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derable innovations in the constitution of the church. When the breach has not been rendered irreparable by the institution of new articles of faith, it has always been closed again, after a certain time, with the full consent of all parties. Since it has been discovered, that Protestant princes are as far from being absolute masters of the consciences of their subjects as Catholic princes, fow princes of either persuasion have felt much solicitude respecting a power which our author considers as the better moiety of their sovereignty.' It is amusing to consider the extreme anxiety of some subjects, to preserve entire to their sovereign an authority of which the prince himself is totally regardless.
Whenever the tide of public opinion has run in favour of absolute monarchy, it has been usual among Protestants to represent the Roman Catholic religion as unfavourable to the power of princes. Sir Simon Harcourt, for instance, in his speech in defence of Sacheverell, stigmatizes resistance to princes as a doctrine of the Church of Rome.'* On the other hand, when the love of liberty is prevalent among Protestants, popery and slavery are represented as twin sisters. In our opinion, both representations are extravagant; and if the Grand Turk is really disposed to embrace Christianity, it is not very material, as far as his authority is concerned, whether he adopts the Catholic or the Protestant persuasion. : In the opinion of Lord Clarendon, the authority of the Pope is the principal obstacle to the reconciliation of the Catholic and Protestant churches, so as to enable all good Christians to pray for and with one another.' Protestants will not consent to return to their ancient subjection to the Pope; and therefore the first article of the treaty of union must be, that the Papal jurisdiction be abolished. Lord Clarendon observes, that the Popes are aware of this determination on the part of the Protestants, and therefore exert all their influence to prevent such a treaty from being even taken into consideration. If this im
* State Trials, V. p. 713. See also Tillotson's Letter to Lord Russel, quoted in the same trial, p. 737. • Your Lordship's opinion · [of the lawfulness of resisting the prince for the preservation of the • constitution] is contrary to the declared doctrine of all Protestant • Churches; and though some particular persons have taught other• wise, yet they have been contradicted herein, and condemned for ! it, by the generality of Protestants. I beg your Lordship to con
sider, how it will agree with an avowed asserting of the Protestant • religion, to go contrary to the general doctrine of Protestants' The letter is dated July 20ch, 1683.
to assert, that the deposing power of the Pope was defended and maintained by most Catholic nations. In the year 1790, by desire of Mr Pitt, and for the satisfaction of several members of Parliament, who had heard or read that the Popes claimed a power of deposing princes in certain circumstances, the sense of six eminent Catholic universities was taken upon that question. The answers which were returned were perfectly satisfactory to all persons who were disposed to rely upon declarations of that nature. At the same time, it might be remarked, that none of the universities in the Pope's temporal dominions were consulted, and it can hardly be supposed that the omission was unintentional. A declaration of the university of Bologna, for instance, similar to those which were received from the universities of Paris, Salamanca, Alcala, Valladolid, Louvaine, and Douai, would have had the effect, not indeed of silencing the captious, which is impossible, but at least of diminishing by one the number of their objections. * We suspect that the persons who were employed on that occasion, were aware that an application to one of the Pope's own universities would be disagreeable to the Court of Rome, and would probably receive an evasive answer.
The pretensions of the Pope to power and jurisdiction in the dominions of other princes, resemble, in one respect, the pretensions of the House of Stuart to the crown of England, or of the kings of England to thecrown of France ;--that is to say, their importance does not greatly depend upon the justice of their foundation, and still less on the confidence with which they are asserted, or the inflexibility with which they are persevered in. Their real weight arises from the approbation with which they are received, and the number and strength of the party which is disposed to Tf2
support + The whole epistle, which the enemies of the Catholics place in the front row of their arguments, may be seen in many pamphlets; and, among others, in Bishop Woodward's Present State of the Church of Ireland, 1787, p. 118.
* The Rev. Thomas le Mesurier, in his Sequel to the Serious E.c. amination into the Roman Catholic Claims (p. 39, 40), strenuously maintains, that if the German, Italian, and Portuguese universities had been consulted, very different answers might have been expected. His reasons for that opinion are given at full length. He then proceeds to prove, with admirable consistency, that catholic divines of all countries make no scruple of concealing and misrep.esenting the real doctrines of their church, for the purpose of imposing on credulous protestants, We observe that Mr le Mesurier (p. 40.) supposes the university of Douai, as well as that of Louvaine, to have been situated in the dominions of the Emperor Joseph II.
support them. A theologian may consume his leisure hours not unprofitably, in sifting the bulls of Popes, in collecting the opinions of canonists, and in refuting the theses of Jesuits. A statesman will perhaps be more usefully employed in endeavouring to ascertain, from the actual observation of judicious and impartial persons, the quantity of influence which the See of Rome actually maintains, or is likely to maintain in future, orer the hundred millions of Christians who hold communion with it, and whom Lord Clarendon, in compliance with popular usage, improperly denominates Catholics. " It is worth while to compare Lord Clarendon's opinion respecting the degree of authority which the Pope really possesses, with the representation of that authority which is given in a thousand publications of the present day.
After a pause of thirty or forty years, it has again become fashionable to maintain, that the authority of the Pope over other princes, even in temporal matters, is a fundamental principle of the Roman Catholic religion; and that those Catholies who deny that authority, probably are insincere, and certainly ought to be considered as contradicting the public and general voice of their Church. It is contended, that a Catholic who is true to his religion, cannot avoid transferring the more • important half of his allegiance from his natural sovereign to
a foreign potentate. These propositions being proved or assumed, it is inferred, that Catholics are not entitled to the same rights and privileges as other subjects, who yield a more entire and perfect allegiance to their sovereign.
In favour of this doctrine, many great and respectable authorities might be alleged, both of the present time, and of times past. At present, however, we shall be contented with calling the attention of our readers to the books written in favour of toleration by Dissenters and Lowchurch men, from the restoration till the middle of the last century. It was usual for the enemies of toleration to contend, that the arguments which were adduced in favour of general liberty of conscience, would justify the toleration of papists as well as of presbyterians : and as the toleration of popery was supposed, both by churchmen and dissenters, to be entirely out of the question, the dissenters and their friends were compelled to seek for particular reasons, which might be sufficient to exclude the Catholics, without weakening the claims of the Protestant dissenters. The mere denial of the king's supremacy by the Catholics could not be urged; as that supremacy, in its ancient sense, was not less odious to the
* Le Mesurier's Serious Examination, &c. p. 20.
Whatever ill effect may arise from the conflict of ecclesiastical and secular jurisdiction, in countries in which the authority of the Pope is recognized by law, we are unable to perceive that any considerable inconvenience results from that authority, in countries where it has no legal existence, except the tendency which it undoubtedly has, to prevent the Catholic inhabitants of Protestant countries from adopting the religion of the State. Perhaps it may be said, that the power of the Pope is dangerous to Protestant sovereigus, from its tendency to excite revolt among his Catholic subjects. This olnjection deserves to be seriously considered.
No person can be weak and timorous enough to suppose, that the Pope will ever excite Catholics to rebel against a Protestant sovereign, unless he is of opinion, that there is a considerable probability that the rebellion will be crowned with success. Nor will such Catholics, admitting them to be as devoted to the court of Rome as the Jesuits were, listen to the voice of their chief pastor, unless they are convinced that they are likely to derive advantage from following his advice. In every country where the Catholics know that they form so sınall and inconsiderable a body, as to render resistance to the government perfectly hope. less, it is both their interest and their inclination to reconimend themselves to the State, and to their fellow-citizens, by their peaceable and loyal demeanour. As we do not ascribe any merit to this conduct in such circumstances, perhaps we may be allowed to say, that the English Catholics have given little or no cause of complaint to the government for the last two hundred years. The most lion-hearted Popes know very well how to assume the meekness of lambs on proper occasions.
On the other hand, in countries where the Catholics form so large and powerful a body, as to afford the prospect of successful resistance to the government, we are willing to admit, that the Pope will not be remiss in instigating them to try the experiment. This admission may appear at first sight to be fatal to our cause; but we strenuously maintain, that, in such circumstances, the conduct of all sects always has been, and always will be, nearly the saine. We except those sects, the members of which, from any cause, happen to be destitute of personal courage. The patience of the Greek Christians, for instance, under the yoke of the Mahometans, must not be ascribed to the purity of their religious principles, but to the levity and cowardice which have been inherent in them for so many ages. In every country which has an established religion, the honours and advantages which arise from the establishment, are the na. tural property of the strongest sect, which, it must be rememGg 2
bered, tertained by the majority of her members. Controversial writers among the Catholics differ so widely in their sentiments on this subject, that a Protestant has it in his power to produce a specious show of grave authorities, in favour of almost any system which it suits his purpose to represent as the general doctrine of the Church of Rome. Unfortunately, at the present moment, for obvious reasons, it suits the purpose of many Protestants to render their Catholic fellow-subjects as odious as possible in the eyes of the government, and of the people at large. It is quite proper and natural, that writers of this description should select the most offensive representation of their adversaries' opinions. If they acted otherwise, we should not consider them as labouring diligently in their vocation, or as deserving of their reward.
In our opinion, however, both Lord Clarendon and the writers to whom we allude, have mistated the general sentiments of the Catholics respecting the jurisdiction of the See of Rome. Because particular Catholic princes have bullied and maltreated the Pope, and because his extravagant pretensions have been repelled by Catholics, in many instances with a considerable degree of indignation, Lord Clarendon conceives himself to be entitled to conclude, that the spiritual authority of the Pope is admitted by the Catholics themselves to be a mere excrescence of their religion, like the Inquisition, or the order of the Jesuits; and that it may be cut off without touching the essential parts of the system. This conclusion appears to us to be as ill founded, as thie supposition of many good courtiers, that a member of parliament who votes against the King's ministry, must in his heart be an enemy to the person or office of the Sovereign. Lord Clarendon himself candidly admits, in his History of the Rebellion, that ihe principal members of the popular party in the Long Parliament, with some exceptions, had no wish to destroy either the church or the monarchy, although they were displeased with several things in the administration of both. The disputes between the Popes and the members of their communion, exactly resemble, in this respect, the disputes between Charles I. and the Long Parliament. Whether the Bishop of Rome has, by divine or apostolical institution, any prerogatives which are not imparted to other bishops, is a question of pure theology, into which our readers will readily excuse us for not entering. In whatever way that question may be decided, we are unable to perceive any inconsistency in the conduct of those persons who believe that part of the jurisdiction, which the Pope exercises out of his own diocese, is committed to him by Jesus Christ, and at the same time refuse to obey him, when he endeavours to assume powers