one would not find, on this subject, that sympathy and understanding which it is in vain to seek for among moderns, at least, among those who are imbued with a spirit alien to the Church.

The spirit and practice of the Ancient Church is like the genuine and retiring modesty of first love in contrast with the feeble loudness and noisy display of a counterfeit, which would fain renew feelings it has lost: "with their mouth they shew much love." (Ezek. xxxiii. 31.)


The instances we have to adduce must therefore necessarily be various in their character, and may appear to allude to things in themselves distinct; one to a secret sense in Scripture, another to a moral rule of action, another to a rule of Church discipline, and another to an historical fact respecting our LORD or His Apostles. But it must be observed, that it is this very diversity which most establishes the point in question; namely, that it is a great moral and religious principle, of which these are incidental manifestations for either of these points proved singly, might be supposed to be only the effect of imagination, or a train of circumstances that might be otherwise accounted for: but a concurrence of the whole in points, each of which is contrary to our at present received notions, can only be referred to a general principle. Besides which, this very variety opens to us a subject of exceeding interest, namely, our blessed LORD acting towards. mankind, through the whole of His Church, in a manner strikingly in harmony with His personal conduct in the days of His Incarnation.

3. The existence of what has been termed the Disciplina Arcani.

Now first of all with regard to the Disciplina Arcani: what has been said would naturally lead one to conclude that it owed its origin to a most sacred source. It seems so perfectly in accordance with all that has been noticed of our LORD's conduct, (in Tract No. 80. Part I.) that His example and mode of teaching will consistently account for its origin in a manner that nothing else will. And moreover, that alone will suggest a reason

why the principle should have become so universal, without any apparent reference to that definite system of Church discipline.

But even were we to suppose, as some have imagined, that the practice of the Disciplina had its origin in religious or philosophic mysteries among the heathen: even this by no means destroys our argument respecting the principle itself as a rule in religion or morals for the very existence of those mysteries themselves remains to be accounted for. If the principle we maintain is a truth of GOD, and strongly stamped on His revelation, such a principle must be founded on our moral and spiritual nature, and therefore of course may be expected to be found among mankind ; this would account for its existence in Egypt and early Greece. But there is great reason to believe that the pagan mysteries took their rise from something more holy than themselves. One cannot seriously reflect on Herodotus' account of Egypt, and the mysterious awe with which he forbears to speak of certain things in religion, without apprehending that there is much more in it than any system of man's invention; that amidst the extensive corruption of primitive religion, which took place in that country, there still remained an indefinable fear, which could only find its correspondence in the sense handed down of the awfulness of the true God. So that at all events, were we to allow for a momentary supposition that this Disciplina had an heathen origin, the very existence of these pagan mysteries would serve greatly to establish the principle as a law in our moral


But it has been well said, that to suppose the doctrines of the Holy Catholic Church owed their origin to the practices of heathen philosophy, is as if a person were to imagine that the sun owed its light to a reflection of the moon in the waters; and this we should be doing, if we allowed the secret discipline of the early Church to have owed its origin to any heathen custom. But the principle of reserve on which it is founded, is thoroughly consistent throughout with all the methods of revelation, and quite consistent in itself in all its extensive developments in the Church. If we grant it to be true that there are no proofs of the existence of the Disciplina itself before the middle or the end

of the second century, this would only prove that it might not have appeared as a definite system; it may have been wrong, as is the case of other institutions, that it should have assumed a precise form and name at all; or the circumstances of the Church preceding it may not have required it should do so, from the Christians being necessarily of a strong and marked character to be Christians at all, while the Church was herself struggling into existence. Yet had we a close and accurate account of the manner in which the Apostles dealt with individuals as we have of our LORD Himself, we might have found in them a continuation of His own mode of teaching, as there remarked by the close attention which the narrative admits of. Some indications of it are at once obvious in the Acts of the Apostles; for instance, the great danger we have supposed to accompany the revelation and acknowledgment of the Presence of GOD, is at once exemplified in the fate of Ananias and Sapphira, and the awful rebuke addressed to Simon Magus.

But the very obscurity which hangs about the practices of the early Church, the silence in which many things are left, seems to indicate something of this principle. How little from the Epistles of St. Paul, or any other records of the first ages, do we learn of any of the forms of discipline which the Church doubtless then observed? and afterwards the mention of the Secret Discipline seems to be often but incidental. Indeed, it is by no means evident that even Justin Martyr does not allude to it: it is well known that he applies the word portaμòs, or illumination, to Baptism, a word afterwards used with reference to the instruction in Christian doctrine imparted at that Sacrament, and the light then bestowed. Add to which we know our LORD was for forty days conversing with His disciples of the things concerning the kingdom, of which nothing is publicly written or declared: in these things it was, as St. Peter says of the Resurrection, they were disclosed, "not unto all the people, but to certain witnesses chosen of God." We find, more


1 Justin's words are καλεῖται δὲ τοῦτο τὸ λοῦτρον φωτισμὸς νων τὴν διάνοιαν τῶν ταῦτα μανθανόντων.---Apolog. b. i. 61.

Clement of Alexandria says of the same word, φωτισμὸς, ἡ μαθητεία κέκληται ἢ τὰ κεκρυμμένα φανερώσασα.—Strom. v. 10. 65.

over, that the heretics of the first age maintained that their doctrines were of that more sacred kind which our LORD and His Apostles had divulged to certain favoured disciples'. Although there was no truth in these allegations, and no proof of a divine authority for the Disciplina, yet is it not likely that the false assumption of the former, as well as the latter system, may have taken their rise in some great truth, viz. our LORD's mode of communicating knowledge to His disciples, and a certain reserve in disclosing Himself?

Add to this the extraordinary ignorance of the heathen writers respecting Christianity, and the strong indications which all must have noticed throughout St. Paul's Epistles, that he discloses and withholds Christian knowledge and mysteries, according to the meetness of those to whom he was writing to receive them.

If intimations of these things are but faint in the first age of Christianity, yet in the next they derive the most ample confirmation throughout the works of St. Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Tertullian, and most of the succeeding Fathers; their mode. of speaking of religion, of interpreting Scripture, always seems to imply this principle of reserve. The Disciplina Arcani is. spoken of, not as some ecclesiastical system founded on motives of expediency, as is now often supposed, or arising from the circumstances of the times, or as merely directed towards the heathens; it is implied that this reserve is an universal principle in morals; that its assuming a strong and definite shape in the Disciplina Arcani is only an accidental development of it; that it is founded deep in our nature; that the system is to be traced throughout the heathen world in some shape or other, proving it to be either of divine origin or arising out of some common principle; that it has the authority of our LORD Himself and His disciples; that it was practised by our LORD, not from the immediate and necessary exigencies of the occasion, but as a great law and rule of religious wisdom; that an awful and reverential sense of His thus disclosing Himself only according to the state of man's heart is the only key to the knowledge of His ways, either in His moral providences or His more direct revelations. See Wotton's Pref. to Clem. p. cliv.

4. Indications of the principle independent of any known definite system.

The very silence therefore of the first ages is on this subject in our favour; and a few passages that do allude to it, are in themselves so interesting, and so much tend to confirm the view we have taken, that we cannot withhold a fuller reference to them, though they have been already alluded to. The author of the Epistle to Diognetus, which has been ascribed to Justin Martyr, says incidentally in the passages before spoken of, "having been myself a disciple of the Apostles, I am become a teacher of the Gentiles. The things which were delivered to me, I am the means to convey to those who are worthy, who have become disciples of the truth. For who is there that has a love for the Word, who does not seek clearly to know those things which were by the Word shown openly to the disciples, to whom He declared them, being Himself manifested to them, speaking with all freedom, not understood by the unbeliever, but conversing and explaining to the disciples? And they who were by Him. esteemed faithful have become acquainted with these mysteries of the FATHER'."

This simple and undesigned but distinct allusion to the teaching of our LORD Himself is much to be observed, and seems by the mention of the disciples to carry on, and connect with the system of the Church that reserve which has been noticed in the Gospels, and serves to explain in some degree that silence, so remarkable in the New Testament, of the things concerning the Church delivered to faithful men.

The passage quoted by Mr. Keble on the subject of tradition from the bishop Hippolytus, bears an undesigned testimony to this principle also at an early period. "Take care," says that holy Father," that these things be not delivered to unbelieving and blasphemous tongues. For the danger is not inconsiderable. But impart them to serious and faithful men, who wish to live holily and justly with fear. For it is not without a purpose that the blessed Paul in his exhortation to Timothy says. Keep the

1 See Justin Martyr ad Diognetum, ad finem.


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