Frequently Assaulted Quotes: Sacraments
Quote: “Still we dare not forsake the Sacraments, or God will forsake us.” (Life and Letters of Hort, Vol I., pg 77).
Rebuttal: Yes, Hort, like all Anglicans (including the KJV translators, btw) believe in seven Sacraments (Baptism, Lord’s Supper, Confirmation, Penance, Orders, Matrimony, and Extreme Unction). In this they are similar to Catholics and dissimilar to most other Protestants, although there are several specific differences in the view of the Sacraments between Anglicans and Catholics.
Rebuttal of Quote #2:
Quote: “By birth he may, if he will, truly live here; by baptism he may if he will, truly live forever. … I do think we have no right to exclaim against the idea of the commencement of a spiritual life, conditionally from Baptism, any more than we have to deny the commencement of a moral life from birth.” (Life and Letters of Westcott, Vol I., pg 160).
Rebuttal: Again, this is something any Anglican theologian (including the KJV translator) might say.
This does not make them Catholic, or indicate they agree with the Catholic view of baptism. But speaking more directly to this particular quote, I notice from looking at the context that certain key thoughts were conveniently “cut away” from the quote and replaced with an ellipsis before it was distributed for mass KJV-only consumption.
Here is the complete letter (to his wife) with the quoted parts in bold and important, ignored context in underline (italics and ellipsis in original):
“My dearest Mary—I quite forget whether we have ever talked upon the subject alluded to in my last note—Baptismal Regeneration—but I think we have, for it is one of the few points on which I have clear views, and which is, I am sure, more misunderstood and misrepresented than any other.
Do not we see that God generally employs means, I will not say exclusively, that He has appointed an outward Church as the receptacle of His promises, and outward rites for admission into it, and thus for being placed in a relation with Him by which we may receive His further grace ; for till we are so connected by admission into His outward Church we have no right to think that He will convey to us the benefits of His spiritual Church, when we have neglected the primary means which He provides.
It does not, of course, follow that the outward and spiritual churches are coextensive, that all who have been placed in relation with God by Baptism, and so made heirs of heaven conditionally, will avail themselves of that relation to fulfil those conditions—and here lies the ambiguity; because a child is born again into the Church of God, as he has been born into the world before, people seem to conclude that he must discharge all the duties of his new station, which in temporal matters we know he does not.
By birth he may, if he will, truly live here ; by baptism he may, if he will, truly live for ever.
I do not say that Baptism is absolutely necessary, though from the words of Scripture I can see no exception, but I do think we have no right to exclaim against the idea of the commencement of a spiritual life conditionally from Baptism, any more than we have to deny the commencement of a moral life from birth. . . .
You quite misunderstood my scruples about Articles; it is that I object to them altogether, and not to any particular doctrines ; I have at times fancied that it is presumptuous in us to attempt to define, and to determine what Scripture has not defined ; to limit when Scripture has placed no boundary; to exact what the Apostles did not require; to preach explicitly what they applied practically.
The whole tenor of Scripture seems to me opposed to all dogmatism; and full of all application ; to furnish us with rules of life, and not food for reason; but perhaps I carried this idea too far, for as men will reason, it may be necessary to erect landmarks and prescribe bounds. I only wish men would pay more attention to acting and less to dogmatising.
You will now understand my whole meaning.
It is not perhaps very serious, but like all other ideas it grows, and I doubt whether I may not be in danger of yielding more to my hopes and prospects than they can demand—even my convictions of simple, truthful Christianity.
Yet, my dearest Mary, ever “remember,” and then we cannot go wrong. . . .
Rebuttal of Quote #3:
Quote: “We maintain ‘Baptismal Regeneration’ as the most important of doctrines…the pure Romish view seems to me nearer, and more likely to lead to the truth than the Evangelical.” (Life and Letters of Hort, Vol I., pg 76)
Rebuttal: This quote is along the lines of the quotes already presented, and is even in the same letter as quote #1 above, so I will not repeat my commentary here.
However, I will add that the quote, like many others, has been carefully edited to hide the opposite meaning of why the quote was distributed in the first place.
The quote is meant to make Hort look like a Catholic, when in fact he was opposed to Catholicism.
• Some of the words that were stripped from the full quote and replaced with an ellipsis are: “claiming for ourselves that title, and letting the Romanisers find out the difference between their view and ours if they will;”
• Clearly Hort differentiate himself from “the Romanisers”. Later in the same letter, he goes on to say (underline added): “the Bible then was closed, but now, thanks to Luther, it is open, and no power (unless it be the fanaticism of the bibliolaters, among whom reading so many ‘chapters’ seems exactly to correspond to the Romish superstition of telling so many dozen beads on a rosary) can close it again ; a curious proof of which is afforded by the absurd manner in which the ‘Anglo-Catholics’ defend, as they think, the Bible from ‘Rationalists’;” (Ibid., p. 77).
Hort, as an Anglican, was opposed to what he saw as extremes: Catholicism on one end and evangelical Protestants on the other.