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touches that way were found in the notebook which by chance escaped the fire . I have heard him speak much of the importance of that controversy ; and he was so far a prophet as to declare he thought that heresy would soon break out and insult Christianity itself . I doi not remember he discovered any disposition to attack the Papists or sectaries , though he had considered them Well ; but he might think there were labourers enough at that oar . ' - '
" And he had a dread lest this little note-book , of which I have given an account , might happen to stray and fall into unknown persons' hands , who possibly might misconstrue his meaning . In contemplation of which contingent , he wrote upon it this pleasant imprecation : * f beshrew his heart , that gathers my opinion from any thing he finds wrote here / ' *
to have been inclined to announce their possession of a deposit sa important to the church and so creditable to themselves , it is discovered first among the Gnostic heretics , who in the affectation of a superior knowledge of divine things had corrupted the simplicity of the gospel with many inventions , which required some other sanction than the authority
of the Scriptures . It was then adopted from them by two Fathers of the Church , ( Irenaeus and Tertullian , ) but only to repel the arguments of those who had first pleaded against the Scriptures a spurious tradition , and had then so falsified the records of Christianity as to embarrass any inference from their genuine communications . When this use
had been made of the argument , it seems to have been felt that such an appeal was incongruous and unnecessary , for it was immediately abandoued by the church ; nor does it appear to hare been resumed in the great controversy of Ariankm by either party for the support of their tenets . After an interruption of almost two centuries and a haif among the
western Christians , and in Greece of the much longer period of more than five centuries and a half , we again find tradition pleaded as an authority ; but in each case for a practice , not for a doctrine ; each practice also plainly condemned by the written word . The argument Was then abandoned , and each plea disowned by one of the two
churches , until the very crisis of the Reformation , when it was once more brought forward to oppose the appeal which the Reformers had made to the Scriptures ; and as these reformers had objected to doctrines , not less than to practices , the tradition of the church was then , for the first time , pleaded in favour of doctrines . Even then , however , in the very agony
of the papal power , it was not pleaded that the Scripture was not intelligible without the aid of tradition , the latter being represented only as entitled to equal reverence , and not as a superior and controlling authority for divine truth . This last step was taken about the close of the sixteenth century , by
Cardinal Bellarmine , who in his too candid defence of the Church of Rome , did not hesitate to maintain that the gospel without unwritten tradition is an empty name , or words Without sense . The Roman Catholics of Ireland , imitating the boldness of the Cardinal , have declared that the Scriptures are not intelligible without the aid of tradition . "
3 74 Critical Notices .
Art . VII . —An Historical View of the Plea of Tradition as maintained by the Church of Rome . By George Miller , D . D . 8 vo . London . This tract arises out of that controversy between the Catholic and Protestant Churches into which the discussion
of the political questions between them has , as we think , most unfortunately and injuriously deviated . Dr . Miller ' s design of investigating the plea of tradition in favour of doctrines and practices , as a question of history , is one which at any other time would be felt by all to be useful and interesting . At present , it is too obviously directed towards
increasing the current of popular odium against a class of persons labouring under proscription for opinions' sake j and , little disposed as we must be to view with any sort of favour the doctrines or discipline of the Roman Church , we cannot say that , considering the temporal injustice dealt out to its adherents , we are inclined to view controversial attacks as
likely to do much good either to friends or enemies . Dr , Miller ' s book , however , will have its value , and we extract his summary of the history of the argument drawn from tradition , which we believe to be in the main correct :
" Such appears to have been the history of tha , t tradition which is now maintallied , by Roman Catholics in Ireland , as iudisjfengably necessary to the just interpretation of the sacred writing' ? . Apparently , unknown to the apostolic ' fathers , who thight naturally b 6 supposed .
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), May 2, 1827, page 374, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct1796/page/62/