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testants and Romanists, as by an antagonism, common to all of these opposites, and continually re-appearing in the Church under new forms; but never, perhaps, so clearly developed as now; I mean by the spirit of Protestantism and by the spirit of Catholicism. These may be defined as tendencies, the first to individualize, the second to generalize, religious truths; the first to realize Christianity as a subjective act, the second to substantiate it as an objective verity. The first deals with men, the second with man. With the one divine grace is a particular, with the other a universal boon: one leans to the invisible, the other to the visible Church: one asserts, and the other limits, the exercise of private judgment. The Gospel comes to the first through the medium of Scripture; by the second it is found in the living body of the Church ; the one sets forth the word, the other the sacraments: the one urges the necessity of a spiritual, the other of a fixed and outward service. Now it is plain, that these two principles, so far from being contradictory, are ideally correlative, and ought to unite in every Christian person; but it is no less evident, that when this inter-dependence is destroyed, and they are put forward separately, each becomes exaggerated, disguised, and distorted. Far from cohering in the same subject, they are at deadly war with each other, so
the great majority of the English clergy has long been composed,) and Churchmen of principles akin to those of the Non-jurors, distinguished at present as Anglo-Catholics, professedly scandalized at the secular relations of the Church in this kingdom.
that whatever be the outward occasion of feud in the Christian body, the real opposition is between those who would have every man stand out as an individual, and those who would merge all individuality in a common union. This struggle has always been carried on more or less energetically in the Church; and though it necessarily implies both a defect and an excess of some kind or other; yet it is often made, under Providence, a mean by which a healthy balance is restored. In the first three centuries of the Christian era, the two forces, though not reconciled, held each other in check; then the latter prevailed for many ages, not without occasional indications that the antagonist principle, though in captivity, was not extinct; till, at the Reformation, it asserted its full power. A second outbreak, of greater virulence, in this country, overthrew both throne and altar; but again the tide of Catholic feeling returned with renewed impetuosity, since which time, till within the last few years, it has gradually but slowly receded. It is now once more swelling to a head; but whether it will succeed in occupying its ancient bed, or be driven still further back by the opposing land-flood; or,—which is devoutly to be wished, the two currents be at length united, so as to carry Christianity forward in one broad stream, is more than it would be safe to predict'.
The first of these opposing forces, considered as in excess, has been recently entitled ultra-Protestantism; the latter has long been known under the name of Roman or Papal Catholicism; but neither
Now, it should be remembered, that every author, on both sides of this momentous question, professes, and doubtless intends, to effect this reconciliation.
of these terms is quite free from objection. They are both invidious, tending to cast a slight upon the names, and eventually upon the principles of Protestantism and Catholicism themselves. How much the latter has been affected in this way has often been noticed. A Catholic, in popular estimation, is still a Roman Catholic and a Papist. Let us beware how we bring a similar discredit upon the former. The protest of the Reformed Churches, whether regarded as a political or a religious act, was never more necessary than at the present moment. It is the necessary counter-check to Papacy, and can never be withdrawn till the latter be destroyed. Besides, the principle of Protestantism (as explained above) is essentially good, and cannot, strictly speaking, be carried to excess. Religion can never be too subjective, nor man too free. It is only when isolated that it becomes, not excessive merely, but depraved, passing out of itself into a mischievous counterfeit, from which it cannot be too carefully distinguished. In like manner Christianity cannot be too catholic; but to isolate this principle, in the hope of enforcing it, is in effect to deny it altogether. This is continually occurring apart from the influence of the Roman pontiff, as in the Greek Church, not to come nearer home; though a papacy, of some sort or other, is that to which it plainly leads. Again, the phrase Roman Catholic cannot be objected to by those who call themselves AngloCatholics; and, indeed, as indicating the connexion of an individual with these particular Churches, either term may be used without offence, though not with logical propriety: for the Catholicism of Rome and England being one and the same thing, cannot be par-ticularly distinguished. As well might we speak of a military or naval catholic, meaning a good Christian in the army and navy. may speak of the Roman atmosphere, for this is modified by the place. It is bright and warm, but not pure. It embalms the precious monuments of antiquity, but it is hostile to human life. But it would be absurd to speak of Roman light; for the blessed light of heaven, though it may be less intercepted in one place than in another, is the same in all the world. It is not well to couple the name of Protestant and Catholic with the errors of those by whom these titles are assumed, unless we could say Pseudo-Protestantism and PseudoCatholicism, the falsification of these necessary principles.
Moderate men are, indeed, contented, for the most part, to adopt one or the other view in the main, while they refuse to follow out their principles to any deduction, wearing a paradoxical, impracticable, or mischievous appearance. Others attempt to combine the advantages, while they avoid the excesses of each, and seek for some hypothesis, (seldom with much success,) which may serve as an amalgam. But the most effective writers, whatever account they may give of themselves, are in general thoroughly compromised on one side or the other. They are either engaged in a strong opposition to the Protestant spirit, as the parent of doubt, profaneness, and insubordination, or they are opposed no less vehemently to the Catholic spirit, as bringing back with it, under fair pretences, all the error, superstition, and spiritual bondage, from which we have so happily escaped. Thus, minor differences being neglected, we may recognise two different ways of thinking and feeling, into one or other of which every writer on religious subjects may be expected to fall.
I have not attempted to take a middle path between the two. Contemplating each as essentially the same idea, viewed in a different aspect, and believing that to disparage either is, in reality, to negative both, I have been led to insist with equal stress on the catholicity of the Church, as identified with the spirit of its lively members, and the spirituality of the Church, as secured by its catholic forms. But I am far indeed from flattering myself that I b
have worked out this great problem satisfactorily, or that no ambiguous expressions occur in the course of my work, capable, when taken singly, of an injurious construction. I would merely request from the candour, or at least from the indulgence of my readers, that particular parts should be judged with reference to the whole, and the earlier portions be reconsidered according to the principles more fully developed in those which follow.
Of the many treatises which have lately issued from the press, in which the general subject of these Sermons is directly or indirectly handled, a small number only has fallen into my hands. Of those which I have read, many appear to me of uncommon excellence. To the eminent writers by whom the catholic side of the question has recently been supported, with an enthusiasm and an ability worthy of the cause, I cheerfully acknowledge myself under deep obligations. The debt which we owe to those who have contributed to enlarge our knowledge of divine truth, is scarcely less than sacred; and I am peculiarly bound to pay this tribute of gratitude to these distinguished controversialists, because, in following the same general line of opinion I have found myself opposed to them in several important particulars, more especially as to the implicit connexion between reason and faith, the character of a symbolic worship, and the nature of religious mystery. Whether these variations indicate an essential difference of opinion, or arise merely from a different use of terms, must be left for others to determine.