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any one society of men." "She is also called universal, because all who desire eternal salvation must cling to and embrace her, like those who entered the ark, to escape perishing in the flood."* 4. Apostolicity ; “ for her doctrines are neither novel nor of recent origin, but were delivered of old by the apostles, and disseminated throughout the world :"“ the Holy Ghost, who presides over the church, governs her by no other than apostolic men; and this Spirit, first imparted to the apostles, has, by the infinite goodness of God, always continued in the church.”+ False and audacious statements ! As if the fictions of the middle ages, the absurdities of transubstantiation, the blasphemy of indulgences, the opus operatum
* Catechism, p. 101. † Ibid. p. 102. Bellarmine has increased the number of the marks or notes of the church to fifteen, viz., Catholicity-Antiquity-DurationAmplitude, or multitude and variety of believers—Succession of bishops-Agreement in doctrine with the primitive church-Union-Sanctity of doctrine-Efficacy of the doctrine-Holiness of life--Miracles-- ProphecyConfession of adversaries-Unhappy end of enemies— Temporal felicity. These are examined and confuted in the “ Preservative against Popery," vol.i.
The following summary view of this subject would be amusing, were it not for the glaring falsehoods which it contains. The cause must be bad indee that can require such support:
“She alone” [the Roman-catholic church] “ has an uninterrupted succession of her pastors from the apostles of Christ. She alone has always been one, by all her members professing one faith, in one communion, under one chief pastor, succeeding St. Peter, to whom Christ committed the charge of his whole flock, (St. John xxi. 15, &c.,) and the keys of heaven, (St. Matt. xvi. 19.) She alone has been always holy, and teaching all holiness, by inviting all to holiness, by affording all helps and means of holiness, and by having in all ages innumerable holy ones in her communion. She alone is catholic, or universal, by subsisting in all ages, by teaching all nations, and by maintaining all truths. She alone is apostolical, by deriving her doctrine, her communion, her orders and mission, from the apostles of Christ. She alone has converted infidel nations, with their kings, to the faith of Christ; and to this day sends her priests and missionaries into all parts of the world, to propagate the kingdom of Christ. She alone has been in all ages illustrated by innumerable miracles, and by the wonderful lives and deaths of innumerable saints. All other sects began by separating from her ; their first teachers went out from her, and had before acknowledged her authority; they were all censured by her at their first appearance; but she never departed or separated from any more ancient church, or was ever censured by any lawful authority. In a word, she is the great body of Christians, descending from the primitive apostolic church ; consequently, she is the one holy, catholic, and apostolic church."--Gother's “ Papist Misrepresented,” &c., p. 85.
of the sacraments, had been revealed by the Holy Spirit, and taught by the apostles !
Infallibility is the result of these assumptions. All Roman catholics believe that the church cannot err in faith or morals.”* This virtually includes the infallibility of the Pope, since, according to the Council of Florence, he is “ Head of the whole church, and the father and teacher of all Christians; and to him, in St. Peter, was delegated, by our Lord Jesus Christ, full power to feed, rule, and govern the universal church.”+ That general councils, representing the whole church, are infallible, is also implied; but whether always, and under all circumstances, is more than questioned; that they have frequently erred, and contradicted each other, is not questionable, but plain matter of fact. There are some knotty points connected with this subject. Bellarmine, expounding Luke xxii. 31, 32, maintains that the Saviour promised to Peter and his successors that they should never lose the true faith, nor teach anything contrary to it. But history informs us that many popes have erred from the faith; and we know that there have been numerous schisms in the popedom, on which occasions two or more persons assumed the tiara, and that in several instances it is yet disputed which was the legitimate successor of St. Peter. What then becomes of infallibility ? S Be this as it may, the obedient son of the church has no doubt that it exists somewhere. His faith is summarily comprised in those few words I believe in all things accord
* Catechism, p. 102. + Concil. Labbe et Cossart. Ed. Mansi, 1759, tom. xxxi. p. 1031. Blanco White's “ Practical and Internal Evidence," p. 34. The words of the council are—“ Item, diffinimus sanctam apostolicam sedem, et Romanum pontificem in universum orbem tenere primatum, et ipsum pontificem Romanum successorem esse beati Petri principis apostolorum, et verum Christi vicarium, totiusque ecclesiæ caput et omnium Christianorum patrem et doctorem existere ; et ipsi in beato Petro pascendi, regendi, ac gubernandi universalem ecclesiam a domino nostro Jesu Christo plenam potestatem traditam esse; quemadmodum etiam in gestis ecumenicorum conciliorum, et in sacris canonibus continetur.”
I De Rom. Pontif. lib. iv. c. 3. p. 973. Ed. Ingolstad. 1696.
§ A fine specimen of ingenious and conclusive argument is contained in a pamphlet, published a few years ago, entitled, “The Labyrinth, or Popish Circle ; being a confutation of the assumed infallibility of the church of Rome; translated from the Latin of Simon Episcopius. By Richard Watson.”
ing as the holy catholic church believes ;" * and he willingly “ promises and swears true obedience to the Roman bishop, the successor of St. Peter, the prince of the apostles, and vicar of Jesus Christ; and professes, and undoubtedly receives, all things delivered, defined, and declared by the sacred canons and general councils, and particularly by the holy Council of Trent; and condemns, rejects, and anathematizes, all things contrary thereto, and all heresies whatsoever condemned and anathematized by the church.” +
Of such a church, the holy, the apostolic, the infallible, how great must be the power ! How heinous the sin of rebellion against her mandates! How awful the condition of those unhappy beings who are without her pale! Her injunctions are placed on an equal footing with the behests of Heaven. The “will” of God, which we are taught to pray may “ be done on earth,” comprehends, it is affirmed, “all things which are proposed to us as the means of attaining heaven, whether they regard faith or morals; all things, in a word, which Christ our Lord has commanded or prohibited, either in person or through his church.”# Those who “ fall into heresy, who reject what the church of God teaches,” are declared to be guilty of a breach of the first commandment: they have committed mortal sin, and if they die in that state, must go “to hell for all eternity!"|| Out of this church, it is positively asserted, there is no salvation Members of the Greek com
* Challoner's “Garden of the Soul,” p. 35—a book which Mr. Butler calls “the most popular Prayer-book of the English Catholics.” Mr. White's description of his own views and feelings, while a member of the church of Rome, will amply confirm the above remarks. “I grounded my Christian faith upon the infallibility of the church. No Roman catholic pretends to a better foundation. “I believe whatever the holy mother church holds and believes' is the compendious creed of every member of the Roman communion.... I believed the infallibility of the church, because the Scripture said she was infallible; while I had no better proof that the Scripture. said so than the assertion of the church that she could not mistake the Scripture." -Practical and Internal Evidence, p. 9.
† Pope Pius's Creed. Catechism, p. 506. $ Ibid. p. 353.
| “Q. What is mortal sin? A. It is a wilful transgression in matter of weight against any known commandment of God or the church, or of some lawful superior. Q. Whither go such as die in mortal sin? A. To hell for all eternity."— Abstract of the Douay Catechism, p. 71.
munion, Protestants of every class and denomination, our Leightons, and Hebers, and Martyns; our Owens, and Baxters, and Howes ; our Miltons and Lockes; our Whitefields and Wesleys; our Bunyans and Howards ; are all included in the same condemning sentence. No matter what were their excellences: their piety might be seraphic, their benevolence godlike, their path like the “ shining light that illuminates and gladdens all nature: they have committed the unpardonable sin of refusing to pay homage to the man of the triple crown, and therefore the Roman catholic is bound to believe that they are lost for ever. The very children are taught this lesson.* The first lispings of the infant—the conclusions of the learned the declarations of the noble—the priests' instructions—the pontiffs' decrees-re-echo the sound, “ Out of the Roman-catholic church there is no salvation !”+
* Douay Catechism, quoted above. The Roman-catholic child is taught that he is “made a member of Jesus Christ and his church, called to Christianity and the catholic religion, out of which all those who obstinately remain cannot be saved."-Catholic School Book, p. 122, 190.
† “ This true catholic faith, out of which none can be saved.”-Pope Pius's Creed. “If we believe plain Scripture and the universal tradition of the fathers and all antiquity, heresy and schism are mortal sins; and therefore, in saying that heretics and schismatics are out of the state of salvation, his (the papist's) judgment is not uncharitable, because he advances nothing but a scripture truth.”—Gother's “ Papist Misrepresented and Represented," p. 83. See also the “ Encyclical Letter of Pope Leo XII," p. 15. Even the amiable Pascal expresses his thankfulness to God for his connexion with the “catholic, apostolic, and Roman church," and his desire to live and die therein, and “in communion with the Pope, its sovereign head.” Out of this church, he adds, “I am thoroughly persuaded there is no salvation.”— Les Provinciales, Lett. 17.
THE RULE OF FAITH.
Rejection of the Council by the Protestants-Discussions on the Canon of
Scripture — Tradition — The Vulgate Version--and the Right of Interpretation-Fourth Session-Decree on Scripture and Tradition-Manner in which it was received by Protestants—Explanatory Observations and Reflections.
The proceedings of the council were carefully watched by the Protestants. They quickly perceived that it was altogether under the control of the Pope, and would issue no enactment contrary to the established order of things at Rome. Several publications were sent forth, declaratory of their views and feelings, one of which was written by Melancthon.* In these works, while they expressed their willingness to abide by the decisions of a council composed of learned and pious men, eminent for the fear and love of God, they positively refused to acknowledge the authority of the assembly at Trent. Their reasons were numerous and weighty. They objected to the presidency of the Pope, he being a party in the cause; to the Romish prelates, the appointed judges, many of whom were ignorant and wicked men, and all of them declared enemies of the reformation ; to the rules of judgment laid down in connexion with Scripture, and treated with equal or greater deference,—viz., tradition and the scholastic divines; to the method of proceeding already adopted, manifestly proving that the council was not free; and finally, to the place of meeting, rather an Italian than a German city, and at any rate too near the Pope's dominions to afford the assurance of security, should they feel disposed to go.+ The sequel of this history will shew how rightly they judged.
Immediately after the third session it was agreed that Scrip
* Intituled, “ Causæ cur non sit probanda Synodus Tridentina."
† Seckendorf, 1, iii, sect. 33, § 130.