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with the censure pronounced with such remarkably substantial agreement by the episcopal charges delivered in both countries. It is well, however, that they have done it even now. Of course, in saying this, it is taken for granted that Convocation mean to condemn No. 90, as formally as they have condemned Mr. Ward's book. If they should not, it would be difficult to reconcile their recent proceedings with the commonest principles of honesty and justice; still more difficult to perceive how the condemnation of Mr. Ward could vindicate the character of the University. Justly, indeed, might Mr. Ward complain of being treated with harsh and cruel partiality, if No. 90 were left uncensured and uncondemned. Some persons, however, argue that any sentence of Convocation on a tract published four years ago comes too late. But may it not be asked, on the other hand, for what purpose will such a sentence come too late ? Undoubtedly any censure of No. 90 may be too late to effect one object which such a sentence should have effected-namely, to administer a check and caution to those disposed to take its author for their guide and model. And most deeply is it to be deplored that those who are now speaking plainly and publicly, did not do so long ago. Much mischief has been done. Many have been led astray, and a host of small writers have been tormenting the church with their unedifying and mischievous books and pamphlets, who, if they had been forewarned by an immediate condemnation of No. 90, on the spot where it appeared, would probably have been saved from committing themselves to follies, of which one would be glad to hope they will yet be ashamed. But it is not on grounds of expediency one would rest the necessity of promptitude and energy, in banishing and driving away strange and erroneous doctrines. Such promptitude is clearly the duty of all persons entrusted with education. It is at all times their duty to do so at once; and equally obvious is their duty to maintain their position in the confidence and respect of the public. Placed in charge of a most sacred deposit, without that confidence and respect, they cannot execute their trust; and to maintain that confidence and respect, they must not only be jealous for truth and honesty--they must be known to be so. This is the practical question which concerns the whole church, and not whether the Heads of Houses have shaped their censure of Mr. Ward in such a form as to secure the largest possible majority in support of their proposition. Many young persons are every year sent to the universities, to whom classical and mathematical distinction are of very little moment. The value their friends attach to a university education is wholly irrespective of such matters. But has the university any accomplishment or distinction to impart, which their friends and parents are likely for a single moment to compare with the loss and injury they would consider a young person to entertain, by having his notions of truth and honesty confused by the principles and maxims of the Jesuits. And what practical difference there can be between this non-natural system of interpretation and subscription, and the worst contrivances of the Jesuits to perplex and confound men's moral feelings, it is not easy to discover. Supposing it, then, to be too late now to prevent all the mischief which the publi
cation of No. 90 was likely to do, it certainly is not too late to endeavourto undo as much of that mischief as can still be undone; and, very specially, to relieve those entrusted with the education of clergymen and gentlemen from the appearance of conniving at such a pernicious system ; certainly not too late, to endeavour to save the church from the mischief that must follow from a want of public confidence, in the morality of the principles taught and imbibed in one of her universities.
It is self-evident, that no man would or could be trusted, who should avow this non-natural system in his dealings and transactions with his fellow-men. Society would fall to pieces of itself, and crumble to atoms, if such principles should ever come to be generally acted on, or even advocated; for, in truth, the bare advocacy of such a principle must undermine the mutual confidence without which society cannot hold together. Bonds and promissory notes are signed in a natural sense, or else in no sense at all. He who should set them at nought, on the ground that he had signed them in a non-natural sense, would be thought to labour under something more serious than mental obliquity and confusion. This is the common sense of mankind; consequently, if the principle of non-natural subscription (no matter what be the point or the extent of its application) were to be connived at by the university, people would inevitably begin to doubt the wisdom or safety of confiding their children to its charge. For, what can compensate for the loss of honourable and straightforward principle ? And how can any man acquire the habit of trifling with truth and integrity, in matters of religion and in the most sacred engagements, and retain delicacy of moral feeling and quickness of moral perception in other matters? It is simply impossible. High time it is, therefore, and, in one sense, it never can be too late, for the university to repudiate such a system of interpretation altogether, and by so doing, replace itself finally in that public confidence, which it can never lose without infinite mischief to the church and the nation. This is not said as if one had any doubt of the heads of the university being thoroughly desirous and determined to do so, but merely to express the necessity of their doing it at once, and, as far as in them lies, setting the question of subscription at rest for ever.
There is no argument advanced in favour of this theory of nonnatural subscription, which will not equally serve the purpose of defending an Arian subscription. In fact, this is, in a great measure, a revival of the arguments for Arian subscription in a Romish dress. The same answers will suffice for either.* And, notwithstanding Mr. Oakeley's flimsy and discreditable attempt to make out an historical arguinent, it is as certain that the Articles do condemn the peculiar doctrines of Rome, as that they condemn the heresy of the Arians. To attempt to prove that the Articles were contrived for the purpose of comprehending Romanists, and enabling them to subscribe them, is such an outrageous insult to common sense, as makes it only an exercise
* Most readers, it is hoped, are acquainted with Dr. Elrington's admirable and unanswerable Sermon on Subscription.
of charity to question the sanity of any one who could gravely propound such an absurdity. But, in fact, the intention with which the Articles were drawn up is a point one has no business to inquire, as far as subscription is concerned. The business of the subscribing party is with the plain, natural, and grammatical meaning of the words, and with nothing else. By this the errors of Rome are condemned. Any attempt to make this fact appear doubtful, can have no other effect among honest men, than to cast a doubt on either the understanding or the candour of the person who ventures to make it. Mr. Ward, indeed, must concede this anti-Roman character and spirit of the Articles, else why resort to a non-natural method of subscription ? But, the truth is, to subscribe any formulary or engagement in a nonnatural sense, is to subscribe it in no sense whatever. It is altogether and wholly to evade its meaning and obligation. And if such a mode of avoiding the consequences of subscription be tolerated, it must inevitably destroy all confidence between man and man, and render all subscriptions, and engagements of every sort, nugatory, and mere waste paper. If, indeed, the words of the formulary be ambiguous—if they are capable of more than one meaning, and it is impossible from the words of the formulary itself to determine absolutely which of these meanings the words in question should bear-then, by all means, let the subscriber have the benefit of the doubt: let him be at liberty to subscribe, in the sense which he believes to be the natural and grammatical sense of the words. In like manner the prima facie sense of the formulary, or of any word in it, may look one way, and yet this may not be the natural sense, much less is it necessarily the natural sense. The prima facie sense, on the contrary, may be the non-natural sense, and if so, it is not the meaning or sense of the words at all. And in such a case, the subscribing party is not left at liberty to choose between the prima facie sense and ihe natural sense ; he is bound, on the contrary, to discard the prima facie sense altogether. Thus, for example, to a person unacquainted with the theological use of the term, the word "preventing," in the tenth Article, might seem to signify hindering ; and to such a person this may be considered its prima fucie sense ; but it is not the natural sense of the word in that place, and, therefore, in such a sense the word could not be taken by the subscribing party. Again, on the other hand, the word “Hell," in the third Article, is fairly capable of two senses-either it may, in its prima facie sense, signify the place of the punishment of the wicked -or else, taking it in the sense which some suppose the word to signify in the passage of Scripture on which the Article is founded, it may signify the abode of the spirits of the righteous after death. The word may fairly bear either of these meanings in the Article, because either of these meanings may be the natural sense of the word there ; and, consequently, the subscribing party may take it in whichever of these meanings appears to him to be the true one. Possibly he may be at liberty to understand it to include them both. But, if any one should deny that “ Hell in the Article means a place of any sort, or that “went down" signifies change of place, or that “went down into Hell” means anything more than being buried, he would plainly deny and
contradict the natural sense of the Article itself; and to subscribe it in any of these non-natural senses, is plainly to subscribe that Article in no sense of any sort or kind. It would do quite as well for a subscription to the second or fourth Article as to the third. It may, doubtless, be very interesting and instructive to elucidate the meaning of the words of this third Article-for example, by a reference to the history of the Apollinarians, and so an appeal may be made to the meaning and intention of the compilers. But, as far as subscription is concerned, such an inquiry or appeal must be wholly irrelevant, and, indeed, improper. To the subscribing party, the meaning of the words and the obligation of his subscription would remain the same, if it could be proved that the compilers were Apollinarians, and had some nonnatural way of understanding the Article themselves, so as to bend it into compliance with their heresy. The subscribing party has nothing to do with this. He cannot travel beyond the formulary itself in order to evade the force of the natural sense of the words. To subscribe it in any other sense, is, in effect, not to subscribe it at all: and calling such evasive and dishonest subscription—subscribing the words in a non-natural sense—is really only an acknowledgment that there is a departure from fair dealing in the transaction. And such a mode of subscription is a breach of faith, and a very serious one indeed; nor is it easy to comprehend how any one can hesitate to say so who disapproves of non-natural subscription, and feels it his duty to record his disapproval in any public way.
It may be painful to use a term which sounds harsh, and people may be unwilling to use a term to describe material guilt, which seems to imply almost necessarily formal guilt also. But he who professes to have subscribed any document in a non-natural sense is unquestionably guilty of a material breach of faith, and, by all the rules of human jurisprudence, he must be considered guilty of a formal breach of faith also, unless he is able to clear himself of the charge. And, as the material breach of faith consists in evading the natural meaning of subscription, it is no disproof of the charge of a formal breach of faith to allege the sophistical process of self-deception by which the guilty person has reconciled the act to his own conscience, or even the confusion of intellect and dulness of moral perception which may go to extenuate bis guilt at another tribunal. The peace and the existence of society demand that material guilt should be deemed formal guilt, until it has been proved to be not so—in many cases it must be punished even where it has. The man who stops one on the highway is a robber, even if it could be proved that he believes in a community of goods, and has taken to the road under the full persuasion that it is a lawful calling.
Plainly, he who receives subscription, as a security and condition, can take no cognizance of the private opinions and mental reservations of the subscriber. All he knows, or has any business to know, is his ostensible character-namely, that he is ostensibly and by profession, or even tacitly, such a character as is capable of being admitted to subscribe, and of enjoying the benefits to which subscription entitles him. For any man afterwards to declare that he has subscribed the
formulary and engagement in a sense incompatible with such a character is a breach of faith, and would be so if it could be proved that at the time of subscription he had no opinions at all. For example: no man can enjoy the advantages resulting from subscription to the Articles, except a believer in the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. The natural sense of the Articles he subscribes is the security he gives the church and the university of his soundness in the faith. And if, at the time he offered to subscribe, he was known to have been an impugner of that doctrine, he would not be competent to subscribe, except his subscription was given as security for his having formally renounced this heresy. Now, let any one suppose a man who had subscribed, by and, by to avow himself a champion of Socinianism; and to defend himself by saying, that he had subscribed in a non-natural sense—will any man living pretend that this man is not guilty of a breach of faith? And what would be thought or said of an advocate of such conduct, who should say~" It is not fair to call this a breach of faith, because that implies an imputation on a man's moral character;" or, "We do not see any proof of breach of faith here, though he is avowing that he subscribed the Articles in a non-natural sense for, though he is now a Socinian--yet when he subscribed he was an Arian or a Deist.” Surely, the answer, and the only answer, to such incredible sophistry is--As far as a breach of faith is concerned, it is no matter what he was when he subscribed. It would be no matter, even if you could prove, that he subscribed before he had even read the Articles, or had any idea of what they were about. His subscription itself, and neither his opinions nor want of opinions, was the security he gave to a Trinitarian church-because the natural sense of the Articles is incompatible with any heresy which contradicts or explains away the doctrine of the Trinity. If he subscribed in any other than the natural sense, that does not prevent his advocacy of Socinianism being a breach of faith, and one of the grossest that can be imagined. And more than that: if he could demonstrate that every one who had anything to do with compiling the Articles, from 1552 to 1571, was a Socinian, bis own breach of faith would remain the same. Because his subscription was not to the private or public opinions of the compiler-or the opinions of any man that ever lived-but to the natural, plain, and grammatical sense of the Articles he subscribed. If unable to subscribe them in their natural sense (that is, their only sense, for any other is not their sense), he never should have subscribed at all. No man who had correct notions of truth and honesty ever would. But, having once subscribed, to turn round and explain them away, and then defend himself by saying that he had subscribed in a non-natural sense, is not only to be guilty of a breach of faith, but to avow it. And the church must be in a very alarming state, indeed, when those who make such avowals can be tolerated in respectable society.
There can be no doubt, that if the condemnation of Mr. Ward's book had been framed so as to avoid charging him with breach of faith, the majority which condemned it would have been greatly increased. But what would have been gained to the church by such a condemnation ? The formal declaration which has now been made by the university