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which never could be made into a doctrine, because of the difficulties it would involve. The framers of the articles had much the same reason for not making any opinion as to the infallibility of Scripture into a doctrine. They no doubt saw the extreme difficulty of defining exactly the opinion which they would select for that purpose, and therefore they wisely left it open, although probably many of them held opinions which did not substantially differ from those which prevail at the present day.
The second answer to this objection is the one which I have already made-viz. that the question is not what they thought about Scripture, but what were the principles which they laid down about it? I say that the principles which they laid down about it, as your lordship will see more distinctly in detail when I come to read the later authorities, led by inevitable logic to the very opinion which Dr. Williams has professed to-day, and which, as I shall show you, has been professed by all the eminent divines of the Church of England.
Apart from this, it would be a mistake to suppose that the theological literature of the day contains all the opinions of the divines by whom it was written. The divinity of that day, as of this, might be divided into two great heads-practical and controversial. With regard to practical divinity, of course it was not to be expected that clergymen drawing up homilies and preaching ad populum, would dwell on so delicate a topic as the partial fallibility of Scripture, unless some occasion arose for them to do so. That alone would account for their not mentioning it, even if they held such an opinion. With regard to the controversial divinity, the question was not raised. In the controversies between the Church of England and the Roman Catholics, the Church of England divines had no occasion to raise it, and in their controver
sies with the Puritans they had no occasion to raise it. They believed less about the Bible than the Puritans believed. How much less they possibly did not distinctly know themselves, nor was it worth their while to find out. At all events, it was not their case that the Bible contained any error; it was not their business to anticipate discussions which had not arisen. My view of the matter is, that if they did contemplate the question at all, they viewed it as Dean Jackson viewed it, as a controversy which would come in its own time, and when it came would bring its own solution. That, my lord, is my answer to the arguments which may be drawn from the authorities I have mentioned, and to all other arguments of the same kind.
I will read, in further illustration, three lines from Chillingworth, which may be quoted against me. Chillingworth makes this remark in a summary of the argument of his book, a summary of answers to objections made against him by the Roman Catholics: "For the overthrowing of the infallibility of all Scripture,'” which was one of the charges brought against him, "my book is so "innocent of it, that the infallibility of Scripture is the "chiefest of all my grounds." It may be said to me, How, after that, can you quote Chillingworth on your side of the question? Thus, my lord,-I say it was Chillingworth's opinion that the Bible was infallible, but the quotations. I have already given show that it was not his doctrine. His opponent, Knott, might with perfect justice have said, I have no doubt that you, William Chillingworth, believe the infallibility of Scripture. You have a right to say the historical evidence to which I refer convinces me that Scripture, in point of fact, is infallible; but you put the infallibility of Scripture on such grounds, you lay down such principles, you take such a general view of the *Chillingworth, p. 385.
subject, that if anybody else chose to doubt it you could not say he was wrong. If Knott had made that remark, which I dare say he did, Chillingworth could not have answered it. He puts his belief on such a ground, that though he himself might believe that doctrine, anybody else had just the same right to deny as he had to believe it.
I hope I am trying to do justice to the objection on the other side; but in my attempt to do so, I may be charged, and I shall be rightly charged, with having to some extent overstated it against myself. It is by no means true that the divines of the period in question did assert the infallibility of Scripture in unqualified terms. There are statements to be found, small and unimportant, no doubt, in themselves, but as a matter of principle of considerable importance, quite inconsistent with that view of Scripture which is laid down by the extreme Calvinists.
My lord, in illustration of this, I will refer you to an essay on the subject of inspiration, by Dr. Tholuck, a translation of which is published in the sixth volume of the Journal of Sacred Literature for 1854, new series. You will there find the history of the whole doctrine stated at length. He describes the manner in which from vague general statements the doctrine gradually assumed a specific shape, and proves that it did not reach a precise dogmatical condition until the latter part of the seventeenth century. Dr. Tholuck collects a great variety of authorities on this point, and I will read one or two. They are not very important, but they illustrate the matter, and I should be sorry to pass them over. I am giving the quotations on the authority of Tholuck, for I did not think it worth while to take the trouble to verify them for myself.* Zuinglius, in treating of the church, has given a canon *6 Journ. Sac. Lit., N. S., p. 345.
"which accords infallibility to Christ alone, so withholding "it from the Apostles, and these are his words, It is "not true that the writings of all holy men are infallible, "nor is it true that they do not err. This pre-eminence "must be given to the Son of God alone out of the whole human races.' . . . . “Bullinger, the Swiss, very ingenuously allows that the sacred penmen were liable "to errors of memory. In reference to 1 Cor. x. 8, he "writes," Transcribers easily fall into error in stating "numbers, but sometimes the writers were led by treache"❝rous memories into the commission of mistakes." "Castellio, another Swiss theologian, complains that St. Paul, in Romans ix." (that is the well-known chapter on Predestination,) "has not expressed his meaning more fully and openly, and brings against the Apostle's logic "the charge that it confounds together two comparisons "which ought to have been kept distinct." I do not wish to lay stress on these things, because I am not here to search out every minute remark which ever was made on this subject and appeal to that; I appeal to something infinitely broader and wider. I say the question was left open, and left open designedly, and I will now show you that as soon as the occasion arose for the use of that liberty, it was used, and used in such a manner that I must say I am surprised that this prosecution was ever gone into.
*Journ. Sac. Lit., N. S., p. 346.
To introduce that part of the case, I must say a few words in the nature of history. Two occasions have arisen within the last 200 years in which the infallibility of Scripture was brought directly into issue. The first was the occasion of the Deistical Controversy, and the second was the controversy arising out of the growth of modern science.
First see whether these controversies produced any legislation-For 200 years since the Restoration the Church of England has enjoyed a legislature, for 200 years Parliament and Convocation have regularly met. The very same authority which laid down the Articles of 1562, and ratified them in 1662, might have enacted new Articles in 1762, and may enact them still in 1862. During the whole of the 160 years preceding the time at which I am now speaking, the questions which Dr. Williams is prosecuted for agitating to-day, were agitated, occasionally with disgraceful virulence; with a virulence so great that the legislature imposed limits even on the freedom of laymen in the discussion of such questions; for to deny the divine authority of Scripture is still an offence punishable by the law of the land, and for which a man could be indicted before a jury.* That being so, does the silence of the legislature on this subject during all this time go for nothing? Is your lordship sitting here as the judge of an Established Church, as the representative of the sovereign power of that church, to say that the legislative power of the Church of England has ceased to be? Is your lordship to say that the silence of the church for 200 years is unmeaning? Are you to say that the fact that no new law has been passed, that no new measure has been taken, that no prosecution of this kind has ever been heard of before, goes for nothing? Surely, if I were arguing in a civil case, and if I were able to say to the learned judge on the bench, This is the first action of this kind that ever was brought, would they not have been brought perpetually if it had been possible to bring them at all? I should be heard with the attention such an argument deserved. Is your lordship to suppose that these two centuries are a blank in English history, and that no
* Under 9 & 10 Will. III. c. 32. s. 1.