Obrazy na stronie

Secondly, from the nature of the Scriptures of the New Testament, as it respects the object for which they were written.

Thirdly, from the committal of the gospel to writing at all, which is a strong argument in favour of the whole revealed faith, that is, in all important points at least, having been committed to writing.

Fourthly, from the admission of our opponents, that in necessary points the title of the rule of faith cannot be denied to Scripture.

Fifthly, from the admission of our opponents, that in all fundamental points Scripture is the document of proof, and that Scripture proof of all such doctrines is absolutely necessary.

All these arguments, which we have already entered into at length, necessarily go to prove that Scripture fully sets forth all the essentials of the faith, all that it is necessary to know in order to obtain salvation.

Nor is it at all requisite, in order to establish this position, that we should be able to give an exact catalogue of the fundamental articles. All the arguments we have yet mentioned are perfectly general, and do not affect the question of the precise nature of the fundamental points, but show that whatever those points may be, they must be set forth in the Scriptures. The favourite objection of many Romanists, therefore, that we must settle precisely which are the fundamentals of the faith, before we can prove that Scripture fully sets them forth, is altogether groundless.

But as the argument which our opponents seem principally to rely on as a proof of this alleged imperfection of Scripture is, that we do in fact maintain certain points as fundamental articles of the faith which are not fully set forth in Scripture, I shall proceed to show, by a consideration of the instances they adduce, that we have also the à posteriori argument in our favour.

We maintain, then, further, in proof of our position, "See Keble's Serm. pp. 32, 41, 141--3. Newman's Lect. pp. 134, 269.

that no fundamental article of the faith can be mentioned which is not fully set forth either in express terms, or by necessary consequence, in Scripture.

The doctrine which is most frequently and prominently objected to us here, both by our opponents and the Romanists, is, that of the consubstantiality of the Son with the Father. Not that they in terms deny that this doctrine may be proved by Scripture, nay, on the contrary, they maintain (i.e. in their own meaning of the words) that it may be fully proved by Scripture; but they affirm (how consistently the reader will judge) that it is not fully delivered in Scripture! And the reason is this, that the passages of Scripture on the subject do not in themselves carry a sense to the mind of the reader; but if the reader will allow “ tradition” to tell him what they mean, then, taking them in that meaning, and no other, they will be proofs to him that the doctrine delivered by tradition is the one maintained in Scripture. I am constrained to say, that it is difficult to conceive how such self-deception can be admitted.

To reply to this example, by pointing out those passages of Scripture by which this doctrine is manifested, would, I fear, be useless, because it is to be supposed that our opponents have already considered them, and are prepared to deny that they do fully set forth the doctrine in question. I will, therefore, meet them on their own ground, and show them that they are at issue in this matter with those whom they acknowledge as their great and (as a body) authoritative teachers, the Fathers.

What account does Athanasius give us of the way in which this doctrine, when called in question, was made out by the Nicene Fathers? They “collected together out of the Scriptures these words, the brightness, the fountain, and the river, and the image of the substance, and that expression, “In thy light shall we see light,' and that, “I and my Father are one;' and then at last they wrote more plainly and compendiously, that the Son

See Keble's Serm. pp. 32, 41, 141-3. Newman's Lect. pp. 134, 269.

was consubstantial with the Father, for all the foregoing expressions have this meaning.ı And again still more clearly ;-" The bishops having observed their hypocrisy in this ...

.... were compelled again to collect the sense of the matter from the Scriptures, and to repeat in plainer words what they had said before, and write that the Son was consubstantial with the Father." 2

What says Dionysius of Alexandria on this point? Although,” he says, “ I have not found this very word [i. e, consubstantial] in the Scriptures, yet collecting their meaning from the Scriptures themselves, I was conscious that the Son, being also the Word, could not be of a different substance to the Father." 3

Hear, also, Epiphanius.

“ But,” he says, “ if the word [i. e. consubstantial] were not in the Divine Scriptures, though it is, and plainly occurs in the Law and in the Apostles and Prophets yet nevertheless it would be lawful for us to use, for the interests of true religion, a convenient word,” &c.* And again, still more plainly; “ The word substance does not occur in the letter in the Old and New Testament, but the sense is to be found everywhere.5

So Ambrose refers entirely to the Scriptures for this doctrine, and says,—“ I would not, O sacred Emperor, that you should put your faith in my argument and disputation. Let us interrogate the Scriptures, let us interrogate the Apostles, let us interrogate the Prophets, let us interrogate Christ.” 6 And again,-“ When I consider, O august Emperor, how it is that the human race has so erred, that the majority, alas, follow different opi

[ocr errors]

Athanas. Ad Afr. Episc. Epist. 96. See the passage, c. 10, below. 2 See c. 10. below.

2 Ει και μη την λεξιν ταυτην ευρoν εν ταις γραφεις, αλλ' εξ αυτων των γραφων τον νουν συναγαγων, εγνων ότι υίος ων και λογος ου ζενος αν ειη της ουσιας Tov Tarpos. Dionys. Alex. in Athan. Epist. De sent. Dionys. & 20. Op. ed. Ben, tom. i. p. 257.

• See c. 10. below,

5 Ib.

6 De fid. lib. i. c. 6. See c, 10. below.

» 2

nions concerning the Son of God, the wonder to me is not by any means that human learning has erred concerning heavenly things, but that it has not been obedient to the Scriptures.”?

And Augustine says,—“ Against the impiety of the Arian heretics the Fathers made a new word consubstantial; but they did not by this word express a new thing; for the name consubstantial is the same in meaning as, 'I and my Father are one,' namely, of one and the same substance."

It would be easy to add to these passages from other Fathers, but I suppose these will be considered sufficient 3

And as it respects the divines of our own Church, the reader will see, in the extracts given hereafter from the works of Jewell, Jeremy Taylor, &c., that the same view is stoutly maintained by them against the opposite doctrine of the Church of Rome.

Nay, let us hear Bellarmine himself on this point. When pressed in the controversy on tradition by that passage of Augustine, in which he tells the Arian Maximinus, that for an authoritative decision of the point in dispute, they must not go either to the Council of Nice or that of Ariminum, but at once to Scripture, he says, that the cause was twofold, First, that he might argue more expeditiously, and, secondly, “ because in the questions then at issue, there were in Scripture the very clearest testimonies, which beyond doubt are to be preferred to all the testimonies of Councils." 5

· De fid. lib. iv. c. 1. See c. 10. below.

? Adversus impietatem quoque Arianorum hæreticorum novum nomen patris (patres] Homousion condiderunt ; sed non rem novam tali nomine signaverunt; hoc enim vocatur Homousion quod est, Ego et Pater unum sumus, unius videlicet ejusdemque substantiæ. Aug. In Joh. Ev. c. 16. Tract. 97. $ 4. Op. tom. jii. p. 2. col. 738; and see Contr. Maximin. lib. ii. c. 14. & 3. tom. viii. col. 704.

* For others, see the extracts from Cyril. Alex. &c. in c. 10. below. * See chap. 11. below.

• Quia in illis quæstionibus quæ tunc erant exstabant in Scriptura clarissima testimonia, quæ sine dubio anteponenda sunt omnibus Conciliorum testimoniis. Bell. De Verb. Dei, lib. iv. c. 11.

I hope, then, that I may conclude, not only from the language of Scripture itself, but upon the testimony of those to whom our opponents look as their guides in such matters, that we want nothing but Scripture for the doctrine of the consubstantiality of the Son with the Father.

It is still more painful to have to add, that even the doctrine of the pre-existence of Christ against the Socinians, has been brought forward in this controversy as one upon which Scripture is not sufficiently explicit, and which therefore must be defended from tradition. Nay, we are told that if we were good logicians we should be Socinians, 1

On this point I shall only refer the reader to the extract already given in a former page from Dr. Hawardine, which will show him that even some Romanists have opposed such a notion, and maintained that this is a point in which Scripture is clear, and which“ by the Holy Scripture alone,” and have ridiculed the notion upon which Dr. Hook relies, that because men contest the matter, therefore it is not decided in Scripture.

To what other points Mr. Keble may allude when he tells us that we are indebted to “ tradition” for the full doctrine of the Trinity,' I know not, but fear that upon the same grounds on which he has attributed to it our knowledge of the doctrine of the consubstantiality of the Son with the Father, he would join with the Romanists in tracing to it our knowledge of various other points, namely, the doctrine that the Father is unbegotten, that of the divinity of the Holy Spirit,* and that also of his

may be decided

| See extracts from Dr. Hook, in vol. i. p. 635.
? See vol. i. p. 609.
3 Serm. pp. 32, 41.

* Thus speaks the 85th of the Tracts for the Times ; " A person who denies the Apostolical succession of the ministry, because it is not clearly taught in Scripture, ought, I conceive, if consistent, to deny the Godhead of the Holy Ghost, which is nowhere literally stated (he means “ if consistent” “ not clearly taught”] in Scripture.” (p. 4.)

« PoprzedniaDalej »