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authority, which were recognised by the Church of Rome. With out denying the validity of those other sources, such as tradition, and the decrees of Councils, they could never have secured to the Bible such an interpretation as they themselves believed to be true. For this purpose, it was previously necessary to divest it of the glosses which perverted its real meaning. But did they stop here, and leave the Bible without any interpretation No. One of the first steps, which were taken by Luther and Melancthon, was to compose a Confession of Faith, which, in their opinion, was founded on a true interpretation of the Bible. This Confession was afterwards improved into the Confession of Augsburg, which became, and still remains, the standard of Lutheran faith. Our own Reformers acted in the same manner. Though they asserted that the Bible alone contained all things which were necessary to salvation, they did not leave the interpretation of it to mere chance. From a knowledge of former perversions, they justly apprehended perversions of it in future. Nor was it possible, without devising some means of security, to prevent a relapse into those very errors, which they sacrificed their lives to remove. They deemed it necessary, therefore, to employ that knowledge of the Scriptures, which they so eminently possessed, in composing a system of doctrines, which are really founded on the Bible, when rightly understood.
But, says the Dean of Carlisle, (after properly observing that “ our Liturgy itself owes its establishment to the free use of the Bible among the people”) “ 1 greatly mistake, if, arnong the numerous errors of the Church of Rome, there exists a more dangerous tenet, than that the Holy Scriptures themselves must be tried at the bar of the traditions of fallible men.” Now, with great deference to the Dean of Carlisle, I would humbly ask him, whether we try the Scriptures by our Liturgy and Articles, or the Liturgy and Articles by the Scriptures ? · As far as my reading extends, I know of no Protestant, from the Reformers themselves to the Divines of the present age, who have had recourse to the former kind of trial. At least, I can answer for myself, that I have always made the Scriptures the test, by which I have tried the Liturgy and Articles : and the more frequently I have tried them by that test, the more firmly I have been persuaded, that the doctrines contained in them are warranted by Scripture. It is on this ground, and on this ground
enly, that I recommend their distribution in company with the Bible, not as a “ corrective," as Dr. Milner calls it, but as a safeguard against the false interpretations to which men are now exposed on every side. Our Reformers themselves acted on the same principle. They did not withhold the Bible from general use, and say, “ Here are the doctrines which are decreed by the Church.” They laid it open to all men to compare it with the doctrines which they deduced; and they claimed the assent of the public to their interpretation of the Bible, on the ground of its conformity with the original. On the ground of this conformity, our Liturgy and Articles were afterwards sanctioned by the authority of Parliament, and were incorporated in the law of the land. No doubt, our Reformers were fallible, like other men. But the question is not, whether they were fallible, but whether they failed; not whether they could not err, but whether they did err. And I am sure the Dean of Carlisle will not assert that they did err, or he would not by his subscription, agreeably to the Act of Uniformity, have declared his “ unfeigned assent and consent to all and every thing contained and prescribed in and by the book entitled the Book of Common Prayer.” However desirous Dr. Milner may have been, to vindicate the distribution of the Bible alone by the Society, of which he is so zealous an advocate, however desirous, therefore, he might have been to hold out to public indignation a Professor, who contends for the distribution of the Liturgy in company with the Bible, it was surely incautious in a Dean and a Master of a College, to deliver, before a numerous body of young men, of whom the greater part were designed for holy orders, such sentiments as could not fail to diminish, in their estimation, the value of a book to which they will shortly subscribe, and which is really the bulwark of the established church. It is true, that Dr. Milner had previously declared, that no man could entertain a more exalted idea of our Liturgy than himself; nor do I question the sincerity of his assertion. But when he afterwards declared that he“ would not represent the distribution of the Bible alone, as a thing that cannot be done with safety, unless accompanied with the Corrective of a Prayer Book of the Church of England;" when, mentioning the Liturgy again by nanie, he represented it as “a dungerous tenet,” that the Scriptures should be tried by “ the traditions of fallible men,” his hearers could not fail to apply this last expression to the Liturgy itself: they could not fail therefore to conclude that the Liturgy was not so necessary for a true Protestant as the Margaret Professor would make them believe. Nor was this the only unfavorable impression which must have been made on their minds. The very name of tradition, when applied by a Protestant to the Church of Rome, is a term of reproach. And is it wise in a dignitary of the Church to apply a term of reproach to the Liturgy? Let any man read the whole passage in connexion, and see, whether the expression “ traditions of fallible men” can be construed of any thing else.' Dr. Milner first denies my position, that it was necessary to accompany the Bible with the Liturgy; he continues the subject of the Bible and the Liturgy, by saying (and very rightly) that the latter owes its establishment to the use of the former ; and immediately concludes with the remark on the Bible, compared with the “ traditions of fallible men.” I should be very sorry to do injustice to the Dean of Carlisle by torturing his words into a meaning which they do not really convey: but I believe that men in general will understand them as I understand them myself. For, when a parallel is drawn between two books by name; when that parallel is repeated, and also by name; and a third time, immediately following the second, the parallel goes on with one of those books again by name, but with a circumlocution for the other subject of comparison, it is impossible that the circumlocution should apply to any other book than that which had been already mentioned. No allusion even had been made to any other book. When we consider, therefore, that this speech has, with the approbation of the author, been printed in a public paper, and disseminated, not within its usual limits, but throughout the whole kingdom, what a notion will men form of the University of Cambridge, when they read that the Master of a College, whose name stands deservedly so
i The paragraph to which I allude, in Dr. Miloer's speech, is the following, as printed in the Cambridge Chronicle. “My Lord, our Liturgy itself owes its es. tablishment to the free use of the Bible among the people; and I greatly mistake, if, among the numerous errors of the Church of Rome, there exists a more dangerous tenet, than that the Holy Scriptures themselves must be tried at the bar of the traditions of fallible men.” This sentence was delivered by Dr. Milner immediately after his censure of my position, that the Liturgy should be distributed in company with the Bible.
high as that of Dr. Milner, not only reprimands a Professor of Divinity, as being unnecessarily anxious for the distribution of the Liturgy, but compares that Liturgy with Popish tradition. Language like this, though it may well justify the distribution of the Bible alone, is better calculated to serve the cause of the Dissenters, than the cause of the Church.
The same effect must be produced, when, to justify the distribution of the Bible alone, it is asked by Dr. Clarke, whether the light of revelation shall be conveyed through the public portals of the temple, or by the gate belonging only to the priests.” If our Reformers were now alive, those priests who composed the Liturgy and Articles, they would tell him that their office was only ministerial; that the knowledge of the book of life was not derived from them, and them alone; that they desired not to stop the pilgrim at the threshold of the temple; that they were ready to admit him to its innermost recesses : but, since between the portal and the altar were dark and intricate passages, where many a pilgrim had lost his way, they requested only permission to present him with a clue, which would lead him in safety. If the Liturgy is not wanted, why do Churchmen now object to the religious instruction of Mr. Lancaster? Mr. Lancaster adopts the Bible, and the Bible alone. He disdains, with our present advocates, “ the gate belonging only to the priests,” and approaches at once to “the portals of the temple.” But having ventured without a clue to explore the innermost recesses, he was bewildered in his way, till at length he wandered to the devious passage, where Christianity itself becomes lost from the view.
But let us descend from allegory, and draw a parallel in common language between the religious instruction afforded by Mr. Lancaster, and the religious instruction afforded by the modern Bible Society. The former confines religious instruction to the children of the poor, the latter extends it to adults, who are frequently in equal want of it. Both agree in providing a Bible; both agree in leaving that Bible unaccompanied with the Lilurgy. But the omission of the Liturgy, in the instruction of children, Vol. I. No. I.
with the consequent want of provision for their going to church, and their being educated as churchmen, is at present very generally admitted by the friends of the establishment, to be dangerous to the welfare of church and state.
Now the fundamental principle, which pervades the whole of my Sermon at St. Paul's, is the necessity on the part of churchmen, of associating the Liturgy with the Bible. In the five first sections, that principle was applied to the instruction of children: in the sixth to the instruction of adults; and if the principle is generally true, it must no less apply to the latter, than to the former. That my sentiments on this subject may be fully understood, I will transcribe that passage in the sixth section, which relates to the importance of adding the Liturgy in the distribution of the Bible. “ Where the Church of England is established, it is not Christianity under any form, which it is our duty to proinote. Our exertions (though without the smallest restraint on the zeal of other parties) must be especially directed to the furtherance of that system, which we are especially pledged to support. The Society therefore for promoting Christian Knowledge does not confine itself, where the Church of England is established, to the distribution of the Bible alone.' It adds the Liturgy, in which
This is the expression, which has been so ingeniously tortured, though I have had the precaution, both here and elsewhere, to explain the meaning of it, by saying that the Liiurgy should be added, as being the book in which the doctrines of the Bible were correctly derived from it. If my objection, therefore, had been fuirly stated at the Town Hall, it would have been simply this ; that I objected (namely on the part of Churchmen) to the distribution of the Bible alone, or without the Liturgy. But this statement would not have produced the effect intended. The comparison would then have been between Churchmen and Dissenters; and as the Liturgy is the book, which makes the distinction between them, the Dissenters themselves might at least have thought, that the Margaret Professor was not very unwise in contending for the Liturgy. But by stopping short at the words BIBLE ALONE, Dr. Clarke was enabled to give a new turn to the expression, and to convert the real parallel between Church. men and Dissenters into a fictitious parallel between Protestants and Papists. " Have we forgot that we are Englishmen? Have we forgot that we are Protestants ?" -No. But you forget, that you are Churchmen.
After all, I am unable to discover where the Popery lies in recommending the distribution of the Liturgy with the Bible. Catholics give no Bible at all; whereas I contend for the Bible as much as any man, though I object to our losing sight of the Liturgy. Wly, says Dr. Milner, of all the errors of Popery, there is none more dangerous, than that of trying the Holy Scriptures at the bar of