Page images

Master of Arts, succeeded to a fellowship of his college. “He was then,” says Anthony Wood, in his Athene O.ronienses, “ observed to be no drudge at his study; but being a man of great parts, would do much in a little time, when he settled to it.” He not only studied divinity, but was a proficient in mathematics; and is stated to have been also no inferior poet. He was the friend of Viscount Falkland, Mr. Hales of Eton College, and Mr. Sheldon, afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury. Lord Clarendon extols his learning and character in strong terms, as well as Archbishop Tillotson; and Mr. Locke bears this testimony to his argumentative powers : " Besides perspicuity,” he says, “there must be also right reasoning, without which perspicuity serves but to expose the speaker; and for attaining of this, I should propose the constant reading of Chillingworth, who, by his example, will teach both perspicuity, and the way of right reasoning, better than any book I know; and therefore will deserve to be used upon that account over and over again, not to say anything of his argument.”

At the time when Chillingworth was at the university, the subject of the controversies between the Churches of England and Rome was much studied; and in consequence of the toleration which had been permitted by King James I. at the close of his reign, to Popish missionaries, and subsequently by Charles I., who had married Henrietta of France, Fisher, the Jesuit, was using his art to make proselytes at Oxford to the Romish faith, and prevailed upon Chillingworth to forsake his own church, in order to join the communion of Rome ; which, as a lamentable instance of the frailty of human judgment, he at length conceived to be vested with the prerogative of infallibility. He was accordingly persuaded to visit the college of the Jesuits at Douay. After holding correspondence with Dr. Laud, then Bishop of London, with reference to his change of religion, he returned to England in 1631; and having continued to engage himself in the examination of his adopted principles, he was finally led to renounce the errors of Popery, and to return to the bosom of the English church.

About the year 1634, he wrote a paper, which is lost, confuting his reasons for having forsaken the Church of England; but there is extant another document to the same effect, which was first published in 1687, written probably at the request of his friends upon some other occasion. It is entitled, “Au Account of what moved the Author to turn Papist, with his own Confutation of the Arguments that persuaded him thereto."

His subscription to the Thirty-nine Articles indicates his abjuration of Unitarianism. He was promoted to the chancellorship of Sarum in 1638. He was zealously attached to the cause of the king; and at the siege of Gloucester, in 1643, belonged to the royal army; and being a man of personal bravery, he proposed a plan to storm the city by engines of Roman construction. He was afterwards taken prisoner in Arundel castle, by Sir William Waller, the Parliamentary general; having accompanied thither the King's troops, commanded by Lord Hopton. The illness which he suffered, increasing during an inclement season, he was conveyed to Chichester by favour of Francis Cheynell, a violent Presbyterian bigot, who visited him till his death, which took place in the Episcopal Palace, January 1644.

F. S.

Chillingworth's account of his reasons for turning Papist, referred to by our correspondent, is too long for us to reprint: but it would form the substance of an excellent tract against Romanism; as would his “Conference with Mr. Lewgar,” and some of the other papers upon infallibility and tradition in the “Additional Discourses," as well as portions of his larger works.

We partake in the concern with which our correspondent heard of the Rev. H. E. Manning's Visitation sermon at Chichester. There is no reason to repress the name, as Mr. Manning bas published his discourse, which has been ably replied to by “Clericus Cicestriensis," who too truly says of it:

“ It was delivered within a few yards of the spot in which repose the ashes of the immortal Chillingworth. It was within the cloisters of Chichester cathedral that this most acute of reasoners, after sacrificing his life to his zeal in behalf of his Church and his King, was consigned to his last resting place amidst the most unfeeling contumely and outrage ; while the fanatic Cheynell flung into his grave that unrivalled production of his genius and piety, the spirit and essence of which are expressed in the memorable axiom, that the Bible, and the Bible alone, is the religion of Protestants.' The writer was naturally anxious to ascertain, therefore, to what extent the principles advocated on this occasion within that venerable shrine.

“So far as the distinctive points of Popery and Protestantism are concerned, it would be difficult, within the range of controversial theology, to find a more perfect contrast of opinions than that which Mr. Manning's sermon exhibits, as compared with the work of the great Protestant champion. Indeed I am constrained to say that, on the great fundamental question of the sufficiency of Holy Scripture as a rule of faith, the author of the sermon assumes, to all practical purposes, the very ground, and almost the very phraseology, of the (Romanist) author to whom Chillingworth replied, rather than those of his illustrious antagonist, I have in truth been surprised, not merely at the remarkable similarity of senti. ment and of the general tone and colouring of thought, but even at the frequent identity of phrase displayed in the productions of the modern Oxford school and those of the standard Popish theologians. There is the same nebulousness of conception—the same love of mystery—the same delight in viewing every object through the dim maze of bygone ages_the same jealousy of all modern theological science—the same prostration of reason and intellect, not before the oracles of eternal truth, where all ought to be meekness, humility, and submission, but at the shrine of ecclesiastical authority-the same inordinate importance attached to ritual and sacramental observances—and finally, the same ideal vision of unity, not of faith and love and holiness, but of a species of genealogical descent and sacerdotal orders as essential to an apostolical church. We do not question the truth, and are far from undervaluing the importance, of much that is involved in these expressions. But neither can we forget that, swelled into disproportionate magnitude, they are calculated, as melancholy experience has proved, to throw into the shade, if not utterly to banish from the view, matters still more intimately connected with life and salvation.”

We are not surprised that the divines of the Oxford Tract school are so zealously bent to destroy the reputation of Chillingworth, whose golden axiom has become a Protestant apophthegm. Mr. Keble, among others, in his work on Tradition, has reiterated the refuted calumny that he was not a Trinitarian. The doctrine that the word of God is the only fountain of revealed truth, Mr. Keble considers tends to Arianism ; and he thinks that Chillingworth, by following it, became an Arian. He has good reason to be displeased with that eminent Protestant champion, who so ably shewed, by anticipation, the unscriptural character of the Oxford Tract system relative to tradition; and proved the impossibility of applying it for ascertaining truth, it being vague and inconsistent; fathers being opposed to fathers, and councils to councils; so that the grossest errors and absurdities may be proved by it, rather than matters of sound belief. Our readers may remember Mr. Newman's evasion of our remarks respecting that boasted relic of tradition, the administration of the Lord's supper to infants. We forgot at the time that this was one of the points which Chilling worth had admirably discussed. He has a paper upon it; and he also remarks, in his “Answer to some Passages in Rushworth's Dialogues,” that“ The custom of administering the Eucharist to infants in short time grew universal, and in St. Austin's time passed currently for an apostolic tradition, and the Eucharist was thought as necessary for them as baptism. This custom the Church of Rome hath again cast out; and in so doing professed either her no regard to the traditions of the Apostles, or that this was none of that number.” If Rome had still retained this abuse, Mr. Newman and his friends would not perhaps so quietly have dropped the matter after once unfortunately reviving it; but seeing that Rome has receded, they have the precedent of their “dear sister,” “Christ's holy home,” for doing so. But we should wish them to resolve us this, By what authority, notwithstanding this precedent, they reject this alleged " apostolical tradition." If they say that it is not apostolical, we say so too; our reason for asserting which is, that it is not scriptural; what their reasons may be, we do not know, except that we suppose they are the same as those which decided the council of Trent to reject the practice. But the difficulty upon their principles is insuperable ; for as Chillingworth justly adds: “ This example is a proof sufficient that many things may get in by error into the Church, and by degrees obtain the esteem and place of apostolic tradition, which yet are not so." What, then, is the value of such a broken, disjointed, and falsely-graduated rule ? We thank God there is a sure word of testimony, to which we do well to take heed.

In reply to the charge revived by Mr. Keble and his friends against Chillingworth, we have a few remarks to make. The first is, that it is not true that Chillingworth was an Ariau, or, as the refuted charge ran, a Socinian ; as we intend to shew in our concluding remarks. The second is, that even is unhappily he had been so, it is quite inconsequent, and we should say blasphemous, if we could separate the abstract assertion from the intentions of the accusers, to say that this arose from his diligently searching the Scriptures, which testify of Christ, with humility and prayer for the guidance of the Holy Spirit, without al. lowing tradition to be a Divine authority, though it is often a valuable expositor. Arians and Socinians adopt no such maxim as that of Chillingworth ; they do not say, The Bible, and the Bible only ; but the Bible where it happens to fall in with their views of what is reasonable and congruous, but no further.

We lately saw the following advertisement; “ Romanism successfully opposed only on Catholic Principles, by (the Rev.) W. Dodsworth.” We have not seen, nor should we trouble ourselves to peruse, a publication with such a title; for to say that Romanism can be successfully opposed only upon what the Oxford Tract divines call“ catholic,” but what are not catholic but sectarian, principles, as contradistinguished from the simple teaching of the word of God, which alone is the catholic rule of faith, is in effect to say that the Holy Ghost did not know how to indite intelligible truth; and that if we wish to find it, we must go to what our Homilies call “the stinking puddle" of man's traditions. A peasant or a child, well instructed in the Scriptures, might confute the superstitious and blasphemous pretensions of Popery, without having ever heard of what Hildebrand, or Bellarmine, or Bossuet, or any Oxford Tract divine, might be pleased to consider “catholic” interpretation. Even with regard to the doctrines included in the creeds, it is not because they bear the stamp of human catholicity -though we are very far from undervaluing the godly decisions of well-ordered councils, or the interpretations of holy men, when not thrust upon us as “authority "_but because they are derived from the inspired volume, that they are to be received. Divine truth gains no new sanction by being embodied in huthe present

man opinions or writings; and as to discovering it there, the popular proverb of looking for a needle in a bag of hay, is not sufficiently intensitive to describe the folly of going to councils, and fathers, and doctors, to ascertain what is sound doctrine.

Mr. Keble and his colleagues only plagiarise upon the Papists, in saying that trusting to Scripture without tradition leads to Socinianism. We shewed last month that writers of this school can borrow an unfairly-spliced quotation from Hooker from the pages of Dr. Milner or Tom Moore; and certain it is, that Mr. Keble adopts the precise argument of Chillingworth's opponent, the Jesuit; who said, “ The very doctrine of Protestants, if it be followed closely, and with coherence to itself, must of necessity induce Socinianism ; this I say confidently, and evidently prove ; and then follow the usual round of sophisms about the authority of “a perpetual visible infallible church;” and “ Talk not of Holy Scripture, for if the true church may err," each man is left “ to his own wit and ways ;” all which Chillingworth ably refutes; though he seems to have been grieved to waste so much good argument on such cavils ; for he says to his opponent : “ The only true word you speak is, This I say confidently ;' as for 'proving evidently,' that I believe you reserved for some other opportunity ; for

I am sure you have been very sparing of it.” To that portion of the sophism which says, that “Scripture itself wanted some watchful eye to guard it,” he says : Very true; but this is no other than the watchful eye of Divine Providence......God requiring of men to believe Scripture in its purity, engages himself to see it preserved in sufficient purity, and you need not fear but he will satisfy his engagement.” To the doctrine urged by his Romanist antagonist, and repeated by Mr. Keble, that “ When the first books of Scripture were written, they did not exclude unwritten tradition; therefore, now also, that all the books of Scripture are written, traditions are not excluded;" he replies at large; observing, among other things, that “the deposit,” which Mr. Keble maintains was left floating in apostolical tradition, was embodied in the recorded word; God having “ordered the matter so that all the Gospel of Christ, the whole covenant between God and man, is now written; whereas, if he had pleased, he might have so disposed it, that part might have been written and part uuwritten ; but then he would have taken order to whom we should have had recourse for that part of it which was not written ; which, seeing he hath not done (as the progress shall demonstrate), it is evident he hath left no part of it unwritten."

But we have further to reply to Mr. Keble, that if Chillingworth became a Socinian (which we deny), it was far more likely that he should run into that or any other heresy, as he did for a time into Popery, from the unsatisfactory and unscriptural principles in which he was educated—for Archbishop Laud was his.godfather and adviser—than from having made the unerring word of God his guide. The Oxford Tract divines are very short-sighted in so pertinaciously urging the history of Chillingworth as a proof of the danger of making the Bible the only rule of faith; for it was because he did not do so from the first that he vacillated ; and when he at length arrived at that conclusion, he became settled on the Rock of ages. He affirms, in his account of “ What moved him to turn Papist," that it was chiefly that there must be a perpetual, unerring Church ; that "the Church (not the Bible) is our guide in the way to heaven;" that “there must to the end be a succession of pastors, by adhering to whom men might be kept from wavering in matters of faith, and from being carried up and down by every wind of false doctrine.” He fancied, also, as Laud taught him, and as Mr. Keble maintains, that the Scriptures are not our only guide, (under the teaching of the Holy Spirit), but that there is an apostolical, unwritten“ depositum,” handed down by tradition, and embodied in the visible church; and hence he was easily persuaded by the Jesuit Fisher, who resided, with several other Romanist priests, about Oxford, that the Church of Rome supplied exactly what his previous opinions had led him to consider necessary, but which he could not find in the Protestant Church. Archbishop Laud, the doctrines of whose school had thus prepared him for embracing Popery, laboured to remove his scruples, and induced him to return from the Jesuit college at St. Omers, and to reunite himself with the Church of England; the merit of which he claimed upon his trial, declaring that Chillingworth died a faithful member of the Anglican communion. We are far from disparaging Laud's conscientious endeavours to reclaim his godsou), or others of his friends, who 'glided from his school to the Vatican; for though that unprotestant prelate was so near to Rome that he was offered a cardinal's hat, yet he affirms in his diary-in very softened phrase, it is truethat “something dwelt within him, which could not suffer that, till Rome was otherwise than it was at the present time.” Now, we sincerely believe that he did feel that the Church of Rome is not altogether what it should be ; and even the Oxford Tracts, though they use such endearing titles of sistership, admit as much ; nor do we think that the historian, Whitelock, had a right, without hetter proof, to assert that “ Laud refused the cardinal's hat, because he was as high already as England could advance him, and he would not be second to

any in another kingdom." But, that men of his school, though they think some things ought to be “otherwise than they are" in the Church of Rome, do not consider her so bad that a cardinal's hat would disgrace them, is proved by the declarations of Laud's modern panegyrist, the Rev. J. P. Lawson, who published, ten years ago, the life of that prelate, which Mr. Le Bas has done lule more than abridge. Mr. Lawson affirms, that “ The acceptance of the hat would not have been derogatory to Laud, as Primate of the Church of England;" and again, that it would have been “an honour merely nominal;" and which “would not have interfered at all with his station as Primate and Metropolitan of the Church of England.” Certain it is, that Laud was sadly harassed by his friends and pupils gliding to Popery by a sort of elective attraction. They seemed to be ever sailing on a course so near the Latin gulf-stream, that they were in constant danger of being carried away by it; and though they did not write“ Tendimus in Latium" on their colours, the majority of beholders considered them eventually bound to the Italian port. The Hon. Mr. Spencer, who may probably have a cardinal's hat in due time, arrived at his destination by precisely the same mode of steering; indeed, he was not so far advanced as are some of the Oxford Tract teachers and scholars, upon the subject of authoritative tradition, and so forth—those rocks upon which so many have made shipwreck of faith-when a sudden gust induced him to complete the voyage. When Chillingworth came thoroughly to examine the whole question, he saw plainly that there was but one security against being carried away by winds of doctrine, whether towards Rome or Racovia ; namely, to be guided by Scripture under the implored—and never, when implored, withheld-teaching of its Divine Inditer. Ile refutes, by anticipation, all that Mr. Keble has written about an apostolical traditional deposit in the Church, in his“Confutation of the Arguments that moved him to turn Papist;" justly remarking, in allusion to the promise made to the Church, Eph. iv. 11–13:

“ The apostles and prophets, &c., that then were, do not now, in their own persons, and by oral instruction, do the work of the ministry, to the intent we may be kept from wavering, and being carried up and down with every wind of CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 16.

2 G

« PreviousContinue »