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II. Your insinuation, that the Author of " the Book of the
• Roman Catholic Church" deserves a harsh name, for intimating, knowing it to be otherwise, that Romanism is founded on Scripture. IN
page 19, You express yourself in the following words :-“ Pardon me, if I inquire whether “ some part of your third section of the Intro“ duction, (page 9), does not deserve a harsh name. “ You believe the doctrines of your church to be “ unchangeable: your faith is now what it has
ever been; but this proposition, you observe, is “ confined to the articles of your faith, and no “ doctrine is of faith unless it be delivered by “ revelation, and is proposed as such by your “ church. You resolve, therefore, all the deci“ sions of councils, and all the dogmas of faith, “ into the authority of Scripture, or you otherwise
reject them as doctrines of your faith. If this “ be your meaning, receive my congratulations; if
not, we must look to the formulary of Pope " Pius and the Council of Trent. You, no doubt, “ wish to persuade yourself and us, that Romanism “ is founded on Scripture.” If I rightly understand the charge expressed, or rather insinuated by You in this passage, it is, that I wished the reader to believe, although I knew the contrary, that the Roman Catholics hold no article to be of faith, if it be not contained in the Scriptures.
If this be your meaning, and You intimate that the passage which You cited from my work,
deserves, on this account, a harsh name, I must say, that you entirely misapprehend my words, and are wholly ignorant of the Roman Catholic doctrine upon tradition.
The Roman Catholics believe, that both the articles of faith recorded in the Scriptures, and the articles of faith transmitted to them by tradition, were delivered by the revelation of Christ to his church, while he dwelt among men.
Nothing, as far as we know, of the doctrine revealed by Christ, was committed to writing during his life. Thus, while he lived, and during many years after his death, all the doctrines which he taught, were divine traditions. Portions of the doctrine thus orally revealed by Christ, were recorded successively, and by portions, in the Gospels and Apostolical Epistles. Roman Catholics believe, that the whole of the doctrine revealed and taught by Christ, was not so recorded; but that the memory of some portion of it, derived originally from the revelations of Christ, was left to remain upon tradition. Thus, to make any doctrine an article of the faith of the church, it must have been revealed by Christ in his life-time. To ascertain, for the security of the faithful, that what the church proposes to them for their belief, was thus revealed by Christ, it is required that this should be declared by the church. Hence, to constitute an article of faith, it is, in our opinion, essential; first, that it should have been revealed by Christ; secondly, that it should have been transmitted either by the Scriptures or uninterrupted traditions; and thirdly, that the church should propound that it was thus revealed, and has been thus transmitted.
After this explanation of the doctrine of the church upon this head, I call upon you to declare, whether there be the slightest ground for insinuating that I wished to induce my readers, by an ambiguous expression, to believe what I knew to be untrue, and deserved, on this or any other account, a harsh name, for what I have said in in the pas. sage, you have thought proper to criminate?
If I have mistaken your meaning, I beg you will excuse me; I have taken great pains to discover it.
of Faith.” I AGREE with you that “the catechism of the “ Council of Trent, is the best exposition of the “ Roman Catholic creed.” But, as I have observed in my introductory letter to Doctor Southey, a proper perusal of that document requires attentive study. I have, therefore, recommended to those who are unable to give it such a perusal, Bossuet's
Exposition of Faith,” and the other works I have specified. You say, that “ Bossuet's Expo
sition, contains only the sentiments of a pious " individual.” Bossuet was certainly a pious individual, but he was much more. Eloquence, power of argument, and erudition, were united in him in
so high a degree, as to render it very doubtful whether the Christian or Pagan world can produce even one person, in whom they have all been united in the same degree. Nor is the “ Exposition of “ Faith” to be considered merely as the work of an individual. The formal approbation of the archbishops of Rheims and Tours, and the bishops of Châlons, Uséz, Meaux, Grenoble, Tulle, Auxerre, Tarbes, Beziéres and Autun, are prefixed to it. Cardinal Bona, Cardinal Chigi, Hyacinthe Libelli, master of the sacred palace, also approved it. Pope Innocent XI sanctioned it by two briefs. The clergy of France, in their assembly of 1682, signified their approbation of it, and declared it to contain the doctrines of the Roman Catholic church. It has been translated into the language of every country, in which the Roman Catholic religion is either dominant or tolerated. Roman Catholics have but one opinion of it: all, without exception, acknowledge it to be a full and faultless exposition of the doctrines of their church.* I could not, therefore, have referred Protestants to a more authentic exposition of the Roman Catholic creed.
You tell me that Bishop Stillingfleet answered Mr. Gother's “ Papist Misrepresented and Repre
* Permit me to refer you to my Life of Bossuet, chap. VI, or rather to “ Histoire de J. B. Bossuet, Evéque de Meaux, composé sur les manuscrits originaux, par M. L. B. de Bausset, ancien Evéque de Alais, vol. I. livre premier, sect. XXXIXe. M.De Bausset was afterwards raised to the archiepiscopal See of Toulouse, and honoured with the Roman purple.”
sented : ”—Mr. Gother triumphantly replied to Stillingfleet's answer.
Doctor Challoner’s “ Garden of the Soul” having been mentioned by me, as the most popular prayer book of the English Roman Catholics, you ask me, (p. 21), “ Whether, if I am a father,
a brother, or a husband, I would place in the “ hands of any woman, the contents of pages 213,
214," meaning, I suppose, that part of the Examination of Conscience which contains the sins against thc Sixth Commandment? If you ask, whether I should place those very pages in the hands of a woman; I answer, that such an act would be abominable.
If you ask, whether I should place the book in her hands, and recommend it as an excellent manual of prayer; I answer, without hesitation, that I should. Notwithstanding the loves, and something worse than the loves of the patriarchs, the story of Judith, and the song of Solomon, You place the Bible in the hands of children and adults of each sex, and recommend it as an excellent book for their perusal. You trust that they will only read it in moments of seriousness, and pass over the noxious passages,' when the perusal of them is improper : -We do the same.
IV. Your assertion, that Arminianism, Calvinism, Quakerism
and Socinianism, may be found in the writings of the Romanist divines.
AT the end of your letter, (p. 23), You inform me that,' “ You could have selected from the