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with which the press teems, it is comfortable to light on something that is fresh, fair, and straight forward. We like to go along with a man who argues with some degree of originality-with the feelings and views of a Christian—with the candour of a gentleman, and at the same time with the nerve of a polemic. We consider that Mr. Faber has done all this ; and buried, as he states himself to be, in a northern village in England, with very limited facilities for study, or librarian reference, we know few more powerful pillars of the Church of England than Mr. Faber.
The origin of Mr. Faber's work is interesting. It appears, that concerning those myriads of British subjects who spend their time and money in France, and Italy, and Switzerland, Popery is not inattentive, and bishops, and avowed or disguised Jesuits are not less anxious now to entrap English tourists than they were two hundred years ago, when Bishop Hall wrote his “Quo Vadis,"
or dissuasive against travell.” This admirable ancient describes so emphatically ihe arts of Popish seducers of that day, that we cannot help giving our readers a specimen. Mr. Faber will excuse our retiring from his book to rest retrospectively on one he admires :
“What gentleman of any note (says Hall,) can cross the seas, whose name is not lauded in their books before hand; whom, when arrived, they labour to temper with the plausible conversation of some smoothe Catholic. There is nothing wherein the fair companion shall not apply himself to his welcome, and when he hath possessed himself of the heart of his new acquaintance, and got the reputation of sweet ingenuity, and delightful sociableness, he finds some opportunity of bestowing some witty scoffs upon those parts of our religion which lie most open to advantage; and the learned workman handles our novice so sweetly, that he feels it a pleasure to be seduced ; and do we think that this Doctor will begin first with the infallibility of his great master, and persuade him that a newcomer, an heretic, an atheist cannot err in Peter's chair, or tell him that he may buy off his sins as familiarly as he may buy wares in the market; or teach him that a man may, and must, both eat and make his God at bis breakfast. This hard meat is for stronger mawes. He knows better, first to begin with the spoon, and to offer nothing to a weak stomach, but discourse of easy digestion. As - first, that a Catholic so living and dying, may (by our confession) be saved--that there is but one Church, as there is but one Christ-tbat out of this ark there is no way but drowning--that this one Church is more likely to be found in all the world, than in a corner—in all ages than in the last century of years—in unity than in division-and now comes in the glorious brag of the Roman universality, of their inviolate antiquity, their recorded successors, their harmonious unity, their confessed magnificence, that their’s is the Mother Church, and how well a monarchy (the best form of government) befits that Church. How unlikely it is that Christ would leave his spouse in the confusion of many heads : and now that we are but a rag torn from tbeir coat; and where was our religion before Luther; and what miserable subdivisions are in our Protestancie; with infinite suggestions of this nature, the hearer may find himself boodwinked with the veil of this Church, and how easily shall time lead him into its bateluller absurdities.”
These are part of the remarks of a wise man two centuries ago, and in the practice of this very day they are verified. A Monsieur Trevern, formerly Vicar General of Langres, and now Bishop of Aire, it seems has been working in his vocation amongst the English travellers and sojourners in his diocese, and his preaching and writing have produced (as is said) a very considerable sensation amongst the English laity, among whom he is labouring.
The worthy Prelate has undertaken, in order to open the eyes of poor English heretics, to write a book, which he calls ~ An Amicable Discussion,” in which, like a cat in good humour, he holds out a paw as soft as velvet, and wherein it must not be suspected that there are talons sheathed that can catch and kill. One of the travellers, the subject of the Bishop of Aire's solicitude, having, (as he well might) a good opinion of Mr. Faber, though not personally acquainted with him, sends over a copy of the proselyting book; and what is it after all, but the “ crambe repetita,” or the dishing up of the same food with modern sauce, which Hall warned his countrymen from partaking of.
“Under the hands of the Bishop of Aire, (says Faber) Romanism appears in its must captivating habiliments. Whatever might offend the prejudices of an English layman, is gracefully and decorously explained ; doctrines and practices wbicb he had been taught to view with unutterable dislike, are shewn on the professed score of primi. tive antiquity, to be not only innocent, but even venerable and obligatory; and that alone Catbolic Church, which the distempered imagination of panic struck Protestantism had pourtrayed, as a misshapen and ferocious monster, proves (if you believe this smooth Prelate,) on candid consideration to be no other than a meek and harmless bind.
The rest amazed,
Dryden's Hind and Panther. Now, our excellent controversialist rejoices that he has found in the “Amicable Discussion” of this French Bishop, an authoritative statement, (and why, good Mr. Faber, authoritative ?) of the Latin system, as the unimpeachable basis of a work which shall exhibit to the English laity, the difficulties of Romanism, even on the ground assumed by the Bishop himself. Now, it would appear that the strong ground held by the French Theologian, is, that the Church of Rome, unlike the innovating Church of England, still acts and teaches as the Catholic Church has ever taught and acted from the beginning, and by this question it is resolved into a NAKED PRACTICABLE MATTER OF FACT, and the point to be decided is, whether the doctrines and practices of the Roman Church, as propounded, and explained, and vindicated by the Bishop of Aire himself, have, or have not, the unbroken sanction of antiquity. The real question is not whether many of the doctrines and practices be not of remote antiquity; but the point to be ascertained is, whether they can claim such antiquity as reaches to the age of approving apostolic authority. This plea of the Romanists reminds us of the arguments the Gibeonites used successfully with Joshua: they presumed for acceptance with him on their coming from far-ihey made much account on their old clothes, old shoes, and mouldy bread, and Joshua made peace with them. But Joshua was undeceived, and had reason to curse the Gibeonites as deceivers; and so the Romanists may deceive us with a comparative show of antiquity; but if the link connecting their doctrines with apostolic authority be wanting, let such doctrines, and such practices, be introduced when they may, still, since they cannot be shown to have existed from the beginning, they stand convicted of novelty; and on the Canon established by Tertullian, “ whatever is first is true, and whatever is more recent is spurious,” tried by this test, if the peculiarities of Romanism are found wanting, they must be condemned like the mouldy bread, and clouted shoes of the Gibeonites, to merited opprobrium and cursing. Let us then abide by the remark of a quaint old writer: “Old wine is good, and an old friend is better; yet Christ's commandment is best of all: a new name is good, and a new man is better; but the ancient of days is best of allif any thing be good, accept it, be it old or new-if any thing bad, reject it, be it new or old; for it is neither youth nor age that maketh good or bad; be not therefore any longer deceived by appearances; it is the truth that is the greatest, and shall prevail unto the day of Jesus Christ.”
Mr. Faber proceeds in a very temperate, and at the same time, very argumentative manner, to put the Romish party to the proof, as to the immutability of their doctrines, from the very age of the Apostles. And before we proceed farther with him, as a corroboration of what he maintains, we take the liberty of quoting the words of an ancient author, we have above alluded to, as bearing with peculiar force upon the subject in hand.
“ The Romanists, in show, stand for all antiquity, and fill their followers' ears with clamorous outcries that we refuse all antiquity-that our religion is mere novelty-whereas, in truth, we of the Church of England, are well contented, yea justified, or condemned by oldest, most undoubted, most impartial antiquity, not only as a judge amongst many, but as the only witness and judge in all our differences: let them stand but to this antiquity, and we desire no more.
“Otherwise, if they bring father for grandfather-grandfathers for great grandfathers -Lamech that descended from cursed Cain for Adam the father of all, we cannot endure it, we cannot bear it. Religion and truth, (as we may say) give the slip to Cain and his posterity, and descended by Seth, a younger brother, but a better man. Simon Magus was nearer the Apostles in time and place, than many saints of God that kept the faith. If, therefore, we rest by the way, and not ascend up unto the very top of the bill, we may as well stay upon Cain the elder, as Seth the younger; opon Simon Magus, as upon Justin Martyr. But what Cain, or Seth, or Simon Magus, or Justin Martyr taught, what is that to us: let it be to us sufficient, that we have Adam in Paradise before he sinned ; nay, God in Heaven, that never sinned, as our first founder, bis certain law, his undoubted prophets, Christ our Saviour himself, and his apostles, and evangelists, inspired by the Holy Ghost, for the allthors, finishers, and preachers of our faith.”
“Again.—Will you then produce the schoolmen ?- we appeal to their masters. Will you appeal to their masters ?--we provoke to their fathers. Will you alledge
their fathers ?--why may we not prefer their grandfathers, and great grand fathers, and so to prophets, apostles, and even Jesus Christ himself. This is plain and evident dealing, from the bottom to the top, from the feet to the head of the Church. As for the Jesnits, old doctors, and sanctified fathers, the oldest of them reacheth not 500 years past-these are but the young days of the corrupted Church—these sprung since Satan was loosed, and Antichrist began to reign and rage, and we cannot admit any thi
upon their credit-they are domestical and partial witnesses, as far short of antiquity, as of their father's integrity:
" Wherefore, we must not hold antiquity to be that which is old, but wbich is oldest, first, and primitive, without any mixture, deviation, or mingling with following ages, or after times. Water is best tried in the fountain, before it bas passed by the many varieties of divers soils, and so truth must be searched in the original before it be strained through the multitude of men's wits-God alone is true; all men are liars and deceivers. The Comforter in his word is manifested unto all whom be hath ordained unto eternal life,'' – Antiquity triumphing over novelty, by John FAVOUR, L.L.D.
We make no question, that not only Dr. Faber in particular, but the public in general, will excuse this quotation from a writer in the early part of the 17th century, as corroborative of the view taken by our present controversialists.
Mr. Faber, in the detail of his work, exbibits the difficulties of Romanism--first, in regard of the claim of infallibility, and thus speaks :
“ The prerogative of infallibility, or (what amounts to the same thing) the prerogative of entire freedom from all doctrinal error, is, I believe, unanimously claimed by the Latins on behalf of their own peculiar church. For they claim the privilege on behalf of the church catholic; and they exclusively identify the church catholic with the Latin or Roman church of the great western Patriarchate.”
He then sets out on his search as to the precise quarter in which this infallibility is to be found, and makes his inquisition with the Jesuits and Transalpine Theologians, as to whether it be a personal thing with the Pope, and this he shews cannot be, inasmuch as Popes have contradicted each other. Gregory the Great, as good as any, says that whoever claims the universal Episcopate, is the forerunner of Antichrist. But sundry Popes have subsequently claimed this identical Episcopate, therefore, one or other must be fallible, and personal infallibility non probatum est.
But let us, like Cisalpine Romanists, try councils, and neither shall they be found satisfactory.
“ The Council of Constantinople, for instance, convoked in the year 754, unanimously decreed the removal of images, and the abolition of image-worship; but.the second Council of Nice, convoked in the year 787, decreed the re-establishment of image-worship, and anathematized all those who bad concurred in its abolitios.”
“ I have simply stated a mere historical fact; but the result from it is abundantly manifest. Two discordant councils cannot both be in the right; and, if a single council be pronounced by the counter-decision of another council to have erred, the phantom of infallibility forth with vanishes. *
* For this striking and undoubted fact the Bishop of Aire would account, on the principle, that the Elviran Fathers dreaded lest the new converts from paganism should unfortunately mistake Christian image-worship for pagan idolatry, Discus. Amic. vol. ii. p. 350. Let his solution avail, as far as it may avail : the fact be fully acknowledges.
But moreover, the infallibility of the Church may be disproved from the fact which our author adduces, that the Church of one age contradicted the Church of another; for the Roman Catholic Church at one time “ Denied the doctrine of a physical change, while during another period she has enforced and inculcated it; the Catholic Church, having successively maintained two directly opposite dogmas, is thence incontrovertibly demonstrated to be not infallible.
“ The Catholic Church of the early ages denied the doctrine of a physical change, and that she acknowledged no change in the consecrated elements, save a moral change only; a change, for instance, avowedly declared to be similar to that which takes place in a man, when, by virtue of tbe prayer of consecration, he ceases to be a laic and becomes a priest ; that such was the decision of the early ages, may be easily shewn, by direct evidence, beyond the possibility of contradiction. The fact is evidently established by the united testimony of Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Augustine, Athanasius, Gregory of Nyssa, Theodoret of Cyrus, Pope Gelasius, Facundus, Epbrem of Antioch, and others who might easily be enumerated. For not only is any physical change in the elements expressly denied, while the occurrence of nothing, save a moral change is allowed; but some of these writers, among whom Pope Gelasius in the West, and Theodoret and Ephrem in the East, may be specially mentioned, even ARGUE copiously and professedly AGAINST the identical doctrine, which, in a subsequent age, the church, speaking through the fourth Council of Lateran, pronounced to be an undoubted scriptural verity.
But the alleged infallibility of the Church, however, “ Is not only falsified by her own internal variations; it is yet additionally disproved by the fact, that councils, received as ecumenical, and thence deemed incapable of error, have actually promulgated decrees, which stand directly opposed to the unequivocal declarations of Holy Scripture.
“ We are repeatedly assured by the voice of inspiration, that an oath is most im* periously binding upon the conscience, that those who love false oaths are hated by the Lord, that whatever goes from a person's lips under the obligation of an oath, must be kept and performed, and that an oath must be religiously observed, even though the observation of may be disadvantageous to the interest of the juror.
“ Yet, in defiance of language thus clear and explicit, the third Council of Lateran, which is acknowledged as the eleventh ecumenical council, has ventured to decree, that all oaths which are adverse to the utility of the church must in no wise be performed; but, on the contrary, with whatever solemnity and apparent good faith they may have been taken, they must be unscrupulously violated, inasmuch as they are to be deemed perjuries rather than oaths.”
Mr. Faber here sums up this portion of his argument :
“ I have rested my entire argument upon naked facts ; and these facts are, that the church, both in her doctrine and in her practice, has directly contradicted herself; and likewise that the church both in her doctrine and in her practice has directly contradicted the inspired decisions of Holy Scripture. Such being the case, it is utterly impossible that the church should be infallible. The fond notion of her perfect freedom from all error, is confuted by the invincible evidence of naked facts ; and, against naked facts, no mere abstract reasoning, however plausible and ingenious, can be allowed to stand good.”
Our Author, after meeting and refuting the arguments of his antagonist, on the subject of infallibility, says,