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"Obj. II. The church seems to relax her laws in respect to heretics; because by urging the observance of the rules she can expect no good effect, but rather sins and offences against God on their part.
"Ans. We deny the antecedent"-(viz. that the church seems to relax her laws, &c.)-"the contrary is evident from the mind of the whole church. The church accommodates herself to their sins only permissively for higher reasons; lest, for instance, she might appear to the manifest scandal of the faithful to favour heresy, whilst heretics through their obstinacy obtain an advantage, and are freed from the burdens of laws to which the faithful are subjected. Besides the same reason for relaxing (the laws) would hold good for all the evils of christendom.
"Is it lawful in this Catholic country to place meats on the table before heretics on holidays or fast days?
"III. We reply with Daelman and Billuart that this is permitted to tavern-keepers, in the case of those heretics who remain in the country through necessity or some important reason for the consequences of being in the country must be conceded to those, to whom permission is granted to be in the country: thus meats are sold and given to heretical soldiers in time of war.
"But if any heretic should be in the country for purposes of pleasure, trade or any other similar cause, it is not thought that any necessity or sufficient cause is afforded; whence it appears not lawful for innkeepers, much less for others, to place meats before such an one on forbidden days: but they can properly reply to the heretic that they do not prepare meats to be eaten on that day, in accordance with the laws of the church and the customs of the country.
"The case is different under the government of heretics, when innkeepers give meats to those who ask for them; because otherwise they might be regarded as disturbers of the republic. See No. 274, on Temperance."
This is not the place to speak of the peculiarity of the Romish church which Paul describes when he tells of some who shall command to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth." That subject will come up in its
proper place. We shall confine ourselves to the main question of the section. It will be seen from the above that Holy Church considers even Protestants as bound to abstain from meats on the fast days appointed by her. We are all bound by her laws forsooth, "because through baptism we have become subject to the church;" she claims all the jurisdic tion over us, which she exercises over her own priest-ridden subjects. WE ARE NOT ANY MORE ABSOLVED FROM HER
LAWS, THAN REBELLIOUS SUBJECTS ARE ABSOLVED FROM THE LAWS OF THE PRINCE FROM WHOM THEY HAVE REVOLTED!
The arrogance of this dogma would excite the reader's indignation, if its absurdity did not provoke his ridicule. If Holy Mother should ever regain the influence she has lost, we apprehend some heretics would continue to commit mortal sin by secretly eating meat on Friday; and why should they not? they might readily avail themselves of the expedient, said to have been successfully employed by a Romish priest, whose bowels yearned over a fine roast of beef which had been sent to his Reverence, whether by one of the faithful, or by a heretic, we cannot say. The priest was in a dilemma as the present was sent on a Friday, and he was hungry and very partial to beef; he adopted an expedient, however, which extricated him from the difficulty without wounding his conscience. Having procured a fish-hook he took his beef to the river, saying as he let it down into the water, and drew it up, " Go down beef! Come up fish!" The miracle was complete, and the priest eat the beef as fish. To be sure it looked as much like beef and tasted as much like beef as though its nature had not been changed; but this fact could not possibly disturb the equanimity of a devout believer in transubstantiation. Certainly it was as easy for his Reverence to change flesh into fish as to change a bit of bread into the body and blood, soul and divinity of the Saviour, by simply saying with the proper intention, "hoc est corpus meum.”
[No. 28. Vol. II.]
Concerning Just Men subject to the Law.
"ARE just and spiritual men subject to the law? "I. Yes so the Council of Trent has decided. proved by the apostle (Rom. xiii. 1.) where he says, "Let every soul be subject to the higher powers," and Heb. xiii. 17. "Obey them that have the rule over you and submit yourselves." These texts are general and therefore they include all just men also.
Obj. I. Rom. vi. 14, the apostle says to Christians, 'Ye are not under the law but under grace;' therefore, &c.
"Ans. The meaning is: Ye are not under the Mosaic law, which has now ceased, but under the grace of the new law.
Obj. I. Tim. i. 9, it is said 'The law is not made for a righteous man; therefore the righteous is not subject to the law.
"Ans. I deny the inference: the meaning is, that the law is not made for a righteous man, that it may terrify him with threats and punishments, and thus compel him to its observance; because righteous men observe the law of their own accord; but it consists with this, that the law is made for the righteous man, in order to his direction.
"II. It is to be observed, that men may be said to be subject to the law in a twofold manner; in one way as to preceptive authority, in the other way as to compulsory authority; for in every law two things are to be considered; one, that the law is a rule of morals, because it shows, directs and obliges; and these things belong to the preceptive authority of the law; the other, because the law imposes or inflicts punishments, and in so far terrifies and compels; which relates to the compulsory power of the law."
Concerning the Legislator as subject to the Law.
"Is the legislator bound by the laws, which he himself has made?
"I. If the legislator holds monarchical rule, as the Pope, a king, a bishop, &c., or if he is sole absolute lord, he is not held by his laws as to their compulsory power, but certainly in their preceptive authority, at least indirectly, since the laws equally concern himself and his subjects.
"II. That he is not held as to their compulsory authority is manifest: because as he is the supreme prince, he can be compelled by none of those to whom the law is directed, to the observance of his own law.
"III. That he is bound as to their preceptive authority, is proved from this, because right reason dictates, that the head should be conformed to the members. Besides it is proper that a legislator in his own conduct should concur in the common good, and therefore in the observance of his own laws-for as nothing is more injurious than that the legislator should not be the first to observe the law, so nothing is more beneficial than that he should be the first to conform himself to it, &c. "From this it is inferred that the Pope is obliged to hear Mass on a festival day, to fast on a fast day, and generally to do such things as relate to preceptive authority: yet if excommunication or any other punishment should be appointed against transgressors, he would not incur it; because these things relate to the coercive authority.
"Is the supreme legislator obliged under pain of mortal sin, to observe his law in an important case?
"Ans. If the danger of grievous scandal or of manifest injury to a third person, is to be feared from the transgression, according to all (authors) he sins mortally; but whether, apart from these things, he sins mortally is not agreed among authors. Some deny it, on the ground that the legis lator is bound to obey his own law, only by a certain natural propriety, which apart from scandal or some other weighty circumstance, seems a matter of little moment," &c.
The reader will learn from the last paragraph, that according to Romish theology, the great cardinal virtue is "to keep up appearances." The Pope or those in authority may do as they list, but they must avoid scandal or else they sin mortally. No doubt his Holiness and his sanctimonious Priests are great admirers of the Spartan rogue, who, rather than betray his theft, suffered a fox which he had stolen and secreted under his robe, to tear out his entrails.
[No. 30. Vol. II.]
Concerning the Clergy subject to the Laws.
"ARE the clergy subject to human laws?
"I. It is beyond controversy that the clergy are subject to the ecclesiastical laws, which concern them, both as to compulsory and preceptive authority.
"Therefore here is chiefly meant, whether, and how far they are subject to civil laws?
"II. The clergy are under obligation to civil laws, which are not contrary to the clerical order, or to ecclesiastical privilege, so far as preceptive authority is concerned: thus they are obliged to preserve the value of coin; not to take grain out of the country, if that is forbidden, &c.
"But because a layman has no authority over the persons of clergymen, Suarez and several canonists teach that the clergy are only indirectly obliged by those laws; as was said in the preceding No. concerning the legislator: forasmuch as in a similar case, a part should conform itself to the whole community, and because the canons teach, that the clergy should observe laws of this kind.
"III. But if the civil laws are adverse to the immunity of the clergy, or if they relate to a matter, in which the clergy are exempt from secular power, by such (laws) the clergy are not held either as to their preceptive or compulsory authority. The reason is, because in such respects, the cler