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cases, the clergy of our day are obliged to satisfy their consciences by taking it only in its bare literal sense.
We have entered into these questions at some length-(the reader who is curious as to earlier usages, may consult, with advantage, Bingham, book xviii., chap. 4., and book xix., chap. 1, 2, 3, of his "Origines Ecclesiastica." We have, we say, entered at considerable length into these questions, because we are both grieved and disappointed at finding Mr. McNeile so ill informed. We have reason to believe that his attainments are rather greater than less than those which may be taken as the average of clerical learning, and we, therefore, cordially agree with him when he says
"Another cause of comparatively limited efficiency in our Church will be found in the want of adequate training in candidates for the ministry a collegiate education, as commonly conducted, is not enough."-p. 249.
There is Greek enough, and Latin enough, and Mathematics more than enough, but there is not a sufficient amount of Ecclesiastical History and Ecclesiastical Antiquities studied. Were a professorship of these combined branches of learning established in each of our universities, and candidates for orders permitted to attend lectures (for no compulsion would be needed), there is scarcely any computing how much good would be effected. A few thousands of pounds subscribed and thus expended, would do more for our Church, in the present crisis, than ten times the amount employed in any other way. But an examination should be required as well as a mere attendance, and the Professor should be a man at once learned and moderate, sound, sincere, and pious-in fine, an EVANGELICAL HIGH CHURCHWe conclude our remarks on Mr. McNeile's lectures, by quoting an admirable passage:
"The city of God was supplied with a number of watches, all set a-going, and set right, but not absolutely and infallibly secured against going wrong: had this been all, the consequences had been dangerous in the extreme. The watches might go wrong, and so gradually and imperceptibly, so universally, as to attract no special attention, till day was turned into night. But this was not all-before the watches had time to go seriously wrong, a sun-dial was set up, giving unalterably the true time, and of course supplying a rectifying standard with which to compare, and by which to re-set the fallible watches. The dial alone, without the watches, would have been inconvenient, multitudes not knowing how to consult it; and the watches alone, without the dial, would have been dangerous and delusive, for the reasons already assigned; but in the combination of both, the Church has all the con
venient readiness of the watch, together with all the satisfying certainty of the dial.”—p. 81.
We have now closed our remarks upon Mr. McNeile, and turn to a book of a much higher character. The "Standard of Catholicity" proves that Dr. Biber has been thinking much and deeply on the important subject he has chosen there is a gravity, a honestness about his work, which wins the confidence of the reader; and yet we find ourselves somewhat similarly affected at the close, as by the lectures of Mr. McNeile. The cause is, however, different-the one, brilliant and too often sophistical, cuts the Gordian knot of any difficulties, and plunges us into errorthe other, slow, but cautious, leaves us in doubt; the one hurries us over the precipice-the other shows us the gulf, and stays us on the edge. What we want is the sure guide who will point out the stepping-stones, who will lead us through the gloom till our eyes become inured to it, and bring us safely out on the other side; the gulf is not impassable, though neither a desperate rush, nor yet a dead halt, will carry us over it.
We must analyze Dr. Biber's work—which, insufficient as it is, is nevertheless a great work-and trace his progress through the argument he takes up. After a very able introduction, he proceeds to show that Christianity is inseparable from the voice of the Spirit, and that as the salvation of men is decreed by God, "that we should be to the praise of his glory," so it is mere folly to attempt to separate ourselves from the mass of our brethren, and imagine that our individual renovation is all the Spirit has to do with us. In this the Doctor agrees with Isaac Taylor, who, in the very first number of his Ancient Christianity," says―
"The eager, forward-looking temper of these stirring times, has withdrawn Christians far too much from the quieting recollection that they are themselves members of a series, and portions of a mass; nor do we so much or so often as might be, well entertain the solemn meditation, that we individually are hastening to join the general assembly of those who, from age to age, have stood where we now stand as the holders and professors of God's truth in the world."Ancient Christianity, p. 41.
But the inference deduced from this acknowledged fact by Dr. Biber is a far more sound and wholesome one than that derived from it by Mr. Taylor. For, whereas the latter recommends us to associate ourselves with those who have gone before only in order to expose their weakness and convict them of dangerous error, the former would lead us to consider the voice of the Spirit as a covenant grace, promised only to those
who fulfil the conditions of the covenant-viz., union with the Church Catholic.
"The difficulty of the task does not render it less obligatory, any more than the number and plausible character of those who have fallen into error and sin can ever convert their error into truth, or their sin into righteousness. Let not, then, such questions be asked as the following: 'What! shall we refuse the name of Christians to large bodies of men, many of whom are distinguished by learning, piety, and self-denying consistency of character? shall we contract the Church within the narrow limits of one particular system of doctrine and discipline, however deservedly distinguished? shall we disown and cast overboard those, who while they differ from us in some points under the influence of 'conscientious scruples,' yet nevertheless join with us in the profession of Christ's holy name, in the acknowledgment of the Scriptures as the standard of truth, and in the hope of salvation through the blood of Christ? To all such questions there is but one answer-Let God be true and every man a liar.' The questions which we must ask, if we would honour the truth of God rather than the waywardness of men, are of a different description altogether. What is the meaning of the term 'Church of God?" Is membership of that Church the inherent right of every man, or is it dependent upon a Divine appointment? And if the latter, what are the terms upon which, the forms through which, that appointment is first made and afterwards maintained? Such are the questions which we must try, and in order satisfactorily to try them, we must enter upon the enquiry without reference to the existing, and possibly corrupt state of things, regardless of the conclusions to which a consistent application of the fundamental principles upon which we have to fall back may ultimately lead. If error has prevailed, it is to be expected that the greater the error, and the greater its prevalence, the more mortifying must be the result of an unflinching recurrence to the truth, but that is no reason for keeping the truth for ever out of sight."-p. 72-74.
He goes on to prove that membership of the Church is a covenant state; that Christianity is a trust committed to the Church; that the document of the Church's trust is Divinely, not humanly, authenticated; that it is complete and sufficient for its purpose; that the authority of the Church is ministerial to her trust; that she is responsible throughout all her generations and in all her branches; and he concludes with some admirable observations on the privilege and duty of the Anglican Church.
We have remarked that an impression of incompleteness was left upon our minds by the perusal of this book, and we could wish that its author, whose candid and powerful mind well fits him for his task, would, after a few years, revise it, and what is now deficient will, we are assured, be then supplied. At present, he appears like a man who stops short because he knows
not whither the path he takes will lead him. His views are rarely incorrect, but often misty; and on the authority of the Church, while he takes high ground, he is evidently afraid to defend his own position. This can only arise from having erroneously considered his position: it is the error into which the writers of the "Tracts for the Times" have fallen; and the difference between them and Dr. Biber in their treatment of this point is, that they, afraid to speak out, have hinted the conclusions to which their premises led, while he has "foreclosed" the whole in a mysterious darkness. We know the Tracts are wrong; we think Dr. Biber is wrong, though he has not spoken out plainly enough for us to be certain. We think that the perusal of this article will throw a light upon the commission of the Church, which he will find confirmed by our older and sounder divines.
But we are thankful to see so good a book—a book written in a spirit so courteous, so conciliating, so truly Christian; and, were it only for the remarks on Tradition, we should think that Dr. Biber had done the Church a service.
"The first question that presents itself is naturally this-whether the Apostles of our Lord, and their fellow-writers of the Canonical New Testament, wrote with a view to secure by their writings the permanency of their doctrine-whether, consequently, the canon of the New Testament may be looked upon as a complete body of apostolic doctrine, intentionally compiled as such under the direction of the Holy Spirit ?
"The next question, supposing the New Testament Scriptures to be recognized as a body of apostolic doctrine, purposely, that is, by purpose of inspiration, so compiled, appears to be this-whether this body of apostolic doctrine be so comprehensive and so explicit, as to define in so many words, fully and accurately, every point of faith and practice in the Christian Church ?"
Now, if the first of these questions be answered in the affirmative, and the second in the negative, there will remain a further question-whether the deficiency, or apparent deficiency, was to be supplied by an "oral tradition," or whether these things were left undetermined, some to preserve in the Church a constant sense of dependence on her Divine head, and others because the social institutions of various ages and countries might be better adapted to them if the Church had an accommodating power? These are important questions, and ought not to be overlooked; but, after all, there is no computing the volumes that might be written on the subject of Tradition, if the writers, as disputants generally do, give us no clear definition as to what is meant by "Apostolical Tradition." We should really
thank the writers of the Tracts if they would give us one to define this term; one which would enable us to understand what they mean when they say, "Scripture and Tradition together are the joint rule of Faith."-Tracts for the Times, No. 78, Prefatory Remarks.
But to proceed with Dr. Biber's argument: he observes, that as the beautiful system of Nature is widely different from the system which Science makes out of Nature's apparent confusion, the great system of theology, as revealed in Scripture, is a very different thing from the system of theologians.
In fact, "that the whole body of truth so set forth, is nowhere summed up, arranged, or comprehended in a systematic statement, but must, from first to last, be gathered from the seemingly fragmentary intimations of it which are scattered throughout the whole course of God's dealings with man."
Now, since the written Gospel and Tradition teach by an entirely different method, inasmuch as the latter is always, the former never, systematic, there are two suppositions only left for us-viz., that the New Testament Scriptures were superadded over and above the original gift of tradition, or that they were written to convey to future ages that which could not safely be done by tradition: the former is the ground taken up by the Tracts, the latter by Dr. Biber, who follows the Reformers. Primitive tradition has, nevertheless, no small value in our eyes; we look upon it as giving a weight to many things otherwise nonessential; and we would deem him but ill qualified, either by feeling or attainment, to minister in holy things, who looked with indifference upon the modes of worship, the forms of prayer, used by those "ancient men" who had heard the discourses of the apostles, or, perhaps, beheld in the flesh "the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world."
The right of the Church to "decree ceremonies" is well maintained in the "Standard of Catholicity;" and this brings us to notice the petition presented in the House of Lords, by the Archbishop of Dublin, and to which we have in a former number referred. It was to pray for an alteration in the Liturgy. Such petitions have not been frequent, but they have occasionally occurred and since that period a pamphlet has been published by two brothers, named Hull, one a layman and one a clergyman; which pamphlet gives a history of two similar petitions-one presented to the Archbishop of Canterbury, and signed by ten clergymen; another to the Bishop of Chester, signed by nine clergymen; and lastly, one to the House of Lords, signed by sixty persons, thirty of whom were laymen. Now, on this multiform petition (for it seems that the eighteen