Affinity Of Romanism And Rationalism -- By: Joseph Packard

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 008:29 (Jan 1851)
Article: Affinity Of Romanism And Rationalism
Author: Joseph Packard

Affinity Of Romanism And Rationalism

Joseph Packard

[The substance of the following article is taken from the Beiträge of Dr. Ernst Sartorius, of Königsberg, Prussia, formerly of the University of Dorpat. He may be known to some of our readers as the author of “Lectures on the Person and Work of Christ” It is found in the First and Second Parts of his Beiträge, or Contributions to the Defence of Evangelical Orthodoxy, and in his Reply to Kant. I intended at first to translate the whole, but as the original occupies about 150 pages, and the arrangement and division were peculiarly German, I concluded to give the substance of it digested, and more adapted, I trust, to the taste of the English reader. Occasionally I have translated closely, and at other times I have condensed the argument, omitting the more obvious refutation of erroneous doctrines. I have retained everything of importance in this valuable essay. It is enriched with quotations from the Decrees of the Council of Trent, the works of the principal Rationalists and of the Reformers, many of which, will be found here. The discussion of this subject is peculiarly seasonable at this time, and may be of service in the controversy between truth and error.]

It is the design of the present essay to prove the affinity of the systems of Romanism and Catholicism in their fundamental principles. Such an attempt cannot be deemed unreasonable at a time when true Protestantism is assailed in different quarters by both.

The striking difference between the two systems in form, might appear to many, at first sight, as highly unfavorable to our object. While, on the side of the Rationalists we find the most unbounded license of private speculation, and no apparent external or internal unity, we perceive on the side of the Romanists a compact and connected system, which pleases the eye of the spectator by its symmetry, and which he would look upon with complacency, if founded upon pure truth. So striking is this apparent difference, that my attempt to prove their fundamental agreement has been considered as paradoxical, nay, a ridiculous fancy. But, every one acquainted with the subject knows, that this argument is nothing new, that it is to be found in Schubert De Naturalismo Ecclesiæ Romanæ, 1750, and in Chemnitz’ Examination of the Council of Trent, and that hints of this accordance are to be met with in the writings of Melanchthon, Luther and Calvin.

The erroneous opinion that there is a wide and essential difference between the two systems, has been designedly kept up by those, who, to divert attention from themselves, and to repel any suspicion of such agreement, have always expressed the utmost horror of Rationalism; and w...

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