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my working out my salvation ? For in vain shall I be good, if I am not predestinated ; and if I commit sin, predestination will make me reach eternal life, notwithstanding."
These sad results of predestinarianism Raban saw only on a small scale ; it was reserved for succeeding centuries to see them exhibited on a large scale. It is needless to add, that Gottschalk was condemned in several councils.* In that of Mayence, 848, the error of this proud monk which was condemned was, that “God predestinates to evil as well as to good, and that there are men dragged to ruin by predestinatio, as if God had created them to damn them.” The Fathers of the Council of Quercy, 849, and of that of Valence, 855, say, “ In the condemnation of the reprobate, their bad deeds precede the just judgment of God; God has foreseen but not foreordained their malice, because the malice comes from them, not from him.” “ That some are predestinated by divine power to evil not only do we not believe, but if any one do maintain it, we give him anathema." Two centuries later, Pope Leo IX., writing to the Bishop of Antioch, and summing up the principal articles of faith, says, “I believe God
, has predestinated only good, and has foreseen good and evil.”+
The most holy Council of Trent repeats and confirms the preceding condemnation of the predestinarian heresy ; for it maintains (Sess. VI., c. 2), that Christ died for all, - quoting the words of Scripture, that he gave bimself a propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but for the sins of the whole world ; and in canon 17 of the same session decrees, — “ If any one shall say the grace of justification is given only to those who are predestinated unto life, and that all the rest who are called are called indeed, but receive no grace, because predestinated unto evil, let him be anathema.” The venom of the predestinarian heresy is also to be found in the fact, that it asserts the necessity of some to be good, and the impossibility of others to avoid evil, through the want of free will, a point which we shall hereafter consider, and which this holy council has also expressly condemned.
The Presbyterian doctors wind up their chapter on God's eternal decree with the wise admonition, that is the doctrine of this high mystery is to be handled with especial prudence and care." A timely suggestion. They may well make it; but in making it, they virtually say, “ The doctrine is true, in• Labbe, Conc., Vol. VIII., p. 52, et seq. | Ib., Vol. IX., p. 977.
deed; but take care that you do not preach it clearly and on all occasions. It is true ; but it is so harsh, that, if preached, it might bring Presbyterianisın into disrepute ; it might make people crazy, and haunt them night and day by a more frightful terror than the sword of Damocles ; it might have an immoral tendency, loosen all moral restraints, and encourage sinners to run into every excess, by assuring them that it can make no difference, since, if they are predestinated unto life, they cannot be lost, and if they are predestinated unto evil, they cannot be saved ; nay, may lull parents, instructers, clergymen, into sloth and lukewarmness, and check all exertions for turning the wicked from the evil of their way, under pretence that the decree of God, in regard alike to those who are to be saved and those who are to be damned, will infallibly be accomplished without any human intermeddling.” What do Presbyterians themselves, in this admonition, but condemn their own doctrine, confess its immoral tendency, its incompatibility with social peace, virtue, and order, and that it opens the door to all licentiousness and vice? Their confession is warranted by their history, and even more disastrous consequences still would have followed, if they had not, in general, proved themselves, through God's restraining grace, better than their principles, and unable to act them out.
But every thing will fall into its place, and peace and confidence, without which success in any undertaking is impossible, will enter the breast, if, instead of this gloomy decree, we bear in mind, - 1. That God sincerely wills the salvation of all men, even since the fall of Adam ; and that even since that fall, as before, the true end of man is to know God, love and serve him, and be happy with him for ever. And Christ has truly died for all, to redeem all without any exception, agreeably to what the Church sings every Sunday at the Credo, “for us men, and for our salvation," – propter nos homines et propter nostram salutem. Hence, in one sense, it is true and undeniable, that all men -- ante prævisa merita — are predestinated unto everlasting life, and there is, and there can be, nothing in the decrees of God to render this predestination null or fallacious. Hope is the undoubted privilege of every son of Adam ; for Christ has purchased it for all, even the most inveterate sinner, and truly, entirely, and sincerely ; for it would be the most horrid blasphemy to suppose there is or can be hypocrisy in God. 2. That God foreordained no one to damnation, but that it is man who predestinates himself to hell by his
own wicked works, which it was truly in his power to do or not to do, and which, therefore, he might avoid, and would avoid, if he did not through his own malice choose to do them. These two points are settled in the creed of Leo IX., Credo Deum prædestinasse bona tantum, prævidisse bona et mala, - I believe God has predestinated good only, and that he has foreseen both good and evil. 3. That the just and the unjust must alike exert themselves unremittingly to obtain their salvation, the just, because it is written, "Hold fast that which thou hast, that no man take thy crown," A poc. iii. 11 ; and because it is also written, Phil. ii. 12, “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling," yet should their heart be free from distrust, for God never abandons us, unless we first abandon him ; * — sinners, because it is written, “ As I live,
saith the Lord God, I desire not the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way, and live. from your evil ways, and why will you die, O house of Israel ? '. Ezec. xxxiii. 11 ; and to all is addressed the admonition of St. Peter, “Wherefore, brethren, labor the more, that by good works you may make sure your vocation and election." 2 St. Pet. i. 10. You are all elected and predestinated in the intention of God ; see that you render this predestination effectual by your good works.
These considerations sufficiently dispose of the first article of the Presbyterian doctrine on election and reprobation ; the second article, as given in our general statement, we will endeavour to discuss and dispose of in our next Review, having already detained our readers as long as it may be desirable to detain them for one quarter on so disagreeable, and we may say, so revolting, a subject. Nevertheless, our Presbyterian friends must not regard themselves as slighted. We shall, God permitting, pay them as much attention, for some time to come, as they can desire, or their own views of their importance can demand.
Conc. Trid., Sess. VI., c. 11.
ART. IV. 1. — The Chapel of the Forest, and Christmas
Eve. From the German of CANON SCHMID. Balti
more : Murphy's Cabinet Library. No. VIII. 2. Lorenzo ; or the Empire of Religion. By a Scotch
NON-CONFORMIST, a Convert to the Catholic Faith.
more : Murphy. 1844. 3. The Elder's House, or the Three Converts. New York:
Dunigan's Home Library. No. VIII. 4. Pauline Seward ; a Tale of Real Life. By John D.
BRYANT. Baltimore : Murphy. 1847. 2 vols. 12mo. Canon Schmid's tales are said to be for young persons, but they may be read with equal pleasure and profit by young and old, learned and unlearned. They are simple and unpretending, but exquisitely beautiful, and replete with the unction so peculiar to Catholicity, and which is attainable only by those who have long lived under Catholic influence, and been subdued by the holy discipline of the Church. They have almost a sacramental virtue, as have the writings of all saintly authors, and elevate their readers to those pure and serene regions where the soul enjoys a rich foretaste of heaven. Would that we had more of them.
Lorenzo is evidently by a convert, but is, nevertheless, a very interesting and valuable little book, though far inferior to the inimitable tales of Canon Schmid. It wants the ease, simplicity, naturalness, and unction of the good Canon, and its author does not appear to be quite at home in the order of characters to which he wishes to introduce us. He tells us, indeed, of the power of religion to overcome the repugnances of nature, to enable one to sacrifice all that is dearest in life, and life itself, to save even an enemy, — to give calmness and joy in the midst of the severest trials and sorrows, the heaviest calamities and distresses; and what he tells us is literally true; but he does not write as one who has realized it in his own spiritual life, and he introduces too much physical weakness, too much nervous sensibility, and too much sighing and weeping, to permit us to believe him on his simple word. The Christian hero counts no sacrifice; bis loss is bis gain ; and if he laments any thing, it is that he can make no sacrifice, for in every attempt to make one Almighty God prevents him, and overloads him with rich rewards. In general, however, saving
the marriage of cousins, and of the faithful with heretics, we can cheerfully recommend Lorenzo as interesting and edifying.
The Elder's House does not appear to be by a Catholic. It wants the Catholic accent, even where its doctrine is not objectionable. The author writes with ease, sprightliness, and occasionally with beauty and strength, and the argumentative part indicates learning and ability. Yet he does not appear to have learned that marriage is prohibited within the fourth degree, and that the Church abhors the marriage of the faithful with heretics. He shows too much favor to the demon revenge, and makes the good fathers of the Society of Jesus spend much more time in the families of rich heretics than is their custom. His Catholicity smacks more of Oxford than of Rome, and his book indicates quite too much hankering after the great, and fawning around the rich. It recommends, indeed, tenderness to the poor, but fails to make us feel that poverty in itself is no evil. Catholicity teaches us not merely to be tender to the poor, but to respect them, and to feel that they may have all that is truly respectable or desirable without ceasing to be poor. We regretted to find the author so familiar with Byron and Bulwer, and that he could represent a well-instructed Catholic as making love to an heretical young lady in the language and superstition of idolatrous Egypt and the East ; and we were even scandalized that he should make Florence Ruthven, intended to be a perfect model of a Catholic lady, fall in love with an heretical or infidel scamp, and break her heart and die because he married another. There may be such Catholics as the author introduces, but they should be held up to our pity, not to our approbation.
Pauline Seward is a work of some pretension, and not without solid merit. The author, we have seen it stated, is a convert, a fact we should readily infer from the book itself. It is no easy thing for us, who have had the misery to be brought up out of the Church, to conceal the fact. Our speech betrays us, and we show in our accent that we are naturalized citizens, not native-born. Judging from internal evidence, we should presume the author to be not only a convert, but a recent convert, and that, in sketching the conversion of his heroine, he is portraying the principal features of his own. He is evidently a man of good natural gifts, a scholar of respectable attainments, a cultivated mind, and serious and noble aims. His novel possesses more than ordinary interest, and contains passages of rare beauty and power. NEW SERIES. VOL. I. NO. II.