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claims, and never will abandon any of them ; for its authority it has inherited from the Apostles, and its faith it holds as a sacred deposit from Christ the Head. It has made, and will make, no compromise with error and schism. It must be all or nothing. It has not ceased, and it will not cease, to exert itself with all fidelity, zeal, and diligence, to recover every
revolted province, and to secure the heathen and the ends of the earth to God's dear Son for his inheritance. The Church does not sleep ; she does not cease from her mission. Everywhere does she bear witness for her Lord ; everywhere is she ready to combat for the truth, and shed the blood of her martyrs for the salvation of souls. She will give no rest to heretics and schismatics. If, then, they mean to defend themselves, to maintain the ground they have acquired, they must be vigilant and active. Nay, they must do more ; they must meet the question fairly, in open and rational debate. They can no longer call on the civil power to secure them the advantage ; they can no longer rely on penal enactments to stifle the voice of truth. They can no longer maintain their cause by false charges and misrepresentation. They must now debate the question, and debate it fairly; and yield, if they cannot sustain themselves by good and sufficient reasons.
We regard it as a happy day for the Church, that she has, at length, secured in most Protestant countries the liberty to speak and write in her own defence. This is all she needs. She asks no other advantage of Protestants. She knows the strength of her own cause and the weakness of theirs ; and if she can only be met in fair discussion, she fears not the result. All she asks of Protestants is, that they consent to reason, instead of declaiming, and confine themselves to facts instead of falsehoods.
All appearances indicate that in this country the great debate is coming on, and is likely soon to absorb the attention of the American people. The better portion of the community are daily losing their interest in political disputes, - their confidence in the ability of government alone to secure even the temporal well-being of a people ; and are beginning to feel the necessity of a religion, fixed and firm, immovable amid the fluctuations of time, and able to command the passions, subdue evil propensities, wean the affections from things of the earth and place them on things above, and direct all our energies to gaining the kingdom of God and his justice. Our sects are breaking up. Puritanism has exhausted itself, and Congregationalism totters to its fall. The Presbyterian Church is divided into
hostile factions, and the powerful sect of the Methodists is torn by schisms and internal divisions. The Baptists must follow the fate of their Calvinistic brethren. The Episcopalians, boasting of their "admirable liturgy,” and pretending to
a branch ” of the Catholic Church, — divided between high and low church into two parties, one seeking to get rid of the name of Protestant, the other to retain it, — having the form of godliness without its reality, must erelong fulfil the prophecy, that a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand. Union in the bosom of any of these sects is out of the question, much more the union of them all in one body. What have they, torn with intestine divisions, cut up into cliques and coteries, each armed against each, each controverting and confuting what each advances, to offer to satisfy the religious wants of the American people? Do they not see that their power is gone? How are they to recover it? They may exhort one another to union and peace. But what principle, save the negative principle of hatred to Catholicism, have they on which to unite, or which can be the principle of peace? Do they not see that their contentions are inevitable, their divisions impossible to be healed? They deserted the principle of unity, the ground of peace, when they left the Church. They have foolishly, like the rash builders in the plain of Shinar, attempted to build a tower which should reach to heaven, and God confounds their speech, and disperses them abroad.
In this state of things, the great question of Catholicism necessarily comes up. The Catholic Church steps forth in the majesty of ages, splendid with the robes of light, and beautiful with the beauty of holiness, and offers to a distracted people, worrying and devouring one another, the olive-branch of peace. She has a faith, once delivered to the saints, which she has preserved unimpaired through all the changes of time, to offer them ; she has a worship consecrated by a long line of saints and martyrs, now reigning with Jesus in heaven, to offer them ; she has a Church, which, like the ark of Noah, rises sublime on the deluge of waters, in which are the chosen of the Lord, and safety for all within to offer them; and will the distracted mind and the wearied heart slight her offer? “Come unto me,” she says, in the name and tones of her Master, “ye who labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.' And is her invitation one not likely, in these days, to be heeded? We have sought repose, we have found it not ; we seek it everywhere, and we find it not ; we seek it in this sector in that, it is not there ; we seek it in infidelity or indifference, — it is not there, for there is only the repose of the charnel-house. Where, then, shall we seek it? To whom, then, shall we go? To whom, but to the blessed Jesus in the Church which he has founded as the medium of access to him, who only has the words of eternal life ?
We do assuredly look upon the times as auspicious for the Church. We do assuredly look upon the spread of Catholicism in this country, as likely to be speedy and extensive. Its adversaries must, then, meet it, must renew the debate, and defend themselves if they can. That they will, there can be no doubt. They will go over the old ground, and free themselves, if in their power, from the old charges of heresy and schism. For with the spread of Catholicism revives faith in God, faith in Christ, faith in the Church ; and with the revival of this faith, men cease to sit down easy under the charge of heresy or schism. Heresy and schism become again words full of meaning, and of a terrible meaning, which cannot be looked in the face. Orthodoxy recovers its old sense, and men feel, that, without the true faith and the true Church, they are without Christ, and without Christ they are without God. The sects must prove that they, as sects, are members of the Lord's body, and that they maintain the true faith ; or else abandon their pretensions, and acknowledge themselves to be rightfully condemned as heretics and schismatics, and therefore as dead branches, severed from the vine, whose end is to be burned.
Something of all this appears to have been felt by the learned and accomplished author of the Lectures before us. And he has come forward to do what he can to justify the Reformers in their separation from the Roman Catholic Church, and to free at least the Protestant Episcopal Church from the charge of schism. The question is one of fearful import for him and his brethren; for if he fails to free his Church of this charge, he fails to prove that it is, in the Christian sense, a church at all, — fails to vindicate the legitimacy of its ministry and sacraments; and compels himself to admit, that, if he continue in its communion, he is out of the communion of Christ, and that he is guilty, not only of usurping an honor to which he has not been called of God, as was Aaron, not only of breaking the commandments of God and the unity of the Lord's body, but of teaching others to do the same, of leading others astray, of confirming them in error, and perilling their salvation. His is a position fearfully responsible; and he has need, not only to be firmly persuaded that he is not wrong, but to know posi
VOL. II. NO. I.
tively and infallibly that he is right, — not only to show that the Reformers were possibly excusable, but that they were positively and infallibly right and justifiable, and that the churches they founded are the one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, which our blessed Saviour said he would build on a rock, and against which the gates of hell should not prevail.
In proceeding to remark on these Lectures, we shall consider them solely in their bearing on this question of schism. The Church of which the author is a high dignatary lies, and has lain from its origin, under the charge of schism, and these Lectures concern us only so far as they are designed to free it of that charge. We ask, then, has the author succeeded in vindicating the British Reformers, and in proving that the Anglican Church is not rightfully regarded as a schismatic church? This is the question before us, and to this question we shall confine ourselves as strictly as possible.
Now, it is evident, at first sight, that, before proceeding to answer this question, the Bishop should allege some principle or ground of defence, on which he relies, to show that the secession of the Reformers was not schism.
He himself professes to believe in the unity and catholicity of the Church, and must then, of course, admit that separation from the Church is schism. Now, the body from which the Reformers separated had been regarded by the whole Christian world, condemned schismatics and heretics excepted, from time immemorial, and was still regarded by the great majority of the Christian world, as the Church of Christ. The Reformers themselves had so regarded it, had received from it their Christian birth, and their mission, so far as they had any. Their secession was, then, primâ facie, schism, and must be taken and deemed to be such, till they show good and sufficient reasons why it should not be. The Church stands on the olim possideo, the prior possessio ; and cannot be ousted from her inheritance, nor summoned even to plead, till good and sufficient reasons, in case they are sustained, are adduced to invalidate her title. These reasons must be adduced as the grounds of the Reformers' defence, and, till they are adduced, we cannot argue the question, whether the Reformed Churches are schismatics, for till then the simple fact of secession convicts them of schism.
We have looked through these Lectures to ascertain the ground on which the Bishop rests the defence of the Reformers, but very nearly in vain. He does not meet the question manfully; he does not proceed in an orderly and logical manner ; and, we are sorry to see, nowhere states clearly and distinctly the principles from which he obtains his premises. He lays down no rules for the admission of testimony, and none for testing the value of the testimony admitted. All is loose, confused; and, whether true or false, so adduced, that one cannot say what it proves or does not prove to his purpose. Yet, by much searching, by much guessing, and borrowing largely from the general arguments of Protestants elsewhere, we conjecture that he means to contend that the Church is composed of all who maintain the orthodox faith, and that, since the Reformers, in separating from the communion of Rome, retained the orthodox faith, they did not separate from the Catholic Church, and therefore were not schismatics. He reasons, then, in this way.
1. The Catholic Church is composed of all who maintain the orthodox faith.
But the Reformers maintained the orthodox faith ; therefore, the Reformers were members of the Catholic Church.
2. They only are schismatics who separate from the orthodox faith.
But the Reformers did not separate from the orthodox faith; therefore the Reformers were not schismatics.
But this definition of the Church is defective, for it does not embrace the idea of the Church as a teaching and governing body, asserted by the Bishop's own Church, and in fact contended for by the Bishop himself. It also destroys all intelligible distinction between schism and heresy. Heresy is a wilful departure from the orthodox faith ; schism is a wilful separation from the ministry or authority of the Church. All heresy is schism, and all schism may conceal heresy at the bottom ; but all schism, as such, is not necessarily heresy. Consequently, if the Church be defined so as to embrace all who maintain the orthodox faith, schism, as a distinct sin from heresy, is denied. Consequently, separation from the legitimate ministry of the Church, the formation of new and distinct congregations, with a new ministry, not deriving from the Apostles, would not be schism, would not break the unity of the body, in case the seceders maintained the orthodox faith. Nay, these new congregations would be integral members of the Catholic Church, although they should have no ministry, no sacraments, no worship; for nothing is essential to the Church but the orthodox faith. This would be giving to the doctrine of salvation by faith alone a very convenient latitude. But congregations without a ministry, without the sacraments and worship, cannot be called members of the Church ; for the Bishop's own