Well, now, my dear beloved people, you may think that the act of the twelve apostles of Indiana was a ridiculous one, but they had as much right to establish a church as had Henry VIII, or Martin Luther, or John Calvin. They had no right at all, and neither had Henry VIII, or the rest of them any right whatsoever.
Christ had established His Church and given His solemn oath that His Church should stand to the end of time: promised that He had built it upon rock, and that the gates of hell should never prevail against it - hence, my dear people, all those different denominations of religion are the invention of man; and I ask you can man save the soul of his fellow-man by any institution he can make? Must not religion come from God?
And, therefore, my dearly beloved separated brethren, think over it seriously. You have a soul to be saved, and that soul must be saved or damned; either one or the other, it will dwell with God in heaven or with the devil in hell; therefore, seriously meditate upon it. When I gave my Mission in Brooklyn several Protestants became Catholics. Among them there was a very highly educated and intelligent Virginian. He was a Presbyterian. After he had listened to my lecture he went to see his minister, and he asked him to be kind enough to explain a text of the Bible. The minister gave him the meaning. "Well, now," said the gentleman, "are you positive and sure that is the meaning of the text, for several other Protestants explain it differently?" "Why, my dear young man," says the preacher, "we never can be certain of our faith," "Well, then," says the young man, "good-bye to you: If I cannot be sure of my faith in the Protestant Church, I will go where I can," and he became a Catholic.
We are sure of our faith in the Catholic Church, and if our faith is not true, Christ has deceived us. I would, therefore, beg you, my separated brethren, to procure yourselves Catholic books. You have read a great deal against the Catholic Church, now read something in favor of it.
You can never pass an impartial sentence if you do not hear both sides of the question. What would you think of a judge before whom a policeman would bring a poor offender, and who on the charge of the policeman, without hearing the prisoner, would order him to be hung?
"Give me a hearing," says the poor man, "and I will prove my innocence. I am not guilty," says he. The policeman says he is guilty. "Well, hang him anyhow," says the judge. What would you say of that judge? Criminal judge! Unfair man; you are guilty of the blood of the innocent! Would not you say that? Of course you would.
Well now, my dearly beloved Protestant friends, that is what you have been doing all along; you have been hearing one side of the question and condemning us Catholics as a superstitious lot of people, poor ignorant people, idolatrous people, non-sensical people, going and telling their sins to the priest; and what, after all, is the priest more than any other man? My dear friends, have you examined the other side of the question?
No, you do not think it worth your while; but this is the way the Jews dealt with our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; and this is the way the Pagans and Jews dealt with the Apostles, the ministers of the Church, and with the primitive Christians.
Allow me to tell you, my friends, that you have been treating us precisely in the same way the Jews and Pagans treated Jesus Christ and His Apostles. I have said this evening hard things, but if St. Paul were here tonight, in this pulpit, he would have said harder things still. I have said them, however, not through a spirit of unkindness, but through a spirit of love, and a spirit of charity, in the hope of opening your eyes that your souls may be saved. It is love for your salvation, my dearly beloved Protestant brethren - for which I would gladly give my heart's blood - my love for your salvation that has made me preach to you as I have done.
"Well," says my Protestant friends, "if a man thinks he is right, would not he be right?" Let us suppose now a man in Ottawa, who wants to go to Chicago, but takes a car for New York; the conductor asks for his ticket; and he at once says: "You are in the wrong car; your ticket is for Chicago, but you are going to New York." "Well, what of that?" says the passenger. "I mean well."
"Your meaning will not go well with you in the end," says the conductor, "for you will come out at New York instead of Chicago."
You say you mean well, my dear friends; your meaning will not take you to heaven; you must do well also. "He that doeth the will of My Father," says Jesus, "he alone shall be saved." There are millions in hell who meant well. You must do well, and be sure you are doing well, to be saved. I thank my separated brethren for their kindness in coming to these controversial lectures. I hope I have said nothing to offend them. Of course, it would be nonsense for me not to preach Catholic doctrines.