Dearly Beloved Christians, when our Divine Saviour sent His Apostles and His Disciples throughout the whole
universe to preach the Gospel to every creature, He laid down the conditions of salvation thus: "He that believeth and is
baptized, shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be condemned" [Mark 16:16]. Here, then, Our Blessed Lord laid down
the two conditions of salvation, Faith and Baptism. I will speak this evening on the condition of Faith.
We must have Faith in order to be saved, and we must have Divine Faith, not human faith. Human faith will not
save a man, but only Divine Faith. What is Divine Faith? It is to believe, upon the authority of God, the truths that God
has revealed, that is Divine Faith. To believe all that God has taught upon the authority of God, and to believe without doubting,
without hesitation. For the moment you begin to doubt or hesitate, that moment you begin to mistrust the authority of God,
and, therefore, insult God by doubting His word. Divine Faith, therefore, is to believe without doubting and without hesitating.
Human faith is belief upon the authority of men, on human authority. But Divine Faith is to believe without doubting, without
hesitating, whatsoever God has revealed upon the authority of God, upon the Word of God.
Therefore, my dear people, it is not a matter of indifference what religion a man professes, providing he be
a good man.
You hear it said nowadays in this Nineteenth Century of little faith that it matter not what religion a man
professes, providing he be a good man. That is heresy, my dear people, and I will prove it to you to be such. If it be a matter
of indifference what a man believes, providing he be a good man, then it is useless for God to make any revelation whatever.
If a man is at liberty to reject what God revealeth, what's the use for Christ to send out His Apostles and disciples to teach
all nations, if those nations are at liberty to believe or reject the teachings of the Apostles or disciples? You see at once
that this would be insulting God.
If God reveals a thing or teaches a thing, He wants to be believed. Man is bound to believe whatsoever God has
revealed, for, my dear people, we are bound to worship God, both with our reason and intellect, as well as with our heart
and will. God is master of the whole man. He claims his will, his heart, his reason and his intellect.
Where is the man, no matter what denomination, church or religion, that will deny that we are bound to believe
what God has taught? I am sure there is not a Christian who will deny that we are bound to believe whatsoever God has revealed.
Therefore, it is not a matter of indifference what religion a man professes. He must profess the true religion if he wants
to be saved.
But what is the true religion? To believe all that God has taught. I am sure that even my Protestant friends
will admit this is right, for, if they do not, I would say they are no Christians at all.
"But what is the true Faith?"
"The true Faith," say Protestant friends, "is to believe in the Lord Jesus."
Agreed, Catholics believe in that. Tell me what you mean by believing in the Lord Jesus?
"Why," says my Protestant friend, "you must believe that He is the Son of the Living God."
Agreed again. Thanks be to God, we can agree on something. We believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living
God, that He is God. To this we all agree, excepting the Unitarians and Socinians, but we will leave them alone tonight. If
Christ be God, then we must believe all He teaches. Is this not so, my dearly beloved Protestant brethren and sisters? And
that's the right Faith, isn't it?
"Well, yes," says my Protestant friend, "I guess that is the right Faith. To believe that Jesus is the Son of
the Living God, we must believe all that Christ has taught."
We Catholics say the same, and here we agree again. We must believe all that Christ has taught, that God has
revealed. Without this Faith, there is no salvation. Without this Faith, there is no hope of Heaven. Without this Faith, there
is eternal damnation! We have the words of Christ for it, "He that believeth not shall be condemned."
But if Christ, my dearly beloved people commands me under pain of eternal damnation to believe all that He has
taught, He must give me the means to know what He has taught. And the means Christ gives us of knowing this must have been
at all times within the reach of all people.
Secondly, the means that God gives us to know what He has taught must be a means adapted to the capacities of
all intellects, even the dullest. For even the dullest have a right to salvation, and consequently they have a right to the
means whereby they shall learn the truths that God has taught, that they may believe them and be saved.
The means that God give us to know what he has taught must be an infallible means. For if it be a means that
can lead us astray, it can be no means at all. It must be an infallible means, so that if a man makes use of that means, he
will infallibly, without fear of mistake or error, be brought to a knowledge of all the truths that God has taught.
I don't think there can be anyone present here, I care not what he is, a Christian or an unbeliever, who can
object to my premises. And these premises are the groundwork of my discourse and of all my reasoning, therefore, I want you
to bear them in mind. I will repeat them, for on these premises rests all the strength of my discourse and reasoning.
If God commands me under pain of eternal damnation to believe all that He has taught, He is bound to give me
the means to know what He has taught. And the means that God gives me must have been at all times within the reach of all
people, must be adapted to the capacities of all intellects, must be an infallible means to us, so that if a man makes use
of it he will be brought to a knowledge of all the truths that God has taught.
Has God given us such means? "Yes," say my Protestant friends, "He has." And so says the Catholic. God has given
us such means. What is the means God has given us whereby we shall learn the truth that God has revealed? "The Bible," say
my Protestant friends, "the Bible, the whole of the Bible, and nothing but the Bible." But we Catholics say, "No, not the
Bible and its private interpretation, but the Church of the Living God."
I will prove the facts, and I defy all my separated brethren, and all the preachers, to disprove what I will
say tonight. I say, then, it is not the private interpretation of the Bible that has been appointed by God to be the teacher
of man, but the Church of the Living God.
For, my dear people, if God has intended that man should learn His religion from a book, the Bible, surely God
would have given that book to man. Christ would have given that book to man. Did He do it? He did not. Christ sent His Apostles
throughout the whole universe and said, "Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father,
and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you."
Christ did not say, "Sit down and write Bibles and scatter them over the earth, and let every man read his Bible
and judge for himself." If Christ had said that, there would never have been a Christianity on the earth at all, but a Babylon
and confusion instead, and never one Church, the union of one body. Hence, Christ never said to His Apostles, "Go and write
Bibles and distribute them, and let everyone judge for himself." That injunction was reserved for the Sixteenth Century, and
we have seen the result of it. Ever since the Sixteenth Century there have been springing up religion upon religion, and churches
upon churches, all fighting and quarreling with one another, and all because of the private interpretation of the Bible.
Christ sent His Apostles with authority to teach all nations, and never gave them any command of writing the
Bible. And the Apostles went forth and preached everywhere, and planted the Church of God throughout the earth, but never
thought of writing.
The first word written was by Saint Matthew, and he wrote for the benefit of a few individuals. He wrote the
Gospel about seven years after Christ left this earth, so that the Church of God, established by Christ, existed seven years
before a line was written of the New Testament.
Saint Mark wrote about ten years after Christ left this earth, Saint Luke about twenty-five years, and Saint
John about sixty-three years after Christ had established the Church of God. Saint John wrote the last portion of the Bible,
the Book of Revelation, about sixty-five years after Christ had left this earth and the Church of God had been established.
The Catholic religion had existed sixty-five years before the Bible was completed.
Now, I ask you, my dearly beloved separated brethren. Were these Christian people, who lived during the period
between the establishment of the Church of Jesus and the finishing of the Bible, really Christians, good Christians and enlightened
Christians? Did they know the religion of Jesus? Where is the man that will dare to say that those who lived from the time
that Christ went up to Heaven to the time that the Bible was completed were not Christians? It is admitted on all sides, by
all denominations, that they were the very best of Christians, the first fruit of the Blood of Jesus Christ.
But how did they know what they had to do to save their souls? Was it from the Bible that they learned it? No,
because the Bible was not written. And would our Divine Saviour have left His Church for sixty-five years without a teacher,
if the Bible is the teacher of man? Most assuredly not.
Were the Apostles Christians, I ask you, my dear Protestant friends? You say, "Yes sir, they were the very founders
of Christianity." Now, my dear friends, none of the Apostles ever read the Bible, not one of them except perhaps, Saint John.
For all of them had died martyrs for the Faith of Jesus Christ and never saw the cover of a Bible. Every one of them died
martyrs and heroes for the Church of Jesus before the Bible was completed.
How, then, did those Christians, that lived in the first sixty-five years after Christ ascended, know what they
had to do to save their souls? They knew it precisely in the same way that you know it, my dear Catholic friends. You know
it from the teachings of the Church of God and so did the primitive Christians know it.
For not only sixty-five years did Christ leave the Church He had established without a Bible, but for over three
hundred years. The Church of God was established and went on spreading itself over the whole globe without the Bible for more
than three hundred years. In all that time the people did not know what constituted the Bible.
In the days of the Apostles, there were many false gospels. There was the Gospel of Simon, the Gospel of Nicodemus,
of Mary, of Barnabas, and the Gospel of the Infancy of Jesus. All of these gospels were spread among the people, and the people
did not know which of these were inspired and which were false and spurious. Even the learned themselves were disputing whether
preference should be given to the Gospel of Simon or that of Matthew, to the Gospel of Nicodemus or the Gospel of Mark, the
Gospel of Mary or that of Luke, the Gospel of the Infancy of Jesus or the Gospel of Saint John the Evangelist.
And so it was in regard to the epistles. Many spurious epistles were written and the people were at a loss for
over three hundred years to know which was false or spurious, or which was inspired. And, therefore, they did not know what
constituted the books of the Bible.
It was not until the Fourth Century that the Pope of Rome, the Head of the Church, the successor of Saint Peter,
assembled together the Bishops of the world in a council. And there in that council it was decided that the Bible, as we Catholics
have it now, is the Word of God, and that the Gospels of Simon, Nicodemus, Mary, the Infancy of Jesus, and Barnabas, and all
those other epistles were spurious or, at least, unauthentic. At least, that there was no evidence of their inspiration, and
that the Gospels of Saints Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and the Book of Revelation, were inspired by the Holy Ghost.
Up to that time the whole world for three hundred years did not know what the Bible was. Hence, they could not
take the Bible for their guide, for they did not know what constituted the Bible. Would our Divine Saviour, if He intended
man to learn his religion from a book, have left the Christian world for three hundred years without that book? Most assuredly
Not only for three hundred years was the world left without the Bible, but for 1,400 years the Christian world
was left without the Sacred Book.
Before the art of printing was invented, Bibles were rare things. Bibles were costly things. Now, you must all
be aware, if you have read history at all, that the art of printing was invented only a little more than four hundred years
ago, about the middle of the Fifteenth Century, and about one hundred years before there was a Protestant in the world.
As I have said, before printing was invented books were rare and costly things. Historians tell us that, in
the Eleventh Century, eight hundred years ago, Bibles were so rare and costly that it took a fortune, a considerable fortune,
to buy oneself a copy of the Bible! Before the art of printing, everything had to be done with the pen upon parchment or sheepskin.
It was, therefore, a tedious and slow operation, a costly operation.
Now, in order to arrive at the probable cost of a Bible at that time, let us suppose that a man should work
ten years to make a copy of the Bible and earn a dollar a day. Well, then, the cost of that Bible would be $3,650. Now, let
us suppose that a man should work at the copying of the Bible for twenty years, as historians say it would have taken him
at that time, not having the conveniences and improvements to aid him that we have now. Then, at a dollar a day, for twenty
years, the cost of a Bible would be nearly $8,000.
Suppose I came and said to you, "My dear people, save your soul, for if you lose your soul all is lost." You
would ask, "What are we to do to save our souls?" The Protestant preacher would say to you, "You must get a Bible. You can
get one at such-and-such a shop." You would ask the cost and be told it was $8,000. You would exclaim, "The Lord save us!
And can we not go to Heaven without that book?" The answer would be: "No, you must have the Bible and read it." You murmur
at the price, but are asked, "Is not your soul worth $8,000?" Yes, of course it is, but you say you do not have the money,
and if you cannot get a Bible, and your salvation depends upon it, evidently you would have to remain outside the Kingdom
of Heaven. This would be a hopeless condition, indeed.
For 1,400 years the world was left without a Bible -- not one in ten thousand, not one in twenty thousand, before
the art of printing was invented, had the Bible. And would our Divine Lord have left the world without that book if it was
necessary to man's salvation? Most assuredly not.
But let us suppose for a moment that all had Bibles, that Bibles were written from the beginning, and that every
man, woman, and child had a copy. What good would that book be to people who did not know how to read it? It is a blind thing
to such persons.
Even now one-half the inhabitants of the earth cannot read. Moreover, as the Bible was written in Greek and
Hebrew, it would be necessary to know these languages in order to be able to read it.
But it is said that we have it translated now in French, English, and other languages of the day. Yes, but are
you sure you have a faithful translation? If not, you have not the Word of God. If you have a false translation, it is the
work of man. How shall you ascertain that? How shall you find out if you have a faithful translation from the Greek and Hebrew?
"I do not know Greek or Hebrew," says my separated friend; "for my translation I must depend upon the opinion
of the learned."
Well, then, my dear friends, suppose the learned should be divided in their opinions, and some of them should
say it is good, and some false? Then your faith is gone, you must begin doubting and hesitating, because you do not know if
the translation is good.
Now with regard to the Protestant translation of the Bible, allow me to tell you that the most learned among
Protestants tell you that your translation, the King James edition, is a very faulty translation and is full of errors. Your
own learned divines, preachers, and bishops have written whole volumes to point out all the errors that are there in the King
James translation, and Protestants of various denominations acknowledge it.
Some years ago, when I lived in St. Louis, there was held in that city a convention of ministers. All denominations
were invited, the object being to arrange for a new translation of the Bible, and give it to the world. The proceedings of
the convention were published daily in the Missouri Republican. A very learned Presbyterian, I think it was, stood up, and,
urging the necessity of giving a new translation of the Bible, said that in the present Protestant translation of the Bible
there were no less than 30,000 errors.
And you say, my dear Protestant friends, that the Bible is your guide and teacher. What a teacher, with 30,000
errors! The Lord save us from such a teacher! One error is bad enough, but thirty thousand is a little too much.
Another preacher stood up in the convention, I think he was a Baptist, and, urging the necessity of giving a
new translation of the Bible, said for thirty years past the world was without the Word of God, for the Bible we have is not
the Word of God at all.
Here are your own preachers for you. You all read the newspapers, no doubt, my friends, and must know what happened
in England a few years ago. A petition was sent to Parliament for an allowance of a few thousand pounds sterling for the purpose
of getting up a new translation of the Bible. And that movement was headed and carried on by Protestant bishops and clergymen.
But, my dear people, how can you be sure of your faith? You say the Bible is your guide, but you cannot be sure
that you have the faith. Let us suppose for a moment that all have a Bible which is a faithful translation. Even then it cannot
be the guide of man, because the private interpretation of the Bible is not infallible, but, on the contrary, most fallible.
It is the source and fountain of all kinds of errors and heresies and all kinds of blasphemous doctrines. Do not be shocked,
my dear friends. Just be calm and listen to my arguments.
There are now throughout the world 350 different denominations or churches, and all of them say the Bible is
their guide and teacher. I suppose they are all sincere. Are all of them true churches? This is an impossibility. Truth is
one as God is one, and there can be no contradiction. Every man in his senses sees that every one of them cannot be true,
for they differ and contradict one another, and cannot, therefore, be all true. The Protestants say the man that reads the
Bible right and prayerfully has truth, and they all say that they read it right.
Let us suppose that there is an Episcopal minister. He is a sincere, honest, well-meaning and prayerful man.
He reads his Bible in a prayerful spirit, and from the word of the Bible, he says it is clear that there must be bishops.
For without bishops there can be no priests, without priests no Sacraments, and without Sacraments no Church. The Presbyterian
is a sincere and well-meaning man. He reads the Bible also, and deduces that there should be no bishops, but only presbyters.
"Here is the Bible," says the Episcopalian, and "here is the Bible to give you the lie," says the Presbyterian. Yet both of
them are prayerful and well-meaning men.
Then the Baptist comes in. He is a well-meaning, honest man, and prayerful also. "Well," says the Baptist, "have
you ever been baptized?" "I was," says the Episcopalian, "when I was a baby."
"And so was I," says the Presbyterian, "when I was a baby." "But," says the Baptist, "you are going to Hell
as sure as you live."
Next comes the Unitarian, well-meaning, honest, and sincere. "Well," says the Unitarian, "allow me to tell you
that you are a pack of idolators. You worship a man for a God who is no God at all." And he gives several texts from the Bible
to prove it, while the others are stopping their ears that they may not hear the blasphemies of the Unitarian. And they all
contend that they have the true meaning of the Bible.
Next comes the Methodist, and he says, "My friends, have you got any religion at all?" "Of course we have,"
they say. "Did you ever feel religion," says the Methodist, "the spirit of God moving within you?" "Nonsense," says the Presbyterian,
"we are guided by our reason and judgment." "Well," says the Methodist, "if you never felt religion, you never had it, and
will go to Hell for eternity."
The Universalist next comes in, and hears them threatening one another with eternal hellfire. "Why," says he,
"you are a strange set of people. Do you not understand the Word of God? There is no Hell at all. That idea is good enough
to scare old women and children," and he proves it from the Bible.
Now comes in the Quaker. He urges them not to quarrel, and advises that they do not baptize at all. He is the
sincerest of men, and gives the Bible for his faith.
Another comes in and says, "Baptize the men and leave the women alone. For the Bible says, unless a man be born
again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven. "So," says he, "the women are all right, but baptize
Next comes in the Shaker and he says, "You are a presumptuous people. Do you not know that the Bible tells you
that you must work out your salvation in fear and trembling, and you do not tremble at all. My brethren, if you want to go
to Heaven shake, my brethren, shake!"
I have here brought together seven or eight denominations, differing one from another, or understanding the
Bible in different ways, illustrative of the fruits of private interpretation. What, then, if I brought together the 350 different
denominations, all taking the Bible for their guide and teaching, and all differing from one another? Are they all right?
One says there is a Hell, and another says there is not Hell. Are both right? One says Christ is God, another says He is not.
One says they are unessential. One says Baptism is a requisite, and another says it is not. Are both true? This is an impossibility,
my friends. All cannot be true.
Who, then, is true? He that has the true meaning of the Bible, you say. But the Bible does not tell us who that
is, the Bible never settles the quarrel. It is not the teacher.
The Bible, my dear people, is a good book. We Catholics admit that the Bible is the Word of God, the language
of inspiration, and every Catholic is exhorted to read the Bible. But good as it is, the Bible, my dear friends, does not
explain itself. It is a good book, the Word of God, the language of inspiration, but your explanation of the Bible is not
the language of inspiration. Your understanding of the Bible is not inspired, for surely you do not pretend to be inspired!
It is with the Bible as it is with the Constitution of the United States. When Washington and his associates
established the Constitution and the Supreme Law of the United States, they did not say to the people of the States: "Let
every man read the Constitution and make a government unto himself. Let every man make his own explanation of the Constitution."
If Washington had done that, there never would have been a United States. The people would all have been divided among themselves,
and the country would have been cut up into a thousand different divisions or governments.
What did Washington do? He gave the people the Constitution and the Supreme Law, and appointed his Supreme Court
and Supreme Judge of the Constitution. And these are to give the true explanation of the Constitution to all the American
citizens, all without exception, from the President to the beggar. All are bound to go by the decisions of the Supreme Court,
and it is this and this alone that can keep the people together and preserve the Union of the United States. At the moment
the people take the interpretation of the Constitution into their own hands, there is the end of the union.
And so it is in every government. So it is here and everywhere. There is a Constitution, a Supreme Court or
Law, a Supreme Judge of that Constitution, and that Supreme Court is to give us the meaning of the Constitution and the Law.
In every well-ruled country there must be such a thing as this: a Supreme Law, Supreme Court, Supreme Judge,
that all the people abide by. All are bound by decisions, and without that, no government could stand. Even among the Indian
tribes such a condition of affairs exists. How are they kept together? By their chief, who is their dictator.
So our Divine Savior also has established His Supreme Court, His Supreme Judge, to give us the true meaning
of the Scriptures, and to give us the true revelation and doctrines of the Word of Jesus. The Son of the Living God has pledged
His Word that this Supreme Court is infallible, and therefore, the true Catholic never doubts.
"I believe," says the Catholic, "because the Church teaches me so. I believe the Church because God has commanded
me to believe her." Jesus said: "Tell the Church. And if he will not hear the Church, let him be to thee as the heathen and
publican." [Matt 18:17]. "He that believeth you believeth Me." said Christ, "and he that despiseth you despiseth Me." Therefore,
the Catholic believes because God has spoken, and upon the authority of God.
But our Protestant friends say, "We believe in the Bible." Very well, how do you understand the Bible? "Well,"
says the Protestant, "to the best of my opinion and judgment this is the meaning of the text." He is not sure of it, but to
the best of his opinion and judgment. This, my friends, is only the testimony of a man. It is only human faith, not Divine
It is Divine Faith alone by which we give honor and glory to God, by which we adore His infinite wisdom and
veracity. That adoration and worship is necessary for salvation.
I have now proved to you that private interpretation of the Scripture cannot be the guide or teacher of man.
In another lecture I shall prove that the Catholic Church is the only true Church of God, and that there is no other.