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that of England, because they are based on the Theodosian, or an originally heathen Code, while the Constitution of England has drawn its forms and provisions from Christianity, and received its principles from the Church. It is remarkable that, perhaps, no other country has such a steady administration of the laws, in consequence of the admission into it of that very principle, which corresponds to the unwritten or traditional Code of the Church. For, besides the Statute Law of the Kingdom, we have also the Common Law, that law of traditional usage now recorded in the decisions of Courts, and in other proper and legitimate documents, precisely in the same manner, as the Church of Christ possesses a series of traditional laws, handed down from age to age, written, indeed, now in the works of those who have illustrated her constitution and precepts, and demonstrated every part of her system, but still differing from the Scripture much in the same way, as the unwritten differs from the written law.
This may be sufficient to show, how far from unreasonable our system is, and how far remote from any tyranny or oppression, or unjust restraint of men's minds, wherewith it is so often charged. I trust, my brethren, that I have thus shown you how consistent with sound reason, and how strongly confirmed in Holy Writ is the rule of faith which the Catholic holds, in the authority of the Church. I trust, too, that you will have seen how beautifully it harmonises through all its parts, from one extreme to the other, so as to be worthy of being considered the work of God's hand. When you behold a majestic tree standing in the field, which has darted its roots far and deep into the earth, and spreads its branches wide around it, and produces, year after year, its store of leaves, and flowers, and fruit; you might as well imagine it to be the fashioning of man's hands, an ingenious device and artifice of his, which le feeds and nourishes, as suppose the same of the system
have described; which, as you have seen, entwines its roots through all the shadowy institutions of the elder dispensation, and standing tall and erect in the midst of the new,
defies the whirlwind and the lightning, the drought and scorching sun, burgeoning widely, and, like the prophet's vine, spreading its branches to the uttermost parts of the earth, and gathering all mankind underneath its shade, and feeding them with the sweetest fruits of holiness. For, I have yet to show you much of its fairest graces and mightiest influences. Yes, and of it we may well exclaim with Peter, in this day's gospel, “ Lord, it is good for us to be here.” Under its branches we have done well to make unto ourselves a tabernacle, where, with Moses and Elias, as the bearers of evidence from the old law, and with Jesus and his chosen apostles, as our vouchers in the new, we repose in peace and unity, in joy and gladness, in the security of faith, in the assurance of hope, and in the firm bond of charity.
Erratum.-Lect. II, p. 38, 1. 4 from bottom, for Tyndal read Toland.
THE CATHOLIC RULE OF FAITH FARTHER PROVED.
1 TIMOTHY, iii. 15. “Know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the House of God, which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and the ground of
Truth.” Had you, my brethren, seen the exact and finished design for some sumptuous building, such as it proceeded from the hands of one, all whose works are necessarily most perfect, and who has the power to accomplish whatever he designeth, and did
you know that it had been put by him into the hands of zealous, and willing, and competent workmen, that so it might, under his superintendence, be brought into execution, I am sure you would consider it superfluous to inquire, whether the command had been fulfilled, and whether that which was so beautiful in its design was not confessedly moreso, and endowed with ten-fold perfection, when in work accomplished. Now, such, precisely is the position wherein we stand with regard to the present inquiry. I have endeavoured, by the simplest course possible, to trace out from the beginning the plan by Divine Providence manifestly laid down, for the communication of his truths to mankind, and for their inviolable preservation among them.
After having, in my preliminary discourses, explained to you the different systems adopted, by us and by others, regarding the rule of faith; after having shown you the complicated difficulties which arise incessantly from the nature of the one, and the beautiful simplicity and harmony which seemed to reign throughout the other; I endeavoured, commencing with very
first and less perfect system adopted by God in his communications with man, to show you what would be natu