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creed. But if by bigotry is meant an uncharitable, illiberal, and sweeping condemnation of all who differ from us in belief, it is certainly no difficult matter to prove ourselves not only far less bigoted than any of our accusers, but indeed altogether exempt from the charge.
In the second chapter of an excellent work entitled “Charity and Truth,” first published many years ago, and recently republished under the sanction of the venerable prelates of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland, a work most deservedly held in the highest estimation among us, the following positions are to be found:-1st. That whatever be the religious belief of the parents of a person who is baptized, and whatever be the faith of the person who baptizes him, he becomes, in the instant of his baptism, a member of the Catholic church, as the true church of Christ.—2ndly. That he receives in his baptism justifying grace, and justifying faith.—3dly. That he loses the former by the commission of any mortal sin.4thly. That he loses the latter by the commission of a mortal sin against faith ; but does not lose it by the commission of any mortal sin of any other
(It stands to reason that a Catholic should be better instructed in matters of religion than a Protestant, since all our Catechisms, and Books of Devotion, contain a vast deal more information both on faith and morals, than any that are in use among Protestants.
kind.--5thly. That without such wilful ignorance, or wilful error, as amounts to a crime in the eyes of God, a mortal sin against faith is never committed: and 6thly. That, except in an extreme case, no individual is justified in imputing, even in his own mind, this criminal ignorance or criminal error to any other individual.-From an admirable sermon on UNIVERSAL BENEVOLENCE, delivered by an eminent Roman Catholic preacher,cm) in the year 1816, both in Bath and London, and which has been published and widely circulated under the authority of the Vicars Apostolic of this country, the following passage is extracted :-“Never be so uncharitable and so gross, as indiscriminately to give the harsh and odious appellation of Heretics to all those who belong not to our communion. That word implies guilt as well as error.
(m) The Rev. Dr. Archer.
(m) That such have always been the sentiments of the brightest luminaries of the Catholic Church, the following passages from St. Augustin will tend to show : The apostle Paul,' says this great man, in his one hundred and sixty-second letter, ' has said, an heretical man, after one reproof, avoid; knowing, that he who is of this sort is subverted and sins, and is self-condemned; but they who defend not with an obstinate animosity, their own opinion, though false and perverse, especially if it be an opinion which they did not originate in the assurance of their own presumption, but which they received from their parents, seduced and fallen into error, and who, seeking the truth with a cautious solicitude, are ready on finding
You have been taught in your catechisms, that heresy is an obstinate error in matters of faith.
it, to be corrected, they are not by any means to be reputed among heretics.'-Reply to Dr. Magee.
Let us hear Dr. Doyle himself: “ It was a question," says he,“ amongst the Jews, what was the greatest commandment in the law, whether to worship the Deity by sacrifice, which was a profession of faith-of absolute dependance on the Supreme Being, and an act of prayer, or to love him with the whole heart. The Redeemer decided the question in favor of the love of God, and of our neighbour; and St. Paul, having enumerated faith, hope, and charity, the three great christian virtues, says, expressly, that charity, which lasts for ever, is the greatest of the three. Sins, therefore, against faith, such as heresy, are very grievous; perhaps, next to apostacy, this vice is the worst of all, as it cuts up the roots of justification; but, abstracting from this character of it, it may not be so malicious, not so much opposed to the nature of God, as those sins which conflict with charity;—and this is a reflection which ought often to occur to those, who, agitated by a fiery zeal, and swoln with a selfishness, which they mistake for faith, break down all the charities of human life, sow dissentions amongst brethren, and totally forget the divine command of doing to others what they would that others should do to them. We should reprobate heresy as we reprove drunkenness or theft, usury or oppression of the poor; we should denounce schism as we proclaim the guilt of calumny or detraction; but as we should exercise patience and long suffering towards the drunkard, the thief, or the calumniator, so we should use forbearance
He only is a heretic, who, when he has discovered truth, wilfully and perversely, from human re
and charity towards the wilful and obstinate heretic, hoping that the Lord may, perhaps, yet give him repen. tance, like to other sinners. But, if the person who is in error, has been seduced into it by others, if he have received it as an inheritance from his fathers, and if his education, his habits, his passions, his interests, his connexions, raise a barrier about him, which the light of truth cannot, morally speaking, penetrate, or the force of argument approach, still less break down; to cherish for such a person any other feeling than that of the most unmixed and ardent charity, would not only be unchristian, but inhuman; to consign such a man to future suffering, on account of his errors, would be an usurpation of the divine knowledge and power, and whosoever should pass judgment on him, should fear that a similar judgment, without mercy, would be passed upon himself. It is the duty of those who are ministers of Christ, to exhibit the truths of the gospel, and the errors opposed to them, to display virtue in all her beauty, and exhibit also the deformity of vice; to exhort and beseech men in all patience and doctrine, to adhere to truth and virtue, and to fly from vice and error; to minister the aids of religion to all who seek them at their hands; to exclude from their assemblies and communion all who obstinately adhere to vice or error, but to leave the judgment of men's souls to Him who created and redeemed them, who alone is able to discern the innocent from the guilty, and who will repay to every one according to what he did in the body, whether good or evil.
spects, for worldly interests, or some such unworthy object, shuts his mind against it; or who obstinately or negligently refuses to be at the pains necessary for discovering it; and how can you presume to pronounce of any individual man, that this is his case, unless he acknowledge it? Can you assert that the doctrine which you know to be true, has been proposed to him in such å light of evidence, as to give conviction to his mind; or that he is not so satisfied with his own creed, as to preclude every idea of an obligation to make further inquiry? Those who carefully seek the truth, and sincerely follow the best light they can obtain in their respective circumstances, are innocent in the sight of God, and secure of his acceptance, whatever may be the errors into which they involuntarily fall. Who art thou,
“ There is no person who rightly understands the spirit in which Christians are called, and which spirit created and preserved that unity amongst the members of the church, who will not subscribe to those sentiments. They are the dictate of charity and liberality, rightly understood; but far removed, certainly, from that novel opinion now so prevalent amongst Protestants, which would open the church to all sorts and descriptions of sects, and erase from the catalogue of vices, revealed to us by Almighty God, the crimes of heresy and schism."---Reply to Dr. Magee.