The Church against No-Church

Part I of II

Brownson's Quarterly Review, April, 1845

Art. 1.  The Christian Examiner and Religious Miscellany, January, 1845.   Art. VI.   The Church.

The Journal, the title of which we have here quoted, is the ably conducted organ of the American Unitarians. As a periodical, it is one in which we take no slight interest; for it is conducted by our personal friends, and through its pages, which were liberally opened to us, we were at one time accustomed to give circulation to our own crude speculations and pestilential heresies. We introduce it to our readers, however, not for the purpose of expressing any general opinion of its character, or the peculiar tenets of the denomination of which it is the organ ; but solely for the purpose of using the article which appeared in the January number, headed The Church, as a text for some remarks in defence of the Church against the prevalent No-Churchism of our age and community.

In our Review for October last, we refuted the pretensions of the High-Church Episcopalians ; in the last number, in the article on The British Reformers, we refuted Low-Churchism : we attempt now a refutation of No-Churchism, or the doctrine which admits the Church in name, but denies it in fact. All Protestant sects, just in proportion as they depart from Catholic unity, tend to No-Churchism ; and our Unitarians, who are the Protestants of Protestants, and who afford us a practical exemplification of what Protestantism is and must be, when and where it has the sense, the honesty, or the courage to be consequent, have already reached this important point. They cannot be said, in the legitimate sense of the word, to believe in any Church at all.   They see clearly enough, that, if they once admit a Church at all, in any sense in which it is distinguishable from No-Church, they can neither justify the Reformers in seceding from the Catholic Church, nor themselves in remaining aliens from its communion. They have, therefore, the honesty and boldness to deny the Church altogether, and to admit in its place only a voluntary association of individuals for pious and religious purposes ; in which sense it is on a par with a Bible, Missionary, Temperance, or Abolition society, with scarcely any thing more holy in its objects, or more binding on its members.

The Examiner, in the article we have referred to, fully authorizes this statement; and though it by no means discards the sacred name of Church, it leaves us nothing venerable or worth contending for to be signified by it. The controversies, for the next few years, it thinks, will, not improbably, revolve around the question of the Church. " What, then," it asks, " is the Church ? what is its authority ? what its importance ? what its true place among Christian ideas or influences ?" These are the questions ; and its purpose in the article under consideration is to offer a few remarks which may indicate a true answer to them, especially the last.

In answer to the question, What is the Church ? the writer replies, " It is the whole company of believers, the uncounted and wide-spread congregation of all those who receive the Gospel as the law of life. It is coextensive with Christianity ; it is the living Christianity of the time, be that more or less, be it expressed in one mode of worship or another, in one or another variety of internal discipline. The Church of Christ comprehends and is composed of all his followers."  pp. 78, 79.

The answer to the question, What is the importance of the Church ? is not very clearly set forth. Perhaps this is a point on which the writer has not yet attained to clear and distinct views. It is, probably, one of those points on which "more light is to break forth." The place of the Church among Christian ideas and influences is also not very definitely determined ; but it would appear, according to the Examiner, that the sacred writers had two ideas,for they were not, like our modern reformers, men of only one idea, and these two ideas were, one the Church, the other the individual soul. We do not mean to say that the writer really intends to teach that the Church is an idea, for a " company of believers" can hardly be called an idea, nor can the individual soul; but he probably means to teach that the sacred writers had two ideas, or rather two points of view, from which they contemplated this company of believers,-the one collective, the other individual. "They loved to collect in ideathe members of Christ, as they styled them, under one idea, and present them in this relation of unity to their readers. Thus viewed, the Church became the emblem of Christian influences and Christian benefits. It expressed all Christ had lived for, or died for. He had loved it, and given himself for it. It was 'the pillar and ground of the truth.' It was «the body' of which he was the head."p. 79.
This unity, however, is purely ideal. The only unity really existing consists merely in the similar sentiments, hopes, and aims of the individual members.  But

" There was another idea on which the Apostles insisted still more strenously, that of the individual soul. They taught the importance of the individual soul. Around this, as the one object of interest, were gathered the revelations and commandments of the Gospel. Personal responsibleness  in view of privileges, duties, sins, temptations  was their great theme. They preached the Gospel to the soul in its individual exposure and want. It is the peculiarity of our religion, its vital peculiarity, that it makes the individual the object of its address, its immediate and its final action. Christianity divested of this distinction becomes powerless, and void of meaning.    It contradicts and subverts itself."  Ib.

Here, then, are two ideas, the idea of the company, and the idea of the individual; and the first idea is to be held subordinate to the second ; which, we suppose, means that the end of Christianity is the redemption and sanctification of the individual soul, and that the Church is to be valued only in so far as it is a means to this end,  a doctrine which we do not recollect ever to have heard questioned. The place of the Church is, therefore, below the individual, and being only the effect of the operation of Christianity in the hearts of individuals, as the writer further on tells us, its importance must consist solely in the reaction of the example of Christians on those not yet converted, and in the aid and encouragement union among professed Christians gives to one another in their strivings after the Christian life. This, as near as we can come at it, is the Examiner's doctrine.

The writer throws in one or two remarks, in connexion with his general statement, to which we cannot assent. "It has been maintained," he says, "that the Church is the principal idea in the Gospel. It has been generally supposed that the individual exists for the Church.    Ecclesiastical writers have contended, and the people have admitted, that the rights of the Church were stronger than the rights of the members, that the prosperity of the Church must be secured at the expense of the believer's peace and independence ; that, in a word, every thing must be made to yield to the Church."  p. 80. The writer must have drawn on his imagination for this. Ecclesiastical writers have never contended, nor have the people admitted, any such thing. Certainly, so far as our reading extends, the doctors of the Church have always and uniformly taught that the Church exists for the individual, not the individual for the Church, and that she is to be submitted to solely as the means in the hands of God of redeeming and sanctifying the individual soul. This is wherefore Churchmen so earnestly contend for the Church, so willingly obey its commands, and so cheerfully lay down their lives in its defence.

The question of a conflict of rights between the Church and the individual, which the Examiner regards as the great question of the age, is no question at all; for there never is and never can be a conflict of rights. It has never been held by any one of any authority in the ecclesiastical world, that the rights of the Church are stronger than the rights of the members, and that the rights of the members must yield to those of the Church. Rights never yield ; claims may yield, but not rights. Establish the fact that this or that is the right of the member, and the Church both respects and guaranties it; nay, the Church goes farther, and presumes the rights she cannot vindicate to herself to be the property of the individual. But where the Church has the right to teach and command, she does not come in conflict with individual rights by demanding submission, for there the individual has no rights. To hold him, within the province of the Church, to obedience, is only holding him to obedience to the rightful authority. When the law says to the individual, " Thou shalt not steal," it infringes no right; because the individual has not, and never had, any right to steal. It is sometimes a convenience to be acquainted with the views of those we wish to oppose.
But, passing over this, we may say, the Examiner holds, that, in the usual sense of the term, our blessed Saviour founded no church ; he merely taught the truth, and, by his teaching, life, sufferings, death, and resurrection, deposited in the minds and hearts of men certain great seminal principles of truth and goodness, to be by their own free thought and affection developed and matured.    The Church is nothing but the mere effect of the development and growth of these principles. " It is but a consequence" of the effect of Christianity upon those who are " separately brought under its influence." These, taken collectively, are the Church. These organize themselves in one way or another, adopt for their social regulation and mutual progress such forms of worship or internal discipline as are suggested by the measure of Christian truth and virtue realized in their hearts. This is all the Church there is. If you ask, What is its authority? the answer is, "A fiction, a fiction which has cheated millions and ruined multitudes, but a fiction still."  p. 83. This, in brief, is the church theory of Liberal Christians, and, in point of fact, the theory virtually adopted by the great body of the Protestant world, and the only theory a consistent Protestant can adopt, if not even more than he can adopt without losing his consistency. The insuffiency of this theory it is our purpose in the following essay to point out, by showing that with it alone it is impossible to elicit an act of faith. We shall begin what we have to offer by defining what it is we mean by the Church, and what are the precise questions at issue between Catholics and No-Churchmen. We do this, because the Examiner and its associates do not seem to have any clear or definite notions of what it is Catholics contend for, when they contend for the authority, infallibility, and indefecti-bility of the Church, nor what it is of which we really predicate these important attributes.

The word church, it is well known, is used in a variety of senses. The Greek ixxkrjola, ecclesia, rendered by the word church, taken in a general way, means an assembly, or congregation, whether good or bad, for one purpose or another ; but is for the most part taken in the Sacred Scriptures and the Fathers in a good sense, for the Church of Christ. The English word church, said to be derived from Kvgiog and ol'nog, the Lord's house, would seem to designate primarily the place of worship ; but as ol'xog, like our English word house, may mean the family as well as the dwelling or habitation, the word church may not improperly be used to designate the Lord's family, the worshippers as well as the place of worship; in which sense it is a sufficiently accurate translation of the Greek gxxlriula, as generally used by ecclesiastical writers.

1. By the Church we understand, then, when taken in its widest sense, without any limitation of space or time, the whole of the Lord's family, the whole congregation of the faithful, united in the true worship of God under Christ the head.    In this sense it comprehends the faithful of the Old Testament,__not only those belonging to the Synagogue, but also those out of it, as Job, Melchisedech, &c.,-the blest, even the angels, in heaven, the suffering in purgatory, and those on the way. As comprehending the blest in heaven, it is called the Church Triumphant ; the souls in purgatory, the Church Suffering; believers on the way, the Church Militant; not that these are three different Churches, but different parts, or rather states, of one and the same Church. But with the Church in this comprehensive sense we have in our present discussion no concern. Our question obviously turns on the Church Militant.

2.   The Church Militant is defined by Catholic writers to be " The society of the faithful, baptized in the profession of the same faith, united in the participation of the same sacraments, and in the same worship, under one head, Christ in heaven, and his vicar, the sovereign pontiff, on earth." But even this is too comprehensive for our present question, to indicate at once the precise points in the controversy between Catholics and their adversaries.

3.   We must distinguish, in the Church Militant, between the Ecclesia credens, the congregation of the faithful, and the Ecclesia docens, or congregation of pastors and teachers.

The Church, as the simple congregation of believers, taken exclusively as believers, is not a visible organization, nor an authoritative or an infallible body. On this point we have no controversy with the Examiner; for we are no Congregationalists, and by no means disposed to maintain that the supreme authority in the Church, under Christ, is vested in the body of the faithful. The authority of the Church in this sense we cheerfully admit is " a fiction," " a mischievous fiction," as the history of Protestantism for these three hundred years of its existence sufficiently establishes.

When we contend for the Church as a visible, authoritative, infallible, and indefectible body or corporation, we take the word church in a restricted sense, to mean simply the body of pastors and teachers, or, in other words, the bishops in communion with their chief. We mean what Protestants would, perhaps, better understand by the word ministry than by the word church, -- although this word ministry is far from being exact, as it designates functions rather than functionaries, and, when used to designate functionaries, includes the several orders of the Christian priesthood,  not merely the bishops or pastors, who alone, according to the Catholic view, constitute the Ecclesia docens. Nevertheless, to avoid the confusion the word church is apt to generate in Protestant minds, we shall sometimes use it, merely premising that we use it to express only the body of pastors and teachers, by whom we understand exclusively the bishops.

Now, the question between us and the No-Churchmen turns precisely on this Ecclesia docens.  Has our blessed Saviour established a body of teachers for his Church,--that is, for the congregation of the faithful?  Has he given them authority to teach and govern?  Has he given to this body the promise of infallibility and indefectibility?  If so, which of the pretended Christian ministries now extant is this body?  These are the questions between us and No-Churchmen, and they cover the whole ground in controversy.  On each of these questions they assert the negative, and we maintain the affirmative.  To show that the negative cannot be maintained, and that the affirmative must be, and can, is our present purpose.  There is now no mistaking the points to be discussed.

1.We take it for granted that the writer in the Examiner admits, or intends to admit, the divine origin and authority of the Christian religion, and that the name of Jesus is the only name "given under heaven among men whereby we must be saved."  We shall take it for granted that he holds the Christian religion to be not merely preferable to all other religions or pretended religions, but the only true religion and way of salvation.  We are bound to do so, for he is a doctor of divinity, a professedly Christian pastor of a professedly Christian congregation, and it would be discourteous on our part to reason with him as we would with a Jew, Pagan, Mahometan, or Infidel.  We are bound to assume that he holds, or at least intends to hold, that the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is the only law of life, without obedience to which no one can be saved; and, since he makes Christianity and the Church coextensive, that out of the pale of the Church, as he defines it, there is no salvation.  The Church, he says, comprehends and is composed of all the followers of Christ.  No one, then, who is not in the Church is a follower of Christ.  If the Gospel of Christ be the only law of life, no one not a follower of Christ can be saved.  Consequently, no one not a member of the Church of Christ can be saved.

To deny this is to reject Christianity altogether, or to fall into complete indifferency. If men can be saved, or be acceptable to their Maker, in one religion as well as in another, wherein is one preferable to another ? If the Christian revelation was not necessary to our salvation, why was it given us, and why are we called upon to believe and obey it ? why did God send his only begotten Son to make it, and why was it declared to be of such inestimable value to us ? If Jesus taught that salvation is attainable in all religions, or in any religion but his own, why were the Apostles so enraptured with the Gospel, and why did they make such painful sacrifices for its promulgation ? If they had not been taught to regard it as the only way of salvation, their conduct is unaccountable ; and if it be not the only way of salvation, they and their Master can be regarded only as a company of deluded fanatics, whose labors, sacrifices, and cruel deaths may indeed excite our pity, but cannot command our respect. We shall presume the writer in the Examiner sees all this as well as we, and therefore shall presume that he holds with us, that all mankind are bound to worship God, that there is but one true way of worshipping God, and therefore but one true religion, and that this true religion is the Christian religion. He who does not admit this much can hardly, by any allowable stretch of courtesy, be called a Christian.    This premised, we proceed.

1. In order to be saved, to enter into life, or to become acceptable to God, one must be a Christian. To be a Christian, one must be a believer. No one is a Christian who is not a follower of Christ. Every follower of Christ, according to the Examiner, is a member of the Church of Christ. But, according to the same authority, the Church is a company of believers. Therefore a Christian must be a believer. He who is a believer is a believer because he believes something. Therefore, in order to be a Christian, it is necessary to believe something.

The Examiner must admit this conclusion ; yet some Unitarians have the appearance of denying it. A short time since, we read an article in a Unitarian newspaper in this city, written by a distinguished Unitarian clergyman, in which the writer maintains, that, although faith is indispensable to the Christian character, belief is not; yet he fails to define what that faith is which excludes or does not include belief. Dr. Channing, in his Discourse on the Church objects to all forms, creeds, and churches, and declares that the essence of all religion is in supreme love to God and universal justice and charity towards our neighbour.    Yet we presume he wishes this fact, to wit, that this is the essence of all religion, should be assented to both by the will and the understanding. But this is not a fact of science, evident in and of itself. It depends on other facts which are matters of belief, and therefore must itself, as to its matter, if not as to its form, be an object of belief. Not a few Unitarian clergymen of our acquaintance understand by faith trust or confidence (fiducia), and contend, that, when we are in him as the Son of God, unless I believe that he is the Son of God ; I cannot confide in God, unless I believe that he is, and that he is a protector of them that trust him. Where there is no belief, there is and can be no confidence. Confidence always presupposes faith ; for where there is no belief that the trust reposed will be responded to, there is no trust; and the fact, that the one trusted will preserve and not betray the trust, is necessarily a matter of faith, belief, not of knowledge. Faith begets confidence, but is not it; confidence is the effect or concomitant of faith, but can never exist without it. So, however these may seem to deny the necessity of belief, they all in reality imply it, presuppose it.

Moreover, all Unitarians hold, that, to be a Christian, one must be a follower of Christ. Their radical conception of Christ is that of a teacher, of a person specially raised up and commissioned by Almighty God to teach, and to teach the truth. But one cannot be said to be the follower of a teacher, unless he believes what the teacher teaches. Therefore, to be a Christian, one must be a believer.

This, again, is evident from the Holy Scriptures. " For without faith," says the blessed Apostle Paul, " it is impossible to please God." Heb. xi. 6. So our blessed Saviour: " He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved ; but he that believeth not shall be condemned." St. Mark, xvi. 16. " He that believeth in the Son hath eternal life ; but he that believeth not the Son shall not see life ; but the wrath of God abideth on him." St. John, iii. 36. This is sufficient to establish our first position, namely, that, in order to be a Christian, it is necessary to be a believer, that is, to believe somewhat.

2. This somewhat which it is necessary to believe, is not falsehood, but truth. What we are required to believe is that for not believing which we shall be condemned. But God is  a God of  truth,  nay,  truth itself,  and it is repugnant to reason to assume that he will condemn us for not believing falsehood. The belief demanded is also essential to our salvation ; for it is said, " He that believeth not shall be condemned.'' But it is equally repugnant to reason to maintain that a God of truth, who is truth, can make belief in falsehood essential to salvation. Therefore the belief demanded, as to its object (objectum materialc), is truth, not falsehood.
3.   The truth we are required to believe is the revelation which Almighty God has made us through his Son, Jesus Christ, or, in other words, the truth which Jesus Christ taught or revealed. The belief in question is Christian belief, that which makes one a Christian believer, a follower of Jesus, a member of the "uncounted and wide-spread congregation of all those who receive the Gospel as the law of life." But one can be a Christian believer only by believing Christian truth ; and Christian truth can be no other truth, if different truths there be, than that taught by Jesus Christ. Therefore the truth to be believed is the truth taught by Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ, according to the confession of Unitarians themselves, was a teacher of truth, and a teacher of nothing but truth. Ihen all he taught was truth. Therefore, to be truly a Christian believer, truly a follower of Christ, it is necessary to believe, explicitly or implicitly, all the truth he taught. Hence, the commission to the Apostles was to teach all nations, and to teach them to observe all things whatsoever their Master had commanded them.    St. Matt, xxviii. 20.

4.   The truth which Jesus Christ taught or revealed appertains, in part, at least, to the supernatural order. By the supernatural order we understand the order above nature, that is, above the order of creation. All beings, whether brute matter, vegetables, animals, men, or angels, are in God, and without him could neither be, live, nor move. But God has created them all « after their kinds," and each with a specific nature. What is included in this nature, or promised by it, although having its origin and first motion in God, is what is meant by natural. Supernatural is something above this, and superadded. God transcends nature, and is supernatural; but regarded solely as the author, upholder, and governor of nature, he is natural, and hence the knowledge of him as such is always termed natural theology. But as the author of grace, he is strictly supernatural ; because grace, though having the same origin, is above the order of creation, is not included in it, nor promised by it.    It is, so to speak, an excess of the Divine Fulness not exhausted in creation, but reserved to be superadded to it according to the Divine will and pleasure.    Thus God may be said to be both natural and supernatural.   As natural, that is, as the author, sustainer, and governor of nature, he is naturally cognoscible, according to what Saint Paul tells us, Kom. i. 20.    Invisibilia enim ipsius, a creatura mundi, per ea qua facta sunt, intellecta, conspiciuntur ; sempitema quoque ejus virtus, et Divinitas :  "For the invisible things of God, even his eternal power and Divinity, are clearly seen from the creation of the world, being understood by the things that are made."   But as supernatural, that is, as the author of grace, he is not naturally cognoscible, and can be known only as su-pernaturally revealed.    The fact that he is the author of grace, or that there is grace, is not a fact of natural reason, or intrinsically evident to natural reason.   It, therefore, is not and cannot be a matter of science, but must be a matter of faith.   Hence, the Apostle says again,   Heb. xi.  6,   Credere enim oportet accedentem ad Deum quia est, et inquirentibus se remunerator sit:   "He that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that seek him."    That he is as author of nature we know, but that he is as author of grace, or that he is a rewarder of them that seek him, we believe.
Now, the revelation of Jesus Christ is preeminently the revelation of God as the author and dispenser of grace, and therefore preeminently the revelation of the supernatural. " The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth by Jesus Christ." St. John, i. 17. Hence, to believe the truth and all the truth which Jesus Christ taught is to believe in truth pertaining to the supernatural order.

Unitarians, it is true, eliminate from the Gospel a great part of the mysteries, and reduce the Gospel, so to speak, to a mere republication of the law of nature; their theology is in the main natural theology ; their faith in God is in him as the author of nature, and the immortality they .look for merely a natural immortality ; but the sounder part of them, among whom we reckon the writer of the article in the Examiner, do, nevertheless, to some extent, admit that Jesus revealed truths not naturally cognoscible, and which pertain also to the supernatural order. They admit that the Gospel is itself, in some sense, a revelation of grace, and therefore a revelation of the supernatural. They also admit the necessity, in order to be Christian believers, of believing in several particular things which pertain to the supernatural order.    Among these we may instance remission of sins, the resurrection of the dead, and final beatitude, or the heavenly reward. We are not aware that they question these ; and we are sure no one can question them without losing all right to the Christian name. But these all pertain to the supernatural order.

Remission of sin, whatever else it may mean, means at least remission of the penalty which God has annexed to transgression.    The penalty is annexed by God as author and sovereign of nature, or it is annexed by him as supernatural.    If by God in that sense in which he transcends nature, the penalty must itself be supernatural ; and therefore he who believes in its remission must believe in  the  supernatural, for  no  man  can believe in the remission of a penalty which he does not believe to exist.    If God annexes the penalty as author and sovereign of nature, it is in the order of nature, and then its remission must be supernatural ; for the remission cannot be in the order of nature, since it supersedes that order.     To assume that the order of nature remits it, is to assume nature to be in contradiction with herself, or to deny  the remission by denying the existence of any penalty to remit.   Where the remission begins, there ends the penalty.    If the remission be in the order of nature, then the order of nature imposes no penalty beyond the point where the remission begins ; and then there is no remission, for nothing is remitted.    To say that God as author and sovereign of nature remits what in the same character he imposes is to  assume that he imposes no  penalty that goes farther than the commencement of the remission.  Then, in fact, no remission.    The penalty, in this case, would be exhausted, not remitted.    Remission, then, must be by God as supernatural, not as natural; not as author and sovereign of nature, but as author and dispenser of grace.    Remission is necessarily an act of grace, and therefore supernatural.     Then, whatever view be taken of the penalty itself, he who believes in its remission must believe in the supernatural order.

So of the resurrection of the dead. We do not mean to say that by natural reason we cannot demonstrate a future continued existence, but that a fact answering to the term resurrection is naturally neither cognoscible nor demonstrable. Resurrection means rising again, and evidently pertains, not to the soul, which never dies, but to the body, and implies that the same body which died is raised ; for if not, it would not be a re-sur-rection, but a simple surrection, or perhaps creation. Now, by no natural light we possess can we come to the knowledge of the fact that our bodies shall rise again. Yet we are taught in the Gospel that such is the fact. We are assured that we shall live again. But we live only as united to the body ; for the Lord God formed man a body out of the dust of the earth, before he pronounced him a living soul. The souls of the departed doubtless exist; but they are not living again in the full sense of the term, and will not so live till united anew to the body.

Moreover, the Apostle Paul tells us that the body shall not only be raised, but it shall be raised in a supernatural condition. " It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body." It is to be made like to our blessed Saviour's glorious body. But a glorified body does not pertain to the order of nature ; because the natural body, it is said, is to be "made like to the body of his glory," which implies that it-must be changed from its natural to a supernatural condition, before it is a glorified body. But by what natural powers we possess do we arrive at the fact that there are glorified bodies, much more, that our vile bodies shall be changed into glorified bodies ? And by what process of reasoning, not dependent for its data on the revelation, can we, now we are told it shall be so, prove that it will be so?

So, again, as to our final destiny. The truth we are to believe pertains to the supernatural order. St. Peter says, " By whom (Jesus Christ) he hath given us very great and precious promises, that by these you may be made partakers of the Divine nature,"  efficiamini diviniai consortes natural. 2 Pet. i. 4. That this is to partake of the divine nature in a supernatural sense, and not in the sense in which we naturally partake of it, in being made to the image and likeness of God, is evident from the fact that the Apostle calls it a gift, and says it is that which is promised. What pertains to nature is not a gift, and what is already possessed cannot be said to be something promised. Therefore the participation of the divine nature in question is not a natural, but a supernatural, participation. The blessed Apostle John tells us, "We are now the sons of God, and it hath not yet appeared what we shall be. We know that when he shall appear we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is." 1 John iii. 2. Here it is asserted that we are to be something more than sons of God in the sense we now are ; for we know not, even being sons of God, what we shall be. But this we do know, that when he shall appear we shall be like him.    But this likeness is supernatural, not that to which we were created ; otherwise it would be a likeness possessed, not to be possessed. How by the light of nature learn this fact, that we are to become like God, partakers of the Divine nature, in a supernatural sense ? Again, the blessed Apostle in the same passage says, " We shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is." So St. Paul, 1 Cor. xiii. 12 : "Now we see through a glass, darkly, but then face to face ; now I know in part, but then I shall know even as I am known." Now the fact here asserted, to wit, that our future destiny is the beatific vision, that is, to see God as he is, and to know him even as we ourselves are known, is not naturally cognoscible, nor demonstrable by natural reason. Moreover, to see God as he is exceeds our nature ; for naturally we cannot see God as he is, that is, in himself; we can see him only indirectly, obscurely, in part, in his works, as we see the cause in the effect. The destiny, then, which the Gospel reveals for them that love the Lord is supernatural. For " It is written, The eye hath not seen, ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, what things God hath prepared for them that love him." 1 Cor. ii. 9. Therefore, to believe the Gospel, or the truth which Jesus Christ taught, it is necessary to believe not only truth supernaturally communicated, but truth pertaining to the supernatural order. But we have already proved that it is necessary to salvation to believe the truth and all the truth which Jesus taught. Therefore it is necessary to believe truth which pertains to the supernatural order.

The result thus far is, that, in order to be Christians, to be saved, to enter into life, to secure the rewards of heaven, it is necessary to believe the truth which Jesus Christ taught, and that we cannot believe this without believing in that which is supernatural, and supernatural both as to the mode of communication and as to the matter communicated. The truth which Jesus Christ taught is, in general terms, the Gospel, or Christian revelation ; and the Christian revelation is a supernatural revelation, and, in part at least, a revelation of the supernatural. This revelation and its contents we must believe, or resign our pretensions to the Christian name. To believe this revelation and its contents is not, we admit, all that is requisite to the Christian character; for there remain, beside faith, hope and charity, and the greatest is charity. Moreover, faith alone is insufficient to justify us in the sight of God ; for faith without works is dead, and therefore inoperative. Nevertheless, faith is indispensable.   " For without faith it is impossible to please God," and " He that believeth not shall be condemned." This much we conceive we have established ; and this much, we presume, the Christian Examiner will concede.

II. 1. Faith or belief, as distinguished from knowledge and science, rests on authority extrinsic both to the believer and the matter believed. In it there is always assent to something propounded. If the motives of the assent are in the subject, it is called knowledge ; if in the object, the assent is termed science ; when in neither, it is termed belief, or faith. That the sun is now shining I know by my own senses ; it is therefore a fact of knowledge ; that the three angles of a triangle are equal to two right angles, which I know not intuitively, but discursively, is a fact of science. Knowledge, in the sense we here use the term, is intuitive, and science discursive. In the first, I have no occasion to go out of myself to find my motives of assent; in the second, none to go out of the object. The first I know intuitively ; the second I can demonstrate from what it contains in itself. But in belief I must go out of myself, and also out of the object, for my motives of assent. The matter assented to is neither intuitively certain, nor intrinsically evident. I am told there is such a city as Rome, which I have never seen. Having myself never seen Rome, I have no intuitive evidence that there is such a city. The proposition that there is such a city is not intrinsically evident,  contains nothing in itself from which I can demonstrate its truth. Its truth, then, can be established to me only by evidence extrinsic both to myself and the proposition, that is, by testimony. That there is a God is not a fact of knowledge, strictly speaking ; for we do not know that there is a God, intuitively ; but it is a fact of science, because we know it discursively, from the creation of the world, from the effect, or things that are made, as says St. Paul, Rom. i. 20. But that God has destined them that love him to the beatific vision is a fact neither of knowledge nor of science; for it is neither intuitively certain, nor internally demonstrable. It may be true ; but whether so or not can be determined only by testimony, that is, evidence extrinsic both to the proposition and to myself. Hence St. Paul says, Heb. xi. 1, Fides est sperandarum substantia rerum, ar-gumentum non apparentium; and St. Augustine, Fides est credere quod non vides.  Tract. 40 in Joan.
2.  There may be matters contained in the Christian revelation which are matters of knowledge or of science, but we are concerned with it now only so far as it is a matter of faith. As a matter of faith, its truth rests solely on extrinsic evidence, or testimony. We cannot, then, as reasonable beings, believe it, unless we have some extrinsic authority competent to vouch for its truth, or some witness whose testimony is credible. But as an object of faith, the Christian revelation, in part at least, is a revelation of the supernatural. Now, this which is supernatural cannot be adequately witnessed to or vouched for by any natural witness or authority. No witness is competent to testify to that which he does not or cannot himself know, either intuitively or discursively. But no natural being, how high so ever in the scale of being he maybe exalted, can know either intuitively or discursively the truth of that which, as to its matter, is supernatural. The only adequate authority for the supernatural is the supernatural itself, that is, God. For though angels or divinely inspired men may declare the supernatural to us, yet they themselves are not witnesses to its intrinsic truth, and have no ground for believing its truth but the veracity of God revealing it to them. They may be competent witnesses to the fact of the revelation, but not to the truth of the matter revealed. The authority or ground for believing the supernatural matter revealed is, then, the veracity of God, and we cannot reasonably or prudently believe any proposition involving the supernatural on other authority. We have no sufficient ground for faith in such matters, unless we have the clear, express testimony of God himself. But the testimony of God is sufficient for any proposition, in case we have it; because enough is clearly seen of God from the creation of the world, and understood by the things that are made, to establish on a scientific basis the fact that he can neither deceive nor be deceived ; for we can demonstrate scientifically, from principles furnished by the light of natural reason, that God is infinitely wise and good, and no being infinitely wise and good can deceive or be deceived. God is the first truthprima Veritasin being, in knowing, and speaking, in essendo, in cognoscendo, et in dicendo^-^ and therefore whatever he declares to be true must necessarily and infallibly be true. Nothing, then, is more reasonable than to believe God on his word-or simple veracity ; for it is no more than to believe that infinite and perfect truth, truth itself, cannot lie. Whatever God has revealed must be true. Even the Exam-iner would admit the doctrine of the Trinity, if it were proved to be a doctrine of Divine revelation. The witness, ground, or authority for believing the supernatural is the veracity of God, and this all will admit to be sufficient, if we have it; and none will admit, if they understand themselves, that a lower authority is sufficient.

3. But, although the veracity of God is the ground or authority on which we assent to the matter revealed, yet we cannot believe without sufficient evidence of the fact of revelation, or, in other words, without a witness competent to testify to the fact that God has actually revealed the matter in question,  made the particular revelation to which assent is demanded. The Examiner is Unitarian, but it will tell us that it ought to believe the doctrine of the Trinity, if God has revealed it. Yet it demands, very properly, evidence of the fact that God has revealed it or declared its truth. Reasonable or a well grounded belief in the supernatural, then, requires two witnesses, two vouchers ; one to the truth of the matter revealed, which is the veracity of God revealing it ; the other to the fact of the revelation, or that the matter in question has actually been revealed.

4.  The revelation is made to intelligent beings, and must therefore consist in intelligible, enunciable propositions.    We do not mean that the truths revealed should be comprehensible ; for every supernatural truth, as to its matter, must be wholly incomprehensible to natural reason ; but that the formal proposition of the truths to be believed must be intelligible.    What is present to the mind, in believing the revelation, are these formal propositions, which convey the truth, but in an obscure manner, to the understanding.   If we should mistake the propositions actually contained in God's revelation, or substitute others therefor, since it is only through the formal proposition we arrive at the matter revealed, we should not believe the revelation which God has actually made, but something else, and something else for which we cannot plead the veracity of God, and therefore something for which we have no solid ground of faith. Suppose you adduce a book which you say contains the revelation God has^ made, and suppose you bring ample vouchers for the fact that it really does contain such revelation. In this case I should have sufficient ground for believing the book to contain the word of God ; but before I should believe the word of God, that is the revelation itself, I must believe the contents of the book in their genuine sense.    I must have, then, some authority, extrinsic or intrinsic, competent to declare what is the genuine sense of the book.    What I believe is what is in mente when I believe.   What is in mente is the interpretation or meaning I give to God's word. If this interpretation or meaning be not the genuine sense, I do not, as we have said, believe God's word, but something else. Faith in the supernatural requires, then, in addition to the witness that vouches for the fact that God has made the revelation, an interpreter competent to declare the true meaning of the revelation.

5.   The faith we are required to have is equally required in all times and places. It is said, qui non crediderit, that is, anyone, without any limitation of lime or space, who believeth not, shall be condemned. Then there must be no limitation of the conditions sine qua non of faith, in time or space. Then the witness for the faith, and the interpreter of God's word, must be present in all nations, and subsist through all ages. We who live in this country at the present day need them just as much and in the same sense as the Jews needed them in the age of the Apostles.

6.   The witness to the fact of the revelation, and the interpreter of the word, must not only subsist through all ages and nations, but must be unmistakable; and unmistakable not only by a few philosophers, scholars, and men of parts and leisure, but by the great mass of the poor, the busy, the weak, the ignorant, the illiterate ; for all these are equally commanded to believe, and have a right to have a solid ground of belief, which they cannot have, if they may mistake, with ordinary prudence, the true witness and interpreter, and call in a false witness and a misinterpreter.

7.  The witness and interpreter must be infallible ; for, if fallible, it may call that God's word which is not his word, and assign a meaning to God's word itself which is not the genuine meaning. We may, then, be deceived, and think we are believing God's word when we are not. But where there is a possibility of deception, there is room for doubt, and where there is room for doubt, there is no faith ; for the property of faith is to exclude doubt. The Apostle says, " I know in whom I believe, and am certain," and whoever cannot say as much has not yet elicited an act of faith. Faith is a theological virtue, as we have proved in proving its necessity as one of the conditions of salvation ; and it consists in believing, without doubting, explicitly or implicitly, all the truths God has revealed, on the veracity of God alone. It requires absolute certainty, both objective and subjective. Where there is belief without sufficient objective grounds of belief, the belief is not faith, but a mere opinion or persuasion.    Mere subjective certainty, that is, an inward persuasion, even though it should exclude all actual doubt, would not be faith, unless warranted by evidence in which reason can detect no deficiency. It is a blind prejudice, and would vanish before the light of intelligence. A man may fancy that his head is set on wrong side before, and be so firmly persuaded of it that no reasoning can convince him to the contrary ; but his internal persuasion has little relation to faith. For faith is eminently, though not exclusively, an act of the understanding, and must be reasonable, and he who has it must have a solid reason which he may assign for it. The man does not believe, if he doubts, or may reasonably doubt; and if the evidence on which he fancies he believes is not sufficient, he may reasonably doubt. He who has for his faith only the testimony of a fallible witness, who may both deceive and be deceived, has always a reasonable ground for doubt, and therefore no solid ground for faith. If he reason at all on the testimony, open his eyes at all to his liability to be deceived, he cannot, however earnestly he may try to believe, avoid doubting. Therefore, since, with a fallible witness, or fallible interpreter, we can never be sure that we are not mistaken, it follows, if we are to have faith at all, we must have a witness and interpreter that cannot err, therefore infallible.

We sum up again by saying, that it is necessary to believe the truth Jesus Christ revealed, or, in other words, the Christian revelation ; that to believe this is to believe truths which pertain to the^ supernatural order ; and that, to have a solid ground for believing truths pertaining to the supernatural order, we must have, 1. The word or veracity of God ; 2. A witness to the fact of the revelation, and an interpreter of the genuine sense of what God has revealed, infallible and subsisting through all ages and nations, and, with ordinary prudence, unmistakable by even the least gifted and the least instructed. The first the Examiner will not deny us. We proceed to prove that we have the second.

III. There must be such a witness and interpreter, or, in other words, some infallible means of determining what is the word of God, because God has made belief of his word the condition sine qua non of salvation. We know from natural theology, that is, from what we can clearly see of God by natural reason, that he is, that he is just, and that he would not be just, should he make faith the condition sine qua non of salvation, and not
provide the conditions sine qua non of faith. He has made faith the condition sine qua non of salvation, as we have proved, and as the Examiner must admit, unless it chooses to deny the Christian revelation altogether. But the infallible witness and interpreter alleged is the condition sine qua non of faith, as we have shown from the nature of faith itself. Therefore, God, since he is just and cannot belie himself, has provided us with the witness and interpreter required, or, what is the same thing, some infallible means of determining what is the word he commands us to believe.
There is, then, the witness and interpreter of God's word in question. Who or what is it ? To this question four answers may be returned :  1. Reason ; 2. The Bible ; 3. Private illumination ; 4. The Apostolic ministry, or Ecclcsia docens, the Church teaching. Other answers may be conceived, but the true answer is manifestly one of these four.

1. Reason may be taken in two senses:  1. The cognitive faculty^ vis intellectiva, as distinguished from the sensibility, or vis sensitiva ; 2. The discursive faculty, or vis ratiocinativa. In the first sense it is the faculty of knowing intuitively, and is the principle of what we term knowledge, in distinction from what is technically termed science. In this sense, reason, in order to answer our purpose, to serve as the witness and interpreter proved to be necessary, must be able either to know God intuitively, or to apprehend intuitively the intrinsic truth of his word. Reason must see God face to face, know intuitively that it is God who speaks ; or it cannot testify, on its own knowledge, to the fact that the speaker alleged is God. But reason cannot see God thus face to face. We have and can have no intuitive knowledge of God, for him no man seeth or can see and live. Therefore reason cannot be the witness on the ground of its intuitive apprehension of God, nor can it be on the ground of its intuitive perception or apprehension of the intrinsic truth of the matter revealed. Our natural reason or power of knowing cannot extend beyond the bounds of nature. But the matter revealed, or truths to be believed, are supernatural, and therefore transcend the reach of natural intellect. If the natural intellect could attain to them, they would be, not supernatural, but natural. Moreover, if the intrinsic truth of the revelation could be apprehended, intuitively known, it would be, not a matter of faith, but of knowledge; for faith is, to believe what is not seen,  argumentum non apparentium. Heb. xi. 1.    But it is a matter of faith, as already proved, and therefore
not of knowledge. Therefore reason cannot apprehend the intrinsic truth of the revelation, and from the intrinsic truth know it to have been divinely revealed. Therefore reason, as the vis intellectiva, cannot be the witness.
Reason, in the second sense, is discursive, the subjective principle of science in distinction from intuitive knowledge, the faculty of deducing conclusions from given premises. If the premises are true, the conclusions are valid. But reason cannot furnish its own premises. They must be given it; hence, are called data. These data must be furnished either by knowledge, that is intuition, or by faith. But in the case before us they can be furnished by neither ;  not by knowledge, as we have just proved ; and not by faith, because faith is the matter in question.

Proof by reason, in the sense we now use the term, is called demonstration. The position assumed, when it is alleged that the discursive reason is the witness of the fact of revelation, is, that reason can find in the internal character of the revelation itself, or what purports to be a revelation, the data from which it can demonstrate that it is actually the word of God. But this is possible only on condition that reason, independently of all revelation, be in possession of so perfect a knowledge of God as to be able to say a priori what a revelation from God will be and must necessarily be. But this is inadmissible ; 1. Because it would imply that the revelation is intrinsically evident to natural reason, and therefore that it is an object of science and not of faith ; and 2. Because the revelation is of God as supernatural, and reason has no intimation, even, of God as the supernatural, save through the medium of supernatural revelation itself. The knowledge which reason has of God prior to the revelation is simply what is contained in natural theology, which is knowledge of God only as author, sustainer, and sovereign of nature. From this it is, indeed, possible to obtain data from which we may conclude, within certain limits, what a supernatural revelation cannot be, but not what it must be. God, whether as author of nature, or as author and dispenser of grace, that is, as natural or as supernatural, is one and the same being, and therefore cannot in the one be in contradiction to what he is in the other. If, in what purports to be a revelation from him, we find that which contradicts what is clearly seen of him from the creation of the world and the things that are made, we have the right to pronounce it, a priori, not his revelation.    But beyond this reason cannot go ; for it is not lawful to conclude from nature to grace, from the natural to the supernatural, from data furnished by natural science to supernatural revelation. Reason, then, has no data from which it can conclude to the fact of the revelation. Therefore it cannot be the witness demanded.

Moreover, if reason knew enough of God, independently of the supernatural revelation, to be able, from the intrinsic character of the revelation, to pronounce on its genuineness, not only negatively but affirmatively, it would know all of God the revelation itself could teach. The revelation would then be superfluous, in fact, no revelation at all; and the question of its genuineness would be an idle question, not worth considering. To assume the competency of reason, as the witness, would then be to deny the necessity of the revelation and its value, which, in point of fact, is what all our Rationalists do, and apparently wish to do.

But, in denying the competency of reason as the witness to the fact of the revelation, we do not deny the office of reason in determining whether a revelation has been made, nor that the fact of revelation is, can, and should be, made evident to natural reason. We merely deny that it is intrinsically evident. It is not intrinsically evident, but eztrinsically evident; not internally demonstrable, but externally provable. It can be proved not by reason, but to reason by testimony ; and of the credibility of the testimony, reason may, can, and should judge.

Three things must always be kept distinct on the question of supernatural revelation : 1. The ground of faith in the truths revealed ; 2. The authority on which we take the fact of revelation ; 3. The credibility of this authority. The first, as we have seen, is the veracity of God, and is sufficient, because God is prima Veritas in essendo, in cognoscendo, et in di-cendo,  the ultimate truth in being, in knowing, and in speaking, and therefore can neither deceive nor be deceived. The second we are seeking, and it is not a witness to the truth of the matter revealed, but to the fact that God reveals it, and can be competent only on condition of being itself supernatural or supernaturally enlightened. The third is the credibility of the witness to the fact of revelation, and must be evidenced to natural reason ; or there will be an impassable gulf between reason and faith, and we can have no reason for our faith, and therefore no faith.
The fact of revelation, we shall show in its proper place, may be evidenced to natural reason through the credibility of the witness, and therefore, that faith is possible. But because reason is competent to judge of the credibility of the witness, we must not conclude that it is itself a competent witness to the fact of revelation. This conceded, the second answer is inadmissible, for the fact of revelation is neither intuitively certain nor internally demonstrable.

2. The answer just dismissed is that of the Rationalists, and is, in one of its forms, substantially the one which we ourselves gave in all we preached and wrote on the subject while associated with the Unitarians. This second answer is the Protestant answer, and the one, if we understand him, adopted by the writer in the Christian Examiner. This assumes that the Bible is the witness ; that is, the Bible interpreted by the private reason of the believer, availing himself of such aids, philological, critical, historical, &c, as may be within his reach. But this answer cannot be accepted, because, without an infallible authority independent of the Bible, it is impossible, 1. To settle the canon; 2. To establish the sufficiency of the Scriptures ; 3. To determine their genuine sense.

The Bible can be adduced as the witness only in the character of an authentic record of the revelation actually made ; because, according to its own confession, as we may find on examining it, it was not the original medium of the revelation itself. The revelation, according to the Bible itself, in great part at least, was in the first instance made orally, and orally published before it was committed to writing. This is especially true of the Christian revelation, in so far as distinguished from the Jewish. It was communicated orally to the Apostles by Jesus Christ, and by them orally to the public ; and converts were made, and congregations of believers gathered, before one word of it was written. The writing was subsequent to the teaching and believing, and evidently, therefore, the primitive believers believed without having any authority for believing, or had an authority for believing independent of written documents. To them what we term the Bible was not the witness. It, then, was not the original witness, or, as we have said, the original medium of the revelation. Its value, then, must consist entirely in the fact, that it faithfully records, in an authentic form, what was actually revealed. It is, then, only as a record that it can be adduced as evidence. But a record is no evidence till authenticated. It cannot authenticate itself; for, till authenticated, its testimony is inadmissible.    It must be authenticated by some competent
authority independent of itself. This authentication of the Bible as a record of the revelation made is what we call settling: the canon.                                                                             

Now, it is obvious, that, till the canon is settled, we have no authentic record, no Bible, to adduce. We may have a number of books bound up together, to which the printer has given he title of The Bible; but what we want is not the book called the tfible, but authentic records to which we may appeal as evidence; and if the book we call the Bible contains books which are not authentic records, or does not contain all that are, we cannot appeal to it as evidence; for we may, in the one case, take for revelation what is not revelation, and, in the other, leave out what is revelation. This is evident of itself. We must, then, settle the canon. But where is the authority to settle it ?                                                                          

The authority must be, 1. Independent of the Bible; 2. Infallible. But the advocates of the answer we are considering admit no infallible authority but that of the Bible itself. Therefore they have no authority by which to settle the canon, or to determine what is Bible or what is not Bible.

It will not do to say, the canon is all those books which have been received by the Church as canonical; because the advocates oi this answer deny the authority of the Church, and stoutly contend that it may both deceive and be deceived. It will not do to appeal to tradition ; for what vouches for the inerrancy of tradition ? And what right have Protestants to appeal to tradition, whose authority they do not admit, and which they contend may err and does err on many and the most vital points? Nor will it do to adduce the Fathers; for they only establish what in their time was the tradition or belief of the Church, by no means the intrinsic truth of that tradition or belief.  Where, then, is the authority for settling the canon ?

There is no authority, on Protestant principles, as is evident from the fact that Protestants have no canon.  They all exclude from the canon established by the Church several books which the Church holds to be canonical. As to the remaining books, they dispute whether all are canonical or not. Luther rejects the Catholic Epistle of St. James, which he denominates  "an epistle of straw," and also doubts the canonicity of several others. Mr. Andrews Norton, a learned and leading Unitarian, formerly a professor in the Divinity School, Cambridge, rejects pretty much the whole of the Old Testament, the Epistle to the Hebrews, the Epistles of James and Jude
the second of Peter, and the Apocalyse, in the New Testament, casts suspicion on the canonicity of all the Pauline Epistles, strikes out the first chapters of Matthew and Luke, and such portions of the remaining books as are demanded by the conveniences of his critical canons, or the exigencies of his dogmatic theology.   Not a few of our Unitarians restrict'the canon to the four Gospels. Several of the Germans strike from these the Gospel according to St. John ; while Strauss, Feuerbach, and the Rev. Theodore Parker, the distinguished pastor of the Unitarian church in West Roxbury, Massachusetts, regard the remaining Gospel narratives rather as a collection of anecdotes illustrating the notions of the early Christian believers, than as authentic histories of events which actually transpired ; and the great body of Liberal Christians, who are the Protestants of Protestants, agree that'the Bible is so loosely written, is so filled with metaphor  and Oriental hyperbole, that no argument, especially no doctrine, can be safely built on single words, or even single sentences, however plain, positive, and uncontradicted, or unmodified by other portions of Scripture, their meaning may seem to be.    It is evident, from this  statement of facts, that I rotestants have no canon ; that each private man is at liberty to settle the canon according to his own judgment or caprice ; and therefore that they have no authentic record to adduce as evidence of the fact of revelation.    They must agree among themselves what is Bible, what is inspired Scripture, and authenticate the record, before they can legitimately introduce it as an infallible witness.

But pass over the difficulty of settling the canon ; suppose the canon to be settled according to the decision of the Church, and that, by an inconsistency which in the present case cannot be avoided, the authority of the Church to settle the canon is conceded ; still there remains the question of the sufficiency of the Scriptures. The record, however authentic it may be, can be evidence only for what is contained in it. If it does not contain the whole revelation, it is not .evidence for the whole. If not evidence for the whole, it is not sufficient ; for it is the whole revelation, not merely a part, to which the witness is needed to testify.
That the Scriptures do contain the whole revelation is not to be presumed prior to proof; because they themselves testify that they are not, at least only in part, the original medium of the revelation. If the revelation had been, in the first instance, made by writing, and by writing only, then, if we had the entire written word, we should have the right to conclude that we had the whole revealed word. But since a part of the revelation, to say the least, was communicated orally, taught and believed before the writing was commenced, we cannot conclude from the possession of the entire written word to the possession of the entire revealed word, unless we have full evidence that the whole revealed word has been written. The fact of the sufficiency of the Scriptures is not, then, to be presumed from the fact of their canonicity. It is a fact to be proved, not taken for granted.

But this fact cannot be proved by tradition, by the authority of the Church, or by the testimony of the Fathers ; for these all, on Protestant principles, are fallible, and not to be depended upon ; and, moreover, they all testify against the fact in question. It cannot be proved by reason ; because reason takes cognizance not of the fact of revelation, but simply of the motives of credibility. It must be proved by an authority above reason, and, as already established, by an authority which cannot err. But the Bible is asserted to be the only inerrable authority. Therefore it must be proved from the Bible itself. But the Bible proves no such thing, for it nowhere professes to contain the whole revelation which has been made, but even indicates to the contrary. Therefore the sufficiency of the Scriptures cannot be proved. But the sufficiency of the Scriptures must mean that they are sufficient to teach not only the whole revelation of God, but the fact that they do teach the whole ; for without this no one can know whether he has the faith God commands him to have, or not. But in failing to prove their sufficiency, they fail to prove this fact; therefore, by failing to prove their sufficiency, they prove their own insufficiency.

It may be replied, that, though the Scriptures may not contain a full record of all that was revealed, they nevertheless contain all that it is necessary to be believed in order to be saved. We considered this in our former number, in our review of the Lectures of Bishop Hopkins, on the British Reformation. We reply now, 1. That the command of God to us is not to believe the Bible, or tlje written word, but the revelation which he has made ; and therefore we are not to presume that we have the faith required, from the fact that we believe the whole written word, unless we have first established the fact that the written word is commensurate with the revealed word. 2. God, we know by natural reason, cannot reveal what he does not require to be believed ; for the truth revealed while unbelieved, so far as unbelieved, is as if unrevealed, and therefore its revelation has no sufficient reason. But God cannot act without a sufficient reason. No sufficient reason for the revelation of truth, but that it should be believed, can be conceived, or possibly exist. Therefore God reveals it that it should be believed. Then he requires it to be believed. No one can fail to do what God requires, without sin. If we cannot fail to believe what God has revealed, without sin, we cannot be saved without believing it. Therefore, it is necessary to salvation to believe all that God has revealed.     Again :

God cannot make a revelation and require us to believe it, without making it so evident that we can have no intellectual reason for not believing it. Unbelief, then, must be the result of some perversity of the will, some moral repugnance, which withholds us from the consideration of the truth revealed, and the evidences of the fact of its revelation. But this perversity of will, this moral repugnance, is a sin, and as much so in the case of one truth revealed as in the case of another. Therefore we cannot refrain from believing what God has revealed, without sin. Therefore it is necessary to believe all that God has revealed, in order to be saved. Therefore the Scriptures do not contain all that it is necessary to believe for salvation, unless they contain all that God has revealed.

3. But waiving these considerations, it is either a fact that the Scriptures do contain all that is necessary to salvation, or it is not. If it be a fact, it is a fact which must be proved, and proved by a competent authority. The only competent authority, on Protestant principles, is the Bible itself. If the Bible asserts that it contains all that is necessary to be believed in order to be saved, then it must be conceded that it does. If it assert no such thing, then the proposition is false. But the Bible nowhere asserts that it contains all that is necessary to be believed in order to be saved. Therefore, the Bible does not contain all that is necessary to be believed ; for this fact itselt, of the sufficiency of the faith it does contain, is itself essential to that sufficiency.
But even admitting the Scriptures may contain the whole revelation, it is not possible by private reason alone to be infallibly certain of their genuine sense. To believe that the Scriptures contain the whole word of God is not to believe that word itself. It is merely believing them to be authoritative, which is indeed something, and, in this age of infidelity, rationalism, and transcendentalism, no doubt a great deal; but is not the faith required. The command is not to believe that the Bible js an authentic record of the revelation, but to believe the truths revealed, not the Bible, but what the Bible, riehtly interpreted, teaches. The truths revealed are the object, or, as the theologians say, objectum materiale of faith ; and these evidently are not believed, unless the Bible be believed in its genuine sense, even assuming the Bible to contain them all.

We insist on this point, because it is one on which there are Irequent and dangerous mistakes.    The matter of faith is these revealed truths, which are fixed and unalterable, universal and eternal, and which must be carefully distinguished from our notions or apprehensions of them, which are dependent on our mental states  or conditions, and change and fluctuate as we ourselves   change or fluctuate.     These  notions  are not the matter of faith, and to hold  fast these is quite another thine irom holding fast the truths themselves.   If these notions, which are our interpretations or constructions of the truth, were the faith required, the faith would be one thing with one man, another thing with another, and   one thing with the same man yesterday, another to-day, and perhaps still another to-morrow. I he true faith is an undoubting belief of the truth, not what a man honestly thinks to   be the truth, but   what really  is truth ; or otherwise men could be saved under any form of faith, and under one form of faith as well as another, so far as faith is requisite to salvation, for there is probably no form of error which has not its honest adherents.     Sincerity in the belief of error cannot be the substitute for Christian faith ; for we have found that the faith which is the condition sine qua non of salvation is belief of truth and not falsehood, and  of that very truth which Jesus Christ revealed.    But this truth we do not believe, unless it lie in our interpretation as it lay in the mind of Jesus Christ himself.    If it do not so lie, then we misinterpret it, and the misinterpretation of truth is not truth, and to believe this misinterpretation is to believe not the truth, but something else.    If, then, we do not believe the revelation made in the Scriptures, its genuine sense, in the sense intended by Almighty God, we do nqt believe the revelation at all.

Now, it is necessary not only that we seize, without any mistake, this genuine sense, but that we be infallibly certain that we have seized it, and not another sense. Even admitting that with nothing but private reason we could hit upon the genuine sense of Scripture, it would avail us nothing, unless we had this infallible certainty ; because without this infallible certainty we could not have faith.    Will any man pretend that it is possible by private reason alone to be infallibly certain that we have the genuine sense of the Scriptures ?    We may, perhaps, feel certain ; but this feeling certain is not faith.    Faith is a firm, unwavering, and unvvaverable conviction of the understanding, as well as a cheerful assent of the will, resulting from the presence of full and  infallible evidence.     The mere feeling is  worth nothing.    Every enthusiast, every fanatic, has the feeling ; but he who has nothing else is a mere reed shaken with the wind, or a wild beast let loose in society, as unacceptable to God as unprofitable to himself or dangerous to his associates.    It is not this Almighty God demands of us, and it is not for the want of this that he places us under condemnation and suffers his wrath to abide  upon us.    No ; we must have certainty, an intellectual certainty,   certainty which   the  mind can   grasp,  and  its hold of which all the craftiness of subtle sophists, all the allurements of the world, all the temptations of the flesh, and all the assaults of hell, cannot induce it for one moment to relax. We must have a faith which can be proof against all trials, come they from what quarter they may; for our life is a warfare, an incessant warfare, and there come to all of us moments when nothing but a firm, fixed, and unalterable faith can sustain us, moments when feeling, when the dearest affections of the heart, when all that can powerfully affect us as creatures of time and sense, conspire against us, and we must stand up against them and even against ourselves.    O, in these terrible moments, in the sacred name of Christian charity, mock us not with a faith that melts away into mere feeling, and vanishes in mere caprice !

Now, it needs no words to prove that a faith which is not grounded on the word of God, who can neither deceive nor be deceived, will not answer our wants, will not be proof against the many " fiery trials" to which it must needs in this world be subjected. But we have no such faith merely because we have the Bible in our possession, nor because the Bible contains the word of God, nor because we read and study it and believe that we believe it. We have such a faith only on condition of knowing infallibly that what we take to be the meaning of the Bible is God's meaning ; for the faith is belief of the truth as it is in Jesus, not as it may be in-us. We ask again, Can private reason give us this certainty ?

This is a serious question, and one which the Protestant must
answer, before he can have any solid reason for his faith. It will not do to call upon us to prove the negative ; for, even if we could not prove that it is impossible from the Bible and private reason to become infallibly certain of the genuine sense of the word of God, it would not follow that we can from them obtain the infallible certainty without which there is no faith, and, if no faith, no salvation. He who affirms the proposition must prove it, not for the sake of meeting the logical conditions of his opponent's argument, for that is an affair of small moment; but for himself, for his own mind, to have in himself and for himself a well grounded faith. Now, how will he prove this proposition, that from the Bible and private reason alone he can ascertain the genuine sense of the word of God, and know infallibly that he has that sense ?