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individual spirituality, social goodness, or international peace, can ever be universally established in our fallen state, yet the thoughtful student of the plans of Providence will anticipate these blessings from Christianity alone. He will not, he cannot, believe, with the philosophers of the age, that the corruption of the hearts of men, from which all evil originates, can be removed by education without Christianity, or by knowledge without religion. He cannot believe that the vices of society can be abolished by the refinement of the manners, which permits the violation of every commandment of God, provided that the grossness of licentiousness be avoided.
He cannot be persuaded that the prophecies which assure us that wars shall cease in all the world, will be accomplished by the influence of commerce, or the conviction of international interests, without any bond of union on the higher principles of religion. He believes that Christianity alone, by the blessing of God upon its ministers and upholders, shall effect all these things : but he looks upon the history of the past, and the events of the present; and he sees Christian arrayed against Christian, Church against Church, the preacher of truth and peace against the preacher of truth and peace. The divisions of Christians are the triumph of Infidelity. Here, the teachers of Christianity enforce doctrines which are neither deduced from the written Revelation, nor supported by their Primitive Churches, nor sanctioned by impartial reason ;-there, other teachers of Christianity, professing to be directed by the Volume of Revelation alone, still enforce opposing systems, clashing inferences, and partial conclusions; while all, all forgetting alike the common truths deducible from Revelation, commended by antiquity, and supported by evidence, delight and encourage the common enemy by mutual insult, derision, and contempt. The work of Christianity cannot be done till these rivalries are so far diminished, that the influential upholders of Christianity become united by some common bond of Scriptural and religious union. Education, knowledge, refinement, civilization, commerce, the persuasion of mutual interest, the conviction of the utter absurdity of war, and other improvements, may all have their share in promoting and strengthening the greater happiness of nations: but the best and only hope of their true, real, permanent felicity, must be founded in religious principle, and established on the basis of Christianity.
Review of the present state of the Catholic Church throughout the world. The
high pretensions of the Clergy not borne out by the fruits of their ministrations.
The word CHURCH substituted by them for the word Christ. BEFORE we consider the two questions, What is the cause, and, What is the remedy, of these evils ? let us yet further survey the state of the Catholic Church now in the world ; and let us inquire whether those things ought so to be.
Rome, Paris, England, and every other great community, as well as every province throughout the extent of the Catholic Church, from America in the West to the last newly-formed bishopric in the East, abounds with an order of men who declare themselves to be the successors of the Apostles, and to be invested with authority from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, to prevent the evils of which we complain. These men not only declare that they have received a Divine commission, to instruct the ignorant who may not have had opportunity to learn; or who, if they bave leisure, inclination, and opportunity to obtain instruction, may have been misled by early bias, or by that unavoidable prejudice which prevents or obstructs the impartial search for truth ;—but they declare that the Creator of heaven and earth Himself, and Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah, whom that Creator sent into the world to redeem and deliver man, has entrusted them with a sacred authority to instruct the instructed, to rule the learned, to guide the guides of men, to lead the shepherds of the sheep, and to teach the teachers of the people. If these lofty claims be, indeed, true; if the pretensions of those instructors be well founded (and that they are so, I firmly and implicitly believe), then it will follow, that if you, the Fathers of the Church, are united neither in your Creeds, your faith, your worship, nor your discipline ; and if the infidelity and wickedness of the age be principally imputed to the disunion that prevails among Christians,-you, the Fathers of the Church, not having preserved the union of Christians among yourselves, must be regarded as the one chief source of the evils which divide the Church. If you had been all unanimous, the divisions of the priesthood, whom you control and influence, would have been without weight; and the speculations and theories of the philosophical laity, who have doubted of the truth of Christianity, would have received but little attention. You declare yourselves to be the depositaries of truth. However widely or essentially you differ from each other, you all claim equally the holy succession, with authority to judge of the truth of controverted opinions, to arbitrate, to dictate, to decide. While you all acknowledge that it may be in theology as it may be in science,- that the uneducated, the humble, and the inexperienced, may propound or elicit opinions which may have been hitherto unheard of, or unknown, or long forgotten; you all insist upon the possession of a Divine authority to declare the truth or the falsehood, the worthiness or the unworthiness, of the opinion thus submitted to the Church. Yet you make no attempts to improve or change the details of the mode of worship, the terms of belief, or the system of discipline which men, and not Christ, have enacted and commanded. You claim for your incongruous and clashing conclusions the sanction of the Almighty. You stereotype the consciences of your followers in the various moulds of the controversies of the past, which were all checked in their progress towards a better and more satisfactory conclusion. You desecrate the common Christianity by compelling the use of party names and endless distinctionsPapist, Protestant, Moderate, Heterodox—all which ought long ago to have ceased, and to have given place to the one word, Christian. You make all knowledge traditionary. You limit the human mind to the discoveries of the past. You fetter its energies to the partial conclusions of the wise and good of
ages that have long gone by. You have substituted the word “ Church " for the word “Christ;" and you have made that Church, first an abstraction, then a person, then a Saviour.
Theology a science capable of indefinite enlargement by an assiduous and reve
rential study of the Word of God, which is its source and foundation. The impiety and arrogance of the papal interdiction of the general perusal, and study, of the whole Volume of Scripture.
Theology is a science, as botany and astronomy are sciences. As the botanist derives his knowledge from the fields, as the astronomer derives his knowledge from the stars, the Christian derives his knowledge from the volume of Revelation alone. As the botanist will not despise the guidance of Linnæus, as the astronomer will be guided by the researches of Newton, the Christian will be directed by the Church of God. As the botanist is always adding to the discoveries of Linnæus; as the astronomer unites the science of La Place, and the ever-increasing wonders of the telescope, to the philosophy of Newton ; so ought the Christian to be for ever improving in the knowledge of his holy faith. As the botanist and the astronomer are not intimidated in their researches by the apprehension of opposing their great masters, or of clashing with their theories ; so ought the Christian never to be alarmed lest bis researches, when pursued in a spirit of earnest but humble inquiry, should lead him to impugn the great teachers of antiquity, or to clash with the decisions of the Primitive Church. Yet you, the Fathers of the Church, have instructed your disciples always to tremble lest they oppose or impugn the authority of their teachers, or clash with some arbitrary decision of the Churches. The Bishop of Rome, and, with him, the Bishops of the Italian school, deem the soul of the Christian, and the peace of the Italian Church, to be imperilled, if the volume of Truth itself be read without craving the permission which no priest has the right to withhold. The Archbishop of Paris, and, with him, the Bishops of France, untaught by the bitter experience of the fearful earthquake-revolutions (which are only the convulsive efforts of a people, ignorant of true Christianity, to obtain a better form of religion than the spurious Catholicism of the mediæval ages) cling to the follies which goad a nation to madness; and dash their fragile vessels against the Scylla of an unscriptural superstition, or plunge them beneath the Charybdis of a dark and wicked infidelity.
The Episcopate of the Anglican Church chargeable with the error of reminding
their people rather of the Reformation, than of Christianity; and of the temporary and parliamentary regulations of their worship, than of the inherent reasonableness of their holy services. A system of religious instruction more commensurate with the wide field of Scriptural teaching required by the Laity in the present day. Future triumphs reserved for t..due discharge of the ministerial office.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, and, with him, the Bishops of England, while they value and honour, though not so much as they ought, the title of Protestants, as the opponents of mediæval corruptions, too often remind their people of the Reformation than of Christianity, and of the temporary and parliamentary regulations of their worship, than of the inherent reasonableness of their holy services. All, therefore, have their evils to be remedied. The great mass of the Christians in the Churches of Italy, France, and England, whatever be the differences of opinion among their chief pastors, still look up with reverence to you, as the Fathers of those Churches. They desire to receive instruction from the lips of the authorized teachers, whose rank, learning, and pretensions, they have been accustomed to venerate and acknowledge. But they all demand from their teachers some better instruction than that which requires the blind submission of reason, the surrender of the Scripture, the destruction of liberty, or the miserable alternative of a godless infidelity. A new era has arrived for the triumph of that ancient faith which prevailed when the words Popery and Protestantism were alike unknown; when the common Christianity rolled its pure stream of life from the city and temple of God. The time has come when the religion of the Bruiser of the serpent's head shall heal the nations, and unite the nations, if you, the Fathers of the Christian Church,—whether of the Churches that have refused to be reformed, or of the Churches that have consented to be reformed,—will give yourselves to the task, as it is your duty to do, of accomplishing one great object of your common faith. The judgments of God, the revolutions which are shaking the nations, will be but as the darkness which precedes the dawn of the last bright day of the Catholic Church, if you, the chief Christian teachers of the world, will awake from the common routine of your duties, to commence a nobler task than your predecessors have imagined or presumed to attempt. The Church of Rome has not succeeded in making the kingdoms of this world the kingdoms of Christ. The sects which followed the Reformation have not effected the object for which Revelation was given. To the Bishops of the UNIVERSAL Church, who, in their zeal for God, and love to Jesus Christ, and sincere resolution to speak peace and establish truth, shall devote, surrender, and dedicate, under the influence of God's Holy Spirit, their heart, soul, strength, and mind, to this part of God's service,-must be reserved the honour of restoring the kingdom, and commencing the reunion of the Church and people of God.
Importance, and inevitable necessity, of inquiring into the cause which has hitherto
impeded the progress of true religion. The cause pointed out. What, then, Christian Fathers, is the cause of these strange phenomena ? What can be the reason that the religion of the crucified Redeemer has not accomplished the end whereunto His Father sent it? Has His word returned to Him void ? Shall the promise of the Messiah, “I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto Me," have been rendered nugatory by the divisions of those for whom He died upon the cross ? It cannot be. The cause of these evils proceeds from one error only in the higher order of the ministry in Christ's Holy Catholic Church ; and the remedy, therefore, of this evil must proceed from the removal of that cause.
The cause of these evils is nearly as ancient as Christianity itself. It originated within a few centuries after its first promulgation : and the remedy must be consequently found in the return of that highest order to the conduct of their first predecessors in the solemn duty committed to their charge. The cause of the existing evils of the religious errors which divide Christians, and the cause of the infidelity, therefore, which derives its principal argument from those divisions, is the neglect of the successors of the Apostles to persevere in one essential part of the duties of the Apostolic office. One chief remedy, therefore, of the evils of which we complain must be the resumption of that duty which has been so long neglected.
The true meaning of the word “ Apostle,” as applied by our Lord to His first
chosen followers ; and a survey of the manner in which they discharged the duties thus solemnly assigned to them. In what sense Christ's kingdom is, and is not, of this world. The use of the term “ Apostle” among the Jews. St. Paul the “ Apostle" of the High Priest. The way in which he exercised his office.
The unlimited field of labour appertaining to each of the Apostles of our Lord. The proposition thus stated will appear most unwarrantable : and it will be necessary, therefore, before it be further urged, to consider the meaning of the word “ Apostle," and the extent and nature of that high office. I am speaking to those who are supposed to be interested-deeply interested—in any question which concerns the general welfare of the Catholic Church : and it is to them, as to the chief Fathers of the Churches of Christ, that I submit the interpretation of the word, which it originally bore, when Christ designated twelve of His earlier followers by the term " Apostles ;” together with the survey of the manner, in which those who were so called discharged the duty implied in their new title.