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of Christianity hang upon one another, and follow one another in logical sequence; that if the dogma of the creation be admitted, and a motive be sought for it, that motive can be found in love alone; whence it follows that free-will is a dogmatic consequence which cannot be evaded. From the dogmas of creation and free-will results that of the Incarnation. Accept the Incarnation, and the Atonement follows inevitably, and the Resurrection completes the Atonement. Also, from a right apprehension of the dogma of the Incarnation flow the Church, the Sacramental system, the Real Presence, and the Eucharistic Sacrifice. If any of these consequences be denied, the negation runs back, and corrupts the primary dogmas.
The question arises : Was the whole scheme, in all its logical consequences revealed at once, or was the seed, enfolding within it the whole system, given at first to grow and expand as circumstances demanded ?
This is a most important question. As Mr. Oxenham says: “It can hardly be doubted, that one of the most important theological questions of the day, on which
many of our detailed controversies will be found to hinge, and into which they must ultimately be resolved, is that of developments in Christian belief. From failing to recognize this great law of revealed as of scientific truth, thousands are prejudiced against dogmatic Christianity altogether, while others hold it with but feeble and uncertain grasp. Nor can we look with any confidence for the return to unity of separated religious bodies, while some rigidly adhere to the principle of a lifeless and unfruitful tradition, and others insist on an exclusive appeal to the bare letter of Scripture. This question will accordingly be found, if I mistake not, to lie at the root of half our religious disputes, and some understanding upon it is an indispensable preliminary for their appreciation or adjustment.”1
The question may be stated simply thus: Were all the propositions of the Catholic faith simultaneously or successively evolved ?
Now it is evident from what has gone before, that these propositions depend on one another, and the mind has to undergo a process before it can step from one to another.
It is therefore more probable that the natural method should have been pursued. For, observe, if the dogma of the Incarnation be accepted by any man, and if he think it out in all its bearings, he must admit all the consequences which the Catholic Church has deduced from it; he must do so, for they grow out of one another spontaneously. Any Christian community which starts from this dogma must follow the same course, unless it be prepared to tamper with its foundation, to maim the doctrine of the Incarnation, so as to check or destroy its vital power. If the Anglican Church exhibits a tendency, or rather an impulsion, towards full Catholic doctrine, the reason is that active minds will not allow the dogma of the Incarnation to fossilize in an historical deposit, but insist on carrying it out and applying it in its entirety. The only mode of stopping this action is to formally deny the dogma.
Among the Lutherans an opposite course has been run. Luther vitiated the fundamental dogma, by making Christ an imperfect man, i.e. by allowing Him to be the perfect Individual, but not the social Ideal. The consequence is, that the minds of those educated in Lutheran doctrine have denied the Divinity of Christ, and have thus released themselves from the cogency of an argument which must have made itself felt, had they been prepared to admit its premiss.
1 Oxenham, p. 1.
The admission of the dogma of the Incarnation is quite sufficient to involve all the consequences. I do not say that every man will evolve the whole system, or that five or six generations will do so, as that depends on the mental activity of the person or the age. But it is inevitable that the community based on that doctrine should rush into Catholicism, when the frost of indifference yields, and the streams of thought begin to trickle once more. There will always be some who cannot go as fast as others, because their minds are more sluggish than others; if they would be content with an assertion that they cannot as yet follow the rush, it would be well, but if they attempt to stand against the avalanche, they will not merely fail to arrest it, but will imperil themselves.
This is an intellectual attitude characteristic of Anglicanism. An insularity and a narrow insensibility constitute that temper of mind in which not a few of our best prelates and divines indulge. He who is infected with it is every whit as intolerant as the hip and thigh smiting Puritan. He is never satisfied except in denouncing those waves of religious belief which flow beyond the post he has driven in to limit the rise of the tide, and anathematizing those men whose devout sympathies are above tepidity. Hood ridicules the man who would give another man black eyes for being blind, but surely the folly of the Anglican far exceeds that of Hood's fool, for he attacks the longsighted person because he is not of as narrow a vision as himself; he is the corn-crake assaulting the lark because it dares to soar above the ooze and fen,
If the principle of development be denied, only two theories remain on which any positive scheme of Christian doctrine can be maintained ; first, that laid down by Chillingworth, and accepted in name, but rejected in practice, by nearly all Protestant communities, “ The Bible, and the Bible only, the religion of Protestants."
The idea of the gradual unfolding of doctrine, ritual, and religious life, has been rejected as repugnant to the principles of Christianity, and Protestants assume that the Bible contains a complete code of faith and morals; that it teaches all things necessary to salvation, as well as all laws and commandments respecting our duty to God and man, which we are required to obey. That we are to believe nothing which is not found in the Bible explicitly laid down, and that it is to be the rigid rule of all our conduct, and of our worship of God.
Thus the Westminster Confession, drawn up by English and Scotch Presbyterians, has the following :-“The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man's salvation, faith, and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or, by good and necessary consequence, may be deduced from Scripture, unto which nothing, at any time, is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit or traditions of men.” Again :-“The Supreme Judge, by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined, and on whose sentence we are to rest, can be no other but the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scripture.” The Anglican article is almost as strongly worded :-“ Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation : so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation." An article this which falls like Goliath by its own sword, for it is impossible to prove the all-sufficiency of Holy Scripture from itself. Nowhere do we find that the Bible makes profession that it contains the whole faith ; that it, and it alone, is the deposit of the faith of the whole Church. Had it been so, we should have found it laid down in precise terms in the Scripture. But nowhere does the Bible profess to give us the faith nor is there a word to shew us that Christ commissioned His apostles to write books to contain the faith as authorized standards of doctrine.
“We might smile at all this as a harmless excess of belief," writes Mr. Blenkinsopp, “as an exaggerated reverence for the Bible, which it is a pity to disturb; but, unfortunately, it is attended by serious consequences; nay, we may say, that it is the fruitful parent of much heresy, and, what may seem impossible, of very much actual unbelief. Men who stake their whole faith on the letters of a book, on the exact words used, on the infallibility of the writer, must necessarily have their faith shaken when they see manifest differences and apparent contradictions between the writers, or in their writings. Equally so when those writers shew themselves to have been ignorant of physical science. Thus, when the facts which modern investigation opens out to us seem to prove that it is impossible that the six Mosaic days were days of twenty-four hours' duration, there are some who straightway conclude that this discovery disproves the truth of the whole narrative of Moses in the book of Genesis, and proves that the writer was not inspired; in other words, that the idea of inspiration implies a knowledge of all human sciences, as well as of divine things; the inspired man being so taught and guided by the Spirit of God, that he is acquainted with the causes which produce natural phenomena; or at least, that the inspiring Spirit will preserve him from