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the blood of many martyrs, and embellished with the admirable purity of thousands of holy virgins. Even at this day, while the pretended reformation is every where disturbed with multiplied dissentions, unceasing variations and perpetual revolts ; while it is branded by its very friends with unbridled lust and sacrilege in its origin, and with the most ungodly rapaciousness, instead of religious motives for its change of tenets-(see Heylin Hist. of the Reform. p. 2. Collier Eccles. Hist. vol ii. p. 23, &c.)—the catholic church, unalterable in its doctrines, unblemished in its moral principles, uninterrupted in the orderly succession of its pastors, still embraces the greatest part of christian nations within its pale. Now if each of these circumstances taken separately, carry not along with them full conviction, they are at least when combined-an incontestible evidence; they render that society called the catholic church so illustrious, and give its testimony such preponderance, that it cannot in reason be rejected. Hence, upon the authority of this illustrious society, we doubt not to admit the authenticity of the scriptures themselves; nor could the first reformers have any other evidence of nearly equal force. Upon the very same authority on which both catholics and the first reformers received the scriptures, catholics at this present day receive also--apostolical tradition, and with equal reason-since the same authority is in both cases of equal weight. Here therefore, we fix our foot. If upon the well-grounded authority of that illustrious society called the catholic churchwe may safely take our rule of faith and practice, we may likewise upon the same well-grounded authority-safely take the sense of that rule.” Ibid.
“ Moreover, that Christ has promised to his church the privilege of infallibility, with relation to points of faith and the prirciples of good morals, we prove from the following words of our blessed Redeemer-Upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it, (Mat. xvi. 18.) From this text catholics conclude, that the church shall not err in faith, and shall teach no other than sound principles of morals; and consequently, that the church is in these respects infallible. We must of necessity admit either this exposition, or the exposition of some private person, or of some national church, or of some assembly or other greatly inferior to the illustrious society of the catholic church, which adopts the explanation above; that is to say, we must otherwise admit an evidence which is not undeniable, against an evidence which is undeniable. Nor do we thus assert, that the infallible authority of the church
its own infallibility from scripture, as the Confutation insinuates, (p. 12.) We only maintain, that the authority of the illustrious society called the church, which in other instances is allowed to be undeniable, should be allowed to be undeniable in this instance al50--of a similar nature, in proving from scripture its just claims
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to infallibility. So that the church, though not of its own nature absolutely infallible, proves its accidental infallibility-from the promises of Christ. For, to be not of itself infallible, and yet to be infallible by virtue of the promise of Christ, are two things very different, and very consistent the one with the other.” Ibid.
« From other texts of scripture, catholics demonstrate, that a charter of infallibility was granted by our Saviour to his church; for instance, among many others, from Mat. xviii. 17. For, supposing even—with the bishop of London, p. 13, 14, a particular church to be there spoken of; when a particular church agrees with the catholic church, and composes private contestations by catholic principles, it constitutes itself a part of the catholic church, and therefore is equally to be heard-on pain of the refractory party being looked upon as a heathen man and a publican. The same prerogative of infallibility we also prove from Mat. xxviii. 19, 20. For the commission itself here given to the apostles to teach and baptize, is not more plain, than the
promise of perpetual assistance in the execution of that commission, by the apostles and their successors the pastors of the church, till the end of time.--It should also be observed, that these and many other texts of scripture,” (Jo. xiv. 16, 17; xvi. 13; i Tim. iii. 15, &c.) from which 6 catholics infer, that Christ and his Holy Spirit will always protect his church from error, mutually confirm and support each other.” Ibid.
“ If private persons with his Lordship of London, p. 19, stand forth against what they think vain pretensions to infallibility, because St John bids us try the Spirits, 1 Jo. iv. 1, and because St Paul tells us to prove all things, 1 Thess. v. 21,--how, we ask, can we prove or try spiritual matters better, in the opinion of the apostles themselves, than by submitting the determination of them to the pastors of the church whom God gave, as St Paul avers, to prevent our being any more tossed to and fro, and carried about by every wind of doctrine? (Ephes. iv. 11, 16.) Is not this a more prudent method, than to leave the unlearned and the unstable, who wrest the scriptures to their own destruction, (2 Pet. iii. 16) to decide by scripture what they are totally unqualified to do, with the evident risk of their eternal salvation? This rule St John himself prescribes. Should it be alleged that the Jewish synagogue had a stronger title to infallibility than the christian church, this will hardly be maintained when what is said in Deutronomy xvii. 8, &c. is diligently compared with Col. ii. 20, unless we be obliged to think our parents also, infallible: and when Ps. cxviii. 22, quoted and applied to the Jewish priests, Mat. xxi. 42, 45, has been collated with Mat. x. 16, 18, where something much more favorable is asserted in regard of the catholic church. But whether the Jewish church was or was not infallible before the coming of Christ, is a matter of no great moment to us, who by the grace of God are
not Jews. Had Christ cautioned us as earnestly against the leaven of the false doctrine of the pastors of the church, as he cautioned his disciples against the leaven of the Pharisees, (Mat. xvi. 6, 12,) we should have found as many exceptions in Mat. xvi. 18, as we do now in Mat. xxiii. 3 ; especially if miracles like those of Christ had been wrought by the opponents of church pastors : for the miraculous operations of Christ ought, surely, to have convinced the Jews that they were to listen to Him, rather than their jealous priesthood.” Ibid.
66. But may not some of the members of the church be defiled hy sin without falsifying what is said Matt. xvi. 18 ? They may. Some of them also may be deformed by latent error, skulking in the darkness of duplicity and subtile evasion, without any infringement of that charter of infallibility which Christ promised to the pastors of his church in general. (P. 13, Confut.) But neither can error deform the generality of the pastors—for that would falsify the promise of Christ; nor can sin defile the whole church—for that would render it absolutely unlike its description in the gospel. (Matt. iii. 12, xiii. 47, 48, 49.) It will always have wheat together with the chaff, and good fish with the bad, till the destined separation at the end of time. Besides, though Christ has privileged the pastors of his church in general with a special exemption from error, he has no where promised them the like special exemption from sin.”
“ To every objection drawn from sacred writ, this one answer may suffice;-that all such expositions of scripture are contrary to the expositions of the catholic church, and therefore inadmissible. For the authority of the church must either be allowed as undeniable in things of this nature, or (it has been proved)—we forfeit our title to the scripture itself. This ought abundantly to satisfy those who admit scripture exclusively, as the rule of faith. But if any thing be still wanting completely to vindicate the church's claim of infallibility, let our readers but recite the profession of faith-in general use among christians and commonly called the apostle's creed.
For whether this creed was framed by the apostles themselves or not, it is allowed by protestants—to contain a summary abridgment of their doctrine. Protestants also grant, that the creed always was, is, and will be true; and that therefore there always was from the time of the apostles, is now, and always will be, a holy catholic church, and a communion of saints. (See Pearson's Exposition of the Creed on the ninth article.) Now a church cannot be holy and a communion of saints, if it teach impious errors, superstitions and idolatry: no; it cannot be holy and a communion of saints, if it require all persons in its communion to believe erroneous doctrines, in lieu of the doctrine of our Saviour Christ. Therefore the holy catholic church can never err
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against faith. Consequently, its privilege of infallibility is fairly deducible from the creed.” Ibid.
“ This reasoning is so plain and obvious; so adequate to the capacity of the most illiterate, that we have great cause to thank Providence, for favoring the church with this article in our daily profession of faith. The caviller may here raise mists by forced constructions; but forced constructions have nothing to do in the exposition of a creed—which was designed by its framers to be the instruction of every person of common sense. The obvious meaning of this article must be its true meaning; and that obvious meaning will always prove the catholic church-to subsist,—to be infallible in faith, and to be the authoritative interpreter of the rule of faith and morals. And as no other church or body of men can justly claim a like degree of infallibility, the catholic church alone is this interpreter, and the lawful judge of controversies concerning religion. Let each one then diligently enquire (and this enquiry is by no means difficult, as will clearly appear from the perusal of what we have already said)—what it is that constitutes the whole rule of faith and conduct, and who has the best title to be the interpreter of that rule; and then humbly submit to be instructed and directed in christian faith and morality, by the interpretation thus obtained.” Ibid. Whoever does this will act most rationally, and soon arrive at the light of truth.
MACEDONIANS-followers of Macedonius who in the fourth age denied the divinity of the Holy Ghost. This man in 332 was placed in the see of Constantinople by the Arian faction, whose errors he had espoused; and his intrusion was attended with tumult and much bloodshed. The violences which he committed, compelled the emperor Constantius—though himself an Arian, to remove him; and Macedonius was, in consequence, deposed by a council of that sect held at Constantinople in the year 359. Incensed alike at his fellow sectarists and the catholics, he now maintained against the former-the divinity of the Son of God, and against the latter he asserted—that the Holy Ghost was not a Divine Person, but merely a creature more perfect than the rest. The objections from Holy Scripture which the Arians brought forward against the divinity of the Son, were the greatest part of them employed by Macedonius against the divinity of the Third Person : his error was the dictate of revenge, and the suggestion of a proud and contumacious spirit.
However, he prevailed with certain Arian bishops who had been deposed like himself, to make common cause; and they found means to propagate their heterodox opinions—in Thrace, in the province of the Hellespont, and in Bithynia. They imposed upon the people by an affected gravity in their exterior, and the austerity of their manners-a usual artifice with false teachers, or in other words, of wolves in sheep's cloathing. The Macedonians were tolerated by Julian the apostate, and by his catholic súccessor Jovian: but the Arian emperor Valens persecuted both them and the catholics, with whom the Macedonians one while appeared disposed to enter into terms of communion. In 381 they were invited to the general synod at Constantinople, convened by Theodosius with a view to the restoration of peace to the distracted church: on this occasion they refused to sign the Nicene symbol; and were condemned as heretics, From that period we find no farther mention of them in ecclesiastic history.
The errors of the Macedonians in reference to the Third Person of the most blessed Trinity, differ in this from those of the Socinians: the latter, with the sectarists of Photinus, hold that the Holy Ghost is not a Person, but merely a denominative term signifying the operations of the Divinity within our soul: the Macedonians, on the contrary, held the Holy Ghost to be a person, --a real subsisting being,--a created spirit-resembling the angels, but of a nature far superior to their's, although greatly inferior to the Godhead. We will endeavour, with the help of God, to demonstrate against these ancient as well as our more modern Anti-trinitarians—the divinity of this Holy Spirit.
66 Christ our Lord, before his ascension into heaven, commissioned his apostles to go and preach to all nations the adorable mystery of the Trinity, and to baptize those who should believe in him—in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. (Matt. xxviii. 19.) These words alone should be sufficient to confound—the Arians, the Socinians, and all other-ancient or modern enemies of this fundamental article of the christian faith. Reason, indeed, cannot comprehend this sublime mystery, as Christ himself sufficiently declares, (Matt. xi. 27; xvi. 17;) and to affirm it to be demonstrable by the aid of reason alone, as Abelard and some moderns have pretended, is not only an error, but evidently absurd. Almighty God, in condescension to human weakness, was pleased to prepare the world gradually to receive this and his other most profound mysteries. The incarnation of the Son of God cannot be understood without faith in the most Blessed Trinity; and Christ himself has often expressly inculcated it in the New Testament, in which we read at every turn-of three distinct subsisting persons in the Godhead; and St John informs us that there are three in heaven that give testimony.