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read in the Scriptures should be attentively learned for our instruction and sanctification, and particularly should the things be committed to memory, which are there levelled against the heretics ; who never cease to ensnare the ignorant and the unwary. Heretics affect to love the sacred Volume, and to take it as the only rule, yet by prostrating it to the private judgment of all fanatics, male and female, young and old, stupid and ignorant, they draw therefrom the seed of infidelity ;
and as they have not faith in the infallibility of the Church to authenticate and interpret it, they unavoidably end in skepticism. But we, Catholics, expound the Holy Scriptures according to the sense which the Holy Catholic Church, the pillar and ground of truth, against which the gates of hell, errors and heresies, shall never prevail, held and holds, and according to the unanimous consent of the Holy Fathers.
CHRONOLOGICAL INDEX TO THE NEW TESTAMENT.
A. D. 32. Christ promises to make St. Peter the head of his
Church ; to build his Church upon him ; and to
He giveth his Apostles power to forgive sins. John
He sends the Holy Ghost upon the Apostles.--
33. Peter, standing up, gave one sermon and converted
three thousand persons. Acts II. 39. He receives Cornelius, the Centurion, and other
Gentiles into the Church. Acts X. 41. He preached in Pontus, Galatia, and other places. 42. SS. Barnabas and Paul preached in Antioch, where
the believers were called Christians. Acts XI, 26.
and afterwards his other epistles.
St. John writes the Apocalypse. 96. He writes his gospel. Remember well, and by no means forget, that Christ Jesus had instituted the Church, and commanded mankind to hear her ; promised that he will be with her all days, even to the end of the world ; and appointed Peter for her head ; sent the Twelve to teach and baptise all nations ; that St. Peter by his preaching converted thousands in Jerusalem, and Cornelius and his household ; that, in short, the gospel had made great progress among the Jews and Gentiles, nine years before any one word of the New Testament was written. Remember well that the Lord sent his disciples to teach all nations by word of mouth, not by spreading among them the Bible ; that St Paul saith, Gal. 1, 8: Though we or an angel from heaven, preach to you a gospel besides that which we have preached, let him be anathema. He saith not : Though we of an angel from heaven preach to you a gospel besides that which we have written to you, let him be anathema.
The conversion of St. Paul, recorded in the ninth chapter of the Acts, is a remarkable instance of Divine Providence in the call and conversion of sinners. Saul, as yet breathing out threats and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, had procured even a warrant from the Synagogue, and the heathen authorities, to go to Damascus and bring up in chains all the Christian men and women to Jerusalem. First, a light from heaven shined round about him, and he was struck blind : Second, he heard a voice saying to him: Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? I am Jesus whom thou persecutest; it is hard for thee to kick against the goad: Third, God commands him to arise and to go into the city, where it shall be told him what he must do : Fourth, when he arose from the ground, though his eyes were open, he saw nothing ; his companions led him by the hand into the city : Fifth, Ananias, who was, without a doubt, a Bishop, came and laying his hands upon him, said to him : Brother Saul, Jesus hath sent me that thou mayest receive thy sight and be filled with the Holy Ghost : Sixth, the scales immediately fell from his eyes and he was baptised. Therefore, the first light and call came to him from heaven, and after being chastised, he received the faith by the teaching and imposition of hands from holy Ananias, and also baptism ; the scales of error fell not from his eyes until he received the faith by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ, Rom. X.Hence, it is manifest that the Christian religion made a great progress previous to the publication of the New Testament : that the believers received the faith by hearing. Could
you suppose that the faith of these ancient Christians was dead, since they had not the holy Bible in their hands ? You would not so imagine, if you remember how they appreciated their faith, and suffered all sorts of persecution, even the rack and martyrdom itself, rather than deny Christ before men; how they had but one heart and one soul; how they would sell their lands and houses, and bring the price to the Apostles, to be distributed among the brethren; and how no needy person was seen among them. You would not imagine so, if you take in review their splendid Churches and Convents for the honor of God's holy name, or their numerous Hospitals and Asylums for the widows and orphans, for the sick, the aged, and for the travelers. The Apostle James, II. 18:— I will show thee, by works, my faith. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? The faith of the ancients is seen in their works : they had not dead, but lively faith, that worketh by charity. By faith, they looked for a city that hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. By faith, they built the Cathedrals, and Churches, and Convents, to honor and glorify the holy name of God; and the Hospitals and Asylums for the shelter and refuge of their fellow beings. But the moderns, who spend their time, not at prayers, but in the money market; who expend their wealth, not in erecting Churches and Charitable Asylums, but in building Theaters and Exchanges for stock gambling ; who despoil and demolish the religious and charitable foundations of ancient piety, say, without a doubt, "that they believe there is one God; that they believe in the redemption of Christ Jesus.” They do well : the devils also believe and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead ? James II, 20.
Although the faith came for many years to the primitive Christians by hearing, as it does to many of the moderns, who have neither education nor leisure to read or comprehend the sacred volume, it follows not, by any means, that the Catholic Church ever was, or is hostile to the circulation thereof; or that she appreciates it not, as a heavenly treasure written by the Prophets, Apostles and Evangelists, through the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, for our instruction and sanctification. Previous to the invention of printing, by friar Faustus, and his brethren, in 1450, the holy Bible was in manuscript, and, as it would take years, perhaps three or four, for an expert penman to trans. cribe one copy, the sacred volume must have been, during that time, scarce and dear, and beyond the reach of the generality of the people. But the Church improved the very first opportu nity for giving currency to the heavenly treasure; for the first book issued at the newly invented press, was the Holy Bible.
The Popes and the Bishops had previously in constant employ, the Conventual Clergy, in transcribing the Bible, the holy
Fathers, sacred Councils, Justinian Code, and all other
precious documents. To their good sense and piety are we in. debted for the manifold literary treasures of antiquity. Had there not been a visible and perpetual succession of Popes and Bishops, inheriting the promise of Christ Jesus, that he will be with them all days, even until the end of the word ; that the gates of hell shall never prevail against his Church, built upon the rock of Peter, to verify and expound the holy volume, we could not now-a-days say whether it is really the production of the inspired writers, whose name it bears, or whether we have it genuine. It is passing strange how the ungrateful sectarians have their foul mouths forever open against the Catholic Friars, Bishops, and Popes to whom they owe whatever of good they possess.
The Council of Trent, Sess. V. Chap. 1, "adhering to the heavenly Constitutions of the Supreme Pontiffs, and embracing them, lest that divine treasure of the holy Scriptures which the Holy Ghost has in great liberality delivered to mankind lie neglected, hath resolved and decreed, that in those Churches in which provision of any sort or name is found established for readers of sacred Theology, the Bishops, Archbishops, Primates, or the other ordinaries of the places, do induce and compel the persons who enjoy said provision, to expound the sacred volume, either personally or by a competent deputy.” Moreover, every friar and good pastor guided by the interpretation of the orthodox Fathers, expounds a chapter of holy writ each Sunday and Holiday throughout the year, from the pulpit, for his congregation. The authorised Catholic Bible is, besides, for sale in the usual course of trade, in all languages and nations.The book-sellers put no questions whatever to the buyer, in regard to his religion or profession ; neither do they enquire what use they will make of the purchase ; all they care for, is the price ; when that is paid down, the purchasers may use the Catholic Bible as they please. With these undeniable facts