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The Christian Life by Thomas Arnold

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From the Fifth London Edition.


"As far as the principle on which Archbishop Laud and his
followers acted went to re-actuate the idea of the church, as
a co-ordinate and living power by right of Christ's
institution and express promise, I go along with them; but I
soon discover that by the church they meant the clergy, the
hierarchy exclusively, and then I fly off from them in
a tangent.

"For it is this very interpretation of the church, that,
according to my conviction, constituted the first and
fundamental apostasy; and I hold it for one of the greatest
mistakes of our polemical divines, in their controversies
with the Romanists, that they trace all the corruptions of
the gospel faith to the Papacy."--COLERIDGE,

_Literary Remains_, vol. iii. p. 386.




GEN. iii. 22.--And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one
of us, to know good and evil.


1 COR. xiii. 11.--When I was a child I spake as a child, I understood as
a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away
childish things.


1 COR. xiii. 11.--When I was a child I spake as a child, I understood as
a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away
childish things.


COL. i. 9.--We do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might
be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual


COL. i. 9.--We do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might
be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual


COL. iii. 3.--Ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.


1 COR. iii. 21--23.--All things are yours; whether Paul, or Apollos, or
Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to
come; all are yours, and ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's.


GAL. v. 16, 17.--Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lusts
of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit
against the flesh; and these are contrary the one to the other, so that
ye cannot do the things that ye would.


LUKE xiv. 33.--Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he
hath, he cannot be my disciple.


1 TIM. i. 9.--The law is not made for a righteous man, but for the
lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy
and profane.


LUKE xxi. 36.--Watch ye, therefore, and pray always, that ye may be
accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and
to stand before the Son of Man.


PROV. i. 28.--Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer: they
shall seek me early, but they shall not find me.


MARK xii. 34.--Thou art not far from the kingdom of God.


MATT. xxii. 14.--For many are called, but few are chosen.


LUKE xi. 25.--When he cometh he findeth it swept and garnished.

JOHN v. 42.--I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you.


MATT. xi. 10.--I send my messenger before thy face, who shall prepare
thy way before thee.


1 COR. ii. 12.--We have received not the Spirit of the world, but the
Spirit which is of God.


GEN. xxvii. 38.--And Esau said unto his father, Hast thou but one
blessing, my father? Bless me, even me also, O my father.

MATT. xv. 27.--And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs
which fall from their master's table.


MATT. xxii. 32.--God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.


EZEK. xiii. 22.--With lies ye have made the heart of the righteous sad,
whom I have not made sad; and strengthened the hands of the wicked, that
he should not return from his wicked way, by promising him life.



HEB. iii. 16.--For some when they had heard did provoke; howbeit not all
that came out of Egypt by Moses.



JOHN i. 10.--He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the
world knew him not.



MATT. xxvi. 40, 41.--What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch
and pray, that ye enter not into temptation; the spirit indeed is
willing, but the flesh is weak.



ROMANS v. 8.--God commendeth his love towards us, in that, while we were
yet sinners, Christ died for us.



JOHN xx. 20.--Then the disciples went away again unto their own home.



ACTS xix. 2.--Have you received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?



JOHN iii. 9.--How can these things be?


EXOD. iii. 6.--And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon

LUKE xxiii. 30.--Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on
us; and to the hills, Cover us.


PSALM cxxxvii. 4.--- How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange


1 COR. xi. 26.--For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup,
ye do show the Lord's death till he come.


LUKE i. 3, 4.--It seemed good to me, also, having had perfect
understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in
order, most excellent Theophilus, that thou mightest know the certainty
of those things wherein thou hast been instructed.


Luke i. 3, 4.--It seemed good to me, also, having had perfect
understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in
order, most excellent Theophilus, that thou mightest know the certainty
of those things wherein thou hast been instructed.


JOHN ix. 29.--We know that God spake unto Moses; as for this fellow, we
know not from whence he is.


1 COR. xiv. 20.--Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit, in
malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.


MATT. xxvi. 45, 46.--Sleep on now and take your rest; behold the hour is
at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise,
let us be going: behold he is at hand that doth betray me.


2 COR. v. 17, 18.--Old things are passed away; behold all things are
become new, and all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself
by Jesus Christ.


EZEK. xx. 49.--Then said I, Ah, Lord God! they say of me Doth he not
speak parables?


ISAIAH v. 1.--Now will I sing to my well-beloved a song of my beloved
touching his vineyard.


COL. iii. 17.--Whatsoever ye do in the word or deed, do all in the name
of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him.



The contents of this volume will be found, I hope, to be in agreement
with its title.

Amongst the helps of Christian life, the highest place is due to the
Christian church and its ordinances. I have been greatly misunderstood
with respect to my estimate of the Christian church, as distinguished
from the Christian religion. I agree so far with those, from whom I in
other things most widely differ, that I hold the revival of the church
of Christ in its full perfection, to be the one great end to which all
our efforts should be directed. This is with me no new belief, but one
which I have entertained for many years. It was impressed most strongly
upon me, as it appears to have been upon others, by the remarkable state
of affairs and of opinions which we witnessed in this country about nine
or ten years ago; and everything since that time has confirmed it in my
mind more and more.

Others, according to their own statement, received the same impression
from the phenomena of the same period. But the movement had begun
earlier; nor should I object to call it, as they do, a movement towards
"something deeper and truer than satisfied the last century[1]." It
began, I suppose, in the last ten years of the last century, and has
ever since been working onwards, though for a long time slowly and
secretly, and with no distinctly marked direction. But still, in
philosophy and general literature, there have been sufficient proofs
that the pendulum, which for nearly two hundred years had been swinging
one way, was now beginning to swing back again; and as its last
oscillation brought it far from the true centre, so it may be, that its
present impulse may be no less in excess, and thus may bring on again,
in after ages, another corresponding reaction.

[Footnote 1: See Mr. Newman's Letter to Dr. Jelf, p. 27.]

Now if it be asked what, setting aside the metaphor, are the two points
between which mankind has been thus moving to and fro; and what are the
tendencies in us which, thus alternately predominating, give so
different a character to different periods of the human history; the
answer is not easy to be given summarily, for the generalisation which
it requires is almost beyond the compass of the human mind. Several
phenomena appear in each period, and it would be easy to give any one of
these as marking its tendency: as, for instance, we might describe one
period as having a tendency to despotism, and another to licentiousness:
but the true answer lies deeper, and can be only given by discovering
that common element in human nature which, in religion, in politics, in
philosophy, and in literature, being modified by the subject-matter of
each, assumes in each a different form, so that its own proper nature is
no longer to be recognized. Again, it would be an error to suppose that
either of the two tendencies which so affect the course of human affairs
were to be called simply bad or good. Each has its good and evil nicely
intermingled; and taking the highest good of each, it would be difficult
to say which was the more excellent;--taking the last corruption of
each, we could not determine which, was the more hateful. For so far as
we can trace back the manifold streams, flowing some from the eastern
mountains, and some from the western, to the highest springs from which
they rise, we find on the one side the ideas of truth and justice, on
the other those of beauty and love;--things so exalted, and so
inseparably united in the divine perfections, that to set either two
above the other were presumptuous and profane. Yet these most divine
things separated from each other, and defiled in their passage through
this lower world, do each assume a form in human nature of very great
evil: the exclusive and corrupted love of truth and justice becomes in
man selfish atheism; the exclusive and corrupted worship of beauty and
love becomes in man a bloody and a lying idolatry.

Such would be the general theory of the two great currents in which
human affairs may be said to have been successively drifting. But real
history, even the history of all mankind, and much more that of any
particular age or country, presents a picture far more complicated.
First, as to time: as the vessels in a harbour, and in the open sea
without it, may be seen swinging with the tide at the same moment in
opposite directions; the ebb has begun in the roadstead, while it is not
yet high water in the harbour; so one or more nations may be in advance
of or behind the general tendency of their age, and from either cause
may be moving in the opposite direction. Again, the tendency or movement
in itself is liable to frequent interruptions, and short
counter-movements: even when the tide is coming in upon the shore, every
wave retires after its advance; and he who follows incautiously the
retreating waters, may be caught by some stronger billow, overwhelming
again for an instant the spot which had just been left dry. A child
standing by the sea-shore for a few minutes, and watching this, as it
seems, irregular advance and retreat of the water, could not tell
whether it was ebb or flood; and we, standing for a few years on the
shore of time, can scarcely tell whether the particular movement which
we witness is according to or against the general tendency of the whole
period. Farther yet, as these great tendencies are often interrupted, so
are they continually mixed: that is, not only are their own good and bad
elements successively predominant, but they never have the world wholly
to themselves: the opposite tendency exists, in an under-current it may
be, and not lightly perceptible; but here and there it struggles to the
surface, and mingles its own good and evil with the predominant good and
evil of its antagonist. Wherefore he who would learn wisdom from the
complex experience of history, must question closely all its phenomena,
must notice that which is less obvious as well as that which is most
palpable; must judge not peremptorily or sweepingly, but with reserves
and exceptions; not as lightly overrunning a wide region of the truth,
but thankful if after much pains he has advanced his landmarks only a
little; if he has gained, as it were, but one or two frontier
fortresses, in which he can establish himself for ever.

Now, then, when Mr. Newman describes the movement of the present moment
as being directed towards "something better and deeper than satisfied
the last century," this description, although in some sense true, is yet
in practice delusive; and the delusion which lurks in it is at the root
of the errors of Mr. Newman and of his friends. They regard the
tendencies of the last century as wholly evil; and they appear to extend
this feeling to the whole period of which the last century was the
close, and which began nearly with the sixteenth century. Viewing in
this light the last three hundred years, they regard naturally with
excessive favour the preceding period, with which they are so strongly
contrasted; and not the less because this period has been an object of
scorn to the times which have followed it. They are drawn towards the
enemy of their enemy, and they fancy that it must be in all points their
enemy's opposite. And if the faults of its last decline are too palpable
to be denied, they ascend to its middle and its earlier course, and
finding that its evils are there less flagrant, they abandon themselves
wholly to the contemplation of its good points, and end with making it
an idol. There are few stranger and sadder sights than to see men
judging of whole periods of the history of mankind with the blindness of
party-spirit, never naming one century without expressions of contempt
or abhorrence, never mentioning another but with extravagant and
undistinguishing admiration.

But the worst was yet to come. The period which Mr. Newman and his
friends so disliked, had, in its religious character, been distinguished
by its professions of extreme veneration for the Scriptures; in its
quarrel with the system of the preceding period, it had rested all its
cause on the authority of the Scripture,--it had condemned the older
system because Scripture could give no warrant for it. On the other
hand, the partizans of the older system protested against the exclusive
appeal to Scripture; there was, as they maintained, another authority in
religious matters; if their system was not supported in all its points
by Scripture, it had at least the warrant of Christian antiquity. Thus
Mr. Newman and his friends found that the times which they disliked had
professed to rely on Scripture alone; the times which they loved had
invested the Church with equal authority. It was natural then to connect
the evils of the iron age, for so they regarded it, with this notion of
the sole supremacy of Scripture; and it was no less natural to associate
the blessings of their imagined golden age with its avowed reverence for
the Church. If they appealed only to Scripture, they echoed the language
of men whom they abhorred; if they exalted the Church and Christian
antiquity, they sympathised with a period which they were resolved to
love. Their theological writings from the very beginning have too
plainly shown in this respect the force both of their sympathies and
their antipathies.

Thus previously disposed, and in their sense or apprehension of the evil
of their own times already flying as it were for refuge to the system of
times past, they were overtaken by the political storm of 1831, and the
two following years. That storm rattled loudly, and alarmed many who had
viewed the gathering of the clouds with hope and pleasure; no wonder,
then, if it produced a stormy effect upon those who viewed it as a mere
calamity, an evil monster bred out of an evil time, and fraught with
nothing but mischief. Farther, the government of the country was now,
for the first time for many years, in the hands of men who admired the
spirit of the age, nearly as much as Mr. Newman and his friends abhorred
it. Thus all things seemed combined against them: the spirit of the
period which they so hated was riding as it were upon the whirlwind;
they knew not where its violence might burst; and the government of the
country was, as they thought, driving wildly before it, without
attempting to moderate its fury. Already they were inclined to recognise
the signs of a national apostasy.

But from this point they have themselves written their own history.--Mr.
Percival's letter to the editor of the Irish Ecclesiastical Journal,
which was reprinted in the Oxford Herald of January 80, 1841, is really
a document of the highest value. It acquaints us, from the very best
authority, with the immediate occasion of the publication of the Tracts
for the Times, and with the objects of their writers. It tells us
whither their eyes were turned for deliverance; with what charm they
hoped to allay the troubled waters. Ecclesiastical history would be far
more valuable than it is, if we could thus learn the real character and
views of every church, or sect, or party, from itself, and not from its

Mr. Percival informs us, that the Irish Church Act of 1833, which
abolished several of the Irish Bishoprics, was the immediate occasion of
the publication of the Tracts for the Times; and that the objects of
that publication were, to enforce the doctrine of the apostolical
succession, and to preserve the Prayer Book from "the Socinian leaven,
with which we had reason to fear it would be tainted by the
parliamentary alteration of it, which at that time was openly talked
of." But the second of these objects is not mentioned in the more formal
statements which Mr. Percival gives of them; and in what he calls the
"matured account" of the principles of the writers, it is only said,
"Whereas there seems great danger at present of attempts at unauthorized
and inconsiderate innovation as in other matters so especially in the
service of our Church, we pledge ourselves to resist any attempt that
may be made to alter the Liturgy on insufficient authority: i.e. without
the exercise of the free and deliberate judgment of the Church on the
alterations proposed." It would seem, therefore, that what was
particularly deprecated was "the alteration of the Liturgy on
insufficient authority," without reference to any suspected character of
the alteration in itself. But at any rate, as all probability of any
alteration in the Liturgy vanished very soon after the publication of
the tracts began, the other object, the maintaining the doctrine of the
apostolical succession, as it had been the principal one from the
beginning, became in a very short time the only one.

The great remedy, therefore, for the evils of the times, the "something
deeper and truer than satisfied the last century," or, at least, the
most effectual means of attaining to it, is declared to be the
maintenance of the doctrine of apostolical succession. Now let us hear,
for it is most important, the grounds on which this doctrine is to be
enforced, and the reason why so much stress is laid on it. I quote again
from Mr. Percival's letter.

"Considering, 1. That the only way of salvation is the partaking of the
body and blood of our sacrificed Redeemer;

"2. That the mean expressly authorized by him for that purpose is the
holy sacrament of his supper;

"3. That the security by him no less expressly authorized, for the
continuance and due application of that sacrament, is the apostolical
commission of the bishops, and under them the presbyters of the church;

"4. That under the present circumstances of the church in England, there
is peculiar danger of these matters being slighted and practically
disavowed, and of numbers of Christians being left, or tempted to
precarious and unauthorized ways of communion, which must terminate
often in vital apostasy:--

"We desire to pledge ourselves one to another, reserving our canonical
obedience, as follows:--

"1. To be on the watch for all opportunities of inculcating, on all
committed to our charge, a due sense of the inestimable privilege of
communion with our Lord, through the successors of the apostles, and of
leading them to the resolution to transmit it, by his blessing,
unimpaired to their children."

Then follow two other resolutions: one to provide and circulate books
and tracts, to familiarize men's minds with this doctrine; and the
other, "to do what lies in us towards reviving among churchmen, the
practice of daily common prayer, and more frequent participation of the
Lord's Supper."

The fourth resolution, "to resist unauthorized alterations of the
Liturgy," I have already quoted: the fifth and last engages generally to
place within the reach of all men, accounts of such points in our
discipline and worship as may appear most likely to be misunderstood or

These resolutions were drawn up more than seven years ago, and their
practical results have not been contemptible. The Tracts for the Times
amount to no fewer than ninety; while the sermons, articles in reviews,
stories, essays, poems, and writings of all sorts which have enforced
the same doctrines, have been also extremely numerous. Nor have all
these labours been without fruit: for it is known that a large
proportion of the clergy have adopted, either wholly or in great part,
the opinions and spirit of the Tracts for the Times; and many of the
laity have embraced them also.

It seems also, that in the various publications of their school, the
object originally marked out in the resolutions quoted above, has been
followed with great steadiness. The system has been uniform, and its
several parts have held well together. It has, perhaps, been carried on
of late more boldly, which is the natural consequence of success. It has
in all points been the direct opposite of what may be called the spirit
of English protestantism of the nineteenth century: upholding whatever
that spirit would depreciate; decrying whatever it would admire. A
short statement of the principal views held by Mr. Newman and his
friends, will show this sufficiently.

"The sacraments, and not preaching, are the sources of divine grace." So
it is said in the Advertisement prefixed to the first volume of the
Tracts for the Times, in exact conformity with the preamble to the
resolutions, which I have already quoted. But the only security for the
efficacy of the sacraments, is the apostolical commission of the
bishops, and under them, of the presbyters of the Church. So it is said
in the preamble to the resolutions. These two doctrines are the
foundation of the whole system. God's grace, and our salvation, come to
us principally through the virtue of the sacraments; the virtue of the
sacraments depends on the apostolical succession of those who administer
them. The clergy, therefore, thus holding in their hands the most
precious gifts of the Church, acquire naturally the title of the Church
itself; the Church, as possessed of so mysterious a virtue as to
communicate to the only means of salvation their saving efficacy,
becomes at once an object of the deepest reverence. What wonder if to a
body endowed with so transcendant a gift, there should be given also the
spirit of wisdom to discern all truth; so that the solemn voice of the
Church in its creeds, and in the decrees of its general councils, must
be received as the voice of God himself. Nor can such a body be supposed
to have commended any practices or states of life winch are not really
excellent; and the duty either of all Christians, or of those at least
who would follow the most excellent way. Fasting, therefore, and the
state of celibacy, are the one a christian obligation, the other a
christian perfection. Again, being members of a body so exalted, and
receiving our very salvation in a way altogether above reason, we must
be cautious how we either trust to our individual conscience rather
than to the command of the Church, or how we venture to exercise our
reason at all in judging of what the Church teaches; childlike faith and
childlike obedience are the dispositions which God most loves. What,
then, are they who are not of the Church, who do not receive the
Sacraments from those who can alone give them their virtue? Surely they
are aliens from God, they cannot claim his covenanted mercies; and the
goodness which may be apparent in them, may not be real goodness; God
may see that it is false, though to us it appears sincere; but it is
certain that they do not possess the only appointed means of salvation;
and therefore, we must consider their state as dangerous, although, we
may not venture to condemn them.

I have not consciously misrepresented the system of Mr. Newman and his
friends in a single particular; I have not, to my knowledge, expressed
any one of their tenets invidiously. An attentive reader may deduce, I
think, all the Subordinate points in their teaching from some one or
more of the principles which I have given; but I have not wilfully
omitted any doctrine of importance. And, in every point, the opposition
to what I may be allowed to call the protestantism of the nineteenth
century is so manifest, that we cannot but feel that the peculiar
character of the system is to be traced to what I have before
noticed--the extreme antipathy of its founders to the spirit which they
felt to be predominant in their own age and country.

It is worth our while to observe this, because fear and passion are not
the surest guides to truth, and the rule of contraries is not the rule
of wisdom. Other men have been indignant against the peculiar evils of
their own time, and from their strong impression of these have seemed to
lose sight of its good points; but Mr. Newman and his friends appear to
hate the nineteenth century for its own sake, and to proscribe all
belonging to it, whether good or bad, simply because it does belong to
it.--This diseased state of mind is well shown by the immediate occasion
of the organization of their party. Mr. Perceval tells us that it was
the Act for the dissolution of some of the Irish bishoprics, passed in
1833, winch first made the authors of the Tracts resolve to commence
their publication. Mr. Perceval himself cannot even now speak of that
Act temperately; he calls it "a wanton act of sacrilege," "a monstrous
act," "an outrage upon the Church;" and his friends, it may be presumed,
spoke of it at the time in language at least equally vehement. Now, I am
not expressing any opinion upon the justice or expediency of that Act;
it was opposed by many good men, and its merits or demerits were fairly
open to discussion; but would any fair and sensible person speak of it
with such extreme abhorrence as it excited in the minds of Mr. Perceval
and his friends? The Act deprived the Church of no portion of its
property; it simply ordered a different distribution of it, with the
avowed object on the part of its framers of saving the Church from the
odium and the danger of exacting Church Rates from the Roman Catholics.
It did nothing more than what, according to the constitution of the
Churches of England and Ireland, was beyond all question within its
lawful authority to do. The King's supremacy and the sovereignty of
Parliament may be good or bad, but they are undoubted facts in the
constitution of the Church of England, and have been so for nearly three
hundred years. I repeat that I am stating no opinion as to the merits of
the Irish Church Act of 1833; I only contend, that no man of sound
judgment would regard it as "a monstrous act," or as "a wanton
sacrilege." It bore upon it no marks of flagrant tyranny: nor did it
restrain the worship of the Church, nor corrupt its faith, nor command
or encourage anything injurious to men's souls in practice. Luther was
indignant at the sale of indulgences; and his horror at the selling
Church pardons for money was, by God's blessing, the occasion of the
Reformation. The occasion of the new counter-reformation was the
abolition of a certain number of bishoprics, that their revenues might
be applied solely to church purposes; and that the Church might so be
saved from a scandal and a danger. The difference of the exciting cause
of the two movements gives the measure of the difference between the
Reformation of 1517, and the views and objects of Mr. Newman and
his friends.

There are states of nervous excitement, when the noise of a light
footstep is distracting. In such a condition were the authors of the
Tracts in 1833, and all their subsequent proceedings have shown that the
disorder was still upon them. Beset by their horror of the nineteenth
century, they sought for something most opposite to it, and therefore
they turned to what they called Christian antiquity. Had they judged of
their own times fairly, had they appreciated the good of the nineteenth
century as well as its evil, they would have looked for their remedy not
to the second or third or fourth centuries, but the first; they would
have tried to restore, not the Church of Cyprian, or Athanasius, or
Augustine, but the Church of St. Paul and of St. John. Now, this it is
most certain that they have not done. Their appeal has been not to
Scripture, but to the opinions and practices of the dominant party in
the ancient Church. They have endeavoured to set those opinions and
practices, under the name of apostolical tradition, on a level with the
authority of the Scriptures. But their unfortunate excitement has made
them fail of doing even what they intended to do. It may be true that
all their doctrines may be found in the writings of those whom they call
the Fathers; but the effect of their teaching is different because its
proportions are altered. Along with their doctrines, there are other
points and another spirit prominent in the writings of the earlier
Christians, which give to the whole a different complexion. The Tracts
for the Times do not appear to me to represent faithfully the language
of Christian antiquity; they are rather its caricature.

Still more is this the case, when we compare the language of Mr. Newman
and his friends with that of the great divines of the Church of England.
Granting that many of these believed firmly in apostolical succession;
that one or two may have held general councils to be infallible; that
some, provoked by the extravagances of the puritans, have spoken
over-strongly about the authority of tradition; yet the whole works even
of those who agree with. Mr. Newman in these points, give a view of
Christianity different from that of the Tracts, because these points,
which in the Tracts stand forward without relief, are in our old divines
tempered by the admixture of other doctrines, which, without
contradicting them, do in fact alter their effect. This applies most
strongly, perhaps, to Hooker and Taylor; but it holds good also of Bull
and Pearson. Pearson's exposition of the article in the Creed relating
to the Holy Catholic Church is very different from the language of Mr.
Newman: it is such as, with perhaps one single exception, might be
subscribed by a man who did not believe in apostolical succession[2].
Again, Pearson is so far from making the creeds an independent
authority, co-ordinate with Scripture, that he declares, contrary, I
suppose, to all probability, that the Apostles' Creed itself was but a
deduction from our present Scriptures of the New Testament[3].
Undoubtedly the divines of the seventeenth century are more in agreement
with the Tracts than the Reformers are; but it is by no means true that
this agreement is universal. There is but one set of writers whose minds
are exactly represented by Mr. Newman and his friends, and these are the

[Footnote 2: The sixth and last mark which he gives of the unity of the
Church is, "the unity of discipline and government." "All the Churches
of God have the same pastoral guides appointed, authorized, sanctified,
and set apart by the appointment of God, by the direction of the Spirit,
to direct and lead the people of God in the same way of eternal
salvation; as, therefore, there is no Church where there is no order, no
ministry, so where the same order and ministry is, there is the same
Church. And this is the unity of regiment and discipline." Pearson on
the Creed, Art. IX. p. 341, seventh edit. fol. 1701. It would be easy to
put a construction upon this paragraph which I could agree with; but I
suppose that Pearson meant what I hold to be an error. Yet how gently
and generally is it expressed; and this doubtful paragraph stands alone
amidst seventeen folio pages on the article of the Holy Catholic Church.
And in his conclusion, where he delivers what "every one ought to intend
when they profess to believe the Holy Catholic Church," there is not a
word about its government; nor is Pearson one of those interpreters who
pervert the perfectly certain meaning of the word "Catholic" to favour
their own notions about episcopacy. I could cordially subscribe to every
word of this conclusion.]

[Footnote 3: "To believe, therefore, as the word stands in the front of
the Creed, ... is to assent to the whole and every part of it as to a
certain and infallible truth revealed by God, ... and delivered unto us
in the writings of the blessed apostles and prophets immediately
inspired, moved, and acted by God, out of whose writings this brief sum
of necessary points of faith was first collected." (P. 12.) And in the
paragraph immediately preceding, Pearson had said, "The household of God
is built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, who are
continued unto us only in their writings, and by them alone convoy unto
us the truths which they received from God, upon whose testimony we
believe." It appears, therefore, that Pearson not only subscribed the
6th Article of the Church of England, but also believed it.]

Many reasons, therefore, concur to make it doubtful whether the authors
of the Tracts have discovered the true remedy for the evils of their
age; whether they have really inculcated "something better and deeper
than satisfied the last century." The violent prejudice which previously
possessed them, and the strong feelings of passion and fear which led
immediately to their first systematic publications, must in the first
instance awaken a suspicion as to their wisdom; and this suspicion
becomes stronger when we find their writings different from the best of
those which they profess to admire, and bearing a close resemblance only
to those of the nonjurors. A third consideration is also of much
weight--that their doctrines do not enforce any great points of moral or
spiritual perfection which other Christians had neglected; nor do they,
in any especial manner, "preach Christ." In this they offer a striking
contrast to the religious movement, if I may so call it, which began
some years since in the University at Cambridge. That movement, whatever
human alloy might have mingled with it, bore on it most clear evidence
that it was in the main God's work. It called upon men to turn from sin
and be reconciled to God; it emphatically preached Christ crucified. But
Mr. Newman and his friends have preached as their peculiar doctrine, not
Christ but the Church; we must go even farther and say, not the Church,
but themselves. What they teach has no moral or spiritual excellence in
itself; but it tends greatly to their own exaltation. They exalt the
sacraments highly, but all that they say of their virtue, all their
admiration of them as so setting forth the excellence of faith, inasmuch
as in them the whole work is of God, and man has only to receive and
believe, would be quite as true, and quite as well-grounded, if they
were to abandon altogether that doctrine which it is their avowed object
especially to enforce--the doctrine of apostolical succession.
Referring again to the preamble of their original resolutions, already
quoted, we see that the two first articles alone relate to our Lord and
to his Sacraments; the third, which is the great basis of their system,
relates only to the Clergy. Doubtless, if apostolical succession be
God's will, it is our duty to receive it and to teach it; but a number
of clergymen, claiming themselves to have this succession, and insisting
that, without it, neither Christ nor Christ's Sacraments will save us,
do, beyond all contradiction, preach themselves, and magnify their own
importance. They are quite right in doing so, if God has commanded it;
but such preaching has no manifest warrant of God in it; if it be
according to God, it stands alone amongst his dispensations; his
prophets and his apostles had a different commission. "We preach," said
St. Paul, "not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your
servants for Jesus' sake." It is certain that the enforcing apostolical
succession as the great object of our teaching is precisely to do that
very thing which St. Paul was commissioned not to do.

This, to my mind, affords a very great presumption that the peculiar
doctrines of Mr. Newman and his friends, those which they make it their
professed business to inculcate, are not of God. I am anxious not to be
misunderstood in saying this. Mr. Newman and his friends preach many
doctrines which are entirely of God; as Christians, as ministers of
Christ's Church, they preach God's word; and thus, a very large portion
of their teaching is of God, blessed both to their hearers and to
themselves. Nay, even amongst the particular objects to which their own
"Resolutions" pledge them, one is indeed most excellent--"the revival of
daily common prayer, and more frequent participation of the Lord's
Supper." This is their merit, not as Christians generally, but as a
party, (I use the word in no offensive sense;) in this respect their
efforts have done, and are doing great good. But they have themselves
declared that they will especially set themselves to preach apostolical
succession; and it is with reference to this, that I charge them with
"preaching themselves;" it was of this I spoke, when I said that there
was a very great presumption that their peculiar doctrines were not
of God.

Again, the system which they hold up as "better and deeper than
satisfied the last century" is a remedy which has been tried once
already: and its failure was so palpable, that all the evil of the
eighteenth century was but the reaction from that enormous evil which
this remedy, if it be one, had at any rate been powerless to cure.
Apostolical succession, the dignity of the Clergy, the authority of the
Church, were triumphantly maintained for several centuries; and their
full development was coincident, to say the least, with the corruption
alike of Christ's religion and Christ's Church. So far were they from
tending to realize the promises of prophecy, to perfect Christ's body up
to the measure of the stature of Christ's own fulness, that Christ's
Church declined during their ascendancy more and more;--she fell alike
from truth and from holiness; and these doctrines, if they did not cause
the evil, were at least quite unable to restrain it. For, in whatever
points the fifteenth century differed from the fourth, it cannot be said
that it upheld the apostolical succession less peremptorily, or attached
a less value to Church tradition, and Church authority. I am greatly
understating the case, but I am content for the present to do so: I will
not say that Mr. Newman's favourite doctrines were the very Antichrist
which corrupted Christianity; I will only say that they did not prevent
its corruption,--that when they were most exalted Christian truth and
Christian goodness were most depressed.

After all, however, what has failed once may doubtless be successful on
a second trial: it is within possibility, perhaps, that a doctrine,
although destitute of all internal evidence showing it to come from God,
may be divine notwithstanding;--revealed for some purposes which we
cannot fathom, or simply as an exercise of our obedience. All this may
be so; and if it can be shown to be so, there remains no other course
than to believe God's word, and obey his commandments; only the strength
of the external evidence must be in proportion to the weakness of the
internal. A good man would ask for no sign from heaven to assure him
that God commands judgment, mercy, and truth; whatsoever things are
pure, and lovely, and of good report, bear in themselves the seal of
their origin; a seal which to doubt were blasphemy. But the cloud and
the lightnings and thunders, and all the signs and wonders wrought in
Egypt and in the Red Sea, were justly required to give divine authority
to mere positive ordinances, in which, without such external warrant,
none could have recognised the voice of God. We ask of Mr. Newman and
his friends to bring some warrant of Scripture for that which they
declare to be God's will. They speak very positively and say, that "the
security by our Lord no less expressly authorized for the continuance
and due application of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, is the
apostolical commission of the bishops, and under them the presbyters of
the Church." They say that our Lord has authorized this "no less
expressly" than he has authorized the Holy Supper as the mean of
partaking in his body and blood. What our Lord has said concerning the
communion is not truly represented: he instituted it as one mean of
grace among many; not as_the_ mean; neither the sole mean, nor the
principal. But allow, for an instant, that it was instituted as_the_
mean; and give this sense to those well-known and ever-memorable words
in which our Lord commanded his disciples to eat the bread and drink of
the cup, in remembrance of him. His words commanding us to do this are
express; "not less express," we are told, is his "sanction of the
apostolical commission of the bishops, as the security for the
continuance and due application of the Sacrament." Surely these writers
allow themselves to pervert language so habitually, that they do not
consider when, and with regard to whom, they are doing it. They say that
our Lord has sanctioned the necessity of apostolical succession, in
order to secure the continuance and efficacy of the sacrament, "no less
expressly" than he instituted the sacrament itself. If they had merely
asserted that he had sanctioned the necessity of apostolical succession,
we might have supposed that, by some interpretation of their own, they
implied his sanction of it, from words which, to other men, bore no such
meaning. But in saying that he has "expressly sanctioned it," they have,
most unconsciously, I trust, ascribed their own words to our Lord; they
make Mm to say what he has not said, unless they can produce[4] some
other credible record of his words besides the books of the four
evangelists and the apostolical epistles.

[Footnote 4: "Scripture alone contains what remains to us of our Lord's
teaching. If there be a portion of revelation sacred beyond other
portions, distinct and remote in its nature from the rest, it must be
the words and works of the eternal Son Incarnate. He is the one Prophet
of the Church, as he is our one Priest and King. His history is as far
above any other possible revelation, as heaven is above earth: for in it
we have literally the sight of Almighty God in his judgments, thoughts,
attributes, and deeds, and his mode of dealing with us his creatures.
Now, this special revelation is in Scripture, and in Scripture only:
tradition has no part in it."--_Newman's Lectures on the Prophetical
Office of the Church_. 1837. Pp. 347, 348.]

That their statement was untrue, and being untrue, that it is a most
grave matter to speak untruly of our Lord's commands, are points
absolutely certain. But if they recall the assertion, as to the
expressness of our Lord's sanction, and mean to say, that his sanction
is implied, and may be reasonably deduced from what he has said, then I
answer, that the deduction ought to be clear, because the doctrine in
itself bears on it no marks of having had Christ for its author. Yet so
far is it from true, that the necessity of apostolical succession, in
order to give efficacy to the sacrament, may be clearly deduced from any
recorded words of our Lord, that there are no words[5] of his from which
it can be deduced, either probably or plausibly; none with which it has
any, the faintest, connexion; none from which it could be even
conjectured that such a tenet had ever been in existence. I am not
speaking, it will be observed, of apostolical succession simply; but of
the necessity of apostolical succession, as a security for the efficacy
of the sacrament. That this doctrine comes from God, is a position
altogether without evidence, probability, or presumption, either
internal or external.

[Footnote 5: Since this was written, I have found out, what certainly it
was impossible to anticipate beforehand, that our Lord's words, "Do this
in remembrance of me," are supposed to teach the doctrine of the
priest's consecrating power. But the passage to which I refer is so
remarkable that I must quote it in its author's own words. Mr. Newman,
for the tract is apparently one of his, observes, that three out of the
four Gospels make no mention of the raising of Lazarus. He then goes on,
"As the raising of Lazarus is true, though not contained at all in the
first three Gospels; so the gift of consecrating the Eucharist may have
been committed by Christ to the priesthood, though only indirectly
taught in any of the four. Will you say I am arguing against our own
Church, which says the Scripture 'contains all things necessary to be
believed to salvation?' Doubtless, Scripture _contains_ all things
necessary to be _believed_; but there may be things _contained_ which
are not _on the surface_, and things which belong to the _ritual_, and
not to _belief_. Points of faith may lie _under_ the surface: points of
observance need not be in Scripture _at all_. The consecrating power is
a point of ritual, yet it _is_ indirectly taught in Scripture, though
not brought out, when Christ said, 'Do this,' for he spake to the
apostles, who were priests, not to his disciples generally."--_Tracts
for the Times_. Tract 85, p. 46.

This passage is indeed characteristic of the moral and intellectual
faults which I have alluded to as marking the writings of the supporters
of Mr. Newman's system. But what is become of the assertion, that this
security of the apostolical commission was "expressly authorized" by our
Lord, when it is admitted that it is only indirectly taught in
Scripture? And what becomes of the notion, that what our Lord did or
instituted may be learned from another source than Scripture, when Mr.
Newman has most truly stated, in the passage quoted in the preceding
note, that our Lord's history, the history of his words and works, "is
in Scripture, and Scripture only: tradition has no part in it?" I pass
over the surprising state of mind which could imagine a distinction
between things necessary to be believed, and necessary to be done; and
could conceive such a distinction to be according to the meaning of our
article. It would appear that this shift has been since abandoned, and
others, no way less extraordinary, have been attempted in its place; for
an extraordinary process it must be which tries to reconcile Mr.
Newman's opinions with the declaration of the sixth article. But now for
Mr. Newman's scriptural proof, that our Lord "committed to the
priesthood the gift of consecrating the Eucharist." "When Christ said,
'Do this,' he spake to the apostles, who were priests, not to his
disciples generally." This would prove too much, for it would prove that
none but the clergy were ordered to receive the communion at all: the
words, "Do this," referring, not to any consecration, of which there had
been no word said, but to the eating the bread, and drinking of the cup.
Again, when St. Paul says, "the cup which we bless,'--the bread which we
break," it is certain that the word "we," does not refer to himself and
Sosthenes, or to himself and Barnabas, but to himself and the whole
Corinthian church; for he immediately goes on, "for we, the whole number
of us," ([Greek: oi polloi] compare Romans xii. 5,) "are one body, for
we all are partakers of the one bread." Thirdly, Tertullian expressly
contrasts the original institution of our Lord with the church practice
of his own day, in this very point. "Eucharistiae sacramentum et in
tempore victus, et omnibus mandatum a Domino, etiam antelucanis coetibus
nee de aliorum manu quam praeridentium sumimus." (_De Corona Mililis_,
3.) I know that Tertullian believes the alteration to have been founded
upon an apostolical tradition; but he no less names it as a change from
the original institution of our Lord; nor does he appear to consider it
as more than a point of order. Lastly, what shadow of probability is
there, and is it not begging the whole question, to assume that our Lord
spoke to his apostles as priests, and not as representatives of the
whole Christian church? His language makes no distinction between his
disciples and those who were without; it repels it as dividing his
disciples from each other. His twelve disciples were the apostles of the
church, but they were not priests. In such matters our Lord's words
apply exactly, "One is your Master, even Christ, and all ye are

On the whole, then, the movement in the church, excited by Mr. Newman
and his friends, appears to be made in a false direction, and to be
incapable of satisfying the feeling which prompted it. I have not
noticed other presumptions against it, arising from the consequences to
which the original doctrines of the party have since led, or from
certain moral and intellectual faults which have marked the writings of
its supporters. It is enough to say, that the movement originated in
minds highly prejudiced beforehand, and under the immediate influence of
passion and fear; that its doctrines, as a whole, resemble the teaching
of no set of writers entitled to respect, either in the early church, or
in our own; that they tend, not to Christ's glory, or to the advancement
of holiness, but simply to the exaltation of the clergy; and that they
are totally unsupported by the authority of Scripture. They are a plant,
therefore, which our heavenly Father has not planted; a speaking in the
name of the Lord what the Lord has not commanded; hay and stubble,
built upon the foundation of Christ, which are good for nothing but to
be burned.

I have spoken quite confidently of the total absence of all support in
Scripture for Mr. Newman's favourite doctrine of "the necessity of
apostolical succession, in order to ensure the effect of the
sacraments." This doctrine is very different from that of the Divine
appointment of episcopacy as a form of government, or even from that of
the exclusive lawfulness of that episcopacy which has come down by
succession from the apostles. Much less is it to be confounded with any
notions, however exalted, of the efficacy of the sacraments, even though
carried to such a length as we read of in the early church, when living
men had themselves baptized as proxies for the dead, and when a portion
of the wine of the communion was placed by the side of a corpse in the
grave. Such notions may be superstitious and unscriptural, as indeed
they are, but they are quite distinct from a belief in the necessity of
a human priest to give the sacraments their virtue. And, without going
to such lengths as this, men may overestimate the efficacy of the
sacraments, to the disparagement of prayer, and preaching, and reading
the Scriptures, and yet may be perfectly clear from the opinion which
makes this efficacy depend immediately on a human administrator. And so
again, men may hold episcopacy to be divine, and the episcopacy of
apostolical succession to be the only true episcopacy, but yet they may
utterly reject the notion of its being essential to the efficacy of the
sacraments. It is of this last doctrine only that I assert, in the
strongest terms, that it is wholly without support in Scripture, direct
or indirect, and that it does not minister to godliness.

In truth, Mr. Newman and his friends are well aware that the Scripture
will not support their doctrine, and therefore it is that they have
proceeded to such, lengths in upholding the authority not of the creeds
only, but of the opinions and practices of the ancient church generally;
and that they try to explain away the clear language of our article,
that nothing "which is neither read therein (i.e. in holy Scripture,)
nor may be proved thereby, is to be required of any man that it should
be believed as an article of faith, or be thought requisite or necessary
to salvation." It would be one of the most unaccountable phenomena of
the human mind, were any man fairly to come to the conclusion that the
Scriptures and the early church were of equal authority, and that the
authority of both were truly divine. If any men resolve to maintain
doctrines and practices as of divine authority, for which the Scripture
offers no countenance, they of course are driven to maintain the
authority of the church in their own defence; and where they have an
interest in holding any particular opinion, its falsehood, however
palpable, is unhappily no bar to its reception. Otherwise it would seem
that the natural result of believing the early church to be of equal
authority with the Scripture, would be to deny the inspiration of
either. For two things so different in several points as the
Christianity of the Scriptures and that of the early church, may
conceivably be both false, but it is hard to think that they can both be
perfectly true.

I am here, however, allowing, what is by no means true, without many
qualifications, that Mr. Newman's system is that of the early church.
The historical inquiry as to the doctrines of the early church would
lead me into far too wide a field; I may only notice, in passing, how
many points require to be carefully defined in conducting such an
inquiry; as, for instance, what we mean by the term "early church," as
to time; for that may be fully true of the church in the fourth
century, which is only partially true of it in the third, and only in a
very slight degree true of it in the second or first. And again, what do
we mean by the term "early church," as to persons; for a few eminent
writers are not even the whole clergy; neither is it by any means to be
taken on their authority that their views were really those of all the
bishops and presbyters of the Christian world; but if they were, the
clergy are not the church, nor can their judgments be morally considered
as the voice of the church, even if we were to admit that they could at
any time constitute its voice legally. But, for my present purpose, we
may take for granted that Mr. Newman's system as to the pre-eminence of
the sacraments, and the necessity of apostolical succession to give them
their efficacy, was the doctrine of the early church; then I say that
this system is so different from that of the New Testament, that to
invest the two with equal authority is not to make the church system
divine, but to make the scriptural system human; or, at the best,
perishable and temporary, like the ceremonial law of Moses. Either the
church system must be supposed to have superseded the scriptural
system[6], and its unknown authors are the real apostles of our present
faith, in which case, we do not see why it should not be superseded in
its turn, and why the perfect manifestation of Christianity should not
be found in the Koran, or in any still later system; or else neither of
the two systems can be divine, but the one is merely the human
production of the first century, the other that of the second and third.
If this be so, it is clearly open to all succeeding centuries to adopt
whichever of the two they choose, or neither.

[Footnote 6: This, it is well known, has been most ably maintained by
Rothe, (_Artfange der Christlichen Kirche und ihrer Verfassung_,
Wittenberg, 1837,) with respect to the origin of episcopacy. He contends
that it was instituted by the surviving apostles after the destruction
of Jerusalem, as an intentional change from the earlier constitution of
the church, in order to enable it to meet the peculiar difficulties and
dangers of the times. To this belongs the question of the meaning of the
expression, [Greek: oi tais deuterais ton Apostolon diataxesi
parakolouthaekotes], in the famous Fragments of Irenaeus, published by
Pfaff, from a manuscript in the library of Turin, and to be found in the
Venice edition of Irenaeus, 1734, vol. ii. _Fragmentorum_, p. 10. But
then Rothe would admit that if the apostles altered what they themselves
had appointed, it would follow that neither their earlier nor their
later institutions were intended to be for all times and all places, but
were simply adapted to a particular state of circumstances, and were
alterable when that state was altered: in short, whatever institutions
the apostles changed were shown to be essentially changeable; otherwise
their early institution was defective, which cannot be conceived. And
thus it may well be that the early church may have altered, in some
points, the first institutions of the apostles, and may have been guided
by God's Spirit in doing so; but the error consists in believing that
the now institutions were to be of necessity more permanent than those
which they succeeded; in supposing that either the one or the other
belong to the eternal truths and laws of Christ's religion, when they
belong, in fact, to the essentially changeable regulations of
his church.]

To such consequences are those driven who maintain the divine authority
of the system of Mr. Newman. Assuredly the thirst for "something deeper
and truer than satisfied the last century," will not be allayed by a
draught so scanty and so vapid; but after the mirage has beguiled and
disappointed him for a season, the traveller presses on the more eagerly
to the true and living well.

In truth, the evils of the last century were but the inevitable fruits
of the long ascendency of Mr. Newman's favourite principles. Christ's
religion had been corrupted in the long period before the Reformation,
but it had ever retained many of its main truths, and it was easy, when
the appeal was once made to Scripture, to sweep away the corruptions,
and restore it in its perfect form; but Christ's church had been
destroyed so long and so completely, that its very idea was all but
lost, and to revive it actually was impossible. What had been known
under that name,--I am speaking of Christ's church, be it observed, as
distinguished from Christ's religion,--was so great an evil, that,
hopeless of drawing any good from it, men looked rather to Christ's
religion as all in all; and content with having destroyed the false
church, never thought that the scheme of Christianity could not be
perfectly developed without the restoration of the true one. But the
want was deeply felt, and its consequences were deplorable. At this
moment men are truly craving something deeper than satisfied the last
century; they crave to have the true church of Christ, which the last
century was without. Mr. Newman perceives their want, and again offers
them that false church which is worse than none at all.

The truths of the Christian religion are to be sought for in the
Scripture alone; they are the same at all times and in all countries.
With the Christian church it is otherwise; the church is not a
revelation concerning the unchangeable and eternal God, but an
institution to enable changeable man to apprehend the unchangeable.
Because man is changeable, the church is also changeable; changeable,
not in its object, which is for ever one and the same, but in its means
for effecting that object; changeable in its details, because the same
treatment cannot suit various diseases, various climates, various
constitutional peculiarities, various external influences.

The Scripture, then, which is the sole and direct authority for all the
truths of the Christian religion, is not in the same way, an authority
for the constitution and rules of the Christian church; that is, it does
not furnish direct authority, but guides us only by analogy: or it
gives us merely certain main principles, which we must apply to our own
various circumstances. This is shown by the remarkable fact, that
neither our Lord nor his apostles have left any commands with respect to
the constitution and administration of the church generally. Commands in
abundance they have left us on moral matters; and one commandment of
another kind has been added, the commandment, namely, to celebrate the
Lord's Supper. "Do this in remembrance of me," are our Lord's words; and
St. Paul tells us, if we could otherwise have doubted it, that this
remembrance is to be kept up for ever. "As often as ye eat that bread or
drink that cup ye do show the Lord's death _till he come_." This is the
one perpetual ordinance of the Christian church, and this is commanded
to be kept perpetually. But its other institutions are mentioned
historically, as things done once, but not necessarily to be always
repeated: nay, they are mentioned without any details, so that we do not
always know what their exact form was in their original state, and
cannot, therefore, if we would, adopt it as a perpetual model. Nor is it
unimportant to observe that institutions are recorded as having been
created on the spur of the occasion, if I may so speak, not as having
formed a part of an original and universal plan. A great change in the
character of the deacon, or subordinate minister's office, is introduced
in consequence of the complaints of the Hellenist Christians: the number
of the apostles is increased by the addition of Paul and Barnabas, not
appointed, as Matthias had been, by the other apostles themselves, but
by the prophets and teachers of the church of Antioch. Again, the
churches founded by St. Paul were each, at first, placed by him under
the government of several presbyters; but after his imprisonment at
Rome, finding that they were become greatly corrupted, he sends out
single persons, in two instances, with full powers to remodel these
churches, and with authority to correct the presbyters themselves: yet
it does not appear that these especial[7] visitors were to alter
permanently the earlier constitution of the churches; nor that they were
sent generally to all the churches which St. Paul had founded. Indeed,
it appears evident from the epistle of Clement, that the original
constitution of the church of Corinth still subsisted in his time; the
government was still vested not in one man, but in many[8]. Yet a few
years later the government of a single man, as we see from Ignatius, was
become very general; and Ignatius, as is well known, wishes to invest it
with absolute power[9]. I believe that he acted quite wisely according
to the circumstances of the church at that period; and that nothing less
than a vigorous unity of government could have struggled with the
difficulties and dangers of that crisis. But no man can doubt that the
system which Ignatius so earnestly recommends was very different from
that which St. Paul had instituted fifty or sixty years earlier.

[Footnote 7: The command, "to appoint elders in every city," is given to
Titus, according to Paul's practice when he first formed churches of the
Gentiles (Acts xiv, 2.) Nor did Timothy, or Titus, remain permanently at
Ephesus, or in Crete. Timothy, when St. Paul's second Epistle was
written to him, was certainly not at Ephesus, but apparently in Pontus;
and Titus, at the same period, was gone to Dalmatia: nor indeed was he
to remain in Crete beyond the summer of the year in which St. Paul's
Epistle was written; he was to meet Paul, in the winter, at Nicopolis.]

[Footnote 8: Only elders are spoken of as governing the church of
Corinth. It is impossible to understand clearly the nature of the
contest, and of the party against which Clement's Epistle is directed.
Where he wishes the heads of that party to say, [Greek: ei di eme stasis
kai eris kai schismata, ekchoro, apeimi, ou ean, boulaesthe, kai poio,
ta, prostassomena upo tou plaethous], c. 54, it would seem as if they
had been endeavouring to exercise a despotic authority over the church,
in defiance of the general feeling, as well as of the existing
government, like those earlier persons at Corinth, whom St. Paul
describes, in his second Epistle, xi. 20; and like Diotrephes, mentioned
by St. John, 3 Epist. 9, 10. But in a society where all power must have
depended on the consent of those subject to it, how could any one
exercise a tyranny against the will of the majority, as well as against
the authority of the Apostles? And [Greek: ta prostassomena upo tou
plaethous] must signify, I think, "the bidding of the society at large."
Compare for this use of [Greek: plaethos], Ignatius, Smyrna. 8;
Trallian. 1, 8. A conjecture might be offered as to the solution of this
difficulty, but it would lead mo into too long a discussion.]

[Footnote 9: Insomuch that he wished all marriages to be solemnized with
the consent and approbation of the bishop, [Greek: meta gnomaes tou
episkopou], that they might be "according to God, and not according to
passion;" [Greek: kapa Theon kai mae kat epithomian].--_Ad.
Polycarp_. 5.]

On two points, however,--points not of detail, but of principle,--the
Scripture does seem to speak decisively. 1st. The whole body of the
church was to take an active share in its concerns; the various
faculties of its various members were to perform their several parts: it
was to be a living society, not an inert mass of mere hearers and
subjects, who were to be authoritatively taught and absolutely ruled by
one small portion of its members. It is quite consistent with this,
that, at particular times, the church should centre all its own power
and activity in the persons of its rulers. In the field, the imperium of
the Roman consul was unlimited; and even within the city walls, the
senate's commission in times of imminent danger, released him from all
restraints of law; the whole power of the state was, for the moment,
his, and his only. Such temporary despotisms are sometimes not expedient
merely, but necessary: without them society would perish. I do not,
therefore, regard Ignatius's epistles as really contradictory to the
idea of the church conveyed to us in the twelfth chapter of St. Paul's
First Epistle to the Corinthians: I believe that the dictatorship, so to
speak, which Ignatius claims for the bishop in each church, was required
by the circumstances of the case; but to change the temporary into the
perpetual dictatorship, was to subvert the Roman constitution; and to
make Ignatius's language the rule, instead of the exception, is no less
to subvert the Christian church. Wherever the language of Ignatius is
repeated with justice, there the church must either be in its infancy,
or in its dotage, or in some extraordinary crisis of danger; wherever it
is repeated, as of universal application, it destroys, as in fact it has
destroyed, the very life of Christ's institution.

But, 2d, the Christian church was absolutely and entirely, at all times,
and in all places, to be without a human priesthood. Despotic government
and priesthood are things perfectly distinct from one another. Despotic
government might be required, from time to time, by this or that portion
of the Christian church, as by other societies; for government is
essentially changeable, and all forms, in the manifold varieties of the
condition of society, are, in their turn, lawful and beneficial. But a
priesthood belongs to a matter not so varying--the relations subsisting
between God and man. These relations were fixed for the Christian church
from its very foundation, being, in fact, no other than the main truths
of the Christian religion; and they bar, for all time, the very notion
of an earthly priesthood. They bar it, because they establish the
everlasting priesthood of our Lord, which leaves no place for any other;
they bar it, because priesthood is essentially mediation; and they
establish one Mediator between God and man--the Man Christ Jesus. And,
therefore, the notion of Mr. Newman and his friends, that the sacraments
derive their efficacy from the apostolical succession of the minister,
is so extremely unchristian, that it actually deserves to be called
anti-christian; for there is no point of the priestly office, properly
so called, in which the claim of the earthly priest is not absolutely
precluded. Do we want him for sacrifice? Nay, there is no place for him
at all; for our one atoning Sacrifice has been once offered; and by its
virtue we are enabled to offer daily our spiritual sacrifices of
ourselves, which no other man can by possibility offer for us. Do we
want him for intercession? Nay, there is One who ever liveth to make
intercession for us, through whom we have access to ([Greek:
prosalogaen], admission to the presence of) the Father, and for whose
sake, Paul, and Apollos, and Peter, and things present, and things to
come, are all ours already. His claim can neither be advanced or
received without high dishonour to our true Priest and to his blessed
gospel. If circumcision could not be practised, as necessary, by a
believer in Christ, without its involving a forfeiture of the benefits
of Christ's salvation; how much more does St. Paul's language apply to
the invention of an earthly priesthood--a priesthood neither after the
order of Aaron, nor yet of Melchisedek; unlawful alike under the law and
the gospel.

It is the invention of the human priesthood, which falling in,
unhappily, with the absolute power rightfully vested in the Christian
church during the troubles of the second century, fixed the exception as
the rule, and so in the end destroyed the church. It pretended that the
clergy were not simply rulers and teachers,--offices which, necessarily
vary according to the state of those who are ruled and taught,--but that
they were essentially mediators between God and the church; and as this
language would have sounded too profanely,--for the mediator between
God and the church can be none but Christ,--so the clergy began to draw
to themselves the attributes of the church, and to call the church by a
different name, such as the faithful, or the laity; so that to speak of
the church mediating for the people did not sound so shocking, and the
doctrine so disguised found ready acceptance. Thus the evil work was
consummated; the great majority of the members of the church, were
virtually disfranchised; the minority retained the name, but the
character of the institution was utterly corrupted.

To revive Christ's church, therefore, is to expel the antichrist of
priesthood, (which, as it was foretold of him, "as God, sitteth in the
temple of God, showing himself that he is God,") and to restore its
disfranchised members,--the laity,--to the discharge of their proper
duties in it, and to the consciousness of their paramount importance.
This is the point which I have dwelt upon in the XXXVIII^{th} Lecture,
and which is closely in connection with the point maintained in the
XL^{th}; and all who value the inestimable blessings of Christ's church
should labour in arousing the laity to a sense of their great share in
them. In particular, that discipline, which is one of the greatest of
those blessings, never can, and, indeed, never ought to be restored,
till the Church resumes its lawful authority, and puts an end to the
usurpation of its powers by the clergy. There is a feeling now awakened
amongst the lay members of our Church, which, if it can but be rightly
directed, may, by God's blessing, really arrive at something truer and
deeper than satisfied the last century, or than satisfied the last
seventeen centuries. Otherwise, whatever else may be improved, the laity
will take care that church discipline shall continue to slumber, and
they will best serve the church by doing so. Much may be done to spread
the knowledge of Christ's religion; new churches may be built; new
ministers appointed to preach the word and administer the sacraments;
those may hear who now cannot hear; many more sick persons may be
visited; many more children may receive religious instruction: all this
is good, and to be received with sincere thankfulness; but, with a
knowledge revealed to us of a still more excellent power in Christ's
church, and with the abundant promises of prophecy in our hands, can we
rest satisfied with the lesser and imperfect good, which strikes thrice
and stays? But, if the zeal of the lay members of our Church be directed
by the principles of Mr. Newman, then the result will be, not merely a
lesser good, but one fearfully mixed with evil--Christian religion
profaned by anti-christian fables, Christian holiness marred by
superstition and uncharitableness; Christian wisdom and Christian
sincerity scoffed at, reviled, and persecuted out of sight. This is
declared to us by the sure voice of experience; this was the fruit of
the spirit of priestcraft, with its accompaniments of superstitious
rites and lying traditions, in the last decline of the Jewish church;
this was the fruit of the same spirit, with the same accompaniments, in
the long decay of the Christian church; although, the indestructible
virtue of Christ's gospel was manifest in the midst of the evil, and
Christ, in every age and in every country, has been known with saving
power by some of his people, and his church, in her worst corruptions,
has taught many divinest truths, has inculcated many holiest virtues.

When the tide is setting strongly against us, we can scarcely expect to
make progress; it is enough if we do not drift along with it. Mr.
Newman's system is now at the flood; it is daily making converts; it is
daily swelled by many of those who neither love it nor understand it in
itself, but who hope to make it serve their purposes, or who like to
swim with the stream. A strong profession, therefore, of an opposite
system must expect, at the present moment, to meet with little favour;
nor, indeed, have I any hope of turning the tide, which will flow for
its appointed season, and its ebb does not seem to be at hand. But
whilst the hurricane rages, those exposed to it may well encourage one
another to hold fast their own foundations against it; and many are
exposed to it in whose welfare I naturally have the deepest interest,
and in whom old impressions may be supposed to have still so much force
that I may claim from them, at least, a patient hearing. I am anxious to
show them that Mr. Newman's system is to be opposed not merely on
negative grounds, as untrue, but as obstructing that perfect and
positive truth, that perfection of Christ's church, which the last
century, it may be, neglected, but which I value and desire as earnestly
as it can be valued and desired by any man alive. My great objection to
Mr. Newman's system is, that it destroys Christ's church, and sets up an
evil in its stead. We do not desire merely to hinder the evil from
occupying the ground, and to leave it empty; that has been, undoubtedly,
the misfortune, and partly the fault of Protestantism; but we desire to
build on the holy ground a no less holy temple, not out of our own
devices, but according to the teaching of Christ himself, who has given
us the outline, and told us what should be its purposes.

The true church of Christ would offer to every faculty of our nature its
proper exercise, and would entirely meet all our wants. No wise man
doubts that the Reformation was imperfect, or that in the Romish system
there were many good institutions, and practices, and feelings, which it
would be most desirable to restore amongst ourselves. Daily church
services, frequent communions, memorials of our Christian calling
continually presented to our notice, in crosses and way-side oratories;
commemorations of holy men, of all times and countries; the doctrine of
the communion of saints practically taught; religious orders, especially
of women, of different kinds, and under different rules, delivered only
from the snare and sin of perpetual vows; all these, most of which are
of some efficacy for good, even in a corrupt church, belong no less to
the true church, and would there be purely beneficial. If Mr. Newman's
system attracts good and thinking men, because it seems to promise them
all these things, which in our actual Church are not to be found, let
them remember, that these things belong to the perfect church no less
than to that of the Romanists and of Mr. Newman, and would flourish in
the perfect church far more healthily. Or, again, if any man admires Mr.
Newman's system for its austerities, if he regards fasting as a positive
duty, he should consider that these might be transferred also to the
perfect church, and that they have no necessary connexion with the
peculiar tenets of Mr. Newman. We know that the Puritans were taunted by
their adversaries for their frequent fasts, and the severity of their
lives; and they certainly were far enough from agreeing with Mr. Newman.
Whatever there is of good, or self-denying, or ennobling, in his system,
is altogether independent of his doctrine concerning the priesthood. It
is that doctrine which is the peculiarity of his system and of Romanism;
it is that doctrine which constitutes the evil of both, which
over-weighs all the good accidentally united with it, and makes the
systems, as such, false and anti-christian. Nor can any human being find
in this doctrine anything of a beneficial tendency either to his
intellectual, his moral, or his spiritual nature. If mere reverence be a
virtue, without reference to its object, let us, by all means, do
honour to the virtue of those who fell down to the stock of a tree; and
let us lament the harsh censure which charged them with "having a lie in
their right hand[10]."

[Footnote 10: The language which Mr. Newman and his friends have allowed
themselves to hold, in admiration of what they call reverential and
submissive faith, might certainly be used in defence of the lowest
idolatry; what they have dared to call rationalistic can plead such high
and sacred authority in its favour, that if I were to quote some of the
language of the "Tracts for the Times," and place by the side of it
certain passages from the New Testament, Mr. Newman and his friends
would appear to have been writing blasphemy. It seems scarcely possible
that they could have remembered what is said in St. Matthew xv. 9-20,
and who said it, when they have called it rationalism to deny a
spiritual virtue in things that are applied to the body.]

What does the true and perfect church want, that she should borrow from
the broken cisterns of idolatry? Holding all those truths in which the
clear voice of God's word is joined by the accordant confession of God's
people in all ages; holding all the means of grace of which she was
designed to be the steward--her common prayers, her pure preaching, her
uncorrupted sacraments, her free and living society, her wise and
searching discipline, her commemorations and memorials of God's mercy
and grace, whether shown in her Lord himself, or in his and her
members;--looking lovingly upon her elder sisters, the ancient churches,
and delighting to be in communion with them, as she hopes that her
younger sisters, the churches of later days, will delight to be in
communion with her;--what has she not, that Christ's bride should have?
what has she not, that Mr. Newman's system can give her? But because she
loves her Lord, and stands fast in his faith, and has been enlightened
by his truth, she will endure no other mediator than Christ, she will
repose her trust only on his word, she will worship in the light, and
will abhor the words, no less than the works, of darkness. Her sisters,
the elder churches, she loves and respects as she would be herself loved
and respected; but she will not, and may not, worship them, nor even,
for their sakes, believe error to be truth, or foolishness to be wisdom.
She dare not hope that she can be in all things a perfect guide and
example to the churches that shall come after her; as neither have the
churches before her been in all things a perfect guide and example to
herself. She would not impose her yoke upon future generations, nor will
she submit her own neck to the yoke of antiquity. She honours all men,
but makes none her idol; and she would have her own individual members
regard her with honour, but neither would she be an idol to them. She
dreads especially that sin of which her Lord has so emphatically warned
her--the sin against the Holy Ghost. She will neither lie against him by
declaring that he is where his fruits are not manifested; nor blaspheme
him, by saying that he is not where his fruits are. Rites and ordinances
may be vain, prophets may be false, miracles may be miracles of Satan;
but the signs of the Holy Spirit, truth and holiness, can never be
ineffectual, can never deceive, can never be evil; where they are, and
only where they are, there is God.

There are states of falsehood and wickedness so monstrous, that, to use
the language of Eastern mythology, the Destroyer God is greater than the
Creator or the Preserver, and no good can be conceived so great as the
destruction of the existing evil. But ordinarily in human affairs
destruction and creation should go hand in hand; as the evergreen shrubs
of our gardens do not cast their old leaves till the young ones are
ready to supply their place. Great as is the falsehood of Mr. Newman's
system, it would be but an unsatisfactory work to clear it away, if we
had no positive truth to offer in its room. But the thousands of good
men whom it has beguiled, because it professed to meet the earnest
craving of their minds for a restoration of Christ's church with power,
need not fear to open their eyes to its hollowness; like the false
miracles of fraud or sorcery, it is but the counterfeit of a real truth.
The restoration of the church, is, indeed, the best consummation of all
our prayers, and all our labours; it is not a dream, not a prospect to
be seen only in the remotest distance; it is possible, it lies very near
us; with God's blessing it is in the power of this very generation to
begin and make some progress in the work. If the many good, and wise,
and influential laymen of our Church would but awake to their true
position and duties, and would labour heartily to procure for the church
a living organization and an effective government, in both, of which the
laity should be essential members, then, indeed, the church would become
a reality[11]. This is not Erastianism, or rather, it is not what is
commonly cried down under that name; it is not the subjection of the
church to the state, which, indeed, would be a most miserable and most
unchristian condition; but it would be the deliverance of the church,
and its exaltation to its own proper sovereignty. The members of one
particular profession are most fit to administer a system in part, most
unfit to legislate for it or to govern it: we could ill spare the
ability and learning of our lawyers, but we surely should not wish to
have none but lawyers concerned even, in the administration of justice,
much less to have none but lawyers in the government or in parliament.
What is true of lawyers with regard to the state, is no less true of the
clergy with regard to the church; indispensable as ministers and
advisers, they cannot, without great mischief, act as sole judges, sole
legislators, sole governors. And this is a truth so palpable, that the
clergy, by pressing such a claim, merely deprive the church of its
judicial, legislative, and executive functions; whilst the common sense
of the church will not allow them to exercise these powers, and, whilst
they assert that no one else may exercise them, the result is, that they
are not exercised at all, and the essence of the church is destroyed.

[Footnote 11: The famous saying, "extra ecclesiam nulla salus," is, in
its idea, a most divine truth; historically and in fact it may be, and
often has been, a practical falsehood. If the truths of Christ's
religion were necessarily accessible only to the members of some visible
church, then it would be true always, inasmuch as to be out of the
church would then be the same thing as to be without Christ; and, as a
society, the church ought so to attract to itself all goodness, and by
its internal organization, so to encourage all goodness, that nothing
would be without its pale but extreme wickedness, or extreme ignorance;
and he who were voluntarily to forfeit its spiritual advantages, would
be guilty of moral suicide; so St. Paul calls the church the pillar and
ground of truth; that is, it was so in its purpose and idea; and he
therefore conjures Timothy to walk warily in it, and to take heed that
what ought to be the pillar and ground of truth should not be profaned
by fables, and so be changed into a pillar of falsehood. But to say
universally, as an historical fact, that "extra ecclesiam nulla salus,"
may be often to utter one of the worst of falsehoods. A ferry is set up
to transport men over an unfordable river, and it might be truly said
that "extra navem nulla salus;" there is no other safe way, speaking
generally, of getting over; but the ferryman has got the plague, and if
you go in the boat with him, you will catch it and die. In despair, a
man plunges into the water, and swims across; would not the ferryman be
guilty of a double falsehood who should call out to this man, "extra
navem nulla salus," insisting that he had not swum over, when he had,
and saying that his boat would have carried him safely, whereas it would
have killed him?]

The first step towards the restoration of the church seems to be the
revival of the order of deacons; which might be effected without any
other change in our present system than a repeal of all laws, canons, or
customs which prohibit a deacon from following a secular calling, which
confer on him any civil exemptions, or subject him to any civil
disqualifications. The Ordination Service, with the subscription to the
Articles, would remain perfectly unaltered; and as no deacon can hold
any benefice, it is manifest that the proposed measure would in no way
interfere with the rights or duties of the order of presbyters, or
priests, which would remain precisely what they are at present. But the
benefit in large towns would be enormous, if, instead of the present
system of district visiting by private individuals, excellent as that is
where there is nothing better, we could have a large body of deacons,
the ordained ministers of the church, visiting the sick, managing
charitable subscriptions, and sharing with their presbyter in those
strictly clerical duties, which now, in many cases, are too much for the
health and powers of the strongest. Yet a still greater advantage would
be found in the link thus formed between the clergy and laity by the
revival of an order appertaining in a manner to both. Nor would it be a
little thing that many who now become teachers in some dissenting
congregation, not because they differ from our Articles, or dislike our
Liturgy, but because they cannot afford to go to the universities, and
have no prospect of being maintained by the church, if they were to give
up their secular callings, would, in all human probability, be glad to
join the church, as deacons, and would thus be subject to her
authorities, and would be engaged in her service, instead of being
aliens to her, if not enemies.

When we look at the condition of our country: at the poverty and
wretchedness of so large a portion of the working classes; at the
intellectual and moral evils which certainly exist among the poor, but
by no means amongst the poor only; and when we witness the many partial
attempts to remedy these evils--attempts benevolent indeed and wise, so
far as they go, but utterly unable to strike to the heart of the
mischief; can any Christian doubt that here is the work for the church
of Christ to do; that none else can do it; and that with the blessing of
her Almighty Head she can? Looking upon the chaos around us, one power
alone can reduce it into order, and fill it with light and life. And
does he really apprehend the perfections and high calling of Christ's
church; does he indeed fathom the depths of man's wants, or has he
learnt to rise to the fulness of the stature of their divine remedy, who
comes forward to preach to us the necessity of apostolical succession?
Grant even that it was of divine appointment, still as it is
demonstrably and palpably unconnected with holiness, as it would be a
mere positive and ceremonial ordinance, it cannot be the point of most
importance to insist on; even if it be a sin to neglect this, there are
so many far weightier matters equally neglected, that it would be
assuredly no Christian prophesying which were to strive to direct our
chief attention to this. But the wholly unmoral character of this
doctrine, which if it were indeed of God, would make it a single
mysterious exception to all the other doctrines of the Gospel, is, God
be thanked, not more certain than its total want of external evidence;
the Scripture disclaims it, Christ himself condemns it.

I have written at considerable length: yet so vast is the subject, that
I may seem to some to have written superficially, and to have left my
statements without adequate support. I can only say that no one
paragraph has been written hastily, nor in fact is there one the
substance of which has not been for several years in my mind; indeed, in
many instances, not only the substance, but the proofs in detail have
been actually written: but to have inserted them here would have been
impracticable, as they would have been in themselves a volume. Neither
have I knowingly remained in ignorance of any argument which may have
been used in defence of Mr. Newman's system; I have always desired to
know what he and his friends say, and on what grounds they say it;
although, as I have not read the Tracts for the Times regularly, I may
have omitted something which it would have been important to notice.
Finally, in naming Mr. Newman as the chief author of the system which I
have been considering, I have in no degree wished to make the question
personal; but Mr. Percival's letter authorizes us to consider him as one
of the authors of it; and as I have never had any personal acquaintance
with him, I could mention his name with no shock to any private feelings
either in him or in myself. But I have spoken of him simply as the
maintainer of certain doctrines, not as maintaining them in any
particular manner, far less as actuated by any particular motives. I
believe him to be in most serious error; I believe his system to be so
destructive of Christ's church, that I earnestly pray, and would labour
to the utmost of my endeavours for its utter overthrow: but on the other
hand, I will not be tempted to confound the authors of the system with
the system itself; for I know that the most mischievous errors have been
promulgated by men who yet have been neither foolish nor wicked; and I
nothing doubt that there are many points in Mr. Newman, in which I might
learn truth from his teaching, and should be glad if I could come near
him in his practice.


In order to prevent the possibility of misunderstanding, it is proper to
repeat what has been often said by others, that the English word
"priest" has two significations,--the one according to its etymology,
through the French _pretre_, or _prestre_, and the Latin _presbyterus_,
from the Greek [Greek: presbuteros]; in which sense it is used in our
Liturgy and Rubrics, and signifies merely "one belonging to the order of
Presbyters," as distinguished from the other two orders of bishops and
deacons. But the other signification of the word "priest," and which we
use, as I think, more commonly, is the same with the meaning of the
Latin word _sacerdos_, and the Greek word [Greek: iepeus], and means,
"one who stands as a mediator between God and the people, and brings
them to God by the virtue of certain ceremonial acts which he performs
for them, and which they could not perform for themselves without
profanation, because they are at a distance from God, and cannot, in
their own persons, venture to approach towards him." In this sense of
the word "priest," the term is not applied to the ministers of the
Christian church, either by the Scripture, or by the authorized
formularies of the Church of England; although, in the other sense, as
synonymous with Presbyters, it is used in our Prayer Book repeatedly. Of
course, not one word of what I have written is meant to deny the
lawfulness and importance of the order of Presbyters in the church; I
have only spoken against a priesthood, in the other sense of the word,
in which a "priest" means "a mediator between God and man;" in that
sense, in short, in which the word is not a translation of [Greek:
presbuteros], but [iereus].


* * * * *

GENESIS iii. 22.

_And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know
good and evil_.

This is declared to be man's condition after the Fall. I will not
attempt to penetrate into that which is not to be entered into, nor to
pretend to discover all that may be concealed beneath the outward, and
in many points clearly parabolical, form of the account of man's
temptation and sin. But that condition to which his sin brought him is
our condition; with that, undoubtedly, we are concerned; that must be
the foundation of all sound views of human nature; the double fact
employed in the word fall is of the last importance; the fact on the one
hand of our present nature being evil, the fact on the other hand that
this present nature is not our proper nature; that the whole business of
our lives is to cast it off, and to return to that better and holy
nature, which, in truth, although not in fact, is the proper nature
of man.

All individual experience, then, and all history begins in something
which is evil; all our course, whether as individuals or as nations, is
a progress, an advance, a leaving behind us something bad, and a going
forwards towards something that is good. But individual experience, and
history apart from Christianity, would make us regard this progress as
fearfully uncertain. Clear it is that we are in an evil case; we have
lost our way; we are like men who are bewildered in those endless
forests of reeds which line some of the great American rivers; if we
stay where we are, the venomous snakes may destroy us; or the deadly
marsh air when night comes on will be surely fatal; it is death to
remain, but yet if we move, we know not what way will lead us out, and
it may be that, while seeming to advance, we shall but be going round
and round, and shall at last find ourselves hard by the place from which
we set out in the beginning. Nay, we may even feel a doubt,--a doubt, I
say, though not a reasonable belief,--but a doubt which at times would
press us sorely, whether the tangled thicket in which we are placed has
any end at all; whether our fond notions of a clear and open space, a
pure air, and a fruitful and habitable country, are not altogether
merely imaginary; whether the whole world be not such a region of death
as the spot in which we are actually prisoned; whether there remains any
thing for us, but to curse our fate, and lie down and die. Under such
circumstances, although we should admire the spirit which hoped against
hope; which would make an effort for deliverance; which would, at any
rate, flee from the actual evil, although, other evil might receive him
after all his struggles; yet we could forgive those who yielded at once
to their fate, and who sat down quietly to wait for their death, without
the unavailing labour of a struggle to avoid it.

But when the declaration has been made to us by God himself, that this
dismal swamp in which we are prisoners is but an infinitely small
portion of his universe, that there do exist all those goodly forms
which we fancied; and more, when God declares too that we were in the
first instance designed to enjoy them; that our error brought us into
the thicket, having been once out of it; that we may escape from it
again; nay, much more still, when He shows us the true path to escape,
and tells us, that the obstacles in our way have been cleared, and that
he will give us strength to accomplish, the task of escaping, and will
guide us that we do not miss the track; then what shall we say to those
who insist upon, remaining where they are, but that they are either
infatuated, or indolent and cowardly even to insanity; that they are
refusing certain salvation, and are, by their own act, giving themselves
over to inevitable death.

This, then, is the truth taught us by the doctrine of the Fall; not so
much that it is our certain destruction to remain where we are, for that
our own sense and reason declare to us, if we will but listen to them;
but that our present position is not that for which God designed us, and
that to rest satisfied with it is not a yielding to an unavoidable
necessity, but the indolently or madly shrinking from the effort which
would give us certain deliverance.

Now it is a part of our present evil condition from which we must
escape, that we know good and evil. We are in the world where evil
exists within us, and about us; we cannot but know it. True it is, that
it was our misfortune to become acquainted with it; this noisome
wilderness of reeds, this reeking swamp; it would have been far happier
for us, no doubt, had we never become aware of their existence. But that
wish is now too late. We are in the midst of this dismal place, and the
question now is, how to escape from it. We may shut our eyes, and say we
will not see objects so unsightly; but what avails it, if the marsh
poison finds its way by other senses, if we cannot but draw it in with
our breath, and so we must die? And such is the case of those who now
in this present world confound ignorance with innocence. This is a fatal
mistaking of our present condition for our past; there was a time when
to the human race ignorance was innocence; but now it is only folly and
sin. For as I supposed that a man lost in one of those noxious swamps
might shut his eyes, and so keep himself in some measure in ignorance,
yet the poison would be taken in with his breath, and so he would die:
even thus, whilst we would fain shut the eyes of our understanding, and
would so hope to be in safety, our passions are all the time alive and
active, and they catch the poison of the atmosphere around us, and we
are not innocent, but foolishly wicked.

We must needs consider this carefully; for, to say nothing of wider
questions of national importance, who that sees before him, as we must
see it, the gradual change from childhood to boyhood, who that sees
added knowledge often accompanied with added sin, can help wishing that
the earlier ignorance of evil might still be continued; and fancying
that knowledge is at best but a doubtful blessing?

But our path is not backwards, but onwards. Israel in the desert was
hungry and thirsty, while in Egypt he had eaten bread to the full;
Israel in the desert saw a wide waste of sand, or sandy rock, around
him, while in Egypt he had dwelt in those green pastures and watered
gardens to which the Nile had given freshness and life. But that
wilderness is his appointed way to Canaan; its dreariness must be
exchanged for the hills and valleys of Canaan, and must not drive him
back again to the low plain of Egypt. There is a moral wilderness which
lies in the early part of our Christian course; but we must not hope to
escape from it but by penetrating through it to its furthest side.

Undoubtedly this place, and other similar places, which receive us when
we have quitted the state of childhood, and before our characters are
formed in manhood, do partake somewhat of the character of the
wilderness; and it is not unnatural that many should shrink back from
them in fear. We see but too often the early beauty of the character
sadly marred, its simplicity gone, its confidence chilled, its
tenderness hardened; where there was gentleness, we see roughness and
coarseness; where there was obedience, we find murmuring, and self-will,
and pride; where there was a true and blameless conversation, we find
now something of falsehood, something of profaneness, something of
impurity. I can well conceive what it must be to a parent to see his
child return from school, for the first time, with the marks of this
grievous change upon him: I can well conceive how bitterly he must
regret having ever sent him to a place of so much, danger; how fondly he
must look back to the days of his early innocence. And if a parent feels
thus, what must be our feelings, seeing that this evil has been wrought
here? Are we not as those who, when pretending to give a wholesome
draught, have mixed the cup with poison? How can we go on upholding a
system, the effects of which appear to be so merely mischievous?

Believe me, that such questions must and ought to present themselves to
the mind of every thinking man who is concerned in the management of a
school: and I do think that we could not answer them satisfactorily,
that our work would absolutely be unendurable, if we did not bear in
mind that our eyes should look forward, and not backward; if we did not
remember that the victory of fallen man is to be sought for, not in
innocence, but in tried virtue. Comparing only the state of a boy after
his first half-year, or year, at school, with his earlier state as a
child, and our reflections on the evil of our system would be bitter
indeed; but when we compare a boy's state after his first half-year, or
year, at school, with what it is afterwards; when we see the clouds
again clearing off; when we find coarseness succeeded again by delicacy;
hardness and selfishness again broken up, and giving place to affection
and benevolence; murmuring and self-will exchanged for humility and
self-denial; and the profane, or impure, or false tongue, uttering again
only the words of truth and purity; and when we see that all these good
things are now, by God's grace, rooted in the character; that they have
been tried, and grown up amidst the trial; that the knowledge of evil
has made them hate it the more, and be the more aware of it; then we can
look upon our calling with patience, and even with thankfulness; we see
that the wilderness has been gone through triumphantly, and that its
dangers have hardened and strengthened the traveller for all his
remaining pilgrimage.

For the truth is, that to the knowledge of good and evil we are born;
and it must come upon us sooner or later. In the common course of
things, it comes about that age with which we are here most concerned. I
do not mean that there are not faults in early childhood--we know that
there are;--but we know also that with the strength and rapid growth of
boyhood there is a far greater development of these faults, and
particularly far less of that submissiveness which belonged naturally to
the helplessness of mere childhood. I suppose that, by an extreme care,
the period of childhood might be prolonged considerably; but still it
must end; and the knowledge of good and evil, in its full force, must
come. I believe that this must be; I believe that no care can prevent
it, and that an extreme attempt at carefulness, whilst it could not
keep off the disorder, would weaken the strength, of the constitution to
bear it. But yet you should never forget, and I should never forget,
that although the evils of schools in some respects must be, yet, in
proportion as they exceed what must be, they do become at once
mischievous and guilty. And such, or even worse, is the mischief when,
with the evil which must be, there is not the good which ought to be;
for, remember, our condition is to know good and evil. If we know only
evil, it is the condition of hell; and therefore, if schools present an
unmixed experience, if there is temptation in abundance, but no support
against temptation, and no examples of overcoming it; if some are losing
their child's innocence, but none, or very few, are gaining a man's
virtue; are we in a wholesome state then? or can we shelter ourselves
under the excuse that our evil is unavoidable, that we do but afford, in
a mild form, the experience which must be learned sooner or later? It is
here that we must be acquitted or condemned. I can bear to see the
overclouding of childish simplicity, if there is a reasonable hope that
the character so clouded for a time will brighten again into Christian
holiness. But if we do not see this, if innocence is exchanged only for
vice, then we have not done our part, then the evil is not unavoidable,
but our sin: and we may be assured, that for the souls so lost, there
will be an account demanded hereafter both of us and you.


* * * * *

1 CORINTHIANS xiii. 11.

_When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I
thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away
childish things_.

Taking the Apostle's words literally, it might appear that no words in
the whole range of Scripture were less applicable to the circumstances
of this particular congregation: for they speak of childhood and of
manhood; and as all of us have passed the one, so a very large
proportion of us have not yet arrived at the other. But when we consider
the passage a little more carefully, we shall see that this would be a
very narrow and absurd objection. Neither the Apostle, nor any one else,
has ever stepped directly from childhood into manhood; it was his
purpose here only to notice the two extreme points of the change which
had taken place in him, passing over its intermediate stages; but he,
like all other men, must have gone through those stages. There must have
been a time in his life, as in all ours, when his words, his thoughts,
and his understanding were neither all childish, nor all manly: there
must have been a period, extending over some years, in which they were
gradually becoming the one less and less, and the other more and more.
And as it suited the purposes of his comparison to look at the change in
himself only when it was completed, so it will suit our object here to
regard it while in progress, to consider what it is, to ask the two
great questions, how far it can be hastened, and how far it ought to
be hastened.

"When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I
thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish
things." It will be seen at once, that when the Apostle speaks of
thought and understanding, ([Greek: erronoun elogizomeaen],) he does not
mean the mere intellect but all the notions, feelings, and desires of
our minds, which partake of an intellectual and of a moral character
together. He is comparing what we should call the whole nature and
character of childhood with those of manhood. Let us see, for a moment,
in what they most strikingly differ.

Our Lord's well-known words suggest a difference in the first place,
which is in favour of childhood. When he says, "Except ye be converted,
and become as little children, ye can in no case enter into the kingdom
of heaven," he must certainly ascribe some one quality to childhood, in
which manhood is generally deficient. And the quality which he means is
clearly humility; or to speak perhaps more correctly, teachableness. It
is impossible that a child can have that confidence in himself, which
disposes him to be his own guide. He must of necessity lean on others,
he must follow others, and therefore he must believe others. There is in
his mind, properly speaking, nothing which can be called prejudice; he
will not as yet refuse to listen, as thinking that he knows better than
his adviser. One feeling, therefore, essential to the perfection of
every created and reasonable being, childhood has by the very law of its
nature; a child cannot help believing that there are some who are
greater, wiser, better than himself, and he is disposed to follow
their guidance.

This sense of comparative weakness is founded upon truth, for a child
is of course unfit to guide himself. Without noticing mere bodily
helplessness, a child knows scarcely what is good and what is evil; his
desires for the highest good are not yet in existence; his moral sense
altogether is exceedingly weak, and would yield readily to the first
temptation. And, because those higher feelings, which are the great
check to selfishness, have not yet arisen within him, the selfish
instinct, connected apparently with all animal life, is exceedingly
predominant in him. If a child then on the one hand be teachable, yet he
is at the same time morally weak and ignorant, and therefore
extremely selfish.

It is also a part of the nature of childhood to be the slave of present
impulses. A child is not apt to look backwards or forwards, to reflect
or to calculate. In this also he differs entirely from the great quality
which befits man as an eternal being, the being able to look before
and after.

Not to embarrass ourselves with too many points, we may be content with
these four characteristics of childhood, teachableness, ignorance,
selfishness, and living only for the present. In the last three of
these, the perfect man should put away childish things; in the first
point, or teachableness, while he retained it in principle, he should
modify it in its application. For while modesty, humility, and a
readiness to learn, are becoming to men no less than to children; yet it
should be not a simple readiness to follow others, but only to follow
the wise and good; not a sense of utter helplessness which catches at
the first stay, whether sound or brittle; but such a consciousness of
weakness and imperfection, as makes us long to be strengthened by Him
who is almighty, to be purified by Him who is all pure.

I said, and it is an obvious truth, that the change from childhood to
manhood is gradual; there is a period in our lives, of several years,
in which we are, or should be, slowly exchanging the qualities of one
state for those of the other. During this intermediate state, then, we
should expect to find persons become less teachable, less ignorant, less
selfish, less thoughtless. "Less teachable," I would wish to mean, in
the sense of being "less indiscriminately teachable;" but as the evil
and the good are, in human things, ever mixed up together, we may be
obliged to mean "less teachable" simply. And, to say the very truth, if
I saw in a young man the changes from childhood in the three other
points, if I found him becoming wiser, and less selfish, and more
thoughtful, I should not be very much disturbed if I found him for a
time less teachable also. For whilst he was really becoming wiser and
better, I should not much wonder if the sense of improvement rather than
of imperfection possessed him too strongly; if his confidence in himself
was a little too over-weening. Let him go on a little farther in life,
and if he really does go on improving in wisdom and goodness, this
over-confidence will find its proper level. He will perceive not only
how much he is doing, or can do, but how much there is which he does not
do, and cannot. To a thoughtful mind added years can scarcely fail to
teach, humility. And in this the highest wisdom of manhood may be
resembling more and more the state of what would be perfect childhood,
that is, not simply teachableness, but tractableness with respect to
what was good and true, and to that only.

But the danger of the intermediate state between childhood and manhood
is too often this, that whilst in the one point of teachableness, the
change runs on too fast, in the other three, of wisdom, of
unselfishness, and of thoughtfulness, it proceeds much too slowly: that
the faults of childhood thus remain in the character, whilst
that quality by means of which these faults are meant to be
corrected,--namely, teachableness,--is at the same time diminishing.
Now, teachableness as an instinct, if I may call it so, diminishes
naturally with the consciousness of growing strength. By strength, I
mean strength of body, no less than strength of mind, so closely are our
body and mind connected with, each other. The helplessness of childhood,
which presses upon it every moment, the sense of inability to avoid or
resist danger, which makes the child run continually to his nurse or to
his mother for protection, cannot but diminish, by the mere growth of
the bodily powers. The boy feels himself to be less helpless than the
child, and in that very proportion he is apt to become less teachable.
As this feeling of decreased helplessness changes into a sense of
positive vigour and power, and as this vigour and power confer an

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