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§ 77. The Doctrinal Position of the Anglican Church and her Relation to other Churches.
The Reformed Church of England occupies an independent position between Romanism on the one hand, and Lutheranism and Calvinism on the other, with strong affinities and antagonisms in both directions. She nursed at her breasts Calvinistic Puritans, Arminian Methodists, liberal Latitudinarians, and Romanizing Tractarians and Ritualists. This comprehensiveness of the Church as a whole is quite consistent with the narrowness and exclusiveness of particular parties. It repels and attracts; it caused the large secessions which occurred at critical junctures in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries, but it also explains the individual accessions which she continually though quietly receives from other Churches.
The English mind is not theorizing and speculative, but eminently practical and conservative; it follows more the power of habit than the logic of thought; it takes things as they are, makes haste slowly, mends abuses cautiously, and aims at the attainable rather than the ideal. The Reformation in England was less controlled by theology than on the Continent, and more complicated with ecclesiastical and political issues. Anglican theology is as much embodied in the episcopal polity and the liturgical worship as in the doctrinal standards. The Book of Common Prayer is catholic, though purged of superstitious elements; the Articles of Religion are evangelical and moderately Calvinistic.11421142 The ingenious and sophistical attempt of Dr. John Henry Newman, in his famous Tract Number Ninety (Oxford, 1841), to un-Protestantize the Thirty-nine Articles, has been best refuted by his own subsequent transition to Rome. As a specimen of this non-natural interpretation we mention what he says on Art. XI., which teaches as 'a most wholesome doctrine' 'that we are justified by faith only.' This means that faith is the sole internal instrument of justification, while baptism is the sole outward means and instrument; it does not interfere with the doctrine that good works are also a means of justification (pp. 21 sqq.). That is, the Protestant doctrine of justification by faith alone, which the Council of Trent condemned, is identical with the Romish doctrine of justification by faith and works, which the same Council taught. A more learned and elaborate work, which minimizes the Protestantism of the Articles and makes them bear a catholic sense, is the Explanation by the late Bishop Forbes of Brechin, above quoted. The hierarchical, sacerdotal, and sacramental systems of religion are congenial and logically inseparable; they moderate and check the Protestant tendency, and if unduly pressed they become Romanizing. In great minds we often find great antagonisms or opposite truths dwelling together unreconciled; while partisans look only at one side. Augustine, Luther, and even the more logical Calvin, believed in divine sovereignty and human responsibility, free election and sacramental grace, and combined reverence for Church authority with independence of private judgment. The English Church leaves room for catholic and evangelical, mediæval and modern ideas, without an attempt to harmonize them; but her parties are one-sided, and differ as widely as separate denominations, though subject to the same bishop and worshiping at the same altar. She is composite and eclectic in her character, like the English language; she has more outward uniformity than inward unity; she is fixed in her organic structure, but elastic in doctrinal opinion, and has successively allowed opposite schools of theology to grow up which claim to be equally loyal to her genius and institutions. She has lost in England by those periodical separations which followed her great religious movements (the Puritan, the Methodist, the Anglo-Catholic) nearly one half of the nation she once exclusively controlled; yet she remains to this day the richest and strongest national Church in Protestant Christendom, and exercises more power over England than Lutheranism does over Germany or Calvinism over Switzerland and Holland. In the United States the Protestant Episcopal Church is numerically much smaller than most of the denominations which in England were cast out or voluntarily went out from the established Church as Non-conformists and Dissenters; but she will always occupy a commanding position among the higher classes and in large cities, because she represents the noble institutions and literature of the aristocratic, conservative, and venerable Church of England.
THE MELANCHTHONIAN INFLUENCE.
Germany received Roman Catholic Christianity from England through Winfrid or Boniface, and in turn gave to England the first impulse of the evangelical Reformation. The writings of Luther were read with avidity by students in Oxford and Cambridge as early as 1527. Cranmer spent some time in Germany, and was connected with it by domestic ties.11431143 His second wife, whom he secretly married in 1532, before his elevation to the primacy (March, 1533), was a niece of the Lutheran divine Osiander at Nürnberg, who subsequently excited a violent controversy about the doctrine of justification. Henry VIII. never overcame his intense dislike of Luther, kindled by their unfortunate controversy on the seven sacraments, and strengthened by Luther's breach with Erasmus; but he respected Melanchthon for his learning and wisdom, and invited him to assist in reforming the English Church.11441144 Melanchthon was twice called to England in 1534 ('Ego jam alteris literis in Angliam vocor'). In 1535 he dedicated an edition of his Loci to Henry, at the request of Barnes, who thought it would promote the progress of the Reformation. Henry renewed the invitation in 1538, and requested the Elector of Saxony to send 'Dominum Philippum Melancthonem, in cuius excellenti eruditione et sano judicio a bonis omnibus multa spes reposita est,' together with some other learned men, to England. Under Edward VI. Melanchthon was called again, and in 1553 he was appointed Professor of Divinity in Cambridge, but he never saw England. See Laurence, l.c. pp. 198 sqq.; Hardwick, Hist. of the Art. pp. 52 sqq.; C. Schmidt, Phil. Mel. pp. 283–289. He entered into negotiations with the Wittenberg divines and the Lutheran princes of the Smalcald League, but chiefly from political motives and without effect.
Under Edward VI. the influence of the Melanchthonian theology, as embodied in the Augsburg Confession (1530) and the Suabian Confession (1552), became more apparent, and can be clearly traced in Cranmer's earlier writings, in some of the Articles of Religion, and in those parts of the Book of Common Prayer which were borrowed from the 'Consultation' of Archbishop Hermann of Cologne, compiled by Bucer and Melanchthon (1543). Hence the English Church has been called sometimes by Lutheran divines an Ecclesia Lutheranizans.
But the peculiar views of Luther on the real presence and the ubiquity of Christ's body found no congenial soil in England. Cranmer himself abandoned them as early as Dec. 14, 1548, when a public discussion was held in London on the eucharist; and he adopted, together with Ridley, the Calvinistic doctrine of a virtual presence and communication of Christ's glorified humanity. He held that 'Christ is figuratively in the bread and wine, and spiritually in them that worthily eat the bread and drink the wine; but, on the other hand, contended that our blessed Lord is really, carnally, and corporally in heaven alone, from whence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.'11451145 So his ultimate doctrine is correctly stated by Hardwick, History of the Reformation, p. 209. Cranmer wrote very extensively on the eucharist, and especially against the Romish mass. See the first volume of the Parker Society's edition of his Works. His change of view is due to the influence of the book of Ratramnus (Bertram) against transubstantiation, the tract of Bullinger on the eucharist, and the personal influence of Ridley, Peter Martyr, and Bucer. Bishop Browne says (on Art. XXVIII. Sect. I. p. 711 of the Am. ed.): 'Both Cranmer and Ridley, to whom we are chiefly indebted for our formularies, maintained the doctrine nearly identical with that maintained by Calvin, and before him by Bertram. . . . These sentiments of our Reformers were undoubtedly embodied in our Liturgy and Articles. . . . In the main, Calvin, Melanchthon in his later views, and the Anglican divines were at one.' John Knox entirely agreed with Cranmer in the Reformed doctrine of the eucharist, and he objected only to the kneeling posture, which led to the insertion of a special rubric in the Prayer-Book. See Lorimer, John Knox in England, pp. 49 and 145. This doctrinal change was embodied (1552) in the revision of the first Prayer-Book of Edward VI.; the prayer of oblation was converted into a thanksgiving, and the old formula of distribution, which was compatible even with a belief in transubstantiation ('The Body of our Lord Jesus Christ,' etc.), was replaced by another which a Zwinglian may approve ('Take and eat this in remembrance that Christ died for thee,' etc.). In the Elizabethan Service-Book the two formulas were combined (the second being an explanation of the first), and have ever since continued in use.
In the violent controversies which agitated Germany after Luther's death, and which led to the Formula of Concord, England sided with the milder Melanchthonian school. Queen Elizabeth made an effort to prevent the adoption of the Formula and the condemnation of the Reformed doctrines.11461146 See above, p. 335.
THE ZWINGLIAN AND CALVINISTIC INFLUENCE.
The doctrines of Zurich and Geneva began to spread in England under the reign of Edward VI. Calvin, whose books were prohibited by Henry VIII. (in 1542), corresponded freely with the Duke of Somerset (Oct. 22, 1548), Edward VI., and Cranmer, and urged a more thorough reformation of doctrine and discipline, and a better education of the clergy, but left episcopacy untouched, which he was willing to tolerate in England as well as in the kingdom of Poland.11471147 Stähelin, Vol. II. pp. 51 sqq., discusses at length Calvin's correspondence with England. Hardwick speaks of 'the obtrusive letters of Calvin;' but his counsel was solicited from every direction. In the controversy of the English exiles at Frankfort both parties (Cox and Knox) appealed to the Genevan Reformer for advice. Cranmer requested him to write often to King Edward. See Calvin to Farel, June 15, 1551 (Opera, Vol. XIV. fol. 133): 'Cantuariensis nihil me utilius facturum admonuit, quam si ad Regem sæpius scriberem. Hoc mihi longe gratius, quam si ingenti pecuniæ summa ditatus forem.' Viret informed Farel in the same year and month (ibid. fol. 131), that the king sent to Calvin 'coronatos centum et libellum a se conscriptum gallice in papatum, cuius censuram a Calvino exigit. . . . Accepit Calvinus a multis Angliæ proceribus multas literas plenas humanitatis. Omnes testantur se ejus ingenio et laboribus valde oblectari. Hortantur ut sæpe scribat. Protector scripsit nominatim.' His controversy with Pighius about predestination excited considerable sympathy in England (1552), and his doctrine of the eucharist gained ground more rapidly. Cranmer called to his aid prominent Reformed and Unionistic divines, such as Peter Martyr, Ochino, Laski, Bucer, and Fagius, and gave them high positions in Oxford, Cambridge, and London. It is characteristic of his catholicity of spirit that in 1548 he conceived the plan of inviting Melanchthon of Wittenberg, Bullinger of Zurich, Calvin of Geneva, Bucer of Strasburg, Peter Martyr, Laski, and others to Lambeth for the purpose of drawing up a union creed for all evangelical Churches.11481148 Strype's Memorials of Cranmer, Vol. I. p. 584; Hardwick, History of the Reformation, p. 212. John Hooper, who had resided two years at Zurich, was made Bishop of Gloucester (1551), although he went even beyond Bullinger and Calvin in matters of clerical vestments and ceremonies, and may be called a forerunner of Puritanism. He died heroically for his faith under Mary (1555). John Knox was elected one of the chaplains of Edward VI., and was offered the bishopric of Rochester, which he declined. He exerted considerable influence, and would no doubt have retained it under Elizabeth, had he not (together with his teacher and friend, Calvin) incurred her personal dislike by his trumpet-blast 'against the monstrous regimen of women,' which was provoked by the fatal misgovernment of her sister.11491149 The influence of Knox upon the English Reformation has been more fully brought to light from the Knox Papers in Dr. Williams's library at London by Dr. Peter Lorimer, in John Knox and the Church of England (London, 1875), pp. 98 sqq.
Under the reign of Mary the English exiles formed the closest ties of personal and theological friendship with the Reformers of Switzerland, and on their return under Queen Elizabeth they took the lead in the restoration and reconstruction of the Reformed Church of England. Bishop Jewel, the final reviser of the Thirty-nine Articles, wrote to Peter Martyr at Zurich (Feb. 7, 1562): 'As to matters of doctrine, we have pared every thing away to the very quick, and do not differ from you by a nail's breadth; for as to the ubiquitarian [i.e., the Lutheran] theory there is no danger in this country. Opinions of that kind can only gain admittance where the stones have sense.'11501150 Zurich Letters, second series, I. 100. Prof. Fisher, in quoting this passage, adds the just remark (The Reformation, p. 341): 'There is no need in bringing further evidence on this point, since the Articles themselves explicitly assert the Calvinistic view [on the Lord's Supper]. In speaking of the English Reformers as Calvinists, it is not implied that they derived their opinions from Calvin exclusively, or received them on his authority. They were able and learned men, and explored the Scriptures and the patristic writers for themselves. Yet no name was held in higher honor among them than that of the Genevan Reformer.'
Bullinger's 'Decades' were for some time the manual of the clergy. Afterwards Calvin's 'Institutes' became the text-book of theology in Oxford and Cambridge.11511151 When Robert Sanderson (Professor of Theology in Oxford, 1642, afterwards Bishop of Lincoln, d. 1663) began to study theology in Oxford about 1606, he was recommended, as was usual at that time, to read Calvin's Institutes, 'as the best and perfectest system of divinity, and the fittest to be laid as the ground-work in the study of this profession.' Blunt, Dictionary of Sects, etc., p. 97. Comp. Hooker's judgment below, p. 607. Even his Catechism was ordered to be used by statute in the universities (1587). Next to him his friend and successor, Beza, was for many years the highest theological authority. The University of Cambridge, in thanking him for the valuable gift of Codex D of the New Testament, in 1581, acknowledges its preference for him and John Calvin above any men that ever lived since the days of the Apostles.11521152 'Nam hoc scito, post unicæ scripturæ sacratissimam cognitionem, nullos unquam ex omni memoria temporum scriptores extitisse, quos memorabili viro Joanni Calvino tibique præferamus.' See Scrivener's Codex Bezæ, Introd. p. vi., and his Introd. to the Critic. of the New Testament, second edition, 1874, p. 112. Scrivener regards this veneration as an ill omen 'for the peace of the English Church.' Beza's editions of the Greek Testament, his elegant Latin translation, and exegetical notes were in general use in England during the reigns of Elizabeth and James, and were made the chief basis not only of the Geneva Bible (1560), but also of the revision of the Bishops' Bible under King James (1611).11531153 See my tract on the Revision of the English Version of the New Testament, pp. 28, 29, and Westcott's History of the English Bible, pp. 294 sq. A number of errors in the English Version, as well as excellences, can be traced to Beza.
It is not too much to say that the ruling theology of the Church of England in the latter half of the sixteenth and the beginning of the seventeenth century was Calvinistic.11541154 Macaulay (in his introductory chapter, p. 39, Boston edition) says: 'The English Reformers were eager to go as far as their brethren on the Continent. They unanimously condemned as anti-Christian numerous dogmas and practices to which Henry had stubbornly adhered, and which Elizabeth reluctantly abandoned. Many felt a strong repugnance even to things indifferent, which had formed part of the polity or ritual of the mystical Babylon.' The best proof of this is furnished by the 'Zurich Letters,'11551155 So called because they are mostly derived from the extensive Simler Collection of Zurich, where the Marian exiles, as Bishop Burnet says, 'were entertained both by the magistrates and the ministers—Bullinger, Gualter, Weidner, Simler, Lavater, Gesner, and all the rest of that body—with a tenderness and affection that engaged them to the end of their lives to make the greatest acknowledgments possible for it.' The correspondence was published by the Parker Society (Cambridge, 1842–47, in four vols.), in two series, the first of which covers the reigns of Henry VIII., Edward VI., and Mary; the second and more important the reign of Elizabeth (1558–1602). They include letters of most of the English Reformers and leading bishops and divines to the Swiss Reformers, with their answers, and are noble monuments of Christian and theological friendship. extending over the whole period of the Reformation, the Elizabethan Articles, the Second Book of Homilies (chiefly composed by Bishop Jewel), the Lambeth Articles, the Irish Articles, and the report of the delegation of King James to the Calvinistic Synod of Dort.11561156 The Suffrage of the Divines of Great Britain concerning the Articles of the Synod of Dort signed by them in the Year 1619. London, 1624. There is, however, at the close of this document (p. 176) a wholesome warning 'concerning the mystery of reprobation,' that it be 'handled sparingly and prudently,' and that 'those fearful opinions, and such as have no ground in the Scriptures, be carefully avoided, which tend rather unto desperation than edification, and do bring upon some of the Reformed Churches a grievous scandal.'
This theological sympathy between the English and the Continental Churches extended also to the principles of Church government, which was regarded as a matter of secondary importance, and subject to change, like rites and ceremonies, 'according to the diversities of countries, times, and men's manners, so that nothing be ordained against God's Word' (Art. XXXIV.). The difference was simply this: the English Reformers, being themselves bishops, retained episcopacy as an ancient institution of the Church catholic, but fully admitted (with the most learned fathers and schoolmen, sustained by modern commentators and historians) the original identity of the offices of bishop and presbyter; while the German and Swiss Reformers, being only presbyters or laymen, and opposed by their bishops, fell back from necessity rather than choice upon the parity of ministers, without thereby denying the human right and relative importance or expediency of episcopacy as a superintendency over equals in rank. The more rigid among the Puritans departed from both by attaching primary importance to matters of discipline and ritual, and denouncing every form of government and public worship that was not expressly sanctioned in the New Testament.
The most learned English divines before the period of the Restoration, such as Cranmer, Jewel, Hooker, Field, Ussher, Hall, and Stillingfleet, did not hold the theory of an exclusive jure divino episcopacy, and fully recognized the validity of presbyterian ordination. They preferred and defended episcopacy as the most ancient and general form of government, best adapted for the maintenance of order and unity; in one word, as necessary for the well-being, but not for the being of the Church. Cranmer invited the co-operation of Lutherans and Calvinists even in the most important work of framing the Articles of Religion and revising the Liturgy, without questioning their ordination; his own views of episcopacy were so low that he declared 'election or appointment thereto sufficient' without consecration, and he was so thoroughly Erastian that after the death of Henry he and his suffragans took out fresh commissions from the new king.11571157 In accordance with an act of the thirty-seventh year of Henry VIII., which declares that 'Archbishops and the other ecclesiastical persons had no manner of jurisdiction ecclesiastical but by, under, and from his Royal Majesty; and that his Royal Majesty was the only supreme head of the Church of England and Ireland, to whom, by holy Scripture, all authority and power was wholly given,' etc. His three successors in the primacy (Parker, Grindal, and Whitgift) did not differ from him in principle. 'Archbishop Grindal,' says Macaulay, 'long hesitated about accepting a mitre, from dislike of what he regarded as the mummery of consecration. Bishop Parkhurst uttered a fervent prayer that the Church of England would propose to herself the Church of Zurich as the absolute pattern of a Christian community. Bishop Ponet was of opinion that the word bishop should be abandoned to the Papists, and that the chief officers of the purified Church should be called superintendents.' The nineteenth of the Elizabethan Articles, which treats of the visible Church, says nothing of episcopacy as a mark of the Church. The statute of the thirteenth year of Elizabeth, cap. 12, permits ministers of the Scotch and other foreign Churches to exercise their ministry in England without re-ordination. After the union with Scotland the English sovereign represented in his official character the national Churches of the two countries, and when in Scotland, Queen Victoria takes the communion from the hands of a Presbyterian parson. Prominent clergymen of the Church of England, such as Travers (Provost of Trinity College, Dublin), Whittingham (Dean of Durham), Cartwright (Professor of Divinity in Cambridge, afterwards Master of Warwick Hospital), and John Morrison (from Scotland), had received only Presbyterian ordination in foreign Churches. Similar instances of Scotch, French, and Dutch Reformed ministers who were received simply on subscribing the Articles occurred down to the civil war. The English delegates to the Synod of Dort, which was presided over by a presbyter, were high dignitaries and doctors of divinity, one of them (Carleton) a bishop, and two others (Davenant and Hall) were afterwards raised to bishoprics. Archbishop Ussher, the greatest English divine of his age, who in eighteen years had mastered the whole mass of patristic literature, defended episcopacy only as a presidency of one presbyter over his peers, and declared that when abroad he would take the holy communion from a Dutch Reformed or French minister as readily as from an Episcopalian clergyman at home.
But the reigns of James and Charles I. form the transition. In the heat of the Puritan controversy both parties took extreme ground, Presbyterians and Independents as well as Episcopalians, and claimed exclusive Scripture authority and divine right for their form of government. Truth and error were mixed on both sides; for the primitive government was neither Episcopalian nor Presbyterian nor Independent, but apostolic; and the Apostles, as inspired and infallible teachers and rulers of the whole Church of all ages, have and can have no successors, as Christ himself can have none.
The doctrine of the divine and exclusive right of episcopacy was first intimated, in self-defense, by Bishop Bancroft, of London (in a sermon, 1589), then taught and rigidly enforced by Archbishop Laud (1633–1645), the most un-Protestant of English prelates,11581158 Laud made such a near approach to Rome that he was offered a cardinal's hat (Aug. 1633). When he first maintained, in his exercise for Bachelor of Divinity, in 1604, the doctrine that there could be no true Church without a bishop, he was reproved by the authorities at Oxford, because he 'cast a bone of contention between the Church of England and the Reformed on the Continent.' But when he was in power he spared no effort to force his theory upon reluctant Puritans in England and Presbyterians in Scotland. and was apparently sanctioned in 1662 by the Act of Uniformity, which forbade any person to hold a benefice or to administer the sacraments before he be ordained a priest by Episcopal ordination. By this cruel Act two thousand ministers, including some of the ablest and most worthy men in England, were expelled from office and driven into non-conformity.
Notwithstanding this change, the Church of England has never officially and expressly pronounced on the validity or invalidity of non-episcopal orders in other Churches; she only maintains that no one shall officiate in her pulpits and at her altars who has not received episcopal ordination according to the direction of the Prayer-book.11591159 The facts above stated are acknowledged by the best authorities of the Church of England of all parties, such as Strype, Burnet, Lathbury, Keble, and by secular historians such as Hallam and Macaulay. See a calm and thorough argument of Prof. G. P. Fisher, The Relation of the Church of England to the other Protestant Churches, in the 'New-Englander' for January, 1874, pp. 121–172. This article grew out of a newspaper controversy in the New York Tribune, occasioned by the secession of Bishop Cummins after the General Conference of the Evangelical Alliance at New York, October, 1873. This inter-denominational Conference had the express sanction of the Archbishop of Canterbury in a letter addressed to the Dean of Canterbury, one of the prominent delegates. See Proceedings (published N. Y., 1874), p. 720. Comp. also Dr. Washburn, Relation of the Episcopal Church to other Christian Bodies, N. Y., 1874.
The truest representative of the conservative and comprehensive genius of Anglicanism in doctrine and polity, towards the close of the Elizabethan period, is the 'judicious Hooker' (1553–1600), who to this day retains the respect of all parties. In his great work on the 'Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity' he went to the root of the rising controversy between Episcopacy and Puritanism, by representing the Church as a legislative body which had the power to make and unmake institutions and rites not affecting the doctrines of salvation laid down in the Scriptures and œcumenical creeds.
He defends episcopacy, but without invalidating other forms of government, or unchurching other Churches. He highly commends Calvin's 'Institutes' and 'Commentaries,' and calls him 'incomparably the wisest man that ever the French Church did enjoy.'11601160 He also says: 'Of what account the Master of Sentences [Peter Lombard] was in the Church of Rome, the same and more amongst the preachers of Reformed Churches Calvin had purchased; so that the perfectest divines were judged they which were skillfulest in Calvin's writings; his books almost the very canon to judge both doctrine and discipline by.' See Hooker's lengthy account of Calvin's life and labors in the Preface to his work on the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, Vol. I. pp. 158–174, edition of Dr. John Keble. He generally agrees with his theology, at least as far as it is Augustinian, and he clearly adopts his view of the eucharist—namely, as he expresses it, that 'Christ is, personally present, albeit a part of Christ be corporally absent,' and 'that the real presence is not to be sought for in the sacrament (i.e., in the elements), but in the worthy receiver of the sacrament.' But he keeps clear of the logical sharpness and rigor of Calvinism, and subjects it to the higher test of the fathers and the early Church.11611161 Dr. Keble, who was a High Anglican or Anglo-Catholic of the Oxford school, says in the Preface to his edition (p. xcix.): 'With regard to the points usually called Calvinistic, Hooker undoubtedly favored the tone and language, which has since come to be characteristic of that school, commonly adopted by those theologians to whom his education led him as guides and models on occasions where no part of Calvinism comes expressly into debate. It is possible that this may cause him to appear, to less profound readers, a more decided partisan of Calvin than he really was. At least it is certain that on the following subjects he was himself decidedly in favor of very considerable modifications of the Genevan theology.' Keble then contrasts the strict Calvinism of the Lambeth Articles with the cautious predestinarianism of Hooker as expressed in a fragment which teaches eternal election and the final perseverance of the foreknown elect, without mentioning reprobation, and makes condemnation depend on 'the foresight of sin as the cause.' Judas went to his place, which was 'of his own proper procurement. Devils were not ordained of God for hell-fire, but hell-fire for them; and for men so far as it was foreseen that men would be like them.' There are, however, as Keble himself admits, passages in Hooker which are more strongly Calvinistic, especially on the doctrine of the perseverance of saints, which he considers hardly consistent with his doctrine of universal baptismal grace. But both these doctrines were held by Augustine likewise, from whom Hooker borrowed them.
His respect for antiquity and his churchly conservatism gained ground after his death in the conflict with Puritanism; and when the Synod of Dort narrowed the Calvinism of the Reformation to a five-angular scholastic scheme, Arminian doctrines, in connection with High-Church principles, spread rapidly in the Church of England. She became, as a body, more and more exclusive, and broke off the theological interchange and fraternal fellowship with non-episcopal Churches. But we hope the time is coming when the Christian communion which characterized her formative period will be revived under a higher and more permanent form.
Note.—My friend, the Rev. Dr. E. A. Washburn, of New York, an Episcopalian divine of rare culture and liberality of spirit, has kindly furnished the following contribution to this chapter, which will give the reader a broad inside view of Anglicanism under the various phases of its historic development:
'The doctrinal system of the English Church, in its relation to other Reformed communions, especially needs a historic treatment; and the want of this has led to grave mistakes, alike by Protestant critics and Anglo-Catholic defenders. It was one in its positive principles, as opposed to the dogmatic falsehoods of Rome, with the great bodies of the Continental Reformation; yet it grew as a national Church, while those were more fully shaped by the theology of their leaders—Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli. This fact is the key of its history. England felt the same influences, religious and social, that awakened Europe, but its ideas were not borrowed from abroad; it only completed the growth begun in the day of Wyclif. Its earliest step was thus a national, one. Nor was this, as has been proved by its latest historians from the record, the act of Henry VIII.; for before his quarrel the Parliament annulled forever, by its own decree, the supremacy of Rome. It could not be expected that during his reign the standard of doctrine should be greatly changed; and it should be remembered, that Luther himself renounced only by degrees the idea of Papal authority. The "Articles devised to establish Christian Quietness," probably the original of the later Cotton MSS., and the "Institution of a Christian Man" following it in 1537, show that the dogma of the mass, the seven sacraments, intercessory prayers for the dead, and reverence of the Virgin and saints as mediators, remained. It is worth noting, however, that the "Erudition" in 1543 gives signs of change, as the "corporal" presence is there only the "very body," and the idea of special intercession is modified to prayer "for the universal congregation of Christian people, quick and dead." But the next reign proves that the act of national freedom held in solution the whole result. Ultramontanism meant then, as now, not only the feudal headship of Rome, but its scholastic and priestly system. The Reformation, ripened in the minds of Cranmer, Latimer, Ridley, and other devout thinkers, bore its fruit in the revised Liturgy and Articles; nor can any thing be clearer than the doctrinal standard of the Church, if we trace it with just historic criticism to the time when these were fixed.
'The Articles ask our first study. It is plain that the foundation-truths of the Reformation—justification by faith, the supremacy and sufficiency of written Scripture, the fallibility of even general councils—are its basis. Yet it is just as plain that in regard of the specific points of theology, which were the root of discord in the Continental Churches, as election, predestination, reprobation, perseverance, and the rest, these Articles speak in a much more moderate tone. It is from a narrow study of that age that they have been called articles of compromise between a Calvinistic and Arminian party. There were some of extreme views, as the Lambeth Articles prove, but they did not represent the body. The English Reformers had been bred, like the great Genevan, in the school of the greater Augustine; and his richer, more ethical spirit appears in not only the Articles, but in the writings of well-nigh all from Hooper or Whitgift to Hooker. There was the friendliest intercourse between them and the divines of the Continent. Melanchthon, Calvin, Bucer were consulted in their common work. But the unity of the national Church, not the system of a school, was uppermost; and we may write the character of them all in the words of the biographer of Field, that "in points of extreme difficulty he did not think fit to be so positive in defining as to turn matters of opinion into matters of faith."
'We may thus learn the structure of the liturgical system. The English Reformers aimed not to create a new, but to reform the historic Church; and therefore they kept the ritual with the episcopate, because they were institutions rooted in the soil. They did not unchurch the bodies of the Continent, which grew under quite other conditions. No theory of an exclusive Anglicanism, as based on the episcopate and general councils, was held by them. Such a view is wholly contradictory to their own Articles. But the historic character of the Church gave it a positive relation to the past; and they sought to adhere to primitive usage as the basis of historic unity. In this revision, therefore, they weeded out all Romish errors, the mass, the five added sacraments, the legends of saints, and superstitious rites; but they kept the ancient Apostles' Creed and the Nicene in the forefront of the service, the sacramental offices, the festivals and fasts relating to Christ or Apostles with whatever they thought pure. Such a work could not be perfect, and it is false either to think it so or to judge it save by its time. There are archaic forms in these offices which retain some ideas of a scholastic theology. The view of regeneration in the baptismal service, decried to-day as Romish, can be found by any scholar in Melanchthon or in Bullinger's Decades. We may see in some of the phrases of the communion office the idea of more than a purely spiritual participation, yet the view is almost identical with that of Calvin. The dogma of the mass had been renounced, but the Aristotelian notions of spirit and body were still embodied in the philosophy of the time. The absolution in the office for the sick, and like features, have been magnified into "Romanizing germs" on one side and Catholic verities on another. The Athanasian Creed, revered by all the Reformers, was retained, yet not as that of Nice in the body of the worship; and it was wisely excluded by the American revisers, as the English Church will by-and-by displace it, because a better criticism shows it to be the metaphysical deposit of a later time, un-catholic in descent or structure. Such is the rule by which we are to know the unity of the English system. The satire, so often repeated since Chatham, that the Church has a "Popish Liturgy and Calvinistic Articles," is as ignorant as it is unjust. All liturgical formularies need revision; but such a task must be judged by the standard of the Articles, the whole tenor of the Prayer-book, and the known principles of the men. In the same way we learn their view of the Episcopate. Not one leading divine from Hooper to Hooker claimed any ground beyond the fact of primitive and historic usage; and Whitgift, the typical High-Churchman of the Elizabethan time, in reply to the charge of Cartwright against prelacy as unscriptural, took the ground that to hold it "of necessity to have the same kind of government as in the Apostles' time, and expressed in Scripture," is a "rotten pillar." The Puritan of that day was as narrow as the narrow Churchman of our own.
'This historic sketch of the English Reformation explains its whole character. It had in it varied elements, but by no means contradictory. Had not other influences dwarfed its design, it would have done much to harmonize the communions of Protestantism, to blend the new life with a sober reverence for the historic past. Lutheranism and Calvinism did each its part in the development of a profound theology. The English Church had a more comprehensive doctrine and a more conservative order. It placed the simple Apostles' Creed above all theological confessions as its basis, and a practical system above the subtleties of controversy. But its defect lay in the policy which sought uniformity instead of a large unity; and the loss of the conscientious men who left the national Church gave its ecclesiastical element an undue growth. Yet it has retained throughout much of its comprehensiveness. It has had many schools of thought, but none has ruled it. Calvinism, although shorn of its early strength, has had always adherents, from the saintly Leighton to Toplady and Venn. The Arminian doctrine entered early from Holland, and in the visit of the divines sent by James to the Synod of Dort, among whom were Hall and Davenant, we have the early traces of the change. Davenant was nominally against the Remonstrants, but the "Suffrages" prove already the milder tone of the English theology. It is with Laud that the system gained strong ground, yet it never led to such quarrels as in the land of Grotius; it represented the growing dislike of a harsh supralapsarianism and the mild spirit of scholars like Jeremy Taylor. The criticism has often been made that Arminianism is more akin to a High-Church system, because it teaches that divine grace is conditioned by works; but if so, perhaps it shows, as in the case of Jansenism, that a metaphysical creed, in losing sight of the moral side of its own truth, will always drive men to its opposite. The English theology of the next period has the like variety. It had its divines of rich learning—Bramhall, Cosin, and others—inclined to a stricter view of the sacraments and ministry than the Reformers; yet it is mere exaggeration to call them the Anglo-Catholic fathers, as if they were the exponents of the whole Church. They belong to one school of their time. Nor is it a less mistake to judge from their opposition, as members of the national Church, to the Dissenters, that they unchurched the Continental Protestants. Bramhall held an episcopate to be of the Ecclesia integra, not vera; and Morton, while bitter towards the Presbyterians, is "not so uncharitable" towards foreign Reformed bodies "as to censure them for no Churches, for that which is their infelicity, not their fault." Chillingworth and Hales are leaders in this period of a more liberal thought. The Cambridge school, which a modern critic calls the herald of broad Churchmanship, begins here with Smith and Whichcote. The theology of England passed into a still more comprehensive growth. Its larger conflict with Deism took it out of the guerrilla war of the past into the field of Biblical criticism, Christian evidence, and history. No party wholly represents it. Such different minds as Tillotson and Waterland, Cudworth and Paley, Arnold and Keble have been of the same communion. Its successive movements have stirred, yet not rent it. The Methodist revival came from the Arminian Wesley, and the wave of spiritual life left its true influence, although a cold establishment policy ignored it. The evangelical movement was Calvinistic, yet it was mainly the protest of devout men like Wilberforce against formalism, and did little for theological growth. Our time has been busy with the Oxford divinity, which has sought to build a theory of Anglo-Catholicism on the basis of an exclusive episcopal succession, a Nicene authority concurrent with Scripture, and a priesthood dispensing grace through the sacraments. It will end as the theory of a passing school. Our sketch will show on what grounds we judge it a contradiction to the standards of the body, the consensus of its fathers down to Hooker, and an utter misstatement of the historic position of the Church of England. It may be hoped that the long strife will lead to a better understanding of its relation to other Reformed communions, and to its place in the common work for the unity of Christendom.'
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