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Nature and Faith

Brownson's Quarterly Review, July, 1851
Art. II. - Essays (Third Series) on the Errors of Roman­ism having their Origin in Human Nature. By Richard Whately, D. D., Archbishop of Dublin. Third Edition, revised.    London.   1845.
The fruitful pen of the Protestant metropolitan of Dub­lin, during several years, has entertained the public with many learned and attractive essays, which, however they may fail to produce conviction in the minds of the discern­ing reader, must interest by the beauty of the style as well as the liberality of the views which they embody. The persuasion generally prevailing, even among the ad­herents of the English Establishment, that the author does not hold the Christian faith in regard to the Trinity, must necessarily awaken distrust in his teaching on other points, so that his testimony for or against us can carry but little weight. Several passages in the Essays now before us strengthen the suspicion of his unsound views on this great mystery, since he virtually charges its defenders with Tritheism, and simply styles it " God's threefold manifes­tation of himself." " On rising," he remarks, " from the disquisitions of many scholastic divines on the inherent distinctions of the three Divine Persons, a candid reader cannot but feel that they have made the Unity of God the great and difficult mystery." (Essay II. p. 36.) Borrow­ing from unbelievers the trite objection, that revelation and mystery are contradictory, since the latter supposes the incomprehensible character of the truth which the former manifests, he says, " The doctrine of the Trinity, and the rest of the mysteries of the Gospel, as far as they relate to us, since He has thought fit to reveal these to us in the Gospel, every Christian is allowed, and is bound, to loam from that llevelation ' of the mystery which was secret from the beginning of the world, but now is made mani­fest?" The manifestation of which the Apostle speaks is plainly the accomplishment in time of the Divine counsel for the salvation of men by the Incarnation of the Son of God. The revelation of this fact takes away nothing of its mysterious character. It must ever fill men and angels with wonder, that God should become man, in order to redeem man from eternal death.
We fear that the views of the author on the Atonement are as unsound as on the Trinity, since in a former work he denied the prcexistence of the Son, and in the present he complains, that " the doctrine of the Atonement has often been made the basis of abstruse metaphysical disquisitions respecting the mode in which Divine justice was satisfied by the sacrifice of Christ, considering that act more as to what it was to God, than what it was to man." Must not the Christian know whether to regard the death of Christ as an act of propitiation to the Divine Majesty, or the tragic end of a career of benevolence ? It is surely by recogniz­ing it as the ransom offered to God for our redemption, the price of our purchase, the atonement for our sins, that we can best estimate the benefits which flow thence to us, and conceive corresponding gratitude and love for such un­bounded mercy. But Dr. Whately considers the idea of "vicarious religion" as a superstition having its source in the corruption of nature, and he consequently must repu­diate the idea of atonement offered by Christ for men, whereby they are cleansed, justified, and sanctified through the sprinkling of his blood. How much more philosoph­ical and consistent is the view presented by De Maistrc, who in the expiatory sacrifices of the heathens themselves traces the vestiges of the primitive tradition of an atone­ment to be offered by the effusion of blood !
It were indeed a gross superstition to believe that men may be saved, notwithstanding the wilful perversity of their dispositions, through the efforts and merits of others, - even through the atonement of the Redeemer, which, according to his own wise ordinance, cannot be available to those who persist in resisting his saving grace.    But it is consonant with reason that God should accept a victim of propitiation, voluntarily offered for the sins of men, and in virtue of it grant graces impelling to repentance, and pardon the sincere penitent. All that the Church teaches regarding her ministers is in strict harmony with this view. They plead with God through Christ for the people, and in union with them cry, " Spare, O Lord, spare thy peo­ple; !" They Hatter no one that he can be saved indepen­dently of his own free cooperation with Divine grace, say­ing rather to each one, with St. Augustine, " God, who cre­ated thee without thy concurrence, will not save thee with­out thy cooperation." They teach none to rely on the merits of others, although, like the Psalmist, they put for­ward the fidelity of the patriarchs and saints, that God may be moved to pardon the frailty of sinners; but they warn all to repent in time before the Lord come to judg­ment, when it may be too late to prepare. They ascribe no magical virtue to any external rite, although they pro­claim the sacraments to be unfailing rivulets flowing from the side of the crucified Redeemer, and fertilizing the well-disposed soil, whilst they glide over the obdurate heart without improving it.
The leading idea of these Essays is, that the source of Roman errors is to be sought in the corrupt tendencies of human nature. " No one," says accordingly the learned writer, " can point out any precise period at which this 'mystery of iniquity'-the system of Romish and Gre­cian corruptions - first began, or specify any person who introduced it. No one in fact ever did introduce any such system. The corruptions crept in one by one, originating for the most part with an ignorant and depraved people, but connived at, cherished, consecrated, and successively established, by a debased and worldly-minded ministry." The charge of innovation has been often met by a chal­lenge on the part of Catholic apologists to point to the innovator, and to the circumstances that marked the rise and progress of the novelty. Dr. Whately gives up the matter in despair, and asserts that the new doctrines stealthily crept in from a corrupt tendency of the human heart. Unfortunately for his theory, he has not succeeded in sustaining it by facts, which rather militate against it. We are not disposed to question the harmony of Catholic doctrine with natural instinct: on the contrary, we believe that nature, in its purest condition, is the foundation on which the structure of revelation reposes, because God, the author of both, has planted in the human breast senti­ments and affections which prepare us for his supernat­ural communications. The moral principles, which are designated by the name of Natural Law, are the basis on which the Divine Architect has planted revelation. Na­ture, chastened and directed by it, is worthy of its Divine Parent, who has wisely provided for himself a testimony in its instincts. When the human mind, dazzled by the splendor of the Deity, turns towards created objects, and, charmed by their seductive features, concentrates its affec­tions in them, the natural sense of the power and great­ness of the Creator, although for a time obscured and deadened, is not altogether extinct, so that in sudden emergencies even the votary of idolatry gives spontaneous expression to Nature's voice, recognizing her Author, as Tertullian long since observed. Not to the Capitol does he turn, nor is it Jupiter whom he invokes ; but with eyes uplifted towards the heavens he cries out, O God ! "Well does the great apologist of Christianity exclaim on this occasion, " O testimony of the soul, which is naturally Christian!"
When pride and passion have combined to shake off the yoke of Divine religion, and the evidences of revelation are rejected as insuflicient to render credible incomprehen­sible doctrines, man feels himself ready to deny all moral law, and the controlling power of a Supreme Ruler; but he finds that law written in his heart, his conscience bear­ing witness to it, and his thoughts either accusing him, if he transgress its dictates, or approving his acts as far as they harmonize with its suggestions. Here the con­test between faith and atheism is ultimately fought. The discrimination between vice and virtue being maintained, even after the abandonment of all supernatural teaching, the mind is forced to acknowledge a Being the essential criterion of right and wrong; and is prepared to submit, as of necessity, to any manifestation of his power. Thus the natural law proves the safeguard, as well as the intro­duction to revelation.
It may be thought that the gifted writer has pointed in great detail to the many corrupt tendencies of human nature, which led to the devising of our tenets and the introduction of our practices; and that with nice discrimination he has distinguished between the direct consequences of some nat­ural instinct, and the perverse results occasioned by human depravity; but no such work has been accomplished. It costs no labor to assert that the worship of images sprang from a natural tendency of the heart, and to give in evi­dence the pagan superstitions; but it is not so easy to prove that a crucifix is an object equally to be abhorred as the shrines of Diana, and that relative reverence paid to the symbol of redemption involves the guilt of pagan wor­ship. " One of the most prevailing characteristics of su­perstition," according to our author, " is the attributing of some sacred efficacy to the performance of an outward act, or the presence of some material object, without any in­ward devotion of the heart being required to accompany it." Had he proved that Catholics are taught to confide in external acts independently of inward devotion, he might have traced this feeling to that source. He alleges, indeed, as a matter of fact, that they ascribe such efficacy to pil­grimages, sprinklings with holy water, veneration of relics, and the like, and refers to some local ceremonies in Span­ish countries on Good Friday ; but were the facts such as he states, they would not establish the principle. Individ­uals might entertain exaggerated views, or a superstitious confidence in external observances, although the rites themselves did not foster this false feeling. It is much more consistent to trace the veneration of relics to the miracles which were performed through the cloths which had touched the body of St. Paul, than to any natural tendency to confide in outward performances or material objects. How much safer it is to look to facts than to construct theories!
" It is not really," says Dr. Whately, " the doctrine of Purgatory which led to prayers for the dead; on the con­trary, it is doubtless the practice of praying for the dead that gave rise to that doctrine." He does not say how the practice itself arose, but in accordance with his theory he must ascribe it to an instinct of nature prompting us to wish the happiness of our departed friends, and to give expression to this desire, even without hoping any result from it. Had we no evidence of a different and higher origin of this usage, we might suffer such a supposition to pass without contradiction, since at all events it would not indicate any corrupt feeling, but rather a generous affec­tion. We ourselves were witness of such an expression as could not be accounted for by the religious convictions of the individual, and seemed the voice of nature itself. An aged Protestant lady being apprised that a young man, whom she had cherished as a son, was in his last agony, rushed into his chamber, and, on learning that his spirit had just departed, exclaimed almost unconsciously, " O God, have mercy on his soul!" But we are not left to speculate on the origin of the ecclesiastical usage, which Calvin acknowledges to be most ancient; " mos vetustis-sirrms est."*(footnote:  in Acta Ap. Cap. XV.) He found it necessary to apologize for resist­ing it, harmonizing as it does with the best feelings of na­ture, and, to defend himself, alleged that it necessarily im­plies the doctrine of Purgatory. " For if we admit," he says, " that prayers should be ofibred for the dead, we must all acknowledge that they now suffer punishment by the judgment of God, for not having satisfied for their sins whilst living." The connection of the usage with the doctrine is thus established by the consent of Calvin and Whately, whilst its origin is traced to the Apostles by the unexceptionable testimonies of St. Augustine, St. Chry-sostom, and Tertullian. It was not, however, by reason­ing on the practice that the doctrine was discovered, for both were delivered simultaneously. It was well sug­gested by the Tractarians, that it should be considered " whether this dictate of human nature, warranted as it in by the early Church, may not be implanted by the God of nature, - may not be the voice of God within us." (footnote: Tract 77.)
Confession is undoubtedly referrible to natural instinct, for all men feel that the humble and sorrowful acknowl­edgment of an offence is a title to forgiveness, or at least to a mitigation of punishment. Each sinner feels that by disclosing his sin his heart is somewhat relieved, not only by the sympathy he excites, but also by the atonement which he makes to offended virtue. The public at large accord merit to the avowal made by a culprit on the eve of paying the awful penalty of his crime. Nevertheless, it is not to this natural sense and feeling, much less to Di­vine institution, that Dr. Whately ascribes the practice of confession ; but to the proneness of men to vicarious religion, by which the priest is regarded " as a mediator be­tween them and God." "Hence," he says, "sprung the doctrine of the necessity of confession to a priest, and of the efficacy of the penance lie may enjoin and the abso­lution he bestows." The facility with which the author adapts facts and doctrines to his private theory is truly admirable. Others might be at a loss to understand the ne­cessary connection of these ideas, and might choose rather to account for the belief of this power by the plain force of the commission to forgive or retain sins. Olshausen traces it to the command of the Apostle, that each one should try himself before partaking of the Eucharist, and says that the Church instituted it in perfect accordance with that injunction : but the apostolic mandate was but the promulgation of the law of Christ himself, requiring sinners to show themselves to the priest, in order to be cleansed from spiritual leprosy. Well may the German pietist lament that the practice has disappeared from his communion. It subsists in the Church in its original vigor, because it is not a matter of ecclesiastical discipline, which might be overwhelmed by contrary usage, but it is an essential part of the institutions of Christ, which must continue to the consummation of ages.
Superstition, according to Dr. Whately, is a natural tendency of man. With greater justice he might have said that religion is his natural tendency ; and superstition is an abuse of this natural inclination. Man is formed with a sense of dependence on his Creator, whom he feels bound to worship. If from mistaken piety he perform acts ill suited to the Divine honor, he is deemed superstitious. Idolatry is a distinct crime, of far greater enormity, since it implies a transfer of divine honors to images. We can­not agree with the essayist that this is impossible, for pro­fane writers, as well as the Sacred Scriptures, bear indubi­table testimony to the sad degradation of men, worship­ping the works of their own hands. It may not be easy to conceive how they could imagine these objects to be divine, - whether inhabited by a deity, or invested with a divine virtue; but certain it is, that they did not worship the true God through them, nor did they use them as oc­casions to remind them of his presence. The prohibition of image-worship contained in the Decalogue was man­ifestly intended to proscribe the pagan usage of idols, and to take away all occasion of it. The breaking of the bra­zen serpent by Ezechias proves that the Israelites them­selves, in burning incense to it, had made it an object of worship, contrary to the commandment. It does not, how­ever, follow, that all use of images is unlawful, since the brazen serpent had originally been formed by the order of God to excite the confidence of the people in the Divine goodness, and had been instrumental in their recovery from the bite of the fiery serpents. The fact proves, what all Catholics admit, that, if images become an occasion of idolatry or superstition, their use may be abrogated, not­withstanding the previous sanction which they had re­ceived, or the favors which God may have imparted to those who with faith had employed them. Dr. Whately clearly perceives the distinction between their use as me­morials of illustrious servants of God, or exhibitions of Scriptural facts, and the pagan worship of stocks and stones, or images ; yet does he apply the prohibition of the Decalogue to all alike, and become partially the apol­ogist of idolatry, in order to involve the Catholic in the condemnation which should fall on the heathen. lie ap­plies this censure to the Greek Christians, as well as the Latins, between whom he admits there is scarcely any dis­crepancy in worship or doctrine; and fears not thus to arraign as idolaters three fourths of those who glory in the name of Christ. Yet even he admits that " pictures and images are not in themselves superstitious " ; and accord­ingly he adds, " We do not now exclude them from our houses of worship." The Council of Trent instructs us, that images are not to be venerated as if any divine virtue or divinity were in them, so that there is no room for the hypothesis of Dr. Whately: - " If, in worshipping before a crucifix, he [the Catholic] attributes a certain sanctity to the image, as if some divine virtue were actually present in it, he is clearly as much guilty of idolatry as the Israel­ites in worshipping the golden calf and the brazen ser­pent." The proof which he alleges is the preference sometimes shown of one image to another; but this only supposes that God may have manifested his power and favor on some special occasion, which, unquestionably, he may do. Every Catholic knows and feels that the image is but a memorial of the sufferings of Christ, in whom alone our homage must centre.   We may repeat the words of St. Gregory the Great: -" We prostrate ourselves be­fore the cross, not worshipping the wood, but Him who died on it for our redemption."
Dr. Whately has failed to show what principle of nature has led to what he brands as superstition in the use of im­ages. We are indeed prone to form the likeness of those whom we love ; we almost naturally impress on the im­age the kiss of affection; we prize the memorial; we pre­serve it with respect; but no instinct of nature prompts us to confound the symbol with the original. If nations sunk into idolatry, it was because their passions obscured their understanding, and led them to seek in material ob­jects Him whom their mind could not contemplate in his spiritual nature. Christians who are taught that God is a spirit, and that he must be adored in spirit and in truth, are not likely to confound him with the painted memorial of his merciful manifestation. This compendious and af­fecting exhibition of the Mystery of Redemption directs the mind to Calvary, and to the great work there consum­mated.
The adoration of Christ in the Eucharist is termed idol­atry by the learned writer, who rejects the reasons offered by Jeremy Taylor and others for removing so grave a cen­sure from the countless millions who believe this mystery. According to his favorite theory, this worship was not originally grounded on any text of Scripture, but it sprang imperceptibly from the corrupt tendency of human nature, to defend which the Scriptural passages were made sub­servient. We willingly acknowledge that it was not a fruit of hermeneutics, because the mystery was celebrated long before a word of the New Testament was written; but the words of our Lord, revealed to St. Paul the Apos­tle, were appealed to by him in confirmation of that which he had orally delivered to the Corinthians, when he first communicated to them the knowledge of Christianity. Dr. Whately admits that the doctrine of Transubstantia-tion does not contradict the testimony of the senses, be­cause the accidents, which he designates attributes, of bread and wine remain after consecration, and the testi­mony of the senses goes no farther. " That whatever has the appearance and other sensible qualities of bread is bread, is not attested by the senses." He labors to show that according  to our belief  Christ is transformed into bread ; but he does not reflect that the change of the bread into the body of Christ is the direct object of the rite of consecration, and consequently no transformation can be attributed to him, although it be true that his body becomes present under the external appearance of bread. The acknowledgment of Dr. Whately that our doctrine is not in contradiction with the testimony of the senses, added to the avowal of George Stanley Faber, that it should not be prejudged by an appeal to reason, which cannot judge of supernatural objects, ought to remove many of the didiculties which He in the way of the sincere in­quirer. If the evidence of its Divine revelation be exam­ined, it will be found to be more copioiis and satisfactory on this point than on any other mystery.
The assertion that the passage, " This is my body," was before the eyes of the whole Christian world for ten centu­ries before the doctrine of Transubstantiation was ever thought of, is one of those bold allegations which could be pardoned only to a disputant in the excitement of con­troversy. How a learned man, penning an essay in the calm retreat of his study, could venture on it, is to us in­explicable. Mark, he does not speak of the term, but of the doctrine ; so that, according to him, for ten centuries after Christ, no one ever thought that the bread and wine in the Eucharist were changed into the body and blood of Christ. Yet, according to the testimony of Mr. Palmer, " all the ancient liturgies now existing, or which can be proved ever to have existed, contain a prayer of consecra­tion that God will make the bread and wine the body and blood of Christ." *(footnote: * Oxford Tracts, No. III.)
 What the whole Church prayed for, at the most solemn moment of the mysteries, was surely thought of and believed to be the object of the Divine in­stitution. The Greeks designated this change by terms equivalent to transubstantiation, pfra^aXav, /«racrKfv«aw, ptrup-pvOplfav. Their illustrious writers in the fourth century expressed it in language the most unambiguous. " Since Christ himself," observes St. Cyril of Jerusalem, " pro­nounced and said of the bread, ' This is my body,' who will dare doubt ? And since he affirmed and said, ' This is my blood,' who will ever doubt, and say that it is not his blood?    He once, at Cana of Galilee, changed water into wine, which resembles blood, and do we think him unworthy of belief that he changed wine into blood? " *(footnote:  *  Cat. Myst. XXII.) The passages of St. Cyril of Alexandria, St. Gregory of Nyssa, St. Chrysostom, and other Greek fathers, which affirm the change, are no less striking; but we cannot hope that they would convince a writer who has had the hardihood to assert, that for ten centuries after Christ the doctrine was not thought of!
With great candor, Dr. Whately exposes some supersti­tious ideas entertained by some members of his commun­ion in regard to the sacramental elements, which they hold to be an infallible cure for some diseases of children, and carry home to their houses for this purpose. Another su­perstition, still stranger, is their eagerness to obtain sacra­ment-money, the collection made at the celebration of the Eucharist, "to be made into a ring, as an infallible cure for fits." This surprises vis the more, as they are said to offer other money of the same value in exchange. Here cer­tainly is manifest superstition, since such confidence is utterly groundless. The eagerness of the sick to obtain the sacramental bread and wine, without caring in what state of mind they receive them, is justly charged with the same vice, whilst their impatience under examination and instruction is almost amusing. " Do pray, dear Sir," said a patient to the minister who strove to prepare him, " give me the sacrament first, and then talk as much as you please."
The discipline of the Church in early times, as all the learned know, required a certain reserve in the communi­cation of the higher mysteries, lest pearls should be thrown to swine, and that which is holy should be trampled under foot by dogs. This has been shown, especially in regard to the Eucharist, by the late Bishop of Strasburg, in his learned treatise styled " The Amicable Discussion." The phrases "the initiated understand me," "I speak to the initiated," occur frequently in the writings of St. Cyril of Jerusalem, St. Augustine, and other fathers ; so that Dr. Whately had no need to seek among the priests of Eleu-sinus for examples of secrecy ; but even those most deeply imbued with sacred learning - the dispensers of the mys­teries of God - are unable to comprehend those sublime truths in which they are instructed. In the very act of con­secrating the chalice the priest says, with a deep feeling of reverence and awe, " O mystery of faith !" When the dis-ciplina arcani, as it was called, prevailed, it was confined to those who were catechumens, not yet fully prepared for the higher doctrines which were communicated to all baptized believers. There never have been two classes of tenets, as Dr. Whately would insinuate, one for the clergy, the other for the laity, although the distinction of teachers and peo­ple, as established by our Lord, has been maintained, and a higher degree of knowledge has been looked for from those who by their oilice are bound to instruct others.
The idea of any superior knowledge in the clergy to that which the faithful generally must have of Divine things, is rejected by Dr. Whately; and justly, indeed, if it were pretended that some articles are to be believed by one class which are concealed from the other; but in the Catholic Church one faith is common to all, and no doc­trine is withheld from any of her members, however hum­ble. Still, the great and primary truths of the Trinity and of Redemption by an Incarnate God are necessarily more prominent, and more explicitly professed by the multitude of believers, than doctrines less directly connected with the Divine counsels for human salvation. It has never been maintained that men could be saved through the faith of others; although the people are not expected to have the learning of doctors in theology, and the general assent to the doctrine of the Church, as the pillar and ground of truth, is deemed sufficient for those whose condition of life or dulness of intellect does not permit them to attain to more than a knowledge of the leading truths of Chris­tianity. These humble believers have true and full faith, conceived under Divine inspiration; for even they are taught of God. The evidences of revelation present them­selves to their mind in a way to win their assent, so that they know why they believe, and their imperfect knowl­edge can be no obstacle to their salvation. No one is pre­cluded by the Church from aspiring after the fullest knowl­edge, although the circumstances of life in which one is placed may prevent his attaining to it.
However common the persuasion may be that the mul­titude of our poor are ignorant, because many may be un­able to read or write, we believe that in regard to Christian doctrines they will advantageously compare, not only with Protestants of the same class, but with others of su­perior intelligence and acquirements. They will be found generally to know the substance of the Catechism,-the great mysteries of faith, and the moral duties, - and it will be difficult to find one so plunged into ignorance as those whom Dr. Whately describes, who regard baptism chiefly as the rite of naming, one adult female having actually presented herself to be baptized a second time, in order to change her name into one more agreeable to her fancy!
The means which God has appointed for communicat­ing revealed truth must necessarily be adapted to the ordi­nary condition of mankind, since he wishes all men to be saved through the knowledge of the truth. If, then, it be evident that it is impracticable for men generally, even un­der the most favorable circumstances, to attain to the cer­tain knowledge of the revealed doctrines by personal ex­amination and the exercise of private judgment, it is clear that this method is not such as we may reasonably sup­pose God to have established. We doubt whether any man could attain to certainty by such method, since his strongest convictions must be disturbed by a knowledge of the contrary results of investigations made by men equally learned and conscientious; but at all events, the slaves, whom it is treason to instruct in the rudiments of letters, the peasantry, and the working classes generally, are under the impossibility of making the necessary studies. Their be­lief, whatever it may be, must rest on authority, and the only question is, whether that authority shall be an un­erring one, to which they submit in the consciousness of their own incapacity, ot one avowedly subject to err, which, by flattering their self-sufficiency, persuades them that they are exercising an independent judgment, at the moment that they blindly follow a deceiver. " Ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil," said the tempter.
The principle of reliance on authority, by which the faith­ful are governed in regard to Divine things, is not the re­sult of indolence, or of a disposition to leave to others the labor of inquiry; it is in conformity with the plan laid down by Christ, that those who hear should believe the Gospel preached by his authorized messengers, since faith comes by hearing. Dr. Whately does not deny that this was their office, although, strange to say, he adds, " not clusively indeed, but principally and especially," as if oth­ers, not sent by Christ, might teach with authority. He even maintains that the Eucharist may be celebrated by men not sharing the privileges of their order: - " Those who pretend that there is necessarily no celebration of this ordi­nance without a regularly ordained minister, are proceed­ing entirely without any shadow of Scriptural authority." It seems to be his object to lower as much as possible the idea of the sacred ministry, and accordingly he ascribes to superstition the " priesthood " which is recognized by the ancients as subsisting in the Church, and for which he would substitute the office of elder, because the Greek term em­ployed by the sacred writers is npe^vrfpos, not kpeis. Did it never occur to him that this latter term, although simply implying a sacred officer, was by long use determined to signify one who immolated animals, and consequently that it was proper to avoid its use in the commencement of the Church, in order to distinguish her ministers from Jewish or Pagan priests ? As soon as the danger of mistake was removed by the diffusion of Christianity, we find the terms promiscuously employed. How will our Puseyite and High-Church friends, who vaunt their priestly name and office, relish the declaration of the Dublin metropolitan, that Christianity has no priest on earth ?
We must interrupt our observations, to thank the liberal writer, who, notwithstanding his many severe censures on us, blames those who refuse our children the benefit of ed­ucation, unless purchased at the price of conscience, by reading the Protestant version of the Scriptures. " To re­fuse," he says, " to teach them to read except on condition of their consenting to read the Bible in our authorized ver­sion, when they have a conscientious, though ill-founded, scruple against it, is in reality to withhold the Scriptures, under the pretext of distributing them." He also observes, most justly, - "Some are accustomed, inadvertently, to speak of the practice of keeping the Scriptures in an un­known tongue, as if it had been introduced by, or had arisen in, some church; forgetting that the Latin Bible of the Romish Church, (like the old Sclavonian of the Rus­sians,) is a translation into the then vernacular tongue, which subsequently became a dead language. The case is manifestly one of those in which ' Time, the greatest inno­vator, has insensibly insinuated alterations.'"    Again, he remarks, - "A language, be it remembered, which gradually became obsolete ; for the Church did not introduce the use of an unknown tongue in its prayers, or recital of Scrip­ture."
The whole tendency of the Essays is to undermine Di­vine faith, and leave men, if not in actual doubt, in a state of uncertainty, so as to be ready to change their present convictions on further investigation. This may be very philosophical, but it is plainly repugnant to the idea of rev­elation. If God has revealed any truths, he must have provided certain means for communicating them to sincere inquirers ; and to doubt of his truth, once ascertained with certainty, is to sin against his attributes. They who are " ever ready to listen to argument, ever open to convic­tion," show that they are not certain of possessing the truth, and that their belief is no more than opinion. He who has not attained to certainty should be ready to weigh every proof that may be presented to him; but he who believes with Divine faith is in the condition described by St. Au­gustine : - " We who are well grounded in the Divine au­thority of our religion do not hesitate to say, that whatever is opposed to it is utterly false."
Reliance on authority may be considered as a natural instinct, since the child is thus guided by his parents, and all men are more or less disposed to place confidence in the testimony or judgment of other men; but pride is so congenial to our fallen nature, that we are most likely to prefer our own views to those of others. Certainly nature does not lead us to believe any infallible authority in our fellow-men. Enlightened reason may dispose us to recog­nize it in those who are avowedly the messengers of God, and faith may embrace their teaching; but this cannot be accounted for by any natural tendency.
Dr. Whately calls attention to the fact, that the Apostles left no summary of doctrine, no catechism, or creed, or articles of belief, which would have been an easy and certain mode of directing the Christian mind, but contented themselves with writing, as occasion demanded, books or letters, from which the revealed doctrine might be gathered by the diligent inquirer. He makes evidently no account of the creed called of the Apostles, which, although most probably it was not written, possibly not composed, by them, cannot, be fairly doubted to contain the chief articles of Christian faith as believed in the various churches from the highest antiquity. The omission of the Apostles to compose a doctrinal summary is easily understood by those who reflect that the wisdom of Christ chose oral teaching, - the preaching of the word, - as the means of transmitting to the end of time the truths which he had delivered, and that he promised his presence at all times to guaranty its integrity. He instituted a ministry, to whom he gave an unrestricted power to teach, whether by word or in writing, and he left them to devise such formularies as might be necessary to distinguish truth from the ever-changing phases of error. The learned author claims for the Church, in qualified terms, something of the kind, with a view to account for the enactment of the thirty-nine arti­cles : - "A church is authorized to draw up creeds as a test or symbol to preserve uniformity of faith in her members." Yet he deprecates all idea of admitting it as a standard of orthodoxy: - " Never should we appeal to creeds, liturgies, or catechisms for the proof of any doctrine, or the refuta­tion of any error." Consistency would have obliged him to discard altogether creeds and symbols, " for no church is empowered to do that which God, for wise reasons, evi­dently designed should not be done " ; but this did not suit his position as a prelate of a church furnished with three symbols and thirty-nine articles; so he chose rather to qualify his radical view, and to claim for each church a power to make articles, or compose creeds, as criterions of communion, but of no value whatever to determine the truth of doctrine. We need no longer wonder that these should be regarded as mere " articles of peace," designed only to obtain external uniformity, without regulating the sentiments of their professors. Dr. Whately, indeed, thinks that none should claim church-membership who do not hold them, but he maintains that, if they be applied to control private judgment, " the grand principle of Protestantism - the only one that could justify the Reformation - is aban­doned ; and our Reformers must stand condemned as schis-rnatical heretics " (p. 221).
The necessity of some exercise of private judgment in every system, even when the principle of church authority is admitted, is strongly insisted upon by the learned essay­ist, who, however, confounds the assent to authority with the independent exercise of judgment.    By private judgment we commonly understand the right claimed for each individual to judge for himself what God has revealed, so that, by examining in detail the evidences of each particu­lar tenet, he may ascertain what he must believe. The act by which the individual recognizes the Church as alone competent to decide the truth or falsehood of doctrine, is plainly opposed to this claim. It is, indeed, an exercise of the mind and will, - it presupposes evidence presented and accepted, as well as grace by which the mind is enlight­ened,- it may be preceded by long and diligent examina­tion,- but it is not an act of private judgment in the sense which we have explained. A man may select a lawyer or physician from public fame, or personal knowledge of his skill or success, although he may not be competent to pronounce on the various cases incidental to law or medi­cine ; and it would be strange to assert his competency, because, by the fact of selecting the practitioner, he mani­fested a power of discrimination. Those who saw the miracles of Christ might recognize him as the Son of God, and believe his teaching unreservedly, because his words were words of eternal life. The act by which they became his disciples was an exercise of free will, under the influ­ence of supernatural revelation ; but by it they parted with their mental independence, so far as to bind themselves to receive with unqualified docility whatsoever he delivered. Faith can only be conceived where this entire assent is given to revealed truth, to the exclusion of all liability to err; for if error be supposed possible, the strongest convic­tion amounts to no more than an opinion of high probabil­ity ; whereas the true believer says with St. Augustine, " 1 should rather doubt of my own existence, than of the truth of the things wherein 1 have been instructed."
Our author is not willing to admit that the Catholic be­lief of the prerogatives of the See of Peter, and the iner­rancy of the Church in connection with it, is derived from those passages of St. Matthew which are commonly ap­pealed to. We are most ready to concede, as we before remarked, that no Catholic tenet is the result of mere Scriptural interpretation, the revealed doctrine having been first preached, and the living faith and testimony of the Church being taken as guides to the meaning of the word when committed to writing; but we maintain that such interpretation is in strict accordance with the context, and not a forced meaning devised to subserve a doctrine emanating from corrupt nature. Every one who weighs the words of our Lord, and the circumstances in which he uttered them, must feel that he meant to confer on Peter high prerogatives in reward of his Divinely inspired confes­sion, and that he extended to the Church founded on him the privileges conferred personally on this Apostle. That his successors in office should be embraced in the promise made to him, can surprise no one, who considers that he is evidently presented as a permanent foundation, and a supreme ruler, so that his prerogative must continue whilst the Divine fabric remains, and the spiritual empire needs a governor. Dr. Whatcly candidly avows, " That all Christians should belong to one single ecclesiastical com­munity, the chief governor of which should reside at Rome, though excessively inconvenient, would not necessarily imply the abandonment of any Christian principle." *(footnote:  * Page 205.) He also admits that the Church of Rome " was built by Apos­tles on Jesus Christ, the only true foundation ; she was left by them with sound doctrines and pure Christian wor­ship." This, independently of the Divine promises, forms a strong presumption of her orthodoxy, against which pos­itive evidence becomes necessary. When it is considered, that, according to the confession of Dr. Whately himself, " she scarcely differs in doctrine at all from the Greek Church," the consent of two thirds of professing Chris­tians, in connection with their predecessors during so many ages, cannot be lightly branded as erroneous. " It must be admitted, moreover," he remarks, " that the claim of in­fallibility in the Church, when it is distinctly avowed, is at least more consistent - perhaps I may say, more honest - than the. sort of appeal which is sometimes made by Protestants to the authority of the  Universal Church,' and which may be characterized by the homely but expres­sive proverbial metaphor, of 'playing fast and loose.'"
The closing essay on Persecution is ingeniously written, on the supposition that this is an acknowledged vice of Catholicity, from the danger of which Protestants are not entirely exempt. History indeed bears witness that it has invariably marked the ascendency of Protestantism. We cannot agree with Dr. Whately, that persecution has arisen from any natural instinct, prompting men to seek the spir­itual advantage of others, although this may have been al­leged by its apologists, and may have mixed itself up with the motives of its agents. " Too anxious," he remarks, " we cannot be, for the salvation of men's souls, -for the diffusion and for the purity of the Christian religion,-so long as we seek to compass these objects by the gentle force of persuasive argument and winning example : but when these methods fail, or even when it is apprehended that they may fail, the endeavor to prevent, by restraint, deviations from the established faith, and to force the stub­born and unpersuadable into that which appears to be for their own good, as well as for that of the community, is perfectly natural and conformable to the character of man." We are borne out by history in the assertion, that coercive measures against sectaries originated in a desire to restrain their violence, as is clearly seen in the case of the Circum-cellions. St. Augustine, it is true, modified his views as to their expediency, on seeing that many were reclaimed, being brought to investigate the truth, under salutary fear of punishment, and others were rescued from unjust intim­idation ; but he did not recommend their adoption as a means of proselytism, although he bore witness to the nu­merous and sincere conversions that had ensued when the terror of the law restrained the fanatical abetters of error. Coercive laws were enacted, in almost all cases, to main­tain the established order of society, in conformity with the prevailing belief; not to introduce new doctrines, and ter­rify men into their profession. When this system of legis­lation prevailed, we may not wonder that its supporters, after the violence of the sectaries had subsided, sought for other motives to justify the continuance of legal restraints, and argued that it was a benefit and blessing to deter the bold and presumptuous by coercion, proportioned to their obstinacy and pride.
The excesses of sectaries, by which all society was con­vulsed in the Middle Ages, gave occasion to laws of great severity, which remained in force after these sects had spent their fury. This became the settled jurisprudence of all Christian countries, to which canonists and divines naturally adapted their reasonings. Generally, however, the execution of these laws was less rigorous, when the causes of them had ceased, as is evident in the history of the ancient Inquisition, which, after its first efforts to root put the Albigensians, soon became inoperative. The re­vival of this tribunal in the fifteenth century was owing to the plots of false professors of Christianity against the in­dependence of the Spanish nation, no less than against the Catholic faith, and its violence in the following age sprang from a similar sense of clanger, inspired by the revolution­ary movements of innovators in Germany and France. The Inquisitors themselves who pronounced on the guilt of heresy, and left the impenitent culprit to the severity of the law, did not regard this as a means of conversion, so much as a preservative of society against the contagion of dangerous principles. Even they subscribed to the princi­ple of the old Council of Toledo, which forbade violence to be used for the purpose of bringing any one to the faith, and to the teaching of St. Gregory, who observed that it was a novel mode of preaching, to inculcate faith by blows of a club. All agree that unbelievers cannot be compelled by force to receive the faith, for faith is always voluntary.
" The tenet," says Dr. Whately, " that salvation is im­possible out of the pale of the Church, has been, not uni're-quently, considered as the necessary basis of persecution." From this view, however, he properly dissents. If St. Pe­ter could avow, that under heaven there is salvation in no other name than that of Jesus Christ, without thereby pledging himself to persecute the heathens that heard it not, or the Jews, who blasphemed it, surely no principle, however exclusive, involves this necessity. If St. Paul could affirm, that " without faith it is impossible to please God," without placing himself in the attitude of a persecu­tor of all unbelievers, it cannot be reasonably contended, that, by declaring that without the true Catholic faith no man can be saved, we become necessarily deadly enemies of all who reject it. We need not here stop to explain the precise import of this clause, or the theological distinction of vincible and invincible ignorance, which may pass for what it is worth. Taking the Catholic tenet in its most repulsive form, it clearly involves no duty but that of zeal and charity towards those who are out of the pale of the Church, of whom we might say with St. Paul, " I wished to be anathema from Christ for my brethren according to the flesh."
The perusal of this work furnishes painful evidence of the total absence of divine faith in its author, who scarcely labors to conceal his disbelief of the real distinction of the Divine persons, and of the atoning nature of the death of Christ. He avows his dislike of many usages which serve to transmit the knowledge of revealed truth, and to cherish piety. He objects to " the practice of reciting the Apos­tles' Creed as a portion of prayer," as if to confess the great truths of revelation were not an act of homage to God, im­plying a prayer to persevere in their belief. " The prac­tice," he says, " of teaching or allowing very young chil­dren to learn by heart prayers, psalms, portions of Scrip­ture, &c, which they are incapable at the time of under­standing, is one which is very often superstitious, and almost always leads to superstition." He urges on clergy­men " a constant care to check the superstitious idea, that either the consecrated ground (whether within or without the church), or the funeral service, have any thing to do with the individual's future destiny." His disregard of the ceremonial observances still retained in his communion was manifested on occasion of laying the foundation-stone of a church, which he performed sans cerdmonie, lest the be­holders should superstitiously ascribe any peculiar sanctity to the spot on which the temple was to rise. He com­plains that the sanctity attributed in Scripture to the Church, that is, to the body of believers,,is commonly trans­ferred to the building in which a congregation assembles, and he denounces as superstitious the " feeling of satisfac­tion on the supposed merit of having, in bodily presence, frequented it during life, with perhaps a hope of future se­curity from the lifeless body's reposing within its walls." Although such a feeling may, in some instances, be open to censure, it originates in a sense of religion, and is asso­ciated with holy recollections. To condemn it as super­stitious savors much of irreligion, and warrants no favor­able judgment of his Christian faith. It must be humili­ating to High Churchmen, and to all sincere believers in the great mysteries of Christianity, to hear the occupant of the metropolitan See of Dublin treating with open disregard the few religious rites which escaped the retrenching knife of the Reformers, denying all certainty of doctrine, and un-disguisedly assailing the Mysteries themselves. Yet this is no novelty in a church of human organization, whose prelates are the creatures of the civil power.    As Hoadley, an avowed Unitarian, occupied for many years an English see, so Whately may continue to enjoy his titles and rev­enues without disturbance, as long as he does not put himself in opposition with the prime minister of the crown.