popes, consi- who pretend to it refer us to the dered by themselves, are not infallin holy Scriptures for the proof of their ble, we have not unfrequently had possessing it, instead of demone strating the fact by the production ble judge existing somewhere, be. of incontestable evidence, how are cause the Scriptures which we are we to ascertain the correctness of required to believe are affirmed to their interpretations of Scripture on say there is; and we must believe these points? If they say that the that the Scriptures say there is such sense of holy Scripture is so clear a judge existing somewhere, because on this head as to require nothing this infallible judge tells us that more than an impartial considera- they say so. In short, we must take tion of wbat it teaches, to discern this pretended judge to be infallible its meaning ; will it not follow, that on his own testimony. Whereas the possibly, and very probably, they truth of the matter is, we must are as clear on all other points that learn from the Scriptures themselves concern us, as they are on this? what the essential doctrines and preAnd if so, what necessity can there cepts of Christianity are, before we be for an infallible judge or inter- can know what is meant by the preter of so intelligible and plainly. Christian church, and who they are spoken a book? But if we cannot that can justly pass for members of know the meaning of holy Scrip it. Consequently, if the Roman ture on these and other points, un creed be true, we must have the less we have a visible and an infalli. more important knowledge without ble judge to show it to us, then are an infallible judge, in order that we we reduced to the necessity of argu. may attain that wbich is less iming in a circle ; that is to say, we portant by one.
J. B. must believe that there is an infalli- YORK, March 7th, 1840.
An Essay on Apostolical Succession : being a Defence of a genuine Protestant
Ministry, ogainst the exclusive and intolerant Schemes of Papists and High-Churchmen ; and supplying a general Antidote to Popery. Also, a Critique on the Apology for Apostolical Succession, by the Honourable and Reverend A. P. Perceval ; and a Review of Dr. W. F. Hook's Sermon, fc, By Thomas Powell, Wesleyan Minister. Second Edition. Third Thousand. Carefully revised, and much enlarged. 8vo. pp. 322.
T. Ward and Co. We are glad to see that Mr. the right, that is to say, the scrip. Powell's volume is come to a second tural, principle. At the same time, edition, not only because we have it is only due to him to acknowthus the assurance, that the inport- ledge that, in one part of the case, ant information which it contains he has pressed on his adversaries has already been extensively circu. very powerfully, by taking advan. lated, and is likely to be yet more tage of one of their inconsistencies, so, but likewise, because the oppor- and employing it, very properly, tunity has been afforded him, and he against them. According to their has not neglected to avail himself of statements of Episcopal power, the it, of noticing some of the principal Bishop has to do something besides animadversions which it has called ordaining Presbyters and Deacons. forth. Their authors, indeed, ap The governing, as well as the orpear to be as perfectly satisfied of daining, power is inherent in the the cogency of their arguments, as Episcopal office. But the arguMr. Powell is with those employed ment of the Successionists requires by himself. In the present case, the that one of these powers shall be reason is plain. The parties go upon considered as perfectly valid, and different principles, and if we ad the other as perfectly invalid. In ju ige the victory to Mr. Powell, it virtue of the governing power, cer. is because we believe he has adopted tain canons are prescribed for the
regulation of the exercise of the mitting our Lord Jesus Christ to be ordaining power. And yet, in point the supreme Head of his church, of fact, ordinations are to be consi. we admit the supreme authority of dered as valid, even when the rules the written word. What is plainly for its government are directly con- written there, is to be received and travened. At one time, the validity obeyed. Where there is a direct of the Bishop's act depends on its decision, sufficiently intelligible to rightness ; at another, the act is to every honest mind, that decision is be considered as valid in itself, sim- to settle the case. But yet, in ply as performed by him. The un- questions of interpretation, the comrighteous excommunication is inva. parison of texts must not be overlid; the unrighteous ordination is looked. There is a true, as well as valid. And why? Plainly, because a spurious, rationalism : the ration, nothing like a succession can pos- alism of honest and humble faith, sibly be made out, unless to the as well as of proud and questioning Bishop's ordaining power, such scepticism. The latter, indeed, transcendent and unalterable effi may generally be detected by this,cacy be ascribed, as that it shall that the object of its inquiry is, what not be affected by the exercise God ought to have said ; whereas, of other branches of the power, the former only seeks to ascertain assumed, nevertheless, to be equals what God really has said. And ly inherent in the office. But we though it may be not only very easy, have long been convinced that he but very common, for the mind to had need be a bold arguer who ac- dignify some favourite scheme of doccepts a brief in behalf of the doc- trine by the term “analogy of faith ;" trine of what is usually called yet, on the other hand, there is an “the regular apostolical succession." analogy of faith ; and though we may And bold its champions frequently not always be able to perceive it, yet are; but, with all their boldness, we may be sure, that there is a real they do not appear willing to state consistency in the entire system of their case fully, in all that belongs to revealed truth, and a consistency and it, if it be really true. They content proportion between all the parts, themselves with stating, generally, and the whole. It behoves, indeed, that our Lord ordained the first the theological student to be exceedBishops, giving them power to or- ingly cautious in applying this fact dain their successors; and then, for the purposes of interpretation. still keeping to the same generali. Acknowledging the full authority ties, they give catalogues of per- of holy writ, we again say, that sons, by name, holding what is when the Scripture plainly decides termed "the Episcopal office ;” and a case, that ought to be enough for us. then they triuinph as though the The doctrine so taught is consistent argument were resistless, and the with the analogy of faith, whether demonstration complete. The truth we perceive it or not. And here is, when all this is done, nothing is all will rest who believe that all done to the purpose. Identity of “ Scripture is given by inspiration name, after the lapse of many cen. of God.” But in really doubtful turies especially, does not prove cases-in what are honestly quesidentity of office. And if it did, tions of interpretation-where the then another question, in the pre- mind of God, as declared in Scripsent case a very awkward question, ture, is piously sought, then, most arises : Is the original power of ap. certainly, the diligent collation of pointment limited or unlimited ? texts must be resorted to, and the And if limited, have the limitations analogy of faith, especially in the been observed? Or, are the limita. more obvious portions of Christian tions merely prudential directions, doctrine, must be carefully applied. making the power of appointment no. Now, in the present case, what is minally limited, but, in practice and the analogy of faith in reference to effect, unlimited, and without any the general nature of personal reli. real qualifications? Of course, ad. gion? Does the New Testament unequivocally declare that it consists of this agreement, we find that, for primarily, in external observances, the most part, the advocates of this which, by degrees, are to work the doctrine are likewise the advocates whole mind into conformity with of the religion of primary external. their own visible character? Does ism. While, on the other hand, it unequivocally declare, that what where other notions of religion preit terms “ fellowship with God” is vail, other views of the ministerial primarily and principally by means of office are generally adopted. Genecertain visible rites appointed for that rally adopted, we say; for the fact purpose ; so that he who attends cannot be overlooked that, in the duly to the rite has, in virtue of English Episcopal Church, there that attention, that communion with are many whose views of religion God to which he is called? Is he are, for the most part, correct, and who is baptized brought, by the who yet appear to hold views on the baptizing act, into newness of spi- apostolic-succession question, subritual life? Is he who receives the stantially the same as those which sacrament of the Lord's supper are held by a very different school. brought, thereby, into real commu. We have often regretted the fact, but nion with the body and blood of we do not think it would be diffi. Christ? Is he who is a member of cult to explain it. To believe ourthe church, thereby a member of selves to be right exclusively, is a Christ? Is this the view of religion state of mind to which we are all plainly given us in the New Testa- prone; and no advocate of spiritual ment? We know it is one that was religion can deny the fact, that there taken very early; and we know, too, have too often heen Ministers in that it is one which is taken very the English Establishment who, easily. Outward observances, even except on the principle that Episcoof the most painfully-austere cha- pal authority is, substantially, the racter, are far less difficult,-and, to proper and original source of mihuman nature as it is, far less ob- nisterial power, were not Christian jectionable,-than those efforts Ministers at all. A Church of which are decidedly spiritual. It England periodical, generally preis plain, from the Epistles to the Ga- senting views of religion both just latians and Romans, that, among and important, once intimated, that those who first heard the Apostles, none condemned the doctrine of there were those who placed reli. uninterrupted succession, but they gion essentially in outward obsery- who were conscious they did not ances. With them, the kingdom possess it; but to this it might be of God was meat and drink; and replied, that, on the other hand, the federative rite of religion, pri. none ever contended for it as a sine mary and fundamental. Now, cer- qua non to the Christian ministry, tainly, if the New Testament con- but those who were conscious that, firms these views, it would at once if this were taken away, and a higher be felt that the doctrine of the qualification required, it would at "uninterrupted succession," as it is once appear that the entire disci. termed, is altogether in harmony with plinary administration of the comthem. If he that hath the church munity with which they were conhath life, then is it right that, in the nected, had been not only defective, constitution of the church, on but even criminally so. which 80 much depends, there We have often thought it a favourshould be a visible principle of re. able circumstance that there should gularity like that of authoritative be nothing in the official documents, appointment. And so again, if he the established formularies, of the that hath the sacraments hath life, Church of England, directly and uneit seems fitting that a regular, vi- quivocally asserting this doctrine. sible, external appointment should The twenty-third Article (the title mark the persons with whom so of which is, “ Of ministering in the precious (because life-giving) a de. Congregation") is expressed in posit is entrusted. And, because these general terms :-" It is not