Obrázky na stránke
[merged small][ocr errors]

næus,ʻall the faithful, wheresoever dispersed, should come in Christian harmony and with one accord.' Nor can we more appropriately conclude these few general observations on the nature and doctrine and discipline of the Catholic Church, whose authority is so reviled by furious men, than with the following striking passage, extracted from the Pastoral Instructions, addressed, in 1824, by all the Irish Catholic Bishops to their flocks. These prelates, instructing the Catholics of Ireland, observe: "but above all to protect you against these men who are erring and driving into error, you have the infallible testimony of the Church of God, which Jesus Christ appointed the depositary of his doctrine, to preserveit, to explain it, to teach it, promising her that she would always be animated and directed by the Holy Ghost, and that he himself would be constantly assisting her till the end of time; that the gates of hell would never prevail against this bulwark, which, as an Apostle says, ' is the pillar and ground of the truth.(n) The Redeemer foresaw how great would be the inconstancy, the rashness, the pride, the rebellion of the mind of man, and that many even of those who would yenerate the holy Scriptures, would, in searching into their depths, lose the anchor of

(n) I Tim. c. 3. v. 15. See also Matt. 16. v. 18, and John 14. v. 16, 17.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

faith, see vain things, and prophecy lies, saying, and persevering to say, 'the Lord speaketh,' when as Ezekiel saith, the Lord had not sent them.")

. He foresaw that such men would create dissensions, bring in sects and broach heresies, would oppose authority, contradict the truth, fluctuate in a chaos of unsettled opinions, be tossed about by every wind of doctrine, condemn each other, and yet all cry out, '80 saith the Lord, ait Dominus, whilst they all rejected what the Lord had said. He foresaw that these sects, turbulent and licentious, known, and scarcely known, by the names of their founders, would break the unity of his mystic body, which is the Church, of which he himself is the Head; of that Church which has but one Faith, as she has but ONE SAVIOUR, ONE BAPTISM, and ONE LORD; and hence it was that he vested in her an infallible authority, which, like a light always shining, could dissipate the darkness of error, remove every doubt, interpret faithfully the Word of God, and conduct mankind into the haven of truth and salvation.

And where can this Church be found, unless it be she which was built on the Apostles, which received from them the true sense and meaning of the Scriptures, and which, at her very commencement, decided the disputes and settled the doubts which arose amongst

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

(o) Ex. ch. 13. v. 6.

[ocr errors]

the faithful, whilst the Holy Ghost dictated her decision ; . It hath seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to us.'

“Where can this Church be found, if it be not she who from that time to the present, has subsisted and been governed by an uninterrupted succession of pastors ?-she who was always unchangeable in her faith and morality, and who, like her divine Founder, was yesterday, is to-day, and will be always the same, till the consummation of ages; that Church, which amongst all the sects which have sprung up about her, or proceed from her bosom, has always, as the pagan Celsus testifies, been known by the name of the GREAT CHURCH;-that Church, which has condemned all other Churches, which, like withered branches, were lopped off from the ancient and living trunk, whose root is Christ; that Church which has triumphed over so many persecutions excited against her by the Jews, by the Pagans, by the impious, by all the enemies of her doctrine; a Church always assailed and never conquered ! In a word, where can this Church be found, if it be not she which is extended throughout the entire world, which alone is one, which alone can glory in the title of CATHOLIC—a title which she has borne from the Apostolic times, which her

[ocr errors]

(p) Acts, ch. 15. v. 8.

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

enemies themselves concede to her, and which, if arrogated by any of them, serves only to expose their shame.

“In this Church, dearly beloved brethren, you possess the fountain of all true knowledge, and the tribunal where God himself presides. He speaks to you by the mouths of all her pastors, whom, when you hear, you hear him." Never deviate from her decisions, they are the decisions of the Holy Ghost, who governs her, and always preserves the purity of her doctrine. Never attend to any voice but to her's; she is the tender mother who has brought you forth, who has nursed

you in her bosom, fed you with milk from her breasts in your infancy, and now furnishes you with strong food. She watches unceasingly over the deposit of the faith which has been confided to her by her heavenly spouse ; she is always armed against every error, against every impiety, always shining in the midst of the disorder and confusion of this world, like the morning star from the midst of the clouds, to direct her children in the ways of truth and salvation. Watch, the fore, we again beseech you by the mercy of God, remain firm, do not fall from your stedfastness, be constant in the faith ; repel with meekness, but with the zeal of God, all the assaults of those who

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

(9) Luc. 10. v. 16.

would seduce you ; be strengthened and animated with the aid of divine grace against all the ungodly, against all enthusiasts and impostors; watch, stand in the faith, act manfully, and be comforted.(r) i Cor, ch. 16. v. 13.

II. In the second place, I can neither conform to Protestantism, nor take the Oaths required, because both call upon me to profess, testify, and declare, solemnly and sincerely, in the presence of God, not merely that I do not believe in Transubstantiation, but that I believe there is no such thing as Transubstantiation; and moreover, that what I do believe on this point, I believe in the sense in which it is commonly understood by English Protestants : not after the definition of any Christian Church; not in any precise terms, such as might be intelligible to the understanding ; not from any authority remote or recent, but according to the sense in which it is commonly understood by a body of men who own no authority in matters of faith, but their own judgment; who think on all controverted points as their fancy may dictate; and who have no standard of ortho

(1) Reply to the Most Reverend Dr. Magee, by J. K. L. pp. 35-56.-See also a learned Examination of the Supre. macy of St. Peter, in Dr. Lingard's Tracts, in answer to Dr. Burgess, bishop of St. David's.

« PredošláPokračovať »