« PreviousContinue »
same language. “In the sacrament of baptism,” he says, “we vow to hold and observe the Gospel. But according to St. Francis, if his order were despised, if a friar removed from under its restraints, the relapsed monk had broken, as it were, the Gospel, and had renounced his second and best baptism. It was as much as to say, that the bare. foot brethren alone were Christians." (Allein die Bârfosser Brüder sind Christen.)
“Gerson is an author," Luther writes, “who describes the order of Carthusians. He commends them for adhering with the greatest strictness to their rule, when they persist in refusing to taste any meat to save their lives. Well, then let us suppose a skilful physician to be persuaded in his own mind, that the sick Carthusian can be strengthéned by a piece of animal food, and nothing else. In this case the physician's advice would be rejected, and the patient's death would be the result. It is to the honour of St. Augustine I mention a direction in his rule, which recommends the physician's advice to be adopted ; and he says that all are not capable of undergoing equal privation, and that a monastery is not a prison. This is quite true; and Austin would now regard the Carthusians as in the highest degree reprehensible for being homicides, and look upon their cloisters as thorough living graves, and I feel confident they are no better. I myself once saw, at Erfurt, when I visited the Carthusian establishment, a man in the period of youth supported on crutches. I asked him whether his attendance could not be dispensed with in the choir and at vigils. • No;' replied the sick man, in a tone of anguish, “I must come forward.'” The Reformer then solemnly asserts it to be his opinion that all this came upon himself and others deservedly; that the Almighty had sent his Son for an instructor and Saviour; that from his high throne in heaven he had proclaimed, “ Hear ye Him!”—but that the Christian world had forsaken the revelation of the Almighty, and the preaching of the Saviour, for human inventions : in compliance with which men's bodies had been macerated and their minds reduced to misery ; but that it had been also the time of indignation, and of the new and senseless reign of holiness, which had arisen for the punishment of the world. The Reformer mentions another fact, viz.; that it was upon these points a deluge of pontifical treatises had smothered the face of the world, and had founded upon will-worship a complete chain of constitutions, canons, articles of faith, and of sin and holiness; and that the best thing to be done was to throw decretals at once into the devouring flames. « We should seriously consider,” he asserts, “what deep mischief has arisen from these writings. They pushed the Holy Scriptures under our forms and benches, and quite abolished divine doctrines. Instead of the oracles of God, they introduced the pandects of Jurists and imperial statutes; till, at length, both the Church and the Emperor were trampled to the ground. Hence the canonists governed the Church, and confounded men's consciences with their perplexing casuistries ; and, alas! their best rules have long since fallen into desuetude, and the worst are forcibly applied to the government of ecclesiastical affairs."
In touching upon the subject of monks, uuns, and priests, the
Reformer bids his readers to observe the vast variety of religious orders, and how senselessly and haughtily they tossed at each other throughout the Romish Church; and he asks, in what respects are the highest concerns promoted by these sects? The Papal influence propped up these countless orders, and decked them with such ornaments as served to set them up in estimation before the common rank of Christians. The Roman Bishop said that they were exclusively holy, and recommended reliance for salvation to be placed in monastic institutions; and the monks agreed to concede to the most holy father the utmost stretch of his usurpation. But it was said that the practice of monastic vows was only what the fathers decreed, and surely they were holy persons, as, for instance, Augustine, Benedict, and others, from whom we received the institute ? Answer: This is what Christ and his apostles intimated, that these very works will resemble those which are enjoined in the Gospel; but men were told to reflect that if any one wished to be saved, he must enter into some order or other; and the üninitiated were considered a profane race. But when an individual embraced the rule, then a cry of praise was raised over him for quitting the world and the lay estate. " Are not priests," Luther repeats, “set up for Christians, even before the monks, and all others called seculars ?"
(To be continued.)
LECTURE DELIVERED BY REV. J. CUMMING, D.D., “ON THE
TREATMENT OF THE BIBLE BY THE CHURCH OF ROME," TO MEMBERS AND FRIENDS OF THE ISLINGTON PROTESTANT
INSTITUTE. THE Rev. J. HAMBLETON having darkens the truth, and, as I conceive, opened the Meeting with prayer, pro- puts souls in peril—I have no antipaceeded to call upon the Rev. J. CUM- thy whatever to Roman Catholics, MING, D.D., to address the Meeting whether my own countrymen or on the subject announced.
others, whose misfortune it is to be The following is the substance of the victims of that system. And if I the Rev. Gentleman's address :
am satisfied, my dear friends, that you Mr. Chairman, Ladies, and Gentle are suffering under a misfortune the men - I wish by one or two prelimi- most momentous and disastrous that nary remarks to disarm my Roman Ca you can possibly experience, why the tholic brethren, if such should be pre very conviction that such is the fact sent, of anything like hostility or anti should disarm me of all hatred pathy to the lecture or to the lecturer. should mitigate all passion, and should Whatever charges I may have to make prompt me to feel most deeply for against the Church of Rome, I have you who suffer so great a misfortune, nothing to charge against you per a misfortune of all misfortunes the sonally. I am not going to speak bitterest, to have lost the way which against a system which it is left to the leads to God, to heaven, and to hapfancy of every Protestant to define, piness. I therefore feel, that whatbut against a system which is dis- ever your errors may be in your own tinctly defined, explained, and un- judgment, in my judgment they are folded in its own authorized and a painful and sorrowful misfortune, accredited documents. I wish you I shall endeavour, therefore, if you are clearly to understand that whatever wrong to help you,-if you are conhatred I may have to a system which scientiously wrong, to pity you; and whether you are conscientiously wrong, dear friends, that the instant you or wrong from prejudice, or wrong speak of the Church, what a number from education, I hope in the spirit of of difficulties it suggests ? I instantly holiness and meekness, conscious of ask you, What is the Church? Where my own frailty and imperfection, and is the Church? Who is the Church ? in full reliance on the Divine blessing, You say it is the Church of Rome. I shall address myself to show “how Another says it is the Church of Engyour Church treats God's book, and land. A third says it is the Greek how God's book responds in its treat- Church. A fourth says it consists of ment of your Church.”
believers collected out of all Churches. First of all, I ask the question, Is If you say, Why, to find the Church, there any authorized statement of the open your Bible, and see what it says; Roman Church respecting the recep- recollect, I have not found the Bible tion of the Word of God by that yet; what I want first is, to get at Church ? I answer, there is : and let the Church; but I cannot open the me explain, in speaking of the Word Bible till I have found the Church of God, I mean what we Protestants which is to give me a Bible as the recall so. The Church of Rome says, vealed Word of God. The authorthat the rule of faith is God's word ized statement of the Church of written, and God's word unwritten; Rome is found by looking at Rule and both propounded and expounded IV. of the Index of the Council of by the Church. The Vicar-Apostolic Trent. And that rule, let me state, Milner (the most acute controver- has the highest possible authority that sialist next to a living one, Dr. Wise- can be given to any document whatman), giving the definition of the ever in the Church of Rome. It was Roman Catholic Church of the Ro- drawn up by a number of divines man Catholic rule of faith, says, it is delegated by the Council of Trent, “ God's word written, and God's word and having, therefore, the sanction of unwritten, and both propounded and a general council, and of a Pope, and expounded by the Church.” Now therefore the binding law of the God's word written means the Bible; Roman Catholic Church. Now this God's word unwritten means tradi- fourth rule of the Index is, “ Since it tion. Now I ask any member of the is manifest that if Holy Bibles are Church of Rome if he will produce allowed everywhere without discri. to me one single passage, text, or mination in the vulgar tongue, more chapter (call it by what name you harm than good will arise from it, on please), and if he will prove to me by account of the rashness of men, let satisfactory and conclusive evidence the judgment of the bishop or inquithat what he produces was directed sitor be abided by in this matter; so by an inspired apostle, and by the that with the advice of the parish Spirit of God, I will receive it and priest or confessor, they may grant embrace it, just as thoroughly as I the reading of Catholic editions of the receive the Bible. But I am quite Bible in the vulgar tongue to such as sure that the Church of Rome has too they shall have ascertained to be much respect for my judgment, and likely to derive no harm, but rather my Roman . Catholic friends near an increase of faith and piety from me have too much respect for my this sort of reading, which permission judgment, to suppose that I would they must have in writing. But if take as part and parcel of God's any one shall presume to read or word the constitutions or deci- possess them without such permission, sions of any portion of the Roman unless he shall first deliver up the Church.
Bibles to the ordinary, he must not • But when you say, also, that the receive absolution of his sins. Let Scriptures are to be expounded by the booksellers also who shall have sold Church, I do not think we treat our Bibles in the vulgar tongue to persons own judgment and conscience more not possessing such a permission, or than respectfully, when we ask of you shall have granted them in any other to show us the exposition of the way, lose the value of the books, to Church. But do not you see, my be disposed in charity, and let them
be subject to other penalties according · to Rule IV. of the Index of the to the nature of the offence, after the Council of Trent to prove the corpleasure of the said bishop. The rectness of his judgment; after that regular clergy may not read or buy he refers to the Bull Unigenitus and them without the permission of their other Bulls. prelates."
Now this Bull Unigenitus, let me Now observe, the law of the Church explain to you, was a document issued of Rome as laid down there is, that by Clement XI., and circulated over you may have the Scriptures, but the whole Church, and at this moupon certain declared conditions. ment binding and obligatory law in
Now these conditions are, the au- every portion of the Romish Church : thority of the confessor, of the bishop, it was issued by Clement XI. in 1713. the ordinary, or the inquisitor. But The origin of the Bull was this. (I if any Roman Catholic has got at the may here mention the nature of its Bible without such permission, he has binding : the Pope issues a Bull, and a smuggled article, and is liable to all if that Bull be not protested against the consequences of having contra- by the bishops of the country in band goods—he has no more right to which it is read, for ten or twelve the possession of the Bible in the years, it becomes the binding and vulgar tongue, without actual permis- permanent law of the Church.) This sion, than any one in England has to Bull, then, was issued upwards of a have eau de Cologne, or any other century ago, and is quoted by Gregory perfume or spirit introduced from XVI. in the year 1844, as part of the France, that has not paid the duty. canon law and of the Church UniverYou therefore clearly understand sal. I am not quoting it because it now, that Roman Catholics are not is a Bull, but because Gregory XVI., forbidden to have the Bible; they are in the year 1844 refers to the Bull allowed to have the Bible, and the Unigenitus,--quotes it as the decision Bible in the vulgar tongue, but on the of the Church Universal, and sustains conditions and with the limitations to his own verdict by extracts from it. which I have now referred. But after N ow the origin of the Bull was all, this is the fact, that the Roman this. The celebrated Quesnel, and . Catholic Church has waged, I may his associate in sentiment and sympacall it, an exterminating war, notwith- thy, Pascal, were found Christians in standing all this, against the perusal the midst of the Church of Rome, of the Scriptures by the people in the Protestants while subscribing to the tongue they can understand, and doctrines of the Papal Church. They there is no device, however ingenious, were afterwards expelled from that to which she has not had recourse in Church as Jansenists. Quesnel drew order to neutralize all the benefit that up some commentaries on the New may be derived from the perusal of Testament Scriptures, and in these the Scriptures in the vulgar tongue, commentaries Quesnel made the foland to render the grant of that ines- lowing beautiful remarks upon Acts timable blessing a bane rather than a viii. 28:-“ The reading of the Holy blessing to those who have it.
Scriptures is for all men.” “The I have here a letter issued by Pope obscurity of the holy Word of God is Gregory XVI. just before he died. no reason why the laity should disMany of you must have heard of that pense themselves from reading it." document. I quoted it myself at a These are propositions to which we Meeting of the British and Foreign should all heartily subscribe. They Bible Society, in which the Pope, seem to us pious, holy, transparent, addressing all patriarchs, primates, and it is wondrous that any one posbishops and archbishops, in the year sessed of the Bible, and assuming the 1844, blames the Bible Society for name of Christian, should think othermaking the Bible intelligible to all wise. sorts of persons, and especially to old But what did Pope Clement XI. men and loquacious women.
say to these propositions ? After Such then, is the statement of the quoting 101 similar to those we have late Pope in 1844, and he then refers now read in your hearing, so beautiful
and so scriptural that all in this as-ber of the copies of the books of the sembly would heartily subscribe to sacred Scriptures, printed in various them; Clement XI. condemns them vulgar tongues, and often filled with as “false, captious, ill-sounding, false and perverse interpretations, offensive to pious ears, scandalous, contrary to the rules of the Holy pernicious, rash, injurious to the Church, which they continually cirChurch and its usages," and so on. culate at an immense expense.” The Bull concludes with invoking the Now here the Pope is not very aid of the secular arm for their sup- infallible as to that point. He has pression.
forgotten his infallibility. If he had · I will show the perfect harmony looked into the rules of the Bible that subsists between the Popes on Society, or opened any one of its this matter (for I admit that harmony Bibles, and had not fallen into the exists among them in evil, while very popular practice of condemning there is discord in much that is true). what he had never read, he would Pope Pius IX.—the present Pope-a never have said, “that their Bibles very clever Pope, a very reforming are filled with false and perverse inPope, politically Liberal-religiously terpretations." For it is one of our is as bigoted and superstitious as very first rules, that we should circuHildebrand himself. Some have a late the Scriptures without note or notion that Popery only plays into comment. He then goes on, “conthe hands of the despot; but it has trary to the rules of the Holy Church, the power to be very liberal. It can they continually circulate at an implay the Radical reformer and the mense expense.” It is true, and I Latitudinarian-it exists in the Con- rejoice at it, that immense expense gress of America, and it exists in the has been incurred in circulating the cabinet of kings. It can arrange the Scriptures, and that expense is the ballot box one day, and it can give free-will offering of the people, not support to despotic power the next; got by the fear of purgatory or colit can blow the trumpet of sedition lected as the price of pardon; "and on the one day, and minister to the force upon all sorts of persons, even support of tottering thrones the next. of the rudest sort, with a view that, It can adapt itself to any circum- rejecting the Divine tradition, the stances, drink of any spring, breathe teaching of the fathers, and the auin any atmosphere, live under any thority of the Church, they should régime, but only to promote the great all interpret for themselves, and by objects, to consummate the purposes, their own private judgment, the Word and to administer to the support of of God, and so perverting the sense, the most dreadful system of tyranny. be led into grievous errors—which .. Pope Gregory the XVI., and after Societies Gregory XVI., in whose him the present Pope, who is a very place (though most unworthy) we are liberal Pope, who will vote for vote now placed, emulating the example by ballot, and for democracy or Re of his predecessors, most vehemently publicanism,—what he wants is the condemned in his apostolic letters, supremacy of his own Church,- he and we desire to join as eagerly in has not abandoned any one of the their reprobation." principles of that Church, --he is not Now here, you perceive, is a conashamed to avow those principles. tinuous chain of proscriptions and Roman Catholics are never ashamed anathemas against the reading of of their creed, like some Protestants. God's most blessed word. The Pope Pius IX. makes war on Bible Council of Toulouse, in the thirteenth Societies just the same as his pre- century (1229), but not recognised as decessors had done: he says, “ Such is a General Council, though a Council the object of these most crafty Bible of some authority, forbad the reading Societies.” Now, I wonder, what is of the Scriptures in the vulgar tongue the craft of Bible Societies ?-_"these altogether. The Council of Trent crafty Bible Societies, which reviving declared that the Scriptures were to an old device of the heretics, do not be read in the vulgar tongue, only by cease to put forth an immense num- the express permission of the inquisi