« הקודםהמשך »
it stood before the people as their protector, and among sovereigns as their master; as, so long as it did so the king knew well where an avenger of blood was to be found by people if he wronged them, and the people knew at what throne they might place their petition for redress of grievances. As a sort of sovereign arbiter between sovereigns, nobles, hosts, and peoples, the Papacy exercised a most beneficial influence in human affairs; while, by its furnishing so many trained statesmen to the nations, it provided a vast boon for the common people. The hold it had, too, upon the several statesmen, as being bound in supreme fealty to it, however much they were enticed to serve their temporal masters, had a good effect in causing a sort of international civility, which gradually grew into international law. The great benefit which theorists now dream of about an international commission for the abolition of war, and the supreme decision of all questions of right between nation and nation, was the function in which the Papacy most thoroughly exerted itself for the benefit of the world.
The moral grandeur of the Papacy as a sacerdotal power, the intellectual greatness of the Papacy as a college of training for statesmen, the temporal might of the Papacy as having devoted subjects in all lands and in all ranks, who were ready to give allegiance to it in the last resort in any matter of dispute, the religious supremacy of the Papacy as holding the keys-the terrible triple keys-were also very marked. Then the theory of its foundation as the kingdom of God in the earth-as the very vicegerent of Jesus Christ, and the lieutenant of the eternal King, had a great effect, not only among kings and people, but also over the administrators of the concerns of the Holy See itself; for, however insincere men's pretensions are, they are always bound by these very pretensionsto some extent, at least,--to conform in some measure to their apparent scope. So that even those of our opponents who may feel in. clined to stigmatise the Papacy as an organized hypocrisy, will gain little in argument from that course unless they can prove that the hypocrisy itself did not operate as a restraint. None of the accu. sations of heinous sins preferrable against Sixtus VI., Alexander VI., Julius II., Leo X.,
&c., can be urged in this relation against the beneficiality of the Papacy, because the objector will require to show cause wby, if these great crimes were really chargeable on the Papacy, as exceptionably wicked as compared with all other sovereignties, they were neither followed by revolt nor arraignment; will have to prove their exceptional guilt; and will require to bring home to the Papacy the perpetration of these crimes for its own specific ends, and not for the mere personal ends of the administrators. I do not myself see how the negative side of this controversy can be maintained without an almost blasphemous imputation against the God of proridence for suffering a sovereignty not beneficial to the world to exist under the name and form of Christ's church for centurics. But to bring the matter more closely into controversial possibility, I venture to affirm the beneficiality of the Papacy as an
historic institution upon the following grounds, which those who list may attempt to gainsay :
1. The existence of the Papacy has been beneficial to the world because it proves the might of moral agency and the power of thought. From the lowliest ranks of men, from a despised race, from a reputed malefactor, Christianity arose and spread. And from the
traitor apostle as well as himself, a convict according to the laws of Rome, the Roman pontiff claimed his power, authority, influence, and position. It is beneficial that such a lesson should be stamped into history of the might of ideas over the most powerful forms of government, and against apparently the most stable states; that there should be shown in a most palpable and undeniable manner the fact that the despised Nazarenes, whose Master was overmastered by Rome, had now overmastered Rome, and that, too, by sheer might of thought and the strength of altered convictions. The mere existence of this protest regarding the powerlessness of mere might as against a soul-felt truth, and of the superior power of an inward conviction to all outward forces, ought to be a great lesson for humanity, that in the controversy between force and truth the former must fail, the latter must conquer.
2. The principle on which the Papacy was founded has been beneficial to the world. That principle is faith-faith in common facts, doctrines, and results. It is a good thing to know the power of faith. All the foregoing sovereignties in the world were sovereignties of force; the Papacy was a sovereignty of faith. The succession to the monarchy of that sublime, extensive, and active dominion whose chief city was watered by the "yellow Tiber” was not that of hereditary descent, nor of bequeathment from legatee to legatee, nor of natural claims, nor of force; it was the sovereignty of the choice of the faithful. Common as might possessing right is in the world, can we deny that it was of great practical benefit in the world that it should be seen that there were ties which bound man to man much more strongly and effectively than the mere slavish power of fear or the mere utilitarianism of statecraft ? To show that faith is might, and that it possesses and exercises an influence and effect greater than bulwarks and battle-fields, thrones and swords, is surely a great benefit; and that the Papacy has shown the might of this principle cannot, we presume, be truthfully denied.
3. The form of government adopted by the Papacy was beneficial to the world. This form of government was administrative. It was not the mere expression of the wish or will of the sovereign; it was the decision of a select court of trustworthy advisers, possessed of a certain representative character and of a distinct responsibility, as being in some measure elected as well as selected. The Papacy was, in truth, a great democratic body on which an aristocracy had been grafted. The lowest peasant could enter the Church, and could rise to the tiara by the exercise of the faculties with which he was endowed. But before he could do so he required to show in all subordinate positions the ability to obey as well as to effect; he required to win respect and power, confidence and esteem. Then, though he did rise, he was compelled to rise slowly, tested at every step, and exposed at each step by the envy of equals, the jealousy of superiors, and the detestation of success felt by inferiors. Here were the secrets of the successes of the papal administrators found ; they were all men who had been thoroughly trained and most surely tested. We talk now-a-days of our compe. titive examinations; these examinations were not mere pedantic word-tests, but they were express work-tests. Here is a piece of work to do,—do it, do it thoroughly and well as you are told; and when you have acquired the art of accomplishing the will of others, you may receive the opportunity of exercising a will of your own. Here is a chance offered
to every possessor of a special gift to rise by it to the highest offices for which his gifts qualify him, and here, therefore, there is a specific activity of the whole scheme, from root to fruit.
4. In its administration the Papacy was beneficial to the world. It wrought throughout the world a whole network of agencies, animated by one spirit and stirred to one end. It occupied intelligence everywhere; it demanded self-denial and it kept its best rewards to its best men. It was a great idea to create a unity of interests in all its members, and to keep up the vital circulation from the centre at Rome to the utmost wildernesses where the humblest hermit dwelt. In its administration it gave a lesson of thorough earnestness and perfect organization, which nations could copy though they have never been able to emulate it.
5. Even in its history—as compared with any other sovereignty in the world, taken century by century alongside of it—the Papacy has been beneficial to the world. It is easy to compute the evils laid to the charge of a state, for its enemies are keen-sighted to detect its faults, and loud of lung and tongue to expose them; but even thus a comparison of the evils of the Papacy as a state, will result in its favour if all things be taken into the calculationthe ends, the means, and the results. Indeed, by cutting off from itself all temptations to commit crimes capable of yielding to those who committed them more than a life-rent advantage, it showed that it had a principle in it superior to the family feuds and dynastic quarrels and the inter-dynastic wars which disgraced history in former times; while in modern times, if it has been, or rather seems to be, less immaculate than other Governments, a great deal of this is owing to the false position assigned to it by its bitterest assailants and most virulent enemies. Altogether, while repudiating Catholicism in its Romanistic form, and willing to denounce the Papacy as an effete form of church government, I cannot but affirm that there is no greater marvel of human history than the Papacy, no monarchy so wondrous as the Popedom, and no sovereignty of such a strange nature as that of the Pontificate ; nor can I doubt that 80 singular and 80 ancient an institution has been productive of much benefit to the world ; those who would attempt to prove a negative so vast as that the Papacy has been of no benefit to the world must have hard work. We shall not claim that they should do so. If they can prove that the balance of beneficiality is not in its favour, then we shall hold them to have done enough to prove their point; but so far as we can see, in the light of reason, history, social life, and religion, there seems to be. po good grounds for believing otherwise than that the Papacy has been beneficial to society as an institution and an influence.
PHILOMATHES. NEGATIVE ABTICLR.-I. By the term Papacy, in the question now proposed for debate, we understand not so much Popery as a religious system-though that cannot be wholly omitted from consideration,-as the office, dignity, and jurisdiction of the Popes of Rome, together with their policy, acts, character, and influence. In considering whether the Papacy has been beneficial to the world, we must endeavour to determine whether its influences and effects have preponderated on the side of good or on that of evil. Though our opponents should show that in some two or three ways the Papacy has been beneficial, that cannot be considered to be a satisfactory settlement of the question now under debate: for who or what is there that is evil, that has not been in some way or other beneficial ! as is implied in the old proverb, “ It is an ill wind that blows nobody any good.”. The extravagance of a number of individuals may have been of benefit to a virtuous and deserving family, with whom they have spent their money ; but if themselves and their own families have been ruined, and many others greatly injured by their extravagance, would it be right to say that their extravagance has been beneficial because one family happened to be benefited by it? A monopoly may be of great service to a few individuals, and be the means of their amassing vast wealth, while it may be impoverishing and crushing to the majority of the nation ; would it then be correct to speak of such a monopoly as having been beneficial? We know that it may be alleged with truth that some of the Popes have been patrons of learning, science, art, and individual worth, and that they have sometimes taken the part of right; but if it can be shown that the iniquities of the Papacy have been such as to much more than counterbalance all its good effects,-if it can be shown that, on the whole, the influences and effects of the Papacy have been evil and injurious,—then it will be plainly proved that the Papacy has not been beneficial to the world.
We understand the question then to be, Have the office, dignity, character, measures, and influence of the Popes of Rome been beneficial to the world P
To this question we reply in the negative ; and in proof of the correctness of our answer we adduce,
1. The peculiar character of the Papacy, from the union of some temporal, and so great spiritual power in the same individual. For the furtherance of schemes of ambition and aggrandizement, the Popes, as temporal princes, have entered into alliances, raised supplies, and furnished their contingent of troops so as to carry on an offensive war; but when endangered by defeat, and alarmed for the safety of their own dominions they resorted for shelter to their 'pontifical robes, and called on all Christendom to protect the head of the universal Church. This part has been frequently played by the Popes with great address and advantage, to the detriment of various nations in their turn ; for the extreme sacredness attributed to their persons has led to their being protected by various powers with injustice to others, when but for their peculiar position they would have been left to the usual and just consequences of defeat in war; and thus the Papacy has been not beneficial, but injurious.
2. The authority claimed by the Popes above all lawful earthly sovereigns.
The authority thus claimed has led to a baneful interference in the affairs of the nations. Subjects have been countenanced in breaking faith with, in disturbing the government of, and even in putting to death, heretical sovereigns. Kingdoms have been laid under interdict. The persons of monarchs have been enslaved and trampled on. Princes have been deposed, and subjects absolved from their obedience. The Popes have paralyzed parliaments, agitated nations, and sown heart-burnings among peoples, introducing and carrying on war, bloodshed, adversity, and numberless calamities. Can these measures of the Papacy have been beneficial to the world? That the Popes bave given an ill example to subjects, let the following relation by Baronius, a celebrated Roman Catholic historian, show :-“Our lord the Pope sat in his pontifical chair, bolding between his feet the golden imperial crown; and the Emperor (Henry VI., of Germany), with bent head, received the crown, and the Empress likewise her crown from the feet of our lord the Pope. But our lord the Pope immediately struck with his foot the crown of the Emperor, and knocked it to the ground, signifying that he has the power to depose him from the imperial dignity if he deserved it.”
3. Papal bulls and indulgences will tell us whether the Papacy has been beneficial to the world.
A bull of Clement VII. declared the doctrine of works of supererogation to be an article of faith. It was said that Christ had done more than was necessary to make atonement for sin; that one drop of His blood would have sufficed, but that he shed it copiously to form a treasure for His Church, which the supererogatory merits of the saints, the reward of the good works they have done beyond their obligation, have augmented. The keeping and management of this treasure, it was said, were confided to Christ's vicar upon earth. Under John XXII. a tariff of indulgences was invented. Incest, if not detected, was to cost five groats ; and six