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Epiphanius. But Origen was not a bishop, nor did he reside for any length of time at Rome; whereas the author of this work speaks of himself as a bishop, and shows, when speaking of his resistance of theerrors of Noetus, that he had been some considerable time at Rome. Epiphanius, no doubt, filled the episcopal office; but when we have a large work of his on the Heresies, with a summary, it would scarcely seem probable that he com. posed likewise on the same topic au extended treatise like the present, with two abridgments.
The Translator lays such great weight upon Dr. Döllinger's opinion on this point, (and, doubtless, his learning and acquaintance with this period of Church history entitle him to great deference,) that he does not cite any of that learned man's reasons, but thinks that his “testimony virtually decides the question.” It will thus be seen, that the conclusion in favour of Hippolytus being the author, rests, at last, only on high grounds of probability.
By no means unimportant is a fact which is supplied by a passage found in the work of Hippolytus, who introduces a quotation from Basilides (Book vii. c. 10) in which that heretic is represented as referring to St. John i. 9; thus settling “the period of the composition of the Fourth Gospel as of greater antiquity, by at least thirty years, than is allowed to it by the Tübingen School.”
To decide the question of authorship in reference to a work of high antiquity, would be of more moment in some cases than in the present. Where historical facts are involved, we desire the guarantee supplied by a name; but the worth of a refutation of heresies depends principally upon the internal merits of the book which contains them: and this work bears all the marks of diligent inquiry, and a careful collection of the materials requisite for such an undertaking. If the aim of the visionaries of the first two and a quarter centuries remain a matter of doubt, the root of the mischievous pains they took is unquestionable.
“These heresies, whether deducible from attempts to christianize the philosophy of Paganism, or to interpret the Doctrines and Life of our Lord by the tenets of Gnosticism and oriental speculation generally, or to create a compromise with the pretensions of Judaism,
these heresies, amid all their complexity and diversity, St. Hippolytus reduces to one common ground of censure-antagonism to Holy Scripture. Heresy, thus branded, be leaves to wither under the condemnatory sentence of the Church.” (p. 23.)
In the maintenance of the authority of the written Word is still, and always, the security of the Church. That alone can scatter error: only that can determine truth.
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“SCHOOLS OF THOUGAT.”
To the Editor of the Christian Observer. DEAR SIR,—There is a phrase much in vogue in the present day,-a very plausible, but, as it appears to the writer, a fallacious one, ard which is used to designate the variety, nay, the contrariety, of religious opinions held by ministers of the Established Church.,-viz., " a school of thought.” One is said to belong to this "school of thought," and another to that “school of thought.” So rague and comprehensive is the expression, that the strong line of demarcation which separates truth from error is liable thereby to be toned down, if not altogether obliterated, ard persons holding diametrically opposite opinions on certai!! points are consequertly considered to be equally sound in the faith. That such divergence is not recognized, nay, tl:at it is virtually condemned, in God's Holy Word, the following passages, among many others, incontrovertibly prove :-"Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and there be no divisions amorg you ; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment." (1 Cor. i. 10.) “That ye be like-minded, having the same love, being of ore accord, of one mind.” (2 Phil. i.) The admirable apophthegm of Augustine may here be fitly introduced, “In necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, erga omnes caritas.” Bat who, it may be asked, is to decide what the “necessaria" and the “lubia" are ?
“Who shall decide when doctors disagree ?” The Word of God, it is admitted on all sides, at least among Protestants, is the sole depository and standard of all revealed truth, and the Spirit of God is the only sure guide into all truth, and preserver from error. The Articles and Formularies of our Church are, in the main, in accordance with God's Word written; and yet they are so elastic, and so cautiously, it may be said, skilfully worded, as to be received and understood in different senses by persons who are equally sincere and honest in subscribing to them with their hands and repeating them with their lips. But are they all equally enlightened by the Holy Spirit to discern "what is the mind of the Spirit” on those points respecting which they so widely differ? Before an answer is returned to this very important, and, as it may seem to sorne, invidious and uncharitable question, it is to be remarked that “the mind of the Spirit” is still one. There is no obliquity in the revealed mind and will of a God of Truth.
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He cannot contradict Himself. The mirror of His Word is as free from any flaw which may distort its meaning and bearing, as He Himself is spotlessly pure. “ Thy Word is very pure.” (Ps. cxix. 140.)
At the saine time, it is obvious to remark, that there are some truths, as there were certain matters mentioned in the Epistles,—such, for instance, as the eating of meats offered to idols, and the observance of stated days,-respecting which Christians might and did entertain a difference of opinion, without any violation of the “unity of the Spirit,” or of the “bond of peace”; and which may be considered, as we believe, open questions, and, as such, not necessary to salvation. Among others, the Millennial question, and Church government and discipline, may be considered to be of this character. Good men, heaven-taught men, who are agreed upon all vital and essential points, have taken different views of these subjects. Whereas, on doctrinal points which affect the salvation of the soul, erroneous views cannot be held or taught, as we conceive, with impunity. Such, to mention only certain promi. nent truths, are—the holy and undivided Trinity of persons in the one glorious Godhead,—the pardon of our sins by the atoning blood of a crucified Saviour as the sinner's surety, our justification by His imputed righteousness,-sanctification by the Holy Spirit,-Predestination and Election,—the nature, validity, and efficacy of the sacraments of Baptism and of the Supper of the Lord. Now, whilst it may be supposed there is not much, if any, divergence or contrariety of opinion respecting the four first-named truths, there is reason to believe that ministers of the same Church hold and teach very different views of the three last. In what the difference consists there is no need to state. It is sufficiently and sadly notorious,-quot homines, tot sententiæ,-all, though they belong to different “schools of thought” (to use the objectionable phrase), are satisfied that the truth is with them.
“'Tis with our judgment, as our watches, none
Go just alike, yet each believes his own.” And this is the place for answering the question which was asked above, viz., “ Are they all equally enlightened by the Holy Spirit to discover what is the mind of the Spirit on those points respecting which they differ so widely?” All parties, as has been stated above, appeal to the Holy Scriptures as the standard of truth, and which, according as they read and understand those sacred records, support, as they think, their respective religious views and opinions. All cannot be right. Who then, so far as short-sighted and fallible man can undertake to pronounce, are right ? Even they who search the Holy Scriptures, with an earnest desire, and with fervent prayer, to be kept from all error, and to be guided into all truth, on all subjects which are therein proposed to their belief; who have “ received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God, that they might know the things which are freely given to us of God;" who, irrespective of the party or school to which they belong, pin their opinion on no man's sleeve; who “ call no man their father upon the earth ;” who, in digging into the heavenly mine, do not propose theories of their own, as philosophers do who investigate any occult earthly science, (such for instance as geology-theories which, however different, are at least harmless); who regard the conclusions at which they have arrived, not so much as the result of an intellectual process, as of a reasonable and enlightened faith; who do not contend for victory as theological athletes, but who, as candidates for a heavenly prize, are simply and solely desirous to “know the Holy Scriptures” spiritually, experimentally, practically, and savingly, “which are able to make them wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” In a word, these are scholars in the school of Christ. They are taught by one teacher—the Holy Spirit; they do not belong to what, as we think, is erroneously called “a school of thought.” -I remain, &c.,
UNREALITY. Fors of Faith : Four Sermons preached before the University of
Cambridge in November, 1868. By Č. J. Vaughan, D.D., Vicar of Doncaster. Published, at the request of the ViceChancellor. London and Cambridge ; Macmillan & Co.
ORDINARY people are in the habit of regarding the proper attractions of a church as something essentially distinct from the attractions of a theatre. The sacred temple reared for Divine worship is separated, in their estimation, by an impassable barrier from the profane rendezvous where the lovers of pleasure resort to indulge their forgetfulness of God. The great congregation, going up to the house of the Lord to keep holy day, is animated by other motives, and in pursuit of another goal, than those which engross the energies of the giddy crowd whose noisy, if not licentious, revelry disturbs the silence and the purity of night.
The “ pulpit of wood," from the days of Ezra to our own, and that table of the Lord around which His true disciples have been wont to gather for nearly nineteen centuries, graced as they
Vol. 68.--No. 374.
are with rich clusters of the purest associations and the most hallowed memories, can never be confounded with the charlatanry of the stage, or the mysteries of the green room. Such at least is the belief of ordinary people. And hence it happened that when the extravagances of Ritualistic posture and imposture were first denounced ex cathedrâ as "histrionic,” and that too by a prelate who never played with words, there was an all but universal feeling, that while the epithet thus applied was strictly just, it was at the same time equally severe. But the Ritualists are not ordinary people; and therefore, with the characteristic effrontery of a party which had denounced “ the bishops” as “not religious men,” and undeterred by the apostolic admonition against those who glory in their shame, they boldly and unblushingly declared that public worship ought to be histrionic.
It is a strange assertion, and it involves a strange admission; for it reduces the biretta, maniple, and similar adornments, to a level with the “ Cecropio cothurno," and renders the contention for “vestments” as frivolous as a quarrel over the shape or size of the Athenian buskin.
The histrionic character of Ritualism is therefore an unquestionable fact. It is not more distinctly charged upon its abettors by their opponents than explicitly admitted by them. selves. But this fact involves consequences which are not indeed always perceived; but which, when perceived, go far to account for some other peculiarities of the party. What, for example, is the cause of their well known depreciation of preaching?-a depreciation equally contemptuous and habitual. How is it that they assign to sacraments that first place which St. Paul reserves for preaching alone? Baxter and Burnet, Cotton Mather and Leighton, like the Country Parson, find in the pulpit their joy and throne; but the modern Ritualist finds in it “only a stepping stone to the Confessional.”* Whence springs the difference? Is it because our ceremonialists have a latent fear of the patent contrast between the great verities of the Bible and the hollow unrealities of Ritualism? Is it because they perceive the danger of adopting as a text-book a Bible which denounces alike their principles and their practice ? Both these reasons have their weight; but there is another. The great facts of Christianity possess all the power that belongs to truth : and similarly, the preaching of the Cross is nothing if
* The Church and the World, 1867, p. 204; where, in his eulogy of the Confessional, the writer proceeds to endorse Hammond's caricature of preaching as an attempt “to fill parrow-mouthed bottles by setting them
together and throwing never so many buckets of water on them.” Compare this (both in title and spirit) with Jewel's motto :-“ Væ mihi si non evangelizavero !"