Images de page

spiration of the book, for the inspired books of Scripture invariably, as I said yesterday, tell us of crimes and sins without number, and this only shews the faithfulness of their historical narrations. But where is there an instance, in the whole of those books that are generally acknowledged as divine, of the approbation of crime? Here, however, in this verse there is mention made of a crime distinctly opposed to the Decalogue, and yet it is commended! Razias is said to "strike himself with his sword:" and how does the writer comment on the act? His language with respect to it is, CHOOSING TO DIE NOBLY."! So that the committing suicide was dying nobly, in the estimation of this writer! Is that in accordance with the mind of God? Is that conformable to the law delivered on mount Sinai ? Assuredly not. Therefore, in the simple fact of the commendation of a sinful practice, there is abundant internal evidence that this book could not have been inspired by God.


It is unnecessary for me to adduce any additional evidence at present respecting this matter. Mr. Brown, on the subject of internal evidence, has asked, "How can an individual reading the books which are called Apocryphal, and the other books which are generally received as divine, distinguish between them on the point of internal evidence?" I have shewn you, at all events, how easily he could find out that the Apocryphal books have no right to be reckoned in the canon of Scripture;-because Malachi intimates that the prophetic spirit should cease till the time of John the Baptist;-because these books contradict the acknowledged books of Scripture;-because immoral practices are approved of in them;—and because the writers disclaim rather than claim inspiration. Should there be still any doubt as to the internal evidence, remember that I have given you, besides this, a long chain of external evidence against these books. Thus the Apocrypha is destitute of either external or internal evidence in its favour, and, this being the case, we have established a very important fact, namely, that one portion of the Roman Catholic rule of faith has no foundation whatever : one portion, I say, for, be it remembered, that while the Church of Rome holds Scripture and Tradition as her rule of faith, she recognizes the Apocrypha as part of the former.

Now, Sir, I have adverted to the points which Mr. Brown adduced in his last speech; and as he confines me,

as much as possible, to the defence of my own rule, instead of allowing nie to attack his in addition, I need not trespass longer on your attention, till more evidence be adduced against the sufficiency of the Protestant Rule of Faith.


IN contending for Catholic doctrines, and against the Protestant Rule of Faith, I find myself involved in some difficulty as to the manner in which I had better proceed. I stated at the commencement of this discussion that I had a vast body of arguments to produce. The Rev. Gentleman on the opposite side has been seeking in various ways to lead me off from the course of my arguments; I have not got through by any means one half of what I purposed to adduce, and we have arrived at the third day of the discussion. If I answer his objections in detail, it will be impossible for me to fulfil the duty wherewith I am charged, of demonstrating that the Protestant rule is not sufficient. If I do not attend to the objections of the Rev. Gentleman opposite, he taunts me with shrinking from the difficulty. What, then, am I to do? I must be directed, for it is the only guide that I can have, by the agreement upon which we entered when we proposed this discussion; namely, that the first week should be allowed me to impugn the Protestant rule. I think it better, therefore, to go on with the arguments I have in store against it, and, accordingly, choosing the less of two evils, I must suffer some of the last-made objections to stand over for your future consideration. I have not, however, altogether passed by the objections of my opponents, nor is it my intention to do so. At present I shall cursorily notice a few of those which I consider the principal ones.

Mr. Tottenham commenced by stating that 2 Tim. iii. 14. gives satisfactory evidence that the Bible does contain all the necessary truths of religion, and that these are all contained even in the Old Testament; therefore, he argued, a fortiori, in the New Testament are all things necessary for belief. Christ, he added, came not to introduce a new religion, but to complete the old. I ask, then, Mr. Tottenham whether he is able to produce from the Old

Testament satisfactory evidence of the Trinity, of three equal Persons in one Godhead? This, I believe, will be admitted generally to be one of the most essential truths of Christianity. Will it be said that the Old Testament contains all things now necessary to salvation, whereas it does not contain distinctly this doctrine? You admit, most of you, the necessity of baptism. Is baptism expressed in the Old Testament? As it is not expressed in it, I wish to know whether the doctrine of baptism is not included amongst the necessary truths of the Christian religion? But there is delusion in such reasoning, and it has been attempted to be played off upon you throughout. There has not been that distinction kept up, which was requisite, between the necessary doctrines, that is, essential doctrines, without which a man cannot be saved, and other doctrines which are not so essentially necessary, if they are not proposed; but the rejection of any one of which, when duly proposed, excludes from salvation. Now the Catholic doctrine, concerning which I have repeatedly endeavoured to set right, not so much my hearers, as the Rev. Gentlemen, is, that all absolutely essential revelations are contained in the written word: but it cannot be proved that all the doctrines, all and every one of those truths which Christ came from heaven to reveal, and which he willed should be handed down to future ages, that all these are contained in the written word. You find, however, in Mark xvi. 16, that Christ does not limit our belief to any absolutely essential doctrines, regardless of disbelief in such as are not so absolutely essential; on the contrary he has declared, without any exception, to his Apostles: "Go, preach the Gospel to every creature"(by the word Gospel, I told you, what no one who is acquainted with the force of the Greek term can be ignorant of, that Christ meant the whole of the good tidings which he came down from heaven to communicate)-"Go, preach the Gospel to every creature; he that believeth shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned." Here no distinction between sufficient or non-sufficient, essential or non-essential revelations is made by Christ; nor does it any where appear that all the revelations made by Christ to the Apostles, and intended for the edification of the Church in future times, are one and all contained in Scripture. I recommend this consideration to your serious attention. Attempts have been again and again made to lead you from the right view of the case.

With regard to difficulties about the Councils, and the

Catholics being at variance as to the place where infallibility resides, it is not necessary that I should enter into them, because they do not regard the point at issue,-the Protestant rule. Suffice it that I observe, that no Catholic feels any uneasiness as to where the infallibility of his Church exists, or what are the legitimate conditions of Councils. He has, in the promises of Christ, security for his faith, which is sufficient for him, and will be sufficient for any who shall embrace our doctrines. He will then have clearer proofs than I find it necessary now to give, how little is the obligation of acquainting himself with the utmost precision where is the seat of infallibility. Meanwhile, I will repeat what I stated yesterday, not, as Mr. T. imputed to me, that infallibility resides in the Church merely, but that it resides in the body of pastors, in communion with their head.

My opponent advanced that eight Councils were sum.. moned, not by the Popes, whom we teach to be the visible head of the Church, but by the Emperors. The fact is, however, that the Emperors summoned certain Councils in conjunction with the Pope, but not one in opposition to him. Had they been so summoned, the doctrines proposed would not have been admitted by us, unless accepted by the subsequent approbation of the body of teachers and pastors. But I will tell you why the Popes exclusively did not summon certain Councils; it was because the holding of Councils was sometimes attended with immense expense, for which the Popes had not adequate funds, and which occasionally made necessary an appeal to the royal treasury; and because it was thought desirable that the Church and State should on certain occasions proceed hand in hand, a practice of which Mr. T. doubtless approves; consequently, it was by an act of courtesy that the Popes did not unnecessarily dispute with the Emperors concerning the convocation of those Councils. I might shew, however, that not only no one of the Councils was convocated in opposition to the will of the Pope, or without his approbation; but, moreover, that those who presided were in no instance the Emperor or his Officers, but the Pope or his Legates.

Mr. T. has endeavoured to get out of the difficulty in which he found he was involved by his declaration yesterday, that "the Bible was not an object of faith." He maintains the same to-day; but what does he add? “I did not say that it was not necessary to receive the Bible as divine revelation, but that it is not an object of faith."

I am unable to reconcile the contradiction in which my Rev. opponent appears to have involved himself. He does say that the Bible is not an object of faith, yet he does not say that the Bible is not to be believed as divine. But if it be not an object of faith, how is it to be believed as divine? If it be believed as divine, in that case I cannot conceive how it is not an object of faith. I am quite at a loss how to explain this inconsistency, and must wait for some further explanation.

Mr. Tottenham wishes to make you imagine that we are involved in the same difficulty as Protestants; that we can have no better security than they have, when we assent to the teaching of the Church. Were I to explain the manner in which an act of faith is formed by a child of Catholic principles, I should enter into details which I do not think necessary at present. I ought, however, to inform Mr. T. that there is a distinction, which is not attended to by him, between motives of credibility, and the testimony of God, upon which alone an act of divine faith can be founded. Motives of credibility must precede an act of faith. But the testimony of God is that upon which only an act of faith can be founded.

Thus, were God now to declare to me his existence, although it would, in the first place, be necessary for me to have sufficient motives of credibility for assuring myself that I am not deceived by my senses, yet it would not be because my sense of hearing testifies that God has declared he exists that I should believe with divine faith his existence. The certain testimony of my hearing is indeed the motive of credibility, whereby I am assured that the Almighty does testify to me his existence, in consequence of which, I submit to the word of God, and I produce an act of divine belief, because God declares it.

Thus, divine faith is founded exclusively upon the word of God, to which it is led by motives of credibility; and so it is with Catholics. We have, indeed, motives of credibility, assuring to us that the Bible contains the word of God: by motives of credibility we are led to admit the authority of his Church. Yet not on these, nor on mere moral certainty, does the Church propose to our faith the inspiration of the Bible. In advancing to an act of divine faith, in the inspiration of Scripture, we proceed thus:— The Scripture, in the first instance, is considered as an authentic work, without entering, as yet, upon the question of its inspiration. By the testimony of this authentic Scrip

« PrécédentContinuer »