Page images
PDF
EPUB

by which they are prevented from extending it to ALl.

is POSTSCRIPT.

Want of books, or rather want of sufficient health to undergo the fatigue and discomfort of consulting them in public libraries, had made me proceed in the composition of these Letters deriving the materials from my own stores, and from the book itself against the general tendeney of which I was induced to take up the pen. My knowledge of the Roman Catholic doctrines led me soon to conclude that Mr. Butler was a writer who, on the fairest construction, knew how to divert his adversaries from all the weak points of his cause. Yet I trusted that the accuracy of his quotations might be depended upon, especially when he gave us authorized statements of the Roman Catholic tenets. The translation of the creed of Pius IV., which Mr. Butler inserted in his Book of the Roman Catholic Church, was, therefore, the only document of that kind from which I deduced my arguments to prove the duty incumbent on Roman Catholics to propagate their religion by every means in their power. Whether I have succeeded or failed in proving that fact by inference, my readers will decide. But upon a revision of my arguments, I do not regret that an omission which I subsequently discovered in Mr. Butler's translation of that creed deprived me, at first, of the easiest and most direct proof which I could wish to support my assertion. For had I consulted the original at once, the positive confirmation which that document gives it, and my own familiar conviction of its truth, would have induced me to save myself the exertion of fully developing my argument. As it now happens, I flatter myself that my readers will give me some credit for accuracy in the knowledge of the Roman Catholic doctrines, when they shall see that a theoretical reasoning from her established general principles, fully and accurately agrees with a positive injunction of the Church of Rome, of which lapse of time had made me forget the existence. • Let us, then, compare the last article in Mr. Butler's translation of the creed, with the original. Mr. Butler's translation :-" This true catholic faith, out of which none can be saved, which I now freely profess, and truly hold, I, N., promise, vow, and swear most constantly to hold and profess the same whole and entire, with God’s assistance, to the end of my life. Amen.” The Latin original.—“Hanc veram catholicam fidem, extra quam memo salvus esse potest, quam in praesenti sponte profiteor, et veraciter teneo, eandem integram, et inviolatam, usque ad extremum vitae spatium constantissime (Deo adjuvante) retinere et confiteri, AT@UE A MEIs subDITIS, VEL ILLIS QUORUM CURA AD ME IN MUNERE MEO SPECTABIT, TENERI, DoCERI, ET PRAEDICARI, QUANTUM IN ME ERIT, CURATURUM EGO IDEM N. SPONDEO, voveo, Ac JURO.” Now, the words in small capitals, omitted by Mr. Butler, contain the very pith and marrow of the strongest argument against the admissibility of Roman Catholics to parliament. For if the most solemn profession of their faith lays on every one of her members who enjoys a place of influence, the duty of “procuring, that all under him, by virtue of his office, shall hold, teach, and preach the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church, and this under an oath and vow ; how can such men engage to preserve the ascendancy of the Church of England in these realms ? When, in the New Times of the 5th of April, I exposed this important omission before the public, I thought that Mr. Butler would have explained the origin of it. But I am not aware of his having given any explanation. Neither on that, nor on the present occasion, is it my intention to cast a suspicion on that gentleman's good faith. He probably copied from some garbled translation, prepared by less scrupulous members of his communion, who wished to conceal the real tenets of their church from a Protestant public. At all events, this fresh instance of inaccuracy on a most important point, gives additional propriety to caution in reading Mr. Butler's

defences of Catholicism.

.*

LETTER III.

Examination of the title to infallibility, spiritual supremacy, and exclusive salvation, claimed by the Roman Catholic Church. Internal evidence against Rome, in the use she has made of her assumed prerogative. Short method of determining the question.

AT the conclusion of my preceding Letter, I entreated you to examine the title by which your church deprives her members of the right of private judgment on religious matters, and denies salvation to those who venture to think for themselves. In making this request I may appear to have overlooked the very essence of your religious allegiance, and to demand a concession which would at once put you out of the pale of the Roman church. But I beg you to observe, that whatever be the extent of the authority of that church over you, there is one point which it can

not withhold from the judgment and verdict of

your reason. The reality of her title to be the guide and rule of your faith, must be a matter, not of authority, but of proof. He that claims

[graphic]
« PreviousContinue »