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Remarks on a Bull of Pope CLEMENT VI. 67 court ; that the criminals should be You were ftruck, you say, with all brought down on that day to re- the fingularity of this brief; and ceive sentence ; and that it should one cause of your furprize is the gebe executed the very moment afterneral filence of our controversists, being pronounced, in the fight and who seem to have been entirely igpresence of the judges.
norant of it. It does not appear He then observes, that if the first A that any one had made use of it four sections of this treatise should against the Roman church, altho saise any attention in the legislature, it had been published near a cen. so as effectually to put a stop to the tury.t.
tury t. You add, that this bull luxury of the lower people, to force would deserve to be made better the poor to industry, and to provide known, and that you do not think for them when industrious, the latter what M. de la Chapelle has said of part of his labour would be of very B it incidently, is sufficient. little use; and concludes with saying,
You also desire me to tell you that upon the whole, fomething what I think of it, and even to be should be, nay, must be done, or pretty large upon it. It would not much worfe confequences than have
be difficult to make an ample com. hitherto happened, are very soon to mentary upon this bull, had one a be apprehended, &c. &c.
mind to reprove all that is offensive
Cin it. But many people believe, A LETTER from a Librarian of that as to these sort of pieces, a
Geneva, concerning an extraordi. bare mention of the substance of nary Dispensation of Pope Clement them is sufficient to excite all the VI. Translated from the French. indignation they deserve. However,
to satisfy you, I will enter into some SIR,
detail, were it only to have the pleaOU acquaint me, that you Dfure of your correspondence.
have been reading M. de la You say, that all in this act has Chapelle's treatise on the necessity furprised you, both its fingularity of publick worship. Among your and the obscurity in which it has remarks on this reading, you tell lain to this time. I will tell you, me, that you were extremely sur- first of all, that it was far from prised at a dispensation, seen amongst making the same impression upon me, the vouchers at the end of the work, E because I had known of this piece granted by Clement VI. in the year near 30 years, at least in fubftance; 1351, to John king of France, and
and in this manner.
Having the to queen Joan his second wife ; honour, at London, one day to dine which brief or bull gives to the king's at Dr. Burnet's, bishop of Salisbury, and the queen's confessor, a power
five or fix months before his death, to absolve them both for the pait and with some men of learning, and afor the future, from all their engage. F mongst others the famoas Dr. Hoadments and contra&ts, tho' backed by ley, bishop of Bagnor, the bishop, at
, an oath, if they could not keep them whose house we were, acquainted us without some inconveniency *. This with this extraordinary bull. He favour is not only for them, but also told us the concepts of it, and quoted for their successors in perpetuity, to us as his Warrant Dom Luke. on condition only, that their con- d'Acheri, who has related it entire: fessor shall commute these oaths into G When I returned into my own coun. such works of piety as he shall think try, I searched for this piece in the proper.
BeneJuramenta per vos præflira, & per vos & eos prajlunda in pofterum, quæ vos & illi fer. wore commodè noz polarisa † Sarbe Spicilegium of Dom Luke d'Acheri, ar Paris, 4ro som 4, p. 275.
Benedictines large collection, but did decisive, that of Regulus. Never not know where to find it. Do not man by keeping his oath could have be surprised : It is, as it were, expected more terrible consequences, buried and stifled amongst a heap of He knew the cruel torments which ufeless things collected together in were preparing for him at Carthage. the volume where it is inserted. Nevertheless, he does not hesitate This, probably, is the reason why A to return thither, because he had it has escaped our controversists. engaged himself by oath to do it.
Rightly to judge of this dispen- I believe, Sir, I ought here to fation to k. John, it will not be use. put you in mind of a reflection which less to ftop some moments, to see Cicero makes in the same book of what mankind in general have his Offices : Which is, that after this thought of an oath.
extraordinary event, they were not The antient heathen always look. B even very much ftruck at Rome with ed upon the promises made with an the magnanimity of this great man ; oath as inviolable. These engage. the common sentiment was, that he ments were sacred to them, and they had done no more than he ought to were religious observers of them. It do. His action did not begin to be is true, they wisely distinguihed the be very much noticed, till the corpromises with an oath which had been ruption of the following ages. It extorted by force, from those which C was among the Romans therefore an they had made freely. It was also opinion generally received, that saa principle with them, that they ther than brcak one's oath, one ought could not engage themselves by an to be ready to brave all that is dread. oath in any thing but what was good ful in baniiliment, imprisonment and and commendable, and if the en: torments, gagement they had entered into was
The Jews having much founder bad in itself, from chence they look. D ideas of the Deity, have also had a ed upon it as null. In those cases, very great respect for an oath. I desire far from being obliged to keep their you, Sir, only to read over again the word, they declared without evasion 15th Pfalm, where David sets forth that they were obliged to break it. the character of the good man, who In consequence of this rule Cicero, may hope to enjoy the effects of the
, in his Offices, affirms that Agamem. love of God both in this life and in non was doubly guilty, both for en: E the other. " Lord, says he, who gaging himself by an oath to facrifice is he who shall dwell in thy taber, his daughter Iphigenia, and for hav. nacle ?” He answers, “ He, whose ing facrificed her by virtue of that life is upright and whose actions are engagement
juft. - If he has sworn, were it co Excepting these cases, they highly his damage, he will not change any condemned all the pretences to au- thing of his promise." korise perjury. One of the first F After we have seen what the heasubterfuges for this intidelity, is the then and the Jews have thought of inconveniency, the damage, one an oach, to compare it with the may suffer by keeping his word, the loose brief of Clement VI. we might fromises que commodi feruare non shew, that the christians, who have Pabetis, as expresied in the brief. much more sublime ideas of the perBut the wise heathen decided, that, fections of God than the others, in any case, not only the inconve-G ought also to carry their respect for niency, but the damage, how great an oath much farther. But, Sir, iqever it might be, could not justify not to insist upon such a known sub, a breach of faith. They alledged ject, I shall content myself with opan inftance, which seemed to them
posing • De Offic, lib. 3.
1751. An excellent Passage from the Abbé du Guet. 69 pofing to the scandalous dispensation prohibition of perjury in the third of this pope, a fine leffon, which the commandment, but that they even Abbé du Guet gives in his Infticucion turn it against those who would hinof a prince.
der the prince from making himself “ An oath is a last remedy to put guilty of perjury, and dissuade him an end to contests, says he, to ar- from the thought of making use of sure ourselves of the leart of men, A a dispensation so diametrically opand of their intentions, to fix all the police to the law of God ? For the doubts which inconstancy or infin. brief concludes with threatning with
, cerity may create, to subject kings the wrath of God and that of the to the supreme Judge who alone can bleffed apostles Pecer and Paul, those judge them, and to keep in duty who shall be so ralh as to attempt to all human majesty, by making it infringe this concession t. appear before the majesty of God, B Fancy to yourself, pray now, that
, in regard to whom it is nothing. a wise counsellor of king John had To violate a treaty therefore, con- undertaken to disuade him from firmed by an oath, would be eter- taking the advantage of this dispennizing diffidences and wars, taking sation from the pope, and that seeaway all means of coming to peace ing him ready to violate a creaty supby serious treaties, leaving a door ported by an oath, he kad awakened always open to surprizes, rendering C his conscience upon the enormity of the situation of kingdoms floating the perjury; here that pious minister and uncertain, abusing what religion stands anathematized for that very has of the most facred and the most thing. And who is he then who has formidable, and falling into a ma- pronounced this sentence? It is that nifest impiety, by despifing at the pretended head of the church, who same time the presence, the truth, takes the title of God's lieutenant the justice and the power of God *." D upon earth.
Pray hear likewise what this wise It was not enough for this wor. author says of those who insinuate to thy vicar of Jesus Christ to have ala prince, that he may sometimes dir- tered the morality of the gospel, so pense with keeping treaties, tho’ac- far as to permit and to authorise per. companied with an oath. “ A jury for any temporal interest; it was man must be, I will not fay very not enough for him to be the author bold, adds he, but very blind and E of this pevarication, but heaven very corrupt, to dare to advise a must go halves with bim in it. It prince to make himself liable to the was already a great deal to dare to eternal wrath of God, and to draw suppose in the Divinity a connivance down vengeance upon his own head, at this wicked action ; but he must and upon the heads of the whole be made an accomplice in it as well nation, by converting an oath into as the apostles, and threaten with perjury, and by despising the irre- F heavenly wrath those who should vocable threatning annexed in the chink of preventing this crime by decalogue to the prohibition of so wise counsels. This dispensation great a crime.”
of the pope, therefore, ought to be Yet, after all, it is highly probable looked upon as entirely contrary to that this Abbé never knew of this good faith, and altogether perniscandalous dispensation. What would cious; but the manner in which it he not have said, had he known that G concludes ftill exceeds the body of they not only despise in it the irre. the bull: In cauda venenum. vocable threatning annexed to the
Here • Inflitution of a prince, rom. 1, p. 304. † Nulli ergo bominum liceal banc paginam noltre conceffionis infringere, vel ei au su temerario contraire. Si quis autem attentare præfumferis, indignationem omnipotentis Dei G beatorum Petri & Pauli apoftolorum ejus fe noverit incurfurum,
Here is a great noise about a trifle, say they, may have put the pope in will some zealous defender of the fee great dependence upon the prince, of Rome say. It is a matter of stile, who perhaps might have abused the 'this conclusion is the common form ascendant which he had over his of all bulls, so that they have no rea- old subject, to extort this dispensation fon to pretend to lay such a stress up- from him." on the terms. I have not examined A This is the most plausible excuse whether the Roman chancery con- that can be alledged in favour of a cludes all those bulls with this threat. bad cause. To which I answer, ning; but were it so, would you that, were it so as here represented, think this answer, Sir, very fatis- there would be a great deal of factory? Let this conclusion be found cowardice in the Pontiff to condein ever so many other places, it can- scend to such a demand. But it does not be allowed here. Why? Because B not appear, either that the king it squares altogether with the tenor required any thing like it, or that the of the brief, and because it squares pope had put himself on the footing with it in the most impious manner. of having the cowardly complaisance If I found a blasphemy at the end for that prince, which he is supposed of an act, would he who drew it up to have had. There are even proofs justify himself by representing to me,
to the contrary that it was a matter of file, a mere C After the bull in question, Dorn form? Now nothing is more blar. Luke d’Acheri relates another, which phemous than to dare to affert, that dispenses with the king and queen's God will punilh those who shall op- fasts and abstinences from meat, but pose perjury.
with great precautions. For that It is said, that at Padua there hap- purpose there must be an attestation, pened one day to be brought to the not of one physician only, but of censor of books, a translation of the D several, as to the alteration which Alcoran, for leave to print it. He fafting caused in their majesies health. was at that moment lo absent from The confeffor and the faculty muft himself, that without any other exa- agree together, that the king is in a mination he wrote at the end of the condition, which makes that per. manuscript, that he permitted it to be million absolutely necessary, and if printed, as having nothing in it con- they shall have determined a little
E trary to the catholick faith. Every lightly, he discharges his own conone cried out upon this approbation. science from it and lays the fin at But the examiner might alledge the their door *. To excuse the king fame excuse as that which I am re- from his oath, it is sufficient he is a futing. He need only have said, little incommoded by it, but to that he had kept to the common excuse him from the fasts of the form. Now, which of the two do church, the inconveniency must be
F you believe to be the most contrary considerable and well attested. Here to the christian religion, the Alcoran, is a director, whose delicacy we canor the bull of Clement VI.
not but admire! He carries his scruple I have heard some persons alledge, so far as to fear left those he directs in excuse of the Pontiff, as follows: Tould swallow a gnat, and to make “ The bull, lay they, is dated from use of the same figure in the gospel, Avignon, where the popes held their he permits them to swallow a camel.
G fee for some time, Clement VI. was But the question is not here upon a French gentleman, born a subject the contrariety of this conduct ; to king John. These circumsances, what I will only conclude from it,
is, -de carnibus vefci poteritis, de concilio tamen medicorum, quoriens confilor de medici boc vobis videbitur expedire, quorum confcientias oneramus, Spicilegium, p. 3776
1751. CHARACTER of King JOHN of France.
87 is, that in this permission to eat meat dishonesty and perjury ! If Mr. Jurieu granted with so many limitations, we had known of this bull, it would do not perceive a pope who pushes have been an excellent article against his complaisance to his sovereign too the popes, in his Just prejudices far. There is no petty gentleman against popery. in the kingdom, to whom they could Some confident of the pope's have refused this difpenfation on the A should have represented to him, belike atteftations.
fore he let such a scandalous piece But to prove in a more direct flip, that one precaution should have manner, that the king had not de. been taken, which was, to erase the manded of the pope to be absolved third commandment out of the deca. from the oaths which might be in- logue. His church had supprefled convenient to him, and that the holy, the second for a long time, that it father granted him this favour with. B might not prejudice the worship of out being sollicited for it, we need images ; its neighbour, in good Roonly to observe the beginning of the man policy, ought not to be more bull. It begins thus: We readily fpared. acquiesce to your desires and your The oftner I read over this brief, requests, but especially to that which the more I consider the circumyou make to us, as to the means to ftances of it, the more it seems to procure you the favour of God, peace с me not to be extorted from the of soul and eternal salvation *. pope. The holy father did things
This bull is, dated from Avignon, with a good grace, he gratified the April 20, 1351. In the beginning king in it out of his own good pleaof this year the king had come into fure, voluntarily, and, if I may lo that country. It is very probable, say, with gaiety of heart. That that he consulted the pope about the which, above all, persuades me of ftate of his conscience, as his director. D this, is the character of king John, The beginning of the bull infinu. who does not seem capable of makates it. He went to him with very ing such a demand. You know, good intentions, and much like those Sir, the history of that prince : He of the young man in the gospel, who had the misfortune to lose the battle asked Jesus Christ what he should do of Poiêtiers against the English, and to obtain eternal life. But what a to be taken prisoner. The victoridifference in the answer ! “ If you E ous prince I carried him into Eng. will be saved, keep the command land the year following. By the ments," says our Saviour to him to treaty of Bretigni, concluded some But he who calls himself his vicar, time after, and confirmed by the teaches to violate them. For this oath of the two kings, John gives purpose he furnishes expedients to up to K, Edward several provinces, the king, who comes to consult him, and a great many very confiderable To make him enjoy peace of foul, F lands. Before this affair was finish. to procure
him the favour of God in ed, the captive king was reconducted this life, and in the end eternal fals into France. If ever creaty convation, he indulges him in making tained hard and burthensome clauses, fraudulent treaties, which he may it was certainly that of Bretigni. It confirm by an path, and violate them would be too soft an expression, to afterwards if he finds them a little fay with the bull, that they could inconvenient. An admirable way G not be observed without inconveto procure our selves peace of cona niency. In reading this treaty, we science and falvation, by infidelity, immediately represent to ourselves a
king • Veris veftris libenter annuimas, iis præcipuè per que, ficut piè defileratis, pacem & ļoluces anime, Deo propisio, confequi valeatis.
† Matt, xix. 17
ITbe Biack Prince.