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St. Augustine says: “ That there was a time when the true church had been included in the person of Abel, and in another period in the family of Noah."
In the time of the Arians, Theodosius says: That the Emperor Constantinus spoke of Athanasius as being one of the greatest wretches upon the earth. • Who art thou (said the Emperor to Liberius) that thou comest with that wretch, to trouble the rest of the earth ?”
St. Hilarius reports :3 That in the whole Province of Asia, there was only the bishop Eleusius with a very small number of persons, who remained firm in the truth.
St. Hieronimus affirms:4 That in the whole of Orient, there was only Athanasius, and Paulinus, with very few, who have not followed the heresy of Arius; that the true church has not been composed by Arius; and the multitude of his followers, but by the very few, viz. Athanasius and Paulinus. The answer of Liberius to
Augustin. Enaratio in ps. 128. ?Theodosius Hist. Lib. II.
3 Hilar. cont. Auxent.
*Hieron. cap. 58, adv. Lucif.
the Emperor Constantinus will settle the whole controversy. “The word of faith (says Liberius) is not diminished by the small number who profess it, even if it would be limited to one person."" And according to the testimony of Tertulius, who says: “It is not the great number of bishops who form the church, because the church can be contained in one person.
St. Gregorius adds :3 " Who are those who define the true church by the multitude? They have the multitude, we have the faith ; they have the gold and silver in abundance, but we have the true doctrine.” It is evident, that the true church at that time was not composed of the multitude. And when anti-Christ shall come (according to the testimony of our Saviour,) who says in the Gospel of Luke, chap. xviii. 8, “When the Son of man cometh shall he find faith?"That convinces me, that when the impious heresy of anti-Christ shall reign in the church, there will be no other proof of christianity, no other refuge for the christian, than the Bible, which is
Theod. unde Supra.
the Word of God. That the multitude will follow error, and the true church will be limited to a small flock, who will have no other arms against the strategems and persecutions of anti-Christ, than the arms of God.
· THE APOSTOLICAL SUCCESSION AS A
PROOF OF THE INFALLIBILITY OF
I must confess, that at the time, with all these evidences before me, with all these proofs of antiscriptural practices, and heathenish worship before my eyes, I could not divest myself of a strong attachment to the church of Rome; having the strong impression of the apostolical succession, I thought she must be infallible. But how different were my feelings after a strict examination of my Bible, and the fathers on that important point.
Admitting that the church of Rome has really an apostolical succession, would that give her a right to the assumption of infallible power? For if any church in the world has a right to boast of an apostolical succession it is the church of Jerusalem. We read in the Psalms. " As the mountains
'Ps. 125, v. 2.
are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about his people from henceforth, even forever.” These were the promises upon which the priests in the Old Testament relied, and these very promises gave rise to prejudices, so that every moment they exclaimed: “ the people of the Lord; the tempel of the Lord are we, &c.” But the Lord answered them :' “ Trust ye not in lying words, saying: the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord are we. For if you truly amend your ways and your doings , if you truly execute judgment between a man and his neighbor; if ye oppress' not the stranger, the fatherless and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt; then will I cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, for ever and ever. trust in lying words that cannot profit, &c." Though Jerusalem has been favored by God as a tabernacle of his own dwelling, the judgment of the Lord has been notwithstanding executed, because of their abominations.” 2
"Jeremiah, chap. 7, v. 4-15.
If Zion has ceased to be the house of God; if Jerusalem, the city of the Lord has been reduced to a solitude, the altars laid waste and made desolate ; what has the church of Rome to boast of being the cradle of martyrs, and the nurse of confessors and saints ? She ought rather to tremble at the abominations with which she is filled, the errors with which she is infected, the scandles which their Popes have been to the universe; is it not a wonder, that long ere this it has not been reduced to the dust like Jerusalem, and become a den of thieves and robbers, a horrible Babylon, a terrible solitude? Is it not a wonder that Rome, which has been founded with fratricide ;' populated by rapine;' whose morals are filthy like her streets, and in her avarice selling the cross of Christ, wherever she finds a purchaser,' yet exists upon the surface of the earth.?
Hist. of Rome, where Romulus killed his brother Remus after having founded the city of the world, in order to be the sole governor of it.
2 Ibid. The stratagem of the Romans, of making a feast, and inviting the Sabine women, and then shutting the gates of the city against their husbands and lovers, in order to populate the city.
3 The relic of the cross is very dear, that is the reason that it is not to be found in the poor man's house as the rags and bones of the saints are.