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is claimed by the protestants for theirs? Do not the ministers of your church claim the power of excommunication? To this, are not all its members, whether kings, lords, or subjects, equally liable? Does not every stone, that you thus throw at our church, equally hit your own?
Do the words, which you have cited from our authors, import more than this? If they do not, are not your own writers equally blameable? Think of the doctrines of your venerated Wickliffe ; of your other venerated reformers of the middle ages; think of the primitive reformers; think of the extreme doctrines and extreme practices of Knox :-They incontestibly show, that, in their opinion, kings, lords, and subjects, may, if the good of the church require it, be punished by excommunication, and even by something beyond it.
Think of bishop Gibson's complaints of the constitutional rights of the temporal courts of this kingdom to issue prohibitions to the spiritual courts; of his intimation, that parliament should not meddle with the concerns of religion; of his dislike of the court of Delegates; of his objection to lay chancellors, lay commissaries, and other lay officials in spiritual courts; of his exalted notions of the force of canons promulgated by the church; of his wish that no acts of parliament, respecting religion, should be passed, unless they were previously submitted to the clergy, and had their approbation; of his lamentation, that ecclesiastical process is served in the name of the king*. Is the spirit which suggested these complaints, objections, * See the preface to his Codex.
dislikes, and lamentations, in the eighteenth century, very different from the spirit of the advocates of the independence of the clergy on the civil power, in the middle ages?
In another part of your present chapter, you mention that there were ambassadors "who pro"strated themselves before the pope, saying, 0 "thou! who takest away the sins of the world, "have mercy upon us!" Perhaps you are indebted for this story to Foulis. Even that most foul-mouthed author intimates (what you wholly omit), that the pope spurned the salutation. Paulus Emilius, on whose credit the tale rests altogether, relates, that the "city of Palermo, having grievously "offended the pope, sent some holy men to him as "ambassadors, who prostrated themselves at his "feet, AND SALUTED CHRIST THE LAMB OF GOD, "as before an altar and the blessed sacrament, and suppliantly pronounced the mystic words of the altar, Lamb of God, who takest away the sins "of the world, have mercy on us! Who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us! "Who takest away the sins of the world, give us
peace.' The pope replied by telling them, that "they acted like those who, after they had struck Christ, saluted him as King of the Jews; that, "in reality, they were his enemies, although in "these words they wished him health." I transcribe in a note the historian's text*. Permit me
* "Cùm apud pontificem de hac consternatione ageretur, "à Panormitanis missos ad eum oratores, viros sanctos; qui "ad pedes illius strati, velut pro arâ hostiâque, CHRISTUM
to observe to you, that much of your charge is unfounded. You describe the ambassadors as addressing the pope as Lamb of God; the historian describes them as addressing Christ, the Lamb of God: You leave your readers to suppose that it was a mere matter of ceremony; the historian informs us, that it was an appeal made in a moment of great distress to the feelings of the pope, by bringing to his mind the supplicatory address in the mass to Christ the Lamb of God: You leave your readers to suppose that the address was favourably received; the historian shows that it was indignantly rejected. A subsequent pope told one of his flatterers: "Petrus non eget mendacio vestro; vestrâ "adulatione non eget. Peter hath no need of your "untruth; no need of your adulation."
I am old enough to remember the commemoration at Stratford-upon-Avon, when with the full applause of English nobility, gentry, and clergy, beauty and wealth, assembled at it in numbers, an immense orchestra vociferated:
""Tis he! 'tis he!
"The god of our idolatry!
Shakespear! Shakespear! Shakespear!
"AGNUM DEI SALUTANTES, illa etiam ex altaris mysteriis "verba supplices effarentur,-"Qui tollis peccata mundi, mise"rere nostri:-Qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nostri :"Qui tollis peccata mundi, dona nobis pacem. Pontificem "respondisse, Panormitanos agere quod fecissent qui cùm "Christum pulsarent, eundem regem judæorum salutabant, "re hostes, fando salvere jubentes." Pauli Emilii Veronensis Historici Clarissimi, De rebus gestis Francorum. Liber x. Chronicon de iisdem regibus ex Pharamundo usque ad Henricum ii. fol. 328.
A divine might have frowned, a philosopher might have smiled at this mummery; but seriously to charge the shouting multitude with deifying Shakespear, would have been preposterous.
Thus I dispose of the criminations in your present chapter: You must excuse me for believing, that, if I had the command of more time, and a greater library than fall to my lot, I might discover other inaccuracies in the present chapter of your work. Be that as it may, permit me to request you will say, if you conscientiously believe that there is now a single catholic, who can justly be charged with the monstrous and blasphemous doctrines with which you attempt in this part of your work to brand us. Think of the Gallican declaration in 1682, which, so far as respects the independence of the secular on the spiritual power, in temporal concerns, is recognized by the whole roman-catholic world;-think of the opinions of the foreign universities, obtained by the direction of Mr. Pitt ;-think of the oaths taken by the English, the Irish, and the Scottish catholics* ;-think of their conduct;-then declare explicitly, whether as a man, as a gentleman, or as a christian, you can, fairly and honourably, thus malign us?
I shall close this letter by a transcription of the following publication :-I hope it will vindicate us, in the opinion of all its readers, from the prelatie charges to which it refers.
* See the Appendix.
5.-Defence, by a Roman-catholic Divine, of the Romancatholic Church against Charges brought against her by the present Bishop of Winchester.
In the life of Mr. Pitt, recently published by doctor Tomline, the bishop of Winchester, a short account is given of the passing of the act of 1791, for the relief of the English roman-catholics; it occasioned considerable surprise among the catholics, and produced, from a secular clergyman of their communion, the following letter to his lordship:
"In your lordship's Memoirs of the Life of Mr. Pitt, vol. 2, p. 400, occurs the following passage:
"A petition had been presented to the House "of Commons, on the 7th of May 1789, by certain persons calling themselves catholic dissenters, implying by that title, that they did not believe all "the tenets generally maintained by roman-catho"lics. The petitioners stated, that they and other
papists were subject to various penal laws, on ac"count of principles, which they were supposed to "entertain, dangerous to society, and totally repug"nant to political and civil liberty, and therefore
they thought it due to their country and to them"selves publicly to disclaim and protest against the "five following doctrines:--1. That princes ex"communicated by the pope, or by any authority "of the see of Rome, may be deposed or murdered