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“I call faith, in general, a persuasion arising, not from direct proofs, but from what I would call a moral inference. I say that I would call it a moral inference, because I wish to distinguish it from logical inference. Perhaps an example will convey my meaning better than any abstract words can do it. But I must request you to keep in mind that I do not use faith in the common acceptation of assent to inferences from verbal statements of invisible things. I speak of faith in the practical sense of Scripture, i. e. trust (riotis). My example, illustrative of that faith, is this; I have, for instance, lived with Captain Cusiack for several years, under circumstances which have enabled me to become well acquainted with his general character. From that which I know, I have such faith in him, that I would trust my life in his hands, if the means by which he intended to preserve it were ever so unintelligible to me. This kind of faith does not depend upon mental excitement; on the contrary, it is a calm and sedate feeling, which has its root in a certain degree of experience, but branches out and blooms in that higher region of the soul, which, being above the argumentative faculties, seems exclusively reserved for conscience,
- for those moral principles which identify themselves with the soul, and whose operation cannot be distinguished from the energies of the soul itself.” — Vol. 11. pp. 60 - 62.
Again; in "A Sketch of the Rise of Papal Rome,” Mr. Fitzgerald is made to express himself thus in unfolding the origin and root of what he calls “church iniquity.”
“A reflecting reader of Church history (and I include under that name those earliest and most authentic documents, the Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles) must be aware that the Church, from its infancy, grew up into a Political Union. The Christian church made its appearance when the Roman empire was hastening to a dissolution. The Romans had robbed almost every known people of its nationality, and had finally lost their own in the selfinflicted slavery which arose from their domestic feuds. In this state of things, and only a few years before the utter destruction of Jerusalem (the last and strongest centre of patriotism in the ancient world), Christianity was published. According to the intention of its divine author, his disciples were to form a spiritual association, held together by the mutual sympathy of a common temper and feeling. The unity of the spirit was all that the Apostles had in view when they established the local associations of Christians, to which you now give the very misleading name of Churches. Were it possible to change long established names, it would be desirable to adopt an appellation which would not force upon the mind the notions attached to the word Church in consequence of the papal system, known for many centuries under that name. The primitive communities of Christians met (as people do who have some lively interest in common) to enjoy and increase that feeling of trust in God through Christ, which has been called Faith; to promote mutual charity among men, and to support each other in the love and practice of general virtue. That order might be preserved and certain offices regularly performed in the name of the community, its members appointed men of experience and tried conduct, whom they called Elders. Some of these were (probably from the beginning, and according to circumstances,) placed as superintendents over other Elders. This is the most probable origin of that order of Elders called Bishops.
“ But it was morally impossible that these spiritual communities should exist for any length of time, without contracting the spirit of the world that surrounded them. In every region, in every town, (to use the expressions of Origen,) the Church appeared as another system of country, the country according to God, and raised up by his word.* The truth, however, of the fact so spiritualized in the expressions of Origen, is, that what before was patriotism, became now church party. And rapid, indeed, as well as extensive, was the operation of the activity which gathered round these new party centres. At first, however, the divine attraction of the religion itself was uppermost with many. Many others probably gathered round the Apostles, not for the sake of collective power, (into which both patriotism and party spirit resolve themselves,) but rather under a vague notion, that a brotherly equality was to be established in the new society, by means of which, even a comfortable subsistence would be provided for the indigent members.
“ These advantageous prospects did not fail to allure the selfishness of the worldly-minded. We see, in the very first days of the association, two hypocritest endeavouring to improve their condition by joining the Church. We soon after find a man of no common stamp, who, as soon as he has been made acquainted with the Church, seems irresistibly impelled to consider Christianity a fair field of profitable speculation. There is, indeed, no reason to suspect Simon Magus of hypocrisy in the act of joining the Christians. His meek answer to the indignant reproof of Peter shows his character in a favorable light. He probably was sincere, but, like many of the leading members of the Church in subsequent times, his heart was still in the bond of (Church) iniquity, — the love of power and wealth. Again, the Church was still under the nursing care of the undispersed apostolical college, when it was disturbed by the complaints of a considerable class of converts, who thought themselves wronged in the distribution of their daily allowance. The conduct and feelings of the Apostles on this occasion are remarkable. It is evident from their expressions, that they could not look without misgivings upon this early evil result of the political form which the Church was assuming; they show themselves most anxious to get completely rid of concerns, which, perhaps, though inevitable at that time, showed already their worldly, unspiritual, and disturbing tendency. It is not reason that we should leave the word of God and serve tables,' * i. e. the boards of accounts, which were necessary for the distribution of the funds of the society.
6 * Contra Cels. viii. 75."
“ Ananias and Sapphira.”
“How would all these evil tendencies increase, as the Christian societies opened their bosom to the crowds of heathens, in comparison with which the original Jewish converts were but a handful ! Myriads of slaves existed in the vast provinces of the Roman empire, in a state of misery and degradation. Bordering on the same condition, were the classes who had to support themselves by free labor and petty trade, especially in the conquered countries of the East. This multitude could not but perceive the advantages of putting themselves under the heads of the Christian associations, who were able to assist the indigent out of a well-managed common stock.f In this voluntary association any one might rise to consequenee, to power, and to dignity, by boldness and zeal in favor of the whole body. In this society the wretched found comfort, the friendless met with sympathy, the slave had rights; and while the tribunals of the country recognised that unfortunate class as mere materials for judicial evidence, to which torture only could give credibility, their new association proclaimed the rights of the slave to humane and equitable treatment, and enforced that declaration of rights by means of its daily extending power of opinion over the slave-masters, who had embraced Christianity. Is it credible, that multitudes of this kind should not be generally influenced by the passions, which usually actuate all numerous bodies of men who feel a strong bond of union ? Could men, who had hitherto been an habitual prey to hopelessness and resentment, begin to perceive their strength, and not become unruly and turbulent parties, when they were organized into churches, with a bishop or leader at the head of each! Would they not, at first, endeavour to enlarge their power, as a different people from the Pagans, by a confederation of churches ? Would they not afterwards split into par
66 * Acts vi.”
“+ This practice continued for a long time; indeed, it may be said never to have totally ceased. In the time of Justin, i. e. about the middle of the second century, so churches seem to have had a community of wealth. See Apol. I. 9 14, ed. Benedict.”
ties composed of various churches, which, like rival petty states, would employ the whole of their respective powers in injuring each other?” Vol. 11. pp. 86-93.
The “ Observations on Heresy and Orthodoxy many just, instructive, and profound suggestions, and show that the author's mind, in regard to the subjects here treated of, has been continually advancing. But, we regret to say, it is less likely to be generally read, or generally popular even among those by whom it is read, than either of his preceding works; partly from the nature of the topics, and partly also from an apparent want of a close and logical connexion in the train of ideas, and of a clear and distinct apprehension of the leading and fundamental idea to be enforced. Of the many interesting and valuable portions we shall give a specimen or two; we can do no more. In the fifth letter, which is on the “ Pride of Reason,” he first shows very conclusively, that a man is to be blamed as guilty of that vice, only when the value he sets on his own share of reason induces him to invade the share of another man. He then proceeds:
“Having found that pride of reason is an aggression upon other men's reason, arising from an over-estimate of the worth of the aggressor's own, we may now proceed in our inquiry, Who are justly chargeable with pride of reason? Is it those who, having examined the Scriptures, propose their own collective sense of those books to the acceptance of others, but blame them not for rejecting it ? or those who positively assert, that their own sense of the Scriptures is the only one which an honest man, not under diabolical delusion, can find there? The answer is so plain, that a child, who could understand the terms of the question, might
And yet experience has taught me that there is no chance of unravelling the confused ideas which prevent many a well-meaning Christian from perceiving that the charge of pride of reason falls upon the Orthodox. Their own sense of the Scripture (such is the dizzy whirl which their excited feelings produce) must be the word of God, because they cannot find another. My sense of the Scripture (for instance) must, on the contrary, be a damnable error, because it is the work of my reason, which opposes the word of God, i. e. Their sense of the Scriptures; hence the conclusion, that I am guilty of pride of rea
'Renounce that pride,' they say, ' and you will see in the Scriptures what we propose to you ;' which is to say, Surrender your reason to ours, and you
We hope that those among the Orthodox of this country, who are so earnest and hot in their opposition to the Catholics, will read the following extract, and lay it to heart.
“The position of the Orthodox Protestants, who, having renounced only fragments of Popery, cherish its main root in their hearts, is, to me, exceedingly curious, though lamentable. What an awkward defence against Transubstantiation must a Trinitarian make, who accuses the Unitarian of Pride of Reason, because he will not admit that the Athanasian Creed is virtually contained in the New Testament! I can imagine the cry of triumph which would be raised if a few manuscripts, of high antiquity, were to be discovered in some corner of the East, containing the passage on the three heavenly witnesses. And yet such testimony could not be compared, either in point of unanimity or positive assertion, with the words, ' This is my body, This is my blood. I do not believe either transubstantiation or the real presence; but, wishing to be just and impartial, I must declare that the Protestant clamors against the Pride of Reason place the opponents of those Catholic doctrines completely in the power of their adversaries. Let us imagine a short dialogue.
“ CATHOLIC. · Why do you not believe what Christ declares in the most positive and clear words?
“ PROTESTANT. Because the expressions, taken in a literal sense, are absurd.
“ CATHOLIC. — Are they more absurd than the proposition, Three is One, and One is Three? a proposition which you (agreeing with us) consider as the very foundation of the Catholic Verity’; though nothing like those words is found in the genuine portions of the New Testament? Do you not consider, besides, that the word absurd does not properly apply to physical facts ? That one substance be changed into another, implies no absurdity; but that three distinct persons, each of whom is God, should be one God, is certainly ABSURD TO US.
“ PROTESTANT. Transubstantiation certainly does not sound so absurd as the statement of the Trinity ; but then, on the other hand, we have the testimony of our senses against it.
“ CATHOLIC. - The senses, my friend, have nothing to do in the present case, for the substantial qualities of bread and wine remain working upon the senses; the substance alone is changed. Surely, you do not object to this kind of philosophy, for it is just that which saves us from contradictions in the statement of the Trinity.
“ PROTESTANT. - But can you suppose that Christ, addressing plain men, who never had dreamt of such philosophy, would so depend upon its influence, as to expect that, without any further