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The last accusation against us respects the passage where St. Peter exhorts the brethren “ to give diligence to make their calling and election sure ;” where you charged us with designedly omitting “by good works,” in order to disparage the Romish doctrine of the merit of good works. A polemic who thus blindly deals his blows at random, is something like an unmanageable war-elephant, which usually does more harm to its friends than its enemies. If the omission of these words is so scandalous, what do you think of St. Ambrose, who quotes the text without them, just as it stands in our version; or how do you justify a multitude of eminent divines and critics of your own communion, who have published and circulated many thousands of Greek Testaments, not one of which contains the words in question? Why did not you exhort your congre. gation to be on their guard against Erasmus,t Cardinal Ximenes, Arias Montanus, and so many other detractors from the merit of good works, by whom they are much more likely to be led astray than by a Protestant version, which they are not allowed to read? Of all men in the world, you, Sir, have most need to pray that you may be preserved from your friends ; for, wherever you turn, there is a host of ancient saints and modern Catholic doctors ready to rise in arms against you.
As I do not wish to waste my time in proving matters notorious to every scholar, or heaping up authorities in vindication of our version, when it needs no vindicating, I shall content myself with transcribing part of Estius's note on the passage. After observing that the words " by good works” are only found in a very few Greek manuscripts, mentioned by Robert Stephens, but that they occur in all the copies of the Vulgate: he adds~"Though perhaps St. Peter did not add these words, (respecting which I do not contend ;) yet it is evident from the whole context of the passage and the scope of the Apostle, that they are to be understood.”'S
You see, Sir, that the divinity professor of Douay, was not quite so positive as yourself in this matter; the reason of which is, that he had a competent share of learning and critical skill, which never fails to render the possessor more modest, more candid, and less dogmatical. A sciolist jumps to a conclusion when he knows only one side of a question ; a man of true learning and talent weighs the evidence on both, and carefully avoids taking up a position from which any antagonist can immediately drive him with shame.
I have now, Sir, gone through your charges against our authorized version of the Scriptures ; and it is for the public to decide whether they give an advantageous idea of your fairness as a polemic, and your
• 2 Peter, i. 10.
+ It is worthy of notice that the words are omitted in Erasmus's Latin translation, as well as in his editions of the Greek Testament. In the Antwerp edition of 1526, the passage stands as follows:..."Quapropter fratres, potius operam date ut vocationem et electionem vestram firmam efficiatis. Erasmus is pronounced by Huet and Father Simon to be the very best of modern interpreters; his translation is allowed both by the Spanish and Roman censors; and is extolled to the skies by Pope Leo X, in a formal Apostolical epistle, usually prefixed to the work. Thanks, however, to the march of intellect! the secular priests of the nineteenth century are much wiser than the infallible Popes of the sixteenth.
Estii. Comment. in St. Pet. Epist. 2. p. 1207. There is better authority for the reading δια των καλων εργων than Estius was then able to produce. It is found in nine Greek manuscripts, one of which is the famous Alexandrian, as well as in several ancient versions, and is not improbably the true reading. If it is said that our trans. lators ought, therefore, to have admitted it into the text, we reply that, on this ground, they ought not to be so outrageously abused for substituting and in the place of or, in 1 Cor. xi. 27, a reading supported, as we have seen, by testimonies of no small weight. And ir“ good works" are so evidently implied in the context as Estius affirms, the omission of the words in our version can do no great harm, for they are just as evidently implied there as in the common Greek copies.
acquirements as a theologian and a scholar. I could easily have extended every article to ten times its present length, but my object was, not to write treatises of controversy, but briefly to vindicate our English Bible from what I considered a wanton and uncalled-for aggression. No assertion has been more frequently and confidently made than this, that the English Roman Catholics are greatly improved in candour and liberality, and that they have long ceased to entertain rancorous feelings towards their Protestant countrymen, to depreciate their merits, to exaggerate their faults, and to stir up and cherish those vulgar prejudices to which the party-spirit of former ages had given birth. It is surely but a poor evidence of this, to find their spiritual guides industriously disseminating among them books of the most inflammatory tendency, and gravely dealing out from their pulpits accusations as ridiculous as they are false; which have been refuted a thousand times by their own best writers, and which would provoke the laughter or contempt of any learned French or German Catholic. Let me exhort you, Sir, if you wish to gain the reputation of a fair and honourable antagonist of Protestantism, to turn your studies into a different channel. It is not by merely looking into Ward's Errata, or Martin's Discoverie, or the Annotations to the Rhemish Testament, (of which even your Irish Bishops are now ashamed,) that a man can become an accomplished controvertist and a competent judge of the merits and defects of scriptural versions ; for he who follows such blind guides, will be sure to fall into the ditch along with them. It will be more profitable for you to study attentively the writings of such men as Tillemont, Calmet, and Montfaucon, men of your own communion, but no less reverenced by Protestants than Catholics, for their profound learning, united with urbanity, moderation, and strict integrity. They were men who did not write for any narrow party pura pose, but for the benefit and instruction of their own age and of posterity, to whom we listen with respect even when we do not assent to their opinions; and whom we think as much superior to the Wards, and Martins, and Baddeleys, whom you have chosen to follow, as an upright and learned judge is exalted above an ignorant, dishonest, pettyfogging village attorney.
I remain, Sir, Yours, &c.
A LANCASHIRE CURATE.
THE CHURCH OF ROME A PERSECUTING CHURCH.
To the Editor of the Protestant Guardian. Sir, It is a remarkable feature of our days that the zealous advocates of the freedom of the press,—the men who are loudest in their exultations at the extension of knowledge, and “the march of mind,”— the boasted supporters of civil and religious liberty ; are the avowed friends of a system, decidedly hostile to those things which they profess to hold most dear. That the spirit of Popery is a spirit of cruel persecution, (when power is afforded,) against all who presume to hold a different creed, no man of any information in historical facts can possibly be ignorant. “If foreign Popery once return,” says the learned Bentley, “and regain the provinces that it lost at the Reformation, O the terrible storm of persecutions at its first regress!
O the dark prospect of slavery and ignorance for the ages behind.” Ignorance, indeed, is the mother of Popish devotion; and,“ though Popery, since the Reformation, has even in its own quarters permitted learning and humanity, and prudently withdrawn some of its most scandalous trumpery; yet, if once again it sees itself universal, the whole warehouse, now kept under key, will again be set wide open; the old tyranny will ride triumphant upon the necks of enslaved mankind, with certain provisions against a future revolt.” There will, of course, be a difference of opinion as to the degree in which these words are applicable to the present times; yet amongst thinking men, there is a generally prevailing abhorrence and dread of the overweening pride and tyranny of the Romish Church. The advocates of Catholic Emancipation (as it is called,) are perfectly aware of this; and they are, therefore, perpetually devising some artifice whereby to blind the public eye, and throw men off their guard. Finding it impossible to justify the Church of Rome, they endeavour to quiet the fears which her character excites, by boldly asserting that that church is not more to be dreaded as a persecuting church than any other possessed of power; for “all churches,” say they, “have persecuted in their turn,” and this may be “gathered from history.” Now a little knowledge of the Bible, and of the simple fact, that the Bible and nothing but the Bible is the religion of Protestants, would induce a notion that this statement is incorrect, and a little knowledge of history would confirm that notion.. “ The infallibility of their churches made no part of the common belief on which Protestants agreed from the beginning, or the spirit of intolerance would only have changed its name among us.
The dogma of an infallible judge of religious subjects is the true source of bigotry: a fallible church can use no compulsion.” Not that it can be denied that the evil passions of men have occasionally prevailed over right principle; but it may safely be asserted that at no period has that spirit of persecution prevailed in the Protestant Church which has in all ages distinguished the Church of Rome, and that the inference complained of is true, viz., “that the latter is the only one which has made use of the iron arm of power to convince men's consciences in matters of religion,” uniformly and upon principle, I am very well aware to which period of history the favourers of the Popish cause are accustomed to appeal, for proof of the persecuting spirit of Protestants. Let us frankly acknowledge the truth, that certain instances of persecution may be laid to the charge of some of our great Reformers. Yet it is to be remembered, that these were men brought up in Popish habits of education, and that the very truth which we admit," is a truth which rivets the accusation of inherent and essential intolerance upon that church, whose erroneous notions the patriarchs of the Reformation could not cast off at once.” It is maintained by the advocates of Popery, that the Papists who were put to death in the reign of Elizabeth, were martyrs to their religion. History will not justify this assertion. Even Roman Catholic writers have declared their full persuasion “that none were vexed simply for that he was either Priest or Catholic, but because they were suspected to have their hands in some most traitorous designments." And again, says a Roman Catholic,““ this I infer, and I have ample grounds for the inference, that as none of the old clergy suffered, and none of the new who roundly renounced the assumed prerogative of papal despotism, it was not for any tenet of the Catholic faith that they were exposed to persecution.” No, Sir, they suffered, not for believing in transubstantiation, nor for performing mass ; not, as has been affirmed, for being priests, but for violating the laws which Parliament had deemed necessary for the protection of Government; for being priests, whose avowed object it was to further the execution of the Pope's Bull for the deposition of the Queen, which, according to their leader, Persons, it was the duty of every faithful Romanist to do to the utmost of his ability. "It is indeed (observes Mr. B. White) a happy result of the Reformation, that some of the strongest prejudices of the Roman Catholics have been
softened, wherever the Protestant religion has obtained a footing. Where this mixture has never taken place, true Roman Catholics remain nearly what they were in the time when Christendom rejoiced at the breach of faith, which committed Huss to the flames, by the sentence of a General Council: believing in the dogma of an infallible judge of religious subjects, they are necessarily and conscientiously persecutors.” It is a duty incumbent on Roman Catholics to propagate their faith by every means in their power. It was a sense of this duty which led to the various cruel persecutions of the Vaudois, of which a bare outline would be too long. 'One instance must suffice, accompanied with this observation, that these people (unlike the Romanists before mentioned) were remarkable for their civil obedience ; it was with them a point of conscience, they had learnt it from the Gospel. Yet were they delivered over to the most cruel persecution, because they did not believe in transubstantiation, and prayed to God through the mediation of their Lord and Saviour, instead of the Virgin and the Saints, and read the Scriptures which they so faithfully obeyed. The officer who was sent against them in the latter part of the fifteenth century, entered with an armed force the valley of Loyse, which contained a population of about 3000 Vaudois. These innocent people retired to the caves of the mountains ; thither they were traced, and fires kindled at the entrances by their inhuman persecutors, that the wretched inmates might perish by suffocation. The sanguinary persecutions raised up, in this land, against the Protestants, in the days of Queen Mary I. were not on account of their disobedience to the then constituted authorities of the state, but because they refused to defile their conscience, by assenting to the unscriptural dogmas of the Church of Rome. In this most honorable contest, nearly three hundred persons were burnt alive, and great numbers besides suffered by fines, confiscations, and imprisonment. I would not needlessly “rake up the many horrid atrocities committed by the Papists," but it really is scarcely possible for any one who is acquainted with the history of the Church of Rome, to consider the Romanist's creed, and at the same time detach from his mind all remembrance of opinions and proceedings connected with that creed. We cannot forget that the creed of those who persecuted the Vaudois, from age to age, and who committed to the dames the noble army of English martyrs, was also the creed of those who massacred the French Protestants, on the tragical day of St. Bartholomew; that it was the creed of those insurgents, who in the reign of Charles First, went far towards obliterating the name of Englishmen in the kingdom of Ireland, and who, against Protestants exercised cruelties, which an eminent historian asserts “would shock the least delicate humanity.” It was likewise the creed of James the Second, who under the semblance of mildness and of equality in privileges to all his subjects, (the very plea now urged by the advocates for Romanists) dispensed with laws, imprisoned Bishops, and filled the highest departments with men of his own persuasion. It was the creed of those, who in the early part of the last century, occasioned 30,000 Protestants to withdraw from Saltzburgh, and who inflicted punishments of a barbarous nature on the Protestant magistrates and people of Thorn. How then can we lull ourselves into a fatal security, in full conviction that similar causes will never again produce similar effects ? Can we believe, that if opportunity were given, the Romanist creed would not be enforced on Protestants? For, is it true that Popery is not what it was, as some advocates of the Catholic Claims profess to believe? If the Roman Catholic Church acknowledged her error, if sbe confessed that she was misled by the ignorance and bigotry of old times (though she herself had undoubtedly caused that ignorance and bigotry) we might believe that her children had also put off their persecuting character.
But where has mortal man heard that the Church of Rome ever whispered a regret for the torrents of blood with which she has drenched the earth ? Has that church renounced the supremacy of the Pope, or any of the twelve additional articles of Pope Pius's creed? or does its cons stitution, or doctrines and usages, differ from what it cost our Reformers so much painful exertion and blood to get rid of ? No. Semper eadem is the governing maxim of the Romish Church. Papists still have their unscriptural transubstantiation, and purgatory, and masses, and indulgences. The councils and decrees which promulgated the most obnoxious tenets of their church, are still held to be of supreme authority. The old pretensions of that church to infallibility and exclusive salvation are still retained; and the same intolerance, the same hatred of the Reformation and of the Church of England, and, therefore, the same principled determination (if in her power) to subvert it. This, Sir, is not an assertion grounded upon the prejudiced notions and suspicions of a Protestant. It is expressly declared by a Roman Catholic writer, that " if any one pretend to insinuate that the modern Roman Catholics differ in one iota from their ancestors, he either deceives himself, or he wishes to deceive others. Semper eadem is more emphatically descriptive of our religion than of our jurisprudence.” The titular Archbishop of Dublin, Dr. Troy, in his letter published some years since, says that “the religious opinions of the Roman Catholics being unchangeable, are applicable to all times ;" and that “the decisions of general Councils are of infallible authority, and absolutely binding upon Roman Catholics as rules of faith and conduct ” And he particularly quotes, with marked approbation, the fourth Lateran Council, the decrees of which enjoin the utter extirpation of heretics, (that is, of all Christians differing from the Church of Rome,) and the dethronement of heretical Sovereigns; and also declare that all engagements entered into with heretics, though sanctioned by oath, are nullities in themselves. It seems wonderful, that with the avowal of these principles before their eyes, and with the knowledge of a variety of facts and events which have taken place, in conformity with these principles, any persons should imagine that it would be consistent with public security to “grant the claims now urged by the advocates of the Papists, or that the concession, whilst it endangered our Protestant Establishment, would give full satisfaction to the Papists themselves." Let us not, Sir, be induced, through fear of the charge of illiberality, to keep silence on this important subject. It is a duty to call to recollection those evils, the invariable consequences of Popish power, which a long tranquility seems to have nearly effaced from public remembrance; especially when we are told by Papists themselves, that Popery remains the same it ever was, and is absolutely incapable of change. If we have Popish Legislators, we must expect Popish laws. If the King has Popish advisers, he will unquestionably receive Popish advice. If, therefore, we dread the re-establishment of Popery—if we feel an attachment to the cause of Protestantism-if we value the continuance of those civil and religious blessings which this country has now enjoyed for more than a century-if we believe that the doctrines of our church are perfectly consonant to “the faith once delivered to the saints,” we are bound by every principle of interest and conscience, to contend against the removal of those barriers which our ancestors erected, to protect the establishment of Protestantism, and to guard against the return of Popery.
• See the Rev. B. White's Poor Man's Preservative, &c., and the Bishop of St. David's Protestant's Catechism, &c.
+ See the excellent " Charges" of the Bishops of Gloucester and Lincoln, delivered in 1810 and 1812