« 上一頁繼續 »
believed ; that is, must be believed in some thing else, on or by some authority at least formally distinct from itself.”
“ That must be true; for faith is always by some authority distinct from the believer and the proposition believed."
“Then the immediate object believed will be, not the intrinsic truth of the proposition, but this authority in, on, or by means of which it is believed ?"
6 Be it so."
“ The Bible, as all Protestants contend, in opposition to Romanists, who say it is the church. "
“ Catholics do not say the church is the authority for believing the truth of the revealed proposition, but simply for believing it is a revealed proposition; and, if you reflect a moment, you must admit that the Bible is at best only authority for believing this or that is revealed, not authority for believing that what is revealed is true.”
“We recognize no authority above the Bible."
“ Then you place the Bible above God himself, which I own is what
who call yourselves Protestants often have the appearance of doing; but this cannot be your meaning. All you can mean is, that, in determining what God has revealed, the Bible is the highest authority you recognize. But the Bible, although assumed to be the highest authority for determining what God has revealed, is yet no authority for saying what he reveals is true. Why do you believe what God reveals in or through the Bible is true ?”
" Because it is his revelation, his word.”
“That is, you believe it because God says it. But, in believing it because God says it, what is it you immediately believe ?"
“That is, you believe the proposition because it is God's word, and you believe his word because you believe him. But why do you believe him?"
“ Because it is impossible for him to lie."
“That is, because he is infinitely true, is truth itself, and can neither deceive nor be deceived ?”
"I have no objection to that."
“ Then the object immediately believed, in believing a revealed proposition, is the infinite truth or veracity of God who reveals it."
“ Be it so." “Which, in religious faith, then, shall we say is the more
essential point to be believed,—the matter revealed, or the infinite veracity of God who reveals it ? ”
“What is the difference?"
“The difference, perhaps, will appear, if you tell me what it is that makes the faith religious faith, or distinguishes it, as religious faith, from all other kinds of faith.”
“ It is religious faith because the proposition believed is a revealed proposition."
“If I believe the proposition, ‘God exists in unity of essence and trinity of persons,' because you teach it, or because I think I have discovered and demonstrated it by my own reason, is my belief religious belief?”
Why not, since the proposition in either case is the same? What difference can it inake, if it be believed, for what reason or on what ground it is believed ?" “If I believe it because you teach it, I believe you, and
, what I immediately believe is that you are a man of truth and worthy of credit. Is there any thing religious in my believing you
1?" “Not necessarily."
“If I believe it because I think I have discovered and demonstrated it by my own reason, I simply believe my own
Is to believe my own reason religious belief ” “Certainly not." “For, if it were, every belief, whether intuitive or scientific, would be religious, and the belief of falsehood as much as truth; since, in every act of belief, whether the belief be well founded or not, I believe my reason.
But if I believe the proposition, not because you teach it, not because I discover or demonstrate it by my own reason, but because God says it, and therefore because I believe him, and that he is infinitely true, and can neither deceive me nor be deceived, and, furthermore, because he commands me to believe it, is my act now religious ?”
“ Then it would seem that it is believing and obeying God, which makes the belief religious belief?”
“That appears to be so."
“Then the more essential point in religious belief is not simply belief of the matter revealed, but of God who reveals it?”
“Very well, let it be so."
“In every proposition, be it what it may, which I believe because God reveals it, I do believe him, do I not?”
« So it follows from what we have said."
“But if the more essential point is to believe God, the more essential error must be to disbelieve him, must it not ?"
“Certainly, to disbelieve God is the most heinous offence of which man can be guilty. The grossest insult we can offer even to a fellow-mortal is to call him a liar; and we call God a liar, whenever we disbelieve or refuse to believe hiin."
“But do I not disbelieve or refuse to believe God, and therefore make God a liar, whenever I refuse to believe a proposition because I have only his word for it?”
"You do, and are guilty of the sin of infidelity."
“Then, if God has told me, no matter for what reason, that Toby had a dog and the dog wagged his tail, and I fuse to believe it, do I or do I not err essentially ?”
“You err essentially, as it appears from what we have said."
“Then there may be essential error, where the matter or proposition denied is not in itself essential ?"
“So it would seem.”
" Then you will concede what you call the non-fundamentals, if revealed truths, can no more be denied without essential error than the fundamentals themselves ?”
“Not at all. Doubtless, where the matter is clearly and manifestly revealed, refusal to believe is essential error; but it does not therefore follow that it is essential error to refuse to believe, where it is not clearly and manifestly revealed, where it is uncertain that God speaks, and, if he does, what is the exact meaning of what he says."
“ This uncertainty, not the fundamental or non-fundamental nature of the matter in question, then, is that which saves the refusal to believe from being essential error ?”
“That seems to follow."
“ If the same uncertainty existed with regard to what is fundamental, the refusal to believe it would, then, no more be essential, than the refusal to believe the non-fundamentals ? "
“That seems also to follow."
"In order, then to determine what are the essentials, that is, what must be believed, and cannot be denied without essential error, and what are the non-essentials, that is, what without essential error may be either believed or denied, it will be necessary to inquire, not what are the fundamentals
and what the non-fundamentals, but what is or is not clearly and manifestly revealed.”
“Since the fundamentals are all clearly and manifestly revealed, I have no objections to saying so.
“Whether the fundamentals are all clearly and manifestly revealed or not, you must so say, or abandon the ground you have taken. The essentials, then, are what is clearly and manifestly revealed ?"
- Be it so.”
“ The non-essentials what is not clearly and manifestly revealed ?"
“He who believes all that is clearly and manifestly revealed believes all the essentials, is free from essential error, is substantially orthodox?"
“He who rejects any truth clearly and manifestly revealed errs essentially?”
“But he who rejects only the non-essentials does not err essentially ?”
“Stop there a moment. Men may differ as to the nonessentials without essential error; but to differ in opinion about a point is not necessarily to deny it; for both parties may intend to believe it, and would, if they could only ascertain the truth involved."
“ But individuals may differ in some respects, even as to matters of faith, from Presbyterians, without erring essentially ?"
“I do not deny it."
“The points on which they differ must be non-essentials, otherwise the difference would be essential. In regard to these points they must differ from Presbyterians, either by holding some things to be revealed truths which Presbyterians do not, or by denying some things to be revealed truths which Presbyterians believe are revealed truths?”
“ They may also differ from them by simple ignorance."
“That is true; but then they differ only negatively, not positively. Presbyterians in this respect must differ from one another; for soine are better informed as to what Presbyterianism is than others are or can be; but they are, nevertheless, all alike Presbyterians. So I, as a Catholic, may be ignorant of some points of the Catholic faith, and in this respect differ from the one who knows them all; but I am
as true a Catholic as he, because I intend to believe all the Church teaches, because I am ready to believe all as soon as explicitly propounded to me, and because the points on which I am ignorant I believe implicitly, since they are implied in what I believe explicitly. This is, therefore, a mere negative difference, and amounts to nothing. The differences in question are positive differences, and these must consist, either in believing things to be revealed which you deny to be revealed, or in denying certain things to be revealed which you believe to be revealed.”
“I do not see how that follows."
"The differences we are considering concern matters of faith ; and nothing, I suppose you will grant, is or can be matter of faith which is not a divinely revealed truth. Or, rather, no man can hold any thing to be matter of faith, unless he holds it to be matter of revelation, that is, a revealed truth.”
“ I do not know about that."
“But you do; for the faith we are speaking of is religious faith, and we have agreed that there can be religious faith only where the proposition believed is a revealed proposition."
“Very well, proceed.”
“If, then, you admit differences as to matters of faith may exist without essential error, you must adınit that the nonessentials may be either believed or disbelieved without essential error, unless you choose to admit that you yourselves are in essential error.”
“You certainly deny some things, which you call non-es: sentials, to be revealed truths; such, for instance, as the divine institution of the episcopacy, which is asserted by Protestant Episcopalians. But, if the non-essentials cannot be denied without essential error, then you err essentially in denying it. On the other hand, you assert infant baptism to be a divine command, which your Baptist brethren deny. Infant baptism, you say, is a non-essential; if, then, non-essentials cannot be positively denied without essential error, your Baptist brethren err essentially, and are not, as you have admitted, substantially orthodox. Moreover, unless you admit the non-essentials may be either believed or disbelieved without essential error, your distinction between essentials and non-essentials avails you nothing, and you must come back and assert that none, who differ positively in any mat