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views put in a clearer and stronger light than he had himself
a put them. We make it a rule to meet an opponent in his strength, not in his weakness, and answer his objections in their real meaning, without any chicanery, or the substitution of any false or collateral issue. We write never to win a victory, but always to elicit, defend, or recommend the truth, and we cannot understand how a Christian or even a man who respects himself can do otherwise, and yet we have rarely met a man who, in arguing against Catholicity, consents to meet the question on its merits. There is less both of candor and clear sharp intelligence in popular writers, and even writers of reputation, than is commonly supposed.
Some of the criticisms of our own religious friends, as well as enemies, confirm us in this. There are few men who can write without prejudice, fewer still, perhaps, who can go at once to the heart of a question, and seize vividly and firmly the principle on which it hinges.
Mr. Derby is not a great man, is not really a learned man, but he is, as the world goes, a man of more than average abilities and attainments; yet his line of argument against Catholicity proves that he writes without conviction, and without reflection. It is clear from his pages that he has never inquired what is the truth in the case, but simply asked what he can say against the Church that may appear plausible to those who know nothing of the subject, or that will require time and labor on the part of Catholics to refute. Thus, wishing to disprove the unity of the Church of Rome, he proves that there have been in all ages heretics and schismatics, or persons who have denied her doctrines and her authority. He alleges what nobody denies, and which has nothing to do with the question. What he proves would be to his purpose, only on condition that instead of anathematizing the heresies he enumerates, she had adopted them, and had herself authorized the schisms alleged. He wishes to deny the Church's claim to Catholicity, and alleges to sustain his denial that there are sects, and nations even, that reject her, forgetting that his objection could have been urged with far greater force against Christianity itself in the days of the Apostles than it can be against the Church now. Why does he not argue that our Lord did not die for all men, because there are millions who do not own him, and will never accept his offers of pardon, and salvation. He wishes to prove that the Papal power is a usurpation, and that the Pope has no right to govern the Church, and he quotes the acts of kings, parliaments, courtiers, and worldly churchmen, resisting the Papal authority as his proof, just as if these acts were the acts of the Church herself, or as if kings, parliaments, courtiers, jurisconsults and false-hearted prelates, who side with power in order to save their heads or their revenues, were the authoritative expounders of God's law. Has the Jurist ever studied a single Treatise on Evidence, or attained to any comprehension of what is or is not pertinent evidence in a case ? We fear not; if he has, he certainly has profited little by it. Yet, in reading what he has alleged in his effort to prove the Church in England was always independent of Rome, we cannot help feeling that much of the heresy and schism which now afflict the world, is owing to a grave neglect in the Middle Ages on the part of pastors to instruct sufficiently the mass of the faithful in the true Papal character of the Church. There were not sufficient pains taken to inake the people understand that the Church is built by our Lord on Peter, and that where Peter is, there is the Church. The Papal supremacy was never palatable to the human nature which even bishops to some extent retain, and was always offensive to Cæsar. Hence in every nation there was and is a strong temptation to diminish rather than enlarge the Papal prerogatives, and to make as little depend on the Papacy as possible. Millions of Catholics in the Middle Ages lived and died without any explicit understanding of the real office and significance of the Papacy. Hence, Cæsar was able to command the support even of good Catholics against the Sovereign Pontiff. Godfrey of Bouillon fought in the army of Henry, King of the Germans, after that monster had been excommunicated and deposed by Pope St. Gregory VII.
Happily in our times a better spirit prevails, and Catholics generally turn with affection, devotion, and reverence to the See of Peter. They very generally regard the Church now as essentially Papal, not merely Episcopal as Cæsar would have them regard her. Cæsar has lost the greater part of his influence in spirituals, and there probably has never, since the downfall of the Western Roman Empire, been a more cordial submission of the prelates, and the great body of the faithful, to the successor of Peter than now. The palmy days of Anglicanism, Gallicanism, and Josephinism are past, as the unanimity and joy with which the whole Catholic world has received the Papal definition, declaring the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady to be of faith, has been received, abundantly proves. The Papal triumph is complete, and a glorious future opens before the Church.
Art. II.-A Response to 0. A. Brownson. Universalist
Quarterly and General Review. Boston: Tompkins. April, 1857.
Our Universalist friend, in his issue for April, offers a rejoinder to the Reply in this Review for January last to his criticisms on our Article on The Church and the Republic, published the previous July. We have nothing to object to the tone or temper of what he calls his Response. It is respectful, in better taste even than his first article, and, we doubt not, intended to be perfectly fair and candid, although it is less full and less vigorous than we were prepared to meet.
The author thinks we made too much of his concessions, but we can assure him that we understood them precisely as he does himself.
“ Before attempting to comply with Mr. Brownson's invitation to respond to his last article, we must ask him not to make too much of the concession we have made relative to the logical advantage which the Catholic has over the Calvinist. We write from the standpoint of a Universalist interpretation of Christianity; and we say, what we presume most of our Universalist brethren are also ready to say, that Calvinism concedes the premises out of which the necessity of an infallible interpreter is educed. But such a statement, coming from a Universalist, is no concession. We have not said, nor do we think, that Universalism gives the Catholic any such ground of deduction. We have only said, that Calvinism does this; but as the Calvinist will not permit us to speak for him, our statement cannot be viewed in the light of a concession.”—p. 156.
We cited his concessions not as indications of his Catholic tendencies, nor as the concessions of one who would be recognized as authority by Calvinists, but as the concessions of an intelligent Protestant, who has as good a right to the name of Protestant as any one of those who pretend to believe more than he does, that there is no middle ground between Catholicity and Rationalism ; and as a testimony confirmatory of what we so often assert, that intelligent Protestants very generally regard so-called Orthodox Protestantism as an exploded humbug, and are very well satisfied that if Christianity is any thing more than a republication of the law of nature, if it be in fact a supernatural and authoritative religion, it is identically the Roman Catholic religion.
In our Article on The Church and the Republic, we maintained that religion is necessary as a mediating power between the individual and the state, to save us, on the one hand, from anarchy, and the other, from despotism ; and we further maintained, that to answer this purpose it must be religion organized as an organism, indeed, as the Church, because otherwise it is not a power, but simply an idea. The Reviewer accused us of taking the vital point, the only point in the argument which Protestants want proved for granted, and leaving it without even a show of proof. We replied, and showed, as we thought, that the charge was unfounded. Our reply, it seems, has not satisfied him, and he reiterates and insists on his objection in his response. He says :
" It is possible that our author, in the words here quoted from him, shows that he did not assume, that he really attempted to prove what we have termed the vital point in his argument. Possibly there is something in his words that we do not see. Candor, however, coinpels us to say, that we see in the extract nothing but an assumption of that vital point!' What does he give as argument, that religion to be authoritative in society, must be organized, must be an organism ? Why must religion be an organization, a church? The answer is, because religion without the church, without an organization, is not a power, is only an idea, a simple opinion, and therefore nothing but individualism.' Now it may seem an act of presumption to call in question Mr. Brownson's logic -the province, of all other, wherein he is deemed a master. But truly, the words which we have just quoted from him, look very much like wbat Whately calls à petitio principii ; in common
words, a begging of the question. The real question is, can religion be a power without being an organization, a church? The conclusion for Mr. Brownson to establish is, that religion is not a power, except as it is an organism. And one of the premises by which he seeks to establish this conclusion is the affirmation that religion without a church is not a power! This conclusion, so far from being educed from his premise, seems to us simply a re-statement of the very premise! He affirms that religion to be a power, must be an organism. We ask for proof. He replies : religion unorganized is not a power. We leave it with our intelligent readers to decide, whether there is any difference between his proposition and his proof. The only difference that we can see, is that the one is stated in the affirmative form, and the other in the negative form.
If, however, Mr. Brownson can show that the two propositions which we have deemed equivalents, have nevertheless a logical distinction of premise and conclusion, -and very likely he can show this, we must still repeat our complaint, that he has assumed the turning point in the argument. If he can show that he has not done this in his conclusion, he will certainly admit that he has done so in his premise. Whether his proposition, tható religion without the church, without an organization, is not a power,' be a re-statement, in different form, of the point which needs proof, or whether it may be considered as a prior and distinct proposition, authenticating that point, the proposition itself is an assumption. And the question arises, have we therefore a right to complain?
“ Now with reference to this matter of assumption, we desire not to be irrational. We need not be told, that in all argument something must be assumed. Fundamental propositions are always to be taken for granted. No first truth can be proved. And so when two persons consent to argue, they go on the presumption that there are propositions to be assumed by both parties. Certainly, we shall not complain of Mr. Brownson for doing what we have done, what every body who reasons must do,—we shall not complain that he has assumed a proposition. If he has assumed that which is selfevident, which admits of no dispute, we have no right to demur. Our charge is not, that he has assumed a proposition, but that he has assumed the wrong one, one which is not self-evident, one which calls for proof, and which, if true, admits of proof. Every thing in our author's argument rests upon the proposition, tbat. religion, without the church, without an organization, is not a power, -always meaning by the term church, or organization, a body of men existing, in certain organic relations, as the depositaries and authentic exponents of religion. And will our author claim that this is a self-evident proposition ! He has a right to start with an assumption—this he must do ; but will he affirm that this is the proposition to start with-to be assumed? We ask particular attention to the point now under notice, for the whole issue of the present
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