"He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be condemned." Mark 16:16
My dearly beloved Christians: From these words of our Divine Saviour, it has already been proved to you, that faith is necessary for salvation, and without faith there is no salvation; without faith there is eternal damnation. Read your own Protestant Bible, 16th Verse of St. Mark, and you will find it stronger there than in the Catholic Bible.
Now, then, what kind of faith must a man have to be saved? Will any faith do? Why, if any faith will do, the devil himself will be saved, for the Bible says the devils believe and tremble. It is, therefore, not a matter of indifference what religion a man professes; he must profess the right and true religion, and without that there is no hope of salvation, for it stands to reason, my dear people, that if God reveals a thing or teaches a thing, He wants to be believed. Not to believe is to insult God. Doubting His word, or believing even with doubt and hesitating, is an insult to God, because it is doubting His Sacred Word. We must, therefore, believe without doubting, without hesitating. I have said, out of the Catholic Church there is no divine faith - can be no divine faith out of that Church. Some of the Protestant friends will be shocked at this, to hear me say that out of the Catholic Church there is no divine faith, and that without faith there is no salvation, but damnation.
I will prove all I have said.
I have said that out of the Catholic Church there can be no divine faith. What is divine faith? When we believe a thing upon the authority of God, and believe it without doubt, without hesitating. Now, all our separated brethren outside of the Catholic Church take the private interpretation of the Bible for their guide; but the private interpretation of the Bible can never give them divine faith. Let me, for instance, suppose for a moment, here is a Presbyterian; he reads his Bible; from the reading of his Bible he comes to the conclusion that Jesus Christ is God. Now, you know this is the most essential of all Christian doctrines - the foundation of all Christianity. From the reading of his Bible he comes to the conclusion that Jesus Christ is God; and he is a sensible man, an intelligent man, and not a presumptuous man.
And he says: "Here is my Unitarian neighbor, who is just as reasonable and intelligent as I am, as honest, as learned, and as prayerful as I am, and, from the reading of the Bible, he comes to the conclusion that Christ is not God at all. "Now," says he, "to the best of my opinion and judgment, I am right, and my Unitarian neighbor is wrong; but, after all," says he, "I may be mistaken! Perhaps I have not the right meaning of the text, and if I am wrong, perhaps he is right, after all; but, to the best of my opinion and judgment, I am right and he is wrong."
On what does he believe? On what authority? On his own opinion and judgment. And what is that? A human opinion - human testimony, and, therefore, a human faith. He cannot say positively, "I am sure, positively sure, as sure as there is a God in heaven, that this is the meaning of the text." Therefore, he has no other authority but his own opinion and judgment, and what his preacher tells him. But the preacher is a smart man. There are many smart Unitarian preachers also, but that proves nothing; it is only human authority, and nothing else, and, therefore, only human faith. What is human faith? Believing a thing upon the testimony of man. Divine faith is believing a thing on the testimony of God.
The Catholic has divine faith, and why? Because the Catholic says: "I believe in such and such a thing." Why? "Because the Church teaches me so." And why do you believe the Church? "Because God has commanded be to believe the teaching of the Church; and God has threatened me with damnation if I do not believe the Church, and we are taught by St. Peter, in his epistle, that there is no private prophecy or interpretation of the Scriptures, for the unlearned and unstable wrest the very Scriptures, the Bible, to their own damnation."
That is strong language, my dear people, but that is the language of St. Peter, the head of the Apostles. The unlearned and unstable wrest the Bible to their own damnation! And yet, after all, the Bible is the book of God, the language of inspiration; at least, when we have a true Bible, as we Catholics have, and you Protestants have not.
But, my dearly beloved Protestant friends, do no be offended at me for saying that. Your own most learned preachers and bishops tell you that, and some have written whole volumes in order to prove that the English translation, which you have, is very faulty and false translation. Now, therefore, I say that the true Bible is as the Catholics have it, the Latin Vulgate; and the most learned among the Protestants themselves have agreed that the Latin Vulgate Bible, which the Catholic Church always makes use of, is the best in existence; and, therefore, it is, as you may have perceived, that when I preach I give the text in Latin, because the Latin text of the Vulgate is the best extant.
Now, they may say that Catholics acknowledge the Word of God; that it is the language of inspiration; and that, therefore, we are sure that we have the Word of God; but, my dear people, the very best thing may be abused, the very best thing; and, therefore, our Divine Saviour has given us a living teacher, that is to give us the true meaning of the Bible.
And He has provided a teacher with infallibility; and this was absolutely necessary, for without this - without infallibility - we could never be sure of our faith. There must be an infallibility; and we see that in every well-ordered government, in every government - in England, in the United States, and in every country, empire and republic, there is a Constitution and a supreme law.
But you are not at liberty to explain that Constitution and supreme law as you think proper, for then there would be no more law if every man were allowed to explain the law and Constitution as he should think proper. Therefore, in all governments there is a supreme judge and supreme court, and to the supreme judge is referred all different understandings of the law and the Constitution. By the decisions of the supreme judge all have to abide, and if they did not abide by that decision why, my dear people, there would be no law any more, but anarchy, disorder and confusion.
Again, suppose for a moment that the Blessed Saviour has been less wise than human governments, and that He had not provided for the understanding of His Constitution, and of His Law of the Church of God. If He had not, my dear people, it would never have stood as it has stood for the last eighteen hundred and fifty-four years. He has then established a Supreme Court, a Supreme Judge in the Church of the Living God.