Page images

church are no bishops ; and if no bishops, they have no right to sit in the house of lords ; and no priest ordained by them has any title to any temporalities, that he may hold of such a nature, as attach expressly to the clerical character. Here then is an interference with civil authority, and civil rights, the rights of the king and the rights of the subject.

Let us next consider upon what principle the penal laws against the Roman catholics were first enacted, on this principle, that they entertained opinions inimical to the protestant church, and protestant princes. Upon what principles can the legislature now relieve the Roman catholics from those laws ? upon this principle, that they have changed their religious sentiments, and can never act upon those principles, which in theory are in direct hostility to the constitution and government of this country. “But if any one (as Mr. Plowden, a Roman Catholic, asserts,) pretends to insinuate, that the modern Roman catholics differ in one iota, from their ancestors, he either deceives himself, or wishes to deceive others.”

Dr. Troy, titular archbishop of Dublin, in a pastoral letter, says, “the religious opinions of the Roman catholics being unchangable, are applicable to all times.”

Now the fourth general council determines, “ that if the temporal lord, being required and admonished by the church, shall neglect to purge his territories from heretical filth, he shall be excommunicated by the metropolitan, and his suffragans, and if he neglect to give satisfaction within a year, this shall be signified to the

pope; that he may from henceforth pronounce his subjects discharged from their obedience, and expose his territories, to be enjoyed by catholics."

The general council of Constance decrees, " that all heretics, all followers and defenders of them, or partakers with them, though they shine in the dignity of patriarchs, arch bishops, bishops, kings, queens, dukes, or any other ecclesiastical or mundane title, shall be pronounced excommunicate, every Sunday and holyday.” A discourse concerning laws against heretics, pp. 69.-71


Pope Zachary I. deposed Childrick, king of France ; Gregory VII. deposed the Emperor Henry IV.; Urban II. deposed Philip, king of France ; Adrian IX. deposed William, king of Sicily ; Innocent III. deposed the Emperor Philip; Pope Gregory deposed Frederick II. ; Innocent III. deposed John, king of England ; Urban IV. deposed Mamphred, king of Sicily ; Nicholas III. deposed Charles, king of Sicily ; Martin IV. deposed Peter of Arragon ; Boniface VIII. deposed Philip the fair ; Clement V. deposed the emperor Henry V.; John XXII. deprived the emperor Ludovic ; Gregory IX. deposed the emperor Wenseslaus ; Paul III. denounced Henry VIII. of England; and Pious V. declared queen Elizabeth of England, a heretic, and absolved her subjects from their allegiance.

He began his bull in these words :“He that reigneth on high, to whom is given all power, in heaven and in earth, hath committed the one holy catholic and apostolic church, out of which there is no salvation to one alone on earth, namely, to Peter, prince of the apostles, and to the Roman pontiff,

[ocr errors]

successor of Peter, to be governed with a plenitude of power. This one he hath constituted prince over all nations, and all kingdoms, that he might pluck up, destroy, dissipate, ruinate, plant and build.” And in the same bull he declares, “ that he thereby deprives the queen of her pretended right to the kingdom, and of all dominion; dignity, and privilege, whatsoever; and absolves all the nobles, subjects, and people of the kingdom, and whoever else have sworn to her, from their oath, and all duty whatsoever, in regard of dominion, fidelity, and obedience. * »

* Cardinal Bellarmine, the grand master of controversies, introduces the pope speaking to the people who wished to continue in obedience to a deposed king, in this extraordinary and casuistical language :-“I do not free thee, either from the natural or divine commandment when I absolve thee from the tye of obedience, for I do not permit that thou shouldest not obey thy king, which were against the divine law, but I make him that was thy king, not to be so any longer, as he that setteth a servant at liberty, doth not agree that the servant should not be tied to obey his lord, which would be against the divine law, but he dealeth so, that he hath no lord any longer to obey."

There is not a more suspicious mark of a false religion, than an attempt to propagate itself by force. ChrisThis nation in all her solicitudes, looks up to parliament, that high and solemn tri

tianity is not so truly professed by endeavouring to kill others, as by suffering death patiently ourselves, rather than renounce it. I may profess Christ in the den of lions, in the furnace, on the rack. This is the faith and patience of the saints, utterly irreconcilable with forcible resistance.

The design of obtaining a free exercise of religion, can never make any practice lawful to be used, in order to accomplish that, which was before unlawful.

When our Savour was upon his travels, the inhabitants of a Samaritan village would not receive him ; James and John, remembering what Elias had done to the prophets of Baal, asked whether they should command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them; our Lord's answer is emphatical, he turned and rebuked them, and said, “ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.Another exemplary instance of submission occurs, in the history of Christ's arraignment-Thou couldest, says he to Pilate, have no power over me, ex. cept it were giren thee from above, thereby acknowledging his legal authority. If it be objected that this was to accomplish what God had decreed, ought not Christ to suffer these things? thus it is written - 1 answer, that as Christ was appointed to that death, and non-resistance to the civil power, so are christians, if St. Paul may be believed, predestinated to be conformed, by resignation, to the image of his Son.

In regal states, kings, or heads of a commonwealth, had, before the establishment of christianity, the su

« PreviousContinue »