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import and arcanical bearings. In this matter, the Roman Catholic religion is altogether more consistent than the Protestant religion. This is undeniable.
But it may be said that Christianity is only natural truth, supernaturally revealed—presented to man for his acceptation or rejection in his freedom. Now, by taking this position, you clearly admit that the entire system would eventually have been unfolded by the general progression of humanity-you come upon rationalistic grounds of interpretation. If Christianity is a system of natural truth, then it would have naturally come forth like the sciences of Astronomy, Geology, &c., in the common course of things. But if it came through a miraculous channel, or was divulged through the agency of supernatural means, then it evidently requires the same means to enliven it and to spread it triumphantly over the earth. Do you apprehend the full bearing of this reasoning ?
Let us take an example. Suppose you construct an engine; you adjust the parts, introduce the vapor, and the wheels turn. But what would you think of the mechanic who insisted upon making a steam-engine go by water power. You would doubtless consider him ignorant or insane. Now, apply the same reasoning to Protestantism. Protestants believe that Christianity was introduced, and set in motion, by supernatural and miraculous means; and yet they reject the means by which the whole system was originally moved, and try to keep it in action by natural and common causes. In this matter of theoretic consistence, I affirm, Catholicism has always been, and is now, far in advance of Protestantism. For if we have a supernaturally revealed religion, we should have a class of men supernaturally endowed, or ordained, to understand it, and to impart its wonderful truths to mankind. While Protestantism is divided and subdivided into many conflicting sects, the One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church
stands perfectly unmoved and unchanged! Now, why is this? The reply is plain : simply because that church is, and always has been, perfectly consistent with its assumed premises. It stands, like Protestantism, upon a supernatural foundation. Its doctrines are derived from the Bible, which is claimed to be a supernaturally derived book; hence it requires a class of regularly inspired men to divulge its great teachings, and to secure their proper acceptation by, and influence upon, the human character. This class of men should take charge of our souls; and we should not interfere with religious doctrines or political acts, only so far as the supernaturally inspired men shall desire and command. Now, be it remembered, the Catholic Church is, or claims to be, in possession of this class of inspired men.
There is a great organization of Popes and Bishops who claim to have supernatural authority, from Peter the First, to the present time. The supernaturalistic chain is complete. To be consistent then, let us leave conflicting Protestantism, and go back to the bosom of the Mother Church.
Here, my friends, you have a brief synopsis of the simple process which is likely to occur in thousands of Protestant hearts. It is now occurring, privately, all around the world. There will be a peculiar reaction in favor of Catholicism. The One, Holy, Catholic Church, is destined to spread throughout many of the territories of Christendom; because one party in Protestantism will see its inconsistent position in matters of religious theory. But another party has appeared-the Rationalistic Christians or Harmonial Philosophers. This form of religion unqualifiedly rejects all unnatural supernaturalism. Hence, Protestantism and Catholicism, as religious institutions, are alike repudiated. It does not make every man's judgment his only guide in matters of importance, but asks— Where shall we find the most truth, the highest wisdom, the noblest religion, the truest happiness ?
It has these desires for its eternal magnet. Hence it interrogates the boundless fields of Nature with an honest soul and lofty brow! This is perfect and immutable freedom. Anarchy can never invade the principles of this party; for it is based upon Nature and upon Nature's God.
We have now obtained the final reply. Protestantism, as now constructed, will first decay ; because it is to be divided into two parties—the smallest party will go back into Catholicism; the other will go forward into Rationalism. And then, after a succession of eventful years, a political revolution will hurl the Catholic superstructure to the Earth, and the prismatic bow of promise will span the Heavens. The Children of Earth will then be comparatively free and happy! For the Millennial Epoch will have arrived; and there will be something like a realization of peace on Earth and good will toward all Men!