A Harmony of Anglican Doctrine
with the doctrine of the catholic and apostolic church of the East:
being the longer Russian catechism:
with an appendix consisting of notes and extracts from Scottish and Anglican authorities.
Appendix: Consisting of Notes to the Foregoing Catechism, with Extracts from Public Documents of the Scottish and Anglican Churches, and from the Writings of Some of their Most Celebrated Divines;
Designed to shew that there is in the Anglican Communion Generally, and more Particularly and Pre-eminently in the Scottish Church, an Element of Orthodoxy, Capable, by a Synodical Act, of Declaring Unity and Identity with the Eastern Catholic Church.
by William Palmer [M]
Aberdeen: A Brown, 1846.
Q. What is necessary in order to please God, and to save one's own soul? A. In the first place, a knowledge of the true God, and a right faith in Him; in the second place, a life according to this faith, and good works.?The Orthodox Catechism, p. 3.
I. The Baptismal Offices of the Church of England:?
In these Offices the Priest declares that "all men are conceived and born in sin, and they that are in the flesh cannot please God, and that our Saviour Christ saith, None can enter into the kingdom of God, except he be regenerate and born anew of water and the Holy Ghost." And after?wards, he recites Christ's commandment to His Disciples, "Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." And this being done, he shortly after addresses himself to the person to be baptized, and tells him that "he must for his part promise that he will re?nounce the devil and all his works, and constantly believe God's holy word, and obediently keep His commandments;" And then interrogates him thus; "Q. Dost thou renounce, &c.? A. I renounce them all. Q. Dost thou believe in God the Father Almighty, &c. [and so on to the end of the Creed]? A. All this I stedfastly believe. Q. Wilt thou be baptized in this Faith? A. That is my desire. Q. Wilt thou then obediently keep God's holy will and commandments, and walk in the same all the days of thy life? A. I will endeavour so to do, God being my helper." Upon this the Priest baptizes him: And thereupon immediately affirms, that "he is now by Baptism regenerate;" and renews his prayers to God, that the person thus baptized "and regenerate," may "lead the rest of his life according to this beginning," may "continue God's servant,and attain His promises." And lastly, after having admonished the Godfathers and Godmothers, he charges the newly baptized himself, that having "now by baptism put on Christ, it is his part and duty also, being made the child of God and of the light, by faith in Jesus Christ, to walk answerably to his Christian calling, . . . continually mortifying all evil and corrupt affections, and daily proceed?ing in all virtue and godliness of living."
II. The Catechism of the Church of England:?
"Q. What is your name? A. N. or M. Q. Who gave you this name? A. My Godfathers and my Godmothers in my Baptism; wherein I was made a member of Christ, the child of God, and an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven. Q. What did your Godfathers and Godmothers then for you? A. They did promise and vow three things in my name. First, that I should renounce the devil and all his works, the pomps and vanity of this wicked world, and all the sinful lusts of the flesh. Secondly, that I should believe all the Articles of the Christian Faith. And thirdly, that I should keep God's holy will and commandments, and walk in the same all the days of my life. Q. Dost thou not think that thou art bound to believe and to do, as they have promised for thee? A. Yes, verily; and by God's help so I will. And I heartily thank our heavenly Father that He hath called me to this state of salvation, through Jesus Christ our Saviour. And I pray unto God to give me His grace, that I may continue in the same unto my life's end."
III. Bishop Nicholson, in his Exposition of the Catechism of the Church of England, writes as follows:?
"The first duty of a Christian is, that he believe. For it is not possible that he should obey God's commandments, or pray unto Him, or expect the performance of any promise from Him, or desire by the Sacraments to have them sealed to him, except he hath faith, trust, affiance and confi?dence in God. Whence the Apostle saith, 'Without faith it is impossible to please God; for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.'"?Oxford ed. p. 26.
And again, of "Justifying Faith:"?
"This is a gift of God, and is wrought inwardly by His Holy Spirit, and outwardly by the revelation of His word. The subject in which this faith is, is the heart, which comprehends the understanding, the will, and the affections: which being regenerated in every true believer, 1. The understanding is enlightened with knowledge; 2. The will is inclined to assent to, and receive what we know; 3. And the affections bent to love it. Which three when they meet in any Christian soul, then the man is said to believe, and to be endued with the habit or quality of faith. ...... Now whether this faith be true or no is thus discerned.
1. By an earnest, serious, and constant desire proceeding from a contrite heart, not so much of salvation, as of reconciliation, or to be at peace with God through Christ: they hunger after righteousness: whence the act of the Patriarchs' faith is commended for this, aspasamenoi, they kissed, saluted, or embraced the promises: and the promise made to them was of the Woman's Seed, which was Christ, who was to reconcile all things in heaven and in earth. 2. By the influence it hath upon our lives, conform?ing the whole man to the discipline of Jesus Christ, which the Apostle calls 'the obedience of faith.? For there is a dead faith, which is separated from a holy life; and this justifies no man: and there is a living faith, which works by love, or faith keeping the commandments of God, which alone is powerful unto salvation. Now with this faith it is that a Christian vows in his baptism to believe."?Ib. p. 17, &c.
IV. Dr. William Forbes, First Bishop of Edinburgh:?"Justifying faith, to speak distinctly and theologically, is nothing else than a firm and sure assent of the mind produced by the Holy Ghost through the word; by which we acknowledge as most true all that God has revealed in holy Scripture, especially the mystery of our redemption and salvation through Christ. And so, considered in itself and in its essence, it is no other thing than the Catholic Faith (i.e. the faith of the Catholic Church), which of itself also beyond all doubt justifies a man, if all those other things which are necessary to justification are joined with it."?Consid. Modest, p. 7.
And again: "Very many of the Fathers assert that we are justified by faith only. Orig. in cap. 3. ad Rom. circ. fin. &c. &c." (citing a great number of passages.) "But if all these and other like passages which might be found, be read fairly and honestly, the reader will plainly see that the Fathers by the word only, or alone, never thought of excluding simply all works of faith and grace from being causative of justification and eternal life: but, 1. The law of nature, and the Mosaic law: 2. all works done of man's own power and will, without faith in Christ and God's pre?venting grace: 3. a false faith, or heresy; to which, and not to good works, they then oppose faith, (i. e. true faith:) 4. the absolute necessity of out?ward works even of grace, as outward works of charity or repentance, the receiving of the Sacraments, &c., (that is, when the possibility or opportu?nity is wanting), for in such cases faith alone suffices without external works; but yet not even then without those good affections of penitence and love to God, which are inward works: 5. all vain confidence and boasting in our own works, of whatever kind or whensoever done they may be, not only such as precede faith, but also such as follow it, whether of the out?ward or inward kind."?Ib. p, 24.
Again: ?This conclusion then, that good works are necessary to salva?tion not only by reason of their being necessarily present, but also by reason that they are in some degree causative thereof, and that works no less than faith are in their own way referred to salvation, is admitted, as we have shewn, to be most true by very many of the most learned Protestants: and as for us, we think this controversy between the two sides vain and useless, and for the most part a mere logomachy."?Ib. p. 130.
Again: "The more rigid Protestants do very ill in rejecting the com?monly received distinction of justification into primary and secondary. For to say nothing now of that first justification, which consists in the remission of all precedent sins and the gift of sanctifying grace" [so are joined in the Baptismal Office these two expressions of 'washing' and 'sanctifying'] "we must necessarily acknowledge and admit a secondary or posterior justification, which consists in the progression, increase, and perfecting (according to the state of life) of that justice which has been given in the first instance, and in the remission of those faults into which even the just fall daily. Of this the Scriptures speak. (Apocal. last ch.) ?He who is justified, let him be justified still. (Qui Justus est, justificetur adhuc.) &c.'"?Ib. p. 168.
V. And lastly, the same Bishop Forbes quotes a passage from the Book entitled "A Necessary Doctrine, &c.," set forth by the Bishops of the Church of England in the year 1543; to which Cranmer also himself appealed shortly before his death, as still retaining its force. The follow?ing is abridged from the article on Justification:?
"All men since the fall of Adam are born in original sin, and further are born with concupiscence, and are guilty to everlasting death and damnation, from which they can in no wise be delivered by any strength or power that is in them . . . Wherefore God sent His Son to deliver us, and to be the very means of our reconciliation and of our justification. .. Albeit God is the principal cause and chief worker of this justification in us, yet so it pleaseth His wisdom, that man, prevented by His grace, shall be also a worker by His free consent and obedience to the same, in the attaining of his own justification, and so continuing, come to the perfect end thereof by such means and ways as God hath ordained.... Although Christ offered Himself on the Cross a sufficient redemption for the sins of the world, and hath made Himself an open way for all only by His own merit, and calleth all, yet, for all this, none shall be saved by Him but they that take such ways thereto as He hath taught and appointed; i.e., for them that are of age, and have use of reason before they be christened, God's will is that all such (if they will be saved) shall at hearing give stedfast faith and assent to His word, as St. Paul saith, 'He that cometh to God must believe;' and by that faith they must conceive repentance for their sins, with trust to have forgiveness of them by Christ. And joining thereunto a full purpose of amendment of forsaking sin and serving God as long as they live, they must then receive the Sacrament of Baptism. And this is the very plain ordinary way, by which God hath determined that men being of age and coming to Christendom should be justified. For as for infants, it is to be believed that their justification is wrought by the secret operation of the Holy Ghost in their baptism..... And this justification whereof we have hitherto spoken, may be called the first justification. But if it chance us after our baptism to be overthrown of our enemies and cast into mortal sin, then there is no remedy, but for the recovering of our former justification which we have lost, to arise by penance, therein proceeding with sorrow and much lamentation, with fasting, alms, prayer, and the doing of all that God requires: and so, being thus restored to our justification, we must go forward in our battle aforesaid, in mortifying our concupiscence and in our daily spiritual renovation, in doing good works and abstaining from sin, being armed with faith, hope, and charity; to the intent we may attain our final justification, and so be glorified in the day of judgment with the reward of everlasting life..... Wherefore when we have once received our justification in baptism, or be restored thereunto by true penance, we must continually walk after Christ, bearing our Cross, and increasing in His grace by good works; and so doing, proceed, go forward, and increase in our justification, according to the saying of St. John, 'He that is just, let him be more justified.' For as the grace of God and the gifts thereof, i.e. faith, repentance, dread, hope, charity, and the like, do increase in us, so do we wax and increase in our justification. .... And therefore it is plain that not only faith, as it is a distinct virtue or gift by itself, is required to our justification, but also the other gifts of the grace of God, with a desire to do good works proceeding of the same grace. And whereas in certain places of scripture our justification is ascribed to faith, without any further addition or mention of any other virtue or gift of God, it is to be understood of faith in the second sense" (as explained in a former part), "wherein the fear of God, repentance, hope and charity, are included and comprised; all which must be joined together in our justifica?tion. So that no faith is sufficient to our justification or salvation, but such a faith as worketh by charity, as is plainly expressed by St. Paul in his epistle to the Galatians: and that also our good works that we do, being once justified, by faith and charity, avail both to the conservation and refection of the said virtues in us, and also to the increase and end of our justification and everlasting salvation..... And although we can never be justified without these gifts of the Holy Ghost, faith, repentance, hope, charity, with desire and study to bring forth good works, yet nevertheless we are justified gratis, inasmuch as all gifts or works, whereby our justifica?tion is wrought or accomplished, come of the free mercy and grace of God, and not of our desert: so that our pride and glory in ourselves, and our own worthiness, is utterly excluded. For we are not able of ourselves, as of ourselves, so much as to think any good thing; but our ability and suffi?ciency is of God."?P. 363. ed. 1825.
VI. Nor is the above doctrine at all at variance with the letter of the XXXIX Articles, whatever spirit they may be asserted by some to breathe. In them we find the following doctrine:?
All men are born in original sin, which deserves God's wrath and damna?tion: (Art. ix.) Have no power of themselves to please God, nor to prepare themselves to faith or calling on God. (Art. x.) The name of Jesus Christ is the only name given, whereby men must be saved. (Art. xviii.) In the Old and New Testament alike everlasting life is offered to mankind in Christ, who is the only Mediator; and the old Fathers looked forward by faith to the same salvation. (Art. vii.) They that be called of God, and through grace obey the calling, are j ustified freely, (Art.xvii.) and accounted righteous before God only for the merit of Jesus Christ, by faith, and not for their own works or deservings (whether of natural or legal justice); and so they are justified by faith only: (Art. xi.) and that in Baptism; (as is taught by the Homily on Justification referred to by the same Article, which uses indifferently the terms "baptized or justified.") And to such as thus "believe and are baptized," and are "regenerate," or "Baptizati," there is no condemnation. (Art. ix.) They are conformed to the image of Jesus Christ; they walk religiously in good works. (Art. xvii.) Their good works please God. (Art. xii.) They may fall however after Baptism even into deadly sin; and yet be pardoned: they may after they have received the Holy Ghost depart from grace given, and fall into sin; and by the grace of God arise again and amend their lives, and be forgiven both by God and by the Church, through Penitence: (Art. xvi.) And so, at length, by God's mercy again walking religiously in good works they attain to everlasting felicity. Art. xvii.
VII. The Scottish Catechism of the Diocese of Brechin:?A. We all inherit from our first parents a nature corrupt and mortal, tainted with sin, and prone to evil, and therefore under condemnation. Q. Could man do any thing to recover himself from this state? A. 'The condition of man after the fall of Adam is such, that he cannot turn or prepare himself by his own natural strength and good works, to faith and calling upon God.' (quoting from the tenth of the XXXIX Articles.) Q. Did God leave man in this miserable state? A. No; He provided a Redeemer for us. Q. Who is that Redeemer? A. The Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God. Q. What has He done for our recovery from sin and death? A. He took upon Him our nature, and by His meritorious righteousness and sufferings, obtained for ns the pardon of our sins, the gift of the Holy Spirit, and eternal Life. Q. Are these blessings freely offered to all? A. Yes; in the Gospel they are freely offered to all, who truly repent and believe in our blessed Saviour. Q. What is this plan of redemption called? A. The Gospel, or covenant of Grace. Q. When did this covenant commence? A. It commenced immediately after the fall; it was prefigured under the Patriarchal and Jewish dispensations; and in the fulness of time it was completely unfolded under the Gospel. Q. How are we admitted into the covenant of Grace? A. By the Sacrament of Baptism, which Christ ordained for that purpose: and therefore, the Church begins her Catechism with an explanation of the privileges and obligations of Baptism. Q. What were you made in your Baptism? A. 'I was made a member of Christ, a child of God, and an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven;'.... Q. Is Baptism alone sufficient for Salvation? A. 'It is certain by God's word that children which are baptized, dying before they commit actual sin, are undoubtedly saved.' Q. But are not adults required to improve the grace of Baptism to the renewal of their nature? A. Yes..... Q. Can Christian Faith and practice be separated? A. No."?pp. 6. 11. 100.
In another similar Catechism composed by Bishop Jolly, for the use of the Scottish Church, and republished in the year 1837 in the Diocese of Aberdeen, we read as follows: Q. "What does the Christian religion in general require of us? A. It requires of us these things; first, that we should believe what God has revealed; secondly, that we should perform what He has commanded."?P. 13.
Q. How is Divine Revelation spread among men, and preserved in the true Church? A. By two Channels; holy Tradition, and holy Scripture.?Orthodox Catechism, p. 6.
I. This is indeed either virtually or avowedly the doctrine of all Christian Sects, no less than of the Apostolical Church, however some of them may seem to reject the word Tradition, and all other human authority beside their own. For if any teacher ceased to teach, or any member, of whatever sect, ceased to profess the tradition of his sect, he would no longer even be called by its name.
With respect to the British Churches we have seen already that in their Baptismal Offices they teach first orally, not the necessity of reading Scrip?ture, but the necessity of believing their own definite tradition; requiring from the person to be baptized the profession of the Creed or Symbol of Faith; "Dost thou believe in God the Father, &c?" and then, "Wilt thou be baptized in this Faith?" and teaching in their own name (by tradition) in the Catechism that Christians are bound to continue in that faith which they promised to believe at their Baptism, if they would remain in the state of Salvation; "Dost thou not think that thou art bound to believe as they have promised for thee ? &c."
And again, in the 'Creed of St. Athanasius,' which is sung in all the British Churches, they declare thus that it is necessary to keep whole and undefiled the traditionary faith of the Catholic Church; "Whosoever would be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholic Faith: which faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly, &c."
And after Baptism and Confirmation the members of the British Churches hear the Scriptures read in the Mattins and Vespers and Liturgy of the Church, and are bidden to join in the repetition of the Psalter, but they are nowhere required by the Church even to learn to read, or to possess the holy Scriptures, themselves. It is only when any come to be ordained Priests or Bishops, that they are required to study the holy Scripture, and to promise to teach the previously-received and traditionary Faith of the Church which ordains them, agreeably to the same.
With regard to holy Scripture, the British Churches declare in the XXXIX Articles, That the Church is the witness and keeper of it; and that she also has authority in all controversies of faith: that nevertheless she holds herself bound to teach and require nothing to be believed, as of necessity to salvation, which she does not either plainly read, or fairly infer and prove from the sacred books. Art. xx, xxi. vi.
The following citations will shew what importance the British Churches assign to holy Tradition:?
II. From the books entitled "The Institution," and "A Necessary Doc?trine, &c.," agreed on by the Bishops in England, A.D. 1537 and 1643:?
"All those things which were taught by the Apostles, and have been by a whole universal consent of the Church of Christ ever since that time taught continually, and taken always for true, ought to be received, accepted, and kept as a perfect doctrine Apostolic." And in the same books it is declared, that all Christians must take the articles of the Creed, "and interpret all the same things, according to the self-same sentence and interpretation, which the words of Scripture do signify, and the holy approved doctors of the Church do agreeably entreat and defend."?P. 222. ed. 1825.
III. From a Canon made by a Synod in England, A.D. 1571:??Let Preachers above all things be careful that they never teach aught in a sermon to be religiously held and believed by the people, ex?cept that which is agreeable to the doctrine of the Old and New Testaments, and which has been collected from the same doctrine by the Catholic Fathers and ancient Bishops.?
IV. From a work of Archbishop Bramhall, entitled "Schism Guarded:"?"We do not only admit oral traditions in general, as an excellent in?troduction to the doctrine of saving truth, and a singular help to expound the holy Scriptures, but also particular unwritten traditions, derived from the Apostles, and delivered unto us by the manifest testimony of the primitive Church, being agreeable to the holy Scriptures. The Apostles did speak by inspiration, as well as write; and their tradition, whether by word or writing, indifferently, was the Word of God, into which Faith was resolved. .... St. Augustine setteth us down a certain rule, how to know a true genuine Apostolical tradition: 'Whatsoever,' saith he, 'the univer?sal Church doth hold, which has not been instituted by Councils, but always received, is most rightly believed to have been delivered by Aposto?lical authority.'"?Oxford ed. p. 382.
And again, in his Answer to M. De La Militiere, written in the name of the Anglican Church by command of King Charles II.:?
"We receive not your upstart supposititious traditions, nor unwritten fundamentals: but we admit genuine, universal, Apostolical traditions; as, the Apostles' Creed, the perpetual Virginity of the Mother of God, the anniversary Festivals of the Church, the Lenten Fast. .... We believe Episcopacy to an ingenuotis person may be proved out of Scripture with?out Tradition ; but to such as are froward, the perpetual practice and tradition of the Church renders the interpretation of the text more authentic, and the proof more convincing."?Oxford ed. p. 53.
V. Bp. Gunning On the Lent Fast, a book published by the King's ex?press command:?
"St. Augustine is cited to say, 'Non invenimus in litteris Novi Testamenti evidenter praeceptum,' of this or any other certain days of neces?sary fasting; and hereupon, as St. Basil of another matter spake, ?they clamour, and call for demonstrations from written testimonies, and send away with disgrace, as nothing worth, the unwritten witness of the Fathers.' And again; 'But they cease not up and down clamouring, that this is not witnessed in any written word of God.' Yet. . . St. Augustine would never have allowed them so to abuse his words; as shall now appear. This holy Father thus writeth, speaking of a certain custom of the Church; 'Which custom I believe to have come from tradition of the Apostles; as many things, which are not found in their writings, nor in the Councils of following times, and yet, because they are observed through the Church universal, are believed to have been by them delivered and commended:' for, 'that custom, which even then men looking back upward did not observe to have been instituted by any following ages, is most rightly believed to have been a tradition delivered by the Apostles.' And in another place; 'Those things which we keep, being not written but handed down by tradition, such at least as are observed throughout the whole world, we must understand to be retained as commanded and appointed either from the Apostles themselves, or from plenary? (i.e. Oecumenical) ?Councils, whose authority in the Church is most wholesome; as for example, that the passion of the Lord, and His resurrection, and ascension, are celebrated by anniversary solemnities.? Again, to learn that St. Augustine thought some things may be ?non evidenter praecepta ab Apostolis,? (i.e. not evidently commanded by the Apostles,) nor yet in their writings at all commanded, and yet really commanded by the Apostles, and rightly so believed, see his words; ?Apostoli &c.? ?The Apostles indeed commanded nothing in this matter; but that custom is to be believed to have taken its beginning from their tradition: as there are many things, which the universal Church observes, and which for this cause are rightly believed to have been commanded by the Apostles, although they be not found written.? Here you see ?commanded by them,? and ?not commanded by them,? in several senses: therefore his expression elsewhere, ?non evidenter praeceptum,? is by himself reconciled here to himself in the many other testimonies above produced. Upon these grounds therefore St. Augustine elsewhere pronounces, that 'to dispute against that which the universal Church observes insolentissimae est insanicae.' St. Basil perfectly agrees hereto: 'But this also is Apostolical; Hold fast the traditions which ye have received, whether by word or by Epistle: of which latter this present is one; which they who from the beginning did constitute or appoint it, delivered to those that followed after, and so, as the usage proceeded on ever with time, rooted it firmly by long custom in the Churches.' The same Father tells us of certain things received in the Church 'by a silent and mystical or secret tradition;' and gives us instances, ?And the rest of the ceremonies at Baptism, the renunciation of Satan and his angels? from what Scripture are they taken?? Add to these Leo the Great, of near time to St. Augustine, ?It is not to be doubted, O most beloved, but that each Christian observance? (i.e. of the Christian Church generally) 'hath been taught of God; and whatever hath been received by the Church into the practice of her devotion, doth derive itself from tradition Apostolical, and from the teaching of the Holy Spirit.' And lastly, Fulgentius Ferrandus, the Deacon, of the next age: 'Let every one, who glorieth that he belongs unto the Church, live by the laws of the Church, especially those, which antiquity hath confirmed. Whence also custom without a law, which yet the tradition of the holy Church? (i.e. uni?versal) ?hath delivered to be observed by posterity for ever, seems to have a claim to be observed with the same reverence, and in no way to be set aside, when it is not contrary to the true faith.? .... It were easy to add numerous testimonies from St. Jerome, Epiphanius, Tertullian, Chrysostom, and others; but these are sufficient. Only be it here well noted, that neither St. Augustine, St. Basil, Leo, Ferrandus, or others, here do speak of matters of faith, or of essential moral duties, or of the essence of Sacraments; all which we are taught indeed by the consent of these same Fathers to be contained expressly in the holy Scriptures; and so their testimonies in that behalf are reconcileable with these; but of ritual observances; which being visible, and as it were legible, in the universal Church's constant practice, needed not to be set down in her written rule, or those which are therein set down, not necessarily so evidently, but that they might need the interpretation of such the Church's practice.??Oxford ed. p. 100.
VI. From a Treatise On the Church by a living writer, the Rev. W. Palmer, of Worcester College Oxford:?
?In England the supremacy and sufficiency of Scripture was most rightly maintained, not against a Catholic tradition teaching the same doctrines as Scripture itself, and therefore strictly confirmatory of Scrip?ture, but against a Tradition imagined to convey articles of faith, in addition to those which Scripture contains. The title of Dr. Smyth's book ?De Veritatibus non scriptis? sufficiently shews the principle of the Papal party. The Roman Controversialists founded some of their Articles of Faith on unwritten tradition merely. Against them it was maintained, that for every Article of Faith there ought to be scriptural proof; but it was never supposed that particular Churches were at liberty to affix whatever meaning they pleased to Scripture, contrary to the doctrine of the Catholic Church in all ages: still less was it imagined that private individuals might lawfully hold whatever doctrines they should themselves devise, without paying reverence to the authority of that branch of the Church in which they should abide, and entire obedience to that of the Church universal in all ages."?Vol. i. p. 377.
VII. From the Catechism of the Diocese of Brechin in Scotland:??Q. What should be the object of most anxious inquiry to every Chris?tian? A. To discover what he must believe, and do, in order to obtain everlasting life. Q. Whence is this knowledge to be learned? A. From the revealed will of God." And elsewhere, (p. 23.) it is said, that for the preservation of the knowledge and worship of the true God, and for the dispensation of His holy word and Sacraments, for the salvation of man?kind, Christ has constituted the Church; which is universal, or Catholic, in doctrine as well as in space and time, (p. 60.) receiving and teaching all truth; and Apostolic, in that it has continued from the beginning of Chris?tianity, and will continue to the end of the world, to hold and teach ?the faith which was once delivered to the Saints,? the pure and uncorrupted doctrine which it has received from the Apostles, and duly to administer the Sacra?ments. Again (p. 98.) it is said, that the Church has been instituted by Christ to the end, that She ?should minister to the salvation of man through the whole of this his state of trial.? After which the following: ?Q. What is the first step which the Church takes to promote our Salvation? A. In holy Baptism she brings us (i.e. us, who were baptized in our infancy, which implies the previous preaching to and conversion of adults,) to Christ; that being united to Him we may be delivered from sin and condemnation, and receive the Holy Spirit to be the principle of a new and heavenly life. Q. (p. 90.) Has the Church made provision for the instruction of her members in the Faith? A. She teaches us in the Creeds the (same) truths (as are also) revealed in Scripture. Q. (p. 12.) What (after renunciation) did your Sponsors promise for you at your Baptism? A. That I should believe all the Articles of the Christian Faith. Q. (p. 15.) Rehearse the Articles of the Christian Faith. A. 'I believe in one God &c.' Q. (p. 13.) Why is it called the Apostles' Creed? A. Because it is a short account of those things which the Apostles preached, and which all Christians ought to believe. Q. (p. 49.) What care does the Church take of her members in their youth? A. In the Catechism she provides for their instruction in all those things, which a Christian ought to know and believe to his soul's health." And, at p. 100. it is said, that besides "teaching us how we are to live" the Church also "takes care of our being instructed in what we are to believe;? and that not only, as we have seen above, at the very commencement of our Chris?tianity in baptism, by teaching us the Creed, but also afterwards by ?instructing us in the true interpretation of Scripture,? (i.e. as many of us as may have learned to read, and possess the volume of the Scriptures; or at least, after we are old enough to reflect on what we hear read in the Church.) And, at p. 89. ?Q. Whence arises that endless variety of opinion, as to what the Bible teaches us to believe and do? A. From men's forsaking the means which God hath appointed for their guidance, and following their own private fancies and devices. Q. What guide hath God appointed for us in the interpretation of His Word? A. The Church; which is ?the Pillar and ground of the Truth,? a witness and keeper of Holy Writ, instituted by Christ to be the means of preserving and conveying the Truth through the several ages to come. Q. How should this influence our conduct? A. It should lead us humbly to listen to the teaching of the Church.??P. 89, &c.
VIII. From a Pastoral Letter addressed in the year 1839, by the Synod of the Scottish Bishops to the Clergy and Laity of their Church:?
"We are specially guided to the truth as it is in Jesus, and guarded against the errors opposed to it, by the well matured system which gives to the uninterrupted succession of Catholic Tradition the regulated authority and just influence which belong to it. The external evidence of the authority and authenticity of Scripture is traditional; and it is in the history and in the uniform practice of the Christian Church that we ascer?tain, with certainty, matters of very considerable importance not expressly decided in Scripture, and which therefore, without the Tradition of the Church, would be doubtful, and liable to dispute. . . . The Church of England (as well as our own) has ever maintained the authority of Scripture in the clearest terms; but she requires us to take along with us, in reading and interpreting Scripture, all the necessary aids, by which we may best attain its import. In this view she has ever regarded not the spurious and fallacious traditions of the Church of Rome, but the pure and primitive Tradition of the Catholic Church."?P. 14.
IX. Dr. Hammond, Chaplain to King Charles I, as cited by Dr. Thomas Brett, writes on the same subject as follows:?
?Although Scripture is the most certain and safe rule of belief, yet there being no less veracity in the tongues than in the hands, in the preachings than the writings of the Apostles; nay, prior sermo quam liber, prior sensus quam stilus, saith Tertullian, (the Apostles preached before they writ, planted Churches, before they addressed Epistles to them,) on these grounds I make no scruple to grant that Apostolical traditions, such as are truly so, as well as Apostolical writings, are equally the matter of that Christian's belief, who is equally secured by the fidelity of the conveyance, that as the one is Apostolical writing, so is the other Apostolical tradition. Next then, the inquiry must proceed by examining what is the equal way of conveyance, common to both these, upon the strength of which we become obliged to receive such or such a tradition for Apostolical. And this again is acknowledged to be not by any Divine testimony; for God hath nowhere affirmed in Divine Writ, that the Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Romans, consisting of so many periods as now it is in our Bibles, was ever written by that Apostle, nor are there any inward characters or signatures, or beams of light in the writing itself, that can be admitted, or pretended as testimonies of this, any more than the like may exact to be admitted as witnesses, that the Creed called the Apostles' was indeed in the full sense of it delivered to the Churches. It remains then that herein on both sides we rest content with human testimonies of undoubted authority, or such as there is not any rational motive to distrust, and of which alone the matter is capable. For as in the case of the question concerning the Epistle to the Romans, the only regular way of satisfying it is, first, by devolution, or appeal to the authority of those Fathers and Councils, to whom it was de facto sufficiently testified and approved, and so secondly, and by consequence, by appeal to the very original records and proofs of undoubted fidelity; so the way of trial of any tradition pretended to be Apostolical, whether it be such or no, is by devolving it to the same, or the like Fathers and Councils, which having occasion and facility to examine the truth of the matter by the records or testimonies of those Churches to which it was delivered, found it sufficiently testified by them, that it was in truth even as is pretended. Now then comes the upshot of the inquiry, what qualifications there are of a testimony or testifier, without which it or he may not be thus deemed credible, worthy to be believed by a sober Christian; and where these qualifications are to be found; which when we have once resolved, it will also be possible for us to pass some judgment of traditions duly styled Apostolical, which, as such, must be allowed to be the object of our faith. And herein I shall hope also that the resolution will be un?questionable, if it be bounded by those three terms of Vincentius Lirinensis, universality, antiquity, consent."
And again: ?Whatsoever one Church professeth to have received from the Apostle that planted it, is of itself sufficient, without the confirmation of all others, to beget and establish belief in him, to whom it thus testifies: whereupon Tertullian refers the inquirer to that Apostolic Church, that is next him, be it Corinth, if he live in Achaia, Philippi, or Thessalonica; Ephesus, if Asia; or if he be in Italy, Rome. But this is no further to be extended, than while we suppose, without inquiry, that other Aposto?lical Churches have received, and are ready to testify the same; which pre?sumption or supposal must then cease, when upon inquiry we find the contrary.??Works, vol. i. ? 3, 4. p. 545.
And the same author, in another place: ?Q. But what if the particular Church wherein I was baptized shall fall from its own stedfastness, and by authority, or law, set up that, which if it be not contrary to plain words of Scripture, is yet contrary to the doctrine or practice of the Universal Church of the first and purest times; what will meekness require me to do in that case? A. Meekness will require me to be very wary in passing such judgment on that Church: but if the light be so clear, and the defection so palpably clear and discernible to all, that I cannot but see and acknowledge it, and in case it be true that I am actually convinced that the particular Church wherein I live is departed from the Catholic Apostolic Church; then, it being certain that the greater authority must be preferred before the lesser, and that next to the Scripture, the Catholic Church of the first and purest times, (especially when subsequent ages do also accord with that for many hundreds of years) is the greatest authority; it follows that meekness requires my obedience and submission to the Catholic Apostolic Church, and not to the particular Church, wherein I live: so far, I mean, as that I am to retain that Catholic and Apostolic, and not this novel, corrupt, not Catholic doctrine. And if, for my doing so, I fall under persecution of the rulers of that particular Church, meekness then requires me patiently to endure it, but in no case to subscribe to or act any thing, which is contrary to this Catholic doctrine. . . . Q. But what if they should excommunicate me? has the doctrine of meekness any salvo for me then, or any thing which it requires of me? A. Yes; meekly to lie under the censure, supposing that I am not excommunicated from the Catholic Apostolic Church of Christ by any such censure, but rather so much the more firmly united to it by this means: &c.??Practical Catechism, lib. ii. ? 1.
X. The Scottish Bishop Rattray of Dunkeld has the following:??The (first) Ages were faithful in delivering the original Revelations, without corrupting or misinterpreting them, at least in any thing of import?ance, either in faith or practice. ?In the ancient Church alone,? says St. Clement of Alexandria, (Str. vii, p. 888.) ?is the most exact knowledge, &c.' ?And it is our duty by no manner of means to transgress the Ecclesiastical rule.' (Ib. p. 887.) ?He loses the character of being a man of God, and remaining a faithful servant to the Lord, who hath kicked over the Tradition of the Church.? (Ib. p. 890.) And in such things as were not necessary to be inserted in those writings in which the Revelations are contained, as being of daily public practice, and so obvious to every one concerned, and which could not be easily altered of a sudden, and that universally, without observation, what is by them (the first ages) delivered as the tradition and practice of the original Deliverers of the Revelation, must necessarily have been so; since it was not possible for them to have been mistaken in matters of this nature, at so near a distance from the fountains of Tradi?tion. Nay, considering that it is only on their testimony that we receive the Writings themselves, and that these Traditions were fully as well known to them as the Writings, and are equally, at least, attested by them, they must require from us an equal degree of assent. And lastly, since all the consequences of a proposition must be as true as the proposition itself, therefore all the necessary consequences from the doctrines originally re?vealed must be as certain as the doctrines themselves; and whatsoever is inconsistent with them must be as certainly false, as they are true. This will again require the use of accurate reasoning in drawing such consequences, and in discovering such inconsistencies.??Essay on the Nature of Man, ? iii. p. 117.
Q. How are we to regard the Book of Wisdom and certain other books, which are not enumerated in the canon of the Old Testament? A. Athanasius the Great says, that they have been appointed of the Fathers to be read by proselytes, who are preparing for admission into the Church.?Orthodox Catechism, p. 11.
I. In like manner the British Churches teach in the XXXIX Articles:?
?The other Books (as Jerome saith) The Church doth read for example of life and instruction of manners; but yet doth it not apply them to establish any doctrine.?
And in fact, those books are appointed to be read in the Mattins and Vespers of the daily course in the British Churches, and are so all read through to the people, except the books of the Maccabees, which are omitted for want of time. Nor does the Church hesitate to attribute to these books a certain inferior degree of inspiration, as we see by very many places, in which they are quoted both in her Homilies, and in her best Authors, often with the addition ?the Holy Ghost thus speaketh;? or, ?as we read in holy Scripture;? or, ?in the Word of God.??See Hom. B. I. x. 1. II. ii. 3. iv. 2. xi. 1, 2.
Q. What does the Church use to introduce us to the doctrine of faith? A. The Creed. Q. What may we take as a guide for the doctrine of hope? A. Our Lord's Beatitudes, and the Lord's Prayer. Q. Where may we find the elements of the doctrine of Charity? A. In the Ten Commandments of God's Law.?Orthodox Catechism, p. 15.
I. Bishop Nicholson's Exposition of the Catechism of the Church of England:?
After having gone through the Preface or Introduction, the Bishop writes of its general composition and order as follows: ?In the body of the Catechism are contained four things, according to the four main duties required of a Christian: 1. Faith; 2. Obedience; 3. Prayer; 4. The receiving of the Sacraments. .... Which being his main duties, and no man being able to do any duty rightly and certainly without a rule to direct him; that the Christian should not want a rule for his direction in every one of these duties, it pleased the Church to set him a rule, by which he is to try every one of them. 1. The rule for his faith is the Creed: 2. For his obedience the Ten Commandments: 3. For his Prayers, the Lord's Prayer: 4. For the Sacraments, the doctrine here delivered. ... The intent then of the Catechism is to deliver these rules, and to explain them easily and briefly: that no person pretend ignorance, or have to seek what to believe, or what to do, in the matter of religion." Upon which follows; "Part I. of the Catechism; On the Creed or Rule of Faith:" and so on with the other Parts, through the book.?P. 25. ed. 1844.
II. Scottish Catechisms:?
In the Scottish Catechism by Bishop Innes printed in the diocese of Aberdeen, (p. 46.) we find the same division of the whole duty of a Christian as in the Introduction to the Russian Catechism, and in the Orthodox Confession: ?Q. To how many virtues may all our duty be referred? A. To three; viz. Faith, Hope, and Charity.? And in another Scottish Catechism, that of the Diocese of Brechin, The Sermon of our Lord upon the Mount, which begins with the Beatitudes, is joined with the Ten Commandments of God's Law, as the source from whence we may most readily learn ?what God's holy will and commandments are.? There is not however in any British Catechism the same arrangement of the Beatitudes and the Lord's Prayer under the head of Hope.