Imatges de pÓgina
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ventual refectory, which long and weary travel had rendered most desirable, he en. tered into familiar converse with his young companion, in whom he perceived a mind and a thirst of knowledge, above his years and station. Equally pleased with the friar, young Montalto, on their arrival at the convent, refused to leave him; expressing his determination to take upon him the habit and rule of St. Francis, and earnestly be. seeching the brother, thus casually encountered, to use his influence with the Prior, to receive him into the order, however humble or lowly the station to which he might be assigned. Such predilections for a cloistered life, even in very early youth, and before tixed principles or motives could exist, had invariably been encouraged by all professors of the monastic state. And it had generally been inculcated, that they were the suggestions of the Holy Spirit of God, which it were impiety to resist. The parents of this youth would no doubt acquiesce in such a definition ; nor perhaps were they averse to see their son numbered among a class of men, looked upon, especially by the lower orders in society, as peculiarly sanctified..--Montalto was certainly no favourite among the brethren. He possessed a bold, aspiring, uncompromising spirit ..-a spirit in no way averse to the use of those means usually employed for acquiring power and pre-eminence among the cloistered orders; and these means he effectually practised, for he attained to the important station of provincial of his order, through much contention, strife, and ill-will, mingled, as is not unusual, with accusations of a graver cast. This rapid ascent of the ladder of preferment, would have fully satisfied an ordinary ambition; but such was not the mind of the father-provincial. His next essay was to get placed in the most prominent position to which his grade entitled him, and although attended with a good deal of opposition, he got permanently fixed at Rome.

The path to power being now fairly before him, Montalto trod it with a firm, unhesitating step; nor did he cease, till, as General, he became supreme ruler over a society, of which, not many years before, he was apparently an humble and lowly brother. But, still unsated, he coveted the purple, which he in due time attained, and, as his eminence Cardinal Montalto, he soon took precedence of many, who formerly despised him as a simple preaching friar. With this high rank, however, his aspiring spirit was not content, but he aimed at higher things, and in order to secure his object, commenced one of the most extraordinary schemes of duplicity and fraud, which we have upon record. No sooner was he admitted to the sacred college, than he panted for the triple crown, and made every thing subservient to that one absorb. ing object. The reigning Pontiff being far advanced in years, an election had long been anticipated, and Montalto built his hopes of success upon the divided state of the Cardinals, five of whom, by a long series of intrigues, kad nearly divided the suffrages equally among them.

There are two requisites generally desirable in the aspirants for this high station,... old age and infirmity, as they afford an early prospect of another vacancy, and a con. sequent repetition of the same weighty arguments which guide the sacred college in their choice; a freedom also, as much as possible, from nepotism, is a requisite, or an over anxious desire for the promotion of relatives, however near, lest the good things of the Lateran should be absorbed, and leave a barren feast for the successor. Fully aware of all this, Perietti directed his conduct accordingly. Shortly after his elevation to the purple, his indigent relatives crowded to Rome, in hopes of sharing his good for. tune. But the Cardinal soon convinced them, that their aspiring hopes of earthly grandeur, must give place to more humble views, and he sent them back to their na. tive village, to pursue the ordiuary avocations of rustic life. Thus he afforded his brethren a striking proof of his freedom from all nepotismal propensities, and hence he was possessed of one requisite. But the other was not so easily acquired, for he was in the prime of life, and possessed of so vigorous a constitution, as to give but little sign of being burdened with the much desired infirmity. This, however, was but a trifling impediment in the path of ambition. What he had not, he could and did as. sume, and by a long series of deep laid dissimulation, (for the old Pope wore better than was expected,) he succeeded in convincing the world, that the hale and robust Franciscan was, by austerity and penance, transformed into the consumptive, dying Cardinal, whose etherial spirit looked to other worlds for ease and rest.

Thus prepared, he waited with impatience for the great day of trial; and as the infirmities of Pope Gregory increased, the infirmities of the decrepit Cardinal kept nearly equal pace; and it became the general opinion that the new Pontiff would have his red hat to bestow on some favourite ecclesiastic. Supported by crutches, he appeared daily at the confessional, for his attendance at which he had long been remark. able. With the trembling, broken, hollow voice of a dying man, (for he was an es. cellent actor, and could assume it all,) he spoke as one who had bid adieu to the cares and vanities of the world, and hourly looked for the long desired summons which would relieve him from the heavy burden of mortality. It was on one of these more than usually suffering days, that he received the welcome intelligence of the death of the Pontiff. Tottering under the heavy load of well dissembled maladies, he trod his ap.parently painful way to the residence of the dean of the college, Farnese, a worthy scion of Pope Paul III. who, by paternal influence, had been made a Cardinal at the appropriate age of fourteen, and was the most powerful leader among the factions that were soon to divide the conclave.

Montalto's object in this visit, was to make a request, (which he well knew would not be granted,) that in compassion to his debilitated state of health, he would excuse his attendance at the approaching contest. The result of his petition was such as he anticipated; his presence could not be dispensed with, for one vote might turn the nearly balanced scale, and if he even died in giving his vote, it mattered little to Far. nese, or any other of his charitable brethen. He therefore, with much seeming reluc. tance, promised to attend; though why they should wish for a dying man amongst them, he could not conceive, unless it were as a memento mori,..-a check to those am. bitious projects that corroded many a breast. So spake the holy man.

The conclave is, as its name imports, a closed assemblage, and there are various pre. cautions used to prevent any sinister proceedings. The space is divided into a number of small compartments, one for each Cardinal present, into which they retire, after assisting at the mass of the Holy Ghost, as it is termed. They are allowed to take in each of them, two attending ecclesiastics, called conclavists, through whose interven. tion the various intrigues are carried forward. There are three modes of election re. sorted to on these important occasions: --by scrutiny, each Cardinal writing on a slip of paper the name of him whom he intends to vote for, and numbers deciding : or by the similar ones of adoration and access, the friends of a particular Cardinal, if they think their party sufficiently strong, when all are assembled in the adjoining chapei, approach and adore, as it is called, the object of their choice ; and if they number two-thirds of the assembly, it is a valid election ; and this, be it remembered, is at. tributed to the immediate agency of the Spirit of God.

In long processions, and after the performance of the splendid ceremonies of their Church, the Cardinals proceeded, with much pomp and display, to elect a successor, to the vacated See. Last in the train, appeared the decrepit Montalto, who heard with no unwilling ears, the remarks of the multitude, as he passed along, on the im. propriety and harshness of subjecting a dying man to the inconvenience of confine. ment: and at the same time depriving the penitents of the consolation they derived from the admonitions of so holy and heavenly-minded a confessor. Immured within the sacred walls (as they are termed) of the conclave, the powers of intrigue and corruption were on this occasion more than usually prevalent. The contending parties had indeed so well canvassed the votes, that it became a difficult matter for any one of them to acquire the necessary ascendancy; and as each leader was a master in his art, no advantage was afforded by which superior skill might end the contest. For fourteen days, every species of ingenuity was put in practice, to bring their Eminences to an agreement, but in vain ; for at the end of that period, they were as distant as ever from the close of their labours. It being therefore evident that a decision could not speedily be looked for, the next desirable object was the election of a Cardinal, whose age and state of health afforded a speedy prospect of again practising their electioneering process.

Montalto seemed expressly provided for that purpose, and means were accordingly used, (though contrary to the laws and regulations they were sworn inviolably to ob. serve,) to convey the intelligence to him. With the shrill trembling pipe of decrepit age, he besought them to desist; his days were numbered, and why, he asked, disturb his parting hours, by placing so great a weight upon such feeble shoulders. To this the suppliants replied, that two of his brethren would pledge themselves to relieve him from the anxieties of Government, and if he would but bear the name, they would support the cares of office. Aster long solicitation, he consented, upon these erpress conditions, to burden his aching head with the triple crown. Matters being thus arranged, they proceeded, on the following day, to ADORE his Eminence, in the adjoining chapel; but a doubt arising as to numbers, a scrutiny was demanded, when, wonder. ful to relate! scarce had the dean announced the majority in his favour, before the crutch fell from his palsied hand, and the head, which for years had been bowed down with infirmity, was raised up, and displayed the eye of fire, and the front of bold in. trepid daring!! Startled at this unexpected result, the leader of one of the factions exclaimed, that there was a mistake in the scrutiny! In a voice that made the con. clave ring, and which a stentor might have envied, he shouted, 'no mistake,.--a valid election ---proceed with the accustomed ceremonies!'"'+

• Lenfant's Histoire du Concile de Constance, 4to. p. 535-7. + The principal source of information for this sketch of Papal character, is Gregorio Letti's Life of Sixtus V. folio; a work intended aa a panegyrick on this holy Father, but which yet contains the facts here stated. They are also corroborated by Rycaut in his Continuation of Platina's Lives, p. 174; Lord Clarendon's Religion and Policy, vol. 2, p. 446; and Mosheim, cent. 16, sect. 3, part 1.

Superstition is often discoverable even in strong minds: this perhaps may account for Mon. talto's founding an order of knighthood, in honor of the Image of the Virgin Mary at Lo. retto, “ to demonstrate his piety and devotion to the mother of God and her holy image.". Histoire des Ord res Militaires de l'Eglise par Hermaut, 8vo. p. 369.

The proceedings of Montalto were throughout extraordinary; for among other means employed by him, in this long practised scene of dissimulation, to luli to rest the suspicions of his wary opponents, was the semblance of a weakness of intellect, almost verging on fatuity. In electing such a character to the Papal throne, the wily Cardinals no doubt expected, that they should rule supreme in the Vatican: but they were woefully disappointed; for the new Pontill very soon displayed a power of mind equal to any emergency. Politically speaking, he was a great man; and had he occu. pied his elevated station a little longer than he did, he possibly might have rectified some of the more jagrant abuses of Popery, for he was a strict and inexorable ruler. Little, however, of the christian character was developed in his conduct; and his his. tory, while it displays the crooked and tortuous paths wbich the candidates for the Papal Chair, must often tread, adds another example to those already adduced, (and to the host of similar ones which the history of these Pontiffs affords,) how strongly the lives and actions of the successors of St. Peter, are opposed to the dictates of the Word of God, and to that holy religion by which they erroneously profess to be governed."

It is amazing to persons of plain common sense, to hear from modern advocates of Popery that all these facts do not affect the infallibility of the Church. If an ignorant Protestant should press the apparently unanswerable argument that history shows Popes arrayed against Popes, and Councils against Councils, he learns to his surprise that Popes may mistake, Councils may err, and even Popes in Council may be taken by surprise, and that this infallibility resides only in the Church." He is told that however individuals or Councils may have erred in doctrine, and however its members may have erred in practice, still “THE CHURCH ” is infallible in matters of faith. As long as the Romanist keeps to this assertion, he is safe; but if he is once betrayed into an attempt to define “the Church,” or to point out the real nidus of infallibility, it is all over with him. He is equally at a loss too, when he is asked how this infallibility is to be made practically available for the guidance of the faithful. A curious instance of the difficulty, or rather the impossibility of obtaining any thing like a decisive opinion even in matters of faith, was afforded about ten years ago by the case of Mr. Gandolphy, which is, we hope, known to most of our readers by the account which Mr. Blanco White has given of it in his Practical and Internal Evidence. “To such” says Mr. White, “as good naturedly believe the entire unanimity, the matter-of-fact certainty with which the Roman Catholics assure us they are able to ascertain every doctrine of their oracular Church, it will be a matter of surprise that a Roman Catholic divine, after devoting himself to the study of theology, with the decided purpose of giving a summary, not of his own views, but of the faith of his Church, and

having besides obtained for his work the encouragement of his own Prelate in England, and the imprimatur of the person appointed by the Pope himself to watch over the Roman press, may still find himself altogether in the wrong, and have to publish a recantation in order to be reinstated into the exercise of his priestly office, from which he had been suspended for his errors.”. p. 241. To these just and excellent observations we cannot help adding one which is painfully forced upon us by the occurrences of every day, and particularly by some melancholy facts which will be fresh in the recollection of our readers. There is no doubt that Mr. Gandolphy, initiated as he was, might have compassed sea and land and searched out the corners of the earth in vain-he had no more chance of finding the object of his search than if he had gone to look for the Phoenix or the philosopher's stone. But what he found not, and could not find with all his knowledge, his pains, and his travel, the Irish peasant finds in a moment without quitting his native village. Others may puzzle themselves to find out what is meant by the Church ”-others may roam through Christendom to seek her infallibility,he finds the infallible Church in his Priest. Yes, there he finds all the power, all the infallibility of his VOL. I.

Ah

Church-of his God. And not the folly, not the vice, not the madness, the palpable and outrageous madness of the Priest can open the eyes of the blinded devotee. How this state of things has arisen, let those who call themselves “enlightened Catholics” explain; the fact is too notorious to be denied, and it gives an awful view of the real and practical effect of the doctrine. It was wisely said in an assembly which, notwithstanding some splendid exceptions, will not win its highest applause for wise sayings on this subject, that the Roman Catholics of the present day might be divided into two classes—those who believe every thing, and those who believe nothing. This is not only truth, but most important truth, and the case before us is an illustration of it. We really do suppose that those who call themselves “enlightened Catholics,” believe absolutely nothing on the subject, and that though they would assert as an abstract doctrine that the Church is infallible, yet they would not acknowledge any specific power in the Church to possess that infallibility, or venture to maintain that any specific emanation from the Church had been dictated by it. On the other hand, in the estimation of the ignorant and uneducated multitude, all that is “ Catholic” as opposed to what is “ Protestant,” all that is reputed orthodox as opposed to what is deemed heretical, all that is said by the Priest, all that is printed by Coyne or Keating, is absolute, infallible, immutable.

It is indeed a point which calls for the earnest attention of Protestants. It is a subject which not only for the purpose of controversy, but which as furnishing most extraordinary views of the nature and history of mankind, will amply repay their trouble, and to those who have not already investigated it, we sincerely recommend Mr. Keary as a brief, perspicuous, and well-informed guide.

NOTICES OF BOOKS.

We have already furnished our readers with copious lists of the more modern publications on the controversy between Protestants and Romanists, and we have great pleasure in referring them to a letter in our present number, (pp. 241-243,) for some additional notices of Homilies and Tracts, which we cordially concur with our correspondent in recommending for general circulation. The temporary suspension of that part of our plan to which he refers, has, on various accounts, been unavoidable ; but we are glad to have this opportunity of supplying the deficiency, and as a list has thus been furnished of most of the tracis which we had intended to notice, we shall again occupy this department of our work, for a number or two, with a few notices of a more literary character, which we trust will be acceptable to some of our readers.

The following are Notices of some of the principal Roman Catholic Works. In our next, we shall give similar Notices of some of the principal Protestant Works which have appeared against Popery.

ROMAN CATHOLIC WORKS.

SYMBOLICAL. Creed of Pope Pius IV.

Trent Catechism, commonly called Catechismus ad Parochos." Next in authority to these are

Canisius's Catechisin.

Bellarmine's Explication of Christian Doctrine. Works appealed to by modern Roman Catholics as nearly symbolical :

Bossuet's Exposition of the Catholic Faith. Veron's Rule of Faith. Gother's Papist Misrepresented and Represented. All the above three works have the same object in view, the disguising

and diluting the most offensive doctrines of Romanism. Controversial and dogmatic works, British and Foreign, are innumera

ble. We shall content ourselves with pointing out a few of the principal ones : Bellarmino's Controversial Works. 4 vols. folio. Adrian and Peter Walemburch's Methodus Augustiniana.

Petavius de Dogmatis Theologicis. A work of immense research, and not unfairly written for a Jesuit. The

best edition is that of Amsterdam, 1700. 6 vols. folio. Brerely's Protestant Apology for Catholics. The storehouse from which modern Romish controvertists derive the

greatest part of their materials.
Challoner's Grounds of the Old Religion.
Milner's End of Controversy, and Vindication of Do.
Butler's Book of the Roman Catholic Church, and Vindication of Do.

COUNCILS. Many voluminous compilations of the Acts and Decrees of Councils

have been published, but there is not one professing to be a general collection, whose fidelity and accuracy can be implicitly relied upon. Those edited by Merlin, Surius, and Binius, are not only imperfect, but full of spurious pieces and impudent falsifications. The same charge may be partially alleged against the following, which are, however, the best works of the kind that have hitherto appeared : Collectio Regia Concihorum. Paris, 1644. 37 vols. folio. Labbé and Cossart, Sacro-sancta Concilia. Paris, 1672. 18 vols. folio.

Harduini, Nova Collectia Comiliorum. Paris, 1715. 12 vols. folio. This last is in some respects an improvement upon the two preceding

ones, but far from being immaculate. The history of its publication is somewhat curious. Six doctors of the Sorbonne being commissioned to examine it, reported to the Parliament of Paris “that it contained various maxims contrary to those of the Gallican Church, and that the editor had surreptitiously omitted various important and authentic pieces, and inserted many spurious and frivolous ones in their stead.” In consequence of this report, the sale of the work was prohibited, and Hardonin was compelled, much against his will, to cancel many entire sheets, and to supply their places with fresh

matter. The collections of national and provincial councils are too numerous to

be here particularized. We shall just mention the two following:

Wilkin's Concilia Magnæ Brittanniæ et Hiberniæ. London, 1737. 4 vols, folio. An important collection, -much more complete and accurate than

Spelman's.
Howel's Synopsis Canonum et Conciliorum. London, 1708. 2 vols. fol.

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