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faith of a safe-conduct, to the council- of Basis, and never alleged breach of faith with John Hufs. . t
It was, then, in the sixteenth,century, when interested men fomented divisions between Catholics and Protestants, that the hand of calumny wrote false commentaries on the' text of the canon of the council of Constance ; and handed it down as a theme, to religious declaimers, whom the test of orthodoxy proposed by the very council, will ever flare in the face.
Here is the test inserted in a bull pulished with the approbation of a general council, not by the pope in his personal capacity, but sacra approbante concilia. "Let the person sus"pected be asked, Whether he or she does "not think that all wilful perjury, committed "upon any occasion whatsoever, for the pre"servation of one's life, or another man's, or , '*' even for the fake of the faith, is a mortal "sin?"
1 have read near upon a thousand religious declamations against popery: not one of the authors of those invectives has candour or honour to produce that test in favour of Catholics: which shews the spirit that actuates them. They should, at least, imitate the limner who first painted Pope's Essay on Man, and
contrasted, on the same canvas, the blooming cheek with the frightful skeleton, linked together in the same group. No. They will paint the Catholic religion in profile, and fix a Saracen's cheek into the face of the Christian. The declaration of a general council, which can afford the least occasion for cavil, will be eternally held forth, whilst the decrees of the same council, liable to no misconstruction, where fraud and perjury, even for the sake of religion, are condemned, will be overlooked. Bellarmin, Becanus, and those other Knoxes and Buchanans of the Catholic religion, whose works, are burned by the hands of the executioner in Catholic countries, are dragged from their shelves, whilst the decisions of the most learned universities in the world, that condemned the false doctrine of those incendiaries, are buried in silence. The bee pitches on flowers: but the beetle falls upon nuisances'.
; They will be eternally teasing their hearers and readers with the word heretic, without explaining its fense or acceptation. They will erect it as a kind of standard to which all the fanatics of the world will flock to sight the battles of the Lord against Antichrist : and in this confederate army, they will confound the archbishop of Castiel, who fills his fee after a long succession of Protestant bilhops, with John Huss, who starts up on a sudden, flying in the faces of kings and bishops. They will conX found found the bishop of Cork, with Theodorus Sartor, stretching himself naked before a. number of prophets and prophetesses, who burn their clothes and run naked through the streets of Amsterdam, denouncing their woes, andfore.telling the destruction of Antichrist. They will put the achbishop of Canterbury on a level with the Patarini, who exclaimed against Popery, and held that no sin could be committed with the lower parts of the body.
In fine, all those monsters that started up from time to time, and whom our magistrates would doom to the rope or fagot, are made good Protestants, because they exclaimed against Popery: an enumeration of their sufferings from Papists, is enlarged upon; and the Protestant bishop, or the Protestant king has no mercy to expect from Papists: for sure they are held in the same light, by them, with James Nailer, who, after fighting against Papists and Malignants, in Cromwell's army, turned prophet, and rode into Bristol, mounted on an ass, on a Palm Sunday, attended with numbers of women, spreading their aprons besore him, and making the air re-echo to loud hosannahs: "Holy, holy, holy; hosannah to James Nailer: *' blessed is James Nailer, who comes in the "name of the Lord !"* Those gentlemen never mention heretics excommunicated by Protestant * Swell's life of James Nailer.
testant churches, and put to death by Protestant magistrates. They never mention the description given of heretics by Protestant writers; by Godolphin, the Protestant canonist, and fir Edward Coke, the Protestant lawyer, who both call heresy, ** lepram animæ"— the leprosy of the soul. No. Heresy is the Papist's favourite theme. No Protestant ever made any commentaries on it.
The same uncandid fallacy that lurks under the word heretic, with which the Catholics are always taunted, is manifest in the strained construction of the canon of the council of Constance. A. spiritual cause is to be tried by ecclesiastical judges. They declare that "no "safe-conduct granted by princes, shall hinder "heretics from being judged and punished," (with ecclesiastical censures and degradation, for their power to punish. can extend no farther) "and that when the person who has pro"miscd them security" (from this ecclesiastical punishment, for no other can be meant by a spiritual tribunal) "has done all that is in his "power to do, (hall not, in this cafe," (the cafe of securing from a spiritual or ecclesiastical punishment inflicted by a lawful superior) " be' "obliged to keep his promise :" because a prdmise of the kind, made to one of their rebellious clergymen, who corrupts and falsifies their doctrine, is an unjust Usurpation of their rights, and subversive of their spiritual jurisdiction. Xa And
And an unjust promise, injurious to the rights of another, is not binding, let the tie be what it will. Herod promised upon oath lo give his daughter whatever she would ask fer. He was not bound to give her the head of John the Baptist. If the king of England, without even depriving a single man of his estate, bound himself by oath, to arrogate to himself the legislative as well as. the executive power; every antagonist of popery, from the prelate down to the tub-preacher, would cry out, with the fathers of the council of Constance: "He is not, "in this cafe, obliged to keep his promise."
In this fense, the canon of the council is to be understood. In this sense, the fathers themselves, the best interpreters of their own meaning, understood it. In this fense, the Catholic doctors, all over the world, understand it: they who are more competent judges of their own creed, than either Mr. Locke or Mr. Wesley. Such of them as are of opinion, that the supreme power of the state can make heresy a capital crime, rise up with indignation against the false accusers who fay that the council authorised breach of faith with heretics. They write in Catholic states where they have nothing to'fear, and less to expect, from Mr.. Wesley and hip London rioters.
If. Mr. Wesley construes this canon in a
different fense, it is rTO1 reason for obtruding his
"'l''^' "• tortuitd