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“The Church of England shews her commission to be a guide upon the road to heaven, derived by succession from the Apostles, with a competent, though not an infallible authority. ... “The Dissenters have no commission nor succession to shew; they have thrust themselves as guides upon this road, of their own heads, not above an hundred and fifty years ago, in utter contempt and opposition to all the guides of God's appointment, from the days of the Apostles. And they have no authority at all, either to preach the word, or to sign and seal the covenant which God has made with man, in the holy sacrament of his institution, nor to bless in his name. This honour they have taken to themselves, which the Apostle says, no man can take to himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron,” Leslie's Works, Vol. i. p. 188, folio. 1721.
Thus it appears that the Church of England, while she maintains the existence of a rightful authority, delegated to the Church by perpetual succession, at once frees herself from the charge both of schismatical and papal usurpation. And in defending her authority against the Dissenters, she by no means fights the battles of the Papists, as Dr. Baines imagines, unless to maintain the hereditary right of a limited Sovereign against the encroachments of a turbulent democracy, is the o: thing as to justify the tyrannical excesses of an absolute eSpot. hose who are not accustomed to Popish logic, will wonder to find Dr. Baines proceeding to ask,
“Is there any other plan of coming at a knowledge of the doctrines and ordinances of Christ, besides the two I have mentioned ? Yes, there is a third, and that is the plan which the Catholic Church recommends as the most reasonable and secure." P. 49.
... In another passage he says,
“Either he (Christ) appointed the sacred Scriptures as the whole vehicle of his ordinances, or he appointed some living teachers and rulers, with authority to transmit the same from age to age, or he appointed some other means.” P. 25.
Now there are only three ways, in which Christianity can be transmitted, either, first, by the Bible alone without the Ministry; secondly, by the Ministry without the Bible; or thirdly, by both conjointly. Whether the author means, the Ministry alone, by his second division, is ambiguous from his expressions; if so by “some other means,” he can only mean both conjointly; but, however that may be, there are only these three ways of transmission. We have shewn which of these ways the Church of England adopts, and which alone she is concerned to defend. What then has the author done in regard to his premises 2. A logician would say, that in proceeding to a third plan, he had first shewn the incompetence of the two others. So far from this, this juggler of syllogisms discusses only one of the three conditions—the Bible without the Ministry, resolves the Church of England plan, at one time into the first—at another time into the second—to neither of which does it belong, and without refuting the second plan. goes to the consideration of the third remaining case, that of the Bible and Ministry conjointly, that which is precisely the case of our Church, and with which he has nothing to do. The paramount authority of the Ministry, virtually, if not totidem verbis, nullifying the Scriptures, is what the Pseudo-Catholic Church asserts. It had been unwise therefore to have exposed the fallacy of that plan. Unluckily for his cause, however, he has hinted its falsehood, and condemned himself, in condemning our Church for what she does not hold. We have no objection however to meet the advocate of Popery even on this ground—to assume for the sake of argument, that the Papists are willing to give the Bible freely to the people, and allow them the privilege of judging whether they teach them right or wrong out of the Scriptures alone, (it being necessary to put the two Churches on the same footing, to judge of their comparative personal claims as religious guides) and we do not, even with all this unmerited concession, shrink from the test of comparison. The points of comparison selected by Dr. Baines are honesty, knowledge, experience, numbers, security of principle, and consistency. Unfortunately the authoris here too full of his own sufficiency for the task of guidance, and too eager to display his ample qualifications, as a member of the Papal corps, to dwell for a moment on the only indispensable requisite in a guide, that without which, however honest and learned, experienced, multitudinous, steady and consistent, he would be of no use for our purpose— a simple knowledge of the way which he purposes to lead us. The quality recommended by Dr. Baines, which approaches most nearly to this, is experience; a guide however may possess much experience in guiding, but unless he knows the way which he is about to lead us, all his former experience will be of no avail. In going a voyage, or travelling over an unknown country, we should not be satisfied merely with an experienced pilot or conductor, but we require in each case, one who is previously acquainted with the tract of sea or land over which we intend to pass. So as to the Church of Rome, no one doubts her experience in guiding; she has long enough had her. bridle in the mouth and her hook in the nose of her people; she has long enough driven her scythed-car through the nations, and steered her adventurous vessel with wonderful skill, amidst the waves and storms of every clime; but this is not the experience which the inquiring religionist demands of her—he seeks that she should know the way of religion—he looks for experience in the strait gate, the narrow way, which leads to life eternal, and will judge of her according to her competency in this particular respect. She may also proclaim her honesty, and her learning, her numbers, her security of principle and consistency, but these recommendations, however subsidiary they may be in inviting confidence, will not answer as compensations for a want of the essential, fundamental knowledge of the right way. - Now, how are we to judge of a Church's knowledge of the right way? The answer is obvious, By their fruits ye shall know them. This then being the sure test, it is obvious also that the Church of Rome cannot be such a guide as the religionist would require. For she has perverted and corrupted those very doctrines which she is appointed to deliver, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. She has obscured the merits of the Redeemer by introducing her grace of condignity, and her works of supererogation and her sacramental justification; his mediating efficacy, by her association of mediator-angels and saints—she has undermined the doctrine of repentance by her indulgences, her penances, her purgatory; she has corrupted the sacrifice of prayer by her incense and her vain oblations, bowing down to images in the worship of God, and identifying the creature with the Creator in the ceremony of the mass; she has rendered the public service of God an unintelligible form to the generality, by her liturgy in an unknown tongue; by her doctrine of Papal supremacy, she has exalted human nature to the prerogative of God; by her false legends and miracles she has thrown discredit on the real miracles and inspired narratives of the Gospel;-these and other delinquencies which we have not leisure now to enumerate, plainly indicate to unprejudiced judgments that the guide we seek is not to be found within the precincts of Rome. Whether the Church of England does not, by its simplicity of doctrine and worship, declare more evidently her knowledge of the right way; whether there is not a pledge, in her straightforward unadorned manner of proceeding in all her acts, of her teaching the way of life in sincerity and truth, those will judge, who can duly appreciate the value of candour over a perplexed policy, and who have just views of the riches of that wisdom which is learned from the lips of the Holy Spirit, and of the majesty of that worship which approaches God at once with the bended knee and the voice of praise, without the intervention of ani operose machinery of human art and contrivance. That monstrous apotheosis of errors which the Roman Church exhibits,
must prove at any rate, that she is not a guide that shews the straight and direct path. . - *.
Which system it would again be very properly asked by the inquirer, has produced the most morality in its followers ? Let us look to Rome, the focus itself of Popery, and judge what its tendency is, from observing its actions and influence, where its energies are concentrated, as it may be reasonably supposed, in all their vitality. What do we find there but the grossest immoralities, a vassal people walking contentedly in their chains of spiritual as well as civil subjection, and consigning their all, their hopes and their fears, with a reckless . to the vicarious righteousness of external forms and ceremonies. Let us look to England, on the other side, as the focus of Protestantism, and judge whether the system of the reformers is not more favourable to the cause of virtue. It has leavened the mass of the people. There is no longer that ground of complaint among us which existed at the time when the reformation first began to diffuse its benefits, of profligacy spread amongst all orders of men. There is still, it is to be deeply lamented, too much of iniquity amongst us; the corruption of human nature still displays its malignant influence in counteracting the spirit of our pure religion, but we may confidently say, that the “head and front of our offending,” have been crushed; the things which ought to be our shame, are no longer countenanced and encouraged, but held in just abhorrence by the generality. And the Papist in this country has derived the benefit of the change. He is become with us the practical disciple of a better creed, though he will not agree with us in ascribing his improvement to #. reformed system. . . .
If we are intitled then to judge of a guide from his apparent knowledge of the right way, there seems to be little room for doubt which of the two Churches would be preferred. The particulars however alleged by Dr. Baines in favour of his Church may now be examined. -
. As to honesty, we have nothing to say against the Clergy of the Roman Church on this score, if the term be applied to them individually: so far we willingly accept Dr. Baines's pro-, fession of their sincerity. It is not to be supposed, but that there are many individuals among them worthy to be called honest men in the fullest sense of the term, and whom their most sturdy opponents cannot but cordially respect. But the argument from this circumstance is neutralized by honesty on the other side also. There are with us also at least as honest men as are to be found in the Roman Communion; men who require not the obligations of “severe hardships and privations,” to which the author pathetically recurs as so binding on the “Catholic Clergy,” to keep them firm to their principles. 12
As to learning, here again we have little inclination to raise any objection to his vindication of his brethren, because we could afford to make large allowances without impugning our own claims to literary pre-eminence. But really Dr. Baines injures his own cause when he carries us back into the dark ages, and tries to persuade us, that the Monks of those times were men of learning and scriptural knowledge. Let him recollect, that the only learned body among the monastic fraternities, was the Society of Jesuits, and that these had not their origin until after the reformation had begun to dawn upon the world. These indeed boast among their number many emiment mathematicians, antiquaries, critics, orators. Yet it has been observed of them, with all their acquirements and their profound erudition, such has been the effect of the religion of the cloister in debasing the faculties and disqualifying the mind for taking any enlarged view of life and conduct, that “the order has never produced one man, whose mind was so much enlightened with sound knowledge, as to merit the name of a philosopher.” And even that learning which the Jesuits possessed, was not exercised without the jealous supervision of the Roman Pontiff. The edition of Newton's Principia, ublished by two of that order, may attest this, for the ditors have themselves recorded the Papal antipathy to the advancement of learning, by prefixing a notice to the third book, intimating, that though they had stated the revolution of the earth according to Newton's Theory, yet it was only so stated by way of supposition, as otherwise the demonstrations could not be explained, and that they were obsequious to the decrees of the Pope against the motion of the earth. Did Dr. Baines moreover forget, that the Church, whose love of literature he proclaims, proscribed Galileo ’—When he talks of the literary exertions of the Fathers of the first four centuries, we must put in a demurrer to his claims. They no more belong exclusively to the Roman, than they do to the English Church. They are the common property of all Christendom. They must, therefore, be cast out of the scale of comparison. Again, when he endeavours to disparage the “religious information" possessed by our Clergy, we must ascribe all he says to his faulty mode of arguing from the exception, instead of taking the general fact into his consideration, and look with a venial eye at his mistake; though we cannot help laughing when he reckons up the sum total of learning in his Church, by the number of heads which she can bring to the muster. He will excuse us if we suggest to him, that negative quantities ought to be subtracted, and as it may be concluded also, that the Roman