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However it might be, Ethelbald, king of Mercia, thought it well to let these vessels trade "at London-town-hythe” free of toll. Where religion has brought peace, the arts of peace will follow. As in later times, the earliest colonies formed in America were promoted by clergymen as Hackluyt and his friends, so it was the Church which led the way in pointing out to the English people the beginnings of commerce, in these first ages after the settlement of Christianity. Whatever intercourse there was between different English ports, or with foreigners, was owing to the spirit of improvement thus fostered. When Aldhelm, abbot of Malmsbury, A. D. 704, paid a visit to Bertwald, archbishop of Canterbury, by whom he was consecrated first bishop of Sherborne, a see afterwards removed to Salisbury, he was informed that some foreign merchant-ships had touched at Dover. He hastened down to the coast, and found that among other things they had brought a good quantity of books for the English readers of those days to purchase. Aldhelm found among these books a copy of the whole Bible, which, after driving a hard bargain, he was enabled to carry back to enrich the library at Malmsbury.—Pp. 125-127.
Several writers have expressed a regret that the Wesleyans were not made use of by our Church, as the Regulars were by the Church of Rome. They seem not to have considered, that however serviceable the Church of Rome found them, they were the ruin of all discipline in our Church; and though they were the ultimate cause of the Reformation, it was only as general corruption brings on a revolution. In fact, it was the disservice done by them to our Church, which made their service to Rome, who took advantage of the weak state to which our Church was reduced by the divisions which they caused, to keep it more completely down under her tyranny, while at the same time they acted as her staunch partisans in directly furthering all her ambitious usurpations. The proposed modern Regulars would indeed be subject to the bishops, as the ancient were not. Still the case would not be altered. How would it alleviate the heartburning of the parochial clergyman to consider that the rival meeting-house was conducted by a clergyman, and that the Liturgy was used, as it is in many already? It would be but the greater, from the greater parity of the rivals; and the Church would be rent asunder with internal discord, while the external dissent, so far from being diminished, would be greater than ever, and much more dangerous, from having a strong body of friends within our very camp. We fully agree in the justice of Mr. Churton's remarks upon the use which Rome made of the Regulars.
There were many other causes which helped on the encroachments of the pope, beside this chief and greatest one. There were many ways in which his authority was brought in, secretly at first and unsuspected, till it was too late to apply a remedy. It was begun and fostered within the Church itself by introducing the Dissenting Principle. The different orders of monks, canons, and friars, were all, in fact, so many sects, each collecting a body of partisans of their own, and withdrawing themselves from the control of the bishop: No doubt the bishops appointed by the Norman kings were often of such a character, that it was difficult for the monks to live at peace under them; so that there were faults on both sides. But the love of power on the part of the great abbots urged them on the more eagerly in that ruinous course, which was the occasion of their great overthrow in Henry VIII.'s time. The first abbey, which was exempted by the pope from the jurisdiction of the bishop, was Battle Abbey, founded by the Conqueror. By this example others were led either to purchase the same privilege at Rome, or, what was in these bad times no uncommon thing, to forge old charters pretending to give their abbeys such privileges at some period before the Conquest. Thus the popes began to establish an interest for themselves by a means which they have ever since employed (through the begging friars when the monks were not obedient, and when the begging friars were become unserviceable, by the Jesuits), by setting up dissenting societies to oppose the rightful authority of the bishops.
The first order which seems to have attempted to gain this exemption, was the order of Cluniac monks; but before the time of Gregory VII. it was not so easy to find bishops willing to allow it. At a council of French bishops held at Ause, near Lyons, A.D. 1025, it was resolved that the privilege granted to the Cluniacs, taking them out of the jurisdiction of their bishops, was not valid ; for it was not according to the old laws of the Church, and particularly it was contrary to the fourth canon of the council of Chalcedon, one of the early councils whose authority is acknowledged in every christian church. These monks, however, did not lose sight of the advantage to be gained to their sect by it; and when it was once established, the abbot of Clugny became a powerful head of a large body of dissenters in Christendom. Though their houses in England were few, their property was large: they had the great tithes of many livings settled upon them; and being chiefly foreigners, they had no interest in leaving a fair portion to the English parish-priest. The pope found them very useful allies in England and other places. — Pp. 357–359.
We could add many more valuable extracts. We must now, however, leave our readers to seek them in the work itself, which we can promise them they will find both interesting and instructive: and heartily do we wish it all the success which it so well deserves.
Art.II.- The Standard of Catholicity; or, an Attempt to point out in a
plain Manner certain safe and leading Principles, amidst the conflicting Opinions by which the Church is at present agitated. By the Rev.
G. E. BIBER, LL.D. London: Parker. Pp. xiv. 495. This volume is interesting on one account at least. It is the work of an individual who appears to have found out the truth of Christianity at a comparatively late period of life. Of his history we know nothing beyond that which he has disclosed to us in his Preface ; from which we learn, that he was born and educated, not in England, but in some other country, far less highly privileged in religious advantages; and that, through a process of thought altogether peculiar, he arrived at convictions, which, “by the unspeakable grace and mercy of God, led him to seek, in the first instance, admission to the communion, and, subsequently, entrance into the ministry, of the Anglican Church.” “His mind,” he tells us, "had previously floated in the bottomless depths of metaphysical speculation; till, under the guidance of an invisible, and, till then, unknown hand, he unconsciously and unexpectedly alighted on the solid rock of eternal truth. He had known Christianity, hitherto, by name, as one of the many systems of theosophy, cosmogony, and ethics, which, in all ages, have divided the suffrages of mankind; he had taken graceless cognizance of it, among the rest, in a general inventory of human opinions; but never had the remotest suspicion entered his mind, that this same Christianity was, in fact, the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” And then he adds,—"To minds accustomed, from the very dawn of consciousness, to an acknowledgment, however lifeless and unfruitful, of the supremacy of revealed truth, it must be almost impossible to form an idea of the mental revolution produced at a maturer period of life, by the discovery,
that the whole edifice of opinions, reared up carefully, and fondly cherished, through a course of years, is no more than the baseless fabric of a vision!" “His case resembled that of the Gentile philosophers, converted to the faith in the early days of the Gospel, rather than that of a person grown up under the influence of Christian doctrine and forms of life, but, now only, awakened to their vital import.”—Preface.
When the foundations of his faith had thus been laid, the Tracts for the Times, and other writings of a similar tendency, came across his path. And greatly was he overjoyed, at first, " at the vindication of the sovereign ascendency of truth, which those writings seemed to promise." But his delight, it appears, was speedily followed by a painful revulsion. “He was saddened by the unsound and earthly basis on which the ascendency of truth was made to rest, more and more, the more fully the views of those writers were unfolded." He discovered, as he tells us, that the minds of the authors in question had been much perplexed and darkened, by “want of a direct reference to first principles," and by the power of “associations imbibed in early youth, and subsequently endeared and sanctified by a life of faith.” What, then, could he do better than endeavour to correct the results arising out of those disadvantages, by means of the antagonism of those very opposite disadvantages by which he had, himself, been beset, in early life? He had no early associations to mislead him. Might not his experience, then, be useful in testing the speculations of men, whose faith had grown up in the midst of such associations, and with whom, first principles may have lost something of their legitimate authority ?
The first principles which were taken for his Urim and Thummim by our inquirer, we collect to have been no other than the truths revealed in Scripture, and interpreted by the Spirit of Truth himself; while the associations which beguiled the Catholics of Oxford, and their school, were such as might naturally haunt the retirement of contemplative Anglican divines, nurtured in the bosom of the Church, and might perpetually whisper high and wondrous things touching the majesty of Tradition, and the power and authority of their holy and venerated Mother. But, without speculating further, we propose to let the writer speak for himself. And this we are enabled to do without any
formidable demand upon the patience of our readers : for, he commences his last chapter with a statement of the following propositions; which, as he ventures to hope, have been “incontrovertibly established" by his foregoing investigations, viz.
That Christianity is not a system of opinions, or of observances, to be held or followed by individual men, but a substantial life, begotten and perpetually sustained by the third Person of the blessed Godhead, the Holy Ghost," the Lord and Giver of life," in a body of men incorporated together as “the Holy Catholic Church ;”—whence it follows,--that to make a man a Christian, is not a human, but a divine operation ;-that he who claims to be regenerate by the Holy Ghost, but is not a member of the Church, labours under a delusion ;--and that he who professes to be a member of the Church, but has no communion with the Holy Spirit, assumes a character which does not belong to him :
That the life of Christianity, i. e. fellowship with the Holy Spirit, and membership in the Church, is by divine appointment associated with certain outward and visible signs, and certain outward and visible acts, called the Sacraments and other means of grace ;-whence it follows,—that the divine and invisible operation, by which a man becomes and continues to be a Christian, must have certain human and visible accompaniments ;-that he who seeks to possess himself of the life of Christianity, apart from its visible accompaniments, attempts to reach the end without the means, which is a vain attempt ;—and that he who makes use of the visible accompaniments without reference to, or desire for, the life of Christianity, mistakes the means for the end, which is a fatal mistake :
That the ministration of the visible accompaniments of the life of Christianity is an office, not to be assumed by any man at his own or other men's pleasure, but bestowed upon men in virtue of a divine commission, issued by Christ, and transmitted from hand to hand, by Christ's appointment ;-whence it follows,that the Christian ministry is not a human, but a divine institution ;-that he who exercises the functions of the Christian ministry, without having had the office bestowed upon him by authorized hands, does but trifle with those men to whom he ministers;—and that he who seeks and obtains the ministerial office from authorized hands, and neglects to exercise its functions, or exercises them without reference to the life of Christianity, does but trifle with that God, in whose name he ministers :
That the purpose of God in planting and sustaining the life of Christianity in the Church, by means of visible accompaniments, and by the hand of appointed ministers, is fully, infallibly, and permanently, declared in a written record, the Holy Scriptures, emanating from, and authenticated by, God himself ;-whence it follows,--that Scripture is the document of the Church, the rule of her faith, and the warrant of her ministers ;—that an individual, or a body of individuals, which seeks Christianity in Scripture, apart from the Spirit and the Church, from the means and ministers of grace, mistakes the name for the thing, the record for the fact, the letter for the life ;-and that a Church which neglects or supersedes Scripture, renders her existence insecure, her faith unsound, and her ministrations unwarrantable :
That the Church, predestinated to be revealed in the world to come as a church triumphant, in unity, perfection, and glory, is appointed to dwell, according to God's counsel, in the present world as a church militant, in humility and imperfection, distributed over the surface of the earth and through the lapse of ages ;whence it follows,—that the church catholic comprehends, and consists of, a number of successive generations and cotemporary branches ;—that to lose sight of the relation which every branch and generation of the church bears to the church catholic, is to obliterate God's future and heavenly purpose in carnal attachment to present and earthly institutions ;—and that to seek or enforce an external agreement and union of the different branches and generations of the church catholic, is to nullify God's future and heavenly purpose, by attempting, in carnal impatience, to realize it in a present and earthly sense :
That for the progressive accomplishment of the same eternal purpose of building up a Church for his own glory, God has vouchsafed to every individual church, or branch of the church catholic, in every age and place, the same ever-abiding Spirit, the same inalienable means of grace, the sume indefeasible power of ministration, the same never-failing document of Holy Writ, and the same stedfast hope of future glory ;-whence it follows,—that the capability, as well as the responsibility, of fulfilling her share of God's purpose upon earth, is individually appointed to every branch and generation of the church ;—that for any individual church to suffer herself to be obstructed in acting up to the full measure of her capability, and discharging the full extent of her responsibility, by the want of simultaneous or analogous action in past generations or cotemporary branches of the church catholic, is to let the frailty of man prevail over the strength of God;- --and that for any individual church to lean upon, or shelter herself under, the precedent of past generations, or the consent of cotemporary branches of the church catholic, instead of standing upon the foundation of her own capability, and bearing the burden of her own responsibility, is to substitute the unanimity of sin for the simplicity of righteousness, and the universal insufficiency of man for the all-sufficiency of God.-- Pp. 322—326.
Such is the summary of the principles of this writer ; and it cannot be denied that they are entirely free from that ultra-Protestant, and anti-Catholic taint, which is working such awful confusion and disorder at the present day. But, still, on the other hand, it may easily be collected from the above propositions, that the author is a sturdy and uncompromising anti-traditionist. He contends, indeed, expressly, in various other parts of his volume, that Scripture is not only the ultimately conclusive, but the sufficient, document of the Church's faith. And yet, (so difficult is it to avoid the appearance of inconsistency, when working through the intricacies of this tormenting and tormented subject.) in one of his notes he makes a vigorous assault upon “the great principle of teaching the Scriptures without note or comment."
For who, (he asks,) that has had any experience of the workings of the human mind, is not aware, that to put the Bible into the hands of any learner, whether a child or an adult, without any leading idea or principle to guide him through the seeming labyrinth of its contents, is, in fact, recklessly to expose the party to all the chances of error which may result from the ignorant and often involuntary and unconscious connexion in his mind of things in themselves unconnected, but which by some train of association happen to present themselves in close connexion, on the first, and, may be, a second, and a third, superficial perusal of a book so varied in the forms, and so abundant in the matter of its information. Indeed the evil here complained of is not confined to those elementary schools in which the anti-note-and-comment principle is exhibited in the form of lesson-boards. The study of Scripture, not in the body, but in fragments, with its pernicious effects, reaches higher up, and is more widely extended, than might at first sight be imagined. Many fanciful and crotchety notions, with which we have to contend in these days, have their origin in the fact, that those who hold them, are anthologists in religion, and that their divinity is neither more nor less than a clumsily executed patch-work of ill-assorted Scripture texts.-P. 253.
Well,—but now let us imagine a stont traditionist to have been quietly peeping over the author's shoulder, while he was penning this note; and, when it was finished, to have come suddenly down upon him with this question,_“You tell us, that some leading idea, or principle, is required to guide the learner through the labyrinth of Scripture. But where is the leading idea, or principle, to be found? Are we to look for it in the multitudinous and multiform traditions which have accumulated, partly, as it were, by voluntary contribution, since the æra of the Reformation; or are we to seek it in the Catholic doctrinal tradition of the primitive Church?” Some difficulty, beyond all question, there is, in ascertaining, with entire precision, what, in all cases, the Catholic tradition may be. The golden theory of Vincent of Lerins, we know, can never be otherwise than approximately realized. But, if we must have leading ideas and principles, before we can hope to see our way through the seeming labyrinth of Scripture, from what source may we bopefully derive them, if not from the report of christian antiquity? more especially whenever the voice of christian antiquity is scarcely broken by a sound of discord or dissent. And what is this, but to receive our leading ideas and principles from the oracle of Catholic tradition ?
The author, indeed, is, so far, perfectly right,--that it would be little less than insanity to set down an ordinary learner to the study of the Scriptures, without the help of note, or comment, or tradition of any