« 上一頁繼續 »
tions of the Lord, and stood forth as single witnesses of the scriptural and Apostolic Church against those who had over
late writer in his accusations against " The Oxford Divines,” by repeating his expressions ; but his justice, in charging them with a jesuitical design to introduce Popery," will be seen by the following extracts from the most important of their works. Treating of the visible Church,“ The Tracts for the Times (No. 20) speaks thus :“Now the Papists have retained it; and so they have the advantage of possessing an instrument, which is, in the first place, suited to the needs of human nature; and next, is a special gift of Christ, and so has a blessing with it. Accordingly, we see that in its measure success follows their zealous use of it. They act with great force upon the imaginations of men. The vaunted antiquity, the universality, the unanimity of their Church, put them above the varying fashions of the world, and the religious novelties of the day. And truly, when one surveys the grandeur of their system, a sigh arises in the thoughtful mind, to think we should be separated from them. •Cum talis sis, utinam noster esses ! But, alas, AN UNION IS IMPOSSIBLE. Their communion is infected with heterodoxy; we are bound to flee it as a pestilence. They have established a lie in the place of God's truth ; and by their claim of immutability in doctrine cannot undo the sin they have committed. They cannot repent. Popery must be destroyed, it cannot be reformed.”—In“ Newman on Romanism” (p.103), the Church of Rome is thus described, “ For in truth she (the Romish Church) is a Church beside herself, abounding in noble gifts and rightful titles, but unable to use them religiously : crafty, obstinate, artful, malicious, cruel, unnatural, as madmen are. Or rather she may be said to resemble a demoniac; possessed with principles, thoughts, and tendencies not her own in outward form, in natural powers, what God made her, but ruled within by an inexorable spirit, who is sovereign in his management over her, and most subtle, and most successful in the use of her gifts. Thus she is her real self only in name; and, till God vouchsafe to restore her, we must treat her as if she were that evil one which governs her.”
Far from leading to Popery, the maintenance of the Apostolic system of religion is the only sure means of opposing Romanism with success. The corruptions of the Romish religion are built upon the Apostolic constitution, and faith of the Church; and the attempts of those who are DESTITUTE OF BOTH to sweep away the true foundation of the Apostles with the false superstructure of men can never avail. The learned and devout members of the Romish Church are deeply impressed with the sacred reverence due to the teaching of the primitive Fathers of the Church, and the religious duty of holding fast the faith and worship which they transmit, and bear testimony to, as the tradition of the Apostles. To decry wholly their authority, and scorn their instructions, must therefore ever be viewed by them, as indeed it is, as the profane and irreligious presumption of ignorant, “heady, and high-minded men.” Such attempts they must regard, not as religious inquiries, but as attempts to subvert religion altogether; and in place of being led to examine the correctness and truth of their own system, will be led to feel their attachment to it confirmed by the devastating thrown and rejected her sacred authority to establish their own systems, and against those who, retaining her constitu
principles of those who so oppose it. The creeds of the Church Catholic and the Apostolic Ministry are reverently preserved by the Romish Church, and exercise a fuller authority over her people than is to be found in any other Church. They preserve her in unity and guard her against the denial of Christ, and other awful heresies and schisms which she sees devastating Germany and other Protestant countries. Far, therefore, from being assailable by the principles or communions founded upon private interpretation of Scripture, those very principles and communions are her defences and
weapons of attack, which she skilfully turns against her assailants, as visible evidence of Divine judgment upon them, and of the radical defect of their system. If Popery is to be overthrown, and the members of the Romish Church are to be led to relinquish the corruptions of faith and worship which it has acquired in the course of ages, it must be by means of a Church equally Apostolical in constitution and Ministry, and free from the corruptions which obscure her faith and worship. When she can see a Church walking in the spirit as well as the form of Apostolic worship and discipline, guided by the tradition of the primitive Church, eminent for sanctity, manifesting a principle powerful in preserving unity, and respect for sacred institutions, and in repressing schism, and restraining presumption and irreverence, then is it to be hoped that her members will calmly inquire into, and discover their errors, and resume the
pure faith and worship for which Rome was once “spoken of throughout the Churches.” But it is not only as an opponent of Popish error that an Apostolic Church, not Romish, is to be considered; it is also to be regarded as the means of preserving against the necessity of conforming to Rome all those who are convinced that the Lord designed that His Church should perpetuate the faith, institutions, and ministry, taught and established by the Apostles, as the tradition of faith and worship, and the successive perpetual ministry of the Church. If there were no other community but the Church of Rome preserving this Ministry and Tradition, corrupted and obscured as they are, all who from Scripture or the Fathers should be convinced of their Divine authority, would be distracted by doubts of the obligation to join a corrupt but Apostolic Church; and be perplexed by the difficulty of determining the degree of error and corruption which justifies dissent from Apostolic authority. The existence of the Anglican Church, Apostolic in constitution, faith, and ministry, and holding no doctrine or form contrary to Scripture, or deviating from the primitive Church, presents a refuge for all who are thus circumstanced, and has no doubt included in its communion multitudes of the most learned and pious men who would otherwise have been disturbed in conscience, or forced to submit to Popery. The learned Dr. Grabe is a striking example of this observation. He was a native of Prussia, educated in the Lutheran religion, and led into doubts by reading the Fathers. The Elector ordered three Divines to answer his doubts, but they were unable to satisfy him, or prevail on him to renounce his intention of embracing the Romish religion. One of them,
tion, had corrupted her doctrines and worship by human additions. The religious exaltation and spirit of praise which belong to the Church triumphant are succeeded by zeal and jealousy for the Lord, and by reverent attachment to His sacred institutions, in seasons of the Church's distress and dejection from the rebellion of her children. It is an important lesson taught by reason and by the example of the saints, that exclusive attachment to the Church should increase as her sacred authority is neglected and disobeyed. It is in the prevalence of insubordination and revolt that faith and loyalty are manifested and called forth. When the people stray away from the Ark and the Sanctuary, the ministers and servants of the Temple should exercise redoubled assiduity in its sacred service, and the people of the Lord should then cling to His institution with the deepest zeal and ardour. The generous spirit of loyal devotion will then incite to the most punctilious and exact obedience. The liberty which at other seasons might have been allowable, will then be felt as criminal. The observances which in the Church's prosperity might have seemed discretionary, will be then regarded as sacred duties exhibiting attachment in her dejection. The ridicule of men or the accusations of the powerful will not then avail with the servant of the Church to relinquish the smallest observance she prescribes. Though they watch to accuse him, he will remit no ordinance, he will conceal no observance, he will not even, to avoid discovery and persecution, close the windows which intercept his mental view of Zion. He will yield to no concession derogatory to his profession, he will shrink from any act which in the remotest degree seems to sanction or concur with those who oppose or disregard the sacred institution of the Lord. Those who hear not the Church will be to HIM IN RELIGIOUS COMMUNION AS HEATHENS AND PUBLICANS, with whom he can in no wise join or participate while they dishonour and divide the “house of God-the pillar and ground of truth."
His sense of the general sin, and sure judgment which follow the rejection of the Church, will fill him with fear lest he participate in the prevalent guilt, and with concern for the condition of those
Spener, happily advised him to go England, where he found the Church Apostolic for which he sought, without the corrupt additions of Romanism. He became a priest of the Anglican Church, and wrote many learned works.
who walk in error without guide or instructor, led away by the pride of human reason into every wind of doctrine. He will mourn over the general depravity of the people, and the contempt for the ministry and holy observances of religion, which have resulted from the rejection of the Church*, and
* Persons who consider DISSENT to be nothing more than the departure from the communion of one system of religion to adopt that of another, do not duly estimate its sin as an act of schism in the Church. Schism is not the departure from one communion for another, but the rending the Church, causing division in the body of Christ, which is one in its faith, baptism, and worship, or Lord;" and its sin in individuals consists in their rejecting the authority, and even denying the existence, of the Apostolic Church, and its faith or tradition and ministry; a sin for which there is no excuse, for it is incurred without any prospect of gain or profit, and in all cases is attended with an evident loss of the spiritual graces and privileges which the Apostolic Church alone claims to possess, and which are of the greatest advantage to the security and spiritual welfare of individuals. Schism destroys the spirit of penitential devotion, weakens the reverence due to the Sacraments and to the Ministry, and renders the spirit bold, irreverent, heady, and highminded. Schism also, besides its actual sin, involves several consequent sins, and forfeitures of spiritual advantages. Those who are guilty of it cannot obey the Lord, and “hear the Church,”— cannot receive the benefit of the Lord's commission to His Ministers “ to loose the sins of His people on earth,”-cannot have the security of the Sacraments beirig administered by the Lord's transmitted appointment,--do not regard “the Church as the pillar and ground of truth,”-do not obey the rulers set over them who watch for their faith, nor "submit themselves to them,” and “receive them as the Lord,” and do not “hold fast the Traditions,” nor retain the form of sound words committed to the Apostolic Ministry. In addition to disobedience to all these direct Scriptural injunctions, schism generally leads men to the great sin of forcing these Scriptural commands from their literal and direct meaning, and giving them a sense to suit the pride and unwillingness of men to obey their plain injunctions. What else leads men to persuade themselves, by forced interpretations, that there are no Apostolic traditions, when St. Paul' so often commands the Churches “ to hold fast, observe, and transmit the traditions he had given them," save a secret unwillingness to obey the Apostle, or to suffer the restraint of his traditions, or to perform the religious duties they prescribe! So, also, respecting the authority of the Church—the obedience to the ministry—the observance of fasting and self-denial, all of which are explained away by forced, and even absurd and contradictory interpretations ; which nevertheless are greedily received by the self-deception of men, who vainly hope by perverting Scripture to avoid the penalty of disobeying it, not considering that they but add to their sin, and give testimony against themselves of their opposition to the commands and institutions of Christ. Many other sinful consequences are attached to schism, the seeds of which lie in the pride of human reason, and reluctance to perform the observances of Apostolic religion, To guard against will resolve for himself and his house that they will serve the Lord only, and walk in all His ordinances and laws blameless, fulfilling all righteousness in patient well-doing.
128.- OBEDIENCE DUE TO THE CHURCH. There are no truths of nature or of religion so evident as to be free from difficulties and doubts. Opinions, which for
this spirit the greatest care is requisite. Humility of heart and understanding-reverence for sacred things and persons-docile and literal interpretation of holy Scripture under the teaching of the Church-submissiveness to religious observances-restraint upon the pride of reason--disregard for popular religions-suspicious dislike of novelty-and the PRINCIPLE OF PRACTICAL DEVOTION, should be diligently cultivated by those who would “hear the Church.” The spirit which would imbibe the temper and mortified devotion of the primitive Church, must imitate the discipline which its saints pursued-must totally divest itself of the prevailing profaneness and presumption in religion, and must scarcely think, far less speak, of the MYSTERIES OF REDEMPTION without deep inward reverence, and humble ejaculations of prayer. Holy ordinances must be regarded as awful and Divine observances, not to be approached without self-examination, SPIRITUAL ADVICE, and due preparation by holy exercises and meditation. The mind and feelings must be held in subjection and restraint under the conviction of the sacred authority of the faith and worship of the Church. Schism must be regarded as the most dreadfal sin, and violation of obedience to Christ, with forfeiture of the spiritual graces attached to his Church. The saints and fathers who teach the Apostolic traditions of faith and worship, and exemplify in their lives and instructions the holiness of the Church, which so many of them built up, or edified, by martyrdom, should be regarded with reverence, and listened to as the best instructors to counteract the spirit of schism. The promises and privileges which Christ made to His Church should be the habitual ground of spiritual hope sought for by Christians AS MEMBERS of the body of Christ; as those who “hear His Church” in all things, and therefore have confidence in expecting to partake of the Divine gifts bestowed upon it. This frame of mind is the best security against schism,-holds out the surest means of attaining Christian virtues, and the strongest confidence of communion with Christ in the obedient reception of the graces of his Church. How far does it surpass the bare and meagre systems of dependence upon belief of the fundamentals of Christianity, in which there is nothing definite, nothing prescribed, nothing complete or satisfactory! How much more evidently secure are they who HOLD THESE FUNDAMENTALS as revealed in Scripture, with the additional certainty of their being taught by the Apostolic creeds, and who are guided by tradition, without danger of error, in the sacraments, ministry, ordinances, devotion, and worship, which agree with these fundamental doctrines, as their practical consequences attached to them by the most sacred authority.