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The authority here given, the Bishop concedes, was not given to the apostles personally, but to them and their succes
But it was given to them and their successors, not separately, but collectively, as one ministry, to be possessed by each only as he remained in the unity of the body, - in the unity of the teaching body, not merely of the believing body. Then this ministry, the apostles and their successors, are to be regarded as a body corporate, endowed with the attributes of individuality and immortality. Its authority must be one, not merely one in the sense that he who confers it is one, but in the sense that the body exercising it is one body, as a state, a town, or a banking corporation is one body. This must not be overlooked. We suspect the Bishop, however, does overlook it, and thinks he maintains the requisite unity by asserting the unity of authority in Christ the invisible Head. That Christ is the fountain of all authority in the Church is admitted ; that he is the real governor, and the only governor in the Church is also admitted ; but this is not the question. The question is as to the ministry which he has commissioned to exercise his authority, or through which he governs the Church. The ministry is instituted, because Christ chooses to govern by an outward visible agent. The question relates, therefore, solely to this visible agent.
If the great Head of the Church had chosen to govern without a visible ministry, doubtless he could. But he has not so chosen. He has instituted a ministry, and being himself one, the ministry must be one. The ministry, like the human body, may have many members ; but all these members must be members of one and the same body, and members one of another, or else we must adopt the monstrous supposition, that Christ has a multiplicity of bodies. The ministry is instituted to be the visible organ of the invisible authority of Christ. If Christ is one, his authority must be one ; if his authority is one, the visible organ must be one ; for a visible organ which is manifold cannot express an authority which is
The ministry, also, must be one ; for if not, we shall be perplexed, and at a loss to distinguish the true ministry from the false. Assume a multiplicity of true ministries, and a variety of false ministries, as there has been, is, and always will be so long as the corruptions of human nature remain, and how shall the young, the simple, and the unlettered, all of whom have souls as precious in the sight of God as the soul of the Bishop himself, know which is the true ministry to which they owe obedience, and on which they may rely with confidence and safety? We have already proved, that unity of authority,
and therefore of the ministry, is necessary as the condition of unity of faith. Unity of the body teaching - Ecclesia docensbecomes as necessary as unity of the body believing — Ecclesia credens. As unity of faith, according to the Bishop himself, is essential to the being of the Church, it follows that unity of the ministerial authority is necessary to the being as well as to the order of the Church. Any split or division in the ministerial authority is as much a schism in the Church as a split or division in the faith believed.
If these considerations deserve any weight, - and we hold them to be conclusive, — the unity of the Church under a diversity of ecclesiastical governments is impossible. It cannot coexist with a divided authority. As well might we say that a state can exist as a single state under two distinct, separate, and independent governments. Here is the rock on which our Anglican divines seem to us to split. They all profess to believe in the unity of the Church ; but they all assume that its unity may be, and is, retained under distinct, diverse, and independent governments. Hence, they call their Church - which, as an ecclesiastical polity, is as isolated and independent as the government of Great Britain itself — " a branch" of the one Catholic Church, and, with a marvellous simplicity, speak of it as “ our branch of the Catholic Church." A branch is incomplete in itself ; but the Anglican Church, if a Church at all, is not incomplete in itself. It claims to be an independent body, and participates in the authority of no other body ; nor does it depend on any other body for its life or any portion of its life. It is therefore false and absurd to call it a branch. It is no branch. It is the whole tree, or no part of it. It is an island Church, and nowhere joined to the continent. Can these divines fail to perceive this ? Alas! when one has strayed from the fountain of living waters, and lost the path which leads to it, there is apparently no absurdity too gross for him to believe, no truth too obvious and palpable for him to overlook. So we doubt not but our Anglican divines honestly believe their Church is a branch, although there is never a trunk of which it is a branch, — their Church a member, although there is never a body of which it is a member.
It is this false view of unity, of the unity of the Church under a diversity and independence of government, that has led Bishop Hopkins to contend, in these Lectures, that individuals are free to select what Church they will join. Strange unity of the Church, which is compatible with the existence of different Churches and different communions, and allows it to be a mat
ter of at least comparative indifference which one a man joins ; just as if a man can be saved in any other communion than that of the one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church! We own individuals are free to join the Church, or to unite with such one of the sects as they choose, but only as a man is free to choose life or death ; and so would the Bishop himself say, if he only clearly perceived the unity of the Catholic Church, and that out of unity there is no life.
But the Bishop can justify the Reformers in seceding from the communion of the Catholic Church only on condition of its having ceased to be the communion of Christ ; for to secede from a Church which is in communion with Christ is to secede from Christ himself. Now, will he deny that salvation is possible in the Roman Catholic Church? Will he deny that it was possible in that Church in the beginning of the sixteenth century ? The Roman Catholic Church was then what it had been for many ages before, and what it is now. It embraced at that epoch, and had for many ages, nearly the whole Christian world. If we say that salvation is not possible in its communion, we pronounce a fearful sentence on the millions who lived and died in its communion prior to the Reformation, as upon
millions who have lived and died in its communion since. But the Bishop will not say this ; Protestants generally do not say it. Were they to say it, what should we say of the piety of our English ancestors ? England herself was converted from heathenism by missionaries from this very Church of Rome ; and she has not, we believe, a saint in her calendar, who did not belong to the period of her communion with Rome. It was during that period that all that makes her glory took its rise. Then were founded her institutions of learning ; then was laid the foundation of her real national greatness. Then was she renowned for her piety, and her land was filled with the pure, faithful, self-denying servants of God. Shall we say that all her saints, martyrs, and confessors have gone to hell ? Of course not. No Protestant really doubts the possibility of salvation in the Roman communion, and the Bishop does not himself seem to think that communion with Rome endangers salvation. In his first Lecture he plainly recognizes the Roman Catholic Church as still having all the essential elements of the Church of God. He concedes her orthodoxy and her catholicity. He does not even seek to unchurch her. He admits her to be a Church of Christ; and states, that the question was not, whether she was Catholic or not, but whether she had an exclusive claim to the title of Catholicity.
The Church of Rome,” he says, (p. 6,) " claimed the exclusive title of Catholic, and branded all without her pale as cut off from Christ as heretics, as guilty of mortal sin. The Reformers denied that she had the exclusive right to the name of Catholic.” That is, the Reformers admitted her to be Catholic, but contended that they were Catholic as well as she, and perhaps more so ; because, as they alleged, they were more in harmony with the Church in primitive times.
Now, if he concedes salvation to be possible in the Roman Catholic Church, he concedes her to contain in herself all that is necessary to salvation. Belief in the true orthodox faith is necessary to salvation, as all must admit; for “ without faith it is impossible to please God,” and “ he that believeth not shall be condemned.” Then the Roman Catholic has the true orthodox faith, and this the Bishop also seems to admit. Then the Reformers had no reason to secede from her on account of any supposed corruptions of the faith. But if salvation was possible in her bosom, she must have been in communion with Christ ; for “there is no other name given under heaven, among men, whereby we must be saved.” But if she was in communion with Christ, she was the Church of Christ; and as the Church is but one communion, she and such particular Churches as were in communion with her were the only Church and the whole Church of Christ. To separate from her communion, then, was to separate from the communion of Christ. The Reformers did separate from her communion, and therefore separated from the communion of Christ, and were schismatics. No man can be saved, unless he abide in the communion of Cbrist. The Reformers did not abide in his communion. We leave the conclusion to be drawn by the Bishop himself.
Here is the necessary conclusion, if it be once adınitted, as it is and must be, that salvation is possible in the Roman Catholic Church. This is a terrible conclusion, and worthy of the serious consideration of those who talk so loudly and arrogantly of the “ corruptions," " errors,” and “usurpations of modern Rome"; especially of those who form Protestant leagues and missionary societies for the conversion of the benighted Papists of Italy, France, and Spain. It will be well for them to look at their own foundation. They must muster courage enough to deny the possibility of salvation in the Roman Catholic communion, or else admit that salvation is not possible in their own. If they conclude to deny that salvation is possible in the Roman Catholic communion, we will thank them to agree in which of their own party-colored communions it is possible.
But what do you mean to say that none in these various Protestant sects can be saved ? We mean to say that no man can be saved who is not actually or virtually in the Church which is in communion with Christ; and if the Roman Catholic Church is in communion with him, Protestant sects are not, for they are not in communion with it. That individuals who are outwardly in Protestant sects may be saved, we do not deny ; because they may be there through invincible ignorance, but would not be there, if it were in their power to unite with the true Church. God does not exact impossibilities. Where the deed is impossible, he takes the will for the deed. All who believe the orthodox faith, without which no one can be saved, and have the desire and intention which would accept the Catholic Church were it presented, will be saved ; but not because they are in this or that sectarian communion, but because they are virtually, in voto animique dispositione, out of it, and in the Catholic communion.
There are various other matters in these Lectures, on which we should like to remark; but we pass them over, because we have in the present article wished to confine ourselves to a single point. We think we have shown, that, on the grounds assumed by the Bishop, the British Reformers are not cleared of the charge of schism. So far as we can see, he has brought forward nothing which takes their secession out of the category of schism, or in the least removes the presumption we began by saying is against them. Till this is done, the Catholic Church stands secure in her ancient possession, and has no occasion to enter upon the defence of her title. We leave, therefore, the question of the Reformers, till a champion comes forward with some solid principle on which their defence may be grounded.
Art. III. - Cours de Droit Naturel, professé à la Faculté
des Lettres de Paris, par M. Tho. JOUFFROY. Première Partie. Prolegomènes au Droit Naturel. Paris. 1835. 8vo. 2 Tomes.
This work has been translated into English by the Rev. William H. Channing, nephew of the late Dr. William Ellery Channing, published by Mr. Ripley in his Specimens of For