תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

Jesus actually was punished, so as to expiate the sins that were laid upon him; whether he rendered a legal satisfaction to divine justice, and for whom; we could then think it of proportionately little moment to ascertain whether he is God, or not; for a mere man, might have been exhibited as a martyr to the truth; and a sinful man, or a devil might have been set forth as a monument of God's hatred of sin, as a picture of the vengeance due unto us, and so have opened a door for us to escape the damnation of hell, without the possibility of its being said, that the holy God had given no satisfactory proof of his abhorrence of transgression. In short, if we would be consistent, we must all come to the acknowledgment of a plenary, definite atonement, or of no atonement; and in the latter case, we should all be Socinians together, and hail Boston not only as the cradle of American liberty, but of the last religious reformation.

“But good people, and even good ministers of Jesus differ; and shall they continue to dispute?” We reply, in the language of our author, contained in a short appendix, " Let all, who love our Lord Jesus Christ, love each other, discuss their differences with candour, and say to each other from the pulpit and the press, and in social intercourse, what they say of each other among their own connections. Probe the wound, lay open the sore, and then heal it.” p. 348. To you, therefore, Mr. Willson, we say, that your fears about the new version of Psalms in the Reformed Dutch Church, are ground. less; and that the intercommunion in the Lord's supper, with members of different sections of the visible church, for which you impljedly censure Dr. Mason, is defensible. This we hope to prove to you, if we have not already done it in a former number, when we shall pay our respects to Dr. Mason himself. In the mean time, thou man of genius, whose fancy sometimes runs away with judgment; of fervour, faults, and power. ful intellect; thou kindred spirit, adieu.

ARTICLE V.-A Concise View of the principal points of con

troversy between the Protestant and Roman churches: containing, 1. A Letter to the Roman Catholics of the city of Worcester in England: 2. A Reply to the above Address, by the late Archbishop Carroll: 3. An Answer to the late Archbishop Carroll's Reply: 4. A Short Answer to the Appendix to the Catholic Question, decided in New York in 1813: and 5, A few Short Remarks on Dr. OʻGallagher's Reply to the above Answer: By the Rev. C. H. Wharton, D.D. Rector of St. Mary's church, Burlington, N. J. and member of the American Philosophical Society of Philadelphia. New York; published by D. Longworth, 1817. 8vo.

One hundred and twenty pages of this volume were written by Archbishop Carroll, so that the sentiments of the Roman Catholics in America have a fair chance of being represented in the most favourable manner. The other parts of this work, consisting of four distinct pamphlets, separately paged, and printed, if we may judge from the paper, but corresponding sufficiently to make a neat volume, are from the pen of Dr. Wharton. This estimable man, was born in America, and educated in a Society of the Jesuits in Europe, among whom he took orders; and became chaplain to the Roman Catholics of the city of Worcester in England. " At a period of life, when discernment should be ripe, when passions should be calm, and principles settled,” he became convinced that the Roman Catholic church maintains several errors upon important doctrinal subjects; and that it was his duty to abandon her communion. In what year of

of our Lord, or of his own life, his separation from the Romish church took place, these pamphlets do not inform us; probably because the writers of them deemed it unimportant to gratify our curiosity. The period, from the description of it, might be lo. cated any where between the thirtieth and the seventieth year of his life, for a man's discernment becomes ripe at thirty, and ordinarily begins to be defective at seventy; but among high livers, at a much earlier date. At a certain time, however, Dr. Wharton espoused the opinion, that a man may be saved, and not belong to the Roman Catholic church. It required no small degree of candour in one educated as he had been, and circumstanced as he was, to discover and admit this truth, in direct opposition to the creed of the church of which he was then a minister. “Neither transubstantiation, nor the infallibity of the Roman church,” says Dr. Wharton, “are taught more explicitly as articles of faith, than the impossibility of being saved out of the communion of this church.Some Romanists, he admits, have denied that this is any article of their private creed; but a consistent Roman Catholic must make it an article of his religious belief. Archbishop Carroll was undoubtedly one of the most liberal Catholics that ever wrote on this subject; and his ingenuity in attempting to prove, that the public creed of the Romanists contains not the doctrine, is equal to that of any Jesuit. He observes,

“I begin with observing, that to be in the communion of the Catholic church, and to be a member of the Catholic church, are two very distinct things. They are in the communion of the church, who are united in the profession of her faith and participation of her sacraments through the ministry and government of her lawful pastors.* But the members of the Catholic church are all those who, with a sincere heart, seek true religion, and are in an unfeigned disposition to embrace the truth whenever they find it. Now, it never was our doctrine, that salvation can be obtained only by the former; and this would have manifestly appeared, if the Chaplain, instead of citing Pope Pius's creed from his memory, or some unfair copy, had taken the pains to examine a faithful transcript of it. These are the words of the obnoxious creed, and not those wrongfully quoted by him, which are not to be found in it. After enumerating the several articles of our belief, it goes on thus: This true Catholic faith, without which no one can be saved, I do at this present firmly profess and sincerely hold, &c. Here is nothing of the necessity of communion with our church for salvation; nothing that is not professed in the public liturgy of the Protestant Episcopal church; and nothing, I presume, but what is taught in every Christian society on earth, viz. that Catholic faith is necessary to salvation. The

Bellarm. de Eccl. milit. 1. 3. c. 2.

distinction between being a member of the Catholic church, and of the communion of the church, is no modern distinction, but a doctrine uniformly taught by ancient as well as later divines.” Carroll's Address, p. 11, 12.

We have, in the foregoing extract, evidence of the writer's amiable disposition; and we should rejoice to find all the Roman Catholics of his mind, in allowing that

persons may be saved, without being in their communion. According to this statement, the Catholic church consists of all those who, with a sincere heart, seek true religion, and are in an unfeigned disposition to embrace the truth whenever they find it; for the whole must be constituted by all the members. The Archbishop's description would do better for the invisible, than the visible church, for all those persons whose hearts are right with God, are regenerated persons, and have the Holy Ghost dwelling in them: but who these are, God the searcher of hearts alone infallibly knows. We believe that all persons of this description will be saved, whether they belong to the visible Catholic church or not. Abel, Enoch, Noah, and many other ancients were men of right hearts and minds towards God; and although the gospel was preached to them, and they had ordinances of worship, yet were they never members of the visible Catholic church; for it had no existence in their days. Indeed, there never was any portion of mankind set apart from the rest of the world, by charter, covenant, or the revealed will of Jehovah, so as to constitute a distinct society, that could be known and designated as the church of God, or the congregation of the Lord, until Abraham was called, and constituted the father of the faithful. Before God promised to be a God to him and to his seed after him, and to as many as the Lord our God shall call into his visible kingdom, there was no distinction between the church and the world. Out of the visible church, therefore, some have been saved, and others may be saved, if it shall please the Father of lights to shine into their souls, and warm them into spiritual life by his grace.

It was probably the wish of the amiable American

Archbishop to admit, that all those who with a sincere heart seek true religion and are disposed to embrace the truth, shall be saved; and he knew not well how to do this, without making them out to be members of the Catholic church. Now the Presbyterian churches teach, that “the visible universal, (that is Catholic) church consists of all those persons, in all ages and places of the world, together with their children, who make profession of the holy religion of Christ, and of submission to his laws.” Form of Presbyterian Church Government, Chap. I. Sec. 2. and 62d Question of Larger Catechism. In defining the visible church, however, we pretend not to say who will, or will not be saved. The XIXth Article of the Church of England defines the visible church of Christ to be “a congregation of faithful men, in which the pure word of God is preached, and the sacraments be duly administered according to Christ's ordinance, in all those things that of necessity are requisite to the same.” In this description of the Ca. tholic church, which amounts to the same thing with the Presbyterian definition, only it makes no express provision for the membership of children with their professing parents; nothing is settled about the salvation of individuals. The question again occurs, “Does the Roman Catholic church maintain in her public creed, that a person not belonging to the Roman Catholic church cannot be saved?” In the Religious World Displayed, by the Rev. Robert Adam, is a treatise on Catholics, which was written by one of their denomination, and is declared by the Rev. M. Hurley, of this city, to be a fair, candid, and luminous statement of the tenets and discipline of the Roman Catholic church. That treatise recites from their liturgy twenty-four articles of faith, the first twelve of which are the Nicene Creed, originally adopted A. D. 325, and since approved by nearly every Protestant denomination, but with this preface; “I, N, N. with a firm faith, be. lieve and profess all and every article contained in the symbol of faith, which the Holy Roman church maketh use of.” To the Nicene are then appended twelve other VOL. I.

2 G

No. 2.

« הקודםהמשך »