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The Christian Examiner's Defence

Brownson's Quarterly Review, July, 1850
Art. II.- The Christian Examiner and Religious Miscel­lany. Boston : Crosby & Nichols. March, 1850. Art. IV.
The number of The Christian Examiner-the literary and theological organ of the American Unitarians-for March last contains an attempted defence of no-churchism, in reply to an Article on The Church against No-Church, published in our Review for April, 1845. The author of the defence is James Freeman Clarke, founder of the Church of the Disciples, for­merly one of the conductors of a monthly magazine called The Western Messenger, and is known to our readers as the author of a remarkable discourse on The Church, - as it was. as it is, and as it ought to be, - reviewed at some length in this journal for July, 1848.
The defence is not very remarkable for its solidity, and, though here and there a little clever, does not appear to us worthy of the high intellectual character aimed at by The Christian Examiner. If it were not for the esteem in which we have been accustomed to hold that periodical, as the organ of our old associates, and the possibility that some weak-mind­ed persons might mistake the motive of our silence, we should pass it by unnoticed. Its author is not a man we should choose for our opponent, for we always wish for an opponent one who has some powers of discrimination, and some capacity to feel the force of an argument. But we have no choice in the case, and if the Unitarians are willing to make him their champion, and to risk their cause in his hands, we must accept him, and dispose of him as best we may.
The defence consists of two parts. The first is an enumera­tion and philosophical explanation of the various and extraordi­nary changes we are said to have undergone ; the second re­peats, without our answers, some of the objections we have from time to time raised against ourselves and refuted. The first part is the more racy, and appears to have been written con amore. It has one or two clever hits, but, unhappily, the more piquant portion is untrue, and the rest has been repeated so often in conversation and the public press, that it has an ancient smell, more likely to disgust than delight its readers. The story of our changes is an old story, not worth reproducing, even with variations. Who has not been told, that we were formerly in the habit of changing" our views, and refuting ourselves, once a quarter? The explanation of our changes suggested by Mr. Clarke is, no doubt, ingenious, but it reminds us of the joke which Charles the Second of England played off upon the learned members of the Royal Society, .and it might be classed with D'Israeli's chapter on The History of Events that never happened. However, the author must be permitted to speak for himself.
" We intend to speak in this present article of Mr. Brownson, and of his argument for the Roman Church. Mr. Brownson is an ac­tive thinker, an energetic writer, and a man who has assumed an important position in American literature by yeara of steady labor. He has devoted himself during that time to the highest questions of philosophy, ethics, and theology, and has treated none of these sub­jects in a superficial or commonplace way. He has also belonged for a time, after a fashion of his own, to our communion. He has repeatedly created sensations by his ultraism on several subjects, and he finally astonished our community by going over from ex­treme Neology and Transcendentalism to Romanism of the most Ultramontane kind. Since then, he has occasionally addressed some arguments to his old friends, in behalf of his new Church. He has sometimes referred to our own periodical; and in April, 1845, addressed us, in a somewhat elaborate argument, inviting us to become members of the Church of Rome, or to show cause why we reject the invitation.
" For all these reasons, it would seem proper that we should take some notice of his writings. When a man of no mean abilities as­sumes such a position, it seems proper for a journal like ours to consider it. And, indeed, we should probably have weighed his arguments long before this time, had we not been expecting a reply from an abler hand, - namely, from Mr. Brownson himself. We thought it hardly worth while to exert our ingenuity in exposing the fallacy of arguments, which, judging by experience, Mr. Brownson would himself be ready to confute in the course of a year or two. No man has ever equalled Mr. Brownson in the ability with which he has refuted his own arguments. He has made the most elabo­rate and plausible plea for Eclecticism, and the most elaborate and plausible plea against it. He has said the best things in favor of Transcendentalism, and the best things against it. He has shown that no man can possibly be a Christian, except he is a Transcen-dentalist; and he has also proved that every Transcendentalist, whether he knows it or not, is necessarily an infidel. He has sat­isfactorily shown the truth of Socialism, and its necessity in order to bring about a golden age ; and he has, by the most convincing ar­guments, demonstrated that the whole system of Socialism is from the pit, and can lead to nothing but anarchy and ruin. He has de­fended the course of Mr. Dorr in Rhode Island, and argued before a crowd in State Street, in this city, that the people of Massachu­setts should aid him in taking possessioyi of the government by force. Afterward, he confuted the whole argument of Mr. Dorr, showing it to be hostile to all true democracy, and fatal, if it should succeed, to republican institutions. In 1841 he defended Theodore Parker, and declared him to be a Christian, in an article on Mr. Parker's Discourse at South Boston ; asserting that he was guilty of no heresy, but only of defects, in his view of Jesus. But in 1845, Parkerism is infidelity, and Mr. Parker stands in the ranks of the disobedient and rebellious, among proud, conceited, and superficial infidels, and is, to all intents and purposes, a rejecter of the Gospel. But especially in relation lo the Church question has Mr. Brown-son's change of opinion been the most radical and extreme. He labors now with great ingenuity and extraordinary subtilty to show that there must be an infallible church with its infallible ministry, and that out of this church there can be no salvation. But for­merly he labored with equal earnestness to show that there could be no such thing as a church at all, no outward priesthood or min­istry. His former arguments, then, for aught that we can see, were just as acute, plausible, and effective as his present ones. In the year 1840, he wrote a long article, proving, by a subtile chain of reasoning, the exact reverse of his present propositions. He then declared that it was necessary to destroy the Church and abol­ish the priesthood. He said, ' We oppose the Church as an Anti-christian institution'; l because we find no Divine authority for it; because we cannot discover that Jesus ever contemplated such an institution; and because we regard it as the grave of freedom and independence, and the hot-bed of servility and hypocrisy.1 ' We object to every thing like an outward, visible church ; to every thing that in the remotest degree partakes of the priest.' ' Chris­tianity is the sublimest protest against the priesthood ever uttered.' ' Jesus instituted no priesthood, and no form of religious worship. He recognized no priest but a holy life. He preached no formal religion, enjoined no creed? 'The priest is universally a tyrant, universally the enslaver of his brethren. Priests are, in their ca­pacity of priests, necessarily enemies to freedom and equality. The word of God never drops from the priest's lips,' &c, &c." - pp. 227-229.
If this were true, we ought to be looked upon as an extraor­dinary man, the marvel of our age and country. But we can­not claim the merit it awards us. The author cannot afford to grant us so much, for his purpose is not, by magnifying our abil­ity, to enhance the merit of his courage in attempting to defend himself against us, but to show, from our frequent changes and alleged ability to reason1 on one side of a question as well as on another, that nothing we say can deserve a moment's considera­tion. But if what he asserts be true, since it must be con­ceded that, however frequently we may have changed our views, we have never been known to return to a doctrine which we have once held and rejected, it is certain that we did not embrace Catholicity blindly, nor renounce Protestant­ism without knowing the best that can be said in its favor. This, instead of being a reason for not weighing, would be a good reason for weighing, any argument we might offer for the Church, not only because it would be likely to be a good argu­ment in itself, but because urged by one who knows and has said the best that can be urged against it.
We cannot understand why Protestants should dwell with so much fondness on our alleged changeability and changes, for whatever discredit may attach to them, it attaches to Protes­tantism, not to Catholicity, - to the Protestant minister, not to the Catholic believer. All the changeableness and changes al­leged against us were exhibited, if at all, prior to our conver­sion, and nobody pretends to allege any thing of the sort against us since. We have resided in this community in all about six­teen years, - the whole of our life that can be considered of any public interest. During nearly six of these years, we have been a member of the Catholic Church, and have shown no changeableness or symptom of change. If during the previous ten years, while a Protestant, a Unitarian minister even, we were, as you say, in the habit of changing our views and refut­ing ourselves about once in every three months, how do you account for the fact, that we have as a Catholic remained firm and steadfast for nearly six years ? Here is, if you are right, the most remarkable change of all. How do you explain it ? You cannot say that it is owing to our ignorance, either of Protestantism or of Catholicity, for you concede that we have said the best things that can be said in favor of, as well as against, each ; it cannot be an obstinate attachment to opinions once avowed, for your very accusation implies the total absence of such attachment; it cannot be any fear as to the sort of re­ception Protestants would give us were we to return to them, for nobody can doubt that they would hail our return as a god­send. Whence, then, comes this remarkable change in personal character ? The Examiner suggests the answer (p. 232), in declaring it impossible for a man to disavow what he has once seen to be true, and in asserting that, u When a man tells us that he has changed all his convictions, be tells us that he never had any convictions to change." That, when a Protestant, we had not seen, and did not see, the truth, and therefore had no real faith, or what The Examiner calls convictions, is un­doubtedly true, and this fact explains the change. As a Prot­estant we lacked the truth. We were seeking it without finding it, and therefore were restless, and continually changing ; but as a Catholic we have found the truth, have it, are no longer seeking it, and therefore are satisfied, at rest, and change no more. But who, except the founder of the Church of the Dis­ciples, would ever dream of adducing this as a reason why an argument constructed by us for the Church is not worth consid­ering ?
But suppose that our past conduct as a Protestant was alto­gether unworthy, that we were fickle and vain, as unstable as water, changing once a quarter, or even every month,-¦ what then ? The argument of The Examiner is a bad one. Let it be that we have changed too often to be depended upon. It amounts to nothing; for we have never proclaimed ourselves as one who could be depended upon, and we have never asked any one to believe the Church on our personal authority. If we professed to be the founder of our Church, to be ourselves " the ground and pillar of truth," and asked people to believe the Church for the simple reason that we believe her, it would not be amiss to ask who and what we are, and to make a rigid inquiry into our personal character, and our qualifications for arrogating to ourselves the Divine prerogative. But we have ceased to be a Protestant, and therefore do nothing of the sort. The Church was not founded by us, is not ours, and does in no sense rest on our wisdom and virtue. The arguments we have urged are addressed to the common reason of mankind ; they speak for themselves, and depend not at all for their con­clusiveness or want of conclusiveness on our personal character or personal authority. It is less conclusive than convenient to say, Mr. Brownson has changed his opinions often ; therefore the argument he adduces for the Church against no-church is worthless.
We have, however, something to say to these alleged changes themselves. Some of them are fabrications, and others are perversions or exaggerations of very harmless facts. It is not true that we ever defended the course of Mr. Dorr of Rhode Island, or that we ever argued before a crowd in State Street, in this city, that Massachusetts ought to aid him in tak­ing possession of the government by force.    We never addressed a crowd in State Street on the subject, either for or against his course. It is not true that we have shown, or ever attempted to show, that no man can be a Christian except he is a Transcendentalist. We never had the honor of being a Tran-scendentalist, and there never was a time when the fact, that any principle we held involved Transcendentalist consequences, would not have been of itself a sufficient reason for us to reject it as false. The chiefs of Boston Transcendentalism were from the outset Ralph Waldo Emerson and S. Margaret Ful­ler, and the pages of The Christian Examiner, as well as those of our own Boston Quarterly Review, prove that we always op­posed their peculiar views. It is well known by the writer against us, that The Dial, which we ridiculed in public and in private, not our review, was their organ; that we always con­tended that Transcendentalism was pantheism, and that we held pantheism to be unchristian and false. That we held, as does every Protestant, principles which lead to Transcendentalism, we do not deny ; but whenever we discovered such to be the fact, we rejected them as false, and for that reason alone. If we ever defended the Transcendentalists against their enemies, it was not in their peculiar views, but in what they held in com­mon with all of us who at the time were engaged in the war against Cambridge conservatism, and the sensisrn of Locke. The Examiner knows perfectly well that its statement is not true.
With regard to Mr. Parker, we own, that, when a Unitarian minister, we defended him, and maintained that his South Bos­ton sermon might bear a Christian sense, and on Unitarian principles we should maintain the same thing to-day. In 1845, after our conversion, we wrote an article, in which we proved that no Unitarian had the right to pronounce his doctrine, all infidel as it is, unchristian. We understand no right in any Unitarian, nay, in any Protestant, to deny Mr. Parker, or any one else, to be a Christian, so long as he professes to be one. Our views of Mr. Parker have undergone no change, but in passing from Unitarianism to Catholicity our views of what is Christianity have of course changed.
That in 1840, while still a Protestant, we maintained no-churchism, as The Examiner alleges, is true, and we should maintain the same to-day, if we assumed, as we did then, that the Protestant movement was a Christian movement. We did it avowedly on Protestant principles, and we have written article after article, since our conversion, to prove that Protestants have, and can have, on their principles, no church, no priest­hood, in the proper sense of the terms. Assume those prin­ciples to be Christian, and you must be a pitiable reasoner in­deed, if you cannot draw the conclusion, that every thing like a priest or a visible church is unchristian. We did but express, in clear and energetic language, what The Christian Exam­iner itself and all Unitarians do and must maintain. We were never so dull as not to see that the Protestant movement was directly opposed to every thing like a visible church or priest­hood, in the sense in which we then denied them, or now hold them, or that, if there is a visible church or priesthood to be asserted as Christian, it is the Roman Catholic. At any time during the last twenty-five years, if it had been proved to us that our Lord did found a church and institute a priesthood, we should at once have said, as we say now, they are the Roman Catholic ; for they obviously can be no other ; and prove to us now that the Protestant movement, or Reformation, as it is called, was from God, and is to be held as a Christian move­ment, and we will repeat the essay on The Laboring Classes, which The Examiner cites, and say again, that " the truth never drops from the priest's lips," - that " the priest is universally a tyrant, and the enslaver of his brethren." Doubtless we have changed on the Church question since 1840, but we have un­dergone on that question no change not necessarily involved in the conversion from Protestantism to Catholicity, and to object the change to us is only objecting, either that when a Protestant we were not a Catholic, or that now we are a Catholic we are not still a Protestant. How in the world were we to become a Catholic without changing ?
The Examiner thinks to overwhelm us, by applying to us prior to our conversion the language we have since employed in describing Protestantism.
" In fact, he has given the best possible description of his own creed before that time in the following passage: -' It is in per­petual motion, and exemplifies, so far as itself is concerned, the old heathen doctrine that all things are in a perpetual flux. You can never count on its remaining stationary long enough for you to bring your piece to a rest and take deliberate aim. You must shoot it on the wing ; and if you are not marksman enough to hit it flying, you will have, however well charged and well aimed your shot, only your labor for your pains. It is never enough to take note either of its past or its present position ; but we must always regard the direction in'which it is moving, and the celerity with which it moves ; and if we wish our shot to tell, we must aim, not at the point where it was, or where it now is, but at the point where it will be when the ball now fired may reach it.' Mr. Brownson thinks that he is here describing Protestantism. But he must allow us to say that he has merely given us a very happy description of the working of his own individual intellect. It is an old trick of proselytes to ascribe to the party they have left all the blunders and errors which were peculiar to themselves."- pp.229, 230.
This retort would be happy, if it were not a retort upon one of the author's own brethren. He applies it to us as a Protes­tant, and not to us as a Catholic, and the more ridiculous he makes us appear as a Protestant, the more does he weaken his own cause. Let it be that we sat for the picture, and drew from our own experience, it was the Protestant that sat, and a Protestant's experience that was depicted. Suppose we did draw from our own Protestant experience, it does not fol­low that we concluded the description must be applicable to the Protestant world, because we found it applicable to our­selves ; for it is warranted by the history of the Protestant controversies, Protestant developments and variations, any time for the last three hundred years.
" When, therefore, we find that Mr. Brownson's mind is in the habit of experiencing such extraordinary revolutions, we may per­haps be excused for not paying much attention to his position at any particular time.    In a land of earthquakes, men do not build four-story houses; neither do we spend much time in refuting the arguments of a man whom we know to be in the habit, of refuting himself about once in every three months.    We are inclined to say with Mr. Emerson, ' If we could have any security against moods ! If the profoundest prophet could be holden to his words, and the hearer who is ready to sell all, and join the crusade, could have any certificate that to-morrow his prophet shall not unsay his tes­timony !    But the Truth sits veiled there on the bench, and never interposes an adamantine syllable ; and the most sincere and revo­lutionary doctrine, put as if the ark of God was to be carried for­ward some furlongs and planted there for the succour of the world, shall in a few weeks be coldly set aside by the same speaker as morbid,- " I thought I was right, hut I was not" - and the same immeasurable  credulity  demanded for  new  audacities.'"-pp. 230, 231.
This would have been more appropriate five years ago. The author has kept his argument too long ; it has grown musty, and unfitf or use. He appears to have lost the current of events, and fallen behind the times.    Has he been taking a nap, after the example of the celebrated Rip Van Winkle ? The citation from Mr. Emerson would be to the author's pur­pose, if we asked people to believe Catholic doctrine on our personal authority, or on any authority liable to change or to be moody ; but as it is, it is very much to our purpose, and faith­fully and vividly depicts the sad condition of poor Protestants, who have only a human authority for their faith, and only an arm of flesh on which to lean.
" But it may be said, 'Will you not allow a man to make prog­ress ? May he not discover and correct his errors ? Shall lie not honestly say, " I was wrong, but I am wiser now " } Will you, who profess to believe in progress, think less of a man because he changes his opinions and cares less for consistency than he does for truth?'"- p. 231.
There was no need either of suggesting or of refuting the plea of progress, for we do not make it. We have never pre­tended that our conversion to Catholicity was a progress or the result of a progress in our Protestant life. It was a change, and consisted not in being clothed upon, as Mr. Newman would say, with Catholic truth, but in throwing off Protestant heresy, and accepting Catholic truth in its place. The only progress we lay claim to is a progress, by the grace of God, not in Protestantism, but out o/it. Our conversion was a change, a real change, and the only real change we have ever undergone. It did not take place instantaneously, but was a gradual process, which continued for some three years. During those years we were in a transition state, our nn'nd was unsettled, and our old Protestant notions were continually giving way, as snow and ice before the increasing warmth of the sun as the spring ad­vances. Doubtless this manifested itself in our writings at the time, but all the changes we successively underwent were only the changes which every genuine Protestant must undergo in being converted to the Church. They consisted simply in throwing off what we had received from Protestantism, in which we were born and bred, and in no instance was there any other change than that of throwing off the first view we had embraced on the subject. We never betrayed any of that kind of change which consists in holding a doctrine to-day, renouncing it to­morrow, and taking it up again the day after. The doctrines we have once rejected we have seldom afterwards defended.
" The misfortune of Mr. Brownson, as it seems to us, and the explanation of his whole past course, is simply this; that he has had no such central truths, no primal convictions. Acute as a lo­gician, able to see the sequences and dependences by which one proposition is connected with another, his mind appears to have no power of intuition. He cannot see a truth, a principle ; and he has therefore no insights, but only thoughts." - pp. 231, 232.
The Examiner is nearer the truth here than usual. We have very little insight; we are mentally weak and ignorant ; we feel it and deplore it. We cannot come into comparison with those great men to whom nothing is bidden, dark, or diffi­cult, and who have mastered all the secrets of nature and all the mysteries of revelation. All we dare aspire to is to learn some little of the wisdom of others, and to repeat it in our own stammering speech for the benefit of those who know less than we, because they have had less time and opportunity for study. There can be no question of our grievous lack of insight. If we had not lacked it, we should have escaped innumerable er­rors, and at a much earlier day discovered the unchristian character of the Protestant movement, and begged admission into the Holy Catholic Church.
No doubt, when a Protestant, so far forth as a Protestant, we had no great " central truths "; but this was hardly our fault. How could we " gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles " ? We could not be expected to bave wbat Protestantism has not to give ; we had all it has, and more we could not have had, without ceasing to be a Protestant, for we always lacked the ability of our worthy opponent to maintain, that of contraries both may be true. Yet it is not true to say that we had no " primal convictions." The u primal convictions" which be­long to every rational soul we certainly had, and it was those that gave us our trouble; for we never could make Protestant­ism harmonize with them. Had it not been for them, Protes­tantism, in some of its forms, might have satisfied us, and we might have settled down quietly in the sect in which we found ourselves, - perhaps have been a fellow-laborer with the founder of tbe Church of the Disciples. But having them, we could' never persuade ourselves that all opinions are alike good, that there is no difference between truth and falsehood, between right and wrong, or that one can be safe, unless he loves and serves God in the way God himself wills ; consequently we could not rest till we had found something better than Protes­tantism.
But after all,   The Examiner is a little inconsistent with itself, in attributing our various changes to lack of insight, - to the total want of intuition or apprehension of principles. It awards us a high intellectual character, says that we have de­voted years of steady labor "to the highest questions of philos­ophy, ethics, and theology," and that we have treated none of them " in a superficial or commonplace manner." It places us in the front rank of all who have labored in defence, or in refutation, of Eclecticism, Transcendentalism, Radicalism, and Socialism, and it plainly implies that we have been surpassed by none of our contemporaries in the defence of no-churchisrn on the one hand, and of the Church on the other. It allows us great mental acuteness and extraordinary logical powers. We cannot understand how a man of whom this is to be said can be wholly destitute of insight, or have no intuition or apprehen­sion of principles. How can a man who has no insight have great mental acuteness ? or how can one who has no apprehen­sion of principles reason logically ? What sort of logic is that which can operate without principles ?
" If our account of the working of Mr. Brownson's mind be cor­rect, he has always, even when most a Protestant, been a Roman Catholic in principle. The main distinction between the Church of Rome and its opponents regards the final ground of our belief. The Protestant relies, in the last result, upon personal conviction; the Romanist, on outward authority. Individual faith is the princi­ple of Protestantism ; submission to an outward teacher, the princi­ple of the Church of Rome. But Mr. Brownson, even when most a Protestant, took his first principles from some one else ; and he does no more than that now. And certainly it is more satisfactory to rest on the authority of a Church claiming to teach in the name of God, than to rest on the authority of Victor Cousin or Claude Henri St. Simon. We think, indeed, that Mr. Brownson, loving fight as well as he docs, must enjoy himself not a little in his pres­ent position. He there has an opportunity of fighting as much as he pleases, with all his old friends. He has not been slow in avail­ing himself of this opportunity ; and he has in turn attacked High-Churchmen and Low-Churchmen, Transcendentalists and Rational­ists, Unitarians and Socialists, holding also an occasional argument with other Roman Catholics, not quite as orthodox as himself." - pp. 233, 234.
If we were always a Roman Catholic in principle, what be­comes of the infinite number of changes we are said to have undergone ? We can in that case have undergone no change in our principles, and a man who has never changed his princi­ples cannot have been remarkably changeable.    He can have undergone no changes except such as relate to simple matters of fact, - changes to which every man who acquires informa­tion is liable, and which are never regarded as at all discred­itable to one's constancy of character or solidity of judgment. We were, we concede, always a lioman Catholic, in the re­spect that we held that faith is necessary, and regarded the man who has no faith as in an abnormal condition ; that truth is something real, and not at all dependent upon or affected by our apprehension of it ; that in order to reason one must have principles, and therefore that first principles are neither ob­tained nor obtainable by reasoning ; that every one is bound by the legitimate consequences of his own principles; and that one truth can never be in contradiction with another. These prin­ciples we always held, even when most a Protestant, and thus far were, no doubt, when most a Protestant, a Roman Catholic in principle.
Moreover, we were never enough of a Protestant to believe that we were ourselves the exact measure of truth and good­ness, that we were personally infallible, that we had no need of being taught, or that we could spin all truth, spider-like, out from our own bowels. We were no genuine arachnean^ and we always felt our need of masters. We had masters, - the best masters to be found out of the Catholic Church ; but, un­happily, they were very incompetent masters, who taught us more error than truth, - more ignorance than science. We made a mistake, not in having masters, but in the masters we chose. Had we known enough to seek out some humble Catholic priest, and submit ourselves to his tutelage, we should have had nothing to regret; for he would have taught us more in five minutes than all our Protestant masters taught us in forty years.
But after all, we did not, in this matter of masters, practi­cally differ so widely from the great body of Protestants as some may suppose. Protestant profession is one thing ; Prot­estant practice is another, and in general a contrary thing. All Protestants, except the founders of new sects, are the slaves of some master or masters, and the only liberty they have- and they by no means always have even that-is the liberty of choosing their masters, or of exchanging one for another. You may talk of Protestant freedom to the marines. A more ser­vile set of mortals than the mass of Protestants it is impossible to conceive; and what makes the matter worse is, that the poor slaves hug their chains, and fancy it freedom.   The Catholic is the only freeman, for he has no master but God. Even the self-sufficient founder of the Church of the Disciples had his masters as well as we, and has them still. The only difference between him and us in this respect was, that we could follow the teachings of our several masters only so far as we could, or thought we could, reconcile the teachings of one with those of another, while he made no reserve of the sort. He always ap­peared to be able to accept the grossest syncretism, and to swallow down in their crudest state the entire systems of all the masters he could light upon, however mutually contradic­tory they might be. As far as we could discover, he went on the principle of accepting all systems, all schools, all sects, all doctrines, and all opinions ; of being an infidel with infidels, a pantheist with pantheists, a Quaker with Quakers, a Svveden-borgian with Swedenborgians, a Unitarian with Unitarians, a Trinitarian with Trinitarians, an Evangelical with Evangelicals, a pagan with pagans, a conservative with conservatives, a Socialist with Socialists, and a Catholic with Catholics. We have found him fraternizing alike with those who believe Jesus of Nazareth to be the only Messiah, and with those who main­tain that Wolfgang Goethe was a second Messiah, and who patronize S. Margaret Fuller and Bettine Brentano. He is a man of large sympathies, - sympathies wide as the world. Do not all these various systems, opinions, sects, and classes sub­sist in the world side by side ? Why not, then, in the Church, especially in the Church of the Disciples ? Would you have the Church narrower and less tolerant than the world ?
But enough of this. If The Examiner had succeeded in this part of its defence, it would have availed it nothing; for the real question at issue is not our personal character, or our mental or moral constitution, but Church or no-church. We frankly admit that we are altogether unworthy to be a member of the Catholic Church, much more to write in defence of Catholic doctrine. But if the argument we have addressed to it proves her claims, The Examiner will in vain attempt to excuse itself for not having examined and yielded to its force, on the ground of our past instability or present unworlhiness. The argument is before its conductors, and they owe it to themselves to for­get who has laid it before them, and to give it all the considera­tion to which it is entitled by its intrinsic merits. Nothing is gained in the long run by seeking to substitute personal detrac­tion or vulgar prejudice for solid argument. In our article against The Examiner we made no personal attack ; we appealed to no popular prejudice against either it or its doctrine ; we reasoned fairly and conscientiously ; and it owed it to its own character, and to us, as one of its former contributors, to have met us in the same tone and manner. It has not done so ; and for its sake, for the sake of its readers, and for the sake of honorable and profitable controversy, we regret it ; but as far as we are concerned, we are prepared for all tones and all tem­pers, and have been too much accustomed to be publicly tra­duced to be disturbed. It is a little thing to speak slightingly of us, after having calumniated the Church of God.
The second part of The Examiner's defence need not de­tain us long.     The author has urged several objections against us, but not one which we have not heretofore ourselves raised in substance and refuted.   It is, no doubt, a convenient way to refute an opponent, to take from him the objections he raises against himself, and omit his answers; but it is not a very honora­ble nor a very satisfactory way ; and having once replied to the objections, we cannot be held bound to reply to them again, till the answers we have already given are shown to be insufficient. The author's objections, moreover, do not require any answer from us, because he virtually concedes, or rather contends, that they amount to nothing.    He attempts to refute us by ar­gument, and of course refutes us only on condition that the arguments he objects to us are conclusive against us, that is, make it certain that we are wrong.    But this, according to him, they do not do, for he maintains (pp. 235, 236) that " the strongest argument ever made never produced any thing but a strong probability," and that "certainty is never produced by any amount of argument."    Then, we may add, a fortiori, not by such arguments as his.    If no amount of argument ever produces certainty, it remains certain that his arguments have not invalidated ours, and therefore amount to nothing; and if they amount to nothing, they require no answer.
The Examiner should remember that skepticism is a weapon as fatal to him who wields it as to him against whom it is wielded. If our arguments fail to prove the Church, on its ground that no argument is or can be conclusive, then its arguments, on the same ground, conclude nothing against ours, and therefore it has been very silly in urging them. But, re­membering the controversies formerly carried on in its pages against the so-called Orthodox, we are a little surprised to find The Christian Examiner taking ground against all argument, and seeking refuge in skepticism.    We  remember the time when it maintained a different doctrine ; when it did not decry reason; when the Unitarians, whom it represents, boasted them­selves the champions of reason against enthusiasm, and of ra­tional piety against fanaticism ; when they were in the habit of saying, No man is against argument till argument is against him, and no one objects to reason so long as he has a good reason to give. Have they changed, turned a somerset, and under­taken to do what they accused their old Calvinistic enemies of doing, that is, to " reason against reason, use reason against the use of reason, and to give a pretty good reason why reason ought not to be used " ? Alas ! how have the mighty fallen ! Unitarians abandoning reason, rejecting argument, and seeking refuge in skepticism, or illuminism! He who rejects reason abdicates his manhood, withdraws himself from the class of rational beings, and places himself in the category of irrational animals, as the dog, the horse, or the ass, which are manage­able sometimes by our industry, but with which it is impos­sible to hold rational intercourse. If argument never estab­lishes certainty, why do you attempt to argue ?
The Examiner's first objection to our argument for the Church is, that it is too subtile. " Is it possible," he asks (p. 235), "that we are left to find the true Church of Christ by means of such a subtile chain of reasoning ? " Yes, we answer, if heretics have so obscured the truth by their errors and sophistry, learned ignorance and conceited folly, that they are incapable of being convinced by plainer or simpler arguments. But what sort of right have Protestants, or any other class of heretics, - after having turned their backs upon the truth, after having exerted all their wit, ingenuity, skill, and malice in devising objections to it, and thus compelling us to resort to close, rigid, and even subtile reasoning to meet and refute their sophistry and subtilty, - to turn upon us, and tell us that our Church cannot be the Church of God, for if she was, no such reasoning would be necessary ? If a man resolutely shuts his eyes so as not to see the sun, shall he tell us, after we have induced him by great labor and effort to open them, that the sun is not the sun, nay, that there is and can be no sun, for if there was, so much labor could not be required to enable him to see it ? Poor man ! we did not labor to enable him to see the sun, or to make the sun more obvious, but to remove the obstacles to his seeing it, which his own folly and obstinacy had interposed. But whence do Protestants obtain the right to urge charges against the Church which refute one another ?    They accuse  us of ignorance, and then object to our Church, that she is the result of the most consummate human wisdom, and all but miraculous knowledge of human nature. They tell us, that we are utterly unable to reason, and as soon as we expose the falseness of their accusation, and show that we can and do reason, they turn upon us and say, they are sure our Church cannot be the true Church, because we support her by argument, and argument cannot give certainty, or because we reason, and reason al­together too well, in her defence ! A wonderful deal of con­sistency is to be found in Protestants, most assuredly ! They have a double set of objections, one the contrary of the other, so that, as the one set is refuted, they can bring up the other set.    Very convenient!
The Examiner thinks it is not likely that our salvation is made to depend on the logical faculty and the understanding of such a piece of pure reasoning as our argument.
" Now, according to Mr. Brownson, our salvation depends on our belonging to the true Church ; therefore, our salvation depends on our being able to investigate and understand the whole of the great question at issue between the Roman Church and its oppo­nents. He thinks that he has reduced this question to its simplest form in the argument before us ; and he thinks that this argument is perfectly simple and intelligible. Nevertheless, it occupies some sixty pages of pure argument, making a chain of propositions and deductions, any one of which failing, the whole must go to the ground. Now we say, that it is not very likely, at the outset, that God has made the salvation of his creatures to depend on the logi­cal faculty and clearness of insight necessary in order to do justice to such a piece of pure reasoning as this." - p. 235.
There is a mistake here as to the number of pages the argu­ment occupies. The whole essay is less than sixty pages long. One eighth of it is exhausted with other matters, before the argument begins, and at least six eighths are taken up with ex­planations rendered necessary by the errors of Unitarians and others, and in refuting the false theories of heretics. The ar­gument proper occupies less than half a dozen pages, and The Examiner professes to have reproduced it in less than one. Then the argument is the farthest removed possible from subtilty. It consists solely in drawing from the premises known and professed by every man who calls himself a Chris­tian their obvious and necessary consequences. To call such an argument subtile is an abuse of terms. Moreover, the argu­ment is not presented as the only, nor as the briefest and simplest argument possible, but professedly in reply to an essay on The Church, in The Christian Examiner for January, 1845, as the argument best adapted to the apprehensions of Unitarians, and to the removal of their peculiar prejudices.
The writer says the argument consists " of a chain of prop­ositions, any one of which failing, the whole must go to the ground." Be it so. But the same may be said of any ex­tended chain of reasoning, even of mathematical reasoning. It is no objection, that if one link fails the chain is broken, so long as no link can fail. That it is not likely that the un­derstanding of this chain of reasoning is universally necessary to salvation is possible, but we do not recollect of ever having maintained that it is, and the argument itself is designed to prove, that, to be saved, it is necessary to believe, not it, but what God reveals and the Church proposes. It assumes, that, in order to be saved, it is necessary to be a Christian. Does The Christian Examiner deny this assumption ? If it does, let it say so, and avow itself an infidel periodical. If it does not, we beg it to have the kindness to prove in fewer words, and in a less subtile manner than we have employed in our ar­gument for the Church, any doctrine or precept it chooses to name was really taught or enjoined by our Lord ; or, in a briefer, plainer, or simpler argument, in opposition to the myth­ic theory of Strauss, that there actually was such a person as Jesus of Nazareth. Leslie's Short Method with the Deists, which falls far short of refuting them, is longer than our essay ; Paley's Evidences of Christianity make up a respectable octa­vo volume ; Lardner requires nine or ten large octavo volumes to prove the credibility of the Gospel history ; Norton requires three to establish the genuineness of the four Gospels; and the writer in The Examiner would, we doubt not, require at least forty huge folio volumes to prove that Unitarianism is identical with Christianity, or that the Church of the Disciples is identical with the Church of Christ. Suppose it does require a labored argument of sixty pages to prove the Church against the no-churchism of Protestants. What then? No one dis­tinctively Christian fact can be proved with a shorter or less la­bored argument, and, what is more to the purpose, when we have once proved the Church, we have proved all, and our labor is done ; but the Protestant, when he has proved one fact, even if one fact he can prove, has proved only that fact, and has the same labor to perform in the case of every single fact, doc­trine, or precept of the Christian religion, a labor to which no man's life is adequate, and which the experiments of the Prot­estant world for three hundred years fully prove can never be brought to a successful termination; for there is not at this moment a single fact, doctrine, or precept which all Protes­tants agree in regarding as Christian. Even the writer in The Examiner confesses that Protestants generally, and some even of his own brotherhood, do not accept the view of faith essential to his theory, and consoles himself with believ­ing that they are tending to it, and may some centuries hence reach it. Then, after all, it is ridiculous to object to our argu­ment that it is subtile, for if it really does establish the claims of the Church, you must believe and obey her, or lie under the sin of rebellion against God. If the argument is really in­conclusive, that fact should be shown ; but if really conclusive, it is conclusive, however subtile or elaborate it may be, and convicts, if it does not convince, you of warring in your no-churchism against the truth.
But the writer in The Examiner, for obvious reasons, ob­jects to all arguments addressed to the understanding. He does not appear to object to our argument, that it is inconclu­sive for the reason, the intellect; he even seems to concede that it is strictly logical, and as conclusive as any logical argu­ment can be ; but he has a thorough dislike to all logic, proper­ly so called, and demands arguments addressed, not to the intel­lect, but to the heart. Arguments to the understanding do not appear to be his /orfe, but he is great on heart arguments.
" It may be said that such a kind of proof is the only kind pos­sible. We admit that it is the only logical proof possible. But the true Church of Christ might commend itself to us by evidence which would produce certainty in any pure mind ; by arguments addressed, not to the intellect, but to the heart. If there were in the world a church so pure that not a flaw could be found in it; a church whose only weapons were the power of truth and love ; which had never encouraged crusades to root out heretics with fire and sword ; which had never struck medals and sung Te Deums to commemorate a Bartholomew massacre; which had never es­tablished an Inquisition, to produce an outward conformity by tor­tures and the stake, and so to make men hypocrites when it could not make converts; a church which never had a murderer for its head, and licentious priests for its ministers; a church like this, filled throughout with truth, love, and holiness, might do what the first disciples did, cause men ' to take knowledge of it, that it had been with Jesus.' " - p. 236.
Our  Saviour when on earth exhibited, besides other evidence, the precise kind of evidence here contended for, and yet, if we have not been misinformed, he was despised and re­jected, called a " seditious fellow," a "glutton and a wine-bib­ber," a "devil" and "the prince of devils," - was reviled, mocked, buffeted, spit upon, scourged, and finally crucified be­tween two thieves. The Church has always exhibited the evi­dence, and all the evidence, here demanded, and yet the very man who says such evidence is sufficient to " produce certainty in any pure mind," rejects her with scorn and contumely, ca­lumniates her, and insinuates charges against her, which, if he had a tithe of the intelligence he claims, he would know are as false as the pit. It is idle, also, to talk about what would pro­duce certainty in "pure minds" ; for, unhappily, the men who need to be convinced have not pure minds, and are not fitted to judge by their hearts instead of their heads. Their heads are wrong only because their hearts are foul, and it is necessa­ry to address their heads to convince their understandings that the Church is God's Church, so that they may come to her and have their hearts cleansed.
The writer reasons on a false assumption, - namely, that men out of the Church have pure minds, are pure in heart, - and supposes that it is because a man is pure and holy that he comes to the Church of God. But they who are out of the Church have not pure minds or hearts, are not and cannot be pure and holy, and those who come to the Church come because they are sinners, because they know they are sinners, and must be sinners as long as they remain outside of her communion, and they come to her that they may be cleansed from sin, purified, and made holy. By the very act of seeking admission into the Church, we confess before heaven, earth, and hell that we are sinners, and deserve eternal damnation. Men who come to the Church, feeling that they are pure and holy, that they do not need her as God's medium for saving them from sin, may indeed enter her communion, but will not be of it. Christ came to call sinners, not the just; and it was for the un­godly, while they were yet enemies, that he died on the cross. We cannot address those out of the Church as pure and holy, as already living the Christian life ; for if we could we should never address them at all, - never call upon them to become Catholics. We do and can look upon them only as sinners, all foul with sin, and festering in their iniquity; and what we must address to them are, not arguments which can be appreci­ated only by the pure-minded, but such as can be appreciated by those who are not pure-minded, that is, such as convict them of sin, and instruct them as to the means of salvation. The Examiner continues : -
" If it were essential to our salvation to be in outward connection with the true Church, and if the true Church could not be known by its fruits, by its evident holiness, its manifest superior usefulness,. - if it were so that our salvation depended on our getting into the Church which stood in the right line of descent, and not that which regenerates our soul, - if this proposition, incredible as it seems, be true, we shall at least be told of it by Jesus and his apostles. Jesus will, at any rate, say, ' It is necessary to your salvation to belong to the true Church ; and the true Church is the one which will stand in the right line of succession, and have an infallible priesthood.' Jesus came to teach the way of salvation ; he clearly taught, with his own lips what was necessary to salvation. But he has not taught this. How are we to explain the omission ?" - pp. 236, 237.
It will be time enough to explain the alleged omission when it is proved to be a fact. The Examiner is not yet recognized as the depositary of the words of our Lord, nor has it estab­lished the fact of its Divine commission to define what our Lord did or did not say. It must produce its credentials as a Divinely commissioned teacher, before we can entertain any of its assertions as to what are or are not the contents of the Christian revelation. We will simply remind it, however, that the Church does not "regenerate the soul"; - the Holy Ghost is the efficient, and she is only the instrumental, cause of regeneration. We hope The Examiner will find this distinc­tion intelligible. But does the Church of the Disciples regen­erate the soul ? We thought the doctrine of its founder to be, that the Church is a voluntary association of believers, formed by the regenerated, and therefore subsequent in the order of its birth to their regeneration. That is, we are regenerated with­out the Church, and then come together and form the Church. If this be so, what right has he to object to the Church, that it does not regenerate the soul ?
But let this pass.     The Examiner proceeds : -
" If an infallible Church be necessary in order to teach us cer­tainly what are the truths of Christianity, it is even more necessary that we have an infallible guide to show us which is the infallible Church. For whether is it easier to understand the words of Christ, or to understand the merits of the argument in support of the claims of the Church of Rome ? » - p. 237.
This objection we raised, in substance, against ourselves, in the article to which The Examiner professes to reply (April, 1845, pp. 174-179, and 187-191), and the writer had our answer to it under his eyes when he urged it. It was brought by The Episcopal Observer, and replied to by us, in our Re­view for July, 1845, pp. 372-377, and it was repeated in a private letter to us by a clever young Unitarian minister, and answered at full length in an article entitled Liberalism and Catholicity, July, 1846. These three several answers are ig­nored by The Christian Examiner, doubtless because it feels confident that its readers have not read and will not be likely to read them, and because it finds it easier to ignore than to re­fute them.. It knows very well that its readers, as a general rule, examine only one side of a question, and that it can with perfect impunity omit all notice of our replies to the objections it copies from our pages. This is only a common Protestant trick, as we pointed out in our Review for April, 1847, pp. 137-145. There is no occasion for us to reply to this objec­tion again, for we have in these replies, as the writer must be presumed to know, amply refuted it. If he could have shown that the answers we have already given are inconclusive, it is fair to presume that he would not have failed to do so. He cannot plead his ignorance of what we have said, for he pro­fesses to have before him our entire Review from January, 1844, to January, 1850.
We have never professed to be able to establish the claims of our Church to one who is destitute of reason ; and we do not suppose it is easy for one who is intellectually blind to distin­guish the true Church from the false. We always presuppose reason and common sense, and it is only by reason and common sense, and to reason and common sense, that we undertake to prove our Church. We hold to faith with reason, not to faith without reason, nor to reason without faith. If it is conceded that our Lord founded a Church, there is no difficulty in finding out which is the true Church. It is and must be the Roman Catholic, for it obviously can be no other, as Unitarians them­selves very generally concede, and as we proved in the essay to which The Examiner is replying, pp. 187-192, but in regard to which it maintains a discreet silence.
Grant that it is easier to understand the words of the Sermon on the Mount than the arguments which establish the infallibil­ity of the Church. What then ? It is possible that the Sermon is not the whole Gospel, that it does not contain all that God has revealed and enjoined, that something more is necessary to salvation, and that even what is revealed and enjoined in that Sermon cannot be believed and done in the sense required, without the infallible Church.    What is there said is addressed to believers, - presupposes the Church and them to be already members of it; from what is practicable for such we cannot conclude what is practicable in the case of persons out of the Church, without the aid of the instruction which she alone can give, and the sacraments which she alone can lawfully admin­ister.    Moreover, the ingenious writer is not at liberty to pre­scind from Divine revelation all that he is not sure of by his own instincts, and then maintain that no infallible teacher is neces­sary, because none is necessary to teach what he retains.   God is the judge, not man, of what it is or is not necessary to believe and to do in order to be saved, and we must be pardoned if we refuse to surrender his authority in matters of his own reve­lation for that of the founder of the Church of the Disciples. The writer reasons,- we beg his pardon,- talks, as if it was the easiest thing in the world to find out, on Protestant prin­ciples, what is or is not Christian truth.   How happens it, then, that we find Protestants agreeing in no one thing except hostil­ity to the Church, and, instead of uniting as one body in the profession of a common doctrine, maintaining as many different doctrines as they have doctors ?    Unitarians regard themselves as Protestants, claim to be Protestants of Protestants, the only genuine Protestants in the world, and we have yet to find two of their ministers holding the same doctrine.    They agree in a few denials, but no two of them agree in the same affirmations. The writer himself concedes, in the article before us, as we have seen, that many Protestants, and perhaps some of his own brotherhood, do not accept his notion of faith, although he thinks it is that to which they are generally tending, - that is to say, the Protestant world, after three hundred years, are only tending to the true view of what faith is !    Yet no infallible church is necessary, and nothing in the world is easier than to find out, by consulting one's own heart, what is and what is not Christian truth !   The present state of the Protestant world, its doubt, uncertainty, divisions, sects, and mutually contradictory doctrines, are an admirable commentary on the assertion that our Church cannot be the true Church, because we have occupied some sixty pages in proving that she is !
" So far we agree with Mr. Brownson, that there is but one way of salvation, and that is through faith.    But we differ from him as to the nature of faith, and as to the nature of the object of faith. We arc aware that we differ also in this respect from many Prot­estants ; perhaps from the majority, and probably from some who are included in the same brotherhood. We therefore speak only for ourselves in this part of our argument; though we believe our view of faith to be that to which the Protestant Church is tending, and the only one which can be satisfactorily maintained.
" Faith, according to Mr. Brownson, is equivalent to belief. Its object is a formal proposition. It is, he says, ' eminently, though not exclusively, an act of the understanding.'
" Now we maintain, on the other hand, that the saving faith de­manded by Christ in the New Testament is not belief, but reliance. It is an act of trust. It is trust in the love of God, or, rather, in the God of love. Its object is not a doctrine or proposition concerning God, but its object is God himself, as seen in Christ as a pardoning and saving God. It is not, therefore, eminently an act of the under­standing, but it is eminently a moral act. It includes, no doubt, something intellectual, and something affectionate. It carries with­in it something of the intellect, and something of the heart; but it is itself an act of the will. It is reliance on God, seen in Christ to be Love." - p. 238.
This confirms what we have just said. As to the view of faith here given, it will be time enough to consider it when the author has succeeded in getting Protestants generally to accept it. We cannot spend time in refuting every idle notion of an individual Protestant, which is rejected by the mass of Protes­tants, and not received even by his own brotherhood. More­over, we have discussed the subject in extenso in our Reply to the Mercersburg Review, in our number for April last, and had also sufficiently discussed it in the article on Liberalism and Catholicity, already referred to, July, 1846. We replied ex­pressly to the view the author takes in the very article to which he is professedly answering, and we cite what we then replied, in order to save our readers the trouble of recurring to it.
" Not a few Unitarian clergymen of our acquaintance understand by faith trust or confidence (fducia), and contend, that, when we are commanded to believe in Christ, in God, &c, the meaning is that we should trust or confide in him. To believe in the Son is to confide in him as the Son of God. But I cannot confide in him as the Son of God, unless I believe that he is the Son of God; I can­not confide in God, unless I believe that he is, and that he is a pro­tector of them that trust him. Where there is no belief, there is and can be no confidence. Confidence always presupposes faith; for where there is no belief that the trust reposed will be responded to, there is no trust; and the fact, that the one trusted will preserve and not betray the trust, is necessarily a matter of faith, belief, not of knowledge. Faith begets confidence, but is not it; confidence is the effect or concomitant of faith, but can never exist without it. So, however these may seem to deny the necessity of belief, they all in reality imply it, presuppose it.
" Moreover, all Unitarians hold, that, to be a Christian, one must be a follower of Christ. Their radical conception of Christ is that of a teacher, of a person specially raised up and commissioned by Almighty God to teach, and to teach the truth. But one cannot be said to be the follower of a teacher, unless he believes what the teacher teaches. Therefore, to be a Christian, one must be a be­liever.
"This, again, is evident from the Holy Scriptures. 'For with­out faith,' says the blessed Apostle Paul,' it is impossible to please God.' Heb. xi. 6. So our blessed Saviour: ' He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved ; but he that believeth not shall be condemned.' St. Mark xvi. 16. ' He that believeth in the Son hath eternal life; but he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.' St. John iii. 36. This is sufficient to establish our first position, namely, that, in order to be a Christian, it is necessary to be a believer, that is, to believe somewhat.'*''-Quarterly Review, April, 1845, p. 145.
This is not refuted by being ignored, and we leave The Ex­aminer to excuse itself as best it can for not having attempted to answer it before insisting the doctrine it refutes.
The author says he disagrees with us as to the nature of faith. Very possibly he does ; but that may not be to our dis­credit. We do not recognize him as sent from God with au­thority to teach, and at the very lowest, the fact that he differs from us is as good evidence that he is not right as it is that we are wrong. He evidently does not know whether he does or does not differ from us in the respect he supposes, for it is clear that, unless he intentionally writes what is false and ab­surd, he does not understand our doctrine. We have never maintained, as he would have his readers believe, that the ob­ject of faith is a formal proposition, abstracted from the truth it proposes. The material object of faith is the Christian reve­lation, and this revelation consists in intelligible, emintiable propositions, that is to say, is made in a form which can be proposed to the understanding for its assent. This is what we maintain in the article in question. Perhaps the author would not find it amiss on this matter of the object of faith to read what we say of Toby's clog in The Two Brothers, in our Review for January, 1847, pp. 10-14.
We have no occasion to follow the writer through his proofs of his view of faith, because nobody doubts or denies that the word faith is sometimes used in the sense of fiducia, trust, or confidence. There are passages of Scripture in which it un­doubtedly has this sense, but there are others in which it just as obviously means belief, assent, and even trust itself is only a particular form of belief. It is nothing to the author's purpose, then, to cite texts in which the word is taken simply as trust. Then, again, it is idle to say that he differs from us in our definition of" saving faith," for we were giving no definition of "saving faith." The faith we defined is necessary to salva­tion, but, as we stated, not of itself sufficient. We were dis­cussing what the Schoolmen call fides informis, not the fides formula, that is, faith perfected by charity or love, - the " saving faith " the Examiner speaks of. We suppose faith to be distinguishable from charity, and St. Paul seems to suppose the same, for he says (1 Cor. xiii. 13.), "Now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three"; and St. James speaks also of a faith distinguishable from charity, for he says, " Faith without works is dead, being alone." Because faith without works, or faith unformed or perfected by chanty, is not suffi­cient for salvation, it does not follow, either that it is not faith, or that it is not indispensable to our salvation.
But The Examiner proceeds: -
" Suppose that we have an infallible Church, and are able to know certainly that this is the Church of Rome. We accordingly submit ourselves to her guidance ; we put ourselves under her in­struction, and she teaches us certain truths, by the belief of which we are to be saved. These truths are expressed in her creeds. They are expressed, of course, in words. But the meaning of words is uncertain. How do we know that we understand them in the sense she intends ? We go to our priest, and receive his ex­planation. How do we know that we do not misunderstand him ? What we hear always takes a coloring from our own mind. Our teacher's word always means something different to us from what it means to him. We have, then, our infallible Church, but we have not yet attained to certainty.    That eludes us still.
" But let us suppose, (what is impossible,) that we can be certain of the meaning of the proposition we are called to believe. Have we the ¦power to believe it ? Suppose that it seems to us incredible, ridiculous, absurd ? Can we believe it while it seems so ? To he-lieve a thing is to have it seem true.    Can it seem true, while it seems false ? We may try to believe it; we may think that we ought to believe it; we may think we do believe it; but we cannot believe it, until it commends itself to our intellect as true. It is one thing to believe that a proposition is true, and quite another to be­lieve the truth contained in the proposition. Asa confiding child of the Church of Rome, I may believe that what she tells me is true. But I do not believe what she tells me, till I can see it to be true.
" For example. The Church of Rome teaches me the doctrine of Transubstantiation. Now, there are two things here to be believed. First, we are to believe that the doctrine of Transubstantiation is true. This we believe on the authority of our teacher. Secondly, we are to believe the doctrine of Transubstantiation itself, and this we cannot believe, until it appears reasonable and credible.
" All this is so evident, that the Church of Rome does not pre­tend to require its children to believe its doctrines ; though, accord­ing to Mr. Brovvnson, we are only saved by the belief of these very doctrines. She merely requires them to believe that the doctrines are true ; that is to say, in other words, she requires of them, not belief, but obedience. She requires of them merely to submit to her authority, and not to express any outward dissent from her doc­trines. In this she is very reasonable, for she knows that belief is not in our own power.    All she demands, therefore, is conformity.
" We were lately conversing with a very intelligent lady, one of the recent converts to the Church of Rome. She said that she had long been interested in its ritual, had enjoyed its services, and ear­nestly wished to become a member and receive its sacraments. But a serious difficulty lay in her way, which, to her guileless mind, bred up in the honesty of Protestantism, seemed insuperable. The difficulty was merely this; that she did not believe the doctrines of the Romish Church, and could not believe them. But the Romish bishop, in conversation with her, at once removed this difficulty. ' My dear lady,' said he, ' we do not wish you to believe our doc­trines. That is not necessary. You are simply to submit to the Church. You are not to have any belief about it. You are to be a little child, and receive passively, as true, what the Church teaches.' This, she said, quite satisfied her. It was so very sim­ple, she was ashamed not to have seen it before. She was quite willing to believe, so soon as she found that she might believe with her will., instead of believing with her intellect." - pp. 240 - 242.
The first difficulty suggested here is, that language is an un­certain medium of thought, and therefore, since the infallible Church must make her definitions in words, we can never be certain that we understand them in the sense she intends. This objection we have answered in our replies to The Episcopal Observer, July, 1845, pp. 364-368, and January, 1846, pp. 11-15. We had occasion to touch upon it in our review of Mr. Newman's Essay on Development, January, 1847, and we treated it at length in our criticism on Dr. Bushnell, October, 1849. What we have said on these several occa­sions, as our opponent had it under his eyes when he wrote, is sufficient till it is answered. Furthermore, we have in our last number, in examining Mr. Morell's Philosophy of Religion, stated the objection in a stronger form than it is here stated, and given the principle of its solution ; namely, the intelligibility, therefore the evidence, is in the object, not in the subject. It has no applicability to the definitions of the Church, because they are always made in intelligible language. The Examiner's argument, moreover, proves too much. If it proves any thing, it proves that language can in no case, and under no circum­stances whatever, be a vehicle of truth from mind to mind, ei­ther from God to man, or from one man to another, which denies to us the faculty of speech, and to God the ability to make a revelation of truth to man; - which even The Examiner dare not assert, since it holds that it can understand the Sermon on the Mount, and takes upon itself to decide authoritatively what the Scriptures do and do not mean.
The second objection is ridiculous, - we were about to say, even too ridiculous to be put forth by the literary and theological organ of the American Unitarians. The difficulty imagined cannot exist. An infallible Church is infallible, and can teach only infallible truth. It is impossible that infallible truth, pro­posed by infallible authority, can appear to one who accepts the authority as incredible, ridiculous, or absurd. No proposition can so appear that is seen to be made on an adequate author­ity, and an infallible authority is an adequate authority for any proposition it can make. The credibility is in the authority, and to suppose that one can regard as incredible what he holds he has infallible authority for believing is a plain contradiction in terms, - sheer nonsense.
The Examiner, notwithstanding it charges us with being too subtile, is itself too subtile for our own understanding. It says, " It is one thing to believe that a proposition is true, and quite another to believe the truth contained in the proposition." This is news to us, and, we must say, it needs confirmation. To believe a proposition is to believe the truth it proposes ; for, aside from the truth it proposes, from its contents, the propo­sition is an empty form, a mere nullity, that is to say, no prop­osition at all, for it proposes nothing.    He who believes what the Church proposes is true, believes what she proposes. To u believe that the doctrine of Transubstantiation is true," is to " believe the doctrine of Transubstantiation itself,"
u All this is so evident, that the Church of Rome does not pretend to require its children to believe its doctrines." Indeed! " She merely requires them to believe that the doctrines are true ; that is to say, in other words, she requires of them, not belief, but obedience." That is, the Church does not require her children to believe her doctrines, but she requires them to believe her doctrines true ; that is to say, she requires not be­lief at all, but simply obedience! Alas ! we have no heart to triumph over mental imbecility. The writer may have fan­cied he meant something, but he cannot have known what, and he has only talked sheer nonsense and palpable absurdity. To believe doctrines are true is certainly belief, and if the Church requires this, as the writer asserts she does, she must certainly require belief. If she commands, as she undeniably does, her children to believe what she teaches is true, she in exacting obedience also exacts belief, for the obedience cannot be ren­dered without believing.
The anecdote of the lady, introduced to confirm what the author asserts of our Church, is as untrue as his assertion itself. The Bishop of Boston never said what he is alleged to have said, for he is at least a man of common sense, and it is abso­lutely impossible that he could utter the absurdity ascribed to him. What the lady may have said, we know not, but she cer­tainly never did say what Mr. James Freeman Clarke asserts. It is infinitely more probable that he should have invented it, than it is that an intelligent convert, instructed in the Catholic faith, should have talked so little like a Catholic, and so com­pletely in accordance with his false and absurd theory. We, however, suppose she did say something, which he, not exactly understanding, interpreted to favor a theory he had previously excogitated. Doubtless we could conjecture what she said, but we are under no obligation to do it, and have no space for correcting every ridiculous blunder of the writer.
Yet the author should not have blamed the doctrine he as­cribes to the Bishop of Boston, for it is precisely his own. He labors throughout to make it appear that faith is not belief, belongs not to the understanding at all, but is a pure affection of the heart, that is, of the will. Wherefore, then, find fault with the lady for being quite willing to " believe with her will instead of her intellect "?   We protest against his right to urge one set of objections one moment, and an opposite set the next. If a man attempts to reason at all, lie must hold himself bound by the laws of logic.
One extract more, and we close this already too protracted article.
" But the Church which to-day claims most loudly to be apos­tolic, and whose Head claims to be in the place of Christ, - which professes to be infallible, as the Apostles did not profess,- hides its infallibility in a napkin, and, instead of showing us God's truth, requires of us even to receive its doctrines with closed eyes. Nev­er did such magnificent pretension end in so small a result. An infallible Church is demanded on this ground, that we can be saved only by the belief of certain supernatural truths ; and, after all, the infallible Church does not pretend to show us those truths, but merely requires submission to herself.
" Finally, we say to Mr. Brownson, that our Saviour himself has given us the test by which to distinguish his prophets, and to know his Church. ' By their fruits, ye shall know them.' ' Men do not gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles.' We are not to know the fruit by the tree, but the tree by the fruit. We are not to say, ' This church is orthodox, therefore its disciples are Christians'; or, ' This church is in the line of apostolic succession, therefore those who belong to it are in the way of salvation.' This method is the reverse of that of Christ. Christ teaches us to know the tree by the fruit. Mr. Brownson would have us know the fruit by the tree. Mr. Brownson virtually says, ' These dissipated cardinals, these domineering popes, these crusading bishops, belonged to the true Church, and therefore are in the way of salvation.' Christ says, ' These little ones are pure, are humble, are loving, and therefore they belong to my kingdom. This man, though he fol­lows not my Apostles, yet, because he is doing good in my name, belongs to me.' We prefer, we confess, the method of Christ to that of Mr. Brownson. Tried by this test, we see little reason for admitting the claims of the Church of Rome to be the only channel of the Holy Ghost. We find holy men, men of God, in all churches. Wesley and Baxter, Doddridge and Jeremy Taylor, Channing and Ware, and tens of thousands of others, whose lowly piety and large philanthropy have sweetened life, were certainly holy men. And if so, the Church of Rome is not the only true Church of Christ. And if we take a wider range of observation, and compare the condition of Roman Catholic and Protestant coun­tries, we shall find that the tone of morals in Italy, Portugal, Spain, and South America is not so much superior to that in Prussia, Eng­land, Scotland, and New England, as to convince us that these Catholic countries alone are blessed with the presence of Christ.
But if the claims of Rome are valid, and she be the only channel of the Holy Ghost, then the difference between the moral condition of Catholic and Protestant nations should be so marked that no one could mistake it. Each Catholic nation and people should be an oasis of purity, truthfulness, honesty, industry, and of every Chris­tian virtue. Family ties should be all sacred, the sacrament of marriage never violated, female chastity touched by no stain. All should be order and peace, undisturbed by intestine dissensions, civil struggles, or domestic strife. All Protestant influences have been rooted out of Portugal, Spain, and Italy by the Inquisition, and kept out by the strong hand of law. Here, then, ought to be found the earthly paradise of purity, peace, and moral virtue. Does any one pretend that it is so ? "- pp. 243, 244.
The flourish in the first paragraph must go for what it is worth. If a man obstinately shuts his eyes to the light, it is not our fault that he finds himself in darkness. The complaint, as far as it is intelligible, is, that our Church requires her doc­trines to be received as matters of faith, and not as matters of science, on the veracity of God, because he has revealed them and commissioned her to propose them, and therefore on her proposition of them, not because they are intrinsically evident. This is, undoubtedly, the fact, and if any one is silly enough to urge this as an objection, he is not able to receive an answer. We do not believe the human mind is adequate to the comprehension of all things, and our Church does not pre­tend to make her children omniscient. The truths she teaches are mysteries, and will be mysteries to us as long as we are in the flesh.
As to the talk about the fruits, we reply that we are willing to test the Church by her fruits, and should be glad so to test her. But we must have an inclorser for The Examinees taste, if it is to be the judge. We are not sure that its taste is not perverted, that it is a judge of fruits, or that it will not call bit­ter sweet, and sweet bitter. " We are not to believe every spirit, but to try the spirits, for many false prophets have gone out into the world." "We," says the beloved Apostle St. John, " are of God. He that knoweth God heareth us, and he that knoweth not God heareth not us. By this we know the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error." (1 St. John iv. 1, 6.) " This Church is in the line of apostolic succession, there­fore those who belong to it are in the way of salvation," is the proper method of judging, we concede ; but because a man is in the way of salvation, it does not follow that he will be saved, or that he is just before God. There are bad Catholics as well as good Catholics, and only those in the Church who obey her, believe what she teaches, and do what she commands, and persevere unto the end, will be saved. " This method is the reverse of that of Christ." How does the author know that ? Who gave him authority to speak in the name of Christ ? Where is his commission sealed with God's seal ? He must excuse us, but we prefer the Pope of Rome as the interpreter of God's law to the pope of the chapel in Freeman Place, Boston. We are not aware that our Lord has given this latter a commission to confirm his brethren, or to feed his sheep or lambs. "Christ teaches us to know the tree by the fruit." Agreed. But the first fruit to be borne by the good tree may be to keep the commandment of our Lord to hear the Church, - may be humble submission to those whom the Holy Ghost has placed over us.
" We find holy men, men of God, in all churches." How know you that ? How do you know that " Wesley and Bax­ter, Doddridge and Jeremy Taylor, Channing and Ware," were u holy men, men of God " ? How could they be such, if they separated from God's Church, or refused to believe God's word ? Before you pronounce on their holiness, it would be well to be sure, either that they obeyed God, kept his revealed law, as well as the law of nature, or else to prove that one can be a holy man, a man of God, who despises God's Church, and leaches men to do the same, and who lives in habitual dis­obedience to God. The men you name may have had a fair outside, may have been moral in the ordinary sense of the word, but this is all you can say in their favor ; and you name them, in fact, only in consequence of their talents, learning, or eloquence, and if they had been men of only ordinary intellect, you would never have named one of them as a saint, and, intel­lectually considered, the Devil is far superior to them all. Nay, you claim for them only natural piety and philanthropy, which, though not sinful, are not sanctity, and avail nothing to eternal life. Heresy and schism are deadly sins, and though the man guilty of them should be guiltless in all other respects, he would be damned, and justly damned; and though dissipated cardinals, &c, if such there are, cannot, unless they repent, be saved, yet the worst cardinal that ever lived, while he retains the faith, is superior to the best heretic or schismatic that ever existed. The writer should remember that there are spiritual sins as well as carnal sins, sins of pride as well as  of the flesh, and the former are as fatal to the soul as the latter, and far more dangerous, for they not unfrequently dress themselves in the livery of virtue. They are the chief sins of heretics and schismatics, in the beginning of their career, and therefore it is that these, even when appearing as angels of light unto men, are to be regarded as the most odious sinners before God.
As to what the writer insinuates with regard to Catholic countries, we have heretofore said all that is necessary. It is enough for Protestants to defend their own countries, without attacking Catholic countries. There are, no doubt, bad Cath­olics in the world, that will have their part in the eternal tor­tures which await all who die impenitent, but the Church is no more responsible for the fact, than God himself is for the exist­ence of sinners in the world. She, as he, respects the free will of men, and cannot make them good against their will. If men obeyed her, believed what she teaches, and did what she commands, Catholic countries would be far better even than the writer supposes they ought to be.
The remaining portions of the article we pass over in silence. We do not recognize the writer as an authorized expounder of Scripture, and we have seen nothing in his attempts to set aside our arguments drawn from them, but his arrogance and his inca­pacity. It is no answer to us to assert on his own authority, or to say he thinks the contrary. He is not to us one who speaks by authority, although the founder of the Church of the IJisciples.
In conclusion, we cannot help saying that it is extremely dis­agreeable to be obliged to follow a writer through page after page, who has no sense of what is requisite to honorable con­troversy, who throws out loose statements, and repeats worn-out objections, without betraying the least intimation that he is aware that they have been already answered. We have had no pleasure in following our present opponent. He, we must pre­sume, knows perfectly well that we had anticipated all his ob­jections, and answered them thoroughly ; he knows, too, that as an honorable man he had no right to urge them, till he had set aside what we had already replied to them. If he re­joins, he must reply, not only to what we have now said, but to our previous answers, or we shall not hold ourselves bound in conscience or civility to notice him.
Of The Christian Examiner we have heretofore spoken fa­vorably, but some of its recent writers have done much to degrade its character to the level of the lowest anti-Catholic publications in the country. The present writer is far inferior to Thornwell, and is not a whit above the Brownlees, the Dow-lings, the Sparrys, and that brotherhood. We hope it is but a temporary aberration, and that hereafter this periodical, with which we have had so many associations, will retrieve its char­acter, and prove itself a fair and candid Examiner.