The Church against No-Church--Part II

Part II of II

Will he prove this proposition from the Bible ? He is bound by his own principles to do this ; for this is his rule of faith, and his rule of faith should rest on Divine authority. But he admits no Divine authority but the Bible. Then he must prove it from the Bible, or admit that he has no sufficient authority for it.  Can he prove it from the Bible?  Not in express terms, for the Bible in express terms does not assert it, as is well known. It can be proved from the Bible only by means of certain passages which are assumed to imply it.    But whether these do imply it or not  depends on the interpretation we give them. It can be proved from Scripture, then, only by a resort to interpretation.    But the interpretation demands the application, the use of the rule, as the condition of establishing it.    But how determine that the interpretation which authorizes the rule is not itself a misinterpretation, especially since it is an interpretation which is disputed ? Can the rule be proved from reason ?  Not from reason, as the faculty of intuition ; because the fact, that from the Bible and private' reason alone we can infallibly determine what it is that God has actually revealed, is evidently not intuitively certain.    From reason, as the vis ratiocinativa 1 From what data shall we conclude to it ?    It may be said, that God is just, that he has made a revelation, commanded us to believe it, and made our belief of it the condition sine qua non of salvation ; but that he would not be just in so doing, if this revelation were  not infallibly ascertainable in its genuine sense by the prudent exercise of natural reason.    Ascertainable by natural reason in one method or another, we grant; but by private reason and the Bible alone, we deny the consequence : for God may have made the revelation ascertainable only by a divinely commissioned and supernaturally guided and protected body of teachers, and the office of natural reason to be to judge of the credibility of this body of teachers. From the fact that the revelation is addressed to reasonable beings, and is to be believed by such, and therefore must be made intelligible, it does not necessarily follow that it must be intelligible from the Scriptures and private reason alone. For this would imply that the Scriptures were intended to be the medium and the only medium through which God makes his revelation to men ; the very question in dispute.

Can it be proved as a matter of fact, from experience ? We have before us the history of Protestant sects for the last three hundred years. A three hundred years' experience ought to suffice to demonstrate the possibility of their ascertaining the sense of God's word, if it be thus ascertainable. Yet Protestants during this long period have done little else than vary their interpretations, dispute, wrangle, divide, subdivide, and sub-subdivide, on the question of what it is God has revealed. They are now split up into some five or six hundred sects. I here is not a single doctrine in which they all agree ; not a single doctrinehas been asserted by one that has not been denied by another. The writer in the Examiner is a conscientious and devout Unitarian, and yet how large a portion of his Protestant brethren will not deem it an excess of courtesy on our part to treat him and his associates as Christian believers ? The Gospel according to the late Dr. Channing has very little affinity with the Gospel according to Dr. Beecher. Now, truth is one, and can admit of but one true interpretation. Of these many hundred Protestant interpretations, only one at most can be the true interpretation ; all the rest are false interpretations, and their adherents are no Christian believers. Can any Protestant say with infallible certainty that his interpretation is the true one ? If not, how can he elicit an act of faith ? If he cannot elicit an act of faith, how can he be a Christian ?
The writer in the Examiner makes very light of these different interpretations of the word of God, and thinks difference of interpretation can do no great harm, because, in his judgment, over it all " there may prevail a harmony of sentiment and a harmony of life." But he mistakes the end of unity of faith. Unity of faith is essential because truth is one, and there can be but one true faith, and without this true faith salvation is not possible, as before proved. Sine fide impossible est placere Deo ; and this must needs be the true faith, not a false faith, which in fact is no faith at all. Our Unitarian friend seems to imagine that what we are required to believe is, not the truth, but what we think to be the truth ; that is, we are required to believe the truth not as it is in Jesus, but merely as it is in ourselves ! Does he find any proof of this convenient doctrine m the Scriptures ? Can he adduce a « Thus saith the ¦Lord lor it ? If not, according to his own principles, it rests on y on human authority, on which he does not allow us to believe ; for he makes it the duty of the believer to stand np firm against all human dictation in matters of belief. In this he is right, and we must have higher authority than even his before we can consent to regard any man's constructions of the truth, unless we have infallible authority for believing them the true constructions, as the truth Almighty God commands us to believe, and for not believing which we must lie under his wrath and condemnation.

No argument can be drawn, it is evident, from experience to prove that from the Bible and private reason alone we can determine with infallible certainty what is the revelation of God. So far as experience throws any light on the subject, it warrants the opposite conclusion, and makes it pretty nearly certain that without something else faith is out of the question.    Protestants in fact, have no faith ; nay, so far from having any faith, nearly all ol them deny its possibility, in the sense in which it is any thing more than a strong inward persuasion.    They have, as we have  seen, no authority from the Bible, from reason, or from experience, for their rule of faith ; and they cannot be such poor logicians as to infer that they can have faith by virtue of a rule which is not authorized..    This is, no doubt, a serious matter lor them ; for, ever must ring in their ears sine fide impossible est placere Deo, qui non crediderit condemnabitur.    We must, then, either give up the possibility of faith, or seek some other than the Protestant answer to the question, Who or what is the witness to the fact of revelation ?

3. The insufficiency of this answer has been felt even by Protestants themselves, and some of them have proposed a third answer, which we may denominate Private Illumination, because it is a revelation made for the special benefit of him who receives it, and not a revelation to be communicated by him lor the faith or confirmation of the faith of others. It is contended for under various forms, but the more common form and the one which principally concerns us in this discussion, is the Calvinistic, or what is usually denominated Christian Experience. This concedes the defectiveness of the logical evidence oi the fact of revelation, and pretends that it is supplied by a certain interior illumination from the Holy Ghost in the fact of regeneration, whereby the believer is enabled to know by his own experience the truth of the doctrines he believes or is required to believe.  The famous Jonathan Edwards was a great advocate for this, and sets it forth with considerable ability in his treatise on he Affections, and especially in a sermon on The Reality of the Spiritual Light, preached at Northampton in 1734. It is insisted on, we believe, by all our Protestant sects that claim to be Evangelical. Indeed, this, in their estimation, constitutes the chief mark by which Evangelicals are distinguished from Non-evangelicals.

That there is a Christian sense, so to speak, internal tradition as it is called, to distinguish it from the external, which belongs to Christians, and which makes them altogether better judges of what ,s Christian truth than are those who are out of the pale of Christendom, and that the regenerate, the elect, those who belong to the soul of the Church, have a clearer perception, a more vivid appreciation, of the truth, beauty, grandeur, and worth of Christian faith than have the unregenerate, we of course very distinctly and cheerfully admit.    We also admit, and contend, that "faith is the gift of God," not merely because  it is  belief in truth which  God has graciously  revealed, as our Unitarian friends apparently maintain, but because no man can believe, even now that the truth is revealed, without the aid of divine grace, that is to say, without grace super-naturally bestowed.    Faith is a virtue which has merit; but no virtue possible without the aid of divine grace has merit, that is, merit m relation to the reward of eternal life.    The grace ot iaith is absolutely essential to the eliciting of the act of faith. bo tar we recognize our Calvinistic brethren as orthodox.

But wherein lies the necessity of this grace, and for what is it needed ?    Mt to supply the defect of evidence, but to incline the will. ^ Unbelief is a sin, and a sin of no small magnitude ; but this sin is not in the intellect, for sin is predicable only of the will.    Yet, if the evidence of a given doctrine were insufficient to convince the intellect, there could be no sin in the will s refusing to believe it.    No man is to blame for not believing what is not infallibly evidenced to his understanding. I he sin is in refusing to believe what is so evidenced ; for such refusal can result only from some moral repugnance to the truth or perversity of the will, which withholds the man from the contemplation of the truth and consideration of its evidence. God has made a revelation, and given infallible evidence that he has made it, and men refuse to believe it because they have a moral repugnance to it. Herein is the sin of unbelief. The grace of faith is needed not to strengthen the evidence, nor even to open the eyes of the mind to its completeness, but to overcome this repugnance, and to incline the will to believe. Here, in the region of the will, divine grace is indispensable to eliciting the act of faith.
But the view which makes the grace of faith necessary to supply the defect of logical evidence cannot be admitted. If the grace bestowed in the fact of regeneration be necessary to supply the defect of evidence, it follows, that, prior to regeneration, there is no sufficient evidence for believing. But where there is no sufficient evidence for believing, the refusal to believe is not a sin. Therefore, prior to regeneration, unbelief is not a sin. The obligation to believe does not begin till the evidence be complete. The unregenerate, then, are under no obligation to believe, and do not in any manner sin by not believing. This is evidently not the Christian doctrine, for God commands all men to repent and believe in his Son.
But the fact of regeneration, according to our Calvinistic brethren, consists preeminently in the communication of the grace of faith and they would at once deny the reality of the conversion, if there were not both habitual and active faith. There is, according to them, no amissibility of grace. From which it follows, that, after regeneration, unbelief is impossible. Before regeneration it is possible, but not a sin. Therefore unbelief is never a sin,  a most consoling conclusion to all infidels and misbelievers. Yet the New Testament makes want of faith .in Jesus Christ, or, what is the same thing, the rejection of the Son, a ground of condemnation.

In another form, the doctrine of private illumination is made to mean not merely the confirmation of the believer's faith in a revelation previously made and propounded for his belief, but the medium of the revelation itself. It regards all external revelation, all that may be called historical Christianity, as unnecessary, and teaches that each man has, by grace, the infallible witness in himself, that the Spirit of Truth, promised by Christ to his Apostles to lead them into all truth, is in every man, and has been in every man born into the world, from Adam to the present moment, and is in each man an infallible teacher, revealing and confirming to each man all the truth which concerns his spiritual state, relations, and destiny.    We say, by grace ; for we do not here speak of the doctrine of our modern  Transcendentalists,  which,  though often confounded with the view we have given, the Quaker view, is yet quite distinguishable from it.    The Transcendental doctrine excludes all grace, all that is supernatural, and assumes, that man, by virtue of his natural union with the Divinity, is able to apprehend intuitively all the spiritual truths that concern him.    This, with a Transcendental felicity of expression, has been denominated "Natural-supernaturalism."    But this is only another way of stating the doctrine refuted under the head of the sufficiency of reason as the vis intellectiva, or principle of intuitive knowledge.    " Natural-supernatural " is a barbarism, and involves a direct contradiction.    Either the truths attained are attained by the natural exercise of our natural powers, or they are not.    If not, the Transcendental doctrine is false, for then the knowledge of them would be supernatural.    If they are, then they are not supernatural at all.    Transcendentalism, in point of fact, admits no supernatural order.    Its adherents, following the sublimated nonsense of that profound opium-eater and literary plagiarist, Coleridge, define supernatural to be supersensuous ; and because by science we evidently can attain to what is not sensuous, they sagely infer that we are able to know naturally the supernatural!    Just  as  if what  is  naturally  attained   could be supernatural, either as the object known, or as the medium by which it is known !    Just as if nature could not include the supersensuous as well as the sensuous, as if the soul were not as natural as the body, an angel as man !    But this " natural-supernaturalism " which makes the fortune of Carlyle, Emerson, Parker, and we know not of how many German dreamers, is nothing but a Transcendental way of denying all supernatural revelation, and its refutation does not belong to the present discussion.    It is intended to account for the phenomena presented by the religious history of mankind, without the admission of the supernatural or gracious intervention of Almighty God, and will receive some attention when we come to defend Christianity against unbelievers.    We have no concern  with it now, for at present we are defending the Church against heretics, not infidels.

The Quaker view is theoretically, though perhaps not practically, distinct from this Transcendental natural-snpernaturalism. It does not assume that the supernatural is naturally cognos-cible, nor that the supernatural is merely the supersensuous. It admits the supernatural order, and contends that the witness in every man is distinct from human nature and human reason, and is in the proper sense of the term supernatural.    Now this witness, called " the light within," either enables us to see intuitively the truth, or it merely witnesses to the fact of revelation. If the first, it is too much; for it would imply that the truth is matter of knowledge and not of faith, contrary to what we have proved.    Moreover, it would imply that man is blest with the  beatific vision in   this  life,   and   sees   and   knows   God intuitively, which is not true ; for no man seeth God, or can see him and live.    If the second, then, to the fact of what revelation does it witness ?    To the revelation which God has made us through his Son Jesus Christ ?    Does it witness to this by an inward perception of the truth of the matter revealed ? or by simply deposing to the fact that God revealed it ? Not the first, because that would make the truth revealed a matter of science.    Then the second.    But of this we demand proof.     Do you say, that   the  spirit beareth witness to the fact ?    This may perhaps do for you, but what is it to me ? How will you prove to me that it does so witness, and that the spirit witnessing in you is veritably and infallibly the spirit of God ?    Do you allege, the spirit is in every man testifying to the same fact, and proving itself to each man to be really and truly the infallible spirit of God ?    I deny it, and millions deny it with me.   What have you to oppose to our denial ?   Do you admit our denial ?   Then you abandon your doctrine.   Do you say our denial is false ? Then, also, you abandon your doctrine ; for you admit that we err, and therefore cannot have in us an infallible teacher.   If I deny, I deny by as high authority as you affirm ; and what reason, then, can you give why your affirmation must be received rather than my denial ?

Again : How do you prove that every man has this infallible witness ? From the external revelation, by passages from the Holy Scriptures ? Then you reason in a vicious circle ; for you take the inward witness to prove the Scriptures, and then the Scriptures to prove the witness. From immediate revelation to yourself ? Then you must prove that you are the recipient of such revelation, which you can do only by a miracle, for a miracle is the only proper proof of such a fact.

But do you abandon the ground that it is the external revelation to which the witness deposes, and contend that it is rather the medium of a revelation made solely to the individual, than the witness to a revelation made and propounded for the belief of all men in common ? Then we must remind you that it is nothing to the purpose. Assuming its reality, it can avail only each man separately ; nothing to a common belief, and be no ground for crediting a common revelation, or for making a public or external profession of faith. But the revelation to which we are seeking a witness is not a new revelation, not a private revelation which Almighty God may see proper to make to individuals, but a revelation already made, and propounded for the belief of all men. This is the revelation to be established ; and since your private revelation does not establish this, or, if so, only by superseding it and rendering it of no value (for it can prove it even to the individual only by its being seen to be identical with what the individual receives without it), it evidently cannot be the witness we are in pursuit of. And this is the common answer to the alleged private illumination, whatever its form. It is valid only within the bosom of the individual, and can be alleged in support of no common or public faith ; therefore can be no witness in any disputed case. It may be a private benefit, or may not be. It is a matter not to be spoken of, and a fact never to be used, when the question concerns any thing but the individual himself. The faith we are required to have is a faith propounded to all men, a public faith, and must be sustained by public evidence, by arguments which are open to all and common to all. We must, therefore, reject this third answer, as inappropriate and insufficient.

4. From what we have established it follows that the witness to the fact of revelation is not reason, the Bible interpreted by private reason, nor private illumination ; although we by no means question the fact that through grace even the understanding is illuminated. No witness, then, remains to be introduced but the Apostolic ministry, or Ecclesia docens. We do not, as we have said, deny the possibility on the part of God of adopting some other method ; but he manifestly has not adopted any other than one of the four methods we have enumerated. The first three of these four we have proved he cannot have adopted, because they are inadequate. Then, either the last method is adopted, and the Apostolic ministry is the witness, or we have no witness. But we have a witness, as before proved. Therefore, the Apostolic ministry, or Ecclesia docens, is the witness.
This conclusion stands firm without any further proof, but we do not intend to leave it without proving it a posteriori, by plain, positive, and direct evidence. But before proceeding to do this, we must dispose of one or two preliminary difficulties. According to the principles we have laid down, the witness to the supernatural is incompetent unless it be itself supernatural, or, what is the same thing, supernaturally aided. But the Apostolic ministry is composed of men, each of whom, taken singly, is confessedly only human. The whole is only the sum of the parts. Therefore the ministry itself is only human. If human, natural. If natural, incompetent. Therefore the Apostolic ministry cannot be such a witness as is demanded.

This objection is founded on the supposition that the collective body of teachers are assumed to be the witness by virtue of their natural powers or endowments, which is not the fact. Left to their natural powers, the body of teachers, taken either singly or corporately, would be altogether incompetent, however learned, wise, or pious. The competency of the body of teachers is contended for solely on the ground that Jesus Christ is with it, and supernaturally speaks in and through it ; and in and through the body rather than the teachers taken singly, because his promise, on which we rely, is made to the body, and not to the individuals taken singly. The ministry is the organ through which Jesus Christ supernaturally bears witness to his own revelation. If this be a fact, if Jesus Christ really, by his supernatural presence, be with the Ministry, if in its authoritative teachings he makes it his organ and speaks in and through it, its competency cannot be questioned ; for we then have in it the supernatural witness to the supernatural. Whether this be a fact or not will be soon considered.
But it is still further objected, that, if the witness to the supernatural must be itself supernatural, the supernatural can never be witnessed to natural reason, and therefore man can never have any good grounds for believing the supernatural, unless he be himself supernaturally elevated above his nature. For the competency of the supernatural witness is a supernatural fact which can be proved only by another supernatural witness, which in turn will require still another, and thus on, in infinitum, which is impossible. But we must distinguish between the competency of the witness to testify to the fact of revelation and the motives of the credibility of the witness. The competency of the witness depends on its supernatural character ; the motives of credibility are such as natural reason may appreciate.     The credibility of the witness is supernaturally established to natural reason by means of miracles. A miracle is a supernatural effect produced in or on natural objects, and therefore connects the natural and supernatural, so that natural reason can pass from the one to the other. Since the miracle is wrought on natural objects, it is cognizable by natural reason, and natural reason is able to determine whether a given fact be or be not a miracle. From the miracle the reason concludes legitimately to the supernatural cause, and to the Divine commission or authority of him by whom it is wrought. Having established the Divine comission or authority of the miracle-worker, we have established his credibility, by having established the fact that God himself vouches for the truth of his testimony. The miracle, therefore, supersedes the necessity of the supposed infinite series of supernatural witnesses, by connecting the natural immediately with the supernatural. It is God's own assurance to natural reason, that he speaks in and by or through the person by whom it is performed. Then we have the veracity of God for the truth of what the miracle-worker declares, and therefore infallible certainty ; for God can neither deceive nor be deceived.

The supernatural, it follows from what we have said, is provable. Consequently the character of the Apostolic ministry, as the supernatural witness to the fact of revelation, is provable, that is, is not intrinsically unprovable. It becomes a simple question of fact, and is to be proved or disproved in like manner as any other question of fact falling under the cognizance of natural reason. The process of proof is simple and easy. The miracles of our blessed Saviour were all that was necessary to establish his Divine authority to those who saw them ; for it was evident, as Nicodemus said to him, " No man can do these miracles which thou doest, unless God be with him." St. John iii. 2. These accredited him as a teacher from God. Then he was necessarily what he professed to be, and what he declared to be God's word was God's word. This, the Examiner will admit, was sufficient for the eyewitness of the miracles.

But we are not eyewitnesses. True ; but the fact, whether the miracles were performed or not, is a simple historical question, to which reason is as competent as to any other historical question. If it can be established infallibly to us that the miracles were actually performed, we are virtually and to all intents and purposes in the condition of the eyewitnesses themselves, and they are to us all they were to them. Then they accredit to us, as to them, the Divine commission of Jesus, and authorize the conclusion that whatever he said or promised was infallible truth ; for whether you say Jesus was himself truly God as well as truly man, or that he was only divinely commissioned, you have in either case the veracity of God as the ground of faith in what he said or promised.

Now, suppose it be a fact that Jesus appointed a body of teachers, and promised to be always with them, protecting them from error and teaching them all truth; and suppose, farther, that the appointment and promise are ascertainable by natural reason, infallibly ascertainable. We should have infallible certainty that Jesus Christ does speak in and through this body, that it is infallible in what it teaches, and therefore that what it declares to be the word of God is the word of God ; for it is infallibly certain that Jesus Christ will keep his promise, since the promise is made by God himself, either directly, as we hold, or through his accredited agent, as the Examiner holds, and it is impossible for God to lie, or to promise and not fulfil. In this case, calling this body of teachers the Catholic Church, we could make our act of faith without the least room for doubt or hesitation. "Omy God ! I firmly believe all the sacred truths the Catholic Church believes and teaches, because thou hast revealed them, who canst neither deceive nor be deceived."

Assuming the facts in the case to be as here supposed, the only points in this process to which exceptions can possibly be taken, or which can by any one be alleged to be not infallibly certain, are, 1. The competency of natural reason from historical testimony to establish the fact that the miracles were actually  performed ;  2. Admitting the facts to be infallibly ascertainable, the competency of reason to determine infallibly whether they are miracles or not; 3.  The competency of reason from the miracle to conclude to the Divine authority of the miracle-worker ; 4. Its competency from historical documents to ascertain infallibly the fact of the appointment of the body of teachers, and the promise made them.     These four points, unquestionably essential to the validity of the argument, are to be taken, we admit, on the authority of reason.    Can reason determine these with infallible certainty ? But, if you say it can, you affirm the infallibility of reason, and then it of itself suffices, without other infallible teacher ; if you say it cannot, you deny the possibility of establishing infallibly the infallibility of your body of teachers.
We reply by distinguishing.    Reason is infallible within its own province, we grant; but in regard to what transcends its reach we deny. To deny the infallibility of reason within its province would be to deny the possibility not only of faith, but of both science and knowledge, and to sink into absolute skepticism, even to " doubt that doubt itself be doubting," which is impossible ; for no man doubts that he doubts. Revelation does not deny reason, but presupposes it, and supplies its defect by faith. The objection to reason is not that it cannot judge infallibly of some matters, but that it cannot judge infallibly of all matters. But, because it cannot judge infallibly of all matters, to say it can judge infallibly of none is not to reason justly. As well say, I am not infallibly certain that I see the tree before my window, because I cannot see all that may be going on in the moon. It is infallibly certain that the same thing cannot both be and not be at the same time ; that two things respectively equal to a third are equal to one another ; that the three angles of a triangle are equal to two right angles ; that what begins to exist must have a creator ; that every effect must have a cause, and that every supernatural effect must have a supernatural cause, and that the change of one natural substance into another natural substance is a supernatural effect; that every voluntary agent acts to some end, and every wise and good agent to a wise and good end. These and the like propositions are all infallibly certain. Reason, within its sphere, is therefore infallible; but out of its sphere it is null.

Human testimony, within its proper limits, backed by circumstances, monuments, institutions which presuppose its truth and are incompatible with its falsehood, is itself infallible. I have never seen London, but I have no occasion to see it in order to be as certain of its existence as I am of my own. History, too, is a science ; and although every thing narrated in it may not be true or even probable, yet there are historical facts as certain as mathematical certainty itself. It is infallibly certain that there were in the ancient world the republics of Athens, Sparta, and Rome ; that there was a peculiar people called the Jews, that this people dwelt in Palestine, that they had a chief city named Jerusalem, in this chief city a superb temple dedicated to the worship of the one God, and that this chief city was taken by the Romans, this temple burnt, and this people, after an immense slaughter, were subdued, and dispersed among the nations, where they remain to this day. Here are historical facts, which can be infallibly proved to be facts.

Now, the miracles, regarded as facts, are simple historical facts, said to have occurred at a particular time and place, and are in their nature as susceptible of historical proof as any other facts whatever. Ordinary historical testimony is as valid in their case as in the case of Caesar's or Napoleon's battles. Keason, observing the ordinary laws of historical criticism, is competent to decide infallibly on the fact whether they are proved to have actually occurred or not. Reason, then, is competent to the first point in the process of proof, namely, the fact of the miracles.
It is equally competent to the second point, namely, whether the fact alleged to be a miracle really be a miracle.    A miracle is a supernatural effect produced in or on natural objects. 1 he point for reason to make out, after the fact is proved, is whether the effect actually witnessed be a supernatural effect. lhat it can do this in every case, even when the effect is truly miraculous, we do not pretend ; but that it can do it in some cases, we affirm, and to be able to do it in one suffices.   When i see one natural substance changed into another natural substance, as in the case of converting water into wine, I know the change is a miracle ; for nature can no more change herself than she could create herself.    So, when I see a man who has been four days dead, and in whose body the process of decomposition has commenced and made considerable progress, restored to life and health, sitting with his friends at table and eating, I know it is a miracle ; for to restore life when extinct is no less an act of creative power than to give life.    It is giving life to that which before had it not, and is therefore an act which can be performed by no being but God alone.   Reason,  then,  is  competent to determine the fact whether the alleged miracle really be a miracle.    It is competent, then, to the second point in the process of proof.

No less competent is it to the third, namely,  the Divine commission of the miracle-worker.    In proving the event to be a miracle, I prove it to be wrought by the power of God. Now, I know enough of God, by the natural light of reason, to know that he cannot be the accomplice of an impostor, that he cannot work a miracle by one whose word may not be taken. I he miracle, then, establishes the credibility of the miracle-worker.     Then the miracle-worker is what he says he is.    If he says he is God, he is God ; if he says he speaks by Divine authority, he speaks by Divine authority, and we have God's authority for  what he says.    The third point, then, comes within the province of natural reason, and may be infallibly settled.                                                                                   

The fourth point is a simple historical question ; for it concerns what was done and said by our blessed Saviour in regard to the appointment of a body of teachers. It is to be settled historically, by consulting the proper documents and monuments in the case. It is not a question of speculation, of interpretation even, but simply a question of fact, to which reason is fully competent, and can, with proper prudence and documents, settle infallibly.
These remarks accepted, it follows that the infallible certainty we demand is possible, that is, is not a priori impossible. In passing from the possible to the actual, it is necessary to establish, by historical testimony, the miracles of our blessed Saviour, from which we conclude to his Divinity or Divine commission, and that he did appoint a body of teachers, commission the Ecclesia docens, with the promise of infallibility and indefectibility. The first the Examiner will concede us ; we proceed, therefore, to the proof of the second.

The question before us, distinctly stated, is, Has Jesus Christ commissioned for his Church, that is, for the congregation of the faithful, a body of pastors and teachers, and given this body the promise of infallibility and indefectibility ? If not, faith, as we have seen, is impossible, and no man can have a solid reason for the Christian hope he professes to entertain. It is, then, worth inquiring, whether we have not sufficient proof of the fact that he has commissioned such a body.

In settling this question, we shall use the New Testament, but simply as a historical document. We do this because it abridges our labor, and because the New Testament, so far as we shall have occasion to adduce it, is admitted as good authority by those against whom we are reasoning. It is their own witness, and its testimony must be conclusive against them. Moreover, its general authenticity, as a contemporary historical document, would warrant its use, even if not adduced by our adversaries.

It must not be objected to us, that, after what we have said of the necessity of an infallible authority to authenticate the canon, to quote the Bible to establish the commission in question will be to reason in a vicious circle. This is the standing Protestant objection. We do not admit it. For, 1. We do not depend on the Bible for the historical facts from which we conclude to the commission of the Ecclesia docens, or body of pastors and teachers ; for these facts we can collect from other sources equally reliable, and do so collect them when we reason with unbelievers ; and 2. We do not, in this controversy, quote the Bible as an inspired volume, but simply as a historical document, and therefore not in that character in which the authority of the Church is necessary to authenticate it.

Nor, again, let it be said, that, since, in quoting the Bible to establish the point before us, we have only our private reason for interpreter, we are precluded by our own principles from quoting it at all ; for to be able from the Bible and private reason alone to deduce the faith which is the condition sine qua non of salvation is one thing ; to be able from the New Testament as a historical document to ascertain a simple matter of fact which it records is another and quite a different thing. Some things are clearly and expressly recorded in the Bible, and some are not.    Those which are not clearly and expressly revealed are not to be infallibly ascertained without an infallible interpreter.    But if we are to deduce our faith from the Bible alone, we must be able by private reason alone to ascertain these as well as the others ; for we are not to presume that Almighty God has revealed any thing superfluous, or not essential to the faith.    That we can so ascertain all that is contained in the Bible we have denied, and still deny ; and so must every honest man who has ever seriously attempted the work of interpreting the  Sacred Scriptures.    But  that there are some things in the Bible which may be infallibly ascertained, we have not denied, nor dreamed of denying.    What is clearly and expressly taught in the Bible can be as easily and as infallibly ascertained as what is clearly and expressly taught in any other book; and if all in the book were clear and express, we should no more need any interpreter, but our own reason prudently exercised, than we should for a decree of a council or a brief of the Pope.    It is the character of the book itself that renders the interpreter necessary; and the fact, that its character is such as demands an interpreter to make obvious its contents, is, to say the least, a strong presumption that Almighty God never intended it as the fountain from which we are to draw our faith by private reason alone.    If he had so intended it, he would have made it so plain, so express, so definite, that no one, with ordinary prudence,  could fail to catch  its   precise meaning.    But admitting the obvious insufficiency of private reason to interpret the whole Bible, and deduce from it the faith we are required to have, we may still contend that by private reason alone we are able to determine even infallibly some of its contents. No objection can, then, be urged against our quoting it in the present controversy, especially since we shall quote only what is clear, distinct, and express, and what all must admit to be so.
In proof of our position, that Jesus Christ has appointed, commissioned, a body of teachers with authority to teach, we quote the well known passage in St. Matthew's Gospel, xxviii. 18, 19, 20, " All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations,.....teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you ; and behold, I am with you all days unto the consummation of the world " ; also, St. Mark, xvi. 15, " Go ye into all the earth, and preach the Gospel unto every creature"; and, .Eph. iv. 11, " And some indeed he gave to be apostles, and some prophets, and some evangelists, and others pastors and teachers."
These are conclusive as to the fact that Jesus Christ did commission a body of teachers, or institute the Ecclesia docens. The commission is from one who had authority to give it, because from one unto whom was given all power in heaven and in earth ; it was a commission to teach, to teach all nations, to preach the Gospel to " every creature,"  equivalent, to say the least, to all nations and individuals,  and to teach all things whatsoever ^ Jesus Christ himself commanded. The commission is obviously as full, as express, as unequivocal, as language can make it, and was given by our blessed Saviour after his resurrection, immediately before his ascension.
That this was not merely a commission to the Apostles personally is evident from the terms of the commission itself, and the promise with which it closes. It was the institution and commission of a body or corporation of teachers, which, beginning with the Apostles and continuing the identical body they were, must subsist unto the consummation of the world. For they who were commissioned were commanded to teach all nations and individuals, and in the order of succession as well as in the order of coexistence ; for such is the literal import of the terms. But this command the Apostles personally did not fulfil, for all nations and individuals, even using the term all to imply a moral and not a metaphysical universality, have not yet been taught; they could not fulfil it, for during their personal lifetime all nations and individuals were not even in existence. Then one of three things ; ¦ 1. The Apostles failed to fulfil the command of their Master ; 2. Our blessed Saviour gave an impracticable command ; or, 3. The commission was not to the Apostles in their personal character. We can say neither of the first two ; therefore we must say the last.

But the commission was to the Apostles, and therefore the body of teachers must, in some way, be identical with them, as is evident from the command, « Go ye," indisputably addressed to the Apostles themselves. But they can be identical with the Apostles in but two ways:  1. Personally; 2. Corporately. ihey are not personally identical, for that would make them the Apostles themselves, as numerical individuals, which we have just seen they are not. Then they must be corporately identical. Then the commission was to a corporation of teachers. The commission gave ample authority to teach. There-lore Jesus Christ did commission a body of teachers with ample authority to teach,-and, since commissioned to teach all nations and individuals in the order of succession as well as of coexistence, a perpetual or always subsisting corporation. Ihus the very letter of the commission sustains our position.

I he promise with   which the commission closes does the same.    « Behold I am with you all days unto the consummation of the world."    They to whom this promise was made, and with whom the Saviour was to be present, were identical with the Apostles, for he says to the Apostles, " I am with you." i hey were to be in time, that is, in this life ; for he says, I am with you all days,-ndoag tag weQag,  which cannot apply to eternity, in which the divisions of time do not obtain.    They were not the Apostles personally, because our blessed Saviour says again, « I am with you all days unto the consummation of the world"which is an event still infuturo, and the Apostles personally have long since ceased to exist as inhabitants of time. But they were identical with the Apostles, and, since not personally,  they must be corporately identical.    Therefore the promise was to be with the Apostles, as a body or corporation ot teachers, all days even unto the consummation of the world. But Jesus Christ cannot be with a body that is not.    Therefore the body must remain unto the consummation of the world. Iherefore our blessed Saviour has instituted, appointed, commissioned, a body or corporation of teachers, identical with the Apostles, continuing their authority, and which must remain unto the consummation of the world.
The same is also established by the blessed Apostle Paul in the passage quoted from Ephesians, iv. 11, « And he indeed gave some  to be  apostles,  and   some  prophets, and   some evangelists, and others to be pastors and teachers," taken in connexion with 1 Cor. xii. 28, "And God indeed hath set some m the Church, first, apostles, secondly, prophets, thirdly, teachers ; after that miracles, then the graces of healings, helps, governments, kinds of tongues, interpretations of speeches."    These texts, so far as we adduce them, clearly and distinctly assert that Cod has set in the Church, or congregation of believers, pastors and teachers as a perpetual ordinance. Ihey prove more than this, for which at another time we may contend ; but they prove at least this, which is all we are contending for now. "God hath set," " God gave to be." These expressions prove the pastors and teachers to be of Divine appointment, and therefore that they are not created or commissioned by the congregation itself.    They are set in the Church, given to be, as a perpetual ordinance ; for the rule for understanding any passage of Scripture, sacred or profane, is to take it always m a universal sense, unless the assertion of the passage be necessarily restricted in its application by something in the nature of the subject, or in the context, some known fact, or some principle of reason or of faith.     But obviously nothing of the kind can be adduced to restrict the sense of these passages either in regard to time or space.    They are, therefore, to be taken in their plain, obvious, unlimited sense.    Therefore the institution of pastors and teachers is not only Divine but universal and perpetual in the Church.     
We may obtain the same result from the end for which the pastors and teachers are appointed ; for the argumentum ad quern is not less conclusive than the argumentum a quo. If the end to be attained cannot be attained without assuming the authority and perpetuity of the body of pastors and teachers, we have a right to conclude to their authority and perpetuity; since they are appointed by God himself, who cannot fail to adapt his means to his ends. For what end, then, has God instituted this body of pastors and teachers ? The Apostle answers, " For the perfection of the saints, for the work of the ministry, unto the edification of the body of Christ, till we all meet in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son oi God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the age of the fulness of Christ ; that we may not now be children tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, in the wickedness of men, in craftiness by which they lie in wait to deceive ; but, performing the truth in charity, we may in all things grow up in him who is the head, Christ." Eph. iv. 12-

15. This needs no comment. The end here proposed, for which the Christian ministry is instituted, is one which always and everywhere subsists, and must so long as the world remains. But this is an end which obviously cannot be secured but by an authoritative and perpetual body of teachers. Therefore the body of teachers is authoritative and perpetual. Therefore, God, or God in Jesus Christ, has appointed, commissioned, a body of teachers, the Ecclesia clocens, as an authoritative and perpetual corporation, to subsist unto the consummation of the world.

We have now proved the first part of our proposition, namely, the fact of the institution and commission of the Ecclesia do-cens as an authoritative and perpetual corporation of teachers. Its authority is in the commission to teach ; its perpetuity, in the fact that it cannot discharge its commission without remaining to the consummation of the world, in the promise of Christ to be with it till then, which necessarily implies its existence unto the consummation of the world, and in the fact that the promise is to it as a corporation identical with the Apostles. The proof of this first part of our proposition necessarily proves the second, namely, the infallibility of the corporation. The Divine commission necessarily carries with it the infallibility of the commissioned to the full extent of the commission. It is on this fact that is grounded the evidence of miracles. Miracles do not prove the truth of the doctrine taught; they merely accredit the teacher, and this they do simply by proving that the teacher is Divinely commissioned. The fact to be established is the Divine commission. This once established, it makes no difference whether established immediately, by a miracle, or mediately, by the declaration of one already proved by miracles, as was our blessed Saviour, to speak by Divine authority. Jesus, it is conceded, spoke by Divine authority, even by those who, with the Examiner, deny his proper Divinity. Then a commission given by him was a Divine commission, and pledged Almighty God in like manner as if given by Almighty God himself directly. The teachers were, then, Divinely commissioned. Then in all matters covered by the commission they are infallible ; for God himself vouches for the truth of their testimony, and must take care that they testify the truth and nothing but the truth.
Moreover, the command to teach implies the obligation of obedience. The commission is a command to teach, and to teach all nations and individuals.    Then all nations and individuals are bound to believe and obey these teachers ; for authority is correlative, and where there is no duty to believe and obey, there is no authority to teach. But it is repugnant to reason and the known character of God to say that God will make it the duty of any one to believe and obey a fallible teacher, one who may both deceive and be deceived. Were he to do so, he would participate in the same fallibility, and be the teacher's accomplice in error, which is impossible; for he is, as we have said, prima Veritas in essendo, in cognoscendo, et in dicendo, and therefore can neither deceive nor be deceived. Therefore they whom he has commissioned must be infallible.

We prove the promise of infallibility also from the express testimony of the New Testament. " I will ask the Father," says the Saviour, addressing the disciples, " and he shall give you another Paraclete, that he may abide with you for ever, the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive, because itseeth him not, nor knoweth him ; but you shall know him, because
he shall  abide with you, and be in you.....He shall teach
you all things, and bring all things to your mind whatsoever I
shall have said to you.....When he, the Spirit of Truth, shall
come, he shall teach you all truth ; for he shall not speak of himself, but whatsoever things he shall hear he shall speak. He shall glorify me, for he shall receive of mine and declare it unto you."    St. John, xiv. 16, 17, 26; xvi. 13, 14.

They to whom is here promised the Spirit of Truth are unquestionably the Apostles, who, we have seen, were commissioned as teachers ; but to them necessarily in their corporate capacity, as the Ecclesia docens, not personally, because it is said, the Paraclete shall " abide with you for ever." It is not to a body of teachers in general, that is, to any body of teachers which may claim to be Apostolic, that the promise is made, but to that body which is identical with the Apostles, because it is said, " he shall abide with you," that is, the Apostles. This identifies the subjects of this promise with the subjects of the commission before ascertained. The promise is express, and unmistakable. The Spirit of Truth was not only to abide with the teachers for ever, but was to teach them all things, and bring to their minds whatever Jesus may have said to them ; in a word, to teach them " all truth," that is, all truth included in the terms of the commission. If this be not a promise of infallibility, we confess we know not what would be.

The infallibility of the teachers is, then, established. But, for the special benefit of our Protestant readers, who are a little dull of apprehension on this subject, we repeat, that we do not predicate this infallibility of the body of teachers in their natural capacity, nor of their personal endowments. It in no way, manner, or shape depends on their personal qualities or personal characters, however exalted, whether for intelligence, learning, sagacity, or sanctity. It is God speaking in and through them ; God, who can choose the foolish things of this world to confound the wise, weak things to bring to naught the mighty, nay, base things, and things that are not, and out of the mouth of babes and sucklings show forth his truth and perfect his praise ; who can make the wrath of men praise him, and even the wicked the instruments of his will and the organs of his word ; and who does do so at times, that it may be seen that his truth does not stand in human wisdom, nor his Church depend on human virtue.
For the special benefit of the same class of readers, we remark, in addition, that the infallibility claimed extends only to those matters included in the terms of the commission. These are « all things whatsoever " Jesus commands. In relation to those matters Jesus did not command, or concerning which he gave no commandment, infallibility is not claimed, and could not be established if it were. Nevertheless, from the nature of the case, the Ecclesia docens must be the judge of what things Jesus has commanded her to teach, and therefore unquestionably the interpreter of her own powers. To assume to the contrary would be to deny her authority while seeming to admit it. If she alone has received authority to teach, she alone can say what she has authority to teach.

The indefectibility of the Ecclesia docens follows as a necessary consequence from what has been already established. The commission is the pledge of its own fulfilment. Whatever commission God gives must be fulfilled. This must be admitted, because the commission pledges God himself. The commission was not of a body of teachers, that is, of some body of teachers who should always be found, but it was solely, exclusively, and expressly to the Apostolic ministry. It was to the identical body to whom Jesus himself spoke. He spoke to the Apostles. It was to them, and to them only, the commission was given. But it was a commission the terms of which imply that the commissioned must remain even unto the consummation of the world. But the Apostles none of them personally did so remain. Therefore, though given to them exclusively, it was not given to them in their personal character, but was given, as we have proved, to them as a corporation or body of teachers, in which sense they may continue unto the consummation of the world ; for one of the attributes of a corporation is immortality, and, so long as the terms of its charter are observed, it is perpetuated as the same identical corporation. Now, as the commission was given to the Apostles as a corporation, it was given only to that identical corporation, continued or perpetuated in space and time, which they were. But this commission is a commission to this corporation to teach, and to teach even to the consummation of the world. Then it must exist as the identical corporation to the consummation of the world. Then it can never fail to exist, or lose its identity. The commission is a pledge of infallibility. Then it can never fail, or lose its identity as an infallible body. If it fail in neither of these respects, it is indefectible, so far as we have affirmed its indefectibility ; for we have affirmed its indefectibility only as a body of infallible teachers.

If there be any truth in the principles laid down, any reliance to be placed on the promises of Almighty God made through his Son Jesus Christ, it is infallibly certain that God has, through his Son, established an infallible and indefectible ministry, or Ecclesia docens, commanded it to teach all nations and individuals "all things whatsoever" he has revealed, and therefore commanded all nations and individuals to submit to it, to believe, observe, obey whatsoever it teaches as the revelation of God. The only remaining question for us is, Which of the pretended Christian ministries now extant is the true Apostolic ministry ; that is to say, which is the body of teachers that inherits the promises ? For if we find this one, we know then that it has the promise of infallibility, and that whatever it declares to be the word of God is the word of God. We can know then in whom we believe, and be certain. We need spend but a moment in answering this question. The ministry must be the identical Apostolic ministry, the identical corporation, to which the promises were made. It is the corporate identity that is to be established. It is known already, that it, at any period we may assume, is in existence ; for it is indefectible, and cannot fail.    We say, then,

It is the Roman Catholic ministry. It can be no other. It cannot be the Greek Church. The Greek Church was formerly in communion with the Church of Rome, and made one corporation with it.     The Church of Rome was then the true Church, Ecclesia docens, or it was not. If not, the Greek Church is false, in consequence of having communed with a false Church. If it was, the Greek Church is false, because it separated from it. So, take either horn of the dilemma, the Greek Church is false, and its ministry not the Apostolic ministry which inherits the promises. The same reasoning will apply with equal force to any one of the Oriental sects not in communion with the See of Rome, and a fortiori to all the modern Protestant sects. Therefore the Roman Catholic ministry is the Apostolic corporation, because this corporation can be no other.

You object, in behalf of the Greek Church, that Rome separated from her, not she from Rome.    This we deny.    It is historically certain that the Greek Church, prior to the final separation, agreed with the Church of Rome on the matters (the Supremacy of the Pope and the Procession of the Holy Ghost) which were made the pretexts for separation.   In the separation, the Greek Church denied what she had before asserted, while Rome continued to assert the same doctrine after as  before. Therefore the Greek Church was the dissentient party.    Prior to the separation, the Greek Church agreed with the Roman in submitting to the papal authority.    In the separation, the Greek Church threw off this authority, while the Roman continued to submit to it.    Therefore the Greek Church was the separatist. You insist, that, though the act of separation may, indeed, have been formally the act of the Greek Church, yet the separation was really on the part of Rome, who had corrupted the faith, and rendered separation from her necessary to the purity of the Christian Church.    But, if this be so, whatever the corruptions of the faith Rome had been guilty of, the Greek Church participated in them during her communion with Rome. If they vitiated the Latin Church, they equally vitiated the Greek.    Then both had failed, and the true Church, which we have seen is indefectible, must have been somewhere else.   Then the Greek Church could become a true Church by separating from  the communion of the Latin Church only on condition of coming into communion with the true Church.    But it came into communion with no Church.    Therefore the Greek Church, at any rate, is false.
The same reasoning applies to the before mentioned Oriental sects, and a fortiori to Protestants. Protestants were once in communion with Rome. They were then in communion with the Church of Christ, or they were not.    If they were, they are not now, because they have separated from it.    If they were not, they could  come into communion with the Church of Christ only by joining the true Church.    But they joined none.   Therefore they are not in communion with the Church of Christ, and their pretended ministries are none of them the Apostolic ministry.  Therefore, we say again, it is the Roman Catholic ministry, because it can be no other, and must be some one. You object, that the true Church always subsists, indeed, but not always as a visible body, and therefore may be neither one nor another of the special church organizations extant, but in point of fact be dispersed through them all.    But this objection is not pertinent ; for we are not considering the question of the Church in the sense in which it is taken in this objection. The objection takes the word church in the sense of the congregation of the elect, or persons called and sanctified ; we, in the question before us, take it in the sense of the congregation of Christian pastors and teachers, in which sense it can neither be invisible nor dispersed.    It is the witness to the fact of revelation, and it is essential that the witness should be visible, that its competency and  credibility may be judged  of.    It is commanded to teach all nations and individuals, and all nations and individuals are therefore commanded to believe and obey vyhatever it teaches.    But, if invisible, this command is imprac-tible; for we could never know where, when, or what it teaches, and therefore whether we believed and obeyed its teachings, or not.    It cannot be dispersed through various communions' because it is a corporation, and its dispersion would be its dissolution.    It is a corporation of teachers.    No man has a right to teach, unless commissioned by Jesus Christ.    Jesus Christ, as we have seen, commissions individuals only in and through the commission of the body.    Then one must be united to the body, as the   condition of receiving a commission to teach. Therefore the teachers cannot be dispersed through different corporations.    The teaching body is infallible, and, if dispersed through all communions, the truth must be infallibly taught in all communions.    But it is so taught only in one communion ; because all communions differ among themselves, and could not differ had they no error.    As no two can be found that agree only one can have the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.    Therefore the ministry in question is only one, and not dispersed.    It cannot be dispersed ; for, if it were, it could not answer the end of its institution, which is to maintain unity of faith, perfect the saints in the knowledge of the Son of God and prevent us from being children tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine ; for to secure this end it must be public, recognizable, one, uniform, and authoritative. Nor could the individual teacher ever verify his commission, as a teacher sent from God, unless he can point to the visible body of which he is a member, and which was commissioned by Jesus Christ, and from him inherits the promises. Therefore we dismiss this notion of the invisible Church, and of an invisible body of true Christian teachers dispersed through various and conflicting communions. Such teachers would be as good as none, for no one could distinguish them from false teachers.
We repeat, then, the Roman Catholic ministry is the Apostolic ministry, for this ministry can be no other. This conclusion very few, perhaps none, would deny, if they admitted, what we have proved, that Jesus Christ did institute such a ministry as we contend for. If there be an infallible Church, authorized by the Saviour to teach, all must say, it is indisputably the Roman Catholic Church ; for all see it can be no other, and, in fact, no other even pretends to be it.

But we may prove our proposition not merely by the removal or destruction of the negative, but by plain, positive, affirmative evidence. The first method of proof is conclusive in itself; the second is also conclusive in itself. All that is to be done to prove the proposition affirmatively is, to identify the Roman Catholic ministry, as a corporation, with the corporation Jesus Christ instituted and commissioned in the persons of the Apostles. The kind of evidence needed is the same as is requisite in any case of the identification of a corporation. The identity is established by showing that the corporation retains its original name, and has regularly succeeded to the original corporators. The name is not conclusive evidence, but is a presumption of identity. In the present case, it is easy to prove that the ministry in question retains the Apostolic name. This name is Catholic, and the Roman Catholic Church bears it, and always has borne it. It is and always has been known and distinguished by it, and no other corporation is or ever has been known or distinguished by it. The old Donatists claimed it, but could not .appropriate it. They are known only as Donatists. Some members of the English and American Episcopal Church, now and then, put on airs, and with great emphasis call themselves Catholics; but the bystanders only smile, for they see the long ears peering out from under the lion's skin.    While, on the other hand, go into any city in the world and ask the first lad you meet to direct you to the Catholic Church, and he will direct you without hesitation to the Roman Catholic Church. This shows, that, by the common judgment and consent of mankind, the distinctive appellation of the Churches in communion with the See of Rome is Catholic. lhe regular succession of the Roman Catholic ministry to the Apostolic is easily made out. We can establish the regular succession of pontiffs from St. Peter to Gregory the Sixteenth, the present Pope ; and this establishes the unity of the corporation in time, and therefore its identity. The regular succession and unity of authority of the corporation can also be established m the orders and mission of the pastors ; for the Catholic ministry has never been schismatic. This regular succession and unity of authority establishes, of course, the identity of the corporation. Then the Catholic ministry is identical with the Apostolic ministry. The two points on which this conclusion depends we leave, of course, without adducing in detail the historical proof of them. Established historically, they warrant the conclusion. They can be established by conclusive historical proof.    Therefore the conclusion stands firm.

We establish our proposition, then, by showing that the Apostolic ministry can be no other than the Roman Catholic, and by showing that it is the Roman Catholic. Nothing more conclusive than this double proof can be desired. Then we sum up by repeating, that Jesus Christ has instituted and commissioned an infallible and indefectible body of teachers, and this body is the congregation of the Roman Catholic pastors in communion with their chief. The Catholic Church, then, is the witness to the fact of revelation. What its pastors declare to be the word of God is the word of God ; what they enjoin as the faith is the faith without which it is impossible to please God, and without which we are condemned and the wrath of God abideth on us. What they teach is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth ; for God himself has commissioned them, and will not suffer them to fall into error in what concerns the things they have been commissioned to teach.

The question of the Church as the congregation of believers can detain us but a moment. We agree with the Examiner, that the Church in this sense embraces "the whole company ot believers, the uncounted and wide-spread congregation of all those vyho receive the Gospel as the law of life ; that the Church ol Christ comprehends and is composed of all his followers." But who are these ? « My sheep," says our blessed Lord, "hear my voice and follow me." We must hear his voice, as the condition of following him, or being his followers. But we cannot hear his voice where it is not, where it speaks not. Where, then, speaks his voice ? In the Catholic Church, in and through the Catholic pastors, and nowhere else. Then we hear his voice only as we hear the voice of the Catholic Church, and follow him only as we follow what this Church in his name commands. Only they, then, who hear and obey the Catholic Church are of the Church,  only they who are in the communion of this Church are in the communion of Christ. It is time, then, to abandon No-Churchism, and to return to the one fold of the one Shepherd, and submit ourselves to the guidance of the pastors he has made rulers and teachers of the flock.

We do not suppose this conclusion will be very pleasing to our Protestant readers, and we do not suppose any thing we could say, conscientiously, would please them ; for we do not see any right they have to be pleased, standing where they do. There is the stubborn  fact, that  " no man can be saved who has not God for his father, and the Church for his mother," which cannot be got over ; and if we have not the true Church for our mother, then uare we bastards and not sons."    The presumption, to say the least, is strongly against our Protestant brethren; and they have great reason to fear, that, after all, they are only " children of the bondwoman." They may try to hide this from themselves, and to stifle the voice of conscience by crying out " Popery ! " « Papist ! " Romanist! " " Idolatry ! " "Superstition !" and the like, but this can avail them little. They may make light of the question, and think themselves excused from considering it.    But there comes and must come to the greater part of them an hour when they feel the need of something more substantial than any thing they have.  They may use swelling words, and speak in a tone of great confidence ; but the best of them have their doubts, nay, long periods when they can keep up their courage, and persuade themselves that they hope, only by shutting their eyes, refusing to think, plunging into religious dissipation, or giving way to the wild and destructive bursts of fanaticism and superstition.     The gneat question of the salvation of the soul must at times press heavily upon them, and create no little anxiety.    For it is a terrible thing to be forced into the presence of God uncovered by the robe of the Redeemer's righteousness,a terrible thing to have all the sins of our past life come thronging back on the memory, and to feel that they are registered against us, unrepented of, unforgiven ; a terrible thing to feel that the number of these sins is daily and hourly increasing, that we ourselves are continually exposed to the allurements of the world, the seductions of the flesh, and the temptations of the devil, with no weapon but our own puny arm with which to defend ourselves, and no strength but our own infirmity with which to recover and maintain our integrity. Alas ! we know what this is. We know what it is to feel oppressed with the heavy load of guilt, to struggle alone in the world, against all manner of enemies, without faith, without hope, without the help of God's sacraments ; we know what it is to feel that we must trust in our own arm and heart, stand on the pride of our own intellect and conviction. We know, too, what it is to feel all these defences fail, all this trust give way ; for to us have come, as well as to others, those trying moments when the loftiest are laid low, and the proudest, prostrate in the dust, cry out from the depth of their spiritual agony, u Is there no help ? O God ! why stand-est thou afar off? Help, help, or I perish !" Alas ! there are moments when we cannot trifle, when we cannot lean on a broken reed, when we must have something really Divine, something on which we can lay hold that will not break, and leave us to drop into everlasting perdition. It is a terrible question this of the salvation of the soul, and no man can prudently put it off. It must be met and answered, and the sooner the better. We urge this upon our Protestant brethren. They have no solid ground on which to stand, no sure help on which to rely. Their own restlessness proves it ; their perpetual variations and shifting of their creeds prove it; the new and strange sects constantly springing up amongst them prove it ; their worldly-mindedness, their universal ill-at-ease, perpetual striving after what they have not, and find not, prove it; the wide-spread infidelity which prevails among them, and the still more destructive indifferency prove it. Their spiritual strength is the strength of self-confidence or of desperation. They cannot live so. There is no good for them in their present state. Why will they not ask if there be not a better way ? If they will but seek, they shall find,  knock, it shall be opened to them. There is that faith which they deny, and that certainty which they ridicule. But they will find it not in their pride. They will find it not, till they learn to look on him they have despised, and to fly for succour to him they have crucified. But we have been betrayed into remarks, which, though true, would come with a better grace from one whose faith is less recent than our own.    Yet we have said nothing by way of vain-glory. If we have faith, it is no merit of ours. We have been brought by a way we knew not, and by a Power we dared not resist; and His the praise and the glory, and ours the shame and mortification that lor so many years we groped in darkness, boasting that we could see, and holding up our farthing-candle of a misguided reason as a light, that was to enlighten the world !

We have been asked, " How in the world have you become a Catholic ?"     In this essay we have presented an outline, or rather a specimen, of the answer we have to give.    It is incomplete; but it will satisfy the attentive reader, that not without some show of reason, at least, have we left our former friends and the endearing associations of our past life, and joined ourselves to a Church which excites only the deadly rage of the great mass of our countrymen.    The change with us is a great one, and a greater one than the world dreams of, or will dream of, and one which may have cost some sacrifice.     At any rate, it is a change we would not have made, if we could have helped it, a change against which we struggled long, but for which, though it makes us a pilgrim and a sojourner in life, and permits us no home here below, we can never sufficiently praise and tnank our God.    It is a great gain to lose even earth for heaven.    If, however, we be pressed to give the full reason of our change, we must refer to the grace of God, and the need we felt of saving our own soul.   We were a sinner, and we wished to be reconciled to God.