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circumstance we refer it that an article of the Creed, which for many years has been peculiarly lost sight of, has formed the first subject of the theological labours of two distinguished men, who in many respects widely divided) have been alike penetrated by the importance of the great truth—“I believe in one Catholic and Apostolic Church." We call this the first theological work of Archdeacon Manning, for, though favourably known before to the public, this is the first matured produce of his pen. The same may be said of the remarkable work of Professor Möhler—a work which, with great general agreement with that of the Archdeacon, affords, at the same time, such interesting contrasts as are commonly seen when learned and able men have written, as in this case we conceive to be the fact, without reference to one another's labours.
Archdeacon Manning is too well known to make it necessary to speak of him in this place; his practical services, no less than his well-timed occasional works, have for some time marked him out as a man whom the Church needs in her highest offices, and who cannot be allowed to rest even in the honourable post which he at present adorns. But we must say something of the German author, whose celebrity in his own land is still as great, (his early death, absit omen, may have increased it,) as the Archdeacon's among
ourselves. John Adam Möhler was born in Wirtemberg in the year 1796. Though brought up amidst the din of arms, yet the general peace, which coincided with his admission to the theological class at the Lyceum at Ellwangen, in Swabia, left him at large to follow what appears to have been the natural bent of his mind. The same studies he afterwards continued at the University of Tubingen. After a year spent in pastoral duties, he returned, in 1822, to an university life, and was already a licensed teacher of theology (Privatdocent) at Tubingen, when he published his first work, in 1825, on the Unity of the Church. This was followed two years later by a larger book, on “Athanasius and the Church of his time, in contrast with Arianism ;” and in 1832 appeared his most celebrated work, which it were mere mockery to tell the English reader was entitled “Symbolik, could
we not also help him to a more detailed titleA statement of the doctrinal contrasts between Catholics and Protestants according to their public confessions of faith.”
Of the latter books we shall only say, that they have contributed to that rapid revival of the Church in southern Germany, which we wish were as pure from the vices of Romish innovation, as from those of Protestant rationalism,-a revival to which Möhler's personal labours till his untimely death, in 1838, and his various smaller essays, considerably contributed. Our present object is with the first of his publications. That its general principles accord greatly with those of Archdeacon Manning, we have already said. The merits, too, of the writers are in many respects the same. If Möhler excels less than our countryman in force of language, yet both are equally remarkable for that peculiar clearness and subtlety with which they convey thoughts the most abstruse, and complex, -as well as for that extensive learning, which they have consecrated to the service of God. The contrast between them arises mainly, we suspect, from the audiences which they address.
When Möhler entered upon his work in Germany, he found the neological party in full possession of that ground, which, among ourselves, they are only labouring to occupy. The weakness of man's nature, the necessity of God's grace, the impossibility of understanding rightly the teaching of Scripture except through that blessed Spirit from whom it proceeded,- these are points which the laxer party among ourselves profess to believe, and which their more shrewd, but less excusable, leaders have not yet ventured to tell them, are inseparably connected with the (to them unpalatable) doctrines of the Church. In this respect their German brethren are considerably in advance. The low-Church party in Germany not only practically disbelieves, but openly scoffs at, whatever passes the limits of man's observation. The doctrine of divine grace, which, wherever the sacramental mysteries are disbelieved, is only a name, has ceased even to be a name with the rationalistic body. From this amount of error our countrymen are withheld by a happy inconsistency. Yet that they are following their more systematic precursors, is too apparent. Let us take an instance from the publications of the day.
The Bishop of London, when setting forth those doctrines, which the clergy have sworn to advocate, has been attacked in an EpiscopoPresbyterian journal, to which we have alluded, for asserting that, since “ Baptismal Regeneration is the doctrine of the Church” of England, "to say that it is unscriptural is beside the purpose. “ What!"
opponent, in amazement, “ does not doctrine depend only upon Scripture; and if so, must we not first elicit for ourselves the scriptural truth, and then understand the Church's dictum accordingly?" Now, it is curious to observe that this is the very cardinal position of neology. The neologists of Germany were long held in check by the stern authority of the Reformers. At length they discovered the truth, which has just been promulgated among the articles of Fleet-street, (November 9, 1842,) that formularies of faith were only to be so adopted as to accord with the paramount authority of the word of God. The text seems harmless enough, but look at the historical comment. See Paulus denying the divinity, and Strauss the very existence, of the Son of God. Such seems to them that mode of interpreting the acknowledged formularies of the German Church, which is consistent with their view of Scripture. Do we complain of these men's errors ? “Alas, there must needs be heresies among you.' What we censure is, that men who advocate such falsehoods should continue to be members and instructors of what calls itself a Christian society, and that, according to the admitted principles of that society-it should be impossible to reject them. Where is the fiery zeal of Luther? What has become of the practised acumen of Melancthon ? Yet once admit the crowning falsehood, which the English Calvinists are labouring to establish, and what answer could they give to their modern disciples ? The articles of faith, it is maintained, are to be interpreted according to each man's view of Holy Scripture. There is no single, safe, satisfactory rule, by which the truth has been once ascertained, and in which men can abide finally. The doctors of Fleet-street decide that every passer-by is to settle the truth for himself, and as many theories are to prevail as there are judges.
The doctrine of the Church of England, on the other hand, has ever been, that the one original deposit of truth has been embodied in the Church's creeds and formularies, and that by them the humble mind will be guided in interpreting the word of God. The true divine sense, the real spiritual' interpretation, is that which holy men were wont to receive, and which the Apostles intended to convey to them. To set up our own judgment against this is, in truth, to set up our spirit against the Spirit of God. It is to listen to man's word rather than to the divine word of truth. And though there have not been wanting those who, either from ignorance or heresy, have inculcated a contrary lesson, and who have told the clergy that the dictionary was their real help, -as though the object were the language, not the truths of revelation, as though the kernel were to be thrown away and the shell to be digested, yet the system in question has never found full favour among us.
Even those who advocate it talk of God's grace. That spiritual help is needful for the understanding of His holy word is professed even by those who do not take the right means of seeking it.
This, then, is the difference under which the question of the Unity of the Church is regarded by a German and by an English writer. The former is compelled to begin higher—to prove that the facts of Scripture cannot be comprehended except by divine aidthings which our countrymen in words admit, and which with us, therefore, may be taken for granted. The points which an English instructor must enforce are, that through the outward ordinances of Christ's Church His graces are appointed to flow forth upon mankind; he must show the moral ends of such a provision, its happy effect upon the hearts and tempers of mankind. Möhler, therefore, enters more upon the principles of grace, Manning more upon their application. The former is more mystical, the latter more moral in his reasoning. Perhaps, too, there is something in the inward character of the two nations which makes the mysterious fullness of the one satisfactory to the German, and the pregnant eloquence of the other to the English mind. Möhler has well sketched such a contrast as exhibited in the natural character even of two of our Lord's Apostles:
“ Even among the Apostles diversities of natural character might be seen to appear. In St. Paul there predominated, as has often been remarked, the speculative and logical character, and against Jews and Heathens, and against Christians of a Jewish or Heathen cast, did he bring to bear the efficacy of his own spiritual organization. St. John's characteristic on the other hand, was depth and power. In St. Ignatius, again, we meet the inward life and mysterious sublimity of the beloved disciple, while the character of the Apostle of the Gentiles is reflected by St. Clement, of Rome. Ignatius, however, stands more near to his master, St. John, than Clement to St. Paul; for depth of character being more closely allied than the speculative disposition to the Christian temper, can come more near to the model it pursues. The same may be said of Irenæus, who sprung from the school of St. John and of Justin ; Irenæus, whose whole soul was penetrated by the principles of faith, had a deeper insight into the Christian system thon the philosophic Justin.”—pp. 131, 132.
This may suffice as a specimen of the richness of our German author. We turn to Archdeacon Manning, of whose work we must give a more exact account, illustrating it by occasional references to the foreign writer.
It consists of three several parts,-historical—moral-practical. He finds the Church in existence, and in his first part asks how the opinion of its unity has arisen, and whence it is derived. The answer is
, that the opinion is conveyed to us through the words of a creed, which was acknowledged to be true among our Lord's first followers, and that it is asserted in those Scriptures which were given by the Holy Ghost. In the second part he shows the moral objects of the Church's unity, and in the third part applies the subject to the present state of Christendom.
The work begins with the assertion of the Church's unity in the creed. We are glad to see this course adopted, for it is of the utmost moment that the minds of our clergy should be impressed with the truth, that the credenda, the fundamentals of belief, are the doctrines of the creed. This is the Church view, as opposed to the Socinian, or Rationalistic notion, that no truths are fundamental unless we can by argument demonstrate their importance. Archdeacon Manning has pointed out the danger of this error in an appropriate instance. No mistake is more common with careless men than to compare the order of the Church to a scaffolding, its doctrines to the building underneath, and then, arguing from this metaphor, to call the first “non-essential.” Thus do men take an arbitrary example from the things of this world, and think it a sufficient measure for judging the works of Him who maketh all. Surely if they must limit God by the accidents of humanity, it were safer to take an instance from those laws of society which were intended at least to be a reflex of the eternal will. Let them fancy some one who made it an excuse for violating a law of the land that he had always felt the statute in question to be a “non-essential." Suppose him to enlarge on his love of our Sovereign as a reason why the common-place duty of obedience to her laws was disregarded. The duty, it might be, was one, of which the obvious intention was to encourage loyalty-the not executing justice, perhaps, except in the queen's name, and by her authority—and for himself, our objector would declare he was so filled with a loyal spirit, that he could not bear the restraint of these outward demonstrations. We should like to see such a plea as this adduced before some of the shrewd and business-like chiefs of our law. We can fancy the calm astonishment of Rolfe, the keen irony of Maule, and the bursting indignation of Lord Denman. But how strange is it that men will hazard their eternal interests on grounds on which they would not risk a shop or a farm! Surely the text was not written in vain,—“ Be not deceived, God is not mocked."
But we must hear our author's declaration, that among the positive institutions of Christ we may not venture to admit some as important, and discard others as “non-essential;" and that to separate discipline from doctrine, as that which is not entitled to the same kind of regard, is a delusive dream of modern tradition.
“It is a common axiom, that discipline may be changed, but doctrine never; and this is true so long as by discipline is understood only the detailed orders and rules of administration, which the apostolical authority may develop out of itself, such as the penitential code, and the like. But when taken to include what are commonly, but most unmeaningly, called forms of Church government, it is absolutely untrue. Throughout this work I have endeavoured to prove that the organic policy of the Church is a divine institution,-positive, indeed, in its nature, but moral in its design ; that it is not subject to man, but man to it; that he may not mould it, forasmuch as it is ordained to remould his very being, that it is therefore absolutely and universally binding and immutable.
There is no reason which will clear a man for rejecting the apostolical succession, which will not also acquit him for rejecting baptism. There is no reason to establish the right of men, without succession from the Apostles, to administer the Holy Eucharist, which will not justify the taking away of
The positive institutions of Christ, being moral as a continuous probation, and mystical in their complex effect, are binding in all their parts. To touch them in one point is to mutilate them in all. It is a usurpation of the will of man upon the will of Christ, and a subjecting of the mould to the nature which it is ordained to shape.”—pp. 324, 325.
In accordance with these principles, the Archdeacon begins by showing the unity of the Church to be an article of the creed; he gives, i.e. the best proof that it is a fundamental doctrine, in that it was so regarded by the hearers of the apostles.
Then comes the interpretation of this general statement; What is meant by the unity of the Church? The fact itself, our author observes, is commonly admitted.
“ In teaching that there is only one church of Christ, all Christians agree, the only controversy being wherein that one church consists."
In answering this question he follows the usual method; he is guided by concurrent testimony, and advances along it to that scriptural warrant on which his proof depends.
This is exactly the course adopted by that which calls itself the religious world. A person who is brought up in its ranks is taught from his in fancy to believe in the existence of a great society which he