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The British Reformation

Brownson's Quarterly Review, January, 1845

Art. II.  Sixteen Lectures on the Causes, Principles, and Results of the British Reformation. By J. H. Hopkins, D. D., Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Vermont. Philadelphia : J. M. Campbell & Co. 1844.     12mo. pp. 387.

We agree entirely with Bishop Hopkins, that the aspect of the religious world, at this moment, presents the same elements of controversy, only under varied forms of practical application, which agitated all Europe three hundred years ago." A little over three hundred years ago, under pretence of religious reform, and of reviving the faith and worship of the primitive Christians, a portion of the nominally Christian world seceded from the Catholic Church, and set up new establishments for themselves, with such forms of worship, such symbols of faith, and under such systems of government, as they judged most advisable. The Church then existing,  and which had been regarded by the whole Christian world, condemned heretics and schismatics excepted, for fifteen hundred years, as the one Holy
Catholic and Apostolic Church,  as was to be expected, condemned them as heretics and schismatics, declared them out of the pale of the Church and severed from the communion of Christ.

For three hundred years, these seceders and their successors have been laboring  to effect a reversal of the sentence then solemnly pronounced against them, and to convince the world that   they   were   wrongfully  condemned ;   that   their   private establishments are   really living   members   of the   Church of Christ, and that they, in founding them, acted by the authority of Christ himself,  and did not break the unity either of the orthodox faith or of the Lord's body.     They have been zealous and diligent, have had learning, talents, genius, and power on their side,  but they have labored without success.     The sentence has not been reversed ; their claims have not been admitted ; and never has the necessity of their undertaking to defend themselves been greater than now.     The religious world at this moment seems farther than ever from reversing the sentence recorded against them.     The Church from which they seceded   is   now, if possible, more  vigorous   than ever,  and counts a larger number of members than at any former period of its existence.     Its  missionaries  have penetrated to  almost every nook and corner of the globe.     It is rapidly regaining the ground it had lost in France, England, and Germany, and has obtained a new empire in America ; while, on the other hand, the Protestant churches, cut up into innumerable sects, are everywhere   languishing  and   disappearing.    Nowhere   do they   gain   on   Catholicism ;   nowhere   have   they  gained   on Catholicism  for  the  last  two  hundred  years.    In  fact,   they everywhere  lose ground.     They  have  lost it  in  Ireland, in France, in Germany, and are losing it in our own country and even  in England.    And,  what is perhaps  more discouraging still to their cause, in the bosom of each and all of their communions there is a wide and deep feeling that the separation from the Catholic Church, if not absolutely unauthorized, was unnecessary and ill-advised ; that what was substituted for the Church does not and cannot supply its place ; that Protestantism has proved a failure; and that nothing remains for us but either to return to Catholicism, or to lapse into complete infidelity.

The seceders, through their successors, are, therefore, unquestionably under the necessity either of abandoning their cause or of renewing the controversy. It is no time for them to be idle, no time for them to sleep, and to dream that the controversy is over.    The Church has abandoned none of its claims, and never will abandon any of them ; for its authority it has inherited from the Apostles, and its faith it holds as a sacred deposit from Christ the Head. It has made, and will make, no compromise with error and schism. It must be all or nothing. It has not ceased, and it will not cease, to exert itself with all fidelity, zeal, and diligence, to recover every revolted province, and to secure the heathen and the ends of the earth to God's dear Son for his inheritance. The Church does not sleep ; she does not cease from her mission. Everywhere does she bear witness for her Lord ; everywhere is she ready to combat for the truth, and shed the blood of her martyrs for the salvation of souls. She will give no rest to heretics and schismatics. If, then, they mean to defend themselves, to maintain the ground they have acquired, they must be vigilant and active. Nay, they must do more ; they must meet the question fairly, in open and rational debate. They can no longer call on the civil power to secure them the advantage ; they can no longer rely on penal enactments to stifle the voice of truth. They can no longer maintain their cause by false charges and misrepresentation. They must now debate the question, and debate it fairly; and yield, if they cannot sustain themselves by good and sufficient reasons.
We regard it as a happy day for the Church, that she has, at length, secured in most Protestant countries the liberty to speak and write in her own defence. This is all she needs. She asks no other advantage of Protestants. She knows the strength of her own cause and the weakness of theirs ; and if she can only be met in fair discussion, she fears not the result. All she asks of Protestants is, that they consent to reason, instead of declaiming, and confine themselves to facts instead of falsehoods.

All appearances indicate that in this country the great debate is coming on, and is likely soon to absorb the attention of the American people. The better portion of the community are daily losing their interest in political disputes,  their confidence in the ability of government alone to secure even the temporal well-being of a people ; and are beginning to feel the necessity of a religion, fixed and firm, immovable amid the fluctuations of time, and able to command the passions, subdue evil propensities, wean the affections from things of the earth and place them on things above, and direct all our energies to gaining the kingdom of God and his justice. Our sects are breaking up. Puritanism has exhausted itself, and Congregationalism totters to its fall.    The Presbyterian Church is divided into hostile factions, and the powerful sect of the Methodists is torn by schisms and internal divisions. The Baptists must follow the fate of their Calvinistic brethren. The Episcopalians, boasting of their "admirable liturgy," and pretending to be "a branch" of the Catholic Church,  divided between high and low church into two parties, one seeking to get rid of the name of Protestant, the other to retain it,  having the form of godliness without its reality, must erelong fulfil the prophecy, that a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand. Union in the bosom of any of these sects is out of the question, much more the union of them all in one body. What have they, torn with intestine divisions, cut up into cliques and coteries, each armed against each, each controverting and confuting what each advances, to offer to satisfy the religious wants of the American people ? Do they not see that their power is gone ? How are they to recover it ? They may exhort one another to union and peace. But what principle, save the negative principle of hatred to Catholicism, have they on which to unite, or which can be the principle of peace ? Do they not see that their contentions are inevitable, their divisions impossible to be healed ? They deserted the principle of unity, the ground of peace, when they left the Church. They have foolishly, like the rash builders in the plain of Shinar, attempted to build a tower which should reach to heaven, and God confounds their speech, and disperses them abroad.

In this state of things, the great question of Catholicism necessarily comes up. The Catholic Church steps forth in the majesty of ages, splendid with the robes of light, and beautiful with the beauty of holiness, and offers to a distracted people, worrying and devouring one another, the olive-branch of peace. She has a faith, once delivered to the saints, * " which she has preserved unimpaired through all the changes of time, to offer them ; she has a worship consecrated by a long line of saints and martyrs, now reigning with Jesus in heaven, to offer them ; she has a Church, which, like the ark of Noah, rises sublime on the deluge of waters, in which are the chosen of the Lord, and safety for all within to offer them ; and will the distracted mind and the wearied heart slight her offer ? " Come unto me," she says, in the name and tones of her Master, "ye who labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest." And is her invitation one not likely, in these days, to be heeded ? We have sought repose, we have found it not ; we seek it everywhere, and we find it not ; we seek it in this sect or in that,  it is not there ; we seek it in infidelity or indifference,  it is not there, for there is only the repose of the charnel-house. Where, then, shall we seek it ? To whom, then, shall we go ? To whom, but to the blessed Jesus in the Church which he has founded as the medium of access to him, who only has the words of eternal life ?

We do assuredly look upon the times as auspicious for the Church. We do assuredly look upon the spread of Catholicism in this country, as likely to be speedy and extensive. Its adversaries must, then, meet it, must renew the debate, and defend themselves if they can. That they will, there can be no doubt. They will go over the old ground, and free themselves, if in their power, from the old charges of heresy and schism. For with the spread of Catholicism revives faith in God, faith in Christ, faith in the Church ; and with the revival of this faith, men cease to sit down easy under the charge of heresy or schism. Heresy and schism become again words full of meaning, and of a terrible meaning, which cannot be looked in the face. Orthodoxy recovers its old sense, and men feel, that, without the true faith and the true Church, they are without Christ, and without Christ they are without God. The sects must prove that they, as sects, are members of the Lord's body, and that they maintain the true faith ; or else abandon their pretensions, and acknowledge themselves to be rightfully condemned as heretics and schismatics, and therefore as dead branches, severed from the vine, whose end is to be burned.

Something of all this appears to have been felt by the learned and accomplished author of the Lectures before us. And he has come forward to do what he can to justify the Reformers in their separation from the Roman Catholic Church, and to free at least the Protestant Episcopal Church from the charge of schism. The question is one of fearful import for him and his brethren; for if he fails to free his Church of this charge, he fails to prove that it is, in the Christian sense, a church at all,  fails to vindicate the legitimacy of its ministry and sacraments ; and compels himself to admit, that, if he continue in its communion, he is out of the communion of Christ, and that he is guilty, not only of usurping an honor to which he has not been called of God, as was Aaron, not only of breaking the commandments of God and the unity of the Lord's body, but of teaching others to do the same, of leading others astray, of confirming them in error, and perilling their salvation. His is a position fearfully responsible ; and he has need, not only to be firmly persuaded that he is not wrong, but to know positively and infallibly that he is right,  not only to show that the Reformers were jwssibly excusable, but that they were positively and infallibly right and justifiable, and that the churches they founded are the one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, which our blessed Saviour said he would build on a rock, and against which the gates of hell should not prevail.

In proceeding to remark on these Lectures, we shall consider them solely in their bearing on this question of schism. The Church of which the author is a high dignatary lies, and has lain from its origin, under the charge of schism, and these Lectures concern us only so far as they are designed to free it of that charge. We ask, then, has the author succeeded in vindicating the British Reformers, and in proving that the Anglican Church is not rightfully regarded as a schismatic church ? This is the question before us, and to this question we shall confine ourselves as strictly as possible.

Now, it is evident, at first sight, that, before proceeding to answer this question, the Bishop should allege some principle or ground of defence, on which he relies, to show that the secession of the Reformers was not schism. He himself professes to believe in the unity and catholicity of the Church, and must then, of course, admit that separation from the Church is schism. Now, the body from which the Reformers separated had been regarded by the whole Christian world, condemned schismatics and heretics excepted, from time immemorial, and was still regarded by the great majority of the Christian world, as the Church of Christ. The Reformers themselves had so regarded it, had received from it their Christian birth, and their mission, so far as they had any. Their secession was, then, prima facie, schism, and must be taken and deemed to be such, till they show good and sufficient reasons why it should not be. The Church stands on the olim possideo, the prior jwssessio ; and cannot be ousted from her inheritance, nor summoned even to plead, till good and sufficient reasons, in case they are sustained, are adduced to invalidate her title. These reasons must be adduced as the grounds of the Reformers' defence, and, till they are adduced, we cannot argue the question, whether the Reformed Churches are schismatics, for till then the simple fact of secession convicts them of schism.

We have looked through these Lectures to ascertain the ground on which the Bishop rests the defence of the Reformers, but very nearly in vain. He does not meet the question manfully ; he does not proceed in an orderly and logical manner ; and, we are sorry to see, nowhere states clearly and distinctly the principles from which he obtains his premises. He lays down no rules for the admission of testimony, and none for testing the value of the testimony admitted. All is loose, confused ; and, whether true or false, so adduced, that one cannot say what it proves or does not prove to his purpose. Yet, by much searching, by much guessing, and borrowing largely from the general arguments of Protestants elsewhere, we conjecture that he means to contend that the Church is composed of all who maintain the orthodox faith, and that, since the Reformers, in separating from the communion of Rome, retained the orthodox faith, they did not separate from the Catholic Church, and therefore were not schismatics. He reasons, then, in this way.

1.   The Catholic Church is composed of all who maintain the orthodox faith.
But the Reformers maintained the orthodox faith ; therefore, the Reformers were members of the Catholic Church.

2.   They only are schismatics who separate from the orthodox faith.
But the Reformers did not separate from the orthodox faith; therefore the Reformers were not schismatics.

But this definition of the Church is defective, for it does not embrace the idea of the Church as a teaching and governing body, asserted by the Bishop's own Church, and in fact contended for by the Bishop himself. It also destroys all intelligible distinction between schism and heresy. Heresy is a wilful departure from the orthodox faith ; schism is a wilful separation from the ministry or authority of the Church. All heresy is schism, and all schism may conceal heresy at the bottom ; but all schism, as such, is not necessarily heresy. Consequently, if the Church be defined so as to embrace all who maintain the orthodox faith, schism, as a distinct sin from heresy, is denied. Consequently, separation from the legitimate ministry of the Church, the formation of new and distinct congregations, with a new ministry, not deriving from the Apostles, would not be schism, would not break the unity of the body, in case the se-ceders maintained the orthodox faith. Nay, these new congregations would be integral members of the Catholic Church, although they should have no ministry, no sacraments, no worship ; for nothing is essential to the Church but the orthodox faith. This would be giving to the doctrine of salvation by faith alone a very convenient latitude. But congregations without a ministry, without the sacraments and worship, cannot be called members of the Church; for the Bishop's own Church defines the Church to be " a congregation of faithful men, in which the pure word of God is preached, and the sacraments be duly ministered according to Christ's ordinance, in all those things that of necessity are requisite to the same." Art. XIX. Here something beside the orthodox faith is made essential to the Church,  namely, the sacraments duly administered. The Bishop is therefore precluded by his own Church from insisting on his definition. But if the due administration of the sacraments be, as here declared, necessary to the very being of the Church, then is necessary to the being of the Church a ministry authorized to administer them ; and separation from this authorized ministry must be separation from the Church, and therefore schism, as much as separation from the orthodox faith itself. The Reformers, as is well known, did separate from the ministry authorized to administer the sacraments ; therefore were schismatics, even admitting they did not cease to be orthodox believers.
But even conceding that all orthodox believers are members of the Church, we must still ask, Who or what keeps, propounds, and defines the orthodox faith ? This faith does not keep, propound, or define itself. It must have a depositary, a pro-pounder, and a definer, or else we can never know what it is, who embrace it, and therefore who are or are not of the Church. " I do indeed," says the Bishop, " profess myself a believer in the one Catholic or Universal Church of the Redeemer, which forms a distinct article in the primitive creed ; but I have long cherished the opinion, that all orthodox believers are members of that Church, whatever may be the diversities of their particular communion."  p. 2. But who are orthodox believers ? What is the orthodox faith ? There must be a standard of orthodoxy, and somewhere an authority competent to say what does or does not conform to it. What is this standard ?    What is this authority ?

According to the Bishop, the standard is the word of God contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. The Bible he holds to be the depositary of the word of God ; belief of which is the orthodox faith. But it is essential to the orthodox faith that it be belief of the whole word of God ; for God reveals nothing superfluous, and he who refuses to believe any portion of God's word, refuses to believe God just as much as he who refuses to believe the whole. Before the Bible is assumed to be the standard of orthodoxy, it must, then, be proved to contain the whole word of God. But how is this to be proved ?    It cannot be proved by natural reason ;
because the question, how much or how little is revealed, is not a question of natural reason, but must be determined by a supernatural authority. It cannot be proved from the Bible, for the Bible nowhere professes to contain the whole word of God ; nay, it does not even profess that the whole word of God has been written, but contains several passages which indicate very clearly to the contrary. How, then, will the Bishop prove that the Bible contains the whole word of God ? But if he cannot prove that the Bible contains the whole word of God, how can he prove that he who believes it, or conforms to all that it teaches, is an orthodox believer ?

Will it be said, that the orthordox faith is that faith which is necessary to salvation ; that the Bible contains all that is necessary to be believed for salvation ; and, therefore, he who believes what it contains is an orthodox believer ? We grant that he who believes all that is necessary for salvation is an orthodox believer ; but how know we that the Bible contains all that is necessary to be believed for salvation ? The Bible itself nowhere says so, and by an authority below that of the Bible the fact cannot be established. The whole question lies out of the jurisdiction of natural reason. Reason by its own light can never know that a supernatural faith is at all necessary to salvation. The necessity of such faith we know only by supernatural revelation ; consequently, supernatural revelation is as necessary to determine the extent as the subject-matter of the faith itself. With nothing but the Bible and natural reason, no man can say that the Bible contains all that is necessary to be believed for salvation. Consequently, the conclusion, that he who believes all the Bible contains is an orthodox believer, is not proved. But, according to the state of the argument, the presumption is against the Bishop ; therefore, he is bound to prove that the Bible positively does contain the whole word of God, at least, all that is necessary to be believed for salvation, before he can assume it as the standard of the orthodox faith.

But, waiving this question, conceding for the moment that the Bible contains the whole word of God, one must believe that word in its genuine sense, or he is not an orthodox believer. The Bible does not interpret itself. It must be interpreted, and its genuine sense determined. But who or what is the interpreter ? According to the Bishop, the interpreter, save exceptions in favor of private reason, hereafter to be noticed, is the Church. This he is bound to hold ; because the twentieth article of his Church expressly declares  the Church to have " authority in controversies of faith," and therefore must have authority to declare what the faith is. He also insists (p. 18) that the Church is the court for expounding and applying the law. - The court expounds and applies the law authoritatively. So also must the Church, if the analogy is to hold good. Then the Church must be an authoritative body,  not to make the law, for that nobody ever pretended, but to expound and apply it.

This is a point gained. It is no longer sufficient to define the Church to be simply the great body of believers in the orthodox faith ; for we must now add that it is an authoritative body, having the authority to declare what the orthodox faith is. Now, this authority is either legitimate or it is not. If the latter, it is usurped, and therefore really no authority at all, for nobody is bound to regard it. If the former, then it is from Christ, the source of all legitimate authority in the Church ; then it is obligatory on all, and can be resisted by no one without sin, without rebellion against Christ, which is schism. If, then, the Reformers resisted this authority, as it is well known they did, or separated from it, they were schismatics, and the Churches they founded are out of the communion of Christ.

The Bishop concedes the Church to be an authoritative body. But the Church is not many, but one. Therefore the authority is one. The court to expound and apply the law, then, is the universal Church, not a particular Church. The authority that declares the law must be the authority of the whole, and not of a part. This is evident from the fact, that, if the authority of the Church be a unitary authority, the authority of a part, or of some particular portion of the Church, must be inferior and subordinate to the whole, on the principle that the whole is greater than a part. The decision of a part can never be final, and the case may be carried up and argued before the full bench.

The Bishop professes to believe in the one Catholic Church. He then must admit the unity of the Church. This unity must extend to all that is embraced within the definition of the Church. This we now see, from the Bishop himself, is not only the orthodox faith, but the authority competent to declare what that faith is. The Church, then, must be one in its faith, and one in its authority. That is, its unity is not only the unity of faith, but the unity of authority. Now, whoever breaks the unity of this authority breaks the unity of the Church, as much as he who breaks the unity of the faith. But the Reformers did break this authority, and therefore were schismatics.

This conclusion we do not understand Bishop Hopkins to controvert, so far as concerns the German and Swiss Reformers, (pp. 26, 27,) but only in the case of the British Reformers. The British Reformers were not schismatics, because they did not proceed on their own individual authority, but on the authority of a national Church. His argument is, they who separate from the Catholic body by authority of the national Church, of which they are members, are not schismatics ; but the British Reformers separated by authority of the national Church ; therefore, they were not schismatics.
To this we reply, 1. That the British Reformation, in point of fact, was not effected by the authority of the British Church as such, but by authority of the king and parliament, as is notorious,  an authority which the British Church herself declares incompetent to do any thing of the sort; for she declares that u the civil magistrate hath no authority in things purely spiritual."    Art. XXXVIII.

We reply, 2. That, even if the Reformers had proceeded by authority of the national Church, they would have been none the less schismatics ; because no national Church is a complete church polity in itself, but merely a part, and therefore subordinated to the whole. The Church of Christ is catholic, and knows no geographical limits, or national distinctions. It is one, and, as we have seen, one in its authority as well as in its faith. The authority of the national Church could be sufficient for the Reformers only on condition of its being a complete polity in itself, and, as to authority, independent of all other ecclesiastical bodies. But to assert this completeness and independency of the national Church would be to deny the unity of the Catholic body, and to assert as many distinct, separate, and independent Churches as there are nations in which there are Churches. To call these several distinct, separate, and independent Churches all one Church would be as false and as absurd as to call all the nations of Europe and America one and the same nation.

Again, the Bishop's argument presupposes the right of each national Church to expound the law in its own sense, and to differ as it judges necessary from all others. Consequently, he denies the obligation of the national Church to maintain the unity and integrity of the Catholic faith. For there may be rightfully as many different interpretations of the law, and therefore as many different faiths, as national Churches. He goes further ; he even lays down the doctrine, that " the Church," meaning the national Church, "hath authority in controversies of faith." If the Church hath authority in controversies of faith, the faithful must be bound to submit to it ; for the right to command involves always the obligation to obey. The faithful, then, in each nation are bound to receive the interpretations of the national Church. The authority of the Church is divine, and the Church therefore commands in the name of God. The faithful are commanded, then, in the name of God, in each nation, to believe what the national Church teaches. Consequently, the faithful may be commanded in the name of God to believe one doctrine as orthodox in one country, and another doctrine in another. So that the Bishop's doctrine of the independence of national Churches not only breaks the unity of the ecclesiastical authority, but even the unity of faith. But we have already established both unity of faith and of authority to be essential to the unity of the Church. Therefore this doctrine of independent national Churches is inadmissible ; therefore the authority of the national Church could not justify the Reformers in seceding from the Catholic body. Therefore, their secession was, as we have said, schism.

Moreover, if we should admit this doctrine of the absolute independence of national Churches, we should be obliged to deny the possibility of a national Church ever becoming heretical or schismatic. It cannot become schismatic ; for it can become so only on condition of wilfully separating from its own authority, which is absurd. It cannot be heretical; because it is itself the supreme judge of the law and propounder of the faith. Orthodoxy is what it declares to be orthodoxy. It is impossible for it, then, to be heterodox ; for heterodoxy is the doctrine repugnant to what it declares to be orthodox. It can be heterodox only on condition of denying what it declares, and even in declaring it. But a national Church may be both schismatic and heretical; for the Church of England herself declares, that, "as the Church of Hierusalem, Alexandria, and Antioch have erred, so also the Church of Rome hath erred, not only m their living and manner of ceremonies, but also in matters of faith."    Art. XIX.

But the Bishop also seeks to justify the Reformers by asserting the right of private judgment. His doctrine is, that the Church is indeed authoritative, that the authority of the smallest sect is superior to that of the individual, that the authority of the national Church is still greater, and that of the universal Church is the greatest of all. Where the universal Church is unanimous, its authority is complete ; but where it is not agreed,
but divided, individual reason, private judgment, must decide for each one as well as it can. We shall not smile at the Bishop's simplicity, in supposing that this reservation in favor of private judgment amounts to any thing. All Catholics allow full scope to private judgment, reverently exercised, on all matters not decided by the Church; and this is all the Bishop himself asserts or implies. He admits the authority of the Church, and of course must deny the authority of private judgment in all matters coming within the jurisdiction of that authority ; for it is absurd to contend for the right of private judgment in regard to those matters covered by the ecclesiastical authority. The two authorities may, indeed, coexist, but not in regard to the same matters ; for one is the negation of the other. But the Church, it is conceded, hath authority in controversies of faith. Art. XX. Consequently, in matters of faith private judgment has not authority. Whatever authority, then, it may have, it can have none to justify the Reformers in those matters they stand accused of, for those are really, directly or indirectly, matters of faith ; since the authority of the Church itself, which they resisted, is an article of faith, professed in the creed,  "I believe the Holy Catholic Church," not, I believe in it, that is, that there is a Holy Catholic Church, but that I believe it, what it teaches, and observe what it commands.

But the Bishop says, where the Church is unanimous, its authority is complete and final; where it is divided, it is not authoritative, and private judgment is. Is it possible for the Church to be divided ? The Church is an authoritative body, as already proved, and as the Bishop contends earnestly (pp. 2C, 27). But can authority be divided against itself? The Church either decides or it does not. In any matter decided, it cannot be said to be divided ; for the decision itself is proof to the contrary. Matters not decided are not decided, and are not articles of faith. The Church cannot be said to be divided about these, for she has taken no action on them. Individuals may be divided about them, but not the Church. Moreover, if the Church could be divided on any matter, it would be a kingdom divided against itself, and therefore must fall; but we have the promise of Him who cannot lie, that it shall not fall, for it is built on a rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Furthermore, when the Church has decided, those, be they few or be they many, who refuse to submit, are ipso facto schismatics, out of the communion of the Church, and no part of it.    The dissent of these, therefore, makes nothing against the unanimity of the Church.    Here, we apprehend, is the great difficulty of our Protestant Bishop.    When he talks of divisions in the Church, we suspect he has reference to divisions, not in the Church, but out of it.    Bishop as he is, he does not appear to have any clear notions of ecclesiastical authority. He admits the authority of the Church in one breath, and denies it in the next, and then apparently both admits and denies it in the same breath.    We, however, hold him to the Thirty-nine Articles, which declare, « The Church hath authority in controversies of faith."    Then he must admit that there is somewhere in the Church an authority competent to decide such controversies.    Then he must also admit, that, when that authority has decided, they who refuse to submit to the decision are rebels, and by their rebellion placed out of the Church.    In demanding unanimity as essential to complete the authority of the Church, does he demand the unanimous assent of all, both the Church condemning and the adherents of the doctrine condemned ?    The Council of Nice condemned the Arians, but certainly not with the consent of the  Arians.    Was it after that condemnation lawful for a member of the Church to question its justice, and to attempt to decide for himself, by his private judgment, the subject-matter of the original controversy, on the ground, that the whole body of professed Christians, or of professed Christian pastors, had not been unanimous in condemning Arianism ?    If so, where was the authority of the Church in controversies of faith ?    The adherents of the heretical doctrine, of course, cannot be unanimous in condemning it; and if their assent to its condemnation must be obtained, before the condemnation can be pronounced by a competent authority, we should like to be informed how any doctrine can ever be condemned as heretical !

The Church either has authority to condemn doctrines as heretical, or it has not. If not, then it is idle to talk of her authority in controversies of faith. She has no authority, and the whole question is left to private judgment; and each individual, from the best evidences in the case, is free to form his own opinions, and to abide by them, whether agreeing with the great body of believers or not. The fathers, and decisions of councils, &c, may have great weight with him, and be, in fact, the data from which he reasons, but they cannot bind him. He is free to read the Bible for himself, and form his own creed. Is the Bishop prepared to admit this conclusion ? Of course not, for he contends that the Church has authority in controversies of faith, holds dissent to be a sin, and censures severely the German and Swiss Reformers for asserting the dangerous principle which leads to it.    Speaking of these last, he says :

" Provoked and excited by the usurpations of the Roman priesthood, they did not pause to separate the use from the abuse,  the usurpation, from the real judicial authority committed to the pastors of the Church by Christ himself. Hence, they overthrew the whole system of ecclesiastical government; assumed the dangerous principle, that the great Head of the Church had not appointed any specific kind of government for it, and that any form at all was equally acceptable in his sight, so that the Scriptures held their proper rank as the rule of faith for his people. The sad result of this error, my beloved brethren, is the wretched state of strife and dissension to which we have already alluded. Heresy in its deadliest form has swept through the Lutheran Churches and the universities of Germany. The very pulpit of Calvin, at Geneva, has been long occupied by men who preach the doctrine for which Calvin condemned Servetus to the stake; and still the same disorganizing principle runs throughout the land, that the government of Christ's Church is a thing of indifference, but that, as a matter of high expediency, if there be any government at all, the more modern, the better."  pp. 26, 27.
This proves plainly that the Bishop cannot adopt the conclusion, that every man is free to form his own creed, irrespectively of the decision of the Church ; for it plainly asserts that Christ committed judicial authority, in matters of faith, to the pastors of the Church, and established a government for the Church, and even a specific kind of government. Of course, then, he must hold that all are bound, on pain of schism, to submit to that government.

If we take the other alternative, and say that the Church hath authority to condemn doctrines as heretical, then the question is not, whether all who profess to belong to the Church consent to the condemnation, but whether the condemnation has been really pronounced by the government of the Church. If the government has pronounced the condemnation, it is unquestionably authoritative, and all who refuse to consent are by that fact rebels, and to be condemned as schismatics. In determining, then, on what matters the Church is agreed, we have not to inquire on what matters all who bear the Christian name are agreed; but simply, what matters the Church has decided. The decision is, ipso facto, proof of unanimity; for whoso refuses to submit to it is, ipso facto, a schismatic, and out of the Church, as says our blessed Saviour: "If he refuse to hear the Church, let him be to you as a heathen or as a publican."    This must be admitted, if we admit the Church to be authoritative at all.

But the Reformers are accused of schism, only for rejecting the authority of the Church on those matters it had decided, and on which its unanimity is to be presumed. Since, then, the authority of the Church, in all matters on which it is agreed, is conceded to be ultimate, the right of private judgment on other matters cannot be pleaded in justification of the Reformers. Consequently, the reservation in favor of private judgment cannot free them from the charge of schism.

It is true, the Bishop himself would seem to extend the right of private judgment beyond the limits we have assigned it, and give it, in some sense, a coordinate jurisdiction with that of the Church, and of the same matters. To this end he quotes several passages from the Sacred Scriptures. But to assume the authority of both private judgment and the Church on the same matters is, as we have said, absurd. One authority necessarily excludes the other. If it is private judgment, then not the Church; if the Church, then not private judgment. If it is private judgment, private judgment can override the decision of the Church, and then the authority of the Church is null; if it is the Church, then the Church can override private judgment, and the authority of private judgment is null. Obviously, then, the two authorities cannot have coordinate jurisdiction of the same matters. If the two authorities be admitted, it must be in relation to different matters.
The passages quoted from the Holy Scriptures are not to the Bishop's purpose. They undoubtedly recognize man as a reasonable being, and call upon him to exercise his reason ; but not in relation to those questions which are subjected to authority. Almighty God calls upon us to reason, we admit,  to exercise our private judgment, we cheerfully concede; but not in regard to the intrinsic truth of the mysteries of faith, nor in regard to the genuine sense of the word of God ; but solely in regard to the motives of credibility. He calls upon us to reason on the question, 1. Whether his providences do not harmonize with our natural sense of justice ; 2. Whether we have not sufficient motives for believing his word, that is, to believe him when he speaks, on his own veracity ; 3. Whether we can justify to ourselves our refusal to trust his veracity, and to obey his commands ; 4. Whether the witness to his word is not altogether credible ; and 5. Whether the interpreter whose interpretations we are commanded to take has not received ample authority to interpret the word of God.    All these are
questions addressed to reason, and come within the jurisdiction of private judgment; for otherwise our faith would be blind and irrational, even if true, and faith without reason is not what God demands of us. But the admission of the right of private judgment on these questions is one thing,  the admission of the right of private judgment in regard to the intrinsic truth of the mysteries of faith is another and a very different thing. The mysteries are inevident to reason, because they transcend it, and are taken, not on the authority of reason apprehending their intrinsic truth,  for, if they were, they would be matters of science, and not of faith, but on the simple veracity of God revealing them ; and the fact that God has revealed them is not taken on their intrinsic reasonableness, or any perception of their intrinsic reasonableness, but on the authority of the witness for God which he himself hath appointed.

We accept private judgment, as well as the Bishop, and give full scope to individual reason, but only within its legitimate province. We reconcile reason and authority by ascertaining the province of reason, and confining it within its legitimate province. Questions of reason are "to be decided by reason, but questions of faith are to be decided by authority; for all faith rests on authority, and would not be faith if it did not. The Bishop does not seem to have been aware of this fact; for he does not seem to have ever clearly distinguished in his own mind, on the one hand, between faith and science, and, on the other, between faith and opinion.

The Bishop seems to fancy that he escapes our conclusion, that the right of private judgment does not relieve the Reformers from the charge of schism, on the ground, that the Church may be divided on matters of faith. If we understand him, he holds that on some articles of faith the Church is unanimous, but on others it is divided. In regard to all those articles on which it is divided, the exercise of private judgment is our right. That the Church is agreed on some questions, and divided on others, we concede ; but that the questions on which it is divided are matters of faith we deny. His error arises from not making this distinction. The Church cannot be divided on articles of faith ; for the Bishop himself contends, as well as we, for the unity of the faith. Faith is and must be one, and they who embrace not the one faith are no part of the Church ; for the Bishop himself defines the Church to be composed of all who embrace the orthodox faith, and of course of no others. The questions on which the Church is divided, or can be divided,  without breaking its unity, must be simply questions of science or of opinion, and not questions of faith. The freedom of private judgment in relation to all these questions the Church fully recognizes.

But the Bishop would seem (p. 3) to rest his defence on the distinction between fundamentals and non-fundamentals. The Church, he would probably say, cannot be divided on fundamentals, but it may be divided on non-fundamentals. This is the usual resort of Protestants. But to this we reply : 1. The non-fundamentals are either matters of faith or they are not. If not, they are out of the question ; for the question concerns matters of faith only. If they are matters of faith, we ask on what authority are they declared to be non-fundamental ? Not on the authority of reason, for the question is not a question of reason. On the authority of the Sacred Scriptures ? But there is no passage of the Sacred Scriptures which declares or implies that a certain portion of the faith is not fundamental. On the authority of the Church ? But the Protestant cannot admit the authority of the Church without condemning himself, for he resists that authority ; and moreover, the Church never regards any portion of the faith as non-fundamental. What is not fundamental she does never propose as an article of faith, for she always teaches that it is equally necessary to believe all that she teaches. There is, then, no authority for making the distinction between fundamental and non-fundamental.

2.   The matters assumed to be non-fundamental are either matters divinely revealed or not. If not, they are not articles of faith in any sense ; for nothing can be made an article of faith, except what is divinely revealed. If divinely revealed, they cannot be non-fundamental; for it is essential that all which God reveals should be believed. It is repugnant to reason to suppose that God would reveal to us, supernaturally, what might be rejected without detriment to salvation. Moreover, he who rejects any portion of God's word makes God a liar ; because he refuses to rely on the veracity of God, which is as good authority for believing one article as another.

3.   Admitting that some articles are fundamental and others non-fundamental, still the Bishop has no rule for distinguishing the one from the other. Private reason cannot, as we have seen ; because what articles of supernatural faith are fundamental, and what not, is not a question of reason, but itself a question of faith, and therefore must rest on supernatural authority. Not the Sacred Scriptures ; because, in nea/ly all cases, the question turns on what the Scriptures do really teach, or what is the faith they enjoin.

Will the Bishop say, that fundamentals are those articles in which all Christians agree, and non-fundamentals are those about which they dispute ? Understanding by Christians all who bear the name, we ask him what these fundamental doctrines are, in which they all agree ? We are ignorant of all such doctrines, and think he will find it difficult to adduce a single doctrine the contrary of which has not been maintained by some portion of the Christian world. Will he, abandoning this ground, say, fundamentals are only those doctrines which are clearly and expressly taught in the Sacred Scriptures ? Be it so. ^ The Scriptures, unquestionably, make faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, indispensable to salvation ; but is it equally express as to what is to be believed concerning Jesus Christ? Certainly not. For nothing can be said to be expressly taught in the Scriptures, about which men, equally able, learned, honest, and sincere, who take them for their rule of faith, continue to dispute. Has it ever been settled from the Bible alone, interpreted by private reason, whether'we are to believe the Son of God is consubstantial to the Father, as teaches the Nicene Creed; or created out of nothing, as the Arians contended ? Whether he is the second person in the ever-adorable Trinity ; or merely the son of Joseph and Mary, as allege our modern Unitarians ? Whether he saves the world as a grand expiatory sacrifice, dying to redeem men from the curse of the law, and raising them to newness of life by the communication of himself; or merely as a teacher of wholesome truths and an exemplar of a holy life ? Are not these, and many more like them, fundamental questions ? Can they be settled by an appeal to the Scriptures alone ? If so, why have they not been ? Why are not all sincere and honest Protestants, whose rule is the sufficiency of the Scriptures, agreed respecting them ? If all that is fundamental is expressly taught in the Scriptures, why have not our Protestant brethren, long before this, hit upon certain articles of faith which they can all adopt ? At least, why have we not seen, after three hundred years of experiment, some approximation to unanimity among them ? Yet we see nothing of all this. They divide and subdivide more and more ; and if at the present moment they appear less widely separated, and to fight one another less fiercely than formerly, it is because they have fallen into indifference, and are gradually coming to believe that one creed or one sect is about as good as another, and perhaps none nor all are worth troubling one's head about. No, this ground is untenable.    Strike from the creeds of our Protestant sects all articles concerning which there is a difference of belief, and take the residuum, as we must, as the sum of what is clearly taught in the Scriptures, and we should have a faith which would be unanimously, by all parties, declared altogether insufficient, too meagre to satisfy even Socinians.

It seems to us, on attentively reading Bishop Hopkins's Lectures, that the singular confusion which runs through them arises from his never having clearly conceived of the Church of Christ as an authoritative body. The Ecclesia docens et gubernons appears to have remained to him in profound obscurity, or to have been confounded in his mind with the Ecclesia credens. He believes Jesus Christ founded a Church, but, one is tempted to think, merely a Church of believers. He does not appear to be fully aware, at least theoretically, that our blessed Lord has set in this Church of believers some "to be apostles, and some prophets, and others evangelists, and others pastors and teachers, for the perfection of the saints, for the work of the ministry, unto the edification of the body of Christ; till we all meet in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the age of the fulness of Christ,  that we may not now be children, tossed to and fro, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, in the wickedness of men, in craftiness by which they lie in wait to deceive," (Eph. iv. 11  14,) and that to these, who constitute the ministry of the Church, is given authority to teach and to rule the Church. It is true, he holds Episcopacy to be of divine appointment; but he holds it to be necessary, not to the being of the Church, but simply to its order. Hence, he really believes it possible to retain the unity of the Church under a diversity of ecclesiastical governments. Here, it seems tc us, is his primal error. Our blessed Lord, in constituting his Church, did constitute an authoritative ministry, and made communion with that ministry the indispensable condition of communion with his Church. " Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations ; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you ; and behold, I am with you all days, even unto the consummation of the world." (Matt, xxviii. 19, 20.) Here was instituted the Ecclesia docens ; here was instituted a perpetual ministry, with authority to teach ; and whoso rejecteth this authority rejected! Christ himself. Now, if this ministry has authority to teach, then all are bound to believe what it teaches; for there is no authority to teach, where there is no obligation to believe.

The authority here given, the Bishop concedes, was not given to the apostles personally, hut to them and their successors. But it was given to them and their successors, not separately, but collectively, as one ministry, to be possessed by each only as he remained in the unity of the body,  in the unity of the teaching body, not merely of the believing body. Then this ministry, the apostles and their successors, are to be regarded as a body corporate, endowed with the attributes of individuality and immortality. Its authority must be one, not merely one in the sense that he who confers it is one, but in the sense that the body exercising it is one body, as a state, a town, or a banking corporation is one body. This must not be overlooked. We suspect the Bishop, however, does overlook it, and thinks he maintains the requisite unity by asserting the unity of authority in Christ the invisible Head. That Christ is the fountain of all authority in the Church is admitted ; that he Js the real governor, and the only governor in the Church is also admitted ; but this is not the question. The question is as to the ministry which he has commissioned to exercise his authority, or through which he governs the Church. The ministry is instituted, because Christ chooses to govern by an outward visible agent. The question relates, therefore, solely to this visible agent. If the great Head of the Church had chosen to govern without a visible ministry, doubtless he could. But he has not so chosen. He has instituted a ministry, and being himself one, the ministry must be one. The ministry, like the human body, may have many members ; but all these members must be members of one and the same body, and members one of another, or else we must adopt the monstrous supposition, that Christ has a multiplicity of bodies. The ministry is instituted to bathe visible organ of the invisible authority of Christ. If Christ is one, his authority must be one ; if his authority is one, the visible organ must be one ; for a visible organ which is manifold cannot express an authority which is one. The ministry, also, must be one ; for if not, we shall be perplexed, and at a loss to distinguish the true ministry from the false. Assume a multiplicity of true ministries, and a variety of false ministries, as there has been, is, and always will be so long as the corruptions of human nature remain, and how shall the young, the simple, and the unlettered, all of whom have souls as precious in the sight of God as the soul of the Bishop himself, know which is the true ministry to which they owe obedience, and on which they may rely with confidence and safety ? We have already proved, that unity of authority, and therefore of the ministry, is necessary as the condition of unity of faith. Unity of the body teachingEcclesia docens becomes as necessary as unity of the body believing  Ecclesia credens. As unity of faith, according to the Bishop himself, is essential to the being of the Church, it follows that unity of the ministerial authority is necessary to the being as well as to the order of the Church. Any split or division in the ministerial authority is as much a schism in the Church as a split or division in the faith believed.

If these considerations deserve any weight,  and we hold them to be conclusive,  the unity of the Church under a diversity of ecclesiastical governments is impossible. It cannot coexist with a divided authority. As well might we say that a state can exist as a single state under two distinct, separate, and independent governments. Here is the rock on which our Anglican divines seem to us to split. They all profess to believe in the unity of the Church ; but they all assume that its unity may be, and is, retained under distinct, diverse, and independent governments. Hence, they call their Church  which, as an ecclesiastical polity, is as isolated and independent as the government of Great Britain itself " a branch " of the one Catholic Church, and, with a marvellous simplicity, speak of it as " our branch of the Catholic Church." A branch is incomplete in itself; but the Anglican Church, if a Church at all, is not incomplete in itself. It claims to be an independent body, and participates in the authority of no other body ; nor does it depend on any other body for its life or any portion of its life. It is therefore false and absurd to call it a branch. It is no branch. It is the whole tree, or no part of it. It is an island Church, and nowhere joined to the continent. Can these divines fail to perceive this ? Alas ! when one has strayed from the fountain of living waters, and lost the path which leads to it, there is apparently no absurdity too gross for him to believe, no truth too obvious and palpable for him to overlook. So we doubt not but our Anglican divines honestly believe their Church is a branch, although there is never a trunk of which it is a oranch,  their Church a member, although there is never a body of which it is a member.
It is this false view of unity, of the unity of the Church under a diversity and independence of government, that has led Bishop Hopkins to contend, in these Lectures, that individuals are free to select what Church they will join. Strange unity of the Church, which is compatible with the existence of different Churches and different communions, and allows it to be a matter of at least comparative indifference which one a man joins ; just as if a man can he saved in any other communion than that of the one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church ! We own individuals are free to join the Church, or to unite with such one of the sects as they choose, but only as a man is free to choose life or death ; and so would the Bishop himself say, if he only clearly perceived the unity of the Catholic Church, and that out of unity there is no life.

But the Bishop can justify the Reformers in seceding from the communion of the Catholic Church only on condition of its having ceased to be the communion of Christ ; for to secede from a Church which is in communion with Christ is to secede from Christ himself. Now, will he deny that salvation is possible in the Roman Catholic Church ? Will he deny that it was possible in that Church in the beginning of the sixteenth century ? The Roman Catholic Church was then what it had been for many ages before, and what it is now. It embraced at that epoch, and had for many ages, nearly the whole Christian world. If we say that salvation is not possible in its communion, we pronounce a fearful sentence on the millions who lived and died in its communion prior to the Reformation, as upon the many millions who have lived and died in its communion since. But the Bishop will not say this ; Protestants generally do not say it. Were they to say it, what should we say of the piety of our English ancestors ? England herself was converted from heathenism by missionaries from this very Church of Rome ; and she has not, we believe, a saint in her calendar, who did not belong to the period of her communion with Rome. It was during that period that all that makes her glory took its rise. Then were founded her institutions of learning ; then was laid the foundation of her real national greatness. Then was she renowned for her piety, and her land was filled with the pure, faithful, self-denying servants of God. Shall we say that all her saints, martyrs, and confessors have gone to hell ? Of course not. No Protestant really doubts the possibility of salvation in the Roman communion, and the Bishop does not himself seem to think that communion with Rome endangers salvation. In his first Lecture he plainly recognizes the Roman Catholic Church as still having all the essential elements of the Church of God. He concedes her orthodoxy and her catholicity. He does not even seek to unchurch her. He admits her to be a Church of Christ; and states, that the question was not, whether she was Catholic or not,  but whether she had an exclusive claim to the title  of Catholicity. " The Church of Rome," he says, (p. (3,) "claimed the exclusive title of Catholic, and branded all without her pale as cut off from Christ as heretics, as guilty of mortal sin. The Reformers denied that she had the exclusive right to the name of Catholic." That is, the Reformers admitted her to be Catholic, but contended that they were Catholic as well as she, and perhaps more so ; because, as they alleged, they were more in harmony with the Church in primitive times.

Now, if he concedes salvation to be possible in the Roman Catholic Church, he concedes her to contain in herself all that is necessary to salvation. Belief in the true orthodox faith is necessary to salvation, as all must admit; for u without faith it is impossible to please God," and " he that believeth not shall be condemned." Then the Roman Catholic has the true orthodox faith, and this the Bishop also seems to admit. Then the Reformers had no reason to secede from her on account of any supposed corruptions of the faith. But if salvation was possible in her bosom, she must have been in communion with Christ ; for " there is no other name given under heaven, among men, whereby we must be saved." But if she was in communion with Christ, she was the Church of Christ; and as the Church is but one communion, she and such particular Churches as were in communion with her were the only Church and the whole Church of Christ. To separate from her communion, then, was to separate from the communion of Christ. The Reformers did separate from her communion, and therefore separated from the communion of Christ, and were schismatics. No man can be saved, unless he abide in the communion of Christ. The Reformers did not abide in his communion. We leave the conclusion to be drawn by the Bishop himself.

Here is the necessary conclusion, if it be once admitted, as it is and must be, that salvation is possible in the Roman Catholic Church. This is a terrible conclusion, and worthy of the serious consideration of those who talk so loudly and arrogantly of the " corruptions," u errors," and " usurpations of modern Rome "; especially of those who form Protestant leagues and missionary societies for the conversion of the benighted Papists of Italy, France, and Spain. It will be well for them to look at their own foundation. They must muster courage enough to deny the possibility of salvation in the Roman Catholic communion, or else admit that salvation is not possible in their own. If they conclude to deny that salvation is possible in the Roman Catholic communion, we will thank them to agree in which of their own party-colored communions it is possible.

But what! do you mean to say that none in these various Protestant sects can be saved ? We mean to say that no man can be saved who is not actually or virtually in the Church which is in communion with Christ; and if the Roman Catholic Church is in communion with him, Protestant sects are not, for they are not in communion with it. That individuals who are outwardly in Protestant sects may he saved, we do not deny ; because they may be there through invincible ignorance, but would not be there, if it were in their power to unite with the true Church. God does not exact impossibilities. Where the deed is impossible, he takes the will for the deed. All who believe the orthodox faith, without which no one can be saved, and have the desire and intention which would accept the Catholic Church were it presented, will be saved ; but not because they are in this or that sectarian communion, but because they are virtually, in voto animiquc dispositione, out of it, and in the Catholic communion.

There are various other matters in these Lectures, on which we should like to remark ; but we pass them over, because we have in the present article wished to confine ourselves to a single point. We think we have shown, that, on the grounds assumed by the Bishop, the British Reformers are not cleared of the charge of schism. So far as we can see, he ha3 brought forward nothing which takes their secession out of the category of schism, or in the least removes the presumption we began by saying is against them. Till this is done, the Catholic Church stands secure in her ancient possession, and has no occasion to enter upon the defence of her title. We leave, therefore, the question of the Reformers, till a champion comes forward with some solid principle on which their defence may be grounded.