Famous Reviews eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 678 pages of information about Famous Reviews.

Some lessons there are, and those great ones, which this book is calculated to instil into members of our own communion.  Pre-eminently it shows the rottenness of that mere Act-of-Parliament foundation on which some, now-a-days, would rest our Church.  Dr. Newman suggests, more than once, that such a course must rob us of all our present strength.  Dr. Manning sings his paean with wild and premature delight, as if the evil was already accomplished.  In his first letter he triumphed in the silence of Convocation, but that silence has since been broken.  A solemn synodical judgment, couched in the most explicit language, has condemned the false teaching which had been our Church’s scandal.  But because a “very exalted person in the House of Lords"[1] (p. 4), with an ignorance or an ignoring of law, as was shown in the debate, which was simply astonishing, chose, in a manner which even Dr. Manning condemns, to assert, without a particle of real evidence, that the Convocation had exceeded its legitimate powers, Dr. Manning is in ecstasies.  The “very exalted person” becomes “a righteous judge, a learned judge, a Daniel come to judgment—­yea, a Daniel.”  These shouts of joy ought to be enough to show men where the real danger lies.  Our present position is impregnable.  But if we abandon it for the new one proposed to us by the Rationalist party, how shall we be able to stand?  How could a national religious Establishment which should seek to rest its foundations—­not on God’s Word; on the ancient Creeds; on a true Apostolic ministry; on valid Sacraments; on a living, even though it be an obscured, unity with the Universal Church, and so on the presence with her of her Lord, and on the gifts of His Spirit—­but upon the critical reason of individuals, and the support of Acts of Parliament—­ever stand in the coming struggle?  How could it meet Rationalism on the one hand?  How could it withstand Popery on the other?  After such a fatal change its career might be easily foreshadowed.  Under the assaults of Rationalism, it would year by year lose some parts of the great deposit of the Catholic faith.  Under the attacks of Rome, it would lose many of those whom it can ill spare, because they believe most firmly in the verities for which she is ready to witness.  Thus it might continue until our ministry were filled with the time-serving, the ignorant, and the unbelieving; and, when this has come to pass, the day of final doom cannot be far distant.  How such evils are to be averted is the anxious question of the present day.  The great practical question seems to us to be that to which we have before this alluded,[2]—­How the Supreme Court of Appeal can be made fitter for the due discharge of its momentous functions?  We cannot enter here upon that great question.  But solved it must be, and solved upon the principles of the great Reformation statutes of our land, which maintain, in the supremacy of the Crown, our undoubted nationality; which, besides maintaining this great principle of national life, save us from all the terrible practical evils of appeals to Rome, and yet which maintain the spirituality of the land, as the guardians under God of the great deposit of the Faith, in the very terms in which the Catholic Church of Christ has from the beginning received, and to this day handed down in its completeness, the inestimable gift.

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