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divine authority, and the possessor of a miraculous power, which, as she pretends, has descended to her from Christ and his Apostles, and verifies all her claims, proves the truth of all her doctrines, and sanctions all her practices.
These pretensions, put forth by degrees in proportion as the light of intellect decayed and the spirit of enquiry languished, were set up and adınitted in the ages of darkness and ignorance. For several centuries the Churches, which had been brought into subjection to the See of Rome, made little enquiry into the principles on which she erected her claims, and submitted themselves quietly to her domination. During this long and dark period she “sat as a Queen” among them, extinguished their light, corrupted their doctrines, infused the leaven of paganism into their worship, and so made them partakers of her sins. But while she was thus leading them after her in the road to Apostacy, it pleased the head of the Church Universal to give them an opportunity of shaking off her yoke. The Sun of reason broke through the clouds which had so long enveloped it, and threw its radiancy on the Book of God. The light reflected from this divine record showed to the Churches that they were to “prove all things” by bringing them into comparison with the testimony of the written word. To the test of this comparison when the pretensions of the Church of Rome were brought, they were convicted of falsehood, and many of the Churches which had been held in her bondage, asserted their liberties.
We shall repeat the application of this test, and show as it has often been shown to demonstration before, that the high claims of the Church of Rome are founded on fraud and imposture.
This point in our progress being attained, the doctrines of the Church of Rome lie open to investigation, nothing forbidding the freest inquiry into them.
The doctrine first in the order of importance is that of JUSTIFICATION. It is allowed on both hands that it was on this grand doctrine, that the separation between the Reformed and the Latin Churches was completed. “Those who know any thing of the Reformation” says Bishop Bossuet,* on the part of the Latin Church “cannot be ignorant that the first authors of it laid down this article as the principal and most essential ground of their rupture.” ACcordingly, on the Protestant part, says Hooker, + “We disagree with the Church of Rome about the nature and essence of the medicine whereby Christ cureth our disease ;
• Exposition of the Doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church. + Discourse of Justification.
-about the manner of applying it;—and about the number and power of the means, which God requireth in us for the effectual applying thereof." We shall show that it is not 6 the maze which the Church of Rome doth cause her followers to tread when they ask of her the way to justification,'
,”* but the doctrine which pervaded the Reformed Churches at the time of their separation from the See of Rome, viz.—that we are justified by the merits of Christ through faith—which contains the sense of the Holy Scriptures on this most important subject. We shall next show that the corporeal presence of the body and blood of Christ united to his soul and divinity, in the Eucharist, is not as it is pretended to be-a mysterious truth, but a manifest falsehood: and that the doctrine of an iterated sacrifice in the Mass, grounded on that “mystery of iniquity," is nothing better than a solemn blasphemy. The doctrine of Purgatory and Prayer for the Dead will be shown to be opposed to the fundamental principles of Christianity.
Proceeding from the doctrines of the Church of Rome to her worship, we shall show that she has altered the appointed mode of divine worship in the use of Images; transgressed its limits in her invocation of Saints and Angels; and proceeded to a violent Idolatry in the supreme divine worship, which she renders to the consecrated elements of the Eucharist. There will then remain for consideration a number of practices materially affecting the interests of Religion, Morality and Society; such as Auricular Confession, the Celibacy of the Clergy, the sale of Indulgences, and the power which the Church of Rome still refuses to surrender of punishing for Heresy those, who have left her communion.
The most hasty view of the differences between Protestantism and Romanism is sufficient to show that the most important and interesting consequences are involved in those differences. What is the test of truth and falsehood in religion, and the infallible guide to eternal happiness ?What is the nature of the remedy which God has provided for our salvation and how is that remedy to be applied ? What are the appointed limits, and what is the proper mode of divine worship ?-On these most interesting questions the differences between Protestantism and Romanism are so wide, that we are persuaded the limits of safety cannot possibly comprehend them; for on one side or the other much that is essential to true religion is abandoned.
It is also to be taken into the account in estimating the importance of the controversy, that the superstitions and
absurdities of the Church of Rome, diminish or annihilate the internal evidence in favour of Christianity.
In conducting the controversy we shall steadily avoid whatever is unjust, uncandid, or sophistical. When we speak in severe terms our hostility will not be against men but against principles, which endanger the present good and the eternal happiness of mankind. Of such principles we cannot express our feelings but in severe terms.
We concur in the sentiment of the great and good Pascal, that “AS THE CHRISTIAN VERITIES ARE DESERVING OF RESPECT AND LOVE, SO THE OPPOSITE FALSEHOODS ARE WORTHY OF CONTEMPT AND HATRED.”*
Historical Lessons of the Roman Breviary. No. 2.
December 2. St. Bibiana, Virgin and Martyr. ΒΙΒΙΑΝΑ, , a Roman virgin of noble extraction, was still more illustrious for her faith in the Christian religion. Her father, Flavianus, who had formerly held the office of præfect, was, under the reign of that most impious tyrant Julian the apostate, stigmatized as a slave, and transported to Aquae Taurinae (now Acquapendente) where he suffered as a martyr.
The mother Dafrosa and her daughters, were at first confined in their own house, with the intention of starving them to death : but the mother was shortly after removed from the city and beheaded. When the pious parents were dead, Bibiana and her sister Demetria were stript of all their property. Apronianus, the praetor of the city, being greedy of money, continued to persecute the sisters, who being abandoned by all human aid, were miraculously nourished by God who gives food to the hungry: when, therefore, the praetor saw them become more and more robust and lively, he marvelled greatly. He nevertheless exhorted them to worship the gods of the heathens, and thus they would recover their lost property, and obtain the emperor's favour, and excellent establishments in wedlock : if they refused to comply, he threatens them with dungeons, scourges, and axes. They, however, were not seduced from the true faith either by
* Lett. Prorens.
fattery or threats, and being resolved rather to die than defile themselves with heathen practices, they most resolutely abominated the impiety of the praetor. Wherefore, Demetria suddenly fell down in the sight of her sister, and died in the Lord : Bibiana was delivered to the charge of a crafty woman called Rufina, for the purpose of being seduced by her, but being instructed from her cradle in the precepts of Christianity and taught to preserve her virginity uncorrupted, she was strengthened above her natural powers, and overcame the snares of the woman and baffled the wiles of the praetor. When Rufina could prevail nothing, though in addition to her deceitful words, she scourged the damsel every day in order to shake her holy determination; the praetor disappointed in his expectation and enraged at Bibiana because he lost his labour upon her, ordered her to be stript by the lictors, to be bound to a pillar with her hands tied, and to be beaten with leather thongs loaded with lead, till she expired. Her sacred body lay two days in the Bull's Forum* exposed to the dogs, but being divinely preserved it continued unhurt. Afterwards John the Presbyter buried it by night near the sepulchre of her mother and sister at the Licinian palace, where there remains even to the present day, a church dedicated to God in the name of St. Bibiana, which Urban the VIII. restored, having found the bodies of St. Bibiana, Demetria, and Dafrosa in it, and placed them under the principal altar.
REMARKS. Urban's good luck in finding and identifying the above bodies (which to an ivfallible Pope was doubtless an easy matter,) after they had been quietly inurned for nearly 1300 years, seems to have induced him to give the faithful some account of their history, of which neither Pius V. nor Clement VIII. had vouchsafed to let them have a single word. We have no great fault to find with Bibiana's eonduct, supposing the account of it to be true, but this, unfortunately, there are many reasons for doubting: . Leaving it to those who have leisure for such investigations, to enquire whether such names as Bibiana, Dafrosa,
In Foro Tauri. I am unable to discover such a Forum in any ancient Latin author; and can only conjecture that it is meant for the Forum Boarium, or cattle market, or that the manufacturer of the history was a Spaniard, who imagined that there was a Plaza de Toros in ancient Rome, where bull-fights were exhibited, as in his own country. This latter conjecture seems strengthened by the fact that in the older martyrologies the saint is usually called Viviana, and it is well known that the Spaniards are in the habit of confounding band v.
and Pigmenius (who is mentioned in the narrative from which the lessons are taken) were ever heard of in ancient Rome, or whether it is probable that any body would have ventured, during a severe persecution, to bury the bodies of martyrs at the Licinian palace, we shall observe, that the only authorities for the existence of Bibiana are the * martyrologies of the middle ages, which have been so corrupted by successive interpolations as to be no evidence whatever, and the Liber Pontificalis or Chronicle of the Popes, which is confessedly an impudent forgery of the eighth century. The history, or rather legend of the saint, which seems to have escaped the industrious researches of Surius, Mombritius, Lipomannus, et hoc genus omne, and to have lain perdu till the end of the sixteenth century, is the production of some unknown fabulist of the dark ages, who knew no more of Julian's history than that he was a persecutor and an apostate. He betrays himself sufficiently by representing Faustus the prefect of the city as converted by the exhortations of Bibiana, and by asserting that Julian himself sat in judgment upon her and several other martyrs: all which is notoriously false and impossible. It is not improbable that the correctors of Pius V. and Clement VIII. were aware of this, and therefore prudently refrained from meddling with the story: but as Urban VIII. had recently conferred new lustre upon the saint by finding her relics and restoring her church, his myrmidons thought themselves bound to make the best of it that they could. Being sensible that the prefect Faustus was purely an imaginary being, and that Julian never was at Roine after his elevation to the empire, they wisely drop all mention of the conversion of the former and the judicial proceedings of the latter, and commit the whole affair to the management of Apronianus, who was indeed prefect of Rome in the time of Julian, but who is not once mentioned in the original legend !
• They inform us, in general terms, that Bibiana, Dafrosa, &c. were put to death by command of Julian, and the circumstantial narrative of their martyrdom seems to have been subsequently manufactured out of this slight hint, for one falsehood generally proves “ the fruitful mother of a hundred more.” One reason for suspecting this, is that Flavianus, Father of Bibiana, is not at all mentioned by the older martyrologists, and was so little known, even in the fifteenth century, that Petrus de Natalibus, the great authority for such matters prior to Baronius, describes Dafrosa as the wife, not of the ex-prefect Flavian, but of Pape Fabianus, who was martyred under Decius, A. D. 250, more than a hundred years before Julian was emperor! Yet it is on the fidelity and accuracy of such men that the Church of Rome relies for the actions, and even the existence of a great proportion of those whom she worships as saints !