« AnteriorContinuar »
as their premises, principles which are repugnant to the Gospel, and, therefore, do themselves commence by making an attack on religion. If they could find in the Christian philosophy their data, or if they confined themselves to merely practical arrangements for social and industrial ameliorations, without assuming to bring out a new philosophy, a new theology, no Christian would disturb them. But, with their fundamental doctrines, we cannot, if we would, go with them in their practical arrangements, without renouncing our allegiance to the Son of God. They tell us that they interfere with the religious feelings of no class of professed Christians, and they, no doubt, really believe what they profess. But they do interfere with the
. faith of Christians, and of every class of Christians, except modern transcendentalists, - in almost every book they write, or discourse they publish. How, then, are we to be silent? Doubtless, it is painful to every philanthropic mind, who has seen and felt somewhat of the evils of life, to be found opposing any class of men seriously and honestly laboring to remove them, and more especially when many of those he must oppose have been for years his own personal friends and associates, and who, perhaps, are only seeking to realize what he and they had dreamed in common, and on principles which he had been the foremost to proclaim. But, when a man sees clearly that he must oppose them, not in their benevolence, not in their philanthropic zeal, not in their singleness of purpose, purity of heart, and lofty aspirations, but in their false philosophy and unsound theology, or be false to his Master in heaven, and therefore to his brethren on earth, he must do it, at whatever sacrifice it may be of personal feeling
Yet we cannot close this too protracted article without saying that we have too recently, ourselves, entertained many of the views we condemn in the Associationists, and we know all too well the mental and moral sophistries by which one is enabled to entertain them without feeling that he is opposing the Christian
doctrines, to have personally any but feelings of charity and respect for them. They do not see their doctrines in the light we do, and we ourselves did not, when we were, in some measure, with them ; for, if they did, they would be as unwilling to defend them as we are. We know many of these men, and we have the greatest confidence in their integrity; and while we have no quarter for their doctrines, we should regret to find ourselves insensible to their many personal virtues.
The great and leading error of the Associationists is not, indeed, in their too high estimate of the dignity and worth of the human soul, – for Christ, by his death, has ennobled every soul; but in their overlooking the necessity of supernatural grace to enable a man, any man, to will and to do the will of God, and in not perceiving that the mere discovery of truth is not sufficient to give us the power to obey it. Here is their fatal mistake. They may respond by calling us ignorant, conceited, arrogant, what they will, and ask, Who are you to lecture us? but though we are nothing, and think full as lowly of ourselves as others can think of us, we dare affirm this truth, for we but echo an authority before which all must bow. We are in bondage; the good that we would we do not, the evil that we would not that we do. There is a law in our members that brings us into captivity to the law of sin and death. No human arrangements, no industrial and unitary combinations, can deliver us from the body of this death. Nothing can deliver us but the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the benefits of his mission and death personally applied by the communication of the Holy Spirit. It is in no idle cant, we speak this solemn truth, but in deep and earnest conviction, to which, after years of wandering, we have been forced by a power stronger than our own. And till we receive this grace, till we are freed from this death, are made free by the Son of God, it is in vain we attempt social ameliorations. They will all prove abortive. For there is none other name given under heaven among men whereby we must be saved. Not by the increase of goods, not by the multiplication of material wealth and luxuries for the gratification of the senses, will peace, order, and love be established among men; but by a meek and quiet spirit, by humility, lowly reverence for God, by feeling that blessed in very deed are the poor, and the poor in spirit. O, Jesus was the true reformer! he gave us the law of all reform ; and do
1; not dream that the order he established is to pass away, and be succeeded by another; for his kingdom is to endure for ever, and of its increase there is to be no end.
The third charge we brought against Fourier's plan of reorganization --- namely, that, admitting its speculative truth, it is impotent to effect the social reforms it promises we pass over, for The Phalanx has not undertaken to controvert what we have said in its support. When a Fourierist shall comprehend and refute the principle contended for in our essay, No Church, no Reform, inserted in this Journal for April last, we will consider this charge of the practical impotence of Fourierism somewhat further. Till then, nothing more needs to be said.
ART. III. – 1. White's Confutation of Church-of
Englandism, and Correct Exposition of the Catholic Faith, on all Points of Controversy between the two Churches. Translated from the original Latin, by EDMOND Wm. O'Mahony, Esq. Philadelphia : Henry
M'Grath. 1844. 12mo. pp. 342. 2. The Churchman. Edited by the Rev. SAMUEL
SEABURY, D. D. New-York: No. 698. August 3, 1844.
The first named publication was originally written in Latin, at Louvain, in 1661, by Alexander White,
a pious and learned man, who had been bred up in the Protestant religion, and for some time had officiated as a clergyman of the Church of England. The work is marked by sound sense and solid learning, and may be consulted with confidence and advantage on all the great points of controversy between the Catholic Church and the Church of England. We are not aware that any answer to it has ever been attempted, and we are quite sure that our Anglican friends will find it unanswerable. Its editor, however, has been inexcusably careless, especially in the matter of dates. Thus, he permits us to read, that St. Irenæus, who suffered martyrdom in 202, flourished in 290, and that Tertullian, who was only a generation later, flourished also in 290. Inaccuracies of this kind, though they affect not the general reasoning of the work, are, nevertheless, blemishes, which the editor should not have suffered to escape his notice.
We have introduced The Churchman to our readers, because we have a high respect for the learning and ability of its distinguished editor, and because, as the organ of that section of the Anglican Church, in this country, which has been supposed to have some Catholic tendencies, it undertakes to answer certain objections to Anglicanism brought forward in our Journal for July, in the review of the Letters of Bishop Hopkins on The Novelties which disturb our Peace. We stated, in our remarks, that we could not see how the Anglican Church, on the principles of the Oxford divines, could justify her separation in the sixteenth century from the Church of Rome. According to these principles, as we stated them, and as we understand The Churchman to accept them, the Church of Christ is a single corporate body, existing and acting only in its corporate capacity, and therefore capable of manifesting its will only through corporate organs. Hence, the separation of any one member, or particular Church, from the communion of another, not authorized by the Church in her corporate capacity, speaking through her corporate organs, is not authorized by the
Church. The separation of one member from the communion of another, not authorized by the Church, is schism. But the separation of the Church of England from the communion of the Church of Rome was not authorized by the Church. Therefore, that separation was schism.
This was substantially our argument. The Churchman admits that the Church is a corporation, and, therefore, that it can exist and act only in its corporate capacity ; but to the assertion, that it can manifest its will only through corporate organs, and, therefore, that the separation of one member from the communion of another, not authorized by the Church speaking through her corporate organs, is not authorized by the Church at all, he opposes, or seems to oppose, 1. The invisibility of the corporation, that is, of the Church, and 2. That the analogy of the corporate body to the natural body is inadmissible, and therefore no argument founded on the assumption of such analogy can be valid. He says, —
“If Mr. Brownson had termed a corporation an “invisible body,' he would have had both truth and authority on his side; but we apprehend that he has neither, when he makes a ‘visible centre and a visible head' essential to the existence of such body. A corporation may have a particular place for the transaction of business, and an officer to preside in its proceedings; and this place and this officer may in an improper and metaphorical sense be called its centre and head.' So far are they, however, from discharging the functions corresponding to the heart and head of the natural body, that they are mere accidents of the corporation, and not at all necessary to its unity, individuality, or corporate faculty."
The Churchman must pardon us for saying that we do not perceive the pertinency of this reply, even admitting its abstract truth, which, however, we are far from admitting. It is true, we applied the terms “visible centre " and " visible head' to the ecclesiastical corporation; but we evidently meant no more by them, in our argument, than that a corporation, if but one corporation, must have a visible unity, a unity of thought and will, and an official organ through which the VOL. I. NO. IV.