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his royal ukase, putting them down in his empire. How expressive is this coincidence !
In China preachers of the cross are not tolerated. The Jesuits found their way by intrigue into the empire; but they aimed at the throne more than the souls of the people;—and still farther threw back the hopes of the empire. The illustrious Dr. Morrison has translated the entire Bible into that perplexing and interminable language. And they are a reading people; and in this way alone can they be now enlightened. Yet every Bible Society, and translation, and donor, is cursed for this labour of love. How well for China, and for us, that while the Pope curses, the Saviour smiles upon the heavenly work of giving the Bible to every creature.
Perhaps it may also “gratify” you to see some more recent news from Rome. It is found in the Pope's Encyclical Letter, lately sent forth. He tells his Bishops all over the world,“ that now is the hour and the power of darkness; yes, the earth is in sorrow and perishes ; the chair of the blessed Peter in which we sit, where Jesus Christ has laid the foundation of his church, is violently shaken, and the bonds of unity are weakened and broken every day.” He calls it, “ an absurd and dangerous maxim, or rather the raving of delirium, that it is proper to allow to every man liberty of conscience.” He calls the liberty of the press, " that fatal license of which we cannot entertain sufficient horror ;'-and brings against the license of unfettered printing, the Apostolical practice, of publicly burning evil books !--And such is the Head of the Universal Church-seated in his tottering chair, amidst the gathering ruins of his hierarchy; complaining of the freedom of the Press, and denouncing the spirit of ihe age! In vain does he murmur, and in vain denounce. The thunders of the Vatican no longer cause kings to tremble, and nations to bow down at the haughty Pontiff's feet. Like aged Priam, in the sacking of Troy, he grasps a useless sword:
“ Urbis ubi captæ casum, convulsaque vidit
Circumdat nequidquam humeris, et inutile ferrum Cingitur.”
find this passage. In the form of government, Book 1. Chap. 1. Sect. 1, you will find as follows : "they are unanimously of opinion, that God alone is Lord of conscience, and therefore they consider the right of private judgment, in all matters that respect religion, as universal and unalienable.” Confession of Faith, chap. xxiii. sec. 3. “Civil magistrates may not in the least interfere with matters of faith-they should give no preference to any one denomination of Christians above the rest—and ecclesiastical persons should enjoy free, full, and unquestioned liberty."
In contrast with the above, let me point you to the following decrees of the great Lateran council, held by Pope Innocent III. A. D. 1215 at which were present, 2 Patriarchs, 70 Metropolitans, 400 Bishops, and 812 abbots, priors, &c. besides imperial ambassadors, &c.
In this infallible general council, it was decreed as follows: (I have the original before me, but for want of space give the translation.)
3d Chapter. “We excommunicate and anathematize every heresy extolling itself against this holy, orthodox, Catholic faith which we before expounded, condemning all heretics by what names soever called. And being condemned, let them be left to the secular power, or to their bailiffs, to be punished by due animadversion. And let the secular powers be warned and induced, and if need be condemned by ecclesiastical censure, what offices soever they are in, that as they desire to be reputed and taken for believers, so they publicly take an oath for the defence of the faith, that they will study in good earnest to exterminate, to their utmost power, from the lands subject to their jurisdiction, all heretics denoted by the Church; so that every one, that is henceforth taken into any power, either spirit. ual or temporal, shall be bound to confirm this chapter by his oath.” “But if the temporal lord, required and warned by the church, shall neglect to purge his territory of this heretical filth, let him by the Metropolitan and Comprovincial Bishops be tied by the bond of excommunication ; and if he scorn to satisfy within a year, let that be signified to the Pope, that he may denounce his vassals thenceforth absolved from his fidelity, (or allegiance,) and may expose his country to be seized on by Calholics, who, exterminating the heretics, may possess it without any contradiction, and may keep it in the purity of faith, saving the right of the principal lord, so be it he himself put no obstacle hereto, nor oppose any impediment; the same law notwithstanding being kept about them that have no principal lords.” “ And the Catholics ihat taking the badge of the cross shall gird themselves for the extermining of heretics, shall enjoy that indulgence, and be fortified with that holy privilege which is granted to them that
go the help of the holy land.”—" And we decree to subject to excommunication the believers and receivers, defenders and favourers of heretics, firmly ordaining, that when any such person is noted by excommunication, if he disdain to satisfy within a year, let him be ipso jure, made infamous.”
Finally, I find in an accredited Roman Catholic writer, the following sentence, which goes to show, that no means are spared in order to bring these heretics to justice ! • Admittuntur ad accusandum, atque ad ferendum testimonium etiam infames;" that is, even infamous persons, are to be admitted to accuse and bring testimony (against heretics.)
With these facts submitted for your consideration, I for the present, bid
(POSTSCRIPT.) I present through you to Bishop Kenrick the expression of my sincere regret that the mistake as to himself was ever made. A most respectable and responsible name was given as authority ; and it was not until I had repeated the inquiry, and been re-assured of the truth of the statement, that I asked you whether it were true or false. This gentleman still insists that such a warning was given on the day named, and in one of your churches in Philadelphia, by a Roman Catholic Priest.-Yours, &c.
CONTROVERSY. NO. IX.
RULE OF FAITH.
Philadelphia, March, 26. 1833. "To The Rev. JOHN BRECKINRIDGE,
Rev. Sir,—The precept of the Apostle, which forbids Christians to return "railing for railing,” must be my apology for not noticing those parts of your last letter, which come under the head of personality. I engaged in this discussion, with a determination to use only the legitimate evidences of religious truth—such as are furnished by reason, revelation, and history—and I am not disposed, under any provocation, to alter my resolution.
But there are a few points, on which you and I are notoriously at issue; and it is necessary that these points should be settled, before we proceed to graver matters.
1. In your letter No. 4. you quoted three words from Bellarmine, to support your assertion, that wilh us opinions pass into doctrines. I said in answer to this, that Dr. Priestly attempts, in his history of early opinions, to disprove the Divinity of Christ, by similar assertions-and that you could not quote ten lines before, and ten lines after, the words “ fere de fide,” without convicting yourself of what is not becoming a minister of the Gospel. You have endeavoured in your last letter, to extricate yourself from this position :~but to my mind you have only confirmed it. If the reader will take the pains to examine the words of the author, as you have quoted them, he will see the evidence. Bellarmine takes up the matter, on which he is writing, as an opinion; he treats it as an opinion; and he leaves it as an opinion. What then have you done by the quotation ? You have proved that Bellarmine had been perverled, when his words “fere de fide” were quoted, to show, that Catholic faith is, “ like the new moon, crescent,” and that the topic on which he was speaking, was a PROBATIONER FOR Å SEAT IN THE CREED.” Now, would ask you, is it becoming a minister of the Gospel to pervert an author?-to assert that he said, what he never said ?--or that he meant, what he never meant? This is precisely what the quotation establishes against you, and even less than “ ten lines” completes the "conviction."
It was Cardinal Richelieu, I believe, who said, that if he had the privilege of selecting three lines at his pleasure, from an author's book, he could have him hanged for treason. And we all know, that if the infidel were allowed to select three words from the Psalms of David, as you had done from the writings of Bellarmine, he could make it appear, that there is no God,” and that the Royal Prophet was an Atheist. But in either case, “ ten lines before, and ten lines after," would “convict” the offender of what might be tolerated in politics, or scepticism, but is, in my opinion, not becoming in the MINISTRY OF THE GOSPEL. You beg me in your last letter “not to be silent about this matter," and I have only one word more
to say upon it. It is this: that I will meet you with a copy of Bellarmine on any day you please to appoint; and submit the passage to any sworn interpreter of languages, and let him decide its meaning. If he says that Bellarmine's meaning was not perverted, in your first use of the words “fere de fide," I hereby pledge myself to apologise publicly. But if the decision be against you, then you will be candid enough to acknowledge the perversion, and leave the public to judge of the cause which required it. The decision, however, shall be in writing, with the interpreter's signature, and given to the public.
You ask me, “ if I had not Bellarmine in my possession, how could I deny so positively, that the author bore such a testimony; and how could I venture to level such a charge at you, while ignorant of what he said?" Answer. Because I was not ignorant "of what he said.” 2. Because the “ doctrines of the Catholic Church are fixed stars in the firmament of belief,” and the transmutation of an opinion into a doctrine, (sor proof of which you referred to Bellarinine,) would be the raising of a "new light," a species of religious reformation which Protestants have taken into their own hands, and for which Catholics have neither the talent, inclination, nor authority. So much, then, for this first point on which we are at issue.
2. As to Luther's proposition—I showed that you had interpolated it, by inserting a word (“ new,") which is not in the original. That subsequently, when you gave the original, you left the word “new” out of the translation ; but supplied the place of it by an assertion which was unfounded in truth-viz, that your second version " was word for word what you had said before.” In your last letter, you assure us that the omission of the word “ new," (in the second version,) had no design in it. That is, you omit the interpolation, and yet take pains to assure our readers, that for this act of literary honesty, they are indebted to chance, and not to intention, since so the omission had no design in it?" But then you tell us that, “statuere arborem,” means, according to Horace, “ to plant a tree.” Agreed. And that “statuere columellam,” according to Cicero, means, “to erect a little pillar.” Agreed, again. But what follows? Will you say that therefore in Luther's proposition, “statuere articulos fidei,” means “ to make new articles of faith?” And yet, on this pivot of new logic, turns the only defence, you have been able to set up against all the arguments of my last letter, touching the charges involved in the point at issue. It is not a tenet of Catholic belief, that either the Church or the Pope, or both together, have the power to create, or reject DOCTRINE: to make, or to destroy one single article of Faith. Protestants alone, who are responsible to no rule of faith, except to their individual private opinion of the meaning of Scripture, may plant and pluck up doctrines at their pleasure. Again, therefore, I am constrained to say that your charge against the Catholic church, of " claiming the right to make new articles of faith,' is painfully untrue.
3. You had said that the “ Catechism of the Council of Trent gives only four words of the second commandment, and closes with an expressive et cætera.” This is “ untrue." And, can you ima
gine, that the moral sense of the community, Protestant as well as Catholic, does not hunger for an explanation of the motives which could induce “minister of the Gospel,” thus to bear false witness against his neighbour.
4. . You had said, that in the Catholic church there are no less than three systems of doctrine, on the “ Pope's supremacy.” Now every Catholic in the whole world might be called as a witness, to prove that this assertion is “ untrue.” On every article of faith, the Catholics of the present, and of all past ages, are as.united in belief, as if they all dwelt under the same roof. Is it not, therefore, humiliating to sincere Protestants to discover, that their ministers and their books are obliged to use such means, and to confound all dis. tinction between doctrine, discipline, opinions, and local customs, in order to prove disunion of belief among the Catholics?
5. You had said, that it is a principle of Catholics, “ that if the Pope were to command vice, and prohibit virtue, he is to be obeyed.” For this assertion you referred to Bellarmine. In reply, I quoted the passage of Bellarmine, in my last letter, which shows that he stated it, as the impious and ABSURD consequence, which would flow from the opinion he was then refuting. You did not attempt to meet the quotation with any thing stronger than assertion. “I still insist,” you say, " that he (Bellarmine) makes the Pope living infallible law; and you, not ), prevent his reasoning.” Bellarmine maintained, as a matter of opinion, that the Pope, in his official character is infallible. Bossuet, as a matter of opinion, maintained the contrary; both were Catholics, and believed as a matter of faith, the Pope's supremacy, and the infallibility of the church. And here is the maxim of St. Augustine, exemplified «in matter of faith, UNITY; in matters not of faith, LIBERTY.” But I insist upon it, that Bellarmine, so far from saying, that “the Pope can make virtue vice, and vice virtue," professes to prove the erroneousness of the opinion, which he was then refuting, by showing that this would be the impious consequence of its adoption. Thus then we both “insist.” “Who shall decide between us? I say, any sworn interpreter of languages, and (stipulating always, that the decision be published, with his signature and agreement) I CHALLENGE you to the alternative. How then can you “bear false witness against your neighbour,” by saying that Bellarmine taught, and Catholics believe, what Bellarmine NEVER taught, and what Catholics do not believe.?
6. You had stated, that according to the 16th canon of the 3d Council of Lateran, “an oath contrary to ecclesiastical utility, is perjury, not an oath.” I answered that this had reference to unlawful oaths, which were sometimes pleaded by factious minorities, or individuals, to justify their rebellion against the choice of the majority, in certain cases of ecclesiastical elections. To these cases exclusively, was the decision of the Council limited. Yet, my Rev. opponent spreads it out into a general proposition of Catholic doctrine. Again, therefore, I challenge you to abide the decision of any sworn interpreter. Here, then, are six different heads, on each of which I am constrained to say with regret, that you have asserted what is "untrue," It is useless, therefore, for you to calculate on