Now then, first, let me state the objection itself, which is to be considered. It may be thrown into one or other of the following forms: that "if Scripture laid such stress, as we do, upon the ordinances of Baptism, Holy Eucharist, Church Union, Ministerial Power, Apostolical Succession, Absolution, and other rites and ceremonies,—upon external, or what is sometimes called formal religion,—it would not in its general tenor make such merely indirect mention of them;—that it would speak of them as plainly and frequently as we always speak of them now; whereas every one must allow that there is next to nothing on the surface of Scripture about them, and very little even under the surface of a satisfactory character." Descending into particulars, we shall have it granted us, perhaps, that Baptism is often mentioned in the Epistles, and its spiritual benefits; but "its peculiarity as the one plenary remission of sin," it will be urged, "is not insisted on with such frequency and earnestness as might be expected—chiefly in one or two passages of one Epistle, and there obscurely" (in Heb. vi. and x.) Again, "the doctrine of Absolution is made to rest on but one or two texts (in Matt. xvi. and John xx.), with little or no practical exemplification of it in the Epistles, where it was to be expected. Why," it may be asked, "are not the Apostles continually urging their converts to rid themselves of sin after Baptism, as best they can, by penance, confession, absolution, satisfaction? Again, why are Christ's ministers nowhere called Priests? or, at most, in one or two obscure passages (as in Rom. xv. 16)? Why is not the Lord's Supper expressly said to be a Sacrifice? why is the Lord's Table called an Altar but once or twice (Matt. v. and Heb. xiii.), even granting these passages refer to it? why is consecration of the elements expressly mentioned only in one passage (1 Cor. x.) in addition to our Lord's original institution of them? why is there but once or twice express mention made at all of the Holy Eucharist, all through the Apostolic Epistles, and what there is said, said chiefly in one Epistle? why is there so little said about Ordination? about the appointment of a Succession of Ministers? about the visible Church (as in 1 Tim. iii. 15)? why but one or two passages on the duty of fasting?"

"In short, is not (it may be asked) the state of the evidence for all these doctrines just this—a few striking texts at most, scattered up and down the inspired Volume, or one or two particular passages of one particular Epistle, or a number of texts which may mean, but need not mean, what they are said by Churchmen to mean, which say something looking like what is needed, but with little strength and point, inadequately and unsatisfactorily? Why then are we thus to be put off? why is our earnest desire of getting at the truth to be trifled with? is it conceivable that, if these doctrines were from God, He would not tell us plainly? why does He make us to doubt? why does 'He keep us in suspense?' [John x. 24.]—it is impossible He should do so. Let us, then, have none of these expedients, these makeshift arguments, this patchwork system, these surmises and conjectures, and here a little and there a little, but give us some broad, trustworthy, masterly view of doctrine, give us some plain intelligible interpretation of the sacred Volume, such as will approve itself to all educated minds, as being really gained from the text, and not from previous notions which are merely brought to Scripture, and which seek to find a sanction in it. Such a broad comprehensive view of Holy Scripture is most assuredly fatal to the Church doctrines." "But this (it will be urged) is not all; there are texts in the New Testament actually inconsistent with the Church system of teaching. For example, what can be stronger against the sanctity of particular places, nay of any institutions, persons, or rites at all, than our Lord's declaration, that 'God is a Spirit, and they that worship Him, must worship Him in spirit and in truth'? or against the Eucharistic Sacrifice, than St. Paul's contrast in Heb. x. between the Jewish sacrifices {117} and the one Christian Atonement? or can Baptism really have the gifts which are attributed to it in the Catholic or Church system, considering how St. Paul says, that all rites are done away, and that faith is all in all?"