« AnteriorContinua »
They were withal cruel and intolerant, and fierce persecutors of those who inculcated a more pure and rational system of faith. And if we may believe a clergyman, gentleman, and scholar of your own communion, exact counterparts of them might be found in this country-nay more, in persons whose word is a law to the great body of the British Roman Catholics :-The family of the Pharisees,' says he, is not yet extinct. We have men that sound their own trumpets, that place themselves in the seat of Moses, that make broad their phylacteries and enlarge the borders of their garments, that love to be called masters, that shut up the kingdom of heaven against men, that make long prayers, that compass sea and land to make proselytes, that pay tithe of mint, and anise, and cummin, omitting the weightier matters of the law, that strain at a gnat and swallow a camel, that make clean the outside of the cup and the platter, that trust in themselves as righteous, and despise others. We have such men; and I cannot avoid thinking, judging from their fruits-which unerringly denote the good and bad tree-that they who talk as the fellow of the Antiquarian Society [viz. the great controvertist, Dr. Milner] talks, and he, by no means, talks alone, are the genuine offspring of the Pharisees. They blazon their faith, and they make wide their hope, but the greatest of these is charity, which, evidently, they have not. I am, then, authorized to say, that they are not Christians, for they want the virtue that is essential to its nature. Can there be a man that is not a rational animal, or a brute that is not sensitive? They speak loudly, it is true, of their orthodoxy; that is, they make broad their phylacteries; they proclaim their submission to authority, that is, they pay tithe of mint, of anise, and cummin; they extol their own righteousness, that is, they clean the outside of the cup and of the platter; they talk with unction of the love of souls, that is, they compass sea and land to make proselytes to their own opinions; while the men they despise, whom they call heretics and schismatics, believe what, on the authority of revelation, is proposed to be believed, and, neglecting the traditions of men, emulate better gifts. I have seen these give meat to the hungry, and drink to the thirsty, take in the stranger, and clothe the naked, visit the sick, and relieve the prisoner. When all nations shall, therefore, be gathered, we know where their place shall be, and what their reward. And, as I know all the above characteristics of a Pharisee, I presume that I know how to estimate properly both those of the first century and their descendants of the eighteenth, however highly they may think of themselves, or be thought of by their brethren."*
I leave you to judge, Sir, who turns the scale in this disputation, or whether you would gain any thing by twitting our Protestant with his ignorance of Josephus and Épiphanius.
However, you proceed to say, that to acquire this knowledge necessary for understanding the Scriptures, will require much study, much patient investigation, and much fearning; and that the key of the holy writings must, therefore, be in the hands of those whose study and learning qualify them for the unlocking their mysteries. Now, if study,
plaining, or rather explaining away Scripture, of the two systems, but as this would lead me too far, I shall, at present, content myself with observing that in one respect, there was a remarkable contrast between Jewish saints and Romish ones. The former thought that cleanliness was essential to holiness, while the most eminent personages among the latter allowed themselves to be overrun with vermin, and wore the same flannel shirt for several years together, on the principle that men must have nasty bodies if they would have clean souls! I willingly leave the reader to decide which opinion was the more reasonable of the two.
Berington's Preface to the Memoirs of Panzani, where the reader may find some individual portraits of modern Pharisees, drawn to the life.
patient investigation, and learning, are the only requisite titles for using this key, it follows that it may be lawfully used by a Protestant as well as a Romanist, since it is quite possible that one of our laymen may equal, or even excel many of your priests in those qualifications. It is true that you attempt to escape this inference by talking of those who are set apart to preach those awful truths, and of the unerring wisdom of holy Church, by which you evidently mean to set up a claim on be half of the Roman Catholic clergy. But if you mean to insinuate, as you apparently do, that their qualifications, on the score of study, patient investigation, and learning, are superior to those of any other body of men, you plainly beg the question, and give us, instead of an argument, a bare unsupported assertion, which, however easily it may be made, you might find it somewhat difficult to prove. As, however, the controversy now seems to turn on this one point, whether the Romanists have or have not better means of becoming acquainted with the genuine sense of Scripture than Protestants, I am willing to argue the matter with you on this ground, and am ready to maintain against you, and all comers, that according to the criteria which you yourself have laid down, Protestants have, at least, as good a right to possess and interpret the Scriptures, as members of the Church of Rome. For the sake of brevity, I will comprise what I at present have to say in a few plain propositions, which seem, on the ordinary principles of reasoning, to be decisive of the point. If you can prove either that they are erroneous in themselves, or that wrong conclusions are drawn from them, I hope I shall have sufficient candour to acknowledge that I have been mistaken.
1. To interpret rightly the Old Testament, a knowledge of Hebrew, and other oriental languages, is essentially requisite. In this department, Protestants have manifested a decided superiority; and, in proportion to their numbers, can produce more oriental scholars of the first degree of excellence than Roman Catholics are able to do.
2. In that knowledge of Greek literature and philology requisite for illustrating the New Testament, Protestants have, to say the least, equalled Roman Catholics.
3. In throwing light upon the manners and customs of the ancients, particularly of the Jews, Protestants have done more than Roman Catholics.
4. Between the best Roman Catholic expositors of Scripture and the best Protestant commentators, there is very little difference as to the general result of their investigations. They adopt, without scruple, each others' ideas; and there is, perhaps, scarcely a single interpretation in Patrick, Lowth and Whitby's commentary, or that of Mant and Dr. D'Oyley, which might not be supported by some one who is regarded as a respectable authority by Romanists themselves. On the other hand, both sides very frequently agree in rejecting those interpretations which are alleged with so much confidence by the petty Romish controvertists of the present day, who rely on the ignorance of their hearers.
5. As interpreters and illustrators of all branches of Scripture, Eng lish Protestants have infinitely excelled English Romanists. Many of our biblical scholars are spoken of with respect, and appealed to as authorities by the most learned foreign Romanists, while the name of
It ought to be a subject of humiliation to our Roman Catholic brethren, that since the reformation, they, of all people in Europe, have done the least in sacred literature, andhave even allowed themselves to be excelled by the Spaniards and Portuguese; not, indeed, through want of ability and opportunity, but because they gave up to party what was meant for mankind, devoted their attention to petty polemics and piti. ful squabbles, and frittered away their time and their talents in endeavouring to make the worse appear the better reason.
an English Roman Catholic interpreter of Scripture is scarcely ever mentioned or heard of among foreign divines. In fact, when we come to examine the fruits of their labour in this department, we find that the best of them are not above mediocrity, and that most of them are even below contempt. Now, supposing that they enjoyed superior facilities and privileges, is it, we may ask, to their credit, that they have allowed themselves to be so infinitely surpassed by their Protestant competitors? 6. The Church of Rome has betrayed more inconsistency, and committed more errors respecting the Canon of Scripture, than any other; and for upwards of five centuries, the Bibles in general use among her members, were notoriously full of gross blunders and corruptions.
7. From the time of Gregory I. to the Reformation, the Popes and the Prelates assembled in general councils have uniformly shewn themselves the very worst interpreters of Scripture, and the Saints, with few exceptions, very little better.
As I only intend this letter as a preliminary to a more formal discussion of the subject, in case you, or any of your brethren should chuse to engage in it, I shall say no more about it at present. When we have settled the point of superiority of qualifications in the teachers, it will then be time enough to enquire further about the rights of the people. I remain, Sir, Yours, &c.
A LANCASHIRE CURATE.
THE VIRGIN MARY.
In that symbol of faith, called the Athanasian Creed, assented to and received alike by the Churches of England and Rome, we find the following clauses :-" The right faith is, that we believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and Man; God, of the substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds; and Man, of the substance of his mother, born in the world; perfect God, and perfect Man."
By these clauses, it appears that Christians are required to believe that the Virgin Mary was mother of the perfect Man Jesus Christ; but certainly not, as those of the Roman communion do, that she was mother of the perfect God, Jesus Christ. In fact, they are impliedly forbidden to do the latter. To do so is plainly an ideal heretical confusion of the two-fold nature of Jesus Christ. It is, moreover, equally impious and absurd. Is it not an excess of impiety to account a creature the parent of its God? and is it not an excess of absurdity to consider an effect as the cause of the cause by which it was produced? in other words, to regard the creature Mary as the producing cause of the Creator of the universe, or first cause of all things? Besides, to believe that the Virgin Mary is the Mother of Almighty God, is to believe a manifest impossibility, and cherish a doctrine pregnant with ludicrous blasphemy. The impossibility of this article of belief has been already intimated: the blasphemy which it is calculated to give rise to can scarcely escape the notice of any one who adverts to the parentage and family of the blessed Virgin. If the Virgin Mary be accounted the Mother of God, are not they who so account her driven to the necessity of assenting to as correct, the equally stupid and ludicrous blasphemy of calling Joachim and Anna, her father and mother, the grandfather and grandmother of God, and the brothers and sisters of her parents his uncles and aunts? In fact, we learn from history, that this blas
phemy was spreading in the Christian Church till imperatively prohibited, in point of utterance, by Pope Clement XI. on the ground of being piarum aurium offensiva.
The practice of denominating the Virgin Mary Mother of God-a practice necessarily accompanied by idolatrous worship of that blessed personage was wholly unknown in the days of St. Athanasius. It ori ginated, as ecclesiastical history renders abundantly evident, in the intemperance and recklessness of St. Cyril, while engaged in opposing the heresy of Nestorius, which, by the way, Father Simon, in his Hist. crit. de la creance, &c. des nations du Levant, justly considers an imaginary heresy, and, for reasons sufficiently obvious, was soon readily adopted by the Heathens and heathenish Christians, who still swarmed in the Roman Empire.
And here it seems sufficiently apposite to remark, that the defenders of the more extravagant doctrines of the Church of Rome are ever prone to charge with blasphemy those who treat any of these doctrines, such as transubstantiation, and the one under discussion, in a contemptuous and derogatory manner, though that charge evidently attaches to themselves who defend them, not surely to those who merely detect and exhibit the blasphemy which they involve or occasion.
And here it may also be fitly remarked, and indeed, laid down as a well-warranted canon, that no doctrine naturally generative of blasphemy, or to which blasphemy manifestly adheres, can possibly be entitled to a place among the doctrines of genuine Christianity. VINCENTIUS LIRINENSIS.
To the Editor of the Protestant Guardian.
In the St. James's Chronicle for February 21-3, appeared an extract from Mr. Walter's (of St. John's Coll. Cambridge) "Travels in Italy," in which he gives an account of a Jesuit's sermon which he heard at Rome, and how the preacher supposed that some of his audience, if asked which the sacraments were, would perhaps answer "Faith, Hope, and Charity.” Now, these virtues have been subjected to a much worse fate, than that, to which the facetious Jesuit hypothetically exposed them, they have actually been martyred.
In the "Martyrologium Romanum ad novam Kalendarii rationem, &c. Gregorii XIII. P. M. jussu editum" 4to. Romæ, 1583, we read as follows, (p. 132,) "Romæ Passio sanctarum virginum Fidei, Spei, et Charitatis, et matris earum Sapientiæ, quæ sub Hadriano principe martyrii coronam adeptæ sunt." An observation on the fly leaf of this work informs us that the above quotation was omitted in subsequent editions. B. A.
ON THE ERRATA OF THE SIXTINE BIBLE.
To the Editor of the Protestant Guardian.
SIR,-Having had the privilege of inspecting "propriis oculis," a copy of the Sixtine edition of the Vulgate, printed in folio, Romæ,
1590, I send you a small gleaning after Dr. James, by way of addition to his "Index Locorum manu ipsius Sixti Quinti vel aliorum post impressionem correctorum" prefixed to the Bellum Papale.
The final letter of the word Numeri in the running title to the book of Numbers, is covered in the copy before us with a white composition. Lib. Sap. cap. viii. v. 8, sermocinante is printed and pasted over some other word.
The word denotatio in Ecclesiastici cap. v. 15, which Dr. J. notices as corrected by the pen, in the present copy is printed.
Vitem pasted over some other word, Mich. iv. 3.
Dr. James has not noticed or could not find in the New Testament any word of consequence, but this copy has inde printed in Marc x. 1. See Renouard's Annales de l'Imprimerie des Alde, vol. 2, p. 164, edit. 1825, for an accurate account of this celebrated edition of the Vulgate. C. D.
P. S. It was not till after the above was written, that a much more complete and interesting examination of this edition of the Vulgate, by Prosper Marchand, was found in Schelhorn's Amanitates Literaria, Francof. 1730; and to this work the reader is referred, vol. iv. p. 433, &c.
LIST OF PUBLICATIONS.
Office du sacré cœur de Jésus, selon l'usage de Paris, imprimé par ordre de Monseigneur L' Archevéque. 12mo. a Paris, 1826.
Histoire abrégée de l'Inquisition d'Espagne par Leonard Gallois troisieme édition, précédée d'une Notice sur la vie et les ecrits de Llorente, &c. 12mo. a Paris, 1824.
Le Protestantisme en Espagne, ses progrès et sa destruction par l'Inquisition, avec des Notices sur les principaux Martyrs Espagnols. 8vo. Paris, 1827. A very neatly printed little volume; the martyrs referred to in the title are Francis and John Dryander, San Romanus, and John Diazius.
Mandement de monseigneur l'Archevêque de Paris qui ordonne une neuvaine d'actions de grace a la fin du Jubile. (6 leaves in 4to.) Paris, 1826.
Collectio canonum Ecclesiæ Hispanæ ex probatissimis ac pervetustis codd. nunc primum in lucem edita a publica Matritensi Bibliotheca, folio Madriti, 1808-21. The preface to this handsome volume is signed by Franciscus Ant. Gonzalez publ. Mat. Biblioth. Præfectus. The latter half containing the Epistola decretales ac rescripta Rom. Pontificum is dated 1821, though prepared for the press since 1808. The cause of its being delayed is in the preface said to have arisen "propter notissimas publici regiminis ac imperii vicissitudines."
NOTICES OF BOOKS.
1. The Life of John Wickliffe, with an Appendix of his Works. Svo. Edinburgh, 1826.
This life is intended to occupy a middle place between the solid, but dry, learning of Dr. Lewis, and the light labours of Gilpin. Considerable use has been