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the heart. We were especially struck we were indeed most agreeably disby the dedication to Mr. Wix's volume. appointed in the perusal of his SerThe expression of fraternal and friendly mons; than which we have seldom met feeling, and the unaffected goodness,' with more excellent compositions, either which it exhibits, led us almost in- in respect of style, or matter, or of voluntarily to exclaim—“ Behold an method. The first is a clear and faithIsraelite indeed, in whom is no guile." ful statement of the doctrinal errors of
the Romanists; the latter, an able
refutation of the Popish pretensions to Sermons, Plain, Brief, and Explanatory,
spiritual supremacy and infallibility, on the Lord's Prayer and the Ten Commandments. By John NANCE,
and an exhortation to hold fast by the
principles upon which the Reformation D.D. London: Hatchards. 1829.
was founded. We do not agree with 12mo. Pp. 378.
Mr. Rice in his interpretation of the TWENTY-TWO plain sound discourses, celebrated text of Matt. xvi. 18, though, replete with unaffected good sense and
perhaps, the majority of commentators practical piety. Dr. Nance, it will be
are with him; and even, if he be inrecollected, is already advantageously correct, his error does not diminish known as the author of several volumes
aught from the soundness of his docof sermons, a polemical tract, entitled trine, the clearness of his views, and Friday Evening, &c. nor will the volume
the strength of his language. But how before us detract from his character, as does it happen, that a man so orthodox a clear and judicious expounder of the in his religious views of the subject. Book of Life. His present work, as
should be so much at fault in regard
should be so much at fault in may be inferred from the title-page, is to its political bearings? We will not divided into two parts, each prefaced quarrel, however, with an honest ayowal by an introductory discourse. The one
of sentiments, which differ from our prefixed to the consideration of the
own; though we could probably point decalogue is especially useful, from
out some little inaccuracies in our the appropriate and perspicuous man
author's cogitations, which would make ner in which, previous to treating of
him think again. And second thoughts,
him think cain and second the great moral obligations imposed
says the proverb, are sometimes best. upon mankind, it handles the alleged discrepancies between the writings of St. Paul and those of St. James, satis
IN THE PRESS. factorily demonstrating the concur He is Risen; an Easter Offering, inrence of both apostles in one doctrine, scribed to the Governors and Masters of viz. the necessity of Faith as the basis Christ's Hospital. Demy 8vo. of practice, and of practice as the fruit and evidence of faith. These
WORKS PREPARING. discourses are unostentatiously an
We understand that the Rev. Dr. Wait nounced as being more particularly (of Cambridge) is about to commence a intended for “young and teachable, · Repertorium Theologicum," or Critical though not entirely uneducated minds;" Record of Theological Literature; in which they will, however, be perused with Dissertations on Theological Antiquities, profit as well as interest by the more the State of the Text, and other Subjects advanced student in divinity.
of necessary Inquiry, will be contained ; in which, also, foreign Works on Divinity
will be condensed, so as to form a comTwo Sermons; one on the General plete Work of Reference to the Biblical
Errors, the other on the Particular Scholar. Pretensions, of the Romish Church. The Rev. H. J. Todd is preparing for the To which are prefixed some Thoughts Press, a Life of Archbishop Cranmer. In on “ Catholic Emancipation.” By 1 volume, 8vo. the Rev. Edward Rice, M. A. Vicar
The Rev. P. Allwood will shortly publish of Horley, Surrey, &c. &c. London:
A Key to the Revelation of St. John; or Wix; and Rivingtons. 1829. Price
an Analysis of the Parts of that Prophetical
Book, relating to the State of the Christian 2s. 6d.
Church in After-Times. In 2 volumes, After reading Mr. Rice's Thoughts, 8vo.
(Continued from p. 118.) We resume our examination of Mr. Towgood's FALSE AND IGNORANT OBJECTIONS.
2. Mr. Towgood objects to the matter of our XXth Article; and perhaps his followers may have expected us to notice this objection first, as their leader is ready to rest on this single point, the whole matter in debate. But Mr. Towgood, as the reader must have already seen, was no very acute reasoner: and his readiness, to stake the whole question on the single authority of the XXth Article, is an additional proof of the fact. Because, if the XXth Article were entirely true, it would be no argument for submission to the Church of England. The Article claims authority for THE CHURCH ; i. e. THE CHURCH OF CHRIST : if therefore it could be afterwards shewn, as Mr. Towgood contends it can, that the Church of Christ, and the Church of England, are “ Societies of a quite different frame,"* nothing would be gained by the proof of the Article in question. It was therefore necessary to shew that the Church of England is not contradistinguished from the Church of Christ ; which, we think, has been satisfactorily done. We may now therefore proceed to a vindication of the XXth Article, in which, if we succeed, we have Mr. Towgood's admission that the question is settled.
The controversy between us, Sir, I apprehend, may easily be brought to a plain and short issue, if you will heartily join in it. It turns upon the single point of the XXth Article of your Church, viz. That the Church hath power to decree rites and ceremonies, and authority in matters of faith. For, if the Church hath really this authority and power, then all objections of the Dissenters, about sponsors, the cross in baptism, kneeling at the Lord's supper, and every other thing, are impertinent and vain : the Church, having this authority, ought reverently to be obeyed. And if, instead of two or three ceremonies, it had enjoined two or three score; and if to the thirty-nine Articles it had added a hundred besides, we ought meekly to have bowed down to her spiritual jurisdiction, and to have believed and practised as the Church had taught and enjoined.t: -P. 2.
And again, he repeats, (p. 4.) “ This is the grand hinge upon which the whole controversy turns." This issue, we will heartily join; and it is to be expected from the candour of those who advocate Mr. Towgood's principles, that they will, if this one point appears clearly made out, conform without delay to the Established Church.
The Article consists of two members : the first claims, for the
• Towgood, p. 17.
+ The history of the clause in the XXth Article, to which Mr. Towgood objects, is curious, but obscure. Some affirm that it was intruded by Archbishop Laud, others by Archbishop Parker, others, again, by Queen Elizabeth. It is certain that it never was composed by, or exhibited in MS. to a Convocation. Such a power might not have been authoritatively claimed by the Church, lest offence should be taken at a time of general irritation on the subject of ecclesiastical jurisdiction; there does not, indeed, appear sufficient reason for making it an “ Article of Religion ;" but the matter of the clause is, nevertheless, ETERNALLY TRUE.
church, power to decree rites and ceremonies; the second, authority in controversy of faith. We shall consider these separately.
We have laid it down already as a principle, that “ it is schismatical to depart from a church on matters of mere ceremony:" and we here contend, against Mr. Towgood, that “ every particular, or national Church, hath authority to ordain, change, and abolish ceremonies or rites of the Church, ordained only by man's authority.”* This we support by an argument, which the Dissenters must admit; as it is one founded upon their own practice. Sarcastically as Mr. Towgood treats, in a passage which we shall hereafter have to notice, the precept of the Apostle, and the correspondent practice of the Church of England, that “all things be done decently and in order;" Dissenters themselves must allow, that, without some semblance of this decency, their own congregations could never be retained in unity. There is a form, even in extemporaneous prayer: it precedes, or is preceded by Psalmody, according to previous arrangement; the same may be said of public preaching. Although the Dissenters, strangely enough, object to kneeling in prayer, they would never allow their congregations to sit during that holy exercise. Besides, they make several additions to what our Lord has expressly ordained. He has not commanded any prayer to be used, but that which he himself appointed : the Dissenters add others. He has given a very short and simple form to be employed in baptism : the Dissenters accompany this with other forms, or with extemporaneous prayers. The same may be said of the administration of the Lord's Supper. On what authority are these additions made ? Clearly on that of those who have assumed it in dissenting congregations. Human authority is, in their case and ours, the foundation of rites and ceremonies : and though Dissenters may quarrel with our appointments, they cannot consistently quarrel with our principle: and it is with the principle that the article is concerned. We are not at liberty to omit rites and ceremonies of divine appointment; we are not at liberty to decree any thing contrary to the decisions or spirit of Scripture; but we are at liberty to act where Christ has left us free; and if some rites and ceremonies be, even on Scripture grounds, necessary; then, where Scripture has been silent, the Church must use that latitude which her Head has allowed her: remembering, however, her responsibility for every privilege which she enjoys.
But (says Mr. Towgood) mark, Sir, I beseech you, the consequences of this claim. If the Church of England hath really this authority and power, hath not the Church of France, the Church of Spain, the Church of Rome, the very same power? Hath England, in this matter, any privilege from God, any spiritual prerogative, any charter from heaven, which its neighbouring countries have not? You can have no pretence to assert that it has. But, if it has no such privilege, or prerogative, then the Church of France and the Church of Rome have also, you must acknowledge, power to decree rites and ceremonies in God's worship, and authority in points of faith; consequently all the fopperies, and superstitions of the Romish Church, at least such as cannot be proved to be contrary to the Word of God, are to be reverently submitted to by all the members of those churches, and to be cordially received.-P. 4.
Mr. Towgood might have spared all this interrogatory declamation,
had he taken the trouble of reading the XXXIVth Article, which we have just quoted; and the XXXth Canon, which expressly says, “ so far was it from the purpose of the Church of England to forsake and reject the Church of Italy, France, Spain, Germany, or any such like Churches, in all things which they held and practised; that, as the apology of the Church of England confesseth, it doth with reverence retain those ceremonies which do neither endamage the Church of God, nor offend the minds of sober men; and only departed from them in these particular points, wherein they were fallen, both from themselves in their ancient integrity, and from the Apostolical Churches, which were their first founders.” So that the Church of England has “ marked the consequences of this claim,” AND ADMITTED THEM. We are no admirers of “ fopperies and superstitions ;” but if ceremonies “ cannot be proved to be contrary to the word of God,” we still must think that it is more CHRISTIAN to receive them, than to slight St. Paul's solemn adjuration“ BY THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST," that there be no schisms amongst us. Our separation from the Church of Rome, was not on account of negative ordinances, however absurd, but on grounds of the most vital moment. We never denied her authority to ordain rites and ceremonies not “ contrary to God's word written.” We are therefore released from replying to Mr. Towgood's observations on the authority of the Church of Rome; yet, as these contain some very gross MISTAKES respecting the nature of consecrations * in our Church, we shall recur to them under our second division. In the meantime, we would strenuously assert that this undoubted privilege of the Church is to be exercised with care and caution. Ceremonies must be ordained, changed, and abolished, with a diligent reference to the letter and spirit of Scripture, and to the circumstances of the times. For, although all ceremonies not repugnant to the word of God ought to be received where the guilt of Schism is the alternative: and whatsoever of this kind is bound by the Church on earth, will be bound in heaven; still the rulers of every particular Church must account to Christ for the sincerity and efficacy with which they have laboured to edify his mystical body, and to extend his glory. They must act with caution, and with liberality; they must indulge the scruples of weaker brethren, and improve the knowledge of the stronger.
The second member of the Article claims for the Church "authority, in controversy of faith."
This claim naturally arouses Mr. Towgood's eloquence and indignation. But, as our object is to reply to his arguments, (or intended arguments) we must keep our readers ignorant of much magniloquent rhetorick; unless they have perused his work, which is probably the case with those who are likely to feel interested in this treatise. The substance, however, of his whole object, is, that the Church of England arrogates the very power which she denies to the Church of Rome. Now what the poet said of Virtue,
“Virtus est medium vitiorum, et reductum," holds equally good of truth; we must seek her in the centre of opposite
• Particularly the Consecration of Churches and Burial grounds. VOL. XI. NO. IV.
errors. The conflicting errors here are, (1.) That the Church has in. fallible authority; and, (2.) that she has no authority at all. The intermediate truth is, that she has an authority; but that authority is not infallible. · The nature, as well as the degree of authority claimed by the Church of England, differs greatly from that in the Church of Rome. The latter promulgates her decrees upon HER OWN responsibility : the former declares that “ Holy SCRIPTURE containeth All things necessary to salvation; so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be regarded of any man, that it should be believed as an article of faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation."* The authority claimed by the Church of England, is the decision of CONTROVERSIES. Wherever a controversy exists, a' doubt is implied. Who then so proper to decide such doubt, as the authorities of the Church? They are presumed to be, and must be, fitter for the task than any assemblage of ordinary Christians. They are fallible men, and may be deceived ; but the probabilities lie to the contrary. And every humble Christian (that is, every REAL Christian) will submit his private judgment to such decision; at least, so far as not to separate communion. The twelve Judges are fallible men, and may be mistaken on a point of law; but their opinion is, rightly considered, the best that can be had on a legal question : and to it, the bar and the legislature submit. Yet, in such submission, regard is had to the law of the land, not to the opinion of the Judges; for that is only the interpretation. In like manner, when we yield to the Church in controversies of faith, it is the Scriptures in reality that we regard; only we wisely and humbly prefer the interpretations of the Church to our own; just as the interpretations of the Judges are rightly to be preferred to the construction of private citizens, or even lawyers.
But Mr. Towgood ingeniously argues, that all Church authority must be infallible, if it exists at all. This argument is stated with all the strength of which it is capable, in the following words :
That, to whomsoever God gives authority in controversies of faith, he gives also infallibility, incontestibly appears hence, viz. that otherwise a man might really have authority from the God of truth to lead men into error; he might have a power, a right from heaven, to seduce and to deceive. The absurdity of which is so apparent, that it needs not farther to be exposed.-P. 214.
Now the fact is, this reasoning proves too much. The Bible, in strictness, is the authority, and this is infallible. But where there is a controversy, (which is the case contemplated by the Article), the interpretation must be doubtful, otherwise no controversy could arise. How is this doubt to be settled ? “ By the Church," say we. “ By the private reader," says Mr. Towgood : “ for if you claim this authority for the Church, you claim infallibility.” Well, Sir, suppose we allow your reasoning? What is it then that you do, when you claim the same authority for YOURSELF? No man can have any power from heaven to seduce and deceive you. True. But have you any such power to seduce and deceive yourself? The argument
• Art. VI.; see also Art. XXI., wherein, even the decisions of GENERAL COUNCILS are brought to the touchstone of Scripture.