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As the Incarnation is a fact of the past, it is her mission to assert the dogmatic truth of an historical event.
If it be necessary for all men to acknowledge that event to be a fact, it is necessary that there should be an authoritative witness to it.
The Church is infallible inasmuch as it is Divine; infallible in the domain of supra-sensible truths. It is fallible when it dogmatizes on any other truths.
Wherever the Church expresses Christ, it is divine, immutable, and true; wherever it expresses man it is human, and fallible, and changeable.
Thus, the organic constitution of the Church has been disturbed. That is the human side; but the divine side has remained unchanged.
No member of the Church can declare the whole truth. No portion of the Church can declare the whole truth. The whole truth can only be declared by the ecumenical Church.
No member of the Church may deny a dogma which he cannot believe. He may say, I do not believe that doctrine. But he may not say, That doctrine is false.
No branch of the Church may reject as false dogmas received by other branches of the Church. For there is really no such a thing as a branch of the Church. The Church must be one or nothing. The branch is nothing but a group of individualities; they are of the Church, and fit harmoniously into their places, but if they begin to fall together for the purpose of denying what is to other individuals and tracts of the Church, they are in schism.
What every individual and every part of the Church is morally bound to do is to believe what is within its own. focus, and to allow what is beyond its own horizon.
Every individual and every part of the Church is infal
lible in what he or it believes and declares, but is fallible in everything else.
When any individual or portion of the Church denies a dogma held by any other portion of the Church, such a denial is a practical denial of the infallibility of the Church, therefore it is a denial of the infallibility of Christ, therefore it is a denial of the divinity of Christ.
Is then a member of a branch of the Church bound by any negations of that branch? Is, for instance, a Greek bound to disbelieve in the double procession of the Holy Ghost, is a Roman bound to disbelieve in the infallibility of the entire Church, because the expression of infallibility has been assumed to the detriment of the whole, by one man; is an Anglican bound to reject the dogma of Invocation of Saints?
Certainly not. A negation is nothing. If the Greek Church denies the double procession, the Roman Church denies the oecumenicity of the Body of Christ, the Anglican Church denies the Invocation of Saints, none of these denials affect their members.
For men are members, not of parts, but of the whole. They are bound to the whole by affirmation; negations are not links, they are the rupture of links.
As things are now, there is schism, brought about by negation; possible in the Church, because it has its human, imperfect side, which having become corrupted through union with effective authority, has fallen into decomposition.
But every additional step in beliefs taken by any man, or any admission that truths may lie beyond his limited horizon, approaches him to the ideal of all-conciliation.
Schism is negation, and negation is nothing in itself. Therefore negation cannot bind any man's conscience.
If any man declares all that is within the range of his own belief, and admits as possible all that is believed by others, he is very near to the realization of Catholicity.
If any man declares all that is within the range of his own belief, and accepts as true all that is authoritatively declared by the representatives of all mankind, he is a Catholic. He may not be able himself to believe, but he believes the measure of truth to be universal and not individual.
This is the function of the Church, to declare authoritatively all truth; and every man is morally bound to accept all as true, some articles because they are within his own apprehension, some because they are within the capacity
THE DOGMA OF GRACE
"To him who will sin, the way is open; to him who will keep the law, divine grace overflows."-TALMUD: SABBATH.
The relation between man and God-Deism admits the relation of origin alone-Pantheism confuses the factors-Christianity preserves the factors and determines the relation-Man free to accept life, reason and grace, or to reject them all or severally-Protestantism vitiates the relations-Catholicism maintains them-The mode of God's operation the same always-Vitally, intellectually, morally-He acts mediately-the medium material--The sacramental system the materialization of grace -Grace given at every time of life to meet all necessities-Loss to the ignorant through the mutilation of the sacramental system.
YOD being the absolute, and man the contingent, God lives as the essence and source of life, and man lives as the effect, and never as the principle. Deriving his life from God, he may become the source of life to another, but not the absolute cause of life.
His life is a reflexion of God's life, and he may reflect it on another, but he cannot constitute himself the ultimate principle from which all life flows.
Such is the relation between God and man, a relation that cannot alter, God the cause, man the effect; God the principle, man the derivative.
The Deist admits this relation as the original, but not as
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The Deist charges the Panthei