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nicely and artfully interwoven with Christianity, that it deceives the very mind of its votaries. The new proselytes perverted to the Romish communion, will, upon inquiry, generally be found to have had their minds deeply tinctured with superstitious notions, or sensual ideas of worship, ere they came in contact with its well-trained and veteran agents.
In the work of proselytism, there is always an apparent, extraordinary zeal for the spiritual welfare of the persons on whom the sinister arts of designing men are practised. This zeal obtains credit for sincerity ; hence a willing surrender of belief to any statement, made, with apparent sincerity, by one not previously suspected to exist in a perpetual atmosphere of falsehood. A mind, from habits of early education, deeply imbued with prescribed principles, and trained to think and reason on a given data, may not be aware, that it is under a delusion, and consequently deludes all, who unhappily give ear to its erroneous principles and false deductions. We should, therefore, want candour, if we did
k The new proselytes, before admission into the Romish communion, are in their discipline enjoined a kind of Pythagorean silence; and, like the "ol ueuunuevos" into Pagan mysteries, cry out, when pressed with what is termed forbidden arguments, Procul 6, procul este, profani. Thus all information and truth are stopped in ipso limine.
not give full credit to the Romish priests for their sincerity: we yield them the same credit as we would have given the worshippers of Baal, had we lived in their days, who verily believed that they were the true servants of God, and that Elijah was an heretic.
As the Romanists, in their plan of operations against the Protestant Church, employ different kinds of instruments and agents, suited to the place or district in which they are stationed, so do they introduce subtle and fallacious questions and arguments, adapted to the understanding and disposition of the several parties on whom they have to practise their arts, and to bring over to their creed. No questions do they argue with more subtlety and fallacy than those disputable points in theology—the unity, authority, and tradition of the Church. A thin covering of gold gives currency to adulterate coin: a portion of truth often serves as an insidious vehicle for the reception of falsehood; and the artful compound affords facilities to the crafty Romanist in disseminating his specious fallacies.
The Romish Priests assert their church to be the only true church of Christ, because she is not distracted by schisms, and alone preserves the
The Romish Church, in charging us with variations of sects, forgets, that to these alone she is indebted for success
order, and enjoys the tranquillity, of Christian concord, in divine fellowship of the Gospel of Christ; or, in other words, she possesses that unity which is the characteristic of a true church, and is exclusively her own.
That she is a church “at unity in herself,” history, in abundant instances, clearly disproves. United in one point, most undoubtedly, to overturn the Protestant Church of England, but in every other respect she has as many schisms and variations of religious opinions, as we have sects and parties within and without our Church.m
in her machinations against us. Following the Machiavelian policy, divide et impera, she places these divisions to her account. Had our Church been as a city at unity in itself,” that of Rome would have found no ground whereon to rest her mighty lever, by which she is now gradually moving Protestantism out of the land. How ought this consideration to induce all, who wish well to our Zion, not to do, or say any thing which may further weaken her walls, dilapidate 'her battlements, and widen the breach, that the enemy may enter in with greater ease and success.
Unprofitable questions, and speculative points, which cannot, even if true, make men better Christians, disquiet unstable minds, and destroy the harmony of congregations, and break the unity of the Church.
m The writings of Romish divines contain nearly every doctrinal opinion which is agitated by our jarring sectariesArminianism, the doctrine of the Jesuits; Calvinism, of the Jansenists; Quakerism, of the Franciscans. Socinianism, in all its gradations, was taught by the authors enumerated in the Roma Racoviama of Jameson.
The unity of the Church, according to Popish theologians, rests on the primacy of St. Peter, and this primacy on the disputed passage, “ Eù łu Πέτρος, και επί ταύτη τη πέτρα οικοδομήσω με την Exuysiev.' Whether our Lord argues from the name to the meaning of the name, or to the confession of the apostle, we discern nothing to favour the hypothesis of the Church of Rome. The words convey no primacy of jurisdiction. The inspired evangelist employs language, which cannot be misunderstood, except by those who will not be taught by Scripture, but twist Scripture into tortuous mazes of their own hypothesis. Had the passage been “ ŠTÀ TÕTW TW TÉTOW," there might have been an ambiguity, whether Peter was meant, or that faith in Christ, as the Son of the living God which had procured for St. Peter, the illustrious title of "
n The word “ tretpos,” in its highest figurative sense of a stone, when applied to Peter, can represent only one true believer, or faithful member of Christ's Church; one out of the true multitudes of believers in Christ; who, as figurative stones, form altogether the glorious spiritual building of Christ's Church, and not the foundation on which that Church is built, because the figurative cannot, consistently with truth, be applied to any other person than to God, or to Christ alone.
The application of this supreme rock to Peter, is inconsistent with the plain reference to the preceding context, made by our Lord in the beginning of this very verse, “ And I
The splendid virtues of the apostle entitled him to deference and consideration among his coequals ; but even these were not always yielded : when he proved himself in an error, and was to be blamed, Paul withstood him to his face. And the same apostle, magnifying his own office to the equality of that of his brethren, could say with boldness and truth, " that he was not a whit behind the very chiefest of them.”The primacy of Peter is a fond conceit of those whose object it is to establish a monarchy in the Church. The whole tenour of Scripture must convince an unbiassed reader, that the Church is built, not on Peter, but on the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ being the chief corner stone. Christ, without any intervention of his favourite apostle, is the “ episcopatus unus,” from whom the Bishops of all the Churches descend in regu
also say unto thee,” which manifestly points out both by the copulative "and," and the connective adverb "also," the inseparable connexion of this verse with the previous declaration of Peter, in the preceding sentence,
66 Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God;" and thereby demonstrates that our Lord's immediate reply, “ And I also say unto thee, &c." did necessarily include the declaration of Peter, as being the principal object of the sentence. The true foundation, or rock, on which the Catholic Church can be properly built: because our faith in Christ, that he is truly the Son of the living God, is unquestionably the only security of our salvation.