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“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 him."

“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 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

VOL. VI-17.

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 ?"

" Agreed.”

“He who believes all that is clearly and manifestly revealed believes all the essentials, is free from essential error, is substantially orthodox ?”

“ Agreed, again."

“He who rejects any truth clearly and manifestly revealed errs essentially?

“He does.

“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 some 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 admit that the nonessentials may be either believed or disbelieved without essential error, unless you choose to admit that you yourselves are in essential error.”

“How so?”

“You certainly deny some things, which you call non-essentials, 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 matter from Presbyterians, have or can have the essential faith; and then you must recall your denial, and say that Presbyterianism and Protestantism are one and the same thing, and that Presbyterians are the only Protestants."

Very well, I will not insist on the point. Say the nonessentials are matters which one may either believe or disbelieve withont erring essentially.”

“We now seem to be in a fair way of determining what Protestantism is. It is, you say, the essentials, and the essentials are all the truths clearly and manifestly revealed in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. Tell me what these truths are, and you tell me what Protestantism is, and take the preliminary step towards answering my question, Why are you a Protestant ?"

CHAPTER III.

Much to the relief of James, while he was considering what he should reply to John's last demand, the conversation was suspended by the entrance of Mr. Wilson, a brother Presbyterian minister, settled over the oldest Presbyterian congregation in the city. He was of Scottish descent, and upwards of seventy years of age,-a man of antiquated notions, with little respect for the younger ministers of his denomination. Presbyterianism, in his view, had nearly lost its original distinctive character. Wesley and Whitefield, by their appeals to heated passion and mere animal excitement, instead of reason and voluntary affection, had well nigh ruined it. Presbyterians were now Methodists, Armi. nians, in all except name and outward organization and government; and the new methods and measures lately adopted for the conversion of sinners appeared to him likely to prove in the end its total destruction. He saw with pain the lecture-room and rostrum superseding the pulpit, strolling evangelists and revival preachers the regular pastors, and “in. quiry” and “anxious” meetings the orderly ministrations of the word.

Between him and James there was little sympathy. James was a man of his times. He understood the tendencies of. his age and country, and held that it was the part of wisdom, if not indeed of duty, to yield to and obey them. To have power over the people, he held it to be necessary to consult them, to change with them, to take the direction they indicate, to be always just in advance of them, and never to

lag behind them. He availed himself of their passions and tendencies as the readiest way of occupying the post of leader, and, if he could only occupy that post, the direction he followed or the final goal he might reach was comparatively indifferent. He was adroit, shrewd, unscrupulous, but he did not know that he who leads the mob only by yielding to them leads them only by being their slave. The true leader is he who makes the multitude follow him, not he who follows them. He who has principles and will stand by them, though he stand alone, or be hewn down by the maddened multitude for his fidelity to them, is by many degrees superior to him who sacrifices his principles, if he have any, to popularity, or who has no principles but to ascertain and yield to the passions and tendencies of the age or country; But of all this James knew, at least, cared, nothing. He lived in an age and country of demagogues, and he did not aspire to be thought superior to his age and compatriots. The greatest modern achievement in the state, he was accustomed to hear it boasted, had been to establish the rule of demagogues; and why should it not be as glorious to establish this rule in the church as in the state ?

Little as James sympathized ordinarily with Mr. Wilson, he welcomed him in the present instance with great cordiality, and introduced him to his brother. After some commonplace remarks, he told him he had just learned that his brother, who had been absent for many years, had become a Catholic. He recapitulated the conversation they had just had, stated the point at which it had arrived, and beggeci Mr. Wilson to answer the question they were debating. Mr. Wilson was not pleased with the course adopted by James, and replied :

“If I had had the management of this discussion from the beginning, I should bave given it another direction. Your brother has, doubtless, been under the training of the Jesuits, is versed in all their scholastic refinements and subtilties, and a perfect master of all the sophistical arts by which they entrap and bewilder the simple and unwary. When you dispute with such a man, mind and keep the management of the argument in your own hands. Consent to ply the laboring oar yourself, and you are gone. The great secret of dialectics is in knowing how to put your questions. You gentlemen of the modern school are far abler demagogues than logicians, and much better skilled in exciting the passions of the mob than in managing a dis

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