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ty nine links in the apostolic chain. But the barrenness of ancient history cannot be remedied in the nineteenth century. He brought forward one fragment of antiquity on the subject; and it is the only fragment on which Eusebius himself relies. In truth that fragment, the Latin version of Irenaeus, is the only fragment of antiquity now extant, or extant in the time of Constantine, from which any thing can be gleaned on this subject. And he never once says that either Paul or Peter separately or jointly were bishops of the church of Home! . And here again I cannot suppress my astonishment at the choice of the Romanists:—Why they did not make Paul rather than Peter bishop of Rome. In the first place he was a bachelor; and that is now a most cardinal point: again, he informs ns that" he had the care of all the churches." He says, moreover, that he is not behind the chief of the apostles. This is rather disrespectful of pope Peter! It could be so easily proved, too, that he was once at Rome (though a prisoner for two full years.) Now, if he did not plant the church of Rome; he certainly watered it. He labored more abundantly than all the other apostles. Is it not then ten fold more probable that Paul rather than Peter was bishop of Rome? But probability will not do in the case. We must have the strongest evidence: we must have contemporary testimony: we cannot prove a fact by witnesses who did not see it. We require the evidence of sense. We should not believe the records of Christ's actions, even, unless we received them from eye and ear witnesses. To illustrate the difficulties that environ my ingenious opponent, I will suppose a case like the one he has to manage. Suppose that in the year one thousand, a tradition had been current that a certain bridge over the river Tiber had been built in the time of the apostles, and that Peter laid the corner stone of the Roman abutment. Some incredulous persons began then to doubt of the matter, and called upon those who affirmed that Peter laid that stone to prove it. They go to work. They found very many believing it in the 10th century: fewer in the 9th, fewer in the 8th, fewer in the 7th, till within 200 years of the time, they find only one person that affirms faith in it, and with him it is an unwritten tradition. All record ceases. There is a perfect chasm of 200 years without a single witness. Hew shall they throw a bridge over this chasm 1 Where is tradition during this period 1 Is there not one voice? Not One. But they say it is only two hundred years! But according to all the laws of mind and society, these two hundred years should have the most witnesses: for, the nearer we approach any true event, the more numerous are the vouchers of its reality and authenticity. Therefore the total failure of testimony during that period is fatal to the credibility of the tradition. But they say, it was traditionary for two hundred years: but who can prove the tradition 1 It is as hard to prove this tradition as the fact! To prove the existence of it first, and then the authenticity of it afterwards, is only rising from the positive to the superlative difficulty. We can as easily build a house in the air eighteen stories high, leaving out the two basement stories, as prove the truth of an event 1800 years old, finding a chasm of 200 years in which there is not one word about it. The church of Rome believes many miracles of her own on mere tradition. There is a legend in Ireland to this day, commonly believed, that St. Patrick 1200 years ago literally sailed from that country to Scotland on a millstone. Now, if we trace this back we shall find the evidence diminishes with every century until you come within two or three centuries of the time assigned. Then it comes to a solitary individual, who heard some one say, that he heard another one say, that such a one dreamed so!I think it would be well to advert more pointedly to that law of mind, that the testimony of a fact is always best and strongest because of the number and opportunity of the witnesses at the time, or near the time it actually existed. For example, at this day, there are many biographies of Washington and narratives of the revolutionary war; some four or five hundred years hence there will be but one or two. This is the established order of things. Genuine evidence diminishes as we descend from, and increases as we ascend up to the events, or facts recorded. All history is proof of this. It is a law of evidence, and a law of the human mind. Therefore, had Peter been bishop of Rome, we would, as we advanced upwards have found much more evidence of it than in the third and fourth centuries. But on the subject of tradition, I will gratify my audience with a few remarks from Du Pin: certainly he had no temptation to weaken its authority.
"Criticism is a kind of torch, that lights and conducts us, in the obscure tracts of antiquity, by making us able to distinguish truth from falsehood,history from fable, and antiquity from novelty. 'Tis by this means, that in our times we have disengaged ourselves from an infinite number of very common errors into which our fathers fell for want of examining things by the rules of true criticism. For 'tis a surprising thing to consider how many spurious books we find in antiquity; nay, even in the first ages of the church. Several reasons induced men to impose books upon the world, under other men's names.
The first and most general, is, the malice of heretics; who, to give the greater reputation to their heresies, composed several books, which they attributed to persons of great reputation; in which they studiously spread their own errors, that so they might find a better reception, under the protection of these celebrated names. And thus the first heretics devised false gospels, false acts, and false epistles of the apostles, and their disciples: and thus those that came after them published several spurious books, as if they had been written by orthodox authors, that so they might insensibly convey their errors into the minds of their readers, without their perceiving the cheat.
The second reason that inclined people to favor books under other men's names, is directly contrary to the first; being occasioned by the indiscreet piety of some persons, who thought they did the church considerable service in forging ecclesiastical or profane monuments in favor of religion and the truth. And this idea prevailed with some ancient christians to forge some testimonies in behalf of the christian religion, under the name of the Sibyls, Mercurius Trismegistus, and divers others: and likewise induced the Catholics to compose some books, that they might refute the heretics of their own times with the greatest ease. And lastly: the same motion carried the Catholics so far, as to invent false histories, false miracles, andfalse lives of the saints, to keep up the piety of the faitltful. #*#*#*# **#****
The third reason of the forgery of some books, keeps a middle way between those we have already mentioned ;. for there have been some persons in the world, that have been guilty of this imposture, without any other design, than to divert themselves at the expense of their readers, and to try how nearly they could imitate the style of other men. Hence it is, that some authors have composed treatises under St. Cyprian's, St. Ambrose's and St. Austin's names— ***** desiring rather (as the Abbot of Billi says,) to appear abroad, and be esteemed under other men's names than to continue despised, and be buried in darkness, by writing in their own. And these are the reasons that may have occasioned the forgery of books; malice, indiscreet piety, and the humors of men.
But besides these reasons that have advanced this trade of forgery, there are several others that have occasioned the setting authors'names to several books, which they never writ.
'Tis very ill done to conclude that such a book is spurious, because it pinches us, and afterwards to search for reasons why it may be thought so." [Preface, p. 6, 7.
We select only one of all these judicious and weighty remarks, from one of the most learned of Roman Catholics, viz. "that the Catholics themselves have Invented False Histories, False Miracles, And False Lives Of The Saints," to promote piety in their own members, from which I emphatically ask the question: What is an article of faith worth which is founded alone upon the traditions of that church?! I will only add, these are the words of Du Pin, a learned and authentic ecclesiastical historian, whose work is published by the authority of the learned doctors of the Sorbonne.
I have, let me now add, strong suspicions of the authenticity of that passage of Irenaeus. The Greek original in the first place is lost: and in the second place the Latin translation was not found for some hundreds of years afterwards. In the third place, two things asserted by Irenaeus are not true: 1st, that Peter and Paul founded the Roman church; whereas it has been shown by Paul's letter to the Romans, not to have been the case. 2d. This same Irenaeus says, that Polycarp was ordained by the apostles, when according to Polycarp himself, he was not ordained till the year 97, when all the apostles were dead save John, and there is no document to prove that even John lived till that time. Thus dispose we of Roman traditions.
The gentleman first introduced this authority which I have in my hand—an Episcopalian doctor—one of the most learned authors of the present day, George Waddington—"History of the Church, 1834." This author enumerates the bishops of Rome; but listen to his own candid testimony. In his chronological table of eminent men, and of the principal councils, he says:
"The succession of the earliest Bishops of Rome and the duration of their go vernment, are involved in inexplicable confusion."
But I have here before me the Romanorum Pontificum Index—a chronological index of the Roman pontiffs, prefixed to Eusebius. I have compared it for the first two centuries with Eusebius and some of the primitive fathers, on whose authority it partially rests, and I can say with confidence there is no faith can be reposed in it. I find the authorities on which its assertions rest sometimes obscure, frequently contradictory, and often at variance with other facts which they assert; involving the credibility of the whole story of the successions from different chairs. There are the following traditions to be collected from Eusebius and his fathers for only the first five links of this chain .
1st. Lineage. 2nd. Lineage. 3rd. Lineage. 4th. Lineage.
1. Peter. 1. Linus. 1. Peter. 1. Peter.
2. Linus. 2. Anacletus. 2. Anacletus. 2. Clement.
3. Cletus. 3. Clement. 3. Clement. 3. Linus.
4. Clement. 4. Sixtus. 4. Alexander. 4. Cletus.
5. Anacletus. 5. Alexander. 5. Evaristus. 5. Alexander.
I might argue this subject for hours and hours, but it is not worth it. I do not like to imitate my opponent in dilating upon matters,which, whether true or false, do not affect the points at issue the weight of a feather. But the display we have now made of the beginning of succession, according to various traditions and statements, is susceptible of immediate proof, and shows how vacant and dubious these oral and hearsay traditions are. Is not Waddington justified in saying "this matter is involved in inexplicable confusion?" and well it is that saving faith depends not upon such testimony!
I have said the Romanists have never been uniform in electing their popes. I can show some six or seven different modes of filling the chair of Peter, equally approved by the church of different ages. The chair has often been filled by bribery, by force, by the bayonet, and by all sorts of violence. It has been filled by men and boys, and by all sorts of characters. But of this more fully at another time.
The gentleman remarked, on Saturday, that the pope is not infallible. The question was not about the man, but the pope. I take him at his word, and will now prove, that neither the present pope nor his predecessors are successors of Peter; because Peter was infallible, both in doctrine and in discipline. How, then, can these fallible gentry—these fallible popes—be successors to Peter, in the capacity of officers, when they have not the grace of office,—my opponent himself being judge?
I shall now attempt continuously to show, that if even Peter had been placed by a positive precept in the office of vicar and head of the church, all the official grace of such an appointment has failed by the various schisms in the Roman see. The chain has been broken; for Roman Catholics themselves admit, at least, twenty-two schisms; some count twenty-six. Protestants can find twenty-nine. I have already shown that the hook and the first link must be better secured, if not welded; for Peter the hook and first link has not yet been fastened to the right place; and some of the first links are so entangled that Eusebius, the pope, and G. Waddington, cannot strengthen them. And to quote the words of A. Pope, not the pope, if one link be missing, "Tenth or ten thousandth breaks the chain alike."
Ah me! I am jostled out of my course again! The mention of Eusebius reminds me that the bishop has quoted him against the Novatians, &c. But what avails the testimony of Eusebius as a sectary? It is quoting a Jansenist against a Jesuit—a Calvinist against an Arminian—a Romanist against a Protestant. Eusebius speaks as a historian, and he speaks as a sectary; sometimes Arian, perhaps, sometimes Trinitarian; but certainly opposed to Novatus and his party. It is very hard for a warm partizan, in any case, to state his opponent's views fairly. I have never yet heard any one oppose Calvinism, or Arminianism, just precisely as it was. There is some little difference or other in the most equitable hands, which the opposite party would not have stated just so; and we know how often the merits of controversy rests upon these minute matters. Novatus and Cornelius were both elected bishops of Rome, and a controversy arose on their respective claims. In the course of the controversy, we learn, that it turned on these two points:
"That Cornelius admitted those who had been guilty of Idolatry to communion; and Novatus taughtthat the church neither could nor ought to admit those to the communion that had apostatized." Du Pin. Vol. I. p. 135.
Novatus was the rival of his friend Cornelius, and he regards him as an anti-pope; he is, indeed, called anti-pope 1st. And, atthis day, we cannot tell whether Novatus or Cornelius was the successor of Peter! So the first schism commenced, and we look for the faithful witnesses against Roman assumption from that hour amongst the Remonstrants—call them the Novatians, Puritans, or Protestants.
The second schism we shall notice is that between Liberius and Felix, A. D. 367.
"Constantiusbeingenraged against St. Athanasius, as supposing him the cause of that enmity which his brother Constans had against him, Liberias as to this answered wisely, you ought not, sir, to make use of bishops to revenge your quarrels ; for the hands of ecclesiastics ought not to be employed, but only to bless and to sanctify. At last Constantius threatened him with banishment; 'I have already,' says he, * bid adieu to my brethren at Rome, for the ecclesiastical laws are to be preferred before my living there.' Three days time were given him to consider of it, and because he did not change his opinion in that time he was banished two days after to Berea a city of Thrace. The emperor, the empress, and the eunuch Eusebius, offered him money to bear the expenses of his journey, but he refused it, and went away cheerfully to the place of his banishment. The clergy of Rome having lost their head, took an oath to choose nobody in the room of Liberins as long as he was alive ; but Constantius, by the management of Epictttus bishop of Centumcellar in Italy, procured one Felix a deacon to be ordained bishop, who was himself also one of them that had sworn not to choose a bishop in the room of Liberius * * * Eut Liberius, who had given proof of so great constancy in time of peace, could not long endure the tediousness of banishment; for before he had been two years in it, he suffered himself to be over persuaded by Demophilus bishop of that city, ofwhich he was banished, and did not only subscribe the condemnation of St. Athanasius; but he also consented to an heretical confession of faith."—DuPin. Vol. I.p. 190.
Now, if we take Liberius for the true pope, we must take an Jlrian head; for it must be acknowledged that he subscribed the heretical and Arian creed; and, perhaps, at this time the majority of the Roman Catholic church were Arians; but that is not the present inquiry. We shall now read an account of the third schism:
DAMASUS, EIsIICP CF -ROME. M After the death of pope Liberius, which happened in the year 369, the see of Rome being vacant for sometime, by reason of the caballing of those that pretended to fill it, Damasus at last was chosen by the greater part of the clergy and people, and ordained by the bishops. But on the other side, Ursinus, or rather Ursicinus, who was his competitor for the popedom, got himself ordained by some other bishops in the church of Sicinus. This contest caused a great division in the city of Rome, and stirred up so great a sedition there as could hardly be appeased. The two parties came from words to blows, and many christians were killed in the churches of Rome upon this quarrel. The governor of Rome called Prcetextvs, being desirous to allay the heat of this contention, sent Ursicinus into banishment by the emperor's order: but his banishment did not perfectly appease the quarrel; for the partizans of Ursicinus assembled still in the churches ofwhich they were possessed, without ever communicating with Damasus; and even when the emperor had ordered that their churches should betaken from them, they still kept up their assemblies without the city, so that it was necessary at last to drive them quite out of Rome. And yet all this did not hinder Ursicinus from having his secret associates in Italy and at Rome. The bishop of Puteoli called Florentius, and thebishop of Parma were most zealous for his interests. They were condemned in a council held at Rome in the year 372, and afterwards banished by the authority of the emperor. However they found means to return into their own country, and stirred up new troubles there. They got pope Damasus to be accused by one Isaac, a Jew. This accusation was examined in a council of bishops held at Rome, in the year 378, which declared Damasus innocent of the crime that was laid to his charge. This council wrote a letter to the emperor Gratian. praying him to take some order for the peace of the church of Rome. The emperor wrote to them, that Ursicinus was detained at Cologne, that he had given order to banish Isaac into a corner of Spain, and to force the bishops of Puteoli and Parma, out of their country. This did not hinder Ursicinus from returning into Italy in the year 381, where he stirred up new tumults, and endeavored to pre-engage the emperor: but the bishops of Italy being assembled in a council at Aquileia, in the