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bishops whom he acquitted or deposed--the nature of the discipline which he sanctioned or reproved -the errors and heresies which he condemned. We refer to the councils in which he presided, either in person or by his delegates, from the time when councils were first held; we produce copies of his instructions to his legates, whether proceeding to the East or to the West; his confirmation or rejection of the whole or of a part of their proceedings ; his spiritual pre-eminence asserted by him, and for him, and admitted with acclamation by all the orthodox, whether in council or dispersed, and never disputed except by the wicked, the refractory, and the rebellious—the successors of Core, of Dathan, of Jannes and Mambre. We appeal to argument and common sense;—but the spirit of the great revolt from the just authority established by Christ in his Church, answers to us, saying; “ Obedience, that great virtue by which all were justified by one, is no more to be practised ; there are no longer judges in the Church, every believer is to judge for himself; he who separates himself no longer sins by so doing; the man who chooses for himself, setting at nought the judgment of those appointed to teach all nations and rule the Church, is no longer condemned by his own judgment; no man is obliged to hear the Church as if Christ spoke through her ; every old man and silly woman is now competent to de
cide on all controversies; a man may think on religion as he pleases, and speak as he thinks; nor is there any one entitled to reprove him and cast him out among the heathens. The day of gospel liberty is at length arrived; we have been freed, not from the yoke of Jewish observances, which neither we nor our fathers could bear, and made the children of God, under the dominion of Christ and of his heavenly grace, but we have been freed from all restraint upon our will or passions, upon our reason or fancy, and totally exempted from all obedience to those pastors who were formerly appointed to watch, so as if to give to God an account of our souls. We want no teacher, for the unction of God teaches us all things, even the most contradictory, illusive, and impious; we may now without danger be tossed about by every wind of doctrine; no unity of belief is required of us; we need not worship at the same altar, nor partake of the same sacraments, nor hear the voice of the same pastor ; the body of Christ has undergone a thorough reformation ; it is now a mass of heterogeneous, discordant, and conflicting members, the head and the foot and the hand each goes its own way, and performs its own function independent of the other ; in a word, there has been a great and entire revolt from the mutual dependance, the well regulated obedience, the singleness of faith, the uniformity of discipline, the brother
hood of charity which was originally established, and prevailed. Formerly, the believers had but one heart and one mind, now no two of them are of the same mind; formerly all said the same thing, nor were there any schisms among them, now no two persons say the same thing, and schisms are multiplied without end or number; formerly there was but one Church, one font of baptism, one altar in the town or village, now there are as many Churches or conventicles as streets, some with, and some without an altar, some having a font for baptism, others having no such means of regeneration ; in this only are we all agreed—to condemn the faith of our fathers, and to dissent from each other in all things else.
“We speak sometimes about essentials and nonessentials, but incapable of ascertaining what should be designated by those terms, we say the Bible, and the Bible alone is our religion (a tolerably sized one, it must be confessed), and in its interpretation we seek only a justification of discord and the condemnation of unity.
“But leaving this view of the subject, painful, and at the same time ludicrous, if the follies of Christian men could be a just subject of ridicule, let us proceed with a sketch of the doctrine of antiquity, relative to the supremacy of the See of Rome.”
Here again follow the citations, and for which,
as they are copious, I must again refer the reader to the work.--He then continues :
“I have selected these few passages from the acts of councils holden in the Eastern or Greek Church, composed almost exclusively of Bishops residing outside the western Patriarchate, which was still more closely connected with the Pope, and more faithful at all times in adhering to the apostolic doctrine, and to that centre of union by which it is preserved. I have referred to those councils, because they are admitted as general and orthodox by all; because matters of the greatest moment were discussed and decided in them, such as dogmas of faith, and the guilt or innocence, not of ordinary individuals, or Bishops, but of two great patriarchs, the one of Constantinople, the other of Alexandria ; I have referred to them as to large mirrors, in which may be clearly seen the faith and discipline of that pure and primitive Church, which sectaries pretend to revere;
and introduced them as the depositaries of the doctrine which prevailed throughout all the orthodox churches of the then Christian world ;-as bodies of Pastors and Doctors, declaring, not by their language alone, but by their conduct, on the most important occasions which could occur, that the Pope of Rome was the successor of Peter, and, as such, the head of the whole Church, possessing the right to preside in synods wheresoever held, to
give judgment in matters of faith, whether provisionally or finally, and to try, punish or acquit the most exalted of his colleagues.
“I was about to cite, as in the case of Peter's supremacy, the testimony of the ancient Fathers, Greek and Latin, in support of the doctrine maintained at Nice, Ephesus, and Chalcedon, but I find those preliminary observations have already extended to a greater length than I anticipated. The opinions on this subject of SS. Irenæus, Dennis of Alexandria, Athanasius, Basil, Gregory, Nazianzen, Epiphanius, Chrysostom, and of Theodoret, all Greeks and of the Latins, Tertullian, SS. Cyprian, Ambrose, Jerome, Optatus, Augustin, Fulgentius ; of Vincent of Lerins, and the others up to St. Bernard inclusive, may be read, in any of our books of theology; so that, as far as human testimony can add security and stability to a right evidently founded on the power, and wisdom, and will of Christ—a right essential to the preservation of unity in the faith and integrity in the Church-a right confirmed by an undisturbed, how-often-soever-assailed possession of eighteen centuries, so far is the spiritual supremacy, and no other, of the Pope, eminently supported and secured; so far is the Church of Rome the head and mistress of all other Churches, the depositary of christian truth, the guardian of discipline, and the centre of unity, to which, in the language of Ire