« PredošláPokračovať »
priests to produce a single sentence which they can prove by an nbroken chain of unimpeachable evidence to be either divine, that is to say, to have been spoken by Christ, or apostolical. If they refer to Irenæus, we have only a barbarous version extant of a fragment of one of his works, and all the tradition of which Irenæus speaks, and which he says no one will either add to or take from, is contained in the Scriptures. The traditions mentioned by Tertullian are ceremonial; they are not all observed by the church of Rome. (See Tertullian, part 2.). Tertullian flourished at the beginning of the third century, there is a chasm therefore between him and the apostles, which requires to be filled up. He was, besides, not infallible; on the contrary, he fell into heresy, and died a Montanist. If earlier writers speak of traditions, they do not record them. If such traditions exist, we demand again where they are, and what they are? Bellarmine admits that they are all written; it would be an act of charily to produce them. Only establish their inspiration by irrefragable proofs, and we are content to receive them as the word of God.
Certain questions are invariably asked by Romanists, such as, How do you justify the change of the Sabbath or infant baptismi from the Scriptures, &c. ? All these are beside the question. We have seen that the Scriptures can give eternal life, and that they constitute by a necessary consequence a sufficient rule of faith; if then the Scriptures were silent upon these subjects, it would only prove that they are non-essentials. The change of the Sabbath, however, can be justified by Scripture. The apostles met on the first day of the week. The Colossians were absolved by Paul from observing new moons and Sabbaths. And John speaks of the Lord's day, John c. xx. v. 19, 26; Acts c. xx. v. 7; Coloss. c. ii. v. 16; Apc. c. i.
Bellarmine expressly declares that the Scriptures absolve Christians from keeping the Jewish Sabbath. With respect to infant baptism, water, where it is possible to observe the ceremony, is spoken of as essential, as was the rite of circumcision to the Jews. (John c. iii. v. 3.) Hence, nothing but a prohibition can justify the non-baptizing of infants. Does such a prohibition exist? On the contrary our Saviour commands the bringing to him of infants (Luke c. xviii. v. 15, Douay version), and the table of references in the Douay Bible refers to this text as justifying the practice. Under the Jewish law infants were circumcised on the eighth day; a parity of reasoning justifies infant baptism. Bellarmine admits that infant baptism may be gathered from the Scriptures.
With respect to the Romish rule of faith. Ist. The church of Rome has no uniform rule of faith, for as her rule is the infallible interpretation of the written and unwritten word, and as some hold the pope to be infallible when he speaks ex cathedrâ and some deny it, there is a principle of disunion in that very infallibility which they pompously set forth as the source and centre of unity. 2ndly. She has no practical rule of faith. For if the promise of infallibility were giveu by Christ to his church for ever, which we deny, it remains to be seen whether the church of Rome be the church of Christ.
Milner, in his End of Controversy admits that until the church of Rome proves her unity, sanctity, catholicity, and apostolicity, she cannot lay claim to this title. Now to prove unity of doctrine, sanctity of doctrine, and apostolicity of doctrine, a diligent comparison must be made of the doctrines which are at present held by the church of Rome with the records of apostolic doctrine, i. e. with the written and, if it exists, with the unwritten word. Hence either the private judgment of a Roman Catholic can enable him to ascertain the unity, sanctity, and apostolicity, of every article of his creed, or it cannot. If it cannot, he never can certify to himself that the church of Rome is the church of Christ, in other words, he never can certify to himself his rule of faith. If he can, he finds his rule of faith only when he does not want it.
3. The Romish laity have no tangible exposition of faith. They profess to receive the written and the unwritten word pari reverentiâ, with equal respect. But where are they to find the unwritten word They promise again to interpret Scripture only according to the sense of mother church, and the unanimous assent of the fathers. Where are they to find the sense of mother church? Not one of them in ten thousand possesses the councils of the church, and not one in fifty can read them. There are no infallible notes to their Bibles; Dr. Doyle has sworn that the notes appended to Roman Catholic editions of the Scriptures are of no weight. With respect to the fathers, but few can read them, and still fewer can get at then, and when they do, instead of a catholicity of unity, they find a catholicity of Babel. Lastly, with regard to the canons, decretals, &c., how few can attain a knowledge of them! Some of these again are received entire, some only in part, and they have no guide to tell them which has received the assent of the whole church, and some again are received by the Italians upon the strength of the pope's personal infallibility, which are rejected by the French and English and Irish churches." Those for instance which refer to the temporal power of
* In the discussion of this subject, the evils resulting from the indiscriminate reading of the Scriptures are sure to be dwelt upon. But the abuse is no argument against the use of blessings. It will be necessary however to shew that the Scriptures are public property, and that it is the duty of mankind to read them; and to establish from precedent the right, and from precept the duty of the exercise of private judgment.
The church of Rome, by the admission of her warmest advocates, has no present unity of faith. Mr. Barber affirms that the doctrine of the temporal power of the popes is confined to the precincts of the Vatican. But even if this be true, which I much doubt, the pope and his cardinals hold a tenet, which is attended with the most impor. tant results, and which is rejected by the archbishops and bishops of his own church! On the subject of unity of discipline and ceremony the church of Rome must needs be silent. Her religious orders present us with endless variations of discipline ; and sho has introduced most striki changes into three of her sacraments ; baptism, penance, and the eucharist. 1. In the primitive days adults were thrice dipped, 'ter mergitamur' is the language of Tertullian: and there was no spitting, &c. %. We learn from the same father, that in his time confession, penance, and absolution were public, and that confession and penance preceded absolution. Confession and absolution are now private, and precede penance. 3. In the eucharist the cup is taken from the laity.
As the Romanist invariably demands the proof of the genuineness, authenticity, and inspiration, of the Scriptures, it will be as well to be furnished with a concise answer on this subject, which is all that is wanting; for the pretended Romanist cannot unmask himself, and enter at full into the infidel argument. The genuineness of the Scriptures is proved by the fact that the books of the New Testament are quoted or alluded to by a series of Christian writers, as well as by adversaries of the Christian faith, who may be traced back in regular succession from the present time to the apostolic age. The Romanist here turns upon you, and says, that if you take the testimony of the fathers upon one point, you must take it upon all. But the cases are widely different. The poorest member of a congregation can give evidence respecting the existence of the Bible in his own church at a given time; but we do not, therefore, feel bound to subscribe to his interpretation of its contents. The authenticity of the narrative of the New Testament is proved as to its main features, namely, that there was such a person as Christ, and that he lived at the time when it is said that he did, by heathen writers. And we have the same testimony with regard to the mode in which the religion was first propagated, and to its rapid increase. The complete authenticity of this portion of holy writ is established by the nature of the case, for as we can prove, by tracing them back through the writings of churchmen and others, that the books of the New Testament were written in the first century, the miracles and facts which they record must have been true, else would their falsity have been instantly detected, and the religion which had a persuasion of the truth only to support it against all the powers of man and Satan, would have fallen to the ground. The authenticity of the Old Testament, which is questioned, on account of the wonders it relates, is proved by the demonstration of its inspiration. This inspiration is clearly established, 1st. By the picture which is therein presented to us of Deity, a picture which we know by experience that the mind of man never could have discovered ; a fact which is evinced by the repeated failures of all the ancient philosophers. (Vide Cicero de Nat. Deorum.) 2. By the accurate description of the human heart, a description which human wisdom could not, and which a creature so blinded with self-love as man would not, have given. 3. By the perfection of the divine law. 4. By fulfilment of the prophecy in the destruction of Babylon, Nineveh, and Tyre; in the rise and fall of the four great empires ; in the person of the Messiah ; and in the dispersion of the Jews. Every Jew we meet is a living miracle. The inspiration of the New Testament is proved by the fulfilment of prophecy in the destruction of Jerusalem; in the preservation of the Jews until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled; in the resistance which, as it was foretold, the beautiful precepts of the gospel have ever met with; in the persecution of the disciples of Christ; in the success of the religion; in the great apostacy; and in the revelation of the man of sin. The inspiration of the Old Testament is also proved by the testimony of our Saviour; and the inspiration of the New Testament is, again, most powerfully testified by the internal evidence of the believer. He is told
in it that God is a prayer-hearing God, that He will change his heart, give him peace, dwell within him, and communicate to him of the Holy Ghost.“ He tastes and sees that the Lord is gracious.” This is the foundation of the poor man's belief in the inspiration of the Bible; it is stronger and firmer than an adamantine rock. The scoffs and sneers of the infidel, and the cavils of the philosopher, vainly beat against it, it is the evidence of his experience and of his senses, he has known and felt the power of the indwelling Deity, and he can confidently say with holy Job," I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth, and though after my skin, worms shall destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.”
Bellarmine on the unwritten Word Bellarminus de Verbo Dei non of God, book 4, c. 11.
Scripto, lib. 4, c. 11. After these remarks, I say, that His notatis, dico, illa omnia, all those things were written by scripta esse ab apostolis, quæ sunt the apostles which are necessary
omnibus necessaria, et quæ ipsi to all, and which they commonly palam omnibus vulgò prædicavepreached openly to all.
From the same.
Ibidem. But if we admit the authority Sed admissâ auctoritate Conof Constantine, I affirm that there stantini, dico, eorum omnium are proofs in Scripture of all the dogmatum, quæ ad naturam Dei doctrines which appertain to the pertinent, extare in Scripturis tesnature of God, and that we may timonia, et posse nos circa ea be fully and plainly informed of dogmata plenè et planè instrui' ex those doctrines from the Scrip- Scripturis, si eas rectè intelligatures if we rightly understand mus: verum tamen sensum Scripthem: but that the true sense of turarum pendere ex traditione ecthe Scriptures depends upon the clesiæ non scriptâ. unwritten tradition of the church.
Bellarmine on the unwritten Word Bellarm. de Verbo Dei non Scripof God, book 4, c. 12.
to, lib. 4, c. 12. For although these traditions Et si enim non sint scriptæ traare not written in the Scriptures, ditiones in divinis literis, sunt they are written nevertheless in tamen scriptæ in monumentis vethe monuments of the ancients, terum, et in libris ecclesiasticis. and in ecclesiastical books.
Bellarmine on the Worship of the
Saints, book 3, c. 10. (Printed
Bellarminus de Cultu Sanctorum, lib. 3, c. 10.(Ingolstadii. 1590.)
Nullo modo licet Christianis Sabbathum Judæorum aut alias
Sabbath, or the other holydays of ferias Testamenti Veteris obserthe Old Testament. This is proved Probatur primò ex tribus first by the three passages above locis Pauli suprà citatis Rom. cited out of Rom. xiv. Galat. xiv. Galat. iv. et præcipuè Coloss. iv. and more particularly Coloss. ii. adeò enim apertè Paulus reü. For Paul so evidently re prehendit observatores Sabbathi, proves the observers of the sab ut Ebionitæ proptereà Paulum bath, that the Ebionites upon this non reciperent, sed apostatam account would not receive Paul, esse dicerent, teste Epiphanio. but called him an apostate, of which Epiphanius is a witness.
Bellarmine on the Sacrament of
Baptism, lib. 1, c. 9.
Bellarm. de Sacramento,
Bap. lib. 1, c.9.
For although we do not find it Licet enim non inveniamus exexpressly commanded that we pressè mandatum, ut baptizeshould baptize infants, yet this is mus infantes, tamen id et colligisufficiently clearly gathered from tur satis apertè ex Scripturis, ut the Scriptures, as we have al- suprà ostendimus. ready shown.
1. The Scriptures Public Property.
The Mosaic dispensation was public.—Exodus c. xix. v. 9.— Deut. c. xxvii. v. 1, 2, 3, 4.
Psalms.xlviii. v. 1-3.
Prophetic Writings.- Isa. c. i. v. 2. Jerem. c. vii. v. 2. Joel, c. i. v. 2. Hab. c.ü. v. 2.
Mission of the Baptist.—Matt. c. iii. v. 1-3. John, c. i. v. 22, 23.
Mission of Christ.—Matt. c. v. v. 1. John, c. xviii. v. 20, 21. Luke, c. iv. v. 18, 19.
Preaching of the apostles.-Acts. C. V. v. 17–20.
2. Mankind commanded to search the Scriptures. Deut. c. vi. v. 6–9; c. xi. v. 18, 19; c. xxxii. v. 46. Isaiah, c. xxxiv. 16. Acts. c. ii. v. 23. John, c. v. v. 39. Eph. c. vi. v. 17. Col. c. iv. v. 16.