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*** We doubt whether all our readers will see at the first glance the object of the foregoing paper, so as to take the trouble to weigh the evidence; but it bears upon a point of importance in regard to the policy of the Church of Rome; one maxim of which has ever been to play fast or loose with historical facts and testimonies, as might happen to be convenient for compassing any particular object; and then, without any blush of shame, to "turn its back upon itself," when some new inclination rendered that course expedient. This has been exemplified in regard to the authority of the Canons passed at the Fourth Council held in the Lateran palace at Rome, in the year 1215. The third of these Canons is the atrocious one which anathematises heretics; consigns them to the civil magistrate to be punished; compels the secular powers to swear publicly that they will strive to exterminate from their lands all who are denounced as heretics by the Church; excommunicates every temporal lord who omits to do so; and declares that the Pope is to absolve his vassals from their allegiance, and to give his lands to Catholics; who are to exterminate the heretics. This execrable Canon not only warranted but enjoined the bloodthirsty persecutions which the Church of Rome has ever since waged against all whom she stigmatizes as heretics. The slaughter of the Waldenses, the tortures of the Inquisition, the St. Bartholomew massacre in France, the flames of Smithfield, and numberless other deeds of horror, originated in this and similar Canons and decrees of the Papal Antichrist. When and where Rome found it politic to hold up this fearful edict, she did not shrink from that responsibility. It was solemnly published under the order of Pope Honorius III. in 1220; by Gregory IX. about ten years after, being embodied in the Canon law and decretals, where it remains to this day; by the Council of Trent, three centuries after; and by the intervening authorities mentioned by our correspondent. But when this Canon was inconveniently adduced by Protestants, it was a spurious document.
Dr. Doyle, we believe, was a Jesuit; and the Jesuits have always adapted their morality to times and places. One of the most characteristic specimens of the order was Peter Cotton (or Coton), confessor to Henry IV. of France; of whom the people said that their sovereign had a good heart, but unhappily "his ears were stuffed with cotton," so that their discontents did not reach him. When Cotton (who gave the assassin Ravillac the intelligible hint "not to accuse honest men "—that is, not to betray his Jesuit instigators) was judicially asked by the Parliament of Paris, whether the doctrine which Santarelli, the General of the Jesuits, had published relative to the power of the Pope over kings, even to dispossessing them of their dominions, (this very Lateran doctrine) was held by his Order, he replied, "Ah, the king is the eldest son of the Church; and he will never do anything to force the holy Father to that extremity." But, said the President of the Parliament, "Are you not of the same opinion with your General, who claims that power for the Pope?” "Our General," said Cotton, "follows the opinions of Rome where he is; and we those of France where we are."
Dr. Doyle had a political object to serve in denying that the Canons of the Fourth Council of Lateran are genuine; but the substitution, falsification, manufacture, and suppression, of documents to serve a turn, are old Popish practices, and not confined to the order of Jesuits. Dr. Covel (Cudworth's successor in the Mastership of Christ's College, Cambridge) records in the Preface to his "Account of the present doctrine of the Greek Church, particularly in regard to the Eucharist," (1722) some memorable facts relative to
the subornation of testimony by the Papists to prove that all the Eastern churches held, and had always held, the doctrine of Transubstantiation as set forth by the Council of Trent. There had been a dispute between M. Arnauld of the Sorbonne, and M. Claude of Charenton, upon this subject; and Dr. Covel was requested by some of the principal persons at Cambridge, particularly Gunning, Pearson, and Sancroft, to inquire into the matter at Constantinople. Covel resided in the East seven years, and had ample opportunities for becoming acquainted with the facts of the case. Claude had brought authentic proofs that the Eastern churches did not hold the Tridentine doctrine of Transubstantiation; whereupon Arnauld set all the Romanist missionaries in the East to collect testimonies on the other side, and by bribes and other indirect means a vast body of document was produced; but Claude discovered that some of the testimonies were fictitious, and others were perverted; whereupon the inquiry was set on foot which led to Dr. Covel's volume. The Eastern churches doubtless had been accustomed, from very ancient times, to use language respecting the presence of Christ in the Lord's Supper, which might be perverted, as even that of our own Church has been; but it was by unfair and falsified documents that Rome sought to identify them with herself in this matter. We have, however, alluded to the circumstance in passing, only to shew that much scrutiny is required where the advocates of Popery either proffer or repudiate a testimony. We cannot doubt that she is responsible for the Canons of the Fourth Lateran Council, till she formally revokes them by another General Council.
WHAT IS "GOSPEL PREACHING?"
To the Editor of the Christian Observer.
THERE was a passage in the extracts in your last Number, from the Rev. G. Crabbe's memoir of his father, the poet, which struck me forcibly, as affording a key to much that is anomalous in modern preaching. Mr. Crabbe says:
"During the whole time my father officiated in Suffolk, he was a popular preacher, and had always large congregations; for, notwithstanding what I have observed on this subject, and that he adopted not what are called Evangelical principles, yet was he deemed a Gospel preacher: but this term, as it was applied then and there, fell short of the meaning it now conveys. It signified simply a minister who urges his flock to virtuous conduct, by placing a future award ever full in their view, instead of dwelling on the temporal motives rendered so prominent at that time by many of his brethren."
Here we find a clergyman "deemed a Gospel [that is, Evangelical] preacher," though not adopting "what are called Evangelical [that is, Gospel] principles;" on the ground that "he urged his flock to virtuous conduct," by placing before them "a future award," instead of dwelling on the temporal motives rendered so prominent at that time by many of his brethren." The object of Mr. Crabbe's preaching did not soar beyond what used to be called "mere moral preaching;" he "simply urged his flock to virtuous conduct;" only, instead of telling them that virtue brings its own reward upon earth, he pointed them to "a future award." In all this there is not the slightest recognition of anything exclusively "Evangelical;" there is no mention of the doctrines of the "Gospel;" no allusion to man's fallen and lost estate; or to the atonement of Christ; or to the work of the Holy Spirit. Mr. Crabbe's
Gospel is not "glad tidings" to penitent sinners, who flee to the hope set before them in it; there is nothing said of being justified by faith, having peace with God, and being renewed in the spirit of the mind; but "simply" that "virtuous conduct" will lead to a "future award of happiness. Heathen moralists said the same.
Yet even this meagre, ethical preaching, which does not affect to be grounded on "what are called Evangelical principles," is panegyrized as so great an improvement upon the system of many of his brethren,' that Mr. Crabbe, it 66 seems, was deemed a Gospel preacher." Now I am bold to affirm that much that is applauded at the present day as "Gospel preaching," but which keeps clear of "the offence of the Cross," which invariably clings to "what are called Evangelical principles," is as spurious a substitute for the true Gospel of our Redeemer, as that which beguiled the ill-judging people of Suffolk. There may be much of solemnity and earnestness; much of serious exhortation to a devout, self-denying, and charitable life; and much of heaven and hell as "the future awards" of a "virtuous or vicious life; and such preaching may be "popular," not being drily moral, but fervently impressive; while it is utterly defective in conveying to the hearer just views of Scriptural truth, and leaves him awfully ignorant of the Evangelical economy of salvation. This modified preaching is widely prevalent and fearfully deceptive. If a preacher escapes being branded as "Evangelical," it can only be by not being Evangelical.
IS SALVATION PRESENT OR FUTURE ?
To the Editor of the Christian Observer.
PERMIT me to ask you if you do not consider Mr. Basil Woodd in error when he says, in a passage quoted in your last Number, "The Sacred Scriptures never speak of salvation as already obtained." Now do not such texts as 1 Cor. i. 18, "But unto us which are saved;" Rom. viii. 1, "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus," contradict this? But why should I multiply texts to you who could supply a score?
As our correspondent puts the question to us, we will endeavour to reply. We are by no means grieved to see the godly jealousy evinced by Omega, and by a querist upon a remark of the Bishop of Chester's; and by more than one upon Mr. Basil Woodd's use of the words "terms” and “conditions," lest any opinion or phrase should go forth in our pages, or elsewhere, which may contravene the true tenour of the Gospel as a dispensation of free mercy. The Scriptures teach "Not, of works, lest any man should boast." "Of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption." "When we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ;""By grace ye are saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God." There is so much of unscriptural doctrine now extant, under very plausible forms, that it is well that the faithful should exercise much vigilance in guarding against whatever is of dubious tendency. There is, however, danger of making a man "an offender for a word," where there was no just cause of offence; but
even this may be borne with, if it lead to inquiry, brotherly explication, and a better understanding of the Sacred oracles.
We read various such passages as that quoted by our correspondent. "Unto us which are saved;" "in them that are saved;" "thy faith hath saved thee ;” and the like. Yet we also read: "Work out your salvation;" "if any man enter in he shall be saved;" "we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved;" "he that endureth to the end shall be saved;" "kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time;" "now is our salvation nearer than when we believed."
There can be no shadow of doubt that in this latter class of texts salvation is spoken of as a blessing yet to be consummated. But the two sets of passages cannot be discrepant; nor is there any need to make them so. The Israelites were commanded to "stand still and see the salvation of the Lord," when they were delivered from Egypt; yet they had still the wilderness before them. Cruden says, "Salvation is taken either for remission of sins, true faith, repentance, obedience, and other saving graces of the Spirit which are the way to salvation (as this day is salvation come to thy house'), or for eternal happiness hereafter, which is the object of our hopes and desires.” Mr. Scott the commentator, in the passage quoted by our correspondent from St. Paul's first Epistle to the Corinthians, makes "which are saved," to be equivalent to "who were brought into a state of salvation." Mr. Basil Woodd would not have asserted that in this sense salvation is never spoken of as present. If our correspondent admits that the word is used in the two ways stated by Cruden, there is no difficulty; but if he denies that it is used in two ways, how does he construe the class of texts which speak of it as "to be revealed;" and what does he consider to be the meaning of the word in the present tense? The continuators of Poole's Annotations remark on this passage, "To those who shall be eternally saved, and are at present in the true road to life and salvation."
ON THE PHRASE "TERMS (OR CONDITIONS) OF THE COVENANT OF GRACE.”
To the Editor of the Christian Observer.
In a note in the last Number of the Christian Observer, the late Rev. Basil Woodd is quoted as saying, "The Scriptures speak of salvation, not as a matter of present possession, but of eventual and conditional attainment." And again: "The covenant of grace freely offers this redemption to the whole world on the terms of repentance and faith." Have we any warrant in Scripture for speaking of "terms" and "conditions" in the covenant of grace? Is not our salvation "without money and without price;" purchased for us; but freely bestowed upon us? Mr. Woodd indeed says "freely offered;" but how can that be free which is restricted by conditions?
We often receive queries as to the propriety of using the words "terms" and "conditions" of the covenant of grace. For ourselves, we never use the words; first, because we do not find them in the Bible; secondly, because even when employed in a scriptural sense, which they may be, and often are, they may mislead some, and distress the minds of others. But without arguing the question, we will transcribe a portion of a letter upon this
very subject from that scriptural and judicious divine, the Rev. T. Scott, in a letter addressed to Mr. Basil Woodd, dated Aston Sanford, Jan. 15, 1806. Mr. Scott says:
"I see nothing in your pamphlet on the two Covenants which does not accord with my views; though in speaking on repentance and faith, I seldom call them conditions or terms; because some object, and others misunderstand me, if I do; and as the words are not found in the Scripture, I make a shift to convey my meaning without them. But I have no doubt of these things being in a sober sense conditions, that is, sine qua nons. In like manner, I do not find the terms covenant of redemption, or covenant of grace, in Scripture; and therefore I generally express myself in other words; though I do not at all object to the use of them by others in the very sense which you mention. Should I try to be systematical, I should perhaps call the former the covenant of mediation, the conditions of which Christ fulfilled, in order that he might be the Mediator of the New Covenant. This covenant (the covenant of grace, the everlasting covenant) is made with us individually, when we accede to it, and not before. 2 Sam. xxiii. 5; Isa. lv. 3."
ON A PASSAGE QUOTED FROM THE BISHOP OF CHESTER.
To the Editor of the Christian Observer.
FULLY agreeing with you in the excellence of the Bishop of Chester's statement of man's justification, I would very respectfully ask if there be not some mistake where his Lordship says (p. 189), “None are ever received into his favour, whose patient continuance in well-doing He had not foreseen?" As if God's favour hung on man's works: this is reversing the Scripture mode of things. I would not for a moment suppose that the Bishop means what an adversary might contend, from this sentence, is his meaning. I do not doubt that his Lordship means that there is no Scripture warrant that justification is real which is not proved by well-doing: and that his Saviour having borne a man's sins, is to be proved by the man's dying unto sin, and living unto righteousness. (1 Pet. ii. 24.)
In the sentence quoted, are not cause and effect made to change places? Would not the objection be obviated somewhat by reading "secured" for "foreseen?"
We are not the Bishop of Chester's interpreters: but the meaning suggested by our correspondent places the brief remark quoted by him at variance with the whole of his Lordship's argument. The Bishop states that two things go together; but our correspondent makes him speak of them as cause and effect," and this in a reversed order; whereas in the matter of cause and effect," the Bishop had distinctly said, only a few lines before, "The good works which the Christian performs, whether before, or after, believing, are no meritorious cause of our salvation; have no share in effecting our acceptance with God." What can be stronger than "no share"? The whole paper is to the same purport. Yet not less scripturally does it affirm that whom God justifies he sanctifies; and that we are to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God which worketh in us both to will and do of his good pleasure.-See our notes to the queries of Omega and Paulinus, p. 213 and 214.