"Apply this to the Catholic religion: if there are early traces of identity of belief, they may be invisible, except to the eye of a Catholic, but perfectly clear to him. For an immense number of minute expressions, observations, and practices prove to him, that the genius of his faith is what it always was. It subsisted antecedently to the polemical and dogmatical works in which it is stated, and independently of them. Whatever influence they have exerted on it, has been that of a favoured slave, not of a master, or equal. If you cannot find the same language about the Incarnation in the four first centuries, as was found in the four subsequent ones, so neither can you find in the three first centuries the same language about the Trinity as was issued in the fourth century. If it is absurd to assume that, in spite of difficulties, the same doctrine was held by Gregory Nyssen about the human wisdom of our Lord, as was held by Gregory the Great, then it is absurd to assume that Clement of Alexandria had the same idea of a hypostasis in the Trinity as Basil had. A Brahmin, if he were to study Christian doctrine historically, would be nearly sure to think the Trinity, of which the name rarely occurs in early writers, a novelty of the third century; and, if he argued as Protestants do, would conclude that the thing was new also. If he looked to the consistency of the thing, he might see that the doctrine of the Trinity in the fourth century paved the way to the doctrine of the Incarnation in the fifth, and this again to the veneration of Mary....



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