Phenix gazette. [volume] (Alexandria [D.C.]) 1825-1833, November 07, 1826, Image 2

Image and text provided by Library of Virginia; Richmond, VA

Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85025006/1826-11-07/ed-1/seq-2/

To the Catholics  of the United States of America.
My Friends,—We have seen Mr. Whites
account of his loss of the Catholic faith, lie
next presents us with a history ot his conversion to Protestinism
aion to theProtestantism of the Church of Eng
land. When he arrived in that country in the
year 1810, he was thirty five years of age.
He informs us that he expected to find no
piety or religion in England, an 1 pays ‘be Eng
lish people a compliment by stating that as they
were enlightened, and as the French philoso
phers led him to believe, that rn the ratio ot his
information, man was irreligious, therefore
England must be very irreligious. But provi
dentially, he in London met a good and pious
friend, and he afterwards found many excellent
men of the same description. He found the
protection of British liberty, and was ashamed
of being thought a Roman catholic. By the
bye; if he was a Roman catholic he would in
England have felt the benefit ot penal infliction,
and he was very wise as he had no religion, not
to subject himself to persecution by continuing
to be a hypocrite. The soreness arising from
rhe endurance of his ten years subjection to
scrutiny began to heal. Professing himself an
iJw?/, he was received with mildness and tole
ration. There is nelhing strange in this. The
law of England does not punish a man for being an
infidel; it punishes him seiiously only for being
a Catholic. Thus it is not against the con
science ot an atheist to swear that he dots not
believe in iransublantialion; it is not against
the conscience of a pagan to swear that no fo
reign prelate hath or ought to have any eccle
siastical or spiritual authority within the realm
of England. It does not injure the conscience
of any person, but ot a catholic, to swear all oi
any of their oaths. White might indeed say
they were mild and tolerant to him, infidel as
he was, but neitherJSir Thomas Moore, nor the
present Duke of Norfolk could say the same of
thenvse’ves. But of course Mr. White calls
cherishing himself, toleration, and he calls the
political incarceration of the noble Duke, be
cause he will not become a member of some
one of the new religions, or an infidel—tolera
tion! Mr White found then for the first time,
he says,‘-that a Christian is not necessarily a|
bigot!** I have yet to learn that this writer |
knows either what a Christian or a bigot is. I
-shall give my own statement of what they are—
A Christian is a person who steadily and upon
principle believes all the doctrines which Christ
has taught, and adheres to the institutions of
Christ. However vague the meaning which is
usually given to the phrase may be, its u ue
meaning is precise and definite; that man who
has not a fixed principle of belief, who doubts
to-day, what he believed yesterday,
has taught ami established in the Christian law,
is not a Christian, in the proper meaning of the
word. What would be thought of me, were I
to assert that man was a good American citi
zen, who neither knew nor cared for what were
the principles of our constitution, or our rules
of law, and would as soon take them from the
explanation of an inhabitant of Hatei as from
the decision of the Supreme court? Revealed
religion consists in that collection of doctrine j
and law which God has made known; the
Christian religion is that body of doctrine and
that code of law which Christ has given. What
Christ gave was not contradiction; but cohe
rent truth, consistent in all its parts; and it is
Unchangeable, for if it be changed it ceases to
be what it was before the alteration; it ceases
then to be the institution of Christ, it becomes
something different from Christianity; a Chris
tian firmly adheres to what Christ has taught
ami established, he avoids changes; he cannot
call error truth, nor change the old institutions
Thus a Christian firmly and reasonably adheres
to truth; and refuses to call recent changes the j
orginal institution. Bigotry is unreasonable,
obstinate adherence to a religious opinion,,
combined with a hatred of those who are op
posed thereto.—The Christian does not adhere
to opinion, for it is not upon his own opinion
he rests, but he receives the testimony of that
church io which Christ originally gave his |
doctrine, that what she now teaches is what she
originally received: he believes the doctrine
upon her testimony, not upon his own private
opinion. That she is an infallibly correct and ,
competent witness we shall afterwards see; thus
his adherence to doctrine is not unreasonable,
for it i> holding to public known truth, not to
private opinion, & his steady adherence to it is
not obstinate attachment. He has no hatred a-
gainst those who err, he is full ol charity and of
affection for them, and if he informs them of
their error, it is not for the purpose of wounding
their feelings but of enlightening their minds,
and inducing them to serve God, that they may
be happy The bigot is known by his rancour,
by his obstinacy, by his personal vindictive dis
position, bv his vague rhapsody; the Christian
is known by his steady calm adherence to doc
trine, by his plain declaration, by his firm ex
postulation, by his precise definite enunciation
of vvnat he knows to be true. If Mr White
had written truly, he would not have asserted
that he had to journey from Seville to London,
and to wait during upwards of thirty years un
til he met with a pious protestant, to find “that
a Christian is not necessarily a bigot.” My
friends, 1 have the happiness to rank amongst
my acquaintance some of the most intelligent
and enlightened protestants iboth hemis
pheres. I have been in close intimacy with
catholics of almost every grade. I assert as
the result of my close and continued observa
tion, that if Mr. White’s assertion is meant to
convey the idea, that there is amongst catho
lics less true charity, less kind feeling, less of
correct liberality for those separated from their
communion than there exists amongst any di
vision of protestants for catholics: a more un
tenable and baseless position was never taken.
Before I close this series, we shall have full op
portunity to prove it.  (see more by clicking on link)

Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85025006/1826-11-07/ed-1/seq-2/