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political considerations , the most passive population upon earth could not always remain attached to a system which had nothing but silence to oppose to its enemies . After all , Bishop Doyle feels this , for he often writes . " Letter IV . contains the argument against infallibility from the fluctuating state of opinion in succeeding ages of the church . " ' Could Christ himself , ' says the Romanist , * have left hundreds of millions of men for nine hundred years in error V And almost his last words in the discussion were , * How could a church have thus subsisted for eighteen centuries , if error had formed its corner-stone and foundation ? Have we ever read or heard of any system , either in politics or religion , lasting for such a period of time , unless it was founded upon the best principles ?'" We extract only one part of the reply which our author makes :
" Yes , my countrymen ! I could tell Mr . Macguire that we have both read and heard of a Paganism which has subsisted for a period of double that duration : and we doubt not , if there were any of the followers of the Indian
Vishnu , whose latest incarnation Sir William Jones , upon a moderate calculation , places two thousand seven hundred and ninety-nine years ago , within reach of Mr . Macguire ' s speculations , they would be zealous to testify their sense of this magnanimous vindication of their faith I Nay , were it not that the religion of the Prophet has only endured for two-thirds of the period of feirne assigned by Mr . Macguire as the mark of divinity , ( and yet ' Christ has left' Mahometans * in error / many of them apostates from his own church ,
for longer than the time specified in his first calculation , ") added to the circumstance that they have at present too much to think of in that quarter , we might have thought of transmitting , by the first courier , to Constantinople , u recommendation of our ingenious countryman to the grand Mufti at the Porte ; the high priest of a religion which has flourished unreformed and un- » altered for a space of one thousand two hundred years !"
Letter V . contains the " argument against Infallibility from the character of the medium through which it is supposed to have been transmitted . And this is a melancholy page ; clear indeed in the demonstration which it yields , but too deplorable to permit us to transcribe . With unfeigned reverence for many of those who have firmly adhered , and who still firmly adhere , to the Catholic communion , and with unexceeded earnestness for
the restoration of their civil rights , we cannot for a moment refer to any higher source than the most inveterate prejudice , an unshaken belief in the immaculate purity of a church , so many of whose members—not that it is singular in this respect—have been grossly corrupt and shockingly immoral . And as for infallibility , we think with our author , " that is the veriest shadow , the most immoderate fiction , that was ever set up to amuse or astound
the human imagination . " P . 53 . Having accompanied our author in the arguments by which he so successfully repels the doctrine of the Romanist , we are now to witness his impartiality in his remoustrance upon the Protestant ad / ocate ' s surrender of the Protestant cause , and upon his great temerity and unchristian zeal in charging Almighty God with entertaining wrath against the conscientious errors of private judgment .
" Almost in the opening of the debate , and touching the most precious of the points for which a Protestant can lift his voice—the riffht of private judgment—the baffled ear , impatient for the mingled sounds of eloquence and wisdom , found nothing to report but the imbecilities of » school-boy , or the bigotry of a domlnicaul "—P . 173 .
Review . —Bible Controversy in Ireland . 545 *
VOL . II . * Q
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), Aug. 2, 1828, page 545, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct2563/page/33/