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bly evident. You certainly cannot be ignorant, that several books, which in the first ages laid claim to inspired authority, are not in the canon. Of these I may name a few—the Gospel according to the Hebrews, or according to the Apostles-- the memoirs of the Apostles-quoted frequently by Justin Martyr,--and different tracts under the names of Peter, Paul, Matthias, and other Apostles. (See Euseb. lib. iii. c. 3. 24.) Why, then, are those left out of the reformed canon of the Protestant Scriptures ? On the other hand, the inspiration of the Epistle of St. James, the Epistle of St. Jude, the Epistle to the Hebrews, the second Epistle of St. Peter, the second and third of St. John, and the book of Revelations, was controverted in the same ages. And why, I would again ask, are these admitted into your reformed canon? Luther admitted the Epistle of St. James, in his edition of 1529 and 1534, but scornfully expelled it from those of 1535 and 1540. It continued to be excluded from the following Lutheran editions after his death ; viz, that of 1548,--66,-72–75, --82,--89,-93,--99. So, also was the Epistle of St. Jude excluded from the edition published in 1619. The Apocalypse is excluded from the same editions, and that of 1609.
As to the Epistle to the Hebrews, the good " Reformer" did not know exactly what to think! After the iwo editions, of 1529 and 1534, it was agreed, that it should be retained, and tolerated as apocryphal, and so it continued in the Lutheran Bibles, until the time of the two Wallemburgs, say 1669. Now every Protestant has the same right to sport with the sacred books that Luther had. And since the Scriptures themselves, do not determine what books are canonical and what books are not, is it not something like arrogance for you or Mr. Martin Luther to mutilate the inspired volume, and lop off, at your pleasure, branches from the tree of life, by capriciously applying the pruning hook of private, individual opinion. By what rule, then, can you prove according to the Protestant principle of belief, that these books are canonical,
and that those are not canonical ? Let the General Assembly try their wisdom on the question.
5. The Protestant rule of faith supposes, that the Scriptures are plain and obvious in their meaning. And yet, the plea for the Reformation, and the cry of the Reformers, was, that the whole Catholic Church had been mistaken as to the true meaning of this same book ;—which was so plain withal, that every Protestant, who has been blessed with ten months' education, may take it up and “ read as he runs !"--and that every such Protestant, is bound to believe, that his crude conception of its meaning, make him wiser and more infallible, than all the councils, FATHERS, TEACHERS, PASTORS and PEOPLE, of all the ages of the Christian church!!!
6. But even admitting the absurd supposition, that such a man is qualified to understand the meaning of what the book says, how does he know that the book is, in all respects, the same now, that it was, when it came from the hands of its inspired authors ? Has it been correctly translated ? Has it been fairly copied, from one manuscript to another, previous to printing ? These are difficulties, for which his rule of faith furnishes no solution. And these difficulties are increased an hundred fold, when he remembers that the Scrip
lures were in the keeping of the Catholic Church, which the prejudices of his education have taught him to look upon, as a universal anti-Christian conspiracy; and that the work of transcribing the Bible, generally devolved on those Monks, whose name is synonymous, in his mind, with ignorance, dishonesty, perfidiousness and cruelty. • What !” he will ask with astonishment;" is it from such a source, that we receive the written word of God ?"— Yes,--gentle reader --do not be startled at the discovery. Before the squabble between Martin Luther and Leo X. in the sixteenth century, there was not a single Protestant in the whole universe, to take care of the Bible. Mr. Breckinridge inay tell you, that God was pleased to reveal the Protestant rule of faith 1500 years after he had revealed the Christian religion—and that the Holy Bible was not in the least tainted, by the tide of corruption, on which it floated down. But, you may reply to him, in my name, that God could have preserved the doctrines of the Church in the same way—and that, if Martin Luther believesi her, when she told him, that the Scriptures are the INSPIRED written word of God ;-he might have believed her, when she told him, what doctrines they contained—especially, when it is remembered that it was he, and not the Church, that undertook to give them a new meaning, with which Christianity, during the same space of 1500 years had been totally unacquainted. With this remark I leave my reader, and my Rev. opponent, to finish the dialogue. The latter will have an opportunity to speak for himself; and the public will see how he will meet these difficulties.
The Catholic believes the iNFALLIBILITY of the church. The grounds of this belief, are briefly stated in my last two letters ; particularly in No. 5. He knows that there has been no such thing as a moral DEATH, or chasm, in the teaching and belief of those doctrines, which Christ revealed, and men are bound to receive, as they value their salvation. He knows, that in this sense, the church is a witness to the universe; and, as he receives her testimony when she says, that the Scriptures are the inspired word of God, that she received and preserved them as such: so he receives her testimony, when she says, that the opinions of heretics-no matter of what age or country, are not the doctrines, which she received, with the Scriptures, from Jesus Christ and his Apostles,--and he yields, but a "reasonable obedience,” to her authority, when she admonishes him, not to follow the notions of Martin Luther, or any other individual.
Wishing to stand corrected, as to the length of my letter, by the gentle reproof of our publishers, and the moral of the “wounded snake,” with which you begin your last epistle, I deem it prudent to hasten to a conclusion. There are one or two points, however, which you have protruded on the consideration of our readers with no other view that I can perceive, except to gratify prejudice, where it exists, and to divert general attention from your palpable abandonment of the rule of faith. To these I shall briefly advert,—although, until you have agreed to clear up the points, on which we are at issue, IN THE WAY I have proposed ;-I feel that the moral sense of the com
munity would sustain me in refusing to notice any reserence of yours, in which the whole passage is not quoted.
In your last epistle you ask me, to "explain what Pope Nicholas meant, when he said to the Emperor Michael, “ 'The Pope is a God AND THEREFORE MEN CANNOT JUDGE HIM." Now, as you have the modesty in this instance, to acknowledge that it is instruction you stand in need of, I should be sorry to refuse what you desire. Know then, and understand in the first place, that Pope Nicholas never said, “the Pope is a God.” Here I might stop:-but seconilly, know and understand that the Emperor Michael, had expelled Ignatius, Patriarch of Constantinople from his see :-and that Pope Nicholas was expostulating with him, on the unlawfulness of disturbing the SPIRITUAL ORDER of the church, by the exercise of secular power. Among other things, he reminds the Emperor, that his predecessor, Constantine the Great, when called upon to sit in judgment on the bishops of the church, refused to do so; and, addressing them in the figurative language of the Scripture, (Psalm lxxxi. 6.) said to them: « Vos dii estis, a vero Deo constituti".
-_Ye are Gods, appointed by the true God”—10 show, that he, Constantine, regarded their spiritual authority, as an authority FROM God, and therefore too SACRED for the judgment of temporal princes, and the interference of secular power. Similar language was used, in similar circumstances, by Theodosius the younger. And these are the examples, which Pore Nicholas is holding up to the memory of the Emperor Michael, to induce him to desist, and to show him how much the Emperors, his predecessors, had respected the authority of God, in the persons of his ministers ;--and that, though he could command armies, and ravage provinces, yet he could neither bestow, nor take away, the spiritual auihority of a bishop, in the church of Christ. Constantine used the words in the sense I have mentioned. Pope Nicholas did not use them as his own; but referred to them in the sense, and for the purpose here stated. He speaks of himself, in the document, as the humble " minister" of Jesus Christ.
If, then, you had waited for this information; you would not have exposed yourself
, nor deceived your readers, by building the following assertion on the circumstance, which I have just explained. Your words are evidence of zeal, which would better befit a better cause : but it is not " the zeal according to knowledge.”' “ The Pope usurps the rights of the people, and the seat of the Saviour, and would sit enthroned on the riches of the commonwealth of Israel. In a word your infallible CHURCH, thus speaks of the Pope ; and your infallible Pope loves to have it 80.” On this whole concern, I have only to say, that if I were found as you are, in this matter, I feel that Catholics would blush for me:-and that heaven will judge the calumnies that have been heaped on the Catholic church and on her supreme visible head-the Bishop of Rome.
You make a long extract from the Council of Lateran :-on which I have two questions to ask you. First, do you give it as a literal and continuous translation? Second, do you affirm that in the original it has the same general meaning that it seems to have in the quota
tion? As you say you have the "original before you,” you can, of course, have no difficulty in giving a positive answer to these questions. In the mean time, a little information on the character of that quotation, or rather the circumstances to which it relates, may not be useless or uninteresting to the reader.
It is to be observed, in the first place, that this council was held at a time when the feudal system was in its full operation. A council was, as it were, the general congress of Christendom; in which, states and sovereigns were represented for the purpose of conferring together, on such matters, as concerned the general welfare. These secular representatives had nothing to do with the definitions of doctrines or morals ;-and the infallibilily of the church had nothing to do with ANY THING ELSE. Still, it was deemed the most convenient time and place, for sovereigns and statesmen, to adopt such means in conjunction with the clergy, as might protect the altar and the throne; or, as the exigencies of the period required. The social picture, mingled theocracy and civil policy, of the puritan settlements in New England, presents but a diminutive analogy, when the pilgrim fathers and their immediate successors, (not to speak of other things far more serious,) would hardly ring the town-house bell, unless they found a text of Scripture for it.
At the period of this Council the Albigenses were scattering the materials of civil and religious revolution, in the bosom of peaceable cmpires ;-among nations, which acknowledged but one God, and knew but one religion, whereby he was to be worshipped. Sovereigns were obliged to provide for their own safely. They may have foreseen those consequences which Mr. Breckinridge proclaims would have resulted from the toleration of the Bible Society in Russia. They would have been obliged to abolish the institutions just as the Albigenses might think proper to direct, or “else lose their crown.” This was the fate, we are told, which awaited the Russian autocrat if he
had not put down the Bible Society!!! If this be so, as Mr. Breck• inridge asserts, then there is no man, who, placed in the same situ
ation, and foreseeing the consequences, would not have done the same thing as Alexander. So it was in the temporal regulations adopted by the commingled representatives of Church and States, at the general council of Lateran. Had they not the right, I would ask, as the majority, by a million to one, to take measures for the common welfare? The doctrine of Christ teaches submission to the powers that be :" -Consequences, such as you predicted of the Bible Society in Russia, have always followed the footsteps of fanaticism. Had not, then, the Catholic kings, and Catholic barons, and Catholic vassals, and all the orders of feudalism in Catholic Europe, the right, by virtue of their majority, to take precautions against such consequences? No Republican, I should think, would deny it. You have said, indeed, that “you render unto Cæsar the things that are Cæsar's”-speaking, I presume, in the name of your Church. But your hypothetical prediction, in reference to “ Bible Society in Russia,” is rather a strange commentary on the text. And, by the bye, is it not a singular coincidence with your remark, that “Cæsar” never was in the power of your Church, but once; and that then the “ tribute mo
ney" was paid with the blood of a Protestant king! Should you not, then, delicately touch the subject of persecution, until you can persuade yourself that history has lost her MEMORY? At a time when there were not, perhaps, a million of Presbyterians in the whole world, Mr. John Knox, the insular founder of Presbyterianism, laid it down as a maxim, that, “ It is not only lauful to punish unto the death, such as labour to subvert the true religion ;--but the magistrates and people ARE BOUND 80 to do, unless they will provoke the wrath of God against themselves.” (Appellation of John Knox annexed to his History of the Reformation, page 25.) Had not Catholic Europe as good a right to take measures of safety, against the revolutionary spirit, of a few religious innovators in the twelfth century;--as a few religious innovators had to “punish unto the death,” all those who should contradict Their religious opinions, in the sixteenth century ? Now, I again submit to your cool reflection, whether it would not be as profitable to your fame, and to your cause, if you would condescend to redeem your signature, by "adhering strictly to the subject of discussion for the time being” --as it has been, to wander into the labyrinths of irrelevant matter, from which you do not seem to have well studied the faculties of retreat.
In conclusion, I would remark, that my charity for the mass of Protestants, has been infinitely enlarged, by my experience in this conroversy. I would not dare to question the wisdom or the justice of that divine Being, who permits it to be so:~But when I consider the character of their books, and the weapons of their theologians, I can hardly imagine how it could be otherwise. They hate truth; not because it is truth ; but because their ministers, and their books teach them to regard truth as error. And they are confirmed in their hatred, by the general " delusion” which teaches them to regard the prejudices, that have been instilled by their books, and education as the testimony of the pure word of God, THE BIBLE ALONE. of them, after having been “ tossed to and fro," on the deluge of religious opinions, with which Protestantism has inundated the world, and not finding whereon to rest their foot, would return, like the weary dove, to the “ ark," from which their fathers, in an hour of irritation and excitement, inconsiderately launched forth into the great deep. For myself, it has taught me to bless God with inexpressible gratitude, for having permitted to be born in the Catholic Church of Christ; otherwise, I might have ranked among the fiercest of her opponents, and imagined that, in persecuting her, even with my pen, I was “
doing God service.” Thus, I may say with the poet, though not in the literal sense, Haud ignarus mali, miseris succurrere disco.
John Hughes. P. S.-Bishop Kenrick is entirely satisfied with your explanation of the mistake;" —which, it seems, was not a mistake, after all; since that “ most respectable and responsible gentleman, on whose authority you relied, still insists that such a warning, (viz. a prohibition to read this controversy,) was given, on the day named, and in one