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the word with more readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily whether those things were so."
Luke, ch. xxiv. v. 45. “Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures."
Thess. ch. v. v. 21. “Prove all things; hold fast by that which is good.”
1st Ep. John, ch. i. v. 4. “Those things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.”
Luke, ch. xii. v. 57. “ Yea, and why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right?” John xx. V.
31. • But these were written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and that believing ye might have life through his name.”
Are the above texts, we ask, “hard to be understood ?" They are fairly quoted from many others equally applicable. If any of our Romish readers doubt, let them “search the Scriptures, and we will stand or fall by the fidelity or incorrectness of them. What “ difference of judgment” could there be in the opinions of five hundred persons, so that they were not Papists, concerning the above passages of Scripture? -would any one of them say it was his conscientious belief that their purport was a command that the Scriptures were not to be read by those professing Christianity? We think not. Neither are we inclined to believe it “would produce as many religions almost as men *;" since Christ himself says (Matthew, ch. xxii. v. 37, 39, 40), that “the first great commandment is to love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy mind; and the second is like unto it, thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Where is the Christian who by a perusal of the Scriptures would be induced to deny the truth of these commandments—is there one Roman Catholic who would do so? We say No; an attentive perusal of the Gospel is calculated but to make the infidel a Christian; and an indifferent Christian a much better man, We have already said, that if the Romanist were to be allowed by his priest-or if he chose to do so without such privilege, to read the sacred volume, it should be without interpolation, &c. since we must condemn the means adopted by Popery to instil into the minds of her admirers, principles, not only pernicious, but as revolting to human nature as they are destructive to the immortal soul. At the conclusion of the Appendix to the work we are treating of, there is a note which we will insert here: it runs thus :
* This assertion is equally unfortunate with all the others in support of the infallibility of a church the most variable and contradictory in its councils of any in the whole Christian world. The primitive bishops wrote to the Christians as the Apostles had done. Polycarp was a disciple of St. John the Evangelist, and wrote to the Philippians (a), &c. nor can we conceive to what purpose inspired and holy penmen wrote at all if they intended that their writings should be only partially read, i.e. by a comparatively few priests. When they addressed themselves to an individual, their writings are so distinguished (as Paul to Timothy, Titus, &c.), yet these Epistles were published under the inspection and approbation of St. John. Gregory, Basil, Antony, Benedict, &c. commend the reading of the Scriptures; a practice not publicly forbidden until the Council of Lateran in the thirteenth century, under Innocent III.), and afterwards solemnly prohibited in the council of Trent. “See Stillingfleet's Council of Trent examined and disproved.
(a) Mosheim says the genuineness of the Epistle (yet extant) is doubtful, and refers to Tillemont's Memoirs, &c.
“N.B.—That in the foregoing sheets, in quoting the Scriptures, we have followed the common Protestant Bible for the sake of a great part of our readers that may have been accustomed to it : not designing thereby to declare our approbation of that version, much less to give it the preference to our Catholic, Rhemish, and Douay translations."
Now, as we have already shown, upon the authority of the Pope, that his laity are not to read the Scriptures otherwise than his priests may think proper to interpret them, we must confess (publicly) that we cannot guess who are “ the great part of his readers” alluded to who may have read the Protestant Bible-certainly not the priests themselves, since they would also prefer the Rhemish, &c. translations. We have just referred to one of these, from which we have taken a few extracts, and which we here offer to the serious attention of our readers, reminding them that this Rheims Testament is
preferred by the Romish clergy--whether or not for the pure charity of its Annotations we will not pretend to say. From these we extract the following :
Note on Heb. v. v.7. “That the translators of the English Protestant Bible ought to be abhorred to the depths of hell.”
Note on Gal. i. 8. 66 Christians should have such zeal towards all Protestants and their doctrines, though never so dear to them, as to give them the anathema, nor spare even their own parents.”
Luke ix. v.55. “ As the fate of Elias was not reprehended, neither is the Church nor Christian princes blamed by God for putting heretics to death."
Note on Heb. xiii. v. 16; and Rev. xvii. v. 7. “When Rome puts heretics to death, and allows their punishment in other countries, their blood is no more than that of thieves or man-killers."
John x. v. l; and Heb. v. v. l. “All Protestant clergy are thieves and ministers of the devil.”
Note on Rev. xi. v. 6, 20. “Christian people, bishops especially, should have great zeal against heretics and hate them, even as God hateth them; and be thus zealous against all false prophets and heretics of what sort soever, after the example of holy Elias, that in zeal killed 450 false prophets.”
Without entering into an inquiry of the virtues of the respective Popish Saints whose sentiments we have recorded above, it is quite sufficient for Protestants to know that such are the sentiments of pure Popery; many thousands who call themselves Roman Catholics-(since good Romanists must not object to anything recommended by their “church”) -have objected to them*, and thousands more know not that they ought to believe in them :-of a clergy who do so we will only say, it is not to be wondered at that they “prefer” the book which contains them.
* On the 17th of March, Resolutions, signed by 375 Roman Catholic Teachers, &c., expressive of the wishes of 5000 grown up people were presented by the Schoolmasters of the Kings-court district to the Irish Bible Society, declaring the Scriptures sup. plied to them by that Society, in their native language, to be “the greatest boon Ireland had ever received ;” and which they could not "give up,” &c. "The consequence of “Therefore brethren stand fast, and hold the tradition, which ye have been taught, whether by word or our epistle,” 2 Thess. ii. 15. “ Ask thy father, and he will show thee, thy elders, and they will tell thee,” Deut. xxxii. 7. See Psalm xix, 5, 6, 7. 1 Cor. xi. 2.
Sect. II.-Of apostolical and ecclesiastical traditions.
All such points of faith or church discipline which were taught or established by the apostles, and have carefully been preserved in the church ever since.
What difference is there between apostolical and ecclesiastical traditions ?
The difference is this, that Apostolical traditions are those which had their origin or institution from the apostles: such as infant baptism, the Lord's Day, receiving the sacrament, fasting, &c. Ecclesiastical traditions are such as had their institution from the Church, as holidays and fasts ordained by the church.
How are we to know what traditions are truly apostolical and what not
In the same manner and by the same authority by which we know what scriptures are apostolical, and what are not: that is, by the authority of the Apostolic Church, guided by the unerring Spirit of God.
But why should not the scripture alone be the rule of our faith, without having recourse to apostolical traditions ;
1. Because, without the help of apostolical tradition, we cannot so much as tell what is scripture and what is not. 2. Because Infant Baptism and several other necessary articles are either not at all contained in scripture, or at least are not plain in the scripture without the help of tradition.
What scripture can you bring in favour of tradition 3
2 Thess. üi. 6. 2 Tim. i. 13., ch. ii. 2., ch. iii. 14. The doctrine of salvation through faith in Christ, as taught by Him and his Apostles, was written by the Apostles and Evangelists, who also baptized. Christ himself says, (Matt. xviii. v. 5,) “Whoso shall receive one such little child in my name, receiveth me.” And (Matt. xxviii. 19)
this was, that the Roman Catholic clergy obliged all the poor schoolmasters, where they had sufficient influence to do so, to "give up" their schools !--And, no wonder-the fourth Resolve declared " notes or comments not essentially necessary for understanding the morality and plain truths of the Gospel.”.
As to any
canon*; and from the Jews we received it, who must have been the best informed upon the subject of their own laws.
“ traditional evidence of the New Testament, it is altogether unnecessary. The gospels and epistles were all (with the exception of those by St. John) written from about sixty to forty years previous to the death of that saint. We have shown from the Scriptures (page 38) the certain means adopted by the apostles for their preservation; and when we consider the numerous copies and impressions taken of them, unless we are to suppose transcribers and printers are infallible, as well as cardinals (after they are elected Popes), it must appear a matter of surprise that no difference is found in the various readings relating to Faith.
We should have felt ourselves much obliged to the Pope or Dr. Challoner, if either of these gentlemen had informed us why we cannot “ tell what is scripture and what is not,”+ without their traditions. We readily admit that a fact would not be less true, were there no other authority upon which it rested but tradition, although it would be much more liable to be disputed; but a generally received tradition may, in profane matters, be preferred to the writings of fabulous historians. Had not Julius Cæsar written an account
* See Dr. Cosin's Schol. Hist. of the Can. of Holy Scripture. † The Church of Rome, by a somewhat strange fatality, is ever labouring to mys. tify and cast doubt and discredit upon the genuineness and authenticity of the very scriptures which she professes to believe are “the infallible word of God." Romanists believe Homer and Hesiod not only wrote, but that their own tings were really written by themselves (a), although these men lived nearly 1000 years before our Saviour was born. But, if in the teeth of all the precautions evidently taken by the inspired penmen to preserve the written doctrines which they had taught, Popery will have them to be doubted, she will surely believe in profane history which tells us of such emperors as Antoninus and Severus ? Now, to these emperors it was to whom Justin Martyr, 'Tertullian, and others, wrote their “ Apologies for the Christians;" the one by Justin (who became a convert to christianity A. D. 132.) to Antoninus quotes from all the four Gospels; and in this “ Apology” he expressly says, that on the day called Sunday, portions of these gospels were read in the public assemblies of the Christians. If further proof had been necessary, would this fact have proved nothing as to the genuineness of the gospels, and of their being read by the earliest Christians.
(a) Mr. Charles Butler, in his ingenious essay on the “Literature of Greece," suggests that a civilized and powerful nation of Bramins existed, from whom Homer caught the "celestial fire;" but that the writings of his predecessors were lost. We must confess that this appears to us of a more doubtful vature than the Scriptures.