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natural equity, to charity, to good policy, and to the spirit of the gospel '. Surely the judicious M. Barbeyrac had great reason to say of the fathers, A Dieu ne plaise que nous prénions de tels docteurs pour nos maîtres & nos guides en matiére de morale !"
It is easy to perceive what effects the studying the works of these, men, and paying the most extreme veneration to them, muft have upon Romish ecclesiastics, and others who are equally devoted to them. That by papists these faints should be esteemed as oracles, is not to be wondered at: they have taught much of the nonsense, and many of the fuperftitiou ceremonies and abominable doctrines, with which the Romijh church fo exceedingly abounds : but that many protestants Thould regard them with the same reverence, is not a little to be admired at and regretted; for this must tend greatly to introduce or establish, among protestants, the ridiculous delusions, and nonsenfical and pernicious doctrines, entertained and taught by these weak or designing men. And accordingly we fee in fact, that those protestants who have been the most zealously attached to the fathers, and have pleaded in the strongest manner for a blind submiflion to their authority, have generally been the most inclined
1 Traité de la morale des peres de l'Eglise, c. xvi. §. 29.
to superstition, to unintelligible doctrines, and to the wicked practice of persecution.
Of ridiculous and indecent questions which are
common in school-divinity.
T. Tbomas Aquinas, commonly called the
angelic doctor, and eagle of divines, among many other questions proposes the following: Quare Christus non fuerit bermaphroditus ? Quare non asumpsit fæmineum fexum? Utrum sancti refurgent cum inteftinis? Utrum Christus cum felle & iphus receptaculo à mortuis surrexerit ? Utrum efent excrementa in paradiso ?
ALBERTUS MAGNUS, who was Aquinas's master, employs no fewer than twenty-four chapters in discussing the following questions, which still afford great matter of debate to school-divines, viz. Whether the angel Gabriel appeared to the virgin Mary in the shape of a serpent, of a dove, of a man, or of a woman? Did he seem to be young or old ? In what dress was he? Was his garment white or of two colours ? Was his linen clean or foul? When did he ap
pear? In the morning, at noon, or in the evening? What was the colour of the virgin Mary's hair? Was she acquainted with the mechanic and liberal arts? Had she in grammar, rhetoric, logic, music, astro,
St. Antonine, another school-man of
great note, proposes the following questions : Utrum fi Deipara fuisèt vir, potuisset esse na
turalis parens Christi? Utrum Maria gravida. fedente, Christus sederet, atque ipsa cubante, cubaret, &c ?
To these may be added some questions, frequently treated of by modern scholastic divines, which are at least as impertinent, and ftill more indecent, than any of the former, viz. Utrum femen Christi potuerit generare ? Utrum Verbum potuit bypoftaticè uniri natura irrationali, puta equi, asini, &c ? Utrum potuit uniri hypostaticè naturæ diabolice, naturæ bumanæ damnata, peccato, &c? In quo: cafu veræ effent be propositiones, Deus eft equus, afinus, diabolus, damnatus, peccatum,&c? Utrum Christus refurgendo refumpht præputium"; se
porro I The reader may please to observe, that St. Brigit, in her Revelations, book the sixth, saith the virgin Mary told her, that a little before her assumption fhe committed the facred fore-skin to the care of St. John. This precious relique is now kept in the church of St. John Lateran at Rome, and yearly exposed in Easter week to public
porro resumpsit, quo pacto, quove modo fervatur in terris?
So much for impertinent and indecent questions in school-divinity: indeed several of them are so indecent, that I chuse to leave the Latin veil over them,
SECTION VII. Instances of the rankest entbufasm mistaken for
the purest and most acceptable religion, and
from the Romise and other mystical writers; but a few examples only will be here
selected; adoration. Nevertheless, cardinal Tolet faith, it was stolen from that church, and carried to Calcata in Italy, where great miracles were wrought by it. Ferrandus tells us, that Germany, Flanders, Lorraine, and France, all boast the possession of it. Rofwayd says, it has been at Antwerp for almost five hundred years, and in confirmation thereof pleads the testimonies of the popes Eugenius and Clement VIII. Symphorianus Campegius faith, that it is at Anicium in France, together with Aaron's mitre. Others affirm, that it was carried by an angel to Charles the great, who deposited it at Aix la Chapelle, where, and likewise at all the above-mentioned places, the same worship is given to it. Pope Innocent III, notwithstanding his pretençe to infallibility, thought it fit that so weighty a cause should be left to God himself to determine, See a second Discourse, &c. by Dr. Stillingfleet, p. 479, et seq.
| Historia Literaria, vol. II. p. 531, 532
selected; and first, from Explication des Maximes des Saints,&c. by the celebrated M. Fenelon, archbishop of Cambray, translated into English
“ The purity of love" (the love of God) " consists,” says St. Francis of Sales, “ in not
willing any thing for one's self, in regard
ing nothing but the good pleasure of God, «for which one would be ready to prefer " eternal torments to glory.” The same saint faith, “ Should he know that his dam« nation were a little more pleasing to God " than his salvation, he would leave his fal“ vation, and run to his damnation." In another place," I have almost no desires; “ but if I was to be born again, I would have "none at all. If God should come to me, “ I should go to him also: if he would not “ come to me, I fould hold ftill and not go
to him.” The archbishop tells us, that " the other faints of the last ages, who are “ approved by the whole church, are full of “ such and the like expressions, which may “ be all reduced to this that one hath no « longer any
self and interested desire, neither « about merit, perfection, nor eternal hap
piness. Thus to speak," says he, “is to “ leave no equivocation in so nice a matter “*** 'tis to speak as all the fathers, all " the chief doctors of the schools, and all
mystical faints do."