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Methodist Quarterly Review

Brownson's Quarterly Review, January, 1846

ART. TV. — Methodist   Quarterly Review for July, 1845. Art. VII.  Brownson's Quarterly Review, No. V.   1845.

THE Methodist Quarterly Review for July, 1844, contained a paper on the literary policy of the Church of Rome'; the avowed purpose of which was " to exhibit the proofs that the Church of Rome has ever waged a deadly warfare upon the liberty of the press, and upon literature ; and that her expur-gatory and prohibitory policy has been continued to the present hour ; not only against the truth of revelation, but equally against the truth in nature and in science, — both learning and religion having been the doomed victims of her perennial despotism." To this paper, so far as concerned hostility to the press, literature, and science, we replied in our Review for last January. To this reply of ours the article before us is a rejoinder, attempting to make good the original charges, notwithstanding what we alleged against them.

In our reply we retorted the charge of unfriendliness to literature upon the Methodists themselves, who, we- said, had originally manifested a great contempt for human science and learning, and cannot, in this country at least, boast of having made a single permanent contribution either to literature or science. The Review thinks this charge is not true, for one Mr. Elliot has written " A Delineation of Roman Catholicism," which has even been republished in England. We confess, when we wrote, we had not heard of this work, and we have not yet seen it ; but we will engage beforehand that it is nothing but a tissue of falsehood, misrepresentation, ignorance, impudence, sophistry, and malice ; in the main, a mere repetition of what Protestants have been constantly repeating from the first, and which has been refuted time and again. We are always safe in saying this of any work written by a Protestant against Catholicity, and, a fortiori, of a work written by a Methodist. Yet if the author or Reviewer will send us a copy of the work, and we find on actual examination that we are mistaken as to its real character, we will make all necessary retractations.

We stated that " the Methodist press is, if we are rightly informed, under the strict surveillance of the bishops and elders." The Reviewer says we are wrongly informed, for the bishops and elders have no power over it whatever. Yet he tells us the editors and agents are appointed by the Conferences, and are aided by the advice of a council (p 458). The Conferences are composed of "bishops and elders." The bishops and elders, then, appoint the editors and agents, and we presume also the council of advice. We should think this were exercising some power over the press. Furthermore, in the intervals of the General Conference, these editors and agents are accountable, the Reviewer tells us, for their official conduct, " to the book committee, who have power, after due forms of trial and conviction, to displace them for malpractice." — p. 459. The book committee must be appointed by the particular Conferences, or by the General Conference, and in either case by the bishops and elders. The bishops and elders, then, through the book committee, exercise a strict surveillance over the Methodist press. The point on which we were intent was, that the Methodist press is not free, and we find, by the Reviewer's own admissions, it is less free than we had supposed. There is a power which appoints the editors and agents, furnishes them a council of advice, and then there is a tribunal to which they are accountable, before which they can be tried and convicted, and which has power to displace them for malpractice ; that is, should they publish what their masters disapprove. Surely, this is subjecting the press to a very stringent control, and we must still retain our opinion that the charge against the Catholic Church of hostility to a free press comes with an ill grace from a Methodist.
We stated, also, that " the Methodist people generally have great scruples about purchasing books, even of their own denomination, when not published by their own book society." The Reviewer says this is not true. We know from our own knowledge that it was true a k\v years since to some extent, and we know, and the Reviewer admits, that the Methodist elders do "urge their people to patronize their publishing establishments." — p. 459. It seems, however, we were wrong in speaking of their " book society," for they have no book society, but a " book concern." We acknowledge our mistake. The simple fact is, the Methodist denomination is itself, properly speaking, a huge society, and this society carries on a large book concern, and seeks as far as possible to monopolize the whole publishing business of its members.
We denied that the Catholic Church has ever been hostile to the liberty of the press, and asserted that the Reviewer had not adduced a single fact in proof of his charge. In the article before us, he appears to think we were wrong in this ; for he adduced some extracts from the encyclical letter of the Holy Father, bearing date August* 16 (15), 1832, which goes far at least to prove it. We had, and now have, that letter before us, but it does not sustain the charge we denied. The Reviewer misquotes and perverts the sense of the passages he professes to give. The Holy Father does not declare, " Liberty of conscience is an absurd and erroneous opinion, or rather a mad conceit," as the Reviewer asserts ; but that the opinion, that liberty is to be asserted and maintained for the conscience of each one, is absurd and erroneous, or rather a madness. Jltque ex hoc putidissimo indijferentismi fonle ab-surda ilia Jluit ac erronea sententia, seu potius deliramentum, asserendam esse ac vindicandam cuilibet libertatem conscientias. What is condemned is not liberty of conscience, rightly understood, but that false view of the liberty of conscience which releases conscience from all obligation to conform to the truth, and which makes the conscience of each the sovereign arbiter in all cases whatsoever. Conscience is free, has all its rights, when subjected only to the will of God ; but that its freedom demands that it must in no instance be restrained, — that the individual, under plea of conscience, must be free to conform or not conform to the law of God, — free to run into any and every excess of error and delusion, to subvert all religious, social, and domestic order, is indeed an absurd and erroneous opinion, a real delusion, which every right-minded man must condemn. That the Holy Catholic Church does not allow liberty of conscience in this sense, which is not liberty, but license, we have never denied, and trust we never shall. The Church leaves the conscience all the liberty, that is, all the rights, it has by the law of God. If the -Reviewer is not satisfied with this, he must bring his complaint against his Maker, not against the Church.

In fact, this notion of the unbounded license of conscience no man in his sober senses can undertake to defend. We remember to have read some years ago, in one of the Protestant missionary journals, of a pious Protestant convert among the heathen, who, on her dying bed, having but a poor appetite, thought she might, perhaps, eat the little finger of a very young child, if nicely cooked ! This her conscience permitted. Was the liberty of her conscience to be respected ? The conscience of the Anabaptists required them to run naked through the streets, and that of the early Quakers required them, especially the women, to go naked into the religious assemblies and prophesy. Was their conscience to be respected at the expense of public decency ? There is, or at least was twa or three years ago, a new religious sect in Western New York, who reject marriage, allow promiscuous sexual intercourse, and practise various obscene and filthy rites which we dare not name. Is the liberty of their conscience to be respected ? There was, too, Matthias, the famous New York prophet, whose queer conscience commanded him to claim his neighbour's property and his neighbour's wife as his own. Was the liberty of his conscience to be allowed ? We have a friend who is conscientiously opposed to paying taxes to the government. Shall the government respect his conscience, and exempt him from the payment of taxes ? We have another friend who believes it decidedly wrong to use money. So, when he steps on board the steamboat at New York for Boston, he insists on having a free passage, because his conscience will not let him pay for it. Shall he go scot-free through the world ? One man is conscientiously opposed to the observance of Sunday ; do you respect the liberty of his conscience ? Another is opposed to the employment of chaplains by legislative assemblies ; do you respect his liberty of conscience ?  Not at all.

It is evident from what we have advanced, that some bounds are, and must be, set to the license of conscience, — that there must be somewhere a limit beyond which the plea of conscience is not to be entertained. But where is this limit ? Where are these bounds ? Who shall determine ? The individual for himself ?    No ; for that would be to leave conscience without any restraint whatever; because conscience is each man's own judgment of what the law of God commands or permits. If you leave the individual to determine for himself, you leave conscience without law. You must, too, respect the determination of one as much as that of another. Individuals as such are all equal, and you have no right to prefer the judgment of one to that of another. The judgment of the Libbeyite of Western New York, of Matthias, the prophet, of the anti-Sabbatarian, of the anti-chaplainite, must be held as respectable as your own. This, then, will not do. If any bounds are to be set to conscience, it must be by an authority above the individual, and which may command the individual, and enforce its commands on the individual.

What is this authority ?   The civil government ?   We deny it; for the civil government, except as. the executive of the commands of a more ultimate authority than its own, has no right to meddle with conscience.    Shall it be the authority of some one of the sects ?    Which one ?    Why one rather than another ?    Of all the sects combined ?    That is impossible ; because one will insist that the law of God allows a latitude to conscience which another denies, and their agreement is out of the question.    But waive this ; we still say no ; because the sects are all, taken singly or together, by their own confession, fallible, and may, therefore, misjudge, allow what the law of God  prohibits, and  forbid what the law of God  permits. Moreover, conscience is accountable only to God, and to subject it to any fallible authority is intolerable tyranny.    If, then, there be not on earth an authority through which Almighty God speaks, arid interprets infallibly his own law, you have and can have no authority for restraining the licentiousness of conscience.    But, if you have such authority, whatever restraints it imposes on conscience will be restraints imposed by the law of God, and therefore restraints perfectly compatible with the liberty of conscience.    The authority of the Catholic Church is such authority, and therefore her control of conscience is not, and never can be, an attack on the liberty of conscience.    It leaves it all the freedom Almighty God gives it, and that is all it has a right to demand.

The same or similar remarks may be made in reference to the freedom of opinion. The unrestricted freedom of opinion is no more permitted by the law of God than is the unrestricted freedom of conscience. The Holy Father condemns not the liberty of opinion, properly so called, but the immoderata libertas opinionum, that is, the licentiousness of opinions. If there be any truth in Christianity, the mind is as accountable to God as the body, and licentiousness of mental action is as reprehensible as the licentiousness of bodily action. We are as accountable for our opinions as we are for our deeds. Else what means the confession we all make, that " we have sinned in thought, word, and deed " ? If there is no law to which the mind is accountable, there can be no sin in thought, for sin is the transgression of the law ; and where there is no law, there is, and can be, no transgression of the law. If there be a law to which the mind is accountable, then are we bound to conform to it, and are not free to do what it prohibits. Then the liberty of mind, of thought, of opinion, as well as the liberty of conscience, has its limits. And is it not so ? Is there a Christian who dares assert that we are free to think and form opinions which are repugnant to the law of God ? No ; and we dare tell even this godless generation, let it declaim as grandiloquently as it pleases about the inalienable rights of the freeborn mind, that the mind has no rights but what Almighty God gives it, and we have no right to think what he forbids. We are bound to submit our very thoughts and imaginations to his divine law.

We say the same as to freedom of speech. We may sin in word as well as in deed. Speech, then, is subjected to the law of God ; and the liberty of speech is only the liberty to say that which the law of God permits. We shall be called to account before God for our words, as well as for our thoughts and deeds. There is, then, a limit beyond which the liberty of speech does not and cannot extend. To prohibit beyond that limit is not to abridge the freedom' of speech, nor to make war upon it; because, beyond that limit, Almighty God has given man no freedom of speech.

The principle here asserted is applicable to the press. The press is nothing but public speech, and its liberty must be subject to all the restrictions to which the law of God subjects thought and speech in general. The press has no liberty to publish what is contrary to the law of God, and when it is forbidden to publish what is contrary to the law of God, its license is indeed restrained, but its liberty is left untouched. We are not ignorant that this question of the press is a delicate question, and one on which it is impossible to speak as a Christian man should speak, without giving to the ill-natured and wicked an opportunity to pervert your meaning, and make the great
mass of the people believe you mean what you do not mean. But it is a question that presses home upon every parent, every citizen, not to say every Christian. The licentiousness of the press at home and abroad has become so great as to threaten all that is dear and sacred. Every thing venerable, every thing sacred in religion, in the state, in the family, is attacked with remorseless fury. Our youth grow pale over publications which pervert their understandings, extinguish every virtuous sentiment, and excite to terrible activity every evil propensity. Respectable booksellers keep, if not on their counters, at least on their back shelves, books which the Christian father or mother would be filled with horror to see in the hands of a son or a daughter. And those mischievous works are sent out at a price that places them within the reach of even the poorest. The infection becomes universal. No rank, no age, no sex, no condition, escapes it. Is this a time to talk of the blessings of a free press ? Books are companions, and bad books are bad companions, the very worst species of companions. They are made by the base and remorseless the vehicles of corrupting the innocent and unsuspecting. The licentious and designing have only to send a selection from the cheap publications of the day before them, and the way is prepared for them to follow. They have, too, books of all kinds, adapted to all dispositions. Our homes are no longer sacred. Corruption steals in by our very firesides, and we close our eyes and ears, lest we discover it in those nearest and dearest to our hearts. Will you tell us this is the inevitable consequence of a free press, and that, if you touch the freedom of the press, you take away the palladium of our liberty ? Liberty ! What is liberty, where the moral health of the people is gone, where virtue ceases to exist, and your community is nothing but a mass of rottenness ?

Some restraint on the licentiousness of the press is unquestionably necessary. This the Methodist Reviewer admits, p. 464, in admitting that Protestant sects make the reading of books "of an irreligious tendency" a matter of discipline. What restraint is necessary, or by whom it shall be imposed, is another question. Religion is the only basis of morals, and it is idle to expect good morals where there is no religion. Every book which attacks religion, which tends to undermine faith in divine revelation, or which gives a false view of the dogmas of faith, is a bad book, an irreligious book, and repugnant to good morals, — a book no man has the right to produce, no press to publish. No restraint on the licentiousness of the press will be effectual which does not extend to all books which tend to undermine or corrupt the faith of the people in the one only true religion. But who shall impose such a restraint ? Evidently no authority is competent to impose such a restraint but an authority which is competent to say infallibly what is and what is not the true religion. This cannot, as we said in the case of freedom of thought, be the civil authority, for the civil authority is not infallible ; and, moreover, has no jurisdiction in the case, since its jurisdiction does not extend to spiritual matters. It might misjudge and suppress good books, under pretence of suppressing bad books ; and through its control of the press it would consolidate its tyranny and screen its oppressions from animadversion. Nor can it be the authority of any one of the sects, nor of all the sects combined ; because the sects are all by their own confession fallible, and may err as to -what is the proper degree of restraint, may permit books which ought not to be permitted, and suppress books which the well-being of individuals and. of society requires to be published.

In this state of things, what is to be done ? Do not answer us with Milton and Jefferson, that "error is harmless where reason is free to combat it." No such thing. "Error," says the Chinese proverb, " will travel over half the globe, while truth is pulling on her boots." The doctrine of the harmlessness of error assumes two things which are not true ; first, that the mass of mankind are capable, in all cases, of distinguishing between truth and error ; and, secondly, that they have no natural inclinations or prejudices which warp their judgments and lead them to prefer the.error to the truth. If the first were true, we should not find men equally great, wise, and good, embracing opposite doctrines ; the second is contradicted by all experience. No matter how free reason may be, no error ever yet was harmless, or ever can be harmless. Error puts on a thousand disguises, appears in a thousand specious shapes, corrupts the simple, the young, the unsuspecting, does the mischief before reason detects her and exposes her in her true character. What capacity to distinguish between truth and error have the mass of our youth of either sex, who in hotels, steamboats, and elsewhere, pore over the prurient pages of Byron, of Moore, of Eugene Sue, George Sand, and Paul de Kock ? We repeat it, some restraint is necessary.    That it is difficult to say, as matters are with us,
what restraint is practicable, or by whom the restraint should be imposed, is undoubtedly true. For ourselves, we see no way of disposing of the question, but to leave to the state the power to suppress such publications as are grossly and palpably immoral and blasphemous, and to each denomination such supervision over the reading of its members as it judges proper. This is as far as the Church goes or ever has gone. She never restrains the liberty of the press, but seeks to restrain its licentiousness, or to guard against its licentiousness by exercising a careful supervision over the reading of her children. This she does by examining from time to time the books which are published, and placing in the index such as are hurtful, dangerous, or unprofitable.

If the Reviewer attends to what we have here advanced, he will understand why we denied, in the most positive terms, that he had, notwithstanding his quotations from the encyclical letter of the Holy Father, adduced a single fact in proof of his assertion, that the Church of Rome is hostile to a free press. . The " execrable liberty of booksellers" the Holy Father condemns is not the legitimate freedom of the press, but its license. We do not war against freedom when we war against license. Liberty is freedom to do whatever is permitted by the law of God, that is, whatever Almighty God gives us the right to do ; license is freedom to do what the law of God does not permit, what Almighty God does not give us the right to do. Liberty is violated only when one's rights are denied or abridged. But in forbidding a man to do what the law of God gives him no right to do, we do not deny or abridge any one of his rights ; therefore do not violate his liberty. The government does not violate the liberty of the subject when it commands him not to steal or to murder, or when it imprisons the thief or hangs the murderer ; for no man has the right to steal or to murder.
• But the Holy Father in his encyclical letter goes no farther in principle than our Protestant countrymen go. We read, but a short time since, in one of our city newspapers, that the grand jury of this county had made inquiries concerning the conduct of our booksellers, and threatened to present some of our respectable booksellers, in case they should not speedily clear their shops of certain infamous and immoral publications. Even while we are writing, the Rev. Mr. Kirk, the'commander-in-chief of the Christian Jllliance, and his friends, are denouncing in the city of New York the cheap publications of the
day, and declaring they must be suppressed. What is this but making war on the " liberty of booksellers " ?

The main fact, however, on which the Reviewer relied for proofs of the hostility of the Church of Rome to the freedom of the press was " the expurgatory and prohibitory indexes." We have stated that these indexes are a mere matter of discipline. The Church examines the books published, and places in the index those she forbids or cannot recommend her children to read. She publishes the index for the guidance of all her children throughout the world. But in this she does no more than the Reviewer admits the Methodists themselves do. He admits the Methodists make the reading of books of " an irreligious tendency " a matter of discipline, and goes so far as to admit by implication, that the author who publishes a book u that would injure the morals of [the] community, and subvert the whole social compact," (p. 465,) may be visited with legal penalties. This is going full as far as the Church goes, even admitting that she goes as far as the Reviewer contends. The only thing, then, he can complain of is that she publishes beforehand what books she holds to be of an irreligious tendency, that the faithful may know the law before being summoned to answer for its breach.

But it appears that the Church puts in the index certain books which the Reviewer does not regard as of an irreligious tendency. If she prohibited only " such books as Paine's Jlge of Reason^ Volney's Ruins, &c, no one would have cause to complain " (p. 463) ; but she goes farther, and claps in the index some of the admired chefs-d'oeuvre of Protestantism. This is, no doubt, provoking to our Protestant friends. But we suppose the Methodists claim the right to determine the books the reading of which shall or shall not be made a matter of discipline in the case of a Methodist ; will the Reviewer, then, tell us why the Church has less right to determine what is suitable reading for a Catholic ? Will the Methodist ask the Church what a Methodist may read ? Of course not. Why, then, shall the Church be required to ask the Methodists what a Catholic may or may not read ? The judgment of the Church, on any hypothesis, is as respectable as the judgment of the Methodists, and we are not aware of her having ever condemned a book which, even in our private judgment, did not in some way or other tend to undermine faith or morals. Protestant books are rarely suitable reading for Christian men or women.

In our reply to the Reviewer, we said, " The Catholic regards no act of the Church, even of the highest dignitaries of the Church, as infallible, unless the act of the whole Church. There are only two ways in which the Church is assumed to act as the whole Church, — that is, in a universal council, or, what is the same thing, the unanimous or morally unanimous consent of all the bishops or pastors of the Church, or through the Pope, deciding ex cathedra as the representative of the Church ; and a man may be a Catholic without believing the decision of the Pope, unless assented to by the body of bishops, is to be regarded as infallible. But we, for ourselves, hold the decisions of the Pope, when he represents or decides for the Church universal, are infallible."

The Reviewer contends that in this we do not state the Cath
olic doctrine correctly. " Mr. B.," he says, "is but a novice in Romanism We heard Bishop England preach upon the peculiar dogmas of Rome in the Cathedral in Baltimore, in 1840, and he asserted that infallibility was lodged in the Church collectively. He said a bishop might err, a council might err, and the Pope might err ; but the whole Church could not err."—p. 466.

Our own statement is substantially correct. It was written some months before we became a Catholic, and we should use somewhat different terms were we to write it now, yet we should not alter its sense. The only objection we make to it is, that we seem to resolve the assent of the bishops dispersed abroad and congregated in council into one and the same mode of expressing the assent of the Church. This is not correct. They are two different modes. We should therefore have said there are three ways, instead of only two, in which the Church is assumed to act as the whole Church. This, however, is a mere formal correction, and does not affect at all the substance of the statement.

We pay, as we are in duty bound, great respect to any assertion concerning the Catholic faith made by so eminent a prelate as the late Bishop of Charleston. But we may be permitted to doubt if he ever used the precise language ascribed to him. We had on a certain occasion, as the Reviewer will remember, full proof that our Methodist friend could not well trust his own eyes ; and we have no assurance that his ears are better than his eyes. But if the Bishop actually used the language ascribed to him, he used it in a sense different from the one the Reviewer imagines.    He may have said a single bishop can err, for that nobody denies ; but that all can, or any considerable number can, in what pertains to faith and morals, no Catholic can assert or admit. If he said a council might err, he meant a particular council, that is, a provincial or national council, not an oecumenical council; for every Catholic holds as an article of faith the infallibility of oecumenical councils. He may have said the Pope can err in matters of administration, acting on misinformation or as a private doctor; but, if he said he might err as visible head of the Church, when deciding for the whole Church, ex cathedra, a question of faith or morals, he uttered a private opinion, which few Catholics share with him. The difficulty the Reviewer has conjured up is one which has no real existence. The sense of the Church is easily ascertained on any point of faith or morals.

" Upon Mr. B.'s theory," says the Reviewer, "all we would have to do would be to consult the ' Holy Father' at Rome, and implicitly submit to his decisions." — p. 466. Not on our theory, but on the Catholic theory, for we have no theories of our own. Certainly, when the Pope decides, we submit, for we recognize his right to decide, and we believe his decisions are infallible. " But," continues the Reviewer, " when the decisions of one Pope contradict those of another, and especially when the same Pope decides different ways at different times, it is a little difficult to determine which is right, or to see the signs of infallibility anywhere." —ib. Unquestionably. But we deny the supposition. One Pope has his decisions contradicted those of another, and no Pope has ever decided different ways at different times. Protestants make the assertion, but why do they not adduce the instances, at least one instance, of such contradiction ? Show us from ecclesiastical history one single well authenticated instance of such contradiction, and we are for ever silent. Bring forward, then, the instance, or never again make the assertion.

The Reviewer tries to be quite witty in relation to the degree of liberty which, according to the view we gave, Catholics must enjoy, which he- defines to be the " liberty to hold and teach what his Holiness the Pope says they may." But wit is not our friend's forte. Nevertheless, we have no objection to his definition. Liberty to hold and teach what the Sovereign Pontiff says we may is all the liberty we ask; for it is liberty to hold and teach the word of God in its purity and integrity, — "the faith once delivered to the saints,"—which is all the liberty Almighty God allows to any man. The Reviewer, we presume, holds that he is amenable to law, and that he is at liberty to do only what the law permits. Why should not we ridicule him for this ? Has he yet to learn that law is the basis of liberty, and that where there is no sovereign authority there is no law ? Liberty is not in being free of all law, but in being held only to the law. We believe the Church, and the Pope as visible head of the Church, is the organ through which Almighty God promulgates the law. Consequently, in our own estimation at least, in submitting to the Pope, we find, instead of losing, ourliberty. At any rate, we have all the liberty we want. We know from experience what Protestant liberty is. We know all that it has to attract, but we never conceived of true liberty till we became a Catholic. In the absolute surrender of ourselves to Jesus Christ, in becoming his slaves, we become true freemen. "If the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed." It is idle, so far as we are concerned, to sneer at us for our submission to the Pope. Call Us slaves, if you will, you will not move us. We know your slavery and our freedom. We ask no other freedom than that of absolute obedience to God in his Church ; and you, if you knew any thing of the glorious Gospel of Him whose name you bear, " to take away your reproach," would also ask no other. Did not St. Paul glory in being the slave of Jesus Christ ?

But it seems, after all, that we mistook in our reply the thesis of the Reviewer. He did not mean to say that Rome had produced no literary men, or that she had really warred upon literature as such, but only upon " every species of literature which could not be made tributary to her hierarchy." — p. 468. All we have to say in our defence is that we took the author's thesis according to his own formal and official statement of it. If he stated his design to be to prove one thing, but really attempted only to prove another thing, that was not our fault. If men will write without method, in a loose, declamatory style, paying no attention to the relation there may or may not be between their positions and their proofs, their premises and conclusions, they must be answerable for the consequences. The Reviewer slated positively that his design, among other things, was, " to exhibit the proofs that the Church of Rome had ever waged a deadly war upon literature." The proposition here set forth we denied, and we asserted that the Reviewer had not adduced a single fact in proof of it.    In this we were right. Whether he had or had not proved something else, and some things not at all to his own credit, we neither asserted nor denied.

But take his thesis as amended, we are ready to meet it. Fairly translated, it means that the Church of Rome has never encouraged, but has done her best to discourage, every species of literature not consistent or at war with the religion of Jesus Christ, as she had received the authority and the command to hold and teach it. So understood, we are far from controverting the thesis of the Reviewer. If the Church has so done, it is only another proof of her fidelity to her sacred trust. We hold religion before literature and science, and are barbarian enough to say that we have not the least conceivable respect for any literature or science not directly or indirectly enlisted in the service of i-eligion, or, if you prefer, in the service of the Roman Catholic Church. Infidel literature, or science pressed into the service of infidelity, or even into the service of mammon, we grant, has no attractions for us, and, in our judgment, contributes nothing not really injurious to the best interests of mankind. If the Reviewer thinks differently, we thank God the Church does not think with him. What benefit to mankind does the reviewer think has accrued from the writings of Hobbes, Tindal, Collins, Morgan, Mandeville, Voltaire, Rousseau, Helvetius, D'Holbach, Dupuis, Cabanis, Destutt de Tracy, Goethe, Schiller, Kant, Schelling, Hegel, Heine, Eichhorn, Gesenius, Paulus, Strauss, Feurbach, Godwin, Byron, Shelley, Bulwer, Victor Hugo, De Balzac, George Sand, Paul de Kock, Eugene Sue, and hundreds and hundreds of others we might mention had we room ? Genius, talent, learning, are never respectable, unless enlisted in the cause of religion, unless they bow low at the foot of the cross, and lay their offerings on the altar of the crucified God. Is the Reviewer prepared to deny this ? If not, let him say no more against the expurgatory and prohibitory indexes of the Church. The Church was not instituted to foster literature or science, but to train men up for God. Yet she has never ceased to honor men of science, to patronize men of literature, and of every species of literature, when they did not seek to abuse their gifts and prostitute their genius, ability, and acquirements to the injury of religion, to the corrupting of men's minds and hearts, to leading them into doubt and darkness to their everlasting ruin. This was all that she had a right to do, and all that could be asked of her.    If the Church in her relations with literary and scientific men has erred at all, it has been in the fostering care she has extended to them, and in the leniency with which she has viewed their aberrations. She has always proved herself a kind, affectionate, and forbearing mother to them.

The Reviewer abandons the case of Virgil, Bishop of Salzburg, which he had before adduced as proving the hostility of the Church to science, but holds on to the case of Galileo. He makes two points against us. 1. That Galileo's doctrine was actually condemned as a heresy; and 2. That the Inquisition, which condemned him, claims infallibility for its decrees. In proof of the first he cites at length what he asserts is the sentence of the Inquisition. But as he does not tell us whence he obtained this document or where it may be found, and as he1 cites it in English, not in the original Latin, it is not admissible testimony. That in the sentence of the Inquisition the doctrine of the earth's motion is declared to be a heresy, we have not denied, and do not now deny. But this is the language of the theological qualifiers who examined the case in 1616, and is merely recited in the sentence in 1633. In 1616, the case, at the request of Galileo and his friends, was sent to the Inquisition, and the theological qualifiers to whom it was committed qualified the doctrine as heresy; but, in consequence of Galileo's promise to refrain from teaching the doctrine, no final action was had on the subject, and the fact whether the doctrine was or was not a heresy was not decided, but remained as the report of the qualifiers. In 1633, when Galileo was finally condemned, the question did not turn on the point whether his doctrine was or was not heretical, but on the point whether he had actually taught the doctrine after he had been forbidden to teach it. The Inquisition merely cites the report of the qualifiers, without passing upon the question of the heretical character of the doctrine itself, and condemned Galileo not because his doctrine was a heresy, but because he had continued to teach it in contempt of authority. The fact, then, that the Inquisition employs the terms heresy and heretical does not prove that it adjudged the doctrine itself to be heretical. In order that it should prove this, the character of the doctrine should have been the precise question before the court. Any lawyer will inform the Reviewer that the court decides only the precise point or points before it. What else it may allege is an obiter dictum, or the mere private opinion of the judge, and without authority.    The terms heresy and heretical also prove nothing, because they are the mere stylus curias, and are frequently adopted by the Inquisition where it is manifest the offence is not, strictly speaking, heresy. That Galileo was condemned for teaching, or rather, for the manner in which he taught, the doctrine of the earth's motion, we did not deny ; but that the doctrine itself was condemned as heretical we did, and do still, deny. We quoted, in proof of our denial, the words of the Pontiff under whose reign he was condemned, and of Galileo himself. We also showed that the reigning Pontiff was himself favorable to the doctrine, and that at the very moment of the condemnation of Galileo it was publicly taught in Rome by the professor of astronomy in the Pope's own college. It is idle, then, to pretend that it was condemned as a heresy.

The doctrine of the motion of the earth as a scientific hypothesis had long been promulgated at Rome, and Galileo might have taught it undisturbed, if he had chosen to observe certain very proper restrictions. The difficulty was in the fact, not to be denied, that the doctrine of the earth's motion is repugnant', or apparently repugnant, to the literal sense of the Holy Scriptures. It was never held that the literal sense of Scripture might not be set aside on competent authority, and a less literal construction adopted. But this can never be done to make way for a conjecture or a hypothesis. Science and revelation can never be in contradiction ; but what you allege as science must be science, must be absolutely demonstrated, before it can be taken into the account in the interpretation of the Holy Scriptures. Now, in the time of Galileo, the doctrine of the earth's motion was not demonstrated, was at best a mere hypothesis ; and therefore to have undertaken to explain the texts which seemed to contradict it, and which, as they had hitherto been understood, did contradict it, so as to make them conform to it, was, to say the least, rash, and implied a heretical disposition on the part of him who should sa undertake. Here was the rock on which Galileo split. He undertook to explain the Scriptures in accordance with his theory, and treated the Scriptural objections with "a degree of levity and contempt incompatible with a becoming respect for the language of the inspired writings. Had he followed the direction of Cardinal Bellarmine, who suggested that it would be time enough to take into consideration the interpretation of the texts which seemed to oppose the theory after the theory should be proved to be demonstrated,  no one would  ever have  disturbed him.*
As to the second point, we would remind the Reviewer, that, while we accept his authority on any question of the constitution of the Methodist society, we do not recognize it where he assumes to speak as a Catholic doctor. We told him, and we tell him again, that the Inquisition is not an institution of which Catholics predicate infallibility. It is no essential part of the Church, and its decrees have been and may be set aside by a higher authority. " It is sufficient for us to know," says the Reviewer, " that the decrees of that court claim to be infallible, and are enacted with that claim with the Pope's knowledge and approbation, and the condemnation of heretical books and persons by the holy officer are as much the act of the Church of Rome as any act of the supreme Pontiff." — p. 477. Here are many things jumbled together that should be kept distinct. We have no time or space to disentangle them. The Inquisition without the Pope is evidently not infallible, according to Catholic principles. Admit its decrees, when formally approved by the Pope, and thus made his, are to be held by Catholics as infallible, it still will not affect the case before us ; for the approbation of the Pope was not thus given to the condemnation of the doctrine in 1616, and in 1633 it was not, as we have seen, in question. The act which received the Pope's approbation was the condemnation of Galileo in 1633, when the question turned not on the doctrine, but on Galileo's contempt of authority.

" And whatever Mr. B. may say, this has been the opinion of abler and better informed Roman Catholics than himself." — p. 477. If the Reviewer means that it is the opinion of abler and better informed Roman Catholics that the Inquisition is an institution of which Catholics predicate infallibility, we deny it, and challenge him to prove his assertion. If he means simply that some Catholics as well as Protestants have taken a different view of the condemnation of Galileo from the one we have given, we do not deny it, and have no wish to deny it, for Catholics are not infallible, and may err in their version of historical facts.
(footnote: * For a full discussion of the subject, and references to the proper authorities, we refer our readers to the article on Galileo and the Inquisition, in the eighth number of the Dublin Review, from which we have drawn pretty much all the materials of our former and our present reply, and which is our authority for what we advanced then and have repeated now.)

" And in the preface of the Jesuits' edition of Newton's Principia, we have the clearest evidence that the editors supposed his system under ban of the Church. This is the language ::—: ' Newton in his third book supposes the motion of the earth. We could not explain the author's propositions otherwise than by making the same supposition. We are therefore forced to sustain a character not our own ; but we profess to pay the obsequious reverence which is due to the decrees pronounced by the supreme pontiffs against the motion of the earth.' " — p. 477. This would seem to be conclusive ; but, unhappily for the Reviewer, this Jesuits' edition of Newton's Principia is a pure fiction. The Jesuits never published such an edition, smd the language quoted never was written by a Jesuit. The language betrays at a single glance its origin. There are no decrees, and there never were any decrees, pronounced by the supreme Pontiffs against the motion of the earth. The Jesuits never published an edition of Newton's Principia, except the edition by Father Boscovich, and that is not the edition referred to. The edition cited was got up by a couple of infidel editors, in France, we believe, and was palmed off as an edition of the Jesuits. The extract the Reviewer quotes from the preface bears the living impress of the French infidel of the last century. No Jesuit could ever have spoken thus ironically of what he held to be a decision of the sovereign Pontiff. It would be even more out of character than for the Reviewer to invoke the Blessed Virgin, or to officiate at High Mass.

We here take our leave of the Methodist Quarterly Review, by simply reminding the editor that he is not qualified to be our biographer. His assertion, that there " are hundreds of living witnesses who heard our atheistical lectures in the city of Boston," is absolutely and unqualifiedly false ; for we never gave an atheistical lecture in the city of Boston or elsewhere in our life. We never were, properly speaking, an atheist, a Transcendentalist, or a pantheist, the assertion of the Reviewer to the contrary notwithstanding. For a few months, some years ago, we had, it is true, some doubts as to the existence of God ; but, since the latter part of the year 1830, we are not conscious of having had, even for a moment, a single doubt cross our mind of the existence or the providence of God. It is true that we fell unconsciously into some speculations which had a Transcendental and pantheistic tendency ; but, the moment we discovered that they had that tendency, we renounced them, and for the very reason, that  they had it. We have been, ever since we resided in Boston, or for the last ten years, constantly writing and publishing against both Transcendentalism and pantheism. We have had errors enough, without having laid to our charge errors we have never entertained. There are few people living who can write our biography, and if journalists would confine themselves to the discussion of our writings, and let the personal life and history of the writer go, they would show their good sense and discretion. The Methodist Quarterly has always been unfortunate in its attempts to enlighten the public concerning us personally.    Will it not learn wisdom from experience ?