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III. In reply to the observations contained in the corresponding number, it may be said, that if protestants are determined to abide by the Jewish church, they thus manifest an unshaken resolution to discard the authority, which our Redeemer has established in the new law : they honour the synagogue, and disobey the church.

IV. When the catechist ascribes to the writers of these books, language not fitted to inspiration, he seems to forget similar language in books confessedly inspired. If these writers make apologies for their slender performances, and the want of polished language, for that is the amount of the acknowledgment, does not St. Paul apologize for his own folly, as he expresses it, and for a rude and unskilful style of writing'?

V. The silence of the council of Laodicea, which was an obscure provincial synod, cannot invalidate the authority of the council of Carthage, in the decision of a case, subsequently sanctioned by the whole church.

VI. The catechist makes an acknowledgment that these books were read in the primitive church, for the purposes of instruction, but not for the confirmation of faith. But let the catechist know, that all the books of Scripture had not originally the same authority in the estima

See and compare Prol. of the Son of Sirach, and 2 Macc. xv. 38. with 2 Cor. xi. 1, 6.

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tion of many parts of Christendom: doubts were entertained relating to the Epistle of St. Paul to the Hebrews, and the Revelations of St. John : these doubts were as extensive as any that ever conceived concerning the books in question ; yet the catechist admits these performances to be genuine Scripture. In this he acts most inconsistently ; while the Catholic follows the regular, orderly, and religious plan, laid down by Christ, of HEARING THE CHURCH.

VII. When he asserts, that some learned men in the church of Rome, do not admit these books as canonical, he forgets, or perhaps has to learn, that no man, however eminent or respectable, ventures to contradict the decision of a general council, on a dogmatical question, under pain of being regarded as a heathen and an unbeliever.

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QUESTION XXVI.

Why do you blame the church of Rome for asserting that the

church of England, once a member of her communion, had no power to reform herself?

ANSWER.

1. Because every church hath a natural right to shake off the

abuses and corruptions that are contrary to the word of God. 2. It is God's command to private men, not to suffer themselves

to be deluded by the sleight of men, “and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive ;” and there

fore much more is a national church concerned to do so. 3. It is the proper office of the bishops of a national church to

take notice what errors creep into their churches, and to

oppose them.

4. In vain was any reformation hoped for from the bishop and

court of Rome, who dreaded nothing more than a reforma

tion. 5. As the throwing off the power of the Pope of Rome was

one part of the reformation; so in doing that we did not throw off obedience to a lawful sovereign, but subjection

to an usurpation. 6. This reformation was not made without a precedent of for

mer ages, when the orthodox churches, after the famous Arian councils, did set up the Nicene faith again, which

those powerful councils had abolished. 7. In this reformation we made no new religion, but restored

the old; and did not build a new house from the ground, but removed the rubbish which made it incommodious and unwholesome.

OBSERVATIONS.

In discussing the subject of this question, it cannot excite any surprise, that the catechist

1

should pervert the use of a term so familiar to a Protestant as that of reform. There is, in fact, no word that language supplies, which has been so wrested from its real meaning, as the well-known term, reformation. To reform any institution, is, in plain and intelligible language, to remove all known and acknowledged abuses, which custom, human infirmity, or any other cause, may have introduced ; and in performing this laudable task of reformation, the original institute is to be entirely preserved in its substance and spirit. Beyond this, the work of reformation must not proceed; for in such a preposterous event, change, innovation, and, in fact, a total destruction of the original system, must necessarily take place. It should ever be kept in mind, that to change, to innovate, to destroy, are objects, not to be confounded with reform.

In this plan of rational, prudent, and laudable reform, the Catholic church, in communion with the See of Rome, has always proceeded. If the acts of all the councils, whether general or particular, be subjected to the most rigorous scrutiny, it will be found, in every instance, that the attention of the assembled fathers was by no means confined to the object, which principally occasioned the convocation of each particular council : their views were invariably directed to ulterior objects, to the correction of abuses, to the reformation of manners, to the revival of salụtary discipline. The great council of Nice met in 325, for the purpose of proscribing the Arian heresy; and the fathers, after accomplishing that important object, and defining the Catholic doctrine on the divinity of the Son, proceeded to various questions of reform, and furnished that model of conduct, which the Catholic church has invariably followed in her subsequent councils", But no council, ever held in the church, has exhibited such a connected series of canons relative to reform and discipline, as the celebrated, but much calumniated, council of Trent. There is scarcely a subject of ecclesiastical discipline, which is not treated and defined in the most prudent, guarded, and exquisite manner; and the sense is uniformly conveyed in such language, as reflects honour on those who lived at a period, when polite learning was reviving throughout Europeo.

But do the efforts of those who style themselves reformers, correspond with this description ? Did they extend their attention to the correction of abuses, and the reformation of manners, and at the same time shew a most scrupulous regard to maintain, in its full force, the substance and spirit of the Catholic Christian insti

Vid. Conc. Nic. apud Pagi ad an. 325, Carranza, fol. 35, et seq. Fleuri, liv, xi.

2 Vid. Conc. Trid. per omnia Decret. de Reformat.

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