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The Course of Christianity 2

The Course of Christianity 2

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Published by glennpease
BY WILLIAM STEEL DICKSON, d.d.


11. Doctrine of the Church.

Jer. vi. 16.

STAND TB IN THE WAYS, AND SEE, AND ASK FOB THE OLD PATHS,
WHERE IS THE GOOD WAY, AND WALK THEREIN, AND YE SHALL
FIND REST UNTO YOUR SOULS.
BY WILLIAM STEEL DICKSON, d.d.


11. Doctrine of the Church.

Jer. vi. 16.

STAND TB IN THE WAYS, AND SEE, AND ASK FOB THE OLD PATHS,
WHERE IS THE GOOD WAY, AND WALK THEREIN, AND YE SHALL
FIND REST UNTO YOUR SOULS.

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Published by: glennpease on Sep 26, 2013
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THE COURSE OF CHRISTIAITY 2BY WILLIAM STEEL DICKSO, d.d.11. Doctrine of the Church.Jer. vi. 16.STAD TB I THE WAYS, AD SEE, AD ASK FOB THE OLDPATHS,WHERE IS THE GOOD WAY, AD WALK THEREI, AD YESHALLFID REST UTO YOUR SOULS.I REMEMBER a beautlful passage in which Homerdescribes the introduction of a bard among theprinces gathered at the house of Alcinous, receivingon his island the wandering Ulysses. A heraldcomes forward, leading the dear and venerableman; him the Muse loved too, though with thegood she gave she mingled evil ; his eyes she dark-ened, but she gave sweet song. It has seemed tome type of the Church in many of its periods. Theworld has been driven, as over all seas, tossed bytempests and wrecked, borne, as if desolate andnaked, even to the islands on which it finds some-times a short rest in its weariness, and becomingsorrowful even at the feasts which offer their cheer.The Church, meantime, even in darkest hours, itssun long eclipsed, its moon dimmed, its stars fallenor turned to baleful meteors, the very eyes withwhich it once looked out and upward bereaved of THE^COURSE OF CHRISTIAITY, 127sight, has still retained the word and the music of that divine gift which the older inspiration brought.
 
Out of the gloom, through deep shades, we haveheard the sweet song of salvation. Gladly still wemight stay to listen and drink in the voice, but thatthe hour has come summoning the soul to new toil,which compels us, even in the strains we haveheard and are hearing now, to sever what in themis of celestial birth from what is earthly and eveninfernal, marring now the whole old concord. Thesoul is divine, but from under ribs of death it can-not always send up 'the words of life. We maythen leave the typical shadow, coming nearer to thehistorical reality.An infallible external standard of Divine Truth ;in other words, Christianity perfectly represented insome outward expression : this, if we go back to thebeginning of the sixteenth, as well as to the entirecourse of the fifteenth, centuries, contains, we maypronounce the universal belief, or doctrine, of Chris-tendom. In its western portion, to which we maynow limit our observation, the division in regard tothe position of this infallible authority goes onwardeven to irreconcilable hostility. Those claiming tobe Catholic, all are aware, declare it to exist withintheir Church. " The reason of man," into such formwe may translate their affirmation, " anticipates, asfruit of the Divine Goodness, the formation of abody weaving all its members into universal com-munion, perpetuated in its organization and laws,containing in itself the vision, and proclaiming withhighest authority the oracles, of Eternal Truth.128 THE COURSE OP CHRISTIAITY.The promise of the Lord insures the fulfilment of this aspiration : On Peter, as the rock of its foun-dation, he assures us that he will build an invinci-ble and indestructible Church. The assurance is
 
verified. . The promise is fulfilled. Behold the im-pregnable fortress I Behold the finished and ever-lasting Temple ! Ages have rolled over it, dashingand flaming against it with their torrents of error;embattled hosts have exhausted themselves in fierceassaults ; persecutions from without, discords fromwithin, schisms, heresies, apostacies, these havebeen innumerable and incessant ; not a pillar hasbeen shaken, not a breach opened ; the wall is stillrising unchecked, grand, majestic, from its immov-able foundation ; the dome pierces the clouds ; saintsand penitents kneel for ever within its sanctuaries,and see angelic visions and hear heavenly hymnsand meet the Lord. The memories and the mon-uments of Apostles and Martyrs give forth theirimmortal fragrance ; the records of ancient revela-tions, the traditions living in sure faith and reverentlove, the prayers of saints, the charities of the de-vout, the communion of the faithful throughouttime, reaching upward to the presence of those un-counted spirits who dwell in heaven, reaching on-ward to their swelling myriads in the future, all, allare imbosomed in this serene and perpetual realmof God. Behold here Christianity embodied ! Be-hold here the holy Catholic Church ! "A sterner voice sounds out in protest: "Finerhapsody this! Divine Ideas and human fancies,thou hast stitched them all together, then stainedTHE COURSE OP CHRISTIAITY, 129with gaudy hues the robe of thy fiction, makingthe whole show to the eye far other than the real-ity ; bright as the painted windows of thy cathe-drals, but brittle as the glass. The brilliant huelighting up the face over which the shadow of deathis passing unseen ! Thine anticipation of the rea-

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