« AnteriorContinuar »
Incontinently, the answer, as recommended by Dr. Norris and Dr. Doyle, is: that Their hope must be well founded, BECAUSE the infallible Council of Trent has finally decided the question.
(2.) But, in reality, the persons, who would give as sufficient even this strange answer, must either have themselves paid very little attention to the principles of the Tridentine Council, or must have rapidly concluded that not more attention has been paid to those principles by their antagonists.
Their answer, such as it is, rests upon the avowed basis : that The Council of Trent, nakedly and dogmatically, made certain decisions in respect to alleged christian doctrine and in respect to alleged christian practice.
Whence their conclusion is : that, Since the decisions of the Tridentine Council are to be revered as the dictates of the Holy Ghost, those decisions cannot now, without manifest impiety, be questioned or controverted.
But, irrelevant as this answer plainly is to the case in hand; the case, to wit, of an inquirer asking a reason of that hope which a Latin recommends to his acceptance : the very basis of such an answer is palpably insecure.
The Council of Trent did not make its deci
sions nakedly and dogmatically. On the contrary, it rested them, even professedly, altogether upon
AN ASSERTED FACT.
Hence, its decisions were made, not abstractedly, but concretely. They were so framed, as to depend, not upon the simple naked infallibility of a theopneust Ecumenical Council, but upon the previous establishment of AN ASSERTED FACT in history.
Such being the case ; by the Tridentine Synod, the cause, even professedly, was ended, only so far as THE ASSERTED FACT could be established.
Therefore, both on the very ground gratuitously taken up by the Council itself, and likewise on the acknowledgment that the infallibility of an Ecumenical Council extends not to Facts but reaches solely to Doctrines : THE ASSERTED FACT must be historically substantiated, ere our modern romish theologians, even on their own principles, can be allowed to say, that the CAUSE IS ENDED'.
MATTERS OF FACT.
From the authority of Mr. Berington we learn that It is no article of Catholic Faith, that the Church cannot err in
Faith of Cathol. p. 154, 155. See below, book ii. chap. 7. § IV.
Should any Romanist, perceiving the consequences of this
Now the fact, again and again asserted by the Tridentine Fathers, is this.
All the doctrines and all the practices, which they, the Tridentine Fathers, have decided to be true and obligatory, were always the received doctrines and practices of the Church Catholic, in EVERY age, without any variation, from the very time of Christ and his Apostles who were themselves the first original inculcators of such doctrines and such practices, down even to the time in which they, the Tridentine Fathers, lived and flourished.
Nor, be it carefully observed, do they barely assert the fact before us, as a fact.
acknowledgment, wish to draw back from it; he may be promptly met with proof positive.
The second Nicene Council, which sat in the year 787, roundly asserted the fact; that No one of the antecedent Fathers had ever styled the consecrated eucharistic bread an IMAGE of Christ's body: and, upon this precise ASSERTED FACT, the members of that Council built the doctrine of a material or substantial presence of Christ in the consecrated eucharistic elements. Concil. Nic. ii. act. vi. Labb. Concil. vol. vii. p. 448. 449.
Yet, by Eusebius and Theodoret of the Greek Church, and by Ambrose and Gelasius of the Latin Church, all of whom flourished anterior to the year 787, the consecrated elements had, even verbally, been denominated the image (einùs and imago) of Christ's body and blood. Euseb. Demons. Evan. lib. viii. c. 2. p. 236. Theod. Dial. ii. Oper. vol. iv. p. 85. Ambros. Offic. lib. i. c. 48. Oper. col. 33. Gelas. de duab. Christ. natur. in Biblioth. Patr. vol. iv. p. 422.
of Strasbourg Dr. Trevern, have felt the imperative necessity of establishing the fact, before they could plead the DECISIONS.
Hence, with whatever success, they have alike manfully set their shoulders to the wheel: the one, in his Faith of Catholics confirmed by Scripture and attested by the Fathers of the five first centuries; the other, in his Amicable Discussion on the Anglican Church and generally on the Reformation.
Of each of these two writers, the object is the same: namely, AN ESTABLISHMENT OF THE FACT AL
LEGED BY THE TRIDENTINE FATHERS.
Their respective efforts I certainly deem a most lamentable failure: but still, so far as they are personally concerned, they have done nothing more, than what they felt themselves compelled to do. Upon all those who have made such matters their study, the Council has called, to establish, by historical testimony, the fact which the Council has asserted. I readily admit the invitation to be somewhat appalling : but the theological world will only, on that account, the more sincerely respect the undaunted courage of the two chivalrous individuals who have so promptly undertaken the adventure. If they fall in the lofty quest, they at least fall in the very act of performing their knightly devoir.
III. In the spring of the year 1825, an english gentleman of family and fortune, Mr. Massingberd of Gunby Park, with whom I have not the advantage of being personally acquainted, forwarded to me, from the south of France, a copy of the Amicable Discussion of Dr. Trevern, formerly Vicar-General of Langres, then Bishop of Aire, now Bishop of Strasbourg. The сору, ,
thus transmitted to me, was accompanied by a letter : in which Mr. Massingberd spoke, in the highest terms, of the Bishop's personal character; represented his Work, as having produced a very considerable sensation among the travelling English Laity; and, with a degree of perhaps flattering earnestness which I could scarcely have anticipated, requested me to answer it.
On perusing the Work, I found, that Dr. Trevern's general argument, in favour of the Church of Rome and against the Church of England, was, in brief, to the following effect.
That which was taught by Christ and his Apostles, and that which was believed by the strictly