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by Protestants, only to be held up to scorn. Where, therefore, are the marks by which the Protestant is enabled to discern the true Scripture from that which is spurious ? Is internal evidence, or a critical discrimination of style, to be alleged as a ground of choice, in determining the relative merits of performances, in this important inquiry? That surely is a very equivocal mark, and subjects the inquirer to the utmost degree of uncertainty and delusion. There were false gospels and false epistles circulated among the faithful at the earliest period of Christianity : these performances, which for a time had many admirers, were suppressed by the authority of the primitive pastors. Luther, the great patriarch of “ reform,” exploded the Epistle of St. James in terms of indignant contempt': the manner in which he spoke of the Ecclesiastes, was so extremely childish, and so marked with ribaldry, that even his intimate friends were disgusted? : still both these books are held as sacred and canonical by other Protestants. The private judgment, therefore, of


individual, grounded on internal evidence, must be held a very insecure basis, on which we are to form a clear and decided opinion on a business of such transcendant importance. Is external evidence,

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or the testimony of mankind, by which we ascribe human performances to their reputed authors, a sufficient ground to admit the authority of inspired writings ? External evidence may assuredly determine the authenticity of a work ; but what is to enable us to ascertain the doubtful question as to its inspiration, and consequent authority? That is a point of a higher order. Here then we may repeat St. Augustine's declaration : I would not believe the gospel, were I not induced to do it by the authority of the Catholic church.” In fact, set aside the authority of the Catholic church, and you have no dependence left, but on the various and discordant opinions of individuals; which may be as numerous as the

who bestow


attention on the subject. By the unalterable order of human events, and by the usual progress of infidelity; doubts and discussions concerning the authenticity and inspiration of some books of the Scripture, may terminate in the fatal purpose of rejecting the whole sacred volume, as a mere human performance. The history of learning furnishes but too many instances of the fatal effects of this grand Protestant principle, by which the existence and the meaning of the sacred Scripture are subjected to private judgment. On the contrary, when the authority of the Catholic church is admitted, the voice of our Redeemer is obeyed; order is maintained ; the

analogy of government is supported; the inconveniences arising from disorder and anarchy are obviated; all is regular, consistent, and agreeable to that subordination, which is as necessary in spiritual concerns, as in temporal government.

If, therefore, the authority of the Catholic church is the only mode of determining the authenticity and inspiration of the sacred Scriptures, and consequently of separating what is spurious from what is genuine, we have only to solicit her judgment and decision on the case. She speaks in the most distinct terms, by the voice of Christian antiquity, by her councils, and in the writings of her holy doctors. The great St. Augustine, in enumerating the parts of the sacred Scripture, makes mention of those books as canonical, which the Catholic church admits at this day". In the third council of Carthage, held in 397, at which this great prelate and doctor assisted, the same catalogue of sacred books is inserted, as forming the canonical Scripture. The decision of this council, though only a national council, may justly be considered as the voice of the whole church; for it was numerously attended : Aurelius, the primate of all Africa, presided; the illustrious St. Augustine assisted at it, and sanctioned the proceedings with his signature; the great

St. Aug. de Doctrin. Christian. lib. i. c. 8.

; Vid. Conc, Carth. iii. c. 47.

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and eminent pontiffs at that period adopted its decree on this question ; and the Catholic church, in a general council, subsequently confirmed the decision 1.

In addition to these distinguished authorities, let me adduce that of the Greek church, to which the catechist is so fond of appealing, when he imagines, however erroneously, that such a plan may suit his purpose. .

In the various attestations, procured by the order of Lewis XIV. and published by authority, we see these books received as canonical, which the catechist regards as apocryphal and spurious. In the attestation of the seven bishops, before referred to, we have the following passage : “We affirm, that the books of Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Baruc, the Maccabees, constitute a part of the holy Scripture, and are not exploded like pagan performances ?.” Now will the catechist, in the plenitude of his wisdom, inform me, and explain to the public, if he can, how such a portion of Christians, as constitute the Greek church, separated as they have been from the great body of the mother church for nine hundred years, let him explain how they happen to coincide with the Catholic church in communion with the see of Rome, except both parties had considered their belief on the subject, as a part of apostolical tradition. There could be no collusion between parties of this description : their agreement, therefore, on the catalogue of the Scriptures, forms an argument altogether irrefragable. But let us hear our learned divine.

1 Vid. Carranza, fol. 85. Innocent. I. Epist. ad Exuper. Gelas. 1 Decr. de lib. sac. St. Aug. loc. cit. Isidor. Etym. lib. vi. c. 1. Cassiodor. Divin. Lect. lib. Conc. Trident. sess. 4.

, Perpet. de la Foi, loc. citato. No. 14, p. 412.

I. He asserts, that the true oracles of God were delivered to the Jewish church, and that these books were not delivered as such. We grant it to be perfectly elear, that the oracles of God were delivered to the Jews; but that these books were not delivered as such, is a point, which rests upon his unsupported assertion. These books formed not indeed a part of the Jewish canon; but that was collected in the time of Esdras, several hundred years before some of these performances had an existence. If the Jews, from whatever reason, sturdily refused to extend their canonical books beyond the sacred number of twenty-two, that conduct ought not to influence the Catholic church, except it can be proved, that she is to be guided in her judgments by the decisions of the synagogue, or the fancies of the Jewish doctors.

II. When the catechist affirms, that these books were written by persons not inspired, he opposes his unsupported assertion to the great weight of authorities, which we have produced'.

See the observations.

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