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loosed from their oath of fidelity towards them.' (p. 178.). The force of circumstances gave the Popes of the middle age an undisputed title to that superiority which, at the time, was indispensable. The true principle, that sovereignty comes from God, strengthened besides those ancient ideas, and there came to be formed an opinion, almost universal, which attributed to the Popes a certain jurisdiction over questions in which sovereigns were concerned. This opinion was quite sound, and certainly far better than all our sophistry.' (p. 185.)
'We have seen that the sovereign pontiff is the natural chief, the most powerful promoter, the great Demiurgus of universal civilisation; his powers, in this respect, have no other limits than the blindness or the evil dispositions of princes.' (p. 237.)
And, in our judgment, all this is consistent: for if the extreme ultramontane theory be not true; if the Popes have not that universal sovereignty, direct or indirect, which many of them have claimed, and for ages exercised, and of which such vast numbers of their adherents have been the advocates, — then the errors into which the Church of Rome has fallen are so enormous, and her usurpations so comprehensive, that her indefectibility de fide will hardly be a counterpoise for her errors in practice. On the supposition, therefore, of its so happening, that our Roman Catholic friends should be able to effect our conversion to their religion, we shall, for our own part, hardly stop short of the theory of De Maistre.*
*The whole of Book II. will prove a curious study to Englishmen, and not unprofitable, especially chapters vi.-xi., inclusive. We know of no writer on argumentative subjects whose logic is more frequently aided by a vivacious imagination, nor any who approaches the most formidable historical impediments to his con
Such are a few of the difficulties in the way of receiving this first theory of the Romish infallibility in relation to its single bearing on our duty as citizens. If we receive this theory at all, nothing, we conceive, but the extreme ultramontane theory could or ought to satisfy us; if we do not allow the deposing power
He tells us, that when
clusions with a more dauntless courage. Pascal and Bossuet say anything contrary to the true theory of the papal supremacy, the authority, splendid as it is, goes for nothing; when they speak in accordance with it, it derives all conceivable force from their undoubted genius! But we are afraid that Pascal and Bossuet would rejoin: 'Whether De Maistre's view of the true theory be the true view is a point in dispute.' Thus for ever is the Church' apt to be obtruded by each particular advocate, when in reality it is 'private judgment' which is seated in the chair.
De Maistre has one chapter on 'Protestant Evidences' in favour of the Catholic monarchy! (B. I. Ch. ix.) In the excellent sermons of the Rev. Dr. Robinson (Master of the Temple) on the 'Twin Fallacies of Rome' may be found a curious instance of the mode in which this catena is manufactured. (p. 93.) — We will give another. Even Calvin is cited by De Maistre to support his conclusions: he is made to say, 'God has placed the throne of his religion in the centre of the world, and has there established one pontiff, towards whom all are obliged to turn their eyes, in order to maintain themselves more strongly in unity.' Part of the Latin is given in a note, though the reference is wholly wrong-doubtless by mistake. However, we have hunted it out; it is in Calvin's Inst. Lib. iv. Ch. vi. As we expected, we found the whole chapter in the very teeth of De Maistre's assertion; and the particular sentence (of which the first clause was left out-doubtless, also by mistake) has nothing to do with the matter. The Reformer is speaking of the Jews, and says, 'because the Jews were on every side surrounded by idolaters, lest they should be seduced by variety of religions, he (God) placed the seat of religion in the centre of the land: there appointed one high priest,' &c. We recommend Dr. Robinson to publish a tract on these 'Protestant Evidences.' We have no doubt it would be a curious commentary on De Maistre's courage, above mentioned. Will it equally illustrate his honesty?
of the Pope, it can be excluded only by a process which leaves any infallibility in a very tattered condition.
As to the two latter theories of infallibility,—that derived from a General Council*, and that from a Council and Pope conjointly, it will be sufficient, as before, to adduce a single illustration of our political difficulties; and, happily, we may make the process shorter, by selecting one which equally applies to both. The Council of Chalcedon, and again, the Council of Constance, which condemned Huss and Jerome of Prague to the flames, and the Third and Fourth Councils of Lateran (than the last none more numerous or magnificent was ever assembled) expressly affirmed the maxims of religious persecution. The last, in particular, anathematised all heretics; affirmed the right and duty to punish and exterminate them; delivered them over to the secular arin to carry out the ecclesiastical sentence; and expressly justified, in case of refusal on the part of temporal potentates to execute the will of the Church, their deposition from their thrones, the release of their subjects from all allegiance, and the donation of their royalties to such as knew how to use them more obediently.
And as this has been the theory, (so Protestants are apt to affirm,) it has also been the practice of the Romish Church, whenever and wherever it has had
* De Maistre, as might be expected, laughs to scorn the idea of the superiority of a Council to a Pope. Bossuet comes in, of course, for a severe castigation; and (sad reward for writing the 'Variations' of Protestantism!) is himself styled the semi-Protestant compiler of the 'Liberties of the Gallican Church.' (p. 98.) How little did he dream that he, too, was to be taunted with 'Variations' from the Catholic Unity!
the power. Accordingly, the crusades against the Waldenses and Albigenses were systematically enjoined by ecclesiastical authority; and the Inquisition, wherever established, has been maintained by the Roman Church to the very uttermost; most strenuously in Italy, the seat of the Pontiff and the centre of the Church, and in Spain, where the ecclesiastical power has met with the least resistance, and been least embarrassed in the application of its genuine principles.
Under these circumstances, Protestants argue thus: -Let us suppose that, as in the former case of the Pope's right to dethrone heretical and contumacious sovereigns, so in the case of the solemn sanction given to the practice of persecuting and exterminating heretics*, the Pope alone, and Councils alone, and Popes and Councils together have erred,
then similar observations to those formerly urged suggest themselves. Either, say Protestants, these infallible oracles erred or they did not, in presuming the warrant of Scripture for these apparent enormities; if they did not, we must, as before, revise our heterodox and untenable notions of toleration and religious liberty, and repeal the laws which permit of such extravagant freedom. If they did, they at least thought they did not, and then so far from infallibly interpreting the truths of Christianity, they sanctified the most horrible perversions of its essence and character. However invaluable may be their decisions on purely speculative points, as, for example, transubstantiation, or the denial of the cup
* The right and duty of coercing and punishing all heretics is most expressly asserted in the notes to the Douay Bible. See the extracts in Capper, p. 447.
to the laity, or the definition of the number of the sacraments seven,' neither more nor less it is (so thousands will hold) a slight counterpoise that they thus erringly decreed wholesale murder, rapine, and robbery to be an acceptable service to God. What then is the value of such an infallibility which is thus ignorant of its true province, and not only deems itself infallible when it is not, but delivers the most deplorable error for infallible truth? If these Councils could thus err, err thus perniciously, then so far from representing the College of Apostles, who were enjoined to be wise as serpents, and harmless as doves,' they would appear to be more correctly described after a transposition of the epithets; being 'wise as doves, and harmless as serpents.'
In reply to the supposed sanction of the maxims of persecution by Popes and General Councils, it is obviously no relief to recriminate the charge of intolerance on Protestants-the course generally pursued. The Protestant says, 'Yes, my fathers persecuted, it is too true; Rome taught them the lesson well, and it was hard to unlearn it; she burned it in too deeply to be soon forgotten; but, neither were they infallible nor am I; nor do I pretend to be so. It is also true not only that Protestants never persecuted on so magnificent a scale as Rome, but that they first elicited and proclaimed the principles of toleration ; they also first practised them. Rome has followed them, slowly, however, and scarcely at all except where she has been compelled. But, in truth,' he will add, the argument has nothing to do with the degree in which either party has persecuted. The Protestant can say, My fathers did, but I do not; I appeal from Philip drunk to Philip sober. On the other hand, Rome, if in the exercise of infallibility,