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of faith leads. It is essential, I may say, to the existence of a confession of faith, unless, at least, a different view is expressly and definitely given. Looking, for instance, at the formularies of the church of England, we have there prescribed by it, that the creed of St. Athanasius, on appointed days, be read in the churches, I ask, is it possible for any man of common understanding to read the conclusion of that creed and its commencement, and not feel satisfied, that it is the meaning of that document, that whoever does not believe the doctrines contained in it, is out of the way of salvation? If the church obliges, in spite of the protestations that have been made_still continues to oblige its ministers to read it, and to preach it does it not impose upon them thereby the necessity of teaching to their flocks, that there are certain doctrines, which, if not believed, exclude men from eternal life? And what is this, but exclusive salvation ? It matters not whether the limits be wider or narrower; it matters not whether you exclude thereby him who does not believe a Trinity in undivided unity, and who does not believe in the incarnation of Christ, or whether you exclude him that does not believe justification in this form or the other, the principle is the same; you narrow equally the justice of God, whether you do it in one degree or in two; and, therefore, it is most unjust to charge the Catholic church with the same doctrines precisely, as are publicly taught by others. It is, indeed, hard and unjust to be taunted, particularly by that very church, with a doctrine which itself puts so prominently forward.
There is one of the Thirty-nine Articles wbich says, “ They also are to be had accursed, that presume to say, that every man shall be saved by the law or sect which he professeth, so that he be diligent to frame his life according to that law.” It is manifest from other articles, where treating of Christ, of man's belief in Christ, belief in his divinity, belief in his incarnation, belief in his redemption, that those articles go to prove that those are accursed who say that any may be saved who believe not in these doctrines. I had myself, even yesterday, a letter put into my bands, written by a distinguished member of the Church of England, one who has made himself exceedingly conspicuous in deprecating the doctrines of Popery, addressed to a Catholic clergyman, in which he tells bim that he writes to him from an anxious interest in his salvation, because he believes the exclusive doctrines of Popery to be fatal to the soul, and necessarily to lead to eternal punishment; and he begs of him, telling him there is eternity before him, to look well into it, and to abandon those doctrines, as necessarily involving the loss of his soul. What is this but the doc. trine of exclusive salvation of Catholics? And, in the same way there is no community, I may say, and insist, which has any thing like a symbol and formulary of faith, which does not maintain that doctrine precisely in the same manner as Catholics do. But the Catholic is just
as careful as any other, to preserve himself from any thing like indivividual censure.
It is certainly one of the most powerful reflections, but at the same time, it assuredly is not a matter so painful to human nature, or reason, as the doctrine which makes the eternal predestination to good or evil, depend upon an absolute decree, leaving man no operation, no choice, no power to rescue himself from the eternal loss of his soul, if it be so decreed by eternal justice. Assuredly there is something infinitely more frightful in that doctrine which does not allow man to escape, than in that of the Catholic church which allows the fullest play to the providence of God—allowing that his resources are a thousand times greater than we can possibly conceive. In a prayer in which it begs of him to dilate and to extend his kingdom, and to take, according to the promises of Scripture, into his church, those who are to be saved, it at the same time hopes, that while seeing the evil, in every separated tribe, God may be able to answer, There are thousands who have not bowed their knees willingly to error; and such is the feeling every one of us entertains and must entertain.
Now the gospel of this day furnishes a very strong illustration of this doctrine ; and I am sure that nothing I say, or could say, can be more pointed, more marked on this head, than the passage here given us. The gospel relates how our Saviour had a most interesting conversation with a Samaritan woman at the well. Now, observe who were the Samaritans; they were a sect of religionists, who believed in one only God, who besides the Jews—as appears from the very chapter in St. John, and from their own documents—were the only ones that expected a Messiah, a Redeemer, who was to come to save the world. The only point, perhaps, in which they could be discovered to have differed from the Jews, was in their not admitting the whole of the canon of Scripture, in receiving no more than the books of Moses—a difference of religion which I am sure, in modern times, would not be considered essential. It was, in other words, schism in the most mitigated form. They had a separate temple; their priesthood in that temple, descended, in a right line, from that of Aaron. They had sacrifices, but those sacrifices were performed with the strictest attention to the ritual prescribed by God. Their character seems to have been of the most amiable form. We are told by the Jewish historian, that they were so exceedingly hospitable, that one of the emperors built there a temple to the hospitable Jupiter, in consequence of the character of that people. They must have been exceed. ingly liberal in their religious views, because we find the Samaritan woman, when our Saviour asked her to let him drink, not herself making the slightest objection, but only wondering that he, a Jew, could ask drink of a Samaritan woman. But she, on her part, was exceedingly willing to give it to him. They were so charitable, that our Saviour chooses one of that nation, as a model of charity, in the most
beautiful of all his parables. They were so ready for the gospel, that, in going among them, in two days he converted to the faith a great number. Afterwards, when Philip preached among them, it is said, the faith was received with much cheerfulness, and that there was, in the city, exceeding great joy. Now, assuredly, all these are traits of the most striking, and of the most amiable character. Our Saviour commences his conference with that woman, and she soon perceives that he is a prophet, and she puts to hir. this important question—the words which I quoted to you in my text.
“ Our fathers adored on this mountain, and you say that at Jerusalem is the place where men must adore.” Her very appeal to a Jewish prophet—the prophet of a rival nationshowed she was quite secure, that she felt that even from his decision, she had no reason to fear. She appeals again to the most common, the most ordinary belief which men had, “Our fathers adored here; this is the religion to which we have been accustomed.” Did our Saviour fear to unsettle her faith? Did he fear to disturb her serenity? Did he fear to throw her into the sea of agitation and doubt, and therefore gloss over his answer, and therefore give her some general and vague principle upon the subject of salvation ? On the contrary, amiable as was the character of this Samaritan, light and trifling as was her separation froin the acknowledged truth, kind as his conversation with her had been up to that moment, no sooner is the question put to him, than he answers, without hesitation and without reserve, “ Salvation is of the Jews.” She demurs; she says that still there is another appeal from this authority. He is still but a prophet ; the Messiah was soon coming, and every thing would be cleared up, and she will go on, therefore, in her own way, until further and bet proof come to satisfy her. Rather than alter her first decision, she had recourse to a subterfuge. He then tbrows off the disguise, and says, “ I am he that speaketh with thee.” Assuredly this example is enough to show that there is no cruelty, no harshness, no severity in preaching and teaching the doctrine, that whoever is culpable, whoever is, by his own fault, out of the way that Christ has instituted to bring men to salvation—that man cannot be saved. In what do we here differ from what every one-no matter what his creedmust profess and teach? Does not every one believe that the moral law was given by God to man for his observance? Do we not know that men's passions are as strong as their prejudices? Do we not know that their hearts are as weak as their understandings ? It is as difficult for us, almost as impossible, to observe the entire code of the moral law, as to believe the whole of the truths which he has revealed ; and therefore, we might just as well argue that it is unjust in the Almighty to expect perfection in vessels which he himself has declared to be frail, we might as well expect men to live without transgression, on that earth where he has pronounced that scandals must come. And yet no one finds it
uncharitable to tell the sinner, who is erring from the moral code, that it be persevere in that course, be is walking in an unsafe path, and that, unless God specially assist him bereafter, he cannot expect to be saved in that way. Is it thought to be uncharitable, to warn men that the path in which they are walking is not that which God has proposed ? For we, as well as others, admit that where there is no fault, that where it is not traceable to the individual's own negligence or wilfulness, that there God assuredly cannot impute responsibility.
This, then, my brethren, becomes the conclusion of those discourses which I have held forth till now; and before making a few concluding observations, allow me to say, in order to prevent any misunderstanding or mistake, that, although the present course regarding Church Authority is concluded, another course will be commenced on Sunday next, on a şubject which I trust will possess greater interest than the one which has already terminated; for it will be upon the Catholic doctrine regarding the real presence of the body and blood of our Saviour in the Eucharist—in other words, the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation. I shall enter into the proofs of it, with all the details which will be requisite, and I should almost think that it would be an advantage for those who wish to follow step by step, the line of argument, to have in their hand the New Testament, and so to verify the different observations which I shall be called upon to make.
It is natural to draw some conclusions from this short course, which I finish this evening, and they will be addressed to you in the form of simple exhortation, of simple unaffected counsel.
In the first place, I would beg all who have the true interests of religion at beart, to place themselves exceedingly upon their guard against the various methods which are taken, and have been constantly taken, to prejudice the minds of men regarding the doctrine which I have endeavoured to explain—that is, regarding the Catholic church as a church, and as professing to hold the rule of faith. For many years, the Catholic religion in this country, was an object of persecution, of slowly, but effectually acting laws, tending to paralyze its energies, rather than completely deprive it of life. That period, thank God, has now passed; and I trust, and I flatter myself, that the remembrance of it, so far as any resentment, or other feeling would go, in any way but to thank God for his kindness to us, has been as completely blotted out of the heart of every Catholic, as those statutes are from the laws of England. But unfortunately, since that time, another method has been pursued, much more clamorous and more public, to wound the heart and feelings; but'not only so, much more calculated to ruin the cause of religion in every quarter-I allude to that system of violent declamation in which so many have indulged all over the country. It has been the custom to send men round from town to town, for no other purpose than, not merely to
preach their own doctrines in their own places of worship (for of that we could not complain)-not even to warn their hearers against what they conceived to be erroneous--but to make religion the matter of public declamation; to collect assemblies of men in places usually destined to profane purposes; and to seem to think, that it is one of the most important duties to society, to break in sunder, as far as possible, the bonds of social community, of affection and kindness, wbich fortunately exists at present between so many members of different unions.
Now, it is only by a general feeling in society against such a system, that it can possibly be put down ; and I am snre there is no one who is at all interested about religion, no one who considers it a boly, and sacred, and divine thing, something that is not to be approached by minds agitated by party spirit, or by violent passion, but only to be meditated upon in silence, or to be discussed with greater sobriety and greater dignity than is to be found in the discussions of Plato-when discussing with his disciples the doctrine of his moral philosophy—but will feel that this tumultuary, that this public, disrespectful way of expounding the doctrines of religion, and the approbation or disapprobation which is marked by the cheers and shouts of the multitude, is essentially degrading to the character of religion, and tends to make men, in their minds, rather mix it up with the worst, with the most unworthy of those passions which it condemns, than with those feelings of awful respect and veneration which the contemplation of it should always excite. And it is only by this latter feeling being, as much as possible disseminated, that such an odious, and such an unjust and cruel system can be possibly extinguished.
But this is only a secondary consideration. What I wish particularly to inculcate is this : to insist always upon proof; not to be satisfied with declamation, never to take upon tlie word of those that profess to lay before you our doctrines, merely to take their assertions for them, but demand “ Where is that doctrine taught — where are the symbolical books, the creeds, the professions of faith, which the Catholic clergy subscribe, and which they teach their flocks, in which such doctrines are laid down ?” Be not content with thinking that these texts are overthrown because, after having been misrepresented, there are faults and objections discovered. But endeavour always to trace them, bring every thing to a sound and logical basis ; insist upon proofs ; if Scripture is quoted, to bave the Scripture demonstrated, to show that that is the meaning of Scripture to show that such are the doctrines it intends to teach; and I am confident, that if this system be pursued, it must lead essentially to a narrowing considerably of the differences that essentially exist between us and so many, and to make the possibility of our being once more one, infinitely more within our reach. This may appear a dream, and something quite impossible ; but assuredly we have been at