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MR. WHITE'S ABSURD EXPLANATIONS OF THE WORDS CHURCH
AND CATHOLIC.-SOPHISTRY ABOUT THE POPE'S SUPREMACY. -TRADITION. --TRANSUBSTANTIATION. · MR. W.'s MISREPRESENTATIONS OF THE DOCTRINE OF CATHOLICS ON TRANSUBSTANTIATION AND ON PURGATORY. INDULGENCES. - CONFESSION, RELICS, AND IMAGES.
The concluding part of Mr. White's second dialogue in the “ Preservative” is so nearly connected with the whole substance of Letter III. in the “ Evidence," that it will be best to begin this chapter with a notice of both. The first treats of the Church-the second of the Pope. !
The first is a paltry effort to explain away the meaning of that article of the creed in which we profess our belief in the Holy Catholic Church. Mr. White was well aware how inconsistent it is in a Protestant to profess belief in the Catholic Church; when he cannot shew that his Church is Catholic, that is, universal, in any sense, either as to time or place. Hence he labours to do away with the difficulty by confusing the real meaning of both the words, Church and Catho. lic. Church he would have to mean " Christianity in general;" and when our Saviour proinised that Satan should not prevail against his Church, he merely meant that the devil should never succeed in abolishing the Faith in God through Christ...not that the Pope must always be in the right, &c."* But if Church means no more than Christianity in general, it must follow that all those who call themselves Christians are members of the Church of Christ, let their errors be what they may; and if that be Mr. White's idea, how came he to subscribe the Articles of the Church of England, the nineteenth of which gives a very different definition of the Church? 5 The visible Church of Christ is a congregation of faithful men, in which the pure word of God is preached," &c. Mr. Thorndike, a learned Protestant, understood the matter much better. He says in his letter concerning the present state of Religion, that “when we say we believe the Holy Catholic Church, as part of that faith whereby we hope to be saved, we do not profess to believe that there is a company of men professing Christianity, but that there is a corporation of true Christians, excluding heretics and schismatics; and that we hope to be saved by being members of it." What becomes now of Mr. White's absurd notion of the Church? He has evidently not learnt yet what he ought to hold as a member of the Church of England; he is too raw a convert from infidelity; he
may learn from the Article of the Church of England, and this testimony of a Protestant writer, to.correct his ideas about the Church, and salvation out of it.
Mr. White gives an explanation of the word Catholic, equally removed from its real meaning and application. Catholic means universal. So
* " Preservative," page 50.
far Mr. W. tells the truth; but he says, that as soon as errors arose, they were called heresies, which means separations ; because those who set up their own conceits as the doctrine of the Gospel, separated themselves from the universal belief.” It may be humiliating to such a scholar as Mr. White, to be reminded that heresy does not mean separation, but choosing for one's self, as any Greek Lexicon would have informed him. It comes from the verb aigéw-to choose, and hence those who despised the authority of the Catholic Church, and would choose for themselves, were always called from the same word, heretics, that is, choosers. According to Mr. Wi's account, heresies became 6
so numerous, that the true Christian beliefcould no longer be called Catholic or universal; so that to say, I believe in the Holy Catholic Church, was not the same as if one said, I believe in the true Church.” He goes on to state, therefore, that in the course of about three centuries, it became necessary to add the word Apostolic, as it stands in the Nicene Creed. Then he accuses us, whom he insultingly calls “ Romanists,”..of artfully contriving to be called Catholics, and cautions Protestants to be aware of this trick, and never call us Ça. tholics, but Roman Catholics, Romanists, or Papists. Very good advice, no doubt: but why, then, did Mr. White say in the first page of his book that he had been ordained a Catholic priest? Why, but that“ great is the power of truth ;, and it will prevail !"
Now to demolish all the sophistry of this most “ artful contrivance" of Mr. Blanco White's; all history testifies that the true Church always bore the honourable and distinguishing title of Catholic: and let Mr. White be well assured that with all his good advice, and those of many before him who have laboured hard to give us opprobrious names, we shall ever be designated by the glorious and original name of Catholics. He cannot prevent our having a title which has descended to us through the unbroken course of eighteen centuries : he cannot demolish the triumphant proof established in our favour by our uniform possession of that honourable distinction. “ Christian is my name, Catholic my surname, said St. Pacian, who lived towards the end of the fourth century. That saint says, the name of Catholic comes from God, and is necessary to distinguish the dove, the undivided Virgin Church, from all sects, which are called from their particular founders. Observe that this was in a letter to Sympronian, a Donatist and Novatian heretic, who had found fault with the true Church for taking the title of Catholic. This makes power. fully against Mr. Blanco's account; and distinctly proves that the name of Catholic was the distinca tion from heresies, after the period when Ápostolical was inserted in the Nicene Creed. Now let us hear what St. Augustine said in the same century: We must hold the communion of that Church, which is Catholic ; and is not only called so by her own children, but by all her'enemies. For heretics and schismatics, whether they will or not, when they speak not to their own people, but to strangers, call Catholics, Catholics only. For they cannot be understood, if they give them not that name, which all the
world gives them.”* And this very circumstance, which Mr. White has the effrontery to contest, was one of the four important considerations which kept St. Augustine in the Catholic Church; that Church which Mr. White has been so un. happy as to forsake with all these arguments before his face, thus strongly urged by so great a doctor as St. Augustine : “ There are many other things which most justly hold me in the communion of the Catholic Church. Ist.The agreement of people and nations holds me. 2dly.--Authority, begun with miracles, nourished. with hope, increased with charity, confirmed by antiquity, holds me. 3dly. A succession of Bishops descending from the see.of St. Peter, to whom Christ after his resurrection committed his flock, to the present episcopacy, holds me. 4thly -The very name of CATHOLIC holds me;. of which this Church alone has, not without reason, so kept the possession, that though all heretics, desire to be called Catholics ; yet, if a stranger ask them where Catholics meet, none of the heretics dare point out his own house or his Church.”+
Now which are we to believe, these holy and learned Fathers, or Mr. Blanco White? What reasonable man does not see that his account of the title Catholic is totally incorrect and unfounded? The Church of God in communion with the Pope, preserved that title in every cen. tury down to the present; and Mr. White knows that he cannot prove the contrary. His attempt
* Lib. de vera Religione, cap. vii.