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prior to and independent of the Church. He makes the Church a secondary affair, and regards her as a simple voluntary or instinctive association of individuals, who are brought together by common sympathies, convictions, and purposes. She is not only a simple, but a very small matter, hardly worth troubling one's head about. She has no more mystery in her than a debating club, a literary or scientific institute, or a temperance society. He recognizes in her no mystic union of the members with Christ the head, and through him, with one another. If this were really the fact, it were indeed absurd to contend that Christianity is a power only as organized. The Church, as the author maintains, would and could have only so much of power as the several members thereof bring into it.” But though this is all he sees in the Church, is it safe to conclude, therefore, that it is all that there is to be seen? Has be the right to infer, because he understands no more, that there is nothing more to be understood? When sober-minded men in all nations and ages, men before whose genius, ability, and knowledge of the subject, even he may bow with reverence, tell him that his view falls short of the reality, that they see in the Church something far deeper, higher, and more sig. nificant than he recognizes, something which tasks their minds, moves their will, and fills their hearts, why can it not occur to him that there really is something more in the Church than he perceives or even dreams of, and that a refutation of the Catholic so easy as the one he offers, only betrays its author's want of depth or penetration ? Can he, after all, really suppose that matters lying so plain and obvious on the very surface of things as those he alleges, escaped even our observation, especially since we were bred in his school and knew his doctrine as well as he can be presumed to know it, perhaps even before he was born? He alleges nothing against us of which we were ignorant, or which we had not ourselves alleged years and years ago. He must permit us to tell him that if he wishes to offer any thing to the purpose against even our reasoning, he must dive deeper, and rise higher. What we assert is not that Christianity depends on organization for its efficacy, but that unorganized, it is not actual religion, is no actual existence. God gave us Christianity as a living organism, and abstracted from the Church, like all abstractions, it is a nullity. He gave us Christianity not as an ideal entity, as a mere possibility, but as an actual living religion, therefore as an organism, as is and must be every living creature, whether of the natural or of the supernatural order.
This organism is the Christian Church, and the Church is identically Christianity itself. There is no Christianity outside of the Church, before it, after it, above it, or below it. Christianity has not formed or organized the Church, as the author supposes; it does not use the Church as its organ or instrument, as he pretends; it is the Church, -indissolubly and indistinguishably the Church herself
. Popes, Cardinals, Bishops, Priests, do not, as he imagines, make or constitute the Church, any more than the molecules of matter assimilated from the blood and converted into flesh make or constitute the human body, and which may be totally changed several times over without changing the body or in the least affecting its identity. They are officers, instruments, organs, servants of the living organism, performing their appointed functions ; but though used by her are not the Church. The Church is a living body, as literally and as truly so as the human body itself,--a real, actual, living existence, as much so, at the least, as any other creature of God :—a mysterious existence, indeed, before which we may lose ourselves in wonder and admiration, but which in this life we shall never fully comprehend; for her type, as her fountain of life, is the mysterious union of God and man in our Lord,
-the hypostatic union of two distinct natures, the human and the Divine, in the one Divine Person of Christ the Son. She is in some sense the continuation, or rather, a representation or copy of the Incarnation. It is not by a figure of speech merely that we call her the Bride, the Immaculate Spouse of the Lamb. It is not by a mere figure of speech that we speak of her as a person, call her a mother, the joyful mother of all the faithful, our own dear and affectionate mother, on whose bosom we lay our head, and from whose breasts we draw our spiritual nourishment. We mean all we say, for she is in the spiritual order as truly and as literally our mother as she of whom we were born naturally is our mother in the natural order. The Church lives, mores, and acts. Her life is the life of unity in variety, and her personality is the unity of person in the variety of individuals, each retaining his own personality. Whoever' meditates profoundly her existence will find copied or imitated in her all the mystery of God and man,-all the ineffable mystery of the ever-adorable Trinity, and the Incarnation of the Word or Second Person of the Godhead. She is the most wonderful work of God, in which he, as it were, exhausts his wisdom, power, and goodness, and reveals his own ineffable Essence. It is to this grand, sublime, and even awful as well as endearing conception, that our critic must rise before he can say any thing to the purpose against our view of the Church; and when he does, he will wonder at the marvellous simplicity which led him to question our assertion that religion to be a power must be the Christian Church.
The author fancied that we left the turning point of the question without proof or even an attempt at proof, simply because he did not permit himself to rise to the Catholic conception of the Church, and because he recognizes no religion in the Catholic sense. He did not give to our terms the full meaning we gave them, and concluded that they have no deeper meaning than he himself had been in the habit of giving them. The mental position in which he is placed by his Protestantism, has prevented him from conceiving of Christianity as the new creation or supernatural order, lying above, but in some sense parallel to, the natural order. We do not suppose that he would formally deny that God has made a revelation of truth to mankind, but he does not admit that God has created and revealed to us a supernatural order. He may possibly believe that God has communicated, in an extraordinary manner, to the world a knowledge of Christianity, but the Christianity of which he holds a knowledge has been thus communicated is not a supernatural religion,-is simply the law of nature, or so-called natural religion. He believes in no order of existence above nature, save God himself. God and nature are for him all that is or exists. He has no conception of Christianity as a substantive existence or second cause. He does not view it as a supernatural order of existence, but simply as a republication of the law of nature. There is for him no spiritual humanity proceeding, by reNEW YORK SERIES. - VOL. II. NO, I.
generation, from Christ, as there is a natural humanity, proceeding by natural generation from Adam,—no line of Christ, which is the Church, as there is a line of Adam, which is natural society. He recognizes only the line of Adam, and no Church, save as a form of natural society itself,—never the Church as supernatural society under the supernatural providence of God. This is evident from the following reply to an objection which we urged against Protestantism as the religion needed.
“ Mr. Brownson finds an apt illustration of the absence of uniformity and of independence on the part of Protestantism, in the sectional character of the Protestant denominations in this country :
"* We see this strikingly proved every day, especially in our own country. Public opinion acts on the sects, and the strongest and most numerous sects in the land are obliged to yield to it. Have we not Methodists South and Methodists North, Baptists North and Baptists South, and have we not come very near having Presbyterians South and Presbyterians North, that is, sects dividing geographically, according to public opinion, and holding on one side of an imaginary line, that to be a mortal sin, which, on the other, is almost counted a Christian virtue? What can a religion that divides in this way, that is pro-slavery in one section of the Union, because there public opinion is pro-slavery, and abolitionist in another, because there public opinion is against slavery,-what can such a religion do in those emergencies, when, to maintain the right, public opinion must be resisted, not followed?'
" To unreflecting minds, the argument implied in this complaint of the vacillating character of Protestant creeds, seems plausible, and no doubt operates with much effect. And we admit, that Protestantism does vary with different individuals and with different communities. At the same time, we are confident, that its want of uniformity is not as essential and as marked as a superficial view would lead one to imagine. There is, in fact, but little difference of conviction with reference to what all must concede to be the fundamental principles of religion. That there is a just and benevolent God, that human beings are subject to his government, and are im peratively required to deal justly, love mercy, and walk humbly before him, and that this accountability is sustained by rewards and punishments,—these things really comprise the essential principles in every form of Christian faith. Difference of opinion concerns rather the relations and logical forms in which different individuals present these principles. We do indeed believe that it is important that men hold the essentials of religion in their true forms; but the essence is vastly more important than the form, for the essence of religion is the root of its regenerating power. And particularly, as regards the great rules of rectitude, individualism shows a degree of uniformiiy quite as emphatic as any thing Catholicism can boast. It is matter of fact, that any departure from these rules, on a great
scale, is matter of wonderment. A nation of thieves, conscientiously taught to be such, is looked upon as a monstrous exception to the general character of mankind. Reverence is almost universally felt to be a religious duty; and a teacher whose avocation it has been to inculcate lessons of wanton cruelty, is the abhorrence of every civilized community. We are confident, that if regard is had to the fundamentals of religion and morality, Protestantism is as marked for its uniformity, as a truthful history of Catholicism will claim to present.”—pp. 417, 418.
The essential or fundamental principles of the Christian faith here enumerated, and in regard to which the author contends that Protestants are substantially agreed, contain nothing distinctively Christian, nothing but the law of nature, and in fact not the whole even of that, for the enumeration leaves out the immortality of the soul, a future state of existence, and rewards and punishments of some sort, in the life to come, for the deeds done in this,-an integral part of natural religion, and believed by the ancient Pagans as well as by modern Christians. He recognizes no supernatural order of life, no supernatural end of man, and no more, even as amended by us, than can be and is admitted by men who deny the Christian revelation. Lord Herbert, Voltaire, Thomas Paine, and not a few of the Deists of the last century admitted more than he holds to be essential. He includes in his essentials no distinctively Christian doctrine, and does not so much as mention the name of Christ, the Author and Finisher of the Christian's faith. Evidently then, his religion, his Christianity, does not rise above the law of nature or natural religion. It is the natural law, nothing more,—in his particular case something less,--and it is only by an abuse of terms that it can be called Christianity.
Undoubtedly Christianity presupposes and accepts the natural law. We recognize and assert natural religion as fully and as earnestly as any one can. It indeed is not Christianity, but it is its preamble, and the magazine from which we draw our arguments to remove the obstacles in the minds of unbelievers to yielding a rational assent to the revelation of the supernatural. Christianity accepts it, republishes it, and gives it a supernatural sanction, but is itself an order above it, and to which it can never rise. We do not say that this natural religion without the