by their subjects or other persons :-2. That im

plicit obedience is due to the orders and decrees “ of popes and general councils, even if they re

quire open resistance to government, the subver-- ' “sion of the laws and liberties of the country, and “ the extermination of all persons not professing “ the roman-catholic religion :--3. That the pope,

by his spiritual power, can dispense with the obligation of any compact or oath :-4. That not

pope, but even a priest has power, at his “ will and pleasure, to pardon sins, and, conse

quently, can absolve from the guilt of perjury, “ rebellion and high treason :-5. That faith is “not to be kept with heretics*.”

** These five doctrines are to be found in the decrees of councils, and other authentic documents of the church of Rome, and have always been considerod as forming part of the faith of papists." Note in the Bishop's Life of Mr. Pitt.

only the


“ Allow me to observe, my lord, that the account given above, so far from being accurate, contains a gross misrepresentation, which, from respect to your lordship, I am willing to believe is not a wilful

It is true, that the petitioners in 1789 styled themselves catholic dissenters. It is equally true, that many catholics objected to the title assumed by the petitioners; and for this reason, that they conceived the term dissenters to be appropriate to those who deserted the antient faith in the sixteenth century, not to such as were inheritors of it in the present times. But no thinking man before your lordship ever insinuated, that the petitioners were dissenters from other catholics, in respect to the doctrines against which they protested.

“ Neither did the petitioners insinuate, that the tenets which they disclaimed were maintained by any other catholics whomsoever: They knew indeed that such tenets had been imputed to other catholics, as well as to themselves; but as they were petitioning for themselves only, they confined the disclaimer to themselves.

It is not, however, of these inaccuracies, but of the note which follows them, that the catholics chiefly complain*. The statement in that note is not only erroneous in point of fact, but is calculated to make on the public mind an impression most injurious to their interests, by representing them as members of a church which inculcates, “as part of its faith," doctrines subversive of civil allegiance and moral duty; doctrines not to be tolerated by any government, nor in any society. On what this representation may be grounded, few readers of the Memoirs will stay to inquire; they will adopt it as true on the authority of the writer.

“ The catholics deny that the five doctrines in question ever formed part of their faith. They challenge your lordship to prove your assertion ; they call on you to produce, if you can, “ the de“ crees of councils, and the authentic documents of “ the church of Rome, in which they are to be “ found." If you cannot, they trust you will have the courage to come forward, and with the honesty

* See note in italics in the preceding page.


of a man, and the charity of a christian, acknowledge that you have been misled.

“ Your lordship says, that “these five doctrines “ have always been considered as forming part of the “ faith of papists;" but by whom ?--by catholics ? Most certainly not; they have always disclaimed them. By their adversaries ? But you must be aware that little credit is due to adversaries, especially when the passions of those adversaries have been heated, and their judgments warped, by theological controversy.

“ But what is the meaning of the words “ have “ always been ?” They seem to imply, that the doctrines in question were not only considered formerly, but are also considered now, as making part of the catholic faith. It is however impossible that so unfounded a notion can exist at the present day. Your lordship cannot be ignorant, that, in 1788, the catholic universities of Louvain, Douay, Paris, Alcala, Valladolid and Salamanca, when those learned bodies were consulted to satisfy Mr. Pitt*, spurned the imputation as most foul, false and calumnious. You cannot be ignorant that, in 1791, Pius VI., in his letter to the roman-catholic archbishops of Ireland, not only condemned these doctrines, but declared that they had been imputed to the holy see merely for the purpose of calumniating it t. You cannot be ignorant, that the British and Irish catholics seized the first opportunity, which

* See the Appendix.

+ See substance of Sir John Cox Hippisley's speech, May 18, 1810. Appendix.

was offered to them, of disclaiming such doctrines upon oath. You cannot be ignorant, that that very oath had been prescribed by the legislature, as satisfactory evidence of the religious principles of those who should take it.

What better proof can be desired or devised? The declaration of the chief bishop of the catholic church, the testimony of the catholic universities, the oaths of the catholics, both laity and clergy, of the united kingdom, and the authority of the legislature, all combine to show, that these five doctrines form no part of the catholic faith. Certainly the most obstinate prejudice must yield to evidence so general and conclusive.

* I have the honour to be, &c. “ London, June 12, 1821. A CATHOLIC.”





SIR, YOU have now reached a subject, upon which I wish you had given us an elaborate and impartial volume, instead of a short and partial chapter, the preliminaries of Luther's reformation. In Germany, they are often styled Reformatio ante Reformationem. It is intimated, in the preface to Beausobre's “ History of the Reformation,” that he had written a work on this subject: I have made many inquiries for it, both in the London and the foreign markets, without success. A good account of this portion of ecclesiastical history is one of the greatest wants of literature.

It is known, that, on the death of Manes, the founder of the heresy, which derives its origin and name from him, his European followers retreated into the East; that they returned into Europe about the beginning of the ninth century: and, during that and the following centuries, spread themselves, under the various appellations of Cathari, Paulicians, Albigenses, Popellicans, Bogards, and Brethren of the Free Spirit, into several sects, equally hostile to church and state.

On the religious tenets of the ancient Manichees,

« VorigeDoorgaan »