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human institution to that of one strictly Divine-when it becomes a grand article of faith on which Christianity is made to depend—when obedience to the Papacy becomes the test of Christianity, and the turning point between salvation and damnation, then the whole state of the case is vitally altered. It is, as we know, pressed unceasingly upon Protestants and Orientals by Latin controversialists, that unity cannot possibly. exist without the Papacy, that if its power is not acknowledged Christianity must inevitably fall to pieces and disappear. Surely these ingenious reasoners, in their anxiety to uphold the Papacy, seem to have omitted one main factor in their calculation. They have forgotten the existence of God. They suppose, apparently, that God has not the power of maintaining unity in His Church, unless in the particular mode and by the particular means which appear to their judgment to be requisite. Has not God the power to accomplish whatever He wills in His own way? Are we bound to define for Him the particular path which He must trace in order to preserve and maintain His Church?
But to come to matters of fact. Is it as certain as some persons assume, that Catholic unity in communion has vitally depended upon union with the Chair of Peter, the foundation and centre of Catholic unity? Well, we have nothing to say against its utility in those ages when it had not yet been Deified. But when we are told to look at later times, when it was Deified, and to recognise there the uniting and consolidating results of the Divine supremacy, we are not so ready to assent. Had not the Divine right of the Papal supremacy been put forth—had the Pontiffs been contented with the rank of first patriarch and first bishop of Christianity, the whole Eastern and Western Church would have remained united in communion up to the present day. Had not the same change occurred in the attitude of the Papacy, there never would have been that desperate struggle between the spiritual and temporal power which makes up the history of the middle ages; nor would Gallicanism, with its strong opposition to the Papacy; and all the struggles of the Pontiffs and excommunications of churches and prelates in the controversy ever have been heard of. The Waldenses, Albigenses, Wickliffites, and Hussites would not have taken the attitude they did ; their views would have been more moderate, or they would have become moderated, and Christianity would not have been defiled by their bloody extirpation. The Reformation would never have taken place, nor would Latin Christianity have been torn in twain, nor would the desperate religious wars of two centuries have taken place. Jansenism would not have excited troubles; it would have moderated. At this moment too, Europe would not be resting on the edge of a volcano; religious prejudices in Germany furiously excited even to the extent of assassination, and threats of rebellion; Spain torn by civil war; Ireland a hot-bed of sedition ; France scarcely able to restrain herself from being thrice driven by a legion of evil spirits into the abyss of war and
final destruction ; Italy tormented by perpetual threats of invasion and civil war; the world one vast workshop for the fabrication of armed hosts, and mankind awaiting the signal for mutual extermination. Had not the belief in a Divine centre of unity been invented, these results would never have happened. Are we wrong, then, in disputing the assertion so often made, that "unity' springs from the Pontifical chair; and that with the removal, or the diminution of its claim, unity, that is Christianity, would disappear? We know, of course, that whoever does this may expect to hear in the usual terminology of the Vicars of Christ, that he is a demon,'a 'viper,' an “infidel,' a ' child of Satan,' a 'heretic,' a ' liar,' a "robber,' an “Atheist, a Protestant,' a blasphemer,' a 'madman,' and so forth. These flowers of rhetoric may be passed over, on Father Newman's principles, as obiter dicta, ineptiæ, &c. They do not touch the merits of the case.
But we come to another branch of the question. Is it a fact that Christianity—the Christian faith-is really dependent on the existence of an infallible Primacy ? We may add to this the question suggested by the Galli
Faith. Is it necessary for the preservation of Christianity that the gift of infallibility should be annexed to the decree of a General Synod? The ground taken by the supporters of these theories is, that there must be some tribunal to decide controversies of faith infallibly. Otherwise all will be uncertainty: heresies will devour the Church, and extinguish the true faith.
Should not those who reason thus reflect, that after all, the power which really keeps men in the path of salvation is simply the grace of God. May we not feel assured that this grace which is pledged for the salvation of souls; for the guardianship of the good tidings;' for the perpetuity of the calling-forth 'out of all nations; will accomplish its supreme purpose, with or without the means which we suppose to be requisite? Is the Truth in itself powerless, if Divine grace accompanies it? Is it so easy to deviate from it, if we really acknowledge its authority? Are its statements so entirely without force, so weak, so indistinct, so inconclusive ? I do not think so. I accept and embrace from the inmost depths of my soul and heart the Nicene faith—that glorious exposition of the one truth once revealed from Heaven. I praise God for that spotless and undefiled confession of the Gospel, made by those who had faced death for its sake; but I also feel assured, that if the Council of Nice had never met, Arianism would still have perished before the light of Evangelic truth. What is really contrary to Christianity dies out from inanition; or it reveals its Anti-Christian essence. Endless ingenuity is wasted upon theories really subversive of the good news.' Those hypotheses have their day; they gain great distinction for individuals, they produce great scandals, they unsettle the faith of some, they cause sorrow and trouble to others : they drive some souls to perdition : and then they disappear and are lost. Rationalism, long so noisy and so elaborately subtle, is dying out. It is merging in Christianity, or it is becoming avowedly Anti-Christian. These errors are fluctuating, passing, perishing. Christianity advances over the dry bones of extinct heresies and infidelities; and is ever confronted by new forms of antagonism. But the grand work, once inaugurated on earth by Incarnate Deity, is perpetuated by its Divine Author. He sees His people sorely tried in every age, and in every direction. His purpose is so to try them. They are those that shall come out of great tribulation. But He guards His own faith once delivered.' He has commanded it to be preached to all nations ; and the efficacy of the command remains unabated. Still the good tidings' is preached to all nations: its grand truths have been unremittingly proclaimed throughout the world, though few of them have come for decision before the tribunals of Synods or of Popes.
Hundreds of millions of souls receive the one faith once delivered. Dissensions, wars, fightings, superstitions, misunderstandings, distance, are unavailing to overthrow the great truth. It is still ascendant. What is Christianity? It is not a philosophy, or a theory, or an opinion, or a creed, or a theology, or a tradition, or a morality. It is good tidings' direct from Heaven; tidings which go straight to the heart and soul of every human being, however illiterate, or however great; the tidings that Death is no longer terrible; that God extends to us pardon and acceptance through His beloved Son. Then truth is