For instance, a gradual conversion from a false to a true religion, plainly, has much of the character of a continuous process, or a development, in the mind itself, even when the two religions, which are the limits of its course, are antagonists. Now let it be observed, that such a change consists in addition and increase chiefly, not in destruction. "True religion is the summit and perfection of false religions; it combines in one whatever there is of good and true separately remaining in each. And in like manner the Catholic Creed is for the most part the combination of separate truths, which heretics have divided among themselves, and err in dividing. So that, in matter of fact, if a religious mind were educated in and sincerely attached {201} to some form of heathenism or heresy, and then were brought under the light of truth, it would be drawn off from error into the truth, not by losing what it had, but by gaining what it had not, not by being unclothed, but by being 'clothed upon,' 'that mortality may be swallowed up of life.' That same principle of faith which attaches it at first to the wrong doctrine would attach it to the truth; and that portion of its original doctrine, which was to be cast off as absolutely false, would not be directly rejected, but indirectly, in the reception of the truth which is its opposite. True conversion is ever of a positive, not a negative character." 

Such too is the theory of the Fathers as regards the doctrines fixed by Councils, as is instanced in the language of St. Leo. "To be seeking for what has been disclosed, to reconsider what has been finished, to tear up what has been laid down, what is this but to he unthankful for what is gained?"  Vincentius of Lerins, in like manner, speaks of the development of Christian doctrine, as profectus fidei non permutatio  And so as regards the Jewish Law, our Lord said that He came "not to destroy, but to fulfil."


When Roman Catholics are accused of substituting another Gospel for the primitive Creed, they answer that they hold, and can show that they hold, the doctrines of the Incarnation and Atonement, as firmly as any Protestant can state them. To this it is replied that they do certainly profess them, but that they obscure and virtually annul them by their additions; that the cultus of St. Mary and the Saints is no development of the truth, but a corruption and a religious mischief to those doctrines of which it is the corruption, because it draws away the mind and heart from Christ. But they answer that, so far from this, it subserves, illustrates, protects the doctrine of our Lord's loving kindness and mediation. Thus the parties in controversy join issue on the common ground, that a developed doctrine which reverses the course of development which has preceded it, is no true development but a corruption; also, that what is corrupt acts as an element of unhealthiness towards what is sound. This subject, however, will come before us in its proper place by and by.