Page images

grounded, as I remarked before, on temporal claims, has been opposed by the Catholics, from its birth. - In Germany, by open force and bloody wars : in Ireland, whose kings and prelates paid no attention to the famous bull of Pope Adrian; in England, by a solemn declaration, 16 Rich, II. Even under Elizabeth, a Protestant queen; the English Catholics joined their sovereign, and paid a greater regard to the command of St. Paul, obey the prince, than to the dispensation of Sixtus Quintus, or the expectation of being relieved by a Catholic king: which made the Spanish admiral say, ' that

if he had landed, he would have made no distinction be"tween a Catholic and a Protestant, save what distinction the

point of his sword would have made between their flesh.' I believe it; for a conqueror's sword is an undistinguishing weapon, were even a crucifix tied to the hilt of it. In invading England, it is the enemy of Spain, not the enemy of the mass, the Spaniards would attack; where they here this in stant, they would not deprive a Protestant of his estate, be. cause it belonged three hundred years ago to some old Mi. lesian, whose posterity is now at the plough; it would not be their interest, the laws of conscience and conquest forbid it, and the rivals of England will always find their interest in the poverty and defenceless situation of her subjects. ,

In fine, the. Pope's temporal power has been baffled by the Venetians in their contests with Paul V. And in France, whoever would argue in its favour would be confuted with a halter, or galley chain. lii it

According to the canon law, a hundred years prescription in temporals can be pleaded against the Church of Rome. • Contra ecclesiam Romanam valet præscriptio centum anno! rum. A hundred years and more have elapsed, since no Pope has attempted to dispose of kingdoms, or absolve subjects from their allegiance, though armies have been poured into the Pope's territories, and his cities taken by Catholic princes. Out of his own states, his temporal prerogative is confined to a palfrey he receives from the king of Naples every year, as a customary homage. The two late Popes have absolutely disclaimed, any temporal power over kings. Thus, things have returned back into the former channel of

judicoont painters, 1 and civil conubes, we prefer

primitive simplicity God has his own, and Cæsar his due: and the two powers which men had confounded, and blended into one Delphian sword, equally adapted to the ministry of the altar and profane uses, are again divided.

In tracing thus the temporal power, we have chosen a me. dium between the enthusiasm of some Italians, and the prejudices of their antagonists. The picture drawn by, those different painters, is all light or shadow. In resolving it into the grants of kings and civil contracts, prescription and a colourable title, as its first principles, we prefer the middle tints: and ini measuring the portrait by this rule, we give it its due dimensions. . . . .si ::

. But in binding the pontiff's hands, and denying him any power directly or indirectly in temporals, I solemnly declare that I do not mean to derogate in the least from his spiritual supremacy. A vindication of my character calls for this deelaration: as two divines of my cornmunion have censured the following passages of the seventh letter to Michael Ser. vetus. . . .

In mentioning the belief of Rome and Geneva, concerning the immortality of the soul, &c. I have made use of the expressions, their rule of faith is different: but these

fundamentals of religion are entirely expunged from your ritual.' Here I was charged with admitting the famous distinetion between fundamentals and non-fundamentals: but the truth of this charge I absolutely deny. . .,

"Let the word, Church, be understood of the collective ·body of Christians,' &c. Here again I was represented as a Latitudinarian. But with submission to my censors, they mistook my meaning. To alledge the authority of the Church of Rome, against a writer who denies it, is to commit a gross fault against the rules of logic. It is a petitio principii, or begging the question. If ever they argue in this manner, when the dispute turns on articles believed by Christians of all denominations, I believe they would glorify God more by prayer and silence : for a bad argument is an injury to truth.

To some, this apology may seem unnecessary, but not so to me, whose character has been injured by the imputation of a double doctrine : I who am bound not to scandalize

a weak brother, and who, were I even the first pastor of the Church, should be as docile to her voice, as the least of her children.


• And, I do solemnly, in the presence of God, and of his

only Son Jesus Christ our Redeemer, profess, testify, .and declare, that I do make this declaration, and every part thereof, in the plain and ordinary sense of the words of this oath, without any evasion, equivocation, or mental reservation, whatever; and without any dispensation already granted by the Pope, or any autho‘rity of the See of Rome, or any person whatever ; and without thinking I am or can be acquitted before God

or man, or absolved of this declaration, or any part "thereof, although the Pope or any other person or persons, or any authority whatsoever, shall dispense with, or annul the same, or declare that it was null and void from the beginning.',

This last paragraph excludes amphibologies, evasions, equivocations, and mental reservations eversive of natural candour and Christian sincerity, branded by the pastors of the Church with the odious qualifications of rash, scan

dalous, pernicious, erroneous, opening the way to lies, "frauds, perjury, and contrary to Scripture,' as may be seen in the catalogue of relaxed propositions condemned by Pope Innocent XI. and the clergy of France, * and detested by the very heathens :

Ille mihi invisus pariter eum faucibus orci, i

* Cujus mens aliud condit quum lingua profatur. Upon these principles, the Catholics have taken the oath: and on these principles, it can be safely taken. It proposes nothing to their abhorrence and detestation, but what they really abhor and detest : it requires no promise but what is just and lawful.

But as the oath is complicate, and perplexed with a variety of phrases as it minces even a syllable and that the letter

* Propositio 27, inter eondemnatas ab Innoc. XI.

seems to clash with the spirit-it is not surprising if many objections have been started against it. . .

Objections from the Hibernian Journal. . First: In swearing to support the succession of the • crown in his Majesty's family, I bind myself to that which

there is a possibility a loyal subject to the constitution might not have in his power to perform.'

Answer. You are not bound to impossibilities, neither does the 'oath require it, whereas it expresses, to the utmost of my

Second: I am bound to take the oath in the plain and ordinary sense of the words; consequently, though untrained ' to arms, and unskilled in' military discipline, I must run s to the field of battle, in case of invasion or rebellion : otherwise I do not exert myself to the utmost of my power,'

Answer: You serve your king to the utmost of your power,' by remaining at home. You would only cause disorder: and an army in disorder flies to the slaughter-house, not to victory: «Non ad victoriam, sed ad lanienam."* The magistrate supports the king, to the utmost of his power;' in maintaining the public peace : the surgeon in dressing the soldier's wounds: the clergyman, in preaching loyalty and subordination, regularity and good morals, fraternal love and mutual benevolence. The king requires no more : and, as you write a great deal under the signature of An old Derryman,' all his majesty expects from one of your age

is to light the fire, and to be hospitable, when his soldiers 6 are quartered on you.

Third : In swearing that I cannot be absolved of this allegiance, by any authority whatsoever, I deny the supremacy of the lords and commons.', .

Answer. Your objection is grounded on error. The supreme power of the state is vested in the parliament, composed of king, lords, and commons.

Fourth : What happened once may happen again. If .. the king attempts to overturn the constitution, I must help ;" him, if I pay any regard to my oath, and thus betray my

country: or perjure myself, if I refusė assistance.?"

* Vegetius de re Militari,

† Blackstone's Comment, B. 1. Ch. 2. p. 147


***Answer. Lest .what hath happened once, may happen again,' say with the royal prophet, Domine salvum fac regem,'. God save the king. However, to allay your anxieties, remember that subjects do not swear to kings, as robbers or pirate's swear to their leaders. You are not bound to help a king in his attempts against the laws of God and nature, when you have clear evidence that his attempts tend to the subversion of both; neither doth the test require, whereas, true allegiance,' is expressly mentioned. But in a doubt you are bound to obey, because in a doubt concerning the rectitude of their intentions, or the justice of their cause, presumption is in favour of your superiors..

What a kingdom! if all the inhabitants were astronomers, metaphysicians, and casuists, who would neither obey nor promise to be loyal to their sovereigns, until they would have read in the stars the fate of the constitution, and explored the remote regions of metaphysics, in search of the essential and demonstrative relations of unalterable truth to Magna Charta; Gulliver's floating island would be the fittest kingdom for such ærial inhabitants. .. . * Further: If the remote and possible danger of the constitution's overthrow, or the subversion of the fundamental laws of any realm, were a sufficient objection against oaths of allegiance, either all the distinguished subjects of the world are perjured, or no king is entitled to their allegiance. For in swearing to their respective sovereigns, I do not be lieve that British peers, French nobles, or Spanish grandees, with all the delicacy of honour, Catholic or Protestant bishops, with all their divinity, use the following form of words: I will bear allegiance to your majesty, if you o behave as an honest man, and do not overturn the consti'tution.

Before the royal head is encircled with the diadem, the monarch obtests the awful name of the Divinity, and swears that he will govern his subjects in justice and mercy.” They acknowledge their sovereign, and swear to be loyal. His future conduct, and the inconstancy of his will, are left to him who holds in his hands the hearts of kings, who, by the laws of England, can do no wrong. The legislative power retains a right, and has the means of examining in what

the distinjection

Perjured, or

« PreviousContinue »