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So that, you observe, Catharinus published a book to shew that the Council was of his opinion, and Bellarmine contends that he was mistaken in his judgment. Therefore here we have two instances of the Roman Catholic rule being liable to the same objection so often urged against the Protestant rule; and consequently, Mr. Brown's argument proves too much.

There is another point in connection with this, which was urged by Mr. Brown, and which I said might be reduced to the same objection. He said Christ in his wisdom could not have given a rule so obscure as the Bible, and thus he argues, from the obscurity of the book, that it cannot be the only rule of faith. Now we admit there are difficulties and obscurities in the Bible, and we say, it was to be expected that there should be such in a revelation from God. We find that there are difficulties inexplicable in creation -difficulties inexplicable in the dispensations of Providence-but yet we can understand a very great deal connected with both. And just so with the word of God: there may be difficulties and obscurities, and these may be brought before us for particular reasons, but I contend thus much, that upon all matters essential to salvationupon all things connected with the covenant of grace-the Bible is plain, and may be understood, if a man reads it in a right frame of mind, and looking to God for his blessing. We would advance some evidence of this fact. David says in the 118th Psalm, 105th verse:—

"Thy word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my paths."

Here he is speaking of the word of God existing in his time, which certainly was not so plain as the New Testament, and yet this is the language he uses with regard to it.

In the 118th Psalm, 99th verse, what expression do we find him using?

"I have understood more than all my teachers"-and why? "because thy testimonies are my meditation."

This was the reason why David had more understand. ing than all his teachers, because God's law was his meditation. But it may be said that this is arguing from a particular to a universal, and therefore I shall refer to another text, to meet this objection. It is the 2nd Epistle of Peter, 1st chapter, 19th verse, where St. Peter speaks thus:

"We have the more firm prophetical word: whereunto ye do well to attend, as to a light that shineth in a dark place."

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There the Apostle Peter exhorts those to whom he wrote to attend to the word of prophecy, as being "a light that shineth in a dark place.' Now it is confessed on all hands that prophecy is the most difficult part of Scripture, and therefore if the exhortation holds good with respect to it, it follows evidently that the other parts of Scripture (which by all are confessed not to be so obscure as the prophecies), so far from being too difficult to be attended to, and to be considered as the rule of faith, are indeed, as David says, a lamp unto our feet, and a light unto our paths." Therefore we say, that the argument arising from the obscurity of Scripture, is an argument of no validity, because Scripture itself testifies that in all essential things it is quite plain, and easy to be understood by the man of a teachable disposition, who looks to God for his blessing. But upon this subject allow me to propose a few questions. We hear much of the obscurity of the written word. And I ask, first of all, this question-Did Christ and his Apostles preach intelligibly? If they did notthen, according to Roman Catholic principles, their preaching could not have been a sufficient rule of faith to those that heard them; but if they did, I should like to know how it happens that their sermons, when spoken, were so very intelligible, but that, when written, they should be so very obscure?

Again-we are told that an individual cannot understand the Scriptures, and therefore ought not to receive them as his only rule of faith. I ask, then, how does the Church understand them? If the Church understands the Scriptures by human means, and by the ordinary operations of the Spirit of God, then why may not individual Christians understand them in the same way, and by the same means? But if the Church does not understand the Scriptures by mere ordinary means, but by actual inspiration, then let our friends opposite account for the fact of the Scriptures being written at all. Because we might, on that principle, have received the truth from the declarations of the Church without Scripture, as well as with it.

Further-if Scripture be so obscure that a man cannot understand it without another word attached to it, or without the authoritative decisions of the Church, then we may ask, how we should find out the Church at all? We shall be referred to Scripture, at least as an authentic document, to prove the Church by; and certain texts will be adduced, which, we are told, speak of the great

ness, glory, perpetuity, and infallibility of Christ's Church. But then, I ask, how shall I know that I understand these texts? I am very likely, according to the Roman Catholic principle, to misunderstand them, as there is no infallible authority yet discovered by me. This argument, derived from the alleged obscurity of Scripture, thus again proves too much. If it proves any thing against the Protestant rule, it proves as much against the Roman Catholic Church also. If we cannot understand the Bible (according to the Roman Catholic principle) without the Church, we cannot be ever sure that we understand aright which is the true Church.

Once more-if the Scriptures are so very obscure that we cannot understand them without the infallible decisions of the Church (that is, of Popes and Councils lawfully convened), then I may enquire, how the people could understand them before the first Nicene Council in 325, A. D. for that was the first Council held? We have just the same way, surely, that they had, and we may be contented with that way.

Mr. Brown said, in the course of the discussion he would advance four topics, of which the first was, that the Protestant rule of faith was not established by evident or presumptive proofs. I have adverted to a variety of passages on this subject, and Mr. Brown has hitherto replied to only two (at least attempted to reply, for it did not strike me that his answers did away with the distinct and palpable statements which the texts put forth). I hope the rest of the texts will also be noticed by Mr. Brown, and then it will be for our friends to judge whether they sufficiently established the Protestant rule of faith, or not. For let it be borne in mind, that we are at present destitute of a living infallible tribunal to go to, and therefore we are compelled in this case to exercise our private judgment. Hence, I say, it will be for our friends present, and for those that read the report, to judge whether the texts I have adduced to establish our rule of faith be sufficient, or not. When the Scriptures declare they are "able to make us wise unto salvation"-when we find Christ and his Apostles continually referring to the written word, as their rule and standard, and never to any other-when we find it was the only rule the Jewish Church ever had—it will require some strong line of argument to set aside the meaning of those texts to which I have referred on this question.

The Rev. Gentleman says he will also advert to the fact that our rule of faith is contrary to Scripture, but

until proof be adduced, I may be permitted to deny the assertion. At present there is nothing more for me to reply to. One or two particulars Mr. Brown has advanced, and I have endeavoured to meet them. As I have gone over these points, I shall now sit down, till I hear more on the subject.


THE arguments adduced by Mr. Tottenham are, I feel satisfied, inconclusive; and, when you come to review those arguments, I think this will appear evident to your minds. Not one of his proofs goes far enough to shew that Scripture was established by Christ as the only rule of faith, or that Christ willed that none of his revelations should be handed to his followers by any other means than by the written word. So far as the texts go, you will find, as I before said, that they prove that Scripture is useful, that Scripture is the word of God, and recommended to the perusal of all men, that Scripture conducts to wisdom, that Scripture contains many admirable lessons of faith and morality; in fact, there is a general commendation of Scripture, but nothing to establish it as the only rule of faith, which is now the sole point in dispute. I shall therefore make no particular observations upon them as yet, because the weighty arguments which I have to adduce, will not permit me at present to review them in detail; but I will endeavour to consider them more fully in their proper places, before we separate.

With regard to the apparent contradictions between a former publication of mine, and what I just now asserted, I reply that if I did, at some period, say that the written and unwritten word as proposed by the Church is the rule of Catholic faith, I spoke of the rule considered practically, not abstractedly. So I admit that the Bible alone is the Protestant rule, when we speak abstractedly: but I maintain that if practically considered, as it was on several occasions by the Reformation Society, the private judgment of the individual enters into, and is a part of the Protestant rule of faith, as the authority of the Catholic Church enters into the Catholic rule. Abstractedly

speaking, therefore, the written and the unwritten word form the only rule of Catholic faith.

It was said that I was guilty of a contradiction in maintaining that all the essentials of religion were contained in the Scriptures, and yet contending from Mark xvi. verse 16, that we are strictly obliged to believe every thing which Christ revealed. I cannot discover the contradiction; perhaps I do not understand the nature of Mr. Tottenham's objection. This is what I distinctly laid down, that there are certain points of explicit belief which are essential to the salvation of mankind, and that these are contained in Scripture ;-that there are other points not so absolutely essential, so that when they are not proposed to individuals, it is not necessary to salvation that they be explicitly believed. But from the declaration of our Saviour in Mark xvi. verse 16

"Preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not, shall be damned”

-from this declaration I contend, that whoever rejects a single point of the doctrines of revelation, when that point is properly proposed, exposes himself thereby to the sentence of damnation pronounced by Christ. In this there is no contradiction that I can discover. We are not obliged to be acquainted with every doctrine that Christ communicated; but, when they are laid before us, we are obliged to receive them, and every one who rejects any one of them, exposes himself to damnation.

It has been said that Leo XII. stands in contradiction to Pius VI. There is no such contradiction. Pius VI. recommended the reading of the Scriptures in the vernacular tongue, when the translation is correct, and may be depended upon. Leo XII. censures the translations of the Bible Society, because, he said, those translations were false: and in confirmation we have the authority of the Rev. A. P. Perceval, "Chaplain in Ordinary to His Majesty," who, in the appendix to a work entitled "Reasons why I am not a Member of the Bible Society," writes thus:

"Surely it is enough to make a Christian's blood run cold, to think of the sacrilegious presumption of a Society which dares thus to tamper and trifle with the revelation of the Almighty, and dares publish to the heathen, and attempt to pawn upon its credulous supporters these school-boy exercises of its agents, as the sacred word of God! It is the circulation of such translations as these, that, more than once, at the meetings of this Society, have been blasphemously compared to the miraculous gift of tongues. And such a system is supported, and such comparisons applauded, by many who, on other occasions, lay claim, and justly, to characters of piety and intelligence."

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