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throughout nearly the whole christian world, these men who never ask any thing of the Father except through the Son, and identify him in their daily prayer with the King of Ages, the immortal and invisible God, to whom alone are due and given all honor and glory, these very men have been called, by the ferocious leaders of the revolt, ` Antichrists'!! and the Church in which they have always presided, and whose faith was from the beginning, and still is spoken of throughout the entire world,—this Church they called • Babylon,' and the 'great apostacy,' with all manner of opprobrious and insulting names.
“ To the present day, this warfare of calumny is continued for the same purposes, and by the genuine successors of the wicked men who first commenced it; hence it necessarily enters into the design of these observations that I endeavour, not to dissipate the cloud of calumny which still prevails, (a task to which I confess my incompetency), but to prove, in addition to the argument adduced by me, that the supremacy given to Peter has passed to his successors, the bishop, for the time being, of the See of Rome.
“ This is a truth, like many others, connected with a matter of fact, and a fact which, as it commenced with the demise of Peter, cannot be found recorded in the Holy Scriptures; but it is, at the same time, as we have seen above, a truth flowing
necessarily from the institution by Christ, of the primacy in the person of that apostle ; and all antiquity, as it attests the existence of that primacy in Peter, so it attests the transmission of it to his successors in the See of Rome.
“ The law of nature sanctions a presumption in favour of him who has the peaceable possession of any thing, and he is supposed to have acquired it justly, until his title to it is disproved. The burden of proof lies on him who questions the right of possession, and not upon him who holds it; but when we Catholics call for this proof against the title of Peter's successor to the spiritual supremacy which he enjoys, we are replied to by loud declamation, by angry invective, or by visionary speculations on the Apocalypse. If we refer to historical records to show not only the possession, but also the exercise of this supremacy in every age from the apostolic times, we are told that Mosheim (the faithless Hume of the Protestant Churches,) says, that the early churches, like the Greek republics, were all independent one of the other, and their councils like the amphyctionic assemblies. To refute this folly we refer to Eusebius, to Fleury, to Natalis Alexander ; we present the long and accurate catalogue of cases compiled by Cardinal Perron for the information of King James the First, to show that no Church was ever independent of the head of the episcopacy- that he
exercised in every quarter of the known world a jurisdiction commensurate with the exigency of the case which required it. We exhibit the appeals made to him from each of the three great patriarchates, as well as from all parts of his own in the West, and refer to the decisions pronounced by him--we mention the names and the sees of the bishops whom he acquitted or deposed—the nature of the discipline which he sanctioned or reproved -the errors and heresies which he condemned. We refer to the councils in which he presided either in person or by his delegates, from the time when councils were first held; we produce copies of his instructions to his legates, whether proceeding to the East or to the West; his confirmation or rejection of the whole or of a part of their proceedings; his spiritual pre-eminence asserted by him, and for him, and admitted with acclamation by all the orthodox, whether in council or dispersed, and never disputed unless by the wicked, the refractory, and the rebellious--the successors of Core, of Dathan, of Jannes and Mambre. We appeal to argument and common sense ;-but the spirit of the great revolt from the just authority established by Christ in his Church, answers to us, saying; “ Obedience, that great virtue by which all were justified by one, is no more to be practised; there are no longer judges in the Church, every believer is to judge for himself; he who
separates himself no longer, sins by so doing; the man who chooses for himself, setting at nought the judgment of those appointed to teach all nations and rule the Church, is no longer condemned by his own judgment; no man is obliged to hear the Church, as if Christ spoke through her; every old man and silly woman is now competent to decide on all controversies; a man may think on religion as he pleases, and speak as he thinks, nor is there any one entitled to reprove him and cast him out among the heathens. The day of gospel liberty is at length arrived, we have been freed, not from the yoke of Jewish observances, which neither we nor our fathers could bear, and made the children of God, under the dominion of Christ and of his heavenly grace, but we have been freed from all restraint upon our will or passions, upon our reason or fancy, and totally exempted from all obedience to those pastors who were formerly appointed to watch, so as if to give to God an account of our souls. We want no teacher, for the unction of God teaches us all things, even the most contradictory, illusive, and impious; we may now without danger be tossed about by every wind of doctrine; no unity of belief is required of us; we need not worship at the same altar, nor partake of the same sacraments, nor hear the voice of the same pastor; the body of Christ has undergone a thorough reformation ; it is now a mass of hete
rogeneous, discordant, and conflicting members, the head and the foot and the hand each goes its own way, and performs its own function independent of the other; in a word, there has been a great and entire revolt from the mutual dependance, the well regulated obedience, the singleness of faith, the uniformity of discipline, the brotherhood of charity which was originally established and prevailed. Formerly, the believers had but one heart and one mind, now no two of them are of the same mind; formerly all said the same thing, nor were there any schisms among them, now no two persons say the same thing, and schisms are multiplied without end or number; formerly there was but one church, one font of baptism, one altar in the town or village, now there are as many churches or conventicles as streets, some with, and some without an altar, some having a font for baptism, others having no such means of regeneration; in this only are we all agreed—to condemn the faith of our fathers, and to dissent from each other in all things else.
“We speak sometimes about essentials, and non-essentials, but incapable of ascertaining what should be designated by those terms, we say the Bible, and the Bible alone is our religion (a tolerably sized one, it must be confessed), and in its interpretation we seek only a justification of discord and the condemnation of unity.