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be pleased with the diversity of worship rendered him by his creatures, that no one is to be more accountable for errors which, however discordant in themselves, when softened and mellowed by being mingled with the errors of others, ascend to the deity in the grateful harmony of universal praise. The latter, with this only difference that he contracts the range of the Infidel's misapprehension of religion, and for the book of the universe takes the bible, contends for the same erroneous principle.
I need not shew its workings to this enlightened audience. They are ruinous in the extreme.—[Time expired.]
WEDNESDAY, January 18th., Half-past 9 o'clock, J. M. Mr. Camprell rises—
I appear before you this morning, fellow-citizens, in prosecution of my third proposition: and as this is the fifth day of the discussion, we must proceed with more despatch. We shall then advance directly to that part of our proposition which speaks of Roman Catholic unity and uniformity—only intimating to my hearers, that the bishop's remarks in his last speech upon the infallibility of tradition; and his effort to make the succession of the popes to rest upon the same authority with our faith in the bible, will be disposed of under proposition the 6th.
There are two bonds of union in all societies, general and special,— the first connects with the whole; the second with a part, one or more individuals. We explain by examples: 1st. Take the Turkish empire. It is united on the divine authority of the Koran, and the divine mission of Mahomet. Acquiescence in these is the general bond of union. But 2nd. There are special bonds, such as unite the respective orders of Mahometans, as the orders of Ali and Omar. These orders are distinct: they are united by a special construction of the Koran. Belief in the Koran is like general attraction: agreement in a particular view of it is like attraction of cohesion. So among christians. Roman Catholics are united in one great generic idea which characterizes the whole sect. That is, the belief in a supreme head of the church on earth—a vicar of Christ: and add to that, the exclusive power and authority of the bishops. "Bishops are the bond of union amongst Catholics." The clergy, indeed, are the general bond of union amongst Romanists. But there are also specialbonds and parties in that society, of which we shall take some notice. Protestants have a general bond of union in a generic consideration, as distinguishing as that of Mahometans and Roman Catholics. Acknowledging thebible alone, as the only perfect and sufficient rule of faith and manners, and the duty of all mankind to examine it for themselves, according to their respective abilities and opportunities, is the generic characteristic of Protestants. It is one of the general ideas, in which are united, and which unites all Protestants. But in the second place they are united in a most perfect and unanimous renunciation of that hierarchical authority which is the very essence of Roman Catholicism. I affirm that all Protestants are as perfectly united in these two grand principles, as the Roman Catholics are in that of a supreme head in Rome, and in the belief of tradition. Different saints and their peculiarities in the Roman Catholic church are specific bonds of union, and as much heads of orders, as are the leaders and views of Protestant sects. But the Protestants are as much united in acts of worship, as Roman Catholics. There are one or two Protestant sects, who differ in some important matters, and are as repugnant to each otheras are Jansenists and Jesuits in the Roman church: but all Protestant sects unite in several essential acts of religious worship—in the acknowledgment of the same code of morals, and in the positive institutions of Christianity, such as the Lord's day, the Lord's supper, baptism, prayer, praise, (fcc. Sects and differences exist which ought not: but still they harmonize as much in their general and special bonds of union, as do the Romanists themselves. What are the Augustinians, Dominicans, Franciscans, Jansenists, Jesuits, &c. but orders (or sects) called after different saints, and united under special bonds and peculiarities? These parties in the Roman church areas pugnacious as Protestant parties: communing with each other not more frequently, nor more cordially than do Lutherans, Calvinists, Arminians, &c. They contend warmly against each other. Their quarrels are as rank and fierce as those of Protestants. But this is not all, my friends. Their society is divided on all the great orthodox points of Catholicism. Some say the pope of Rome is supreme in all things on earth, temporal and spiritual, that he is a perfect representative of all the power of Christ, religious and political. A second class disavow these large claims—they say he is supreme only in ecclesiastical power: but that he is absolute lord of the church. A third class differ again on the extent of that ecclesiastical supremacy. Some say the pope is above and beyond the councils and clergy; and that he can annul them at pleasure. A fourth party say he is subject to a general council, and is only a general superintendent, a mere president, or executive officer— that the decrees of councils are the supreme law, and that the pope merely executes them. Here are four distinct sects, on the generic idea of the supreme head. Again there are four parties on the essential doctrine of infallibility. Some say it resides in the pope alone. Bellarmine says, (and he is the organ of a principal party,) "that the pope cannot possibly err." Gelasius says, "The church represented by a general council is above the pope." A third party say, that infallibility resides in both the pope and a general council united. A fourth say, that all this does not constitute infallibility, but that when the whole church shall have acquiesced in a decree, and signified it by a concurrent response, then, and not till then, are dogmas and decrees infallibly correct. The first of these parties believes in the church virtual; the second in the church representative; the third in the church diffusive;—the fourth in the church responsive,—as some of their canonists have taught.
Yesterday, in discussing infallibility, I said it should be in the head, if any where. My friend the bishop, says, it should be in the body: and, to carry out the figure, if infallibility be in the body, the head must be under the control of the body: for the fallible must yield to the infallible. Now, the body is the animal part of every individual, the seat of the passions and affections; and therefore ought to be under the dominion of the intellectual and moral head: yet this theory makes this body, the sensual and animal body govern. No wonder, then,
that the Roman Catholic church is always corrupt. But from nature and reason and revelation, I would incline to that party that places the government in the head. There are the powers of government, and there ought to be the sceptre. It is abhorrent to reason—nay it is rather monstrous, to have the head under the dominion of the body.
But I hasten toshow, that be the government where it may, in the pope, the council, or the whole body, it is always fallible. I shall begin with the head; and here we have pope against pope. Adrian VI. did, unequivocally, disown the pope's infallibility. Now, from this single fact, I prove the fallibility of the pope; for Adrian was either right, or he was wrong. If right, the pope is fallible; for he avows that he is. If wrong, the pope is fallible; for he was a pope and yet did err. This is a dilemma never to be annihilated nor disposed of. Pope Stephen VI. rescinded the decrees of pope Formosus. Pope John annulled those of pope Stephen, and restored those of pope Stephen. Sergius III. so hated Formosus and all that he did, as pope, that he obliged all the priests he ordained to be re-ordained.
Sometimes popes have at one time condemned what themselves passed at another time; for instance, Martin V. confirmed the decree of the council of Constance, which set a general council above the pope, and yet he afterwards published a decree, forbidding all appeals from the pope to a general council. He was certainly fallible, or, rather, he certainly erred in one case or in the other. What then is true of one pope officially, is true of all popes officially, and in proving a few regular and canonical popes to be fallible, we prove them all to be fallible.
Is the second opinion better—is a general council infallible? I will state a fact or two: the council of Constance says the church in old times allowed the laity to partake of both kinds—the bread and the wine, in celebrating the eucharist. The council of Trent says, the laity and unofficiating priests may commune in one kind only. Here, then, we have council against council. In the time of pope Gelasius it was pronounced to be sacrilege to deny the cup to the laity: but now it is uncanonical to allow it. The fourth council of Lateran, A. D. 1215, says, with the concurrence and approbation of pope Innocent III., that the bread and wine in the act of consecration suffer a physical change. Then we begin to read of transubstantiation. Coun. Lat. iv. canon 1. "Did the church always maintain this doctrine?" Nay, verily, for a host of fathers; nay the whole church for the first four centuries say "the change is only moral,"—a sanctification, or separation to a special use. Here we might read a host of fathers, if we thought their testimony necessary. The third council of Lateran, or the eleventh cecumenical council, has decreed that
"Non enim dicenda sunt juramenta sed potius perjuria qua: contra utilitatern ecchsiasticam et sanctorum patrum veniunt instituta." Con. Lat. iii. cum 16 Labbe. Council Sacrosanct, vol. x. p. 1517.
Literally, they are not to be called oaths, but perjuries, which are taken against the interests of the church and the holy fathers.
Now does not this contradict Numb. xxx. 2, Lev. xix. 12, Deut. xxiii. 23, Zech. viii. 17, Psal. xv. 4, and Matthew v. "Thou shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths."
Again, the second council of Lateran, the tenth oecumenical council, forbade the marriage of clergy. For 800 years the clergy were allowed to marry! For the first 600 years one-half the canons of councils were regulating the clergy as to the affairs of matrimony and celibacy. The ancient church had not yet learned to forbid marriage to the clergy; for with Paul the clergy yet believed, that "marriage was honorable in all."
I have thus shown that the church of Rome is not uniform; and need we farther proof that she is mutable and fallible;—without that real unity and uniformity of which she boasts? Have we not found pope against pope, council against council, the church of one age against the church of another age, and, by the acknowledgment of a pope, as much strife and party as amongst Protestants.
Instead of reading that long essay yesterday, (I do not know what it was about, nor who wrote it; I paid no regard to it, it being obviously read to fill up the time)—I say, that instead of such readings, I expected a reply to my remarks on infallibility, or on some of the great matters yet unnoticed; but without any more distinct avowal of his notion of infallibility, I am left to plod my way as before. My opponent admits his faith is not the bible alone, but that immense library of one hundred and thirty-five folios, already mentioned. But as he is so silent on this point, I have an author in my hand whom he has already commended in this city as good Roman Catholic authority; and, therefore, I quote him with his approbation. He has these 135 folios in his eye; and on the question, who shall interpret for public use—the Rt. Rev. J. F. M. Trevern, D. D. bishop of Strasburg, late of Aire, thus speaks:
** If each of us was obliged to distinguish, among many articles, those which come from tradition, and those which do not, he would find himself, in a general way, condemned to a labor above his strength. In fact, that part of the preaching of the apostles which they did not commit to writing, was at first confided solely to the memory of the faithful, fixed in particular churches by the oral instructions of the first bishops, and afterwards collected partially and as occasion fell out, in the writings of the fathers, and in the acts of the synods and councils. Whence it follows, that to prove that such an article is truly of apostolic tradition, we must consult the belief of the particular churches, examine carefully the acts of the councils and the voluminous writings of the fathers of the Greek and Latin churches. Who does not see that this labor requires a space of time and extent of erudition, that renders it in general impracticable? There are, indeed, to be found, men of extraordinary capacity and application, whose taste and inclination lead them to this kind of research; with the aid of the rules of criticism, all founded upon good sense, they balance and weigh authorities, they distinguish between what the fathers taught, as individual teachers, and what they depose as testifiers to the belief and practice of their time, and they attach with discrimination the different degrees of credibility that are due, whether to their doctrine or their deposition. The world is well aware that such labor is calculated but for a small number: and again, after all how successful soever it may be, it scarcely ever leads to incontestible conclusions. We therefore are in want of some other means that may enable us altogether with certainty to arrive at the apostolic and divine traditions? The question is, what is this means? * * * * * * * * *
Our author proceeds:
"The same judge, the same interpreter that unfolds to us the sense of the divine books, manifest to us also, that of tradition. Now, this judge, this interpreter, I must tell you here again, is the teaching body of the church, the bishops united in the same opinion, at least in a great majority. It is to them that in the person of the apostles, were made the magnificent promises: "Go teach, I am with you; he that heareth you, heareth me. The Spirit of truth shall teach you all truth," &c. They alone then, have the right to teach what is revealed, to declare what is the written or unwritten word: they alone also have always been in possession of the exercise of it. No other ecclesiastics have everpretended to it, whatever have been their rank, their dignity, and learning. They may be consulted and heard; it is even proper this should be done, and it always has been done; for they form the council of the bishops, and their erudition acquired by long study, throws light upon the discussions. But as they have not the plentitude of the priesthood, they are not members of the eminent body that has succeeded the college of the apostles, and with it received the promises." Vol. I. pp. 168, 169.
So then, to quote his words, as found on p. 108, "The opinions adopted by the majority of the bishops are for all an infallible rule of faith!" That is, "I believe in the holy Catholic church."
But the priesthood are sworn "to interpret the scriptures according to the unanimous consent of the fathers." And if they do not, the people that believe them are innocent!! But how can they unless they examine all these fathers? And what living man has read these 135folios, with or without much care? In what a predicament is the conscience and faith of this people! Here is a task, which I say, never was, or can be, performed by man. The bishop can only fulfil his oath by teaching what the Catholic church teaches. We have our Old and New Testament without the apocrypha. They have the bible, the apocrypha, and 135 folios. Let us now compare the Roman and Protestant rules and interpretations! Both rules, for the sake of argument, be it observed, need interpretation. But it so happens, that a Protestant bishop, and a Roman Catholic bishop, are equally fallible, my opponent being judge. As the stream, then, cannot rise above the fountain, both interpretations are fallible. Are we not equal 1
Where do you find an infallible expositor of the bible? says the Roman Catholic. I answer, Where do you find an infallible expositor of these volumes 1 You have a more difficult task, and no better help, than we. The Protestants say that God can speak as intelligibly as the pope, and that he is as benevolently disposed as any priesthood. He does not require an infallible expositor; he is his own expositor. His Spirit is the spirit of knowledge and eloquence, and can sp^ak intelligibly to every listener. As well might we say, that he wi;o made the eye cannot see, as that he who gave man mind and speech cannot address clearly and intelligibly that mind of which he is the author! I ask the Romanist, however, on his own principles, where is his infallible expositor of these 135 volumes? I request a categorical answer.
Bishop P. A general council, or the pope, with the acquiescence of the church at large.
Mr. C. How do we approach—where shall we find this council? It has not met for two hundred and seventy-five years. How can they, therefore, settle a point between the bishop and me? Every age has its errors and divisions. Every individual has his doubts. Ought there not to be a general council eternally in session? If, then, there is none—no infallible expositor extant; wherein is the Romanist, with all his proud assumption, superior to the Protestant? It was three hundred and twenty-five years from Christ before the first general council; and it is two hundred and seventy-five years since the last general council of Trent; and the church has been six hundred years, at two periods, without an infallible expositor! To show the equality of the two parties, suppose a Jew were converted to Christianity. Suppose he had heard of just two sects of Christians; all the rest being annihilated, but the Roman Catholic and the Protestant. He has read the New Testament. He wishes to join the church. He goes to the Roman Catholic bishop, and says: "I see two churches, Q