The contents of this volume will be found, I hope, to be in agreement with its title.

Amongst the helps of Christian life, the highest place is due to the Christian church and its ordinances. I have been greatly misunderstood with respect to my estimate of the Christian church, as distinguished from the Christian religion. I agree so far with those, from whom I in other things most widely differ, that I hold the revival of the church of Christ in its full perfection, to be the one great end to which all our efforts should be directed. This is with me no new belief, but one which I have entertained for many years. It was impressed most strongly upon me, as it appears to have been upon others, by the remarkable state of affairs and of opinions which we witnessed in this country about nine or ten years ago; and everything since that time has confirmed it in my mind more and more.

Others, according to their own statement, received the same impression from the phenomena of the same period. But the movement had begun earlier; nor should I object to call it, as they do, a movement towards "something deeper and truer than satisfied the last century[1]." It began, I suppose, in the last ten years of the last century, and has ever since been working onwards, though for a long time slowly and secretly, and with no distinctly marked direction. But still, in philosophy and general literature, there have been sufficient proofs that the pendulum, which for nearly two hundred years had been swinging one way, was now beginning to swing back again; and as its last oscillation brought it far from the true centre, so it may be, that its present impulse may be no less in excess, and thus may bring on again, in after ages, another corresponding reaction.

[Footnote 1: See Mr. Newman's Letter to Dr. Jelf, p.27.]

Now if it be asked what, setting aside the metaphor, are the two points between which mankind has been thus moving to and fro; and what are the tendencies in us which, thus alternately predominating, give so different a character to different periods of the human history; the answer is not easy to be given summarily, for the generalisation which it requires is almost beyond the compass of the human mind. Several phenomena appear in each period, and it would be easy to give any one of these as marking its tendency: as, for instance, we might describe one period as having a tendency to despotism, and another to licentiousness: but the true answer lies deeper, and can be only given by discovering that common element in human nature which, in religion, in politics, in philosophy, and in literature, being modified by the subject-matter of each, assumes in each a different form, so that its own proper nature is no longer to be recognized. Again, it would be an error to suppose that either of the two tendencies which so affect the course of human affairs were to be called simply bad or good. Each has its good and evil nicely intermingled; and taking the highest good of each, it would be difficult to say which was the more excellent; -- taking the last corruption of each, we could not determine which, was the more hateful. For so far as we can trace back the manifold streams, flowing some from the eastern mountains, and some from the western, to the highest springs from which they rise, we find on the one side the ideas of truth and justice, on the other those of beauty and love; -- things so exalted, and so inseparably united in the divine perfections, that to set either two above the other were presumptuous and profane. Yet these most divine things separated from each other, and defiled in their passage through this lower world, do each assume a form in human nature of very great evil: the exclusive and corrupted love of truth and justice becomes in man selfish atheism; the exclusive and corrupted worship of beauty and love becomes in man a bloody and a lying idolatry.

Such would be the general theory of the two great currents in which human affairs may be said to have been successively drifting. But real history, even the history of all mankind, and much more that of any particular age or country, presents a picture far more complicated. First, as to time: as the vessels in a harbour, and in the open sea without it, may be seen swinging with the tide at the same moment in opposite directions; the ebb has begun in the roadstead, while it is not yet high water in the harbour; so one or more nations may be in advance of or behind the general tendency of their age, and from either cause may be moving in the opposite direction. Again, the tendency or movement in itself is liable to frequent interruptions, and short counter-movements: even when the tide is coming in upon the shore, every wave retires after its advance; and he who follows incautiously the retreating waters, may be caught by some stronger billow, overwhelming again for an instant the spot which had just been left dry. A child standing by the sea-shore for a few minutes, and watching this, as it seems, irregular advance and retreat of the water, could not tell whether it was ebb or flood; and we, standing for a few years on the shore of time, can scarcely tell whether the particular movement which we witness is according to or against the general tendency of the whole period. Farther yet, as these great tendencies are often interrupted, so are they continually mixed: that is, not only are their own good and bad elements successively predominant, but they never have the world wholly to themselves: the opposite tendency exists, in an under-current it may be, and not lightly perceptible; but here and there it struggles to the surface, and mingles its own good and evil with the predominant good and evil of its antagonist. Wherefore he who would learn wisdom from the complex experience of history, must question closely all its phenomena, must notice that which is less obvious as well as that which is most palpable; must judge not peremptorily or sweepingly, but with reserves and exceptions; not as lightly overrunning a wide region of the truth, but thankful if after much pains he has advanced his landmarks only a little; if he has gained, as it were, but one or two frontier fortresses, in which he can establish himself for ever.

Now, then, when Mr. Newman describes the movement of the present moment as being directed towards "something better and deeper than satisfied the last century," this description, although in some sense true, is yet in practice delusive; and the delusion which lurks in it is at the root of the errors of Mr. Newman and of his friends. They regard the tendencies of the last century as wholly evil; and they appear to extend this feeling to the whole period of which the last century was the close, and which began nearly with the sixteenth century. Viewing in this light the last three hundred years, they regard naturally with excessive favour the preceding period, with which they are so strongly contrasted; and not the less because this period has been an object of scorn to the times which have followed it. They are drawn towards the enemy of their enemy, and they fancy that it must be in all points their enemy's opposite. And if the faults of its last decline are too palpable to be denied, they ascend to its middle and its earlier course, and finding that its evils are there less flagrant, they abandon themselves wholly to the contemplation of its good points, and end with making it an idol. There are few stranger and sadder sights than to see men judging of whole periods of the history of mankind with the blindness of party-spirit, never naming one century without expressions of contempt or abhorrence, never mentioning another but with extravagant and undistinguishing admiration.

But the worst was yet to come. The period which Mr. Newman and his friends so disliked, had, in its religious character, been distinguished by its professions of extreme veneration for the Scriptures; in its quarrel with the system of the preceding period, it had rested all its cause on the authority of the Scripture, -- it had condemned the older system because Scripture could give no warrant for it. On the other hand, the partizans of the older system protested against the exclusive appeal to Scripture; there was, as they maintained, another authority in religious matters; if their system was not supported in all its points by Scripture, it had at least the warrant of Christian antiquity. Thus Mr. Newman and his friends found that the times which they disliked had professed to rely on Scripture alone; the times which they loved had invested the Church with equal authority. It was natural then to connect the evils of the iron age, for so they regarded it, with this notion of the sole supremacy of Scripture; and it was no less natural to associate the blessings of their imagined golden age with its avowed reverence for the Church. If they appealed only to Scripture, they echoed the language of men whom they abhorred; if they exalted the Church and Christian antiquity, they sympathised with a period which they were resolved to love. Their theological writings from the very beginning have too plainly shown in this respect the force both of their sympathies and their antipathies.

Thus previously disposed, and in their sense or apprehension of the evil of their own times already flying as it were for refuge to the system of times past, they were overtaken by the political storm of 1831, and the two following years. That storm rattled loudly, and alarmed many who had viewed the gathering of the clouds with hope and pleasure; no wonder, then, if it produced a stormy effect upon those who viewed it as a mere calamity, an evil monster bred out of an evil time, and fraught with nothing but mischief. Farther, the government of the country was now, for the first time for many years, in the hands of men who admired the spirit of the age, nearly as much as Mr. Newman and his friends abhorred it. Thus all things seemed combined against them: the spirit of the period which they so hated was riding as it were upon the whirlwind; they knew not where its violence might burst; and the government of the country was, as they thought, driving wildly before it, without attempting to moderate its fury. Already they were inclined to recognise the signs of a national apostasy.

But from this point they have themselves written their own history. -- Mr. Percival's letter to the editor of the Irish Ecclesiastical Journal, which was reprinted in the Oxford Herald of January 80, 1841, is really a document of the highest value. It acquaints us, from the very best authority, with the immediate occasion of the publication of the Tracts for the Times, and with the objects of their writers. It tells us whither their eyes were turned for deliverance; with what charm they hoped to allay the troubled waters. Ecclesiastical history would be far more valuable than it is, if we could thus learn the real character and views of every church, or sect, or party, from itself, and not from its opponents.

Mr. Percival informs us, that the Irish Church Act of 1833, which abolished several of the Irish Bishoprics, was the immediate occasion of the publication of the Tracts for the Times; and that the objects of that publication were, to enforce the doctrine of the apostolical succession, and to preserve the Prayer Book from "the Socinian leaven, with which we had reason to fear it would be tainted by the parliamentary alteration of it, which at that time was openly talked of." But the second of these objects is not mentioned in the more formal statements which Mr. Percival gives of them; and in what he calls the "matured account" of the principles of the writers, it is only said, "Whereas there seems great danger at present of attempts at unauthorized and inconsiderate innovation as in other matters so especially in the service of our Church, we pledge ourselves to resist any attempt that may be made to alter the Liturgy on insufficient authority: i.e. without the exercise of the free and deliberate judgment of the Church on the alterations proposed." It would seem, therefore, that what was particularly deprecated was "the alteration of the Liturgy on insufficient authority," without reference to any suspected character of the alteration in itself. But at any rate, as all probability of any alteration in the Liturgy vanished very soon after the publication of the tracts began, the other object, the maintaining the doctrine of the apostolical succession, as it had been the principal one from the beginning, became in a very short time the only one.

The great remedy, therefore, for the evils of the times, the "something deeper and truer than satisfied the last century," or, at least, the most effectual means of attaining to it, is declared to be the maintenance of the doctrine of apostolical succession. Now let us hear, for it is most important, the grounds on which this doctrine is to be enforced, and the reason why so much stress is laid on it. I quote again from Mr. Percival's letter.

"Considering, 1. That the only way of salvation is the partaking of the body and blood of our sacrificed Redeemer;

"2. That the mean expressly authorized by him for that purpose is the holy sacrament of his supper;

"3. That the security by him no less expressly authorized, for the continuance and due application of that sacrament, is the apostolical commission of the bishops, and under them the presbyters of the church;

"4. That under the present circumstances of the church in England, there is peculiar danger of these matters being slighted and practically disavowed, and of numbers of Christians being left, or tempted to precarious and unauthorized ways of communion, which must terminate often in vital apostasy: --

"We desire to pledge ourselves one to another, reserving our canonical obedience, as follows: --

"1. To be on the watch for all opportunities of inculcating, on all committed to our charge, a due sense of the inestimable privilege of communion with our Lord, through the successors of the apostles, and of leading them to the resolution to transmit it, by his blessing, unimpaired to their children."

Then follow two other resolutions: one to provide and circulate books and tracts, to familiarize men's minds with this doctrine; and the other, "to do what lies in us towards reviving among churchmen, the practice of daily common prayer, and more frequent participation of the Lord's Supper."

The fourth resolution, "to resist unauthorized alterations of the Liturgy," I have already quoted: the fifth and last engages generally to place within the reach of all men, accounts of such points in our discipline and worship as may appear most likely to be misunderstood or undervalued.

These resolutions were drawn up more than seven years ago, and their practical results have not been contemptible. The Tracts for the Times amount to no fewer than ninety; while the sermons, articles in reviews, stories, essays, poems, and writings of all sorts which have enforced the same doctrines, have been also extremely numerous. Nor have all these labours been without fruit: for it is known that a large proportion of the clergy have adopted, either wholly or in great part, the opinions and spirit of the Tracts for the Times; and many of the laity have embraced them also.

It seems also, that in the various publications of their school, the object originally marked out in the resolutions quoted above, has been followed with great steadiness. The system has been uniform, and its several parts have held well together. It has, perhaps, been carried on of late more boldly, which is the natural consequence of success. It has in all points been the direct opposite of what may be called the spirit of English protestantism of the nineteenth century: upholding whatever that spirit would depreciate; decrying whatever it would admire. A short statement of the principal views held by Mr. Newman and his friends, will show this sufficiently.

"The sacraments, and not preaching, are the sources of divine grace." So it is said in the Advertisement prefixed to the first volume of the Tracts for the Times, in exact conformity with the preamble to the resolutions, which I have already quoted. But the only security for the efficacy of the sacraments, is the apostolical commission of the bishops, and under them, of the presbyters of the Church. So it is said in the preamble to the resolutions. These two doctrines are the foundation of the whole system. God's grace, and our salvation, come to us principally through the virtue of the sacraments; the virtue of the sacraments depends on the apostolical succession of those who administer them. The clergy, therefore, thus holding in their hands the most precious gifts of the Church, acquire naturally the title of the Church itself; the Church, as possessed of so mysterious a virtue as to communicate to the only means of salvation their saving efficacy, becomes at once an object of the deepest reverence. What wonder if to a body endowed with so transcendant a gift, there should be given also the spirit of wisdom to discern all truth; so that the solemn voice of the Church in its creeds, and in the decrees of its general councils, must be received as the voice of God himself. Nor can such a body be supposed to have commended any practices or states of life winch are not really excellent; and the duty either of all Christians, or of those at least who would follow the most excellent way. Fasting, therefore, and the state of celibacy, are the one a christian obligation, the other a christian perfection. Again, being members of a body so exalted, and receiving our very salvation in a way altogether above reason, we must be cautious how we either trust to our individual conscience rather than to the command of the Church, or how we venture to exercise our reason at all in judging of what the Church teaches; childlike faith and childlike obedience are the dispositions which God most loves. What, then, are they who are not of the Church, who do not receive the Sacraments from those who can alone give them their virtue? Surely they are aliens from God, they cannot claim his covenanted mercies; and the goodness which may be apparent in them, may not be real goodness; God may see that it is false, though to us it appears sincere; but it is certain that they do not possess the only appointed means of salvation; and therefore, we must consider their state as dangerous, although, we may not venture to condemn them.

I have not consciously misrepresented the system of Mr. Newman and his friends in a single particular; I have not, to my knowledge, expressed any one of their tenets invidiously. An attentive reader may deduce, I think, all the Subordinate points in their teaching from some one or more of the principles which I have given; but I have not wilfully omitted any doctrine of importance. And, in every point, the opposition to what I may be allowed to call the protestantism of the nineteenth century is so manifest, that we cannot but feel that the peculiar character of the system is to be traced to what I have before noticed -- the extreme antipathy of its founders to the spirit which they felt to be predominant in their own age and country.

It is worth our while to observe this, because fear and passion are not the surest guides to truth, and the rule of contraries is not the rule of wisdom. Other men have been indignant against the peculiar evils of their own time, and from their strong impression of these have seemed to lose sight of its good points; but Mr. Newman and his friends appear to hate the nineteenth century for its own sake, and to proscribe all belonging to it, whether good or bad, simply because it does belong to it. -- This diseased state of mind is well shown by the immediate occasion of the organization of their party. Mr. Perceval tells us that it was the Act for the dissolution of some of the Irish bishoprics, passed in 1833, winch first made the authors of the Tracts resolve to commence their publication. Mr. Perceval himself cannot even now speak of that Act temperately; he calls it "a wanton act of sacrilege," "a monstrous act," "an outrage upon the Church;" and his friends, it may be presumed, spoke of it at the time in language at least equally vehement. Now, I am not expressing any opinion upon the justice or expediency of that Act; it was opposed by many good men, and its merits or demerits were fairly open to discussion; but would any fair and sensible person speak of it with such extreme abhorrence as it excited in the minds of Mr. Perceval and his friends? The Act deprived the Church of no portion of its property; it simply ordered a different distribution of it, with the avowed object on the part of its framers of saving the Church from the odium and the danger of exacting Church Rates from the Roman Catholics. It did nothing more than what, according to the constitution of the Churches of England and Ireland, was beyond all question within its lawful authority to do. The King's supremacy and the sovereignty of Parliament may be good or bad, but they are undoubted facts in the constitution of the Church of England, and have been so for nearly three hundred years. I repeat that I am stating no opinion as to the merits of the Irish Church Act of 1833; I only contend, that no man of sound judgment would regard it as "a monstrous act," or as "a wanton sacrilege." It bore upon it no marks of flagrant tyranny: nor did it restrain the worship of the Church, nor corrupt its faith, nor command or encourage anything injurious to men's souls in practice. Luther was indignant at the sale of indulgences; and his horror at the selling Church pardons for money was, by God's blessing, the occasion of the Reformation. The occasion of the new counter-reformation was the abolition of a certain number of bishoprics, that their revenues might be applied solely to church purposes; and that the Church might so be saved from a scandal and a danger. The difference of the exciting cause of the two movements gives the measure of the difference between the Reformation of 1517, and the views and objects of Mr. Newman and his friends.

There are states of nervous excitement, when the noise of a light footstep is distracting. In such a condition were the authors of the Tracts in 1833, and all their subsequent proceedings have shown that the disorder was still upon them. Beset by their horror of the nineteenth century, they sought for something most opposite to it, and therefore they turned to what they called Christian antiquity. Had they judged of their own times fairly, had they appreciated the good of the nineteenth century as well as its evil, they would have looked for their remedy not to the second or third or fourth centuries, but the first; they would have tried to restore, not the Church of Cyprian, or Athanasius, or Augustine, but the Church of St. Paul and of St. John. Now, this it is most certain that they have not done. Their appeal has been not to Scripture, but to the opinions and practices of the dominant party in the ancient Church. They have endeavoured to set those opinions and practices, under the name of apostolical tradition, on a level with the authority of the Scriptures. But their unfortunate excitement has made them fail of doing even what they intended to do. It may be true that all their doctrines may be found in the writings of those whom they call the Fathers; but the effect of their teaching is different because its proportions are altered. Along with their doctrines, there are other points and another spirit prominent in the writings of the earlier Christians, which give to the whole a different complexion. The Tracts for the Times do not appear to me to represent faithfully the language of Christian antiquity; they are rather its caricature.

Still more is this the case, when we compare the language of Mr. Newman and his friends with that of the great divines of the Church of England. Granting that many of these believed firmly in apostolical succession; that one or two may have held general councils to be infallible; that some, provoked by the extravagances of the puritans, have spoken over-strongly about the authority of tradition; yet the whole works even of those who agree with. Mr. Newman in these points, give a view of Christianity different from that of the Tracts, because these points, which in the Tracts stand forward without relief, are in our old divines tempered by the admixture of other doctrines, which, without contradicting them, do in fact alter their effect. This applies most strongly, perhaps, to Hooker and Taylor; but it holds good also of Bull and Pearson. Pearson's exposition of the article in the Creed relating to the Holy Catholic Church is very different from the language of Mr. Newman: it is such as, with perhaps one single exception, might be subscribed by a man who did not believe in apostolical succession[2]. Again, Pearson is so far from making the creeds an independent authority, co-ordinate with Scripture, that he declares, contrary, I suppose, to all probability, that the Apostles' Creed itself was but a deduction from our present Scriptures of the New Testament[3]. Undoubtedly the divines of the seventeenth century are more in agreement with the Tracts than the Reformers are; but it is by no means true that this agreement is universal. There is but one set of writers whose minds are exactly represented by Mr. Newman and his friends, and these are the nonjurors.

[Footnote 2: The sixth and last mark which he gives of the unity of the Church is, "the unity of discipline and government." "All the Churches of God have the same pastoral guides appointed, authorized, sanctified, and set apart by the appointment of God, by the direction of the Spirit, to direct and lead the people of God in the same way of eternal salvation; as, therefore, there is no Church where there is no order, no ministry, so where the same order and ministry is, there is the same Church. And this is the unity of regiment and discipline." Pearson on the Creed, Art. IX. p.341, seventh edit. fol.1701. It would be easy to put a construction upon this paragraph which I could agree with; but I suppose that Pearson meant what I hold to be an error. Yet how gently and generally is it expressed; and this doubtful paragraph stands alone amidst seventeen folio pages on the article of the Holy Catholic Church. And in his conclusion, where he delivers what "every one ought to intend when they profess to believe the Holy Catholic Church," there is not a word about its government; nor is Pearson one of those interpreters who pervert the perfectly certain meaning of the word "Catholic" to favour their own notions about episcopacy. I could cordially subscribe to every word of this conclusion.]

[Footnote 3: "To believe, therefore, as the word stands in the front of the Creed, ... is to assent to the whole and every part of it as to a certain and infallible truth revealed by God, ... and delivered unto us in the writings of the blessed apostles and prophets immediately inspired, moved, and acted by God, out of whose writings this brief sum of necessary points of faith was first collected." (P.12.) And in the paragraph immediately preceding, Pearson had said, "The household of God is built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, who are continued unto us only in their writings, and by them alone convoy unto us the truths which they received from God, upon whose testimony we believe." It appears, therefore, that Pearson not only subscribed the 6th Article of the Church of England, but also believed it.]

Many reasons, therefore, concur to make it doubtful whether the authors of the Tracts have discovered the true remedy for the evils of their age; whether they have really inculcated "something better and deeper than satisfied the last century." The violent prejudice which previously possessed them, and the strong feelings of passion and fear which led immediately to their first systematic publications, must in the first instance awaken a suspicion as to their wisdom; and this suspicion becomes stronger when we find their writings different from the best of those which they profess to admire, and bearing a close resemblance only to those of the nonjurors. A third consideration is also of much weight -- that their doctrines do not enforce any great points of moral or spiritual perfection which other Christians had neglected; nor do they, in any especial manner, "preach Christ." In this they offer a striking contrast to the religious movement, if I may so call it, which began some years since in the University at Cambridge. That movement, whatever human alloy might have mingled with it, bore on it most clear evidence that it was in the main God's work. It called upon men to turn from sin and be reconciled to God; it emphatically preached Christ crucified. But Mr. Newman and his friends have preached as their peculiar doctrine, not Christ but the Church; we must go even farther and say, not the Church, but themselves. What they teach has no moral or spiritual excellence in itself; but it tends greatly to their own exaltation. They exalt the sacraments highly, but all that they say of their virtue, all their admiration of them as so setting forth the excellence of faith, inasmuch as in them the whole work is of God, and man has only to receive and believe, would be quite as true, and quite as well-grounded, if they were to abandon altogether that doctrine which it is their avowed object especially to enforce -- the doctrine of apostolical succession. Referring again to the preamble of their original resolutions, already quoted, we see that the two first articles alone relate to our Lord and to his Sacraments; the third, which is the great basis of their system, relates only to the Clergy. Doubtless, if apostolical succession be God's will, it is our duty to receive it and to teach it; but a number of clergymen, claiming themselves to have this succession, and insisting that, without it, neither Christ nor Christ's Sacraments will save us, do, beyond all contradiction, preach themselves, and magnify their own importance. They are quite right in doing so, if God has commanded it; but such preaching has no manifest warrant of God in it; if it be according to God, it stands alone amongst his dispensations; his prophets and his apostles had a different commission. "We preach," said St. Paul, "not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake." It is certain that the enforcing apostolical succession as the great object of our teaching is precisely to do that very thing which St. Paul was commissioned not to do.

This, to my mind, affords a very great presumption that the peculiar doctrines of Mr. Newman and his friends, those which they make it their professed business to inculcate, are not of God. I am anxious not to be misunderstood in saying this. Mr. Newman and his friends preach many doctrines which are entirely of God; as Christians, as ministers of Christ's Church, they preach God's word; and thus, a very large portion of their teaching is of God, blessed both to their hearers and to themselves. Nay, even amongst the particular objects to which their own "Resolutions" pledge them, one is indeed most excellent -- "the revival of daily common prayer, and more frequent participation of the Lord's Supper." This is their merit, not as Christians generally, but as a party, (I use the word in no offensive sense;) in this respect their efforts have done, and are doing great good. But they have themselves declared that they will especially set themselves to preach apostolical succession; and it is with reference to this, that I charge them with "preaching themselves;" it was of this I spoke, when I said that there was a very great presumption that their peculiar doctrines were not of God.

Again, the system which they hold up as "better and deeper than satisfied the last century" is a remedy which has been tried once already: and its failure was so palpable, that all the evil of the eighteenth century was but the reaction from that enormous evil which this remedy, if it be one, had at any rate been powerless to cure. Apostolical succession, the dignity of the Clergy, the authority of the Church, were triumphantly maintained for several centuries; and their full development was coincident, to say the least, with the corruption alike of Christ's religion and Christ's Church. So far were they from tending to realize the promises of prophecy, to perfect Christ's body up to the measure of the stature of Christ's own fulness, that Christ's Church declined during their ascendancy more and more; -- she fell alike from truth and from holiness; and these doctrines, if they did not cause the evil, were at least quite unable to restrain it. For, in whatever points the fifteenth century differed from the fourth, it cannot be said that it upheld the apostolical succession less peremptorily, or attached a less value to Church tradition, and Church authority. I am greatly understating the case, but I am content for the present to do so: I will not say that Mr. Newman's favourite doctrines were the very Antichrist which corrupted Christianity; I will only say that they did not prevent its corruption, -- that when they were most exalted Christian truth and Christian goodness were most depressed.

After all, however, what has failed once may doubtless be successful on a second trial: it is within possibility, perhaps, that a doctrine, although destitute of all internal evidence showing it to come from God, may be divine notwithstanding; -- revealed for some purposes which we cannot fathom, or simply as an exercise of our obedience. All this may be so; and if it can be shown to be so, there remains no other course than to believe God's word, and obey his commandments; only the strength of the external evidence must be in proportion to the weakness of the internal. A good man would ask for no sign from heaven to assure him that God commands judgment, mercy, and truth; whatsoever things are pure, and lovely, and of good report, bear in themselves the seal of their origin; a seal which to doubt were blasphemy. But the cloud and the lightnings and thunders, and all the signs and wonders wrought in Egypt and in the Red Sea, were justly required to give divine authority to mere positive ordinances, in which, without such external warrant, none could have recognised the voice of God. We ask of Mr. Newman and his friends to bring some warrant of Scripture for that which they declare to be God's will. They speak very positively and say, that "the security by our Lord no less expressly authorized for the continuance and due application of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, is the apostolical commission of the bishops, and under them the presbyters of the Church." They say that our Lord has authorized this "no less expressly" than he has authorized the Holy Supper as the mean of partaking in his body and blood. What our Lord has said concerning the communion is not truly represented: he instituted it as one mean of grace among many; not asthe mean; neither the sole mean, nor the principal. But allow, for an instant, that it was instituted asthe mean; and give this sense to those well-known and ever-memorable words in which our Lord commanded his disciples to eat the bread and drink of the cup, in remembrance of him. His words commanding us to do this are express; "not less express," we are told, is his "sanction of the apostolical commission of the bishops, as the security for the continuance and due application of the Sacrament." Surely these writers allow themselves to pervert language so habitually, that they do not consider when, and with regard to whom, they are doing it. They say that our Lord has sanctioned the necessity of apostolical succession, in order to secure the continuance and efficacy of the sacrament, "no less expressly" than he instituted the sacrament itself. If they had merely asserted that he had sanctioned the necessity of apostolical succession, we might have supposed that, by some interpretation of their own, they implied his sanction of it, from words which, to other men, bore no such meaning. But in saying that he has "expressly sanctioned it," they have, most unconsciously, I trust, ascribed their own words to our Lord; they make Mm to say what he has not said, unless they can produce[4] some other credible record of his words besides the books of the four evangelists and the apostolical epistles.

[Footnote 4: "Scripture alone contains what remains to us of our Lord's teaching. If there be a portion of revelation sacred beyond other portions, distinct and remote in its nature from the rest, it must be the words and works of the eternal Son Incarnate. He is the one Prophet of the Church, as he is our one Priest and King. His history is as far above any other possible revelation, as heaven is above earth: for in it we have literally the sight of Almighty God in his judgments, thoughts, attributes, and deeds, and his mode of dealing with us his creatures. Now, this special revelation is in Scripture, and in Scripture only: tradition has no part in it." -- Newman's Lectures on the Prophetical Office of the Church.1837. Pp.347, 348.]

That their statement was untrue, and being untrue, that it is a most grave matter to speak untruly of our Lord's commands, are points absolutely certain. But if they recall the assertion, as to the expressness of our Lord's sanction, and mean to say, that his sanction is implied, and may be reasonably deduced from what he has said, then I answer, that the deduction ought to be clear, because the doctrine in itself bears on it no marks of having had Christ for its author. Yet so far is it from true, that the necessity of apostolical succession, in order to give efficacy to the sacrament, may be clearly deduced from any recorded words of our Lord, that there are no words[5] of his from which it can be deduced, either probably or plausibly; none with which it has any, the faintest, connexion; none from which it could be even conjectured that such a tenet had ever been in existence. I am not speaking, it will be observed, of apostolical succession simply; but of the necessity of apostolical succession, as a security for the efficacy of the sacrament. That this doctrine comes from God, is a position altogether without evidence, probability, or presumption, either internal or external.

[Footnote 5: Since this was written, I have found out, what certainly it was impossible to anticipate beforehand, that our Lord's words, "Do this in remembrance of me," are supposed to teach the doctrine of the priest's consecrating power. But the passage to which I refer is so remarkable that I must quote it in its author's own words. Mr. Newman, for the tract is apparently one of his, observes, that three out of the four Gospels make no mention of the raising of Lazarus. He then goes on, "As the raising of Lazarus is true, though not contained at all in the first three Gospels; so the gift of consecrating the Eucharist may have been committed by Christ to the priesthood, though only indirectly taught in any of the four. Will you say I am arguing against our own Church, which says the Scripture 'contains all things necessary to be believed to salvation?' Doubtless, Scripture contains all things necessary to be believed; but there may be things contained which are not on the surface, and things which belong to the ritual, and not to belief. Points of faith may lie under the surface: points of observance need not be in Scripture at all. The consecrating power is a point of ritual, yet it is indirectly taught in Scripture, though not brought out, when Christ said, 'Do this,' for he spake to the apostles, who were priests, not to his disciples generally." -- Tracts for the Times. Tract 85, p.46.

This passage is indeed characteristic of the moral and intellectual faults which I have alluded to as marking the writings of the supporters of Mr. Newman's system. But what is become of the assertion, that this security of the apostolical commission was "expressly authorized" by our Lord, when it is admitted that it is only indirectly taught in Scripture? And what becomes of the notion, that what our Lord did or instituted may be learned from another source than Scripture, when Mr. Newman has most truly stated, in the passage quoted in the preceding note, that our Lord's history, the history of his words and works, "is in Scripture, and Scripture only: tradition has no part in it?" I pass over the surprising state of mind which could imagine a distinction between things necessary to be believed, and necessary to be done; and could conceive such a distinction to be according to the meaning of our article. It would appear that this shift has been since abandoned, and others, no way less extraordinary, have been attempted in its place; for an extraordinary process it must be which tries to reconcile Mr. Newman's opinions with the declaration of the sixth article. But now for Mr. Newman's scriptural proof, that our Lord "committed to the priesthood the gift of consecrating the Eucharist." "When Christ said, 'Do this,' he spake to the apostles, who were priests, not to his disciples generally." This would prove too much, for it would prove that none but the clergy were ordered to receive the communion at all: the words, "Do this," referring, not to any consecration, of which there had been no word said, but to the eating the bread, and drinking of the cup. Again, when St. Paul says, "the cup which we bless,' -- the bread which we break," it is certain that the word "we," does not refer to himself and Sosthenes, or to himself and Barnabas, but to himself and the whole Corinthian church; for he immediately goes on, "for we, the whole number of us," ([Greek: oi polloi] compare Romans xii.5,) "are one body, for we all are partakers of the one bread." Thirdly, Tertullian expressly contrasts the original institution of our Lord with the church practice of his own day, in this very point. "Eucharistiae sacramentum et in tempore victus, et omnibus mandatum a Domino, etiam antelucanis coetibus nee de aliorum manu quam praeridentium sumimus." (De Corona Mililis, 3.) I know that Tertullian believes the alteration to have been founded upon an apostolical tradition; but he no less names it as a change from the original institution of our Lord; nor does he appear to consider it as more than a point of order. Lastly, what shadow of probability is there, and is it not begging the whole question, to assume that our Lord spoke to his apostles as priests, and not as representatives of the whole Christian church? His language makes no distinction between his disciples and those who were without; it repels it as dividing his disciples from each other. His twelve disciples were the apostles of the church, but they were not priests. In such matters our Lord's words apply exactly, "One is your Master, even Christ, and all ye are brethren."]

On the whole, then, the movement in the church, excited by Mr. Newman and his friends, appears to be made in a false direction, and to be incapable of satisfying the feeling which prompted it. I have not noticed other presumptions against it, arising from the consequences to which the original doctrines of the party have since led, or from certain moral and intellectual faults which have marked the writings of its supporters. It is enough to say, that the movement originated in minds highly prejudiced beforehand, and under the immediate influence of passion and fear; that its doctrines, as a whole, resemble the teaching of no set of writers entitled to respect, either in the early church, or in our own; that they tend, not to Christ's glory, or to the advancement of holiness, but simply to the exaltation of the clergy; and that they are totally unsupported by the authority of Scripture. They are a plant, therefore, which our heavenly Father has not planted; a speaking in the name of the Lord what the Lord has not commanded; hay and stubble, built upon the foundation of Christ, which are good for nothing but to be burned.

I have spoken quite confidently of the total absence of all support in Scripture for Mr. Newman's favourite doctrine of "the necessity of apostolical succession, in order to ensure the effect of the sacraments." This doctrine is very different from that of the Divine appointment of episcopacy as a form of government, or even from that of the exclusive lawfulness of that episcopacy which has come down by succession from the apostles. Much less is it to be confounded with any notions, however exalted, of the efficacy of the sacraments, even though carried to such a length as we read of in the early church, when living men had themselves baptized as proxies for the dead, and when a portion of the wine of the communion was placed by the side of a corpse in the grave. Such notions may be superstitious and unscriptural, as indeed they are, but they are quite distinct from a belief in the necessity of a human priest to give the sacraments their virtue. And, without going to such lengths as this, men may overestimate the efficacy of the sacraments, to the disparagement of prayer, and preaching, and reading the Scriptures, and yet may be perfectly clear from the opinion which makes this efficacy depend immediately on a human administrator. And so again, men may hold episcopacy to be divine, and the episcopacy of apostolical succession to be the only true episcopacy, but yet they may utterly reject the notion of its being essential to the efficacy of the sacraments. It is of this last doctrine only that I assert, in the strongest terms, that it is wholly without support in Scripture, direct or indirect, and that it does not minister to godliness.

In truth, Mr. Newman and his friends are well aware that the Scripture will not support their doctrine, and therefore it is that they have proceeded to such, lengths in upholding the authority not of the creeds only, but of the opinions and practices of the ancient church generally; and that they try to explain away the clear language of our article, that nothing "which is neither read therein (i.e. in holy Scripture,) nor may be proved thereby, is to be required of any man that it should be believed as an article of faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation." It would be one of the most unaccountable phenomena of the human mind, were any man fairly to come to the conclusion that the Scriptures and the early church were of equal authority, and that the authority of both were truly divine. If any men resolve to maintain doctrines and practices as of divine authority, for which the Scripture offers no countenance, they of course are driven to maintain the authority of the church in their own defence; and where they have an interest in holding any particular opinion, its falsehood, however palpable, is unhappily no bar to its reception. Otherwise it would seem that the natural result of believing the early church to be of equal authority with the Scripture, would be to deny the inspiration of either. For two things so different in several points as the Christianity of the Scriptures and that of the early church, may conceivably be both false, but it is hard to think that they can both be perfectly true.

I am here, however, allowing, what is by no means true, without many qualifications, that Mr. Newman's system is that of the early church. The historical inquiry as to the doctrines of the early church would lead me into far too wide a field; I may only notice, in passing, how many points require to be carefully defined in conducting such an inquiry; as, for instance, what we mean by the term "early church," as to time; for that may be fully true of the church in the fourth century, which is only partially true of it in the third, and only in a very slight degree true of it in the second or first. And again, what do we mean by the term "early church," as to persons; for a few eminent writers are not even the whole clergy; neither is it by any means to be taken on their authority that their views were really those of all the bishops and presbyters of the Christian world; but if they were, the clergy are not the church, nor can their judgments be morally considered as the voice of the church, even if we were to admit that they could at any time constitute its voice legally. But, for my present purpose, we may take for granted that Mr. Newman's system as to the pre-eminence of the sacraments, and the necessity of apostolical succession to give them their efficacy, was the doctrine of the early church; then I say that this system is so different from that of the New Testament, that to invest the two with equal authority is not to make the church system divine, but to make the scriptural system human; or, at the best, perishable and temporary, like the ceremonial law of Moses. Either the church system must be supposed to have superseded the scriptural system[6], and its unknown authors are the real apostles of our present faith, in which case, we do not see why it should not be superseded in its turn, and why the perfect manifestation of Christianity should not be found in the Koran, or in any still later system; or else neither of the two systems can be divine, but the one is merely the human production of the first century, the other that of the second and third. If this be so, it is clearly open to all succeeding centuries to adopt whichever of the two they choose, or neither.

[Footnote 6: This, it is well known, has been most ably maintained by Rothe, (Artfange der Christlichen Kirche und ihrer Verfassung, Wittenberg, 1837,) with respect to the origin of episcopacy. He contends that it was instituted by the surviving apostles after the destruction of Jerusalem, as an intentional change from the earlier constitution of the church, in order to enable it to meet the peculiar difficulties and dangers of the times. To this belongs the question of the meaning of the expression, [Greek: oi tais deuterais ton Apostolon diataxesi parakolouthaekotes], in the famous Fragments of Irenaeus, published by Pfaff, from a manuscript in the library of Turin, and to be found in the Venice edition of Irenaeus, 1734, vol. ii. Fragmentorum, p.10. But then Rothe would admit that if the apostles altered what they themselves had appointed, it would follow that neither their earlier nor their later institutions were intended to be for all times and all places, but were simply adapted to a particular state of circumstances, and were alterable when that state was altered: in short, whatever institutions the apostles changed were shown to be essentially changeable; otherwise their early institution was defective, which cannot be conceived. And thus it may well be that the early church may have altered, in some points, the first institutions of the apostles, and may have been guided by God's Spirit in doing so; but the error consists in believing that the now institutions were to be of necessity more permanent than those which they succeeded; in supposing that either the one or the other belong to the eternal truths and laws of Christ's religion, when they belong, in fact, to the essentially changeable regulations of his church.]

To such consequences are those driven who maintain the divine authority of the system of Mr. Newman. Assuredly the thirst for "something deeper and truer than satisfied the last century," will not be allayed by a draught so scanty and so vapid; but after the mirage has beguiled and disappointed him for a season, the traveller presses on the more eagerly to the true and living well.

In truth, the evils of the last century were but the inevitable fruits of the long ascendency of Mr. Newman's favourite principles. Christ's religion had been corrupted in the long period before the Reformation, but it had ever retained many of its main truths, and it was easy, when the appeal was once made to Scripture, to sweep away the corruptions, and restore it in its perfect form; but Christ's church had been destroyed so long and so completely, that its very idea was all but lost, and to revive it actually was impossible. What had been known under that name, -- I am speaking of Christ's church, be it observed, as distinguished from Christ's religion, -- was so great an evil, that, hopeless of drawing any good from it, men looked rather to Christ's religion as all in all; and content with having destroyed the false church, never thought that the scheme of Christianity could not be perfectly developed without the restoration of the true one. But the want was deeply felt, and its consequences were deplorable. At this moment men are truly craving something deeper than satisfied the last century; they crave to have the true church of Christ, which the last century was without. Mr. Newman perceives their want, and again offers them that false church which is worse than none at all.

The truths of the Christian religion are to be sought for in the Scripture alone; they are the same at all times and in all countries. With the Christian church it is otherwise; the church is not a revelation concerning the unchangeable and eternal God, but an institution to enable changeable man to apprehend the unchangeable. Because man is changeable, the church is also changeable; changeable, not in its object, which is for ever one and the same, but in its means for effecting that object; changeable in its details, because the same treatment cannot suit various diseases, various climates, various constitutional peculiarities, various external influences.

The Scripture, then, which is the sole and direct authority for all the truths of the Christian religion, is not in the same way, an authority for the constitution and rules of the Christian church; that is, it does not furnish direct authority, but guides us only by analogy: or it gives us merely certain main principles, which we must apply to our own various circumstances. This is shown by the remarkable fact, that neither our Lord nor his apostles have left any commands with respect to the constitution and administration of the church generally. Commands in abundance they have left us on moral matters; and one commandment of another kind has been added, the commandment, namely, to celebrate the Lord's Supper. "Do this in remembrance of me," are our Lord's words; and St. Paul tells us, if we could otherwise have doubted it, that this remembrance is to be kept up for ever. "As often as ye eat that bread or drink that cup ye do show the Lord's death till he come." This is the one perpetual ordinance of the Christian church, and this is commanded to be kept perpetually. But its other institutions are mentioned historically, as things done once, but not necessarily to be always repeated: nay, they are mentioned without any details, so that we do not always know what their exact form was in their original state, and cannot, therefore, if we would, adopt it as a perpetual model. Nor is it unimportant to observe that institutions are recorded as having been created on the spur of the occasion, if I may so speak, not as having formed a part of an original and universal plan. A great change in the character of the deacon, or subordinate minister's office, is introduced in consequence of the complaints of the Hellenist Christians: the number of the apostles is increased by the addition of Paul and Barnabas, not appointed, as Matthias had been, by the other apostles themselves, but by the prophets and teachers of the church of Antioch. Again, the churches founded by St. Paul were each, at first, placed by him under the government of several presbyters; but after his imprisonment at Rome, finding that they were become greatly corrupted, he sends out single persons, in two instances, with full powers to remodel these churches, and with authority to correct the presbyters themselves: yet it does not appear that these especial[7] visitors were to alter permanently the earlier constitution of the churches; nor that they were sent generally to all the churches which St. Paul had founded. Indeed, it appears evident from the epistle of Clement, that the original constitution of the church of Corinth still subsisted in his time; the government was still vested not in one man, but in many[8]. Yet a few years later the government of a single man, as we see from Ignatius, was become very general; and Ignatius, as is well known, wishes to invest it with absolute power[9]. I believe that he acted quite wisely according to the circumstances of the church at that period; and that nothing less than a vigorous unity of government could have struggled with the difficulties and dangers of that crisis. But no man can doubt that the system which Ignatius so earnestly recommends was very different from that which St. Paul had instituted fifty or sixty years earlier.

[Footnote 7: The command, "to appoint elders in every city," is given to Titus, according to Paul's practice when he first formed churches of the Gentiles (Acts xiv, 2.) Nor did Timothy, or Titus, remain permanently at Ephesus, or in Crete. Timothy, when St. Paul's second Epistle was written to him, was certainly not at Ephesus, but apparently in Pontus; and Titus, at the same period, was gone to Dalmatia: nor indeed was he to remain in Crete beyond the summer of the year in which St. Paul's Epistle was written; he was to meet Paul, in the winter, at Nicopolis.]

[Footnote 8: Only elders are spoken of as governing the church of Corinth. It is impossible to understand clearly the nature of the contest, and of the party against which Clement's Epistle is directed. Where he wishes the heads of that party to say, [Greek: ei di eme stasis kai eris kai schismata, ekchoro, apeimi, ou ean, boulaesthe, kai poio, ta, prostassomena upo tou plaethous], c.54, it would seem as if they had been endeavouring to exercise a despotic authority over the church, in defiance of the general feeling, as well as of the existing government, like those earlier persons at Corinth, whom St. Paul describes, in his second Epistle, xi.20; and like Diotrephes, mentioned by St. John, 3 Epist.9, 10. But in a society where all power must have depended on the consent of those subject to it, how could any one exercise a tyranny against the will of the majority, as well as against the authority of the Apostles? And [Greek: ta prostassomena upo tou plaethous] must signify, I think, "the bidding of the society at large." Compare for this use of [Greek: plaethos], Ignatius, Smyrna.8; Trallian.1, 8. A conjecture might be offered as to the solution of this difficulty, but it would lead mo into too long a discussion.]

[Footnote 9: Insomuch that he wished all marriages to be solemnized with the consent and approbation of the bishop, [Greek: meta gnomaes tou episkopou], that they might be "according to God, and not according to passion;" [Greek: kapa Theon kai mae kat epithomian]. -- Ad. Polycarp.5.]

On two points, however, -- points not of detail, but of principle, -- the Scripture does seem to speak decisively.1st. The whole body of the church was to take an active share in its concerns; the various faculties of its various members were to perform their several parts: it was to be a living society, not an inert mass of mere hearers and subjects, who were to be authoritatively taught and absolutely ruled by one small portion of its members. It is quite consistent with this, that, at particular times, the church should centre all its own power and activity in the persons of its rulers. In the field, the imperium of the Roman consul was unlimited; and even within the city walls, the senate's commission in times of imminent danger, released him from all restraints of law; the whole power of the state was, for the moment, his, and his only. Such temporary despotisms are sometimes not expedient merely, but necessary: without them society would perish. I do not, therefore, regard Ignatius's epistles as really contradictory to the idea of the church conveyed to us in the twelfth chapter of St. Paul's First Epistle to the Corinthians: I believe that the dictatorship, so to speak, which Ignatius claims for the bishop in each church, was required by the circumstances of the case; but to change the temporary into the perpetual dictatorship, was to subvert the Roman constitution; and to make Ignatius's language the rule, instead of the exception, is no less to subvert the Christian church. Wherever the language of Ignatius is repeated with justice, there the church must either be in its infancy, or in its dotage, or in some extraordinary crisis of danger; wherever it is repeated, as of universal application, it destroys, as in fact it has destroyed, the very life of Christ's institution.

But, 2d, the Christian church was absolutely and entirely, at all times, and in all places, to be without a human priesthood. Despotic government and priesthood are things perfectly distinct from one another. Despotic government might be required, from time to time, by this or that portion of the Christian church, as by other societies; for government is essentially changeable, and all forms, in the manifold varieties of the condition of society, are, in their turn, lawful and beneficial. But a priesthood belongs to a matter not so varying -- the relations subsisting between God and man. These relations were fixed for the Christian church from its very foundation, being, in fact, no other than the main truths of the Christian religion; and they bar, for all time, the very notion of an earthly priesthood. They bar it, because they establish the everlasting priesthood of our Lord, which leaves no place for any other; they bar it, because priesthood is essentially mediation; and they establish one Mediator between God and man -- the Man Christ Jesus. And, therefore, the notion of Mr. Newman and his friends, that the sacraments derive their efficacy from the apostolical succession of the minister, is so extremely unchristian, that it actually deserves to be called anti-christian; for there is no point of the priestly office, properly so called, in which the claim of the earthly priest is not absolutely precluded. Do we want him for sacrifice? Nay, there is no place for him at all; for our one atoning Sacrifice has been once offered; and by its virtue we are enabled to offer daily our spiritual sacrifices of ourselves, which no other man can by possibility offer for us. Do we want him for intercession? Nay, there is One who ever liveth to make intercession for us, through whom we have access to ([Greek: prosalogaen], admission to the presence of) the Father, and for whose sake, Paul, and Apollos, and Peter, and things present, and things to come, are all ours already. His claim can neither be advanced or received without high dishonour to our true Priest and to his blessed gospel. If circumcision could not be practised, as necessary, by a believer in Christ, without its involving a forfeiture of the benefits of Christ's salvation; how much more does St. Paul's language apply to the invention of an earthly priesthood -- a priesthood neither after the order of Aaron, nor yet of Melchisedek; unlawful alike under the law and the gospel.

It is the invention of the human priesthood, which falling in, unhappily, with the absolute power rightfully vested in the Christian church during the troubles of the second century, fixed the exception as the rule, and so in the end destroyed the church. It pretended that the clergy were not simply rulers and teachers, -- offices which, necessarily vary according to the state of those who are ruled and taught, -- but that they were essentially mediators between God and the church; and as this language would have sounded too profanely, -- for the mediator between God and the church can be none but Christ, -- so the clergy began to draw to themselves the attributes of the church, and to call the church by a different name, such as the faithful, or the laity; so that to speak of the church mediating for the people did not sound so shocking, and the doctrine so disguised found ready acceptance. Thus the evil work was consummated; the great majority of the members of the church, were virtually disfranchised; the minority retained the name, but the character of the institution was utterly corrupted.

To revive Christ's church, therefore, is to expel the antichrist of priesthood, (which, as it was foretold of him, "as God, sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God,") and to restore its disfranchised members, -- the laity, -- to the discharge of their proper duties in it, and to the consciousness of their paramount importance. This is the point which I have dwelt upon in the XXXVIII^{th} Lecture, and which is closely in connection with the point maintained in the XL^{th}; and all who value the inestimable blessings of Christ's church should labour in arousing the laity to a sense of their great share in them. In particular, that discipline, which is one of the greatest of those blessings, never can, and, indeed, never ought to be restored, till the Church resumes its lawful authority, and puts an end to the usurpation of its powers by the clergy. There is a feeling now awakened amongst the lay members of our Church, which, if it can but be rightly directed, may, by God's blessing, really arrive at something truer and deeper than satisfied the last century, or than satisfied the last seventeen centuries. Otherwise, whatever else may be improved, the laity will take care that church discipline shall continue to slumber, and they will best serve the church by doing so. Much may be done to spread the knowledge of Christ's religion; new churches may be built; new ministers appointed to preach the word and administer the sacraments; those may hear who now cannot hear; many more sick persons may be visited; many more children may receive religious instruction: all this is good, and to be received with sincere thankfulness; but, with a knowledge revealed to us of a still more excellent power in Christ's church, and with the abundant promises of prophecy in our hands, can we rest satisfied with the lesser and imperfect good, which strikes thrice and stays? But, if the zeal of the lay members of our Church be directed by the principles of Mr. Newman, then the result will be, not merely a lesser good, but one fearfully mixed with evil -- Christian religion profaned by anti-christian fables, Christian holiness marred by superstition and uncharitableness; Christian wisdom and Christian sincerity scoffed at, reviled, and persecuted out of sight. This is declared to us by the sure voice of experience; this was the fruit of the spirit of priestcraft, with its accompaniments of superstitious rites and lying traditions, in the last decline of the Jewish church; this was the fruit of the same spirit, with the same accompaniments, in the long decay of the Christian church; although, the indestructible virtue of Christ's gospel was manifest in the midst of the evil, and Christ, in every age and in every country, has been known with saving power by some of his people, and his church, in her worst corruptions, has taught many divinest truths, has inculcated many holiest virtues.

When the tide is setting strongly against us, we can scarcely expect to make progress; it is enough if we do not drift along with it. Mr. Newman's system is now at the flood; it is daily making converts; it is daily swelled by many of those who neither love it nor understand it in itself, but who hope to make it serve their purposes, or who like to swim with the stream. A strong profession, therefore, of an opposite system must expect, at the present moment, to meet with little favour; nor, indeed, have I any hope of turning the tide, which will flow for its appointed season, and its ebb does not seem to be at hand. But whilst the hurricane rages, those exposed to it may well encourage one another to hold fast their own foundations against it; and many are exposed to it in whose welfare I naturally have the deepest interest, and in whom old impressions may be supposed to have still so much force that I may claim from them, at least, a patient hearing. I am anxious to show them that Mr. Newman's system is to be opposed not merely on negative grounds, as untrue, but as obstructing that perfect and positive truth, that perfection of Christ's church, which the last century, it may be, neglected, but which I value and desire as earnestly as it can be valued and desired by any man alive. My great objection to Mr. Newman's system is, that it destroys Christ's church, and sets up an evil in its stead. We do not desire merely to hinder the evil from occupying the ground, and to leave it empty; that has been, undoubtedly, the misfortune, and partly the fault of Protestantism; but we desire to build on the holy ground a no less holy temple, not out of our own devices, but according to the teaching of Christ himself, who has given us the outline, and told us what should be its purposes.

The true church of Christ would offer to every faculty of our nature its proper exercise, and would entirely meet all our wants. No wise man doubts that the Reformation was imperfect, or that in the Romish system there were many good institutions, and practices, and feelings, which it would be most desirable to restore amongst ourselves. Daily church services, frequent communions, memorials of our Christian calling continually presented to our notice, in crosses and way-side oratories; commemorations of holy men, of all times and countries; the doctrine of the communion of saints practically taught; religious orders, especially of women, of different kinds, and under different rules, delivered only from the snare and sin of perpetual vows; all these, most of which are of some efficacy for good, even in a corrupt church, belong no less to the true church, and would there be purely beneficial. If Mr. Newman's system attracts good and thinking men, because it seems to promise them all these things, which in our actual Church are not to be found, let them remember, that these things belong to the perfect church no less than to that of the Romanists and of Mr. Newman, and would flourish in the perfect church far more healthily. Or, again, if any man admires Mr. Newman's system for its austerities, if he regards fasting as a positive duty, he should consider that these might be transferred also to the perfect church, and that they have no necessary connexion with the peculiar tenets of Mr. Newman. We know that the Puritans were taunted by their adversaries for their frequent fasts, and the severity of their lives; and they certainly were far enough from agreeing with Mr. Newman. Whatever there is of good, or self-denying, or ennobling, in his system, is altogether independent of his doctrine concerning the priesthood. It is that doctrine which is the peculiarity of his system and of Romanism; it is that doctrine which constitutes the evil of both, which over-weighs all the good accidentally united with it, and makes the systems, as such, false and anti-christian. Nor can any human being find in this doctrine anything of a beneficial tendency either to his intellectual, his moral, or his spiritual nature. If mere reverence be a virtue, without reference to its object, let us, by all means, do honour to the virtue of those who fell down to the stock of a tree; and let us lament the harsh censure which charged them with "having a lie in their right hand[10]."

[Footnote 10: The language which Mr. Newman and his friends have allowed themselves to hold, in admiration of what they call reverential and submissive faith, might certainly be used in defence of the lowest idolatry; what they have dared to call rationalistic can plead such high and sacred authority in its favour, that if I were to quote some of the language of the "Tracts for the Times," and place by the side of it certain passages from the New Testament, Mr. Newman and his friends would appear to have been writing blasphemy. It seems scarcely possible that they could have remembered what is said in St. Matthew xv.9-20, and who said it, when they have called it rationalism to deny a spiritual virtue in things that are applied to the body.]

What does the true and perfect church want, that she should borrow from the broken cisterns of idolatry? Holding all those truths in which the clear voice of God's word is joined by the accordant confession of God's people in all ages; holding all the means of grace of which she was designed to be the steward -- her common prayers, her pure preaching, her uncorrupted sacraments, her free and living society, her wise and searching discipline, her commemorations and memorials of God's mercy and grace, whether shown in her Lord himself, or in his and her members; -- looking lovingly upon her elder sisters, the ancient churches, and delighting to be in communion with them, as she hopes that her younger sisters, the churches of later days, will delight to be in communion with her; -- what has she not, that Christ's bride should have? what has she not, that Mr. Newman's system can give her? But because she loves her Lord, and stands fast in his faith, and has been enlightened by his truth, she will endure no other mediator than Christ, she will repose her trust only on his word, she will worship in the light, and will abhor the words, no less than the works, of darkness. Her sisters, the elder churches, she loves and respects as she would be herself loved and respected; but she will not, and may not, worship them, nor even, for their sakes, believe error to be truth, or foolishness to be wisdom. She dare not hope that she can be in all things a perfect guide and example to the churches that shall come after her; as neither have the churches before her been in all things a perfect guide and example to herself. She would not impose her yoke upon future generations, nor will she submit her own neck to the yoke of antiquity. She honours all men, but makes none her idol; and she would have her own individual members regard her with honour, but neither would she be an idol to them. She dreads especially that sin of which her Lord has so emphatically warned her -- the sin against the Holy Ghost. She will neither lie against him by declaring that he is where his fruits are not manifested; nor blaspheme him, by saying that he is not where his fruits are. Rites and ordinances may be vain, prophets may be false, miracles may be miracles of Satan; but the signs of the Holy Spirit, truth and holiness, can never be ineffectual, can never deceive, can never be evil; where they are, and only where they are, there is God.

There are states of falsehood and wickedness so monstrous, that, to use the language of Eastern mythology, the Destroyer God is greater than the Creator or the Preserver, and no good can be conceived so great as the destruction of the existing evil. But ordinarily in human affairs destruction and creation should go hand in hand; as the evergreen shrubs of our gardens do not cast their old leaves till the young ones are ready to supply their place. Great as is the falsehood of Mr. Newman's system, it would be but an unsatisfactory work to clear it away, if we had no positive truth to offer in its room. But the thousands of good men whom it has beguiled, because it professed to meet the earnest craving of their minds for a restoration of Christ's church with power, need not fear to open their eyes to its hollowness; like the false miracles of fraud or sorcery, it is but the counterfeit of a real truth. The restoration of the church, is, indeed, the best consummation of all our prayers, and all our labours; it is not a dream, not a prospect to be seen only in the remotest distance; it is possible, it lies very near us; with God's blessing it is in the power of this very generation to begin and make some progress in the work. If the many good, and wise, and influential laymen of our Church would but awake to their true position and duties, and would labour heartily to procure for the church a living organization and an effective government, in both, of which the laity should be essential members, then, indeed, the church would become a reality[11]. This is not Erastianism, or rather, it is not what is commonly cried down under that name; it is not the subjection of the church to the state, which, indeed, would be a most miserable and most unchristian condition; but it would be the deliverance of the church, and its exaltation to its own proper sovereignty. The members of one particular profession are most fit to administer a system in part, most unfit to legislate for it or to govern it: we could ill spare the ability and learning of our lawyers, but we surely should not wish to have none but lawyers concerned even, in the administration of justice, much less to have none but lawyers in the government or in parliament. What is true of lawyers with regard to the state, is no less true of the clergy with regard to the church; indispensable as ministers and advisers, they cannot, without great mischief, act as sole judges, sole legislators, sole governors. And this is a truth so palpable, that the clergy, by pressing such a claim, merely deprive the church of its judicial, legislative, and executive functions; whilst the common sense of the church will not allow them to exercise these powers, and, whilst they assert that no one else may exercise them, the result is, that they are not exercised at all, and the essence of the church is destroyed.

[Footnote 11: The famous saying, "extra ecclesiam nulla salus," is, in its idea, a most divine truth; historically and in fact it may be, and often has been, a practical falsehood. If the truths of Christ's religion were necessarily accessible only to the members of some visible church, then it would be true always, inasmuch as to be out of the church would then be the same thing as to be without Christ; and, as a society, the church ought so to attract to itself all goodness, and by its internal organization, so to encourage all goodness, that nothing would be without its pale but extreme wickedness, or extreme ignorance; and he who were voluntarily to forfeit its spiritual advantages, would be guilty of moral suicide; so St. Paul calls the church the pillar and ground of truth; that is, it was so in its purpose and idea; and he therefore conjures Timothy to walk warily in it, and to take heed that what ought to be the pillar and ground of truth should not be profaned by fables, and so be changed into a pillar of falsehood. But to say universally, as an historical fact, that "extra ecclesiam nulla salus," may be often to utter one of the worst of falsehoods. A ferry is set up to transport men over an unfordable river, and it might be truly said that "extra navem nulla salus;" there is no other safe way, speaking generally, of getting over; but the ferryman has got the plague, and if you go in the boat with him, you will catch it and die. In despair, a man plunges into the water, and swims across; would not the ferryman be guilty of a double falsehood who should call out to this man, "extra navem nulla salus," insisting that he had not swum over, when he had, and saying that his boat would have carried him safely, whereas it would have killed him?]

The first step towards the restoration of the church seems to be the revival of the order of deacons; which might be effected without any other change in our present system than a repeal of all laws, canons, or customs which prohibit a deacon from following a secular calling, which confer on him any civil exemptions, or subject him to any civil disqualifications. The Ordination Service, with the subscription to the Articles, would remain perfectly unaltered; and as no deacon can hold any benefice, it is manifest that the proposed measure would in no way interfere with the rights or duties of the order of presbyters, or priests, which would remain precisely what they are at present. But the benefit in large towns would be enormous, if, instead of the present system of district visiting by private individuals, excellent as that is where there is nothing better, we could have a large body of deacons, the ordained ministers of the church, visiting the sick, managing charitable subscriptions, and sharing with their presbyter in those strictly clerical duties, which now, in many cases, are too much for the health and powers of the strongest. Yet a still greater advantage would be found in the link thus formed between the clergy and laity by the revival of an order appertaining in a manner to both. Nor would it be a little thing that many who now become teachers in some dissenting congregation, not because they differ from our Articles, or dislike our Liturgy, but because they cannot afford to go to the universities, and have no prospect of being maintained by the church, if they were to give up their secular callings, would, in all human probability, be glad to join the church, as deacons, and would thus be subject to her authorities, and would be engaged in her service, instead of being aliens to her, if not enemies.

When we look at the condition of our country: at the poverty and wretchedness of so large a portion of the working classes; at the intellectual and moral evils which certainly exist among the poor, but by no means amongst the poor only; and when we witness the many partial attempts to remedy these evils -- attempts benevolent indeed and wise, so far as they go, but utterly unable to strike to the heart of the mischief; can any Christian doubt that here is the work for the church of Christ to do; that none else can do it; and that with the blessing of her Almighty Head she can? Looking upon the chaos around us, one power alone can reduce it into order, and fill it with light and life. And does he really apprehend the perfections and high calling of Christ's church; does he indeed fathom the depths of man's wants, or has he learnt to rise to the fulness of the stature of their divine remedy, who comes forward to preach to us the necessity of apostolical succession? Grant even that it was of divine appointment, still as it is demonstrably and palpably unconnected with holiness, as it would be a mere positive and ceremonial ordinance, it cannot be the point of most importance to insist on; even if it be a sin to neglect this, there are so many far weightier matters equally neglected, that it would be assuredly no Christian prophesying which were to strive to direct our chief attention to this. But the wholly unmoral character of this doctrine, which if it were indeed of God, would make it a single mysterious exception to all the other doctrines of the Gospel, is, God be thanked, not more certain than its total want of external evidence; the Scripture disclaims it, Christ himself condemns it.

I have written at considerable length: yet so vast is the subject, that I may seem to some to have written superficially, and to have left my statements without adequate support. I can only say that no one paragraph has been written hastily, nor in fact is there one the substance of which has not been for several years in my mind; indeed, in many instances, not only the substance, but the proofs in detail have been actually written: but to have inserted them here would have been impracticable, as they would have been in themselves a volume. Neither have I knowingly remained in ignorance of any argument which may have been used in defence of Mr. Newman's system; I have always desired to know what he and his friends say, and on what grounds they say it; although, as I have not read the Tracts for the Times regularly, I may have omitted something which it would have been important to notice. Finally, in naming Mr. Newman as the chief author of the system which I have been considering, I have in no degree wished to make the question personal; but Mr. Percival's letter authorizes us to consider him as one of the authors of it; and as I have never had any personal acquaintance with him, I could mention his name with no shock to any private feelings either in him or in myself. But I have spoken of him simply as the maintainer of certain doctrines, not as maintaining them in any particular manner, far less as actuated by any particular motives. I believe him to be in most serious error; I believe his system to be so destructive of Christ's church, that I earnestly pray, and would labour to the utmost of my endeavours for its utter overthrow: but on the other hand, I will not be tempted to confound the authors of the system with the system itself; for I know that the most mischievous errors have been promulgated by men who yet have been neither foolish nor wicked; and I nothing doubt that there are many points in Mr. Newman, in which I might learn truth from his teaching, and should be glad if I could come near him in his practice.


In order to prevent the possibility of misunderstanding, it is proper to repeat what has been often said by others, that the English word "priest" has two significations, -- the one according to its etymology, through the French pretre, or prestre, and the Latin presbyterus, from the Greek [Greek: presbuteros]; in which sense it is used in our Liturgy and Rubrics, and signifies merely "one belonging to the order of Presbyters," as distinguished from the other two orders of bishops and deacons. But the other signification of the word "priest," and which we use, as I think, more commonly, is the same with the meaning of the Latin word sacerdos, and the Greek word [Greek: iepeus], and means, "one who stands as a mediator between God and the people, and brings them to God by the virtue of certain ceremonial acts which he performs for them, and which they could not perform for themselves without profanation, because they are at a distance from God, and cannot, in their own persons, venture to approach towards him." In this sense of the word "priest," the term is not applied to the ministers of the Christian church, either by the Scripture, or by the authorized formularies of the Church of England; although, in the other sense, as synonymous with Presbyters, it is used in our Prayer Book repeatedly. Of course, not one word of what I have written is meant to deny the lawfulness and importance of the order of Presbyters in the church; I have only spoken against a priesthood, in the other sense of the word, in which a "priest" means "a mediator between God and man;" in that sense, in short, in which the word is not a translation of [Greek: presbuteros], but [iereus].

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