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controversy only, but on the clearest registers of impartial history, that never yet was the idea of a visible outward unity fully realised, but in connection with a visible centre of unity, and that centre the Roman See; and men of all times must make up their minds to the alternative, of either resting content with that divine unity which God has given, and of which alone we have the faintest trace in the inspired Word-a unity in spirit and in truth, issuing more or less in an outward and visible harmony; or grasping at a fond ideal of our own vain hearts, which can never be realised on earth but by a blind submission to that dread power which unites all only by destroying all, and which, with the might of a devouring vortex, sucks and draws all things into itself.
To a clear sense of this alternative many have already fully awoke; and more and more will do so as this great controversy advances towards its close.
3. We could have wished to have spoken much more at length of the subject of SACRAMENTAL POWER than our space will now permit us to do. We could, we think, easily show that here also the transition from Anglicanism to Romanism, if not perhaps so clearly demonstrable in logical sequence, is, in the whole tendency of things, as natural and inevitable as under the two former heads. If the votary of sacramental grace cannot be so easily reasoned into Romanism, he may assuredly be as naturally and surely developed into it. The radical distinction between the Romish and semi-Romish, and the Protestant doctrine, on the subject of the efficacy of the sacraments, may be stated briefly thus :-According to the Romish view, their power is mystical; according to the Protestant, it is moral and spiritual. In the theory of the one, their power resides in themselves, and operates directly and inevitably as a sacred charm on the souls of the prepared recipient; in that of the other, their whole virtue depends on the blessing of God going with them, and the working of the Spirit in and by them. According to the one, they impart grace; according to the other, they are only means of grace. True, the instructed Romanist does not maintain that the sacraments effectually communicate grace altogether independent of the state of the recipients. He admits, in a certain sense, the necessity of penitence and faith, and the absence of any insuperable inward obstacle or ober, such as that of mortal sin, in order to their beneficial participation; still, supposing all the requisite conditions present, the sacrament, simply by virtue of its administration, (ex opere operato,) will certainly
trines, vol. i.; and for a succinct statement of the leading facts and authorities, "The Rise of the Papal Power, traced in three Lectures." By Professor Hussey. Oxford.
and inevitably work its saving effect like a magical charm upon the soul. They stand before us like so many vessels full charged with the mysterious supernatural energy, and only require a touch, and the absence of any non-conducting medium within, that they may communicate all their lifegiving power to the recipient's soul. Such was the idea of sacramental power, excogitated and matured in an age when the simple and sublime spirituality of New Testament times had passed away, and when the belief in magical charms was universal in the world, and which still holds its ground as the central dogma of a vast superstition, long after the heathenish fancies which generated it had seemed to have fled for ever before the light of advancing knowledge and of scriptural truth!
We need scarcely say, that this sacramental principle, thus explained, is held alike by Anglicans and by Romanists. The former, equally with the latter, glory in proclaiming their religion as intensely and pervasively sacramental, and in dwelling on this as the grand fundamental difference between their system and that of the so-called ultra-Protestant sects. With them the sacraments, and the grace therein communicated, constitute the very central spring of all practical Christianity and of the Christian life. Every thing hangs upon this. Pardon, peace, spiritual life and strength, our very standing and hope before God, turns upon this one matter-the due and valid administration, and the right reception, of these "holy and tremendous mysteries." What natural birth is to the child, and the staff of life to the man, such is the baptismal laver, and the eucharistic altar in Catholic and Anglo-Catholic life. The preaching of the Word occupies an entirely different and subordinate place. It may be most useful for calling in heathens and heretics into the church, for instructing catechumens, awakening penitents, and preparing the faithful generally for the more profitable reception of " the mysteries; but so far as the inner life and nourishment of the soul is concerned, the sacraments are still the all in all. Through these we are born again; through these we are renewed again unto repentance, and restored to a state of grace, on every fresh relapse from baptismal purity; through these we are nourished and built up unto eternal life. But it may be asked, why an Anglican, holding these doctrines, and believing that he has within the Church of England, or, as he loves to calls it, "the English branch of the Catholic Church," all the blessings of sacramental grace, may not remain in that church to his life's end, and fully carry out the belief and practice of his religion within her bosom? Now that he may do this, at least to a very large extent, is but too lamentably manifest from the
course followed by many for the last twenty years and up to this hour. But there are two things which must ever stand greatly in the way of such men, and render the practice of Catholic life" within the Protestant pale but an uneasy, stunted, and half-hearted thing. In the first place, the Catholic Anglican must always be more or less exposed to chilling scruples about the perfect security of his position. His whole religious life hangs on the validity and efficacy of the sacraments which he enjoys. If there be any flaw there, then the rock of his confidence is gone, and he is thrown adrift with others on the wide sea of uncovenanted mercy, from which he had hoped that he had for ever escaped. But of this indispensable validity and efficacy, he can never, from the nature of the case, feel quite secure. That baptism may be valid, it must be received within the Catholic Church. That the elements on the altar may be to him really the body and blood of Christ, they must be consecrated by a duly accredited priest; and yet of neither of these things can he thoroughly satisfy himself. He believes, indeed, that his church is a true branch of the one Catholic body, and that her priests are true priests of the universal church; but at the same time, he cannot but know that both these things are emphatically denied by the great body of what he considers Catholic Christendom, and that all communion and recognition is refused to himself and his church on that very account. That such an overwhelming testimony should awaken doubts in his mind is manifestly inevitable; nor has he any thing whatever to countervail it but his own private judgment and that of his brethren-that very private judgment which he has learned to shrink from with horror as a blind and delusive guide. At this point the old and well-known argument on the ground of greater security, comes in with overwhelming cogency. The validity of the Romish sacraments is admitted by all alike; the validity of the Anglican is denied by all, save only by themselves. What sane man, then, that values his everlasting security, and who believes that on the validity of those life-giving ordinances his all depends, would not unspeakably prefer a certainty to a peradventure, and unless other circumstances of overwhelming gravity stood in the way, seek life rather where it is assuredly to be found, than where he runs the danger of losing it for ever? To us, who, with the Bible in our hand, reject this whole system of sacramentalism as totally without warrant in the Word of God, and believe" that the sacraments are made effectual means of salvation, not through any virtue in them, or in him that doth administer them, but only by the blessing of Christ and the working of his Spirit in those who by faith receive them"such an argument is totally inept and powerless; but to those
who believe, with Anglicans, that their very salvation hangs on the canonical validity of the sacraments they receive, it never can fail to come home with a certain measure of painful force,— enough, at least, to render the attainment of perfect mental repose in the practice of a sacramental religion impossible, except within the bosom of the Church of Rome.
Then, in the second place, there is a manifest difficulty in fully carrying out this system within the bosom of the Protestant Church. However deeply rooted it may be in the convictions and feelings of its disciples, and however anxiously they may cherish the frail exotic in themselves and in one another, the whole circumstances are unfavourable to its free and healthy growth. The soil is uncongenial, and the climate unfriendly. It is and must ever be in the church, but not of it; the Shibboleth of a party, not the faith of a people. It can exist only in more or less perfection as a hothouse delicacy to gratify the taste of the few, not the staple and substantial food of the many. While sacramental grace and power is with these men the all in all of religion, they cannot conceal from themselves, that if held at all in their sense, it occupies an entirely other place, both in the system of their church, and in the convictions of the great body of her members. This cannot but make them very uneasy. They must feel themselves to be members of a church which has not only in a great measure lost hold of the very essence of Christianity, but seems, in its whole constitution, traditional sentiments, and prevailing spirit, uncongenial with it. Do what they will, the fact stares them in the face, that the religion of the Church of England is not in their sense sacramental, and that all their own unceasing labours of twenty years have entirely failed to make it so. The element which they deem the very essence of its life, it has barely tolerated within its pale, or rather, from a certain feebleness of constitution, has simply failed in violently throwing out of its system. Hence inevitable and endless misgivings as to the thorough rectitude of their position-the ever-recurring feeling that they are not at home, and that their right place is in another clime. Besides, not only is there a difficulty in fully acting out their sacramental system, but the very machinery for it within the English Church is incomplete. Where sacramental power is made the one grand channel of grace, it would seem nothing more than fitting and necessary that the system should be so constructed as to meet all the turnings and windings of the Christian life -that for every great exigency in our earthly course, there should be a great and special sacrament of grace. It may, of course, be said, that the two great sacraments recognised by the Church of England are such as, if rightly used, effectually
to provide for every case; but certainly, to say the least, the superior number of the Roman rites, and the manner in which they fit into all the great and critical moments in the life of man, gives them, upon the sacramental theory, a great advantage. The life of a Roman Catholic is really and throughout intensely sacramental. He moves in this element, and breathes this air from first to last. They are the wells of which he drinks by the way, the successive station-houses in which he rests and is furnished for his onward journey. In Baptism, he is born; in Confirmation, he is established in grace; in Penance, he is restored and renewed in strength day by day; in the Eucharist, he is fed; in Orders, if he enters on the sacred office, he is baptised with heavenly unction and gifted with all ghostly power and grace; in Matrimony, if he prefer the ordinary path of life, he is enriched with all conjugal and domestic blessings; and then at last, when the sands of life are running out, and the dread moment of dissolution draws near, he receives his last Communion as his viaticum for the untrodden way before him. And now, to use the words of one better acquainted with these things than we, "from that moment our tender mother redoubles her solicitude, and enlarges her bounty, bringing forth from her stores fresh blessings for every hour and its new wants and trials. That healing, and soothing, and bracing unction, which comes so seasonably to strengthen the Christian athlete in his final conflict; that sublime commendation of the parting spirit into the hands of God and his angels, wherein the church on earth seems to bear the soul committed to its care to the very threshold of the eternal gates, and there, with equal solemnity, met by its triumphant brotherhood, deliver it over to their safer watchfulness; that last blessing wherein the Church of God should seem to give her expiring son the final pledge of her indulgent pardon, to imprint upon his brow the seal of her recognition, in her last parental kiss, and to receive this back upon the image of Christ crucified, which is pressed to his lips. These are advantages for which one has a right to ask, where are the equivalents in that church which sets up a claim to be our mother, and to have our allegiance and our love?" Nor is this all. Even to the grave and beyond it, the church follows her children, and succours them with the might of sacramental grace:
"Let us be laid in our shroud with that cross at which evil spirits tremble grasped in our hands; let the poor brethren of some pious guild bear us, with psalms of penance mournfully sung as for a brother, to our common place of rest-the holy field,' consecrated by most solemn rites; let the standard of Christ be borne before us, as the emblem of victory over the grave; let the Church recite over us her