Exposition of the Thirty-nine Articles – Article VI (Part 3)

Section III. — On the Real Value of Tradition, and the Reading of the Apocrypha.

I. THE Church of England then holds, in conformity with the Church of old, that Scripture is absolutely perfect in relation to the end to which it tends, namely, the teaching us all things necessary to salvation. She denies the existence and rejects the authority of any parallel and equal tradition, of any doctrines necessary to salvation, handed down from generation to generation. But it is not true that the Church of England rejects the proper use of tradition, though she will not suffer it to be unduly exalted. She does not neglect the testimony of antiquity, and cut herself off from the Communion of the Saints of old.

It has been already remarked, that, besides the tradition which the Church of Rome holds necessary to be received, which is a tradition equal and parallel with the Scriptures, there are also traditions which are subservient to Scripture, and calculated to throw light upon it. Such tradition, when kept in its right place, the Church of England has ever used and respected.

Now this tradition is of two kinds, Hermeneutical Tradition, and Ecclesiastical Tradition. The former tends to explain and interpret the Scripture; the latter relates to discipline and ceremonial. With regard to the latter we find that the new Testament has nowhere given express rules for rites, ordinances, and discipline; although we evidently discover that rites, ordinances, and discipline did exist, even when the new Testament was written. For our guidance therefore in these matters, which are useful for edification, but not essential for salvation, we gladly follow the example of the Churches nearest to the Apostles’ times, which we conceive to have been ordered by the Apostles themselves, and to be the best witnesses of Apostolic order and Apostolic usages.

Scripture is, at least, not full on these matters; yet they are essential for the regulating and governing of a Church. We appeal therefore, to the purest and earliest models of antiquity. We cannot err in doing this, for in asserting the sufficiency of Scripture, we assert it for the end to which it was designed. As we do not assert it as fit to teach us arts and sciences, so neither do we assert it as designed entirely to regulate Church discipline and ceremony. And where it does not profess to be a perfect guide, we derogate not from its authority in seeking other help. On matters of faith it is complete and full; but not in all things besides.

With regard to Hermeneutical Tradition, we view matters thus. Those early Christians who had the personal instruction of the Apostles and their immediate companions, are more likely to have known the truth of Christian doctrine than those of after-ages, when heresies had become prevalent, when men had learned to wrest Scripture to destruction, and sects and parties had warped and biassed men’s minds, so that they could not see clearly the true sense of Holy Writ. Truth is one, but error is multiform; and we know that in process of time new doctrines constantly sprang up in the Church, and by degrees gained footing and took root. We believe therefore, that if we can learn what was the constant teaching of the primitive Christians, we shall be most likely to find the true sense of Scripture preserved in that teaching: and wherever we can trace the first rise of a doctrine, and so stamp it with novelty, the proof of its novelty will be the proof of its falsehood; for what could find no place among the earliest Churches of Christ can scarcely have come from the Apostles of Christ, or from a right interpretation of the Scriptures which they wrote. We do not, in thus judging, appeal to the authority of any individual father, not even if he be one of those who had seen the Apostles, and had received the miraculous gifts of the Holy Ghost. We know that they were fallible men, though we believe them to have been pious and wise men. But we look to their writings for evidence as to what were the doctrines prevalent in the Church during the earliest ages; and we believe that, if we can discover what the doctrines of those earliest ages were, we have a most important clue to guide us in our course through the Scriptures themselves, because we judge that the Church thus early must almost certainly have, in the main, preserved the integrity of the faith, and could not, whilst the voice of Apostolic men was in their ears, have fallen away into error and heresy. We know, that, in those days, men had many advantages over ourselves for the interpreting of the new Testament. A knowledge of the language, the customs, the history of events, which illustrate the Scriptures, was of itself most important. Some of them must have had in their memories the personal teaching of the Apostles, for they were their immediate hearers and followers. Many of them lived within a comparatively short time from their departure. They took the utmost pains to preserve the purity of the Apostolic faith in the Church. The Church of their days had still the charismata, or miraculous gifts of the Spirit, visibly poured out upon it; and we may say that in every, or almost every manner, it was qualified, beyond any subsequent Church or age, to understand the Scriptures, and to exhibit the purity and integrity of the Christian faith.

The least, then, that can be said, is that the doctrine of the ancient Church is an useful check on any new interpretation of Scripture. Antiquity is a mark of truth, and novelty a mark of error in religion; and this rule has ever been found valuable in important controversies. The Socinians have striven to show that Justin Martyr invented the doctrine of the Trinity, deriving it from the writings of Plato. Catholic Christians, on the contrary, have proved, that from the earliest times that doctrine was held in the Church, that therefore it is traceable to the Apostles, and not to Plato, that it springs from a true, not from an erroneous interpretation of Scripture. A like form has the controversy with the Church of Rome assumed. Many of her peculiar doctrines have been proved to owe their origin to comparatively recent times; and so they have been shown to be unfit to stand the well-known test of Tertullian, that “what is first is true, what is later is adulterate.”[1]

Thus then tradition may be useful in the interpretation of Scripture, though not as adding to its authority. We well know that Scripture is perfect in itself, for the end for which it was designed. But we know also, that no aid for its interpretation should be neglected.

That the Church of England takes this view of the right use of tradition, and of the value of the testimony of the primitive Church, will appear from the following documents.

The Convocation of 1571, which passed the XXXIX. Articles in the form in which we have them now, passed also a code of Canons, in one of which is the following clause: “In the first place let preachers take heed that they deliver nothing from the pulpit, to be religiously held and believed by the people, but that which is agreeable to the old and new Testament, and such as the Catholic fathers and ancient bishops have collected therefrom.”[2]

In like manner, in the Preface to the Ordination Service we read, “It is evident to all men reading Holy Scripture, and ancient authors, that from the Apostles’ time there have been three orders of Ministers in Christ’s Church, Bishops, Priests, and Deacons.”

So Archbishop Cranmer, the great reformer of our Liturgy and compiler of our Articles, writes, “I also grant that every exposition of the Scripture, whereinsoever the old, holy, and true Church did agree, is necessary to be believed. But our controversy here” (that is with the Romanists) “is, whether anything ought to be believed of necessity without the Scripture.”[3]

So his great coadjutor Bishop Ridley: “In that the Church of Christ is in doubt, I use herein the wise counsel of Vincentius Lirinensis, whom I am sure you will allow; who, giving precepts how the Catholic Church may be in all schisms and heresies known, writeth in this manner: ‘When,’ saith he, ‘one part is corrupted with heresies, then prefer the whole world before that one part; but if the greatest part be affected, then prefer antiquity.'”[4]

Dr. Guest, who was appointed at the accession of Elizabeth, to restore the reformed prayer-book, after it had been disused in the reign of Mary, and who reduced it to nearly its present form, writes thus: “So that I may here well say with Tertullian, That is truth which is first; that is false which is after. That is truly first which is from the beginning. That is from the beginning which is from the Apostles. Tertullian, Cont. Prax. Cont. Marc.”[5]

Bishop Jewel, in his Apology, which is all but an authoritative document, says: “We are come as near as we possibly could to the Church of the Apostles, and of the old Catholic bishops and fathers; and have directed according to their customs and ordinances, not only our doctrine, but also the Sacraments, and the form of common prayer.”[6]

These passages sufficiently prove that our reformers admitted and made use of the appeal to antiquity, in the interpretation of Scripture, and in the establishing of order and discipline. Their wisdom has been followed therein by all the great divines who have succeeded them. Joseph Mede, Hooker, Andrews, Hammond, Overal, Usher, Jeremy Taylor, Bull, Beveridge, Patrick, Waterland, Jebb, Van Mildert, Kaye, G. S. Faber, have been respectively cited as upholding the same principle, and acting upon it.[7]

In the words of Bishop Kaye, “On the subject of religion, there appears to be a peculiar propriety in appealing to the opinions of past ages. In human science we find a regular advance from less to greater degrees of knowledge. Truth is elicited by the labours of successive inquirers; each adds something to the stock of facts which have been previously accumulated; and as new discoveries are continually made, the crude notions of those who first engaged in the pursuit are discarded for more matured and more enlarged views. The most recent opinions are those which are most likely to be correct. But in the case of a Divine revelation, this tentative process can have no place. They to whom is committed the trust of communicating it to others, are thoroughly instructed in its nature and its objects, and possess a knowledge which no inquiries of subsequent ages can improve. What they deliver is the truth itself; which cannot be rendered more pure, though it may, and probably will, be adulterated in its transmission to succeeding generations. The greater the distance from the fountain-head, the greater the chance that the stream will be polluted. On these considerations is founded the persuasion which has generally prevailed, that in order to ascertain what was the doctrine taught by the Apostles, and what is the true interpretation of their writings, we ought to have recourse to the authority of those who lived nearest to their times.”[8]

“We allow,” says Bishop Patrick, “that tradition gives as a considerable assistance in such points as are not in so many letters and syllables contained in the Scriptures, but may be gathered from thence by good and manifest reasoning. Or, in plainer words, perhaps, whatsoever tradition justifies any doctrine that may be proved by the Scriptures, though not found in express terms there, we acknowledge to be of great use, and readily receive and follow it, as serving very much to establish us more firmly in that truth, when we see all Christians have adhered to it. This may be called a confirming tradition: of which we have an instance in Infant Baptism, which some ancient fathers call an Apostolical tradition.” Again: “We look on this tradition as nothing else but the Scripture unfolded: not a new thing, but the Scripture explained and made more evident. And thus some part of the Nicene Creed may be called a tradition; as it hath expressly delivered unto us the sense of the Church of God concerning that great article of our faith, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, begotten of His Father before all worlds, and of the same substance with the Father. But this tradition supposes the Scripture for its ground, and delivers nothing but what the fathers, assembled at Nice, believed to be contained there and fetched from thence.”[9]

So Dr. Waterland: “We allow no doctrine as necessary which stands only on fathers, or on tradition, oral or written. We admit none for such but what is contained in Scripture, and proved by Scripture, rightly interpreted. And we know of no way more safe in necessaries, to preserve the right interpretation, than to take the ancients along with us. We think it a good method to secure our rule of faith against impostures of all kinds, whether of enthusiasm, or false criticism, or conceited reason, or oral tradition, or the assuming dictates of an infallible chair. If we thus preserve the true sense of Scripture, and upon that sense build our faith, we then build upon Scripture only; for the sense of Scripture is Scripture.”[10]

It is indeed most necessary that we do not suffer our respect for antiquity to trench upon our supreme regard for the authority of Scripture. To Scripture we look, as the only source of all Divine knowledge. But when we have fully established this principle, we need not fear to make use of every light with which God has furnished us, for the right understanding of Scripture; whether it be a critical knowledge of ancient languages, or history, or antiquities, or the belief of the primitive Christians, and the doctrines which holy men of old deduced from those sacred writings, which were to them, as to us, the only fountain of light and truth.

II. The Article, having declared the sufficiency of Scripture, and set forth the Canon of Scripture, then speaks of those other books which had been always held in high respect, but were not canonical, in the following terms: —

“The other books (as Hierome saith) the Church doth read for example of life and instruction of manners; but yet doth not apply them to establish any doctrine.”[11]

The meaning of these words is, that the Church of God, in all ages, has been used to read the Apocrypha, for example and instruction, but not for doctrine. This is a simple statement of fact, and if nothing more were said elsewhere, it would need no further explanation. But, if we look to the Calendar of the Prayer-Book, which was drawn up by the compilers of the Articles, and receives, like the Articles, the assent of all the clergy of the Church, we find that, during a certain portion of the year, in the week-day services, the first lesson is appointed to be read from the Apocrypha. This is acting on the principle laid down in the Article; and this is one of those customs of the Church of England which has been most exposed to censure, from those who dissent from her, and from some even of her own children.

There may certainly appear some danger in ordering that to be read, as a lesson of the Church, which is not Canonical Scripture, lest it should be mistaken for Scripture; and it is moreover urged against the custom, that the Apocrypha not only is not inspired, but also contains some idle legends, and some erroneous doctrines, and therefore ought not to be admitted to be read in the Church. It is even added, that the Church of Rome has derived some of her errors from, and supports some of her false teaching by, the authority of the Apocrypha.

It may be well, therefore, to state the grounds on which it is probable that our reformers thought fit to retain the Apocryphal lessons, that we may see what is the weight of the objections urged against our Church on the ground of their use.

First, it has been replied to the principal objections, that, if we would exclude all human compositions from the Church, we must exclude homilies, sermons, metrical psalms and hymns, — nay, prayers, whether written or extempore, except such as are taken out of Scripture itself, — that there is no danger that the Apocrypha should be mistaken for Scripture when it is expressly assigned a far lower place, both in the formularies and in the ordinary teaching of the Church, — that, if it be not free from faults, no more is any human composition, and that on this principle we must still rather exclude sermons, psalms, hymns, and even liturgies, — that it is not true that the Church of Rome has derived her errors from the Apocrypha, which does not support them, and by which she could not prove them; for she has derived them from misinterpreting Scripture, from oral tradition, and from her own assumed infallibility.[12]

So much is said in answer to the objections. Farther, in favour of reading the Apocryphal books, their nature and history are alleged. The origin of them has been already alluded to. They were written in the period of time which elapsed between the return from captivity and the birth of Christ. The historical books of the Apocrypha, therefore, supply a most important link in the history of the Jewish people. Without them we should be ignorant of the fulfilment of many of the old Testament prophecies, especially those in the book of Daniel; and should know nothing of several customs and circumstances alluded to in the new Testament, and essential to its understanding. The other books are mostly pious reflections, written by devout men, who were waiting for the consolation of Israel.

The Alexandrian Jews received them with the most profound respect. The fathers often appealed to them, and cited them; though it has been shown they mostly knew the difference between them and the writings of Moses and the Prophets. It appears that from very early times they were read in most Churches, at least in the West; as in very many were also read the Epistles of Clement and Barnabas, and the Shepherd of Hermas,[13] — not that they were esteemed Canonical, but as of high antiquity and value, and useful for instruction to the people.

In Rufinus we find a distinction between books Apocryphal and books Ecclesiastical.[14] Among the former he classed those which were wholly rejected; among the latter those which were read in Churches. His division therefore is threefold: Canonical, which embraces all those which we now receive into the Canon; Apocryphal, i. e. those which were altogether rejected; and Ecclesiastical, among which he reckons Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Tobit, Judith, Maccabees, the Shepherd of Hermas, and the like. This distinction occurs elsewhere, though some of the fathers make only a twofold division, into Canonical and Apocryphal.[15] Now the Ecclesiastical books are what we at this time call the Apocrypha; and forming part both of the Latin and Greek versions of the old Testament, they continued to be read in most Churches, from the earliest ages to the time of the Reformation.

It was not peculiar to the English reformers to speak with respect of these books. The foreign reformers use similar language, citing them as a kind of secondary authority; and especially the Swiss and Belgic Confessions, which represent the opinions of the extreme Calvinist section of the Reformation, speak in terms of honour concerning them, the latter allowing them to be read in Churches.[16] It may be added, that the Eastern Churches, which agree with us in the Canon, yet retain the Apocryphal books in their Bibles, and use them as we do.

One more argument ought not to be wholly omitted. The new Testament writers, even our Lord himself, appear often to cite from the Septuagint. We must not consider this as giving full authority to all the books of the Septuagint. Such authority we have already shown to belong only to the books of the Hebrew Canon. But it should appear, that such citations from the Septuagint would naturally commend to the Church the use of that volume as the Greek version of the Scriptures. Now that Greek version contains all the Apocryphal books. If, then, they were so mischievous, or so to be rejected, as some argue, it is scarcely to be accounted for, that neither our Lord nor any of His Apostles give any warning against them, whilst they quote, as of sacred authority, other portions of the volume which contains them.

These views, in the general, appear to have influenced our reformers to retain the Apocryphal books. They have removed them from the Sunday services, and forbidden them to be quoted as authority in matters of faith; but esteeming them as next in value to the sacred Scriptures, from the important information they contain, and from the respect which they have received from the earliest ages, they were unwilling to remove them from the place which they had so long occupied. The reformers were evidently not insensible to the evil of putting anything else on the same footing as the Canonical writings. But this danger, they justly esteemed, would be very small in the reformed Church. And experience has shown, that in this they were right in their judgment, for extreme respect for the Apocrypha has been a feeling in this country almost unknown. In this question, therefore, they appear to have adhered to the maxim which often guided them in matters of doubt, a maxim quoted with so much approbation by the famous Apologist of the English Church, and which originated in the fathers of the Council of Nice: ἔθη ἀρχαῖα κρατείτωLet ancient customs prevail.[17]

Notes

  1. Hæc enim ratio valet adversus omnes hæreses, id esse verum, quodcunque primum, id esse adulterum, quodcunque posterius. — Tertull. Adv. Prax. 2.
  2. Imprimis vero videbunt, ne quid unquam doceant pro concione, quod a populo religiose teneri et credi velint, nisi quod consentaneum sit doctrinæ Veteris aut Novi Testamenti, quodque ex illa ipsa doctrina Catholici patres, et veteres episcopi collegerint. — Cardwell’s Synodalia, I. p. 126.
  3. Cranmer, On Unwritten Verities; Jenkyns’s Cranmer’s Remains, IV. p. 229. See also p. 126, and III. p. 22.
  4. Gloster Ridley’s Life of Ridley, p. 613.
  5. Guest to Sir W. Cecil, concerning the Service Book, &c.; Strype’s Annals, I. Appendix, No. XIV.; also Cardwell’s Hist. of Conferences, p. 52.
  6. Apolog. Enchiridion Theolog. p. 184; where see the original more at length.
  7. The student may especially be referred to Bp. Beveridge, Preface to his Codex Canonum; Patrick’s Discourse about Tradition, in the first volume of Gibson’s Preservative against Popery; Dr. Waterland, On the Importance of the Doctrine of the Trinity, ch. VII.; Bp. Jebb’s Pastoral Instructions — Chapter, On the Peculiar Character of the Church of England; Bp. Kaye’s Tertullian, p. 229. See also Rev. G. S. Faber’s Primitive Doctrine of Justification; and also Primitive Doctrine of Election. On Ecclesiastical Tradition, or tradition concerning rites and discipline, see Hooker, E. P. Bks. II. and III.; Bp. Marsh’s Comparative View, ch. VII.
  8. Bp. Kaye’s Justin Martyr, ch. I. p. 2. The bishop has satisfactorily shown, that the tradition appealed to by Tertullian in the second century was no other than the kind of tradition admitted by the English Church. See Bp. Kaye’s Tertullian, p. 297, note.
  9. Patrick, On Tradition, as above.
  10. Waterland, On the Importance of the Doctrine of the Trinity, ch. VII. The note to this passage is as follows: — “So the great Casaubon, speaking both of himself and for the Church of England, and, at the same time, for Melanchthon and Calvin also: Opto cum Melanchthone et Ecclesia Anglicana, per canalem antiquitatis deduci ad nos dogmata fidei, e fonte sacræ Scripturæ derivata. — Alioquin quis futurus est innovandi finis? — Etsi omnis mea voluptas est et sola versari in lectione sacræ Scripturæ, nullam tamen inde me hausisse propriam sententiam, nullam habere, neque unquam σὺν Θεῷ εἰπεῖν, esse habiturum. Magni Calvini hæc olim fuit mens, cum scriberet præfationem suam in commentarium Epistolæ ad Romanos; non debere nos ἐν τοῖς Κυριωτάτοις, a consensu Ecclesiæ recedere,” A. D. 1611. Casaub. Epist. 744. Dan. Heinsio, p. 434. Edit. tertia Rotterdami.
  11. πόκρυϕα βίβλια or ἀπόκρυϕοι βίβλοι, so called either because their authors were unknown; or because not laid up, like the Canonical books, in the ark; or because read in private only, not in public also; though it appears from the XLVIIth Canon of the Council of Carthage, that some apocryphal books were read publicly. Suicer, s. v. ἀπόκρυϕοι. Tom. I. p. 458. The passage of Hierome alluded to is probably: “Sicut ergo Judith et Tobit et Maccabæorum libros legit quidem Ecclesia, sed inter canonicas Scripturas non recipit, sit et hæc duo volumina (h. e. libros Sapientiæ et Ecclesiastici) legat ad ædificationem plebis, non ad auctoritatem Ecclesiasticorum dogmatum confirmandam.” — Hieronym. In Libros Salomonis, Chromatio et Heliodoro. Tom. I. p. 938. Ed. Ben.
  12. The following is the answer of the Bishops to the exception of the Puritans at the Savoy Conference against the reading of the Apocrypha: “As they would have no Saints’ days observed by the Church, so no Apocryphal chapter read in the Church; but upon such a reason as would exclude all sermons as well as Apocrypha; namely, because the Holy Scriptures contain in them all things necessary either in doctrine to be believed, or in duty to be practised. If so, why so many unnecessary sermons? Why any more but reading of Scriptures? If, notwithstanding their sufficiency, sermons be necessary, there is no reason why the Apocryphal chapters should not be as useful, — most of them containing excellent discourses and rules of morality. It is heartily to be wished that all sermons were as good. If their fear be, that, by this means, those books may come to be of equal esteem with the Canon, they may be secured against that by the title which the Church hath put upon them, calling them Apocryphal; and it is the Church’s testimony which teacheth us this difference, and to leave them out were to cross the practice of the Church in former ages.” — Cardwell, Hist. of Conferences, ch. VII. p. 342.
  13. Dionysius, a bishop of Corinth in the second century, in a letter to the Church of Rome (ap. Euseb. H. E. III. 16) says, “they read on the Lord’s day Clement’s Epistle to them in their assemblies;” and Eusebius (Id. IV. 23) declares it to have been “universally received, and read in most churches,” both in his and former times. The same he says of the Shepherd of Hermas (Id. III. 3), that “it was read in many churches;” which is confirmed by Athanasius (Epist. Paschal. XXXIX.), and Rufinus (Epist. in Symb. Apost. § 36), both concerning this and other books. — Jones, On the Canon, Part I. ch. x.
  14. “Sciendum tamen est, quod et alii libri sunt qui non Canonici, sed Ecclesiastici a majoribus appellati sunt; ut est Sapientia Salomonis, et alia Sapientia quæ dicitur filii Sirach, qui liber apud Latinos hoc ipso generali vocabulo Ecclesiasticus appellatur, quo vocabulo non auctor libelli sed Scripturæ qualitas cognominata est. Ejusdem ordinis est libellus Tobiæ et Judith et Maccabæorum libri. In novo vero Testamento libellus, qui dicitur Pastoris sive Hermatis, qui appellatur duæ viæ, vel judicium Petri; quæ omnia legi quidem in Ecclesiis voluerunt, non tamen proferri ad auctoritatem ex his fidei confirmandam. Ceteras vero Scripturas Apocryphas nominarunt, quas in Ecclesiis legi noluerunt.” — Rufin. In Symb. Apost. § 38.
  15. E. g. Cyril. Cateches. IV. § 35, where he calls all Apocryphal which are not Canonical.
  16. Sylloge Confessionum. Confess. Helvet. Art. I. p. 17. Confess. Belgic. Art. VI. p. 328. The latter runs thus: Differentiam porro constituimus inter libros istos sacros et eos quos Apocryphos vocant: utpote quod Apocryphi legi quidem in Ecclesia possint, et fas sit ex illis eatenus etiam sumere documenta, quatenus cum libris Canonicis consonant; at nequaquam ea est ipsorum auctoritas et firmitas, ut ex illorum testimonio aliquod dogma de fide et religione Christiana certo constitui possit, &c.
  17. “Cur id a nobis hodie audiri non potest, quod olim in Concilio Niceno, a tot Episcopis et Catholicis Patribus, nullo refragante, pronunciatum est, ἔθη ἀρχαῖα κρατείτω — Juelli Apolog. Enchiridion Theologicum, p. 158. On the question of the reading of the Apocrypha in churches, see Hooker, E. P. v. 20. Concerning the ancient custom of reading Apocryphal books, see also Bingham, Eccles. Ant. Bk. XIV. ch. III. §§ 14, 15, 16. The following are the words of a pious and judicious writer, closely attached to a school in the English Church not particularly inclined to pay respect to the Apocrypha: “Man is a creature of extremes. The middle path is generally the wise path; but there are few wise enough to find it. Because Papists have made too much of some things, Protestants have made too little of them. . . . The Papist puts the Apocrypha into his Canon; the Protestant will scarcely regard it as an ancient record,” &c. — Cecil’s Remains, p. 364. London, 1830. [The commission to write the Scriptures is contained in the promises quoted on page 167, and the divine authority of the New Testament rests on the same premises. But these do not seem to have been made exclusively to the original Apostles, nor to have been fulfilled, as far as writing Holy Scripture is concerned, in all of them. For not all of them contributed to the New Testament, and much of what it contains was written neither by them nor under their guidance, as the Epistles of St. Paul. We are therefore obliged to add that the testimony upon which we receive certain books as inspired, is that of the early Church, which by a divinely-guided discrimination accepted what was, and rejected what was not, written by virtue and in fulfillment of those promises; and that discrimination was based upon evidence part of which is still accessible and can be appreciated by us. H. A. Y. — J. W.]

 


E. Harold Browne

(Edward) Harold Browne was an English bishop, born at Aylesbury and educated at Eton and Cambridge. He was ordained in 1836, and two years later was elected senior tutor of Emmanuel College, Cambridge. From 1843 to 1849 he was vice-principal of St David’s College, Lampeter, and in 1854 was appointed Norrisian professor of divinity at Cambridge. His best-known book is the Exposition of the Thirty-nine Articles (vol. i., Cambridge, 1850; vol. ii., London, 1853), which remained for many years a standard work on the subject and is still beloved today. In 1864 he was consecrated bishop of Ely.


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