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If, in the course of the inquiry, we meet with that which it is impossible to comprehend, and difficult to believe, we must remember that the Almighty has so ordained it for the exercise of our faith ; for faith is the evidence of things that appear not." We must equally adore in humility and silence, the revelations of God to man, and the inscrutable counsels of heaven in the government of the world ; and we must apply to both, these words of the apostle, O the depth of the riches, of the wisdom, and of the knowledge of God! how incomprehensible are his judgments, and how unsearchable his ways! If we cannot reduce every thing to the standard of human reason, nor to the narrow comprehension of our capacities, we must recollect that onniscience is an attribute not granted to man; that we see now through a glass, and in a dark manner ; but the time will come when we shall see face to face: now we know only in part, but then we shall knox even as we are known.'") We must be satisfied that every thing is in conformity with the inscrutable decrees of the wisdom of the Deity, because we know we are not to enter into judgment with God, nor call our Creator to account for his con
way,--some fear, or interest, or self-love, or perplexity:
R] Rom. xi. 33. (u) 1 Cor. xii. 12.
duct towards his creatures. The God of all know-
In conclusion, let me call upon those who en-
from controversy, by discarding acrimonious invective and passionate hostility. Freedom of discussion is necessary in the cause of truth; but that freedom must not be suffered to degenerate into licentiousness. As
reason should be subject to revelation, so should zeal be obedient to charity; and though we differ in belief, we may live in harmony. Let it be our endeavour to promote the happiness of each other; and if we are not likely to concur in opinion upon all points, let us rejoice that we agree in
many; and knowing with how much difficulty truth is sometimes found, let us not wonder that some should miss it. Whenever we are arrayed as adversaries, let it be under the banners of the meek and humble Jesus ;' and may the motto blazoned on them be that golden sentence of an eloquent Father of the Church: IN NECESSARIIS UNITAS, IN DUBIIS LIBERTAS, ET IN OMNIBUS CHARITAS; and while we display our triumph, let us also learn to show our moderation. Thus will error be overthrown, the troubled passions be allayed, and the olive branch of peace proclaim that the waters of discord have subsided. May
May they never flow again, but be dried up in their sources, absorbed by CHARITY and TRUTH.
In offering to the reader the Traditionary Evidence of the Doctrines of our Church on the points to which it relates, contained in No. XI. of the following APPENDIX, I beg leave to call his attention to a rule laid down by the Bishop of London, in his Charge of 1826 (p. 17). “ When we are acquainted,” says he," with the true state of the controversy, we may form our own conclusions : ......and how is this to be done? Not, surely, by retaliating mis-statements, invectives, and calumnies, or crudely asserting an unqualified right of private judgment, but by REFERENCE TO PRIMITIVE ANTIQUITY; disproving the allegations of our opponents from the silence of Scripture, of general tradition, of ancient writers, which, in a case of this nature, is decisive ; appealing to the proceedings of Emperors, the acts of councils, the language of Fathers,“ of Bishops, and even of Popes,
re) “ The different manner in which these venerable witnesses of the faith are used by Protestants, is worthy of observation. While they imagine they can derive any support from their testimony, they treat them with becoming deference. But, on finding them opposed to their own doctrine, then they condemn and renounce their authority. Of the latter class are the Socinians, in parti
which contradict the pretensions of the Papacy, &c. ....“ The genuine records of ancient usage and practice, will, in like manner, supply us with proof, &c.” – Now, with all deference to the Rt. Rev. Prelate, we may surely be allowed to ask, what this silent evidence, to which he appeals, can weigh against the positive and speaking testimony which we can produce? As to the contradicting evidence, except on the point to which his Lordship refers, it is no where to be found : and even on that point, it will be seen only to contradict, not the lawful and spiritual authority of the Pontiff, but the pretensions of the Papacy. To deduce proof from the genuine records of ancient usage and practice, is an admirable rule, and one by which every Catholic, in common with the Bishop, , is ready to be judged. I trust I have shewn in another part of this work, that the silence of Scripture is not proof. The contradiction of Scripture certainly is : for, if a doctrine be contrary to Scripture, it cannot be true. But till the Scriptures
cular. Of the former, are Protestants of a more mitigated cast, who are fond of preserving some relics of mystery in their creed, and of authority in their government. These latter wish to enlist the Fathers in their service; but, like many an impressed auxiliary, they are found, when free from restraint, to abandon their service, and join the ranks of the enemies.”—Evidences of the Catholic Church, vol. ii. p. 268.