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soon after his nomination to that dignity, gave up entirely his mathematical pursuits. This, it has been said, was owing to his having been once so completely subdued, while he was celebrating the sacred mysteries, by a mathematical distraction, as to find himself making diagrams on the linen of the altar, with the patten, a thin plate, used by catholic bishops and priests in the ceremonies of the altar. It is also said, that, when his dereliction of mathematics was mentioned to d'Alembert, he expressed great concern at the loss, which mathematics would sustain in consequence of his adieu to them. He lived in an edifying discharge of every pastoral and every pious duty, to a very advanced age but to the last, if a mathematical subject was mentioned, his countenance would lighten, and discover his suppressed affection for mathematic lore. He published some mathematical works, which answer his great reputation, and probably left behind him valuable manuscripts. Under the direction of some religious gentlemen of his order, an excellent school has been lately established in Ampleforth, in Yorkshire. There certainly is a call on the superiors of this learned community, for a critical account of the life and writings of a member of their order, who did it so much honour. Very honourable mention is made of him by Montucla in his History of
The last and best edition of The Principles, was
published in 1815, by the Rev. John Kirk, the roman-catholic pastor at Lichfield. He has prefixed to it, a laboured and curious inquiry respecting the editions and author of them. By a variety of arguments and inferences he makes it appear highly probable, that the author of them was the Rev. father James Corker, abbot of the Benedictine abbey of Lambspring in Germany. The inquiry is ably executed, and contains much interesting matter. Mr. Kirk is now engaged in preparing for the press a new edition, to be greatly enlarged, and continued to the present times, of Mr. Dodd's Church History of England, from 1500 to 1688. It is hoped that it will meet with encouragement: the work is important, and a better editor of it cannot be imagined.
Considering the variety of editions, through which the tract in question has passed, and the character of the editors, there cannot be a doubt of its containing a just and fair exposition of The Principles of the roman-catholics, on the points to which it relates. As such, from Mr. Kirk's edition of it, we now present it to the reader.
ROMAN CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES IN REFERENCE TO GOD AND THE KING.
Of the Catholic Faith, and Church in general. THE fruition of God, and the remission of sin are not attainable by man, otherwise than in and by the merits of Jesus Christ, who gratuitously purchased them for us.
2. These merits of Christ, though infinite in themselves, are not applied to us, otherwise than by a right faith in him.
3. This faith is but one entire, and conformable to its object, which is divine revelation: and to which faith gives an undoubting assent.
4. This revelation contains many mysteries, transcending the natural reach of human understanding. Wherefore,
5. It became the divine Wisdom and Goodness to provide some way or means, whereby man might arrive to the knowledge of these mysteries; means visible and apparent to all; means proportioned to the capacities of all; means sure and certain to all.
6. This way or means is not the reading of
Scripture, interpreted according to the private judgment of each disjunctive person, or nation in particular; But,
7. It is an attention and submission to the voice of the catholic or universal church, established by Christ for the instruction of all; spread for that end through all nations, and visibly continued in the succession of pastors, and people through all ages. From this church, guided in truth, and secured from error in matters of faith, by the promised assistance of the Holy Ghost, every one may learn the right sense of the Scriptures, and such Christian mysteries and duties as are necessary to salvation.
8. This church, thus established, thus spread, thus continued, thus guided, in one uniform faith, and subordination of government, is that which is termed the Roman Catholic Church: the qualities just mentioned, unity, indeficiency, visibility, succession, and universality, being evidently applicable to her.
9. From the testimony and authority of this church, it is, that we receive the Scriptures, and believe them to be the word of God and as she can assuredly tell us what particular book is the word of God, so can she with the like assurance tell us also the true sense and meaning of it, in controverted points of faith; the same spirit that wrote the Scriptures, directing her to understand both them, and all matters necessary to salvation.
10. Only truths revealed by Almighty God, and proposed by the church, to be believed as such, are and ought to be esteemed, articles of Catholic faith.
11. As an obstinate separation from the unity of the church, in known matters of faith, is heresy ; so a wilful separation from the visible unity of the same church, in matters of subordination and government, is schism.
12. The church proposes unto us matters of faith, first and chiefly by the Holy Scripture, in points plain and intelligible in it; secondly, by definitions of general councils, in points not sufficiently plain in Scripture; thirdly, by apostolical traditions derived from Christ and his apostles to all succeeding ages; fourthly, by her practice, worship, and ceremonies confirming her doctrine.
Of spiritual and temporal Authority.
1. THE pastors of the church-who are the body representative-either dispersed or convened in council, have received no commission from Christ to frame new articles of faith-these being solely divine revelations-but only to explain and to define to the faithful what anciently was, and is received and retained, as of faith in the church, when debates and controversies arise about them.