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The Presbyterian Confession of Faith

Brownson's Quarterly Review, April, 1846

ART. IV The Constitution of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, containing the Confession of Faith, the Catechisms, and the Directory for the Worship of God ; together with the Plan of Government and Discipline, as ratified by the General Assembly at their Sessions in May, 1821, and amended in 1833. Philadelphia. Haswell & Co.    1838.

A REVIEW of the Constitution of the Presbyterian Church, confined chiefly to its confession of faith, may not present that degree of interest or attraction which might be found in that of some of the new works which are daily poured upon our book-devouring community ; but it has seemed to us that it might, nevertheless, be highly useful, inasmuch as it will give us an opportunity of showing the venom of error at its fountain-head, and of exposing in a strong light the frail fabric of Protestantism, by laying bare the weakness and instability of its foundations. Even on the score of novelty, the Constitution of the Presbyterian Church may, after all, not be devoid of interest. It is true, its substance is old, we might add antiquated, made up, as it is, from shreds taken from Calvin, Knox, and others ; but Presbyterians, as Protestants in general, can always affix a character of novelty to their church constitutions and doctrinal opinions, for they hold it to be the inalienable privilege of freemen to change their articles of faith and methods of church government so as to suit the times and follow the onward march of mind. Hence, the editors of the work before us are very particular in stating all the improvements, modifications, amendments, corrections, additions, and subtractions, which the said Constitution underwent at the period of its publication ; and we find on the title-page a solemn declaration of a committee of Presbyterian divines, that the present edition "is a correct and authentic copy of said Constitution, as amended, ratified, and in force at the present date"  (1834).    As the Constitution of the novelist, a work which no person should touch for any other purpose than to commit it to the flames. We are glad to see that the American press is beginning to wake up to its infamy, and to denounce it in terms not wholly inappropriate; for it is a work that aims at the destruction of every domestic and social virtue. We have been silent, because we presumed no Catholic would read it, and because our denunciation of it would not have been regarded by our Protestant countrymen.

The Presbyterian Church changes, very much like the Paris and London fashions, it is probable that there is one more recent than this now before us ; but this must suffice for our present purpose, and the more so, because it is the one adopted by both the Old School and the New School Presbyterians before their schism in 1837.

Some may think that it is altogether useless to discuss the inconsistencies and errors of the Presbyterian Constitution, and that any attempt at argument against them would be only time and labor lost, since Presbyterians and Calvinists, from their intense hatred- to every thing Catholic, seem to be inaccessible to reason and argument, when presented by Catholics ; and we confess that this to a great extent is true, and has almost decided us to desist from our present ungrateful undertaking. We know there is a sin for which St. John said, " i/V*on pro illo dico, ut roget, quis" ; we know there is a spiritual pride which renders men as headstrong and insensible as old Satan himself; and we fear that no small portion of it has fallen to the lot of the followers of the sour, morose, selfish, hating, and hateful Calvin. Still, the fear that some may not profit by the truth is no good reason for concealing it, or for refusing to advocate and support it by arguments. The ways of God are mysterious, and he can, even from stones, raise up children to Abraham. Moreover, had we no other reason for undertaking a review of the Presbyterian Church Constitution and Confession of Faith than a simple sense of justice to ourselves, it would be amply sufficient. The Calvinistic pulpits and press resound with hardly any thing but declamatory and incendiary invectives against the Catholic Church. The General Assembly never meets, without appointing a preacher to deliver, ex officio, a solemn address against Catholicity, and it has been customary for it to proclaim hypocritical fasts for the downfall of Popery. This propagandism against us may be met with everywhere, not only in the pulpit and lecture-room, but even in the railroad-car and the steamboat,' where, orally or by tracts, the most insipid and absurd tales against our institutions and people are circulated. The virulence of this Calvinistic opposition to Catholicity shows itself chiefly in the Presbyterian newspaper press. It is there — we are sorry it has been our duty to look into such disgusting trash — Calvin still disgorges, in filthy streams, the venom and rancor with which his disappointed ambition and revengeful pride filled him.   These attacks, constantly repeated,demand always a new resistance. This unholy warfare against the true Church we must try to put down, — not by calumny, insult, vituperation, and the like, but by solid argument, by discussions based on sound logic, by the exhibition of that brilliant aureola of sanctity, unity, miracles, and other irresistible evidences which must for ever encircle the brows of truth ; and by unravelling the contradictions, inconsistencies, paralogisms, sophisms, misrepresentations, and other tortuous arguments, which must always form the hideous train of error.

Nothing appears to us more likely to eflect this end than the critical examination and discussion of the formularies which the most numerous sect of Protestants present us, as containing the foundations of that religious system which they would substitute for the dogmas, doctrines, and government of the Catholic Church, with their reasons for rejecting the latter and embracing the former. We propose, therefore, in what follows, to discuss the plan of religious doctrines and ecclesiastical government, as understood by Presbyterians. We shall confine ourselves chiefly to the Confession of Faith, the .first and most important piece in the work we have quoted, that from which all the rest is deduced, and on which the whole fabric of Presbyterianism rests.

Before entering upon our main subject, it may be well to premise, that, if but one point of doctrine contained in a confession of faith be unfounded, and unsupported by any motive of belief, — much more, if but one point be evidently false and reprobated by Scripture, good sense, and whatever else must serve as the vouchers of the truth,—it follows, immediately and inevitably, that the Confession is an imposition, the work of men who either were deceived or meant to deceive, and that the church or society admitting it as its standard of belief is not the Church of Christ, or the true Church ; for a religion that contains one plain falsehood is not a religion of heaven, but of men, rather of Satan himself ; since a confession of faith in which there is one error can have no ground for admitting firmly any of the articles it may contain. Any society proposing such a confession betrays its human origin. No matter what good things may be found in such a symbol or formulary of faith, it is deprived of the seal of Heaven, which is incompatible with the least error ; and the society imposing it on its members is only a human, not a divinely constituted society, — therefore, not the society founded by Christ, and consequently not the Church of Christ.    If not the Church of Christ, then not that society in which salvation is to be found. This is only the expression of reason and common sense. All Christians, for instance, agree, that, if one error were found in the Bible, the Bible could not be the work of God. So, also, if a church enjoin any one article of faith which is a falsehood, it is not and cannot be the Church of Christ. Thus, the Catholic Church would consider all her titles to divinity and truth forfeited, if a single error had crept into her creeds, and formed one, even the least, of her articles of faith. But if only one error professed by a religious society destroys all its titles, what shall we say, if the confession, instead of containing only one error, contains scarcely a single truth, and is nothing but a tissue of false reasoning, unwarranted assertions, palpable contradictions, wilful misrepresentations, and gross corruptions of the word of God and divine traditions ? This last is the fact with regard to the Confession of Faith now under consideration ; and we trust to make good to every unprejudiced mind, before we close, that it has no other support than that of the authority of the prince of that empire where no order but " everlasting horror dwelleth."

Still further, as preliminary to our main design, it will not be amiss to state summarily the history of the introduction of the Presbyterian Confession into the world. During the civil anarchy in which ended the reign of the unfortunate Charles the First, the Scotch Presbyterians ; having obtained a decided ascendency, there was convened by order of parliament an assembly of divines, who for many years held theological sessions at Westminster, and, with a view to obtaining a " thorough godly reformation," concocted there that precious code of doctrine, government, and discipline, which was to unfetter the whole world, and carry out fairly the principles of the glorious Reformation, which had almost sunk under the mitigated Papism of Elizabeth and James the First. It belongs to the history of England to record the disputes, quarrels, tricks, frauds, and various manipulations which characterized the sittings of these divines; but, after a protracted and stormy discussion, at -last came out the Confession of Faith, and other formularies of Presbyterian orthodoxy, which received, in 1649, the full sanction of the parliament of England, — the great judge of English Protestant controversies.

The confession of faith given by the Westminster divines, and hence often called the Westminster Confession, is nearly the same with the Scotch confession of faith which appeared in 1560. The immediate lineage of the Presbyterians from the goodly Calvin thus clearly appears ; for John Knox, whom the Presbyterians represent as having " lighted his torch at the candle of God's word," was the friend and pupil of Calvin, and he was the master spirit who, through fas et nefas, introduced the Reformation into Scotland, and determined its confession. Of the character of this apostate priest it is not necessary to speak ; for, if it be a disgrace to humanity to have produced a Nero or a Robespierre, Presbyterian-ism is not to be envied the glory of having produced a John Knox.

The confession of faith framed by the Westminster divines is the standard of the various hues of Presbyterians found in the United States, — the Old School Presbyterians, who perhaps justly claim the unenviable privilege of being the true, lawful, and uncompromising children and successors of Calvin and John Knox, the Neio School Presbyterians, the Associate Presbyterians, the dissociate Reformed Church, and the Cumberland Presbyterians. It is also implicitly, if not explicitly, the confession of faith of the Congregationalists and of the Dutch Reformed, who are strong Calvinists in doctrine. The population adhering to it the world over may, perhaps, be set clown at about fifteen millions ; the Catholic population over the whole globe, we may add by the way, is not much below two hundred millions.

The Confession opens with a chapter on the " Holy Scriptures," no doubt to make the doctrine given in that chapter the foundation of what is to follow. But the subject of the authority of Scripture is beset with insuperable difficulties for Protestants ; and although they continually boast of following the Scriptures, although they wish to have the name of receiving the Bible above all men, and of making the Bible a voucher for all they say, still it is impossible for them, on their own principles, to come at any thing positive concerning its authority. They cannot prove its inspiration ; so, with all their pretended respect for it, they have undermined its authority, and are compelled, on their own principles, to view it merely as a human book which may be correct on the whole, but only after the manner of other human books written on human subjects by judicious authors.

We begin with the first paragraph of this chapter, which runs thus : —
" Although the light of nature, and the works of creation and providence do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God as to leave men inexcusable, yet they are not sufficient to give that knowledge of God, and of his will, which is necessary unto salvation; therefore it pleased the Lord, at sundry times and in divers manners, to reveal himself, and to declare that his will unto his Church; and afterwards, for the better preserving and propagating of the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the Church against the corruption of the flesh and the malice of Satan and of the world, to commit the same wholly unto writing, which maketh the Holy Scripture to be most necessary ; those former ways of God's revealing his will unto his people being now ceased."

The doctrine laid down in this paragraph it is then attempted to support by arguments ; but what kind of argument can be given in an introduction to the belief of Scripture, and in support of its authority ? Common sense tells us that it cannot be Scripture itself; else, one might as well quote the authority of the Koran to prove the Koran, and the forger of a will might adduce the very will itself as a proof of its genuineness. Yet, notwithstanding this plain dictate of common sense, the framers of the Confession quote Scripture all at once, and thus open the way to that long string of false, inconsistent, and absurd proofs with which the book abounds. The plainest rules of logic seem to have been quite beyond the reach of these powerful geniuses. Faith must be reasonable,— that is, founded on. reasonable' motives, or motives capable of forcing the assent of a judicious mind ; for if not, it becomes fanaticism, superstition, credulity, downright nonsense. It is this reasonableness of motives which makes the distinction between Christianity and Mahometanism or paganism.

But waiving this want of logical strictness and propriety, and taking up the Scripture proofs adduced, we shall find that the Scripture says nothing at all of what it is made to say. We select from the passage quoted the three following propositions which it contains, and which we maintain are unsupported by Scripture,..utterly false, and even contradicted by others in the same passage. 1. That what the Lord revealed at sundry times and in divers manners was committed wholly to ivriting. 2. That this makes the Holy Scripture most necessary. 3. That the former ways of God's revealing his will unto his people are now ceased.

1.  The first position assumed, that "it pleased the.Lord to commit the same (that which he had revealed at sundry times, and in divers manners) wholly unto writing," is attempted to be proved by the following Scriptural quotations, which we scrupulously transcribe." Luke i. 3, 4. It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, that thou mightest know the certainty of those things wherein thou hast been instructed. Rom. xv. 4. For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning; that we, through patience and comfort of the Scriptures, might have hope. Isaiah, viii. 20. To the law and to the testimony : if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.    Rev. xxii. 18."

Now, we ask, is there any thing in those passages to prove the peculiar position assumed in the text, namely, that the revelations of God were committed wholly unto writing ? These quotations suppose that things were written, and written for our instruction and comfort ; but where is the passage proving that all was written ? There is none ; and hence these quotations are nothing more than a vain display of Scriptural erudition, or rather, a petty theological trick, and dialectical sleight of hand, by which evidence is brought for only a portion of a proposition, and still the whole proposition is confidently asserted. As if one were to say, Something was written, therefore all was written ; which is a form of argument too obviously false to need refutation.

We will, however, go rapidly over these texts, and show that they have no bearing on the question. The last, from Revelations, or the Apocalypse, xxii. 18, is not expressly cited, which shows, perhaps, that little reliance is placed on it in support of the position assumed. The text is, "I testify to every one that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book ; if any man shall add to these things, God shall add upon him the plagues written in this book." This reference, then, is intended to convey the impression, that, if any one adds any thing to Scripture, he will incur the wrath of God, and consequently that all has been written. But what an abuse of Scripture is not such an interpretation ! For any reader that will take up this chapter will see that the meaning of the writer of the Apocalypse is, that no one should either add any thing to, or subtract any thing from, that Apocalypse, as is most obvious and expressly stated in- the very passage. Here is, then, the queer argument used by the writers of the Confession : St. John, at the conclusion of his Apocalypse, threatens with the vengeance of Heaven the one who shall either add to or subtract from his book, or the one who shall interpolate and corrupt his book ; therefore all things are written in Scripture !

The text taken from Isaias, — " To the law and to the testimony : if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them," —is not more to the purpose. These words of the prophet have long been the cant of Scotch fanatics ; and this is strange enough ; for the "testimony" there mentioned naturally leads to the notion of tradition, which it is their great object to discard. Any one who will read the passage will find it somewhat obscure ; but the meaning which will present itself to his mind will be, that the prophet inveighs against those who consulted pythons and wizards, and exhorts them to have recourse rather to the law and to the testimony. But no powers of imagination can draw from it the conclusion that every thing is written, even that which was revealed by Christ ; for Isaias speaks of a law written hundreds of years before Christ.

The text from St. Paul to the Romans says merely, that what was written was written for our learning ; but it does not say that the whole of God's revelation was committed to writing. In fine, the passage from St. Luke is brought forward with no better grace. The passage states, that the writer, after having received full information from eyewitnesses, wrote for the purpose of giving to Theophilus a full certainty in regard to the matters of which he wrote. But it does not say that he wrote all that was revealed. It is true, the passage states that the writer had " perfect understanding of all things from the very .first," and, without entering into a discussion as to the propriety of the translation used by Protestants, we say, it is perfectly evident St. Luke does not mean that he wrote absolutely every thing which Christ did or taught; for if so, he would have been guilty of a barefaced lie, in the very first line of his Gospel, since St. Matthew, St. Mark, and St. John say a great many things which he does not record ; therefore he must mean merely that he was fully informed of all the things which he wrote about. Now, we hope, all can see the difference between the assertion, I vouch for the truth of every thing I write, and this other assertion, I write with truth every thing that can be written upon the subject. These remarks show, with absolute evidence, that none of the texts adduced by  prove that the revelations of God were committed wholly unto writing. This is sufficient to prove to the Presbyterians that their tenets are totally ungrounded, that their faith has no foundation, and that they believe without any motive or reason capable of making any impression on a reasonable man. But their doctrine is not only purely gratuitous ; we can even prove, by the most obvious arguments, that it is absolutely false, and clearly at variance with   Scripture  itself and  with common sense.

St. John concludes his Gospel with the following declaration: — " There are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written every one, the world itself, I think, would not be able to contain the books that should be written." Who, in the face of this declaration, will dare assert that every thing is written ? Here, as a manifest proof that it never was the plan of Divine Providence that all should be written, the Evangelist closes his account with the avowal, that he knows many things more that Christ did, many more words that he uttered, and many more examples that he gave, than he commits to writing. The same Apostle concludes his two last Epistles with a declaration which seems to have been written purposely to contradict the assertion of Presbyterians. " Having many things to write unto you, I would not by paper and ink ; for I hope that I shall be with you, and speak face to face." The Apostle had many things to write, and consequently these things were necessary, or at least useful, and still he declines writing them. Who will, in the face of this declaration, maintain that every thing pertaining to the revelation of God is written ? Again, St. Paul, no doubt, made important regulations concerning the Lord's Supper, as he asserts in those words,— " The rest I will set in order when I come."— 1 Cor. xi. 34. Can Presbyterians point out the place where these regulations are found ? Furthermore, the same Apostle, writing to tho Thessalonians, tells them, — " Remember you not, that, when 1 was yet with you, I told you these things ? and now you know what withholdeth, that he may be revealed in his time." —Thess. ii. 5,6. The Thessalonians, then, had learned orally from St Paul, and knew what withheld Antichrist. What is that thing ? Is it written anywhere ? There is, then, a revelation which certainly was not committed to writing.

The first chapter of the Acts of the Apostles expressly states that Jesus Christ employed the forty days which elapsed between his resurrection and ascension in teaching his Apostles,— "for forty clays appearing to them, and speaking of the kingdom of God."—• verse 3. And now where are those heavenly instructions given by Christ, now risen from the dead, to his Apostles, who were now, in a great measure, freed from that carnal sense and those grovelling ideas which had besotted their hearts during their former intercourse with him ? Those instructions which lasted forty days take up only a few lines in the Scriptures ; whereas, the discourse of our Lord on the eve of his death, a discourse which could have lasted but a few hours, takes up five chapters. No doubt, these discourses for forty clays were of the greatest importance, since the sacred writer says they related to the kingdom of God ; and who can doubt but that the necessity of giving those instructions was one of the great objects of the stay of the man-God among mortals ? Scarcely any thing of these discourses is written ; not that the Apostles had forgotten them, but because it was not deemed proper to write them. This fact, taken in connection with another, shows how absurd and untenable is the Protestant theory about the sufficiency of Scripture. History represents to us the Christian Church springing from its cradle with dogmas, rites, practices, fasts, feasts, sacraments ; and yet there is no direct mention of many of those things in Scripture, at most only a remote or obscure allusion to a few. Who, then, can resist the conclusion, that the Apostles received upon those points instructions which they delivered orally, and which they wrote, not with ink on paper or parchment, but in a more substantial, imperishable, and authentic way, in the habits and practice of the faithful ? Many things, in particular concerning the sacred rites of divine institution which we call Sacraments, are not mentioned in Scripture ; but such rites were unquestionably written in the practice and habits of Christians ; which was a safer way to propagate them than writing them in a book, especially as the latter way had many inconveniences, since the pagans should not be allowed a free access to those peculiar rites which they would understand but imperfectly from a book, and which they would disfigure ; and hence we find, in the very first ages of Christianity, frequent allusions to the fact of the rites and mysteries of Christians being made a subject of secrecy, so as to conceal them from the knowledge of the pagans. And this law of secrecy, which history proves most clearly, was nothing but the continuation of the plan alluded to in the Scriptures themselves, — not to write every thing, but to transmit much by the belief, practice, and habits of the Christian people. To descend to particulars corroborating these general remarks, we ask, where is it written that children can be validly and lawfully baptized ?    Where is it written that immersion is not necessary in baptism, and that aspersion and infusion are lawful modes of administering that sacred rite ?    Where is it written that the Sacraments of the Church are validly administered by sinners, and by wicked  ministers ?    We say, it is written nowhere in Scripture.    But all this was written in the practice of the Christian Church, and hence is admitted not only by Catholics, but by Presbyterians also.    A  proof that these points are not clearly set down in Scripture is, that the largest body,  perhaps, of Protestants in the United States, the Baptists, deny the validity of baptism conferred on children, or on adults by infusion.    We know, too, that laymen can administer baptism validly ; and though Presbyterians deny it, they show only their inconsistency, or their heresy, — a word which means choice ; for among traditions they choose those which suit them, and reject the others.    But as the traditions all stand on the same ground, they should either be admitted in their totality, or rejected in their totality.    Furthermore, how do we know that baptism can be administered but once ? By tradition alone.    For if one says that Scripture does not order its reiteration, it is equally certain that neither does it forbid it. And hence, at most, we could only conclude that the Scripture says nothing about it; and then something held as true and essential by Presbyterians themselves is not written in Scripture ; and then the assertion, that all the doctrine of Christ is written, goes by the board.    Scripture says not that baptism conferred by a layman is null ; still, Presbyterians hold it null, against the tradition of the Church.    Scripture says nothing about the repetition of baptism, and Presbyterians hold, with the tradition of the Church, that it  cannot be repeated, — a good exemplification of that spirit of contradiction by which they admit just enough of tradition on some points to put a whip into the hands of their opponents, while they reject it on others.

We have mentioned several points about which the Scriptures say nothing, though the Presbyterians themselves hold them to be revealed. But we are far from having exhausted the list of those points which were revealed, but which were not written in the Scriptures. To mention a very striking example, we find it written in Scripture that it is forbidden to eat blood and things strangled. " It hath seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to us, to lay no further burden upon you than these necessary things ; that you abstain from things sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication." — Acts xv. 28,29. Here, then, the Scripture, or the Holy Ghost, declares it a necessary thing to abstain from blood ; and still, all Christians, from time immemorial, have held it a thing lawful to eat blood or things strangled, and we have no doubt but the strictest Presbyterian would make no scruple to eat blood-pudding, if he relished it. Where is it written, we ask, that this prohibition to eat blood was to cease ? Where is the passage of Scripture that says, that after a certain time required to bury the synagogue with clue honor, as theologians say, — that is, after there would be no danger of scandalizing the Jews, to whom blood and strangled things were an abomination, —• the eating of blood and of strangled things would become a thing indifferent in its nature, and consequently lawful ? The assumption, then, that every thing is written in Scripture, is evidently unwarranted.

Again, what part of Scripture declares that the washing of feet prescribed by our Lord, in St. John xiii., is only of a spiritual nature ? "If I, then, being Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that, as I have clone to you, so you do also." Hence, among the thousand and one Protestant sects which have arisen since Luther, we have one taking the modest title of "Church of God," though its existence is not of an earlier date than 1820, that believes firmly in feet-washing. " She believes that the ordinance of feet-washing, that is, the literal washing of the saints' feet, according to the word and example of Christ, is obligatory upon all Christians, and ought to be observed by all the Churches of God."* These sectarians are unquestionably right, if we have Scripture only for the rule of faith ;' for no text more positive could be brought forward to prescribe feet-washing ; but the Apostles who were present, and knew what our Lord said better than we can, wrote, not in a book, but in the practice, and rites, and habits of the churches they founded, that this washing was spiritual; and hence we know with equal certainty that this washing is a spiritual one, and that all is not recorded in Scripture that Christ revealed to his Apostles. To obtain another clear instance of the silence of the Scriptures on many points which were revealed and known at first, we have only to read History of the Religious Denominations in the United Stales, p. 180 and the two genealogies of Christ, the one in St. Matthew, and the other in St. Luke. The reader of Scripture will be in a real dilemma as to the meaning and agreement of these genealogies ; and the fact is, that they have exhausted the ingenuity of commentators. The commentators propose many solutions of the difficulty ; but with the avowed conviction, that it is impossible to tell which is the true one. Now a few words, added to either, or both, of these genealogies, would have cleared up for us the whole difficulty. But these words were not added, because the thing was clear at the time the genealogies were written, when all the circumstances of time, place, .and persons were fully understood. The loss of these circumstances has rendered the enigma insolvable, — an evident proof that all was not written.

But on no subject does it more clearly appear that the Almighty never intended that all things pertaining to religion should be written in the Scriptures, than by their complete silence on the Christian festivals. That these festivals are essential to religion is sufficiently obvious to all from reason alone, and is admitted, at least for the celebration of Sunday, by all shades of Presbyterians. The conduct of God in relation to the chosen people, who had so many festivals commemorative of the great events of his mercy to them, together with the historical documents of the early Christian Church, must convince every one who is not determined to be a skeptic, that Christ left powers and orders to the Apostles and to the Church to institute feasts and anniversaries, so that, besides Sunday, there have always been in the Church other festivals, such as the commemoration of the death of Christ by humiliation and fast, the anniversary of his resurrection, or Easter, of the descent of the Holy Ghost, &c. Now, where is mention made in Scripture of these festivals, including the weekly festival, Sunday ? Nowhere. We find, indeed, express mention made of the abolition of the Jewish Sabbath. St. Paul solemnly declared that Jewish festivals, new moons, and Sabbaths were all gone. " Let no man judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of a festival day, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbaths." — Colos. ii. 16. But we see nowhere that Sunday was to replace the Judaical Sabbath, or Saturday. illusions to Sunday are found in the Scripture, it is true ; but Scriptural allusions prove nothing, unless interpreted by tradition. The fact, that there are only allusions, which prove nothing when detached from tradition, shows that it never was, intended that all the Christian doctrine and practice should be committed to writing. But there is no allusion to the Christian fast of Lent, or to the Christian Easter, and other Christian festivals ; nevertheless, who can reasonably deny their institution and observance in the very time of the Apostles, when he reads in authentic history, that Polycarp, who had long lived and conversed with the Apostle St. John, went from a remote province of the East to Rome, for the purpose of conferring with the bishop of that city, the successor of Peter, not indeed upon the keeping of Easter, which was instituted both in the East and the West, but upon the particular and proper day at which Easter should be kept, — a question which was partly astronomical ? * Who can doubt that the festivals kept in memory of the principal events of Christ's life were either appointed formally by the Apostles, or at least instituted in conformity with their teaching and practice ? Let us take Christmas as an example. This day is not spoken of in the Gospel. Still it is kept by the Christian world on the 25th of December. It is true that Presbyterians reject this as unscriptural, and we read there was at one time a fine of five shillings, in Massachusetts, on every one who kept Christmas. But this only shows the folly of rejecting every thing not found in Scripture. What does it matter whether we find it written on paper, that Christ was born on a certain day of December, and that Christians ought to keep that day as one of joy and gratitude, or whether we find the same written in the practice and the customs of a whole people ? The latter is by far the most substantial way of transmitting the event. What does it signify, for instance, that the Constitution of the United States does not mention that George Washington was born on the 22d of February ? Every one knows this to be a fact, from the festivities usual on that day ; and to one who now would venture to deny this fact, on the ground that the Constitution does not mention it, no answer would need to be returned. No one, then, can doubt that Christians have always kept, and should keep, days in commemoration of Christ's birth, death,.and resurrection.f    The fact, that

(Footnote) * Hier. De Script. Eccles. The Martyrology for the 25th of December has the following account. "In Nicomedia, the martyrdom of several thousand Christians, who, being assembled on Christmas day to celebrate the holy mysteries, were shut up in the church by order of the Emperor Diocletian, who caused a fire to be kindled all around, and a stand with a censer to be

nothinging is said of such festivals in Scripture, shows, then, that the Scriptures were never intended to record every thing.

In fine, the most irrefragable argument that all is not written in Scripture, is that the canon, or list of Scripture books, is nowhere given in Scripture, so that it is impossible for Presbyterians to prove their inspiration and divinity. But more of this hereafter, when the Confession brings this subject more directly before us. We will not, however, dismiss this subject without quoting the positive testimonies of Scripture to show that all was not written, but much left to be transmitted by tradition. St. Paul writes to the Thessalonians, 2 Thes. ii. 15, — "Therefore, brethren, stand firm, and hold the traditions which you have learned, whether by word, or by our epistles." No clearer statement of our doctrine can be imagined. If any should object that what is here called tradition by word was afterwards written in the other Epistles of St. Paul, because this to the Thessalonians was among the first he wrote, we would ask, where is the date of the Epistle to the Thessalonians written ? It is written nowhere, and certainly not in the Scripture. But where does the Apostle say that he will on some other occasion write those discourses, or traditions by word, which he commands them to keep ? This silly objection, however, will not apply to the Second Epistle of St. Paul to Timothy, the one which he wrote a short time before his martyrdom, and the same in which (iv. 6) he says that he is ready for sacrifice, and that the time of his dissolution is at hand. Now in that Epistle he charges his disciple in the following words: — "The things which thou hast heard from me, before many witnesses, the same commend to faithful men who shall be fit to teach others also."    Here the Apostle alludes, not to what he has
placed before the door, whilst a herald cried out with a loud voice, that all those who wished to save themselves from the fire should come out and offer incense to Jupiter ; they all answered, that they preferred dying for Christ, and, the, fire being kindled, they were all consumed in it, and thus deserved to be born in lieaven that day that Christ was born on earth for the salvation of the world," Here the reflection forces itself irresistibly upon the mind, — we must believe witnesses who die for what they assert. The death of those thousand Christians on Christmas day will render Christmas dear to us, although Presbyterians would impose fines on us for keeping it, as unscriptural; though a plain and unprejudiced man will conclude that if any refuse to commemorate the birth, death, and resurrection of Christ, such do not acknowledge Christ as their father written, but to what he has said, and which Timothy had heard before many witnesses ; and he directs Timothy, not merely to write the same, but to intrust and commend it to others, who will be (it to teach others ; — thus establishing a tradition of holy doctrine quite distinct from Scripture. Here it is evidently asserted, that St. Paul had taught Timothy, that Timothy was to teach faithful men, and these faithful men, other men. Thus is the Christian doctrine transmitted ; and it is transmitted in all its purity through these successive teachings, because the Holy Ghost is promised to the body of pastors who teach in the Church. The same Epistle, i. l'J, 14, has the following no less conclusive passage, containing also a promise of the Holy Ghost to watch over the sacred deposit of holy doctrine intrusted to pastors: — "Hold the form of sound words which thou hast heard from me in faith, and in the love which is in Christ Jesus. Keep the good deposited in trust to thee by the Holy Ghost who dwelleth in us." Here the Apostle charges him to keep, not writings, but words, — not what he has read, but what he has heard; and the Holy Ghost is said to dwell in us to accomplish this holy purpose. We could easily add numerous and evident testimonies of all Christian antiquity, to show that all was not written in the Scripture ; but we think we have dwelt enough upon this first false assertion of the first article of the Confession, and have shown sufficiently that Presbyterians fail in proving their position, that the whole revelation of God was committed to writing, and that the contrary assertion is incontrovertibly established by every sort of positive and conclusive argument.

2. But it is time to pass to the second assertion we have taken exception to, namely, that the Scriptures are most necessary ; and we begin by discussing the proofs of this necessity adduced by the Confession, which we transcribe in full.

" 2 Tim. iii. 15. And that from a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 2 Pet. i. 19. We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the clay dawn and the day-star arise in your hearts."

Here are, then, the mighty, the all-convincing proofs of the absolute necessity of Scripture, which our Presbyterians adduce. The Presbyterians must count largely on the simplicity of the readers of the Confession, to have the courage to offer them such proofs as these. As for ourselves, we can of course only smile at them. To begin with the text of St. Paul to Timothy ; what is there in that passage that has any the least bearing on the necessity of Scripture ? No doubt the Presbyterians mean in their Confession, that, if any Scripture be most necessary, it is the New Testament. But this passage speaks of the Old Testament only ; for the Old Testament was the only Scripture Timothy could have learned in his childhood, since it was the only one which was then in existence. This passage, therefore, could not in any manner prove the necessity of the New Testament. But it does not, in the least, prove the necessity of even the Old. It contains not one word about the necessity of the Scriptures. From the fact, that Timothy had known the Sacred Scriptures from his infancy, we can no more conclude that the Scriptures are necessary, than we can conclude that Latin or Greek are necessary because we have known them from our childhood. It is said in the text, that the Scriptures are able to make one wise ; but if we are to draw any conclusion from this, it is not that the Scriptures are necessary, but useful. If I say that mathematics are able to sharpen one's intellect and judgment, I imply, that there are other methods besides mathematics, and that mathematics are not absolutely necessary.
The text from St. Peter is equally defective as a proof of the necessity of Scripture. St. Peter is speaking of the prophecies of the Old Testament, and if what he says proves the necessity of any Scripture, it is that of the prophecies of the Old Testament, and of nothing more. But the Apostle says nowhere that the prophecies even are necessary ; he simply says that they are a firm and sure word. He adds, that Christians DO WELL to attend, but does not say that it is most necessary that they should attend, to this word of prophecy. Hence, these proofs of the necessity of Scripture are totally unworthy a serious refutation, and prove only one thing, that the compilers of the Confession considered it their duty, by means of Scripture texts, to throw dust into the eyes of their readers. They would, doubtless, have brought forward better proofs, if they had had them to bring ; and we need no better evidence that it is impossible for Presbyterians to make up a confession of faith from the Scriptures alone, than these pretended Scriptural proofs themselves.

Having shown that there is no Scripture proof of the necessity of Scripture, we will now go farther, and prove by very conclusive arguments that the Scriptures are not absolutely necessary ; for true religion was for a long time preserved and propagated without them, and the teaching of the pastors of the Church is adequate to preserve and propagate the religion of Christ, even independently of them. The Scriptures were not given to supersede this teaching of the pastors, but chiefly to afford them a greater facility in the discharge of their trust. The teaching of the pastors may suffice without Scripture, but the Scriptures cannot suffice without that teaching.

The assertion, that the Scriptures are most necessary, is at variance with two indisputable facts : — 1. That God never left the world without the true religion ; and 2. That he did leave it without any Scriptures at all for over two thousand years, namely, from Adam to Moses. Adam, Noe, and many in the time of Noe, of whom St. Peter speaks (1 St. Pet. iii. 20), Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Melchisedech, and innumerable others, followed the true religion, were acceptable in the eyes of God, and obtained salvation, and yet they had no Scripture. But as they had a revealed religion, we must conclude that even a revealed religion can be propagated without Scripture. That they had a revealed religion, we know from positive facts, and it may be collected from the very text of the Confession already quoted, where, on a new perusal, the reader will find it stated that reason alone cannot give that knowledge of God which is necessary unto salvation. If those men—as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who are certainly of the number of the elect, since God calls himself the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob — obtained salvation, and salvation cannot be obtained by the light of nature or of reason alone, they must have had the light of revelation ; and since they had not Scrip-lure, Scripture cannot be "most necessary." So that we find on this point a plain contradiction in the very first article of the Presbyterian Confession, and this first contradiction is speedily followed by another, in which Scripture is stated to be, on the one hand, most necessary, and, on the other, to have been resorted to, only as the means of " better preserving and propagating the truth ! "

The truths which were preserved and propagated during more than two thousand years anterior to the law of Moses were both very numerous and very important. The unity of God, supreme arbiter and creator of all things, formed the first and most important of these truths. Then came the attributes of God, which were known during that period, as will appear to those who read Genesis ; then the creation of man to the image and likeness of God ; the fall of man and original sin, which was known from the history of the human race, and is alluded to by holy Job ; also, the immortality of the soul, which must have been revealed, since we find it established and believed everywhere ; and certainly, after the fall of Adam, man could not know by reason alone that he was immortal. Another point revealed, and not written, was the redemption of man, and the promise of a Redeemer or Messiah. Another revelation still was that of the practice of offering sacrifices, and for the most part bloody sacrifices, which we find existing long before Moses. Also, long before any Scripture was written, God gave to Abraham and his posterity the precept of circumcision, which was faithfully transmitted for several centuries. We see, in fact, a complete system of religion, including important revealed truths, composed of dogmas and precepts, faithfully preserved without Scripture for more than two thousand years ; and it is therefore supremely absurd to assert, as a general proposition, that the Scriptures are "most necessary."
If the Scriptures are most necessary, the first thing the Apostles should have done, before separating to spread themselves over the world, would have been to compose them ; but every one at all conversant with history knows that this is precisely what they did not do. For many years the primitive Church was without the New Testament, and the different parts of that sacred volume were not all written at once, but on accidental occasions, as the circumstances of places and persons seemed to require ; precluding, therefore, the idea, that the Apostles intended to leave in their writings a complete system of .religious instruction. We know that St. Thomas, the Apostle, went to the East long before the greater part of the New Testament had been written. Could he have left to the Christians in the East the Gospels and Epistles written in the West ? If the Scriptures are most necessary, the Apostles, by separating before having composed them, exposed themselves to the danger of leaving the nations they converted without that which, according to the Presbyterian Confession, was most necessary. Can we believe this ? The conduct of the Apostles, then, in respect to the composition of Scripture, shows conclusively that they did not deem Scripture to be most necessary, as Christianity could be, and actually was, established and propagated by the preaching of the word, without it. Hence, St. Irerueus, who had almost conversed wilh St. John, and is more likely to know what the Apostles said and did than are the Presbyterians who met at Westminster sixteen hundred years after Christ, tells us that there were nations fully Christian, who nevertheless were without the Scriptures. " What! " says he, " even if the Apostles had left no Scriptures, should we not follow ttie order of tradition which they delivered to those with whom they intrusted the churches ? A state of things found among many barbarous nations, who believe in Christ without paper or ink, but have salvation written in their hearts by the Holy Ghost, believing in one God, creator of all things through Jesus Christ his Son." *
It must be a matter of surprise, that the doctrine of the necessity of written, divine laws, or a written religion, should have found a foothold in countries like England and America, where there are so many unwritten laws by which the most common and important relations of life are governed more universally and efi'ectually than by the ponderous volumes of the written Unos composed every year at Washington and elsewhere. What is the common laio which here and in England governs the most important transactions of life, but a law written originally only in the customs of our Saxon ancestors ? How do we know that by marriage the husband becomes possessed of all the personal property of his wife ? How do we know that husband and wife form but one person before the law ? How do we know that parents are entitled to the earnings of their minor children ? Or a thousand other very important features of our legislation, which become so apparent to us when we travel in other countries, where different customs obtain ? We know all these things from the common law, which is called even by jurists themselves the " unwritten law." The common law is said to be " unwritten," because it never was the result of a written or printed legislation made by any prince or court of England ; for it preceded every statute or written legislation, and it was written in the customs and habits of the people, before-it was written in books. Hence, to the present day, no one can point out any code or legislative enactment by which those articles are found to have been introduced and become obligatory, but their existence is proved by the doctrine of jurists and by the decisions of courts ; but

(footnote) * Adv. liter., Lib. III., c. 3.

courts have no right to make laws ; and hence a recourse to their decision is nothing else than an appeal to a witness of a law made before. The state of English countries as to the common law is a good representation of the polity.of the Christian Church as to divine and ecclesiastical laws, and their enforcement. Courts of justice' make their decisions from written laws or statutes, and unwritten laws or the common law ; so does the Church make her decisions from the whole word of God, both written on paper and parchment, and unwritten on parchment, but written in the practice and habits of the Christian people ; with this difference, however, that courts of justice are only a human authority, whereas the Christian court is one gifted with assistance from above. "I am with you all days to the end of ages." The similarity here indicated runs through another important feature of the two sorts of laws. The common law, although unwritten in its nature, is still written equivalently, because it has been a frequent matter of written discussion among jurists, and because the cases decided by courts are written. So also the points of the Christian doctrine, not written originally, are written equivalently in the works of the Fathers, and in the decisions of the Councils. We may conclude, then, that, if human laws can be preserved and have been preserved without writing, by human societies with the influence of nature and reason only, much more so can unwritten divine laws be preserved and kept faithfully with the supernatural influence of Heaven ; and therefore it is a glaring absurdity to make the Scriptures most necessary, and a still greater one to make them contain every thing, and to constitute each individual the judge of their meaning.

All Christian dogmas and precepts are facts which can be preserved and transmitted by testimony and tradition, as other facts ; hence, the fact, that America is a newly discovered continent, and since settled by Europeans, is plain and evident independently of any written account of the voyages of Columbus and others. All books might be destroyed, and this fact nevertheless be faithfully transmitted for centuries. But with regard to the divine and religious facts which constitute Christianity, there is a peculiarity which greatly facilitates their faithful transmission by tradition, and renders changes and alterations impossible. Those religious traditions are tangible and permanent practical facts. The fact of the newness of our continent has nothing practical ; but take a Christian traditionary dogma, — say, that laymen can baptize in case of necessity. This is a practical fact, because at all times there are and there have been cases where, recourse being impossible to the regularly appointed minister, and where, there being danger of death, laymen have performed this duty. No change, then, could occur in this fact, any more than in that other practical traditionary fact, that the day which we call Sunday is truly the weekly commemoration of Christ's resurrection. Religious traditions have another advantage, that of having been spread over a wider extent of country ; for, from the origin of Christianity, the whole world received this sacred deposit; hence, if the tradition be found at very distant points, there is every evidence of its truth. Again, no tradition is kept with greater fidelity than the divine instructions which form that sacred deposit which Timothy was charged by the Apostle to keep so preciously ; and as the importance of those traditions is greater than that of any other, innumerable persons would step forward to oppose any change that would be contemplated by innovators. The history of the Church is but one illustration of these remarks. Hence, tradition alone can preserve religion ; and if, humanly speaking, we could come to this conclusion, what an additional strength will it not receive from the positive assurance of Christ to be all days with the pastors of the Church to enable them to teach right, and with the faithful to enable them to believe right! We must, then, conclude, that the assertion of the Presbyterians, that the Scriptures are most necessary, is not only unfounded, and left unproved by them, but is positively disproved by every kind of argument appropriate to the case. But if Scripture be not most necessary, what is it then ? It is most useful and most beneficial ; it is a sweet pledge of divine mercy ; it is a treasure of infinite value. Hence, no one has ever entertained a greater respect and a greater love for the Scriptures than.the Catholic Church, and no one has ever shown a greater assiduity in meditating on the sacred writings than the Catholic clergy. This is not, however, at present, the point at issue ; and we pass to the third assertion contained in the first article of , that the "former ways of God's revealing his will unto his people are now ceased."

3. Presbyterians, then, gravely inform us that the former ways by which God revealed his will unto his people are now ceased.   The assertion is not, perhaps, as clear as it might be, but, as it is, what proof do they give of it ? Perhaps the proof will throw some light on their meaning. What is, then, O learned divines ! the proof of your assertion, that God ceases to reveal his will unto us as he did formerly ? Here is the sole and whole ground of the assertion, as found in the Confession : — " Heb. i. 1,2. God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in times past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds." We have read this passage over and over again, to ascertain what bearing it can have on the assertion. But we have racked our brains to no purpose. We can discover nothing leading at all to the learned conclusion of the Westminster divines. Truly there must be a peculiar logic for " Presbyterian heads " ; and they should have appended it as a valuable and indispensable supplement to their Confession. God spoke in times past by the prophets ; he has lately spoken to us by his Son ; therefore the former ways of God's revealing his will have now ceased. This is admirable. The following argument would be in keeping with it : John Calvin and Knox promulgated and established Presbyterian-isin ; the Westminster divines improved it, talked, and wrote much about it ; therefore modern Presbyterians have nothing more to say about it, and the best thing they can do is to shut their mouths altogether. If this conclusion be not contained in the premises, it nevertheless indicates their wisest policy ; for the more they talk of Presbyterianism, the more do they expose its nakedness.

The peculiar absurdity of the proof adduced by Presbyterians is, that it implies that God, after our Lord had spoken and risen to heaven, ceased to reveal his will to men as formerly ; which makes the Apostles themselves common men, and deprives them of the ability to use any of those " former ways " by which the prophets could reveal the will of God. This conclusion, fairly and fully accepted, destroys the inspiration of the New Testament; for it was written many years after " God had spoken by his Son."

If we go to the very foundation of the assertion of the Presbyterian divines, we shall find it to be totally at variance with the text of Scripture they quote, and one which they were unwilling publicly to confess. The following is implicitly the course of reasoning which led .them to the conclusion they adopted.    We Presbyterians, of course, form the true Church, the spouse of Christ, the saints of God. But we see among us no sign of a vivifying influence of heaven ; we see no extraordinary display of the power and mercy of God by signs and wonders; we see no miracles performed among us, and dare not even dream of them; we see among us no supernatural virtues, but every thing common, trivial, and worldly ; quarrelling about Scripture, uncertainty and doubt as to the most fundamental articles of Christianity, are the leading traits of our religious system ; we see the clergy sighing for " filthy lucre," and making it the basis, the measure, and the end of their preaching, and the laity entertaining a profound contempt for the clergy ; we see in our Church no other unity than the privilege granted to each one to construct his creed difFerently from the others, — no other sanctity than that of cursing the Pope and hating every body, — no other apostolicity than a descent from Simon Magus through all the heretics that have disfigured the Church in the lapse of ages, — no other catholicity than the narrow limits of the General Assembly, annual or triennial, both confined to a very small corner of the globe ; we see among us nothing but human passions, worldly views, ambitious projects, Satanic pride, and hearty hating ; — and therefore we conclude that God's former ways of revealing himself to his people have long since ceased. Certainly the conclusion is eminently and undeniably true, when confined to the Presbyterian Church, in which, assuredly, the former ways of God's revealing his will unto men have ceased, long ceased, or, to speak more properly, have never existed. It is well to record this tardy avowal of Presbyterians ; for in it they concede that neither Luther, nor Calvin, nor the other innovators, had any extraordinary call from Heaven to reform the Church ; and as they had not the ordinary one, it follows necessarily that they were sent by nobody, and consequently that they were intruders, — a set of ambitious, proud, stubborn, and rebellious men, who stamped upon the very face of their enterprise a seal of condemnation and reprobation. " I did not send these prophets, yet they ran ; I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied." — Jer. xxiii. 21.

Not so with the Catholic Church ; she has kept, ever since the time of the Apostles, the marks of a supernatural influence and agency, — marks as extraordinary and miraculous, nay, much more remarkable, than those by which God revealed himself to men under the law of nature or the Jewish dispensation.    We do not pretend that she has received new revelations of articles of faith ; for this would suppose that Christ left his work imperfect, when founding the Church.    But we maintain that Christ has not "left himself without testimony," — Acts xiv. 17, — even miraculous testimony, of his presence, and of his influence on her.    This is no more than what is clearly promised to her.    "I am with you all days."    " These signs shall follow them that believe ; in my name they shall cast out devils."    " Keep the good deposited in trust to thee by the Holy Ghost who thvelletli in us." — 2 Tim. i. 14.    It is true, there has been no Scripture added since the Apostles ; but the solemn decisions of the Church, chiefly in her  general councils, have the same certainty as Scripture, though not inspired in the same way ; and hence, a great Pope, St. Gregory, said he received  and revered  the definitions of general councils as the four Gospels ; and so hath God spoken also through the last general council assembled in Trent ; indeed, it is nothing short of a miracle, that all those councils, and the latter in particular, have been admitted without a dissenting voice by so many millions of Christians, among whom are numbered so many eminent scholars and profound philosophers.    Had the authority of those councils been  merely human,  they would have met with a very different fate.    The heroic sanctity of so many of the children of the Church has been a perpetual miracle in her bosom.     The Lives of the Saints are a proof of it, and it is only in her communion that such a book can be found. In fine, miracles and  prophecies have always illustrated the Church, from the time of the Apostles.   He who wishes to be satisfied of this has only to read the history of the Church, where  at  each  page he will find  proofs  of celestial agency transcending the ordinary course of nature ; he will find that the prophets of the new law have been greater than those of the old, — that St. Augustine in England, St. Boniface in Germany, St. Francis, St. Dominic, St. Bernard, St. Francis Xavier, St. Ignatius, St. Francis Regis, St. Vincent of Paul, are, in point of miracles and other extraordinary effects of divine power, incomparably superior to Isaias, Jeremias, Jonas, and others who have written portions of the inspired volumes. As an incontestable proof of God's revealing himself by miracles in the Catholic Church, we merely mention that in every century since the rise of Protestantism many saints have been canonized.    Now, according to the rules of the Roman court, no saint is publicly proposed to the veneration of the faithful, unless at least three miracles be proved by evidence superior to every sort of objection. The objections which are stated against those miracles are far more severe, more precise, more subtle, than Protestants ever would think of. We admit, it is easy to laugh at the idea of miracles ; but it is easy also to be an infidel ; and we confidently assert that any one who will take the trouble of examining the authenticity of those miracles must admit them, or be an incorrigible skeptic.

So far we have disposed of the first article of the first chapter of , and have pointed out three gross errors which it contains, besides other minor contradictions. We are now ready to take up the second article, which runs thus : —

" Under the name of Holy Scripture, or the Word of God writ
ten, are now contained all the books of the Old and New Testa
ment, which are these, Genesis Revelation, all which are
given by inspiration of God, to bo the rule of faith and life."

We find in the notes the following Scriptural authority.

" Eph. ii. 20. And are built upon the foundation of the Apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone. Itev. xxii. 18, 19. For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, if any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book; and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. 2 Tim. iii. 16. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable lor doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness."

This second article is not less important than the first, nor less abundant in false proofs. It is an equally good specimen of Presbyterian logic. We pass over the assertion, that Scripture is the rule of faith and life; for we do not construe it as meaning the sole rule of faith and life, — a point which we shall have occasion hereafter to examine. The present article sets forth the inspiration and canon of Scripture, excluding, of course, from the canon some books, of which mention is made in the following article. Upon this important topic we unqualifiedly assert, that it is an utter impossibility for Protestants to establish that there are inspired books, and especially which they are.

But let us first examine the proofs adduced by the Confession of Faith. They are reduced to the following masterly enthymem. We read in Scripture that Scripture is inspired ; therefore, the Scripture is inspired. Now it so happens, that the first assertion is false in its generality ; but, admitting it to be true, the conclusion would still be gratuitous and unsupported. Admit, then, that the Scripture says that the Scripture is inspired ; what will this avail you, unless you know from some other quarter that the Scripture is infallible ? White paper will bear any thing. Is it enough to write at the beginning or end of a book, Inspired by the Holy Spirit, to make it so ? Then the book of Mahomet is inspired, and, to come nearer home, so also is the book of Mormon. Hence, unless there be some infallible authority, and some evident and irrefragable proof independent of Scripture, to establish the inspiration of Scripture, it is perfect folly to adduce Scripture as a proof of its own inspiration. For let it be carefully remarked that the inspiration of Scripture is not an external, but a purely internal fact; consequently, not admissible on the same ground which would compel any man who is not a skeptic, even an infidel, to admit the public facts recorded in the Old and New Testaments, merely as points of authentic history. There is but one way in which the book of Scripture can prove itself inspired, and that is by exhibiting the great seal of Heaven, namely, miracles. Hence, if a Presbyterian, on taking his Bible, were to hear, not in his imagination, but in reality, a voice proceeding from the book itself, and telling him, Every thing found here is given by the inspiration of God, or if this book applied to a dead man by the one who inquires into its inspiration were to raise him to life, then might its authority be established from its intrinsic merits, but not otherwise ; or else any impostor, by writing that he is inspired, might compose Scripture.

But do the Scriptures in reality say that they are inspired ? The Presbyterians adduce three testimonies to prove it. The first asserts that we are built upon the foundation of the Apostles and prophets,1 Jesus Christ being the corner-stone. But how Presbyterians can conclude from this that Scripture is inspired is a mystery to us, and especially how they find in it the name of all the books inspired. This text, viewed in relation to the New Testament, with which we are more particularly concerned, would support the assertion o.f Presbyterians only on the supposition, 1. That none but Apostles wrote the New Testament; 2. That the Apostles were inspired in every thing they wrote ; 3. That we know with certainty that all the parts of the New Testament bearing the name of Apostles come truly from them. But these three positions are either false, or at least teem with insuperable difficulties for Protestants. It is false that none but Apostles wrote the New Testament. St. Luke and St. Mark were not Apostles, but merely disciples of the Apostles, like Barnabas, Clement, Hermes, and Ignatius, whose writings are not a portion of Scripture. Now the writings of St. Luke and St. Mark form over a third of the New Testament. That the Apostles were inspired m every thing they wrote is not clear or demonstrated. The most that one is bound to admit is, that they were infallible in their solemn teaching ; but this differs from inspiration. Lastly, how do Presbyterians know that a portion of the New Testament comes from an Apostle, merely because it bears the name of an Apostle ? How do they know that the Epistle of James, that of Jude, the Epistle to the Hebrews, and the Apocalypse, come from the Apostles ? We ask them in reference to those portions of the New Testament, because all who have a slight acquaintance with antiquity and Biblical criticism know that many sincere Christians, in the very first ages of Christianity, doubted the authenticity and inspiration of those and other portions of the New Testament, and the question can be set at rest only by the infallible assistance promised to the Church in deciding doubts which arise. It is indeed exceedingly strange and anomalous, that Presbyterians should make up their minds with certainty, that the Epistle to the Hebrews, or that of James, come from the Apostles, and that the Symbol of the Apostles does not come from them. If they were built upon the foundation of the Apostles, as the text now under discussion has it, this Apostles' Creed would have been found at the head of their Confession. The truth is, however, that the Confession does not say a word about it ; and though it is found in the book whose title heads this article, it seems to have been thrown in at the end of the Shorter Catechism as a kind of outwork, and is given there simply as the Creed, and not as the Apostles' Creed. Hence, the text, that " we are built upon the foundation of the Apostles," does not prove the inspiration of the New Testament. To found an argument on this text, the author of the last portion of Scripture should have been an Apostle, and he should have drawn up a list of the inspired writings, and have closed his book with the solemn assertion, that his own book, together with all those mentioned in the list, are inspired, and all that are inspired. But such is not the fact. The Scriptures say not a word about the one who wrote the last portion of the New Testament, so that from them we do not know whether he was an Apostle or not, while we know with certainty that he mentioned no catalogue of inspired writings.

The second text adduced by the Westminster Presbyterians is taken from the last lines of the Apocalypse, and is neither more nor less than a threat to the rash copyist who should either add to or take from the Apocalypse. But that book does not say that its author was inspired. Moreover, it does not say that he was an Apostle. Protestants call his book the Revelation of John the Divine ; and though the tradition of the Catholic Church attributes it to St. John the Apostle, it is nothing to their purpose, for Presbyterians reject tradition. It is well known, too, that some commentators have doubted whether John the Divine was the same with John the Apostle ; and Beza, a celebrated Calvinist, attributes it to another John, namely, John Mark, — Acts xii. 25. In fine, there is nothing in this text from the Apocalypse which asserts that all the books mentioned in the Presbyterian catalogue, from Genesis to Revelation, are inspired.

But we pass to the third testimony, adduced from St. Paul. This testimony is at least a little more to the purpose ; but it wholly fails to establish the Presbyterian catalogue of inspired writings. The Protestant version says, u All Scripture is given by inspiration, and is profitable," &c. But the Vulgate, and others say, "All Scripture given by inspiration is profitable," &c, omitting the and. Which is the true reading ? Only St. Paul himself could tell us whether he used that and or not. Certain it is, that the Greek Testament, such as the common edition has it, is not free from errors, —by no means to such a degree as to be the one St. Paul wrote, without the variation even of a single and. Certain it is, also, that St. Paul could not say, and surely did not say, that all Scripture (/guy/)), that is, all writing, is given by inspiration of God ; for this would make the Holy Scriptures quite too voluminous. But waiving this remark, which we give only to show the straits to which those who make Scripture alone the rule of faith are reduced, and, admitting that St. Paul is speaking of the Sacred Scripture, that he declares it to be divinely inspired, there are still several difficulties which occur.    How shall I know, and this.with infallible certainty, that this Epistle is truly from St. Paul, and that St. Paul was infallible in teaching Timothy ? For a letter to an individual does not bear on its face sufficient guaranties of authenticity to set such an important point at rest. How do we know that St. Paul was an Apostle ?. From the Jlcts ? But the Acts were not written by an Apostle ; and hence, for one who wants to build upon the foundation of the Apostles, this leaves a link in his chain of certainty missing. Will it be said, these objections are only cavils, and that they savor of skepticism ?. We grant they are cavils for a Catholic, for whom all these points are decided by a higher authority ; but they are no cavils for Protestants, and they show that those who wish to remain Protestants, and who possess logical heads and sound dialectics, must become skeptics, and throw Christianity to the winds, or at least Unitarians, and consider the Scriptures as probably written by the authors whose names they bear, and as a good and moral, but merely a human book. However, we grant all the above remarks on the text of St. Paul are not absolute difficulties, but only relative ; here is, however, one which is most obvious and absolute, and which must reduce Presbyterians to complete silence. The Scriptures of which St. Paul speaks can be no other than those of the Old Testament; for the text, taken in its totality, says, that Timothy from a child had known the Holy Scriptures, and it is of those Holy Scriptures known by Timothy from his infancy that. St. Paul says they are inspired. Now it is obvious that those Holy Scriptures, which Timothy, yet a child, had known, were the Old Testament ; for these were the only Scriptures then in existence ; since all the. New Testament was not written at the time when St. Paul wrote, and none of it when Timothy was yet in his infancy. This argument will not and cannot be denied by Protestants, and hence they must confess that this text proves at best only the inspiration of the Old Testament.

But here is another difficulty not less formidable than the foregoing. St. Paul says the Old Testament is inspired ; but what constitutes the "Old Testament ? Of this he says nothing, and of this no sacred writer says any thing, — a clear proof that the Scriptures do not contain all that is necessary, and that by them alone no one can form his belief; for while we are told the Old Testament is inspired, we are not told which are the books composing the Old Testament, so that the enumeration given by Protestants is purely human, not Scriptural.    Besides, they fail in the main point, which is to establish the inspiration of the New Testament, the portion of Scripture in which we are evidently most intimately and vitally interested ; and the difficulty is increased ten-fold by the fact advanced by Protestants themselves, that one third of the New Testament was written, not by the Apostles themselves, but by their disciples.    But before we proceed any farther, we conceive it to be required by the thread of the discussion to state here the process  by which Catholics come to the knowledge  of the inspiration of Scripture.     The  method is plain, obvious, and free from every vicious circle, and false dialectics ; it is conclusively and eloquently expressed by the great light of the Church, in the fourth and fifth centuries, St. Augustine : ■— "I would not believe the Gospel, if I were not moved by the authority of the Catholic Church.    If, then, I obey them  when  they tell me,  Believe  in the  Gospel, why should I not obey them when they tell me, Believe not in Man-icheism?"*    Hence, the Church teaches me the inspiration of Scripture, and  I believe  it.    But now what evidences to me the  authority of the Church ?    The Church evidences herself to me to be the spouse of Christ, the representative of Heaven, the ambassador of the Almighty,  and  the organ of God, by that mass of moral and historical proofs which skepticism or  blindness alone can  reject, when duly proposed. The Church is composed of innumerable witnesses, who, for ages linked in unbroken succession, unanimously and firmly attest and certify to me, that, 184G years ago, a heavenly personage  appeared,   who  performed   innumerable  miracles, and  commissioned men,  called Apostles, to preach his doctrine, promulge the true religion, and establish a Church, or religious society, in which, and in which alone, the doctrine of salvation should be taught to the end of time.    That society attests to me, that God inspired some men to write more at length the plan of that divine religion, and the circumstances of its establishment; and I believe the testimony of that society,  because it consists of men who were not deceived, could not have been deceived, were not deceivers, and could not have been deceivers ; because the testimony of that immense mass of witnesses I perceive to be sealed with the blood of innumerable martyrs ; because, in fine, miracles, the usual seal of Heaven,  have at all times borne out the testimony

(footnote) * Contr. Epist. Fund., c. 5.

of that society. Hence, as that society claims to have received from divine inspiration these volumes, together with the right of interpreting them, and as she hurls her anathemas against gainsayers, these pretensions and privileges of the Church must be real, or else Heaven would sanction fraud and imposture by its miracles. The testimony of that Church is further corroborated by the eminent sanctity of thousands of her members, who have always held all the doctrines taught by that Church as absolutely necessary to salvation ; which, together with so many other considerations we might adduce, proves that Church to be in possession of the true doctrine descended from heaven ; and consequently, upon her testimony, 1 admit as inspired all the books for which she claims inspiration. The perfect agreement of the doctrine of those books with what she teaches me is another argument of the divinity and truth of the system of religion which she holds. Our method of reasoning is, therefore, that of sound dialectics. The Church and Scripture stand with regard to one ""anoilier, as the heir and the will constituting him heir. The will must be proved to come from the testator by1 other modes besides a mere assertion to that effect found in the will; but thus proved, the heir may investigate and define his rights from the will itself. Hence, Catholics may quote the Bible to prove the Church, not only by an argument ad hominem against those who admit it to be infallible, but also as the explanation and development of the will of Him whom they prove by invincible arguments to have dictated it.*    We believe the Scripture to be inspired,

(footnote)* This illustration must not be pushed too far. So far as it concerns the special argument in the text, it is apposite and unobjectionable ; but it must not be interpreted to favoi the notion, that the Church in teaching is restricted to the office of simple interpreter of the Sacred Scriptures, or that she has no rights but such as are contained in, or may be deduced from, the written word. The Church received the whole revelation of God, irrespective of the written word, and would possess, and could teach, the whole, even if there were no written word. She has the will and all its contents, in her divine traditions, and therefore does not necessarily depend on .the written word for a knowledge of what they are. Moreover, the whole revelation was not written ; or, in other words, the Church has received more than is recorded. The whole, then, of what she is commissioned to teach is not deducibje from what is written. Her authority and her doctrine remain complete without the written word, and to us, as her children, it is no question what the Scriptures teach, but simply what the Church teaches. Nevertheless, after the Church has established the fact of the inspiration of the Scriptures, then she may appeal to them, as we allege in the text, in explanation and development of her rights because the Apostles and their successors have so taught the Church, and have taught us to believe in the Church, having made this belief in the Church one of the articles of their creed ; and we believe the teaching of the Apostles, because they proved their doctrine by their miracles. The fact, that the Church has always believed in the inspiration of Scripture upon this testimony of the Apostles, and that she teaches it as an essential doctrine, is too obvious, and too generally admitted, to stand in need of proof. We conclude, then, that Catholics have the highest evidence of the inspiration of Scripture, while for Protestants the question is involved in darkness which nothing can dissipate. Hence, it is not surprising to hear that many Protestants, especially in Germany, reject the inspiration of Scripture altogether.

But it is time to pass to the third article of .    It runs thus : —

" The books commonly called Apocrypha, not being of divine inspiration, are no part of the canon of Scripture, and therefore are of no authority in the Church of God, nor to be any otherwise approved, or made use of, than other human writings."

We subjoin likewise the Scripture authority.
" Luke xxiv. 27. And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. Ver. 44. And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the law of Moses, and in the Prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning me. 2 Peter i. 21. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man, but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost."

This article is a thrust at the Catholic Church, which admits, besides the books mentioned in the Presbyterian canon of Scripture, in the Old Testament, the following : namely, Tobias, Judith, some chapters of Esther, Wisdom, Ecclesi-asticus, Baruch, fragments of Daniel, and two books of Maccabees.

Now we ask Presbyterians, how they know that these books, in spite of the belief of the Catholic Church, are not of divine inspiration. Is it because they are commonly called Apocrypha, as the text seems to insinuate ? But who calls them Apocrypha ? Presbyterians ? But is this a proof that they are A~pocryplla ?   and if Unitarians call all Apocrypha,  is it a proof they are all Apocrypha ? The Confession, however, hints that such books are commonly called Apocrypha. This is false ; they are commonly called inspired books. Let us count the votes. Those books are called inspired Scripture by the two hundred millions of Catholics spread over the globe ; they are called inspired Scripture by the Greek Church, though separated from the Catholic Church ; and that Church alone outnumbers all the Protestant denominations put together. Those books are held to be inspired Scripture by all the other Oriental Christian sects. Hence, there are at least four or five Christians calling these books inspired Scriptures to one calling them Apocrypha. At the rise of Protestantism, all editions of Christian Bibles contained the books now called Apocrypha by Protestants. The Latin version, the Septuagint, the Syriac version of the Scriptures, contain them all. In fact, these books have always been commonly called Scripture, and had the authority of prescription in the Church by long continued possession, when it came into the heads of Protestants to deny their authority.

However, the Westminster divines pretend to give a better proof of the want of inspiration in these books, than a mere name given them by the interested party. They offer Scripture authority ; and the proofs they adduce are at least amusing. The first is, that Christ, after his resurrection, " beginning at Moses and all the prophets, expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself." This is the mighty argument by which Presbyterians show that Baruch, Judith, Tobias, &c, are not inspired. But that text says nothing of them ; how, then, can Presbyterians conclude they are not inspired ? They will answer, perhaps, that Moses and all the prophets constitute the whole of the Sacred Scripture. Be it so, if you choose. But what is meant by the word prophet ? and, this definition being settled, how do you prove that Baruch, Judith, Tobias were not prophets ? Prophet may mean only an inspired man. If you say that prophets means those who have announced future things, then the writer of the books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, the writers of several of the historical books, the books of Kings, for instance, and the Paralipomena, or Chronicles, as Protestants call them, have no claim to prophecy, since they either relate past events, or give moral lessons. This is a primary difficulty for Protestants. Another and a greater one is, that Baruch, Judith, and Tobias were prophets, properly so called ; for they announced things to come, as we see by reading their books, which must, at least, be considered as human books of great merit and reputation. So those personages were prophets, and received miraculous gifts from heaven. If, then, this text of the New Testament quoted in the Confession proves any thing, it proves the inspiration of these books ; and if it destroys the authority of the Maccabees, as a merely historical book, it destroys also that of the Paralrponiena ; if it destroys the authority of Wisdom and EccfiSsiasticus as moral books, it destroys also that of the Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. The text adduced, then, either proves nothing, or too much; if it favors either side, it favors the Catholics ; for Christ speaks of all the prophets and of all the Scriptures, and since these books were known in his time, they are rather included in all the prophets than excluded.

The second text adduced by the Presbyterians is not more happy than the first ; for in this new enumeration of Scripture are mentioned the law, the prophets, and the Psalms. Here Christ adds the Psalms to the other parts, but this demands no material change in the remarks we have just made; on the contrary, it shows that Christ did not intend to make a complete enumeration of the parts of the Bible ; and we say that the word prophets includes all the books rejected by Presbyterians, or else it excludes many admitted by them. In fine, the last text adduced by Presbyterians, from 2 Pet. i. 21, is ridiculous in the highest degree to prove the want of authority in Baruch, Judith, Tobias, &c.; it says that the prophets spake not of themselves, but as moved by the Holy Ghost ; but it does not say, that prophets only can write Scripture, or that Baruch, Judith, and Tobias were not prophets.

Not only is there no passage of Scripture against those books, but we may safely assert that the text adduced above to prove the inspiration of the Old Testament applies to these books. " All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine." St. Paul says, generally, that all Scripture is inspired by God. Now we say that this term all includes the books rejected by Presbyterians. To establish this, we have only to remark that St. Paul in the text speaks of the Scripture or Bible, as it was found in the celebrated Greek version of the Septuagint ; for St. Paul wrote to Timothy in Greek, and it is likewise an evident fact that the Apostles used and quoted the Septuagint. St. Timothy, to whom he writes, was born in Lyconia, a Grecian province, of a heathen father and a Jewish mother ; and a proof that he was not over-Jewish is, that he had not been circumcised at an advanced age, when St. Paul circumcised him for the greater advantage of the Jews for whose conversion he was to be employed. All this shows sufficiently that the Greek edition of the Bible was the one which Timothy had read from his infancy, and the one which St. Paul recommended as divinely inspired. Now the Septuagint edition of the Bible contained these books, and consequently they come under the name, all Scripture, used by St. Paul. A convincing proof of the fact of the Greek version of the Bible, or the Septuagint, containing these books is, that the old Latin version of the Bible, made from the Septuagint in the first century, as also the Syriac version, made in the same century, and which is one of the most esteemed by the learned, contains these books. The Arabic, Armenian, and many other versions, also contain them, having been made from the Septuagint. This argument is absolutely unanswerable. The Greek Church has never used any other Bible than the Septuagint, and, as she admits these books, they must always have been in that version. But this fact is so well established, that it is clear St. Paul must have included these very books under the name " all Scripture." These books were held sacred by those who adopted the Septuagint, and, having quoted this version, and knowing that they were in it, St. Paul could not have said all Scripture is given by inspiration, if these books had not been inspired. If they were not, it was his duty to have warned his disciple Timothy and others against ascribing to them divine authority. Since, then, we do not find in his Epistles that Tobias, Judith, Baruch, &c, are not inspired Scriptures, we must conclude he did not wish to prevent the faithful from believing them to be inspired Scripture, and consequently, if we are wrong in so believing them, we are wrong because the Apostles themselves have deceived us.

But the texts quoted do not contain the real grounds on which Protestants reject the books in question. Their true reasons for rejecting them are to be found elsewhere. They had, in rejecting them, two objects in view: the first, to contradict the Catholic Church on a point which could be maintained with some show of argument ; the second, to escape the inferences drawn by Catholics from those books against doctrines which they had broached. The pleasure and gratification of contradicting the Church was the chief reason for rejecting the " so-called Apocrypha."    The Jews did not admit them into their catalogue of Sacred Scriptures, and hence the Hebrew Bibles of the present day do not contain them. Moreover,  some fathers of the Church have doubted their canonicity.    Protestants, then, and Presbyterians especially, could not but seize with avidity this occasion of calumniating the Church, as if she admitted human books among the inspired writings.    This reason, which Presbyterians are ashamed or unwilling to acknowledge in their Confession, is, however, the true one why they reject what they call the Apocrypha.    But that they are exceedingly unfortunate and unlucky in this, as in other quarrels with the Catholic Church, is evident from what we have already said, and have yet to add.    To understand this matter fully, it must be borne in mind that before Christ there were two divisions of Jews, — some who remained in Palestine and continued to use the Bible written in Hebrew, and others scattered through the various parts of the Grecian empire, and particularly in  Egypt, who were better acquainted with the Greek than the Hebrew ; for the Greek was then the predominant language of the world.    For the use of this latter division of Jews, numerous in Alexandria and other parts of Egypt, the Scriptures were translated into Greek several centuries before the coming of our Saviour.    These were they who  used  the Greek version of the Septuagint, and, having been scattered through the different provinces of the civilized world, were those to whom the  Apostles chiefly preached the Gospel;   so that the translation of the Bible into Greek, and the dissemination of Hellenist Jews through the various parts   of the world,  were  among the  means  which   Providence employed to facilitate the diffusion of the Gospel.    It was  these  Hellenist Jews   who,  even before Christ, placed the books under consideration in the rank of Scriptures, for they associated them to the other canonical books of the version of the Septuagint.    As to the Jews of Palestine, they did not put the same books among the Scriptures, because either they were not written in Hebrew, or came too late to be put authoritatively in the canon, which was closed by Es-dras.    But the fact of the Jews of Palestine not associating these new books with the other parts of Scripture is no argument against them,  provided they were afterwards put into the canon by lawful authority.   One thing, however, is certain; the Palestine Jews respected these books, and the Talmud and the Rabbins generally quote them.    Judith and Tobias especially, and even Baruch, were publicly read on a certain appointed day.
If it bo said that the practice of the Hellenist Jews in placing these books among the canonical Scriptures proves nothing, we may grant that in strictness it does not ; but what proves conclusively and without the possibility of cavil that they are canonical is, that the Apostles took the Scriptures from them in the Septuagint, which is the edition of the Bible they quote, and their testimony and their authority are amply sufficient to entitle these books to the rank of Scripture ; for, as they were infallible, they must know whether such books were inspired or not, were the word of God or the word of man. If they had been only the word of man, the Apostles would have expunged them from the Greek edition ; they would have warned the faithful against the use of such forged word of God; and as they have not done so, but on the contrary retained the Septuagint, and since all the editions of the Bible used by their immediate disciples, the Latin version and the Syriac, contain these books, we must hold them to be Scripture, not indeed on the testimony of the Hellenist Jews, but on that of the Apostles. Moreover, the Jews who embraced Christianity read the Scriptures for the most part in Greek, and this was an occasion or pretpxt for the other Jews who rejected Christianity to adhere with greater pertinacity and zeal to the Hebrew Bible ; hence, through a spirit of hostility to the Greeks, they went so fa.r afterwards as to appoint a day of fasting and humiliation for the pretended misfortune of the translation of the Scriptures into Greek, as we read in the Talmud. As those Jews who read in Hebrew were the only ones that retained a sort of nationality among other nations, they, of course, kept' in their edition of the Scriptures only the Hebrew books ; and this circumstance occasioned the doubts which arose among some fathers of the Church, as. to the canonicity of those books, though they always respected and quoted them. There has never been, however, any real interruption in the tradition of the Church concerning their inspiration, and the Roman Church founded by Peter and Paul has always had them in its Latin version, and they have always been venerated as the word of God. If some fathers, those particularly who knew Hebrew, and lived among the Jews, not finding these books in the canon of the Hebrews, have expressed doubts of their canonicity, it was not a tradition, but a  personal notion of theirs, arising, perhaps, from not using their science according to prudence ; and it is not the sole instance in which a certain science has been an impediment to the simplicity of faith. But even those fathers who made that concession of the non-canonicity of those books to their science, or to the prejudices of the Jews among whom they lived, in practice were carried away by the torrent of tradition ; for they quoted those books ; and St. Jerome in particular, who declares positively in some places that they are out of the canon and are unfit to prove dogmas, believed Judith to have been placed among the Scriptures by the great Council of Nice, gives the name of Scripture to the books of Wisdom and Ecclesiasticus, and is to be understood, when discarding them from the canon, as he himself wrote in his defence against Rufinus, as having spoken after the opinion of the Jews, who reject them ; so that he meant only that they cannot be used to confirm dogmas against the Jews, because they reject them ; and in this way are all those fathers to be understood who seem to deny the authority of these books.
To show now the tradition of the Church with regard to those books, we may quote among the councils one of Hippo in the year 393, two of Carthage at about the same time, and the solemn decrees of Innocent the First in 405, and of Ge-lasius the First in 493 ; the General Council of Florence, which preceded the Protestant schism by nearly a century, and in which the Greek Church was represented, and lastly the Council of Trent, which only copies the canon of the Council of Florence. We may add, also, the testimonies of some of the earliest and most celebrated doctors of the primitive Church. Some will think it, perhaps, a waste of paper and ink, to quote the Fathers against the Presbyterians ; for these mighty geniuses think themselves far above the Fathers, and despise them as a set of superstitious and ignorant fools. But we cannot allow such a notion, entertained by Presbyterians, and which betrays no less ignorance than pride, to deter us. If Presbyterians laugh at our quotations, we will claim the privilege, not of laughing at them, but of pitying them. We think it self-evident that men who lived almost in the age of Christ and of the Apostles, and who had all the writings we have, and many we have not, should be believed upon a matter of fact, namely, what Christ and the Apostles have taught, in preference to self-made doctors who arose sixteen hundred years after the event. We are invincibly disposed to attribute more weight to the testimony of a Clement, an Irenseus, a Cyprian, &c, who sealed their faith with their blood, than to the unsupported assertions of mercenary teachers, who changed theirs that they might secure to themselves the riches of the ancient Church, and who never knew what it was to suffer for it. We own we are not ashamed to follow for our guides men whose sanctity, science, prudence, and Christian virtues were the object of the veneration of their contemporaries and of succeeding generations, in preference to these Westminster divines, who, in the turmoil of public life and agitating scenes of revolution and political struggles, broached and set forth a confession of faith with the same hand with which they signed the death-warrant of their sovereign. If we are wrong in this, we must plead in excuse that indomitable instinct of nature, which prompts all not utterly depraved to choose virtue, knowledge, modesty, and self-sacrifice, before pride, presumption, cupidity, and self-love.
St. Clement, .Pope and martyr, lived in the time of the Apostles, and is mentioned in St. Paul's Epistle to the Phi-lippians. We have of him an Epistle to the Corinthians, which must be viewed as one of the most venerable monuments of antiquity. In this he quotes the book of Wisdom, " Who shall say to thee, What hast thou done ?" — xii. 12 ; and also, " Who. shall resist the strength of thy arm ? " — xi. 22. St. Ire-iireus had conversed with the immediate disciples of the Apostles, and he shed his blood for the faith. In the fifth book, chapter 35, Against Heretics, he quotes at full length a beautiful passage which is taken from the end of the fourth and the beginning of the fifth chapter of Bai'uch, — " Look about thee, O Jerusalem," &c. St. Cyprian sealed likewise his testimony with his blood, towards the middle of the third century. Nothing is more frequent in' his writings than quotations from those books which have been branded as Apocrypha by Protestants. We have taken the trouble of counting twelve quotations from Wisdom, and twenty-nine from Ecclesiasticus ; others in the same proportion. St. Athanasius (Cont. Arian. 17, 1) quotes as Scripture the following maxim of the book Ecclesiasticus, ch. xv;' 9 : " Praise is not seemly in the mouth of a sinner " ; and he adduces this testimony together with one of about the same import borrowed from Psalm xlix. 16. Now St. Athanasius is one of those who apparently reject the books which are not found in the Hebrew Bible, and this proves the truth of what we have said above, that those fathers who in theory  rejected the books in question,  admitted them in practice. St. Augustine, whom at least Presbyterians and Calvinists must respect, if they respect their patriarch Calvin, condemns in positive and most emphatic terms those who, with the Westminster divines, discard the book of Wisdom from the Sacred Scriptures (L. 2, De Symb.). "No one," says he, " can reject a passage taken from the book of Wisdom, which has been read in the Church for so many years, and which, from all Christian bishops, to the lowest of the faithful among the laity, penitents, and catechumens, is listened to with the respect due to divine authority." We might swell our quotations to a volume ; but if what we have adduced does not suffice for our Presbyterian friends, one would rise in vain from the grave to convince them.
Having disposed of this question, we will add a true list of the Apocrypha, that is, of those writings which, though some may have regarded them as Scripture, yet are not held by the Church to possess the authority of the word of God. The word apocrypha, a Greek word, means simply unknown ; hence, a book is said to be apocryphal, when its authority as Sacred Scripture is not acknowledged. It may be an excellent book, and perfectly authentic, — that is, truly written by the one whose name it bears, — or it may not be. The apocryphal books of the Old Testament are the third and fourth of Es-dras, the third and fourth of the Maccabees, the book of Henoch, the prayer of King Manasses, and the One Hundred and Fifty-first Psalm ; those of the New Testament are the book of Hermas, quoted by some as Scripture, because Hernias was a disciple of the Apostles, and is mentioned in (he Epistle to the Romans, xvi. 14 ; the Epistle of St. Barnabas, which, though truly his, and though his name is found in the Acts in connection with that of St. Paul, is not Sacred Scripture, — for all the disciples of the Apostles were not inspired ; the First Epistle to the Corinthians by St. Clement, whose name is also in the Sacred Scriptures (Phil. iv. 3), — a genuine and authentic epistle, but, though quoted by not a few, is not Sacred Scripture ; the letter of Christ to Abgarus in answer to a letter from that king, as related by Eusebius ; the Apostolic Canons, or canons made by the Apostles, of which the first fifty, though not Scripture, are received by the Roman Church ; and, inaddition, a large number of Gospels, to some of which St. Luke alludes, when he says, in the preface to his Gospel, " Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth," &c. Many of these Gospels have perished ; fragments of others have come down to us.    These are properly termed apocryphal.

In connection with this subject, we take the liberty of proposing some queries to Presbyterians, and of requesting them to explain what appear to us glaring contradictions in their conduct. When they drew up their catalogue of the Scriptures, on what authority did they take this or that book to be Scripture ? assuredly they did not see the books they receive falling from heaven, or Jehovah's throne. Was it on the authority of the Jews, or on that of the Christians ? If on the authority of the Jews, then they should reject the New Testament, since the Jews reject it ; if on the authority of Christians, they should receive all the books which the Christians received, and as the Christians received all the books which Catholics now receive, even the so-called Apocrypha, they should also receive them. Why, then, do they receive a part, and reject the rest ? Will they answer, that they receive those books which were received by the primitive Church ? But how do they know that ? how do they know what the primitive Church taught ? Moreover, if they are obliged to have recourse to the primitive Church, tradition becomes necessary and indispensable, at least to enable us to distinguish the inspired from the non-inspired books. But they reject tradition. Again, if they rely on the authority of the primitive Church, they must admit the Apocrypha which are rejected only by the Jews. For Clement, Irenaeus, the authors of the Itala and Syriac versions, belonged to that Church, and are unanimous in receiving them as Scripture. If they discard Tobias, Judith, &c, because some fathers have doubted their inspiration, then why do they admit the Epistle to the Hebrews, that of St. James, and, above all, the Apocalypse ; for many fathers, as Protestants themselves confess, have doubted the divine authority of these ? Will they say that these writings come from the Apostles, who were infallible ? But this is precisely what those fathers doubted ; and if it be enough to have the name of an Apostle on the title-page, why do they not receive all the Gospels which bear the name of some Apostle ? At least, as many fathers have doubted the canonicity.of the Apocalypse as that of the Maccabees ; why, then, acknowledge the authority of the one, and reject that of the other ? "A weight and a weight are an abomination before the Lord. " — Prov. xx. 23. But are Presbyterians candid and sincere ? If they admit the Apocalypse, is it not because they can so interpret it as to make it countenance their aspersions and condemnations of the Pope and the Church of Rome ? Finally, will they say they admit the New Testament on the authority of the Apostles who wrote it ? But was St. Luke an Apostle ? Was Mark an Apostle ? Certainly not. They were only disciples of the Apostles, as were Barnabas, and Clement, and Hernias. Why, then, do they admit as Scripture the writings of Luke and Mark, and not those of Barnabas, Clement, and Hernias ? To be consistent, they must admit both, or reject both; for the Apostles themselves are equally silent respecting both. What proof have they that Mark was inspired, and that Clement was not ? No reason can be assigned, save the testimony of the Apostles, made known by tradition. But if tradition is necessary in this case, wherefore is it to be rejected, as the fundamental tenet of Presbyterians asserts ? If tradition, be good for one thing, why not for others ? If in this case, why not in that of prayers for the dead, the distinction between bishops and priests, the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, the intercession of saints, &c. ? Assuredly, on all these points Protestants are entangled in difficulties, from which they can extricate themselves only by consenting to swallow innumerable absurdities, and inscribing on their standard, CONTRADICTION,   INCONSISTENCY,   and   FALSEHOOD.

The fourth article of , which we have now reached, is, that

"The authority of the Holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed and obeyed, depondeth not upon the testimony of any man or church, but wholly upon God (who is truth itself), the author thereof; and therefore it is to be received because it is the word of God."

Since we have thus far objected to every article, it may be thought that we are hard to please, if we also object to the present. When we read a law of Congress printed in the newspaper, we assuredly admit the law, because it comes from Congress, and not because the editor, who may be deserving of no credit, places it before his reader. When a constable serves an execution, it is the authority of the court we respect, not that of the constable. Nevertheless, this fourth article can find no more favor with us than its predecessors. It is a shaft at St. Austin, whose assertion we have already quoted, and at the Catholic Church, on whose testimony we receive the Scriptures. It, however, need not detain us long, for a very obvious distinction will at once disclose its sophistry.     The doctrines taught in the Scriptures are one thing, and the genuineness of the book itself is another. The doctrines are believed because revealed or taught by God himself; but why is the Bible believed to have come from God ? It does not, in a miraculous manner, proclaim to all that it is the word of God. What is it, then, that makes you believe it to be his word ? The Catholic answers, The testimony of the Church, for which God himself vouches by miracles and other .marks of his authority. The Protestant has nothing, at least, as we shall soon see, nothing reasonable, to answer. In a word, if God speaks, we believe on his authority, and it would be ridiculous and blasphemous to believe God because Peter or James assures us that what God says is true. But in order to believe that God hath spoken, we must have motives of credibility, or reasons sufficient to convince a sound understanding that he has really spoken ; otherwise, faith would be only superstition and credulity. Hence, it is absurd to reproach Catholics with attributing a greater authority to the Church than to the word of God. When Mary believed that she would conceive and bring forth the Son of God, without any detriment to her virginity (Luke ii.), she believed in God, and made an act of heroic faith, as Elizabeth said afterwards, " Blessed art thou that hast believed." But on whose testimony did she believe ? On that of the angel Gabriel, who brought her the messsage. Would she have believed without the testimony of the angel ? Assuredly not. Did she reverence the angel more than God ? By no means ; but the apparition and declaration of the angel were the motives of credibility on which she believed the message to be truly from God, and without which her belief would have been only fanaticism or pride. In this way St. John, in the Apocalypse, gives clearly the motives of credibility for the-revelation which it contained. " The revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave .... and signified sending by his angel to his servant John, who hath given testimony to the word of God." — i. 1, 2. As John gave testimony to the word of God, that is, that God spoke it, so does the Church now ; and as the testimony of John was proved true by incontestable evidence, so also is that of the Church. As the testimony of John did not derogate from the majesty of the word of God, or the respect due to it, nor suppose any pride in him, neither does the testimony which the Church bears to Scripture imply the least irreverence, or pride, or arrogance, on her part.

The fifth article of the Confession, the last we shall now consider, will confirm, from the mouth of the Presbyterian divines themselves, all we have asserted concerning the impossibility of Presbyterians arriving at the inspiration of Scripture, besides presenting a few more of those glaring contradictions with which, as so many bright stars, they intersperse and adorn their creed.
" We may be moved and induced by the testimony of the Church to a high and reverend esteem for the Holy Scripture ; the heav-enliness of the matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, the majesty of the style, the consent of all the parts, the scope of the whole (which is to give all glory to God), the full discovery it makes of the only way of man's salvation, the many other incomparable excellences, and the entire perfection thereof, are arguments whereby it doth abundantly evidence itself to be the word of God ; yet, notwithstanding, our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth and divine authority thereof is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit bearing witness by and with the word, in our hearts.

" 1 Tim. iii. 15. But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtcst to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
" 1 John ii. 20, 27. But yc have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. —But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you ; but as the same anointing teacheth you of all tilings, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him." &c.

The doctrine embodied in this article is, that the testimony of the Church renders the inspiration of Scripture probable ; the internal excellences of Scripture demonstrate that inspiration ; still, we believe Scripture to be the word of God, because we hear the Spirit of God in our hearts telling us it is his word. A more monstrous accumulation of absurdities, of sophisms, of fanaticism, it would be difficult to condense within the same number of lines. The assertion, to be true, should run: The internal excellences of Scripture render its inspiration somewhat probable; the testimony of the Church renders it certain ; the Holy Ghost by his divine grace makes us assent, in a supernatural manner, and in a way conducive to salvation, to the inspiration of Scripture and the doctrine it contains. Stated in this way, the assertion would be correct. But the Westminster divines, after having disclaimed all human testimony in Art. IV,, now tell us that the testimony of the Church moves us to a high and reverend esteem of Scripture. Then they should at least have " a high and reverend esteem" for the books of Tobias, Judith, &c, which had, at the time of the rise of Protestantism, the testimony of the whole Church both in the East and in the West. But does not the passage you quote to inculcate this high and reverend esteem for the Holy Scripture say more than you make it say ? You conceive a high and reverend esteem for Scripture from " the Church, which is the pillar and ground of the truth." — 1 Tim. iii. 15. But if the Church be the pillar and ground of the truth, and if the Church tell you that these books or those are the word of God, you must not only esteem them, but believe them to be the word of God ; otherwise, the Church would cease to be " the pillar and ground of the truth," by telling you to receive as inspired by the Holy Ghost writings which have only a human authority. The Church evidently would then be the herald and the basis of error. Presbyterians therefore adduce here a text which, fairly considered, overthrows the whole fabric of their belief in Scripture. The Church is the pillar and ground of the truth: they admit this. Then, as a matter of course, they must admit what the Church teaches, and admit it not only as probable, but as the very truth of which the Church is the pillar and ground. By adducing this text, then, they cut their own throat ; this text, if it prove any thing, proves not only that Scripture must be esteemed, but also believed, on the testimony of the Church. It proves that not only Genesis and the Gospels are Scripture, but also Tobias, Judith, &c. Calvin, who seems to have been a little keener than the Westminster divines, found himself not a little troubled to explain this text of St. Paul, that the Church is the pillar and ground of the truth ; and was compelled to assert that the Church is the pillar and ground of the truth, not because she teaches the truth, but because she keeps the Scriptures, which are the word of God. But on this principle every man who has a Bible in his pocket is a pillar and ground of the truth, and booksellers will become not only the pillar and the ground of the truth, but its citadels, and fortresses, and spiritual rocks of Gibraltar, because they keep in their shops hundreds and thousands of copies of the word of God, with romances and obscene books.    To state such an absurdity is to confute it.

But let us pass to the consideration of the arguments by which Presbyterians contend that Scripture abundantly evidences itself to be the word of God. The first is, " the heav-enliness of the matter." But is every book that treats of heaven an inspired book ? and what will become of the inspiration of some books, if tried by this Presbyterian touchstone ?    The Song of Songs, — can you determine that to be inspired from the heavenliness of the matter ? If you admitted tradition and the testimony of the Church, you might, perhaps, find that its subject is heavenly ; but with Scripture alone, you cannot; for not even the name of God is mentioned in the whole book. The book of Ruth, from the heavenliness of its matter, will hardly produce a conviction that it is inspired, and so of some other historical books of the Old Testament. This test, applied to the Epistle of Paul to Philemon, or to the Second and Third Epistles of St. John, might give very unsatisfactory results. Hence, this test of the inspiration of a book may be a conjecture, but it will never amount to a demonstration. But if inspired books are to be tested by this mark, we say that Tobias, Judith, Wisdom, and Maccabees are far more heavenly in the matters they treat of, than most of the other books of the Old Testament. In these books we find the clearest allusions to heaven and eternal life, and the brightest examples of heavenly virtue. Is there any thing more heavenly than the conduct of Tobias ? — any thing more heavenly than this maxim, " We are the children of saints, and look for that life which God will give to those that never change their faith from him " ?— Tob. iii. 18. Is there any thing more beautiful and heavenly in the whole Testament than the martyrdom of the seven Maccabees and their heroic mother ? 2 Mace. vii. We say it, then, confidently, if the heavenliness of the matter be a test of inspiration, those books which Protestants stigmatize as " Apocrypha" must have the first place in the canon of Scripture. So is it with error ; when its advocates try to cover one side opened to attack, they are forced to uncover another which they have equal interest in protecting ; the present and the other tests of inspiration assigned by Protestants apply as well, and perhaps better, to those which they brand as spurious, than to those which they choose to retain.

The second test of inspiration is " efficacy of doctrine." The Bible is inspired because its doctrine is efficacious. So do our modern doctors think. But we should rather contend that the Bible is efficacious because it is divine. Will an unprejudiced man say a book is inspired because it persuades to the adoption of the doctrine it teaches ? If so, immoral books would be the most certainly inspired of all; for their doctrine is terribly efficacious. The Koran also would be inspired; for it has been tolerably efficacious; and the Book of Mormon threatens to be the same.    This mark of inspiration will not answer, even admitting a book to contain the best doctrine in the world. A man may write eloquent pages on the practice of virtue, and persuade others to adopt it, and we have still no voucher for his inspiration. Otherwise, all good and pious ministers of God would be inspired ; which is somewhat more than any body is prepared to admit.

" The majesty of the style " is the next evident mark of inspiration adduced by the Westminster divines, — a queer test, we must confess.    This test we take to be applicable  to the original languages in which the Scripture was written ; for otherwise the majesty of the style would prove the inspiration of the translator rather than that of the author ; and we know of very clumsy translations of the Bible.    The appreciation of this test would, then, require the full knowledge of the Hebrew and Greek languages ; for a smatterer in those languages would  scarcely venture to decide upon the merits of the style.    How many are competent to the task may be a delicate question ; but we hardly think it would be excessive rashness on our part to doubt if the  Westminster divines themselves were altogether  competent judges.    It is not among people involved in  political turmoils, it is not in our parliaments, our houses of representatives or senate-chambers, that we find   such eminent  Greek and  Hebrew scholars.    Moreover, a  portion of the  Presbyterians   themselves — the  Cumberland    Presbyterians — will reject this test, since they separated themselves from the main body chiefly because they would not subject their ministers to the necessity of learning Greek and Hebrew.   We may also remark that St. Paul did not insist very strenuously on this proof of his inspiration ; for in his Second Epistle to the Corinthians, xi. 6,  he says, — u Though I be rude in speech, yet  not in knowledge."    And when we reflect that many books, having no claim to inspiration, have a fine and majestic style, and that the appreciation of style presents so many difficulties, and varies so with different individuals, we can set very little, if any, value upon this test of inspiration.

Another evident mark of inspiration, according to the Westminster divines, is " the consent of all the parts." Taking this test of inspiration, we venture to say, that, assuredly, the Confession of Faith is not a work inspired, — that is, from above ; for, whatever else it may claim, it can claim nothing like a " consent of all the parts.'1'' We have gone over only the first five articles, and it would puzzle the reader to count the many contradictions we have found in it.    If the Bible be inspired from God, surely there can be no contradictions in it. But the fact, that there are no contradictions in a book, does not prove that it is inspired ; it proves, at most, only that the author speaks the truth, and is a man of sound judgment. Who ever thought of ascribing inspiration to our mathematical treatises, because there is in them a consent of all the parts ? But it cannot be denied that there are in the Bible many apparent contradictions, which it often requires no small amount of learning and research to remove or reconcile ; and it is this fact that supplies infidels with their arguments against our holy religion. That all these apparent contradictions are cleared up, and very satisfactorily too, we cheerfully and loudly acknowledge ; but we say, that, if we did not know from other independent and infallible sources of information that the Bible is inspired, this character of the consent of all the parts could never lead to a firm assent to its inspiration.

The other means of arriving at the inspiration of Scripture, such as " the scope of the whole (which is to give all glory to God), the full discovery it makes of the only way of man's salvation, the many other incomparable excellences, and the entire perfection thereof," are all as little conclusive as those we have just considered. When we once know, by some positive, undeniable fact, that the Scripture is the word of God, we may find all these excellences, but not before ; and to found the inspiration of Scripture upon such tottering motives is to deliver it up to the contempt of unbelievers. We say, then, that the external motives of credibility in the inspiration of Scripture assigned by Presbyterians are altogether illusory, and that the point can be settled only by recourse to the testimony and declaration of the Church, whose doctrine has always received, and continues to receive, the stamp and approbation of Heaven.

But it is chiefly upon the internal motives of credibility that Presbyterians rely. They believe in Scripture because the Holy Spirit bears witness in their hearts. A man, when driven to this last resource of fanatics, visionaries, and impostors, the resource of Mahometans and Mormons, should at once own himself vanquished. This pretence is exceedingly convenient, for it supplies the place of argument and logic. I remain a Presbyterian, because God tells me in my heart that I am in the true religion. We do not think it worth while to undertake seriously to confute this assertion. All reasonable persons have an irresistible inclination to laugh at this peremptory mode of settling a controversy. Pity, disgust, or merriment, if the subject were not so grave, would be the only answers suitable to be given. We knew of a deluded lady, who, fearing she had " sinned the day of grace away," staid on her knees some hours, and at last obtained full forgiveness, because she felt her heart as " big as a hat." When the Lord speaks in an extraordinary manner, he gives external miraculous signs of his presence, as one may read in so many different passages of Scripture, especially in the call of Moses, Gideon, and Samson. The ordinary operation of divine grace in the hearts of the just, though supernatural, can never be a foundation for any assertion or discovery ; and this divine grace is never given as the ground for believing or maintaining any thing contrary to the doctrine held and proposed by the Church of Christ, which doctrine is founded, not upon internal and invisible revelation accessible to nobody, but upon facts performed in the face of the whole world, and of a brilliancy greater than that of the sun. Nor do we need to dwell upon the passage of St. John, with which visionaries would try to uphold their delirious notions, — "Ye have an unction from above, and ye know all things." For such persons as bring forward their own visions and imaginations, on the strength of this text, should prove first that this is said of them, and not rather the following : — " Thou sayest, I am rich, and made wealthy, and I have need of nothing; and thou knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked." Yes, they have the best reasons for applying to themselves the following passages. " If one will not hear the Church, let him be to thee as a heathen and publican." — Matt, xviii. 17. " O senseless Galatians ! who hath bewitched you, that you should not obey the truth ?" " The animal man knoweth not the things that are of the Spirit of God." Hence, it is not to every one that opens the Epistle of St. John, that this is said, — " You have an unction from above, and ye know all things " ; it is to such as love God with all their heart, are docile to their pastors, and revere in them the authority of Christ; for St. John, immediately adds, " I have not written to you as to such as know not the truth, but as to such as know it." He who does not acknowledge thoroughly and sincerely the Church to be the ground and pillar of truth, to be the rock against which the gates of hell siw.ll not prevail, has no share in those words of St. John, but™ther in these of St. Jude : — " These are they who separate themselves, sensual men, having not the Spirit." — Ver. 19.