Imatges de pÓgina

Unity of Faith in the principal Protestant Churches. 355

of Heaven and Earth, the Seas, and all that are therein. And in one Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who for our salvation was incarnate. And in the Holy Ghost who preached by the Prophets, the dispensation of God, and the advents of our beloved Lord Jesus Christ, his being born of a virgin, his sufferings, resurrection from the dead, ascension into Heaven in the flesh, and his coming again in the glory of the Father to gather in one all things, and to raise from the dead the flesh of all mankind, that to Jesus Christ our Lord, God, Saviour, and King, according to the good pleasure of the invisible Father, every knee may bow, both of things in Heaven and in Earth, and under the earth: and that every tongue may confess to him, and that he may exercise righteous judgment upon all, consigning to everlasting fire all spiritual wickedness, both the angels who transgressed and became apostates, and ungodly, unjust, lawless, and blasphemous men and bestow life upon all those that are just and holy, that have kept his commandments and abide in his love, either from the beginning of their lives, or the time of their conversion, investing them with immortality and everlasting glory." "The faith thus delivered (says Irenæus) the Catholic Church throughout the world retains with one consent, as if it were animated with one soul, and spake with one mouth. This is the belief of the Churches of the East, of Egypt, of Africa, of Spain, of Germany, and of the Celts, as well as of the Mediterranean Church of Palestine:" and in the words of Tertullian-*" it was the belief of those parts, which though inaccessible to the Romans, were yet subject to Christ:" and we add, it is, and has been the faith of all true Protestants in all parts of the earth. "This faith, (continues Irenæus,) like the Sun, illumines the world: (but it was only half a Sun and hardly that, if the additional articles of Pope Pius's Creed are essential to salvation.) Being one and the same, neither the most eloquent teacher, nor the most eminent ruler in the Church can add any thing to it." Not add? How has the Church of Rome, or the eloquent teachers of the Council of Trent, or that eminent ruler in the Church, Pope Pius IV. added a belief in the Pope's supremacy, in purgatory, in prayers for the dead, in the Mass, in the invocation of the Saints and other things, and added it as essential to salvation,

This ancient Father says: "There is one rule of Faith only, which admits of no change or alteration. That which teaches us to believe in one God Almighty, the maker of the world, and in Jésus Christ his Son, who was born of the Virgin Mary, crucified under Pontius Pilate, the third day rose again from the dead, received into heaven, and sitteth now at the right hand of God, who shall come again to judge both the quick and the dead, by the resurrection of the flesh."

not one of which is found, (as all may decide,) in this or in any other ancient Confession of Faith? That unity of Faith which is characteristic of the true Church, is unity in the chief things which these Creeds deliver as compendious summaries of the principal doctrines of Scripture. And this unity Protestants have. And is this no unity? Are Protestants so immensely and inseparably divided? Is there no agreement among them, when all that the Church of Christ for the first four centuries publicly declared she held essential to salvation, they publicly and constantly hold? Is there no unity of Faith among them, when one true and upright Protestant travelling through the earth, wherever he meets with another true and upright Protestant, shall find him believing in the same God, the same Saviour, the same Holy Ghost, the same way of Salvation by Faith in that Saviour's merits, the same necessity of holy living, and of dependance on Divine grace, and a renewal of heart and life, all the records of the same blessed volume of Inspired Truth; yea, every thing in the Apostles' and other ancient Creeds? And where, with the external appearance of concord so greatly boasted of in the Roman Church, is her entire unity of Faith? I speak not now of unity of Spirit, but I ask where was the perfect unity of Faith in the members of that Church, when two of her most celebrated and zealous monastic orders disputed respecting the immaculate conception of the Virgin, the Franciscans as vehemently maintaining as the Dominicans opposed it ?-when the Jesuists and Jansenists broke in upon the slumbers of their Church by long and loud contention respecting the doctrine of grace?-when it is a notorious fact, that not only Popes have decided against Popes, but Councils against Councils, and the Church of one age against the Church of another; and what canonized Saints taught in one age as Divine Truth, and was received as such in the Church for centuries, the Pope and his Cardinals in later times condemned as pernicious error?+ On a point of fundamental importance as it respects the authority of the Roman Church, and the obedience of her people, there is an entire disagreement among them; viz., where that Infallibility resides, on which she

The council of Constantinople in 754, decreed against image worship, and ordered the removal of images from Churches: the second council of Nice, in 787, decreed the re-establishment of image-worship.

The doctrines of Augustine respecting Roman Corruption, and the nature and efficacy of Divine Grace, were condemned by successive Popes, in the 17th century, while the contests which arose on the subject, produced at least as bitter animosities, and as much of party spirit and feuds, as the Romanists can lay to the charge of the Protestant Communions.

supports her pretensions; some placing it in the Pope alone, some in general Councils, some in both united, and others, sometimes in one, and sometimes in the other.* But on every essential and fundamental point, on every doctrine which the sacred Scriptures teach, as necessary to salvation, and which early Creeds, and early Fathers confirm as such, there is among true Protestants, and real Christians of every Church and age, a unity of Faith, and such as is essential to the true Unity of the Church."


Historical Lessons of the Roman Breviary. No. 7.

From the Breviary of Pius V.

DAMASUS, a native of Spain, an excellent man, and well versed in the Scriptures, appointed the first Council of Constantinople, and put an end to the pernicious heresy of Eunomius and Macedonius. He also condemned the Council of Ariminum, in which, as St. Jerome writes, chiefly through the artifices of Valens and Ursacius, the condemnation of the Nicene faith was proclaimed; and the whole、 world groaned, and wondered that it had become Arian. He built two cathedrals; one by Pompey's theatre, dedicated to St. Lawrence, which he enriched with costly gifts, and endowed with houses and estates; the other on the Ardeatine way near the Catacombs. He also dedicated the Platonia, where the bodies of St. Peter and St. Paul had lain for some time, and embellished it with very elegant verses. He also wrote a book on Virginity in prose and verse, and published many other metrical compositions. He decreed the penalty of like for like against any one who should accuse another falsely. He ordered that the Psalms should be sung alternately, [by two divisions of the choir] and that "Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, should be repeated at the end of each Psalm, and that the Confession should be the commencement of the Mass. By his order, St. Jerome translated the books of Holy Scripture into Latin. When he had governed the Church eighteen

• See Faber's Difficulties of Romanism. Chap. i. Book 2.

years three months and eleven days, and had held five ordinations in the month of December, in which he created thirty-two priests, eleven deacons, and of bishops in various places to the number of sixty-two, and had maintained a high character for virtue, learning, and prudence, he slept in the Lord, aged nearly eighty years, in the reign of Theodosius the elder, and was buried with his mother and sister in the Ardeatine way, in the church which he himself had erected. His relics were afterwards translated to the Church of St. Lawrence in Damaso, which the same Pontiff had built near Pompey's theatre.


It is well known that the Church of Rome claims to be the unerring judge and depositary of the unwritten rule of faith, or, in other words, of those traditions alleged to have been delivered by the Apostles, and said to be as important and as necessary to he believed as the divinely revealed truths of Scripture. It is a strong practical argument of the futility of this claim, that this very true and trusty guardian of such naturally fugitive things as oral traditions, has shewn herself utterly unable to take any tolerably decent care of her own written history and laws. Whoever, with the view of drawing from the fountain-head, has recourse to the records of Rome itself for information on those points, will, on a moderate calculation, meet with three falsehoods for one truth. This is forcibly exemplified in the history of the bishops of Rome, the pretended Vicars of Christ and successors of St. Peter. The records of their transactions have been so carelessly kept by those whose business it was to keep them, that the actions, the chronology, and even the order of succession of those who flourished in the first four centuries are frequently involved in inextricable obscurity and confusion, and blended with as many fictions as the history of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Several learned individuals of the Romish communion have, it is true, taken some pains in clearing away this rub bish, and by no means without success; but as the things which they condemn and reject are the very points which the Church of Rome is most anxious to recommend to the belief of her members, she obstinately persists in preferring the old romances to the new histories, especially in her Breviaries and other publicly accredited books of devotion; and instead of availing herself of the labours of Tillemont and Papebrock, patches up her narratives from the forged decretal epistles, and the Pontifical Book falsely attributed to Damasus. The Lesson now under our consideration may be regarded as a pretty favourable specimen; as, among much that is false or doubtful, it happens to contain a few things which are true. We shall frame our strictures upon it so as to make them serve at the same time as a commentary upon the life of the saint by Mr. Alban Butler, who, if he has something to tell, has also something to palliate and to conceal.

The compilers of the Breviary have not thought fit to say any thing about the most remarkable portion of Damasus's life, namely, the circumstances attending his election to the Pontificate. He had a rival for the vacant chair, named Ursicinus, who prevailed upon the bishops of his faction to elect him to the prejudice of Damasus, who, as some say, had already been invested with that dignity. Rome, however, could no more endure two Popes, than Asia two Kings, and in consequence of this double return, the whole city was speedily filled with tumults and

bloodshed. Ammianus Marcellinus informs us that the Prefect Venantius was totally unable to restrain the fury of the contending parties, and himself forced to take refuge in the suburbs, that Damasus had the advantage in the conflict, his partizans being the most rancorous and violent, and that in one day not less than a hundred and thirty-seven dead bodies were found in the Basilica or Church of Sicininus, the place in which the favourers of Ursicinus held their meetings. In a contemporary document published by Sirmond, it is asserted that Damasus marched to attack this place at the head of his clergy and retainers, that the church was unroofed and an entrance effected by main force, and that all the slain, without a single exception, were of the party of the anti-Pope Ursicinus. This specimen of the prowess of Damasus, will perhaps make some of our readers think that he was rather more fit to command a legion than to sit in the chair of St. Peter, and that a saint who so eagerly waded through blood and slaughter to an exalted station, did not much resemble the saints who are proposed as models in the New Testament. A red hot Romanist of the ultramontane school will, however, think no worse of him for having exterminated a set of odious schismatics; and we freely admit that he was quite as respectable a saint as the worthy founder of the Dominican order, or as King Ferdinand the Catholic, who is extolled in the Spanish Breviary for carrying wood to burn heretics with his own hands.

Ammianus Marcellinus further observes that the candidates for the episcopal chair at Rome have sufficient motives to quicken their ambitious desires, and that they cannot be blamed for contending for it with all their might. After they have obtained it, says he, they are amply provided for and enriched by the oblations of matrons; they go abroad in their litters richly and elaborately dressed; and their banquets, in Sumptuousness and profusion, exceed those of Kings. Mr. Alban Butler is evidently sore at this imputation, and tries to make it appear that it was not deserved by Damasus, to whom the historian particularly alludes; "for," says he, "St. Jerome, the great admirer of this holy Pope, severely inveighs against the luxury and state which some ecclesi astics at Rome affected, which he would never have done, if it had been a satire upon his patron; at least, he was too sincere to have continued his admirer." To this notable argument, which makes the supposed sincerity of Jerome stand surety for the supposed humility and temper ance of Damasus, our readers may attach as much weight as they please; but we think it was somewhat injudicious in Mr. Butler to bring Jerome forward as a witness in this case. This Father has recorded that when Damasus solicited Prætextatus, the heathen Prefect of Rome, to become a convert, the latter replied, "Make me Bishop of Rome, and then I will immediately become a Christian ;" an answer which sufficiently proves that the mere worldly advantages attendant upon the office as it was then exercised, were calculated to excite the envy and ambition of one of the first civil officers in the empire. The pomp and luxury of Damasus were evidently such as to scandalize sober-minded and moderate heathens, and if we may believe St. Basil, he had moreover a haughty and arrogant temper, a thing still more unbecoming a saint than wearing costly garments, or indulging in sumptuous banquets.

The appointment of the Council of Constantinople by Damasus, is one of the many points in ecclesiastical history which remained unknown for many centuries, till it was discovered by some of those sagacious Romanists, who first frame an hypothesis and then make facts fit it, in the same way as Procrustes made his guests fit his bed. Referring our readers to Launoy, Richer, and other learned French divines, for a full refutation of this thoroughly groundless assertion, it will be sufficient

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