Puslapio vaizdai

tion and authority, nor as a fact is it often so with our Catholic clergy. The effects feared are guarded against by the religious training they receive, the influence of their religion on their consciences, and the grace of God imparted to aid them not only as Christians, but as Christian teachers and pastors. May we request the Professor to remember that the grace of God is not regarded by Catholics as a fiction, and that Catholicity teaches us in all things to seek the glory of God, and to ascribe in all the glory to God?

X. The tenth charge, that Catholicity engenders an exclusive and persecuting spirit, we throw back on the Professor. The Catholic Church is exclusive in the sense that truth is exclusive, but in no other. She never persecutes, never has persecuted, never authorizes or approves persecution. Legitimate authority may punish, but it cannot persecute. But the Church herself inflicts only ecclesiastical punishments; and she has never authorized, or even tacitly approved, any civil punishment of heretics, when the heretic did not add to the sin of heresy, which St. Paul classes with murder and other deadly sins, the further sin of offences against the state, or of attacks on the very foundations of moral and social order, as in the case of the Albigenses, Wickliffites, Hussites, &c. The Catholic Church here, as well as elsewhere, is impervious to the shafts of her enemies.

But if you want to find persecution, genuine, unmitigated persecution, you must go out of the Catholic Church, among ihe Reformers and their numerous bands of hostile sectaries ; and especially among the Calvinists at Geneva, under Calvin's own reign of terror, where it was virtually a capital offence “ 10 speak evil of M. Calvin,” and where Calvin kept his grand inquissitor, Colladen, who applied the torture to the very point of death to whomsoever Calvin was pleased to designate; and where Calvin himself, in the coolest and most malignant manner conceivable, procured the judicial murder of the poor poet, Gruet, Michael Servetus, and others. Whoever would become familiar with bona fide persecutions must read the history of the Reformers and their children.

XI. That Catholicity accepts the sneer of Hume, that “ Religion rests on faith, not on reason,” we admit, if regard be had to the intrinsic reasonableness of the mysteries ; yet we deny that faith is unreasonable, for nothing is more reasonable than to believe God on his word. The rule the Professor would introduce would be fatal to supernatural revelation. He contends for the principle, that we must judge the speaker by the word, and not the word by the speaker. This is a sound principle within the sphere of natural reason, in matters of which we have in ourselves a full knowledge, and therefore all the conditions of forming a correct judgment. But whoso adopts it in the sphere of religion is already an infidel or on the declivity to infidelity ; for it cannot be adopted in the sphere of religion without first denying that in religion there is any thing to be believed which transcends natural reason; therefore it cannot be adopted without denying supernatural revelation ; and to deny supernatural revelation is what is meant by infidelity.

We do not like to call a man an infidel, or to be continually telling him that his objections involve a denial of Christianity. We know how easy it is to say such things, and how very suspicious such charges usually are ; but we confess, that, so far as we are competent to judge of the matter, the Professor has not urged a single objection against us, not false in fact, which, if analyzed, reduced to its ultimate principle, does not imply a total denial of all revelation of the supernatural order. We have found in no professedly religious writer in this country, unless it be in Mr. Parker, so complete a rejection, in principle, at least, of all supernatural revelation. The whole Leciure is written from the Humanitarian point of view, and proves that the author is far, very far, gone in German Rationalism ; and unless the Puritans of New England are much changed from what they were when we knew them better than we now do, he will yet be called to an account for his doctrines.

In this Lecture, his tendencies are not fully developed, and they show themselves to the Puritan reader only in their opposition to Catholicity, and therefore are not likely to be at once suspected of their real character. He will be allowed, without rebuke, to pursue a line of argument towards us, which, if he should adopt it in regard to his own creed, would not be tolerated for a moment. But whoso sows error sows dragon's teeth, and they will one day spring up armed men. They who countenance arguments false in principle, when directed against their opponents, will one day find them rebound, and with as much force as they were urged. We do not like Puritanism ; we regard it as a deadly enemy to truth and religion ; but we should be sorry to see it overthrown by the introduction

Bad as


of another error still greater, still more destructive. it is, it is not so bad as German Rationalism, or even German Supernaturalism, as represented by Schleiermacher, Neander, and De Wette, which is only Rationalism sentimentalized.

We make these remarks with no ill-will towards Professor Park. We see his tendency, for it is a tendency we followed long before he was affected by it ; we have followed it to its termination, and we know where it conducts. Would to God, that on this point the Professor would place some little confidence in our words. We were bred in the same school he was, and we embraced the faith in which he was educated, and made what we thought was our first communion in a Calvinistic church. We sought, like him, to rationalize our faith, with less learning, less knowledge, and less advantages to begin with, we own; for we were a poor boy cast upon the world alone, to struggle our way as best we could. We wished to have a faith the intrinsic reasonableness of which we could demonstrate. Of the twenty years which followed we need not speak. They are not such as we are proud of, nor such as we can recur to, except for a lesson of humility ; yet this have we learned, - had burnt and scarred into our very soul, -- that there is no medium between a simple, meek, unquestioning faith in the sacred mysteries, as perfectly incomprehensible mysteries, on the sole authority of God revealing them, and absolute, downright infidelity ; and that the first step taken for the purpose of rationalizing the Christian faith is a step downwards to the bottomless hell of unbelief.

The Professor charges us with being unwilling to accept, or unable to delight in, goodness not in our own Church.

r. The treasures of excellence that are spread out before us in Fénélon and Bossuet we, as Protestants, rejoice in ; ..... but when the amiable sentiments of a Zinzendorf or of a Spangenberg are presented to a Romanist, are they welcomed by him ? ” — p. 484. Yes, so far as truly amiable and good; and the Catholic is ready to acknowledge and does acknowledge and delight in excellence, let him find it where he may.

1. But and here is a point we beg the Professor to remember – there is a difference between the amiable sentiments which are without grace, and the really amiable sentiments which are by grace.

We admit amiable sentiments in men who are out of the Church ; but not that men, who are not, to say the least, virtually in the Church, have or can have any


truly meritorious sentiments; for no sentiments not proceeding from grace are or can be meritorious; and we know no ordinary means of grace but the sacraments of the Church.

2. The Catholic Church is older than any of the sectaries, and had examples of all the virtues long before Zinzendorf or Spangenberg was born, and purer examples than either of these gives us of any virtue. We find nothing in these men but feeble imitations of originals in possession of the Church, and therefore we neither need them nor can profit by them.

•3. These men were heretics and schismatics; and St. Paul classes heresy and schism with deadly sins. Moreover, we do not think it favorable to good morals to dwell with too much admiration on the few virtues individuals may have in despite of their mortal sins. The tendency to compel us to do this is the crying sin of modern literature, as witness The Corsair, Lucrece Borgia, The Adventures of a Younger Son, &c.

4. The blessed Apostle John says, “ We are of God. He that knoweth God heareth us, and he that is not of God heareth not us.

By this we know the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.” — 1 St. John, iv. 6. Moreover, he says, again, Si quis venit ad vos, et hanc doctrinam non affert, nolite recipere eum in domum, nec AVE dixeritis. — 2 St. John, 10. If the Professor wants any further reply, we will give it, after he has settled his quarrel with the beloved Apostle of our Lord.

If the Protestants rejoice in the treasures of excellence spread out in Fénélon and Bossuet, it is well, as far as it goes. They should do so; it is their duty ; and it is also their duty to go farther, and submit to the Church of Fénélon and Bossuet, love and obey her as their spiritual mother; and even then they would have no right to put on airs; for when we have done our whole duty, our blessed Lord tells us to account ourselves unprofitable servants. We do not, we own, feel bound to be remarkably grateful to the would-be liberal Protestant, who thinks to say a kind thing to us, by saying, “0, yes, the Catholic Church has had some eminent men ; there's Fénélon ; I am a great admirer of Fénélon.” We only do not take this as an insult, because no insult is intended. As well think to compliment a Christian by saying some of the Apostles were very eminent men, that you are a great admirer of the virtues of the Founder of Christianity. Do you receive Jesus Christ as your master ? Do you own the Church as your mother ? No? Then you fall infinitely short of your duty. We are not Catholics be

cause we admire Fénélon, or Bossuet, and we do not regard it as a compliment even to the Catholics you pretend to admire that you admire them, for you deride that to which they owed their virtues, and show your admiration is worth nothing by admiring also Luther, Calvin, Beza, John Knox, and perhaps Cotton Mather. We do not thank you for praising our brethren, while you insult and calumniate our Mother. Speak evil of me, or of them, and I can forgive you. But call my Mother hard names, as you do, and nothing you can say in my favor or in theirs will enable me to forgive you. In the one case, you at worst only blaspheme men ; in the other, you blaspheme the Holy Ghost, the eternal God, whose Spouse she is ; and even were I and my brethren to forgive you, it would avail you nothing

XII. To the twelfth charge, that Catholicity “is fascinating to all classes,” we will say not much. It is a charge we cannot retort upon Puritanism. That the Catholic Church is attractive to all men of all classes who would have faith, who feel they are poor, helpless sinners, and would have the sure means of salvation ; to the weary and heavy laden, who seek rest, and find it nowhere in the world ; to those who would have confidence in their principles, and free scope and full employ. ment for their intellectual powers ; to those who are tired of endless jarring, and disgusted with shallow innovators, pert philosophers, unfledged divines, cobweb theories spun from the brain of vanity and conceit, vanishing as the sun exhales the morning dew which alone rendered them visible, and who would have something older than yesterday, solid, durable, carrying them back and connecting them with all that has been, and forward and connecting them with all that is to be, admitting them into the goodly fellowship of the saints of all ages, making them feel that they have part and lot in all that over which has coursed the stream of divine providence, been consecrated by the blood of martyrs, and hallowed by the ebb and flow of sanctified affection, and permitting them to love, venerate, and adore to their heart's content, or their heart's capacity ; – to all these, of whatever age or nation, sex, rank, or condition, the glorious, sublime, God-inspired, guided, and defended Catholic Church is full of attractions, we admit, even fascinating, if you will. But in any other sense than this, or to any other than such as these, we deny it, and find the justification of our denial in the fact that the Professor and his brethren are VOL. II. NO. IV.


« AnkstesnisTęsti »