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bound to love. They further with equal solemnity declare, that as to live in hatred of any denomination whatsoever of their fellow creatures, is to live in enmity with God, so to die in such hatred is to forfeit heaven, to die reprobated. Roman Catholics also, while they believe their own religion to be the only true one, are convinced that great numbers are comprised within its pale, who do not adhere to it by any visible bond of communion. All baptized infants; all innocent children of every religious persuasion; and all grown-up Christians who have preserved their baptismal innocence, though they make no outward profession of the Catholic faith, are yet claimed as her children by the Roman Catholic Church. Neither have we any difficulty in believing, with many individuals of our communion, that there are several in the British empire, as well as in other countries, professing the religion by law established there, whose uniform integrity of life, whose ardent love of God, and sincere disposition to embrace the truth, if they but knew it, not only open for them the road to salvation, but afford them more solid grounds to expect that blessing, than these Roman Catholics have, who live in constant disobedience to the dictates of their religion, and who deny, by their practice, the faith which they profess.
Are Roman Catholics taught to believe or to assert, that all those of other religions will be damned?
No, most assuredly they are not. If ignorance, embittered by resentment, has ever given utterance to similar expressions, these are not the language of Roman Catholics as such; which fully appears by the foregoing answer, and is further manifest, from their being taught to believe, that God alone knows who shall be his by faith and good works that many are not now the people of God, who shall one day be numbered in his inheritance; that many shall come from the East and from the West, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven, while the children of that kingdom shall be excluded. Moreover, final perseverance is a most profound secret, absolutely impervious to mortals; it is pent up in the bosom of the Deity. No man, without a special revelation, can ascertain what passes, at
the moment of death, between the dying Christian and his God. It is ours earnestly to desire eternal happiness for every fellow-creature; to work out our salvation with fear and trembling; not to be high-minded, nor to judge others, that we ourselves be not judged; but to hope humbly for all, in the infinite mercies of God, through Jesus Christ.
But, at least, is it not very uncharitable in Roman Catholics, to abjure all manner of communication in religious exercises, with those of every other religion?
This abjuration, or refusal, so far from being uncharitable, is in their mind enforced by the truest charity. Convinced as Roman Catholics are, and firmly persuaded that there is, and that there can be, no other true religion than their own, they cannot consistently, nor candidly, nor lawfully approve, or even appear to approve, any other religion, which they certainly should appear to do, were they thus to join in these religious exercises, or frequent places of worship belonging to separated communions. Such temporizing conduct has the aspect of prevarication: it is, in short, betraying the truth of God. In their principles they must abhor it, as calculated to delude their separated brethren into an unfounded, and therefore into a most dangerous security. Charity here compels them to stand off. Besides, esteeming the gift of divine faith to be invaluable, in as much as, without faith, it is impossible to please God, they cannot innocently expose themselves to the danger of losing it.
But still, when those of other religions scruple not occasionally to attend at Roman Catholic Sermons, and at religious exercises, in Roman Catholic places of worship, would there not be something more brotherly in returning this compliment, than in standing off with such rigour?
The preceding answer has anticipated a negative to this question; it is now in addition to be observed, that the principles of other religions allow of such communication; the principles of the Roman Catholic Religion peremptorily forbid it. Were a set of men, however individually respectable, to assemble as a deliberative body, with a view of reforming what they deem abuses in the constitution of Great Britain; were these men to propose to the imperial parliament a coalition with the legislative
body, whereby they should be entitled to assist at the deliberations of parliament, and the members of the legislature be admissible to sit with them in turn, every one is aware of the fate of such a proposal; and every one who is convinced of the essential unity of the Church, as well as of its necessary and indefectible identity, in every age, from its first establishment by Christ to the end of the world, must consistently reject, with at least equal aversion, every similar proposal of religious reciprocity.
Can it then be sinful, to listen to the word of God? Is not his word good in all places, and wherever it is preached?
The pure, unadulterated word of God, is certainly good in itself every where; but all is not the word of God which passes under that name; the original Hebrew, Chaldaic, and Greek manuscripts, are no longer in existence: there are a great number of copies indeed, and very many translations; but copies can so far only be the word of God, as they are faithful transcripts of the originals; and translations are that word, no farther than they truly express the sense of it. Now it is undeniable, that numberless spurious copies are in circulation, corrupted by Jews, and ancient Eastern Heretics; so that, abstracting from the testimony of the Church, this authorized guardian of the Scriptures, and voucher of their authenticity, there can be no certain assurance that any individual copy or translation is indeed the word of God; a circumstance of such weight in the judgment of the great St. Augustin, as made him declare, that he would not receive the four Gospels, if not induced thereto by the authority of the Catholic Church. And if the Scriptures so far back as the time of St. Peter, when the living voice of the Apostles discriminated for the faithful the pure from the corrupt, could still be wrested by the unlearned and unstable to their own perdition, how much more liable are these Scriptures now to misconceptions and misrepresentations among the sects, where the authority of that Church is rejected, and where the Scriptures are presumptuously expounded according to the dictates of private judgment !
When it is also notorious, that various translations have, in many places, forced the word of God into such
meanings, and into such language, as might best accord with the peculiar tenets of the translators,* or might best seem to warrant their defection from the Catholic Church, it becomes equally notorious, that arbitrary translations of that sort cannot be safely relied on, as the pure word of God.
Even among the English reformed translations, some of a later date have altered and superseded others, which in their day were publicly read as the pure word of God; these latter translations having been superseded in turn themselves by others still later. A petition was presented to King James the First by a number of zealous Protestants, wherein they represent, that in the translation of the Psalms, as found in the Book of Common Prayer, there were two hundred deviations from the truth; and the Petitioners grounded their objections against this book almost entirely upon the corruptions or mistranslations which they discovered in it, as set forth in a particular treatise, entitled A Defence of the Minister's Reasons for refusal of subscribing.
Mr. Carlisle, a Protestant writer of that period, abused the English translations, as having depraved the sense; obscured the truth; deceived the ignorant; distorted the Scriptures; and preferred darkness to light; falsehood to truth, &c. &c. &c.
The ministers of the Diocese of Lincoln, in their address to the King, charge the English translation with taking from and adding to the text, so as to change or obscure the meaning of the Holy Ghost. They further pronounce this same translation absurd and senseless, on which account they scruple to subscribe to it.
Mr. Broughton, a most decided Protestant, wrote about this time to the Lords of the Council, in order to procure, through their interference, a new translation, because the one then in use was, according to him, full of errors. In his Advertisement of Corruptions, he tells the Bishops, that their public translation of the Scriptures into English perverts the text of the Old Testament in eight hundred and forty-eight places. Very many faults
It is a fact, that Luther, Calvin, Zuinglius, Beza, Bucer, etc. etc. etc. assailed and censured, with the utmost asperity, each other's translation of the Bible. See their respective .works.
of copies are to be found even in the Vatican and Alexandrian manuscripts of the Bible. In the Greek New Testament alone, Mr. Mills has discovered thirty thousand various readings. But if, instead of translations absolutely rejected by the Catholic Church, her Vulgate * alone were in use among the separated communions: that Vulgate, which she presents us from the faithful pen of the learned and laborious St. Jerom, and which the most distinguished opposers of Catholicity have mentioned with respect, it would not yet be lawful for us Roman Catholics to commune in religious matters with separated sects, or to listen to their teachers as our spiritual guides.
Besides the reason heretofore assigned, Roman Catholics cannot discover in these teachers that transmissive spiritual authority, emanating through an unbroken chain of succession, from Christ himself and his Apostles; which authority they consider as essentially necessary in every preacher, to constitute him an orthodox minister of the word of God. For as a Roman Catholic cannot allow any other society of Christians to be the true Church, except that which acknowledges the spiritual pre-eminence of one chief Bishop, and holds communion with his See as of indispensable necessity; so, neither can a Roman Catholic conscientiously become a hearer of those, whose commission to preach or expound the gospel is not manifestly and actually derived from that authority. How shall they preach unless they be sent? Among all the illustrious personages under the old law, none took upon themselves the province of public instruction, but such as were called by God, as Aaron was. The prophet Jeremiah rests his own claim to credit, and the claim of the other prophets, upon this particular circumstance, that
* St. Jerom undertook and executed this translation at the instance of Pope Damasus. He translated the Old Testament from the Hebrew, and revised the New Testament from the Greek. His labours on this occasion are highly extolled by St. Augustin.
+ Mr. Whitacre, Doctor Dove, Doctor Humphry, Doctor Covel, Molinæus, Pelican, and Beza, respectively allow that the Vulgate is pious and profitable to the Church, faithful to the original, preferable to all other Latin Translations, etc. etc. etc.