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monishing one another; the Pope saith brabling and perverting one another. Christ saith whatever you do in word or deed, do it according to my word; the Pope saith, do my word, observe our decrees, or else, I will burn you. Christ commands, in my text, that this epistle be read; the Pope commands the contrary. Christ saith, to all the brethren; the Pope saith no, not to any lord, duke or prince. (Franciscus Encoenas, a learned Spaniard, was near being put to death for presenting the new Testament to the Emperor, Charles V.) Christ saith, I charge you to read; the Pope saith, I charge you not to read.. Christ saith, I charge you under my cursė; the Pope saith, I charge you not to do it under the curse of the church. Christ saith I charge you under the pain
į of hell fire; the Pope saith, I charge you do not, under the pain of hell and the stake too. "* - *See An antidote against Popery,” Mr. Fowler's sermón,
"INFALLIBILITY OF THE CHURCH OF ROME. "For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching those things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake."
As the right to withhold the scriptures from the peo·ple is - argued from the infallibility of the Romish chureh, it may be well to bestow on this point a more particular and extended examination. It is contended that as the chureh is infallible, she 'cannot err in hier judgment as to the propriety of this measure; and moreover, that as she is infallible, her interpretation of scripture is to be implicitly relied on; šo that-her opinions and here instructions, ex cathedra, more than compens. sate for the withholding of the word itself; and are a safer guide in matters of religion than the Bible can possibly be when placed in the hands of all sorts and classes of people: It is contended that her infallibility securės to all who will confide in her, a greater degree of certainty in this all important matter," than can possiblý, be obtained when left to the private, though assisted judgment of every one who may choose to search the scriptures for himself. But does infallibility really exist in the ehurch of Rome? The importance of this doctrine to the whole papal system appears from "the fact;. that in every strait and difficulty into which the fair in... terpretation of scripture, and the cogeney of sounet reasoning drive its advocates, they resort to this imposing thougli presumptuous claim to infallibility; and by its potènt spell they cause all difficulties to disappear.
This is the great bulwark of their whole system, and their conclusive answer to every argument urged against that system; and it is this claim to such high prerogative that imparts a superstitiouş sanction to dogmaş 'the most unscriptural, unreasonable and absurd. As then it is so important, and indeed essential, to the well being of the church which has arrogated this attribute to itself, and as the possession of such a prerogative would -justly demand from us implicit - and imniediate obedience, it becomes us to give to this claim a candid hearing and a close examination, By the infallibility of the church of Rome is meant that divine superintendence of all its acts and decrees by which it is preserved from the possibility of error, or mistake
· But what, a priori, staggers our confidence in this doctrine is that the very church which claims and defends it, is yet unsettled as to where this infallibility resides. · Some contend that it resides in' the pope alone; others in the council alone; others in the pope and council together; and others again, that it resides
in the diffusive body of Christians. * Now, from the . very nature of the case, it is utterly impossible thật this
question ever should be settled without another revela- : tion; and not even then, if it required an infallible human tribunál to interpret. it. But as the church is now divided on this point, who is to settle it? It must be settled by an infallible authority, before it can demand an implicit belief, Shaļl the council decide it: the Pope ansvers, no. . Shall the Pope decide it the councilan,
? "swers, no. • Shall both together decide it? If sothe question is settled, for if they can pronounce an infallible decree, they mæst be already infallible. Their decision, must be that infallibility resides with the pope and "council together, for if they decide that it résides.in
Tillotson's works, vot i p. 121.
either separately, that decision is not infallible by its own import, and nothing therefore would be infallibly settled
But some may say, that as such a decision would be made up of the opinion of the Pope by himself, of the council by itself, and the decree of both together, it cannot fail of being infallible; but the answer is, that if the decision derives any infallibility from the Pope by himself, or from the council by itself, the question is at once settled. The decision then must be that both together are alone infallible, otherwise the decree would decree its own fallibility, and therefore not settle the question. Now before this decree, the Pope and council together were not certainly infallible, according to the terms of the case; for the object of the decree was to ascertain and settle that certainty. If then this be the case, how could they issue a certainly infallible decree? They plainly could not: so that the question remains still unsettled and must remain so. Now the very fact that it is unsettled, where and in whom this infallibility resides, and that it never can be settled, as we have shown, affords, a priori, a strong argument against the claim.
The question we have just stated, namely, where and in whom does infallibility reside, is a question between Papists. But there is another question equally impossible to be decided, which exists between them and us, namely, does the infallibility of which Papists speak, really exist in the church at all? It is plain that neither of these questions can ever be infallibly settled, since the impossibility of such a decision is involved in the questions.
It is absolutely impossible, therefore, that any church should be certainly infallible, while she is the sole judge and interpreter of the very charter from which the claim is derived; and this accounts for the diversity of opinion
among papists themselves on this point. Our meaning is this, that so long as any body is the sole organ through which alone any interpretation of the scriptures can reach the people with a claim to belief, it is impossible that that body can make out a fair pretension to infallibility on the ground of scripture. The thing is demonstrably impossible, as we shall hereafter attempt to show.
There is another difficulty connected with the claim to infallibility, which has never yet been fairly and openly met, and one which we call upon papists to clear up. A church that is infallible, must be unchangeable. Now the difficulty lies here; as the doctrine and spirit of the church of Rome is unchangeable, they must admit that the doctrine and spirit of the church in the dark ages (the ninth, tenth and eleventh centuries,) is the doctrine and spirit of the church now, and was the doctrine and spirit of the apostolic church. They must admit that what the church now is in Spain and South America, and what it ever has been in Italy, is not only the same as in the days of the apostles, but also the same as she now is in this country. Are the advocates of infallibility prepared to admit this? But we will not stop here: An infallible church is bound, and if consistent, is willing, to sanction and make herself now responsible for all her regularly authorised acts and decrees from the earliest periods of her existence to the present time. They are bound to say that when the council of Constance condemned to the stake John Huss and Jerome of Prague, they did what the apostles would have done in similar circumstances; and what a Romish council would now do in similar circumstances: They must make the act their own, or else they must condemn it, and say they did wrong. Let them publicly and formally condemn that act of the council of Constance, and all the decrees of condemnation to the stake, of all the councils; or their