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[A collection of tracts regarding Tract no. 90 of Newman's Tracts for the times : including the text of Tract 90 online

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[The corrections in the Second Edition are put in brackets.]



Introduction 2

§ 1. Articles vi. & xx. — Holy Scripture, and the Autho-
rity of the Church 5

§ 3. Article xi. — Justification by Faith only 12

§ 3. Articles xii. & xiii. — Works before and after Jus-
tification 14

§ 4. Article xix. — The Visible Church 17

§ 5. Article xxi. — General Councils 21

§ 6. Article xxii. — Purgatory, Pardons, Images, Relics,

Invocation of Saints 23

§ 7. Article XXV. — The Sacraments 43

§ 8. Article xxviii. — Transubstantiation 47

§ 9. Article xxxi. — Masses 59

§ 10. Article xxxii. — Marriage of Clergy 64

§11. Article xxxv. — The Homilies 6q

§ 12. Article xxxvii. — The Bishop of Rome 77

Conclusion gQ

VOL. VI. — 90. B


It is often urged, and sometimes felt and granted, that there
are in the Articles propositions or terms inconsistent with the
Catholic faith ; or, at least, when persons do not go so far as to
feel the objection as of force, they are perplexed how best to
reply to it, or how most simply to explain the passages on which
it is made to rest. The following Tract is drawn up with the
view of showing how groundless the objection is, and further of
approximating towards the argumentative answer to it, of which
most men have an implicit apprehension, though they may have
nothing more. That there are real difficulties to a Catholic
Christian in the Ecclesiastical position of our Church at this day,
no one can deny ; but the statements of the Articles are not in
the number ; and it may be right at the present moment to insist
upon this. If in any quarter it is supposed that persons who
profess to be disciples of the early Cliurch will silently concur
with those of very opposite sentiments in furthering a relaxation
of subscriptions, which, it is imagined, are galling to both parties,
though for different reasons, and that they will do this against
the wish of the great body of the Church, the writer of the fol-
lowing pages would raise one voice, at least, in protest against
any such anticipation. Even in such points as he may think
the English Church deficient, never can he, without a great
alteration of sentiment, be party to forcing the opinion or pro-
ject of one school upon another. Religious changes, to be
beneficial, should be the act of the whole body ; they are
worth little if they are the mere act of a majority '. No good
can come of any change which is not heartfelt, a development

* This is not meant to hinder acts of Catholic consent, such as occurred an-
ciently, when the Cullioiir body aids one portion of a particular Church against
another portion.


IntrodacUon. ^ ^ -U I 3

of feelings springing up freely and calmly within the bosom
of the whole body itself. Moreover, a change in theological
teaching involves either the commission or the confession of sin ;
it is either the profession or renunciation of erroneous doctrine,
and if it does not succeed in proving the fact of past guilt, it,
{ipso facto, implies present. In other words, every change in reli-
gion carries with it its own condemnation, which is not attended
by deep repentance. Even supposing then that any changes in
contemplation, whatever they were, were good in themselves,
they would cease to be good to a Church, in which they were the
fruits not of the quiet conviction of all, but of the agitation, or
tyranny, or intrigue of a few ; nurtured not in mutual love, but
in strife and envying ; perfected not in humiliation and grief,
but in pride, elation, and triumph. Moreover it is a very serious
truth, that persons and bodies who put themselves into a dis-
advantageous state, cannot at their pleasure extricate themselves
from it. They are unworthy of it; they are in prison, and Christ
is the keeper. There is but one way towards a real reformation,
— a return to Him in heart and spirit, whose sacred truth they
have betrayed ; all other methods, however fair they may pro-
mise, will prove to be but shadows and failures.

On these grounds, were there no others, the present writer,
for one, will be no party to the ordinary political methods by
which professed reforms are carried or compassed in this day.
We can do nothing well till we act " with one accord ;" we can
have no accord in action till we agree together in heart ; we can-
not agree without a supernatural influence ; we cannot have a su-
pernatural influence unless we pray for it ; we cannot pray accept-
ably without repentance and confession. Our Church's strength
would be irresistible, humanly speaking, were it but at unity with
itself: if it remains divided, part against part, we shall see the
energy which was meant to subdue the world preying upon itself,
according to our Saviour's express assurance, that such a house
" cannot stand." Till we feel this, till we seek one another as breth-
ren, not lightly throwing aside our private opinions, which we seem
to feci we have received from above, from an ill-regulated, untrue
desire of unity, but returning ta each other in heart, and coming


4 Introduction.

together to God to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves, no
change can be for the better. Till [we] [her children] are stirred
up to this religious course, let the Church, [our Mother,] sit still ;
let [her children] be content to be in bondage ; let [us] work in
chains ; let [us] submit to [our] imperfections as a punishment ;
let [us] go on teaching [through the medium of indeterminate state-
ments,] and inconsistent precedents, and principles but partially
developed. We are not better than our fathers ; let us bear to
be what Hammond was, or Andrews, or Hooker ; let us not faint
under that body of death, which they bore about in patience ;
nor shrink from the penalty of sins, which they inherited from
the age before them \

But these remarks are beyond our present scope, which is
merely to show that, while our Prayer Book is acknowledged on
all hands to be of Catholic origin, our Articles also, the offspring
of an uncatholic age, are, througli God's good providence, to say
the least, not uncatholic, and may be subscribed by those who
aim at being catholic in heart and docirine. In entering upon
the proposed examination, it is only necessary to add, that in
several places the writer has found it convenient to express him-
self in language recently used, which he is willing altogether to
make his own. He has distinguished the passages introduced
by quotation marks.

' " We, thy sinful creatures," says the Service for King Charles the Martyr,
" here assembled before Thee, do, in behalf of all the people of this land, hum-
bly confess, that they were the crying sins of this nation, which brought down
this judgment upon us," i.e. King Charles's murder.

§ 1. — Holy Scripture and the Authority of the Church.

Articles vi. & xx. — " Holy Scripture containeth all things ne-
cessary to salvation ; so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor
may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, tliat it
should be believed as an article of the Faith, or be thought

requisite or necessary to salvation The Church hath

[power to decree (statuendi) rites and ceremonies, and] authority
in controversies of faith ; and yet it is not lawful for the Church
to [ordain (instituere) any thing that is contrary to God's word
written, neither may it] so expound one place of Scripture, that
it be repugnant to another. Wherefore, although the Church be
a witness and a keeper of Holy Writ, yet [as it ought not to
decree (decernere) anything against the same, so] besides the
same, ought it not to enforce (obtrudere) anything to be believed
for necessity of salvation '."

Two instruments of Christian teaching are spoken of in these
Articles, Holy Scripture and the Church.

Here then we have to inquire, first, what is meant by Holy
Scripture ; next, what is meant by the Church ; and then, what
their respective offices are in teaching revealed truth, and how
these are adjusted with one another in their actual exercise.

1. Now what the Church is, will be considered below in
Section 4,

2. And the Books of Holy Scripture are enumerated in the
latter part of the Article, so as to preclude question. Still two
points deserve notice here.

First, the Scriptures or Canonical Books are said to be those
"of whose authority was never any doubt in the Church." Here
it is not meant that there never was any doubt in portions of the
Church or particular Churches concerning certain books, which
the Article includes in the Canon ; ^or some of them, — as, for

' The passages in brackets (all) relate to rites and ceremonies which are not
here in question. [From brackets marking the Second Kdition, must be ex-
cepted tliose which occur in cjuotations.]

C Holy Scripture and the Authority of the Church,

instance, the Epistle to the Hebrews and the Apocalypse — have
been the subject of much doubt in the West or East, as the case
may be. But the Article asserts that there has been no doubt
about them in the Church Catholic ; that is, at the very first
time that the Catholic or whole Church had the opportunity of
forming a judgment on the subject, it pronounced in favour of
the Canonical Books. The Epistle to the Hebrews was doubted
by the West, and the Apocalypse by the East, only while those
portions of the Church investigated separately from each other,
only till they compared notes, interchanged sentiments, and
formed a united judgment. The phrase must mean this, because,
from the nature of the case, it can mean nothing else.

And next, be it observed, that the books which are commonly
called Apocrypha, are not asserted in this Article to be destitute
of inspiration or to be simply human, but to be not canonical ;
in other words, to differ from Canonical Scripture, specially in
this respect, viz. that they are not adducible in proof of doc-
trine. " The other books (as Hierome saith) the Church doth
read for example of life and instruction of manners, but yet doth
not apply them to establish any doctrine." That this is the limit
to which our disparagement of them extends, is plain, not only
because the Article mentions nothing beyond it, but also from the
reverential manner in which the Homilies speak of them, as shall
be incidentally shown in Section 1 1 . The compatibility of such
reverence with such disparagement is also shown from the feel-
ing towards them of St. Jerome, who is quoted in the Article,
and by St. Augustine, not to mention other Fathers, both of
whom imply more or less their inferiority to Canonical Scripture,
yet use them freely and continually, and speak of them as Scrip-
ture. St. Augustine says, that '* those books which are received
by all the Churches" (the very language of the Article,) *' should
be preferred to those which are not received by all, and should
be accorded greater authority '." But books which are Canoni-
cal cannot have less authority than others ; it follows, according
(o St. Augustine, that those books which are not received by all

' Dc Doclr. Christ, ii. «.

Iluhj Scripture and the Authority of the Church. 7

the Cliurches, are not canonical. St. Jerome is more express
and pertinent ; for he distinctly names many of the books which
he considers not canonical, and virtually names them all by
naming what are canonical. For instance, he says, speaking of
Wisdom and Ecclesiasticus, " As the Church reads Judith,
Tobit, and the Maccabees, without receiving them among the
Canonical Scriptures, so she reads these two books for the edifi-
cation of the people, not for the coniirmation of the authority of
ecclesiastical doctrines." (^Prcef. in Libr. Salom.) Again, " The
Wisdom, as it is commonly styled, of Solomon, and the book of
Jesus son of Sirach, and Judith, and Tobias, and the Shepherd,
are not in the Canon." {Prcpf. ad Regcs.) Such is the language
of writers who nevertheless are, to say the least, not wanting in
reverence to the books they thus disparage.

A further question may be asked, concerning our received
version of the Scriptures, whether it is in any sense imposed on
us as a true comment on the original text ; as the Vulgate is
upon the Roman Catholics. It would appear not. It was made
and authorized by royal command, which cannot be supposed
to have any claim upon our interior consent. At the same time
every one who reads it in the Services of the Church, does, of
course, thereby inip'y that he considers that it contains no deadly
heresy or dangerous mistake. And about its simplicity, majesty,
gravity, harmony, and venerableness, there can be but one

3. Next we come to the main point, the adjustment which
this Article effects between the respective offices of the Scripture
and Church ; which seems to be as follows.

It is laid down that, 1 . Scripture contains all necessary articles
of the faith; 2. either in its text, or by inference ; 3. The Church
is the keeper of Scripture ; 4. and a witness of it ; 5. and has
authority in controversies of faith ; G. but may not expound one
passage of Scripture to contradict another ; 7. nor enforce as an
article of faith any point not contained in Scripture.

From this it appears, first, that the Church expounds and enforces
the faith ; for it is forbidden to expound in a particular way, or
so to enforce as to obtrude ; next, that it derives the faith

8 Holy Scriplure and the Aulhority of the Church.

wholly from Scripture ; thirdly, that its office is to educe an
harmonious interpretation of Scripture. Thus much the Article

Two important questions, however, it does not settle, viz. whe-
ther the Church judges, first, at her sole discretion, next, on her
sole responsibility ; i.e. first, what the media are by which theChurch
interprets Scripture, whether by a direct divine gift, or catholic
tradition, or critical exegesis of the text, or in any other way ; and
next, who is to decide whether it interprets Scripture rightly or
not; — what is her method, if any ; and who is her judge, if any.
In other words, not a word is said, on the one hand, m favour of
Scripture having no rule or method to fix interpretation by, or,
as it is commonly expressed, being the sole rule of faith ; nor on
the other, of the private judgment of the individual being the ulti-
mate standard of interpretation. So much has been said lately
on both these points, and indeed on the whole subject of these
two Articles, that it is unnecessary to enlarge upon them ; but
since it is often supposed to be almost a first principle of our
Church, that Scripture is " the rule of faith," it may be well,
before passing on, to make an extract from a paper, published
some years since, which shows, by instances from our divines,
that the application of the phrase to Scripture is but of recent
adoption. The other question, about the ultimate judge of the
interpretation of Scripture, shall not be entered upon.

" We may dispense with the phrase * Rule of Faith,' as applied
to Scripture, on the ground of its being ambiguous ; and, again,
because it is then used in a novel sense ; for the ancient Church
made the Apostolic Tradition, as summed up in the Creed, and
not the Bible, the Regula Fidei, or Rule. Moreover, its use as
a technical phrase, seems to be of late introduction in the Church,
tliat is, since the days of King William the Third. Our great
divines use it without any fixed sense, sometimes for Scripture,
sometimes for the whole and perfectly adjusted Ciuistian doc-
trine, sometimes for the Creed; and, at the risk of being tedious,
we will prove this, by quotations, that the point may be put
V)eyond dispute.

" Usslier, after St. Ausiui, idcnufies it with the Creed; — when

Hohj Scripture and the Authority of the Cfiurc/i. U

speaking of the Article of our Lord's Descent to Hell, he
says, —

"'It having here likewise been further manifested, what different opinions
have been entertained by the ancient Doctors of the Church, concerning the
determinate place wherein our Saviour's soul did remain during the time of the
separation of it from the body, I leave it to be considered by the learned,
whether any such controverted matter may fitly be brought in to expound the
Rule of Faith, which, being common both to the great and small ones of the
Church, must contain such varieties only as are generally agreed upon by the
common consent of all true Christians.' — Answer to a Jesuit, p. 362.

" Taylor speaks to the same purpose : ' Let us see with what
constancy that and the following ages of the Church did adhere
to the Apostles' Creed, as the sufficient and perfect Rule of
Faith.'' — Dissuasive, part 2, i. 4, p. 470. Elsewhere he calls
Scripture the Rule : ' That the Scripture is a full and sufficient
Rule to Christians in faith and manners, a full and perfect decla-
ration of the Will of God, is therefore certain, because we have
no other.' — Ibid, part 2, i. 2, p. 384. Elsewhere, Scripture and
the Creed : * He hath, by His wise Providence, preserved the
plain places of Scripture and the Apostles' Creed, in all Churches,
to be the Rule and Measure of Faith, by which all Churches are
saved.' — Ibid, part 2, i. 1, p. 346. Elsewhere he identifies it
with Scripture, the Creeds, and the first four Councils : ' We
also [after Scripture] do believe the Apostles' Creed, the Nicene,
with the additions of Constantinople, and that which is commonly
called the symbol of St. Athanasius ; and the four first General
Councils are so entirely admitted by us, that they, together with
the plain words of Scripture, are made the Rule and Measure
of judging heresies among us.' — Ibid, part 1, i. p. 131.

•' Laud calls the Creed, or rather the Creed with Scripture, the
Rule. 'Since the Fathers make the Creed, the /?M/e of Faith;
since the agreeing sense of Scripture with those Articles are the
Two Regular Precepts, by which a divine is governed about his
faith,' &c. — Conference with Fisher, p. 42.

" Bramhall also : * The Scriptures and the Creed are not two
different Rules of Faith, but one and the same Rule, dilated in
Scripture, contracted in the Creed.' — Works, p. 402. Stilling-

10 Holy Scripture and the Authority of the Church.

fleet says the same (Grounds, i. 4. 3.) ; as does Thorndike (Z)e
Rat. fin. Controv. p. 144, &c.)' Elsewhere, Stillingfleet calls
Scripture the Rule (Ibid. i. 6. 2.) ; as does Jackson (vol. i. p.
226). But the most complete and decisive statement on the
subject is contained in Field's work on the Church, from which
shall follow a long extract.

" * It remained to show,' be says, ' what is the Rule of that judgment whereby
the Church discerneth between truth and falsehood, the faith and heresy, and
to whom it properly pertaineth to interpret those things which, touching this
Rule, are doubtful. The Rule of our Faith in general, whereby we know it to
be true, is the infinite excellency of God.... It being pre-supposed in the
generality that the doctrine of the Christian Faith is of God. and contalneth
nothing but heavenly truth, in the next place, we are to inquire by what Rule
we are to judge of particular things contained within the compass of it.

" ' This Rule is, 1. The summary comprehension of such principal articles of
this divine knowledge, as are the principles whence all other things are con-
cluded and inferred. These are contained in the Creed of the Apostles.

"' 2. AH such things as every Christian is bound expressly to believe, by the
light and direction whereof he judgeth of other things, which are not absolutely
necessary so particularly to be known. These are rightly said to be the Rule
of our Faith, because the principles of every science are the Rule whereby we
judge of the truth of all things, as being better and more generally known tlian
any other thing, and the cause of knowing them.

" ' 3. The analogy, due proportion, and correspondence, that one thing in this
divine knowledge hath with another, so that men cannot err in one of them
without erring in another ; nor rightly understand one, but they must likewise
rightly conceive the rest.

" '4. Whatsoever J?oo/« were delivered unto us, as written by them, to whom
the first and immediate revelation of the divine truth was made.

"'5. Whatsoever hath been delivered by all the saints with one consent,
which have left their judgment and opinion in writing.

"'6. Whatsoever the most famous have constantly and uniformly delivered,
as a matter of faith, no one contradicting, though many other ecclesiastical
writers be silent, and say nothing of it.

" ' 7. That which the most, and most famous in every age, constantly delivered
as a matter of faith, and as received of them that went before them, in such sort
that the contradictors and gainsayers were in their beginnings noted for singu-
larity, novelty, and division, and afterwards, in process of time, if they persisted
in such contradiction, charged with heresy.

" ' These three latter Rules of our Faith we admit, not because they are equal
with the former, and originally in tlicmsclvcs contain the direction of our Faith,
but because nothing can be delivered, with such and so full consent of the

Holy Scripture and the Author'ily of the Church. 11

people of God, as in them is expressed; but it must need be from those first
authors and founders of our Christian profession. The Ilomanists add unto
these the decrees of Councils and determinations of Popes, making these also to
be the Rules of Faith ; but because we have no proof of their infallibility, we
number them not with the rest.

" * Thus we see how many things, in several degrees and sorts, are said to be
Rules of our Faith. The infinite excellency of God, as that whereby the truth
of the heavenly doctrine is proved. The Articles of Faith, and other verities
ever expressly known in the Church as the first principles, are the Canon by
which we judge of conclusions from thence inferred. The Scripture, as con-
taining in it all that doctrine of Faith which Christ the Son of God delivered.
The uniform practice and consenting judgment of them that went before us, as
a certain and undoubted explication of the things contained in the Scripture.
.... So, then, we do not make Scripture the Rule of our Fuith, hut that other
things in their kind are Rules likewise ; in such sort that it is not safe, without
respect had unto them, to judge things by the Scripture alone,' &c. — iv. 14.
pp. 364, 365.

" These extracts show not only what the Anglican doctrine is,
but, in particular, that the phrase * Rule of Faith ' is no symbolical
expression with us, appropriated to some one sense ; certainly not
as a definition or attribute of Holy Scripture. And it is impor-
tant to insist upon this, from the very great misconceptions to
which the phrase gives rise. Perhaps its use had better be
avoided altogether. In the sense in which it is commonly under-
stood at this day, Scripture, it is plain, is not, on Anglican prin-
ciples, the Rule of Faith."


§ 2. — Justification by Faith only.

Article xi. — " That we are justified by Faith only, is a most
wholesome doctrine."

The Homilies add that Faith is the sole means, the sole instru'
ment of justification. Now, to show briefly what such statements
imply, and what they do not.

1 . They do not imply a denial of Baptism as a means and an
instrument of justification ; which the Homilies elsewhere affirm,
as will be shown incidentally in a later section.

" The instrumental power of Faith cannot interfere with the
instrumental power of Baptism ; because Faith is the sole
justifier, not in contrast to all means and agencies whatever,
(for it is not surely in contrast to our Lord's merits, or God's
mercy,) but to all other graces. When, then, Faith is called the
sole instrument, this means the sole internal instrument, not the
sole instrument of any kind.

" There is nothing inconsistent, then, in Faith being the sole
instrument of justification, and yet Bajjlism also the sole instru-
ment, and that at the same time, because in distinct senses ; an
inward instrument in no way interfering with an outward instru-
ment. Baptism may be the hand of the giver, and Faith the hand
of the receiver."

Nor does the sole instrumentality of Faith interfere with the
doctrine of Works being a mean also. And that it is a mean,

Online LibraryJohn Henry Newman[A collection of tracts regarding Tract no. 90 of Newman's Tracts for the times : including the text of Tract 90 → online text (page 1 of 33)