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Certain it is, from natural reason, that no man can be saved unless he renders to God an acceptable worship, and that no worship is or can be acceptable to God, except the worship which he himself prescribes. Moreover, it is equally certain, that no man can be saved who does not, at least, fulfil the law of nature. By the very law of nature, all men are bound to worship God, and to worship him in the way and manner he himself prescribes. If he leaves them to the natural law, and prescribes his worship only through natural reason, undoubtedly such worship as they can render by a prudent, diligent, honest use of reason, and the means bestowed for such purpose, will be the acceptable worship, and all that can in justice be demanded of them; but if he prescribes a supernatural religion, and promulgates it with sufficient motives of credibility, as he must needs do if he promulgates it at all, then are they bound to worship him according to that supernatural religion,-bound by the very law of nature itself to receive and practise it; and they want even natural morality if they do not. Such a religion, with sufficient motives of credibility, he has prescribed in Christianity. How, then, can we assert the indifference of religions, and contend for religious toleration? Since God prescribes the Christian religion, the law of nature, as well as of revelation, binds us to believe and obey it. If we do not, we fail to fulfil the law of nature, as well as to render the acceptable worship, and are convicted of sin under both the natural law and the revealed. How, then, can we hope to be saved ?

Christianity and Catholicity, at least in the faith of Catholics, are identical,-one and the same thing. We do and can recognize no Christianity, properly so called, out of the Catholic Church. We recognize, indeed, in those who are out of her communion, many human excellences, many noble and generous sentiments, many amiable and philanthropic qualities, many just and profound thoughts, many estimable private, domestic, and civil virtues, which we delight to honor, and which will have their reward in their own order, as St. Augustine teaches us in regard to the ancient Romans; but we recognize in them no supernatural faith or sanctity, nothing distinctively Christian, nothing meritorious of eternal life. Out of the church there is no Christian religion, and therefore, if no salvation out of the Christian religion, none out of the church, as the church herself expressly teaches, and has solemnly defined in her

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general councils. “ He cannot,” says St. Cyprian, “ have God for his father who will not have the church for his mother.” To concede religious toleration, or the indifference of religions, is neither more nor less than to deny the Christian religion itself, and to give up our faith as Catholics. If you require us to do this, you deny our right to be Christians, and are yourselves, even in defending toleration, intolerant ; if you concede our right to be Christians, you concede the right of religious intolerance, and then have no right to assert or to demand religious tolerance.

Every man is obliged, by the constitution of the human mind itself, and the very nature of things, to assert the principle of religious intolerance and exclusiveness. We know by natural reason, without revelation, that there is and can be but one true religion; for truth is one, individual, and most simple. This one true religion is necessarily the one which God himself institutes or prescribes; all other religions are false religions, and to suppose that one can be saved in a false religion is absurd and impious ; for it is to place truth and falsehood on the same footing, and to suppose that God, who is truth itself, makes no difference between them, that is, counts falsehood as if it were truth ! A man cannot believe this, unless he gives up reason; nor even then, for without reason he can believe nothing at all. Indeed, all truth, all good, all opinions even, are and must be intolerant and exclusive. Truth cannot tolerate error, or even the semblance of error; good excludes evil ; right excludes wrong; holiness excludes unholiness. Nothing in the universe tolerates its opposite. In regard to all things we are obliged to assert a right and a wrong, a true and a false, and whoever asserts the one necessarily denies the other. Even he who asserts the indifference of all religions denies their difference, and is, in a manner, himself intolerant and exclusive. Hence we see, in our own days, sects formed against sectarism; and Dr. Bushnell, just now one of our New England “lions," is busy, consciously or unconsciously, in rallying a party around his pretended Chris-tian dogma, that there are no Christian dogmas, and should be none. Every man, who believes in any religion at all, believes his own religion is the true religion, the only true religion, and therefore that all other religions are false religions. He must, then, either believe that salvation is attainable in no other religion, or else that it is attainable in a false religion; which, as we have seen, is absurd. If he believes his religion is the true religion, he believes it is the

religion that all men are bound to believe,-for truth, like right, is obligatory,—and therefore believes that all men are prohibited from believing any other. Every man must, then, do or say what he will be religiously intolerant and exclusive.

As Catholics, it is well known that we are obliged, by our very religion, as well as by natural reason itself, to deny religious indifference, and to maintain the impossibility, in hac providentia, of salvation out of our church. This may offend fashionable latitudinarianism, but it is nothing that we should hesitate, or in the least degree be afraid, to avow; for no severer sentence can be pronounced upon any pretended faith or church, than that it fears to assert its own indispensableness to salvation. What is it, in fact, we want a faith or church før, but to save us? and what reason have we, or can we have, for embracing any particular faith or church, but that we cannot be saved without it? A faith or church that concedes the possibility of salvation in another or outside of itself, confesses that it is not the one true faith or church of God,—therefore, virtually, that it is a false faith or church, unacceptable to God, pernicious to the souls of men, and to be eschewed by all, as they fear hell or hope for heaven. Hence all Protestant sects, of past and present times, are condemned out of their own mouths; for not one of them has, or ever has had, the courage

or the audacity to assert that there is no salvation out of its communion,—that is, if we understand the matter, the courage or the audacity, without contradicting itself and conceding the contrary, to assert its own truth. This, perhaps, is a fact not insignificant. Falsehood is, by its own nature, compelled to lie unto itself as well as unto others.

The age, we grant, demands religious toleration, and religious indifference is the order of the day. Many are shocked, or affect to be shocked, when they hear us say that there is no salvation out of the Catholic Church; they allege that it is harsh, illiberal, uncharitable to say so; and even some of our own Catholic friends, now and then, try to persuade themselves and their dissenting brethren that this is going a little beyond the mark, and savors somewhat of bigotry and indiscreet zeal. But he has little claim either to moral or to logical consistency, who refuses to say the true religion is the true religion, and, certainly, there cannot be much bigotry or indiscreet zeal, if we use the terms in their ordinary sense, in asserting that the Catholic religion is the true religion. But he who so asserts necessarily. asserts that all other religions are false, and therefore, either that it is possible to be saved in a false religion, or that there is no salvation out of the Catholic Church. More liberal or tolerant than this we cannot be, in the very nature of things, if we would, unless we could be foolish enough to contradict ourselves, and maintain, that, of contraries, both may be true. .

However this may be, as Catholics we have nothing to do with liberality or illiberality in the matter. We have not instituted the laws of mind, and they remain unchanged, whether we conform to them or not. We do not make, and cannot unmake, the truth; and it is eternally and immutably the same, whether we assert it or deny it. It is not our truth; it in no sense whatever depends on our intellects, our wills, or our affections; and whether it pleases or displeases us or our friends, appears to us or to them liberal or illiberal, we have just as little power as right to alter it. Should we seek to conceal it, to soften it, or to explain it away, we could only sully the chastity or destroy the integrity of our own faith, and confirm the unbelieving and misbelieving in their dangerous delusions. Still would it be as true as ever, that our religion is the only true religion, and that there is salvation in no other. The solemn truth, that out

. of the church no one can ever be saved, would remain in all its force, unaffected by our concessions. Knowing this, -knowing that it is the truth which liberates,—we dare not conceal it, and are bound in Christian charity to proclaim it. We must not mistake natural sympathy and good feeling, or the natural kindness or softness of our tempers, for Christian charity. Christian charity, certainly, never gratuitously offends,-is never harsh, bitter, or censorious,-is always meek, gentle, affectionate, kind; but it seeks, always and everywhere, the substantial good of its objects, even at the risk of giving them momentary displeasure or pain; and, unhappily, in this perverse world, men generally have the most repugnance to that which is the most essential to their everlasting welfare.

We are not ignorant that many persons object to the intolerance and exclusiveness we assert,--that is, to the Catholic dogma, Out of the church no one can ever be saved, not only that it is harsh and illiberal, but that it is contrary even to the justice of God; for it implies, they say, that he will consign them to eternal tortures for not doing what they never had the power to do. To punish them for not doing what has never been in their power to do is, we grant, unjust, and we may be well assured that our God will never do it. But the objection has no validity, unless it be true that there are persons who live and die without ever having it in their power to become joined to the Catholic communion; consequently, they who urge this objection must prove that there are such persons, before they can have any right to insist on it, or we be under any obligation even to entertain it. An objection which rests for its validity on an uncertain principle, or an unproved assumption, proves nothing, and may always be dismissed without an answer. But is the assumption the objection makes even provable? We know that our religion has been promulgated in all the earth for eighteen hundred years, and, as far as we know any thing of the matter, that, if there is any nation to which it has not been preached, it has been that nation's own fault, because it would not receive, but repelled with insult and persecution, her divinely-commissioned preachers. We know, also, that sufficient grace is given unto every man, that he who seeks shall find, and that if he knocks it shall be opened to him. Who, then, is prepared to prove that a single adult person, since St. Paul declared the Gospel had been preached in all the earth, has ever died out of the church, who could never, if he had made a proper use of the means placed within his reach, have found his way into her communion. Can they who urge the objection in any possible way whatever prove this? How can they say that even the ordinary missionary has ever failed the ready mind and the willing heart? Known unto God are all hearts from eternity; all things are at his disposal, and it can cost him nothing so to order it, that, wherever there is one ready and willing to receive the truth, there the missionary shall be ready to teach him, and to introduce him into the communion of the church. How know you that he does not so order it, and that, if any have died without actually having heard of the church, it has been their own fault, -that is, because they would have rejected her in case she had been presented to them? Till you can assert the contrary with infallible certainty, your objection has no validity; for the difficulty it suggests is confessedly restricted to those who are ready and willing to receive the truth assoon as proposed to them.

But let this pass. The dogma in question certainly can in no sense impeach the justice of God, if it asserts the con

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