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heercised hence person or that's hon
to be had to the accounts of inspiration, it is manifest, that none of them, though apostles, were infallible ; and that as they were all, by their vocation, brethren and equals, and expressly called so by their master, in a passage wherein he prohibits their either giving or assuming a superiority one over another, it was their duty to correct one another in love, and not permit a brother unadmonished to persist in any practice truly blame-worthy, Passing, however, the article of correction, of which it appears, that Peter, the only infallible apostle, was the only person of the society that ever stood in need ; what evidence have we, of any authority, in other respects, exercised by Peter over the sacred college ? Does he ever call them together, to assign them their several charges, and give them instructions in relation to the duties of their office ? or, Do they ever have recourse, to him for the proper information in regard to these? Not a vestige, to this purpose, do we find in the acts of the apostles, where, if there had been such a thing, it could hardly have been omitted ; nor is there the least suggestion, that points this way, in any of the epistles. Nay, not one of the apostles do we find sent on any mission whatsoever by him. We have, indeed, as I had occasion to remark in a former discourse, a notable instance, in which Pe. ter and John were sent on a mission by the other apostles, who were at Jerusalem at the time, but not a single example of an apostle, who received either direction or orders of any kind from Peter.
But it would be trifling to enter more into particulars. Who sees not that, by this Jesuit's way of commenting, not only there is no evidence, that any powers were conferred on the other apostles, or on the church, but it would have been impossible for the inspired writers themselves to give us evidence that there were ? For, however clear and decisive their expressions might have been, this brief reply would have cut them down at once : “ All such passages are to be understood 6 solely in respect of the church's head, which is the pope,” Suffice it then to say of the whole piece, as we may say with the greatest justice, that it is a mass of falsehoods and chicanery. Some things are affirmed in opposition to the fullest evidence, many things are assumed without any evidence, and nothing is proved.
But it is of some consequence to consider the reception it met with in the council, as this consideration will serve to show the different sentiments which prevailed at that time among Roman catholicks, in relation to hierarchy, and ecclesiastical dominion. This, together with some remarks on the present state of the papacy, shall be reserved for the subject of another lecture.
IN my last lecture, in order to give you some idea of the sublimity and plenitude of the spiritual power and prerogatives, claimed in behalf of his holiness, by the partisans of the see of * Rome, and, at the same time, to give you some taste of their manner of supporting their claims from scripture and antiquity, I exhibited to you the substance of a speech on episcopal jurisdiction, delivered by the jesuit Lainez in the council of · Trent. I made also a few strictures on his mode of probation. · But as it is of more consequence, for understanding the pre·sent state of parties and opinions in the Romish church, to know the reception which the jesuit's sentiments met with in the coun«il, I reserved this for a principal part of the subject of my present lecture. I shall therefore begin with it. “ “ Of all the orations that had yet been delivered in the coun. « cil, there was not one, says our historian, more commended, « and more blamed, according to the different dispositions of the "hearers, than was this of Lainez. By the pontificii, or pa6 pists, (so do even Roman catholicks term the minions of “ Rome, and sticklers for every claim made by the papacy) it .66 was cried up as most learned, bold, and well-founded ; by - “ others it was condemned as adulatory, and by some even as
6 heretical. Many showed that they were offended by the as, ***.perity of his censures, and were determined, in the following * congregations,” (so the meetings holden for deliberation and debate were named) “ to attack his speech on every occa.
sion, and point out the ignorance and temerity which it be6 trayed. .-6. The bishop of Paris having, when he should have given ...his sentiments, been confined by sickness, said to every body 66 who came to see him, that when there should be a congre- gation that he could attend, he would deliver his opinion ce against that doctrine without reserve, a doctrine which, un“ heard of in former ages, had been invented about fifty years “ before by Gaetan, in hope of being made a cardinal, and had “ been censured, on its first publication, by the theological col“ lege in Paris, called the Sorbon, a doctrine which, instead w of representing the church as the heavenly kingdom, agreeuably to the denomination given her in scripture, exhibits her 6 as not a spiritual kingdom, but a temporal tyranny, taking “ from her the title of the chaste spouse of Christ, and making “ her the slave and prostitute of one man.”
It was not difficult to discover what man he alluded to. Indeed, methinks, this Parisian theologist was not far from the opinion of those protestants, who interpret the whore of Ba. bylon, in the Apocalypse, to be the church of Rome. He plainly acknowledges, that the accounts given of this church .by the pope's partisans, are exactly descriptive of such a character. And may we not justly say, that a church, which could tamely bear such treatment from Lainez, or any of the creatures of papal despotism, deserved to be branded with the disgraceful appellation ? Or may we not rather say, that her bearing it in the manner she did, was a demonstrative proof, that the representation, given of her state at that time, was just? It may, indeed, excite some wonder, that the above.named jesuit should have chosen to adopt a style on this sube ject, so directly contradictory to the style of holy writ. Our Lord promises freedom to his disciples. “You shall know the ..« truth, and the truth shall make you free." By convincing your judgment, it shall powerfully operate upon your will, and make your duty to become your choice. Herein lies the most perfect freedom. “ Again, “ If the Son make you free, you es shall be free indeed." The service of his disciples is not like that of a slave by constraint, arising solely from fear, it is entirely voluntary, proceeding from the noblest of motives, love. He therefore calls them not servants, so much as friends, and treats them as such, communicating his purposes to them, and engaging them, not by coercive methods, but by persua. sion. His law is, for this reason, styled a law of liberty: and those who receive it are required to act as frec, yet not using their liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, but as the willing ser, vants of God. Not the most distant hint has he any where given of his people's slavery. But Lainez tells you, judging of the conduct of Christ from that of Rome, the very worst model he could have taken, that Jesus Christ has made his church (that is, the whole community of his disciples) a mere slave, that has not any sort of liberty, but is everywhere, and in eyery thing, subjected to the dominion of an absolute despot. ; So
different is the language of this son of Loyola from that of the Son of God. Yet not more different than is the spirit of the different religious institutions which they teach.
But to return to the bishop's remarks, “ Lainez,” said he, “ maintains, that there is only one bishop instituted by Christ, " and that the other bishops have no power unless dependently " on him. This is as much as to say, that one only is bishop, 6 the rest are but his vicars, removable at his pleasure. For “ his own part, he acknowledged, he wished to rouse the whole 66 council, to consider how the episcopal authority, so much “ depressed, could be preserved from annihilation, since every “ new congregation of regulars, which springs up, gives it a « violent shock. The bishops had maintained their authority « entire till the year 1050,” With this good prelate's leave, their authority was, by the gradual encroachments of Rome, long before that period greatly reduced. Her supreme jurisdiction, both as lawgiver, and as judge, were, ere then, pretty firmly established. Her orders and canons were generally, throughout the western churches, promulged and obeyed ; "recậurse was had to her for dispensations, for confirmation,
and collation, in ecclesiastick offices, and for judginent by apa' peals. But these usurpations were, long before the time of this council, acquiesced in as rights. An acquiescence, thus far, may be considered as at least virtually comprehended in the solemn oath of fidelity, subjection, and obedience, to the pope, exacted of, and given by, prelates immediately before their consecration. In regard to these, therefore, however objectionable, they had precluded themselves, and could not decent. ly object to them. Whereas, those claims, to which the Pa. risian alluded, being more recent, though they had surmounted the force of opposition, had not yet survived the inurmurs and discontents which the introduction of them had created. :)
I resume the prelate's account of the matter : “ It was then 4 in 1050, that the Cluniack and Cistertian congregations, and * others, which arose in that century; gave a signal blow to “ the episcopal order : many functions, proper and essential to * bishops, being, by their means, devolved upon Rome. But * after the year 1200, when the mendicants arose, almost the ül whole exercise of episcopal authority has been taken away, " and given to them by privilege. At length, this new congres “ gation, (the Jesuits) a society of yesterday, which is scarcely " either secular or regular, as the university of Paris, eight « years ago, knowing it to be dangerous in matters of faith, * pernicious to the peace of the church, and destructive of mo.
nachism, has well observed, (this congregation, I say) that it "might outdo it's predecessors, has attempted to subvert en
nable, they had regard to thates immediate
"tirely episcopal jurisdiction, denying it to be from God, and “ wanting it to be acknowledged as from men, and therefore « precarious and mutable.
These things,” says the historian, “repeated by the bishop “ to different persons, as occasion offered, moved many others. " to reflect, who had at first given little attention to the subject. " But among those who had any knowledge of history, not a “ little was spoken concerning that observation, sacro præsente. “concilio, which appeared in all the canonical codes, but not. “ having been attended to, seemed new to every body. Some “ approved the Jesuit's interpretation, some interpreted it in a “sense quite contrary, that the council had refused to approve " that sentence: others, taking another route, argued, that as " the matter treated on that occasion was temporal, and the “ contentions were worldly, one could not infer from its pro" cedure, in that instance, that the same thing ought to be done “ in treating matters of faith, and ecclesiastical rites ; especie “ ally, when it is considered, that in the first council of the " apostles at Jerusalem, which ought to be our rule and exam“ plar, the decree was not made by Peter, either in presence of " the council, or with its approbation, but was entitled the epis“ tle, with the addition of the names of three degrees assem“ bled in that congregation, apostles, elders, and brethren ; and “ Peter unnamed was, without prerogative or distinction, in“ cluded in the first degree, apostles ; an example which, in " respect of antiquity and divine authority, ought to discredit “ all the examples, on the opposite side, that can be deduced “ from subsequent times.”
I have observed how degrading and dishonourable, according to the bishop, the picture was which Lainez had drawn of the church of Christ, and taken notice of the strong resemblance, though perfectly unintended, which from the Parisian's comment, appears, in the Jesuit's sentiments, to., what was then affirmed by their adversaries, the protestants, in regard to the church of Rome. It may not be improper to observe here, that even an avowed coincidence with these, if we may judge from the language they used, was at that time not un. frequent in some of those who, though greatly dissatisfied, never chuse to separate from the Romish communion. It may not be improper to give one specimen of the complaints then so common, in order to show how great the dissatisfaction was at the torrent of corruption which universally prevailed, and to suggest what was the general opinion in regard to the fountain whence the prevalent corruption flowed. Among many instances, that might be given, I shall select one of a very publick nature, the speech pronounced by the French