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ture, it must either be ended by plain places, or by obscure. Plain places there are none, and these that are with greatest fancy pretended, are expounded by antiquity to contrary purposes. But if obscure places be all the aŭSevría, by what means shall we infallibly find the sense of them? The Pope's interpretation, though in all other cases it might be pretended, in this cannot; for it is the thing in question, and therefore cannot determine for itself. Either therefore we have also another infallible guide besides the Pope, and so we have two foundations and two heads (for this as well as the other upon the same reason), or else (which is indeed the truth) there is no infallible way to be infallibly assured, that the Pope is infallible. Now it being against the common condition of men, above the pretences of all other governors ecclesiastical, against the analogy of Scripture, and the deportment of the other apostles, against the economy of the church, and St. Peter's own entertainment, the presumption lies against him, and these places are to be left to their prime intentions, and not put upon the rack, to force them to confess what they never thought.
12. But now for antiquity; if that be deposed in this question, there are so many circumstances to be considered to reconcile their words and their actions, that the process is more troublesome than the argument can be concluding, or the matter considerable: but I shall a little consider it, so far at least as to shèw either antiquity said no such thing as is pretended; or, if they did, it is but little considerable, because they did not believe themselves ; their practice was the greatest evidence in the world against the pretence of their words. But I am much eased of a long disquisition in this particular (for I love not to prove a question by arguments, whose authority is, in itself, as fallible, and by circumstances made as uncertain as the question) by the saying of Æneas Sylvius,' that before the Nicene council every man lived to himself, and small respect was had to the church of Rome;' which practice could not well consist with the doctrine of their bishop's infallibility, and, by consequence, supreme judgment and last resolution in matters of faith : but especially by the insinuation and consequent acknowledgment of Bellarmine", that for one thousand years together
2 De Rom. Pont. 1.4. c. 2. sect. secunda sententia. VOL. VIII.
the fathers knew not of the doctrine of the Pope's infallibility; for Nilus, Gerson, Almain, the divines of Paris, Alphonsus de Castro, and Pope Adrian VI., persons who lived one thousand four hundred years after Christ,-affirm that infallibility is not seated in the Pope's person, that he may err, and sometimes actually hath : which is a clear demonstration that the church knew no such doctrine as this; there had been no decree, nor tradition, nor general opinion of the fathers, or of any age before them; and therefore this opinion, which Bellarmine would fain blast if he could, yet in his conclusion he says it is not' propriè hæretica :' a device and an expression of his own, without sense or precedent. But if the fathers had spoken of it and believed it, why may not a disagreeing person as well reject their authority when it is in behalf of Rome, as they of Rome without scruple cast them off, when they speak against it? For Bellarmine,-being pressed with the authority of Nilus, bishop of Thessalonica,—and other fathers, says that the Pope acknowledges no fathers, but they are all his children, and therefore, they cannot depose against him: and if that be true, why shall we take their testimonies for him? for if sons depose in their fathers' behalf, it is twenty to one but the adverse party will be cast, and therefore, at the best, it is but 'suspectum testimonium. But indeed this discourse signifies nothing but a perpetual uncertainty in such topics, and that, where a violent prejudice or a concerning interest is engaged, men, by not regarding what any man says, proclaim to all the world, that nothing is certain but divine authority.
13. But I will not take advantage of what Bellarmine says, nor what Stapleton, or any one of them all say, for that will be but to press upon personal persuasions, or to urge a general question with a particular defaillance, and the question is never the nearer to an end: for if Bellarmine says any thing that is not to another man's purpose or persuasion, that man will be tried by his own argument, not by another's. And so would every man do that loves his liberty, as all wise men do, and therefore retain it by open violence, or private evasions. But to return.
14. An authority from Irenæus in this question, and on behalf of the Pope's infallibility, or the authority of the see
of Rome, or of the necessity of communicating with them, is very fallible: for besides that there are almost a dozen answers to the words of the allegation, as is to be seen in those that trouble themselves in this question with the allegation, and answering such authorities; yet if they should make for the affirmative of this question, it is protestatio contra factum. For Irenæus had no such great opinion of Pope Victor's infallibility, that he believed things in the same degree of necessity that the Pope did; for therefore he chides him for excommunicating the Asian bishops á póws, 'all at a blow,' in the question concerning Easterday: and in a question of faith he expressly disagreed from the doctrine of Rome: for Irenæus was of the millenary opinion, and believed it to be a tradition apostolical. Now if the church of Rome was of that opinion then, why is she not now? where is the succession of her doctrine? But if she was not of that opinion then, and Irenæus was, where was his belief of that church's infallibility? The same I urge concerning St. Cyprian, who was the head of a sect in opposition to the church of Rome in the question of rebaptization; and he and the abettors, Firmilian and the other bishops of Cappadocia, and the vicinage, spoke harsh words of Stephen, and such as became them not to speak to an infallible doctor, and the supreme head of the church. I will urge none of them to the disadvantage of that see, but only note the satires of Firmilian against him, because it is of good use, to shew that it is possible for them, in their illcarriage, to blast the reputation and efficacy of a great authority. For he says that the church did pretend the authority of the apostles, “ cùm in multis sacramentis divinæ rei à principio discrepet, et ab ecclesia Hierosolymitana, et defamet Petrum et Paulum tanquam autores." And a little after, “ Justè dedignor” (says he) “ apertam et manifestam stultitiam Stephani, per quam veritas Christianæ petræ aboletur.” Which words say plainly, that for all the goodly pretence of apostolical authority, the church of Rome did then, in many things of religion, disagree from divine institution (and from the church of Jerusalem, which they had as great esteem of, for religion's sake, as of Rome for its principality); and that still in pretending to St. Peter and St.
• Ep. Firmiliani cont. Steph. ad Cyp. Vide etiam Ep. Cypriani ad Pompeium.
Paul they dishonoured those blessed apostles, and destroyed the honour of their pretence by their untoward prevarication. Which words, I confess, pass my skill to reconcile them to an opinion of infallibility: and although they were spoken by an angry person, yet they declare that, in Africa, they were not then persuaded, as now they are at Rome : “ Nam nec Petrus, quem primum Dominus elegit, vindicavit sibi aliquid, insolenter, aut arroganter assumpsit, ut diceret se primatum tenere b.” That was their belief then; and how the contrary hath grown up to that height where now it is, all the world is witness. And now I shall not need to note concerning St. Jerome, that he gave a compliment to Damasus that he would not have given to Liberius; “Qui tecum non colligit, spargit.” For it might be true enough of Damasus, who was a good bishop and a right believer : but if Liberius's name had been put instead of Damasus, the case had been altered with the name; for St. Jerome did believe and write it so, that Liberius had subscribed to Arianism. And if either he or any of the rest had believed the Pope could not be a heretic, nor his faith fail, but be so good and of so competent authority as to be a rule to Christendom; why did they not appeal to the Pope in the Arian controversy? why was the bishop of Rome made a party and a concurrent, as other good bishops were, and not a judge and an arbitrator in the question ? why did the fathers prescribe so many rules and cautions and provisoes for the discovery of heresy? why were the emperors at so much charge, and the church at so much trouble, as to call and convene councils respectively, to dispute so frequently, to write so sedulously, to observe all advantages against their adversaries, and for the truth, and never offered to call for the Pope to determine the question in his chair? Certainly no way could have been so expedite, none so concluding and peremptory, none could have convinced so certainly, none could have triumphed so openly over all discrepants, as this, if they had known of any such thing as his being infallible, or that he had been appointed by Christ to be the judge of controversies. And therefore I will not trouble this discourse to excuse any more words either pretended or really said to
b Cyprian. Epist. ad Quintum fratrem.
this purpose of the Pope, for they would but make books swell, and the question endless : I shall only to this purpose observe, that the old writers were so far from believing the infallibility of the Roman church or bishop, that many bishops and many churches did actually live and continue out of the Roman communion; particularly St. Austind, who with two hundred and seventeen bishops and their successors for one hundred years together, stood separate from that church, if we may believe their own records. So did Ignatius of Constantinople, St. Chrysostom, St. Cyprian, Firmilian, those bishops of Asia that separated in the question of Easter, and those of Africa, in the question of rebaptization. But besides this, most of them had opinions which the church of Rome disavows now; and therefore did so then, or else she hath innovated in her doctrine; which, though it be most true and notorious, I am sure she will never confess. But no excuse can be made for St. Austin's disagreeing and contesting in the question of appeals to Rome, the necessity of communicating infants, the absolute damnation of infants to the pains of hell, if they die before baptism, and divers other particulars. It was a famous act of the bishops of Liguria and Istria, who,-seeing the Pope of Rome consenting to the fifth synod in disparagement of the famous council of Chalcedon, which for their own interests they did not like of,—renounced subjection to his patriarchate, and erected a patriarch at Aquileia, who was afterward translated to Venice, where his name remains to this day. It is also notorious, that most of the fathers were of opinion, that the souls of the faithful did not enjoy the beatific vision before doomsday. Whether Rome was then of that opinion or no, I know not; I am sure now they are not, witness the councils of Florence and Trent: but of this I shall give a more full account afterward. But if to all this which is already noted, we add that great variety of opinions amongst the fathers and councils in assignation of the canon, they not consulting with the bishop of Rome, nor any of them thinking themselves bound to follow his rule in enu
d Ubi illa Augastini et reliquorum prudentia ? quis jam ferat crassissiinæ igno. rantiæ illam vocem in tot et tantis Patribus ? Alan. Cop. dialog. p. 76, 77. Vide etiam Bonifac. II. Ep. ad Eulalium Alexandrinum ; Lindanum Panopsi, l. 4. c. 89. in fine ; Salmeron, tom. 12. tract. 68. sect. ad Canonem ; Sander. de visibili Monar. chia, 1.7.n. 411. Baron. tom, 10. A. D. 878.