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of our churches, in Philadelphia, by a Roman Catholic priest.” Now, as this is a matter of some consequence to us, will you be pleased to request this “ most respectable and responsible gentleman,” to tax his memory, and try to recollect in which of our churches he was, on that day. Tell him, that there are only five Catholic churches in the city; and that he may leave the two, in which Bishop Kenrick and myself officiate, out of the number. I am really curious to know in which of the other three the warning was given ; -and so słyly, it seems, that he was the only person that overheard it!!
RULE OF FAITH.
New York, 3d April, 1833. To The Rev. John Hughes, -Sir,
“No falsehood can endure Touch of celestial temper, but returns To its own likeness ;-up it starts
Discover'd and surprised.” There is a heavenly virtue in the sword of the Spirit, when faithfully wielded by the hand even of a frail man, which error cannot resist. The “ atrocious crime” of having “ told you the truth,” as to your system, and your authorities, has, I regret to perceive, disturbed your temper not a little ; and led you to depart, not only from the dignity of a minister, but from the decencies of a gentleman. Though you begin your letter with professions of decorum, you charge me in less than two columns with siz deliberate falsehoods ! But I advise you to be composed; for the good people of this country do not think by force, nor believe upon prescription. I know it is natural for a system, which has rested for ages on authority, to be impatient of inquiry into its title to dominion. But the days of unquestioned lordship over men's consciences have gone by ; and as you stand the representative of a body, claiming infallibility, wisdom suggests that you should not stumble in the example, while you are pleading for the doctrine!
Now, even admitting that I am mistaken in the interpretation of · Bellarmine, as to “fere de fide,” &c.; and of the Pope as to “ staluere articulos fidei,”--must every such mistake be charged to a WANT OF VERACITY? I put it to your Christian honour, I level it even to your common honesty-can you defend a course so much at war with candour, propriety and justice? In these references, did I not meet your call, time aster time, with quotations, translations, and expositions ? And, now, either by your extracts or mine, are not the facis on which a just judgment may be formed, fairly before the public?
But so far from thinking or owning myself mistaken, every return of my attention to the subject, and every struggle you make to shield your cause, give me increased conviction that I am right. What surprises me exceedingly is, that you cavil at these points, and make ihese charges against me, when such a mass of unanswered matter, is left by you entirely unnoticed ; and your strange liberties with ancient testimony left wholly unexplained. I will refer you for example once more, to the famous quotation from Tertullian, where you omitted half the passage, (as was shown by me in the next letter) and thus made the other half prove the very reverse of what the author intended. I have called again and again for your explanation, and you have given none !
I will here repeat the quotations side by side.
show, that Rome was the seat of the “ Survey the APOSTOLICAL CHURCHES true church, and the Pope the supreme in which the VERY CHAIRS OF TAB APOSbus and successor of Peter.
TLES STILL PRESIDE. Over their stations,
“ If you live near Italy, you see be in which their own letters are recited, fore your eyes the Roman Church. Hap- uttering the voice, and representing py Church ! to which the Apostles left the PRESENCE Of Each of them. Is Achathe inheritance of doctrines with their ia nearest to thee? Thou hast CORINTK. blood! where Peter was crucified like If thou art not far from Macedonia, thou his Master; where John was beheaded hast the Pailippians, and the TAESSAlike the Baptist."—(See letter of Mr. LONIANS. If thou canst go to Asia, thou Hughes, No. 5.
hast Epuests; but if thou art near Italy thou hast RonE, WHENCE TO US ALSO
AUTHORITY IS NEAR AT HAND." And now we ask, is this not taking a very great liberty with the evidence of this father ? Does he not put all the Apostles, and all their seats and cities, Achaia, Corinth, Philippi, Ephesus, &c., on the same footing of authority,” as Peter and Rome. Yet Mr. Hughes adduced a part of this to prove just the reverse !
I have still another illustration, if possible, more palpable than the last. It is your QUOTATION FROM STANDARDS NOT OUR OWN, to prove that the Presbyterians, united under " the General Assembly," in this country, “ FORBID THE TOLERATION OF A FALSE RELIGION.” You refer, with an air of great assurance, to the edition published by Towar & Hogan, in 1829. There was no edition of our standards published by Towar & Hogan in 1829. And in the edition published by them in 1827, the phrase which you profess to cite is not found, either in the page to which you refer, or in any other part of the book!! The public has already judged of this. In my last letter, I gave you references to our standards, repelling your unfounded and slanderous charge. You say you " find no such reference.” This fact ought to have led a candid man to suspect his mistake; and a just one to seek its correction. But you go on to give more extracts; and then call on me to account for the discrepance of our references. In responding, (1.) I assure you I hardly know how to account for it as it respects yourself ; when on a former occasion, I referred a misrepresentation of yours to ignorance, you declined the apology which it furnished Where to rest this mistake, I know not.—(2.) As to the extract itself, and the source, the only way in which I can account for your extraordinary misrepresentation is to suppose that you have availed yourself of a reprint of the Larger Catechism and Westminster Confession of Faith, as they originally appeared in Great Britain in 1647. To this you refer (in letter No. 1.) when you say with more flippancy than historic truth--"a number of men appointed at Westminster, A. D. 1647, by order of Parliament to make a religion for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.” It was a glaring perversion to say that their assembly was convoked to “ make a religion.” But now you assume this high prerogative for the Presbyterian church! Truly we are not yet prepared to take our seats by the side, or in the bosom of the church of Rome, as an intolerant communion and a persecuting power, however your hasty and selfconvicted zeal may have indiscreetly caught at the doings of another age, and land, and people, and charged them upon us ! Need I tell you at this late day, that some fifty years ago, when the basis was laid of the present union of the Presbyterian church in the United States in one General Assembly, and THE FORMULARIES of the church
prepared, all the offensive passages which you have quoted were solemnly rejected; that the passages to which I have already referred you were solemnly adopted ; that those you cite are not, and never were a part of our standards any more than the decrees of Trent ; or the creed of Pius IV. ; or the acts of the British Parliament ? While the public mind alternates between surprise at your ignorance, and suspicion of your motives, the question must often be repeated, how could he be ignorant? Yet if not, how could he have ventured on so extraordinary a misrepresentation?
I give below, in contrast, the true extracts from our standards—and that which you have transferred to us from the Times and the Realms in which the church and the state were united, and intolerance in- · separable from the very nature of that union.
Extracts from the Standards of the Mr. Hughes' misrepresentation. Presbyterian Church, on Toleration “ The standard of Presbyterianism in and the Civil Magistrate.
the United States, and in the 19th cenForm of Government, Book 1st, chap. tury, makes it a sin against the second Ist. sec. 1st. page 343, Towar & Hogan's commandment of God to TOLERATE A edition, 1827.—“They are unanimous. FALSE RELIGION, -It is true the Genely of opinion, that God alone is Lord of ral Assembly have not yet told us what the conscience, and therefore they con- religions are to be regarded as "false.' sider the right of private judgment in (Mr. H.'s Letter, No. 7.) But in the all matters that respect religion as uni- very same chapter and section, (23d versal and unalienable."
chap. 3d sec.) I find the following: Confession of Faith, 23d chapter, 3d “He" (the civil magistrate) "hath auand 4th sections.—"Civil magistrates thority, and it is his duty, to take order, may not in the least interfere with mat that unity and peace be preserved in the ters of faith-they should give no pre- church; that the truth of God be preference to any one denomination of served pure and entire; that all blaspheChristians above the rest—and ecclesi- mies and heresies be suppressed; all corastical persons should enjoy free, full, ruptions and abuses in worship and disand unquestioned liberty ;" &c. " It cipline prevented or reformed; and all is the duty of the people to pray for the the ordinances of God duly settled, admagistrates—and to be subject to their ministered and observed. For the betauthority for conscience' sake-from ter effecting whereof, he hath power to which ecclesiastical persons are not ex- call Synods, to be present at them, and empted-much less hath The Pope any to provide that whatsoever is transacted power or jurisdiction over them in their in them, be according to the mind of dominions—and least of all to deprive God." (Mr. H.'s Letter, No. 9.) them of their dominion or lives, if he shall judge them to be heretics.
It seems peculiarly fit, in juxta-position with the above, to advert to the decrees of the Council of 4th Lateran, (extracted into my last letter,) for the extermination of heretics. You ask (1.) “Do you give it as a literal and continuous translation "" I answer, unhesitatingly—I do. It is as literal as the sense will bear. (2.) You ask, “ do you affirm that in the original, it has the same general meaning that it seems to have in the quotation ?”. I answer, it is from your own “Caranza's summa conciliorum” that I quote. As I suppose you have the original, you can compare it with any extracts, and with my translation. I omitted the original for want of space alone. I consider the 2d question an indignity offered to the feelings of any honest man. Go to the original, and give us another translation, and if you can, prop a sinking cause with good sense; but do not think
to turn the edge of these solid authorities by charging me again with falsehood! Your remarks on this decree against heretics are most peculiar. You say (1.) “The council was held at a time when the feudal system was in full operation.” You give no 2d, but go on to add, "A Council was, as it were, a general congress of Christendom, in which states and sovereigns were represented," &c. Next, “ The secular representatives had nothing to do with the definition of doctrines and morals, " and the infallibility of the church had 110thing to do with any thing else.” Next, “The sovereigns, in conjunction with the clergy, deemed it a convenient time and place, to adopt such measures as might protect the altar and the ihrone ;'' lastly, the Albigenses were endangering the universal state, the universal church, and “the sovereigns (of Europe) were obliged to provide for their own safety.”
(1.) Now this council is acknowledged by your church as a general council, lawfully convened. The necessary result on your principles is, that its acts were infallible. But you are driven to defend some of its decrees by abandoning others. Yours is a strange alembic, by which you separate the secular from the infallible de
But did not this decree against the heretics direcily concern “ failh and morals ?” Heresy is relative to faith as departed from, and the murder of heretics is a violation of the moral law; and the command to do it, supposes obedience, which is a moral act. The decree designates “EVERY HERESY EXTOLLING ITSELF AGAINST THIS KOLY, ORTHODOX, CATHOLIC FAITH, WHICH WE BEFORE EXPOUNDED." - Those who before expounded this faith” were of course not culars," for you say " they had nothing to do with the definition of doctrines and morals.”—Therefore, according to your own admission, it was done ecclesiustically—and therefore infallibly. And what makes this certain is, that a little below it says, “ALL HERESIES, DENOTED BY THE CHURCH, MUST BE EXTERMINATED BY THE SECU. LAR POWER,” &c. The decree, then, is all your own.
(2.) When you call this council, a congress of Christendom,” you make the Pope by your own confession, the universal head of the state and the church. The Pope presided—it was an ecclesiastical general council—the states and sovereigns were represented in it--and the body passed decrees on the lives and property of subjects, on the crowns of princes ; and on the allegiance of subjects, as well as on matters of faith and morals; and the ultimate, the supreme sanction for bringing kings to their orthodoxy, was this;
But if the temporal lord, required and warned by the church, shall neglect to purge his territory from this heretical filth, let him, by the Metropolitan and comprovincial Bishops, be tied by the bond of excommunication ;'_",
'_"and if he scorn to satisfy within a year, let that be signified to the Pope, that he may thenceforth denounce his vassals absolved from their fidelity,” (i. e. their allegiance to their prince) and may expose, (i. e. the Pope may expose,) his country to be seized on by Catholics, who, exterminating heretics, may possess it without any contradiction-and keep it in the purity of faith.”
(3.) While crowns are thus put at the Pope's feet, and the lives of men are at his disposal, not a word is said " about providing for