Page images

of Bishop Halifax, and from the information of those, who were with him constantly during the whole of his short, but fatal, sickness, and received his last sighs, we are able to give a direct contradiction to every circumstance respecting him, which Dr. Milner has either insinuated as probable, or asserted as true. The clumsy fabrication confutes itself. The Bishop could not have used the expressions imputed to him. He died, as he had lived, a true son of the reformed Catholic Church of England,—and with such a full assurance of his pardon and acceptance with God, that Dr. Milner himself, whose pleasure it has hitherto been to malign him as the blackest hypocrite, may do well to make it his prayer to God, that in his death he may resemble him. Meanwhile, for Dr. Milner's proneness to credit this base slander, (for we do not accuse him of inventing it) and for his assiduity in propagating it, we can find no excuse." Dr. Milner has been in vain remonstrated with by the son of Bishop Halifax, assured on the authority of the wife of that Prelate and of her sister, that he must have been misinformed, and earnestly solicited to give up the names of his informants, that the question may be set at rest. His only answer is, "that he spoke of the fact barely as probable, and may be allowed to retain his opinion on the credibility of his informants." Letter to Mr. Halifax. It is true that in p. 77. he speaks of it only as probable; but in p. 325. he states it as a fact, without any qualification whatever. Now, it appears from Dr. Milner's own shewing, that he had the story only at second, or third hand. A single R. Catholic is represented as having had access to the Bishop in his illness, and as advising him to send for a Roman Catholic Priest. But, Dr. Milner afterwards talks of the credibility of his informants. Through how many intermediate stages the information had passed, before it reached him, cannot be ascertained. That the precise words were not spoken is evident. Bishop Halifax could not have said on his death bed, in speaking of his wife---" what will become of my Lady?" And how was his Lady to be injured by his death-bed conversion? There is a cold-heartedness in Dr. Milner's obstinacy of assertion, in despite of evidence, and in his shutting the door against the investigation of the widow and the son, on such a subject, which is to me very frightful.

PART 11.


The Supremacy of the Pope, by divine right, not held by many modern Churches and distinguished individuals, in communion with the See of Rome.

The foregoing chapter will, perhaps, be considered a sufficient refutation, as far as regards the first three centuries, and a part of the fourth, of Dr. Milner's bold assertion, "that the writings of the Fathers, Doctors, and Historians, of the Church unanimously testify, that the successors of St. Peter, in the See of Rome, have each of them exercised the power of Supreme Pastor, and have been acknowledged as such by all Christians, except by notorious heretics and schismatics, from the Apostolic age down to the present!" I would now further state, that the tenet of the Pope's supremacy, by divine right;—for this it is, which, notwithstanding his confusedness of statement, he means to prove, has not been uniformly held, even by many modern Churches and individuals of celebrity, in his own communion,

I rely on Bishop Bramhall's authority for the accuracy of the following quotations from works, which are not, to me at least, easy of access. "Before he can determine this to be

an undeniable truth, and a necessary bond of unity; that the Bishop of Rome is inheritor of all the privileges of St. Peter, and that this principle is Christ's own ordination, recorded in Scripture,' he must first reconcile himself to his own party. There is a commentary upon the Synodal answer of the Council of Basile, printed at Colone, in the year 1613, wherein is maintained, that the provinces subject to the four great Patriarchs, from the beginning of the Christian Church, did know no other supreme but their own Patriarch. And if the Pope be a primate, it is by the Church: and whereas we have said, that it is expressed in the Council of Nice, that many provinces were subjected to the Church of Rome by ecclesiastical custom, and no other right, the Synod should do the greatest injury to the Bishop of Rome, if it should attribute those things to him only from custom, which were his due by divine right." Schism Guarded, pp. 300, 301.

The same prelate informs us, that the celebrated Gerson himself distinguishes the Papal rights into three sorts;-" divine, which the Bishop of Rome, challenges by succession from St. Peter; Canonical, which have been conferred upon him by general Councils; and civil, such as have been granted by the emperors. The divine rights according to this eminent Romanist are but three,-" to call Councils ;”—a right it may be observed, not acknowledged even, by many of the Romish commu

nion; "to give sentence with Councils;-which asserts not, that his sanction is necessary; and, “a jurisdiction purely spiritual;"-the exercise of which, as the moderate Romanists themselves admit, is to be limited by Canonical regulations.-Ibid.

Amongst the propositions given into the Council of Pisa, and printed with the acts of that Council, are the following: "First, although the Pope, as he is the Vicar of Christ, may, after a certain manner, be called the head of the Church, yet the unity of the Church doth not depend necessarily, or receive its beginning from the unity of the Pope. Secondly, the Church hath authority originally and immediately from Christ its head, to congregate itself in a general Council, to preserve its unity:" which assertion is at variance with Gerson's second of the supposed divine rights of the Pope. It is added, “that the Catholic Church hath this

power, also, by the law of nature.” "Thirdly, in the Acts of the Apostles we read of four Councils convocated, and not by the authority of St. Peter, but by the common consent of the Church. And in one Council celebrated at Jerusalem, we read not, that Peter, but that James, the Bishop of the place, was president and gave sentence. He concludes, "that the Church may call a general Council, without the authority of the Pope; and in some cases, though he contradict it."See Bramhall's Works, pp. 300, 301.

[ocr errors]

That these were very general opinions in the Church of Rome, about the time of holding the Councils of Constance and Basle, and the two Councils of Pisa, is proved by the transactions of those assemblies, and by the odium in which they have been held by all Popes, subsequent to those Councils.

From the same Prelate we may, also, collect the opinions of many celebrated individuals of the Romish communion, on this head.

"Before he determined positively the divine right of the Papacy, as it includeth a sovereignty of power, he ought to consider seriously, what many of his own friends have written about it; as Canus, and Cusanus, and Stapleton, and Soto, and Driedo, and Segovius; as it is related by Æneas Sylvius, and others;-that the Pope's succession is not revealed in Scripture; that Christ did not limit the primacy to any particular Church; that it cannot be proved, that the Bishop of Rome is perpetual prince of the Church; that the gloss which preferreth the judgment of the Roman Church before the judgment of the world, is very singular, and foolish, and unworthy to be followed; that it hath been a Catholic tenet in former times, that the primacy of the Roman Bishop doth depend, not upon divine but, human right, and the positive decrees of the Church; that men famous in the study of Christian Theology, have not been afraid, in great assemblies, to assert the human right of the Pope. He ought to consider what is said of a great king, that theologians affirmed, that the Pope

« PreviousContinue »