Page images
PDF
EPUB

similar cure wrought on Miss Lalor, which was announced with great joy by Dr. Doyle, as "a splendid miracle, which the Almighty had wrought, even in our days, and in the midst of ourselves." It is a sufficient confutation of such weak, and I had almost said, wicked pretences, to state, that Mrs. Stuart's pulse remained, after the miraculous cure, at 120!!*

[ocr errors]

It might have been expected that the Prelates of the Irish Roman Catholic Church, in giving the sanction of their names to these wonders of Prince Hohenlohe, would, in common fairness,have annexed the sensible account which M. Jacobi has published, of similar supposed cures, wrought by the same Prince, on patients under M. Jacobi's care, in the hospital at Bamberg; which account is sufficient to. open the eyes of the unprejudiced, as to the whole pretence of divine inter position.

The miracles of this Roman Catholic Prince are, after all, surpassed, both in number and importance, and in strength of attestation, by those cures which were performed in the seventeenth century, by our Protestant countryman, Valentine Greatrakes. The title of one of the pamphlets published at the time, affords a milder answer than the Romish pretences merit:- Wonders are no miracles.'

* "It appears, upon all hands, that up to the 31st of July, Mrs. Stuart was a great sufferer, and that, on the 4th of August, that lady assured her physicians, that she was without complaint." Her pulse, however, was 120." An attempt to explain the cures, &c. by a Physician.

U U

His third mark of "Catholicity" consists in the Roman Catholic Faith being spread over the world. And here, without examining the accuracy of his arithmetical and geographical statements, it will be a sufficient answer to the inference drawn from Roman Catholics being scattered in considerable numbers up and down the world, to put this question:Whether the Christian Church was not as much Catholic as it is now, when it was confined to a single district of the Roman empire, or whether it would cease to be Catholic, if all Christians were to abjure their faith, except a single nation? He and Mr. Butler have evidently mistaken the meaning of the term. A proof of Protestant inconsistency and self-condemnation is seriously founded on this circumstance, that if a Protestant be asked, "Are you a Catholic ? he is sure to answer-No, I am a Protestant." This observation of Dr. Milner may provoke a smile;

--

he cannot think, that it requires an answer. His last mark is "Apostolicity"; and in illustration of the Roman Church's exclusive claim to it, he has favoured us with an ingenious representation of an apostolical tree, in which the succession of the Roman Bishops is clearly seen to shoot out from St. Peter; whilst those who are not of Dr. Milner's communion, are prettily described as withered branches, falling off, on each side, into the fire. Does he not know, that the Bishops of the English Church could, in like manner, graphically prove their succession from the Apos

tles; and that every caricaturist could as amusingly exhibit Dr. M. himself falling headlong into the flames? or will he still insist on the confuted story of the nag's head ordination?

In his "Vindication" (p. 306) he says, "he has never once mentioned, or alluded to, the the nag's head affair." But Dr. Grier, in the Defence of his Reply, p. 381, has shewn him, that it is a pitiful evasion to say, that he never once uttered the word, "nag's head; and that it is worse than evasion to allege, that he never once alluded to it, although in all his writings, he assumes that fabrication, as a well-attested fact, and argues from it as such." I beg the reader to put Dr. Milner's ingenuousness on this point to the test, by consulting the 29th letter in the End of Controv. p. 220, from which I have given an extract below. *

He

It will suffice to say of his tree, that it does the engraver and himself equal credit. triumphs, however, because he fancies that "it annoys."-Vind. p. 305. Can he really think, that it excites any thing but pity? I

[ocr errors]

Thirdly, it appears, that after an interval of fifty years from the beginning of the controversy, namely, in the year 1613, when Mason, Chaplain to Archbishop Abbott, published a work, referring to an alleged register at Lambeth of Archbishop Parker's consecration by Barlow, assisted by Coverdale and others, the learned Catholics universally exclaimed, that the register was a forgery, unheard of till that date." End of Controv. Letter 29th. p. 220. This is a pretty strong allusion, to what Bishop Burnet justly characterises, "as an impudent contrivance, not invented for forty years, when all said to be engaged in it, were no more."

one.

go no farther than his first three descents, in which I find Peter inserted, who never was a Bishop of Rome, and Linus omitted, who has as good a title as Clement, to be accounted But mark the defence of his charity! "He has exhibited no living character, nor so much as his personal calumniator, as one of those withered and broken branches, which our Saviour describes, as destined to the flames." But he has condemned to the flames, the mild Melancthon, the acute and conscientious Chillingworth, Queen Elizabeth, one of his own church, Jansenius, and even poor John Wesley: -many, in short, by name, and all by implication, who have died out of communion with his Church! Who made this sinner a judge over us-aye, and over those who were wiser, if not better, than himself?-Let the Romanists, after this, strive to explain away their tenet of exclusive salvation!

II.

If the Roman Catholic Church cannot esta blish her exclusive claim to Catholicity by any of the marks here laid down, nor yet by her being in communion with the See of Rome, it is manifest, that the promise of infallibility to the Church, even if it could be proved, would not be serviceable to her cause. Let us, however, proceed in the second place, to examine the grounds, on which that promise is supposed to rest.

And in the first place, it is worthy of remark,

that in asserting the infallibility of the Catholic Church, the Romanists are not agreed amongst themselves, as to where this infallibility resides; some ascribing it to the Pope in Council; others, to a Pope without a Council; others, to a Council without a Pope; and others, again, to all Churches up and down the world. This uncertainty is alone, sufficient to discredit the pretence; at least, it renders the asserted infallibility useless, as a practical guide to saving truth.

Dr. Milner thus attempts to answer the objection:-" True," says he, "Schoolmen discuss some such points; but let me ask his Lordship, (Bishop Porteus) whether he finds any Catholic, who denies, or doubts, that a general Council with the Pope at its head, or that the Pope himself issuing a doctrinal decision, which is received by the great body of Catholic Bishops, is secure from error? most certainly not; and hence he may gather, where all Catholics agree in lodging infallibility.”—End of Controv. Letter 12. In other words, supposing Dr. Milner's assertion undeniable, and it is very far from being so without much qualification, Bishop Porteus may gather, that the Romanists are not at variance on all points, respecting the infallibility of their Church; but how does this meet the objection, that they differ on many and fundamental ones? They have differed, for instance, as to who is the true Pope, whose presidency in a Council is, notwithstanding, required to ensure agreement.

« PreviousContinue »