PROTESTANT EPISCOPAL BOOK STORE.
1224 CHESTNUT STREET.
MY LORD, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:--
I HAVE great pleasure in congratulating the inhabitants of this City of London, but especially my Right Rev. brother, the beloved and most venerated Bishop of this Diocese, on the present auspicious occasion, as it is the happy evidence of success in a measure of so much importance, and yet of so much labor and care. I desire also, very particularly, to congratulate my dear friend and brother, the Ven. Archdeacon Hellmuth, who has borne so much of the burden and heat of the day, in bringing the enterprise of founding and endowing the College of Huron to the present most hopeful issue; and whose arduous and wisely conducted labors in this cause, united to his eminent qualifications as a scholar, and a learned and evangelical Divine, have most justly obtained for him the honorable place of Principal of the College, and Professor of Divinity therein.
It was my good fortune to be much with him during the first of his two visits to England, in behalf of this work, and to witness his indefatigable zeal in its prosecution. We shared the same affectionate hospitalities; our beloved friends were much in common. He had trials then, and obstacles to overcome, which were not a little increased on his return to Canada, and in a second visit to England. But he had the warm hearts of devoted friends of evangelical truth, able to help and ready to help; ready to help him because of his cause--but made the more ready because of their great respect for and confidence in him as its agent--hearts made only the more strong in its behalf by such opposition as it encountered, and which I am sure are to be relied on for whatever aid it may hereafter require. My whole sympathy was with it and its unwearied advocate; and what little I was able to do for either, I am sure was done as heartily as if it were for a college on the other side of our national [5/6] boundary lines, and in the Diocese at the head of which Divine Providence has placed me. I remember a particular incident in that connection. Soon after an interesting clerical meeting at Islington, at which I delivered an address in company with Dr. Hellmuth, [* On Dr. Hellmuth's second visit to England, in 1862, the Rev. Alfred Peache, of Downend, near Bristol, gave the munificent sum of £5,000 sterling, for the endowment of the Divinity Chair. This money has been invested and forms the Peache Fund, and is held as a special trust for the purpose for which it was granted by the donor. One of the conditions on which this money was granted is, "that the institution shall be avowedly for the training of students in the Protestant and Evangelical principles of the articles of the church in their natural and grammatical sense, as well as in harmony with due church order and discipline."] in behalf of his effort, I wrote an article for the London Record in furtherance of the same. It was just after the Trent affair had spread such a dark cloud over the international relations of Great Britain and the United States. That cloud, happily for both countries, by God's goodness to both, had passed away. But while it stayed, there was a great deal said by the English press and in social circles of a design asserted to be entertained, or likely to be entertained, in the United States, of making an armed invasion of her Majesty's dominions in Canada--a matter which I then believed, as I believe now, to have been, and to be, about as much designed or desired, as that the people of Canada should invade the United States. I wrote the article referred to, and after alluding to such supposed design, and expressing my ideas of its probability, I said that certainly I did purpose an invasion of Canada, and was then about it; that it was neither more nor less than to endeavor, as by that article, to lead captive some pecuniary aid from England, to the help of this very College of Huron. My invasion may have been as feeble as it was harmless. But on the assurance of the archdeacon I am led to hope that it did lead to the surrender of some good gold-clads (so much better than iron-clads) for the benefit of the college. If, however, it had no other effect than to manifest good-will and brotherly kindness, the result was sufficient reward. I am here among you now, by request of your bishop, to renew that invasion more directly, [6/7] and with weapons such as befit a spirit of fraternal co-operation in this your eminently important work.
I have read the constitution of this college, and have marked with great satisfaction the pains taken therein to secure to all generations the continuance of that form of religious doctrine under which, in the teaching of the present and first Bishop of this Diocese, and of its first Principal and Professor of Divinity, the college begins its course. The doctrine here to be taught, and in expectation of which the donations of brethren in England have been made, is designated in the constitution, under the expressions "strictly Protestant" and "strictly Evangelical," according to "the natural and grammatical interpretation of the Articles of the Church of England." I like that word "Evangelical," as I like also that word "Protestant." They go together as two that are agreed. Aside from what each may mean, when restricted to its etymological sense, each, like many other terms which the needs of classification have enlarged or restricted in their application, has come to signify a certain well understood and classified system of religious teaching, in distinction from every other professing to be Christian and Apostolic. Protestant means, in these days, not merely those more particular and salient doctrinal corruptions of the Church of Rome, against which the Church of England has lifted up a formal protest in Articles of Faith; but all that system of Romanism which naturally proceeds from, and is identified in teaching and practice with those more prominent corruptions. Evangelical is well understood among us to mean, not merely a system of doctrine sufficiently marked by distinctive Gospel truths to separate it from all other religions, but that one system, which has come to be so distinguished from others, making the general profession of being Christian and Scriptural, that with some it is a name of reproach, while with others it is a name of honor, and with all it is the indication of a definite, well understood classification of doctrinal teaching, of which the Articles of the Church of England, and of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, more especially as expounded and enlarged in the Homilies common [7/8] to both, are in their natural and grammatical interpretation a formal profession. I must again express my satisfaction at the laying of this requisition of "strictly Protestant and evangelical," in the corner-stone of this college.
But again: In looking at this enterprise as a matter of rejoicing and thankfulness in its present progress, allow me to call your attention to it for a moment, as it is an effort to raise up a succession of clergy indigenous to the soil--men of the country to do the work of the country. You cannot depend on the mother country for such supplies of laborers in the ministry as you need, either in point of number or qualification, for the varied work of such a Diocese as this, with all the outlying missionary fields which it must have in view.
Certainly I can say nothing in disparagement of the spirit, or education, or zeal of such clergymen as are or may be, induced to forsake the endearments and habits of English life, and as pastors of churches or missionaries in wide and thinly populated districts, put in their lot with the people of this province. But not only will it always be the case that the supply of such men will be very uncertain and inadequate; but in general, with the best preparation of spirit and school education, there will be found in them a want of adaptation to many of the fields of labor, so widely different as they are from those in which their habits have grown up, which though it may be, and often is, bravely overcome, presents in all cases, more or less, a difficulty--and sometimes one of serious hindrance to the usefulness desired. The remedy is in the rearing of a body of clergy for your parishes and missions out of the sons of the soil, whose thoughts, and associations, and attachments, and habits have been formed in contact with the people of the land; whose sense of home, socially as well as officially, is there; and whose training as ministers has been guided with special reference to the circumstantial features of the work they are called to do.
But there is another aspect in which this incipient College, inaugurated to-day, presents itself to my mind with the greatest interest. It is a College, not merely for the education of young men [8/9] who may be afterwards ordained to the gospel ministry, but for such education as shall be justly entitled to the name of a divinity education, distinctly and strictly so called. By which I would be understood to mean, not that nothing else than divinity and kindred branches, requisite for a full clerical education, will be taught here; not that a foundation of other teaching than such as tells directly on the work of the ministry will not be laid here; but that all the teaching of candidates for Orders will be decidedly in that direction; and especially that, in it, and far above all, and as the great head course which shall marshal and subordinate all for its own best development, divinity, specifically so called, in its full and logical system, in all its parts and discriminations, with its antagonisms faithfully traced out and the divergent lines of error at their earliest steps of departure exhibited, and all that enters into the proper preaching of the Gospel, so mapped out that the faithful student may be made a thoroughly furnished teacher and guide of Christian believers, as well as of the wandering and impenitent.
I speak thus emphatically on this head, because while in theory it is taken for granted that a (so called) divinity education will be what I have endeavored to describe, it is often in practice far otherwise. In much of the education for the ministry, furnished by colleges and universities, on which Orders are conferred, while courses of divinity lectures and in certain affiliated branches are given, among many other branches of instruction, the amount of theological education is for the most part but little more than all well-educated men secure. It is as if our lawyers should be satisfied with only such study of law, or our physicians with only such study of the theory and practice of medicine, as all men of general education possess. For the practice of law there are law schools, specifically so called and fashioned, where only law is taught. For the practice of medicine we have like medical schools, where only medical science, with what is essentially auxiliary, is learned. What would be thought of a professedly medical college training where the materia medica, the anatomy of the human frame, and all the system of doctrine and practice [9/10] founded thereon, with the false theories and practices to be shunned, constituted only one branch of a general course of teaching, in which many other great branches of science received at least equal attention, so that the aspirant for medical practice being expected to take all, must necessarily be only generally and superficially qualified in any, and most come forth to the work of his calling about as well prepared for the practical treatment of diseases, as to apply the principles of the steam-engine to all the uses of machinery in the various manufactures.
The first preachers of the Gospel were not competent for their work without the inspiration of God. It requires a careful, extensive, and well digestive study of revealed truth, as contained in the Scriptures, to supply the place of their supernatural endowment. I know, indeed, and would not for a moment even seem to forget, that the mere study of divinity, no matter how wisely and thoroughly prosecuted, cannot make a qualified minister of Christ. Much else is needed; such as the inward calling of the Holy Ghost; the truly regenerate heart; the love of God shed abroad therein; the personal experience of what it is to come to Christ by faith and become a partaker of Him and of the precious hope of eternal life which is built only on him; an earnest desire to glorify God in the manifestation of His grace, and to turn sinners to his great salvation. Certainly there can be no preparation without these. The preacher is blind and dead without them. And all he can make himself by other attainments, and all the activities he can be stimulated to engage in from other causes, cannot give life to that death. But neither must we suppose that, with such spiritual preparation, infinitely precious as it is, the minister can be thoroughly or adequately furnished to "do the work of an Evangelist," and "rightly divide the word of truth," according to all needs and in opposition to all errors, until upon that "sure foundation," he has built up in his mind the specific education which we have endeavored in general terms to designate.
I think we see in the want of such professional education much explanation of the progress of certain great corruptions of gospel [10/11] truth among the Protestant clergy of England in recent years. The false teaching of the Tracts, and of all the school of which they are the expression, would not have taken such hold on the younger clergy of England, had more of them been carried, in their preparation for the ministry, through such a systematic course of divinity as would have enabled them easily to detect the false pretences to Christian doctrine by which they were seduced. In Ireland, where, from various causes, the Roman controversy was better understood, those furtive advances of Romish delusions gained scarcely the least success. I venture to say that among those clergymen whose sympathies are most with the authors of the notorious "Essays and Reviews," it may be found, as with a certain Lord Chancellor of England of whom it was said that he knew everything but law, that in their preparation for the ministry, they applied themselves to almost every branch of education more than divinity. The Bishop of Natal, better known as Dr. Colenso, is a case in point. Whatever he may be as a man of science or classic attainment, it is manifest, from the nature of the difficulties which were so new to him, and of which he was not aware of the usual solutions, that in the proper studies of a minister of the gospel he was not a well educated man. Such difficulties could not have so seriously affected him, had he been trained in those branches of study which pertain to every respectable course of theological education for the ministry. His mind, had it been enlarged and exercised, and furnished by such discipline, would easily have seen, what we so much wonder that he did not see, the excessive chaffiness of objections which to him were mountains.
It is for self-protection against assaults of error, as well as for ability to declare the whole counsel of God, that a minister needs to be well armed in the learning of his profession. Every age has its special developments of religious error, seeking to turn away the ministry, as well as the laity, from "the truth as in Jesus." Our age is well marked in this respect. I need not mention the two familiar examples--the Tractarian movement, [11/12] and more recently the Rationalistic--both present and very seriously dangerous.
But when I speak of the Tractarian movement as a matter of present danger, I am met with an almost universal confidence, even among those who have resisted it, that it is a matter of the past--that its dangers are over, or at least of so little remaining power as scarcely to deserve a thought, in view of the threatening advances of that which has recently so engrossed the attention of watchmen on the walls of Zion. In this confidence I have no share. And here, I beg to be allowed to speak my mind somewhat at large; and while doing so, to be understood to speak, not as a Bishop of a Diocese in the United States; not as having any local allusion beyond what I may express; but as a Bishop of the Holy Catholic Church in all the world, to whom the interests of gospel truth in all the world are precious, and in an important sense committed.
What I desire to urge is that since a portentous school of rationalistic scepticism has grown up in the very halls where the Tractarian movement first appeared, and is now receiving so much of the public notice that its predecessor is little heard of, we must be far from supposing that the latter has no advocates that need to be watched, nor strength still to do harm; that its Rome-approaching doctrines are not by zealous teachers still busily propagated; or that there are not extensive classes and conditions of mind, wherever we go, ready to receive its congenial seeds and to produce its appropriate fruit. Because it has been signally defeated in the field of argument, it may be too much supposed that its field of operation has been closed; not remembering the power of the Canaanite to trouble Israel, corrupt the true religion, and fill the land with idolatry long after his fortresses had all been taken. "The Canaanite was yet in the land," defeated but not exterminated; and Israel was in captivity to the blandishments of his captive.
One thing is certain. The present promoters of the system of doctrine and of church practice best known as Tractarianism, do not think it defunct, or inoperative, or unambitious of progress, [12/13] or slow of operation, or likely to be so. They work it and glory in it, as a spreading leaven, a tree planted by the rivers of waters, whose leaf hath not withered, and that brings forth its fruit in its season. To a considerable extent we agree with them. It may be perfectly true that it has lost its first positions; that in the falling of so many of its chief leaders into avowed popery, in spite of their strongest anti-popish professions and protests, the system has suffered great disgrace; it may be very true that we hear much less than during its former years, of new converts to it, or through it, to the Church of Rome; that the press has ceased to teem with its publications and the magazines to do battle against it or for it; it may be very true that what it now does is done more quietly and secretly than formerly, more as the miner under ground, than as the soldier in the open field. And yet I believe it is just as true that it is still doing a very evil work; leading many, many souls astray, and spreading a vast deal of spiritual delusion; that under the profession of special deference to the teaching of the church, its abettors are industriously inculcating doctrines and practices directly in opposition to those of the primitive church, and of the articles and standards of the particular church to which they belong; that under the special boast of Catholic truth, it is propagating with serious success what is wholly uncatholic, because wholly incompatible with the gospel of Christ, thus preparing a great breadth of ground for a future harvest of actual popery, and educating aspirants for the ministry, who will incur the anathema pronounced by St. Paul on those who preached another gospel than that which he preached. [* Gal. i. 8.] The old Upas tree may be standing no more on its original roots; but its branches have taken root and are now trees, and are sending out their branches to take root likewise, and become poison in their turn.
In our estimate of the present condition of this system, we must remember that change of policy is no evidence of diminished zeal or influence. When at its first development, it had need to [13/14] rouse attention in order to obtain a field, it came forth with an array of high pretending publications, bold in assumption, arrogant in argument, challenging opposition, and affecting contempt for whatever stood in their way. It spake "as one having authority." It was boastfully a reformation of the reformed. It was the very protestantism of the Church of England in distinction from the ultra-protestantism of Luther and Calvin. It denounced Rome and abhorred Geneva. A great flourish of trumpets proclaimed its advent and progress--volume followed volume, controversy was sought because notoriety was desired. It obtained both, and when in argument it was signally defeated, its success was not hindered with the class of minds it expected to gain.
But now there is a marked change in the bearing of the system thus installed. Of a great deal that was at first loudly professed, for the sake of a garment to hide what it would have been premature to exhibit, we hear no more. Of many protestations against the injustice of charging it with certain doctrines and tendencies we hear no more. That it is the only safe ground on which real protestantism can be sustained and vindicated, of which we once heard so constantly, we hear now no more. To vindicate itself by elaborate argument is no longer its care or its need. It has gained a position, and it improves it. The silence of the mine has succeeded to the noise of the assault. Instead of the column of attack storming your walls, we have the quietness of the sower sowing his seed. It was once of importance to court the notice of the polemic press. It is now of equal importance to evade it. "Let us alone" is the petition. The strategy has changed--not the enemy.
The present policy is to cherish a taste for a ceremonial, sensuous, minute, and extracting externalism in worship; for pomp, symbolism, mystery, and a cumbrous ritualism, multiplied with details of church furniture, clerical millinery, posture-making, musical formalities, and the like; under such morbid sentimentalism, calling itself the real spirituality, to introduce by degrees the whole sacerdotal doctrine and practice of a sacrificing priest-hood, [14/15] and of sacraments efficacious (ex opere operato) to salvation, because received at such hands; the visible church the only depository of saving grace; ministers of sacraments the only dispensers of that grace; true ministers, real priests, having a real sacrifice to offer, and at a real altar--remission of sins obtained only through their ministry, in which ministry they stand as mediators between us and God, so that by them only we come to Christ, and through him to God. The priest at the altar offering sacrifice for the people, is represented as the prime and essential aspect of the gospel minister. The preacher in the pulpit, teaching and preaching Jesus Christ, is studiously, however cautiously, represented as doing work quite subordinate, not essential, but rather incidental to his office as a priest. All this of course is of the very essence of popery. Against it every nerve in the heart of a true protestant is braced. Let it be once established, and then the forerunner has well made straight the path, and prepared the way of Anti-Christ, speedily to come to the temple of God and make it his own. With that sacerdotal system for its central position, it can easily ramify and extend itself under ground, till the whole surrounding soil is essentially possessed, with all the tendencies and tastes that popery desires. Hence an essential popery without its name or profession, but professing still the protestant faith, may easily grow up without any observable effort of propagation. The false doctrine is insinuated, not proclaimed or urged. It is so asserted by its agents, as if a matter of course, that persons habituated to its phraseology get to identify it in their minds with real churchmanship, and forget that any true protestant churchmen have ever thought otherwise. By all that they constantly see in the church and in the minister the education goes on. They hear no more of such a thing as a communion table. It is "the altar." They see (at least it is the case in some parts on the other side of our national boundary line) they see no more of any furniture for the Lord's Supper that looks like a table, and conveys the idea of a feast; but in place of it something studiously intended to convey the idea of an altar only, in order that the minister may seem a priest, [15/16] and the sacrament a sacrifice. In all this, and much more that might be mentioned, there is a constant, insinuating, silent, and influential education under which people are being habituated to the doctrine as one which it were a want of churchmanship and reverence to doubt, that where the so-called altar stands, the Lord is present to his people as he is to faith and prayer no where else on earth; that grace is thence specially dispensed, and thither the worshipper is specially to look, because there stands the Priest, offering sacrifice for his sins, by whose sacrificial mediation alone the sacrifice of Christ becomes fully efficacious to salvation. We cannot suppress our indignation at such teaching, under the name of that simple, free, and glorious Gospel of Christ, which knows no Priest, nor Sacrifice, nor Altar but Christ--and knows no way to him but what is alike open in every place and to every believer, whenever and wherever his faith looks unto Jesus.
We remember the zeal with which our martyred Reformers in their published "Injunctions" required every altar in the churches to be cast out, and only what good Bishop Ridley called "an honest table," to stand in its place. Why? Because of their condemnation of all that system of priest, and sacrifice, and sacerdotal mediation of which an altar-structure is the symbol and instrument. We quite agree with a learned Romish divine--one of the translators of the Rhemish version of the N. T. (Gregory Martin) who wrote: "The name of altar implying and importing sacrifice, therefore we in respect of the sacrifice of Christ's body and blood, say altar rather than table. But Protestants, because they make it a supper and no sacrifice, call it a table only--to take away the holy sacrifice of the mass, they take away both altar and priest, because they know right well that these three, priest, sacrifice, and altar are dependents and consequents, so that they cannot be separated." [* Fulke's Defence of the English Translation of the Bible. Parker's Soc. Ed. pp. 515 ve.]
We have spoken of the recent portentous aspect of a sceptical rationalism in the Church of England, as one of the two chief [16/17] dangers to which the truth and the purity of the Church are exposed in these days. The question of its rise--what state of mind produced it--what influences favored its appearing, how far it is connected with Tractarianism, or had its origin in the same head waters, is important. It is generally supposed to be so entirely the very antipode of Tractarianism; the former exalting reason above the authority of Scripture, and finding the ultimate rule of faith in one's own consciousness; the latter degrading reason into a slavish submission to church authority, to the entire denial of all private judgment--that the two must be so essentially opposite as not to have by possibility any common origin, or be in any degree helpers of each other. From this we differ. Opposite extremes sometimes meet--and have the same beginning. But let me be understood. I am far from supposing that the offensive Rationalism of the Essays and Reviews, or of the school which they represent, is not most strongly and sincerely condemned by those who now represent the Tractarian School. We do not know, nor has it any connection with our present inquiry to ascertain, whether any of the present school of Anglo-Rationalism were ever enlisted under the banner of Tractarianism, or showed any leaning toward it. We maintain however that there is a most important connection between these two widely divergent, and, in many important aspects, really antagonistic lines of doctrine, in this, namely, that the state of mind which Tractarianism, like Romanism, seeks to establish as the stock on which to graft its doctrine of the dependence of our faith in the Scriptures on the authority of the church, is such, that it is wholly a question of circumstances and incidental influences whether that stock will take the graft and produce Tractarianism, or refuse the graft and because of the condition to which the effort has reduced it, bring forth Rationalism. For example: It was notoriously the effort of the Tractarian leaders to decry the Evidences of Christianity; to maintain that we could not arrive at a sure faith in the Scriptures by any such process; that it was the way to make of inquirers infidels. It is well [17/18] known that Mr. Newman, before he went to Rome, in his lectures in Oriel College, Oxford, studiously endeavored to depreciate the argument of Paley, and directly labored to convince his pupils that all such evidences were essentially inconclusive--so that if we had nothing better to lean on, the straight result was unbelief. One of his chief adherents at that time wrote in the chief periodical of the School (the British Critic) that when an unlettered man says he believes "because he has been told so by persons wiser and better than he," this is so very wise that "there is nothing to be compared to its logic, either intellectually, morally, or religiously in all the elaborate defences and evidences which could be produced from Paley, and Grotius, and Sumner, and Chalmers." But why all this? Did they want to make men infidels? No. But they wanted to compel them to the alternative of being infidels, or taking refuge in the mere dictum of the Church (not however of the Protestant Church in her Articles, but of what they called the Catholic Church in her traditions) as the only warrant to believe in the Scriptures, and so in all the doctrines contained therein. But now suppose that some of their pupils, after being led so far in this training as to give up the Evidences of the inspiration of the Scriptures and of Christianity, would follow no further; that while some were of a temperament or a state of feeling which made them quite ready to take the Church as authority for anything--others of other dispositions and feelings were unable to see any warrant for the Church, when there was no warrant for the Scriptures, and felt that in renouncing the Evidences of Christianity they renounced all--church and everything; and hence became rationalists and sceptics--was not Tractarianism the cause of such sad apostasy--was it not the very forerunner which made its paths straight? And must there not have been enough of this stopping half way--this receiving the teaching which annulled the authority of the Scriptures, and rejecting that which sought to substitute the authority of the Church, to have prepared the ground for an actual harvest of unbelief, of which the present school of Rationalism [18/19] might well be the natural offspring? [* We might make a similar illustration from the Tractarian doctrine of the necessity of submitting our interpretation of the meaning of Scripture to the authority of the Church, and also from the doctrine of Reserve or Development which is common to Tractarianism and Rationalism. See Archbishop Whately's "Caution for the Times," Nos. XII. and XIII.] Here was a preparation of mind inculcated as the basis on which the authority of the Church was to be accepted, which went on to Tractarianism or to Rationalism and Infidelity, just according to the peculiar character or impulse of the individual pupil. We may imagine a fountain of water on a ridge of the high mountains which divide the streams that flow towards the Italian Seas on one side, from those which flow to the German on the other, so situated that a mere incident--the scrape of your foot, a blast of wind may determine to which of those seas that fountain shall send down its waters. Certain it is, as a matter of fact, that Tractarian teaching about the Scriptures did make infidels, as well as Papists. In the year 1850, appeared a book by F. A. Froude, of Exeter College, Oxford, a near relation, if not brother, of the Froude who figured prominently as one of the original Tractarians. It was called "The Nemesis of Faith." It was an exhibition of the reaction of Tractarian teaching on a mind that had followed to a certain extent its guidance. It was substantially such an exhibition of scepticism as is found in the Essays and Reviews. The London Christian Observer, reviewing it in 1850, said: "Rumors had long been rife of a reaction at both the Universities, but more particularly at Oxford, against the principles and doctrines of the Tractarian, so called, Anglo-Catholic School. The new movement was understood to be Rationalistic, if not decidedly sceptical. And not a few of the immediate disciples of the most eminent Tract writers were said to be the chief oracles of coteries in which, to use an expression reported to be current among them, the historic truth of Christianity was considered an open question." This, observe, was written in 1850--so long before the present Rationalism School declared itself. Observe, also, in [19/20] the current expression--of that reaction from Tractarian teaching--namely, that "the historic truth of Christianity must be considered an open question," its similarity to declarations and insinuated teachings in the recent Essays and Reviews--its remarkable resemblance to what Dr. Colenso says concerning the historic truth of the Pentateuch and to what he will say hereafter, if consistent with himself, concerning that of all the Scriptures. See how near it comes to the doctrine of Rome and of the Tractarians, that such is the defect of evidence for the truth of the Scriptures and of Christianity, that we have no consistent refuge from infidelity but in the authority of the Church; and then do not charge me with rashness in maintaining that between the teaching of Tractarianism and the state of mind out of which spring Rationalism and Scepticism, there is a near and most important connection.
It is worthy of remark that, some eighteen years ago, Archbishop Whately, that eminent writer, lately deceased, in his "Kingdom of Christ," compared Tractarianism with the German Rationalism, of which the present English Rationalism is but a new edition; and he considered them as so agreeing in certain doctrines which both divulged, "that a still further agreement might be expected in the doctrines reserved." "Both parties (he said) decry the historical evidences of Christianity and every appeal to evidence; and both disparage miracles, considered as a proof of the divine origin of Christianity." "Other coincidences may be observed, such as the strong desire manifested by both parties to explain away or soften down the line of demarcation between what ordinary Christians call the Scriptures, and every thing subsequent; between what we call the Christian Revelation and any pretended after Revelation or improvement, or completion, or perfect development of the system of true religion. To Christianity as a Revelation completed in our sacred books, both parties, more or less openly, according to circumstances, confess their objections. And it is remarkable, that even the vehement censures pronounced by one of these Schools on the speculations [20/21] of the other, are far from being inconsistent with their fundamental agreement in principles." [* Kingdom of Christ, App. to Essay II. Note P.]
If it had been the settled purpose of the Tractarian writers covertly to prepare the way for, and ultimately to introduce a School of just such Rationalism as we now deplore, they could not have acted more skilfully than they did in some of their teaching. Let us take for a specimen the 85th Tract. It seems as if it were written for the express purpose of so unsettling men's minds, as to the truth of the Scriptures and their meaning, that whoever did not want to be an infidel must feel that he had no refuge but to become a Tractarian or a Papist. Difficulties to faith are exaggerated; evidences of faith are depreciated; objections are given in their utmost force to the very parts of Scripture which the Essays and Reviews select, and their objections are similar, and are either not attempted to be answered, or they are answered so feebly as rather to fasten than remove them. The Tract proceeds throughout on the abominable assumption, that all parts of what it calls "the Church system," namely, its own peculiar doctrine of Apostolic succession, of the corporeal presence of Christ in the Eucharist, of absolution and priestly power, &c., are so on a level in point of evidence in the Scriptures, with the fundamental doctrines of the Trinity, the Atonement, the inspiration of the Scriptures, &c., all so "latent," in the Bible--none "on the surface," so few texts for any, and those so indirect and circuitous in their application, their proof so "oblique," that if we conclude against one we must, to be consistent, conclude against all--that is, if we reject the Tract doctrine of Apostolic Succession or of priestly absolution for want of proof in the Scriptures, we must reject the Atonement, the Trinity--the Inspiration of the Scriptures! Can we help seeing how such teaching prepared the way for the present Rationalism concerning the Atonement and the Inspiration of the Scriptures? Take such passages as the following from the 85th Tract. "If we will not content ourselves with what we may be disposed to call [21/22] insufficient proof of matters of faith and worship, we must become either Latitudinarians or Papists." Again: "God has given us doctrines obscurely gathered from Scripture, and Scripture which is but obscurely gathered from history." Again: "Doubt and difficulty as regards evidence seem our lot. The simple question is, what is our duty under it? Difficulty is our lot, as far as we take on ourselves to inquire." "If we will not go by evidence in which there are three chances for Revelation and only two against, we cannot be Christians." Thus our basis of faith is a feeble preponderance of chances, three to two. We do not wonder that the Tract writer should have said, "I predict, as a coming event, that minds are to be unsettled as to what is Scripture and what is not." He needed no prophet's inspiration thus to predict. It was only a calculation of effect from cause. Men's minds have been and are thus unsettled--and we charge that writer and his whole School with the cause. They expected as a logical consequence that where their teaching did not make disciples it would make sceptics. I think, therefore, one may well be excused who thinks he sees as much connection between that School and the present Rationalism in the Church of England, as I have endeavored to point out. It does not make us less condemn the Rationalism, but it does make us feel obliged, the more a great deal, to detest the other.
I rejoice in the founding of this College, because I entertain the surest confidence that it will stand as a strong wall of defence against both. We are assured of this--not only when we see in what hands its government and instruction are now placed, but also when we consider by whose hands the successors are to be continued. Such Trustees as the Earl of Shaftesbury, and the Hon. Arthur Kinnaird, and other most trustworthy men whose names have been read, the continuators of the Trust make the doctrine hereafter as sure as any human arrangement can make it.
But when the instruction in such an institution has made its pupils intelligent and strong for the resistance of doctrinal error, there is much more to be done before they can be "apt and meet to exercise their ministry to the glory of God, and the edifying [22/23] of His Church." Well skilled they may be to "banish and drive away from the Church all erroneous and strange doctrines," and yet very poorly qualified so to preach "the truth as in Jesus," as to be effectual in the conversion and sanctification of sinners. "We have a strong city." But in what consists its strength? "Salvation hath God appointed for walls and bulwarks." [* Isaiah xxvi. 1.] The great defence and the only sure and permanent reliance, under God's grace, for the purity of the Church, is in earnest labors to make known among all people the free and perfect salvation of Christ, and to gather in the lost to its precious refuge. A Church "at ease in Zion," is easily corrupted, as stagnant waters are more easily poisoned than a running stream. A Church alive in the spirit of its great duty to preach the Gospel to every creature; a ministry enjoying salvation as a personal possession, and laboring, in the experience of its glorious hope, to bring souls to the same blessing, is the City which God will keep as with "walls and bulwarks." When our blessed Lord would describe in a parable the chief work of the ministry of his kingdom, he said, "A sower went out to sow his seed."
I beg leave to dwell a little on the lesson thus suggested.
The minister of Christ is a sower of seed. Such is his office. All his duties are subordinate to that. Whatever comes of his work in the salvation of souls is exclusively the product of the sowing of seed. And what is the seed? The parable answers, "The word of God"--nothing else. If the seed falls on stony ground, or amidst thorns, and is fruitless--or if it falls on good ground and brings forth fruit, thirty, sixty, or an hundred fold, it is still nothing but "the word of God." All the fruit that ever did come of the ministry of the Gospel; all that is now safely garnered in heaven, and all that ever shall be, as the result of a ministry of men on earth, our Lord teaches us is the product, under His power, of nothing but the sowing of the seed of the Word of God. We hence conclude that only as a minister shall make his work to consist in the faithful implantation and culture [23/24] of the Word, in the hearts of men, is be regarded in the sight of God, as (in anything but office) a minister of Christ.
But the Word of God is all the Scriptures. They contain only His truth, but yet truth of such various sorts and applications, and apparently of such various degrees of importance as regards the salvation of the soul, that the question arises, whether all that Word is equally the seed which is to be sown for the fruit of life: or whether there is not some portion on which, more than any other, when we preach it, God will give us his blessing? All the land of Israel was "the holy land," but the nearer it was to "the holy city," the more was it holy; and when you entered Jerusalem, the nearer you came to "the holy house" the more did you tread on holy ground; and when you had entered within the temple, and passed through the Court of the Gentiles, and then the Court of Israel, and had reached that of the Priests, and stood before the "altar most holy," where was the daily burnt-offering for sin, then indeed must the shoes be taken from your feet, for the place is specially holy; but you pass within that veil, and enter what is emphatically "the holy place;" another veil is there. Within it, is "the most holy place,"--"the Holy of Holies"--for there is "the mercy seat," and "the glory," and before it, the blood of the sacrifice is sprinkled, and the High Priest makes intercession. So is all Scripture holy--"given by inspiration of God, and profitable for instruction in righteousness," and we do no injustice to any of it when we say that within its holy ground and divinely indited truth, there is truth more especially to be regarded, in distinction from all else, as the seed given us to sow; truth which increases in such importance as it is distinguished from all other truth by deserving the Apostle's description of "truth as in Jesus"--that is, as He, himself, in his divine person and salvation, is its subject and substance; as it leads us to Him, who is the Holy Temple of the indwelling "fulness of God," to Him as the one perfect and sufficient sacrifice for sin; to him as the High Priest of our Redemption, who for us hath entered within the veil, and "ever liveth to make intercession for us." St. Paul, speaking of himself as a minister of [24/25] the Word of God, said he was "separated unto the Gospel of God;" and that Gospel, he said, was "concerning his Son Jesus Christ."
The Gospel is Christ. The word is the seed of the kingdom, in proportion as it is concerning Him. Our blessed Lord, after he had risen from the sepulchre, and when he would preach the Gospel to the two disciples on the way to Emmaus, "began at Moses and all the prophets, and expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself."
But as within the whole inclosure of what was called the Temple, there was a part which was eminently the Temple; so within the whole area of the things concerning our Lord, there are things, truths, works, offices of which, more than any other, the Gospel of his salvation consists.
When the three disciples, on the Mount of Transfiguration, saw Jesus in glory, they saw also Moses and Elias "talking with him;" the former representing the Law, the latter the Prophets--both as unitedly testifying of Christ. It is written that they also "appeared in glory." The glory of their Lord was upon them. It is also written that "they spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem." Nothing else do we read of as having entered into that conversation. His expected death concentrated their whole adoring attention, just as after it was accomplished Jesus made all the Law and the Prophets speak concerning it, to the two disciples who knew so little how to understand it. [* Luke xxiv. 26.] It was when Moses and Elias spake of his decease, that they "appeared in glory." The Law and the Prophets have all their glory as they testify to and are fulfilled in that death. So when the saints in Heaven, out of all nations and dispensations, are represented as appearing in glory with Christ, we read of no event in his history of which they speak, in their joy, but his death which he did accomplish at Jerusalem. "Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood." [* Rev. v. 9.] And thus, when the ransomed of the [25/26] Lord, in the Church below, are gathered together, in their highest manifestation of communion with him; when, in their blessed hope of appearing with him in the glory of his kingdom, they commune with him about that which, in him, is most vital and precious to their souls, it is His death, accomplished at Jerusalem, on which their remembrance of him is taught exclusively to rest--and about which they speak with Jesus, in their faith and hope, and thanks and praise. When John the Baptist came "to make ready a people prepared for the Lord"--the single aspect in which he presented him to his disciples was that of the sacrifice of his death. "Behold the Lamb of God!" And all along the ministry of the Apostles, we see that same peculiarity; "turning the hearts of the disobedient to the wisdom of the just" by turning them first to that which is pre-eminently "the wisdom of God." It was when they spake of the death of their Master that the Apostles appeared in the glory of their office. Only in his cross did they glory. It was the love which constrained them. While they preached Jesus Christ, as their whole theme, so that for them to preach, as well as to live, was Christ, you see one aspect of that theme distinguished above all others "the Lamb slain," Christ on the cross--his blood! And why? What gives any sense to all this? What is it that makes that death such glory and praise, so the foundation of all hope, so the ark of all refuge, so the source of all life, so the song of all praise, so the glory of all ministry on earth, so the "remembrance" of all believers here in our highest communion, so the remembrance of all saints in Heaven in their everlasting blessedness? What but that death as the sacrifice for the sins of the world--the atoning vicarious sacrifice--that in which Christ was made "a curse for us"--sin for us that we might be made "the righteousness of God in him?" This explains all. Deny this, and all the glory is departed. The conversation of Moses and Elias about his death has no meaning. The glorying of Apostles only in the cross is foolishness. To show in our great sacrament his death till he comes again is without motive. Why not much more show his life? O yes! Without that atonement which was foolishness to [26/27] the Greek and is still foolishness to the wisdom of this world, we have no Gospel, no Christianity, no hope. The Gospel is then precisely what the Temple at Jerusalem would have been, had its altar of burnt-offering been taken away. The cloud of glory would have rested no longer over the mercy seat. The High Priest would have entered no more within the veil, with "the blood of sprinkling." God would have been there but as "a consuming fire."
God forbid that our ministry should glory in anything but "the teaching and preaching Jesus Christ," in all that he is, in himself and in his work;--in the past as he appeared in his humiliation; in the present as he is in the glory of the Father; in the future as his people "shall appear with him in glory;" but above all, and as that central light whence comes the "live coal," that touches every tongue of the multitude without number in Heaven, and kindles their flaming praise, "Christ crucified," Christ the sacrifice for us. It is "foolishness" to many who are "wise in their own conceits." It is "weakness" to many who think their devices could mend the counsel of God. But it is what they can not hinder it from being, "the wisdom and power of God unto salvation, to every one that believeth." That death--that sacrifice, we rejoice to "show" as our glory, our hope, our strength, our banner, the Christian's great confession, the Christian minister's great proclamation, the Christian church's "precious corner-stone, which God hath laid in Zion" for "a sure foundation."
Such was the Gospel which Apostles preached, and it was of that, in that its main aspect, that St. Paul wrote that awful sentence: "If our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost, in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them that believe not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them." [* 2 Cor. iv. 3, 4.] Such is the Gospel; which we embrace by faith alone, and which carries its assurance of a full and perfect justification and salvation, to "every one that believeth" in Jesus, and to none else, and to every one [27/28] only as he is a believer, and which is "no respecter of persons," giving no preference to high or low, priest, minister, or layman; regarding all simply as "the lost," because "all have sinned," and opening the door of acceptance, with equal freeness, to all sinners so coming unto Jesus. "Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." [* Rom. v. 1.] Such is the Gospel, which the "STRICTLY PROTESTANT AND EVANGELICAL," written in the Constitution of this College, means, and of which I pray, with you all, it may be the glory of this College to raise up in every generation none but faithful ministers, whose "lines shall go through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world."
In conclusion, allow me to express to this Canadian audience my great pleasure, not only in addressing them on such an occasion as this, but in coming to do it, across separating national boundaries, and as one of another people and Church. "The right hand of fellowship" is thus held out, in a way, and under circumstances, which afford me special gratification. It is a pleasure and honor to do anything that may draw us together, as distinct nations and churches, into closer bonds of amity and communion. No two political communities, separated by national lines, have more to make them dwell together in mutual good-will and continual concord than those which you and I now represent. No two churches, so separated, have more to make them, in brotherly love, and for all the great work of the Church of Christ, on earth, "one communion and fellowship," than ours of the United States of America, and yours of our common mother, the Church of England--the same Articles of Faith, the same Orders of Ministry, the same Liturgy, with but little, and that only incidental, difference, the same history for so many centuries. Let us be indeed, in spirit and operation, one "household of faith." Let the prayers of each seek the blessing of God on both. Let us "provoke one another" indeed; but only "to love and good works,"--thus showing "how good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity,"
ONE resolution we have made concerning the management of the institution, that as we have heretofore proceeded without incurring any debt, so we shall continue, using such means as, in the Providence of God, are furnished by the liberality of our friends, and not launching out into any expenses which we are not fully prepared to meet. We intend, with God's blessing, to follow out the injunction of the apostle--"Owe no man anything, but to love one another."
It will be one aim of those who shall direct the studies of the students in Huron College to make them thoroughly acquainted with the writings of the Reformers of the 16th century, that they may thus be fully aware of the evils from which the Church was then delivered, and may dread the slightest approach to that system of false doctrine which for ages has hung, like a dark cloud, over the Church, and shut out the light of God's saving truth from so many nations of the earth.
There is a danger at the present time that the minds of men in England and in this country may be so filled with horror at the bold infidel suggestions which have been advanced even in high quarters, that the subtle progress of those whose object it is to bring our Church again under the yoke of Rome, may be overlooked as being an evil of less magnitude than the other. But the view which I have been led to take of this matter is very different. I believe that the sound common sense and reverence for Scripture generally entertained by the English people will, after the first [29/30] excitement has passed away, reject with horror the infidel suggestions which have been advanced, and will consign to merited disgrace those who have been their authors. But the old enemy of the gospel, which has such a powerful ally in the corrupt heart of man, will always remain, and will always find advocates; and it is against this enemy that Protestant divines and Protestant institutions will have most zealously to contend and most carefully to guard. I trust that Huron College will be, for all ages to come, the honored instrument of sending forth men well prepared to contend for the faith, not only against the avowed enemies of God's inspired word, but also, with the sword of the spirit, to oppose the Mystery of Iniquity, whatsoever form it may assume.