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of the eastern bishops. And if Osius presided, we have no reason to think that he did it as the pope's legate. For this we have ancient authority. The gentleman spoke in warm admiration of Osius: but did he not apostatize, or some way lose his orthodoxy He was, indeed, a learned and talented man—a sort of standing president in the early councils; and in that age of the world as among ecclesiastics there were few men of general learning, we therefore find him conspicuous in all assemblies; and his name stands first in the subscriptions of the decrees and creeds of the early part of the 4th century, but that he presided as the pope's legate in any council, especially that of Nice, is insusceptible of proof. We shall however hear antiquity on the subject.
"Constantine seeing that he had labored in vain to allay the disputes which divided the church, thought it would be the most ready and effectual means to restore peace, to call a numerous synod composed of eastern and western bishops. This council was called oecumenical, i. e. a council of the whole world, or the whole earth, because it was called together from all parts of the Roman empire, to which the title of the world, or earth, was given, and which did almost include the Catholic church. This council was assembled by order of the emperor at Nice, a city of Bithynia, about the month of July, in the year 325, in the second year of Constantino's reign. St. Sylvester was then bishop of Rome, who sent thither Victor and Vincentius, his legates. It is commonly held that this council consisted of 318 bishops; but those who were present at it do not precisely determine this number, but say only that there were about 300 bishops. 'Tis not certainly known who presided in this council, but it is very probable that it was Hosius who held the chief place there in his own name, because he had already taken cognizance of this affair, and was much esteemed by the emperor, who was then present.
Athanasius, in his second apology, calls Hosius the father and president of all the councils. The name of this bishop is the first in all the subscriptions. Alexander was much esteemed, as appears by the letter of the council. Eustathius, of Antioch, was called the chief bishop of the council by Proclus and by Facundus; but it is more probable that Hosius presided there in his own name, and not in the pope's, for he no where assumes the title of legate of the holy see; and none of the ancients say that he presided in this council in the pope's name. Gelasius Cizicenus, who first affirmed it, says it without any proof or authority."
Du Pin, vol. l,pp. 598, 599.
Now where is the gentleman's authority for the nature of the bishop of Rome or his legates, either calling or presiding in this council! Upon such disregard of ancient history rest many such assertions now in common circulation and in common belief. But as I said before on this point, I should not have dwelt a moment upon it, had not my opponent affected peculiar accuracy in his details.
The bishop admits Barronius to be an authentic historian. Now, neither Barronius nor Du Pin even admitted so much in reference to the demerits of the popes, as bishop Purcell has admitted.in the presence of this great congregation: For he says "I have no doubt but these bad popes are now expiating their crimes in the penal fires of hell." While these words were sounding in my ears, the question simultaneously arose, with the sensation produced, What! Has the Lord Jesus his vicars—his representatives on earth, now roasting in the flames of hell? I put it to intelligent men, whether such an idea is not repugnant to every principle of the christian religion?
When Simon proposed to purchase the gift of the Holy Spirit, what did Peter say to him 1 "Thy money perish with thee!" Does this look like winking at such enormities 1 Were not the apostles all persons of unblemished reputation? and if such holy men, the models of every virtue, were first appointed by the Lord to conduct the affairs of his kingdom, how comes it to pass that he has changed his administration and trusted it to such a succession of pretended representatives? Has Christ changed his purpose with respect to his church, that he will allow its supreme head on earth to act every species of crime, and yet be his acceptable vicegerents! May I not say, that the darkest hour of midnight is not more opposed to the light of noon, than is the general character of the popes of Rome to that of the apostles!
The gentleman exclaims, "How precise these Catholics always in their dates!" There is however, an over precision, that creates suspicion. When a man begins to swear very circumstantially before his word is called in question, I begin to suspect his evidence: and when I see authors testifying that Peter reigned twenty four years five months and ten days, bishop of Rome (as I have it on some tables of the popes;) I think he ought also to come down to hours, minutes and seconds! and then we would know how to appreciate him. This resembles Peter's putting away his wife after he became bishop of Rome. "What accuracy!" Let the gentleman prove first that he was bishop of Rome, and then we shall show that he still retained his wife.
The gentleman's compliments to the citizens of Cincinnati, however well deserved on their part, will not so blind the eyes of this audience as not to understand the argument; and the design of their panegyrist. Nor will his gratuitous denunciation of the Albigenses, Donatists, Novatians, Paulicians, and others, pass for historic truth. They were such "vile heretics" in the estimation of "holy mother," as are we "schismatical Protestants." Their reputation we have fully sustained from unexceptionable authority.
The gentleman will have Du Pin in every speech. Can he prove, or has he proved him unfaithful in stating a single historic fact? Not one. Nor can he disprove those Roman Catholic vouchers for him on whose testimony I rely.
But as the reiteration of assertion is no proof, and as I am not obliged to repeat arguments as often as he makes assertions, I shall notice one or two new matters to which he would give emphasis.
But it is time to examine the philosophy of the plea for wicked popes. The Messiah descended through a long line of ancestors, some of whom were wicked men. That is, the human nature of the Messiah descended through some wicked progenitors. Indeed! To the honor of Jesus Christ, be it said, he humbled himself for our exaltation he condescended to be made of a woman, to be descended from Adam, Noah, and others. In such a long line, he must necessarily, have had all the varieties of human nature in his ancestors. He chose to make himself of no reputation—to be born in a stable, of the humblest and poorest parentage. But who would argue from thence, that because his flesh and blood were so descended; therefore, the Holy Spirit must descend to the church, in all its official gifts of authority and governmental influence, through a lineage of persons, whose hearts were full of murder, adultery, and all uncleanness 1 and that through the hands of such persons all the graces of the ordinances must flow to all the partakers of the christian institution 1 Does not, let me ask, the defence make the matter worse? Is there any analogy between the descent of flesh, and the Spirit of God? Is the formation of the human body, and the creation of the mystical body of Christ, matters of equal value and importance?
God has generally, employed the best of our race in all the affairs of our salvation. His agents have often been angels or the best men. He did not often impart such sacred trusts to men of bad character. A wicked Balaam or a treacherous Judas may have been amongst those employed, for special reasons in some great crisis. In the case of Balaam, he caused even an ass to open its mouth and reprove the madness of the prophet: but that he ever set such persons over his church, and gave the affairs of his kingdom into such hands—that he went so far as to select these wicked popes to speak his word, is repugnant to all history, and our experience of his dealings with men.
The gentleman says there were two hundred good popes. I do not admit this: but I am willing to help him so far as to say I can count forty nine saints out of the first fifty popes according to my calendar. But they lived long ago. Not one of the last fifty has been a saint.—
Bishop Purcell—Yes there is one.
Mr. Campbell—I beg the gentleman's pardon. There is one saint, then, out of the last fifty popes! It is a happy thing for human nature, that the vices and faults of those who have redeeming qualities, die with them, while their virtues live and magnify, long after their death. Hence, our remote ancestors and those of ancient times, if at all distinguished, are canonized in the admiration of the living, and are supposed greatly to excel our contemporaries.
The bishop says, that if the pope were a poor wanderer in the mountains of the moon, it would not destroy his authority.—Though the see of St. Peter should be vacant for seventy years! If so, the whole argument for Roman episcopacy falls to the ground. If the gentleman admits that the pope has as much authority in the mountains of the moon as in Rome, why all this controversy about Rome?
The gentleman made himself very merry with the council's deposing three popes and creating a fourth. But I repeat, there were in all four popes created and destroyed at that one time. I feel no misgivings of conscience for making this assertion. I ask now, how are we to decide which of these four had the best title to St. Peter's chair? Where is the authority for a council's creating one and destroying three popes? No council before ever took so much on them. But if we say with the bishop, that not one of the three popes was a true pope; then what a long link is wanting in the succession; and how could the council of Constance furnish it?
My friend the bishop spoke of marriage quite in jocular style :but he told one great truth which I hope he will stick to, to the end. It was this: He said that the church had made marriage one of the seven sacraments—mark it. The church has made it a sacrament; and she has made other things sacraments: which the great universal Father of heaven and earth has not so made and designated.
Peter was sent to convert the Gentiles.—He opened the kingdom of heaven to Cornelius and his family: but this does not interfere with his being specially the apostle of the Jews.
There were various vacancies in the Roman see of shorter and longer duration—several of two or three years' continuance. The church was often without a head for years at a time.
Was it the intention of the great Author of the christian institutionto hazard such a contingency? Would he have set on foot such an
Twelve o'clock, M.
The question for to-day is the uniformity of the Catholic faith and practice; and we are still upon the subject of apostolicity. Mr. C. cannot go ahead as fast as he anticipated. He has discovered that Paulicians, Donatists and Novatians have the bar sinister on their coat of arms, and he takes up with the Vaudois, for whom Reynier and Waddington have said a good word. Well let us hear the latter, as he is a Protestant. I may not quote, if I can avoid it, Catholic testimony, p. 290. "At the same time we must admit that the direct historical evidence is not sufficient to prove the apostolical descent of the Vaudois." There ! the chain of evidence breaks off right short; and the Novatians, Donatists and Paulicians cannot weld it. "Besides," says our historian, "while they (the Vaudois) obliged their clergy to be poor and industrious, they compelled them to be illiterate also." This, at least, my friend will condemn.
He says, I have slept and dreamed for two nights on the subject of my testimony, concerning Osius' presiding, in the name of Sylvester, at the council of Nice. But have I not already produced Baroniua, and have there not been for the last two days of this debate, other respectable authorities on the table, modestly waiting to be heard? He said I could not get a single proof earlier than the fifth century, and then, that the reason why Osius presided in the councils was the want of learning in that age, in the East. Why, when my friend says this he admits all, himself, and leaves me nothing to say. But the fourth century was the golden age of the whole church. There were many learned men, not only in the West but in the East, and if he will consult Baronius, he will find that there has rarely been presented to the veneration of the Catholic world as bright an array of great and good men, as that, which in 325, assembled in the council at Nice—and Du Pin encore. He makes for me. He does say that Victor and Vincentins, were legates of Sylvester.
To give more solemnity, and if possible, more complete effect to their decision, the bishops of the Christian world met to banish Arianism and establish the grand cardinal doctrine of the divinity of Christ, which the Arians impugned. Constantine was there; but he acknowledged the distinctness of the ecclesiastical authority. We hear of no collision between him and Sylvester, or any of the Nicene bishops. The church was in no absolute want of his aid, but as it was freely given, it was gratefully accepted. There were no canals, rail-roads, or hotels in those days. In the emperor's munificence, the fathers of Nice found those resources which their poverty denied them. To
his son Constantius, it was, however, that Osius fearlessly said, "Do not interfere in ecclesiastical matters, for to you God gave the empire; but to us ecclesiastical concerns. Now as he who should deprive you of your kingdom would resist the ordinance of God, so do you beware lest you fall into some grievous sin by taking away the independence of the church.
My learned friend says he will not go further on these matters. It is well—discretion is the better part of valor. The voice of all antiquity has spoken—The authority of Rome has ever stood preeminent.
I did not say, / did not doubt these popes were in hell. I beg the gentleman to quote me correctly. Far be it from me, to arrogate a right which belongs to God alone, to decide on man's eternal destiny —but I said, I should not be surprised, at it, when I consider their defects and sins on the one hand, their knowledge, responsibility and grace, on the other. The more eminent their station, the more conspicuous to the whole world, like spots on the sun, were their frailties—the brighter the example of their predecessors, the darker, by contrast, did they appear. But the circumstances of the times in which they lived, must be taken into the account to palliate, if truth will not permit us to excuse, their failings. The lights and shadows are blended, perhaps necessarily, in the moral as well as in the physical world; and as we do not deny the existence of an infinitely wise and good God, because we discover apparent imperfection in the material world, the volcano, the poison, the venomous reptile, the whirlwind, the pestilential malaria, so neither do we conclude that religion, or the church, is not his work, because we sometimes meet with examples of moral deformity and disorder which mar the beauty of the heavenly design. But Mr. C. thinks that God would never allow men whom he had selected for the high function of Roman Catholic popes, to fall into sins that would merit for them hell-fire. Does he then forget that God created Lucifer, as a bright leader of the angelic throng, and yet Lucifer is now a reprobate spirit in hell? Does he forget that Judas was selected to share in the infallibility, which he allows was granted to the twelve? Did not Jesus train him up in his own school for three years? And did not Judas, after all, betray his God and sell him for the thirty pieces of silver? Did he not afterwards go and hang himself in despair, and his bowels gushed out. Was it not because of the excess of his own favor to Judas, and the inconceivable ingratitude of the apostle, that the Son of God had said by the mouth of his prophet: Ps. liv. 14. "If my enemy had reviled me, I would verily have borne with it, and if he that hated me, had spoken great things against me, I would perhaps have hidden myself from him: but thou, a man of one mind, my guide and my familiar." This is what makes a priest's, or a bishop's sin so great. This, awful as it is, is what sustains us when scandals befall the church, when the lights of the sanctuary are eclipsed and its pillars broken and scattered on the earth, for we say to ourselves Christ has allgwed alights beforehand in that miniature band, his own apostles—the exemplar of his church: and the number of bad popes has not yet equalled the proportion of one to twelve I God has allowed all this to teach us, that if men fall away, the faith for