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cause.

delity was encouraged on the one hand, spirit from the Papal antichrist ; rather Popery, with its rule of faith, was perhaps more so.

The English_goencouraged and strengthened on the vernment, under the Reform Bill, other. And now Romish chapels and having only forwarded its interests in convents, and colleges, sprang up conjunction, and on the same footing with increased rapidity over England. with those of the Protestant Church Conversions became frequent. The and Protestant sects of this kingdom; press gave its powerful aid to the but France furthering them distinc

Roman Catholic reviews, ma- tively and alone. I refer not so much gazines, and newspapers,-many cha- to what it has done in more distant racterized by exceeding subtlety of parts of the world, -as, for example, argument, and not a little display of in its Indian factories, in China, in learning, -as well as cheap religious the Sandwich Islands, and just lately controversial works and tracts fitted in the Marquesas; sending out Rofor the multitude, obtained, and have mish missionaries, and establishing ever since continued to obtain wide and forcibly protecting Romish miscirculation among Protestants; and sions; but more especially in the romances, and novels, and works on manner in which it has supported poetry, history, music, architecture, the Papal interest, and professed all of the same character, helped for- itself its protectress, in the countries ward the movement; meanwhile, in nearer home, bordering on the MediIreland, Popery was rampant.

And

terranean. Alike in Algeria, now a as the unclean spirit, speaking from new Papal episcopate, and Abyssinia, the altars of the Popish chapels, in Syria and in Egypt, indeed throughswayed and infuriated the blind mul- out the territories of the Turkish emtitude that worshipped before them; pire generally, the unclean spirit the Protestant clergy, in respect of from the mouth of the beast has, their property, and sometimes even under these auspices, made its voice of their lives, were almost treated as to be heard with long unwonted without the pale of the law; their in

power.

The French flag waves over stitutions for educating the poor in the Roman Catholic churches and Gospel truth, forced too often to give convents of Syria. Democratic France place to the corrupt teaching of Po- boasts to be the protectress of Cathopery; and the death's head and cross licism. bones held out in terrorem against all It does not need that I speak of who might attempt to withstand its the activity and progress of Popery political projects. Yet, again, to the in other countries during this same vast English Foreign colonies, the same period. Suffice it to say, that other spirit had now the opportunity of European Roman Catholic states have speeding forth in power; to India, not been wanting in giving their supAustralia, New Zealand, the Cape, port and aid to the movement; and Canada, Newfoundland; everywhere that the United States of North AmeRomish bishops and priests, salaried rica may be mentioned as very proby government, though with instruc- minently, one of the foreign local tions from the Pope, on their settle- scenes on which it has been exhibited. ment, organizing the Romish inte- Let me only further add, that to mar rests; seizing, if possible, on the the work of Evangelic Protestant education, influencing newspapers ; missions, and stop the progress of the and, in case of popular institutions, everlasting Gospel, has been proved agitating for political power, in con- in every case, one primary object of junction (witness the late histories of this spirit from the beast's mouth Canada and Newfoundland) with the issuing forth. And on the whole, democratic element. Such has been such has been its support, -funds to our English experience of the actings the amount of near £1,000,000 sterand energy of this unclean spirit ling a year, being now it is said, the during the last ten years.

Papal revenue in aid of Propaganda Nor has France less prominently in objects and such in different foreign her sphere helped forward the unclean countries its prospects of success, that

both at Rome and elsewhere the ex- being fulfilled in its favour; when all pectation has been avowed, and with nations shall submit to the Pope, all almost the sanguine hopes of the olden people do him homage, from the river and palmy days of Popery, that the even to the world's end. prophecies of the latter day are about

(To be concluded in our next.)

REMARKS ON THE UNSATISFACTORY NATURE OF ORAL

TRADITION,
AS AN INTERPRETER OF CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE.

By the Rev. C. H. Davis, M.A., of Wadham College, Oxford. It is one of the prevalent errors of guides in all disputed points—such as the age to make void the Word of that of baptismal regeneration. But God by the traditions of men, and is it not the fact, that the relative practically to exalt the uninspired nearness of these ancient writers to writings of the ancient “ Fathers the Apostles' times, in comparison with above the inspired Scriptures on cer- this our age and generation, when used tain disputed points. It may there- as an argument that we should defer fore be not inopportune—without any implicitly to their teaching, conceals desire unduly to depreciate the writings a fallacy, and disguises the simple of the Fathers” when rightly used truth that, in this ever-changing to invite attention to certain 'fallacies world, the space of a single century, in the favourite theories of “Catholic or even of a single generation, is pracantiquity,”“Catholic consent,” &c.&c. tically found in very many cases to which are often so plausibly concealed be quite sufficient to introduce, by that they are not readily detected. slow and almost imperceptible degrees, We find, for example, that because the most important changes in public the Fathers” lived nearer to the opinion and public sentiment,-and Apostles' times by some 1,400, or that in religious societies no less than 1,500, or even 1,600 years, than we in states and kingdoms? Now while ourselves, it is therefore frequently we find but few, if any, of those points assumed that they lived so near as to which now so seriously disturb the be of necessity, not only better inter- peace of the Christian Church (such preters of Holy Scripture than modern as the exact effects of the Sacrament commentators,* but almost infallible of Baptism) to be discussed, or even

alluded to, in the genuine writings of This we by no means admit. “The fathers of olden time had some advantages which mo

“ the Fathers” of the first centuryderns have not; and more recent authors have

Clement, Polycarp, and Ignatius—it in their turn some advantages over the fathers. .. We have the whole of the Scriptures, in a vo

is to writers who flourished no earlier lume accessible to all; an advantage which they than the middle or the end of the could not possess previously to the collection of the Gospels and scattered Epistles into one book,

second century, that we are referred and the decision of the canon of Scripture; and as infallible guides in those disputed which nothing but the invention of printing points—such as baptismal regeneracould have made available to the extent to which we possess it. We have their research to

tion; to writers, that is, such as Justin guide us, and the experience of their wisdom Martyr, who flourished about A.D. 150, in great things, and weakness oftentimes in little, to admonish and to warn us.

and Irenæus, who flourished about

We have the help of the combined wisdom and study of

A.D. 180,-i.e. the former about 117 eighteen centuries, with the results and reason

years after the crucifixion of our Lord, ings of a thousand minds thus contributing all together to our stock of information.

and 84 years after the martyrdom of free from many prejudices, to which their hea- St. Paul, and the latter about 147 then birth and education, and the superstition and credulity of the ages in which they lived, years after the crucifixion, and 114 exposed them.(Truth on Both Sides, by Rev. years after the martyrdom of St. Paul. S. Brown, pp. 173-175. Hatchard, 1842.) At But surely we may ask, Were Justin pp. 176–178 of the same Work, are some excellent remarks on the differences of those who alike

and Irenæus infallible expositors of pray for Divine teaching. Mr. Brown also re- all christian doctrine? If we cannot marks, “Has not the Church the advantages of old age now, if it would use the experience de

be sure that we rightly understand rived from its younger state? (p. 172, note.) and rightly interpret the language of

AUGUST-1851.

We are

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inspired Scripture, on such important spired, and therefore fallible,) surely points as the new birth, &c., what there can be no reason whatsoever security can we have that we rightly why we should pin our faith to the understand and rightly interpret the fallible guidance of “the Fathers," — language of uninspired and fallible such as Irenæus and Justin, Ignatius men, like Justin and Irenæus ?* Are and Clement,-in preference to the inuninspired writers less likely to mis- fallible guidance of the Grand-Falead us than the inspired writers ? Or, thers," --such as St. Matthew and St. if both classes of writers—inspired John, St. Peter and St. Paul,—which and uninspired-alike speak plainly, has been providentially placed within if both are to be interpreted by simi- our reach? In support of these remarks lar rules of grammatical construction, may be adduced the testimony of a sound criticism, and common sense, learned prelate now deceased :“It (the only difference being that the is a fallacious argument which would one class is inspired, and therefore urge their nearness in time to the age infallible, while the other is unin- of the Apostles, as a proof that no

mistakes of importance could be • It has been well remarked, “The scheme fallen into by the early Christians. for interpreting Scripture by consent of fathers Traditional truth, among imperfectly is beset with a practical difficulty in limine, which its abettors of the present day have done

educated persons, does not pass from no more to remove than Bishop Cheney : viz.- mouth to mouth, with that accuracy this consent of fathers is far harder to be obtained than the sense of Scripture," &c. (Osburn's

and certainty, even during a very Hidden Works of Darkness," c. iv. p.108.) Bi- limited period of time, which we are shop M'Ilvaine truly observes, “It is not because

inclined to imagine. On the contrary, the Scriptures are not plain enough that divi. sions in doctrine abound; but because the hearts

in an age when knowledge circulates of men are not honest enough. The same cause slowly, and the collisions of wellwould darken any counsel and pervert any rule, informed minds with each other are and the easier in proportion as the rule were strict and the counsel holy." (Consecration Ser- comparatively rare, (and such was mon, p. 9. Compare the Preface to Rev. W.

the period now alluded to,) it is surJones', of Nayland, “Catholic Doctrine of the Trinity.") It is a singular fact, that Bishop prising how many erroneous opinions, Pearson appeals to the “Catholic consent" of well-intentioned perhaps, but not the fathers, to prove that the word "hell" in the

therefore the less dangerous, may Creed, means the place of departed souls; while Bishop Beveridge likewise appeals to the “ca- grow up within the space of a very tholic consent" of the fathers, to prove that it

When the short season means the place of torment, (See Pearson on the Creed, Art. v. p. 355; and Beveridge on the Ar

of actual contact is gone by, mere ticles, Art. iii. p. 134.) Again, the Rev. G proximity or indefinite remoteness of Stanley Faber, in his “ Primitive Doctrine of

time make, in fact, little or no differRegeneration,” Preface, pp. XI.-XXII.; “Primitive Doctrine of Justification," Preface, pp. ence in the degrees of evidence, which XLIV., XLV., and xLvI., and p. 378, (2nd Edit.); historical events are capable of reand " Apostolicity of Trinitarianism,"Introduction, p. XXVII., &c., insists on the evidence of ceiving from the labours of literary the fathers as essential to a true interpretation men. A manuscript, for instance, of of Scripture, no less strongly than the Tractarian

the Gospels, of the date of the fourth divines, from whom he yet entirely differs in his actual interpretations of Scripture! For ex- or fifth centuries, is as complete a ample, if any one will compare Mr. Faber's re- record at this moment, as it was on marks] (and especially those at p. 378, of his work on Justification,) with the “Preface," to

the day in which it was written; and, Rev. W. A. Hammond's translation of "the if preserved two thousand years longer, Canons of the Church," (J. H. Parker, 1843,)

will be as completely so to future pp. ii., iii., v.-vii., and with Dr. Hook's “No. velties of Romanism,” pp. 5–7, &c., he will generations as it is to the present. A almost think that these passages are the pro- well-informed historian at this moduction of the same author,--so strikingly simi. lar is their line of argument in favour of tra

ment has a far more accurate knowdition. And yet Mr. Faber differs entirely from ledge of the events connected with Mr. Hammond (Preface, p. xii.) and from Dr. the Norman conquest, than was posHook, as to the effects of Baptism. Dr. M.Neil speak of “that nondescript some

sessed by nine-tenths of the villagers thing to be found nowhere,-catholic consent, of this country, who lived at the period. as a primary rule of faith,” (The Church and the Churches, c. iv. p. 136.)! See also an interesting

And yet it is upon

very fallacious, Correspondence on the subject between Rev. though plausible assumption, that G. S. Faber, and Dr. M'Neil, and others, in “ The Churchman's Monthly Review," of 1816,

this

knowledge must necessarily grow pp. 481, 559, 637, 711, 714, 716, 883, 949, 952.

clearer and more certain in exact pro

few years.

Well does

pure

portion as we approach to the foun- last 150 years in this country, from tain, that the argument in favour of the Nonjurors of the Revolution in tradition almost exclusively rests. 1688 to the Irvingites and United Why, one is naturally impelled to ask, Brethren of the reign of William the should the primitive ages have pos- Fourth! In both periods men have sessed a privilege which our own existed anxious only for the truth, times have not, of escaping one of the but who have been misled by the most besetting infirmities of human warmth of their imaginations, or their nature, and of transmitting unmixed want of the powers of due discrimitruth orally from one generation to nation. We may accordingly respect another, without any taint or super- their piety, and be desirous of imiaddition of mere human speculation ? tating their virtues; but we are plainly If, with the preservative restraint of outraging common sense, when on the a written revelation, our own age strength of these qualities, we proceed has launched forth into extreme no- to assert, either in the one case or the tions with scarcely any common other, their emancipation from error.” centre in which to agree, why are we (pp. 48–50)* to measure the simple and unsuspect- It will not be difficult to illustrate ing Fathers of the primitive Church these remarks by circumstances which by a different rule, and argue that have occurred much nearer to our because they meant well, therefore own times. The glorious Reformation, divine truth orally transmitted, must towards the middle of the sixteenth necessarily have passed from them century, was an event inferior in im

and unaltered ?” (Not Tradition, portance to the first promulgation of but Scripture, by the late Dr. P. N. the Gospel in the Apostolic age alone. Shuttleworth, Bishop of Chichester, We now stand in the middle of the pp. 44-47, Rivingtons, 1839.*) nineteenth century, much in the same

Again, the same writer further ob- relation, as regards distance of time serves,

“ Justin and Irenæus, we are and the means of rightly interpreting told, flourished within the space of the writings of former ages, with reabout 150 years from the close of our spect to our own Reformers-such as Lord's ministry, and therefore their Archbishop Cranmer, Archbishop authority on points of doctrine, must Parker, and Bishop Jewell, &c.—as be far superior to that of the best in- the Christians of the fourth century formed theologians of the present day. stood with respect to the Evangelists Without wishing to assert anything and Apostles. And is it not a fact, bordering upon paradox, I must that such questions as, “What was the again repeat, I doubt the justice of real doctrine of our Reformers ?" and, the inference. In their time truth “What is the true meaning of the formade its way slowly, and with difficulty, through comparatively isolated * Bishop Shuttleworth illustrates these redistricts, unaided by that general

marks by some absurd extracts from the works

of Papius, and adds, that yet “scarcely a longer spread of knowledge, that enlightened interval elapsed than that of a single human criticism, and that corrective good life, between the period of the earthly ministry

of Him who spake as never man spake, and the sense, resulting from an almost uni

time when Papius was treasuring up this versal education, which is in our own wretched specimen of tradition,” &c. (p. 57.) day the great security against the

Clement of Rome too, in his celebrated epistle, growth of unsound and eccentric opi- gravelyourgues

, from the supposed existence of nions. And yet, even under all these + It has been well remarked that “ Some advantages possessed by ourselves,

would have the same absolute weight attributed

to the Fathers' interpretations of the books in what has been the succession of sect

the sacred canon, which we give to their testi. upon sect, which has marked a period mony, as fixing the authenticity and genuinemularies and private writings which Peter King, Pt. ii. c. iii. s. 2. pp. 188– they have bequeathed to us ?” are 191.) We have only to reflect whenow warmly debated ? Are we in ther the bishops of our own Church this nineteenth century in any respect of the year 1754, or even of the year better qualified to get at the true 1700, could be fairly regarded as safe meaning of our Reformers than our expositors of the theology of our own successors in succeeding centuries Reformers. And if we find, what will be? Were our predecessors of indeed was the case, that a remarkthe last century better qualified than able change in theological opinion ourselves- if so well qualified, con- had by that time come over our sidering that the works of the Re- Church, what reason have we for conformers are now by means of “the cluding that, in less favoured times Parker Society” more accessible than for the transmission of written evithey were then? If, then, the period dence, “the Fathers” of the third and of three, nay of even two, centuries, fourth centuries were infallible exand that in an age when by means ponents of Apostolic doctrine? Surely of printing there have been peculiar their writings, no less than those of facilities the spread of knowledge our Reformers, must be subjected to and the preservation of documentary the test of the written Word? evidence-has not enabled men to But it will be easy to shew how interpret with infallible accuracy the that within the space of even one formularies and other writings of the single century, there was gradually Reformation-era, is it not preposterous effected an almost entire change of to suppose that the Christian Fathers theological opinion in our own Church; of the fourth, or even of the third certainly so, among her bishops and century,-clogged as many of them chief dignitaries. The Thirty-nine were, with prejudices incident to their Articles were first approved in conheathen education, and possessing far vocation in 1562, and finally settled less opportunity than we now have in 1571. Our Prayer-Book was finally of obtaining copies of the sacred Scrip- revised and settled in its present form tures, and other books, is it not pre- in 1661-2, just after the Savoy Conposterous to suppose that they can ference. The bishops and episcopal furnish any infallible clue to orthodox divines who attended that conference, doctrine ?' For example, are we re- were therefore removed from Archquired to regard it as an Apostolic bishop Parker, and Bishop Jewell, by doctrine, that the gift of the Holy a period of time about equal to that Ghost, together with remission of which separated Justin Martyr from original guilt, is, by baptism, con- St. Peter and St. Paul. And yet it is ferred on infants, because it was so on all hands acknowledged that the agreed by an African synod of sixty- prevailing tone of theology had in six bishops, in A. D. 254 ?* (See Sir that short time been completely

ness of the canon itself. But surely, no. If the of the same duration, namely, the world should last much longer, succeeding

generations would do well to accept the witness * Some able remarks on tradition, not alto. of the present age to the authenticity and gether dissimilar to Bp. Shuttleworth's, may be genuineness of Cranmer's remains; but they seen in Rev. J. B. Marsden's “Discourses for

could not so wisely accept our varying, and the Festivals," pp. 58, 59; and in his “Church- often prejudiced views of what his real teaching manship of the New Testament," pp. 92, 93, was,(Brown's Truth on Both Sides, pp. 172- +, (Hamilton and Adams.)

note.)

• Hence it is to be regretted that Dr. M'Neil lays so much stress upon the decision of this council as regards the question of Infant Baptism, (Church and Churches. c. viii. pp. 374376.) The like may be said of one of Sir Peter King's arguments in favour of infant baptism, viz., that in Cyprian's time (A.D. 250) infants received the holy communion, and that therefore it naturally follows, that children were baptized; for if they received that ordinance, which always succeeded baptism, then of necessity they must have received baptism itself,” (Sir P. King's Constitution and Worship of the Primitive Church, Pt, ii. c. iii. s. 2. p. 186.) Arguments of this kind only damage the cause they are designed to defend, inasmuch as a clever adversary might not unreasonably call upon us to admit the whole testimony of such authorities, if we admit any part of it. The fact is, a great deal has been too rashly affirmed respecting the value and the existence of primitive tradition respecting infant baptism. In

A Sermon on John iii. 5, in reference to the recent legislative decision in the case of Gorham v. the Bishop of Exeter," by Rev. E. A. Litton, (Hatchard, 1850,) at pp. 28-31, the learned writer ably and candidly shews that on this point we gain little or nothing "in point of evidence, by transferring the inquiry to the pages of uninspired history,” (p. 28.) See also an able work entitled, “Scriptural Revision of the Liturgy, a Remedy for Anglican Assumption and Papal Aggression," by “ A Member of the Middle Temple," pp. 112-13, and 137, (Groombridge, 1851.) If then the Baptist cannot be convinced of the propriety of infant baptism by such Scriptural arguments, as we find advanced in Rev. E. H. Hoare's “Baptism according to Scripture,” pp. 65, 66, (Seeleys, 1850,) it will be vain to argue with him on tradition, which, in truth, throws no more light upon the subject than does the Scripture, at least in the earlier ages, and which at a later period would prove too much, if capable of proving anything.

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