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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 nearly 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 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 gubernans 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 to 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. xxvii. 19, 20.)
(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 rejecteth 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, but to them and their succes
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 is 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 be the 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, VOL. II. NO. I.
and therefore of the ministry, is necessary as the condition of unity of faith. Unity of the body teaching — Ecclesia 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 — 66 a branch ” of the one Catholic Church, and, with a marvellous simplicity, speak of it
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 branch, — 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 mat