Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

X. 6.

4.-Remarks on Doctor Southey's Crimination of the

Roman-catholic Church, in consequence of the alleged
intemperate Expressions of some of her Writers on the
Pope's Authority.
HITHEPTo I have addressed you on the

supposition, that the doctrines and sayings, with which you vituperate us, are to be found in respectable writers, and are fairly represented. You cite no author ; you produce no document to prove your assertions. You must be aware how much this increases the difficulty of the defence which your work imposes upon us ; you must, therefore, excuse me for expressing a doubt, whether any of the expressions are used by any roman-catholic writers in the sense which you put upon them; and whether they have ever been used by any author, whose character is such, as confers importance on his words.

You say, that the appellation of God has sometimes been applied to the pope.

It
may

be are you to learn, that, in the Bible, kings, princes, and magistrates are styled gods? not as divinities, or as partakers of the divine nature, but as persons eminently exalted, and exercising, by delegation, power, justice or mercy, or some other attribute of the divinity. How often do the christian emperors mention, nostra divinitas, nostra perennitas, nostra, æternitas, nostræ divinæ vocis oraculum, nostra divina sancita-our divinity, our eternity,

SO; but : you

the oracle of our divine voice, our divine laws ? Read Selden's Titles of Honor*; read your own Calvin's Commentary on the Passages in the Psalms, in which David is called “son of God," Solomon is called “God,” and judges are called “gods.” He shows, that the word “God” is used in all these cases, not as an attribution of divinity to the persons to whom it is applied, but as describing their supereminent dignity. That, in some instances, this expression has been used in the secondary sense I have mentioned, and generally in bad taste, is not improbable ; in fact, many of the epithets, by which monarchs and other illustrious persons are described, will not bear the test of criticism : know how Erasmus laughs at them in the Encomium Moriæ. I am very willing to join you in his laugh at them; but I am somewhat surprised to see you thus treat the matter seriously. To treat it thus, became Foulis, the author of the

History of Romish Treasons,” that great arsenal of anti-catholic ribaldry, which probably supplied you with the observation ; but surely, to make it a subject of solemn words was quite unworthy of you. I defy you to produce one instance, in which the word "God;” used potentialiter to indicate the Supreme Being, has been applied by any catholic writer to the pope; or one instance, in which, used in any sense, any pope has accepted it, or applied it to himself. Then why is this odious, this invidious, this disgusting charge brought forward against us ? In the last page but one of your present chapter

• The first part, c. V. s. 3.

you say,“ Even this monstrous proposition has “ been advanced : that, although the catholic faith “ teaches all virtue to be good, and all vice evil, “ nevertheless, if the pope, through error, should “ enjoin vices to be committed, and prohibit vir

tues, the church would be bound to believe, that “ vices were good, and virtue evil, and would sin “ in conscience, were it to believe otherwise. He “ could change the nature of things, and make injustice justice."

Monstrous, indeed, would be such a doctrine ! Equally monstrous is it to charge it on the romancatholic church. Is not the charge founded altogether on a passage in the treatise of cardinal Bellarmine, de Romano Pontifice*? If this be the case, your charge is so brittle, that it will fall to dust the moment you open the page of Bellarmine which contains it. You will then instantaneously see, not only that Bellarmine does not teach the doctrine which you ascribe to the church, but that he holds the direct reverse of it to be an acknowledged and indubitable truth.

He states a proposition ; controverts it ; and professes to prove its erroneousness, by showing, that if it were true, “ it would authorize the pope to make virtue vice, " and vice virtue." Thus you will find that the proposition, which you impute to Bellarmine, is considered by him to be such a perfect absurdity,

. Liber iv. c. 5, de Decretis Morum, tom. 1, p. 721, ed. Lugdun: fol. 1596. And see in the same volume, p. 393, 394. 789, 790, where he notices the doctrine, that “the pope 6 is lord of the world."

K

and so clear and acknowledged a falsehood, that a proposition leading to it, or from which it would follow as a consequence, must partake of its nature, and become absurd and false. Is not therefore the doctrine of the roman-catholics diametrically contrary to your representation of it?

A little further you say, that “the commentators “ even gave the pope the blasphemous appellation " of OUR LORD GOD THE POPE. Two hundred years ago this charge was brought against the commentators, and two hundred years ago it was triumphantly refuted. You probably have copied it, at first or second hand, from the Glossá final. cap. cum inter Extra. Joan. xxi. Father Eudæmon Joannes, in his Apology for Father Garnet, published in 1610, informs us, that "in the passage “ in question, he found the word Deum, (God), « in some editions of the Gloss, and omitted in “ others; that he therefore resolved to consult

the Zenzelini manuscript at the Vatican, which,” he says, "might be seen every day;" and “that “ he found that the real reading was, DOMINUM

NOSTRUM PAPAHI, After this explanation, you will assuredly agree with me, that there is not greater reason to charge the commentators on the Corpus Juris Canonici, with giving to the pope the appellation of God, than to charge the church of England with legalizing adultery, because, in some copies of the English Bible, the word "not" is omitted in the commandment against adultery.

In the same work, Bellarmine notices the propo

OUR

LORD

THE POPE.

sition, that, “the pope is lord of all the world.” I presume you have this proposition in view, when you say, that “the romanists claimed for the

pope “ a plenitude of power ; that he exercised it over “ the princes of Christendom, in its fullest mean

ing; that he was king of kings, and lord of “ lords.” The proposition, in the words I have mentioned, is propounded, discussed, and refuted by Bellarmine. In fact, it is so absurd a proposition, as to make a refutation of it an almost total waste of time. Are you ignorant that it is rejected as the extreme of error, not to say, as the extreme of nonsense or impiety, by a countless number of the most eminent catholic writers? How many works, for asserting it, or propositions approaching to it, have been publicly censured? How many, as those of Santarellus and Malagola, have been condemned, in catholic countries, in the strongest terms of reprobation? Upon what ground, therefore, can you impute the affirmance of the proposition, (thus, by them universally scouted), to the roman-catholics ? At all events, justice required that you should name the authors in whose writings the propositions, you thus hold out to abomination, are to be found, I suspect that, if you were to do this, it would be very generally seen, that the expressions in question were used by them, though in a very bad taste, to describe the supreme spiritual power of the church, and of the pope as her spiritual head, to govern all the faithful in spiritual concerns, and to control all the refractory, by spiritual censures, ending at last in excommunication. If this be so, do romancatholics claim more power for their church, than

« VorigeDoorgaan »