Puslapio vaizdai

mation,” or defended his rebellion. He never asserted the unrestricted right of private judgment. He asserted his right to resist the authority of the Pope and Councils, and the right of others to agree with him, Martin Luther, and to take him for their pope and leader ; but I do not recollect that he ever asserted or recognized the rights of others to differ from him in any matter which he declared to be of faith. Did he not persecute Carlostadt ? Did he not denounce in the most savage manner Zuinglius and Ecolampadius? Did he not thunder his anathemas against the Anabaptists, and call upon the princes to arm and put them down, nay, exterminate them ?

None of the Reformers asserted the principle in question. John Calvin exercised the most oppressive tyranny over conscience, caused Michael Servetus to be burned at Geneva over a fire made of green wood, and afterwards wrote a book in defence of burning heretics. Henry VIII. of England put to death both Catholics and Lutherans for their religion, and James I. in his famous speech in the Star Chamber, orders the judges to punish Protestant Dissenters from the Royal Church without mercy, and to hang Catholic priests, if they escape from prison. Our Puritan fathers in the Massachusetts colony hung Quakers, banished Baptists, and bored the ears and tongues of dissenters from their colonial Church. Protestant Maryland and Episcopalian Virginia enacted the most stringent laws against Catholics, and almost in the memory of persons still living, priests were hunted in the Old Dominion as wild beasts.

The principle of religious liberty asserted by the Reviewer is as applicable to Catholics as to Protestants. If the right of conscience is sacred, my right to be a Catholic is as sacred as yours to be a Protestant. Conscience is, to say the least, as good a plea for me as for you, and you violate the liberty you assert when you persecute me for being a Catholic as much as I should were I to persecute you for being a Protestant. Yet the Reformers never respected, they never acknowledged, in principle or in fact, the freedom of the Catholic conscience. Wherever Protestants gained the civil power they used it to enact laws prohibiting the free exercise of the Catholic religion.

They dispossessed Catholics of their churches, their colleges, their

hospitals, their foundations for the poor, robbed them of all their church property, outlawed them, and massacred them by thousands and tens of thousands. In every country in which Protestantism in the sixteenth century gained an establishment, it gained it by violence, by plundering and oppressing, fining, imprisoning, exiling, hanging, or massacring Catholics, in many cases by a cruelty hardly matched by the Arian conquerors of Africa, or the Mussulman devastators of the East. And what is more to the purpose, there is not a country even to-day whose government professes to be Protestant, or to adhere to the glorious Reformation, that recognizes and guaranties full and entire religious equality for Catholics with Protestants before the State. A few weeks since the Diet of Sweden, influenced by the Protestant clergy, refused to repeal the old laws against Catholics, and to recognize religious liberty. Denmark is Lutheran, and forbids, under pain of perpetual exile and confiscation of goods, a member of the national church to become a Catholic. The Prussian government not long since imprisoned the Archbishops of Cologne and Posen because they would not violate their Catholic consciences ; Great Britain, since 1850, has passed the Ecclesiastical Titles Act, which declares, virtually, if not formally, the Catholic religion illegal, contrary to the civil law in the United Kingdom ; and we have a dark-lantern movement in this country, supported, perhaps, more generally by the Methodists than by any other sect, expressly designed to deprive Catholics of their political and civil rights, unless they renounce their religion. Several of the State Legislatures have proposed, and one State, I believe, has adopted, a law intended to disfranchise every Catholic, and to make them political pariahs in the very land of their birth. Nay, the whole spirit, tendency, and design of this very article on which we are commenting, is to rouse up the Protestant prejudices of the country and inaugurate a legal persecution of Catholics. With all these facts and many more like them before him, this Methodist Reviewer does not blush to tell us that “ the sacred right of individual free opinion in matters of conscience is the principle on which Luther fought the Reformation !” Can it be possible that Protestants are so blinded as really to believe that Protestantism is the representative of freedom,- Protestantism which in its very essence is a persecutor, which was begotten in violence, born in robbery and massacre, and whose history is written in the blood of Catholics, and against which a whole army of martyrs in the Judgment Day will come to bear their testimony ?

“The Pope claimed absolute sovereignty in the world of opinion.” This is untrue. The world of opinion is free, and the Pope does not and never did claim any sovereignty at all in that world. Does the Reviewer make no distinction between opinion and faith? Or is all faith with him simply opinion? The Pope is the guardian and defender of the faith once delivered to the saints, but with opinions as long as they are confined to the world of opinion and are not put forth as faith or against faith he does not interfere. In the world of opinion you are as a Catholic free to hold what opinions you please, but no man can be so foolish as to claim the liberty of opinion in matters of faith, that is, in matters where he has not opinion but certainty, the objective truth. Who ever heard of liberty of opinion in regard to the proposition, the three angles of an equilateral triangle are equal to two right angles ? Who demands liberty of opinion where he has the word of God ? Is it a matter of opinion whether God's word is true or not ?

“The temporal powers aimed also to control both the thought and action of the subject.” And succeeded in those countries which threw off the Papal authority, and embraced the Reformation. “Conformity to the views of the monarch, not only in state policy but even in religion, was enforced upon the people as coming within the prerogatives of the jus divinum." After Luther, in countries that rejected the Papacy, conceded ; in those that remained Catholic, denied. Monarchs and their courtiers attempted to enforce the doctrine here justly objected to ; but they were met by the Popes, the Gregories, the Innocents, the Bonifaces, and other great Pontiffs, the special objects of Protestant calumny and vituperation, and made aware that the crown has no competency in spirituals

. It was not till Luther appeared, and invoked the princes against the Pope, and prepared the way for national churches instead of one Catholic Church, that the monarchs and courtiers succeeded. Then religion fell indeed under the control of the State in every Protestant country. The German Protestant princes and the Scandinavian monarchs determined the faith and worship of their subjects. Henry VIII. by an obsequious parliament is declared within the realm supreme in spirituals as well as in temporals, and the king or queen and parliament define the faith and regulate the worship of Englishmen,-yes, of Englishmen who boast of their freedom and manliness. The same was true in Holland, and the attempt to force the Belgian Catholics to conform in religion to the views of the Calvinistic monarch, lost in 1830 the crown of the Netherlands what is now the kingdom of Belgium. This same Methodist Reviewer in the article before us is laboring, if he did but know it, to deprive religion of its freedom and independence, and to subject it to the political authority even in our own country, yet he would fain persuade the world that it is Protestantism that has emancipated religion from the despotism of the State! A more absurd or impudent pretence cannot be made. The champion of religious freedom against the State or the temporal power has in all times been the Papacy, and this is in reality the standing charge of Protestants against the Popes; for it is what is implied in that spiritual supremacy in regard to the temporal power, which has been the theme of so much sound Protestant declamation against them.

“But the successful assertion by Luther of the rights of conscience.” The Reviewer labors under a great mistake. Luther never asserted successfully, or unsuccessfully, the rights of conscience. “ Broke not alone the religious thraldom of that Age.” All you can pretend is that for Protestant countries Luther's movement emancipated religion from the authority of the spiritual power, and subjected it to the temporal. “Both philosophy and science felt the liberating spell.” Mere cant, and not a word of truth in it. That more attention has been paid to the physical sciences since the sixteenth century than was for some centuries before is possible, but that Luther's Reformation has had any thing to do with it is not proved nor provable. The principal contributions to modern science have been inade in countries which did not accept Protestantism. Protestants have no philosophy, have done much to bring philosophical studies into disrepute, and fev?, if any, of them have been or are able to understand the great masters who philosophized before Luther. Germany is the only country in which Protestants have shown any philosophical aptitude, but even Germany has produced no philosophical system not already exploded, and no philosophers to compare with Vico, Galluppi, Rosmini, Gioberti, and Balmes.

“New ideas in faith, philosophy, popular rights, government, and progress in general, at once sprang forth." Were they true, those new ideas ? and are any of them living now? I have observed that your new ideas of one age are usually exploded in the next; and those which possess you one day, and which you call us narrow-minded and ignorant for not accepting, are most likely to be rejected the day after. What mean you, moreover, by

new ideas” in faith ? I thought faith was revealed in the beginning and delivered to the saints once for all. I did not know that ideas excogitated by the human mind could become faith. The pretence of the Reformers was not progress, not the discovery or development of new ideas in faith, but a return to the purity and simplicity of primitive Christianity, from which, it was alleged, that the Church by her new ideas or inventions had departed. Your doctrine of progress is in direct contradiction to the ground they assumed. If they were right, you are wrong. After all, this talk about the emancipation of mind, and the progress of philosophy, science, government, &c., is mere rhetoric founded on the cant of the day. It is, moreover, with Protestants, of recent origin. Nothing was heard of it in my boyhood, and I believe no small share of the shame or the credit of introducing it to my countrymen belongs to my own labors in my Protestant nonage. I took this ground, not because I believed it the ground actually taken by the Reformers, but because I saw no other ground on which their movement could be defended, and because I wished to establish a principle on which I could defend my own departures from so-called orthodox Protestantism. Yet the theory has no foundation in the facts of the case.

What is new is not always true, and changes are not always improvements. There is not an idea, sound or unsound, put forth by the Reformers or by Protestants since the Reformation, that is really new, or that cannot be traced to individuals who lived long before

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