Saturday, 10 September 2016

The Catholic Church Alone. The One True Church of Christ. Part 145

SIX VOLUMES IN ONE BY THE DISTINGUISHED EXPONENTS OF CATHOLICISM

REV. HENRY DODRIDGE, D. D.REV. HENRY EDWARD MANNING, D. D.REV. F. LEWIS, of Granada REV. STEPHEN KEENAN REV. BERNARD VAUGHAN, S. J. REV. THOMAS N. BURKE, O. P.




SECTION IV.—THE ADVISER'S SYSTEM CONCERNING THE FIRST ESTABLISHMENT OF POPERY.

To return once more to our friendly adviser, I shall now take under consideration his wonderful contrivance to bring in Popery in the dark. So that if we believe him, it groped its way into the universal Church, without being perceived, or opposed by any body. Now here lies the usefulness and ingenuity of the contrivance. Popery was certainly in possession of the universal visible Church for many hundred years before the reformation. The fact is so unquestionable, that impudence itself cannot deny it. For if it could, the adviser would have been the readiest man to do it.

But the knot of the difficulty is, to give some rational account, how it first got into possession. For, if it were allowed, that Popery had possession of the Church from the very beginning of Christianity, the reformed Churches would not have a word to say for themselves. Or, if it were owned, that it came in barefaced, whilst all men's eyes were open to observe it, Papists would ask a thousand troublesome questions about it. As, by whom, how, where, and when it was brought in? Whether no Protestant princes, or bishops, had zeal enough to oppose it ? Or no Protestant councils were called to condemn it? And the like. And unless these questions were answered categorically, and the answers proved from authentic history, the matter would look but very scurvily in the judgment of all wise men.
Wherefore, to avoid splitting upon either of these rocks, observe the ingenuity of our friendly adviser. For he has ordered matters so cunningly, that (unless we will question his veracity) we must believe, that Protestancy was thrust out, and Popery let in, and the faith of the Church turned topsy turvy without opposition, noise, or trouble, or scarce any body's being sensible of it. And to render the matter evident even to a demonstration, he tells us, that the whole business was transacted in the dark, and whilst the world was in a profound sleep; for which he quotes this clear text of scripture: " the tares were sowed while men slept;" Matt. xiii. 25. So that we can suppose no less, than that some strong soporiferous draught was given to all the bishops, doctors, and pastors of the Church, which laid them all so fast asleep, threw whole christendom into so deep a lethargy, and in a word, produced such a universal ignorance and stupidity, amongst all degrees of men, that they either could not distinguish black from white, or if they could, were unable to exert themselves in any manner, to oppose the absurd and monstrous doctrines, that were imposed upon them. Nay, and the virtue of this powerful enchantment lasted from the year 900, till a few years before the reformation: all which time, an Egyptian darkness was spread over the whole face of the earth. And it was in the time of this universal ignorance and darkness, that the Pope and his agents played all their pranks; established Popery with the greatest ease imaginable, and cut out work for the blessed reformation, that followed. And thus the argument contained in the preceding sections is answered with a wet finger.