Page images

ment, who were teaching that as a woman brought in death, so a woman was to bring in life;-that as a woman brought in sin, so a woman was to bring in holiness;-that as Eve brought in damnation, so Mary was to bring in salvation; and that the effect of this opinion was largely to increase the reverence and worship given to the Virgin Mary.

the child, naturally led to more thought, more contemplation, more affection, and finally more devotion for the mother; that when one thinks of all the little scenes of His childhood, dwells on the little incidents of interest between the child Jesus and the mother Mary, recollects that she had him enshrined in her womb, that she used to lead him I said that I had read something of the kind, and by the hand, that she had listened to all his innoalso that I had seen a sort of parallel in some of cent prattle, that she had observed the opening of the fathers on the subject, but that it did not go so his mind; and that during all those days of his far as the modern opinion. But in order not to happy childhood she, and she alone of all the misunderstand him, and to prevent any mistake as world, knew that little child whom she bore in her to his views, I asked whether I was to understand womb, and nursed at her breasts, and fondled in her him as implying, that as we regard Eve as the first arms, was her God—that when a man thinks, and sinner, so we are to regard Mary as the first Sa- | habitually thinks, of all this, the natural result is viour; one as the author of sin, and the other as that his affections will be more drawn out, and his the author of the remedy. feelings of devotion more elevated, towards Mary. And he concluded by stating that this habit of mind was becoming more general, and that it was to it that he would attribute the great increase that late years had witnessed in the devotion to the Virgin Mary. (pp. 45-47.)

He replied that such was precisely the view he wished to express, and he added, that it was taught by St. Alphonso de Liguori, and was a growing opinion. (pp. 43, 44.)

And when Mr. Seymour remarked, that, from his observations on the devotions of the Italians, he felt that "the religion of Italy ought to be called the religion of Mary rather than the religion of Christ," the answer, "made with perfect ease

and entire frankness," was

That my impression was very natural; that such was really the appearance of things; that coming from Germany, where Christ on the cross was the ordinary object of veneration, into Italy, where the Virgin Mary was the universal object of reverence, it was no more than natural such an impression should have been created; that such an impression was very much the reality of the case; and that, to his own knowledge, the religion of Italy was latterly becoming less and less the religion of Christ; and that "the devotion to the most Holy Virgin," as he called it, was certainly on the increase.

A practical illustration of this devotion was voluntarily given by one of Mr. Seymour's Jesuit visitors, in an account of his own conduct towards a poor Protestant, to whom he was called in when almost in the agonies of death. Mr. Seymour thus reports his statement :

He then told the circumstances with much simplicity; that the man was dying-that he had no relatives near him-that one of his companions had talked much to him about sending for a priestthat he had never avowed anything on the subject of religion or of a priest-that as he was nearer death, my friend as a priest was at the bedside of the man-that he found him so far gone as to be speechless-that he therefore stated to him that he would kneel down and offer a prayer for him. His words were," He was speechless; so I said I would I was perfectly startled, not indeed at the state-kneel down and say one of my prayers for him. I ment itself, for it was too palpably true to escape the then immediately knelt down and said the Hail observation of any one; but that a man, a minister Mary,' the Ave Maria.'" of Christianity, should describe such a state of things with the manifest approval he exhibited. We were shocked.

He perceived this, and then proceeded to justify himself with an ingenuity and address that laid open the system, and exhibited the worship of Mary in a new light, at least in a light in which I had never seen it before. He stated, that there was a great difference in the bent or habit of mind, between English Protestants on one hand, and Italian Romanists on the other; that Protestants habitually let their minds dwell on Christ's teaching, on Christ working miracles, and especially on Christ's suffering, bleeding, dying on the cross; so that, in a Protestant mind, the great object was Christ in the maturity of his manhood; but that Romanists habitually dwelt on the childhood of Christ; not on the great events that were wrought in maturity and manhood, but on those interesting scenes which were connected with his childhood. He then went on to say, that this habit of mind led to the great difference; that as Protestants always dwelt on the suffering and dying Christ, so Christ in a Protestant mind was always connected with the cross; and that as Romanists constantly meditated rather on the childhood of Christ, so Christ in a Romanist's mind was usually associated with his mother, the Virgin Mary. He then continued to say that the constant dwelling of the mind in contemplation on

I was perfectly astonished, and could not repress the expression of my intense astonishment that at such a moment, when an immortal soul was passing into eternity-when all the awful accompaniments of death were around him, he could think of offering such a sentence, for prayer it was not, as the "Hail Mary!" I repeated the words of the "Ave Maria," and asked how it was possible that he had no word to offer-no counsel to give-no message of forgiveness to announce-no gospel of salvation to preach? how it was possible that, instead of praying to Christ for forgiveness, praying to the Spirit for grace, praying to God for salvation, he could only have offered these words of worship to the Virgin Mary? I was deeply moved at what appeared to me a frightful neglect of the eternal interests of the dying man; and did not hesitate to express myself strongly, as to the fearful responsibility he had incurred.

He seemed not to have heard me, as if he was absorbed in his own thoughts, so that my words were lost on him; and he said with eagerness that he had observed, as he knelt and said the "Hail Mary!" that the dying man moved his lips as if secretly repeating the words after him, for being speechless he could not repeat the words openly; and that he said to the dying man, " And can you repeat that prayer after me?" For he said, addressing himself to me, "There is nothing against which

the feelings and prejudices of Protestants are more strong and enduring than against praying to the Holy Virgin; so," he added, "I felt that when the dying man could join me in that prayer to the Holy Virgin, he must have been very far gone towards


"Very far gone, indeed," I replied.


"Yes," he continued, "he seemed to repeat the prayer after me, and feeling he must have gone very far towards us, I asked him further whether he could not join our church in all the rest. He showed by his manner that he could, and that he wished to be received into our church; so I heard his confession and gave him absolution."

At this I was on the point of asking my priestly friend, whose tone and manner was exultation in its highest degree, how he could hear the confession of a man who was speechless? and how a speechless man could utter his confession? but I checked myself on recollecting that, according to their canons, he was justified in exhorting the man to make confession, and then in assuming a confession to have been made in such cases, where the person is too far gone to be able to speak: so I was silent.

This account led to some further conversation on the subject of prayers to the Virgin Mary and the saints. The following extracts will show its character:

and shame-praying that he might be brought back to repentance and holiness-when a mother thus prayed to the blessed Virgin for her son, she finds that sooner or later her prayer is answered-that her son is brought back repentant and holy; and, connecting this with the blessed Virgin, who was herself a mother and able to sympathize with a mother, she recognizes it as the answer of the Virgin to her prayers, and is therefore encouraged to pray to her again. He continued to say, it was the same way in praying to other saints. When praying to them for any particular object, for recovery from sickness-for deliverance from any trouble--for the conversion of a beloved child-or, indeed, for any object of prayer generally; when praying thus to a saint for these, it is often found, by experience, that the prayer is fulfilled and the object granted, and this experience induces them to pray again and again to the saints. (pp. 107, 108.)

He repeated what he had said before on this point expressive of the greater leniency, the gentler compassion, and the closer sympathies of Mary; adding that he was borne out in such an opinion by that of the fathers, of whom many were of opinion that even Christ himself was not so willing to hear our prayers, and did not hear them so quickly when offered simply to himself, as when they were offered through the blessed Virgin.

He proceeded to say, that, after having thus confessed and absolved the dying man, there arose a doubt as to whether the man had ever been baptized; and though baptism must never be repeated, I felt this was a hideous sentiment, and could yet, as Protestants were very careless in adminis- not forbear to say so, adding that when such opintering baptism, it was felt safe to give conditional ions were circulated by the priesthood, I could no baptism to such converts. It was so customary, he longer feel surprised at the extent, the extravasaid, among the Protestant churches, to baptize with-gance, to which the devotion to Mary had gone in out properly pouring the water on the child, that Rome-that I felt the whole devotional system of there was no certainty that there was a real bap- the Church of Rome, the prayers unceasingly tism; and though they could not think of repeating offered to the Virgin, the innumerable pictures of baptism, yet they always gave conditional baptism, the Virgin, the countless images of the Virgin, the in such cases, to converts. "And in this way," he many churches dedicated to the Virgin, the uniadded, "I baptized the man conditionally, and then versal devotion rendered to the Virgin, the manner I had him immediately confirmed, and he received in which all the services and prayers of the church the communion, and then the extreme unction, and and people are impregnated with thoughts of the thus he received almost at once no less than five Virgin-the extent to which in conversation all sacraments!" (pp. 102-104.) classes went in speaking of the Virgin, all had impressed me with the feeling that the religion of Italy ought to be called the religion of the Virgin Mary, and not the religion of Jesus Christ. I added that it was impossible to justify such a state of things. "If," said I, "I enter the church of the Augustines, I see there an image of the Virgin Mary as large as life. Some are decorating her with jewels as votive offerings-some are suspending pictures around her as memorials of thankfulness-some are placing money in a box at her feet -some are prostrate in profound devotion before her-some are devoutly kissing her feet and touching them with their foreheads-some are repeating the rosary before her, as if acceptable to her-all turning their backs upon the consecrated Host, turning their backs upon that which the priest is elevating at the high altar, and which he and they believe to be Jesus Christ himself bodily and visibly among them-turning their backs upon Christ, and turning their faces to Mary, practically forsaking Christ for Mary, with a prostration the most profound before her image-a prostration that was never surpassed in the days of heathen Rome, and can never be justified in Christian Rome."

I asked why, on so solemn an occasion as a deathbed, when an immortal soul was about passing into the presence of God-why did you pray to the Virgin Mary instead of praying to Jesus Christ? In common with all Protestants, I would have prayed to Jesus Christ, or to God through Jesus Christ.

He answered, that it was their opinion-the opinion too of many of the fathers-that God hears our prayers more quickly when they are offered through the blessed Virgin, than when offered through any one else. (pp. 105, 106.)

I therefore asked, how he supposed those persons, whom he regarded as saints in heaven, heard the prayers of men on earth, and how he could justify the practice of praying to them for this intercession, assistance, or anything else? (p. 107.)

He answered, promptly, that the argument from experience was decisive. He then paused for a moment, as if recollecting himself, and then went on to say that it was the experience of good Catholics, that when they prayed to the blessed Virgin their prayers were answered. Many and many a time, he said, when a godly mother prayed for her ungodly son, who was wandering in the way of sin

He said, in answer to all this, that for his own part he would not act thus, and that it was not right to judge of the church by the devotion of the igno

[blocks in formation]


her to be a most fearful, idolatry; for while the arguments, (see pp. 142-151,) but our limits priest was saying mass and elevating the Host at one end of the church, and some of the people bow-prevent us from giving any portion of the dising before it, the image of Mary stood at the other end, and some of the people were in precisely the same way bowing before it. Some preferred what they believed to be Christ. Some preferred what they regarded as an image of the Virgin.

He replied, with much gentleness, that he never prayed to the Virgin of the Augustines-that it was not a sightly image-that it was really an ugly image, and had never excited his devotion, and in fact he had never prayed before it; but still he thought it scarcely fair to speak against this devotion to Mary as exhibited by the more ignorant, inasmuch as they had learned its value by experience. Many of those, whom we had witnessed there, had no doubt offered many a prayer to her, and had found an answer. Many a mother, praying for her child, had obtained her petition. They were poor people, subject to privations, afflictions, sicknesses, and they found relief and consolation in going to the blessed Virgin. (pp. 101-113.)

I therefore merely asked him, though with all the earnestness which I felt, whether, if attending the bed of a dying man, he would feel himself justified in speaking to an immortal soul, when about to pass into eternity, and desiring him to fly to Mary-that in all his doubts and perplexities he was to look to Mary that in all his fears and terrors he was to look to Mary-I asked whether, considering his responsibility at such a moment, he would address a dying man in language that pointed only to the Virgin Mary and made no mention of Jesus Christ? I then read the following words from the Roman Breviary: "If the winds of temptation arise, if thou run upon the rocks of tribulation, look to the star, call upon Mary. If thou art tossed upon the waves of pride, of ambition, of detraction, of envy, look to the star, call upon Mary. If anger, or avarice, or the temptations of the flesh, toss the bark of thy mind, look to Mary. If disturbed with the greatness of thy sins, troubled at the defilement of thy conscience, affrighted at the horrors of the judgment, thou beginnest to be swallowed up in the gulf of sadness, the abyss of despair, think upon Mary-in dangers, in difficulties, in doubts, think upon Mary, invoke Mary. Let her not depart from thy mouth, let her not depart from thy heart," &c. I asked him solemnly, whether he would use such language, even though sanctioned by his Breviary, in preparing a dying man for the presence of God

in the eternal world.

He replied unhesitatingly that he would, and then went on to argue that experience justified him-that experience proved that the prayers offered to the Virgin were heard and answered-that mothers, praying to her who was herself a mother, with all the sympathies of a mother, were heard and answered that such prayers for children, in sin, or in danger, or in sickness, were heard and answered; and it was this practical experience that proved the great encouragement to the devotion of ourselves to the Virgin Mary. (pp. 124—126.)

Among the other parties who sought to gain Mr. Seymour to the communion of the Church of Rome, was the professor of dogmatic theology at the Collegio Romano, who undertook to prove that the Church of England is no part of the Church of Christ, because she does not claim to be infallible. We recommend to the reader's attention the way in which Mr. Seymour met his

An interesting conversation is also recorded with the professor of canon law in the same college, with whom Mr. Seymour took the opportunity of discussing the important question, in what way, "supposing the Pope to be infallible whenever he uttered a decision, or issued a bull, ex cathedra," we are "to ascertain a decision ex cathedrû from a decision non ex cathedrû;" and we recommend to our reader's particular attention both the solution of the question given by the professor, and the way in which Mr. Seymour dealt with it; which will give him, we think, a tolerably accurate notion of the sort of foundation which Roman Catholics have for their faith.

He at once (says Mr. Seymour) met the difficulty, and said that it was of very easy solution. He stated that there were certain requisites, certain essentials, which were characteristic of a bull ex cathedra, and without which it could not be received as ex cathedrû, and that these characteristics were very easily ascertained. He added, that these requisites or essentials were seven in number, and that he feared to weary me by their detail, but that otherwise he would be happy to enter on them.

I did not fail to express, with all fitting courtesy, my wishes that he would continue so interesting a detail; and I expressed the obligations I should feel for such valuable information, especially as, coming from one holding his important position at Rome, it could not but possess much of authority in my eyes, and would be sure to possess the same in the eyes of others.

He then proceeded to state, that there was no real difficulty in ascertaining when and under what circumstances the decision of the Pope was to be received as infallible; that there were certain requisites or essentials; and that the presence or absence of these would be an adequate test by which to ascertain the point; that these requisites or essentials were seven in number, and were all very clear and very easy to be found. He then described them in detail.

I. It is necessary, in the first place, that, before composing and issuing the bull, the Pope should have opened a communication with the bishops of the universal church-that in such a communication he should ask their prayers to the Almighty, that the Holy Spirit might fully and infallibly guide him so as to make his decision the decision of inspiration. He added that by thus previously asking the prayers of the bishops, he would obtain the prayers of the universal church for divine assistance, before he proceeded to form or publish his decision.

I asked him how, seeing that there was a necessity for this previous communication on the part of the Pope with the bishops, how I was to inform myself that this requisite or essential had really been borne in mind? He merely replied that it was very easy to be ascertained, and then proceeded to the second particular.

II. It was necessary, in the second place, that, before issuing the bull containing his decision, the Pope should carefully seek all possible and desirable information touching the special matter which

was under consideration, and which was to be the subject of his decision. And that he should be specially careful to possess himself of all available information from those persons who were residing

in the district affected by the opinion called in | putation. He smiled, and assured me there was question, and who were found faithful in that dis- not the least difficulty, and went on to the sixth trict, that so the Pope might have all the requisite particular. information for an infallible decision, from the very district in which the opinion, on which the decision was sought, had its origin or its existence.

I asked, in reference to this, how I was to be assured that the Pope was thus rightly and fully informed that he had sought and obtained the required information, and was thus capacitated for proceeding to issue the bull? He replied, as before, that there was not the least difficulty in ascertaining this, and so passed on to the third particular.

III. He said that a further requisite or essential was, that the bull should not be formal, but should be authoritative, and should claim to be authoritative; that it should be issued not merely as the opinion or judgment of the Pope, in his mere personal capacity, but as the decisive and authoritative judgment of one who was the head of that church, which was the mother and mistress of all churches, to whom all Christians owed subjection and allegiance, and who was the living voice of infallibility, and who, as such, had the power and the authority to pronounce infallibly the decision required. I remarked, that this requisite could be easily ascertained, as it must necessarily appear on the face of the bull, the only difficulty being to obtain a true copy of the bull. He then stated the fourth particular.

IV. It was again necessary that the bull should be promulgated universally; that is, that the bull should be addressed to all the bishops of the universal church, in order that through them its decisions might be delivered and made known to all the members or subjects of the whole church. The Pope was the fountain-head of all episcopal jurisdiction, so as that there can be no episcopal jurisdiction but from the Pope; and as episcopacy is the only channel through which every grace flows to the church, so it is necessary that the bull, containing the decision of the Pope, be addressed to all the bishops of the universal church.

I observed, on this point, that the superscription | or title of the bull would at once show whether this essential was forthcoming, and I begged the reverend professor to proceed. He then passed on to the fifth requisite.

VI. Another characteristic, he said, was of immense importance, indeed more absolutely essential than any he had as yet named, viz., The matter or question upon which the decision was to be made, and which was, therefore, to be the subject-matter of the bull, must be one touching faith or morals; that is, it must concern the purity of faith, or the morality of actions. And this necessity arose from the fact, that faith and morality are the matters upon which infallibility was designed to be exercised, and for the preservation of which this infallibility was given to the head of the church.

I remarked that this was very reasonable, and that I fully acquiesced in it; but that an opinion prevailed very generally in England, that the Church of Rome had strained "faith" and "morality," to include all matters of fact, even matters of history, whenever they seemed to bear upon any question of "faith" or "morality;"-that this was practically illustrated in the celebrated controversy between the Jesuits and the Jansenists, where the point at issue was the mere matter of fact whether the opinions condemned by both parties were really contained in a specified book. I said that a difficulty might arise in prosecuting our inquiries as to whether this essential was there. He seemed a little annoyed at this allusion, so I begged he would be so kind as to proceed to the seventh particular.

VII. This was the last of the series. He said it was essential, in the last place, that the Pope should be free-perfectly free from all exterior influence, so as to be under no exterior compulsion or constraint. He stated that the bull or decision of Pope Liberius possessed the other essentials, but that this one was wanting. That Pope had acted under compulsion-under a fear of his life, and, therefore, as he was not free, his decision could not be regarded as ex cathedrû. That bull thus issued was full of error. The Pope, therefore, must be free from external influence or constraint, in order to his decision being received as infallible.

On this I remarked, quietly, that it would be very difficult for me, or for any one in England, to ascertain, to anything like moral certainty, whether the V. He stated that another essential was, that the Pope, at the issuing of any bull, was really under bull should be universally received; that is, should exterior influence, or whether he was perfectly be accepted by all the bishops of the whole church, free. I did not see how it was possible to have and accepted by them as an authoritative and infalli- certainty on such a point. He said, as before, that ble decision that, after promulgation by the Pope, it there was no real difficulty in this or in any of the should be accepted and promulgated by all the bish- tests he had specified, and merely added that these ops as authoritative and infallible, or at least should several essentials or requisites were the tests by be simply accepted by them without formal promul- which any bull was to be tried. If they existed, gation, or even tacitly permitted by them without then the bull was ex cathedrû, and was to be reopposition, which is held to be a sufficient accept-ceived as infallible; but if any of them were wantance in a legal sense.

ing, then the bull was not ex cathedrâ, and could not be recognized otherwise than as fallible.

I felt exceedingly interested in all this detail. It was the first time I had ever heard of any means by which to test the existence of infallibility.

I said that this was a point very difficult to be ascertained. I knew not of anything more difficult to ascertain with satisfaction, than whether any given bull was received and promulgated, or simply received without promulgation, or only perHitherto various bulls and decrees had frequently mitted without opposition, in any given country. been cited, and often one was asserted to be infalSome are received in Spain, which are rejected in lible and authoritative, and another fallible and reFrance; and some are received in France, which jected. One Pope with his decisions were urged are rejected in England and Ireland; and some are on one side, and another Pope with his bulls were rejected in all these, and yet are said to be accepted cited on the opposite; and between conflicting bulls in Italy; and the assertions made on all sides upon and opposite decisions, and one bull rescinding a this fact were so contradictory, that I knew nothing former one, and one decision reversing a preceding so difficult to be ascertained to satisfaction. It one; and amidst all this conflict and confusion, I opens out a prodigious sphere of inquiry and dis-had never seen or read or heard of any means, by

which I could learn when a Pope was fallible and when he was infallible. I therefore felt considerably interested in the details of the reverend professor of canon law, and thanked him warmly for the information he had imparted to me. I asked, however, several questions, anxiously avoiding the appearance of unnecessary cavilling or captiousness, and putting them with the manner of one who rather sought further information. My questions referred to the difficulty which persons like myself, resident in England, would experience before they could ascertain whether the Pope had asked for the prayers of the universal church-whether he had sought and obtained the requisite information-whether his bull was really received and promulgated universally, &c.; and I suggested that it was quite possible that other persons in England, simple and unlearned men, unacquainted with such subjects, and wholly unable to obtain information on them, might feel these inquiries not only difficult but absolutely impossible, and in any case altogether uncertain and unsatisfactory. I suggested, also, yet further, that if there was difficulty in ascertaining all these minute particulars, in reference to any bull that might be issued at the present day, the difficulty must be enhanced a thousand-fold, when the inquiry concerned some bull that had been issued some centuries ago. It becomes not only a moral but even an absolute impossibility for ordinary men to carry out the inquiry to any satisfactory result.

He replied, that all that was necessary for any man, in such cases, was to go to his bishop-ask the bishop respecting the bull in question-and the bishop would inform him whether it was ex cathedrû or otherwise. Nothing could be easier.

I said that though certainly nothing could be easier than such a course, yet that I apprehended that nothing could be more unsatisfactory to an English mind. It proposed to leave the whole question of the fallibility or infallibility of any given decision to the word of a bishop, who was himself fallible, and might be mistaken both as to the fact and as to the meaning of the bull. It was not usual in England—it did not suit the character of the English mind, to refer the decision of such historical facts as the Pope's freedom from influence, the reception of his bulls, &c., to the mere opinion of a bishop. Men there would be very apt to think themselves quite as good judges as to the matter of fact.

He said that the bishop was the legitimate channel for all communications from the Pope as the Head of the Church and Vicar of Christ; and all doubts would at once be removed from the minds of humble and sincere men, if they referred it to the bishop.

I replied that it would suggest itself to most minds that such a course was merely placing all their faith and hope of salvation on the word of a bishop, a man like themselves, and admitted to be fallible. And I added, that, from my knowledge of the English mind and habit of thinking, men in England-men of common sense and ordinary judgment-in most things would prefer turning to the Holy Scriptures, and judging for themselves. It would be a most difficult thing to alter their habit in this particular. They would prefer comparing the bull with the Holy Scriptures, and thus learning, not the opinion of the bishop, who was but a man, but the judgment of God in his own word, for so they habitually regarded the Holy Scriptures.

He laughed at me for this, and said that an appeal to the Scriptures was absurd and impossible. It might all be very well comparatively for men like

himself and me, who were well read and well versed in sacred literature; but it was quite otherwise with men in general, and especially with humble and illiterate or ignorant men-in fact, with the great mass of mankind. For, he argued, with a tone of great confidence, his whole face lighted up with the expression of conscious triumph, the Holy Scriptures are a volume that requires many preliminary inquiries before it can be received. In the first place, it will be necessary for the man to ascertain the authenticity of every separate book, or portion of the volume. In the next place, it will be necessary for him to prove the divine inspiration of every part of it. In the third place, the book is written in dead languages, and the man must know how to understand them, or have them translated. In the fourth place, it is a volume that has given rise to different meanings or interpretations, and the man should be able to judge upon these. All these, he argued, are preliminary inquiries, which are absolutely necessary to be made; and as the poor and ignorant man, the ordinary man, is incapable of making them and judging on them, so the Holy Scriptures can never be a fitting volume for such a man to appeal to in matters of religion.

At this point of our conversation, where he seemed most confident and apparently conscious of a triumph over me, as if he thought no answer could be returned to his argument, I felt that he had given me a prodigious advantage, of which he was wholly unaware. It was the very position in which I had wished to place him, and I could not have led him into a line of argument more suited to my purpose. I felt in my soul that the Lord had delivered him into my hands, and could not but render my thanksgiving in secret to Him, who gave me the opportu nity of dealing effectually with this matter; and I inwardly prayed that I might be cool and collected, and effective in my reply. I hoped most fervently that it might have some effect upon his mind.

I began by stating, that while my own opinion on the point was a matter of unimportance, yet I apprehended his method of argument would be met in England in a very effective way, at least in such a way as I should be unable to answer, unless he informed me further than he had as yet done. I said that the most ordinary and common-place men in England would say, that if they forsook the volume of the Holy Scriptures for the volume of the papal bulls-that if they exchanged the Bible for the Bullarium, they could gain no advantage thereby; for if, as he had said, there was a necessity for a man to ascertain the authenticity of each book in the Holy Scriptures, before he could avail himself of it, then it was no less true that it was equally necessary for a man to ascertain the much questioned authenticity of each bull in the Bullarium; that if, as he had alleged, the man must be carefully informed by study on the inspiration of the sacred volume, before receiving it as his divine teacher, there will exist a similar necessity for his being informed by study on the disputed infallibility of the papal Bullarium, before receiving it as his infallible instructor;—that if, as he had averred, the Holy Scriptures were written in the dead languages, and a man must learn to translate them before using them, the very same may be averred against the papal bulls, which also are all written in a dead language, and a man must learn to translate them before appealing to them;—that if, as he had argued, the Holy Scriptures have been variously interpreted by various men, and all this variety must be resolved by every man before he makes the

« PreviousContinue »