Monday, April 26, 2004

From Discourses to Mixed Congregations
by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.
"A Prophet is one who comes from God, who speaks with authority, who is ever one and the same, who is precise and decisive in his statements, who is equal to successive difficulties, and can smite and overthrow error. Such has the Catholic Church shown herself in her history, such is she at this day. She alone has had the Divine spell of controlling the reason of man, and of eliciting faith in her word from high and low, educated and ignorant, restless and dull-minded. Even those who are alien to her, and whom she does not move to obedience, she moves to respect and admiration. The most profound thinkers and the most sagacious politicians predict her future triumphs while they marvel at her past. Her enemies are frightened at the sight of her, and have no better mode of warfare against her than that of blackening her with slanders, or of driving her into the wilderness. To see her is to recognise her; her look and bearing is the evidence of her royal lineage. True, her tokens might be clearer than they are; I grant it; she might have been set up in Adam, and not in Peter; she might have embraced the whole family of man; she might have been the instrument of inwardly converting all hearts; she might have had no scandals within or misfortunes without; she might in short have been, I repeat, a heaven on earth; but, I repeat, does she not show as glorious in our sight as a creature, as her God does as the Creator? If He does not display the highest possible tokens of His presence in nature, why should His Messenger display such in grace? You believe the Scriptures; does she not in her character and conduct show as Divine as Jacob does, or as Samuel, or as David, or as Jeremias, or in a far higher measure? Has she not notes far more than sufficient for the purpose of convincing you? She takes her rise from the very coming of Christ, and receives her charter, as also her very form and mission, from His mouth. 'Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona, for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father who is in heaven. And I say unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, shall be bound also in heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, shall be loosed also in heaven.' "


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