[ocr errors][ocr errors]
Bishops and Councils. By James Lillie, D.D., M.D. Edinburgh: Niinmo. London: Simpkin & Co. British Quarterly. October.
Dr. Lillie is a stern and sovero assailant of tho Hierarchy, but, so far as we have observed, he is fair and honourable. He grounds his attack on the “Bishops and Councils” on the words of Our Lord, Matt. vii. lj, 16, and on those of Paul, Acts xx. 28—30, regarding the “wolves” who wore to enter the Church. Those “wolves” he thinks he has detected in the bishops. Tho argument is entirely historical. For two centuries he finds no ” wolves” in the Churches. Tortullian, who nourished in the beginning of the third century, shames his pagan persecutors by comparing their manners with those of tho Christians. ” Behold how these Christians love one another!” was still the glorious standing miraclo by which Jesus of Nazareth was glorified in those who called themselves Christians. “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye havo love one to another.”
Tertullian was a presbyter of thft Church of Carthage, and he speaks of presbyters as the rulers of tho Church, but not a word of a prelate. In that same Church, about fifty years after Tertullian, wo find Cyprian acting as chief presbyter; and the Hierarchy claim him as the great assertor of Episcopacy. Here, however, they assert more than they can prove. Still, we are not concerned to dispute the prelacy of Cyprian. It seems plain that the chairman of the presbyters contrived, in the latter half of the third century, to exalt himself into what we call a bishop. The grand point to keep in view is the morality of the Church under these upstart, ambitious presbyters. No longer could the chief presbytor of Carthage, Cyprian, abash the pagans by pointing to the
love of tho saints. Cyprian himself, as Dr. Lillio proves from his works, bewails the degeneracy of Churchmen, and the fierce rapacity of their bishops. In the beginning of the fourth century, just before the Council of Nicrea, Eusobius confirms the testimony of Cyprian as to the abandoned immorality of the prelates and their flocks. So far from being able to exclaim with Tertullian—nay, with tho pagans themselves—”Beholdhow the Christians love one another!” these two bishops, Cyprian and Eusebius, were compelled to upbraid both the flocks and their shepherds, as scandals to tho name of Christ. So that, a few years after, Ammianus Marcelliuus, a truthful historian, though a pagan, declared that no wild beasts were so savage as the Christians wore to each other. Dr. Lillio demands (and wo must say wo do not know how the Prelatiste can evade the query), were not these proud, ambitious, fierce, bloody prelates, the very “false prophots,” the “tearingwolves,” foretold by Christ and Faul t It seems a very odd way of parrying a dangerous thrust to abuse Dr. Lillio as “a mad bull,” and “a fiery pugilist,” as a weekly contemporary does. Tho question is simply historical, and must be determined by competent witnessos. We havo just soen these aro two famous bishops. Aro they not to be believed when they testify, no doubt unwillingly, against theirown order—the prelates? But it is not Cyprian and Eusebius alone. We have Hilary, Gregory Nazianzen, Jerome, and many more, testifying to the same awful fact. It is merely confirming the Doctor’s argument to call him bad names. Nor is it essentially better to allow, with a daily contemporary, that “Dr. Lillie has some considerable acquaintance with Church history,” but, after all, “gives only his ipse dixit, as evidence, when he brings a whole bench of bishops into his box.”
But it is not merely weeklies and dailies that have fallen foul of the Doctor’s good name. Wo are truly sorry to find the ” British Quarterly combining with the High Church organs to run down tho historian of ” Bishops and Councils.” “Hard,” “misunderstanding,” “ungenerous,” “opprobrious,” “ill-natured,” “blustering,” “savage,”—all crowded into less than half a page of this most respectable Dissenting Review, form an awful bombshell to send at the head of a nonconforming brother. Wo are slow to think that gentlemen so distinguished for humane learning and Christian courtesy as Dr. Reynolds and Mr. Henry Allon could write or sanction tho use of such language as wo have quoted from their singular half-page. The best of editors, like ” good Homer,” will sometimes “nod,” and reviews creep into respectablo periodicals, which aro as unworthy of their high reputation as they aro unjust to tho authors whom they abuse.
What cvidonco does the reviower bring forward to justify these heavy charges? Well, it seems Dr. Alexander Roberts, editor of the ” AnteNicenc Library,” “come* in for many a blow.” Aro the blows fair, just, and merited? Is there a foul one among them all? It is not evon pretended. What is there “opprobrious,” &c, Ac., in this? Dr. Lillio had to tell the truth about the Hierarchy, and he found this Presbyterian editor helping tho Hierarchy. Was he not called on to denl with him? For instance, Dr. Roberts allows one of his prelatic translators to render Presbyterium by I’riesthood instead of Presbytery, thus countenancing that priestcraft which has been the bane of Christendom. This was a sin so glaring, oven in an Anglican, as to be repudiated by the respectablo Dr. Lightfoot. It was a double sin in a Presbyterian doctor.
The reviewer complains that “Dr. Schaff,” “Dr. Alford,” and ” Dr. W. Cunningham,” are all censured. And why not, if they are all justly censurnhle f This critic socms to fancy that a man must not be found fault with if he prints ” D.D.” after his name. He does not say one word to show
that these respectable names are unjustly dealt with. Dr. Schaff, though a Presbyterian, coquettes with the Hierarchy. For instance (vol. iii. p. 612), ho tells us that Irona^us and Tertullian did not appeal to Scripture alone, but had “rocourso at the same time to Tradition, as preserved from the Apostles, through the unbroken succession of the bishops.” This style of writing is censured as delightful to Prelatists, and misleading to ordinary readers; and tho reason is given at pp. 46, 47 of ” Bishops and Councils.” Tho “Quarterly” critic says not a word of all this, but simply condemns Dr. Lillie for differing with Dr. Schaff. What is there “opprobrious,” &c, &c, in this?
• As for Dr. Alford, ho is praised in “Bishops and Councils” for the unrivalled abundance of his critical labours, “his candour,” &c, <S:c. But then Dr. Lillie demurs to the Dean’s not making his popular version of the New Testament harmonise with his Commentary. He tells us, in his commentary on Acts xx. 23, that “the Apostles ordained those whom the Churches elected,” and yet declares, in his revised New Testament of this year, that the Apostles ” elected the elders.” Again, in 1 Tim. iii. 1, Dr. Alford, in his revision, translates: “If a man seeketh for tho office of a bishop, he desireth a good work;” yet he declares, in his Commentary, that to translate so “is to set a trap”‘ for the common reader. But Dr. Lillie uses no ” opprobrious ” words when mentioning these things. He merely says Dr. Aiford’s readers are entitled to know his reasons for the changes— ” roasons which it is fair to believe the Dean must have.” What is there “blustering,” &c, &c, in all this?
As to Principal Cunningham, Dr. Lillie pronounces his “Lectures” “admirable,” and speaks reverently of his “learning and sagacity.” Still, he ventures to differ with the lamented author about” homoousion,” and gives five reasons for differing (pp. 65—67, “Bishops and Councils “). What ia there “ill-natured,” “opprobrious,” “ungenerous,” &c, &c, in all this?
“The entire treatise of Dr. Lightfoot on the Christian Ministry is treated to a most savage dissection.'” Dissection is a delicate, difficult operation, demanding a keen knife, a sharp eye, a steady hand, and a thorough knowledge of the Subject. In saying, then, that Dr. Lightfoot’s “entiro treatise is treated to a. ~ dissection,” tho sub-editor, unintentionally no doubt, pays Dr. Lillio the very highest possible compliment, and inflicts, unconsciously, a fatal blow on tho “treatise,” if not on tho author. For it is plainly implied, that all that is in the treatise of argument, or of no-argumeut, is thoroughly oxposed in “Bishops and Councils.” The operation is complete. Tho professor’s ” entire treatise ” is overthrown.
But then tho dissection is “a most savago” ono. Ah, poor Dr. Lightfoot, you have fallen into the hands of ” a savago “! The. Professor, probably, will not thank Dr. Beynolds or Mr. H. Allon for thoir sympathy. In short, the compliment cannot be returned. In tho criticism of “Bishops and Councils” the roviewer shows himself to be no dissector. His knifo is dull, his sight bad, his hand clumsy, his knowledge nothing. What has more feeling—mock feeling—to do with logic P Dr. Lillie had to crossexamine Dr. Lightfoot’s witnesses. It is shown dissectingly—that is, thoroughly—that the witnesses do not prove prelacy, but provo the very opposite. And tho reviewer holds up his hands in horror, and cries, ” A most savage dissection!” Ho does not soem to have an idea that such is the vory work enjoined by Paul on Titus (i. 12, 18): “The Cretans aro always liars, mischievous wild beasts, lazy bellies …. on whieh account rebuke them “—-*q>otomos (disgustingly): that is, literally, cutting away- all those fatal exeresoences of lying, wicked rapacity, and gluttony. “Savage dissection,” no doubt, tho Cretan liars, wolves, gluttons thought it, but absolutely necessary, if t&era was to be ” soundness in the.feith,”
It is not enough to prove 5, .man “ill-natured” that he, uses very plain and awfully severe words. Paul does so, and orders Titus $6 do no too-. The question always is, Is it not just, true, called for, and therefore good? No doubt the critic will say, Paul was inspired. Dr. Lillie is not, and there
fore has no right to use such language. But he forgets, before Paul used them, they had been written by a Cretan poet. Was the poet “illnatured,” &c., in writing so? Paul justifies him: “This witness is true.” The flatterers of tho lying, mischievous gluttons, who gave good dinners in the island of Crete, no doubt cursed tho poet as an “ill-natured, opprobrious savage,” and no doubt tho Cretans thought so, for calling their noble patrons, and themselves too, “liars, mischievous wild beasts, lazy gluttons;” but the Holy Spirit takes the words for his own. And yet, so far as we have observed, Dr. Lillie uses no such words. He only quotes the awful words of Christ and tho Apostles, and follows them with the testimony of Cyprian, Eusebius, Gregoiy, Hilary, and Jerome..
The hardest words in “Bishops and Councils” are the words of the Holy Spirit. Tho critic does not pretend the words are misapplied; nay, he says, ” With many of Dr. Lillio’s conclusions wo sympathise.” “There aro homo-truths told; thero are many home-thrusts against ‘Bishops and Councils;’ there are terrible indictments against popes and emperors; thore is a fierce onslaught on tho Hierarchical idea, which doubtless has done more to undermine Christianity than all tho infidelities and vices of the outside world put together.” Indeed! And yet the ” British Quarterly ” is shockod at the way in wjiich Dr. Lillio handles this ” underminer” of Christianity. By tho ” Hierarchical idea” the critic must mean Prelacy. And does Dr. Lillio say anythibg more “opprobrious” of it than that it undermines Christianity? He does not say that it is worse than ” all the infidelities and vices of the outsido world put together,” but he is probably well pleased that he has driven the “British Quarterly” to such an acknowledgment.
Dr. Lightfoot’s “entire treatise” is an elaborato defence of tho “Hierarchical idoa,” and is therefore, if tho ‘* British Quarterly ” is not wrong, an “undermining of Christianity moro mischievous than all tho infidelities and vices of the outside world put together.” Dr. Lillio says nothing half