Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

tion; the doctrine of man's depravity ; the doctrine of the final destruction of the wicked; the doctrine that Christ is the only head of the Church; the doctrine that all sin is mortal is not repented of ; the doctrine that the Church of Rome should be broken off

, if it became corrupt ; (Epistle to the Romans, chap. ii. 18-25 verses.) the doctrine, that it is a great sin to make and worship images ; the doctrine, that none but God can pardon sin; the doctrine, that the cup as well as the bread is to be used in the sacrament of the Supper; the doctrine, that the Bible is a sufficient rule of faith ; the doctrine, that force is never to be applied to compel conformity ? I say are not all these PUBLIC TRUTHS, and POSITIVE FACTS ? And if so, do we need an infallible guide to find them out, or understand them? If, as you say, a divine or personul infallibility is not necessary to verify them,” any more than to verify " the facts that 2 and 4 make 6;"* and if, like it, they are propositions which are infallibly true," why may we not give the Bible to the people as a sufficient rule of faith? And why should I go to Rome to catch light from the sickly taper of the Pope? And why should he sit in empty state crying · out “ the temple of the Lord the temple of the Lord are we,” and trim this dying taper, when the Sun of Righteousness has arisen upon the earth? Surely this system " decayeth and waxeth old, and is ready to vanish away."

I have a single thought to add, to this part of the discussion. It is suggested by the following extract from the Catholic Herald of Feb. 28th, on private interpretation of Scripture."

6. We will recommend them (the people) to search the Scriptures, for they bear testimony of Christ and his church. But when they have once come to the knowledge of Christ and his church, then they need inquire no further, with a view of making new discoveries in matters of faith, but should become like little children, and receive the word of truth in the humble simplicity of faith from those whom Christ commissioned to teach, and whom he commanded us to hear and obey. The words search the Scripture,' seek and ye shall find,' do not apply to believing Christians ?" I pass by the extraordinary position that Christians need not search the Scripture. It speaks for itself. But the writer concedes that the Scripture ought to be searched by men until they find out Christ and the true church.

Here they need inquire no more." But I would ask, how are we guided in our search until then? By what aid do we find out the true church ? The true church being unknown, is there any help to any man but private interpretation? So then every man must at least, if he joins any church, if he chooses any religion, do it by private interpretation. In a former number I presented this difficulty to you; you have not met it. Let me remind you of it in repeating the quotation from the Rev. Mr. M'Guire, Amicable Discussion, page 134. He owns, that " the Catholic has only to exercise his PRIVATE JUDGMENT upon the Scripture proofs of the authority of the church ; that once established, the Catholic is enabled to make an act of faith upon divine authority.” Others call it “ PRUDENTIAL MOTIVES," "STRONG PROBABILITY," &c. Now to any impartial mind, I think this is a total surrender of your rule of faith. But I wish you explicitly to avow or

disavow this position, and to explain to us this principle. In my next letter, if my life is spared, I design to enlarge upon the Bible as the rule of faith, and to meet your remaining " objections.” I had wished to do this in the present number, but must pass, lastly, to mention some things of a miscellaneous character.

The first I notice, is your entire silence about the quotation from Tertullian, in which I convicted you, (excuse the word, for you force it upon me,) of garbling the passage, and leaving out one half, and making the other half prove the very reverse of what the father meant. Why are you silent? You are silent also about Bellarmine and “fere de fide.In your previous letter you said, I defy you to quote ten lines before, and ten lines after it, without convicting yourself of what is not becoming a minister of the Gospel.—The reader will recollect that in my letter, (No. 4.) I had quoted a few words from Bellarmine, to illustrate other proofs, that your church claims and uses the right to make new articles of faith. Now let us for a moment return to this mooted question, especially as you informed me in Philadelphia that Bellarmine was a standard author in your church. Three lines above the quotation, a new chapter begins ; 80 that seven of the first ten lines you call for, are on another subject ; yet I will give them, if you wish it. It would seem then, that you had not the book, and spoke at random, not knowing what was there, and what not there. Here follow ten lines below, and three above the quotation-from the beginning of the chapter. Bellarmine, chap. 17. lib. 2.

Prop. Third. The supreme Pontiff Tertia propositio: summus pontifex, is simply and absolutely above the simpliciter, et absolute est supra eccle- church universal, and above a general siam universam, et supra concilium council, so that he acknowledges no generale, ita ut nullum in terris supra se jurisdiction on earth above himself. judicium, agnoscat. Hæc etiam est This is also all BUT AN ARTICLE OF FERE DE FIDE, et probatur primo et faith, and is proved (1) from the two duabus præcedentibus: nam si Papa preceding: for if the Pope is the head est caput ecclesiæ universæ, etiam sic of the church universal, even when mul congregatæ, et ecclesia universa met in assembly together, and if the simul congregata non habet ullam po- church universal when thus assembled, testatem ratione suæ totalitatis: sequi- has no power, on the ground (simply) tur Papam supra concilium esse, et su- of its totality; it follows that the Pope pra ecclesiam, non contra.

is above a council, and above the

church and not contrary (to either.) Secundo probatur ratitione, in scrip (2) It is proved by an argument turis fundata: nam omnia nomina, quæ founded in the Scriptures : for all the in scripturis tribuuntur Christo, unde names, which in the Scriptures are apconstat eum esse supra ecclesiam, ea- plied to Christ, proving him to be dem omnia tribuuntur Pontifici: ac above the church, are in like manner primum, Christus est pater-familias in applied to the Pontiff as first, Christ is domo sua, quæ est ecclesia. Pontifex, Pater-familias-head of the family in in eadem, est summus æconomus, id his own house, which is the church. est, pater-familias loco Christi.-Luc. The Pontiff is high steward in the xii. 42.

same, that is, he is Pater-familias in

the place of Christ.—Luke xii. 42. I here pass by his profaneness in saying, that all Christ's titles are applied in the Bible to the Pope ; and also his weakness in quoting Luke xii. 42, as proof, when in Luke xii. 46–48. (three verses below,) his whole system is exploded.

But observe, (1.) The author expressly declares the opinion, that

the Pope is above a general council, and above the universal church. (2.) He affirms that this opinion is ALMOST AN ARTICLE OF FAITH, (3.) In the same chapter, and on the same subject, he says, “ Quod vero concilium hoc rem istam non definierit, proprie, ut decretum fide Catholica tenendum, dubium est, et ideo non sunt proprie heretici, qui contrarium sentiunt, sed a temeritate magna excusari non possunt.” But whereas the Council did not strictly define this matter, as a decree to be held by the Catholic faith, it is subject to DOUBT, and therefore they are not properly heretics, who maintain a contrary opinion, yet they cannot be freed from the charge of great temerity.

Is it not plain then, that an opinion may be ALMOST AN ARTICLE OF FAITH ; or DOUBTFUL, (in your unchangeable, infallible church,) and that it may grow into an ARTICLE ;-and be so near an article that it be DOUBTFUL whether it be one or not; and be LIKE an article, that he who rejects it is almOST A HERETIC. And now, (begging you not to be silent about this in your next letter,) I ask you, if you had not Bellarmine in your possession, how could you deny so positively that the author bore such a testimony ; and how could you venture to level such a charge at me while ignorant of what he said? But if you had his work before you, then you must not complain, if retorting with proof your groundless charge, I say, “ You are convicted of what is not becoming a minister of the Gospel.If you had the work before you, how can these things be explained ? I leave you to solve the problem, and shun, if you can, so peculiar a dilemma.

I would next recall you for a moment to the injured words statuere articulos fidei. I supposed myself addressing one sufficiently a scholar to know or to search out the real meaning of these words. I assure you the omission of the word "NEW" had no design in it. You know as well as I do, that “to constitute new articles," and to constitute articles,” convey essentially the same idea. Dr. Johnson defines " constitute" to give formal existence, to make any thing what it is, to erect, &c. And this is what I meant to say, that the Pope condemned Luther for denying, that the Pope or Council had a right to constitute,(to give formal existence to, or erect) articles, or make new articles of faith. But it is in vain, by shallow and evasive criticism, to attempt to shun the force of the word “ statuere." Bailey defines it, " to set up; to raise ; erect, appoint, ordain, decree.' The word, I am well aware, has various shades of meaning ; but an honest critic, not to say a learned one, must see at a glance, when you translate it " define articles of faith,or “ determine questions,” that it is a mere evasion of the force of the phrase. Thus Cicero says,

“ Statui columellam,” I have erected, (defined, you say) a little pillar. Virgil, “ Ipse Pater statuit quid luna moneret.” The eternal Father hath decreed the courses of the moon. Horace, “Qui statuit te, meo agro." Who planted thee (a tree, you would say defined) in my soil ?

You next bring to view, one of a multitude of my "objections," (from letter 4) under the head of “ unwarrantable liberties, taken by the church of Rome, with the word of God.In exposing the utter fallibility of your rule, I showed your additions to the word of God; you pass them by ; I showed a pious fraud of your church ; you pass

it by : I referred to the twelve new articles of faith added by the Council of Trent; you pass them by : I referred to the astonishing corruptions and perversions of your translations of the Bible ; you pass them by : but you faintly rally, with "a word of contradiction," as to the charge that you mutilate the second commandment. When I speak of the second commandment, I mean, that which forbids images and idolatry—and not the third, which your church makes the second. As you are silent about the various versions in which I stated that the second commandment was clipped or omitted, shall we infer that you admit it? And again as to

to "the Doway Catechism," and " the Poor Man's Catechism,” what have you to say in defence of the mistranslation of the passage,

" thou shalt not BOW Down thyself to them," into this, “thou shalt not adore or worship them?' And now I ask, will you deny that the “catechismus ad Parochos" runs thus: “Primum præceptum Decalogi, &c. Non habebis Deos alienos coram me,” (Here ends the first commandment.) 2d. Non facies tibi sculptibile, &c. &c.; and these four words are all that are quoted ? The translations of the catechism into various languages carry out the same plan, in substance. The Montpelier catechism adds a few more words. The Irish, drops the whole. “ The Christian doctrine,” by the Rev. Father James Ledesma, published by permission of the “ superiors,” wholly omits the second, and for the fourth commandment, has this “ Remember to sanctify the Holy days." Please then excuse me from " muking corrections, -until your church corrects her treatment of the word and law of God.

Such is your Diarrhea verborum, that I fear I shall weary the indulgent reader in the circuit of reply; but as we are upon proofs which you challenge, it must be done. Then as to Bellarmine, I still insist that he makes the Pope, living, infallible law; and you, not I, pervert his reasoning. He argues that the Pope cannot err in decretis fidei, in decrees as to faith, neque in præceptis morum, nor in moral precepts. His reasoning is this : The church is bound to submit to the Pope because he cannot err; and while he owns that in the judgment of the church virtue is good, and vice evil, yet whatever the Pope enjoins is law; and the subversion of moral principle would not be such an evil as the subversion of his infallibility. In other words, the Pope must be followed, right or wrong. But I would ask you in your next letter to explain what Pope Nicholas says to the Emperor Michael, (quoted in may last.) The Pope Is A GoD, AND THEREFORE MEN CANNOT JUDGE HIM.

What will you say to the following? Immutat substantialem rei naturam, puta faciendo de illegitimo legitimum. Durand, 1, 50.He (the Pope) can change the very nature of a thing for example ; he can make that lawful, which is unlawful. Habet plenitudinem potestatis, et supra jus est. Gibert, 2. 103.

Gibert, 2. 103. He possesses plenitude of power, and is above law. He is then above law, can change law, and transmute right into wrong, and wrong into right; is in a word, "a God on earth,” even “our Lord God, the Pope.” It is indeed a desperate escape you make, from these profane `authorities, to compare this deification of the Pope, with the amiable hyperbole of a

man.

grateful people, who sometimes in the fervour of their praise, may have said “the godlike Washington.” Washington is called godlike ; I will not defend it; the Pope is called God. Washington made no such pretensions ; he bowed to the laws, which under God, his unparalleled courage and wisdom had done so much to establish. 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 so. Never then join together again, names and pretensions so dissimilar, and so discordant.

We come next to the subject of the validity, or rather invalidity of oaths, in the Roman Church. By your own admission, then, " Ecclesiastical utility makes it right io violate an oath.He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not,” is David's good

But here is the old Popish maxim, that the end justifies the means. The interest of the church must be regarded, though a lawful oath lie in the way. You talk of the factious minority' of an infallible Council, and of the Council of Basle as a spurious as sembly.What will you say of the Council of the 4th Lateran decreeing, that the subjects of heretical sovereigns were freed from their allegian, e? What of the Council of Constance declaring in solemn sessions, that Emperors, &c. &c. are not bound to keep their promise of security made to heretics, or to persons accused of heresy. Here observe that the heretic may be ever so innocent of any crime against the state-but his 66 heresy” in doctrine is enough, (as the case of Jolin Huss,) to tear him from the civil power, to be tried by the Church, and then handed back, to be put to death by the same civil power.

And now let me gratisy you, in the call for the document, “ in which the Pope anathematizes the living men who circulate the Bible." In using the word 66 anathema,” it may be that, from want of familiarity with the weapon, I may have not applied it in its strictly technical meaning; but if the spirit of the following sentences is not that of an anathema, I should scarcely know whither to go in search of such a spirit. "The Pope's CIRCULAR LETTER,” May 3d, 1824. " It is no secret to you, venerable brethren, that a certain society, vulgarly called THE BIBLE Society,' (audaciter vagari) is audaciously dispreading itself through the whole world. After despising the traditions of the Holy Fathers, and in opposition to the well known decree of the Council of Trent, (session the fourth, on the publication and use of the sacred books,) this society has collected all its forces, and directs every means to one object, to the translation, or rather to the perversion of the BIBLE into the vernacular languages of all nations ! From this fact, there is strong ground of fear, lest, as in some instances already known, so likewise in the rest, through a perverse interpretation, there be framed out of the Gospel of Christ, a Gospel of man, or, what is worse, a Gospel of the Devil.” (St. Je. rome, chap. 1. Epis. ad Galat.)

Alexander, Emperor of Russia, having tried Bible Societies for a short time, found the spirit of liberty, and the power of light so great, that he must abolish them, or lose his crown. And he issued

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »