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troduction and the upgrowth of the Parochial, Diocesan, and Monastic Systems (Lect. 3).
And then, as we approach the period of the Reformation, we appreciate and admire the contrast, vividly drawn, between the noble and upward course of the pioneers of the recovery of Gospel Light and Truth—especially Patrick Hamilton, Alexander Alesius, and George Wishart, and the perverse downward course of their opponents, the champions of Darkness and Error—the ill-fated Cardinal Beaton, the double-minded Earl of Arran, and the weak and dissolute King James V. (Lect. 4).
In these first four Lectures, it is scarcely necessary for me to say there is little or nothing which we Episcopalians should not have listened to with pleasure, or should have hesitated to welcome, had they been heard from any of our own pulpits; and though, when we reach the Reformation itself, it was not to be expected that this harmony of sentiment would continue to be maintained to the same extent, yet we thankfully observe that the points on which we become constrained to differ from the positions of the succeeding Lecturers, are still very few in comparison with those upon which we can cordially and unreservedly agree with them.
With this observation, we enter upon the fifth Lecture, which it is necessary to notice in more detail.
No one can be more ready than the present writer (as, indeed, I showed in a discourse preached and published more than twenty years ago on occasion of the Tercentenary in 1860) to pay to Knox the honour he deserved for his “supreme loyalty to the Word of God” (p. 151), his unswerving “vindication of the paramount authority of Holy Scripture” (p. 133). But when it is objected to our "landed gentry," that they "stand aloof from the Church of Knox" (p. 148), I must be permitted to reply that it is Presbyterians themselves who, at the present day, stand further aloof from the Church of Knox than Episcopalians do. I must venture to point out that, whereas Knox himself stood off further than was right, in some respects, from the Primitive Church — partly, perhaps, through insufficient knowledge of its principles and usages, at a time when they had both been miserably obscured and corrupted for many centuries, but mainly, I believe, because he was driven to do so from the necessities of his position, as the foreign Protestants also were, through the same cause ; whereas this was so, the Presbyterianism of the present day has fallen off still further from the Church of the early centuries, without any similar necessity, or sufficient excuse for so doing. Is not the service of Knox's Liturgy, “universally in use for about seventy years, more in accordance with the service of the Prayer-Book (which our Lecturer generously pronounces to be “the grandest devotional service ever furnished to any Church,” p. 136) than the ordinary Presbyterian service as now performed ? It is true, we are told that Knox “ disapproved of what he termed “the mingle-mangle of the Anglican Liturgy." But though the English Prayer-Book, in its original form, when it began with the Lord's Prayer and ended with the third Collect, was somewhat liable to this description, from the large proportion of it made up of versicles and suffrages, and the short Litany, yet it ceased to be so when the more substantial parts of prayer and thanksgiving, which it now contains, were subsequently introduced. Again : I am unwilling, for various reasons, to lay stress upon the provisional appointment of “superintendents” who certainly do not now exist;' but, I may ask, is not Knox's Confession of Faith of 1560—which was practically accepted by us on both occasions when Episcopacy was restored—in more substantial harmony with the doctrine of our XXXIX. Articles, in the revision of which Knox himself assisted, than that of the Westminster Confession, by which it has been superseded? Again: where are now to be seen the churches of our Presbyterian brethren open upon week-days as well as upon the Lord's Day, not only for preaching but for divine worship, as Knox practised himself, and prescribed to others ? (See First Book of Discipline, ch. xi.) Once more—and this is a question to which I desire to draw special attention on the part of those who claim to take advantage of the prestige of Knox's name, as against ourselves—where are now to be heard the appeals which Knox professed himself ready to make to the Church of the early centuries, “ not only to the precepts and rules of the New Testament, but to the writings of the antient Fathers, to decide the contest between him and his adversaries ;” and again, “ to the most antient Councils, nighest to the Primitive Church, in which the learned and godly Fathers did examine all matters by God's Word”? These are Knox's own expressions (see Works, vol. iv. p. 508 et seq., and p. 518 et seq.) And where, I ask, are such appeals to be heard now, except upon our side? Such appeals, as made then, would indeed, if accepted, have availed little against the claims of supremacy and infallibility of the Church of Rome. But let them be made now by our Presbyterian brethren, and not only will they be (I can promise) most readily accepted, but they will suffice to put an end at once and for ever to the unhappy division which at present exists between ourselves and them.
1 " That Knox had not that abhorrence at Episcopacy, which soon after his days was unhappily introduced into Scotland, is very apparent. -Dr Cook's Hist. of Reform., ii. 384. See also Burton's Hist., v. 79, Knox's two sons were both episcopally ordained in England.
No! It is not we who stand aloof from the Church of Knox, except in so far as he himself—whether willingly or not, whether intentionally or not-stood aloof from the teaching and practice of the early undivided Church. And upon this account there is one point at least in regard to which the Church which he himself had founded, speedily —i.e., not more than eight years after his death—fell away from him ; I mean no less a point than that of Ordination, which S. Chrysostom speaks of as that which is far the most principal thing of all, and which mainly holds the Church together – το πάντων μάλιστα κυριώτατον, και και μάλιστα ouvével tv Exkinosav (Hom. xvi. in Ep. 1, ad Tim. § 1)but was to the necessity of which," our Lecturer admits, “Knox did not entertain any very strong beliefs ” (p. 139). His error was partially corrected in the Second Book of Discipline, by the restoration of the laying on of hands, which had been abandoned as “not necessary” (First Book of Discipline, ch. iii.); and since that time, or at all events since 1638, there has been, we are told, a return to "the validity of Ordination," and therewith to a true “apostolic succession," only not through the line of bishops, but of presbyters. How far such a theory is defensible (except upon a plea of absolute necessity, such as the Church of England admitted for a time in the case of foreign Protestants), I will not now discuss; only I must say it has never been the theory of the Catholic Church. It is not to be found in any canon of "the most antient Councils,” 1 or in any of “the writings of the antient Fathers ”—not even of S. Jerome (who writes, “ Quid enim facit, exceptâ ordinatione, Episcopus, quod Presbyter non faciat? Epist. ad Evang. 1)—to which Knox appealed to decide the contest which he had raised. No previous Lecturer has given so much as a hint of the existence of such a theory at any preceding period since Christianity was introduced into Scotland ; and doubtless if any evidence could have been found to that effect, it would have been produced. The only passage bearing in any degree upon the point, so far as I have noticed, is that which I have quoted below, p. 102.
1 Our Lecturer himself elsewhere complains of the Presbyterianism of the present day as a sad falling off from the Knoxian standard. “The Church of the Reformation was furnished with a richness and variety of instrumentality in startling contrast to the denuded and unsystematic condition of the Church now” (p. 134.) And again, at p. 145, he will not allow that Knox should bear the blame of the ugliness which has so long characterised our ecclesiastical system."
Neither, again, can I acquiesce in the representation of the same Lecturer, when he would lead us to conclude that, whereas the Reformation in this country was effected by the convictions of the people, especially of the middle class, in England the Reformation was brought about, primarily at least, by the will of King Henry VIII. That the final breach with Rome was caused by the will of that imperious sovereign is undoubtedly true; but the great doctrinal and practical issues of the English Reformation, which did not take effect till after Henry's death, were due, under young King Edward, mainly to the influence of Archbishop Cranmer—as the Jewish Reformation, under the young King Josiah, was due to the influence of Hilkiah, the high priest—to the influence, I say, and convictions of Cranmer, who vacillated indeed through the extreme difficulties of his position in Queen Mary's reign, and through the infirmities of our fallen nature, but eventually sealed his testimony with his blood; and not only of Cranmer but of Ridley, who never vacillated, and who also sealed with his blood the same testimony—convictions in the case of both founded simply upon the Word of God, as interpreted by the Primitive Church : witness Cranmer's manuscript collections, still preserved in the British Museum, which “ consist of a vast number of quotations on various theological subjects, taken not only from the works of the Fathers and other antient authors, but also from the recent controversial writings of the Lutherans and Zwinglians" (Jenkyns's Cranmer's Remains,' vol. i. p. 73 et seq.) Whereas the convictions of Knox, and of those who imbibed his spirit, were founded indeed upon the same Word, but as interpreted only by themselves; and hence arose those two fatal mistakes which caused such lamentable confusion in the following century: first, that nothing is to be admitted into the worship of God which is not expressly found in Scripture ; and secondly, that Scripture is all-sufficient for its own interpretation, without the guidance of a living and purely-teaching Church.
i The 13th Canon of the Council of Ancyra, A.D. 314, has been sometimes quoted as an exception, but it is not a real one. -See Bishop of Lincoln's Church History, p. 46, note.