Imatges de pÓgina
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Here they were all in a perfect The first Resolution was passed dilemma, and the council was in consequence of the low state of divided. At last the principal Ar- the convent; the decline of which menians said to their ecclesiastics, is attributed, in a great measure, “ This business does not belong to to the influence of the Arinenians us, it belongs to you, We know who are with me. very well that you are all bad men; The second Resolution was in that, with all your professions of consequence of the universal compurity, you are the most impure plaint of the ignorance, profligacy, among the defiled; that you have and numbers of the clergy : the in your cloisters both women and high probability at present is, that children ; and that you annually not another Armenian will ever pay much money, which all comes take the Monastic Vow ! from our pockets for this abomin- To this plain statement, which able purpose. But this is not was made to me yesterday, by an our business, it is YOURS: and Armenian who was present at the we leave it with you to act as you council, and saw and heard all that please.”

passed, I need add no comments. After much disputation and re- You yourself will perceive, that crimination, the following Reso- the Armenians are evidently ripe lutions were finally agreed upon:- for a moral revolution.

1. That all the former Deacons, The marriage and conduct of the and Priests, and Bishops, in the Armenian ecclesiastics, had preconvent at Jerusalem be required pared the members of their comto leave the convent immediately; munion at Constantinople for Mr. and that the Patriarch put in their King's letter. Mr. G. writes on place a few persons, whom he may this subject :choose ; provided they be persons “When the marriage of these once married, but now widowers. men was first reported at Constan

2. That, from this day, until tinople, it was supposed that they TWENTY-FIVE YEARS have expired, had altogether renounced Christi. no individual be allowed to become anity; and the general impression a Monk or to be ordained a Priest. was, that, like Judas, they had

3. That boys and women be not betrayed their Master; when it permitted to go hereafter on a pil- was afterward reported, that they grimage to Jerusalem; and that if still believed in the Christian Relimen go, they be not allowed to gion, and were attentively reading remain more than four days in the Bible, it produced some asJerusalem, and that they never tonishment; but when Mr. King's be again permitted to witness the letter arrived, and it was ascerpretended miracle of the Holy tained what views they had adopted, Fire !

and in what labours they were acTo this last Resolution, the tually engaged, it was like an elecGreek Patriarchs made many ob- tric shock, making a sudden and jections, and earnestly besought powerful impression upon all.” that it might not pass; “For," said they, “if we now let it be

THE REFORMATION. known, that the miracle of the Without entering into minute Holy Fire was all an imposition, calculations, we are happy to state, we shall be ridiculed by our ene- on the authority of a most respectmies, and shall lose all credit with able correspondent, that the cheerour own people, many of whom ing work of reformation which has will become Turks."

now engaged the public attention But all the Resolutions passed; for about a twelve months, “is and the Patriarch of Constantino- still proceeding surely-though ple sent letters, officially, through more silently than it did a few all his Patriarchate, to put them months ago.” We quite agree with in exécution.

our valued friend - that this is so

tibus »

much the better." We are not conversions in Ireland, which, withaware that it would answer any in the last twelve months have end to print in our work the amounted to some six thousands or monthly list of recantations, more, and are still steadily increasotherwise, we should be most hap- ing, we may at least conclude that py to do so, and shall greatly re- a remarkable spirit of inquiry has joice if we can in any way help to gone abroad: nor can we wonder forward this important work

It that his Holiness, on a late occastrikes us, however, that a very sion, should have seen fit to order inadequate idea is formed of the a special service at Rome for the progress of the Reformation, by perils of the Church, adding to the putting it to the test of arithmeti- Litany, “Imminentibus periculis cal calculation; and yet we are not in puesentibus Ecclesiæ necessitawithout our fears that even many who wish well to the work, are We have noticed with pleasure too apt to make their estimate the recent recantations at Somers. upon this principle, and to extend town Church, St. Pancras; and had their views little farther than the hoped ourselves to report a satisweekly or monthly lists will carry factory case in the conversion them. We hope, as we proceed of Mr. Halley, of Preston. It is in our work, to give this subject generally known, however, that the attention which it demands; after conforming to the Established but, till we can do so, it seems Church in this place, he again pubbest to content ourselves with a licly recanted in the Roman Cathogeneral Report.

llc Chapel, and by an act of Con

trition was reconciled to the Romish CONVERSIONS FROM POPERY. Communion. He proceeded from

A great sensation has been cre- Preston to Waterford, his native ated in the city of Hanover, by the city, in Ireland : and we have reason conversion of a respectable inhabi- to believe, notwithstanding the intant from the Roman Catholic to uendos to the contrary on the part the Protestant Church. In a book of the Roman Catholics here, that he has just published, justifying he has again joined the Church of his motives, he gives some curious England, and is now in Bristol. particulars of his life which do not Of course the less we say of such reflect great credit on the priesthood. a case at present the better. We

Our readers are aware that other feel, however, that it becomes us to conversions on the continent have cultivate the charity which “believof late, excited considerable atten- eth all things, hopeth all things, tion: and if to these we add the endureth all things.'

NOTICES TO CORRESPONDENTS, &c.

To make room for the communications of our friends, we have been obliged to defer

till next month, the article promised in our last on the Interpretation of Scripture, and which ought properly to have appeared as the Introductory Article in our

present number. We beg our M- -1 friend to excuse the liberty we have taken with “the Early

Reformers." Our limits would not admit of so long an article. Want of room has also compelled us to postpone the continuation of “St. Francis

Xavier.” It will appear in our next as No. 4 of “Historical Lessons of the Roman

Breviary." We thank our correspondents “ D."..." A Layman."..."Z."...“ S."...“ Clericus."

and “H. o. p. e. (D.)" for their communications, which we shall be glad to insert

as soon as possible. “St. D.” will perceive that his note on “the Pursuits of Literature" is reserved for

future use. As we do not happen at present to have the work by us, he would oblige us by sending, at his leisure, the extracts which he mentions. We thank

him for his last communication, and for the pamphlets which accompanied it. The “Cheltenham Journal " was very acceptable.

THE

PROTESTANT GUARDIAN.

NOVEMBER, 1827.

REASON THE INTERPRETER OF SCRIPTURE.

In the discussion of the questions at issue between the Roman Church and the Protestant Churches, respecting the property and the interpretation of Scripture, we began from the principle common to both parties, that the Scriptures are the word of God, and, consequently, contain nothing but what is true. The claim to the exclusive property of these sacred records, we observed, must either be founded on a sense which they contain, or else for any other evidence that can be brought to support it, is not worth attending to. We have examined the evidence on the subject which the Scriptures furnish, and have discovered from the history and character of the several component parts of the sacred canon, that it is public property, over which there is no human control.*

* We have already cited (p. 69) the 4th Rule of the Council of Trent, De libris prohibitis, by which it is ordered that the Scriptures should circulate only by license from a Bishop or Inquisitor. This restricted permission, granted by Pius IVth's rule, was, however, rendered completely invalid by an ordinance contained in the Index Librorum prohibitorum of Clement VIII, by which the power of granting such licence was actually taken out of the hands of the only persons empowered by the Council of Trent to grant it. The following is the ordinance :

“Respecting the above fourth rule of Pope Pius IVth, of happy memory, it is to be observed, that, by the present impression and edition, no fresh power is granted to Bishops or Inquisitors, or superiors of regular orders, of allowing the permission of buying, reading, or retaining Bibles published in the Vulgar tongue; since hitherto, by the command, and according to the practice of the holy and universal Inquisition, they have been deprived of the power of granting such licenses to read or retain Bibles in the Vulgar tongue, or other parts of the Holy Scripture, as well of the Old as the New Testament published in any vulgar language whatever, as also summaries and even historical abridgements of the same Bibles or books of the Holy Scriptures, written in any sort of common idiom; which [ordinance] must be inviolably observed.”—The ordinance was modified, however, in 1757.

VOL. I.

S

Having asserted our property in the Holy Scriptures, we proceed to enquire whether they give us any clue to the proper mode of ascertaining their meaning; whether it is to be sought in the commentaries of a particular order of Priests, or immmediately from themselves.

We shall not stop here to exhibit many invincible reasons which might be produced against the assumed infallibility of the Church of Rome in the interpretation of Scripture,* (for we intend to treat the subject of the infallibility of that Church more at length in a future number than the limits of this article will allow) but shall confine ourselves to the directions afforded by the Holy Scriptures themselves, respecting the proper mode of ascertaining their meaning.

We have seen that the Scriptures are an universal and indiscriminate gift; and that the several parts of the sacred canon were addressed to, or published among whole communities, in such a way as entirely to exclude the intervention of an infallible interpretation, as a means of determining their sense. They were originally subjected to the interpretation of private judgment, and were intended according to the natural and rational interpretation of them, to be of themselves and immediately “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for instruction in righteousness." Now the right, and the correlative duty, of exercising reason in the interpretation of the Holy Scriptures, can be annulled by no authority except that which established the right, and made the exercise of it a duty. But that authority has never since been interposed. The Gospel of Jesus Christ was the last and the perfect revelation of the will of God. The matter, therefore, rests just where the Holy Scriptures at the completion of the sacred canon left it; and the right and the duty of exercising reason and judgment on the sense of the Scriptures, remain entire and in their full original force. So entirely do the history and general character of the Scriptures exclude the intervention of an infallible human interpretation, as the appointed means of determining their sense; and establish it as the right and duty of every man to exercise his own reason and form his own judgment concerning their meaning.

It is curious to observe how the rejection of private judgment in the interpretation of Scripture, affects the proof which the Church of Rome draws from the Scriptures in support of her infallibility in that respect. We ask of Romanists how they prove to us the infallibility of their Church in fixing the sense of the Scriptures? They answer from the Scriptures themselves. According to what sense of the Scriptures ? we enquire ; the sense which approves itself to private judgment? or the sense fixed by the infallible interpretation of your Church? Aceording to the latter is of course the answer ;-so that the Church of Roine proves her infallibility in the interpretation of Scripture, by an interpretation which we are previously required to believe to be infallible.

We proceed from the evidence furnished by the history and general character of these sacred records, to some particular parts of them, the relation of which, to the subject before us is manifest, and the force irresistible.

To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." These words make the Holy Scriptures themselves the standard of religious truth--they teach us to measure the doctrines proposed to us by this standard, and to judge of those who speak not according to it that there is no light in them.

Forasmuch as this people draweth near to me with their mouth, but have removed their heart far from me, and THEIR FEAR TOWARD ME IS TAUGHT BY THE PRECEPT OF MEN, behold I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous roork and a wonder; for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.+ At how great peril then do we form our religious principles by any other directions than those of the word of God, since he has declared that if we affect to derive our information from any other source, he will infuse poison into the streams which proceed from it; that he will cause the wisdom of our teachers to perish and their understanding to be darkened ! This threatening has been signally executed in two instances; -in one by the darkness and delusion to which the Jews were abandoned, in consequence of their receiving the sense of their Scriptures according to the interpretations of the Scribes and Pharisees; in the other, by the blindness and corruption which overspread a great part of Christendom, in consequence of the suppression of the Scriptures and the reception into their place of the arbitrary interpretation of the Church of Rome.

Our Saviour commanded the Jews to "search the Scriptures." The Bereans were commended by the writer of the Acts of the Apostles for their diligence in searching the Scriptures, which he mentions as their distinguishing excellency. 6 The Bereans were more noble than those of Thessalonica, because they searched the Scriptures daily whether those things were so.I St. Paul enjoined the Ephesians to TAKE UNTO THEMSELVES " the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."| “From a child," says the same Apostle to Timothy, Thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, Isaiah, viii. 20. + Isaiah, xxix. 13. John, v, 39. # Acts, xvii. 11.

|| Eph. vi. 13.

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