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and with Archbishop Bramhall, “ to submit myself to the true Catholic Church, the spouse of Christ, the mother of the Saints, the pillar of truth. And seeing my adherence is firmer to the infallible rule of Faith, that is the Holy Scriptures INTERPRETED BY THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, than to mine own private judgment or opinions, although I should unwittingly fall into an error; yet this cordial submission is an implicit retractation thereof, and I am confident will be so accepted by the Father of Mercies, both from me and all others who seriously and sincerely do seek after peace and truth.”
Hobart Town, Festival of St. James.
VERY truth is a valuable acquisition, important in proportion to its moral and practical effects ; but truth comes not of itself; he who listens only to objections will remain in profound ignorance and complete error.
and complete error. The difference between civilized and savage nations is the tradition of knowledge and truth inculcated from parent to child, and received with implicit faith by the latter. If each individual in each generation were to commence life by universal disbelief, and accept truth only as it has been rationally proved to him, the consequences would be the subversion of civilized life. The happy tendency of the human mind IS TO BELIEVE ; and the authority of parental instruction and example, and of early education, in most persons secures them from the evils of doubt and unbelief. Where the truth, especially if it be religious, is given up, the mind is stripped of a valuable
possession, not to be recovered without great pains and labour. It
may often happen that the mind is unconscious of its loss, and, far from taking the proper means of inquiry and study to recover the truth, it has been deprived of, considers the desolation of doubt or unbelief wiser than faith and conviction; or supposes that there is no obligation to believe that of which the proofs are not apparent, or to seek after the evidences which careful investigation may discover.
Men have been found to deny the existence of a Supreme Being, and to be utterly unconscious of the loss which they
suffered in not possessing that truth, or even to be proud of it, and to have no sense of the duty and advantage of inquiry into its proofs. In the same manner the Christian religion has been disbelieved by persons who felt not their loss, nor esteemed it necessary to study the evidences of Revelation. So of the doctrines of religion,—men may be found deprived of faith in each of them, with no care to investigate their truth. The doctrine of the divinity of Christ is denied by many Churches and individuals, who, far from being conscious of their want of the fundamental doctrine of Redemption, esteem their disbelief of it an evidence of superior wisdom and knowledge of religion. Had such persons received this truth AS TRADITIONAL, and held it as imbibed in infancy, they would have enjoyed its great religious advantages without distress or trouble ; but deprived of that great truth, if they are unconscious of their loss, and careless about it, there is little hope of their recovering it. If they expect to attain a belief of it without inquiry and study, and that its evidences will present themselves of their own accord, there is still less prospect of their attaining it; and if they are content with their first impressions, and suppose that the reception of objections against the Divine nature of the Redeemer is a sufficient examination of the subject, their loss may be supposed to be hopeless. If this reasoning be correct, there is nothing to prevent its application to the doctrine of the Catholic system of Apostolic Succession and Tradition. Those who are destitute of this truth should reflect whether they are in this condition towards it; and should learn from the analogy of disbelief,
1st. That truths the most important are not to be recovered without long study, inquiry, and freedom from indisposition to receive them.
2nd. That to be unconscious of the loss which the soul suffers by the want of a religious truth, is not the
smallest reason for undervaluing or disbelieving the truth itself,
3rd. That the proofs of religious truths are not self-apparent or evident at first impression; and that the examination of objections to a truth, in preference or to the exclusion of its evidences, amounts to a wilful resolution against the truth, and shuts out the prospect of recovering it.
As an example of the difficulties to which any individual is exposed by unbelief of any religious truth before it can be recovered, let the condition of a Socinian be calmly considered. What an intricate, extensive, critical, and philological discussion is he involved in; and how tedious and careful must be his investigation before it can be said that he is warranted in drawing a conclusion! Yet, if deprived of that truth, by such a laborious inquiry can he alone hope to recover it satisfactorily. There is no reason for supposing that the truth of the constitution of the Church is less involved, or more easily ascertained by controversy, or examination of proofs and objections, than the Divinity of Christ. After the most extensive research, the most learned inquirer cannot suppose that he has examined the whole of the evidence of the Divinity of Christ, or even that he has perceived any one argument in its full force, and under the light of all the relative declarations and considerations of Scripture; and to the generality of mankind, a very limited consideration and imperfect inquiry is accessible or possible. The same, no doubt, may be said of the Apostolic constitution of the Church; and therefore the unbelievers in these doctrines are rationally precluded from conviction : for they can never be sure that they are quite free from the disqualifying indisposition to belief which is so generally attached to rejection of religious truth, and which is an insurmountable obstacle to its recovery; or that they have fully examined, understood, and estimated all its proofs and objections.
If any humble, unlearned Christian were asked on what ground he believed the Divinity of the Redeemer, it would be found that the reason of his faith is the teaching of his Church. The minister teaches it; the congregation believe it ; he was reared in that faith. These are the reasons on which the faith of mankind is founded and these unhappily are but HUMAN TRADITION. A few individuals in the mass of mankind may pretend to form their own creeds by interpretation of Scripture, and only pretend,- for they are guided insensibly, but almost wholly, by the opinions and examples of other individuals or communities; but to the mass of mankind even the pretence is an absurdity : whatever notions or principles they adopt are taken on the authority of others, they follow the guides or instructors they happen to meet with; that is, they are compelled to accept THE TRADITIONS OF MEN~~THE INTERPRETATIONS OF MEN. Mankind therefore have only the choice between the traditions of the Church and the traditions of men—the Apostles' creed, and man's creedthe Apostles' ministry, sacraments, and worship; and man's ministry, sacraments, and worship. If a Quaker, Socinian, Arian, or any other heretic or schismatic, be asked the grounds of his faith, it will be found that all have just the same authority and security for their religions. If they be learned, each supposes that he has attained the truth revealed in Scripture,
that his opinions are those taught by the Apostles, that he has prayed for Divine instruction,--that his opinions lead to piety and morality, &c. If they be unlearned, each will give the same answer : he follows his community and his religious instructors in the faith he has been reared in! Now it cannot be denied that if the Trinity be a Scripture truth, and the "Sacraments are Divine institutions generally necessary to salvation,” the Arians and Socinians meet together for a description of Divine worship which is really a denial and rejection of Christ and of the Holy