I PROPOSE in the following Lectures to suggest some thoughts by way of answering an objection, which often presses on the mind of those who are inquiring into the claims of the Church, and the truth of that system of doctrine which she especially represents, and which is at once her trust and her charter. They hear much stress laid upon that Church system of doctrine; they see much that is beautiful in it, much that is plausible in the proof advanced for it, much which is agreeable to the analogy of nature—which bespeaks the hand of the Creator, and is suitable to the needs and expectations of the creature,—much that is deep, much that is large and free, fearless in its course, sure in its stepping, and singularly true, consistent, entire, harmonious, in its adjustments; but they seem to ask for more rigid proof in behalf of the simple elementary propositions on which it rests; or, in other words, by way of speaking more clearly, and as a chief illustration of what is meant (though it is not quite the same thing), let me say, they desire more adequate and explicit Scripture proof of its truth. They find that the proof is rested by us on Scripture, and therefore they require more explicit Scripture proof.
They say, "All this that you say about the Church is very specious, and very attractive; but where is it to be found in the inspired Volume?" And that it is not found there (that is, I mean not found as fully as it might be), seems to them proved at once by the simple fact, that all persons (I may say all, for the exceptions are very few),—all those who try to form their Creed by Scripture only, fall away from the Church and her doctrines, and join one or other sect or party, as if showing that, whatever is or is not scriptural, at least the Church, by consent of all men, is not so.
Discussions & Arguments (Tract 85)