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as recorded by St. Matthew and St. Mark, convey the substance of the same discourse. I am now only concerned with the line of argument to prove them different. St. Matthew's narrative is supposed to give the permanent commission to the Apostles and their successors : St. Mark the commission to the Apostles alone, because he gives the promise of miraculous assistance, verse 18, and because he adds the solemn warning, “ He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned,” which language could only be used by the direct messengers from God, who brought their credentials in their hands, namely, the power of working miracles.
Now, in the first place, the address recorded by St. Mark cannot be confined to the Apostles, because the first part of it extends to their successors. It is not necessary to refute the strange fables which have been invented to prove that the Apostles literally fulfilled the command, “Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature," and carried their message not only into the remotest corners of the old, but also of the new world. See Witsii Miscell, tom. ii. 13, 14.
But still further, there is nothing in the declaration, “ He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned,” which should confine it to the Apostolic age. There is nothing that is not expressed in different forms over and over again in Holy Scripture; what says the beloved disciple, “ He that believeth on him is not condemned, but he that believeth not is condemned already.” Again, “ He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life, and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth in him.” I should think that the minister of God at the present day not only had a right to read these denunciations, but that he was bound to declare them; and I cannot perceive the difference between them and the denunciation in St. Mark's Gospel. The charge of self
a Dr. Townson supposes them the same discourse, and accounts satisfactorily, as appears to me, for the difference in the narrative of the two Evangelists. Works, vol. i. p. 168.
conceit and of arrogance is therefore unjustly made against the minister for “engrafting on the permanent commission these awful words,” nor is it necessary to support such language by an appeal to miraculous powers. Dr. Dickinson will excuse me when I say, he has been led away by his admiration of Professor Powell's “ Tradition Unveiled,” to which he has referred, and did not per
(a) 1 deeply regret this reference to Professor Powell's work, as a “ luminous and forcible development of this important topic.” To justify my expressions of regret, I shall quote but one passage from Mr. Powell. “ There have been many divines who fancied they could read in the actual records of the New Testament, (especially when mixed up in some ill explained manner with the old,) a complete scheme of Church government, and Apostolic authority, as an integral and essential part of Christianity, a scheme establishing a perpetual exclusive divine commission to administer the sacraments, to perpetuate the succession."-page 19. This is the sort of language which drew down the indig. nation of Bishop Horsley, and made him say, “For those who have been nurtured in the bosom of the Church, and have gained admission to the ministry, if from a mean compliance with the humour of the age, or ambitious of the fame of liberality of sentiment, (for under that specious name, a profane indifference is made to pass for an accomplishment,) they affect to join in the disavowal of the authority which they share, or are silent when the validity of their divine commission is called in question; for any (I hope they are few) who hide this weakness of faith, this poverty of religious principle under the attire of a gown and cassock, they are in my estimation, little better than infidels in masquerade." Charges, p. 44.
In fact the whole treatise of Mr. Powell is a continued attack upon an exclusive commission to administer the sacraments, and upon a continuation of the Apostolic powers in the episcopal hierarchy, in other words, upon the ministry of our reformed Church. The attack itself is supported by wrong statements of the powers claimed for the Church, of the use of miracles, and of the connexion between Scripture and tradition. Mr. Powell's opinion about creeds is a good illustration of the extent to which his system carries him: creeds “must find their chief recommendation, not in their antiquity, but in their utility, their claim to acceptance not from their origin in past ages, but their adaptation to the wants of the present, and they ought always to be open to modification by competent authority, to disuse or renewal, as circumstances may require." I should be classed among “ the weak and the credulous," were I to express my horror at the presumption of changing a clause in the Apostles' or Nicene Creed; and to avow that my respect was not founded upon an examination of its utility or its adaptation to the wants of the present
ceive that the Professor totally mistook the use of miracles, and of a visible Church. There are a few lines in Bishop Butler's Analogy, which give the clearest explanation of this subject. “ As Christianity served these ends and purposes, when it was first published by the miraculous publication itself, so it was intended to serve the same purpose in future ages by means of the settlement of a visible Church, of a society distinguished from common ones and from the rest of the world by peculiar religious institutions, by an instituted method of instruction, and an instituted form of external religion. Miraculous powers were given to the first preachers of Christianity, in order to their introducing it into the world; a visible Church was established, in order to continue it and carry it on successively throughout all ages. Had Moses and the Prophets, Christ and his Apostles only taught, and by miracles proved religion to their cotemporaries; the benefits of their instructions would have reached but to a small part of mankind. Christianity must have been in a great degree sunk and forgot in a few ages. To prevent this appears to have been one reason why a visible Church was established; to be like a city on a hill, a standing memorial to the world of the duty which we owe our Maker; to call men continually both by example and instruction to attend to it, and by the form of religion ever before their eyes remind them of the reality; to be the repository of the oracles of God, and hold up the light of revelation in aid to that of nature, and propagate it throughout all generations to the end of the world.” Analogy, part 2, ch. 1.
The passages I have quoted from Bishops Hall and Taylor, pages 9 and 34, will explain the promise of miraculous powers, by
age. Professor Powell says further, no authority can add to Scripture, but an authority equivaleut to inspiration, and that authority must be proved by miracles, and that “ the actual propounding of some specific doctrine in express terms," is something added. If this view then be correct, the Church had no authority to introduce the word Trinity, or to confirm the doctrine of the Trinity, and the reformers in prescribing a prayer, and in framing articles which used this word, or established this doctrine, have claimed to possess equal authority with the first teachers of Christianity.See pp. 27, 28.
shewing that you must distinguish between the powers which were confined to the Apostles and those which were to be transmitted to their successors.
I fully agree with Dr. Dickinson as to the time of the cessation of miracles, and I would recommend to the student two works where the subject is briefly but ably discussed, the late Bishop of Ferns' Sermons on Miracles, page 270, and the Bishop of Lincoln on Tertullian, page 98. These alone would show that Mr. Powell is not correct in stating, that “the tradition conveyed in the writings of the Fathers bears distinct and unequivocal testimony to the prevalence of miraculous powers in the Church, not only in the earliest age, but even to a much later period.”
Page 18, line 16. See Rev. William Fitzgerald on Episcopacy, page 19.Mr. Fitzgerald's argument is not new; it was put forward very strongly, but for a different purpose, by Bishop Hoadly. He says, “ the declaration of assent and consent, and the subscription touched only the use of the book, and not this sentence in the preface.” (Works, vol. i. page 351.) Calamy could not be persuaded to conform by availing himself of such an interpretation ; he has, in his defence of moderate non-conformity, given an elaborate refutation of the opinion ; I can make only a few extracts. “ The legislators,” says he, “ themselves have declared against this sense ; and, therefore, I cannot see how the affixing it is either fair or candid. To put all out of doubt, says Mr. Baxter, since this Act, the Parliament made another Act, to which, while provisoes were offered, the whole House of Lords sent it back to the House of Commons, with this proviso, that those that declared assent and consent to all and every thing, &c. should be obliged to understand it only as to the use of what was required of them, and not as to the things in themselves considered. The Commons refused this proviso, and the Houses had a meeting about it, in which the Commons declared their reasons against that exposition of the declaration; and, in the end, the Lords did acquiesce in their reasons, and consented to cast out the proviso. So that the Parliament have expounded their own words, they say that the end of the declaration is not answered by persons understanding it only as to the use of what is required; and for any, after this, to take upon them to interpret that declaration only of the use of the Common Prayer Book, and plead candour, equity, and charity for so doing, and say it is not possible to give another sense, is neither respectful to the Legislators, nor a credit to the cause, which is this way endeavoured to be supported.” Vol. ii. p. 117.
“ The assent and consent must be to to all and every thing that is contained and prescribed in and by the Book of Common Prayer, gc. If the assent and consent was only to be given to what is prescribed, the word contained had much better have been left out, because it tends to confound. That the Common Prayer Book contains more than it prescribes, no man can deny. Had then the assent and consent been confined to what was prescribed, this difficulty had been removed ; but when I must assent and consent to every thing contained and prescribed, without being at all chargeable with forcing words, I think I may very well require good assurance that such assent and consent would not be interpreted as approving of every thing contained in that book, as well as what is prescribed.” Ibid. page 126.
Page 18, line 19. This is so evident, that Baxter says, “ This assent, consent, and subscription would be an allowance and approbation of that assertion, that Bishops, Priests, and Deacons are three distinct orders in the Church, by divine appointment ; for, in the book of ordination, which was as much to be assented and consented to as the Common Prayer Book itself, it is asserted, that it is evident to all men diligently reading the Holy Scriptures and ancient authors, that from the Apostles' time there have been three orders in Christ's Church, Bishops, Priests, and Deacons, as several offices : and indeed the whole book of ordination is bottomed upon that supposition as its foundation.” Plea for Peace, page 194,