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staring them in the face, what spirit could move the sectarians to accuse our Bishops of hostility to the circulation of the Bible, or of a desire to hold the people in ignorance of it? The accusation is but foul slander. They are, however, hostile to the circulation of the corrupted Protestant bible. The Bible Societies, if they aim at the preservation of the Catholic faith, should distribute among us the approved Catholic Doway Bible, not King James' adulterated production.
Further, previous to the invention of the art of printing, by Friar Faustus and his brethren, in Germany, about the year 1450, the holy Scriptures were preserved in manuscript, and as it would take some years, perhaps three or four, for an expert penman, to transcribe a good and legible copy, the sacred volume must have been scarce, and dear, and beyond the reach of the generality of the people. In this connection let me observe, that as the protestants have severed themselves from the holy Catholic Church, which alone inherits the promise of infallibility from Christ Jesus, and which alone has preserved a perpetual visible hierarchy, upon which you may depend for the genuineness and authenticity of the Canon, they cannot have any divine faith in the Bible, or in any church at all ;—surely not in the Protestant Church established by law, or in King James' Bible, or in that book of Common Prayer framed by Elizabeth and the Parliament, in the sixteenth century. The poor unfortunate schismatics have no church to prove to them that James' Bible is the production of the inspired Prophets and Apostles, or that they have it pure and genuine. They must, therefore, be cast to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, without any divine faith that may avail them for salvation.
Tradition.—In regard to the Fathers, Doctors, and Councils of the Church, the Lord himself ordains, Deut. XVII, 9. That all difficult questions be submitted to the judgment of the Levitical priests ; for the lips of the priest shall keep knowledge, Malac. II, 7, and they shall seek the law at his mouth, because
he is the angel of the Lord of Hosts. And St. Paul, 2 Tim. III, admonishes his disciple, Timothy, to continue in these things which he had learned and which had been committed to him, knowing from whom he had received them. And, again, he writes, Ephes. IV, that not only Prophets, Apostles, and Evangelists, but also Doctors and Pastors, were given by Christ to the Church, that we may grow up in the unity of faith and knowledge of the Son of God.
Vincent Lirins, Comm. 2, Cap. 41, saith : “ It had been always and is still customary with the Catholics, to ascertain the true faith by two modes ; first, by the authority of the divine Canon, and second, by the tradition of the Catholic Church.Not because the Canon alone is not selfsufficient for all questions, but because many persons, when they expound the word of God to their own notions, may draw therefrom contradictory notions and errors. It is therefore necessary that the holy Scriptures be construed according to the one rule of the Church, especially on the questions which are the basis of the whole Catholic Church. Antiquity and Universality in the Church should be also kept before our eyes, for fear of seceding from the Unity into Schism, or falling from the ancient religion into novel heresies. In the same antiquity of the Church, two things must be also strictly and carefully observed by all persons who would not be heretics. First, the decrees of the general Councils of the Catholic Church ; and second, if any difficulty occur which is not found defined in the Councils, recourse must be had to the sayings of the holy Fathers ; and whatever doctrine they uniformly and unanimously held, this may be without scruple received as the true and Catholic doctrine of the Church.
Cap. 42. This principle is exemplified in the Council of Ephesis, held three hundred years ago in Asia.
When the rule of faith came up to be settled, it had been resolved unanimously, by all the priests, nearly two hundred there assembled, that this is the Catholic, Christian and salutary course, to produce the sayings of the holy Fathers who were known to have been, and to have persevered as Catholic priests, to the effect that the ancient religion be regularly and solemnly proved from their concurrent definition, and that the blasphemous and profane novelties be condemned. Subsequent to the adoption of this resolution, the impious Nestorius was regularly and justly sentenced to be at variance with Catholic antiquity, and St. Cyril to be consistent thereto. In proof of my sayings, I give the names of the said Fathers, whose testimonies had been adduced or expounding the sense of holy writ, and settling the rule of faith. Here, then, are men whose writings were brought up in the Council, as the writings of witnesses, or of judges: St. Peter of Alexandria, B. M., St. Athanasius of Alexandria, Bishop, the faithful master and celebrated Confessor, St. Theophilus, Bishop of Alexandria, eminent for his faith, conversation and learning, predecessor of the venerablo Cyril, who dignifies, for the time being, the Church of Alexandria. And lest this doctrine be looked upon as that of one City or Province, the luminaries of Cappadocia were also produced : St. Gregory Nazien. B. C., St. Basil of Cæsarea, B. C., St. Gregory Nyssa, by faith, conversation, integrity and wisdom, the most worthy brother of Basil. And for fear Greece, or the East alone, and not the Western or Latin Church, be looked upon as always holding the same sentiment, there were read some epistles of St. Felix, Martyr, and of Julius, Bishops of Rome. And to the purpose of showing that not only the head of the Christian world, but also the sides, coincided in that decision, there were produced from the South, Cyprian, B. M., of Carthage, and from the North, St. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan.These ten authorities were adduced in the Synod of Ephesis, either as masters, counsellors, witnesses or judges ; whose doctrine that sacred Synod holding, whose counsel following, whose testimony believing, whose judgment obeying, pronounced without hesitation, presumption and respect of persons, on the rules of faith. The humility and modesty of that sacred
Council, is truly remarkable : two hundred Ecclesiastics, being for the most part Archbishops and Bishops, from all parts of Christendom, and therefore competent from learning, talents and sanctity, to expound and solve the most knotty difficulties, not relying however on their own wisdom and judgment, but following the steps of their forefathers, framed wholesome rules for the present generation, and handed down a precedent from which all future people would learn carefully to preservo the ancient religion, and to discard all profane novelties.”
And Gregory the Great, lib. II, epist. 10, saith : “We rèceive the four Councils,--those of Nice, Ephesis, Chalcedon, and Constantinople, as the four gospels.” And again, lib. IV, epist. 49: “As our saintly predecessor, Pope Leo, held and embraced the things that were defined and held by the sacred Sy. nods, so we also receive, follow and hold the same, and we swerve not from them even in the least degree."
The holy Council of Trent declares, in the preamble of every decree, as it does Sess. V, de peccato originali, that it is their intention for recalling the straying, and confirming the doubting, to approach the testimonies of the holy Scriptures, holy Fathers and approved Councils, and in pursuance of the consent and judgment of the Church herself, they assert, decree, and declare of original sin, &c.
Alas, in these latter days, iniquity hath abounded, and the charity of many hath grown cold; the earth is infested by the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, they have changed the ordinance, they have broken the everlasting covenant, Therefore shall a curse devour the earth, and the inhabitants thereof shall sin ; and therefore, they ihat dwell therein shall be mad, and a few men shall be left, Isa. XXIV, 5. And now I shall show you what I will do to my vineyard. I will take away the hedge thereof and it shall be wasted : I will break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down, Isa. V, 5. But what course shall we take ; shall
. we lie down in despair, while the enemy is bold and rampant in
the field; or shall we not rather take fresh vigor and strength in proportion to the greatness of the emergency? The holy Prophet points out our course, Ezech. XXXIII: If thou dost not speak to warn the wicked man from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity ; but I will require his blood at thy hand. But if thou tell the wicked man, that he may
be converted from his ways, and he be not converted from his ways, he shall surely die in his iniquity ; but thou hast delivered thy soul.
Whilst I, therefore, am moved by a sense of my duty to enter the arena in defence of the sacred Deposite, offer up a prayer, pious reader, I conjure you, to God the giver of all gifts, that he vouchsafe to sustain by his omnipotent hand, your humble combatant to come out of the contest victorious, to produce a work in accordance to your pious anticipations. The enemies whom we have to fight, are in numbers at our door. The day dawns, let us rush out with God's help to the contest. Our help is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth.He will crown with victory the combatant whom he inspires with confidence to begin the fight ; let not the number nor stature of the enemies discourage us ; let not the brilliancy of their arms or flowery eloquence, deter us. David, whilst a small and unarmed boy, prostrated with one blow of the stone the gross gigantic Goliah, though furnished with terrific weapons, and in the midst of his mighty legions ; throwing pell mell and routing the whole army of the Philistines. The rock hurled upon the giant by David, denoted the rock, Christ, wbo was to come from the seed of David to overcome and scatter the devils.
The enemies whom we have to meet, are four-fold. First, the Heathens, to whom Christ crucified is foolishness : second, the Jews, to whom he is a stumbling block; who say: How can Christians worship Christ, whom our fathers have crucified ? Third, the Manicheans who assert that the Incarnation is but a phantom : Fourth, the Arians and Unitarians, who imagine that the Father is greater than the Son, and that therefore the