« AnteriorContinuar »
the primacy of Peter. He wished it to persevere. If any of the successors of Peter are bad men; the answer of Paul comes up, “The gifts of God are without repentance.” If man behaves badly, it is for his own ruin, but his evil conduct shall not change the order and design of heaven.
It was attempted to show that there was no analogy between the ancestry of Christ, and the succession of St. Peter. Now I maintain that if the ancestry of Judah's royal line, magnificent as it was and des. tined to be the forerunner of Him, of whom Paul had many and great things and hard to be understood, to declare, could yet include some of the worst sinners, why might not the apostolical succession, in which was, individually or collectively, nought so holy as He to whom all the prophets bore witness, in whom was seen on earth, all the glory of the Father, full of grace and truth?
I refer to the first chapter of Matthew where the temporal generation of the Savior is traced from David, and my argument is this; that as it has not impaired the sanctity of Jesus to come according to the flesh, from him, though he sinned, and from others who sinned as he had sinned, so neither did it detract from the sanctity of the office of pope, that there were some bad men among the number. The cases are therefore, so far as that argument is concerned, analogous; and we may exclaim with a holy awe-Oh! the depth of the riches, and of the knowledge, of the wisdom of God! How incomprehensible are his judgments, and how unsearchable his ways! Who hath known the mind of God, or who hath been his counsellor ? St. Paul, Rom. xi. 33, 34. My friend says that holy men were always selected by the Holy Ghost for holy purposes ! and what will he say of Luther, who proves, as I can show by his own testimony, himself to have been a bad man! I have his works here in three vols. folio-a Daniel come to judgment! He was a hard wedge to split knotty blocks !” &c. Yes, he had a hard mouth, and a hard heart. But I will not speak of Luther nor of Calvin, hard, unless compelled.
The gentleman says there were forty-nine saints in the first fifty. I said there were 39 who were saints and martyrs. Since that, there have been many pontiffs, saints. Pius the 7th possessed all the virtues which may entitle him to be so considered." So did his predecesbor Pius VI. so did Benedict XIV. and Pius VIII. and Leo XII.-SO does the present pontiff, a man of the purest morals, profound humility, enlightened zeal and eminent learning. We have heard many silly predictions of the doctrine of his temporal influence in Rome, but I repeat that he would retain his spiritual authority, if he were compelled to leave that city, which I hope after his predecessors have stood their ground for eighteen hundred years he never will. His authority does not reside in the stones, and bricks and pavements of Rome!
The gentleman speaks of the schism of Avignon, for my friend thinks that if the pope should leave Rome, the Catholic faith would be annihilated. He does not know that the title of the see would follow the pope. We never suffer even the name of a see to perish. If christianity forsake a country, where it has, once, been established the names of the sees would survive. Thus the present, learned and pious Coadjutor, bishop of Philadelphia, takes his ecclesiastical designation from Arath in partibus infidelium. The titular bishop of Phil
adelphia is blind from his great age. The bishop of Bardstown is also, nominally, bishop of a foreign see.
Now let me, once for all, say that my friend has several times mig. taken my views and words, on the subject of appointment to office. I need not repeat what I have said on that subject. We do nothing without the pope's concurrence and sanction, in spiritual matters. This communion is a peculiar trait in our church. We exult in it. It keeps us together as the sheep of one fold. “He who gathereth not with me scattereth,” saith the Lord. By this communion with the see of Peter, we know that the church is orthodox and sound. On this account we yield all due deference to the pope. On this account we ask of him the 6 canonical investiture,” which signifies that a person is authorized by him to be made bishop, and inducted into the sacred office by his authority.
We were told that councils met together and elected popes. There 18 nothing extraordinary in this. Why, my dear friends, common sense teaches this course. Christ's foreknowledge of all the occurrences that were to take place in the government of the earth, caused him to organize society. If not, disorder would ensue. On such a principle as the gentleman's, there could be no common bond of union. If Christ's society in the world and men will not consent to be held together by social rules, his design is baffled. The church is a society. Hence St. Paul says, “Let every soul be subject to the higher powers, for they who resist, purchase for themselves damnation.” Rom. xiii. 1. Again, “ Remember your prelates who have spoken to you the word of God; whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation." And again "obey your prelates, and be subject to them. For they watch as being to render an account of your souls, that they may do this with joy and not with grief. For this is not expedient for you." Heb. xiii. 17. Without subordination there can be no peace, and consequently no happiness, in any society of men, but particularly in a religious society. The church is the pillar and the ground of the truth, 1st Tim. iii. 15. [Time expired.]
Three o'clock, P. M. MR. CAMPBELL rises,
Before the third proposition is read, I beg leave to offer both an explanation and an apology.
In reference to the proposition which has just been discussed, I have lying before me an index of the popes from the time of Peter to Innocent . A. D. 1676. Here are two hundred and forty popes. In the first fifty, forty-nine were saints. We notice a diminution in sanctity as we descend to our own times; for in the last ninety popes on the list, there is only one saint. The church made her own saints. She ought, therefore, to know the reason why. It rests in her own judgment: but, in my judgment, she has made in her popes as many as, in any decency, she possibly could ; and many more in name than she even had in reality.
The gentleman (and it was one of his most lucky hits) compares the . fact that there was one traitor among twelve apostles, to the fact, that there were fifty bad popes among two or three hundred popes. This is a happy salvo. Judas has relieved many a hard case; but the conduct of Judas is no apology for the popes. It has another meaning in scripture, than to justify or excuse such flagitious cases. The Savior
you will remember, in his prayer (John xvii.), says: “Of all thou hast given me I have lost only one, the son of perdition;" because he was spoken of in the Old Testament, and described as a traitor. The use of Judas among the twelve, is not always duly appreciated. But for him, as respects the credibility of the iestimony, it might have been said, that the twelve apostles were all the personal friends of Christ; and, although persons of fair reputation, yet their testimony was that of friends. To prevent this reflection, and to make it perfect in every point of view, one enemy is made the confidant of Jesus, as much as any one of them. He is admitted to all the secrets of the schemes of the Messiah, as much as his other companions. He is a covetous wretch, and sells his master for fifteen dollars. Yet, under the conviction of his guilt, after a little reflection, he goes to the high priest, and makes confession of his sin, saying: “I have betrayed innocent blood." This, at this crisis, in all the circumstances, is the best tes. timony of the twelve. It was essential to the consummation of the testimony against the imputation of collusion amongst his friends; and Judas is as much a martyr to the truth of Christianity, as any one of his companions : a martyr, indeed, not to his own honor, but to the blameless reputation of the author and founder of the christian faith. This, then, explains the reason of such a permission in that case. But, hearken to the sequel. To prevent a bad use of such a permission or allowance even, the Lord suggested to his disciples to cast lots-to appeal to heaven in electing a successor to Judas, that they might not be endangered in the reputation of another apostle, and that he might be sent from God. To have permitted persons of this character to stand forward in the front rank of the gospel, would have endangered the cause. The delinquency of the popes is opposed to the plan and government of the christian institution; and had it not been for the reputation of the Roman clergy, we cannot tell how much more the cause of Christ would have triumphed ere now. This is the explanation.
Now, for the apology. It is for the difficulties, which our worthy friend had to encounter in finding a succession in the bishops of Ronie, that we offer an apology. This apology ought to be a part of this book, for the sake of a particular class, who have not leisure to trace the causes of these things.
The bishop could find no testimony in behalf of Peter's having had the see of Rome; because that was not the ground on which that see first claimed the supremacy: if it had, we should have had plenty of old traditions to sustain it. The ancient and true ground of ascribing to the bishop of Rome superior importance, and of his arrogating any sort of superiority over other bishops, was, that his see was the imperial city : not because Peter or Paul had ever been bishop of Rome. Rome was mistress of the world, the metropolis of the empire, the great city, the emperor's residence. The bishop of Rome, moreover, had the richest church in the world, and most honorable diocese; and being neighbor to the emperor, he became proud : for, said he to himself, “ As the emperor governs the whole world, so ought I to govern the whole church.” From such seeds sprung the apostolic tree!
Constantine became a Christian : Byzantium is changed into Constantinople: the Constantine family take up their residence there : it begins to be called New Rome; and with that began the rivalry between old and new Rome. Soon there are two empires (for the empire was divided), one of the east, and one of the west. There must be, now, two great imperial bishops; and the east and west churches, or, the Greek and Roman, began to feel the spirit of rival aggrandizement. The controversy began, and the prospects of the new city outrivaled those of the old city. But, just as the sceptre and mitre were about passing from Rome to Constantinople, some ingenious person, whose name no monument records, thought of a happy expedient to save the sinking fortunes of the eternal city. It was, that Peter and Paul had founded the church of Rome : nay, that Peter and Paul were buried there!
Constantina, the empress of the east, at the close of the sixth century, finding that this discovery was unfortunate to the rising majesty of the east, sent an express to Rome to obtain the remains of Paul, and have them conveyed to Constantinople. She was willing that Peter should remain in the Lateran ; but she wished to possess Paul. She . thought this would equalize the pretensions of new Rome and old Rome, and give her equal claims upon the devotion of the saints and pilgrims of the church. Had it not been for her failure in this stratagem, no one can tell whether Rome had not been, ages since, like Thebes or Babylon. On this subject, thus speaks the elegant Gibbon:
“ Like Thebes, or Babylon, or Carthage, the name of Rome might have been erased from the earth, if the city had not been animated by a vital principle which again restored her to honor and dominion. A vague tradition was embraced that two Jewish teachers, a tent-maker and a fisherman, had formerly been exe. cuted in the circus of Nero, and at the end of five hundred years their genuine or fictitious relics were adored as the palladium of christian Rome.” Decl. and Fall Rom. Emp. Vol. viii. p. 161.
" A vague tradition." This is happily expressed. But the superior tact of St. Gregory saved Rome from this misfortune; and he managed the petition of Constantina with great address, as we shall presently show. I beg leave to read from Waddington:
Reverence for Relics. The empress Constantia, who was building a church at Constantinople to St. Paul, made application to Gregory for the head of that Apostle,* or at least for some portion of his body. The pope begins his answer by a very polite expression of his sorrow that he neither could nor dared to grant that favor; for the bodies of the holy apostles, Peter and Paul, are so resplendent with miracles and terrific prodigies in their own churches, that no one can approach them without great awe, even for the purpose of adoring them. When my predecessor, of happy memory, wished to change some silver arma. ment which was placed over the most holy body of St. Peter, though at the distance of almost fifteen feet, a warning of no small terror appeared to him. Even I myself wished to make some alteration near the most holy body of St. Paul, and it was necessary to dig rather deeply near his tomb. The superior of the place found some bones which were not at all connected with that tomb; and having presumed to disturb and remove them to some other place, he was visited by certain fearful apparitions, and died suddenly. My predecessor, of holy memory, also undertook to make some repairs near the tomb of St. Laurence: as they were digging without knowing precisely where the venerable body was placed, they happened to open his sepulchre. The monks and guardians who were at the work, only because they had seen the body of that martyr, though they did not presume so much as to touch it, all died within ten days; to the end that no man might remain in life who had beheld the body of that just man.
* Baronius, who cites the pope's reply with considerable admiration, attributes the em. press's exorbitant request to ecclesiastical ambition to a desire to exalt the see of Con. stantinople to a level with that of Rome, by getting into her possession so important a por tion of 80 great an apostle. Fleury quotes the letter chiefly in proof that the transfer of relics was forbidden in the Roman church, while that abuse was permitted in the east.
Be it then known to you, that it is the custom of the Romans, when they give any relics, not to venture to touch any portion of the body; only they pet into a box a piece of linen (called brandeum,) which is placed near the holy bodies; then it is withdrawn and shut up with due veneration in the church which is to be dedicated, and as many prodigies are then wrought by it as if the bodics themselves had been carried thíther; whence it happened, that in the times of St. Leo, (as we learn from our ancestors,) when some Greeks doubted the virtue of such relics, that pope called for a pair of scissors, and cut the linen, and blood flowed from the incision. And not at Rome only, but through the whole of the west, it is held sacrilegious to touch the bodies of the saints, nor does such te. merity ever remain unpunished. For which reason we are much astonished at the custom of the Greeks to take away the bones of the saints, and we scarcely give credit to it. But what shall I say respecting the bodies of the holy apostles, when it is a known fact, that at the time of their martyrdom, a number of the faithful came from the east to claim them? But when they had carried them out of the city, to the second milestone, to a place called the catacombs, the whole multitude was unable to move them farther,—such a tempest of thunder and lightning terrified and dispersed them.
The napkin too, which you wished to be sent at the same time, is with the body and cannot be touched more than the body can be approached. But that your religious desire may not be wholly frustrated, I will hasten to send io you some part of those chains which St. Paul wore on the neck and hands, if indeed I shall succeed in getting off any filings from them. For since many continually solicit as a blessing that they may carry off from those chains some small portion of their filings, a priest stands by with a file; and sometimes it happens that some portions fall off from the chains instantly and without delay; while at other times, the file is long drawn over the chains, and yet nothing is at last scraped off from them.” Wad. Chh. Hist. pages 140, 141.
By this rhetoric, the bodies of Paul and Peter were saved for Rome. And thus, when she lost the government of the world, and ceased to be the imperial city, she had a better argument for her supremacy than before. But, had this been thought of a few centuries sooner, my opponent would have been able to confound me with a host of traditionary witnesses, assuring us that Peter was made bishop of Rome and universal father of the whole church.
[Mr. C. here called for the reading of the third proposition, which was read by one of the moderators.]
PROP. III. “She is not uniform in her faith, nor united in her members; but mutable and fallible, as any other sect of philosophy or religion- Jewish, Turk. ish, or Christian-a confederation of sects, under a politico-ecclesiastic head.”
I will proceed to define some of these terms. It is truly alleged that most controversies are mere logomachies; and that perspicuous and precise definitions would settle a great number of them can not be doubted.
To narrow the debate on this proposition, the Roman church claims universal homage on the plea of unity and uniformity, as resulting from infallibility. Every other church is mutable and fallible: but she is immutably the same! Why? Because infallible. Infallible in what respect? İnfallible in faith and in morals; but not in discipline. But where shall this infallibility be found ? In any individual person? No; nor in all individual persons taken singly. But she is infallible in her faith and morals, as written in her creed! The Protestant church is then just as infallible as the Roman church : for her faith and moral code are written in a book which is the fountain of all moral truth. We must then define faith: and let me ask, what does the gentleman mean by faith? persuasion of a fact, doctrine, or opinion? It cannot include every thing. If faith mean with him, something in the head or heart; then, where is the pre-eminence of the