« ForrigeFortsæt »
moon endureth." Dan. ii. 44. “In the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom,” the church or kingdom of Christ, “which shall never be destroyed-and it shall stand for ever."
What other proof have you of the perpetual continuance of the
The Creed in which we profess to believe the holy Catholic Church.
that Christ's church upon earth is always visible ? Yes, from many texts of scripture, as Isa. ii. 1, 2, 3, &c. and Micah iv. 1, 2, where the Church of Christ is described, “ mountain upon the top of mountains, exposed to the view of all nations flowing unto it." And Dan. ii. 35, “ As a great mountain filling the whole earth.” Matt. v. 14. “As a city set on a hill which cannot be hid.” Isa. lx. 11, 12, As a city whose “gates shall be open continually; and shall not be shut day nor night, that men may bring thither the forces of the Gentiles, and that their kings may be brought." Upon the walls of which city God has “set watchmen," Isa. lxii. 6, “which shall never hold their peace day nor night.”
" That Christ has always a true Church upon earth,” no Christian ever denies; but whilst it is readily admitted that Christ has always a true Church upon earth, what is there in the above extracts from the Scriptures to prove that the Roman is that Church?
It will be seen in the course of the present examination, that Holy Writ has been unsuccessfully ransacked to establish the doctrines of Popery; but it cannot be too often repeated, nor too deeply impressed upon our readers, that these very brief sentences are all of the sacred writings permitted by the Romish Church to be perused by her followers; and of the aptness or the misapplication even of these, neither intending to turn to the right nor to the left from fact, we leave it to our readers themselves to decide. The question is proposed, “ How do you prove," &c.
It has never been disputed, that we ever heard of, we repeat, by Christians, that Christ's Church must be true; but the Pope has not yet told us what constitutes mankind members of that Church: but let those who would inquire, peruse the Gospel, wherein it will be seen that those only are of his Church who follow the examples he has set them, and whom he himself tell us are
Matthew, ch. v. 3. “ Blessed are the poor in spirit; for THEIRS is the kingdom of heaven.”
4. “ Blessed are they that mourn; for they shall be comforted.”
5. “ Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth.”
6. “Blessed are they which do hunger after righteousness; for they shall be filled.”
7. “ Blessed are the merciful; for they shall obtain mercy.
8. “ Blessed are the pure in heart ; for they shall see God.”
9. “ Blessed are the peace-makers; for they shall be called the children of God,” &c. &c.
Whatever Church approximates the most nearly in its practice to these sacred precepts, we hesitate not to say is the truest Church of Christ; and if the Romish Church be the meekest, purest, and most merciful Church on earth, she certainly must then be the most true Church of Christ. In what degree, however, these heavenly attributes are allied to her, we shall hereafter, from her own mandates, be better enabled to judge. These are open to comment, certainly; but we shall draw our positive proofs from her own maternal bosom,
To the second question, “What other proof have you," &c., as the only reason given for a professed belief, is, be
“ it must be always true;" we shall take leave to say that, from the “ Infallible head of a Church” a little explanation on the subject of that which Protestants call the
Apostles' Creed,” and Roman Catholics “ the symbol of
the Apostles," would not have been out of place. This creed expresses the chief doctrines professed by Protestants; but as there are no allusions in it to transubstantiation, Papal supremacy, &c., it cannot be said to express the chief doctrines of Popery. Erasmus has denied that it was composed by the Apostles; and Mr. Charles Butler observes, that “ if it were their composition, it seems unaccountable that it should not be mentioned in the Acts * of the Apostles; that no reference to it should be found in any of the Apostolic epistles; that it was not included among the canonical writings; and that, when the council of Ephesus, and afterwards when the council of Chalcedon proscribed all creeds except the Nicene, neither excepted the symbol of the Apostles from the general proscription.” However, as several writers have declared, that the articles of this creed were agreed to by the Apostles, Protestants distinguish it as theirs; and profess its belief, not merely because their spiritual directors have no better reason to give them in its favour than that “it must be true;" but because it really is that express faith which they are taught to believe, and in which their own conviction confirms them. But we now come to the question of " Can
you prove that Christ's Church upon earth is always visible?” And the reply, in the affirmative, is supported by quotations, first, from Micah, describing it" as a mountain upon the top of mountains, exposed to the view of all nations flowing unto it.” From Duniel, “ as a great mountain filling the whole earth ;" and from Matthew, “ as a city set on a hill, which cannot be hid,” &c. Now, who, we ask, but a Pope, would seek to imply-or who, but the most ignorant Papist, could be led to suppose, that these figurative expressions were to be literally applied to material objects? If it be denied that any such interpretation is intended, why not have shown from the Scriptures that Christ's Church upon earth must always be distinguished from every other by her “ GOOD WORKS?” But, instead of this, here is the “ Visible Church” spoken of, as though the true Church of Christ might always be known by a stone or wooden cross placed upon the top of it; or, that, because St. Peter's at Rome is the largest church, the paths to its approach must lead direct to heaven. The texts applied above, “ as a city set on a hill,” &c., in proof of “ Christ's Church on earth being always visible”-(the Pope having already, in the “ Profession of Faith,” insisted that this Church is his own)--are from the 5th of Matthew, the chapter from which we quoted the above extracts, and from which we extract the following, in illustration of the true sense and meaning of the above line. Our Saviour is addressing his disciples, and says,
* Mr. C. Butler being a Roman Catholic himself—and by those of his own communion termed liberal, and justly acknowledged by all to be learned this gentleman, a thorough good Romanist, who avows [See · Book of the Rom. Cat. Ch.?] his belief that“ full power was delegated to the Bishop of Rome by St. Peter;">in the wafer changing, by the power of his Church, to real flesh and blood, that sins are forgiven by his priest, &c. &c.— has he not, we ask, shown some incautiousness in his very rational appeal to the “ Acts of the Apostles" to learn their own acts ? To these “ Acts” Protestants always appeal ; and they, as all persons, calling themselves Christians, ought to do, rely upon them for their knowledge of what the Apostles taught and enforced. But from these Acts we learn not of supremacy, purgatory, image-worship, &c. &c. &c. Wherein do these “ Acts” of the Apostles evince the arrogance, avarice, impiety, and inhumanity, of Popery?-We heartily wish all Papists to appeal to the Acts of the Apostles, and contrast them with the acts of their Popes.
Ver. 13. “ Ye are the salt of the earth; but if the salt have lost its savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.'
14. “ Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid."
15. “ Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house."
16. “ Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good Works, and glorify your Father, which is in heaven."
Papists, as we have already observed, are not permitted to peruse the sacred Scriptures, lest that “light of the world,” emanating from Christ himself, should, at once, show forth the pernicious doctrines of Popery. But, we exhort such of them as dare to, so far, transgress the mandates of the Vatican open
the New Testament, as also our Protestant brethren (particularly those in Popish neighbourhoods), to compare the particular lines picked out of the Scriptures with the context of the whole chapters from whence they are selected, as in the instance just given, for the obvious purpose of misleading those not permitted to inquire into the truth. The most hunable classes of our Irish Roman Catholic fellowsubjects-men who have never seen a Bible or Testament, and who could not read it although they had ;-yet they are taught to say, that their "clergy give Scripture for all they
say and do.”
We beg to remind our readers, that by this way of perverting the Gospel—(and which, it will be seen, is persisted in throughout the whole Popish faith)-it may at all times be made subservient to the worst of temporal purposes. Suppose a Roman Catholic (either of the clergy or laity), who wished a scriptural excuse for following his own uncharitable inclinations :-he may, according to Papal quotation, religiously (!!) bid his debtor rot in gaol, and prove that he has scriptural authority for his hard-heartedness. The debtor we will imagine to sue somewhat after this sort :-" I am unable to pay your demand upon me, but, deprived of liberty, I have no hopes of doing so; let, then, my necessities plead in extenuation of the injury you may have sustained by what I owe you ; release me from prison, and by my industry I shall be enabled to pay you by degrees.” But to this appeal (were we to judge from Popish extracts from the Scriptures) the creditor would be wrong to attend; since his reply would be justified by the 5th of Matthew (as above quoted) v. 26–