Imatges de pÓgina

successor Constantius, who, as every one knows, was an Arian and a bitter persecutor of the orthodox, had the good luck to discover the bodies of Timothy, St. Luke, and St. Andrew, which he translated with great pomp to Constantinople and deposited in the great church of the Apostles, to the no small joy of the inhabitants, who seem to have had no troublesome misgivings respecting their identity. This transaction is memorable as being the first considerable translation of relics on record, and it is no less worthy of notice, that it was executed by the authority of an Arian prince, and at a time when the Arian faction was every where triumphant. The zealous Roman Catholics are not a little grieved at this, and Baronius in particular labors hard to make it appear, that it took place thirty-four years sooner, in the twentieth year of the reign of Constantine; but the whole current of historical evidence is so strong against him that he dares not affirm it as quite certain. The correctors of Pius the Fifth's Breviary were not quite so scrupulous, but gave the credit of it to Constantine without doubt or hesitation. However, when Clement the Eighth's committee of revision came to cast their critical eyes upon the passage, they seem to have been seized with an unusual qualm of conscience or fit of honesty, and very fairly restored the action to the right owner, Constantius, which they had the authority of at least six ancient historians and chroniclers for so doing, among whom are St. Jerome, who was a contemporary, and Philostorgius who lived not long afterwards. Nevertheless, their emendation, though just, did not meet with the approbation of Pope Urban's correctors, who very prudently considered, that things which are true are not always so edifying as those which are false. They therefore discreetly expunged the name of Constantius from the narrative, and put that of his father Constantine in its place, it being very proper for all good Roman Catholics to believe, that this illustrious and orthodox prince and first Christian Emperor was a patronizer and translator of relics, and equally inexpedient that the glory of such a pious action should be given to an Arian heretic and tyrannical persecutor.

The above is a pretty fair specimen of the trash with which Rome feeds her spiritual subjects, and of the arts which she employs to make them swallow it without suspicion. We could easily regale our readers with ten times as much of similar quality, equally false and still more absurd, and all retailed by Roman Catholic writers in honour of St. Andrew, if we did not fear to weary their patience and our own also. We will therefore conclude our remarks, with a civil request to all Romanists who

may chance to read them, that they will excuse our being somewhat sceptical about the miracles said to be wrought at Constantinople, Amalfi, and Rome, by the relics of St. Andrew, unless they can give us some better reason for believing them to be genuine.


Review of a Pamphlet entitled " Declaration of the Catholic Bishops, the Vicars Apostolic, and their Coadjutors, in Great Britain"-paragraph by paragraph, to which is added an appeal to the Roman Catholic laity who signed "An address to their Protestant fellowcountrymen" founded upon that declaration. BY THE REV. GEORGge TOWNSEND, M. A. PREBENDARY OF DURHAM AND VICAR OF NORTHALLERTon.—8vo. pp. 144. London, 1827.

WE.take the earliest opportunity of calling the attention of our

readers to this little work, because there are some points of view in which it appears to us to be of singular importance. It contains the whole of "the Declaration," and independendent of the valuable strictures which this document has called forth from the able pen of Mr. Townsend, we cannot but think that it possesses in itself a peculiar value and importance at the present time. It gives us real pleasure to see a declaration which is actually signed by ten Bishops of the Romish Church who may be fairly supposed to speak the opinions of the British Members of the Church of Rome; and as Mr. Townsend is already so advantageously known to the public by larger works, that our opinion is of little consequence either to him or his readers, our principal object, on the present occasion, is to draw attention to the Declaration itself. We look with peculiar interest at new statements of the Roman Catholic doctrine because, as every one who is moderately acquainted with the controversy knows, one of the greatest obstacles to discussion is the difficulty of finding what the present generation of Roman Catholics will allow to be fair statements of their opinions. These declaring Bishops, indeed, tell us that "they had flattered themselves that the numerous and uniform expositions of their religious doctrines, given in public professions of the Catholic faith, in Catholic Catechisms, in various authentic documents and in declarations confirmed by their solemn oaths, would have abundantly sufficed to correct all misrepresentations of their real tenets." (p. 13.) It will be observed, however, that they very judiciously omit all specification, and that they do not, either here or elsewhere, commit themselves by a reference to any document whatever. This is of admirable use in argument. It gives the polemic all the advantage of authority, which can be taken without risque, and implies, without rendering him liable to the shame of detection, that what he affirms is grounded on numerous and uniform" expositions, professions, catechisms, creeds, &c. If on the other hand a Protestant ventures to single out any one of these numerous and uniform standards of doctrine and to appeal to its authority, his opponent professes to be shocked at his ignorance or want of candour,-mildly rebukes him for quoting what Pope A. or Pope B. may have done or decreed, and reminds him that although they may differ as to the spiritual authority of the

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Pope, yet they agree in considering him as a mere fallible man-is surprised that he should insist on the acts of any particular Council, as if Roman Catholics considered such acts as binding,-wonders that he should not see the unfairness and absurdity of understanding the formularies of the Church in a sense different from that, in which the Romanists of the present day wish them to be understood by Protestants, and on the whole is overwhelmed with grief and amazement to find him using all these arts in order to fix upon simple and sincere men such opinions as no liberal and enlightened Roman Catholic of the nineteenth century would think of maintaining. All this has its effect. The Protestant appears, even to his ignorant brethren (many of whom probably know nothing of the controversy but what they have picked up from the speeches of Sir Francis Burdett or Mr. Canning) as one, who dresses up a man of straw, that he may have the pleasure of thumping him to pieces; and his opponent thinks he has done enough when he has denounced him as a mere idiot chuckling, in triumphant folly, over the fragments of his own scare-crow. Thus, the authors of the Declaration begin by expressing their amazement at the manner in which they have been calumniated. "When we consider," say they, "the misrepresentations of the Catholic religion which are so industriously and widely propagated in this country, we are filled with astonishment." p. 7. This astonishment indeed subsides on considering that our Lord himself, his Apostles, the primitive Church, and, in short, all that has ever been eminently holy and virtuous, has been exposed to misrepresentation. They afterwards state that "they have to regret that some grievous misconceptions regarding certain points of Catholic doctrine, are, unhappily, still found to exist in the minds of many, whose good opinion they value, and whose good-will they wish to conciliate. To their grief they hear, that notwithstanding all their declarations to the contrary, they are still exhibited to the public as men, "holding the most erroneous, unscriptural, and unreasonable doctrines-grounding their faith on human authority and not on the word of God-as enemies to the circulation of the reading of the Holy Scriptures-as guilty of idolatry in the Sacrifice of the Mass, in the adoration, as it is called, of the Virgin Mary, and in the worship of the Saints, and of the Images of Christ and of the Saints; and as guilty of superstition in invoking the Saints, and in praying for the souls in purgatory; as usurping a divine power of forgiving sins, and imposing the yoke of confession on the people-as giving leave to commit sin by indulgences-as despising the obligation of an oath as dividing their allegiance between their King and the Pope-as claiming the property of the Church establishment-as holding the uncharitable doctrine of exclusive salvation, and as maintaining that faith is not to be kept with heretics." (p. 13.) Who can ever have thought of laying such doctrines to the charge of Roman Catholics? and who is not ashamed of the false, disingenuous and uncharitable Protestant who has belied his fellow Christians? It is not every man who is bold and well informed enough to answer as Mr. Townsend does "THEY ARE THE DOCTRINES WHICH THE CHURCH OF ROME TEACHES-for which an honest Romanist would be willing to die, and which can only be palliated and explained away in this country; where, we may thank God, the Church of Rome has no authority to punish even its own erring members." (p. 14.) It is not every man who is prepared to meet the bold front with which some members of the Church of Rome now venture to deny the articles of her faith and even the facts of her history. "What?" says the indignant Romanist, "WE? WE burn heretics? Oh! horror and amazement-Do not talk to us of Smithfield and the Inquisition-We know that people used to burn one another in the dark ages, but we are liberal and enlightened Catholics of the nineteenth century

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We break faith with heretics? Shame on your want of candour-you well know that we most authoritatively assured some sagacious heretics who enquired into the matter not long since, that our principles and practice were quite contrary, and that we always keep faith with heretics very particularly-WE claim the property of the Protestant Church? that is in Great Britian-that is in England-we have never said any such thing and wonder you should think of it-WE worship images and pray to the Saints? do not tell us of our Missal-surely we understand it best ourselves, and we assure you that there is not the least ground for the charge-WE obey the Pope? We care not for his Holiness; true it is, that he has a sort of spiritual power scarcely worth mentioning, but it is absurd to imagine that he or any of his agents could influence our conduct in any matter, moral or political; and the whole course of history shews, that no such power was ever claimed by the Head of the Romish Church over its members-My dear Protestant brother, you are evidently quite ignorant of the opinions and feelings of Catholics, and only expose yourself by repeating these unfounded calumnies."

We doubt not that our readers have often heard such talk as this; and we cannot help thinking that notwithstanding its gross absurdity it is well worth listening to, because it shews how far those, who use it are prepared to go, in order to promote their plans for obtaining political power. It is in this view, and because it really contains much that is very like the stuff, which we have thrown together, that we are anxious to bring the Declaration before our readers. We have no design to deny the sincerity of those, by whom it is put forth-it may be a faithful expression of their sentiments-they may be as far from admiring the truculent, old-fashioned popery of former days, as we are from respecting, or believing, the slippery jesuitism which is got up to meet the masqued infidelity of a liberal and enlightened age-but the great point to be observed, and well observed too, by Protestants, is the barefaced discrepancy between the doctrines of the Declaration and those avowed by Popes and Councils, and publicly manifested in the history of the Church of Rome. Except in this point of view we quite agree with Mr. Townsend that the Declaration is utterly worthless. No man surely could be so absurd as to suppose it in any way an authoritative declaration of the Roman Catholic doctrine; and the ten Bishops, who signed it, could not be so wanting in modesty as to ask for it that deference, which they would not yield to the decrees of a general Council. "They present us," says Mr. Townsend, "with a paper called a Declaration. They neither tell us if it is a declaration of their religious, or their political opinions-whether it expresses all or part-whether it is the summary of faith entertained by the whole of the Romish body, or of those only who have affixed to it their signature. It is neither sanctioned by the Pope, nor approved by foreign Universities. It appeals neither to Councils, nor canons, nor fathers. It is supported by no quotations from their written creeds, or from their solemn oaths, or from their offices of religion—from their breviary, their missal, or their ritual. We have no proof whatever, that if this Declaration were to be regarded by the government of the country, as a complete and satisfactory statement of the opinions entertained by the members of the Church of Rome, that it is an authorised confession of faith, irrepealable by the Head of their Church, if he should at any time think proper to exercise the power with which the Romanists believe him to be vested,—the power of the dominium altum, or the right of providing for extraordinary cases, by extraordinary acts of authority." All this is true and important; and we recommend it to the consideration of those who may have been simple enough to receive the Declaration as an authentic and accredited statement of Roman Catholic doctrine; but as we have already

observed, it is conclusive with respect to the ten Bishops who have signed it, and who may fairly be presumed to speak the sense of the Roman Catholics in Great Britain. We are glad therefore that the opinion of others prevailed over Mr. Townsend's own persuasion that the Declaration was utterly unworthy of notice, and that he has answered it paragraph by paragraph in a brief, sensible, and satisfactory manner.

Let our readers take the following specimen, which we select because the subject is one of peculiar interest at the present moment, and because the manner in which it is treated strongly confirms the observations which we have made.

"Catholics are charged with bolding, that they are not bound by any oath, and that the Pope can dispense them from all the oaths they may have taken." Declaration. Section vii.-On the obligation of an oath.

1. "I have never read the accusation in these terms. The charge is frequently raade, that the Romanists do not consider themselves bound. by the obligation of an oath, if circumstances should render its violation beneficial to the Church of Rome. Enough may be adduced, from other sources, to justify the belief of Protestants, that oaths are not always binding upon the consciences of the Romanists; and that as the Pope claims the power of absolving from their oaths, the members of his Church, and has already repeatedly exercised that power; it is natural to infer, that if a supposed necessity existed, he might again put in practice the same convenient privilege.

“A Romanist is compelled by his religion, to consider some oaths as not binding. "He swears to receive all things delivered by the sacred Canons, and general Councils and he never knows the weight of the fetters, which are thus bound round him, until he endeavours to cast them away. What do these Canons assert on the subject of ouths? They resolve their obligation into the opinion of the individual, on their propriety, after they have been actually taken.

"Non est observandum juramentum quo malum incaute permittitur,* and who is the judge of the malum? If the person who takes the oath, he may of course break it if the Church, or the Pope, he may be absolved from its obligation. "Non omnia promissa solvenda sunt †-Who is to be the judge?

"Non observentur juramenta quæ fiunt contra divina mandata: and, Aliquando non expedit servare sacramentum, This, says Mr. Southey, is proved in the Decretals by the example of Herod's oath to the daughter of Herodias. In the logic of a persecutor, it would be held as great a sin to let a heretic escape, as to put a prophet to death.

"From the Decretuls let us turn to Councils. We are expressly told by one Council, the authority of which many Romanists, too late, attempt to invalidate : Non enim dicenda sunt juramenta, sed potius perjuria, quæ contra utilitatem ecclesiasticum, et sanctorum patrum veniunt instituta. Here the only rule for observing an oath, is the conviction, that its sanctions are useful to the Church.

"Let us now turn to the conduct; and decisions, of the Popes. We read of many instances, in which the heads of the Church absolved the laity from their oaths. Is it asserted that this privilege is now taken from the Pope? If so, by what Council or authority was he deprived of it, or when was it repressed by his own act?

"Pontificalis auctoritas a juramento fidelitatis absolvit, say the Decretals; and the Popes have acted upon the opinion. I have fully discussed this point, in another work, where I principally referred to the bulls, which absolved from their allegiance. the subjects of Henry VIII, and Elizabeth. I will add the following to the list. "Pope Urban the Second, absolved, from their sworn allegiance, the subjects of Earl Hugo-Gregory the Seventh, the chief founder of the political power of the Popes, and a canonized Saint, deposed Henry-Pope Pascal excommunicated his SOD, Henry V.-Pope Adrián excommunicated William of Sicily; and the sentence, was always followed by deposition, unless the Sovereign submitted within the year -Innocent the Third, deposed Philip, and Otho of Brunswick. The Emperor Frederick the Second was deposed, and excommunicated, and tormented, through the whole of his long reign, by Innocent the Fourth; who deposed, also, six other Princes, and attempted to excite his people against Henry. Many more might be added to the list: which I trust, by God's mercy, has long been completed.”

P. 2. Caus. 22, Quest. 4. pp. 216-ap Southey. #Vindicice Ece. Ang. p. 25.

+ Ibid.

L'abbe et Cossat, Concil: Lateran III. Deeret. 16.

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