Project Canterbury






Corporation of Trinity College,


Approving of the Theological Teaching




Opinions of the Five Canadian Bishops







The discussion concerning the Theological Teaching of Trinity College, Toronto, which has engaged public attention for over three years, has resulted in the following Resolution, passed by a majority of thirteen to eight, at a meeting of the College Corporation in September:

"That the Corporation, after fully considering the charges preferred by the Right Reverend the Lord Bishop of Huron, against the Theological teaching of the Provost of Trinity College, and the opinions of the Canadian Bishops on these charges, and the Provost's replies, is of opinion that the teaching is neither unsound, unscriptural, contrary to the doctrines of the Church of England, dangerous in its tendency, nor leading to the Church of Rome."

Before coming to a vote upon the question of the theological teaching of the College, the Corporation placed the objections made by the Bishop of Huron to the teaching, and the pamphlets published by the Provost in reply to these objections, in the hands of the five Canadian Bishops, and requested them to state whether, in their opinion, such teaching was dangerous to the students of the College. These Right Reverend Prelates furnished their opinions, and four of them were regarded by a majority of the Corporation, as expressing approval of the views contained in the Provost's pamphlets, against which the minority of the Corporation were conscientiously compelled to enter their Protest.

Seven of the eight members of the Corporation who voted against the resolution united in a Protest against it.

It has appeared to the protesting parties that it is due to themselves and to the church at large, that the Protest should be made public, and it is thought right also that the opinions of the Bishops should appear together with the Protest, that their true value may be ascertained by comparison with the doctrines protested against. They are therefore included in an appendix,

A few quotations bearing upon the subjects discussed, which were brought before the Corporation on the 29th Sept., are appended in the form of notes, to these the attention of the reader is requested.


We whose names are hereunto attached being members of the Corporation of Trinity College, Toronto, do enter our solemn protest against the resolution passed by a majority of thirteen to eight, at a meeting of the Corporation held on the 29th day of September 1863, which resolution expressed the entire confidence of the Corporation in the soundness and scriptural character of the Theological teaching of the institution.

We feel ourselves bound to record this our solemn protest against said resolution for the following reasons:

1st, Because the Provost who is also Divinity Professor teaches young men (whether intended for the sacred ministry or not), things concerning the Virgin Mary, the blessed mother of our Lord, for which he has no warrant in God's word, or in the formularies of our Church. The entire silence of the inspired historians, and of our Church upon these subjects, is not to be regarded as leaving them open questions, upon which uninspired men may speculate at pleasure; but rather as an intimation of the mind of the Holy Spirit, that a modest and respectful silence should be observed concerning them. Satan has already made the bold and unauthorized conjectures of men who, affecting to be wise above what is written, have rashly speculated upon these subjects, his instrument for introducing the worst form of idolatry. We therefore think that it is not safe for the instructors of our young men to set them an example of speculating upon subjects which the sacred writers and Reformers of our Church have by their silence taught us to avoid.

[4] 2d. Because the Provost holds and teaches, that it is "a most wholesome and edifying thought, that our departed friends, who have died in the faith and fear of God, still desire our everlasting salvation, and seek it by prayer as they did on earth;" that this is "a persuasion which all reasoning from analogy confirms, and which the Word of God, though it does not expressly sanction goes very far to establish," and "Holy Scripture goes far to make this opinion in the highest degree probable."

This is another subject on which the silence of the Evangelists who wrote as they were moved by the Holy Ghost, warns us, that, uninspired men should not rashly speculate, and our Church, (in the 2d Homily concerning prayer) teaches, "For Christ sitting in heaven hath an everlasting Priesthood, and always prayeth to his Father for them that are penitent, obtaining by virtue of his wounds, which are evermore in the sight of God, not only, perfect remission of our sins, but also all other necessaries that we lack in this world; so that this only mediator is sufficient in heaven and needeth no other to help him." And again, noticing the argument from charity so much relied on by the Provost, "yet thou wilt object further, that the saints in heaven do pray for us, and that their prayer proceedeth from an earnest charity, that they have towards their brethren on earth; whereto it may be well answered, first, that no man knoweth whether they do pray for us or no, and if any will go about to prove it by the nature of charity, concluding that because they did pray for men on earth, therefore they do much more the same now in heaven, then may it be said by the same reason that as oft as we do weep on earth they do also weep in heaven, because while they lived in this world it is most certain and sure they did so."

We cannot but regard the teaching of the Provost that it is in the highest degree probable from reason and Holy Scripture, that the saints in heaven, moved by an earnest charity do pray for us, as directly opposed to this explicit statement of our Church on this subject.

3d. Because the Provost holds and teaches that the pardon of sins obtained from God by "the penitent when he truly confesses them and pleads for forgiveness in the name of Christ," "cannot rightly be regarded as being other than contingent and [4/5] provisional, though sufficient for our immediate necessity," and that the absolution pronounced by the Priest is to be regarded as more than declarative, even as a full and effective conveyance of pardon to the penitent.

This doctrine is in strict accordance with that of the Church of Rome, as set forth in the Catechism of the Council of Trent, as follows, "unlike the authority given to the Priests of the old law to declare the leper cleansed from his leprosy, the power with which the Priests of the new law are invested is not simply to declare that sins are forgiven, but as the ministers of God really to absolve from sin a power which God himself the author and source of grace and justification exercises through their ministry." The statements quoted with approval by the Provost "Heaven waits and expects the Priests sentence here on earth," and the Lord follows the servant, and what the servant rightly binds and looses here on earth, the Lord confirms in heaven." "The Apostles and in them all Priests are made God's vicegerents here on earth in his name and stead, to retain and remit sins, however consistent with the doctrine of the Church of Rome, cannot by any ingenuity be made to agree with the following statements of the Church of England, which we find in the 2d part of the Homily of Repentance." "If we will with a sorrowful and contrite heart make an unfeigned confession of them unto God, He will freely and frankly forgive them, and so put all our wickedness out of remembrance before the sight of his majesty, that they shall no more be thought upon." And again, speaking in the same Homily of St. Ambrose we read, "whereby this Holy Father doth understand that both the Priesthood and the Law being changed, we ought to acknowledge none other Priest for deliverance from our sins, but our Saviour Jesus Christ, who being our sovereign Bishop, doth with the sacrifice of his body and blood offered once for ever upon the altar of the cross, most effectually cleanse the spiritual leprosy, and wash away the sins of all those that with true confession of the same do flee unto him."

To make the full and effectual pardon of sin to depend upon the absolution of the Priest, has ever been the policy of that Church which maintains that there is no salvation without the [5/6] Priest, the Church of England believes and teaches the very opposite doctrine. [Hooker in the "Ecclesiastical Polity" Book VI. Ch. VI. 12, thus deals with this subject. "But when they which are thus beforehand pardoned of God, come to be also assoiled by the Priest, I would know what force his absolution hath in this case? Are they able to say that the Priest doth remit anything? Yet when any of ours ascribeth the work of remission lo God, and interpreteth the Priests sentence to be but a solemn declaration of that which God hath already performed, they scorn at it." And again, "Absolution they say, declareth indeed, but this is not all, for it likewise maketh innocent; which addition being an untruth proved, our truth granted hath, we hope sufficiency without it, and consequently our opinion therein neither to be challenged as untrue, nor as insufficient." Again, wherefore, the further we wade, the better we see it still appear, that the Priest doth never in absolution, no not so much as by way of service and ministry really either forgive the act, take away the uncleanness, or remove the punishment of sin, but if the party penitent come contrite, he hath, by their own grant, absolution before absolution; if not contrite, although the Priest should, ten thousand times absolve him, all were in vain. Fur which cause the ancienter and better sort of their School divines, Abulensis, Alex. Hales, Bonaventure, ascribe, the real absolution of sin and eternal punishment to the mere pardon of Almighty God, without uependeney upon the Priest's absolution as a cause to effect the same."]

4th. Because the Provost holds and teaches "that Baptism is the instrument whereby God imparts to us the grace of justification." That while he holds "the doctrine of justification through faith only," he "at the same time recognizes the sacrament of Baptism as the instrument whereby God confers this grace."

Whereas, our Church teaches that it is required of persons to be baptized that they have repentance and faith before the sacrament of baptism can be administered to them; if they have faith, they are already justified before God, and they receive the sign of Baptism, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which they had while yet unbaptized. To say with our church that they have the faith which justifies before they are baptized, and yet to teach that Baptism is the instrument whereby God confers this grace of justification is only, in appearance, to retain the doctrine of "justification by faith alone," but in reality to transfer to baptism the office of justification, which our Church everywhere ascribes to faith in Christ alone, as "the only mean and instrument of salvation, which God has appointed in his "Word." [Bishop Jewel in his "Defence of Apology," Page 463, "Parker's Society," thus sets before us the scriptural view of baptism, quoting the words of St. Jerome, he says, "The minister being a man giveth only the water: but God giveth the Holy Ghost, whereby the sins be washed away," and again, "If any man have received only the bodily washing of water, that is outwardly seen with the eye, he hath not put on the Lord Jesus Christ."]

[7] 5th. Because the Provost holds and teaches that in the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper the faithful recipient is made partaker of the glorified humanity of our Lord, and that the Holy Communion is "the appointed means, and the only means whereby Holy Scripture assured us that we shall receive the supernatural gift," and speaking of the spiritual Manducation of the flesh of Christ, which he has given for the life of the world, he says "if we search the New Testament through do we find any other mode or mean of such feeding prescribed or even hinted at?"

"Whereas, our Church teaches in the 2d Sermon of the Passion." "Here is the mean whereby we must apply the fruits of Christ's death, unto our deadly wound, here is the mean whereby we must obtain eternal life: namely faith." "By this then you may well perceive that the only mean and instrument of salvation, required on your parts is faith," "Let us then use that mean which God has appointed in his word, to wit, the mean of faith which is the only instrument of salvation now left unto us." And our blessed Lord in the 6th chapter of St. John's Gospel 47 and 48 verses teaches. "Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth on me hath everlasting life, I am that bread of life," and in the 51st verse, "I am the living bread which came down from heaven, if any man eat of this bread he shall live for ever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world," and in the 58th verse, "This is that bread which came down from heaven; not as your fathers did eat manna and are dead; he that eateth of this bread shall live forever." Comparing these statements of our Lord, with that in verse 35th, "Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life; he that cometh unto me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst," and with the explanation of the figure which our Lord gives in verse 63d, "It is the spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing; the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life." In these words we have not only a "hint" of a mode of spiritual participation of Christ; but direct and plain instructions from our blessed Lord that this spiritual manducation was to be effected by coming to him and believing upon him, it is thus we are to feed upon him in our hearts by faith. In entire agreement with this are the words of St. Augustine, quoted with approval by Bishop Jewel 'crede et [7/8] manducasti,' credere in christum est manducare panem vivum." The statement of the Provost that we do not find any other mode or mean of spiritually feeding upon Christ prescribed or even hinted at in God's "Word, ignores all the other means which God has provided in his Church, thus making the maintenance of spiritual life in the soul of the believer, solely and exclusively to depend on the reception of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper. The other means of feeding upon the bread of liie which God has appointed, and which our Church everywhere recognizes are 1st, The reading of Holy Scriptures, "which are able to make wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 2d. The hearing the Gospel preached by God's Ministers. For "faith cometh by hearing." 3d. Private and public prayer. For our Lord promises, "where two or three are gathered together in my name there am I in the midst of them." 4th. Religious communion and intercourse with pious servants of God, for we read, "They that feared the Lord spake often one to another, and the Lord hearkened and heard it," &c. While we are ever to regard the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper as a blessed mean of grace, we are not to ignore those other means which God, in his goodness, has provided for his people.

6th. Because the Provost holds and teaches that the sacraments are "God's appointed means of salvation, the channels in which his grace flows to us."

Whereas, the doctrine of our church concerning the sacraments, as set forth in the Homily "of Common Prayer and Sacraments" is, that they are "holy signs," and referring to the words of St. Augustine, the Homily saith, "By these words of St. Augustine it appeareth that he alloweth the common description of a sacrament, which is, that it is a visible sign, of an invisible grace; that is to say, that setteth out to the eyes and other outward senses, the inward working of God's free merry, and doth, as it were, seal in our hearts the promises of God, and so was circumcision a sacrament, which preached unto the outward senses the inward cutting away of the foreskin of the heart, and sealed and made sure in the hearts of the circumcised the promise of God touching the promised seed that they looked for."

In Article XXVII. we are taught "that they that receive [8/9] baptism rightly are grafted into the Church, the promises of the forgiveness of sin, and of our adoption to be the sons of God by the Holy Ghost, are visibly signed and sealed, faith (before in exercise) is confirmed, and grace (before enjoyed) increased by virtue of prayer unto God," and in the XXVIII. Article, the spiritual manducation of Christ's body and blood is restricted "to such as rightly, worthily, and with faith" receive the holy sacrament.

To teach more than this concerning the Sacraments is to assign to them a place in the Christian system which God never intended them to occupy, and to introduce into our Church the doctrine of sacramental salvation which is the most pernicious error of the Church of Rome. [Bishop Jewel in his controversy with Harling, thus explains the true nature of the sacraments in Page 132. "Parker Society." "Howbeit, in plain speech it is not the receiving of the sacrament that worketh our joining with God. For whosoever is not joined to God before he receive the sacraments, he eateth and drinketh his own judgment. The sacraments be seals and witnesses, and not properly the causes of this conjunction."]

7th. Because the Provost holds and teaches that there are "admirable early usages which our Reformers did not venture to restore, such as that mentioned by Justin Martyr, the conveyance of the consecrated elements to all sick members of the Church, after every public celebration of the eucharist," and "that we might well regret that we possessed not this usage in our Church, but that our regret should be controlled by the remembrance that a necessary consequence of the grievous abuses which preceded the Reformation, was to abridge our liberty and to deprive us of good things which might have been safely enjoyed in happier times."

We cannot think that such teaching as this is calculated to make young men loyal and devoted adherents of the Church of England, as she now is and has been since the Reformation, they will learn from it to regret the absence of those "admirable usages" which the Church of England at the Reformation did not restore, and to desire those "good things" of which we are now deprived. It was such a feeling as this which lately led some clergymen of the diocese of Exeter, to restore the usage mentioned by the same Justin Martyr of mixing water with the wine in the celebration of the Lord's Supper, and we entirely concur in the [9/10] following remarks made on such conduct by the aged Bishop of that Diocese. "At the time of the Reformation it did not please the Church of England to continue the practice of mixing water with the wine; and you are the ministers of that Church and bound to obey the orders of that Church, and have promised to do so, and let me urge those who are conscious of having disobeyed that Church to be more regular in the future, and to remember that they have promised to perform these ordinances of the Church in the way the Church has appointed." The teaching of Divinity Professors in our Colleges should inculcate the same spirit of loyal attachment to the Church as she is, and of entire obedience to her orders, as breathes in these words of the aged Prelate; instead of teaching young men that they might "well regret admirable early usages," which the Church at the Reformation did not restore, and that they might desire "those good things" of which we are now deprived.

For these reasons we feel it incumbent on us to enter our protest against the resolution passed by this Corporation, at the meeting held on the 29th of September 1863.

CHAS. C. BROUGH, A. M., Archdeacon of London, C. W.,
F. WM, SANDY'S, D. D.,


(I.) The Opinion of the Bishop of Montreal.

Quebec, 22nd June, 1863.

My Lord Bishop,

I have looked carefully through the documents your Lordship forwarded to me whilst I was in England, together with the resolution of the Corporation respecting the controversy on the subject of Trinity College.

I was asked to examine them, and declare whether I considered the doctrines inculcated therein by the Provost "were unsound or unscriptural, contrary to the teaching of the Church of England, or dangerous in their tendency, or leading to the Church of Rome."

Under the circumstances of the reference, and having myself no jurisdiction or authority whatever in the corporation, 1 can only here give expression to my own individual opinion, which I now proceed to do as best I may be able, and with an earnest desire to promote the cause of truth, and do what is just and right.

I would, however, at the outset, remark that my enquiry has necessarily been a limited one; for only some particulars of the Provost's theological teaching, which are either objected to by the Bishop of Huron, or vindicated by the Provost in the pamphlets forwarded to me, have now been brought under my consideration. It will be needful to bear this in mind, for otherwise it might appear that the points submitted to me occupy a far larger portion of the Provost's teaching than they actually do, which would be unfair alike to him and to the College. This is very strongly and properly urged by the Provost himself, at the close of his first letter to your Lordship; "In conclusion, (he says), I wish to observe that the present controversy is very likely to convey, to the public in general, the impression, that, if false doctrine has not been taught in the College, yet at least undue prominence and exaggerated importance have been given to matters of very secondary moment. Your Lordship is well aware that it is not my teaching, but the Bishop of Huron's strictures upon it, which have given this prominence and importance to the matters in question. I do not say this by way of complaint, but simply in self-defence, and for the purpose of abating a not unreasonable prejudice. The objections are, for the most part, based on a few short and scattered clauses, not one of which I am prepared to retract, but which I should be very sorry to have made the principal, or even prominent, topics of my teaching." The means, again, with which I am furnished for discovering what is the [11/12] Provost's teaching respecting any of the points in question, are to some extent insufficient and unsatisfactory. They consist of objections made by the Bishop of Huron, and of the reply of the Provost, which latter it is evident, must take the form of explanation, or exception, or vindication, rather than of direct statement. In saying this it is not intended to convey the impression that any attempt has been made by the Provost to conceal his opinions or teaching, on the contrary, there is manifestly every endeavor and desire to be open, clear, and straight-forward. But when theological questions are treated in the shape of objections and rejoinders, and especially, as in the present case, if these questions are but portions of far larger subjects, obscurity and imperfection or exaggeration of statement, in a greater or less degree, will often occur.

In the first place, then, I find that several of the points in the Provost's teaching, to which strong objection has been taken, have reference to matters about which the Church is entirely silent. They are in fact private opinions, respecting which differences may exist, without any blame attaching to any one. They certainly must never be made "the principal or prominent topics" of the professor's teaching. If they are entertained, it should be with moderation, and when mentioned, treated with discretion. Thus the Provost is charged with undue exaltation of the Virgin, in consequence of his teaching respecting Miriam, as being a type of Mary: and again of "leading young men in Rome-word direction," because he taught "the probable Intercession of Saints." These both are undoubtedly mere private opinions. But to shew that he was on his guard against any such evil consequences, as those which he is charged, he appeals, respecting the Virgin Mary, "most confidently to the theological students generally, in proof of the assertion, that he has ever strongly condemned these grievous errors of the Church of Rome, which assign to the blessed Virgin any other place in the economy of human redemption, than that of a humble, yet most honored instrument, in the hand of Him, who made her thus instrumental, by causing her to be the mother of our Lord." And in regard to the Intercession of Saints, the Provost says, he "must speak of it as a probable opinion: that when speaking of the error of the Invocation of Saints, he must necessarily refer to the Intercession of the departed on our behalf." He thinks that this is necessary, because the correct and secure line of defence is to admit such probability, and then shew that this does in no way tend to justify, or even to palliate the erroneous practice (of Invocation) against which all English Churchmen contend. So again, with respect to "the participation in the glorified humanity of our Lord, by means of the Lord's Supper." This doctrine, no doubt, has been held and taught by some great divines, as is well known to every theologian. When held modestly, and spoken of with that reverential carefulness of thought and expression, which an attempt to explain so great a mystery demands, it deserves to be regarded with respect. But it should be remembered that it is a doctrine, which belongs not to theology in the strict sense of the word, but to theological philosophy, if we may so term it; and ought never to be pressed with positiveness, nor set up as a standard of orthodoxy. As to what our Church does teach on this subject, there ought to be no doubt. She affirms that the union betwixt Christ and his Church, is so real, so intimate, so perfect, that "we dwell in Christ, and Christ in us, we are one with Christ, and Christ with us." And this union, the sole source of spiritual life, she believes is with one Christ, who is ever perfect God, and man. But whether that union is, in any special way, with our Lord's glorified humanity, and not His divinity, she has never taken upon herself to determine. Here, as in so many other instances, she has been satisfied with declaring the fact itself, so marvelous, so blessed, without making any attempt to explain it: a fact to be accepted with faith and adoration and love, to our eternal benefit, rather than made matter of speculation. In like [12/13] manner nothing can be more unfaltering and clear, than the testimony of the Church of England, as to the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ, being the appointed visible means for maintaining this union between the Saviour and his faithful people. But "how these things are," she does not expressly define. The subject is one which certainly requires very careful mental training, or some peculiar aptitude for its right apprehension, even if it be thought desirable to refer to it as a subject for devout reflection and study, when the mind shall have become matured by time and discipline. Whether we may agree with the Provost or not in any such opinions, respecting which the Church is silent, yet I do not feel that we have any right to condemn them, though I should in the very strongest manner disapprove, if they, or others of a similar class, were made to assume "prominence or importance" in a professor's teaching; of which, however, I have no evidence before me, and the Provost himself expressly denies that they have ever been permitted to assume any such character.

There is one passage, under the head of "Priestly Absolution," respecting which I should have wished for further explanation. The Provost speaks of "the pardon accorded in private confession to God, as contingent and provisional, though sufficient for our immediate necessity; while its more full and formal conveyance is reserved to follow in that confession, which is made, when we assemble and meet together as members of a divinely instituted organization to receive the gifts, and to avail ourselves of the ministries, which pertain to the body of Christ." Now it is no doubt to be presumed, in the case of all truly penitent sinners, who may have confessed their sins unto God in private, whatever fullness of mercy may then have been bestowed upon them, that they will, at the earliest opportunity, seek also to make confession to God in the public services of the Church; and the neglect of such act of solemn and prescribed worship would go far to prove that their previous sense of sin, and its acknowledgment, had been in some measure themselves imperfect, and therefore wanting in their complete results to them. But certainly the Church has never attempted to explain exactly the nature of the blessing, which is annexed to public confession, or nicely to adjust its relation to that pardon, which God may be pleased at the time to bestow upon all true penitent sinners, whenever, or wherever they turn to Him. Great care seems to have been taken by such divines, as the authors of the Homilies, and the Ecclesiastical Polity, to guard against the doctrine that, by words of Absolution, "all things else are perfected to the taking away of sin."

I have only further to remark, that I believe there is no suspicion that any one of the students who have now during twelve years been subjected to the Provost's teaching, has left the Communion of the Church of England to join the Church of Rome; and as far as I can judge of the general tenor of his teaching, from the text and spirit of the documents before me, whatever difference of opinion I may entertain on some points, respecting which a liberty is allowable to all, I should not believe it to be such as would be likely to lead to any such result.

Believe me,

My Lord Bishop,

Yours very faithfully, and sincerely,


The Lord Bishop of Toronto, President of Trinity College, Toronto.

[14] (II.) The Opinion of the Bishop of Toronto.

Toronto, 1st July, 1863.

My Lord Bishop,

I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your Lordship's judgment on the case submitted to you by the Corporation of Trinity College, and in so doing, I would express my grateful sense of the careful consideration which you have given to it, and my satisfaction on finding that your Lordship's views are so much in unison with the opinions which I have always held on the subject.

Adverting to your observation that "strong objection has been taken against the Provost's teaching in reference to matters about which the church is entirely silent, and which are private opinions, respecting which differences may exist without blame attaching to any; though they certainly must never be made the principal or prominent topics of the Professor's teaching," I may be permitted to state that I am aware that no undue prominence or importance has been given to these matters of opinion by the Provost, and that on the numberless points in the interpretation of Holy Scripture on which the church furnishes us with no particular and explicit instruction, he has made it a rule to comply with her general requirement "to teach nothing but that which is agreeable to the doctrine of the Old or New Testament, and that which the Catholic fathers and ancient bishops have gathered from that doctrine." I am at a loss to conceive in what other way than this a cautious and reverent spirit is to be discovered by one whose duty it is to enter on the wide field of examining and elucidating the meaning of Holy Scripture; more especially if he obeys the rule given above, in its spirit as well as its letter, by diligently acquainting himself, as I know the Provost to have done, with the opinions of the great divines of our reformed church, men alike of learning and of moderation.

I naturally assume, as your Lordship has, no doubt after a full consideration of the subject, abstained from making any reference to four out of the eight divisions under which the Bishop of Huron's objections are classed, that you take no exception to the Provost's replies on these divisions, and as I am equally persuaded of the Provost's soundness and integrity in interpreting the liturgical and doctrinal language of our church, I consider his defence on these points to be unanswerable.

Again expressing my deep obligation to your Lordship for the consideration which you have given to the documents submitted to your judgment, I have the honor to be,

My Lord Bishop,

Your Lordship's faithful servant,


To the Right Rev. F. Fulford, D. D.,
Lord Bishop of Montreal, and Metropolitan.

[15] (III.) The Opinion of the Bishop of Huron.

My Lord Bishop,

Having read the reply of Provost Whitaker to the objections which I brought to the theological teaching of Trinity College, I feel constrained to express my opinion that the Provost has not succeeded in proving to my satisfaction that the theological teaching is not dangerous to the young men educated in that institution. I find the Provost avowing the same opinions, and supporting them by nearly the same arguments as he employed in his letters to the Lord Bishop of Toronto.

It is not now my purpose to go over the same ground which I traveled in my former paper, now in the hands of the Corporation; I shall merely notice a few points in the Provost's reply, which I desire to bring clearly before the Corporation.

In page 21 of the published pamphlet the Provost introduces the subject of the catechism, and says, "I must further observe that the Bishop does not correctly describe the document, &c." I should not again advert to the catechism, but that the Provost has thus introduced it, I will only add with regard to it that the Provost himself states that he lent his questions, more than once, thus the students were in possession of one part of the catechism, the other they supplied from their notes of the lectures. The Provost quotes from a letter which he received from the Rev. J. Middleton, in which that gentleman says, "He (the Bishop of Huron) has written for my catechism, which of course I have sent him in deference to his position, however, with exactly the caution put forth in your letter, viz., that it was all taken down by way of notes in your lecture-room and might by the slightest inaccuracy, in those very points, lead to very erroneous conclusions." I have now before me Mr. Middleton's answers to the questions which I proposed to him, and the letter which accompanied his catechism, and there is no such caution in either of them, on the contrary I find him thus describing the extreme care which he and others adopted, to obtain an accurate copy of the Provost's questions, and of the answers to them. "The Provost lent his questions, not the manuscript from which he lectures, to Messrs. Jones, Badgely and myself, for the first time they were, ever lent, and did so under a sort of protest; we borrowed them to correct the 50 or 60 questions at the end, upon which the Provost had not questioned us for want of time at the end of the year; we never needed them at any other time, as we united in taking down the notes, taking every third sentence when we could not each get it all; when we could we took down the substance of the entire paragraph, as it rendered the recording of them afterwards more expeditious." And in his letter of August, 1st, 1860, he says, "I forward with the notes answers to the questions handed me by the Rector last night, but in answering them, I must say that I do not wish to be at all implicated in the matter, as of course your Lordship must know quite well that every graduate's love of his Alma Mater is strong, and that they are, very often, wilfully blind to many of her faults." I think Mr. Middleton's letters, as the Provost says, "furnish ample means of testing the correctness of the statements" which I made concerning the catechism.

With reference to the undue exaltation of the Virgin Mary, while the Provost condemns as unscriptural and likely to lead to great error an answer which is found in every copy of the catechism which has come under my notice, he has not repudiated the error contained in the question which called forth that answer, and which was copied by the students from his manuscript. "Shew that she may be regarded as occupying under the old dispensation a position typical of that of Mary under the new." I shall make no further remark on this first" probable opinion,"' taught and maintained by the Provost. The second opinion is "The probable intercession of departed saints for [15/16] us." The Provost claims, that scripture and reason are on his side in upholding this article of his teaching. He says of this opinion in page 26, "a persuasion which all reasoning from analogy confirms, and which the Word of God, though it does not expressly sanction, goes very far to establish"--and in page 28, "But I have said that Holy Scripture goes far to make this opinion in the highest degree probable." And yet Pearson one of the Provost's chosen authorities, states, "that it is not revealed unto us in Scripture, nor can be concluded by necessary deduction from any principle of Christianity;" and Archbishop Tillotson, as quoted by the Provost in page 78, speaking upon the same subject, says, "but that they do so is more than can be proved either by clear testimony of scripture or by any convincing argument of reason, and therefore no doctrine or practice can be safely grounded upon it." How the statement that "scripture and reason go very far to establish" this doctrine, and render it in the highest degree probable, can stand in the lace of the Provost's own quotations, I leave to the Corporation to decide. But the Provost has appealed to the Word of God, and has quoted the parable, or, as he calls it, "the narrative of the rich man and Lazarus," as pointing to the conclusion that the saints in heaven pray for us. It may be asked, by whom was the prayer mentioned in the parable offered? Not by a saint in glory, but by a spirit in torment. How did Abraham, the saint in glory, receive if? Did he, being perfect in knowledge and in charity, at once yield to the earnest solicitations of his kinsman in behalf of those who were his own flesh and blood? Did he intercede with God for them'? No, he replied, "they have Moses and the Prophets, let them hear them." Abraham well knew that they had all that God in his wisdom and love had provided for their spiritual enlightenment, and that more, consistently with the divine attributes, could not be asked for them. Thus, while the condemned spirit, in his ignorance, interceded for his brethren in this world, the father of the faithful being now perfect in knowledge, refused to interfere for his own descendants, who were upon earth, surrounded by danger, and exposed to temptation. If we regard Abraham in the parable as a true representative of the saints departed, we must conclude that it is in the highest degree probable that saints in glory do not think it their duty to intercede for those who are still upon this earth.

This is the only argument from Scripture which the Provost has adduced to prove that it is in the highest degree probable that departed saints in glory pray for those on the earth.

"Priestly Absolution" is the next point treated of in the Provost's reply. He says in page 30, "I have no wish, however, to disguise my conviction that the Bishop of Huron does not agree with me in the sense which he attaches to the word 'declaratory.'" The Provost is right. It is plain that the absolutions in the public services of our Church are general declarations of God's mercy to penitent sinners, and that he (God) pardoneth and absolveth all them that truly repent and unfeignedly believe his Holy Gospel. There is nothing in them which can with propriety be understood to convey the pardon of the particular sins of any individual.

The sense in which the word "declaratory" is to be understood may be gathered from these words of Becon, the learned Chaplain of Archbishop Cranmer, "What other thing is it to preach the gospel, than to declare unto the people that their sins be forgiven them freely of God if they repent and believe in Christ?" And again, "if sins be forgiven of God, and the ministers commanded to declare the same unto the people, then doth it follow that they forgive not the sin, but only are ministers appointed of God to publish the benefit of our salvation." Such is the sense in which I understand the word "declaratory." God pardons the sinner when he believes. The minister declares this truth publicly for the strengthening of the faith of those who have already received this blessing at the hand of God. But the Provost [16/17] evidently puts a very different interpretation on the word, for we find him stating in page 31, "that my view is that of the Church, may be gathered from the fact that while she permits a Deacon to read the sentences of Holy Scripture, she forbids his pronouncing the Absolution." Surely the Provost must be aware that the Church nowhere "forbids" the Deacon to read the Absolution. There is no "regulation" of the Church which prohibits the Deacon from using this part of the service. Custom has established this as a mark of distinction between the Deacon and the Priest, but there is no law or rubric of the Church concerning it. In "Stephens on the Laws relating to the Clergy," we thus read: "It is not however clear from the Book of Common Prayer, whether, or how far, the Deacon is prohibited thereby to pronounce the absolution. For although it is there directed that the same shall be pronounced by the Priest alone, yet the word alone in that place, seems only to intend that the people shall not pronounce the absolution after the Priest as they did the confession just before; and the word Priest throughout the rubrics does not seem to be generally appropriated to a person in Priest's orders only. On the contrary, almost immediately after it is directed that the Priest shall say the Gloria Patri," &c. The argument of the Provost therefore gathered from the fact, that the Church "prohibits" the Deacon from reading the absolution falls to the ground, and some more stable basis must be sought for it.

The Provost objects to my statement of the mode in which Divine forgiveness is obtained. "The sinner who truly repents and believes the Gospel is fully pardoned and accepted by God, his sins and iniquities are blotted out for ever." In page 33, he thus states his own view: "I believe that God forgives the sins of the penitent when he truly confesses them, and pleads for forgiveness in the name of Christ, under any circumstances." This confession of faith which substantially agrees with mine, to which the Provost objects, is altogether rendered void by the distinction which he has drawn between private and public confession and pardon, to the prejudice of the former. In page 34, he thus writes, "Can we rightly conceive of the pardon accorded on private confession to God, as being other than contingent and provisional, though sufficient for our immediate necessity?" Here we are taught that after the sinner has made full confession of his sins to God with deepest contrition of soul and in the exercise of a living faith in Christ, he is still to regard his pardon as contingent and conditional until he has obtained Absolution from the Priest. Upon what is his pardon contingent? Plainly upon Priestly Absolution. It is not to be regarded as perfect without this. I have been furnished with the following statement of the doctrine of the Church of Rome on the subject of private and public confession by a gentleman for many years a Priest of that Church, now a Clergyman of the Church of England.

"God grants Absolution to private confession and contrition only conditionally. The pardon granted to private confession to God is only contingent and provisional, providing only for the immediate necessity, while its full and authoritative conveyance is still withheld and reserved to follow on Sacramental confession. This Sacramental confession may be made in many ways, either kneeling or standing, or walking in private or in public, the manner in which it is made does not matter, provided it is made with the intention of obtaining Priestly Absolution. It is by no means the auricular manner of confessing that constitutes the essence of Sacramental confession." This doctrine corresponds so nearly with that taught by the Provost that I feel myself constrained to denounce such teaching as unscriptural, and in the highest degree dangerous to the students of the College.

In his objections to my view of the pardon of sin the Provost urges the confessions which we are taught to make in our services from day to day, not only of the sins of the day, but of our past lives, as incompatible with the [17/18] view which I have set forth. But does not the Provost see that the same objection would equally lie against his view of what he calls the full pardon conveyed to the sinner in the public Absolution? The believer is rightly and piously taught in our services to confess continually his sins before God, and to, bewail them with deep humility of soul, and this he is to do, "most chiefly" when he unites with the congregation in public worship. Although he may at the same time bslieve that these sins were pardoned and washed in the blood of Christ when he first came in faith and repentance to him. The Provost must allow that the sinner, after he has had the public absolution of the Priest, upon which he teaches the pardon of the believer in Christ to be contingent is yet called upon to confess again and again the same sins from which he has been publicly absolved. This objection of the Provost, then, tells as strongly against his view of the full and effectual pardon conveyed in the public absolution of the Priest as against that of the free pardon of all sin enjoyed by every penitent sinner who exercises faith in Christ and pleads his blood before the mercy seat of God.

The Provost asks in page 32, "Does he (the Bishop of Huron) know that the great foundation on which the Priestly power of Absolution claimed in the Church of Rome rests is the necessity of auricular confession?" I answer I know nothing of the kind, for I find all Roman Catholic divines basing the necessity of confession on the Priestly power of Absolution, and not as the Provost says, Absolution on confession. They reason thus, Christ has given power to the Priest to absolve from sin, therefore the sinner must confess to him. The essence of the Romish doctrine consists in the absolving power of the Priest. Confession is a matter of direct logical deduction. It matters not whether this confession be auricular, private or public, that is a question of discipline which the Church may modify according to circumstances. All, therefore, which the Provost has said upon auricular confession, and his indignant repudiation of this practice is without point, as in no wise interfering with the doctrine of Priestly Absolution,

While the Provost states that he does not hold himself responsible for all the expressions which occur in the quotations from his authorities, still he has: undertaken to defend the most objectionable passages which occur in their writings: "Heaven waits and expects the Priest's sentence here on earth." And "the Lord follows the servant, and what the servant rightly binds and looses here on earth, the Lord confirms in heaven." "The Apostles and in them all Priests were made God's vicegerents here on earth in his name and stead to retain and remit sins." "When therefore the Priest absolves God absolves if we be truly penitent." Whether the pleading of the Provost and his labored explanations of these statements will have the effect of convincing the Corporation that such teaching as this is not dangerous to young men, it is not for me to decide.

On the 5th head, "The Grace of the Sacraments," the Provost maintains the doctrine of Baptismal Justification. He fully adopts and defends the opinion embodied in the passage from Waterland, as quoted by him in his letter to the Bishop of Toronto: "Are we not all of us, or nearly all (ten thousand to one) baptized in infancy, and therefore regenerated and justified of course."' This teaching I must ever condemn.

In page 49, the Provost states, "Melancthon calls justification by faith a correlative term to salvation by grace. If, then; salvation by grace do not necessarily exclude means whereby that grace is conveyed, so neither will justification by faith." The terms are indeed correlative, but they are not therefore convertible. The necessary relation which they bear to each other will appear from the following explanation: Salvation is by grace, i. e., by the unmerited mercy and gratuitous favor of God, and justification, without which salvation cannot be obtained, is by faith, which is the only means which God has appointed for this purpose. What says our Church upon this [18/19] subject? In "the 2nd Homily of the Passion" we thus read "Almighty God commonly worketh by means, and in this thing he hath ordained a certain mean whereby we may take fruit and profit to our soul's health. What mean is that? Forsooth it is faith. Again, mark these words, 'That whosoever believeth in him.' Here is the mean whereby we must apply the fruits of Christ's death unto our deadly wound,--here is the mean whereby we must obtain eternal life, namely, faith." Again, "By this, then, you may well perceive that the only mean and instrument of salvation required on our parts is faith." Again, "Thus have we heard in few words, the mean whereby we must apply the fruits and merits of Christ's death unto us, so that it may work the salvation of our souls, namely, a sure, perfect, steadfast, and grounded faith." And again, "Let us then use the mean which God hath appointed in his word, to wit, the mean of faith, which is the only instrument of salvation now left to us." It is for the Corporation to decide whether the Provost has succeeded in his lengthy argument in proving that he had not departed in his teaching from the doctrine of justification by faith as the only mean and instrument appointed by God for the salvation of men, as that doctrine is laid down in the articles and homilies of our Church,

In page 49, the Provost says, "All indeed who know any thing of the History of the Reformation know that the great struggle respecting justification related to its meritorious cause, &c." Hooker knew something about the Reformation, and in his sermon on justification he thus describes the difference between the Church of Rome and the Church of England on the subject of justification. "Wherein, then, do we disagree? We disagree about the nature of the very essence of the medicine whereby Christ cured our disease--about the manner of applying it--about the number and power of the means which God requireth in us for the effectual applying thereof to our soul's comfort." The struggle at the Reformation concerning justification was just as keen concerning the mean and instrument of justification as about its meritorious cause. The same struggle is going on at the present day. [Hooker in Sermon 2 page 17, thus describes the struggle "which took place, concerning justification, between the Reformers and the Church of Rome. "It is true they do indeed join other things with Christ, but how? not in the work of Redemption itself, which they grant that Christ alone hath performed sufficiently for the salvation of the whole world; but in the application of this inestimable treasure, that it may be effectual to their salvation. How demurely soever they confess that they seek remission of their Bine no otherwise than by the blood of Christ, using humbly the means appointed by him to apply the benefit of his holy blood, they teach indeed so many things pernicious to Christian faith in setting down the means whereof they speak, that the very foundation of faith which they hold, is thereby plainly overthrown, and the force of the blood of Jesus Christ extinguished." The Catechism of the Council of Trent thus teaches concerning justification. "Moreover, as salvation is unattainable, but through Christ, and the merits of his passion, the institution of this Sacrament (penance) was in itself accordant with the views of Divine wisdom and pregnant with blessings to the Christian. Pennance is the channel through which the blood of Christ flows into the soul, washes away the stains contracted after baptism, and calls forth from us the grateful acknowledgment, that to the Saviour alone we are indebted for the blessings of a reconciliation with God." From the quotations it is apparent, that the struggle at the Reformation was much greater concerning the mean and instrument by which justification is obtained, than oven concerning its meritorious cause.]

From what the Provost says, in page 54, he appears quite to misunderstand the position in which I stand in reference to him and to the Corporation. He says "It is too much to require that I should, on pain of being accounted a dangerous and heretical teacher, relinquish their authority as interpreters [19/20] of scripture for that of the Bishop of Huron. For this it is which in that case his Lordship is requiring me to do."

In this the Provost labours under a mistake. I never required him to give up any authority, or to adopt any new views, or even to modify those which he has avowed. As a member of the Corporation of Trinity College, when required to do so, I stated my objections to his teaching, and I appealed to the Corporation to decide whether they approved of such teaching. The challenge then which the Provost gives in the above page I must beg to decline, as I do not wish to change places with him, and to stand on my defence before the Corporation with him as my opponent. [The challenge here alluded to is conveyed in the following form. "Can the Bishop of Huron deny? &c. If he be prepared to do so let him do so, &c. If he be not prepared to do so, &c."]

[The following quotation from Archbishop Usher's answer to a Jesuit, Page 666. (Cambridge 1835) clearly sets forth the manner of the believers participation of Christ, and of his union with Him. "First therefore for the Communion of the Spirit, which is the ground and foundation of this spiritual union, let us call to mind what we have read in God's Book, that, Christ the second Adam 'was made a quickening spirit,' that unto him 'God hath given the spirit without measure' and' of his fullness have all we received,' that, 'he that is joined to the Lord is our Spirit,' and that, 'hereby we know that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us his Spirit.' By all which it doth appear that the mystery of our union with Christ consisteth mainly in this, that the selfsame spirit which is in him, as in the head is be derived from him into every one of his true members that thereby they are animated and quickened to a spiritual life.' And again, in page 667, 'And even thus it is in Christ, although in regard of his corporal presence the heaven must receive him until the times of the restitution of all things, yet is he here with us always, even to the end of the world, in respect to the presence of his spirit, by the vital influence whereof from him as from the head, the whole body is fitly joined together, and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part," which quickening spirit if it be wanting in any, no external communion with Christ or his Church can make him a true member of his mystical body."

The question of the participation of the glorified humanity of our Lord in the eucharist, and the direct application of the 6th of John to the Lord's Sapper, I shall not again enter upon. I shall leave these with the remarks which I made on them in my objections, to the decision of the Corporation.

Concerning good things lost at the Reformation, the Provost says that in the 1st Book of Edward 6th, there was a rubric commanding the Priest "to reserve at the open communion so much of the body and blood as shall serve the sick person." This was the good and pious usage in the days of Justin Martyr, which is regretted by the Provost. Our Reformers found that superstition and idolatry were introduced by this usage, and in little more than "ten years the article was agreed upon which condemned and forbid, not the vulgar superstitions of the Devonshire rebels, but the usage enjoined by the rubric of the 1st Prayer-Book of King Edward. It would be more safe at the present day not to regret or teach others to regret a usage which our Reformers so soon found necessary to expunge from our Prayer-Book, and to frame an article against it.

In conclusion I would say, when I find young men of the present day ready to avow that they would rather be united to the Church of Rome than to any Protestant body separated from the Church of England I must regard the teaching which has induced this state of mind as most dangerous, I am old [20/21] fashioned enough to regard with holy horror those doctrines and practices which our Church characterises as "blasphemous fables and dangerous deceits," and as "idolatry to be abhorred of all Christian men," and I find that this horror does not exist in the minds of the alumni of Trinity College. It may be said triumphantly that none of the students of Trinity College have yet forsaken the Church of England for that of Rome, but we know that many years are required to effect such a change in the mind and feelings of a man, as will constrain him to burst through all the ties of kindred and companionship which habit and education have bound around him, and to adopt a system as entirely opposed to that in which he has been educated as day is to night. We know that several of those who have gone over from the Church of England to that of Rome were for eight or ten years contemplating the change before they took the final step. In "Cautions for the Times," we find the Archbishop of Dublin thus speaking of those men, "It is no wonder than that many of those who had thus been brought on the very brink of Romanism, should, when they became aware of their real position, pass on. But much as their case is to be lamented, and great as is the damage which they have done to the Church, they are not the members of the party that are most to be feared: they have left us and become avowed Romanists, and by that very act set us on our guard against them. Much more formidable are the leaders of the party who still remain in outward communion with us. They come to us in sheep's clothing, professing to be devoted members of our Church, and therefore they find, too often, ready listeners. They may be compared to a recruiting depot for the Church of Rome, kept up among ourselves, and sooner or later the persons who fall under their influence, very generally become open converts to Romanism, and their efforts are the more insidious, because they, for the most part, begin by loudly declaring that they teach nothing but the recognised doctrines of the Established Church--that they are inculcating Church principles, and that all who are opposed to them are little better than schismatics."

I trust that the decision at which the Corporation may arrive will be such as will promote the interests of vital religion and sound Protestant truth in this Institution.


(IV.) The Opinion of the Bishop of Ontario.

Hawkesbury, July 9th, 1863.

My Lord Bishop,

I have carefully examined the documents necessary to form an opinion regarding the controversy about the teaching of the Provost of Trinity College.

I am aware that some of the items of teaching as given in those documents are simply matters of private opinion regarding which differences may exist in the minds of different members of the Church without blame attaching to any one; but as regards the dogmatic teaching of the Provost on the doctrines of the Church, I have to declare my belief that it is not unsound nor unscriptural, it is not contrary to the teaching of the United Church of [21/22] England and Ireland, dangerous in its tendency, or leading to the Church of Rome.

I have the honor to remain your Lordship's

faithful servant,


Hon. and Right Rev. The Lord Bishop of Toronto, President of Trinity College.

(V.) The Opinion of the Bishop of Quebec.

Quebec, August 25th, 1863.

My Lord Bishop,

In rendering an answer to the question whether the teaching of the Provost of Trinity, as exhibited in the two pamphlets placed in my hands, be "unsound, or unscriptural. contrary to the doctrine of the Church of England, or dangerous in their tendency, or leading to the Church of Rome," I beg to state, that I am unable to deal with the two last queries. The documents do not furnish the requisite data. To judge of the "tendency" or the "leading" of his teaching, we must view it as a whole. We cannot tell from extracts, however fairly selected, what may have been the prominence assigned to the impugned statements, nor how these may have been guarded and modified in the unextracted parts of the Provost's lectures, or by oral instruction. And if we could form an opinion on these matters, it would carry little weight in the face of a better appeal. The results are before you. The tendency, or the leading of the Provost's teaching, not whither, I may fancy, or you may suppose, but whither it has tended--whither it has led. If his pupils have, in any numbers, gone over to the Church of Rome, there will be a strong presumption that his teaching leads that way, and therefore has a dangerous tendency. If he has taught for all these years, and his hearers, the while, have not gone over to the Church of Rome, it would argue, if not disloyalty to truth, at any rate incapacity to appreciate fact, to affirm that his teaching leads thither. I am unwilling to convert what is really a question of fact into matter of opinion.

In regard to the other elements of the question submitted, I have to say, that, having carefully read the Bishop of Huron's charges, and the Provost's reply, I do not find the teaching complained of to be "unsound or unscriptural, or contrary to the teaching of the Church of England." The Provost, so far as I can see, teaches nothing for the doctrine of the Church which the Church does not herself teach; he holds no opinion, so far as I can learn, which the Church does not permit him to hold.

Some of his opinions I do not share; but this I will say, that a Theological Professor could not discharge the duties of his office without adverting to the topics in relation to which the Provost's teaching is complained of; and, that those opinions which he is' permitted to hold, he is in no way bound to conceal.

I have the honor to be, my Lord Bishop,

Yours faithfully,


The Right Rev. the President of the Corporation of Trinity College, Toronto.

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