Изображения страниц

them with invective for being traitors to their supposed profession. But the Church's primary doctrine is her own perpetual infallibility. She is inspired, she declares, by the same Spirit that inspired the Bible; and her voice is, equally with the Bible, the voice of God.

Her doctrines, as she one by one unfolds them, emerge upon us like the petals of a half-closed bud. They are not added arbitrarily from without; but are developed from within. When she formulates in these days something that has not been formulated before, she is no more enunciating a new truth than was Newton when he enunciated the theory of gravitation. Whatever truths, hitherto hidden, she may in the course of time grow conscious of, she holds that these were always implied in her teaching.

But the picture of the Church thus far is only half drawn. She is all this, but she is something more than this. She is not only the parliament of spiritual man, but she is such a parliament guided by the Spirit of God. The work of that Spirit may be secret, and to the natural eye untraceable, as the work of the human will is in the human brain. But none the less it is there.


Totam infusa per artus
Mens agitat molem, et magno se corpore miscet.

If we would obtain a true view of Catholicism, we must begin by making a clean sweep of all the views that, as outsiders, we had been taught to entertain about her. We must, in the first place, learn to conceive her as a living, spiritual body, as infallible and as authoritative now, as she ever was, with her eyes undimmed and her strength not abated, continuing to grow still as she has continued to grow hitherto: and the growth of the new dogmas that she may from time to time enunciate, we must learn to see are, from her standpoint, signs of life and not signs of corruption. And further, when we come to look into her more closely, we must separate carefully the diverse elements we find in her — her discipline, her pious opinions, her theology, and her religion.

Let honest inquirers do this to the best of their power, and their views will undergo an unlookedfor change.


Is Life Worth Living?




THE Protestant religion, the union of its several Churches having been shaken, and indeed entirely dissolved, by the multiplicity of confessions and sects which were formed during, and after, the Reformation, does not, like the Catholic Church, present an appearance of external unity, but a motley variety of forms. And we freely acknowledge that, as in outward appearance, our Church is split into numberless divisions and subdivisions, so also in her religious principles and opinions she is internally divided and disunited. The Lutheran Society resembles, in its separate Churches and spiritual power, a worm cut up into the most minute portions, each one of which continues to move as long as it retains power; but at last, by degrees, loses at once the life and the power of motion which it retained. Were Luther to rise up from his grave, he could not possibly recognize as his own, or as members of the society which he founded, those teachers who in our Church would fain, nowadays, be considered as his successors.

The dissolution of the Protestant Church is inevitable: her frame is so thoroughly rotten that no farther patching will avail. The whole structure of evangelical religion is shattered and few look with sympathy on its tottering or its fall.

Within the compass of a square mile you may hear four, five, six different gospels. The people, believe me, mark it well; they speak most contemptuously of their teachers, whom they hold either for blockheads or knaves, in teaching these opposite doctrines; because in their simplicity they believe that truth is but one, and can not conceive how each of these gentlemen can have a separate one of his own. Growing immorality, a consequence of contempt for religion, in many places concurs also as a cause to its deeper downfall. The multitude cut the knot which galls them, ma ch boldly forward, and fling themselves into the arms of Atheism in thought and deed. Oh, Protestantism, has it then, at last, come to this with thee, that thy disciples protest against all religion? Facts, which are before the eyes of the whole world, declare aloud, that this signification of thy name is no idle play upon words; though I know that the confession will excite a flame of ind gnation against myself.



In every sacrifice there is the person who offers, the thing which is offered, and the cause of offering. Now in this Sacrament of the Altar, the offerer is the Priest; and indeed the sovereign Priest is Christ himself, who not only offered Himself on the cross when He was suffering for us, but also exercises His priestly office forever to the consummation of ages, and now also offers Himself for us to God the Father through the ministry of the Priest. It is therefore He is called in Scripture, “a priest forever according to the

, order of Melchisedec; in which offering of bread (as nothing can be more manifest) the Eucharistic sacrifice is allegorically prefigured in the Scripture itself. The thing offered, or the Victim or Host, is Christ himself, whose Body and Blood are subject to immolation and libation, under the appearance of the elements. Nor do I see what is wanting here to the nature of a true sacrifice. For why may not that be offered to God which is present under the symbols, since the sensible spe

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »