« AnkstesnisTęsti »
of this sort amount to nothing. The Church is responsible for the conduct of those only who submit to her direction, obey her laws, and observe her precepts. If these are found vicious, corrupt, or criminal, then conclude, from the conduct of her children, against her, but not otherwise.
Passing from objections of this sort, that form the great staple of the class of works to which the one before us belongs, to those of a more doctrinal character and of more theological pretensions, we find that they are all in the last analysis, objections to the mystery of the Incarnation, to redemption and salvation through the Word-made-flesh, or God in his human nature, and, therefore, to Christianity itself. Take the first title of the book before us, "Pope or President ?" The alternative it presents shows that the author unconsciously, unintentionally it may be, rejects the supernatural order, the whole Christian order, and falls back under the order of nature alone. “ Pope or President " would say, Christ or Cæsar? Christianity or paganism ! religion or politics ? The mind of him who presents this alternative has never risen above the natural order, and has utterly failed to grasp, if we may so speak, the fundamental idea of Christianity ; has no conception of mediatorial grace, or of the real office of the Sacred Humanity in the Christian economy. Take even the highest-toned Protestants, those who claim to be orthodox, and condemn Unitarians, Universalists, Quakers, &c., as heretics, and they shrink from calling the Blessed Virgin the mother of God, and they all with one accord censure the worship we pay her, and our whole cultus sanctorum as idolatry. Why is this? They know that our Church teaches the Ten Commandments; they know that she formally forbids idolatry as treason to the majesty of heaven, and therefore they know that she does not, and cannot tolerate any thing that she herself regards as idolatrous. Evidently in her estimation this worship is not idolatry. Why, then, is it so in theirs ? Simply because they do not really believe that God in his human nature is God, or that God has really assumed human nature, and in the hypostatic union made it really, substantially, his nature, as truly and substantially as the divine nature itself; because they do not understand that it is not God in his divinity alone, but God in his divinity and humanity that stands at the head of the Christian supernatural order, and is its origin and end, and its trne object of worship; and because not understanding this, they dissolve Christ, and worship him in his divinity alone, and not in his divinity and humanity inseparably united. They worship the Word, it may be, but not the Word-madeflesh. They shrink from worshipping God in his humanity, and from honoring the Son of man as they lionor the Son of God, or of including in the object of their supreme worship the sacred flesh assumed in the womb of the Virgin, by the Second Person of the ever-adorable Trinity. They follow the example of Lucifer. It is a tradition, that the cause of the revolt of Lucifer and his rebel angels was the command to worship the Son in his humanity as in his divinity. When the Father brings his Son forward as incarnate, or in the fulness of time to become incarnate, he says: “Let all the angels of God adore him." "This offended Lucifer, not because it commanded him to worship the eternal Word as God—for he knew the word was God, one in essence or being with the Father,—but because it commanded him to worship the Son in his twofold nature, and therefore in his humanity as well as in his divinity, which seemed to him to involve the worship of the creature, nay, the worship of man. This he could not brook; for man was made a little lower than the angels, and if any creature was to be worshipped it should be an angelic creature, and himself as the first and highest of the angels and archangels. It is clear that he did not understand the mystery of the Incarnation, and he appears even yet not to understand it, for the war he carries on is a war not intentionally against the Son as Son of God, but as Son of man. It is the same with Protestants, and hence they condemn as idolatry the worship which Catholics pay to Mary and the saints. They do not see that this worship grows out of and is authorized by the worship of the God-man, to whose humanity the saints
are related by nature, and to whose divinity they are related by the grace which makes them sons of God by adoption, and joint-heirs of Jesus Christ.
Mistaking the sense of the Incarnation, or denying it altogether, the non-Catholic world are logically led to the denial of the supernatural order of grace and life, the very life and immortality brought to light through the Gospel. They reject, in fact, even when not in words, the “mystery of Godliness, which was manifest in the flesh," and therefore the whole Christian order, and the whole economy of Christian salvation. They have lost sight of the mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, and expect salvation, if they expect it at all, through the divinity distinctively taken, without the mediation of the flesh, or the human nature hypostatically united to the divine. Even they among Protestants who assert in words the Incarnation, recognize nothing in the Christian economy that necessarily demands it, for even the expiation or satisfaction for sin made by our Lord on the cross could have been dispensed with, since, if he had so chosen, God could have forgiven sin on simple repentance, without the expiation or satisfaction so made; and there is nothing else in their theology that could not have been as well effected without as with the assumption of the flesh. They really have no use for that assumption, for the flesh plays no part in the economy of grace, or the final beatitude of the Christian. With them the Word-made-flesh is not the creator and founder of a new order of life, by which man is placed in new and supernatural relations with God,-an order of life which flows from the God-man as its first principle and returns to him as its last end, or in which the Word
made-flesh is the beginning and end, the Alpha and the Omega, in a real and not merely in a putative or fictitious sense.
Not seeing that all in the Christian economy grows out of the stupendous fact of the Incarnation, your Evangelicals reject the whole system of mediation. They reject the Church as the visible body of Christ; reject sacramental grace; deny infused habits of grace, which elevate man to a supernatural life, and enable him to merit a supernatural reward, and hold that regeneration is effected by an immediate and direct act of God distinctively in his divinity alone, in which the humanity does not participate. The most that can be said is, that since God expiated man's sin, he can now consistently with the demands of justice pardon the sinner who believes; but in the work of regeneration and sanctification it performs no office. The Blessed Trinity does all directly and immediately without it. Hence among the higher and more independent intelligences in the non-Catholic world there is a strong tendency to reject the Incarnation, even in words, and to regard the Christian dogma as simply symbolical of a inetaphysical and cosmological fact of the natural order, the divinity in humanity, or the immanence of God as cause in man as the effect,-an immanence in some sense which all must recognize who recognize the relation of cause and effect.
Rejecting, in reality, even when not in words, the mystery of the Incarnation, or virtually explaining it away, the non-Catholic world necessarily reject the supernatural order, and fall back, as we have said, under the natural order, and recognize no order of life but the natural ; that is, they fall back under pure rationalism, or a sort of natural inysticism, sometimes expressed and sometimes not expressed in Christian phraseology. Let us not be misunderstood; we do not mean that all Protestants deny the supernatural in the sense that God is above nature, as the cause must needs be above the effect, or even that God communicates his will to many, and intervenes now and then in human affairs otherwise than through the so-called laws of nature. What we mean is, that they reject the supernatural order, the life and immortality brought to light through the Gospel, and whose principle, whose origin and end is God Incarnate, or Jesus Christ, in whom the two natures, the human and the Divine, though distinct, are forever united in the unity of one Divine Person. The supernatural they admit is simply the Divinity, and the supernatural intervention in human affairs is a direct and immediate exertion of Divine power, not intervention in accordance with a supernatural order, through the human nature assumed or taken up to be the human nature of God, The life and immortality they assert is the natural life and immortality of the soul, not the life and immortality that proceed from the God-man, as nature proceeds from the Divine Word alone, or unincarnate. Even Protestants who most affect orthodoxy, can give us no good reason on their ground why none ascended into heaven before Christ, why, till Christ visited them after his crucifixion, the Patriarchs, thongh they had died in faith in him who was to come, and in a state of sinlessness, were detained in what is called the limbus patrium. It is doubtful if they really do so believe at all, or if they would not greet us with a derisory smile were we to mention to them seriously even the word limbo, which, in their minds has only ludicrous associations. They do not see that the Fathers could not enter into the life and immortality brought to light through the Gospel before that life and immortality really existed in fact; and that they existed only in proinise before the Incarnation was consummated, or before our Lord had pronounced on the cross the words, consummatum est. Hence so many of them see no reason for the descent into hell, and would erase that article from the creed. It is this supernatural order of life and immortality founded by the Incarnation, or by the Word-made-flesh, and which is in no sense proved by proving the natural immortality of the soul asserted by Socrates and Plato, hoped for by Cicero, and in some form believed by most men, that non-Catholics in all ages and nations of the world, deny or fail to recognize,-a life and immortality which faith foretastes in this world, and the saints enjoy in fulness by the light of glory in heaven. We may believe in the natural life and immortality of the soul, which may be proved with certainty by natural reason, and have full assurance of an individual personal existence after death ; and yet, it we deny the new order of life and immortality created by the Incar