« AnteriorContinuar »
sonable than to believe God on his word. The rule the Professor would introduce would be fatal to supernatural revelation. He contends for the principle, that we must judge the speaker by the word, and not the word by the speaker. This is a sound principle within the sphere of natural reason, in matters of which we have in ourselves a full knowledge, and therefore all the conditions of forming a correct judgment. But whoso adopts it in the sphere of religion is already an infidel or on the declivity to infidelity; for it cannot be adopted in the sphere of religion without first denying that in religion there is any thing to be believed which transcends natural reason; therefore it cannot be adopted without denying supernatural revelation; and to deny supernatural revelation is what is meant by infidelity.
We do not like to call a man an infidel, or to be continually telling him that his objections involve a denial of Christianity. We know how easy it is to say such things, and how very suspicious such charges usually are; but we confess, that, so far as we are competent to judge of the matter, the Professor has not urged a single objection against us, not false in fact, which, if analyzed, reduced to its ultimate principle, does not imply a total denial of all revelation of the supernatural order. We have found in no professedly religious writer in this country, unless it be in Mr. Parker, so complete a rejection, in principle, at least, of all supernatural revelation. The whole Lecture is written from the Humanitarian point of view, and proves that the author is far, very far, gone in German Rationalism; and unless the Puritans of New England are much changed from what they were when we knew them better than we now do, he will yet be called to an account for his doctrines.
In this Lecture, his tendencies are not fully developed, and they show themselves to the Puritan reader only in their opposition to Catholicity, and therefore are not likely to be at once suspected of their real character. He will be allowed, without rebuke, to pursue a line of argument towards us, which, if he should adopt it in regard to his own creed, would not be tolerated for a moment. But whoso sows error sows dragon's teeth, and they will one day spring up armed men. They who countenance arguments false in principle, when directed against their opponents, will one day find them rebound, and with as much force as they were urged. We do not like Puritanism; we regard it as a deadly enemy to truth and religion ; but we should be sorry to see it overthrown by the introduction
of another error still greater, still more destructive. Bad as it is, it is not so bad as German Rationalism, or even German Supernaturalism, as represented by Schleiermacher, Neander, and De Wette, which is only Rationalism sentimentalized.
We make these remarks with no ill-will towards Professor Park. We see his tendency, for it is a tendency we followed long before he was affected by it; we have followed it to its termination, and we know where it conducts. Would to God, that on this point the Professor would place some little confidence in our words. We were bred in the same school he was, and we embraced the faith in which he was educated, and made what we thought was our first communion in a Calvinistic church. We sought, like him, to rationalize our faith, with less learning, less knowledge, and less advantages to begin with, we own; for we were a poor boy cast upon the world alone, to struggle our way as best we could. We wished to have a faith the intrinsic reasonableness of which we could demonstrate. Of the twenty years which followed we need not speak. They are not such as we are proud of, nor such as we can recur to, except for a lesson of humility; yet this have we learned, had burnt and scarred into our very soul, - that there is no medium between a simple, meek, unquestioning faith in the sacred mysteries, as perfectly incomprehensible mysteries, on the sole authority of God revealing them, and absolute, downright infidelity; and that the first step taken for the purpose of rationalizing the Christian faith is a step downwards to the bottomless hell of unbelief.
The Professor charges us with being unwilling to accept, or unable to delight in, goodness not in our own Church. 66 The treasures of excellence that are spread out before us in Fénélon and Bossuet we, as Protestants, rejoice in; ..... but when the amiable sentiments of a Zinzendorf or of a Spangenberg are presented to a Romanist, are they welcomed by him?"-p. 484. Yes, so far as truly amiable and good; and the Catholic is ready to acknowledge and does acknowledge and delight in excellence, let him find it where he may.
1. But and here is a point we beg the Professor to remember there is a difference between the amiable sentiments which are without grace, and the really amiable sentiments which are by grace. We admit amiable sentiments in men who are out of the Church; but not that men, who are not, to say the least, virtually in the Church, have or can have any
truly meritorious sentiments; for no sentiments not proceeding from grace are or can be meritorious; and we know no ordinary means of grace but the sacraments of the Church.
2. The Catholic Church is older than any of the sectaries, and had examples of all the virtues long before Zinzendorf or Spangenberg was born, and purer examples than either of these gives us of any virtue. We find nothing in these men but feeble imitations of originals in possession of the Church, and therefore we neither need them nor can profit by them.
3. These men were heretics and schismatics; and St. Paul classes heresy and schism with deadly sins. Moreover, we do not think it favorable to good morals to dwell with too much admiration on the few virtues individuals may have in despite of their mortal sins. The tendency to compel us to do this is the crying sin of modern literature, as witness The Corsair, Lucrece Borgia, The Adventures of a Younger Son, &c.
4. The blessed Apostle John says, "We are of God. He that knoweth God heareth us, and he that is not of God heareth not us. By this we know the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error." "-1 St. John, iv. 6. Moreover, he says, again, Si quis venit ad vos, et hanc doctrinam non affert, nolite recipere eum in domum, nec AVE dixeritis. 2 St. John, 10. If the Professor wants any further reply, we will give it, after he has settled his quarrel with the beloved Apostle of our Lord.
If the Protestants rejoice in the treasures of excellence spread out in Fénélon and Bossuet, it is well, as far as it goes. They should do so; it is their duty; and it is also their duty to go farther, and submit to the Church of Fénélon and Bossuet, love and obey her as their spiritual mother; and even then they would have no right to put on airs; for when we have done our whole duty, our blessed Lord tells us to account ourselves unprofitable servants. We do not, we own, feel bound to be remarkably grateful to the would-be liberal Protestant, who thinks to say a kind thing to us, by saying, "O, yes, the Catholic Church has had some eminent men; there's Fénélon; I am a great admirer of Fénélon." We only do not take this as an insult, because no insult is intended. As well think to compliment a Christian by saying some of the Apostles were very eminent men, that you are a great admirer of the virtues of the Founder of Christianity. Do you receive Jesus Christ as your master ? Do you own the Church as your mother? No? Then you fall infinitely short of your duty. We are not Catholics be
cause we admire Fénélon, or Bossuet, and we do not regard it as a compliment even to the Catholics you pretend to admire that you admire them, for you deride that to which they owed their virtues, and show your admiration is worth nothing by admiring also Luther, Calvin, Beza, John Knox, and perhaps Cotton Mather. We do not thank you for praising our brethren, while you insult and calumniate our Mother. Speak evil of me, or of them, and I can forgive you. But call my Mother hard names, as you do, and nothing you can say in my favor or in theirs will enable me to forgive you. In the one case, you at worst only blaspheme men; in the other, you blaspheme the Holy Ghost, the eternal God, whose Spouse she is ; and even were I and my brethren to forgive you, it would avail you nothing.
XII. To the twelfth charge, that Catholicity "is fascinating to all classes," we will say not much. It is a charge we cannot retort upon Puritanism. That the Catholic Church is attractive to all men of all classes who would have faith, who feel they are poor, helpless sinners, and would have the sure means of salvation; to the weary and heavy laden, who seek rest, and find it nowhere in the world; to those who would have confidence in their principles, and free scope and full employment for their intellectual powers; to those who are tired of endless jarring, and disgusted with shallow innovators, pert philosophers, unfledged divines, cobweb theories spun from the brain of vanity and conceit, vanishing as the sun exhales the morning dew which alone rendered them visible, and who would have something older than yesterday, solid, durable, carrying them back and connecting them with all that has been, and forward and connecting them with all that is to be, admitting them into the goodly fellowship of the saints of all ages, making them feel that they have part and lot in all that over which has coursed the stream of divine providence, been consecrated by the blood of martyrs, and hallowed by the ebb and flow of sanctified affection, and permitting them to love, venerate, and adore to their heart's content, or their heart's capacity; — to all these, of whatever age or nation, sex, rank, or condition, the glorious, sublime, God-inspired, guided, and defended Catholic Church is full of attractions, we admit, even fascinating, if you will. But in any other sense than this, or to any other than such as these, we deny it, and find the justification of our denial in the fact that the Professor and his brethren are 65
VOL. II. NO. IV.
yet without her pale.-The thirteenth charge we shall consider in a separate article, designed to show the necessity of Catholicity to sustain popular liberty.
We here close our protracted review of this Lecture. The unchristian style of writing adopted by the author has prevented us from being briefer. But we have been as brief as we well could be. We have doubtless omitted some points which the author judges important, but we have touched upon all the main charges. For the most part, we have had nothing but assertions, unsupported by fact or argument, to combat. Where these were such as could, from the nature of the case, be met by argument, we have so met them; where they admitted no argument, we have met them by counter assertions, and put the author upon his proofs. If he shall attempt to bring forward facts to sustain any of his assertions which we have contradicted, or left uncontradicted, he will find us ready to meet him.
In some passages we have spoken plainly, perhaps severely. We are not in the habit of seeking for soft words, nor has the present case seemed to us to demand them. No Protestant can feel or understand the outrageous character of the Lecture we have had to combat. Its real flagitiousness is apparent only to a Catholic; and it were to be false to our brethren, false to the truth, false to our God, not to rebuke its author in the tones of a just severity. We have spoken calmly, sincerely, conscientiously, but strongly, and we hope to the point, and to the purpose.
ART. III.-Catholicity necessary to sustain Popular Liberty.
By popular liberty, we mean democracy; by democracy, we mean the democratic form of government; by the democratic form of government, we mean that form of government which vests the sovereignty in the people as population, and which is administered by the people, either in person or by their representatives. By sustaining popular liberty, we mean, not the introduction or institution of democracy, but preserving it when and where it is already introduced, and securing its free,