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To this question may Romanists will say 'The Pope is indeed infallible -- but only when he decides de fide and ex cathedrâ.'

The Protestant will probably reply, 1st, I shall know what you mean, when you have defined what is de fide and what ex cathedrâ. This is one of the many points, in which diversities are produced by your indulgence in that forbidden luxury of private judgment. 2ndly, It is most certain that the arbitrary limitations of pontifical authority which some of you would thus impose are not sanctioned by an immense number of those who have held the theory of infallibility now under consideration, - of multitudes of your most learned and most able theologians and canonists from the time of Gregory VII. to the present day. The contrary has been the prevailing sentiment of the Jesuits the most glorious and powerful order of which your church can boast. Further; ascriptions of unlimited power as the rightful prerogative of God's infallible Vicegerent on earth are to be found in the works of such writers as Aquinas, Bellarmine, and Baronius. What names can be greater than these?'*

But this is not all; the Protestant may proceed thus: 'I dwell not on this; I lay no stress upon any counting of majorities or on catena of writers, though they sufficiently prove that you are hopelessly divided about what is Pontifical Right and what is not. I am content to take the most moderate of you who


*The sublimity and immensity of the Supreme Bishop is so great, that no mortal can comprehend it,' says Cassenæus ; and in this last sentiment, perhaps, the Protestant would acquiesce :· 'No man can express it, no man can think it; '— a sentiment which will also have the advantage of uniting the suffrages of both parties.

hold this first theory of infallibility at all. You assume it, then, within some limits?'-'Certainly,' the Romanist will answer. 'Its sphere,' the Protestant suggests, is spiritual matters ?' 'It is,' rejoins the Romanist. 'Is not the infallible interpretation of the meaning of the Scriptures one part, and the chief, of this legitimate province of infallibility?' 'Undoubtedly,' must be the reply; 'it is its peculiar and most resplendent prerogative.' 'Very well,' urges then the Protestant: 'but what am I to think, if infallibility, as defined by this first hypothesis, can be shown to have defended the political paradoxes now under consideration, not by an unauthorised extension of its province, (though it may seem a curious infallibility which does not know within what limits alone it is infallible,) but by direct exposition of passages of Scripture, in the exercise of that very faculty which is affirmed to be its most celestial gift! If so, (and it is a point which ecclesiastical historians, and even papal champions, may do well to consider carefully,) what then are we Protestants to do on this first theory of infallibility?'

Nor, in order to show that Popes did challenge the lofty prerogative in question from Scripture, is it necessary to cite the bulls and decretals of any of those whom Baronius himself styles 'monsters of iniquity,' and in whose character he finds an ingenious proof of the more than human origin of that system which even such pontiffs could not destroy ;an argument which Protestants contend admits of an alternative, for the system might be more than human, yet not therefore divine. But, to waive altogether these very singular depositaries of infallibility -it is but too possible to appeal to pontiffs who, as far as their personal character was concerned, were no

seem to

disgrace to the Papacy; who, if scripturally justified in the assumption of the paramount prerogatives they claimed, are also acquitted of the charges of pride and ambition; who, if deluded by their infallibility, - we must be indulged in the paradox, have been very sincerely deluded; but who, by that very sincerity, render it all the more difficult to discriminate among their claims. Now, if we listen to some of these, in their assumption of the 'plenitudo potestatis,' —in their most solemn acts of supreme authority, as in the deposition of monarchs and the transfer of crowns, in their decrees or their bulls issued for these objects, we see that they claim, on the express warrant of that SCRIPTURE, the infallible interpretation of which is their peculiar function, an absolute and universal sovereignty, temporal as well as spiritual! Two or three instances of the peculiar solemnity of their language will suffice, though, as all readers of ecclesiastical history are aware, the same claims were perpetually made, and, what is more, acted upon for ages.*


Thus speaks perhaps the greatest of the Popes, Gregory VII. When God gave to Saint Peter the power "to bind and loose in heaven and on earth," (Matt. xvi. 19.) He excepted no person, He with

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*The original Latin of the few passages here cited may be found in Gieseler's Ecclesiastical History,' Period iii. Div. iii. Ch. i., where (and in other portions) the reader will find plenty more. It is a most valuable work, as giving the original documents in proof of every statement. A large collection of passages from public documents and private authors, asserting the absolute supremacy of the Pope, may be found in Barrow's celebrated work. Well may Gibbon say, speaking of Gregory's promised donation of kingdoms in Greece and Asia to Robert Guiscard, 'I cannot understand why Gretzer, and the other Papal advocates, should be displeased with this new instance of Apostolic jurisdiction.' No, truly; it was quite in order.

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drew no thing from his power,' nihil ab ejus potestate subtraxit. Gregory goes on expressly to claim secular authority:- 'Quod si sedes Apostolica divinitus sibi collata principali potestate spiritualia decernens dijudicat, cur non et sæcularia?'

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Of the depth of his own convictions on this point, he gave a remarkable proof, when, after the first excommunication and deposition of the Emperor Henry IV., Hermann, Bishop of Metz, wrote to the Pope to say that many thought it not a justifiable act, and to request arguments whereby to refute the gainsayers. Gregory, in the most deliberate manner, refuses to comply, because, as he declares, his acts are so plainly warranted by Scripture: 'As to what

you have asked, that you may, by some writings of ours, be assisted and fortified against the madness of those who, with wicked mouth, prate that the authority of the Holy and Apostolic See cannot excommunicate King Henry, that despiser of Christian law, &c., nor absolve any subject from his oath of allegiance, IT DOES NOT APPEAR TO US NECESSARY, since so many and such most certain proofs of this may be found in the pages of the sacred Scriptures.' In the most solemn prayers, Gregory, on the two occasions of the excommunication and deposition of Henry, appeals to all in heaven that he was exercising inviolable rights, of which he seems to be conscious that he enjoyed a divine investiture; and on the latter occasion after sentence, breaks out into the singular passage, So act your parts, then, ye Chiefs of the Church, that all the world may know and understand, that if ye have power to bind and loose in heaven, ye have power on earth to take away and to grant, according to desert, empires, kingdoms, principalities,

dukedoms, marquisates, countships, et omnium hominum possessiones.' Then comes the reason, from the truly serviceable texts, (1 Cor. vi. 3, 4.)*

In like manner Innocent III., in his celebrated proceedings against John of England, says, 'Jesus Christ, the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, a High Priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek, has so established a kingdom and a priesthood in his Church, that the sacerdotal office is itself a kingdom, and the priesthood regal, as Peter in his Epistle and Moses in the Law testify, appointing over all things one alone whom he hath ordained his Vicar on earth; unum præficiens universis, quem suum in terris Vicarium ordinavit. . . . Him earthly kings (for God's sake) are so to venerate, that they are not to think they justly reign except as they study devoutly to obey him.'

The justification of the theory of the subordination of the royal to the pontifical power derived from the 'two great lights' in Genesis, insisted on by Gregory, and further expanded by Innocent III., is familiar to all students of ecclesiastical history; as also the comprehensive criticism on Peter's two swords,' and on the accommodating text usually urged in defence of the prerogative of 'planting' and 'rooting up!'


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Thus translated from the Rheims version of the New Testament: Know you not we shall judge angels? How much more things of this world? If therefore you shall have judgments about the things of this world, set them to judge who are the most despised in the Church.' This translation does not materially differ from the English version; but anyhow translated, it seems a precarious ground for the comprehensive conclusions of the pontifical logic. At all events there is a queer non-sequitur in consigning to Popes this mundane supremacy - unless, (which, to be sure, has been pretty frequently the case,) they are among 'the most despised in the Church.'

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