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the three Creeds. Such are passed over in the work before us. But from the tinie of the Council of Trent onwards, it will be found a useful guide to later and even to contemporary ecclesiastical history, and to embody most of the chief documents of a symbolical character. The remaining part of vol. ii. consists of documents arranged in three categories: the Roman, which comprises the Canons, Doctrinal Decrees, and ‘Professio' of the Council of Trent; the Decree, in 1854, of Pius IX., on the Immaculate Conception ; the ipsissima verba of the Syllabus; and, finally, the Decrees of the Vatican Council of 1870 (as far as yet published). Then follows a section on Greek and Russian Creeds, containing the Orthodox Confession of the Eastern Church (1643), the Decrees of the Synod of Jerusalem (1672), and the longer Catechism of Archbishop Philaret. These will no doubt give a very sufficient view of the dogmatic system of the Eastern Church. Yet it might have been well, in a professed collection of dogmatic standards, to have given the 'Catechism' of Archbishop Plato, which is certainly one of the most important formularies of the Russian Church. And, we cannot but notice that these are all documents emanating from the Church of Russia. Whether it be that the editor is not familiar with the Church of Greece itself, or whatever be the reason, we miss the various forms employed in Greece, for doctrinal and catechetical purposes; and also the very curious and important • Confession (1177) of the Armenians, which is adhered to by sixty-seven out of the two hundred and sixty Eastern Sees. The Coptic“Confessio Corpus Sanctum’to be found in the longer Liturgy of S. Basil, is also wanting ; and in fact all the Coptic forms are passed over without notice. Looked at from an archæological point of view, this division of the work leaves much of completeness to be desired. The third category includes the 'Fourteen Theses’ assented to by the Conference at Bonn in 1874, and the Articles of Agreement on the Filioque question, agreed to at the same place in 1875; which are all referred to in a very proper spirit, and with an intimate appreciation of the issues involved.
The third volume of this work, the largest division of it, for the seventeenth century was a verbose age-is occupied with the various symbolic documents of the Protestant Confessions. Although these have lost their original importance as terms of communion in any religious bodies at the present day, they have a certain historical significance which justifies their inclusion in the present collection, notwithstanding their number and excessive 'longsomeness.'
VOL. VII.—NO. XIII.
It is impossible to understand the religious history of that age without consulting them, and they are here presented to the reader in a very accurate and convenient form. Between the documents in this volume, and the historical and explanatory matter in Vol. I., the student may gain a very competent knowledge of the controversies of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
Dr. Schaff has, in fact, wrought out this branch of his subject with an elaborateness alniost affectionate. His work gains thereby; but it would not, in our opinion, be correct to say that these multiplied Confessions' are of great value from our special point of view in this article. Considered as pure theology, they present little that is really new in the history of thought. They are not, that is to say, a true evolution, but a retrocession. They are made up, for the most part, of partial views. Particular points of doctrine are often asserted and defended in them with great judgment and skill. But the better half of dogmatic Christianity the authors had excised from their schemes; and the remainder had not sufficient vitality to keep itself alive. Thus the future development of Protestant theology was, for the most part, towards rationalism. A remarkable exception to this tendency is the Tübingen-Giessen dispute concerning the Kenosis or Humiliation of Christ, which directed attention to a point of Christology not formally settled during the great Christological debates of the fourth and fifth centuries. It may indeed be held, and rightly held, to have been virtually ruled in that earlier age; because the analogy of the Faith, and consistency with doctrinal decisions already arrived at, compelled it to be ruled in one way, and forced the minds of theologians who respected the Catholic traditions, irresistibly to one only decision. This is indeed an example of that process of evolution of doctrine by a logical necessity to which we referred in an earlier part of this article.
The controversy, after continuing for some years, issued in the Formula of Concord of 1577. Opinions are, it is true, much divided as to the merits of this production. On the one hand, Krauth asserts that the doctrine of the Person of Christ presented in it 'rests upon the sublimest series of inductions in the history of Christian doctrine. In all confessional history there is nothing to be compared with it in the combination of exact exegesis, of dogmatic skill, and of fidelity to historical development. Fifteen centuries of Christian thought' culminate in it. But on the other hand, Le Blanc somewhat unfairly charges the famous Eighth Article of this Formula,
*De Personâ Christi, on account of its assertion of a Presence other than local, with degenerating into a mere logomachy.l ;
And Dr. Schaff himself calls it neither clear nor consistent; and charges it with being ‘only a series of concessions and counter concessions, and a mechanical juxtaposition of discordant sentences from both parties. But this which he imputes to it as a fault, is in fact the exact method of the ancient symbolical documents, and the only way by which the distinct and (to human apprehension) opposing sides of a dogmatic truth may be preserved without danger of falling into heresy. We have many examples of it. Here, for instance, in the Athanasian Creed :
'The Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God;
And yet They are not three Gods, but one God.'
The formula is in many ways a remarkable document, and with strong Catholic affinities. The phraseology of Art. vi.,
quod Deus sit Homo, et Homo sit Deus,' is borrowed from S. Augustine, and S. Athanasius has a phrase very similar. In Art. vii. it allows and asserts that the Blessed Virgin is rightly called the Mother of God—and this, in the true Catholic sense, i.e. secundum humanitatem-according to the teaching of S. Cyril. The Hypostatic Union is set forth even eloquently in Art. viii. All these facts are perhaps sufficient to account for Dr. Schaff's disparagement of the document.
Whether, therefore, the development of doctrine be in this particular real or only apparent, we have in it certainly a serious attempt made to carry a step farther the chain of strictly logical doctrinal deduction, in agreement and harmony with the analogy and proportion of the Faith. But with this exception, and perhaps of the tentative but most important endeavours at Bonn in 1874-5 later developments have been partial and sectarian-too often actuated by individual fussiness and idiosyncrasy-and what we must call illegitimate. And it is observable that even the ablest champion of post-Tridentine novelties does not generally venture to derive them by
1. Quâ in controversiâ forte plus est logomachiæ atque pertinaciæ, quam realis discriminis, nam aliquo sensu concedere possumus, realem communicationem proprietatum naturæ divinæ naturæ Christi humanæ factam esse, quatenus, ut dictum est, in naturâ illâ humanâ realiter et personaliter inhabitat, et est divinitas cum omnibus suis proprietatibus, quemadmodum realiter ignis est in ferro ignito, sed quemadmodum ex 'illâ ignis cum ferro unione recte quidem dicere possumus, ferrum hoc urit, ferrum hoc candet, non tamen recte dicitur, ferreitas urit, ferreitas lucet, quia ignis in ferro, non ipsa tamen ferri natura, ita agit.'—Theses Theolog. de Unione Duar. in Christo Natur.
direct process from the principles held by the Primitive Church. Perhaps he felt that it was beyond even his power to do so. It is mostly by attempting an indirect reductio ad absurdum of all alternative conclusions, backed up by an often repeated appeal to the authority of the Church, a Deus ex machina, which never fails any controversialist in a fix, that he tries to leave his reader shut up to the conclusion he desires. It is because it is, he seems to say; and any other is, you see, is quite as hard to believe ; and if you throw in the infallible opinion of the Church, this particular is must be far easier than any other. Such an attempt cannot be too vigorously resisted. The authority of the Church can do much ; but it cannot effectually bolster up an invalid syllogism, nor supply the gaps in a demonstration.
That the formal expressions of Christian theology have been gradually evolved is matter of undoubted fact, plain upon the face of history, and altogether unquestionable. Theology has undergone a development; but a development from germinal ideas in necessary and logical order. Because it is necessary and because it is logical, it needs no infallible Pontiff to guide its decisions, much less to originate them, with his sic volo, sic jubeo, sit pro ratione voluntas. If this evolution is slow, it is also unerring ; because it is subject to the Divine and Providential guidance which was promised to it at the first. A generation may snatch a premature decision, in
take his self-pleasing fancies for eternal truths, and abuse his high position in order to force them upon the peoples he rules ; a great temporal sovereign may throw his sword into the ecclesiastical scale, and sway the decisions of synods and assemblies by his irresistible power. But the generation and its tyrant pass away together; the next restores the balance, and reversing, or more probably disregarding utterly, the inequitable decisions, asserts the forgotten truth, and carries a little farther, or at least hands on to its successor intact, the majestic system of Christian theology.
Thus the great outlines of God's truth grow continually clearer. The constant brooding upon it of generation after generation of devout thinkers developes by degrees the remoter consequences of familiar truths, and rounds doctrines inch by inch into a perfect whole. Yet they are not altered, because they are more completely appreciated. It is the same truth, 'yesterday, to-day, and for ever,' which is the heritage of the Church in the nineteenth century as it was in the first. But the later ages hold it more perfectly and
explicitly, as the earlier embraced it with greater faith and fervour, although implicitly and in the germ. There are many difficulties to faith in these later days. We have fallen upon the times which were presaged from the beginning, when 'because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.' But it may be that in the watchful providence of God, since the burden of decision has shifted so significantly from the heart to the intellect, the complete intellectual appreciation of revealed truth is given in place of the childlike and fervid faith which was the heritage of the first ages of Christianity. And if so, we can see how timely is the gift.
ART. VI.-THE EARLY CELTIC CHURCH.
Celtic Scotland : a History of Ancient Alban. By WILLIAM
F. SKENE, Author of The Four Ancient Books of Wales.
Vol. II. Church and Culture. (Douglas : Edinburgh.) THE extreme difficulty of extracting pure historic truth from the annals of the past is now well understood, and there are many of whom we have been wont to speak as our distinguished historians who might with more accuracy have been termed our eminent romancers; but it has been hardly so fully recognised that the theological prepossessions of the chroniclers have made this difficulty exceptionally great in respect to the history of the Church. This has been eminently the case with the early Church of the British Isles, whose history has become a sort of store-house, whence writers of every denomination have sought to draw evidence in support of their conflicting tenets, and their efforts have naturally been greatly facilitated by the mingling of legend and fable with a modicum of truth which characterises the ecclesiastical records of those distant days. The author of Celtic Scotland, well known as a learned and conscientious historian, has set himself to gauge the extent of the perversion of history which has thus arisen, and his object in the well executed volume before us has been to free the history of the early Celtic Church from the many fallacies which have distorted it, and to present her as she really was, independent of all theological bias or prejudice. Mr. Skene has brought to his work a