I believe that I have proved that the Ritualist School, in so far as they depreciate the Reformation, show tenderness to Rome, condone her false doctrines, hold the tenet of the Objective Presence in the elements, perform the rites and ceremonies thence flowing, and inculcate the practice of auricular confession as part of the normal religious life, find no justification in the teaching and acts of our seventeenth-century divines. The old historical High Church party in the Church of England is in direct conflict with the Neo-Anglicanism known as Ritualism.
I make not the least doubt in the world but that the Church of England before the Reformation and the Church of England after the Reformation are as much the same Church as a garden before it is weeded and after it is weeded is the same garden.
Let us bless God that we live in a Church wherein no other name is invocated but the Name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, nor divine worship given to any but to the one true God through Jesus Christ the only Mediator. O happy we, if we knew and valued our own happiness!
If we inquire upon what grounds the primitive Church did rely for their whole religion, we shall find they knew none else but the Scriptures. Ubi Scriptum? was their first inquiry. “Do the prophets and the Apostles, the Evangelists or the Epistles, say so ?” Read it there, and then teach it, else reject it.
We have no unwritten faith, as Rome has, and admit no innovations of any sort in religion, for we have put aside the vain traditions of men and new-born dogmas, unsupported by Holy Scripture and by antiquity, and we rest in the one Catholic truth, faith and religion, as handed down to us from the first ages.
Is there no superstition in adoration of images? None in invocation of saints? None in the adoration of the sacrament? Is there no error in breaking Christ’s own institution of the sacrament, by giving it but in one kind? None about purgatory? About common prayer in an unknown tongue, none? These and many more are in the Roman religion. And it is no hard work to prove every one of them to be error or superstition or both.
Bishop Andrewes and Archbishop Laud are the two divines of the seventeenth century generally selected by medievalists of the present day as their patrons and protectors. They justify their own extravagances by claiming the authority of these learned theologians for them.
Hooker belongs more to the sixteenth than to the seventeenth century ; but the seventeenth-century divines, without exception, take their inspiration from him, and, indeed, after Cranmer, Ridley, and Jewell, he is the father of Anglican theology.
Have such sentiments as these ever prevailed in the reformed Church of England before? Not in the sixteenth century when Cranmer, Latimer and Ridley died to resist them and the Elizabethan divines, represented by Jewell, firmly repudiated them. Not in the eighteenth century when the Church and nation had settled down to an unimpassioned Protestantism. Not in the seventeenth century, as, I believe, is proved to demonstration by the following pages.