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tle :) to Timothy; Hold the form of sound words, which thou hast heard from me in faith, and in the love, which is in Christ Jesus om and again ; And the things, which thou hast heard of me before many witnesses, the same commend to faithful men, who shall be fit to teach others also.(n)
With such Scripture authority for tradition, surely we are justified in contending, that, if a doctrine was known to have prevailed in a district which had been converted to Christianity by the preaching of the Apostles, and if the same doctrine was prevalent in all other districts, under similar circumstances, that that doctrine must have been derived from them, and is clearly an apostolical tradition. Hence it formed an article of Catholic faith, as much as if it had been detailed in the Sacred Writings. Throughout the Holy Scriptures, there is constant mention of a command to teach, but never to write ; preaching was the grand method of diffusing Christianity ; writing was only an auxiliary and subordinate means. Christianity had been widely spread before any part of the New Testament was written, and, still more so, before it obtained any general circulation. Yet Protestants maintain, that what was written is alone to be attended to; that teaching and preaching are of no avail, unless that which was taught and preached
1) 2 Thess. ii. 14.
(n] Ibid. ii. 2.
(m) 2 Tim. i. 13.
was forthwith committed to writing : they argue as if St. Paul had said: “Hold fast the doctrine which you have learnt by our Epistle ; but that which we have preached by word of mouth, heed it not.”
When our Saviour gave his final instructions to the Apostles, he thus addressed them: Go ye, therefore, and Teach all nations, baptizing, &c. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and behold, I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.) Go ye into the whole world, and preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved ; but he that believeth not shall be condemned.(P) “ This is his promise (says St. Jerome); he will be with his disciples to the end of the world : thus showing that they shall never die, and that he will never desert them that shall believe in him."(9) The Catholic Rule of Faith therefore is, and always has been, that we are bound steadfastly to believe that, which the Almighty having revealed, the Church has proposed to our belief. We hold that the Church is the sole depository of the revelations of heaven, and that she alone has authority to promulgate them upon earth: and, consequently, that the same truths have been
(o) Matt. xxviii. 19. 20. (p) Mark, xvi. 15. 16.
(9) Comment, in Matt. L. iv. T. iii. p. 734.
delivered down to us by the same channel, namely, by the teaching of the Apostles and their successors. We receive the doctrines of the successors of the Apostles, with the same credit as if we received them from the Apostles themselves. “ The difference lies in this only ;—that the interval between us and Jesus Christ, the fountain of every Christian truth, is measured by eighteen centuries; whereas, the communication between that fountain and the Apostles, and between these Apostles and the next to them in succession, was immediate. But truth is not lost, nor altered, nor weakened, by descent, when an unbroken chain of living witnesses, provided with all necessary documents, proclaims its identity; and the promised assistance of the Holy Spirit gives security to their words: I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.”
I have preferred beginning with this point, rather than with the more systematical line of argument which follows, because it afforded me an opportunity of stating the Rule of Faith amongst Catholics, a rule which ought always to be borne in mind in every controversial discussion, and to which every article of our belief is deducible.
In the Second place, I cannot conform to Protestantism, because no Protestant church possesses any of those characteristic marks of the true Church, so clearly and incontrovertibly pointed out in the sacred writings, and attested as such
by the universal consent of Christendom-Protestantism is neither one," HOLY,() CATHOLIC," nor APOSTOLICAL.
First,-No Protestant Church is one, because none of them have ever succeeded in preserving, even for a single moment, any unity of faith. (s) They began with variations, and have continued in a constant succession of variations ever since. All the Apostles of the Reformation differed in their creed and doctrines : the Church of England differs from them. The divines of the Church of England differ among themselves, and hardly any two members of any Protestant church agree in their belief; so that, being without unity of faith, they have not even, like the Greeks, the limited uniformity of a separate church.() If Protestantism were true, Protestantism would be one, because truth is essentially one. The common rules by which the faculty of man is usually regulated, appear to be strangers to Protestantism. It would appear to be forgotten that opposite conclusions, drawn from the same authority, cannot both be true--that there cannot be many truths,
(m) St. John, x. 16, and Ephes. iv. 3, 4, 5. (o Ephes. v. 26, 27. (1) Acts, 1. 8. Romans, x. 17, 18. (de) St. Matt. xxviii. 19, 20. Ephes. iv. 11, 12, fc.
(2) Ephes. iv. 12. (y) See Bossuet's Histoire des Variations, &c.
all in contradiction to each other. Truth disdains to be made subservient to circumstances; she scorns to be the sport of the passions, and of the pride of man; she is always uniform and consistent ---always open and undisguised—always sublime and unchangeable, like the Deity, from which she emanates.
No Protestant church can be one, because, though Protestants acknowledge an authority to decide upon matters of faith, yet they lay no pretensions to infallibility ;() they have no infallible tribunal
(8) Our definition of the Church is the same as yours (See the 20th of the Thirty-nine Articles), but with this difference between us, that you will not acknowledge it as a guide, whereas we do. You claim for your church the same powers that we do for ours, namely, authority in controversies of faith; but then you will not submit to that authority.
“For what cause, or by what authority, do you condemn the Arian, the Socinian, or the Unitarian, because he understands those texts, and such others as prove the eternity and divinity of the Son of God, in a sense different from what you assign to them? Are the Socinians not men of sound judgment? Have they not, according to your rule, a right; nay, are they not obliged to follow, the dictate of that judgment, in preference to all authority on earth ? and yet you exclude them from the kingdom of God, because in the exercise of their judgment, or in what you consider the discharge of their duty, they differ in