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nation by the pure word; for it is his soul that is at stake, and he himself must bear the burden, and not another. The private judgment for which we contend, is scriptural, pious, and the only impregnable bulwark against the usurpations and persecutions of human authority; without it, the reading of the Bible can produce little effect. The sun is seen by its own light, and none but the insane will talk of seeing it by the eye of other men. Nevertheless the Church of Rome insists on reading the Bible for the whole world! The judgment we claim is not the rash decision of the moment, but the result of much reading, hearing, praying, and doing the will of God for years; a judgment which is ever improving in extent and correctness of knowledge, as well as in confidence of believing ; a judgment confirmed, and matured, by the sense of the Christian Church in all ages. Nor do the controversies which arise from the exercise of private judgment disturb peace, or destroy brotherly love, while they increase knowledge, and slowly, yet surely, check error. The rigorous Constitution of Protestantism brings all things to light, and its controversies are ever accompanied by beneficial consequences and tendencies. The atmosphere is, as it were, cleared ; we breathe a purer element, and the face of the Church smiles with renovated beauty.
(3.) “All Protestant Divines, on the contrary, are agreed that the Scripture is the first and only infallible rule of faith and morals; and that the next place is due to the Fathers, so far as they accord with, and approve, and confirm, by their testimony, the truth contained in Scripture. We revere the Fathers, not indeed as judges of the faith, but as witnesses.” (Cave. Ep. Apolog. Hist. Let. page 68.)
(4.) “We assert,” says Bellarmine, “that the necessary instruction, whether relating to faith or morals, is not all expressly contained in the Scripture : Scripture is often so ambiguous and perplexed, that it is unintelligible, unless explained by an infallible authority. The Gospel, without unwritten Tradition, is an empty name, or words without sense.' Pope Ganganelli, on the contrary, declares, (Letter 40, Vol. 1,) “The Gospels contain the religion of Christ, and are so plain, that the meanest capacity can comprehend them."
“ The vain inventions, unfruitful ceremonies, and ungodly Laws, Decrees, and Councils of Rome, were in such wise advanced, that nothing was thought comparable in authority, wisdom, learning, and godliness, unto them, so that the laws of Rome, as they said, were to be received of all men as the four Evangelists, to the which, all laws of Princes must give place: and the laws of God also partly were left off, and less esteemed, that the said Laws, Decrees, and Councils, with their Traditions and Ceremonies, might be more duly kept, and had in greater reverence. Thus was the people, through ignorance, so blinded with the goodly show and appearance of those things, that they thought the keeping of them to be a mere holiness, a more perfect service and honouring of God, and more pleasing to God, than the keeping of God's commandments.” Hom. of Good Works.
“THE Church cannot err in delivering articles of faith, or precepts of morals, inasmuch as it is guided by the Holy Spirit,” whence “it necessarily follows, that all other Churches which falsely claim to themselves that name, and being also led by the spirit of the devil, are most dangerously out of the way, both in doctrine and practice.” (Cat. Trid. Pars. I. Art. 9. Sec. 18.) But the precise quarter in which this infallibility resides is not so determinately settled. The Jesuits, and the Transalpine Divines contend for the personal infallibility of the Pope, when on any point of faith he undertakes to issue a solemn decision. (1.) The Cisalpine Divines not only deny this infallibility of the Pope, but even hold that he may be deposed by the Church, or by a General Council, for heresy or schism; (See Butler's Book of the Rom. Cath. Ch. p. 121, 124;) and that the infallibility of the Church is “lodged as a -sacred deposit, with each General Council, viewed as the legitimate organ and representative of the Catholic Church.” (2.)
(1.) Pope Pius II. says, that even to speak the truth in opposition to the Pope, would be contrary to the Episcopal Oath ; while Cardinal Bellarmine observes, “ that if the Pope should err in commanding vices and forbidding virtues, the Church would be bound to believe that vices were virtues, and virtues vices, unless she wished to sin against conscience.” (De Pontif. Lib. IV. c. 5.) And again, the Cardinal observes, that the Pontiff alone, or in conjunction with his own particular Council, deciding any thing in a doubtful manner, whether he can err or not, MUST be dutifully obeyed by all the faithful.” (Ibid.) Cardinal Zabarelli informs us that “the Pope can do all things, whatsoever he pleases, even unlawful things, and is more than God !!” (De Schism. Sul. Serm. Script. p. 70.) And Massonus, in Vita Johanni IX. says,
" that the Roman Pontiffs cannot even sin without praise.” When the venerable Polycarp visited Rome, on occasion of the difference between the Eastern and Western Churches about the celebration of Easter, Anicetus, the then Bishop of Rome, gave him a kind reception. Though they could not reconcile their opinions, yet no infallibility, nor a necessity of agreeing in trivial matters was insisted on, nor was the bond of charity broken.
(2.) We observe that this Infallibility cannot reside in the Popes, as many of them have led the most enorm
mously wicked and abandoned lives; some have been heretics, and on that account censured and deposed, and could not, therefore, be infallible. A few remarks will justify this assertion. The unanimous consent of all historians shows, that the ages of the Church, from the ninth century to the period of the Reformation, were monstrously ignorant and superstitious. Of the tenth age, Baronius, a warm advocate for Papal infallibility thus speaks: “What was then the face of the Roman Church ? how deformed? when whores, no less powerful than vile, bore the chief sway at Rome, and at their pleasure, changed Sees, appointed Bishops, and, which is horrible to mention, thrust into St. Peter's See their own gallants, false Popes, who would not have been mentioned in the catalogue of the Roman Popes, but only, for the more distinct recording of so long a succession of times,
&c.” Pope Marcellinus, who lived in the third century, sacrificed to idols; Pope Felix was a perjured Arian; John XXII. denied the immortality of the soul ; Leo X., and that monster of mankind, Alexander VI., and several other Popes, were mere atheists. But the private and public conduct of many Popes have been not only extremely flagitious, they have erred likewise as Popes, in their judicial decrees, speaking ex cathedra, as their divines express it. It is evident that Liberius erred as Pope, in condemning Athanasius, and in holding communion with the Eastern Arians: on which account St. Hilary said, “I anathematize thee, and this the third time, O thou prevaricator Liberius.” Pope Vigilius erred as Pope, in first condemning, and then approving the fifth General Council. Pope Honorius was a Monothelite, and as such, condemned by Pope Agatho, and declared an heretic by the sixth, seventh, and eighth General Councils, which no sophistry is artful enough to clear him of, says Cardinal Camus. The Council of Constance deposed John XXIII. for a great number of notorious crimes, proved by witnesses, and owned by himself, as lewdness, simony, adultery, poisoning his predecessor, and a thousand cheats, says Du Pin. The Council of Basil also deposed Eugenius as perjured, incorrigible, schismatical, heretical, &c.
On the supposition of the infallibility of the Pope, how are we to reconcile tbe declaration of Pope Gregory with the elevated pretensions of his successor ? “Whoever claims the universal episcopate,” said Gregory, at the latter end of the sixth century, “is the forerunner of antichrist.” Now this identical universal episcopate, as we all know, has been subsequently claimed by a long succession of Roman Pontiffs. If then infallibility rest with the Pope, who are we to believe, Gregory, or his successors?
Again, during the period of the great schism, there were at one time no less than three contemporary Popes, all asserting papal infallibility, all mutually blaming each other as an undoubted antichrist, with bell and candle. Now it is clear, that every one of these three persons cannot have been in the right. Two out of the three must inevitably have been mistaken: and yet the claims of the two antichrists were not a whit less strenuous and emphatic than the claims of the nuine Vicar of Christ. On the principles of the Romanists, one of the three must have been that Vicar; or the Catholic Church was left during a long period, in the