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SUBJECT OF THE TREATISE.

XV

after-thought,

a

felicitous ex

post

facto

argument, got up

for

the

occasion,

and never

thought

of

for

such

a

purpose before;

but

not

so

the

fallacy of

a

descending delegation of divine

authority

in

the

line

of

apostolical

succession.

This upas

had

taken

deep root

in

the

soil,

gradually blasting every

thing

around it, until, under

the

specious

pretext

of

unity and

the

growing rage

for

centralization,

the

mon-

strous sophism reached

its

climax

by vesting

one

man with the

blas-

phemous claim of

"

all

power

in heaven and in earth."

In

thus tracing to its veritable

source

the

primacy claimed by

the

pope,

we

are doing no

more

than

has been done by

some of

its

most

ingenious

and

eminent

advocates

in

modern

times.

The

only dif-

ference

between

us

is,

that

what they

assume as

a

sacred

truth,

"

in

conformity with

the

teaching of Christ our Lord,"

we

hold to

be

a human

fallacy; and

what they

represent

as

the

very

" point"

of perfection, we look

upon

as

the

acme

in the

development of

the

"

mystery

of

iniquity."

"

We

fully

admit,"

says

Cardinal Wiseman, in

one

of

his

late lectures,

" that

this transmissionary power from

bishops

to others

in succession

is

in conformity

with

the

teaching of Christ our Lord.

But

upon

the

same principle,

and

for

the

same

reasons, we

believe

that

to

ONE

of these particular pastors

has been given

a

higher charge,

a

charge

over

the other

pastors of the

church;

and

that

this

also

is

traceable

in

the

same way

to the

commission

of our Lord,

and forms an

essen-

tial

part

of the government of the church which he

established.

I

might here

at

once ask, my

brethren,

does

there

seem

at

first sight

any

thing

unnatural

in this?

If

God appointed

a number

of

pastors, who were

to

rule

over

other

pastors,

bishops

over

clergy,

and

those clergymen

again had to rule

over

their

flocks, does

it

seem

to

you any

thing

peculiar,

extravagant,

that

it

should be

thought

by a

great

many Christians

that

it

pleased God

to

bring this

system

of government to a

point, and constitute

some one over all

the

bishops

of

his

church to

have

the gene-

ral rule

?

"*

The

fallacy involved

in this

plausible reasoning

is

exactly

that

to which

we

have adverted, and admits of

easy exposure.

Few

can

study

the matter

calmly

in

the light

of

the

New Testament

(and

it

is well

that

our opponents are now willing to

appeal to this

uncor-

rupted

standard, instead

of

the

forged

and garbled writings

of

unin-

spired

antiquity) without perceiving

that

the

apostles

of

our Lord,

with all

their

extraordinary

gifts,

never claimed more

than

a minis-

terial

authority in the

church.

Repeatedly, and in

the

most explicit

terms,

do

they renounce

every

thing

like

a

despotical

or

autocratic

power lodged

in

their

own

persons:

"

Not

for

that

we

have domi-

nion

over

your

faith,

but

are helpers of your

joy."

(2 Cor.

i.

24.)

*

Seventh Lecture

by Cardinal

Wiseman, delivered

in

St Mary's Church,

MoorSelds,

on

the

evening of Sunday, March

28,

1852 Subject: Papal

Supremacy.

From our

own

Reporter.

(The

Catholic

Standard.)