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The church of Rome condemns my reasoning. She says: “ The infallibility of the church of Rome is a doctrine of faith.” I must believe it, because the church says it, and because the church who is the oldest of all other churches, believes it. Here I must confess, that on that point I am a rationalist. Suppose some one has to make a payment to a merchant, and gives him certain coins, of which the merchant knows not the value, can that man condemn the merchant if he endeavors to find out the intrinsic value, by weighing the gold pieces? Or if he tries it, in order to assure himself if it be pure gold? Would that be sufficient reason for the merchant, if the other would say : “ It is a very ancient coin, it has been preserved in the family for several centuries?” Certainly not. The merchant would say, “ This may be all true, but there are many ancient coins, which are false." . Suppose that man would insist, and condemn the merchant for not believing in his word, and trusting in his integrity. Would the merchant not have good reason to suspect the sincerity of such a man? Thus it was with me, when I read the canons of the council of Trent, and they said, “ That whosoever denies the infallibility of the church of Rome, let him be accursed.” I suspected the truth of that doctrine, and had good reason to doubt it.
But the church of Rome teaches: “That the bishops, who are the legitimate pastors of the church receive the Holy Ghost, who is the spirit of truth, therefore they can not err.” I will not employ my reason with regard to the Holy Spirit, but submit my reason to the living Word of God, which teaches me that the doctrine of the church of Rome, by limiting the Spirit of God only to the bishops, is false; because St. James says:' “ If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth To ALL MEN liberally, and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him.” That again shows that the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of wisdom is given not only to the bishops, but also to all men, who will ask for it. My dear Roman Catholic brethren see, that it was not, and is not the spirit of protestantism, which directs my pen, but the love of truth and of your immortal souls, and above all to show you how the Spirit of God enlightened my mind.
'Ep. James c. i. v. 5.
CATHOLICITY OF THE CHURCH OF
The Church of Rome glories in the name, Catholic (universal) church. She boasts of the multitude of believers in her doctrine. I heard from my youth the loudest panegyrics upon the numerous conversions, and believers in her doctrines. I thought if that is really the case, it would show, that it is accompanied by the outpouring of the Spirit of God. With these feelings I searched the statistics of the world, to see if that boasted multitude be really so great.
I found that the population of the world is eight hundred and five millions of souls, of which those who profess christianity, taking all denominations together, are two hundred and twenty millions of souls. I separated the chaff from the wheat, the heretics and schismatics from the
papists, and found that the numbers of the Papal church are much smaller, than those of the Greek church, and not as much as those of the Protestants in the world.
In Asia the christians are numerous, but few recognize the authority of the Pope. The chris
tians in Palestine are under the jurisdiction of the Patriarch of Jerusalem. The Armenians and Georgians, have their own patriarch. The Circassians, and those of Asia Minor are under the jurisdiction of the Patriarch of Constantinople. The Jacobites, and all the other tribes this side, and on the other side of the Caucasus have their own Patriarch, and are by no means under the power of the Pope.
The South of Africa belongs to the Protestant Episcopal Church of England. The Christians of Egypt, and the Cophts are under the Patriarch of Alexandria. The Ethiopians, and Abyssynians have their own Patriarch, and have not submitted to the authority of the Pope of Rome.
America. The north of it is nearly all Protestants, though the immigration from Ireland and Austria overflows the Union, still the Protestant immigration overbalances it, and it can with certainty be styled a Protestant country.
Europe; where Rome once deposed kings, and obliged them to come barefooted, and with uncovered heads to the door of the Vatican, has nearly deserted her. Russia has not recognized her. Moldavia, Croatia, and Valachia belong
to the Greek church. England, Denmark, Sweeden, Holland, Prussia, Darmstadt, Curhessen, and all the other small principalities are Protestants. France rejected the authority of the Pope, and assumed the name Gallican church. We see that Rome has no more to boast of her Catholicitý, than it has of her antiquity.
The above facts, strong as they are, were not sufficient to obliterate an impression, which had been made from my youth ; I thought it my duty to examine the fathers, and make use of my own reason and judgment.
If we establish the principle, that the multitude is a sign of an infallible and true church of God, we must conclude, that in the time of Enoch and Abraham, there was no true church upon the earth ; that in the time of our Saviour and the apostles, there was no true church in existence; and even when anti-christ shall come, there will be no true church, and what is more horrible to think, that the church of anti-Christ will be the only true one; and in the time of the persecution, the martyrs and confessors did not constitute the true church, but the Jews did, who crucified our Saviour. This would be the natural consequence if we receive the principle, upon which the church of Rome bases her infallibility.