Imagens da página

so much to say, that is no difficulty. How do we judge of the intention? Simply, by the act, the surest evidence of its existence. Can we ask if a man has any intention to eat his dinner, when we see him, sit down to table, take his knife and fork, use them, and eat till he is filled; so when we see the priest does what every priest does, and the faithful people know that he ought to do, we have the best evidence of his intention. Besides, what motive could he have for such a gratuitous violation of the law of God and profanation of a sacrament. Nemo repente pessimus is an old and a true maxim. He would fall into other excesses, first, and be suspended—God will not abandon his church; and the sincere christian will always be rewarded by him, according to his deserts. No man goes suddenly, &c. see Secreta Monita. It was placed invidiously among the rubbish by the enemies of the Jesuits, if found amid the ruins of their house, as the whole society repudiated it.

Every learned and sound critic, who is at all honorable, denounces the imposition—It is an old trick.

Ovid in his 13th book, verse 59, 60, suggests the idea, in speaking of Ulysses' treachery, when he first had gold hid in the tent of Palamedes and then denounced him for having been bribed by the enemies of Greece.

"Fictumque probavit
"Crimen, et ostendit quod jam praefoderat auruni."

Shall I invent calumnies, when run out of proof of any man's dishonesty 1 God forbid! What virtuous and immaculate family may not be thus assailed? And the more virtuous and honorable they are, the more will they be disconcerted and overwhelmed, for the moment; but the more complete will be their own vindication and their slanderers' disgrace in the end.

The gentleman cannot get over what he said of Washington and our Revolutionary heroes, "the fatal shaft is sticking in his side."

God has given to the people, neither toomuch, nor too little power. He has given them no spiritual authority; for as Jesus Christ said to his apostles, so may the priest say to his flock: "You have not chosen me." "No one durst assume the office of priest, but he that is called to it, as Aaron was"—and he was not called by the people. In the Catholic church we solemnly appeal to the people for testimony for, or against, a candidate for holy orders. God has given the people reasonable power, in temporal matters, and revolutions have too often shown their evils and calamities, in the most horrid and brutal excesses and the loss of innumerable lives. This is an awful penalty for the rash exercise of temporal power on the part of the people. Our own revolution was, perhaps, the calmest, the most temperate, the least abused for evil purposes by wicked man, because we had a Washington and kindred spirits to direct the storm. These, my worthy friend calls perjurers! As God has restricted the people, he has also restricted their rulers, in their exercise of power. How many terrible lessons have not kings been taught, for its abuse. Why cannot nations unite to select a common umpire; to whom all disputes should be referred, and thus the crimes of kings, and revolution, with all its accompanying horrors, by the people, extinguished in the bud.

I do not undertake to defend the popes in their use of the deposing power—and were my voice, at this moment, ringing in the Vatican,

instead of the Baptist church, Sycamore street, Cincinnati, I should not be reproved. There are in the religious, as well as in the spiri tual world, two forces, the centripetal, and the centrifugal. The see of Rome is as the sun and centre of the system, to which all the planets, revolving in beauteous harmony, tend. We bless, we love, we seek with ardor, by a kind of religious instinct, strong as the laws of gravitation, this common centre, which gives us all, our proper impetus and coherency. But like the planets, we are not absorbed by it. We know its excellence, its usefulness, its destination, its limits.

Now, to show you what our sentiments are, with regard to the temporal power of the pope, here is a standard work, the identical textbook of theology, which I studied in Paris many years ago. The author is still living, and instead of being rebuked for what I am going to say, he has, on the contrary, been made bishop of Maus, in France. His name is Bouvier, and he is as pious a christian as he is a sound divine. I read you evidence from scripture, tradition and reason, in favor of the doctrine which is the burden of the proposition, viz. that "the pope has no right, direct, or indirect, by any divine commission, to the temporalities of kings or other Christians." When was the deposing power first claimed by the pope? Ecclesiastical history answers, in the 10th century. Then by the rule which I have already laid down, it is no part of Catholic doctrine. It came a thousand years too late.

"Proposition. That the Roman Pontiff does not possess, by divine right, any power, either direct or indirect, over the temporalities of kings, or other christians." This proposition is proved 1st, from the sacred scripture: "As the Futher sent me, I also send you, (John xx. 21.) The Son of man hath not where to lay his head, (Mat. riii. 20.) Who hath made me a judge, or a divider over you?" (Luke xii. 14.) Hence we may reason thus. The sovereign Pontiff can have no authority over the temporal goods of men by divine right, unless it be granted to him by Christ, but he has received no such power from Christ, for Christ gave to no man a power, which, he himself, when on earth, did not possess; but Christ when on earth possessed no such power, relating to temporal matters, as appears both from his poverty, and from these words of his, "who hath made me a judge or a divider over you." Therefore the Roman Pontiff does not possess, by divine authority, any power, &c.

Besides, Christ expressly declared that he was a king, but at the same time, he positively denied that his kingdom was of this world, (John xviii. 36.) For this purpose I came into the world, he says, that I might bear testimony to the truth: in another place he ordered to give to Ccesar the things that belong to Casar, (Mat. xxii. 21.) By a miracle, he caused the stater to be found in the mouth of a fish, that the tribute might be paid for himself and Peter, (Matt. xvii. 27;) and surely he could not shew, in more express terms, that he did not wish to exercise any temporal authority. Furthermore, when he sent his apostles, he, by no means, spoke to them, concerning temporal affairs, or any political authority, but only of the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and the power of binding and loosing; he ordered that, going through the entire world, they would teach these things which he commanded them; he announced to them many tribula Hons of every sort, and even death; he commanded them, to advise and reprove those, who transgress, but that they should not punish them, unless by spiritual pains: If he will not hear the church, says he, let him be to thee, as the heathen and the publican, (Matt, xviii, 17.): he that believeth not, shall be condemned, (Mark xvi. 16.) The apostles, in like manner, far from exercising any temporal power, on the contrary, strongly recommended obedience and respect to all Pagan princes and persecutors, and rulers sent by them.

It can be proved, 2nd. from tradition. We would be tedious, were we to rehearse all the testimonies of Fathers, Doctors and chief bishops, who by their word and example clearly taught, that the civil power was entirely indepen

*ertullian in his Apologetic, chap. 30, says: "They, (the christians)!

who hath given power to emperors they know that it was God, alone, in

whose power they are, to whom, they are second, and after whom they are first an emperor has his authority, from him by whom he was created man,

before being emperor. He receives power from him, from whom also he received the breath of life We pray for all emperors." All christians, imbued with

this doctrine, opposed the arms of patience alone, to the most unjust and most cruel tortures, for more than three hundred years.

Osius, bishop of Cordova, writes thus to the emperor Constantius, who favored the Arians. *' Do you not interfere with ecclesiastical matters," as already quoted.

Pope Gelasius, in his epistle 8th to Anastasius, a violent enemy of Catholics, says, "There are two things, O emperor Augustus, by which principally, this world is governed, the sacred authority of the popes, and the authority of kings. (Labbe tom. 4. page 1122.) This pope, therefore, considered that each power was independent of the other.

It can be proved, 3d. By theological reasoning. 1. That opinion ought to be rejected, which was entirely unheard of during the ten first ages; but that opinion which holds that the chief bishop has any just right even indirect, over the temporal possessions of princes, or other christians, was, by no means, heard of during the ten first ages, to wit, down to the time of Gregory VII. who in the year 1080, attempted to depose Henry IV. and disturbed the peace of the entire world, by the assertion of this novel right. Therefore that opinion should be rejected, &c.

2. That opinion should be entirely rejected which would occasion most grievous evils, but the opinion which we oppose, gives, &c. 1. It renders harmony between the priesthood, and the sovereign power, impossible. 2. It would prevent infidel princes from embracing the christian religion, and heretics from returning to the true church. 3. It would afford a necessary occasion for continual wars, if it were practised, which, experience has already tooclearly shewn. Therefore, it should be entirely rejected, &c. &c. &c.

Now see here the scholastic method of proving propositions, and an admirable one it is. We say 1st, scripture teaches it,—2nd, antiquity corroborates it,—3d, reason confirms it. That is the method we follow, in all our schools. This is the solid, and irrefutable manner in which this proposition is laid down and established. Does this look like submitting to the dictation of the pope in temporal matters'? Did the English Catholics obey the pretended absolution bull 1 Did not Catholics under arms, and with arms, as in the case of Julius II. resist their acknowledged, and in his proper sphere, respected Pontiff? Did they not tie his hands while they kissed his feet?

Waddington tells us that when Louis XII. of France quarreled with the pope, he called a council of bishops at Tours, and proposed the question, whether he could detain the pope, as his prisoner, on an occasion, which he described. They gave an affirmative answer. This, in addition to what I have said, shows how the distinction of power, and of rights, was understood at that period, and every epoch, back to the apostolic ages. My friend asks for a disclaimer of these pretensions, on the part of the pope.

Mr. Camprell.—Not by the pope, but by the councils. Bishop Purcell.—The general councils never made the recognition of this power, an article of faith; why, then, should they disclaim it?

Here is what pope Innocent III. said. His account of this affair is very curious. It is, indeed, a strong disclaimer, and every word deserves to be maturely weighed.

Cum rex superiorem in temporalibus minime recognoscat, sine juris alterius lsesionein eo se jurisdiction! nostra? subjicere potuit, in quo videretur aliquibus,

auod per seipsum, non tanquam pater cum filiis, sed tanquam princeps cumsubitis potuit dispensare. Regi igitur gratiam feciiuus requisiti:—quod non solum in Ecclesia* patrimonio, super quo plenam in teinporalibus gerimus pot es tat em, vcruiu etiam in aliis regiombus, certis causitfinspectis, temporalemjunsdictionem casualiter exercemus. Non quod alieno juri pnejudicare velimus, vei potcstateui nobis indebitam usurpare, cum non ignoramus Christum in evangelio respondisse; redite, rjuic sunt Cujjaris, Csesari, et quae sunt Dei, Deo. Propter quod postulatus ut hsreditatem divideret inttr duos : quis, inquit, constituit raejudiceni inter von? Sed quia in Deuteronomio contineter, si difficile et ambiguum apud te judicium esse perspexeris. Surge et ascende ad locum, quem eligit Dominus Deus tuus, &c. Liber V. Epist 12. Innocent III.

Since the King by no means recognizes a superior in temporal authority, he could submit to our jurisdiction without infringing upon the right of another, in which it seems to some, that he could dispense, not as a father with his children; butasa prince with his subjects; therefore we granted the King what was requisite, because we not only exercise a temporal power, in certain cases, in the patrimony of the church, over which we act with full authority in temporalities, but also in other districts, certain matters being considered on: Not that we wish to determine prematurely of another's right, or usurp a power not due to us: since we are not ignorant of what Christ has said in the gospel. On account of which he was asked to divide an inheritance between two, who, says he, has appointed me judge between ye 1 But that it is written in Deuteronomy, if you unci a dinicult and doubtful case, rise and repair to the place, which the Lord your God has chosen, &c. B. V*. K. 12. Innocentlll.

Here the pope, himself, quotes scripture and precedent, against the assumption of such power. Next—behold the testimony of a particular council, the doctrine of the ancient Fathers, of an eminent divine, the celebrated Arthur O'Leary, on the matter before us, and on persecution for conscience sake.

The Council of Toledo forbids the use of violence to enforce belief: "Because," add the fathers," God shows mercy to whom he thinks lit ; and hardens whom he pleases.'* "Pnecipit sancta synodus nemini deincep.s ad credendum vim inferre. Cui enim Deus vult, miseretur; et quern vult, indurat."* And the council of Lateran, under Pope Alexander the third, acknowledges, that the church rejects bloody executions on the score of religion, which proves to demonstration, that the canon charged to the fourth council of Lateran, under Innocent the third, in which canon, "the secular powers are addressed to take an oath, to exterminate all heretics out of their territories, and in case of refusal,to have their subjects absolved from their allegiance, and the lands of the heretics to be seized by the Catholics," &c. is spurious. Collyer, the Protestant historian, in his fifth volume of Ecclesiastical History, acknowledges that it is not found in any copy, coeval with the council. Some hundred years after the council, it was produced to light by a German. And we know full well, that at that time, several spurious pieces were produced, to serve the purposes of rancor.

Were even such a decree, or any other of a similar nature,genuine, theCatholics would reject them, without any breach of faith; because the church has no power over life, limb, the rights of sovereigns, the property of individuals, or any temporal concern whatsoever. Her bishops, then, whether separately, or in a collective body, cannot graft any such power into their spiritual commission. They would act in an extrajudicial manner, and beyond the limits of their sphere. This I have proved in my remarks on Mr. Wesley's letter, and elsewhere.

Far from countenancing cruelty, death and oppression, "the spirit of the church was, in such a manner, the spirit of meekness and charity, that she prevented, as much as in her power, the death, of criminals, and even of her most cruel enemies," says Fleury. "You have seen how the lives of the murderers of the martyrs of Armenia were saved; and St. Austin's effort to preserve the Donatists, (who had exercised such cruelties against the Catholics) from the rigor of the imperial laws. You have seen how much the church detested the indiscreet zeal of those bishops, who prosecuted the heresiarch Priscillian to death.

In general, the church saved the lives of all criminals, as far as she had power. St. Augustine accounts for this conduct, in his letter to Macedonius, where we

[ocr errors]

read, that the church wished there were no pains in this life, but of the healing kind, to destroy, not man, but sin, and to preserve the sinner from eternal tor ments."* If, in after ages, some popes and bishops deviated from this plan of meekness and moderation, their conduct should not involve a consequence injurious to the principles of the Catholic. churcH, which condemns such proceedings. The religion of Catholics and Protestants condemns frauds, fornications, drunkenness, revenge, duelling, perjury, &c. Some of their relaxed and impious writers have even attempted, not only to palliate, but even to apologize for such disorders. The children of the christian religion daily practise them,—is the christian religion accountable for the breach of her own laws?

My friend made some displcy^ on the persecuting canon of the council of Lateran, and yet Collyer, a Protestant historian, in the 5th volume of his ecclesiastical history, pronounces it spurious! He acknowledges that it is not found in the copy of the decrees coeval with the council; that it was manufactured by the Germans, hundreds of years afterwards; and that there were several spurious documents manufactured about the same time. Now hear a distinguished prelate of our church, Dr. England, in his speech before congress, in which he leaves nothing important unsaid on this topic. I am happy to incorporate his eloquent remarks in this debate.

"A political difficulty has been sometimes raised here. If this infallible tribunal which you profess yourselves bound to obey, should command you to overturn our government, and tell you that it is the will of God to have it new modeled, will you be bound to obey? And how then can we consider those men to be good citizens, who profess to owe obedience to a foreign authority, to an authority not recognized in our constitution; to an authority which has excommunicated and deposed sovereigns, and which has absolved subjects and citizens from their bond of allegiance.

Our answer to this is extremely simple and very plain, it is, that we would not be bound to obey it; that we recognize no such authority. I would not allow to the pope or to any bishop of our church, outside this Union, the smallest interference with the humblest vote at our most insignificant balloting box. He has no right to such interference. You must, from the view which I have taken, see the plain distinction between spiritual authority, and a right to interfere in the regulation of human government or civil concerns. You have in your constitution wisely kept them distinct and separate. It will be wisdom and prudence and safety to continue the separation. Your constitution says that Congress shall have no power to restrict the free exercise of religion. Suppose jour digni fied body to-morrow attempted to restrict me in the exercise of that right; though the law, as it would be called, should pass your two houses and obtain the signature of the president, I would not obey it, because it would be no law, it would be an usurpation: for you cannot make a law in violation of your constitution; you have no power in such a case. So, if that tribunal which is established by the Creator to testify to me what he has revealed, and to make the necessary regulations of discipline for the government of the church, shall presume to go beyond that boundary which circumscribes its power, its acts are invalid, my rights are not to be destroyed by its usurpation, and there is no principle of my creed which prevents my using my natural right of proper resistance to any tyrannical usurpation. You have no power to interfere with my religious rights, the tribunal of the church has no power to interfere with my civil rights. It is a duty which every good man ought to discharge for his own, and for the public benefit, to resist any encroachment upon either. We do not believe that God gave to the church any power to interfere with our civil rights or ourcivil concerns. Christour Lord refused to interfere in the division of the inheritance between two brothers, one of whom requested that interference. The civil tribunals of Judea were vested with sufficient authority for that purpose, and he did not transfer it tohis apostles. It must hence be apparent that any idea of the Roman Catholics of those republics being in any way under the influence of any foreign ecclesiastical power, or indeed of any church authority in the exercise of their civil rights, is a serious mistake. There is no class of our fellow citizens more free to think,

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »