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"The Church an Organism" for BQR, 1858

                                                    THE CHURCH AN ORGANISM.

                          [From Brownson's Quarterly Review for January, 1858.]



Our Universalist contemporary for the last October continues the controversy on Christianity as an organization or organism, and replies to our last article on the subject with as much fairness, candor, and success as was to be expected. He feels, and frankly concedes, that if to be a power, a real existence, Christianity must be an organism, as we maintain, the question between Catholics and Protestants is ended, and there is no alternative for a logical mind, but either to accept the church or to fall back on simple natural religion. In his mind, as in ours, the question lies between Catholicity and no supernatural religion, and as he is not prepared as yet to become a Catholic, he labors hard, and not without ability, to prove that Christianity without the church, Christianity as an idea, or as natural religion, is a power, and adequate to all the wants of individuals and of states.

                Our contemporary labors under the disadvantage of not understanding the precise point he has to prove, and fails to percieve how much he can or cannot concede without conceding the whole matter in dispute. He is misled by the eclectic philosophy, and by his unauthorized supposition that we accept that philosophy and hold M. Cousin's doctrine of ideas. He says :

                " We still adhere to our admission, that if Christianity is any thing, and is necessarily an authoritative organization,- ' always meaning by the word organization a body of men excisting in certain organic relations,'- it must be the Catholic Church; it must be this because there is no one to contest its claim. And the issue now forced upon us is, to show that Christianity may be something, and still not be an organization in the sense which we have taken particular pains to define. Our Catholic author thinks that we have not duly considered the question, whether Christianity has a distinct existense -an exsistense seperate from nature and from God. in this, however, he is mistaken; for this very question has been forced upon us by by the eclectic philosophy, which we make no doubt has found considerable favor with Mr. Brownson as well as with ourselves. The ruduction of all ideas to the three categories, God, Man, Nature, naturally suggests the question, Under which must religion, must Christianty be classified? How we have answered the question, or whether we have answered is satisfactorily, does not now concern us. We refer to the subject to assure Mr. brownson that we have at least attempted to meet a question which he presumes we had not duly considered. And further, one so familiar as he with the process of though which the subject involves, ought certainly to admit, that the supposition that the three categories named are exhaustive and complete, leaves ample room to affirm that Christianity may have a real excistence. We do not admit that Christianity has an existence distinct from God, man, and nature, but we claim that it is something nevertheless. Our author's words are somewhat ambigous. By the words that, on a certain supposition, 'Christianity has no distinct existence, and is identical either with God or with nature,' does he mean that it must have an elementary exsistence-that God, man, and, nature do not include it? Or does he merely mean, what in another connection he says, that, Christianity 'must be distinguishable from God, as the creature from the creator, the work from the workman?' If the latter is his whole meaning, which seems probable, we think he has no occasion to charge us with denying Christianity to have an actual existense. True he quotes from us the passage in which, admitting that there must be  a power to mediate between the state and the individual, a power which is not liable to mistake, and whose commands are irrevocable, we aver this power to be God."

                We must remind our Universalist reviewer, that the question does not turn on the sense in which he understands the term organization, but on the same sense in which we used it in our essay on the The Church and the Republic, to which he objected ; and in that essay we used it, as he must concede, in the sense of a n organism, or real existense, living and acting from its own central principle of life and action. We proved that Christianity must be a power, and maintained that if it must be a power, it must be an organism,-the church,-for otherwise it can be only an idea, and ideas are not powers. By religion organized we evidently meant, as we have proved to him over and over again, religion as an organism, religion as a real concrete existense, and it is religion in this sense that he has to prove to be unnecessary, in order to prove anything against our position. To prove that it is not necessary that religion should be organized in his sense of the term organization , is nothing to the purpose, because we happen never to have maintained the contrary.

                We told the reviewer that we suspected he had not duly considered the question, whether Christianity has a distinct existense ,- an existense distinct [not seperate] from nature and from God. In this, he maintains we are mistaken, "for," he says, "this very question has been forced upon us by the eclectic philosophy, which we make no doubt has found considerable favor with Mr. Brownson as well as with ourselves." Mr. Brownson does not follow the eclectic philosophy, or regard it with much favor. moreover, we do not see how the eclectic philosophy has forced the question we raised upon the attention of our contemporary, since the question lies altogether out of the range of that philosophy. "The reduction of all the ideas to the three catergories, God, Man, and Nature, naturally suggests the question, Under which must Christianity be classified?" But this not the question we raised . We did not ask under which of these catergories Christianity must be placed, but whether he recognizes any religion which has a distinct, a real exsistence, distinguished from God on the one hand, and from man or nature on the other, and therefore a religion which cannot be brought within any one of the three catergories he names. We called his attention to the fact that he recogized no Christianity that could not be brougth into one or another of these categories. Is there such a Christianity or is there not? This is the question we told him he had not duly considered, and he proves that we were right by the very answer he gives, for he says he has been forced to consider under which catergory, God or man, Christianity must be classified; whereas, the question he should have considered was, can Christianity be brought within either of these categories? or does it not pertain to another and a distinct category? This question, we repeat, he has "not even attempted to meet"!

                The reviewer evidently, as we told him in other terms, recognizes only two categories, God and natur, for man does not form an original category distinct from nature, and consequently he admits no existense but God and nature. He says, " We do not admit that Christianity has an existense distinct from God, man, and nature." That is precisely what we told him, and therefore we told him he did not recognize Christianity as the supernatural order, or as a distinct order of supernatural life. In his theology there is nothing above man and nature , but God himself. One so familiar as we, he says, "with the processes of thought which the subject involves ought certainly to admit that the supposition that the three categories are exhaustive and complete, leaves ample room to affirm Christianity may have a real existence." A real existense, as God, as man, or nature, certainly not ; and this is precisely what we alleged against him. He denies, as we told him, Christianity, as such, is a distinct order of existence.

                The reviewer is misled by his assumption that the Christian religion lies within the range of philosophy. The three catergories he names are "exhaustive" of the matter of philosophy, we grant ; but are they exhaustive of all orders of actual existence or of life? Philosophy does not rise by its own light above nature, and God as the author of nature. It can "look through nature up to natures's God," but not up to the Christian's God, the ever blessed Trinity-to God-made man, from whom proceeds the whols Christian order, called otherwise the order of grace, and on whom all in it depends. Here is the point which our contemporary, and many beside him, overlook. He does not find the idea of the supernatural in his philosophy, and therefore concludes that it does not exist. Denying a supernatural order of life for creatures, he can assert Christianity only as a philosophy, and as another name for simple natural religion and morality. Hence, as we told him , Christianity has for him no distict existence, and is identical either with God or nature. This follows necessarily from the attempt to rise from simple philosophical data to Christianity, because from those data it is not possible to conclude any thing supernatural.

                The reviewer, we maintained, by denying Christianity as an organism, is able to assert only natural religion, or the natural law which has its organic existence in the natural human organism, which we proved, and he virtually conceded, is insufficient for the purpose we both agreed to be necessary. We labored to prove to him that he must either accept Christianity as the church, or deny the supernatural order of life, and fall back on nature and nature's God alone. This, if he understands himself, he fully concedes.

                "Mr. Brownson has several times complained that we do not recogize Christianity as a supernatural order-as something distinct from natural religion, and above it. In his first reply, he complained that our enumeration of the contents of Christianity stated nothing but what belongs to natural religion. We do not, however, consider these points at all involved in the present dispute. We are at present only obligated to show that Christianity may at least be supposed to have an actual existence, without being a church or organization (in the sense defined)-that it may be supposed not to have an elementary existence distinct from God and man, and still not be identical with God or man. We may be wrong in the postion-which, however, we hold to with great confidence-that the distinction between natural and revealed religion is not essential, but only one of form and degree. Astronomy, since Lord Rosse's telescope, is precisely the same in kind with that which existed before that instrument. The only difference is, that the later astronomy is the more comprehensive and accurate. Possibly it would be more appropriate to compare the difference between natural and revealed religion , not to the difference between astrology and astronomy. Possibly the God, the soul, the truth which natural religion really discloses, are a totally different kind of God. Soul, and truth from what revealed religion brings to view. The difference between the two religions may be one of essence and not of degree. But these several points are not now in controversy. It is enough for our present purpose, that the position which we hold is supposable. We understand Mr. Brownson to deny that the postion which we should defend, did the occasion require us to do so, is supposable. His words are: 'There is no escape from this conclusion. Either Christianity is not an actual existence, or it is an organism.' The meaning intended by this word we need not again state. Possibly, agriculture and astronomy-neither of which is an organism- are unworthy comparisons. Possibly they would in no way serve as illustrations of genuine Christianity. It is enough, however, that they have some points of analogy with a supposable Christianity. And hence, by parity of reasoning. Mr. Brown say: 'There is no escape from this conclusion. Either agriculture is no actual existence, or it is an organism-either astronomy is no actual existence, or it is an organism.' We submit, however that neither of these is an organism, nor yet a nonentity."

                Here, the reviewer affirms that the difference between revelaed religion and natural religion is not essential,-not in kind, but simply in degree. Natural religion and revealed are essentially the same, and the only difference is that revelation gives us a higher or fuller knowledge of the natural than we have by simple unassisted reason. This is what we told him he held. We told him in our first reply, that revelation for him revealed nothing supernatural, and at best, was supernatural not as to the matter made known, but only as to the mode of making it known. The reviewer is quite mistaken, however, in supposing the question we raised as to the supernatural character of Christianity is of no importance in discussing the original question in dispute. We proved, and he conceded, the necessity of religion in a sense in which the gentile world did not possess it, and therefore a religion superior to as well as distinct from natural religion, since natural religion the gentile world possessed as well as we, for being natural to man, all men and nations in all ages have and cannot but haven't. The necessity of supernatural religion was therefore asserted and conceited in the outset, and the issue was joined on the fact whether this supernatural religion, which we both agreed is the Christian religion, can be asserted as a power without the church, or an organism. The reviewer cannot now fall back and assert that it is a matter of no importance to thee question between us, whether Christianity does or does not differ essentially from natural Religion. To identify the Christianity without the church, which he asserts, with natural Religion, is to refute him, and to maintain our own position. By his conceding, in the extract we have made, the identity of his Christianity and natural religion, he in fact abandons the whole question, and concedes that he can not assert Christianity as a power disctinct from natural religion without asserting it as an organism, that is, as the Catholic church.

                The reviewers says, he does not admit that Christianity has any existence distinct from God, man, and nature, and yet he holds that it is something. Something distinct? No. Then it is God, man, or nature, for where there is no distinction there is identity. If it is not distinguishable from God, it is God; If not distinct from man, it is man; and if not distinct from nature, it is nature. We have never denied even ideals to be real in the mind or intelligence to which they pertain; we have only denied them, a less concreted, to be anything as distinguishe from that mind or intelligence, whether the divine or the human. We have not denied natural religion to be something; we have admitted it to be something in man, because it has its organism in the human organism itself.

                The analogies the reviewer draws from astronomy, geology, and other natural sciences, are to the purpose. These are humana sciences, and depend on the mind creating them, and on the real objects about which they are conversant. But if there were no earth, no stars, could there be any geology or astronomy? Science has no distinct existence, and is something only in the scientific mind, and in the objects it studies and explains. Christian theology maybe a science, but if there were no Christianity there could be no Christian thelology and to identify Christian theology with Christianity itself would be as absurd as to identify geology with the earth, or astronomy with the planets and stars. Christian theology is the science of the facts, principles, doctrines, and moral of Christianity. But it is not itself Christianity. Christianity is the reality or real existence of which theology is the science. Suppose analogy between the phyisical science and theology, that would imply no analogy between them and Christianity itself. The question still remains open, whether Christianity is a power, unless an organism, a concrete existence, the church.

                The reviewer forgets we have never denied natural religion to be a reality without the church or a church organization. Otherwise he would see what he is intent on supposing would not serve his purpose:

                "Were we called upon to answer the question, what is Christianity?-we should answer,-without, however, attempting an exhaustive statement, or a very logical arrangement of particulars,-that it is communication of divine truth, having for its end the awakening in the human soul the sense of sin and of alienation from God, the guidance of man to holiness, his support in weakness, his encouragement amid difficulties, his consolation and sorrow and bereavement; that withal it is an attractive power winning men to God; that it is all this, not particularly through verbal statements, but through the person of Jesus of Nazereth, in whom the word of wisdom, of power, in love was made flesh in dwelt among men; that consistently with this, Christianity is, not a indentically God, but God in Christ reconciling the world into himself-in Christ, not as very God, but as the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, the light of God's glory being manifested through the face of Jesus; and that the truth, thus revealed, is recorded by the evangilist, is elucidated by the apostles, and is sanctioned by the experience of every regenerated soul.

                "For the purpose of our present discussion, we do not care to defend what we have thus, crudely and imperfectly, it may be, stated to be the Christian religion. Possibly Mr. Brownson may be able to fault it in every particular; but this would be nothing to the purpose. Here is the important point. True or false, crude or elaborate, the statement we have made of the contents of Christianity is supposable; consistently with this statement, it may be a power, an actual existence; and yet the statement does not make it an organization, as we have agreed to use the word. The obection is put in strong terms: 'There is no escape from this conclusion. Either Christianity is no actual existence, or it is an organism.' We have shown, not, it may be that Christianity actually has, but that it may have, an actual existence, and that, consistently with such a posibility, it is not necessarily an organization. At least, we think we have shown this. Before leaving this part of the general subject, we cannot forbear remarking, that in two particulars, Mr. Brownson appears to have conceded all that we contend for. For instance, he recognizes a natural religion; and this-whatever he may deem its contents-he does not aver to be an organization, that is to say, a church. It would surprise us, should he say that he recognizes it only as an idea; as yet he has not so termed it. Now if we correctly presume him to recognize natural religion as a realy thing, and still not a church, does not he thereby admit that it is at least supposable that revealed religion, that Christianity, is also a reality and yet not a church?

                "Again: Mr. Brownson gives utterance to the following, which, in this connection, we must deem remarkable. He is speaking of the office of the church:

                "'She is not merely a congregation of individuals holding certain relations to one another, buy is to Christians what the natural human race is to natural men, and has the relation to them that the race of humanity has to individuals, and they live by its life as individual men and women in the natural order live by the life of humanity.'

                "The church is the same to Christians, that the natural human race is to individuals in the natural state! But how, let us ask, can this be? The natural human race, as distinguished from its individuals, is not an organization, and therefore is only an idea. It has no actual existence-is only what may be, not what is. And can a mere idea bear the same relation to individual natural man, that a church, a reality, bears to individual Christian man? It is possible that our author has inadvertently used words which do not express his real thought; but if he means what his words properly mean, he has certainly, in the case of the natural human race, recognized a real existence where he will not assert an organization-at least not in that literal sense of the term in which he asserts it of Christianity."

                We never pretended that it was impossible to suppose something short of Christianity as we set it forth, and to call it the Christian religion; what we denied was that what could be thus supposed would be above natural religion, and in reality distinguishable from it. The statement of the contents of Christianity the reviewer make is, no doubt, supposable, but is it supposable as a statement of Christianity power, and the power conceded to be necessary to mediate between the individual and the state? "Consistently with this statement, it may be a power, an actual existence." In God, in man, or in nature, but not as distinct from them,-the point to be shown. The reviewer does not show what he thinks he does. It is true we recognize natural religion, and we do not contend that it cannot exist without the church, but we do not concede that it does or can exist without an organism. The reviewer will find that in our first reply to him we anticipated his objection, and assigned natural religion its organism. The reviewer will find that signed natural religion its organism in the natural human organism. It does not exist distinctly from man, but in him, and is identically his own reason, or moral and interllectual nature.

                The church "is the same to Christians that the natural human race is to natural men, and has the relation to them that the race is to natural men, and has the relation to them that the race or humanity has to individuals, and they live by its life as individual men and women in the natural order live by the life of humanity." The analogy is here to be taken in the sense and for the purpose we alleged, not for another. Humanaity distinguished from individual men is only an idea, an idea in the divine mind, we concede, and the church distinguished in like manner would be also only an idea; but we spoke of neither as thus distinguished, and in neither case did we make an abstraction of the individual. The point we illustrated by the analogy was that as individual men and women derive their human life from the race, not the race its life from them, so Christians derive their Christian life from the church, not she her life from theirs. If there had been no Adam, there would, of course have been no actual humanity; but when there was an Adeam there was a living concrete humanity. So if there had been no Christ, that is, no God made man, no actual incarnation, no actual assumption of the flesh, there would have been only an ideal Christ, no actual Father of the faithful, no actual regenerated humanity, no church; but when Christ had actually assumed flesh, and raised human nature to be substantially the nature of God, there was the actual second Adam, the church already constituted in him; for the church as it now exists is nothing but the visible extension of the Incarnation, and its life is the life of the incarnate God, or the Word made flesh. The church as the assumption of flesh, as natural humanity, so stands Christ to the church or supernaturalized humanity, and as stands natural humanity to individual men and women, as Christians as to the source of their regenerated or superwished to illustrate by the analogy we took from St. Paul, between the first Adam and the second, and against this the supposed objection of the reviewer has no relevancy or force.

                We have no intention of entering anew into the discussion of matters which we have heretofore disposed of, but the reviewer's several articles written either in reply to us or in vindication of himself afford, taken together, a most excellent proof that the denial of the church is virtually the denial of the supernatural order throws practically darkness and doubt over the natural order. Luther and Calvin knew well that when they denied grace as an "infused habit," they struck a blow at teh whole papal or Catholic doctrine, and at the church as the supernatural order, that they discarded the whole order of thought on which the Catholic doctrine, and at the church as teh supernatural order, that they discarded the whole order of thought on which the Catholic system was founded, and got rid of all existence, all life distinguishable from nature on the one hand and from God on the other; but they, perhaps, did not know, or did not consider that in so doing, they resolved the supernatural into the divine essence alone, and grace into a transient act of Divinity, and therefore in reality denied Christianity itself as a supernatural order of life, leaving the fact for the Christian, as for the non-Christian, only God and nature. Any man who is able to analyze Protestantism as set forth by the reformers may easily discover that its starting-point involves a real denial of the Incarnation, the Word made flesh, and therefore the existence of the new or regenerated humanity. What Protestants call their "doctrines of grace," and profess to oppose to what they call formalism, are really repugant to the order of grace. According to Protestant principles, justification is forensic, purely external, and the believer remains intrinsically what he was before being justified. There is a transient supernatural work performed on him, if you will, but there is really no elevation of his nature, by an indwelling or habitual grace, to the supernatural order, so that he acts from a supernatural principle to a supernatural end. Protestants may assert in name the Incarnation, but they assert nothing which demands it, and there is no purpose in the their scheme answered by it, which could not, if God had so chosen, have been just as well answered without it.

                One of the ablest and most logical writers Protestantisl has ever produced in this country is Dr. J. W. Nevin, of the Mercersburg Review. Dr. Nevin several years ago became convinced that the Incarnation is a fact, and the central fact of Christianity, from which all that is distinctively Christian radiates. Believing this he began to detect a significance in the sacraments, and to regard them as the media or grace, or the means by which we are brought into living union with the life of the Word made flesh. Following out this with rare erudition and an invincible logic, he found theory, so to speak, of the church. He found that if he must accept the Incarnation, he must accept what our Puseyite friends call the scaramental system, and if he must accept the sacramental system, he must accept the priesthood and the church; and his masterly articles in the Mercersburg Review on Primitive Christianity and on St. Cyprian contain one of the ablest vindications of Catholicity that has ever been written in our country. It is true, he has not as yet entered the church, that he still lingers on the threshold, being deterred from taking the final step by timidity, by old mental habits and associations, or perhaps by not finding Catholics in their practice coming up to what he, still no doubt affected by the reminiscences of the Calvinistic doctrine of irresistible grace, regards as the standard below which a Catholic, if his church is true, can never fall. But however this may be, he is in his writings a brilliant proff of the fact that the Incarnation can have no practicable significance without the church, and that he who accepts the one is logically bound to accept the other,

                On no scheme of Protestantism can I see any purpose supposed to be answered by Christianity that might not be answered as well without as with the Incarnation. It is true, without it condign satisfaction for sin could not have been made, but to effect all that any form of Protestantism proposes such satisfaction was not necessary; for nothing ever hindered God, had such been his will, from forgiving the sinner on simple repentace. Sin is a violation of the rights of God alone, an offence against his majesty, and, if he chooses, he has a perfect right to forgive it, and must have, or else there could be no forgiveness at all, and Christianity would be no dispensation of mercy. Calvinists assert grace, I grant, but as it is not a grace that elevates human nature, raises it to membership of regenerated humanity and to union with the sacred flesh of Christ, so that God in the flesh becomes his Father, I do not see why it might not be imparted by God in his divine nature as well as in his human nature, or be simply gratia Dei without being distinctively gratia Christi. There is grace according to Calvinism, but no order of grace, and the Word made flesh does not found a new order, and become the Father of a new and supernatural order of life, the Father of a regenerated humanity, united to him, and partaking even of his divine nature.

                Out Universalist contemporary sees clearly enough that in the Protestant scheme of Christianity, Christ in his humanity has really no part or office assigned him, for whatever he does that is necessary to the end proposed, he does as God in his divine nature, not as God in his human nature, or God made man. By the Incarnation God becomes man, that man may become God, so that by the elevation of his human nature to be truly and literally the nature of God, the believer may be made, as St. Peter says, a partaker of his divein nature. All in Christianity depends upon and grows out of the fact of the Incarnation, and is in order to its realization and completion in the salvation of souls,-to make us truly sons of God and brothers of Christ. But this elevation of human nature assumed by the Word, and effected in Christians by the Holy Ghost, who infuses the elevating grace into us as a habit, not as a simple transient act, being overlooked, the Incarnation loses with Protestants its real significance, and is practically of no importance in their scheme. Our reviewer, therefore, with all Universalists and Unitarians, rejects it, falls back on nature's God, or natural religion, and regards Christ only as a providential man, connected with our salvation, here or hereafter, only in the respect that he proves himself a teacher, by word and example, of truth and righteousness. Having done this, he can accept no church, and can conceive of a church only as a school grouped around a master, or as a voluntary association for the mutual convenience and improvement of the individuals associated. The church, as the mystic body of Christ, or as regerated humanity, holding from the Word made flesh as natural humanity or simple generated humanity holds from Adam, has and can have for him no place. He cannot accept the church in this sence because he does not accept the Incarnation, and he does not accept the Incarnation because he does not see or conceive of any end to be effected by it.

                In this the reviewer is a consistent Protestant, and oly draws the conclusion authorized by the original denial by the reformers of the infused habits of grace, which requires the reformers of the infused habits of grace, which requires the denial of the church, save as a purely external body, association, or school, having no real or vital relation to the internal life of the Christian. This denial of habitual grace, and, therefore, of the church as the supernatural order created by the Word made flesh, necessarily involves the practical denial of the Incarnation, or of the stupendous fact that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh, therefore of every nation, even when asserted, stands as an isolated fact. The "Our Father" of the Protestant is God in his divinity, or divine nature alone, not God in him human nature, God in the flesh, God made man. In justification, sanctification, and beatification Christ is practially dissolved, and God in hence, when stript of its verbiage, relieved of its inconsistencies, and reduced to its essential elements, Protestantism in all its forms virtually rejects the Incarnation, and therefore Christ as the Son of Man. We may see this in it refusal to call Mary the mother of God, in its horror of the worship of the sacred humanity, of the devotionj we pay to the Blessed Virigin and the saints, and relics. This refusal and this horror prove that in the Protestant mind the sacred humanity, the flesh assumed by the Word, is practically unconnected with the work of our salvation. The Son of God, it may concede, does something, but the Son of Man does nothing. It has no conception of the great purpose of Christianity, that God through man would redeem man, and elevate him to union with himself, and make him a partaker of his own divine nature. Christianity, according to its conception, is a very small affair, and contains nothing to excite joy in heaven, hope on earth, or fear in hell; for its profound and startling mysteries, so full of significance for Catholics, though retained in name by some Protestants, have no meaning in the Protestant system, and are only excrescences on its face, which mar its beauty and symmetry, and which the bolder and more logical of the children of the reformation hasten to remove.

                To our mind it is clear that the realy heresy of the Protestant world to-day is, in plain terms, the denial of the Incarnation, or dissolving our Lord, and excluding his sacred humanity from all part in our salvation. They have been led to this by their denial in the outset of the church in the Catholic sense, for without the church in that sense salvation by the Word made flesh, or by the Son of Man cannot be consistently asserted, or even conceived as possible; and we are sure that we shall not be able to win back in any great numbers, those who have gone astray, till we revive in them the belief and understanding of the mystery of God made man. Without the church that mystery can be asserted only as an isolated and sterile fact, and without that fact as the origin and life of the church, the church can be asserted only as a school or an association that has and can have no real, no vital connection with our Christian life and salvation. The church grows out of the Incarnation, has its origin, its reason, and its mission in that wonderful fact, and is, in some sense, its mission in that wonderful fact, and is, in som sense, its complement and continuation, the medium through which our Lord operates, and by which, as in founding it he became man, he raises us from men to be gods, to be partakers of the divine nature. This is the great fact to which we have labored to call the attention of our Universlist friend. We have wised to show him the Catholicity which he rejects as a small and an unnecessary thing is far below and in fact different from that Catholicity for which we deserted Protestantism, and which every Catholic believes and loves, in which he lives, and for which he would joyously die. It is not because he sees more than we do, takes in a broader horizon of truth, that he rejects the church, but because he sees less, and moves in a sphere infinitely more contracted. He confines himself to the few ideas and facts he knows of the natural order, and not finding among them our church, he concludes that she is nothing. But we tell him, and we have been anxious to show him, that she does not lie in that order. She accepts nature, and honors it as the work of her God, but in her distinctive character she infinitely transcends it, is a far greater, richer, and nobler world above it. Certainly he finds her not in his philosophy, for all human philosophy is limited to our natural ideas; but we do not propose her as something he can discover and know by philosophy. Natural reason, aided by the most creative imagination, could never have concieved of her existence, or of the stupendous mystery of God made man. Her existence can be known only as revealed to reason by God himself. Revelation, in most cases, is needed even for our intellectual and moral guidance in the natural order, but that is only a small argument in its favor, and would never of itself warrant conclusion that a revelation has been given us. The real value to us of revelation can be appreciated only when the revelation has been made to us, and only from itself. Without revelation we should never have known the fact of the Incarnation, or the importance, nay, the necessity of revelation, for we should never have known the fact of the incarnation, or the importance, nay, the necessity of revelation, for we should have had no conception of the world it brings to light. We tell you the revelation has been made, and that we have it. We tell you that by it is revealed to us the blessed Trinity, the Incanation, the church as the spouse of Christ, a supernatural order, a regenerated humanity living a supernaturalized life-the life of the Son of Man-who also is the Son of God, and through whom we have recieved the precious promise, that if we are faithful, we shall not only be called, but shall be the sons of God, seeing God as he is, and partaking of his divine nature. Here is what we tell you has been revealed to us by our Lord through his church, and this, if it has been revealed, is true, and assuredly worth knowing and believing. We do not ask you to believe it on our word; we do not ask you to believe without good and sufficient reasons; but we do ask you as you love your own soul, as you love your own flesh even, to inquire, If God has not really and truly revealed what we say to his church, and made the promised good accessible to every one who has a free and willing mind, a loving and obedient heart?

                But unhappily our contemporary, not believing in the Incarnation, cannot believe in the church or any supernatural order, and falls avowedly back on natural religion. Yet he cannot rest even there. Having no revelation to enlighten and strengthen reason, he is led to distrust even reason itself. He contends that certainty, even on the most important points of natural theology and morals, we not only have not, but cannot have. To a practical difficulty we suggested in regard to the Mormons and the abolitionists, he replies:

                "We are frank to say, that the difficulty which Mr. Brownson thus urges is a real one. We have felt it and have been perplexed by it. And had we acted upon the principle that nothing should be accepted as truth till every difficulty in the way of its belief had been fully removed, we could never have assented to the proposition, that God speaks to man through conscience and reason. But we have acted upon a different principle. When there is a gerat preponderance of proof in favor of a doctrine, we have felt that we might accept it, even though obnoxious to objections which we are not wholly able to remove. There are seeral points in theology, the reception of which  is attended with real difficulty, but are at the same time supported by such a weight of argumet as to force the assent of the mind, in spite of the difficulty. Such, for example, is the doctrine of the personality of God. We have never met with an intelligent person who would not confess that the reception of this great and fundamental truth is attended with difficulties; yet its denial virtually amounts to atheism. It is difficult to believe that God is a person; it is ten times more difficult not to believe him to be a person; and while such is the prepnderance of argument, we do not permit ourselves to hesitate in the matter of belief. We have never read the Christian author who claims that the external or historical argument for Christianity is equal to a demonstration. From the nature of the case, historical testimony must have a degree of uncertainity."

                In matters of mere prudence, where no vital principle of duty is involved, the degree of certainty, that of an overbalancing probability, with which the reviewer is disposed to put up, may answer. But only think of its being a matter of opinion whether the personality of God be a truth or an error, that is, whether there be a God or not, since a non-personal God is simply no God at all. If there be a God he must have every perfection, the last complement of rational nature; but how can he have that, if he wants personality? Uncertainty as to the personality of God is uncertainty as to the existence of God, and uncertainty as to the existence of God is uncetainty as to all things, for God is alike the first principle in being and in science. The historical argument for Christianity leaves no reasonable doubt, but what must we think of the Christian minister, who has only a high, a preponderating probability in favor of the religion he professes? As long as he has not absolute certainity, he doubts, and must say that it is possible and not absolutely improbable that he is decieved, and Christianity may turn out to be a cunningly devised fable. If a faith in Christiantiy that is absolutely certain be not possible, then all faith is out of the question, and no man should presume to call himself a believer. I know it cannot lie, so certain I know it is that my religion is true. I can say with sober truth, "If I am decieved, O God, thou has decieved me." I know there is certainty, whether the historical argument gives it or not.

                But the reviewer pushes his argument still further:

                "We are prepared to show, that the principle on which Mr. Brownson predicates the necessity of an infallible organization or church, is false. That principle we take to be this: In moral and religious things, in matters of moral and religious truth and practice, there must be certainty. It is indispensable that there be an instrumentality which can assure man what is true and right without the possibility of mistake. The whole notion of an infallible interpreter grows out of this presumed necessity. There would be no objection to the position-which, however,we do not intend to take-that the state should decide when its claims come in contact with the claims of the individual, provided it were certain taht its decision would be just. But this certainty is not affirmed, either of the state or the individual, and hence there must be some other power of which certainty can be affirmed. Such, we make no doubt Mr. Brownson will say, is the Catholic position.

                "Now we affirm, not only that this certainty is unnecessary-no only that it does not eist, but that in the nature of things it cannot exist. We are aware that the individual whose argument we have been calling in question, is versed in the whole argument we have been calling in question, is versed in the whole range of speculative philosophy-perhaps no man in this country is more so. He knows intimately the chronological and philosophical relations of Locke, Berkley, Hume, Kant, and Reid; and as he reads this, the tack and tack process of thought which these eminent names represent, is distinctly in his mind's eye. He knows with what severity of logic Berkeley, reasoning from the principles of Locke, annihilated the material world, and with what still more remorseless logic, Hume threw uncertainty upon all kinds and degrees of knowledge. He knows the necessity, which the scepticism of Hume exposed, of laying a new foundation for knowledge, and how this foundation being laid by Kant, the superstructure of the Common Sense scholl-which may be said to have begun with Reid and to end with Hamilton-was reared. Aware of our author's familiarity with these things, we assure our readers, calmly and deliberately, that Mr. Brownson will not, in the strict sense of the term, claim certainty for any doctrine or precept of the Catholic Church. On the contrary, we think he will say, that beyond the simple phenomena of consciousness-of which certainty, if the word is allowed to have any meaning, must be affirmed-there is no such thing as strict certainty. And we further assert, that should our author some day take a notion to the Berkeleian theory, he will demonstrate the non-existence of matter with quite as much of conclusiveness as he now argues for the infallible church.

                "It is often complained that speculative philosophy has developedso little that is positive and satisfactory. It should be set down to its credit, that it has exposed so much that is unsatisfactory; and by making clear the conditions and limitations of human knowledge, has put a check upon that too confident dogmatism in which the human spirit so loves to indulge. It would give us surprise should out Catholic author not prove among the most prompt to acknowledge its benefits in this particular. Now if philosophy has made any thing clear, it is that strict certainty can be affirmed only of thos phenomena, including of course their subjects, which are attested by consciousness. A shade of doubt rests upon the objective validityof these phenomena. There is a theoretical uncertainty touching all objectivity. Sensible reality cannot be demonstrated; and the more remote allefed facts are from consciousness, the greater the doubt that is necessarily involved. The great distance which which divides all historical and most logical matter from the seat of cognition, necessarily gives a defree-sometimes a very great degree-of uncertainty to all that is predicated of outward testimony, or that is of uncertainty to all that is predicated of outward testimony, or that is reached by a process of reasoning. Now, much of the pretensions of the Catholic Church depends on historical evidence; how Mr. Brownson can affirm certainty of what is sustained by such evidence, and still claim to be philosophically consistent, is more than we can understand. Farther, even admitting that the decisions of the church are infallible, most of the processes whereby its communications are published, cannot also be infallible. How many things must be trusted, before a decision,  made in Rome, can be assumed to be known in Boston,-thing, too, which no intelligent Catholic will aver to be without the liability of mistake. And liability to mistake in the matter of communicating a truth, extinguishes the whole doctrine of infallibility, all that can be said is, that a degree of certainty can be had sufficient for practical purposes. It is not demonstrably certain, for instance, that there is an external world. Nevertheless, as the mass of men find it convenient to trust their senses,- as it would be awkward to act on the supposition that all that is seen, felt, and heard, is only ideal,-it may be assumed that there is certainty enough to answer  every useful purpose. It is indeed matter of history, that Berkeley, after he demonstrated the existence of matter to be theoretically uncertain, bought a farm in Rhode Island. At best, Mr. Brownson can establish no morethan a practical certainty for the decisions of his church; and we can get enough of this for our purpose through reason and conscience. Practically, then, we see not how we could be gainers by substituting his medium of truth for our own. The claims of his church do really seem to us any thing but philosophical. The claims of his church do really seem to us any thing but philosophical. These clasim presuppose a certainty which in the nature of things is impossible."

                Here the reviewer takes boldly the sceptical ground, and expressly maintains that in moral and religious matters certainty is not only unnecessary, but absolutely impossible. Will he tell us, then, whence it is certain the certainty is either impossible or unnecessary, and, it may be, that it is both necessary and possible, which, we take it, is very much like a contradiction in terms. If there be no certainty for man, no man can be certain that he is uncertain. he must even doubt that he doubts, which is absurd, for no man can doubt that he doubts. Certainly we hold, that in matters of moral and religious truth and practice there needs to be certainty. Surely in those matters certainty is necessary, if anywhere. " Now, we affirm," says the reviewer, "that this certainty is unnecessary, not only that it does not exist, but that in the nature of things it cannot exist." How does he know that it is not necessary? How, furthermore, does he know that in the nature of things it cannot exist? His theology and philosophy do not give it, but that only proves that he cannot obtain it from them, as we have told him, over and over again, not that it is unnecessary or impossible. The systems of speculative philosophy, he argues, cannot supply, it therefore, we should argue, do not see it in those systems. What have we all along been endeavoring to prove to our reviewer, but that the certainty needd is not derivable from philosophy? This is our thunder, which we will be him not to steal. And, because speculative philosophy cannot give the needed certainty, we have argued the insufficiencey of philosophy, and the necessity of a higher and moer competent teacher, to wit, the church. That certainity in matters of moral and religious truth cannot be obtained from speculative philosophy is a good reason for not seeking it in specualtive philosophy, but we submit that it is no reason at all for pronouncing it unneccessary or impossible.

                "There are mor things in heaven and earth, Horatio,

                   Than are dreamed of in your philosophy."

The certainty we seek comes through revelation and grace, not speculative philosophy.

                "Aware of our author's familiarity with these things, we aausre our readers, calmly and deliberately, that Mr. Brownson will not, in the strict sense of the term, claim certainty for any doctrine or procept of the Catholic Church." Familiar as he is with these things, Mr. Brownson, we assure our readers, not only will, but does claim, in the strict, nay strictest sense of the term, certainty for every dogma and precept of the Catholic Church. The reviewer, had he done us the honor to read our philosophical essays, would never have been so rash as to write, "We think that he too [Mr. Brownson] will say, that beyond the simple phenomena of consciousness-of which certainty, if the word is allowed to have any meaning, must be affirmed-there is no such things as certianty." We have written pages on pages to prove the contrary, to prove that we can be and are just as certain of the existence of the object as we are of the subject, of external reality as of the internal "phenomena of consciousness." If we have done nothing else, we have refuted Berkeley, Hume, and Kant, and vindicated the reality of human science, -redeemed philosophy from the charge of sceptism. In its own sphere, in relation to its own proper objects, reason is certain light, for its light is the light of God, the true light, which lighteneth every man coming into this world. In the name of philosophy we protest against the reviewer's disparagement of human reason. Reason can prove with certainty the existence of God, the immateriality and immortality of the soul, and the freedom and moral accountability of man,-all those great truths which constitute natural theology, and which serve as the preamble to Christian faith or revelation, and hence we throw no doubt on what is called natural religion. But the certainty we claim for every doctrine and precept of the church we derive not from speculative philosophy, and it is a cetainty which the humblest believer has in as hish a degree as the profoundest philosopher, for it comes to us by grace through the medium of revelation, and rests, in the last analysis, on the veracity of God. We are not certain because we have demonstrated the truth of the dorma or the precept by speculative philosophy, but because we have the highest authority reason can have for asserting that God himself has revealed the dogma and enjoined the precept.

                "Much of the pretensions of the Catholic Church rests on historical evidence." That is nes to us. If the Catholic undertakes to prove to the unbeliever the claims of his church, he must, indeed, to a considerable extent, rely on historical evidence, but not on that evidence does the church herself and for herself rest her claims. She knows as well from her own internal consciousness, from her own interior life, that she is God's church, and is what she claims to be, as our reviewer knows that he is a man. The church, is a living body, informed by the Holy Ghost, and is a real person, having her personality in the Word made flesh. Christ lives in her, and teaches at all moments in and trough her, infursing his knowledge and grace into the humanity he assumed when he became incarnate. For herself, she has the witness in her ever present, and has no occasion to go beyond her own consciousness, if we may so speak, the know he validity of her claims, or the dogmas or precepts revealed by our Lord. If she consults historical documents, if she appeals to records, to the teaching of fathers and doctors, it is not because she needs to learn for hersleft the tradition of faith and morals, but because she operates more humano, and becuase she wishes to enlighten and convince those who need to set right. The historical evidence she adduces is never adduced as the reason why her dogmas are to be believed or her precepts obeyed, but as reason for not refusing to hear her voice and to obey her authority, in the case of those who would question her claims. The reasoning, whether historical or philosophical, removes the obstacles to assent, but is never the ground of the assent itself.

                But "even admitting the decisions of the church are infallible, most of the processes whereby its communications are published, cannot also be infallible." We give the reviewer credit here for saying the best thing he could. "How many things must be trusted before a decision, made in Rome, can be assumed to be known in Boston-things, too, which no intelligent Catholic will aver to be without liability of mistake?" Well, how many things? "Liability to mistake in communicating a truth extinguishes the whole doctrine of infallibility/" A liability to mistake, on the part of the church, certainly extinguishes her infallibility, but no a liability to mistake on the part of some one else. If the church can render infallible decisions her infallibility is secured. We have an infallible teacher and judge, though we may not have infallible hearers or recipients. But we never heard of any one pushing the infallibility of the church so far as to imply the infallibility of every individual Catholic. If the church renders in faith or morals an infallible decision, all that is necessary for the Catholic in Boston to have an infallible faith, is that the decision she has rendered be duly authenticated; and does the reviewer mean to maintain that this cannot be done with strict certainty? There is not the least practical difficulty, when the church makes a decision, in communicating it without mistake, by human means, any more than there is by the church through her doctors teaching the world what is her faith. It may be I cannot demonstrate the fact, for no fact is demonstable; but I can prove it with as high a degree of certainty as demonstration itself gives, and that is all the case demands.

                But the point of which I wish to direct attention, is the fact, that to escape the force of our reasoning, the reviewer not only falls back on natural religion, but even on scepticism. He feels that his only refuge is in throwing doubt on human reason, and falling back on what he calls practical certainty; that is to say, no certainty at all, but simple probability. What stronger evidence could he give that he feels that, outside of the church, he has no solid ground on which to stand. Yer we cannot go with him in his scepticism. We do not admit that human reason is worthless, or that even in the act of divine faith, it performs no part. Faith is an act of reason, of reason elevated and assisted by grace indeed, but reason still, with all its native rights and capacity, and reason performing all its proper functions. The most fatal doubt is the doubt of reason, because it is only to us, as reasonable beings, revelation is addressed. Yet it is a remarkable fact that they who assert the sufficiency of reason, are the first to declare its insufficiency, and to fall into sceptism. Why is this so? Reason is a natural light, adequate to the wants of man in the natural order. How is it, then, that they who deny the supernatural and seek ot confine themselves to the natural, invariably find natural reason insufficient for them? It is because men are not, as a matter of fact, in a state of pure nature; it is that they are under a supernatural Providence, and have everywhere reminiscences of a supernatural revelation which surpasses the strength of natural reason. Every man bears about with him, whether he knows it or not, the evidence that God has revealed to the world an order of life above our natural life. The revelation has been made, and man is nowhere, not even in the savage state, what he would have been if left to the simple lights of natural reason. The sound of the Gospel has gone out into all the earth, and reverberates in all hearts from first to last, as a prophecy or a tradition. The intimation of God-man, of the fact of the INcarnation, as a fact that is to take place, or that has taken place, has in some form reached all the sons and daughters of Adam, and man is nowhere what he else would have been. It, with the universal strivings of grace, excites hopes and fears, and develops wants in all hearts to which neither natural reason nor natural strength suffices. Our Lord has a witness in all hearts, and in all hearts there are cravings, there are hopes which only the freat fact of the Incarnation, the elevation of human nature to be the nature of God, can satisfy. Here is the grand fact; man has, universally , glimpses, though brief and dim they may be, of somthing more than nature, and which render him too large for the natural order. He has an ideal which natural reason has never given him, and which by natural reason alone he can never realize. He finds, when he falls back on nature alone, natural reason too small for his wants and feels the necessity of another, an a higher, and clearer light. Not finding reason equal to demands which she never originated, he denies her dignity and worth even in her own proper sphere.

                In this fact, that man universally has an aspiration to the supernatural, generated by the revelation God has made to the world, and some rays of which have reached all men, is to be found the explanation of that other fact that nowhere is man able to confine himself to pure natural religion. A nation of pure deists has never existed. Men will have more or less than deism, and when they cannot have Catholicity they will have demonism. In all the worships of which we have any record, we find a reminiscience if the Incarnation as a fact of prophecy or of history, corrupted or travestied, no doubt, but in some form borne witness to. Even demonism is but a travesty of Catholicity, Christianity perverted and burlesqued, the devil trying to divert to himself the worship due to the Son of Man, Gon incarnate; for it is againgst him in that he is Son of God, that Satan makes war. His spite is against the Son of Mary, the Man-God incarnate; for it is against our Lord in that he is Son of Man, rather than against him in that he is Son of God, that Satan makes war. His spite is against the Son of Mary, the Man-God, whose place and office he is ambitious to usurp.

                But it is time to bring this discussion to a close. The reviewer intimates that it is closed on his part. It is now closed on ours, unless he rejoins. He has shown courtesy, candor and ability in his several articles, and if he had had a good cause, his success would have been unquestionable. In our answers to him we have aimed not at obtaining a victory over an opponent, but at bringing out and elucidating, the truth on the subject under discussion. We have aimed to show what in the Catholic sense is the church, and to direct the minds of our rationalizing friends to her living beauty and grandeur, to her origin in the Incarnation, and her place and office in the providence of God. We have wished, not only to prove to them that reason is worthless, or what they hold on her authority is bad, but that what we have is infinitely superior to what they have, infinitely higher and better. We have not asked them to fall lower, but to rise higher; not to take narrower, but broader views; not to give up the liberty they have, but to burst into a higher and truer liberty; not to give up any good they have, but to aspire to a good infinitely above their loftiest dreams. Whether we have succeeded or not it is for them and our readers generally to decide. Whether our labors will bear fruit is for the disposition of him in whose service and for whose glory we have endeavored to perform them.