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Thornwell on Inspiration and Infallibility

Brownson's Quarterly Review, July, 1848

ART. I.— The Apocryphal Books of the Old Testament proved to he Corrupt Additions to the Word of God. — The Arguments of Romanists from the Infallibility of the Church and the Testimony of the Fathers in Behalf of the Apocrypha discussed and refuted. By JAMES H. THORNWELL. New York : Leavitt, Trow, & Co. Boston : Charles Tappan. 1845.     16mo.    pp. 417.

MR. Thornwell begins his argument against the Church (Letter IV.) by asserting, in substance, that we are unable to prove her infallibility, or, if able, only by a process which supersedes the necessity of an infallible church to determine what is or is not the word of God. "It is just as easy," he says, " to prove the inspiration of the Scriptures as the infallibility of any church." The evidence for both " is of precisely the same nature." The infallibility of the Church — " the inspiration of Rome," as he improperly expresses it'—'"turns upon a promise which is said to have been made nearly two thousand years ago ; the inspiration of the New Testament turns upon facts which are said to have transpired at the same time. Both the promise and the facts are to be found, if found at all, in this very New Testament." You must prove its credibility, or you cannot prove the promise ; and if you prove its credibility, you prove the facts. Therefore "you cannot make out the historical proofs of Papal infallibility without making out at the same time the historical proofs of Scriptural inspiration." Consequently, if you contend that the proofs are insufficient for the inspiration, you deny their sufficiency for the infallibility, and then cannot assert your infallible Church ; if you say they are sufficient for the infallibility, you concede their sufficiency for the inspiration, and then do not need your infallible Church to determine what is or is not the word of God.     (pp. 57 -65.)

But Dr. Lynch proves, as we have seen in our former article, and as is sufficiently evident without proof to every one of ordinary reflection, that it is morally impossible to determine, with absolute certainty, what Scriptures are or are not inspired, except by the infallible Church. To assert, after this, that the infallible Church itself is provable only by proving Scriptural inspiration, is only asserting, in other words, that no adequate proof of what is or is not inspired Scripture exists. But some adequate method does exist, as Dr. Lynch proves, and Mr. Thornwell concedes. This method, if not private judgment, is the infallible Church, as he also virtually concedes ; for private illumination is not a method of proof, since, if a fact, it is not a fact that can be adduced in evidence ; and the other two methods supposed, namely, the judgment of the learned, and the single individual commissioned by Almighty God to announce the fact of inspiration to the world, he either abandons or cannot assert. The method, then, is either the infallible Church, or private judgment. It cannot be private judgment, if the objections urged against it be conceded. To attempt, without answering these objections, to show that equal objections bear against the Church, is, for the purposes of the argument at least, to concede them, and therefore to prove, if any thing, that no adequate method of proof exists, which is not allowable. As long, then, as private judgment remains unrelieved of the objections which declare it an impossible and therefore an unsupposable method, the argument proves too much for the Professor as well as for us, and consequently nothing.

This answers sufficiently Mr. Thornwell's reasoning, as far as it is intended to bear against Dr. Lynch's argument for infallibility from the necessity of the case. But we have a higher purpose in view than the simple vindication of Dr. Lynch, or the formal refutation of Professor Thornwell, and will therefore waive this reply and meet the reasoning on its intrinsic merits. Mr. Thornwell's conclusion rests on two assumptions : — 1. That, in order to establish the infallibility of the Church, Catholics are obliged to establish the credibility of the New Testament ; and 2. That the credibility of the New Testament, when established, is all that is needed to establish Scriptural inspiration,— that is, to   settle the question  what Scriptures are and what are not inspired. Both of these assumptions we deny.

1. In order to establish the infallibility of the Church, it is not necessary to establish the credibility of the New Testament. All that is needed to establish the infallibility is the miraculous origin of the Church. If she had a miraculous origin, she was founded by Almighty God; for none but God can work a miracle. If founded by Almighty God, she is his Church and speaks by his authority ; therefore infallibly ; for God can authorize only infallible truth. In order to make out the miraculous origin of the Church, we are not obliged to recur to the New Testament at all ; we can do it, and are accustomed to do it, when arguing with avowed unbelievers, without any reference to the authority of the Scriptures, either as inspired or as simple historical documents. We do it by taking the Church as we find her to-day, existing as an historical fact, and tracing her up, step by step, through the succession of ages, till we ascend to her original Founder. The extraordinary nature of her claims, uniformly put forth, and steadily acted upon from the first; her various institutions, professing to embody facts, which could not in the nature of things have sprung from no facts, or from facts pertaining exclusively to the natural order ; the external history which runs parallel to hers ; the relation held to her from the beginning by the Jewish and pagan worlds, and by the various heresies in each succeeding age from the Gnostics down to the followers of the Mormon prophet ; — all these combined prove in the most incontestable manner her supernatural character, and triumphantly establish the fact that her Founder must have had miraculous powers, and she a miraculous origin.

Undoubtedly, the infallibility of the Church turns, in the argument, upon a promise made nearly two thousand years ago ; but it is not true that the promise must necessarily be found only in the New Testament. A promise may be expressed in acts as well as in words, in the fact as well as in its record. The promise we rely upon is expressed in the miraculous origin of the Church, and is concluded from it on the principle, that the effect may be concluded from the cause, if the cause be known. In the natural order, God, in giving to a being a certain nature, promises that being all that it needs to attain the end of that nature. So in the supernatural order, in creating a supernatural being, he promises it all the powers, assistance, means, and conditions necessary to enable it to discharge its supernatural functions, or to gain the supernatural end to which he appoints it. In supernaturally founding the Church to teach his word, he therefore promises her infallibility in teaching it; because the function of teaching the word of God cannot be discharged without it.

2. But even if we were obliged — as we are not and cannot be — to assert the credibility, of the New Testament in order to make out our historical proofs, it would not be that credibility which would suffice to establish Scriptural inspiration, nor should we be obliged to make out any facts from which Scriptural inspiration could be immediately concluded. As all we have to make out is the miraculous origin of the Church, and as this is made out, if the fact of the miracles of our Lord is established, all that, in any case, we could need to do, in regard to the credibility of the New Testament, would be to make out its credibility so far as requisite to establish this fact. We do not want the New Testament to prove the miraculousness of the facts, for that follows from the facts themselves; nor to accredit as teachers or witnesses those by or in favor of whom Almighty God performs the miracles, for that follows from the miraculousness ; we can, at most, need it only for the purpose of proving that the miracles, in their quality of simple historical facts, actually occurred. For this simple historical testimony is sufficient, and consequently the simple historical credibility of the New Testament, as far as needed to authorize us to assert that the miracles actually took place, is all that it can even be pretended that we must make out. The New Testament is not one book, but a collection of books by different authors, each resting on its own independent merits, and the proof of the credibility of one does by no means establish the credibility of the rest. The most we can need for our purpose is the historical credibility of one of the Four Gospels, say the Gospel according to St. Matthew ; for that Gospel records all the facts necessary to establish the miraculous origin of the Church. Consequently, all the credibility of the New Testament we can, in any case, be required to establish, is the historical credibility of St. Matthew's Gospel.

This Gospel may be perfectly credible as an historical document, without being inspired. The facts to be taken on its authority, though supernatural as to their cause, are within the natural order as to their evidence, and as easily proved as any other class of historical facts. They fall under the senses, and require  in   their witnesses  only ordinary sense and ordinary honesty. To the trustworthiness of their historian, who, hi recording them, has only to give a faithful narrative of what has transpired before his eyes, or of what he has collected from the testimony of eyewitnesses, nothing beyond the ordinary human faculties can be requisite. Hence, many Protestants maintain the credibility of the Evangelical history, and yet deny the inspiration of the Gospels. We have by us a learned and elaborate work, in which the author, who, for learning and ability, ranks second to no Protestant theologian in the country, maintains, on the authority of the Pentateuch, the inspiration of Moses, and the divine origin of the Mosaic law, and yet denies the inspiration of the Pentateuch itself. Indeed, if none but inspired documents could be cited as credible authority for historical facts, human history would need to be closed at once, and Mr. Thornwell would find himself shut out from all means of establishing the historical objections he urges with so much zest, in the volume before us, against the Church ; for, undeniably, he can cite no inspired Scripture for them. It is not prudent for an author to take a ground which must prove more fatal to himself than to his opponent.

This fact, namely, that we need only the historical credibility of the New Testament at most, seems not to have sufficiently arrested Mr. Thornwell's attention ; or if it has, he must have too hastily concluded that the same order of credibility which is sufficient for the miracles is also sufficient for the inspiration. He proceeds, apparently, on the assumption, either that simple historical credibility is sufficient to establish the inspiration of the Scriptures, or that we need supernatural credibility to establish the miracles.    Thus, he asks : —

" If the books of the New Testament are to be received as credible testimony to the miracles of Christ, why not on the subject of their own inspiration ? Are you not aware that the great historical argument on which Protestants rely in proving the inspiration of the Scriptures presupposes only the genuineness of the books and
the credibility of their authors ? They assert it [their own
inspiration], and   [if credible] are  to  be   believed I had
thought that the only difficulty in making out the external proofs of inspiration was in establishing the credibility of the books which profess to be inspired. It had struck me, that, if it were once settled that their own testimony was to be received, the matter was
at an end.    But it seems now that it is still doubtful whether,
in the way of private judgment, a man could ever be assured that credible books are to be believed on the subject of their origin." — pp. 62, 63.

This reasoning involves a transition a specie ad speciem. Credible books are certainly to be believed within the order of credibility which they are proved or conceded to possess, but not within an order which transcends or rises above it; for nothing can transcend itself, and the conclusion must be in the order of the premises, or the argument is a fallacy. The credibility of the New Testament which we assert, or which it is contended we are obliged to assert, is simply historical credibility, or credibility in the natural order ; but the credibility the Professor needs, to establish the inspiration., is credibility in the supernatural order ; for inspiration pertains, undeniably, to the supernatural order, both as to its cause and as to the medium of its proof. Therefore we may receive the books as credible testimony to the miracles, and not on the subject of their own inspiration.

Mr. Thornwell evidently reasons on the assumption, that we cannot assert the credibility of the New Testament in relation to the miracles without asserting it in relation to the inspiration. That is, a witness cannot be credible at all, unless he is universally credible, and he who receives his testimony in one order binds himself to receive it in every order ; if he receives it in one respect, he must in every respect; in matters of fact, then also in matters of opinion ! But this is too extravagant for any man in his sober senses seriously to maintain. If this were once admitted, there would speedily be an end to human testimony, and our Presbyterian friend would find himself in a sad plight ; for his sole dependence is on private judgment, and he can pretend to nothing better than human testimony for his religious belief. No witness, unless absolutely omniscient, is or can be universally credible ; and as no man is absolutely omniscient, it follows, if no one can be credible under one relation without being credible under every relation, that no one can in any respect be credible at all. But we cannot concede this. Every day, in every court of law, in all the practical affairs of life in which there is an appeal to human testimony, we act, and are obliged to act, on the supposition, that a man may be credible in relation to some things without being credible in relation to all things.

Every body knows that a witness may be perfectly credible in testifying to facts which fall under the observation of his senses, and yet be deserving of no credit in relation to his opinions, his judgments, his views, or his explanations of the causes of the facts to which he testifies.    Nothing hinders, then, a man from being a credible witness to the facts recorded in the New Testament, even though he should assert and believe himself inspired when in point of fact he was not; for in testifying to the facts he testifies to what has come under his senses, while in asserting his inspiration he is merely giving an opinion, or offering an explanation of certain facts or phenomena of his own internal experience. The erroneous opinion or explanation does not impair his credibility as a witness to the facts, if his error is one which he may innocently entertain. That a man can innocently believe himself divinely inspired when he is not can hardly admit of a doubt. A man so believing is, by the very terms of the supposition, uninspired. He is then, since inspiration is a supernatural fact, necessarily ignorant of inspiration, unacquainted with its phenomena, and destitute of the necessary criterion for determining what it is or what it is not. What more natural, then, than that he should mistake certain phenomena of his own experience, otherwise inexplicable to him, for those of inspiration, and thus honestly believe himself inspired, when in reality he is uninspired ?

The Professor argues on the assumption, common to all enthusiasts, that no man can honestly mistake the origin or cause of the phenomena of his own internal experience, and therefore, that, when one says he is inspired, we must believe either that he actually is inspired or that he is a liar, a wilful deceiver, whose word is to be received on no subject whatever. There is no reason for this assumption. He who is inspired, undoubtedly, knows the fact, and is as incapable of being deceived in relation to it as he is of deceiving others ; but from this it by no means follows that a man who is not inspired must always know that he is not. Inspiration is, sometimes, at least, necessary to enable us to determine what is not inspiration, as well as to determine what is. He is little versed in the natural history of enthusiasm, who has yet to learn that honest men, men of rare gifts and inflexible principles, whose word on any subject within the range of sensible observation we would not hesitate a moment to take, not unfrequently labor under the impression that they hold immediate intercourse with the Almighty, are inspired, or divinely illuminated, when such is far from being the fact. Witness, for instance, Jacob Boehmen, George Fox, and Emanuel Swedenborg. These men are not inspired, nor are they liars. They do not intend to deceive, and are not even deceived themselves as to the facts of their internal experience, from which they infer their inspiration ; they are deceived only in their opinions, their judgments of those facts, the explanations of them which they adopt, or the origin and cause which they assign them. Who dare pretend that this destroys their credibility in relation to simple matters of fact, evident to their senses ? They do not mistake, they only misinterpret, the facts of their own consciousness ; and who may not do as much ? All men, however trustworthy they may be as witnesses to sensible facts, unless supernaturally protected from error, are liable, as is well known, to err in their judgments, in their explanations of phenomena, — in relation to the origin and causes of things, and in relation to the origin and causes of their own internal experience as well as of other things.

The Professor falls into the common mistake of Protestants, that the inspiration of a genuine book, by an author proved to be historically credible, may be concluded from its own declaration. We say he falls into this mistake ; for we cannot suppose that he falls into the still grosser one of supposing that we can prove the miracles only by a supernaturally credible witness, since that would deny that Christianity itself can be proved, — nay, that any thing supernatural is or can be provable, and therefore that man is or can be the subject of a supernatural revelation. If the miracles cannot be proved without a supernaturally credible witness, the supernatural credibility of the witness will in turn demand another supernaturally credible witness to establish it, and this another, and thus on ad infinitum. We should need an infinite series of supernatural witnesses in order to establish the supernatural. But an infinite series is an infinite absurdity.
As we cannot suppose the Professor ignorant of the absurdity into which he would fall, if he contended for the necessity of any thing more than ordinary historical credibility to establish the miracles, we must suppose him to hold that ordinary historical credibility is sufficient to establish the inspiration of the Scriptures, in case they declare their own inspiration. But the inspiration of a genuine book, historically credible, cannot be concluded from its own declaration ; because inspiration, being a supernatural fact, falling in no sense, as do the miracles, within the natural order, can be proved only by a supernaturally credible witness, which a merely historically credible witness is not. Before, from the declaration of the book, the Professor can conclude its inspiration, he must prove its author a credible witness to the supernatural.    But no witness is a credible witness to the supernatural, unless lie is himself inspired or divinely commissioned. The witness is not credible, unless competent. In ordinary cases, a witness may be competent, and not credible ; but in no case can he be credible, if incompetent. No witness, unless inspired or divinely commissioned, is competent to testify to the supernatural. The witness is not competent, unless he can intellectually attain to or take cognizance of that to which he is to testify. But no witness can intellectually attain to or take cognizance of the supernatural, — which, by the fact that it is supernatural, transcends all natural intellect, — without something more than natural intellect; that is, without supernatural illumination or assistance, — precisely what is meant by being inspired or divinely commissioned. Therefore the Professor cannot conclude the inspiration from the mere historical credibility of the witness, and must prove the author to be inspired, or divinely commissioned, before, from its own declaration, he can conclude a given book is inspired Scripture.

Now, since in making out our historical proofs the most which it can be pretended that we must do is to make out the historical credibility of the books of the New Testament, or the credibility of their authors, in their quality of author, merely in relation to the natural order, it is not true, even in case we must appeal for our facts to the New Testament, that we cannot make out the historical proofs of the infallibility of the Church, without making out at the same time the historical proofs of the inspiration of the Scriptures ; for we are not obliged to assert the credibility of the New Testament in relation to the supernatural, the sense in which it must be asserted in order to be credible authority for its own inspiration.

Nor, waiving this, do we, in making out the credibility which we are supposed to be under the necessity of making out, establish any facts from which the inspiration of the New Testament can be immediately concluded. The Professor himself says the Protestant argument " presupposes the genuineness of the books and the credibility of their authors." In addition, then, to the credibility of the authors, it is necessary, in order to establish the inspiration, to establish the genuineness of the books ; that is, that they were actually written by the persons whose names they bear, and have come down to us in their purity and integrity. Now this, even if we must make out the credibility of the New Testament, we are not obliged to make out. An historical document may be authoritative without being genuine.    If it contains a faithful narrative of facts as they occurred, it is sufficient for the ordinary purposes of history. That the Gospel according to St. Matthew, for instance, does contain such a narrative, is provable, without proving its inspiration, in the usual way of authenticating historical documents, by the nature of the narrative itself, the quality of the facts recorded, the circumstances under which it was published or first cited, the estimate in which it was held by those best qualified to judge^ of its authority, the manner in which it was treated by those who had an interest in discrediting it, and by reference to various contemporary or subsequently existing monuments, especially public institutions implying, founded upon, or growing out of, the facts which it professes to record. In this way we could accredit this Gospel as an historical document, even if it had come down to us without the author's name. Indeed, ancient historical works in general derive but little authority from the names of their authors, and, other things being equal, the works of Herodotus, Livy, and Tacitus would have no less authority than they now have, even if they had been anonymous productions. As the genuineness of the book is an essential element in any method of proof of its inspiration, except that by the infallible Church, and as we are under no necessity, prior to the Church, of proving it in the case of a single one of the books of the New Testament, it follows that we are not obliged, in making out the historical proofs of the infallibility of the Church, to make out at the same time the historical proofs of the inspiration of the Scriptures.

We can now easily expose the fallacy of Mr. Thornwell's pretended dilemma. Assuming what we have just disproved, he says to Dr. Lynch, in his peculiarly sweet and delicate manner : —

"Now, Sir, one of two things must be true; either the credibility of the Scriptures can be substantiated to a plain, unlettered man, or it cannot. If it can be, there is no need of your infallible body to authenticate their inspiration, since that matter can be easily gathered from their own pages. If it cannot, then your argument from the Scriptures to an Indian or negro in favor of an infallible body is inadmissible, since he is incapable of apprehending the premises from which your conclusion is drawn. You have taken both horns of this dilemma, pushing Protestants with one, and upholding Popery with the other, and both are fatal to you. Now, as it is rather difficult to be on both sides of the same question at the same time, you must adhere to one or the other. If you adhere to your first position, that all human learning is necessary to settle the credibility of the Scriptures, then you must seek other proofs of an infallible body than those which you think you have gathered from the Apostles A circulating syllogism proves nothing ; and if he who establishes the credibility of the Scriptures by an infallible body, and then establishes the infallibility of the body from the credibility of the Scriptures, does not reason in a circle, I am at a loss to apprehend the nature of that sophism. If you adhere to your other position, that the accuracy of the Evangelists can be easily substantiated, then your objections to private judgment are fairly given up, and you surrender the point, that a man can decide for himself, with absolute certainty, concerning the inspiration of the Bible. Take which horn you please, your cause is ruined ; and as you have successively chosen both, you have made yourself as ridiculous as your reasoning is contemptible." — pp. 64, 65.

This argument evidently involves a transition from one genus to another. The Professor confounds in the first part of his fancied dilemma the historical credibility, and in the second the accuracy of the Evangelists in their account of the miracles, with the inspiration of the Scriptures, and then concludes as if they were all facts of the same order ; which is a sad blunder, and little creditable to the " Professor of Sacred Literature and the Evidences of Christianity in the South Carolina College." Dr. Lynch does not say that it requires "all human learning to settle the credibility of the Scriptures" in any sense in which he can need their credibility prior to the Church ; he simply maintains that all human learning, and perhaps more too, is necessary to settle, with absolute certainty, by private judgment, on intrinsic grounds, the inspiration of ancient writings, — which is a generically distinct proposition. The " accuracy of the Evangelists," which he asserts can be substantiated to the Indian or negro, is not the inspiration or the supernatural credibility of the Scriptures ; but their accuracy as historians of the miracles, or that the miracles which they record actually transpired. As this accuracy does not presuppose or necessarily imply the inspiration or the supernatural credibility of the Scriptures, nothing hinders Dr. Lynch from adhering to both of the positions he has assumed, " pushing Protestants with one, and upholding Popery with the other," however inconvenient it may be to his Presbyterian adversary.

" He who establishes the credibility of the Scriptures by an infallible body, and then establishes the infallibility of the body from the credibility of the Scriptures, reasons in a circle," if the credibility in both cases be taken in the same sense, we concede ; if in different senses, we deny.    But Dr. Lynch does not establish the infallibility of the Church from the credibility of the Scriptures at all ; or if he does, it is not from their credibility in that sense in which he contends that their credibility can be proved only by the infallible body. The only sense in which he can be said to establish the infallible body from the credibility of the Scriptures is their simple historical credibility ; the sense in which he asserts the infallible body as necessary to prove their credibility is their credibility as inspired writings. As they can have the former without having the latter, we may, without any vicious circle, take the facts we need to prove the infallible body from their historical credibility, and then take the infallible body to prove their inspiration, or supernatural credibility, although we are, as we have shown, under no necessity of doing so. Does the Professor deny that we can do so ? Does he contend that this would be to reason in a vicious circle ? What, then, shall we say of his own reasoning for the inspiration of the New Testament ? If he denies the distinction we have made, the historical credibility of the New Testament and its inspiration are one and the same thing, —■ convertible terms. Then we retort his argument. He says the infallibility of the Church " turns upon a promise which is said to have been made nearly two thousand years ago, — the inspiration of the New Testament turns upon facts which are said to have transpired at the. same time. Both the promise and the facts are to be found, if found at all, in this very JV*ett> Testament." Here it is positively asserted that the facts which prove the inspiration can nowhere be found but in the New Testament itself. Then they must be taken on its credibility. But credibility and inspiration, according to him, are one and the same thing, convertible terms. Then he must take the inspiration of the New Testament to prove the facts, and then the facts to prove the inspiration. If this be not to reason in a circle, we are " at a loss to apprehend the nature of that sophism."

Now one of two things must be true ; either this reasoning is valid, or it is not. If it is, Mr. Thornwell cannot make out the inspiration of the Scriptures ; for " a circulating syllogism proves nothing." If it is not, he fails to refute Dr. Lynch, and then is refuted by him, as we proved in our former article. In either case, he is refuted. " Take which horn you please, your cause is ruined." Although the Professor says "it is rather difficult to be on both sides of the same question at the same time," yet he contrives to surmount the difficulty.    He
assumes that this reasoning is not valid, by urging, in spite of it, his own argument for Scriptural inspiration, and that it is valid, by urging it against Dr. Lynch. We may, then, reply to him in his own choice language : — " Take which born you please, your cause is ruined ; and as you have successively chosen both, you have made yourself as ridiculous as your reasoning is contemptible."

But even this is not the worst. Mr. Thornwell's conclusion rests on the assumption that the Scriptures declare their own inspiration, that their inspiration "is a matter" which "may be easily gathered from their own pages." " They assert," he maintains, " their own inspiration, and, if credible, are to be believed." But, granting that they declare their own inspiration, we have shown that it does not necessarily follow that they are inspired, because, to render their own testimony sufficient for that, they must be proved to be supernaturally credible, since inspiration is a supernatural fact, provable only by a supernaturally credible witness, and the only credibility, if any, which the Professor can claim for them is simple historical credibility. He binds himself to reason from our premises, because he says we cannot make out the historical proofs of the Church without making out at the same time the historical proofs of inspiration. Consequently, since the historical credibility of the Scriptures is all that we, at most, can be obliged to make out, it is all the Professor can have as the principle from which to reason against us. This is conclusive against him. But waiving this, waiving the objection to the order of credibility, and granting — what we do not concede — that we must make out the genuineness of the books it is pretended we must cite, still he cannot conclude Scriptural inspiration, because no one of the books lohose historical credibility we need or can need declares its own inspiration. We have shown, that for our purpose it suffices, in any case, to establish the credibility of one of the Four Gospels as an historical document. But no one of the Four Gospels declares or intimates that it is inspired Scripture, or even asserts the inspiration of any other of the Scriptural books. Consequently, the Professor has not even its own declaration for the inspiration of Scripture, and must be mistaken in saying that Scriptural inspiration is a matter which " may be easily gathered from" the pages of the Scriptures themselves.

But, adds the Professor, "you [Dr. Lynch] have yourself admitted that the teaching of the Apostles was supernaturally protected from error, and if their oral instructions were dictated by the Holy Ghost, why should that august and glorious Visitant desert them when they took the pen to accomplish the same object when absent, which, when present, they accomplished by the tongue ? " (p. 62.) The question is irreverent and impertinent. We have no right to demand of the Holy Ghost the reasons of what he does or does not do. It is competent for him, if such be his pleasure, to inspire men for one thing and not for another, to inspire to teach and not to write, to enable them to accomplish a given object by one method and not by another method ; and the Professor cannot say that he does not, because he sees no reason why he should. The Holy Ghost may have reasons not known to the learned Professor of Sacred Literature, &c, in the South Carolina College.
Dr. Lynch admits that the teaching of the Apostles was supernaturally protected from error, and we must prove that it was, or not prove the infallibility of the Church ; but that it therefore necessarily follows that they were inspired as authors, or even as teachers, we neither admit nor are bound to admit. To be inspired is, undoubtedly, to be supernaturally protected from error, but to be supernaturally protected from error is not necessarily to be inspired. Every Catholic believes his Church supernaturally protected from error; but no one believes her to be inspired. As all Catholics make this distinction, Dr. Lynch's admission is no admission of inspiration even in the teaching of the Apostles. Inspiration is necessary only when the mission is to reveal truth ; when the mission is simply to teach a revelation already consummated, supernatural assistance, without inspiration, is all that is needed. If the mission of the Apostles was simply to teach a revelation which they had received through their personal intercourse with their Master, while he was yet with them in the flesh, — and prior to the Church, this certainly is all that we can be required to establish, — they had no need of inspiration, either as teachers or as writers, in order to be supernaturally protected from error. To concede or to assert such protection, then, is not to concede or assert their inspiration. We certainly cannot be required to make out for the Apostles any thing more than we claim for the Church, and, since all we claim for her is supernatural protection from error in teaching a revelation already consummated, this is all that we can be obliged to make out for them.

Nor does the inspiration of the Apostles or of their writings follow immediately from the facts on which we must rely in order to prove the infallibility of the Apostles, or their supernatural protection from error. The facts on which we do and must rely are the miracles. These do not of themselves prove the inspiration, but simply the divine commission of him by or in favor of whom Almighty God works them, on the principle asserted by St. Nicodemus : — u Rabbi, we know thou art come a teacher from God ; for no man can do the miracles which thou doest, unless God be with him." The divine commission follows necessarily from the miracles, and the supernatural protection from error, or the infallibility, follows necessarily from the divine commission. But the inspiration does not, because the teacher may be commissioned to teach, and may teach infallibly, without being inspired. Even Apostolic inspiration, then, cannot be immediately concluded from the facts on which we must rely ; then, a fortiori, not the writings of the Apostles. We say immediately, for to say it can be mediately is nothing to the purpose. We ourselves hold that the inspiration both of the Old Testament and the New can be mediately proved, that is, through the teaching of the Church, proved by the miracles to be supernaturally protected from error.

But the Professor continues, — " The Apostles themselves declare their writings possessed the same authority with their oral instructions. Peter ranks the Epistles of Paul with the Scriptures of the Old Testament, which were confessed to be inspired ; and Paul exhorts the Thessalonians to hold fast the traditions they had received from him, either by word or epistle." (p. G2.) That the Apostles anywhere declare their writings possess the same authority with their oral instructions, we have not found in any of the writings attributed to them with which we are acquainted ; and if they did, it would not be sufficient, for the question at this moment relates, not to the authority, but to the inspiration, of the Scriptures, and it is not yet proved that even the oral instructions of the Apostles were inspired.

The Epistles of St. Peter and of St. Paul are not admissible testimony, because they are not included in that portion of the New Testament whose credibility we can, in any case, be obliged to make out. We can have no occasion for their testimony, prior to the Church; and as the Professor binds himself to the testimony we must use, or to what necessarily follows immediately from it, he cannot use it. The question now before us is, not whether he can or cannot, without the Church, prove the inspiration of the Scriptures, but whether he can prove it from the facts we must prove in order to prove the infallibility of the Church.

St. Paul was not one of the twelve ; his vocation was subsequent to the establishment of the Church; and in no case can it be necessary for us even to establish his divine commission in order to establisu the miraculous origin of the Church, from which her infallibility immediately follows. But even if the Professor could cite the authority of St. Paul, he would be obliged to make out, before his citation would avail him any thing,— 1. That St. Paul's oral instruction was inspired ; 2. That the Epistle to the Thessalonians is genuine ; 3. That the Epistle to which he refers in it was the Epistles which we now have under his name ; and, 4. That these Epistles are possessed by us precisely as he wrote them. Here are four facts not easy to make out, and which the Professor must make out for himself; for we are under no obligation to make them out for him, and they do not follow necessarily from any thing we are bound to make out.

The divine commission of St. Peter as one of the Apostles, we, of course, are obliged to make out; but — ubi Fetrus, ibi Ecclesia — when we have done that, we have, in fact, made out our infallible Church. Let this, however, pass for the present. Though we are obliged to make out the divine commission of St. Peter as one of the twelve, we are not obliged to make out his inspiration, or the authenticity or genuineness of the Epistles attributed to him. The Epistle the Professor cites is no authority till its authenticity and genuineness are proved, and it happens to be precisely one of those books of the New Testament whose authenticity and genuineness Protestant theologians, at least many of them, call in question. But granting its genuineness, it avails nothing till the Professor proves that the Epistles of St. Paul to which it refers are those we now have, and that we have them as St. Paul wrote them ; for the Professor is not merely to prove that there were inspired writings, but he is to prove what writings now possessed by us are or are not to be received as inspired Scripture. But even suppose this done, it does not follow that these Epistles are inspired. St. Peter does not, as the Professor asserts, "rank them with the Scriptures of the Old Testament, which were confessed to be inspired," but simply with " the other Scriptures." What Scriptures these were, whether inspired or  uninspired, the   Professor   may or   may not have some means of knowing, but St. Peter, in the writings attributed to him, nowhere informs him. That the Scriptures of the Old Testament were confessed to be inspired, we know from tradition and the Church, but not from the New Testament. From the New Testament alone we can prove neither that the books of the Old Testament were inspired, nor of what books the Old Testament consisted. St. Paul tells us, indeed, that " all Scripture divinely inspired is profitable," &c, but he nowhere tells us what books or portions of books are divinely inspired Scripture. It is not true, then, that the inspiration of the Scriptures can " be easily collected from their own pages." Then the whole argument of the Professor falls to the ground ; for even if their own testimony were to be received, it would still be necessary to have the infallible body to prove their inspiration, since they themselves do not assert it.

We are not surprised that Mr. Thornwell should strive earnestly to convict his Catholic opponent of reasoning in a vicious circle. He must, as a Protestant, do so. Protestantism would abnegate herself, should she once concede that it is possible for us to prove the infallibility of the Church, without having recourse to the supernatual authority of the Scriptures. It is with the Protestant, therefore, a matter of life and death. If he fails, it is all over with his cherished Protestantism. Her friends must follow her in long and sad procession to her final resting-place, howl their wild requiem, and leave the nightshade to grow over her grave, and return to their desolate hearths, with none to comfort them. What, indeed, is the essential principle of Protestantism, in so far as she pretends to be distinguished from the open and total rejection of all supernatural religion ? What is it, but the assertion that the Bible is the original and only source or authority from which Christianity is to be taken ? Every body knows that this is her essential, her fundamental principle, in every sense in which she can even pretend to be a religion. To admit it to be possible for us to establish the infallibility of the Church without the Scriptures, or without their supernatural authority, would be to surrender this principle, and with it Protestantism herself, as far as she can claim to be distinguishable from infidelity.

All Protestants know this, and hence they always assert that we do and must reason in a vicious circle. It would be so convenient, it is so necessary, for them, that we should, they have for so long a time so uniformly and so confidently asserted that we do, that it is hard for them now to admit, or even to believe, that we do not and need not. Like inveterate storytellers, they appear to have come at last, by dint of long and continued repetition, to believe their own falsehoods, — the last infirmity of the credulous and the untruthful. Indeed, we can hardly doubt that the great body of Protestants really do labor under the hallucination, that we must, in order to establish the Church, first establish, in the usual Protestant way, the authority of the Scriptures as inspired documents ; and as we contend that the infallibility of the Church is necessary to prove their inspiration, that we must prove the inspiration by the Church, and the Church by the inspiration, — a manifest vicious circle. But as a circle proves nothing, they think they may well say, that in proving the Christian religion we have and can have no advantage over them. Grant, say they, we must prove the credibility of the Scriptures before we can conclude their inspiration, from which we take our faith, you must prove the same credibility before you can conclude the infallibility of the Church, from which you are to take yours, and you have and can have, prior to. the Church, no means of proving that credibility which we have not.

When the credibility is once established, our difficulties are ended, for the inspiration is easily collected from the express declaration of the Scriptures themselves; but the infallibility of the Church is not. We have the express authority of the divinely accredited witness, but you have only your own interpretations or constructions of certain texts, in which you may err ; and if you do not, you cannot assert that yours is the church intended, without making a full course of universal history for eighteen hundred years. How much simpler is our method than yours ! With how many difficulties you encumber yourselves from which we are free ! You have to make out all that we must make out, and in addition the fact of an infallible church, and the further fact that yours is it.

You may tell us that we may mistake the sense of Scripture, that our method is encumbered with difficulties, that it does not give us absolute certainty, and that something easier and surer is desirable. Be it so, what then ? You have nothing to say, for you have nothing better to offer us. Suppose the Church ; what do you gain ? You must take it from the Scriptures, and the Scriptures themselves from the same authority that we do, that is, private judgment. You must take it also from the Scriptures by your private interpretation of them ; and you must take the fact that yours is the Church from your private
interpretations of history. Every step in your process of
proof must be taken by private judgment, and we should like
to know how private judgment is more certain in your case
than in ours, — why it is to be condemned in us, and com
mended in you. Be it that it does not yield absolute certain
ty ; what then? Absolute certainty, — who can have it?
What presumption for such frail and erring mortals as we are
to pretend to it! We do not need it. It is not in accordance
with the intentions of Providence, nor compatible with our
moral interest, that we should have it. " The true evidence
of the Gospel is & growing evidence, sufficient always to cre
ate obligation and assurance, but effectual only as the heart ex
pands in fellowship with God, and becomes assimilated to the
spirits of the just Our real condition requires the pos
sibility of error, and God has made no arrangements for abso
lutely terminating controversies and settling questions of faith,
without regard to the moral sympathies of men." (pp. 74, 75.)
With such certainty as we have we study to be satisfied. It
is not the characteristic of wisdom to aim at impossibilities, or
of honesty to profess to have what it has not.

Thus they reason, and must reason, wise and honest souls ! who assert that the Bible is the original and only source of Christian doctrine, and who define faith, with Professor Stuart of An-dover, to be a species of probability, more certain, perhaps, than mere opinion, but less certain than knowledge, or ring the death-knell of their own system. If it be possible in the nature of things or the providence of God to bring an unbeliever to Catholicity without first converting him to Protestantism, they must for ever shut their mouths, or open them only to give vent to their mortification and despair. But, happily for us, the reasonings which demand the principle of universal skepticism for their postulate are not apt to convince, and the assertions of men who deny all infallible authority, and confess to their own fallibility and want of certainty, are not absolutely conclusive. It is possible, after all, that these learned Protestants are mistaken, nay, laboring under " strong delusions," and that we poor benighted Papists have the truth. At worst, the authority on which we rely can be no more than fallible, while that on which they rely must be fallible at best. At worst, then, we are as well off as they can be at best.

But are these Protestants, who would have us regard them as full-grown men, strong men, the lights and support of the age, aware, that, in all this argumentation on which they pride themselves, and which they hold to be our complete refutation, they are merely reasoning against us from their own principles, and not from any principles common to them and us ? Their reasoning, undeniably, rests on the assumption of the Bible as the original and only source, under God, of Christian doctrine, — a fundamental principle of Protestantism, and which we no more admit than we do the other fundamental principle of Protestantism, namely, private judgment. They are very much mistaken, if they suppose that we merely object to their rule of private judgment, if they suppose that they and we occupy common ground till we reach the limits to which the Bible extends, and that our only controversy with them, as far as the Bible goes, is one of simple exegesis, and after that merely a controversy in relation to certain points of belief not to be found in the Bible. Our main controversy with them is prior to the Bible, and relates to the origin or fountain and authority from which the faith is to be drawn.

Protestantism, taking it according to the professions of its most distinguished doctors, is resolvable into two principles, if principles they can be called, namely, — 1. The Bible is the original and only source of Christian faith ; and, 2. The Bible is to be taken on and interpreted by private judgment. These are its two rules. It is nothing to us whether these two rules are or are not compatible one with the other, and we do not inquire now whether the latter does or does not necessarily and in fact absorb the former, and reduce Protestantism to sheer Transcendentalism in principle, for that is a matter which has been already sufficiently discussed in our pages ; but we say, what every body knows, that Protestantism professes these two rules as fundamental, and that they are essential to its very existence, and one of them as much as the other. Now we, as Catholics, reject and anathematize both of these rules, as Protestants ought to know. Consequently, for them to urge an argument against us which assumes either as its principle is a sheer begging of the question, or an assumption of Protestantism as the principle from which to conclude against Catholicity. Yet this is precisely the method of argument adopted in the brief summary of their reasoning which we have given.
This is not lightly said. Mr. Thornwell's whole reply to Dr. Lynch is a striking illustration and proof of it. Dr. Lynch states certain objections to private judgment; Mr. Thornwell replies, You'cannot urge those objections, because, whatever their weight, they bear as hard against the Church as against us. What is the proof of this ? You must take the Church from the Scriptures, or not take it at all; and if you take it from them, you must do so by private judgment, for you cannot use your Church before you get it; and as you can get your Church only subsequently to the Scriptures, you must take the Scriptures themselves on private judgment, or use a circulating syllogism, which proves nothing. But the proof that we must take the Church from the Scriptures ? Why, you must take it from the Scriptures — because you have nothing else to take it from. But the proof that we have nothing else to take it from ? The Professor has no possible answer, but the assumption of the Bible as the original and only source of Christian faith. Consequently, at bottom, whether he knows it or not, he simply assumes one principle of Protestantism as the principle of his answers to objections urged against the other. That is, if we consider Protestantism in its unity, he attempts to prove the same by the same ; if in its diversity, he reasons in a vicious circle, — proving private judgment by his Bible rule, and his Bible rule by private judgment! And yet Mr. Thornwell has the simplicity to accuse Dr. Lynch of using a circulating syllogism.

Undoubtedly, it is very convenient for Protestants, when hard pressed as to one of their principles, to resort to the other ; but as both rules are denied, and are both directly or indirectly called in question in every controversy they have or can have with us, they would do well to bear in mind that the arguments they thus adduce are as illegitimate and worthless as if drawn from the very principle they are brought to defend. We really wish that our Protestant friends would study a little logic, at least make themselves acquainted with the more ordinary rules of reasoning and principles of evidence. It would save us some trouble, and themselves from the ridicule to which they expose themselves, whenever they undertake to reason. It is idle to attempt to convince a man by arguments drawn from the principle or system he is opposing, or to pretend to have refuted him by reasons'which derive all their force from principles which he neither admits nor is obliged to admit. In reasoning, each party must reason from principles admitted by the other, or from principles proved by arguments drawn from principles which the other does not or cannot deny. Our Protestant friends ought to know this ; for Mr. Thornwell very considerately informs  us (p. 72) that they are not "prattling babes  and   silly women," but "bearded

Protestants seem to have inquired how it would be convenient for them that we should reason, and to have concluded, because* if we should reason in a given manner, it would be just the thing for them, that we of course do and must reason in that manner. If we admitted their doctrine as to the Bible, we undoubtedly should be obliged to reason in the manner they allege. If the road from unbelief to Catholicity lay through Protestant territory, if we could convert the unbeliever to the Church only by first converting him to Protestantism, as Mr. Thornwell virtually contends, we should, of course, be obliged to make out the divine authority of the Scriptures, if at all, in the way in which Protestants attempt to do it, and then many of the objections we now urge and insist upon against private judgment we should be obliged to meet as well as they ; but, surely, some other proof that such is the fact should be brought forward than this, that, if it be not so, then Protestantism must be false ; for the conclusion is not one which we are not able to concede. In reasoning with Protestants, we are generally civil enough to take them at their word; and as we find them professing to hold the divine authority of the Scriptures, we draw our arguments against them from the Scriptures, because it is always lawful to reason against a man from his own principles ; but in reasoning against unbelievers, we make no appeal to the Scriptures, unless it be sometimes as simple historical documents, proved to be such by general historical criticism, in which character we can legitimately appeal to, them. The assertion, that we are obliged, by the nature of the case, to take the Church from the Scriptures, is altogether gratuitous, and even preposterous. It rests, as we have seen, on the assumption, that the Bible is the original and sole authority for Christian faith. This is what Mr. Thornwell holds, what as a Protestant he must hold. The Bible, then, occupies the same place in his system that the Church does in ours; for this is precisely what we say of the Church. The Bible is for him the original and sole depositary of the faith, — its keeper, witness, teacher, and interpreter. He must, then, establish the divine authority of the Scriptures, as we the divine authority of the Church ; for only a divine authority is sufficient for Christian faith. To do this, as we have already established, he must have a supernaturally credible witness. Prior to and independently of the supernatural authority of "the Scriptures, then, he must obtain such witness. This he can do, or he cannot. If he cannot, he cannot establish the divine authority of the Scriptures. If he can, then we also can ; for prior to the Scriptures, we stand, at least, on as good ground as lie. But such a witness is all we need for the divine authority of the Church. Then either the Professor cannot establish the divine authority of the Scriptures, or we can establish the divine authority of the Church without the Scriptures. Where now are the Professor's assumption, and his triumph about reasoning in a circle ?

Again. The divine authority of the Scriptures is itself an article of faith, because a supernatural fact, and a revealed fact, if a fact at all. This can be proved without the Scriptures, or it cannot. If it cannot, then it cannot be proved at all, for the Scriptures can authorize no article of faith till their own divine authority is established. If it can, it is false to say the Scriptures are the original and only authority for faith, for here is an article of faith not taken from them, but from some other source and authority. Or in another form : Either the supernatural witness supposed can be obtained, or cannot. If the Professor says the latter, he abandons his Protestantism, by confessing to his inability to establish the divine authority of the Scriptures, from which alone he is to take it. If he says the former, he also abandons his Protestantism ; for then he concedes the possibility of another authority for faith than the Scriptures, which Protestantism does and must deny, or deny itself. The Professor may take which alternative he pleases ; in either case, he must surrender his Protestantism, as far as at all distinguishable from sheer infidelity.

Thus easy is it to overthrow the strongest positions of Protestants, and we confess that our only practical difficulty in refuting Protestantism lies precisely in its weakness, nay, its glaring absurdity. Our arguments against it fail to convince, because too easily obtained, and because they are too obviously conclusive. People doubt their senses, and refuse to trust their reason. They think it impossible that Protestantism, which makes such lofty pretensions, should be so untenable, so utterly indefensible, as it must be, if our arguments against it are sound. We succeed too well to be successful, and fail because we make out too strong a case. Indeed, Protestantism owes its existence and influence, after its wickedness, to its absurdity. If it had been less glaringly absurd, it would long since have been numbered with the things that were. Ilium fuit. But many people find it difficult to believe it to be what it appears ; they
think it must contain something which is concealed from them, some hidden wisdom, some profound trulh, or else the enlightened men among Protestants would not and could not have manifested so much zeal in its behalf, — forgetting that Socrates ordered just before his death a cock to be sacrificed to iEsculapius, that Plato advocated promiscuous concubinage, and that Satan, notwithstanding his great intellectual power, is the greatest fool in the universe, — a fool whom a simple child saying credo outwits and turns into ridicule. But they may bs assured that it is not one whit more solid than it appears, and that the deeper they probe it, the more unsound and rotten they will find it.

Protestants would do well to study the Categories, or Predicaments, and learn not to contemn proper and necessary distinctions. They should know that they cannot conclude the supernatural from the natural; and that the historical credibility of the Scriptures does not, of itself, establish their divine authority in relation to the supernatural order. Historical credibility suffices for the miracles ; and miracles accredit the teachers, but not immediately the teaching, whether oral or written. The teaching is taken on the authority of the accredited teacher. Consequently, between the miracles and the divine authority of the Scriptures the authority or testimony of the teacher must intervene, and whether it does intervene in favor of the Scriptures or not is a question of fact, not of reason.

Hence it is easy to detect the falsity of Mr. Thornwell's general thesis, that " it is just as easy to prove the inspiration of the Scriptures as the infallibility of any church." The inspiration of the Scriptures and the divine authority or infallibility of the Church are both supernatural facts, and therefore provable only by evidence valid in relation to the supernatural. In order to prove the inspiration of the Scriptures, the Professor must prove their divine authority ; for he is to take their inspiration from their own testimony, which is not adequate, unless super-naturally credible. But to prove the divine authority of the Scriptures, he must prove the divine commission of the Apostles. The supernatural is provable in two ways, •— by miracles, and by divinely accredited or commissioned teachers. The miracles accredit or prove the divine commission of the teachers, but, as we have just seen, not the divine authority of the writings. This must be taken on the authority of the teachers themselves, and the Apostles are the only teachers supposable in the case ; because all, whetherChurch or Scriptures, as a matter of fact, comes to us from God through them. Consequently, the Professor must establish, in some way, their divine commission, or not establish the divine authority of the Scriptures, and therefore the supernatural credibility of their testimony to their own inspiration.

This we also must do, or not be able to assert the infallibility of the Church. The divine commission is a point common to us both ; both must make it out, — he without the authority of Scripture, and we without the authority of the Church. If he can make it out, we can, and if we can make it out, he can ; for we both, in relation to it, stand on the same ground, have the same difficulties, and the same, and only the same, means with which to overcome them.

The divine commission of the Apostles is made out, if at all, by the miracles historically proved to have actually occurred. These, thus proved, accredit the teachers, that is, the Apostles, as teachers come from God, therefore commissioned by him ; and if commissioned by him, what they teach, as from him, must be infallibly true, because he cannot authorize the teaching of what is not infallibly true. Thus history proves the miracles, the miracles prove the divine commission, and the divine commission proves the infallibility. Thus far, we and the Professor travel together. But — and this is the point he overlooks — when we have gone thus far, and obtained the divinely commissioned Apostles, we have got the infallible Church ; for they are it, in all its plenitude and in all its integrity. Has the Professor got his inspired Scriptures ? No. He has not yet got even their divine authority, and does not as yet even know that there are any Scriptures at all, much less what and which they are ; and he can know only as these divinely commissioned Apostles inform him, that is, as taught by the infallible Church, — precisely what we have always told him, and what he ought to have known in the outset.

Does the Professor answer, that we have not yet proved the present existence of the infallible Church, and that ours is it ? Be it so. We must, of course, establish the fact of communion between us and the Church of the Apostles, or not be able to assert the infallibility of our Church. But the Professor has also to establish the fact of his communion with the same Church, before he can assert the divine authority of the Scriptures ; for he is to assert it on her authority, and this he cannot do until he proves that he has her authority. The simple question, then, between us is, whether it is as easy for him to
establish the fact of the communion in his case, as it is for us to establish it in ours. He must prove, not only that it is possible in his case, but that it is as easy in his as in ours, or abandon his thesis.

As yet, the Professor has only the point in common with us of the divine commission, or infallible Church, of the Apostles. The authority of this Church he must bring home to the sacred books with absolute certainty, and with so much exactness as to include no uninspired and to exclude no inspired Scripture. He must bring it home, not merely to some books, but to all whose inspiration is to be asserted ; and this not in general only, but also in particular,—• to each particular book, chapter, verse, and sentence. This, in the nature of the case, he can do only by proving the genuineness of the Apostolic writings, and the identity, purity, and integrity of all those books which, though not written by the Apostles themselves, are to be received as inspired on their authority. This he must do before he can establish the divine authority of the Scriptures, and be able to conclude their inspiration from their own testimony, in case he has it.

This is what the Professor has to do, in order to make out the fact of Apostolic communion in his case ; but all we have to do, in order to establish it in ours, is to prove historically the continuance in space and time of the Church of the Apostles, and its external identity, or its identity as a visible corporation or kingdom, with our Church. Now which is the easiest ? Is it as easy to prove the authenticity, purity, and integrity of some sixty or seventy ancient books, written in different languages, and transcribed perhaps a thousand times, subject to a thousand accidents, as to establish the external identity of a visible corporation or kingdom, extending over all nations, the common centre around which, in one form or another, revolve all the significant events of the world for eighteen hundred years, and no more to be mistaken than the sun in the cloudless heavens at noonday ? We are to prove, we grant, the external identity of our Church with the Church in the days of the Apostles, — a thing, in its very nature, as easy to be done as to establish the continuance and identity of any civil corporation, state, or empire, ancient or modern. But the Professor has to do as much as this, and more too, in the case of the Bible, and of each separate book, chapter, and sentence in the Bible, — a thing • morally impossible to be done, as all the attempts of Protestants to establish the divine authority of the Scriptures sufficiently prove.

But even if this were done, the Professor would not have established the inspiration of u single sentence of Scripture, as Scripture. The divine authority of the Scriptures does not prove their inspiration, unless they themselves declare it ; for the Professor must gather their inspiration from their own pages. He can assert no book to be inspired, unless, if it be a genuine Apostolic writing, it clearly and unequivocally asserts its own inspiration, and if it be not an Apostolic writing, unless it is clearly and unequivocally declared to be inspired by some book whose divine authority is established. And even this would not be enough for his purpose ; for he must not only make out the inspiration of certain books, but he must establish by divine authority what books are, and what are not, to be received as inspired Scripture. He must bring divine authority to say, These, and these only, are to be so received. This last is impossible, for it is well known that Scripture nowhere draws or professes to draw up a list of the inspired books. This of itself is conclusive against the Professor. The former, also, is impossible, for none of the Apostolic writings, unless it be the Apocalypse, whose authenticity many Protestants deny, assert their own inspiration, and, with this exception, and some portion of the prophetic books, what is received as Scripture is nowhere in Scripture asserted to be inspired. Hence there are amongst us Protestant Doctors of Divinity, who, while professing to acknowledge the authority of our Lord and his Apostles, and the general historical fidelity and authority of the Bible, deny entirely its inspiration.

The Professor, therefore, must be decidedly mistaken in saying that " it is just as easy to prove the inspiration of the Scriptures as the infallibility of any church." His meaning hi that, in the nature of the case, it must be as easy to prove the inspiration as the infallibility, which we see is by no means the fact ; because, on no hypothesis, can he prove the inspiration of the Scriptures without first proving the infallible Church, and the historical identification of the Church in space and tifne is a thing infinitely easier to make out than the authenticity, identity, purity, and integrity of ancient writings. The latter can be done, if at all without a continued infallible authority, only with extreme difficulty, and by a few gifted individuals, who have ample opportunities and learned leisure for the purpose. The other is a thing easily done. It is, making allowance for the greater lapse of time between the two extremes, as easy to prove that Pius IX. is the successor of St. Peter in the government of the Church, as that James K. Polk is the successor of George Washington in the Presidency of the United States ; and the fact of the succession in the former case as much proves that the Church of which Pius IX. is Pope is the Church of St. Peter, that is, of the Apostles, as the succession in the latter case proves that the United States of which Mr. Polk, is President are the same political body over which George Washington presided. Even the allowance to be made for lapse of time dwindles into insignificance, the moment we consider the more important part in the affairs of the world performed by,the Church than by the United States, or by any temporal state or kingdom of ancient or modern times.

To identify and,to establish the purity and integrity of an ancient book, which has been subject to all the accidents of two or three thousand years, is by no means an easy task; but the identity in space and time of an outward visible body, " a city set on a hill," the common centre of nations, and spreading itself over all lands and conducting the most sublime and the most intimate affairs of mankind, everywhere with us, at birth, baptism, confirmation, marriage, in sickness and health, in joy and sorrow, in prosperity and adversity, in life and death, — taking us from our mother's womb, and accompanying us as our guardian angel through life, and never leaving us for one moment till we arrive at home, and behold our Father's face in the eternal habitations of the just, — is the easiest thing in the world to establish through any supposable series of ages. You may speak of its liability to corruption ; but far less liable must it be, even humanly speaking, to corruption than the Scriptures, and indeed, after all, it is only from its incorrupt-ness and its guardian care, that even you, who blaspheme the Spouse of God, conclude the purity and integrity of the Scriptures. Far easier would it be to interpolate or mutilate the Scriptures, without detection, than for the Church to corrupt or alter her teachings, always diffused far more generally, and far better known, than their pages. If publicity, extent, and integrity of the Christian people are to be pleaded for the purity and integrity of the sacred text, as they must be, then a fortiori for the purity and integrity of the Church's teaching.

But passing over all this, supposing, but not conceding, that the Professor could make out the inspiration of Scripture, it would amount to just nothing at all; for the real matter to be determined is, what is or is not to be received as the word of God, and till this is- determined, or an unerring rule for determining it is obtained, nothing is done of any practical moment. To prove that the Scriptures are inspired, and therefore contain the word of God, is only to prove where the word, or some portion of the word, of God is, not what it is. Between where and what there is a distance, and, unless some means are provided for bridging it over, an impassable gulf. We are not told what the word of God is, till we are told it in the exact sense intended by the Holy Ghost, and this is not told us by being told that the word of God, or some portion of it, is contained in a certain book. How will the Professor tell us this ?

The controversy turns on the means of evidencing the word of God to the Indian or negro. Suppose the Professor goes to the Indian or negro, with his copy of the Holy Scriptures ; suppose, per impossibile, that he succeeds in proving to him that the several books were dictated by the Holy Ghost, and in the exact state in which he presents them. What is this to him ? He cannot read, and the book is to him a sealed book, as good as no book at all. What shall be done ? Shall the Indian or negro wait till he has learned to read, and to read well enough to read, understanding, the Bible, — which is out of his power, — and also till he has read it through several times, and some five or six huge folios besides, to explain its unusual locutions, and its references to strange manners and customs, and to natural and civil history, before hearing or knowing what is the message sent him by his Heavenly Father ? What, in the mean time, is he to do ? Is he to remain a heathen, an infidel, an alien to the commonwealth of our Lord ? If he needs the Gospel as the medium of salvation, how can he wait, as he must, on the lowest calculation, more than half the ordinary life of man, without peril to his soul ? If he does not need it, what do you make the Gospel but a solemn farce ? Suppose he does wait, suppose he does get the requisite amount of learning ; what surety have you, even then, that he will not deduce error instead of truth from the book, and instead of the word of God embrace the words of men or of devils ?

The pretence of Protestants, that they derive their belief, such as it is, from the Bible, is nothing but a pretence. If not, how happens it that, as a general rule, the children grow up in the persuasion of their parents, — that the children of Episcopalians find the Bible teaching Episcopalianism, Presbyterian children find it teaching Presbyterianism, Baptist children Baptist doctrine, Methodist children Methodism, Unitarian children Unitarianism, Universalist children Universalism ? Why is this ? The Professor knows why it is, as well as we do. He knows it is so, because their notions of religion are not derived from the Bible, but from the instructions of their parents, their nurses, their Sunday-school teachers, their pastors, and the society in the bosom of which they are born and brought up, and that, too, long before they read or are able to read the Bible so as to learn any thing from its sacred pages for themselves. He knows, too, that, when they do come to read the Bible, — which may happen with some of them, — they read it, not to learn what they are to believe, not to find what it teaches, but to find in it what they have already been taught, have imbibed, or imagined. All Protestants know this, and it is difficult to restrain the expression of honest indignation at their hypocrisy and cant about the Bible, and taking their belief from the Bible, — the Bible, the precious word of God. The most they do, as a general rule, is to go to the Bible to find in it what they have already found elsewhere, and it rarely happens that they find any, thing in it except what they project into its sacred pages from their own minds.

To hear Protestants talk, one would think they were the greatest Bible-readers in the world, and that they believed every thing in the Bible, and nothing except what they learn from it. It is no such thing. Who among them trusts to the Bible alone ? Where is the Protestant parent, pretending to any decent respect for religion, who leaves his children to grow up without any religious instruction till they are able to read and understand the Bible for themselves ? Has not every sect its catechism ? A catechism ! What means this ? With " the Bible, the whole Bible, and nothing but the Bible" on their lips, have they the audacity and the inconsistency to draw up a catechism and teach it to their children ? Why do they not follow out their principle, and leave their children to " the Bible, the whole Bible, and nothing but the Bible" ? Do you shrink, Protestant parents, as well you may, from the fearful responsibility of suffering your children to grow up without any religious instruction ? Why not shrink also from the still more fearful responsibility of teaching them your words for the word of God ? You tell us the Bible is your sole rule of faith, that there are no divinely appointed teachers of the word of God, and you sneer at the very idea that Almighty God has provided for its infallible teaching ; and yet you, without authority, fallible by your own confession, draw up a catechism, take upon yourselves the office of religious teachers, and do not hesitate to teach your own crude notions, your own fallible, and, it may be, blasphemous opinions, training up your chil-dren, it may be, in the synagogue of Satan, keeping them aliens from the communion of saints, and under the eternal wrath of God ! How is it that you reflect not on what you are doing, and for your children's sake, if not for your own, you do not tremble at your madness and folly ? Who gave you authority to teach these dear children ? Who is responsible to their young minds and candid souls for the truth of the doctrines you instil into them ? O Protestant father, thou art mad ! Thou lovest thy child, art ready to compass sea and land for him, and yet, for aught thou knowest, thou art doing all in thy power to train him to be the eternal enemy of God, and to suffer for ever the flames of divine vengeance !

But the catechism. — Who gave to you authority to draw up a catechism ? Would you teach your children damnable heresies ? Would you poison their minds with error and their hearts with lies ? Do you reflect what it is you do when you draw up and teach a catechism ? You deny the authority of the Church, yet here you are, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Baptists, Methodists, Ranters, Jumpers, Dunkers, Socinians, Unitarians, Universalists, all of you, doing what you make it a crime in her to do, — drawing up and teaching a catechism, the most solemn and responsible act of teaching that can be performed ; for in it you demand of confiding childhood simple and unwavering belief in what you teach ! But the catechisms, you say, are for the most part drawn up in the language of the Holy Scriptures. Be it so. Who gave you authority to teach the Holy Scriptures ? What infallible as-surance have you, that, in teaching the words of Scripture, you are teaching the sense of Scripture ? Is it a difficult thing either to lie or to blaspheme in the words of Scripture ?

We confess that we can hardly observe a due measure in our feelings or in our language, when we regard the profession and the practice of Protestants, when we consider how they lie unto the world and unto themselves, and how many precious souls, for whom our God has died, they shut out from salvation. One must speak in strong language, or the very stones would cry out against him. The Professor, whom we have supposed going with his Bible in his hands, and holding it out to the rude savage or poor slave, ignorant of letters, saying, "Read this, my son, and it shall make you wise unto salvation,"—would he wait, think ye, till his tawny son or black brother had learned to read and become able to draw his faith from the Bible for himself, before instructing him ? Be assured, not. He would hasten to instruct him without delay in his Presbyterian Catechism, the Westminster Confession of Faith, the Five Points of the Synod of Dort, or some modification of them. Never would he trust him to the Bible alone. So it is with all Protestant missionaries, and so must it be. No matter what they profess, in practice none of the sects place or can place their dependence on the written word to teach the faith without the aid of the living preacher. They all know, or might know, that they use the Bible, not as the source from which the simple believer is to draw his faith, but as a shield to protect the teachers of one sect from those of another ; and that they assert its authority only as enabling each preacher to find some plausible pretext for preaching whatever comes into his own head. They place their dependence, not on a dead book, which when interrogated can answer never a word, which lies at the mercy of every interpreter, but, nolens volens, on the living teacher, and do without authority, and against their avowed principles, what they condemn us for doing, and what we do at least consistently and in obedience to our principles.

There is no use in multiplying words or making wry faces about the matter. Whatever men may pretend, if they have any form of belief or of unbelief, their reliance is on the living teacher to preserve and promulgate it. The thing is inevitable. And since it is so, it is absolutely necessary, if we are to know and believe the word of God, that we have teachers duly authorized, divinely appointed to teach that word, so that we may not believe for the word of God the words of fallible men or of devils. Therefore, even if we could establish the inspiration of the Scriptures, as we cannot without the Church, the Church would still be indispensable, for without her we should still have no infallible means of knowing what is the word of God.
We have here refuted the Professor's thesis in all its parts. We have shown him that he has no logical right to urge it; that if he is allowed to urge it, he cannot prove it, but that we can easily prove the contrary ; and, finally, that if he could prove it, it would avail him nothing. We hope this will be satisfactory to him and his friends. He has been, even his friends must confess, singularly unsuccessful; but the fault has not been altogether his own. He has done as well as any Protestant could do.   T3ut it is an old and expressive proverb,
if a homely one, that " nobody can make a silk purse out of a sow's ear." Nobody can make any thing out of Protestantism, and her defence must needs baffle the finest intellects. She is utterly indefensible. No man can construct an argument in her favor, or against the Church, that is not at bottom a mere fallacy. Logic as well as salvation is on the side of the Church, not with her enemies, and Protestantism is as repugnant to sound reason as she is to the best interests of man. Whoever espouses her must needs render himself an object of pity to all good men and good angels. Mr. Thornwell has naturally respectable abilities, even considerable logical powers, and some vigor of intellect. He wants refinement, grace, unction, but he has a sort of savage earnestness which we do not wholly dislike, and manifests a zeal and energy, which, if directed according to knowledge, would be truly commendable. But all these qualities can avail him nothing, for Protestantism at best is only a bundle of contradictions, absurdities, puerilities, and inepties. How a man of an ordinary stomach could undertake its defence would be to us unaccountable, did we not know to what mortifications and humiliations pride compels its subjects to submit. Pride cast the angels, which kept not their first estate, down from heaven to hell, and perhaps we ought not to be surprised that it degrades mortal men to the ignoble task of writing in defence of Protestantism.

The refutation of the Professor's thesis gives us the full right to conclude the infallibility of the Church from the necessity of the case, with Dr. Lynch, and therefore to assert it, whatever objections men may fancy against it; because the argument for it rests on as high authority as it is possible in the nature of things to have for any objection against it. Nevertheless, Deo volente, we will examine in our next Review the Professor's moral and historical objections to the Church, and dispose of them as well as we can, — we hope to his satisfaction.