DEAR TOWER:THE LIVING CHURCH, a Protestant Episcopal authority, not long since placed side by side, on the same page, two articles, "Studies in the Catholic Creed" and "Preserve the Prayer Book;" a comparison of which may be profitable to the Little Flock.
In the first article, commenting upon that clause in the Protestant Episcopal creed "I believe in one Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church," the writer says, that "it is Catholic because it teaches all the doctrine which must be universally received. She is therefore as a whole, the infallible teacher of mankind. The Scriptures are infallible, but they need an infallible interpreter." (The italics are mine.) Of course the rest of the article is devoted to proof of the position assumed, that the Protestant Episcopal Church is that needed "infallible interpreter;" in the course of which he says, "She was and is the repository of truth for all nations;" that the Bible is received "only on the authority of the Church," that "she decided what was, and what was not inspired."
The second article mentions several very fallible disagreements in this "infallible" Church. One party desires "to strike out the word Regeneration" from the Baptismal office. Another section would "throw open their pulpits to ministers of other Christian bodies;" and although the writer joyfully records failures thus far in these, to him questionable movements, he regretfully admits that "they have been invited to make their communions with us, and have done so." One portion of this infallible church claims the "Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist," which is opposed by another as a relic of Pagan idolatry. Again, there is a contention over the matter of representation of the dioceses in their general conventions, a movement being on foot, magnanimous and perfectly fair upon its face, which will surely result in loss of individuality to the smaller dioceses, and centralize the power and influence in the larger and wealthier ones. So it was in civil as well as religious Rome; so it will result with them. It always has been, and until one Righteous Judge shall come, will continue to be so.
It therefore appears that this Church "as a whole," does not know whether or not baptism regenerates; whether or not other than their own clergy should preach in their own pulpits; whether or not they may "communicate" with other Christians, and whether or not Christ is really present at Communion. This Church, which is vascillating on the point of permitting its privileges and honors to be monopolized by the wealthy, this is another institution which presumptuously claims to be infallible, and expects from its members an unreasoning obedience.
[Amidst all the systems claiming infallibility, where may simple souls expect to find the true infallible guide? Surely in the Word of God alone. And while not discarding the assistance of those whom God hath raised up as teachers and aids in various ways to the body of Christ, but receiving their aid gladly, their value must always be decided by the Word of God, by which we must prove all things.
Teachers have no right to give out their opinions upon Scripture, without giving also the Scriptural reasons for drawing their conclusions. Then, each hearer should use his own head in deciding whether or [R1052 : page 2] not the conclusions suggested are to be considered the logical sense of the Scriptures.
The day for swallowing the ipsi dixit of fallible men, merely because they hold reverend titles, is past. People are coming to see, that if a doctrine is taught by the Bible, be it ever so obscure, or symbolic, they can comprehend it, if it can be logically proved by and from the Bible. And, to thus expound God's Word, is the province of any teacher sent of God, whenever, wherever or whoever he may be, and with or without titles.EDITOR.]