Графични страници
PDF файл

or Siena, in whatever form of words expressed, to the prejudice of this public faith, full security, public and free audience, which is granted by the synod, from all which it derogates in this instance.' (Free Thoughts, p. 120, with the authorities. The reader will observe, that the council passed from the law or canon (call it what you will) of Constance in this instance; but of course reserved the power of applying it in every other instance as it might be agreeable to themselves, or those who should execute the laws of the church in all time coming.

I shall probably pursue this subject farther in my next number. In the inean time I shall give an example of the practical influence of the doctrine of not keeping faith with heretics, in our own city, in humble life, in the present day. A Papist who lived in one of the wynds, had a wife who is a Protestant. He used every effort to persuade her to change her religion; but she remaining inflexible in her heresy, he did not thing it necessary to keep faith with her; and for the violation of the marriage contract, he had no less an authority than that of Pope Gregory the Ninth, which is given in a preceding page of this number. He left her with a view to go to Ireland, for no other reason, as he himself declared, than because she refused to renounce her heresy. He was immediately taken ill, and died in a few days. His wife, notwithstanding his cruel and unjust behaviour, brought his body home, and had it decently interred. On his person was found the fol. lowing letter, the original of which is before me. “Glasgow, December 5th, 1818. Dear Margaret, this comes to let you know that I am left this place, and gone to Ireland. You have yourself to blame in this, for if ever I was determined to go to the devil for any woman living, I would do it for your sake. Dear Margaret, I am very sorry you stand so much in your own light, as not till agree to my principles, for you said you would not never turn from your ways of thinking, so by that means you and I shall never agree. So therefore I bid you adieu, dear Margaret, for evermore across the main you need never look for me in Scotland again. As I said before, I will never send my soul to the devil for you or any other woman. I sincerely give my blessing to your son James. No more at present, but farewell for ever.” The letter appears to have been unfinished. Perhaps he intended to add something to it, and send it from Ireland; but he was arrested by death while following out his wicked design of abandoning his wife and child. I hope this will be a warning to Protestant women to beware how they connect themselves with Papists.




SATURDAY, January 9th, 1819. I am about to discuss a little farther that doctrine of the church of Rome, that it is lawful to break faith with heretics. This seems to have been for ages undisputed by the doctors of the church. Here

[ocr errors]

tics were considered such a race of beings, as to have no title to be dealt with as fellow-creatures; and all the laws of a state were understood to be lawfully dispensed with, so far as regarded those who were convicted, or even suspected, of heretical pravity. We have many high authorities for this, in Limborch's History of the Inquisition; and these authorities are chiefly or entirely Romish, as the author did not choose to rest upon the testimony of Protestant writers, but rather to convict and condemn Papists out of their own mouths.

Thus it is laid down as a rule which was universally understood, that “Subjects, when a prince or magistrate is a heretic, are freed from their obedience.” This is proved by a reference to history; and no one acquainted with history will deny that the fact is established,

Thus," says the author," it has often happened, that kings pronounced heretics by the pope, have, with all their posterity, been deprived of all their dignities, jurisdictions, and rights, their subjects absolved from their oaths of allegiance and fidelity, and their dominions given as a prey to others.

“ And, finally, they are deprived of that power, which is introduced by the law of nations, whereby they lose all property in every thing they have. Cap. cum secundum leges de Haret. l. 6. insomuch, that every one is at once wholly freed from every obligation he can be under, to persons fallen into manifest heresy. Cap. absolutos, de Hæret. Let all know that they are freed from the debt of fidelity, dominion, and all service, to manifest heretics, how strong soever the obligations may be which they are under. These things are thus inferred: First, if a heretic deposits any of his effects with any person, such person is not obliged to restore them to the heretic, after his heresy is manifest, but to the treasury. Farther, a Catholic wife is not obliged to any duty to her heretical husband, because by the husband's heresy she is freed from her duty. In like manner, a Catholic husband is freed from all duty to his wife, if she be a heretic. Nevertheless, they cannot marry with others, because the bond of matrimony is not dissolved. A husband cannot be forced to cohabit with his wife, if she is fallen into heresy, even though she is reconciled; nor is he bound to maintain her, because her dowry is confiscated by heresy; and as she is stripped of her dowry by her own fault, the husband is not obliged to maintain an unendowed wife. ZANCHINUS Ugolinus explains this matter more largely. The very children, brothers, and sisters, ought to forsake them. Yea, the very bond of matrimony with such, is dissolved. For, if one departs from the orthodox faith, and falls into heresy, his wife is not obliged to cohabit with him, but may seek to be separated from him by the judgment of the church; such separation from the bed being as reasonable on account of spiritual fornication, as for carnal." " Finally, all vassals whatsoever are, ipso jure, freed from every obligation to their lords, though such obligation shall have been confirmed by an oath.”—These are maxims taught by several high authorities in the church of Rome, whose names are given by Limborch on the margin of his work, Vol. II. pp. 21, 22; and they point out what was understood to be the doctrine of the church of Rome, as plainly as any divine of the present day, in this country, can point out any doctrine of the church of Scotland.

“ Hence," continues the author, “ proceeds the maxim, that faith is not to be kept with heretics, which some are not afraid openly to teach ; (that is, as lately as 1692, when the work was published ;) although those who are more wise, in Germany, France, and the Low Countries, endeavour to wipe off this spot from their church. But the Spaniards, though they cannot be duly charged with this perfidiousness, because they have none whom they call heretics living amongst them, yet assert it in plain and open words, without dissembling, and are not ashamed to defend and confirm it, by the practice of the council of Constance. See amongst others, Simanca's Cathol. Instit. Tit. 46, sec. 52, 53, 54.

Thus it appears, that little more than a hundred years ago, the doctrine—that faith is not to be kept with heretics,—was taught openly, and in plain words, without dissembling, by reverend doctors in Spain, who had none whom they called heretics living amongst them; and they maintained the doctrine upon the authority of the council of Constance; though in Germany, France, and the Low Countries, in which there were many heretics, the Papists began to wipe off this spot from their church, merely, I suppose, because they were ashamed of it, and could not decently maintain it, in the presence of those he. retics, who had, by this time, made it manifest that they were of some use in the world, and not unworthy of having faith kept with them..

It is a curious fact, that though the docirine in question was publicly maintained in Spain, in plain words, after other popish nations began to be ashamed of it, it is now more indignantly disavowed by one of the Spanish universities, than by most of the others; and this university (that of Alcala) condescends to enter into a long discussion of the subject, in which they attempt to vindicate the council of Constance, with regard to their treatment of John Huss, and Jerome of Prague. For the amusement of my readers, I shall give the whole passage, which affords as fine a specimen of Jesuitical reasoning as is any where to be found:

" Answers to the third question,—(Among the articles of the Catholic faith, is there any which teaches, that Catholics are not bound to keep faith with heretics, or with persons of any other description, who dissent from them in matters of religion ?) So persuaded is the university, that a doctrine which would exempt Catholics from the obligation of keeping faith with heretics, or any other persons who may dissent from them in matters of religion, instead of being an article of the Catholic faith, is entirely repugnant to its tenets; that she should not have believed it possible there should exist any person, who should dare to impute to Catholics any thing so iniquitous, had she not learned, from the things which are written in the sacred scriptures for our instruction, that the same Pharisees who had openly heard our Lord deliver ihis injunction, .Render to Cesar the things that are Cesar's -afterwards laid this crime to his charge, — We have found this man perverting our nation, and forbidding us to give tribute to Cesar.' But the devil who had put this into their hearts, and moved their tongues to the uttering of such falsehoods, as could induce the Jewish multitude, who considered Christ a prophet, to cry out with a loud voice, Crucify him, crucify him,' has never since desisted from perverting others, in like manner.


" It was alleged every where against the apostles, that they were seditious men, introducers of innovations, and both by their doctrine and conduct, aiming at the subversion of all legal authority. On this account, as St. John Chrisostom observes, the apostle of the Gentiles treat so often of keeping faith with princes, masters, friends, enemies, just and unjust; and frequently inculcates, that we must give them no cause of offence, but must do them every friendly office; and the same has been perpetually taught by the Catholic church, in her writings, by her words, and her actions.

Still the father of lies has persisted in the same attempt. England is not ignorant of the calumnies vented against Catholics by the apostate Oats. The assertions likewise are well known, which maintained, with so much industry and art, the art of deceiving and lying, in which he so much excels. He was crafty enough to persuade some persons, that a canon was framed, in the sixth general council, by which Catholics are freed from any obligation to keep faith with heretics, or any other persons who may dissent from their religious tenets; and that a similar canon was published by the council of Constance, by virtue of which, he affirmed, that faith was not kept with John Huss and Jerome of Prague.

· But the first of these canons is not of the sixth general council, .nor is it of any authority; on the contrary, it has been condemned by the church. As to the council of Constance, nothing was there defined concerning breach of faith. If we were to determine the question from the acts of that synod, we should be forced to draw a contrary cor on. For the fathers of the council declared, that therefore they were at liberty to examine the doctrines of Huss, because they had not granted him a safe conduct.

" A safe conduct had, indeed, been granted him, by the Emperor Sigismund, who nevertheless, afterwards, ordered him to be burnt, but still without any breach of faith. For he had given him safe conduct only in the ordinary form, riz. against lawless violence, and with the condition annexed to it, that if he fled he should forfeit his life. Huss fled, in violation of his engagement.

“ To Jerome of Prague, a safe conduct was granted by the council itsell, not including any special immunities, not anthorizing any daring attempts which he should afterwards make, but upon this condition, that the course of justice should not be impeded. He was present in the council, abjured his heresies, and was exposed to no molestation. But when afterwards, contrary to his promises, he had taken himself to flight, and began to spread abroad among the vulgar, that he had consented to falsehood, in agreeing to the condemnation of Wickliffe and John Huss; that he could find no errors in their doctrine; that Wickliffe was an evangelical preacher; and when at length he obstinately maintained these assertions before the fathers of the council, Sigismund judged that such behaviour was not to be tolerated in one who had broken his faith; and surely, what man in his senses would assert, that

any one ought to be suffered, with impunity, to utter against God and man absurdities and blasphemies like the following: Ist. God ought to obey the devil. 20. No man is a civil ruler, no man is a prelate, no man is a bishop, while he is in a state of mortal sin. 3d. That the multitude have a right to punish, at their pleasure, the crimes of

the rulers. Ath. Oaths which are taken to confirm contracts, or civil negociations, are unlawful. So much for those canons by which they have endeavoured to spirit up envy and odium against Catholics.

“Catholics have been taught by St. James, the apostle, that their speech must be Yea, yea; No, no: guided by this wisdom, the Catholic church has ever reprobated falsehood. But to swear or promise any thing, without performing it, is falsehood. The Catholic church is not so devoid of judgment as to have enacted a law, or promulgated a decree, which would banish from the Catholic world excellent virtues, truth, fidelity, and justice, without which, there could be no happiness for individuals, no civil societies, nor intercourse among men. What Catholic ever taught that it was lawful to lie, to deceive, or to violate any natural right? Our religion, on the contrary, teaches that faith must be kept with all men, whatever be their religion, or though they be of no religion, without a single exception, in every promise, which of its own nature is lawful and valid, whether in peace or in war, in the concerns of religion, in matrimony, in safe conducts, in civil commerce with friends, with enemies.

* These being our sentiments, as may be evinced likewise by what has been said relative to the first and second questions, that the doctrine of the Catholic church may be clearly and distinctly understood by all the world; we shall only add, that no obligation arising from the laws of nature, or of nations, or of men, which is founded in natural reason, has been altered or weakened by our Redeemer; but that every such obligation has been rather heightened and exalted to greater perfection; has been strengthened by his doctrine and example; and by the addition of other moral precepts and councils; that the order of nature might be preserved in all human things, and that his grace might assist men to discharge their natural duties. This is the excel. lent philosophy which he brought from heaven, and introduced into the world, that he might form men to be useful and beneficial one to another, and obedient to the commands of the Divine Being.

“These are the unanimous decisions of this university, after a mature deliberation, in a full assembly of the doctors, the 17th day of March, in the year of our Lord, 1789.”Parliamentary Reports, Vol. II. p. 529, 530, 531.

I have thus given the answer of the university of Alcala at full length, because it enters more into the merits of the question than any of the others; and because, I suppose, their answer embraces the substance of all that Papists have to say for their church, on the subject of not keeping faith with heretics.

It is not doubted that the apostle of the Gentiles taught that Christians ought to maintain good faith with all men. It is not denied that the apostle James taught, “ Let your conversation be Yea, yea, and Nay, nay;" and nobody teaches, so far as I know, that any law of nature, for the good of civil society, has been weakened by our Redeemer. All these things are irrelevant. The question proposed by Mr. Pitt, was not, what Christ and his apostles taught. He had no occasion to send to Spain for information on that subject. It was, what has the church of Rome taught or practised? Is there among the articles of the Romish faith, any which teaches that Catholics are not bound to keep faith with heretics? This was the point; and the grave doctors

VOL. I.-27

« ПредишнаНапред »