« AnteriorContinuar »
NOTES AND REFERENCES.
Page 45 (1). ARCHBISHOP SPOTTISWOODE'S TESTIMONY IN FAVOUR OF John Knox. —See his Church History, ii. 184.
Ibid. (2). “No one complained more bitterly than Knox himself.”—See Knox's History, book iv. A.D. 1562; Works, ii. 310.
Ibid. (3). Speaking of the hasty manner in which the Confession of Faith of 1560 was adopted, Dr Cook writes: “The truth is, that the nobility gratified the ministers as to doctrine, that they might more easily gain their object respecting the patrimony of the Church.”—History of Reform., ii. 333, note. See also Dr M‘Crie's Life of Andrew Melville, p. 71.
Page 46 (4). THE SUFFICIENCY OF HOLY SCRIPTURE. -When it is said in the text that “the Bible was notand never was intended to be—an all-sufficient guide under such circumstances,” it must not be supposed that I doubt the full sufficiency of Scripture, properly understood, upon all points of necessary doctrine; and also upon all points of necessary, or most expedient, practice. For instance, I consider the threefold ministry at least highly expedient, and most especially so, out of regard to the duty of unity; and I venture to think that the Scriptural authority of Episcopacy, as the key-stone of that ministry, has been unanswerably demonstrated elsewhere in a volume 1 dedicated to four of the most accomplished Scotch Presbyterian divines, my fellow-labourers in the work of the revision of the Authorised Version of the New Testament—a work carried on in the same Jerusalem Chamber which witnessed the labours of the Westminster Assembly (1643-47). But the remark in the text is made out of regard to the facts, (1) that Scripture cannot be " properly understood," unless certain conditions which itself prescribes for its right understanding are complied with on the reader's part; and (2) that plain instances can be given where it has not been understood, because the said conditions have been disregarded. That a suffering, as well as a victorious Messiah, had been predicted in the Old Testament, we can now see most plainly; but the Scribes and Pharisees could not see it; Paul himself, though instructed by Gamaliel, in his time the most learned expounder of the Scriptures, could not see it, before his conversion; for reasons which we all know-viz. (1) they were strongly prejudiced against such a view, as offensive to their national pride; (2) they had lost the true traditional interpretation of the texts which declared it. In like manner, the Covenanters and others could not see Prelacy in the New Testament — though it had been seen most plainly in the Primitive Church, and catholic-minded Christians have been able
1 The Outlines of the Christian Ministry Delineated, and brought to the test of Reason, Holy Scripture, History, and Experience; with a view to the reconciliation of existing differences concerning it, especially between Presbyterians and Episcopalians,' 1872. Also, 'Some Remarks on Bishop Lightfoot's Essay on the Christian Ministry, with reference especially to the Presbyterian Formula required at Ordination of Ministers and Elders, and to Dean Stanley's Sermon, preached at Glasgow, on “the Burning Bush,” '1879.
A copy of the former work may be obtained as a gift from the author, by any Presbyterian minister or elder who may desire to read it, on application to Messrs Grant, Booksellers, 107 Princes Street, Edinburgh ; only, if required to be sent by post, sixpence must be paid as postage.
to see it all along—because (1) they were strongly prejudiced against it; (2) they had lost the true traditional interpretation-in other words, the true method of understanding certain texts of the New Testament, which declare it; and declare it, not in connection direct or indirect with the Church of Rome, or, in other words, with Popery --the only view which the Covenanters were able to entertain—but with the Church of Jerusalem, the first-born, and the model of all Churches; which had “ James " for its bishop, in the Scriptural and Apostolic age; as we know from a right understanding of certain texts of the New Testament, which have received that interpretation from the beginning, and have received, and can admit of no other. —See Outlines of Christian Ministry, pp. 58-70; Remarks on Bishop Lightfoot's Essay, pp. 19-32. And yet even the Westminster divines (so far as I have been able to discover from the published Minutes of the Assembly, together with the several journals of Lightfoot, Baillie, and Gillespie) either were not aware, or dissembled their knowledge, of that interpretation, and also of the early testimonies which unanimously support it.—See Outlines, &c., pp. 77-85.
Page 47 (6). OBLIGATION OF CONTINUITY.—It may help to explain to the reader what I understand by this expression, if I may be permitted to quote a few words out of letters I received not long since from two Presbyterian clergymen—unknown, I believe, to each other, and known but slightly to me: one an eminent theological professor, the other an esteemed parochial (city) minister; but neither, let me add, of St Andrews or its neighbourhood :
(1.) “Think of the enormous injury we have done ourselves in Scotland by cutting, as we have done, the ties of our connection and sympathy with the Church of the fifteen centuries preceding the Reformation.”
(2.) “Whatever the ecclesiastical changes to take place among us—and great changes must before long ensue-it
the past wise of the nightfully present, care
is to be hoped that the past will not be disowned and discredited as it was in the course of the sixteenth-century movement. Juster views of what is rightfully due to it, and of the influence it should exert over the present, are beginning to prevail.”—See also Dr Tulloch, quoted above, p. 31.
Doubtless there are still too many who have no share in this feeling; who, void of self-distrust, and disregardful of the provision which our complex human nature requires to meet its various wants and aspirations, are thankful to Presbyterianism for having swept away, as it has done for the most part, all such provision in the Church of Christ. Even so able and accomplished a divine as Dr Rainy would appear to be of this class.-See his Three Lectures on the Church of Scotland, 1872, pp. 13, 16. He would still draw the line hard and fast where, as he imagines, the New Testament itself has drawn it, without taking any account of what our own enlightened sense of the tò mpérov may suggest in the practical interpretation of S. Paul's rules : (1) “Let all things be done eủoxnuovws," 1 Cor. xiv. 40; (2) apòs oikodouny, 1 Cor. xiv. 26; (3) èv åyány—towards the long dead as well as towards the now living, 1 Cor. xvi. 14; (4) “The rest, tà doctà, diatáčoual, when I come,” 1 Cor. xi. 34; see also 2 Thess. ii. 15. But does Dr Rainy's Presbyterianism really include all that the New Testament expressly sanctions and prescribes ? I fear not, e.g. Confirmation ? And does it not include some things which the New Testament does not expressly sanction, e.g. infant baptism ?-See my Tercentenary Discourse on the Scottish Reformation (second edition, 1863), Appendix, chaps. ii. and iii.
Page 47 (6). OBLIGATION OF UNITY.—Dr Rainy has appended to his Three Lectures &c., a note in which he states his views upon the subject of Church unity. Such a statement, coming from such a quarter, could not but be interesting, and is entitled on every account to receive our
best attention. Indeed, had I been aware of its existence sooner—for I only met with it for the first time a few months ago—I should probably have taken an earlier opportunity of noticing it. It is a satisfaction to learn from it how much we hold in common. He “acknowledges that the visible Church ought to be one." He “acknowledges that breaches which interrupt unity imply sin somewhere." He “acknowledges that in proportion as they are recklessly or wantonly made, or maintained under manifestly carnal influences, in the same proportion the guilt of schism is incurred or enhanced.” So far, we seem to have obtained all that we could desire. But he “refuses to see unity only in unity of constitution.” He “ maintains that not all unity, not all visible unity, has failed even when breaches have taken place which imply sin, and are attended with evil.” And we, on our part, most assuredly agree with him upon both these points; we refuse what he refuses, and we maintain what he maintains. Where, then, do we differ, if indeed we do differ? I put the question doubtingly, because in what Dr Rainy proceeds to say he appears to me to be going off the subject, which, as I understand it, is our practical duty in regard to the confessed, obligation of unity. Whereas what he goes on to urge comes to no more than this—that it is more schismatical to impute schism in the case which he supposes, than it is to be the schismatic. But, strictly speaking, what has this to do with the obligation of unity ? Our wish is, I suppose, to help one another to see the truth upon that subject; otherwise it would be better to keep silence concerning it.
It is obvious, then, to remark that there are degrees of guiltiness in the failure of this duty. There is, first, the degree which consists in religious separation between Christians, foreigners to each other, and speaking different languages, the guilt of which may be comparatively slight, and in regard to the individuals who have been in no way parties to it, none at all. Next, there is that which consists in separation between fellow-countrymen, speaking the