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the following title: “Questions addressed to the Professors of the General Theological Seminary by the Bishops as visitors.” They are found in pp. 232 and 233 of the Journal. Among other questions, showing the exact place which instruction in the doctrines of Calvinism, and the books of known Calvinistic character, would have in the estimation of that learned body of prelates, the following may be specified. “1. What have you taught concerning the church of Rome, as being in error in matters of faith ?” 11. “Are the works of Toplady, of THoMA's Scott, and JoHN Newton, and Blunt on the Articles, or any of them, used as text-books, or publicly or privately recommended to the students of the Seminary 4” 14. “Has it been publicly or privately taught in the Seminary, that any portion of the sacred narrative of the Book of Genesis is in the nature of a myth, or is merely or principally allegorical ?” 15. “Has it been publicly or privately taught in the Seminary, that any portion of the historical books of the Old Testament are of uninspired originals f" 16. “Have disparaging remarks as to the character of such of the ancient Fathers as are recommended in the course of ecclesiastical studies, established by the House of Bishops in 1804, or any of the “ancient authors’ referred to in the ordinal, or as to the value of their testimony, been made publicly or privately in the Seminary ** 17. “What is taught in the Seminary, either publicly or privately, respecting that large body of English divinity, which is called the Calvinistic view of the 39 Articles 2" 31. “Is Calvinism, comprehending what are known as “the Five points,’ publicly or privately taught or recommended in the Seminary 2” 37. “Is the German system of Rationalism, i.e. rejecting every thing mysterious in the doctrines and institutions of the Gospel, and making Vol. III. 44
human reason the sole umpire in theology, adopted, or publicly or privately recommended in the Seminary * 43. “Is the doctrine of “limited atonement,’ and of reprobation, taught in the Seminary 2”
The questions propounded by “the bishops, as visitors,” for the purpose of making thorough inquisition into the state of supposed possible corruptions in the Seminary, of which we shall see there were some very definite rumors before that venerable body, (compare pp. 230, 231 of the Journal,) were forty three in number. Our readers will see, at once, from the quotations which we have made, how large a proportion of them, even when it was supposed that the great danger of the Seminary was, that it was going over to Romanism, relate to Calvinism, and how determined the spirit seems to have been to search the Seminary in every nook and corner, that the obnoxious heresy might be removed. The efforts of the House of Bishops to hunt out and remove the last remains of Calvinism, in the General Theological Seminary of the church, strongly remind us of the efforts of the Jews to remove all the leaven from their houses on the eve of the Passover. With a lighted candle every part of the house is searched. Every cupboard and drawer is opened and examined. Every nook and cranny where by possibility some mischievous mouse may have carried a particle of leavened bread, is scrutinized. And if, perchance, a small particle of the interdicted food, whether left by design for such a successful search or not, is found, the whole house resounds with exultation, for the detected enemy is brought to light. Now in regard to these questions, we propose, before we proceed, to notice the answers which they elicited from the professors, to make a few remarks illustrative of what must have been the views of the venerable body
which propounded them. Much may always be learned from the way a question is asked, and the company in which it is found, of the views of him who propounds it. We observe, then— 1. The fact that such questions should be asked at all, shows what were the views of the interrogators, that is, of the whole House of Bishops, high church and low, on the subject of Calvinism. Why should such questions have been asked at all, unless it were supposed that to teach these doctrines, or to introduce these authors, would be a violation of what the church expected on the part of the professors What would have been the fair interpretation of propounding such questions as these :—whether the doctrines of Arius or Pelagius were taught? Whether Ballou on the Atonement, or Chauncy on Universalism, or Priestly's History of the Corruptions of Christianity, or Yates on Unitarianism, or Volney's Ruins, constituted a part of the books which were publicly or privately recommended to be used in the Seminary 2 What is meant, when it is asked, (ques. 23,) “Are the books of the Apocrypha, or any of them, publicly or privately referred to as of canonical authority, in the Seminary 2" And then what is meant, when it is asked by this same House of Bishops, “as visitors,” whether the works of Thomas Scott or John Newton are “used as text books, or publicly or privately recommended to the students of the Seminary 2” 2. We are assisted in the interpretation of these questions, by recollecting the company in which the doctrines and books referred to are found. The questions occur in a series embracing, in connection with the points already referred to, the following: the errors of the church of Rome, ques. 1; the Tract No. 90, ques. 4; the decrees of the council of Trent, ques. 5, 9; the
works of Dr. Pusey, Mr. Newman, &c., ques. 12; the inquiry whether certain parts of the book of Genesis are a mere myth, ques. 14; the books of the Apocrypha, ques. 23; the doctrine of transubstantiation, ques. 33; the worship of the crucifix, or the images of the saints, and the invocation of “the blessed virgin,” ques. 36; and the German authors who teach Rationalism, ques. 37, 38. Verily these venerable bishops of the Protestant church have put Calvinism, and the works of Thomas Scott and John Newton, and “Blunt on the Articles,” into a “goodly fellowship,” and have shown with suf. ficient clearness the estimate which they would form of the fact, if Calvinistic doctrines and books should be publicly or privately recommended to the students of the Seminary. 3. It is worthy of special attention, that these questions appear to have been propounded by the whole body of bishops of the Episcopal church. Some of those bishops have heretofore been strongly suspected of having some leaning towards Calvinistic views, and the Christian community have supposed that they would not regard it as an abomination, if some of the “five points” should be taught to the young men about to enter the ministry of the Episcopal church, or if the works of “Thomas Scott, and John Newton, and Blunt on the Articles” should be “used as textbooks, or publicly and privately recommended to the students of the Seminary.” We should be greatly surprised if we could not find the names of some of those venerable prelates attached to the warmhearted recommendations of some of these works; and should be much disappointed, even now, if we were admitted to their libraries, if we did not find that they themselves, for purposes of instruction and piety, did not make use of some of these proscribed authors. Yet they have seen it meet to unite with their highchurch and Arminian brethren, in grouping these books with the Apocrypha, with the works of Dr. Pusey, and with the German Rationalistic writers, and to acquaint the community in this manner, that in order to the entire purification of the Seminary, it should be ascertained that neither the books of the Apocrypha, nor the works of Scott, or Newton, or the German Rationalists, should be allowed to have a place in imparting instruction to the candidates for holy orders. We notice this as a sign among others of the position which the low-church party is disposed to assume.
The answers which were obtained to the questions propounded, from the professors in the Seminary, show still further the condition of the Episcopal church in regard to Calvinism, and must have been every way satisfactory to those who propounded them. Nothing could be more unambiguous than those answers, allaying the least apprehension on the subject, and demonstrating that, whatever else the Episcopal church had to fear, it had nothing to apprehend from the influence of Calvinism, in their General Theological Seminary. To some of those answers, as an illustration of the gratifying position and prospects of the Seminary, we propose now to invite the attention of our readers.
We give first the answers of Bishop B. T. Onderdonk, “professor of the nature, ministry and polity of the church.” To ques. 17, “What is taught in the Seminary, either publicly or privately, respecting that large body of English divinity, which is called the Calvinistic view of the thirty-nine Articles,” he says, “I reply, that when I have had occasion to speak of the Calvinistic view of the thirty-nine Articles, l have done so with decided disapprobation of it, and believe the same to be true of the professors
generally.” To the 31st question, “Is Calvinism, comprehending what are known as the “Five points,’ publicly or privately taught or recommended in the Seminary 2" and the 32d, “Is any one of the Five points of Calvinism publicly or privately taught or recommended in the Seminary 2” he replies, with emphasis, “No, to the best of my knowledge and belief.” Journal, p. 235. The Rev. Bird Wilson, who has held his office for a period of “nearly twenty three years,” gave a general answer to the questions, in which he saw fit to use the following decisive language, speaking of the principles maintained by him in his instructions. “Approbation of them [of his principles of instruction] has been several times expressed [by the bishops]; and I have not heard that they have been thought at variance with those of our church, or to have a leaning to the peculiarities of any of the systems mentioned in the questions, viz. the Roman Catholic, that of the Oxford Tracts, Rationalism or Calvinism. If any have been objected to, they must be pointed out by others—none of the books named in the questions relating to either of those systems, have been used or recommended. As to the “Five points of Calvinism,' no one of them is taught by me, as I do not hold them ; but the views of both parties are duly examined.” No one can fail to notice the category in which Prof. Wilson places Calvinism, in this reply, nor the decisive manner in which he leaves the impression that the students of the Seminary were in no danger of being contaminated by that heresy. The other answers from the professors, so far as they bear on the subject at all, accord with those here stated. All agree in the declaration that neither German Rationalism (Prof. Turner, with expressions of warm emotion, p. 237) nor Calvinism
(Bishop Onderdonk and Prof. Wilson, with feelings as decisive oh that point as those of Prof. Turner on Rationalism) are taught by any of the professors in the Seminary, and that none of the obnoxious books are either used or are publicly or privately recommended. These answers on the subject of Calvinism, appear to have been satisfactory to the whole body of bishops, and there the matter was allowed to rest in the Convention. From these remarks, we are conducted to the following conclusions in regard to the relation of the Episcopal church to Calvinism: that the low-church or evangelical party, as well as their high-church brethren, desire it to be understood by the community, that they have no sympathy with the Calvinistic views; that in the House of Bishops, the low-church portion, as well as the other portion, regard it as a proper subject of inquiry respecting the books used in the Seminary, and the doctrines taught there, whether Calvinism constitutes any part of the instruction, in the same sense in which it is proper to inquire whether German Rationalism constitutes a part of the instruction; that the whole bench of bishops consider it to be proper to place the inquiry, whether Calvinism is taught there on the same level, as the inquiry, whether the books of the Apocrypha are canonical, whether the doctrines of the Roman Catholic communion are taught, and whether the sentiments of the German Rationalists are inculcated ; and that the learned professors in the Seminary deem it a matter of exultation that they are able to exculpate themselves so entirely from all suspicion of teaching Calvinism, or recommending the works of Thomas Scott or John Newton to the candidates for holy orders. All this, it is to be remembered, goes forth from the church in connection with the loudest glorification of that series of articles which contains, among other
things, the following language:– “Predestination to life is the everlasting purpose of God, whereby (before the foundations of the world were laid) He hath constantly decreed by His counsel, secret to us, to deliver from curse and damnation those whom He hath chosen in Christ out of mankind, and to bring them by Christ to everlasting salvation, as vessels made to honor;” an article, respecting which even the Arminian Bishop Burnet confessed, “It is very probable that those who penned this article meant that the decree was absolute; and that the article seems to favor the Calvinists, and that it seems to be framed according to St. Augustine's doctrine.”
But the principal interest which is felt by the Christian community at large in the Episcopal church, arises not from its numbers, its wealth, the talent which it embosoms, the zeal, learning or influence of its clergy, or even its decided Arminianism in doctrine. It is from the Roman Catholic tendencies in that communion, manifested in the forms of Tractarianism or Puseyism. As this is now the most prominent aspect presented when we look at the Episcopal church, and as this was the subject before the last General Convention, that was most important in view of the Christian community, and the only one which has any particular interest, it is our intention to examine it with some minuteness, and to define, if we can, the exact “position” of the Episcopal church in this country, in regard to this controversy.
The Episcopal church is the only Protestant denomination in which there is any tendency to the Roman Catholic doctrines. It is the only one in which the germ of those doctrines exists, or in which there is any thing which, if fairly and fully developed, would accord with the pe. culiar views of the Papacy. It is the only denomination with which the Romanists have any sympathy, or from which they have any hope. It is the only one where the Roman Catholic can appeal to any admitted doctrines or views maintained by a Protestant denomination, and plausibly urge that consistency requires those who hold them to tread their way back to more solid ground than their feet now rest upon, in the bosom of the mother church. All other Protestant denominations have corne so effectually out from the Roman communion; they have separated themselves so decidedly from the religion of forms; they are in all points so antagonistic to that mode of religion; they abjure and discard so thoroughly all notions of a “succession” through that corrupt system ; and they have so hearty an aversion to all that enters into the peculiarities of the Papal system, that Rome can have no hope from them as such, and we do not know that it ever has entered the imagination of the most zealous member of the society de Propaganda, that the principles of the Roman system can be diffused through the denominations of the Congregationalists, the Methodists, the Lutherans, the Baptists, the Presbyterians or the Quakers. These denominations were effectually reformed; the Episcopal church in the days of Henry VIII, Edward VI, and Elizabeth, was but half reformed, and in the state of transition it unhappily was fixed and “petrified,” in the Prayer-book. The reformation in England, by not throwing off the Episcopacy, was arrested midway, and its history since has been a struggle by Rome on the one hand, endeavoring to bring fully back her erring daughter, and the thoroughly reformed Protestant world on the other, endeavoring to persuade her to cast off the remnants of Popery to which she clings. The Lutheran church, for example, was so thoroughly re
formed, that Rome has never had any hope of her, and has abandoned her in despair. The Reformed church in France and Holland, separated so effectually, in the form of government and worship, from Rome, that there is nothing on which Rome could found a ground of appeal, to show that consistency required that they should return to the bosom of the Papacy. The separation of the Puritans was so hearty, entire and thorough, that there is not a particle of Romanism, either in the mode of worship, the orders of the clergy, the forms of prayer, or the views of the sacraments, to which a Romanist can appeal, or on which he can build a hope. The Methodists drew off a large part of the evangelical portion of the church of England, because they could no longer endure its forms and ceremonies—its cold devotion—and its resemblance to Rome;—and they separated effectually and forever. In the large denomination of the Baptists, there is not a ceremony, a doctrine, or a custom that symbolizes with Rome, or which, if fairly carried out, would conduct him who holds it a single step on the way to Rome. Accordingly from these denominations—from the whole Protestant world except the Episcopal church —the propagators of Romanism have no hope. They form no plans to recover them. They meet with no success at any time among them, which gives them grounds of congratulation. They make no appeals to any thing existing in their internal organization; or in their modes of worship; or in the views which they entertain of the sacraments; or in their notions of the ministry. There is nothing in any one of these denominations which, being developed to the utmost, can be hoped to result in conformity with the doctrines of the Papacy. If a conversion ever occurs, it is not the conversion of a church but of an individual; it is