« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
In conclusion, we cannot too strongly urge it upon our readers never for one moment to lend an ear to the calumnies of the enemies of the Jesuits. Who are those enemies ?
The enemies of God and of his Church, - the impious, the abandoned, the insane.
Indeed, no encomium can speak more eloquently the praises of the Society of Jesus, or more effectually commend it to our respect, than a retrospective comparison of the character and avowed sentiments of its opponents on the one hand, and its partisans and defenders on the other. For, if such men as Marion and Servin, Pombal and D’Aranda, Choiseul and Florida Bianca, Calvin and Beza, Arnauld and St. Cyr, Voltaire and D'Alembert, and, in this our day, Guizot, Michelet, and Eugene Sue, accompanied by a dense cloud of infidels and blasphemers, have been associated in desperate league to oppose, vilify, and persecute the Society of Jesus, it has not been, we may be certain, with an eye to the advancement of the glory of the Most High, and the dissemination of Christianity, and the amelioration of society, and the preservation of law and order ; but rather to compass an end dark and sinister, to overturn established governments, to blast virtue, to sap the foundations of Christianity, to break in pieces the chair of St. Peter, to exterminate the Catholic faith. The confusion of ideas, the infidelity, the crimes and unutterable abominations which immediately followed the suppression of the Order, and the fiendish exultations of those by whose efforts and writings it was effected, constitute an imperishable evidence of the truth and justice of our assertion.
If, on the other hand, we consider that among the friends and warm defenders of the Jesuits are to be numbered thirty illustrious popes, - a St. Charles, a St. Philip Neri, a St. Theresa, a St. Francis of Sales, a St. Vincent of Paul, a St. Liguori, and a host of saints and martyrs who have been at once the pride of Christianity and the glory of their age, not one of whom ever breathed a word against the Jesuits, but all of whom have coöperated with them and combated for them ; the most illustrious emperors of the German confederation, from Rodolph to Maria Theresa, Henry the Fourth of France, and Louis the Fourteenth, Sobieski, John the Third and Fifth of Portugal, Frederick of Prussia, and Catherine of Russia, the kings and princes of the north and of the south; all the members, with the exception of some three or four who had scandalized the faithful by their disorders or heresies, — all the
VOL. III. NO. II.
members of the Sacred College of Cardinals, the most venerable and learned body in the world ; archbishops and bishops occupying the most distinguished sees, such as Hovius, Bossuet, Fénélon, and the illustrious De Beaumont; generals and fathers of the different religious orders, the Benedictines, the Dominicans, the Cistercians, the Franciscans, the Augustinians, the Carmelites, the Trinitarians, the Theatins, and the Barnabites, who, magnanimously forgetting every sentiment of rivalry, warmly and eloquently espoused the cause of the persecuted Jesuits; magistrates and scholars, patriots and poets, historians and philosophers, Montesquieu and Le Jay, Tasso and Corneille, Leibnitz and Bacon, Descartes and Buffon, De Maistre and Bonald, Chateaubriand and O'Connell; - if, we say, such men be the friends and defenders of the Jesuits, may we not, ought we not to, be justified in honoring and revering them as the most fearless and potent champions of truth, as the most unsparing enemies of vice and irreligion, and as the most enlightened beralds of civilization ?
Happy art thou, my country, refuge of the exile and home of the pilgrim, to have received within thy borders some choice bands of these honored fathers, who, from their peaceful solitudes and the laborious fields of their missionary toils, invoke and obtain the benedictions of Heaven on thy sons ! Happy art thou to have thy loveliest mountains crowned with colleges of the Institute of Jesus, which, like blazing beacons, illumine the path of thy pilgrims, and shed abroad upon the hearts of thy children the light of truth and the fervor of virtue !
In our next Review we propose to take up and consider the more serious of the charges which are commonly urged against the Society of Jesus, in reply to the infamous work, The Jesuits, by Messrs. Michelet and Quinet, recently translated and published among us by that literary charlatan, Charles Edwards Lester, a man who will, no doubt, ere long, sink to his native level. *
Since the above was written, we have read with considerable interest and pleasure an article entitled The Jesuits, in the Southern Quarterly Review for January last. The article is written with ability, and, considering it is by a Protestant, with a good deal of fairness. The writer, however, falls into some errors of fact and speculation, which we may notice when we come to consider the charges preferred against the Jesuits. The same number of the Review also speaks at some length of the Jesuits, in a scorching criticism of the Wandering Jew, by Eugene Sue. We thank this able periodical for its earnest denunciation of the work of the French
Art. IV. – The Constitution of the Presbyterian Church in
the United States of America, containing the Confession of Faith, the Catechisms, and the Directory for the Worship of God; together with the Plan of Government and Discipline, as ratified by the General Assembly at their Sessions in May, 1821, and amended in 1833. Philadelphia. Haswell & Co. 1838.
A Review of the Constitution of the Presbyterian Church, confined chiefly to its confession of faith, may not present that degree of interest or attraction which might be found in that of some of the new works which are daily poured upon our book-devouring community ; but it has seemed to us that it might, nevertheless, be highly useful, inasmuch as it will give us an opportunity of showing the venom of error at its fountain-head, and of exposing in a strong light the frail fabric of Protestantism, by laying bare the weakness and instability of its foundations. Even on the score of novelty, the Constitution of the Presbyterian Church may, after all, not be devoid of interest. It is true, its substance is old, we might add antiquated, made up, as it is, from shreds taken from Calvin, Knox, and others ; but Presbyterians, as Protestants in general, can always affix a character of novelty to their church constitutions and doctrinal opinions, for they hold it to be the inalienable privilege of freemen to change their articles of faith and methods of church government so as to suit the times and follow the onward march of mind. Hence, the editors of the work before us are very particular in stating all the improvements, modifications, amendments, corrections, additions, and subtractions, which the said Constitution underwent at the period of its publication ; and we find on the titlepage a solemn declaration of a committee of Presbyterian divines, that the present edition “is a correct and authentic copy of said Constitution, as amended, ratified, and in force at the present date” (1834). As the Constitution of the Presbyterian Church changes, very much like the Paris and London fashions, it is probable that there is one more recent than this now before us ; but this must suffice for our present purpose, and the more so, because it is the one adopted by both the Old School and the New School Presbyterians before their schism in 1837.
novelist, a work which no person should touch for any other purpose than to commit it to the flames. We are glad to see that the American press is beginning to wake up to its infamy, and to denounce it in terms not wholly inappropriate ; for it is a work that aims at the destruction of every domestic and social virtue. We have been silent, because we presumed no Catholic would read it, and because our denunciation of it would not have been regarded by our Protestant countrymen.
Some may think that it is altogether useless to discuss the inconsistencies and errors of the Presbyterian Constitution, and that any attempt at argument against them would be only time and labor lost, since Presbyterians and Calvinists, from their intense hatred to every thing Catholic, seem to be inaccessible to reason and argument, when presented by Catholics; and we confess that this to a great extent is true, and has almost decided us to desist from our present ungrateful undertaking. We know there is a sin for which St. John said, “Non pro illo dico, ut roget quis ” ; we know there is a spiritual pride which renders men as headstrong and insensible as old Satan himself; and we fear that no small portion of it has fallen to the lot of the followers of the sour, morose, selfish, hating, and hateful Calvin. Still, the fear that some may not profit by the truth is no good reason for concealing it, or for refusing to advocate and support it by arguments. The ways of God are mysterious, and he can, even from stones, raise up children to Abraham.
Moreover, had we no other reason for undertaking a review of the Presbyterian Church Constitution and Confession of Faith than a simple sense of justice to ourselves, it would be amply sufficient. The Calvinistic pulpits and press resound with hardly any thing but declamatory and incendiary invectives against the Catholic Church. The General Assembly never meets, without appointing a preacher to deliver, ex officio, a solemn address against Catholicity, and it has been customary for it to proclaim hypocritical fasts for the downfall of Popery. This propagandism against us may be met with everywhere, not only in the pulpit and lecture-room, but even in the railroad-car and the steamboat, where, orally or by tracts, the most insipid and absurd tales against our institutions and people are circulated. virulence of this Calvinistic opposition to Catholicity shows itself chiefly in the Presbyterian newspaper press. It is there - we are sorry it has been our duty to look into such disgusting trash - Calvin still disgorges, in filthy streams, the venom and rancor with which his disappointed ambition and revengeful pride filled him. These attacks, constantly repeated,
demand always a new resistance. This unholy warfare against the true Church we must try to put down, - not by calumny, insult, vituperation, and the like, but by solid argument, by discussions based on sound logic, by the exhibition of that » brilliant aureola of sanctity, unity, miracles, and other irresistible evidences which must for ever encircle the brows of truth; and by unravelling the contradictions, inconsistencies, paralogisms, sophisms, misrepresentations, and other tortuous arguments, which must always form the hideous train of error.
Nothing appears to us more likely to effect this end than the critical examination and discussion of the formularies which the most numerous sect of Protestants present us, as containing the foundations of that religious system which they would substitute for the dogmas, doctrines, and government of the Catholic Church, with their reasons for rejecting the latter and embracing the former. We propose, therefore, in what follows, to discuss the plan of religious doctrines and ecclesiastical government, as understood by Presbyterians. We shall confine ourselves chiefly to the Confession of Faith, the first and most important piece in the work we have quoted, that from which all the rest is deduced, and on which the whole fabric of Presbyterianism rests.
Before entering upon our main subject, it may be well to premise, that, if but one point of doctrine contained in a confession of faith be unfounded, and unsupported by any motive of belief, — much more, if but one point be evidently false and reprobated by Scripture, good sense, and whatever else must serve as the vouchers of the truth,-it follows, immediately and inevitably, that the Confession is an imposition, the work of men who either were deceived or meant to deceive, and that the church or society admitting it as its standard of belief is not the Church of Christ, or the true Church; for a religion that contains one plain falsehood is not a religion of heaven, but of men, rather of Satan himself ; since a confession of faith in which there is one error can have no ground for admitting firmly any of the articles it may contain. Any society proposing such a confession betrays its human origin. No matter what good things may be found in such a symbol or formulary of faith, it is deprived of the seal of Heaven, which is incompatible with the least error; and the society imposing it on its members is only a human, not a divinely constituted society, — therefore, not the society founded by Christ, and consequently not the Church of Christ. If not the Church of