Intellectual And Moral Influence Of Romanism. -- By: Edwards A. Park
BSac 2:7 (Aug 1845) p. 451
Intellectual And Moral Influence Of Romanism.
Andover Theological Seminary.
A Dudleian Lecture delivered before the University in Cambridge, May 14, 1845.
Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.—Matt. 7:20.
The character of a religious system may be learned, first, from the relation of its principles to the standard of reason and scripture; secondly, from its influence on the soul of man. The influence of a system may be ascertained by an examination either of its inherent fitnesses or of its actual operations. If we confine our regard to its inward tendencies we may become visionary; our speculations not being verified by facts. If we limit our view to the consequences which have apparently flowed from it, we may become empirical and mistake the appendages of the system for the effects of it. In order to be certain that its real influence is good or evil, we must combine a philosophical inquiry into its adaptations, with an historical inquiry into its consequences; each of these different views serving to illustrate and complete the other. Our survey of Romanism, for example, may be too superficial, if we dwell on the circumstances that have occurred in its train, and pass by the commentary which they receive from the essential fitnesses of the system. Its more skilful advocates will allow that its history is stained with many dark scenes, but they affirm that although conjoined with certain evils as accidents, it has not been united with them as appropriate developments; that it has happened to be allied with political despotism, with the Feudal system, with the peculiar tastes of the middle ages, and has been tinctured in this manner with influences which are far from being congenial with its own spirit. We say in reply, that the evils connected with Romanism have been prominent through so many successive ages, in so many different
BSac 2:7 (Aug 1845) p. 452
nations, for so long a time and with such marked uniformity, as to give evidence of emanating from the very nature of the system, rather than from its ephemeral position. Certainly we may know a tree by its fruits, when we have observed these fruits for many seasons, and in various climes. Still, in all our inferences from the event to the cause we feel the more secure when we analyze the cause itself, and find à priori that it is intrinsically adapted to work out the same things as effects, which have been noticed as its uniform adjuncts. We may therefore be justified in attempting to show, on the present occasion, that the essential tendencies of Romanism are injurious to the mind and heart of man. They are injurious to the mind. Our Maker intended to lea...
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