« הקודםהמשך »
I have put into thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out
a highway, a way of holiness," a way so plain and so secure, that even “ fools should not err therein." How then could it ever be possible that the church herself should err ?
6thly. Because pernicious errors in faith and morals must needs be such as to provoke God's indignation : now God Almighty has promised to his church, Isaiah liv. 9, 10, “ As I have sworn that the waters of Noah shall no more go over the earth, so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee: for the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed, but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.” So that as we are assured that there shall not be a second flood; so we are that the Church of Christ shall never draw upon herself the wrath of God by teaching errors contrary to faith.
In fine, the church is called by St. Paul, 1 Tim. iii. 15, The pillar and ground of the truth;" therefore she cannot uphold pernicious errors. From all which it is manifest, that the Church of Christ is infallible in all matters relating to faith; so that she can neither add nor retrench from what Christ taught.
It may be presumed, to understand the meaning of this Section, it is intended to show, as it expresses, that the Popish church has ever been, is, and must ever continue to be, infallible ; or, as this infallibility is, in the present case, intended, we imagine, to be modestly expressed, “ always holy in her doctrine, and terms of communion; and always free from pernicious errors:" and, as the natural consequence, resulting from the belief in her undeviating holiness, all mankind must incur the penalty of damnation who do not believe (as the Pope has already said) every one of “ all such articles as he, or his Church, may choose at any time to propose to be believed.
In reply to the first question, the reason given is, “because, as we have seen, Matt. xvi. ver. 18, (in the first Section,) our LORD JESUS CHRIST, who cannot tell us a lie, has promised that his Church should be built upon a rock," &c. But, as it is assumed throughout the Section before us, that the Papal church is built upon this “rock," and as this « rock” has been before, and will again be, brought forward as the strongest foundation upon which the Pope relies for his temporal power, we beg to notice, in the outset, that there is no allusion, in the New TESTAMENT, to any such church, or such Pope at the head of it, as that established upon the rock of superstition at Rome. The sentence quoted as the strongest support of Popery is from the above text, and is thus expressed: “Thou art Peter, (in the Greek, Cephas, a rock,) and upon this rock will I build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” As it may be the most explicit way to notice each paragraph of the present Section separately, ere we show by scriptural proof the dangerous fallibility of relying upon the infallible assumptions of a Pope, we entreat the Roman Catholics, who may peruse what we write, to read the whole chapter (Matt. xvi.) from whence the above is extracted. It is headed thus : “ The Pharisees seek a sign, Peter reproved :" at the 18th verse the two lines occur which are the chief scriptural support on which the “infallibility” rests ; yet, when CHRIST tells his disciples what was to happen to him, and Peter said, 6. This shall not be unto thee,” Christ, in the same chapter, (ver. 23,) reproves him thus :-“ Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence to me; for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.” - The pastors of the Church,” spoken of in the second paragraph, are the eleven disciples whom Christ addressed “in a mountain of Galilee”-somewhat different from Popish priests, certainly. As the third paragraph acknowledges that the expressions of Christ, quoted from xivth of John, were addressed “ to the same teachers,” (the Disciples,) it carries, we think, its own refutation along with it. But read the fourth reason extracted from Isaiah ; and instead of “The Redeemer shall come to Zion," 8c., we will take the whole verse ; “ And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from
transgression, in Jacob, saith the Lord.” But had not the Pope seen that the Church of the Jews, to whom the promises were addressed, had deprived itself of the promised blessing ? “ But ye are departed out of the way; ye have caused many to stumble at the law ; ye have corrupted the covenant of Levi, saith the Lord,” Mal, i ver. 8. Now, could even the promise of God to the Jews be shown to have any relation whatsoever to Popery, the condition implied (obedience) not being fulfilled, the misapplication of the text quoted would never have satisfied any but such as could be prevailed upon to take their salvation upon trust, rather than to read the Word of God.
The fifth “because” speaks of the Church of Christ as highway to holiness," that “ fools should not err therein." Doubtless, all true Christians believe it to be so. Popery alone seeks to make it a bye way; and by an exaction of the most debasing subserviency of mind, menaces Reason with a curse (since the “ tower of her strength” is a blind obedience in her votaries) ; whilst her immense wealth (where Popery has obtained an ascendancy), arising from the traffic in pardons and indulgences, gifts of devotees, &c. &c.—these show that she is not inattentive to the tolls to be paid by all the good people who pass through the gate of Priestcraft, of which, Christian evidence-contrasted with the doctrines of the Romish Church-reason, experience, and conviction, fully prove she really possesses the key.
The sixth reason is (see Isaiah liv.), from God's promise of amplification to the Gentile church; and the last line from St. Paul to Timothy is emphatically wound up by the (we think) unfortunate-certainly untrue-assertion, that the Popish Church “ is infallible in all matters relating to faith; so that she can neither add to, nor retrench from what Christ taught.” A parrot, taught by a Pope to do so, could as readily say as much. But we adhere to Fact alone; and now to our scriptural proofs, in support of our protest against so wicked an anomaly, thus conveyed in the last quotation. Our own feelings will, we trust, protect us from using interperate expressions, as our inclinations are (which we show by giving the whole Book we treat of) to deal with fairness. But we really know not how to express shamelessness otherwise than by the term impudence; and with the Twelve New Articles of Faith, which the council of Trent has added to the Apostles' creed, before us, is it not a direct insult to common sense to tell us that they do not (or, as it is implied, could not, though they would ) add to nor subtract from the doctrines of Christ? Where there have been subtractions from the institutions of our Lord, we shall show in its proper place ;-how the papal authorities reconcile such errors with the positive and terrible curse denounced (Rev. xxii, ver. 18, 19) against those who “add ” or “take away" from those institutions, they themselves only know.
Now, having seen all the scriptural proofs adduced by Popery in support of her “ Infallibility in all matters relating to Faith,” we will here show our English Catholic readers what degree of Faith it is necessary for them to possess : “ If the Pope should command the practice of vice and forbid virtue; the Church is bound to believe Vice to be GOOD, and Virtue to be WICKED”(!!!)—Bellarm. De Rom. Pont. 1. 4. c. 5. One more degree of Faith in the Infallibility of the Church of Rome :-“ If the Pope were to be so wicked us to carry with him innumerable people, by troops, as slaves, to hell, to be with himself for ever tormented ; yet, no mortal man whatever must presume here to reprove his faults, because he is judge of all, and himself to be judged of none."-Decret. part. 1. dist. 40. By way of elucidation to the foregoing, we shall quote an extract from the opinion of Mr. Charles Butler, of Lincoln's Inn :-“Every true Roman Catholic believes that nothing can be wrong in the faith of the Church; but they admit that when Luther made his attack upon the Church of Rome, much REFORMATION in
the Church, both in respect to its Head and ITS MEMBERS, was, wanting in discipline and morals.”-L. of Eras. note to p. 84. We think Mr. B. might have very safely added, 66. such will ever be the case with such a Church.”
We will not tire our readers in disproving the TRUTH of the above doctrines, put forth by Pontificals, Decretals, and Mr. Butler ; but briefly turn to the first passages which come to hand in the New Testament, innumerable as they are, applicable to the present subject :
Matthew, ch. vii. v. 15. “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves."
V. 16. “ Ye shall know them by their fruits," &c.
V. 17. “ Even so, every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.”
V. 20. “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them."
V. 21. “ Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my father, which is in heaven."
V, 22. “Many will say to me, in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils ? And in thy name have done many wonderful works ?"
V. 23. “ And then, will I profess unto them, I never knew you ; depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
However personally and universally infallible the Pope and the rest of his Church may choose to be, we must not forget that the Apostles did not assume so much. St. Peter erred, and “walked not uprightly according to the truth of the Gospel;" for many were “carried away” with his dissimulation. 66 Gal. ii. 13, 14.” St. Paul owned, that in some cases he had no commandment of the Lord, but spoke “ by permission,” as a private person. In other cases, he says, “I command, yet not I but the Lord.”'_" And to the rest speak I, not the