Obrázky na stránke


ingly as he may please to form his creed; and every possible contradictory opinion is equally defensible; as resting upon the interpretation of Scripture, adopted by the person who maintains it. This rule, like private inspiration, is shown to be fallacious; since, like the former, it has led, as it is calculated to lead, to opposite conclusions on numberless points of faith : and since there is no acknowledged judge on earth to decide, it necessarily fola lows that either contradictory doctrines are favored by the sacred volume, and revealed, as equally true, by the God from whom that sacred volume came, or else that it was intended by the God of peace, as an apple of discord, and meant by the God of truth for the propagation of falsehood. But as such intentions can never be imputed to the Deity, nor can it be imagined that our Redeemer established a church to succeed to the Jewish dispensation, and to last till the end of the world, so vague and indeterminate in its creed, so uncertain as to its form or even existence, in one place professing, on the authority of God's in. fallible word, articles and doctrines which, in another place, it anathematizes and disclaims on the same unerring authority, the author maintains that the Scripture alone does not furnish this certain and attainable rule adapted to the capacities and situations of mankind at large.

Still he maintains that a rule does exist, and ever has existed since the time of Christ, by which the faith of his disciples is secured from error, and his true religion, with all its doctrines and articles of belief proclaimed to them with equal certainty, by means of his protecting Spirit, his promised Paraclete, as if He were visibly seen by them, and were heard by them speaking in his own person, as when he conversed with his disciples upon earth. This rule, he contends, is the word of God, written and unwritten, as it is interpreted and explained by his appointed oracle, HIS CHURCH, which he has authorized and commissioned to teach all nations, while he has commanded all mankind to hear his church. This rule of faith, subject to the interpretation of an infallible expositor, inspired by himself, and guided by his Holy Spirit

, the Spirit of Truth, must necessarily communicate his revelations, must infallibly teach his truth, the whole truth, and the truth alone. This rule, thus unerringly explained by the Light of Light, inevitably implies teachers instituted by JESUS CHRIST himself, and a succession of teachers kept up by Him, and inspired by Him. It secures their followers from the danger of error, in adopting their own conjectures, and the teachers it preserves from the spirit of innovation and imposture, from all the attempts of ambitious or interested dogmatizers.

He then proceeds to show, that the church dispersed throughout the world and in communion with the See of Rome (commonly


He then pro

called the CATHOLIC Church) alone adopts and follows this infallible rule; and he produces numberless arguments to prove that, whereas Christians have, in every age since that of the apostles, professed their belief of One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church,—the Church in communion with the See of Rome, and presided over by the successor of St. Peter in that see, exclusively exhibits these four essential marks of the church of Christ, viz., Unity, in doctrine, liturgy, government, and constitution ; SANCTITY, in doctrine, in the means of holiness, and the fruits of holiness; CATHOLICITY, or universality, in its extent, as to time and place, no less than its name, which it has borne from time immemorial; and, finally, APOSTOLICITY, in its descent and reg. ular succession of ministers, from the time of the apostles, as well as in its sacraments and sacred institutions. ceeds to show, that these marks are deficient to every Christian society, except that which is in communion with the See of Rome, and which exclusively enjoys, as it ever has enjoyed, the distinctive appellation of the Catholic Church.

Here, strictly speaking, his work is at an end and controversy concluded. For the infallible superintendence and inspiration of Jesus Christ promised and preserved, and the marks, by which his church may be distinguished from every other society or congregation, being ascertained and applied, it follows of consequence, (without particular proof with regard to each particular article,) that every doctrine of a church so guarded and protected, must be the doctrine of Jesus Christ himself, and the church secure from error. However, for the sake of candid and sincere inquirers, the author condescends to particular examination ; brings forward the principal charges that are usually made against the Roman Catholic Church, and proves them to be either the involuntary errors of mistaken ignorance, or the unfair means resorted to by misrepresentation, with the view to blacken and disfigure the spouse of Christ. He draws aside the mask which malice had held up as her genuine countenance, and displays her form and features in all their native beauty and loveliness. For further satisfaction, he explains and justifies those particular doctrinal points, which are excepted against by the separatists from the Church of Rome.

Such are the nature and character of the work now presented to the public ; such is the object of the pre-eminent writer, which if he have attained, he has without question put an End to Religious Controversy, and fully justified the title given to his matchless performance. Let the reader judge.



LETTER I.—Mr. Brown's Apology to Dr. Milner-Account of the Friendly

Society of New Cottage.....


Essay I.-On the Existence of God and Natural Religion, by the Rev. Sam-
uel Carey, LL.D...


Essay II.-On the Truth of the Christian Religion, by Do.....


LETTER II.—Dr. Milner's Conditions for entering on the Correspondence-

Freedom of Speech-Sincerity and Candor-A Conclusive Method.... 23

LET. III.-Agreement to the Conditions on the past of the Society ....... 25

LET. IV.-Dispositions for success in Religious Inquiries—Renunciation of

prejudices, passions, and vicious inclinations--Fervent prayer...... 25

LET. V.-Rule or Method of finding out the True Religion-Christ has left a

Rule—This Rule must be sure and unerring—It must be adapted to the

capacity and situations of the bulk of mankind.....


LET. VI.- First fallacious Rule ; Private inspiration-This has led number.

less Christians into errors, impiety, and vice, in ancient and in modern
times Account of Modern fanatics, Anabaptists, Quakers, Moravians,
Swedenborgians, Methodists, &c.....


LET. VII.-Objections of certain Members of the Society answered....... 38

LET. VIII.-Second fallacious Rule; the Scripture, according to each person's

particular interpretation of it-Christ did not intend that mankind, in gen-

eral, should learn his Religion from a book-No Legislator ever made

Laws without providing Judges and Magistrates to explain and enforce

them-Dissensions, divisions, immorality, and infidelity, which have arisen

from the private interpretation of Scripture-Illusions of Protestants in this

matter—Their inconsistency in making Articles, Catechisms, &c.—AC-

knowledgment of learned Protestants on this head.....


LET. IX.-The subject continued - Protestants have no evidence of the In.

spiration of Scripture : nor of its authenticity: nor of the fidelity of their

copies : nor of its sense-Causes of the obscurity of Scripture : instances

of this—The Protestant Rule affords no ground for Faith Doubts in which

those who follow it live and also die....


LET. X.—The True Rule, namely, the Whole Word of God, unwritten as

well as written, subject to the interpretation of the Church-In this and

in every other country, the written law is grounded upon the unwritten

law-Christ taught the Apostles by word of mouth, and sent them to preach

it by word of mouth-This method was followed by them and their disci.

ples and successors Testimonies of this from the Fathers of the five first



LET. XI.—The subject continued-Protestants forced to have recourse to the

Catholic Rule, in different instances—Their vain attempts to adopt in it

other instances--Quibbling evasions of the Articles, Canons, Oaths, and

Laws respecting uniformity-Acknowledged necessity of deceiving the

people-Bishop Hoadley the patron of this hypocrisy-The Catholic Rule

confessed by Bishop Marsh to be the Original Rule-Proofs that it has

never been abrogated—Advantages of this Rule to the Church at large,

and to its individual members....


LET. XII.Objections answered— Texts of Scripture--Other objections

Illusory declamation of Bishop Porteus—The advice of Tobias, when he

sent his son into a strange country, recommended to the Society of New



[ocr errors]


LET. XIII.-Congratulation with the Society of New Cottage on their ac.

knowledgment of the right Rule of Faith— Proof that the Catholic Church

alone is possessed of this Rule-Characters or Marks of the True Church 94

LET. XIV.-Unity, the First Mark of the True Church- This proved from

reason: from Scripture : and from the Holy Fathers.....


LET. XV.-Want of Unity among Protestants in general-This acknowledg.

ed by their eminent writers-Striking instances of it in the Established

Church—Vain attempts to reconcile diversity of belief with uniform Ar-



LET. XVI.—Unity of the Catholic Church-in Doctrine ; in Liturgy: in Gov.

ernment, and Constitution.....


LET. XVII.-Objections against the exclusive claims of Catholics-Extract

of a letter from the Rev. Prebendary of Bishop Watson's doc-

trine on this head.........

... 109

LET. XVIII.-Objections answered-Bishop Watson, by attempting to prove

too much, proves nothing-Doctrine of the Holy Scriptures and the Fathers

on this head-Exclusive claim of the Catholic Church a proof of her



LET. XIX.-Second Mark of the True Church, Sanctity-Sanctity of doc.

trine wanting to the different Protestant Communions-to Luther's system :

to Calvin's : to that of the Established Church: to those of Dissenters and

Methodists-Doctrine of the Catholic Church holy. PosTSCRIPT.-Varia-

tions and impiety of the Rev. John Wesley's doctrine ......


LET. XX.-Means of Sanctity— The Seven Sacraments possessed by Catho-

lics—Protestants possess none of them, except Baptism-The whole Litur.

gy of the Established Church borrowed from the Catholic Missal and Ritual

-Sacrifice the most acceptable worship of God- The most perfect Sacri-

fice offered in the Catholic Church-Protestants destitute of Sacrifice

Other means of Sanctity in the Catholic communion.........


LET. XXI.-Fruits of Sanctity-All the saints were Catholics Comparison

of eminent Protestants with contemporary Catholics-Immorality caused

by changing the ancient Religion........


LET. XXII. -Objections answered-False accounts of the Church before the

Reformation, so called—Ditto of John Fox's Martyrs The vices of a few

Popes no impeachment of the Church's Sanctity-Scriptural practices and

exercises common among Catholics, but despised by Protestants....... 135

Let. XXIII.—Divine Attestation of Sanctity in the Catholic Church-Mira.

cles the Criterion of Truth-Christ appeals to them, and promises a con-

tinuation of them—The Holy Fathers and Church.writers attest their con.

tinuation, and appeal to them in proof of the True Church-Evidence of

the Truth of many MiraclesIrreligious skepticism of Dr. Conyers Mid.

dleton :-this undermines the Credit of the Gospel-Continuation of Mira.

cles down to the present time : living witnesses of it..........


LET. XXIV.-Objections answered-False and unauthenticated miracles no

disproof of true and authenticated ones-Strictness of the examination of
reported miracles at Rome-Not necessary to know God's design in work.
ing each miracle-Examination of the arguments of celebrated Protestants
against Catholic miracles-Objections of Gibbon and the late Bishop of
Salisbury, (Dr. John Douglass,) against St. Bernard's miracles, refuted
St. Xavier's miracles proved from the authors quoted against them-Dr.
Middleton's confident assertion clearly refuted-Bishop Douglas's Conclu-
sive Evidence from Acosta, against St. Xavier's miracles, clearly refuted,
by the testimony of the said Acosta–Testimony of Ribadeneira concern.
ing St. Ignatius's miracles, truly stated— True account of the miracle of

Saragossa-Impostures at the tomb of Abbé Paris-Refutation of the Rev

Peter Robert's pamphlet, concerning the miraculous cure of Winefrid



LET. XXV.- The True Church Catholic-Always Catholic in name, by the

testimony of the FathersStill distinguished by that name in spite of all



LET. XXVI.-Qualities of Catholicity-The Church Catholic as to its mem.

bers : as to its extent: as to its duration_The original Church of this



LET. XXVII.--Objections of the Rev. Joshua Clark answered—Existence

of an invisible Church disproved—Vain attempt to trace the existence of

Protestantism through the discordant heresies of former ages-Vain Prog.

nostication of the failure of the True Church-Late attempts to under.

mine it....


LET. XXVIII.—The True Church, Apostolical : so described by the ancient

Fathers—APOSTOLICAL TREE of the Catholic Church explained, by

a brief account of the Popes and of distinguished Pastors, also of Nations

converted by her, and of heretics and schismatics cut off from the True



LET. XXIX.--Apostolical succession of Ministry in the Catholic Church

Among Protestant Societies the Church of England alone claims such suc-

cession-Doctrine and conduct of Luther, and of different Dissenters on

this point_Uncertainty of the Orders of the Established Church, from the

doctrine of its founders : from the history of the times : from the defective-

ness of the form-Apostolic Mission evidently wanting to all Protestants-

They cannot show an ordinary mission : they cannot work miracles to

prove an extraordinary one....


LET. XXX.—Objections of the Rev. Josuah Clark answered-Apostolical

ministry not interrupted by the personal vices of certain Popes-Fable of

Pope Joan refuted-Comparison between the Protestant and the Catholic

Missions for the conversion of Infidels—Vain prediction of conversions and

of reformation by the Bible Societies_Increase of crimes commensurate

with that of the Societies. PostSCRIPT.—Recapitulation of things proved

in the foregoing Letters...


« PredošláPokračovať »