Topic - Private Judgment Lecture 7. Instances of the Abuse of Private Judgment

{168} I PROPOSE now to follow up the remarks last made upon the Abuse of Private Judgment, with some instances in which it has been indulged, and in which, as might be expected antecedently, it has been productive of error, more or less serious, but never insignificant. These instances shall, on the whole, be such as no orthodox Protestant shall be able to look at with any satisfaction, and some of them shall be taken from the history of Roman theology itself.

Without further preface I enter upon the subject, viz. what are the chief precedents, which past ages supply to modern Protestants, of the exercise of Private Judgment upon the text of Scripture to the neglect of Catholic Tradition; and what is their character?


1. First might be instanced many of the errors in matters of fact connected with the Scripture history, which got current in early times, and, being mentioned by this or that Father, now improperly go by the name of Traditions, whereas they seem really to have originated in a misunderstanding of Scripture. Such, for instance, is the report recorded by IrenŠus, and coming, as he conceived, on good authority, that our Saviour lived to be forty or {169} fifty. Such is Clement's statement that St. Paul was married; such is that of Clement and Justin that our Lord was deformed in person. These make out no claim to be considered Apostolical, whereas they do singularly coincide severally with certain texts in Scripture which admit of being distorted into countenancing them [Note 1]. Such again are probably in no slight degree the early opinions concerning the Millennium; certainly in Egypt in the third century they seem to have had their origin in a misconstruction of Scripture [Note 2].

If these various opinions did really thus arise, it is a very curious circumstance that they should now be imputed to Tradition, nay, and adduced, as they are popularly, as if palmary refutations of its claims, being all the while but the result of either going solely by Scripture, or with but scanty and insufficient guidance from Tradition. At the same time it should be borne in mind, that, even if they were not mere deductions from Scripture, still such local rumours about matters of fact cannot be put on a level with Catholic Tradition concerning matters of doctrine.


2. The controversy about Baptism in which St. Cyprian was engaged, and in which, according to our own received opinion, he was mistaken, is a clearer and more important instance in point. Cyprian maintained that persons baptized by heretical clergy, must, on being reconciled to the Church, be re-baptized, or rather that their former Baptism was invalid. The Roman Church of the day held that confirmation was sufficient in such case; as if that ordinance, on the part of the true Church, recognized and ratified the outward act, already administered by heretics, and applied the inward grace locked up in the Sacrament, {170} but hitherto not enjoyed by the parties receiving it. And she rested her doctrine simply on Apostolical Tradition, which even by itself was a sufficient witness on such a point. Cyprian did not profess any Apostolical Tradition on his side, but he argued from Scripture against the judgment of the Roman See. The argument of himself and his countrymen was of the following kind:—"'There is but one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism;' the heretics have not the one Faith, therefore they have not the one Baptism."—Again, "'There is one Body, one Spirit, one Baptism;' the one Baptism of the one Spirit is in the one Church, therefore there is no Baptism out of it." "Christ has said, 'He who is not with Me, is against Me,' and St. John, that they who go out from us are antichrists; how can antichrists confer the grace of Baptism?" "There are not two Baptisms; he who recognizes that of heretics, invalidates his own." "'No one can receive anything but what is given him from heaven;' if heresy, then, be from heaven, then, and then only, can it confer Baptism." "'God heareth not sinners;' a heretic is a sinner; how then can his Baptism be acknowledged by God?" [Note 3] Such are the texts with which the African Church defended itself in Cyprian's days; and who will not allow, with great speciousness? Cyprian himself says in like manner, "Usage is of no force where reason is against it;" [Note 4] nor is it, where reason is clear and usage is modern. Yet, after all, however this be, here is a case, where the mere arguing from Scripture without reference to Tradition (whether voluntarily neglected or not), led to a conclusion which Protestants now will grant to be erroneous.


3. Again, at least all members of the English Church {171} consider Arianism to be a fatal error; yet, when its history is examined, this peculiarity will be found respecting it, that its upholders appealed only to Scripture, not to Catholic Tradition. I do not mean to say, that they allowed that no one ever held their doctrine, before its historical rise; but they did not profess, nay, they did not care, to have the Church Universal on its side. They set themselves against what was received, and owed their successes to the dexterity with which they argued from certain texts of the Old and New Testament. I will not enlarge on what is notorious. Arianism certainly professed in its day to be a scriptural religion.


4. Another opinion, which, though not a heresy, will be granted by the majority of Protestants to be an error, is the tenet with which the great St. Austin's name is commonly connected. He, as is generally known, is, among the ancient Fathers, the Master of Predestinarianism, that is, of the theological opinion that certain persons are irreversibly ordained to persevere unto eternal life. He was engaged in controversy with the Pelagians, and it is supposed, that, in withstanding them, he was hurried into the opposite extreme. Now it is remarkable that in his treatises on the subject, he argues from Scripture, and never appeals to Catholic Tradition. For instance, in his work on the Gift of Perseverance he speaks as follows:—

"The enemy of grace presses on, and urges in all ways to make it believed that it is given according to our deserts, and so 'grace should no longer be grace;' and are we loth to say what with the testimony of Scripture we can say? I mean, do we fear, lest, if we so speak, some one may be offended, who cannot embrace the truth; and not rather fear lest, if we are silent, some one who is able to embrace it, may be embraced by error instead? For either Predestination {172} is so to be preached, as Holy Scripture plainly reveals it, that in the predestined the gifts and calling of God are without repentance or we must confess that the grace of God is given according to our deserts, as the Pelagians consider."


Here it is curious indeed to see, how closely he follows St. Cyprian's pattern, in his mode of conducting his argument, which consists in a reference to certain texts of Scripture, and (if I may say it of such holy men) a venturesome Ó priori, or at least abstract, course of reasoning. But now let us see how he treats the objection which was made to him, that his doctrine "was contrary to the opinion of the Fathers and the Ecclesiastical sense." He speaks as follows:—

"Why should we not, when we read in commentators of God's word, of His prescience, and of the calling of the elect, understand thereby this same Predestination? For, perhaps, they preferred the word prescience because it is more easily understood, while it does not oppose, nay, agrees with the truth which is preached concerning the Predestination of grace. Of this I am sure, that no one could have disputed against this Predestination, which we maintain according to the Holy Scriptures, without an error. Yet I think those persons who ask for the opinions of commentators on this subject, ought to have been contented with those holy men, celebrated everywhere for Christian faith and doctrine, Cyprian and Ambrose, whose clear testimonies we have given. They ought to have taken them as sufficient authorities both for believing thoroughly, and preaching thoroughly, as is fitting, that the grace of God is free; and also for considering such preaching as quite consistent with exhorting the indolent and rebuking the wicked: inasmuch as of these two Saints, the one says concerning {173} God's grace, 'We must boast of nothing, for nothing is our own,' and the other, 'Our heart and our thoughts are not in our power,' and yet they do not cease to exhort and rebuke, in behalf of the divine precepts." After quoting other testimonies, as he thinks them, from these Fathers, he proceeds, "What do we seek clearer from commentators of the word of God, if it be our pleasure to hear from them, what is plain in the Scriptures? However, to these two, who ought to be enough, we will add a third, St. Gregory, who witnesses that both faith in God and the confession of that faith, are God's gift, in these words:—'Confess, I beseech you, the Trinity of the one Godhead, or (if you prefer to say it), the one nature; and God shall be implored to vouchsafe you voice to confess what you believe. He will give, doubtless; He who gave what comes first, will give what comes second;' He who gave to believe, will give to confess." [Note 5]

What makes the failure of this appeal to the previous belief of the Church still more remarkable, is the clear view St. Austin possesses of the value of Catholic Tradition, and the force with which he can urge it against an adversary on a proper occasion [Note 6]. Here, then, we are furnished with a serious lesson of the mischief of deductions from the sacred text against the authority of Tradition. If the doctrine of irrespective Predestination has done harm, and created controversy in the Church, let it not be forgotten that this has arisen from exercising private judgment upon Scripture, to the neglect of the Catholic sense. {174}


5. My next instance shall be the Roman doctrine of Purgatory. All Protestants are sufficiently alive to the seriousness of this error. Now I think it may be shown that its existence is owing to a like indulgence of human reason and of private judgment upon Scripture, in default of Catholic Tradition [Note 7]. That it was no received opinion during the first ages of the Gospel, has often been shown, and need not be dwelt on here. Hardly one or two short passages of one or two Fathers for six centuries can be brought in its favour, and those, at the most, rather suggesting than teaching it. In truth, the doctrine seems to have occurred to them, as it has been received generally since, first from the supposed need of such a provision in the revealed scheme,—from (what may be called) its naturalness in the judgment of reason; and next in consequence of the misinterpretation of certain texts; as I propose to explain at some length [Note 8].

How Almighty God will deal with the mass of Christians, who are neither very bad nor very good, is a problem with which we are not concerned, and which it is our wisdom, and may be our duty, to put from our thoughts. But when it has once forced itself upon the mind, we are led, in self-defence, with a view of keeping ourselves from dwelling unhealthily on particular cases which come under our experience, and perplex us, to imagine modes, not by which God does (for that would be presumption to conjecture), but by which He may solve the difficulty. Most men, to our apprehensions, are too little formed in {175} religious habits either for heaven or hell; yet there is no middle state, when Christ comes in judgment. In consequence it was obvious to have recourse to the interval before His coming, as a time during which this incompleteness might be remedied; a season, not of changing the spiritual bent and character of the soul departed, whatever that be, for probation ends with mortal life, but of developing it into a more determinate form, whether of good or of evil. Again, when the mind once allows itself to speculate, it would discern in such a provision, a means whereby those, who, not without true faith at bottom, yet have committed great crimes; or those who have been carried off in youth, while still undecided; or who die after a barren though not an immoral or scandalous life, may receive such chastisement as may prepare them for heaven, and render it consistent with God's justice to admit them thither. Again, the inequality of the sufferings of Christians in this life, compared one with another, would lead the unguarded mind to the same speculations; the intense suffering, for instance, which some men undergo on their death-bed, seeming as if but an anticipation, in their case, of what comes after death upon others, who without greater claims on God's forbearance, have lived without chastisement and die easily. I say, the mind will inevitably dwell upon such thoughts, unless it has been taught to subdue them by education or by the experience of their dangerousness.


Various suppositions have, accordingly, been made, as pure suppositions, as mere specimens of the capabilities (if one may so speak) of the Divine Dispensation, as efforts of the mind, reaching forward and venturing beyond its depth, into the abyss of the Divine Counsels. If one supposition could be produced to satisfy the problem, ten {176} thousand others were imaginable; unless, indeed, the resources of God's Providence are exactly commensurate with man's discernment of them. Religious men, amid these searchings of heart, have naturally gone to Scripture for relief; to see if the inspired word anywhere gave them any clue for their inquiries. And from what was there found, and from the speculations of reason upon it, various notions have been hazarded at different times; for instance, that there is a certain momentary ordeal to be undergone by all men after this life, more or less severe according to their spiritual state;—or that certain gross sins in good men will be thus visited, or their lighter failings and habitual imperfections;—or that the very sight of Divine Perfection in the invisible world will be in itself a pain, while it constitutes the purification of the imperfect but believing soul;—or that, happiness admitting of various degrees of intensity, penitents late in life may sink for ever into a state, blissful as far as it goes, but more or less approaching to unconsciousness, and infants dying after Baptism may be as gems paving the courts of heaven, or as the living wheels in the Prophet's vision, while matured Saints may excel in capacity and consciousness of bliss, as well as in dignity, even Archangels. Such speculations are dangerous; the event proves it;—from some of them, in fact, seems to have resulted the doctrine of Purgatory.


Now the texts to which the minds of primitive Christians seem to have been principally drawn, and from which they ventured to argue in behalf of these vague notions, were these two:—"The fire shall try every man's work," &c., and "He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire." These texts, with which many more were found to accord, directed their thoughts one way, as making mention of fire, whatever was meant by the word, as the {177} instrument of trial and purification; and that, at some season between the present time and the Judgment, or at the Judgment. And accordingly, without, perhaps, any distinct or consistent meaning in what they said, or being able to say whether they spoke literally or figuratively, and with an indefinite reference to this life as well as to the intermediate state, they sometimes named fire as the instrument of recovering those who had sinned after their Baptism. That this is the origin of the notion of a Purgatorial fire, I gather from these circumstances;—first, that they do frequently insist on the texts mentioned; next, that they do not agree in the particular sense they put upon them. That they quote them, shows that they rest upon them; that they vary in explaining them, that they had no Catholic sense to guide them. Nothing can be clearer, if these facts be so, than that the doctrine of the Purgatorial fire in all its senses, as far as it was more than a surmise, and was rested on argument, was the result of private judgment [Note 9], exerted, in defect of Tradition, upon the text of Scripture [Note 10].


Thus Hilary says:—"According to the Psalmist it is difficult, and most perilous to human nature, to desire God's judgments. For, since no one living is clean in His sight, how can His judgment be an object of desire? Considering we shall have to give account for every idle word, shall we long for the day of judgment, in which we must {178} undergo that everliving fire and those heavy punishments for cleansing the soul from its sins? Then will a sword pierce the soul of Blessed Mary, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. If that Virgin, which could compass God, is to come into the severity of the judgment, who shall venture to desire to be judged of God? Job, when he had finished his warfare with all calamities of man, and had triumphed, who, when tempted, said, 'The Lord gave,' &c., confessed himself but ashes when he heard God's voice from the cloud, and determined that he ought not to speak another word. And who shall venture to desire God's judgments, whose voice from heaven neither so great a Prophet endured, nor the Apostles, when they were with the Lord in the Mount?" [Note 11]

Lactantius says, "When He judges the just, He shall try them in the fire. Then they whose sins prevail in weight or number, will be tortured in the fire, and burnt in the extremities; but they, who are mature in righteousness and ripeness of virtue, shall not feel that flame, for they have somewhat of God within them, to repel and throw off the force of it. Such is the power of innocence, that from it that fire recoils without harm, as having received a mission from God to burn the irreligious, to retire from the righteous." [Note 12]

Augustine, who approaches more nearly to the present Roman doctrine, speaks thus doubtfully:—"Such a suffering, too, it is not incredible, may happen after this life, and it is a fair question, be it capable of a solution or not, whether some Christians, according to their love of the perishing goods of this world, attain salvation more slowly or speedily through a certain Purgatorial fire." [Note 13] {179}


As this doctrine, thus suggested by certain striking texts, grew into popularity and definiteness, and verged towards its present Roman form, it seemed a key to many others. Great portions of the books of Psalms, Job, and the Lamentations, which express the feelings of religious men under suffering, would powerfully recommend it by the forcible, and most affecting and awful meaning which they received from it. When this was once suggested, all other meanings would seem tame and inadequate.

To these must be added various passages from the Prophets; as that in the beginning of the third chapter of Malachi, which speaks of fire as the instrument of judgment and purification when Christ comes to visit His Church.

Moreover, there were other texts of obscure and indeterminate bearing, which seemed on this hypothesis to receive a profitable meaning; such as our Lord's words in the Sermon on the Mount,—"Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing;" and St. John's expression in the Apocalypse, that "No man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book." [Matt. v. 26. Rev. v. 3.]

Further, the very circumstance that no second instrument of a plenary and entire cleansing from sin was given after Baptism, such as Baptism, led Christians to expect that that unknown means, whatever it was, would be of a more painful nature than that which they had received so freely and instantaneously in infancy; and confirmed, not only the text already cited, "He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire;" but also St. Paul's announcement of the "judgment and fiery indignation" which await those who sin after having been once enlightened, {180} and Christ's warning to the impotent man to sin no more, "lest a worse thing come unto him."

Lastly: the universal and apparently Apostolical custom of praying for the dead in Christ, called for some explanation, the reasons for it not having come down to posterity with it. Various reasons may be supposed quite clear of this distressing doctrine; but it supplied an adequate and a most constraining motive for its observance, to those who were not content to practise it in ignorance.

I do not wish to frame a theory, but anyhow so far seems undeniable, whatever becomes of the rest, and it is all that it concerns us here, that there was no definite Catholic Tradition for Purgatory in early times, and that, instead of it, certain texts of Scripture, in the first instance interpreted by individuals, were put forward as the proof of the doctrine.


6. One more instance shall be adduced from the history of the Church, of an error introduced professedly on grounds of Scripture without the safeguard of Catholic Tradition,—the doctrine of the Pope's universal Bishoprick [Note 14]; though in treating it I shall be obliged to touch on a large subject in a cursory way, which is scarcely desirable amid the present popular misapprehension about it.

That St. Peter was the head of the Apostles and the centre of unity, and that his successors are the honorary Primates of Christendom, in the same general sense in which London (for instance) is the first city in the British Empire, I neither affirm nor deny, for to make a clear {181} statement and then to defend it, would carry us away too far from our main subject. But for argument's sake I will here grant that the Fathers assert it. But what there is not the shadow of a reason for saying that they held, what has not the faintest pretensions of being a Catholic truth, is this, that St. Peter or his successors were and are universal Bishops, that they have the whole of Christendom for their own diocese in a way in which other Apostles and Bishops had and have not, that they are Bishops of Bishops in such a sense as belongs to no other Bishop; in a word, that the difference between St. Peter and the Popes after him, and other Bishops, is not one of mere superiority and degree, but of kind, not of rank, but of class. This the Romanists hold; and they do not hold it by Catholic Tradition; by what then? by private interpretation of Scripture [Note 15].

They will say that the texts in their favour are so very strong, that it is not wonderful that they should quote them. If so, Protestants who rely on what they think strong texts, must see to that; I am not just now engaged in refuting the Roman theologians; I am taking for granted here that they are wrong; and am addressing those who are quite sure that they are wrong, who are quite sure that their "texts" do not prove their point, even supposing they look strong, but who yet do not see how best to meet them. To such persons, I would point out, before going into the consideration of these professed proofs at all, that they have been arrived at by means of that mischievous but very popular principle among us, that in serious matters we may interpret Scripture by Private Judgment, whether the judgment of the individual, or of the day, or of the age, or of the country, or of the civil magistrate, or of the science in fashion, or of mere human criticism (for it matters not {182} which it may be, they are all one) and not by Catholic Tradition. And this I will say, that if Roman Catholics make converts in this country, it will be more by the bold misinterpretation of one or two strong texts, which Protestants have superciliously put aside or explained away, than by any broad recommendations or well-connected arguments which they can produce.


The texts, I need not say, are such as these: "Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona, for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of Heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, shall be loosed in heaven."

Again: "Simon, Simon, behold Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat; but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not; and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren."

And again: "Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me more than these? He saith unto Him, Yea, Lord, Thou knowest that I love Thee. He saith unto him, Feed My lambs." And he repeats twice, "Feed My sheep," with the same question before it.

From these passages, Roman Catholics argue, that St. Peter, with the Popes after him, is the rock or foundation of the Church, as Christ's representative; that all Christians, including the Apostles, are committed to him as sheep by our Lord and Saviour; and that he is especially the keeper and preserver of his brethren's faith.

Now, that no pretence of Catholic Tradition has led to {183} the establishment of this doctrine, I will show from the testimony of two Popes, of very different ages, the one of the sixth, the other of the fifteenth century; the former of whom shall witness that it was not a Catholic doctrine, the latter that it was founded on the wrong interpretation of Scripture.


The evidence of the former of these, St. Gregory, surnamed the Great, is continually used in the controversy; yet it is so striking that I will here introduce it, using for that purpose the words of Leslie. "The Pope," says that able writer, "not being content with that primacy which by the constitution of the Western Church had been affixed to his see, for the better and more easy regulation and carrying on the commerce and correspondence, and managing the jurisdiction of the Episcopal College, and which was granted to him only jure ecclesiastico," by ecclesiastical right, "did set up for an universal and unlimited supremacy, and that jure divino," by divine right, "over all his colleagues, the Bishops of the whole Catholic Church; making all their authority depend upon him alone, and thereby resolving the power of the whole Episcopal College into the single see of Rome. This is one of the new doctrines of Rome. It was not known there in the days of Gregory the Great, Bishop of Rome, who died in the seventh century. Then it first began to be set up by John, Bishop of Constantinople, after the seat of the empire was translated thither. And Gregory the Great wrote severely against it; he calls it a novel doctrine, which had never been known at Rome, or pretended to by any of her Bishops; that it was against the doctrine of the Gospel, against the decrees of the Canons, against the rights of all other Bishops and of all Churches; a horrible injury and scandal to the whole universal {184} Church; that the Bishops were the stars of God, and whoever sought to advance his throne above them, did in that imitate the pride of Lucifer, and was the forerunner of Antichrist; whose times, he said, he then saw approaching, by this most wicked and tyrannical usurpation of one Bishop above all the rest of his colleagues, and to 'style himself Patriarch of almost the whole Ecumenical Church.' ... And Gregory does not only thus severely inveigh against this usurpation, but gives excellent reasons against it; he says, 'If one Bishop be called universal, the universal Church falls, if that universal Bishop falls.' 'But,' says he, 'let that blasphemous name be abhorrent to the hearts of all Christians, by which the honour of all Bishops is taken away, while it is madly arrogated by one to himself.'" [Note 16]


Such is the witness of that great Pope to whom we owe the line of our own primates to this day; so little did he think of claiming as a matter of divine right, that power over us which his successors exercised. Nearly nine centuries after his time, Ăneas Sylvius was consecrated Bishop in his see, under the title of Pius II.; and he, in a work written before he was Pope, had spoken as follows, as Leslie quotes him: "It is the opinion of all that are dead, if that can be called a mere opinion which is fortified with sufficient authorities, that the Pope of Rome is subject to the universal Church; neither dare those who now live deny it. But it is made a doubt among some whether he be subject to a general council; for there are some, whether out of singularity, or that they expect the rewards of their flattery, who have begun to preach new and strange doctrines, and are not afraid to exempt the Pope from the jurisdiction of the Holy Council; for ambition has blinded them, from {185} whence not only this modern, but all schisms to this day have arisen ... These poor men do not consider that these things which they preach are but the words either of Popes who would enlarge their fringes, or of their flatterers; and because such sayings are easily answered, they straight run to the Gospel, and interpret the words of Christ, not according to the meaning of the Holy Ghost, but by their private judgment. And they make much of that which was said, to Peter, 'Thou shalt be called Cephas;' by which they make him head of the Church; and, 'I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven;' and, 'Whatsoever thou bindest upon earth;' and, 'I have prayed for thee, Peter, that thy faith fail not;' and, 'Feed My sheep;' and, 'Launch out into the deep;' and, 'Fear not, thou shalt henceforth catch men;' and that Christ commanded Peter alone, as Prince of the Apostles, to pay tribute for himself and for Him; and because Peter drew the net to shore full of great fishes; and that Peter alone drew his sword in defence of Christ. All which passages these men after a strange manner do exaggerate, wholly neglecting the expositions of' the Holy Doctors." [Note 17]


Enough has now been said in illustration of errors arising from the exercise of Private Judgment on the text of Scripture. The practical conclusion is obvious. Let those whom it concerns be cautious how they countenance a procedure which has led, not only to Arianism, but to tenets which Protestants of every denomination will agree in condemning,—Purgatory and the Pope's Supremacy [Note 18].

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1. John viii. 57. 1 Cor. ix. 5. Isa. lii. 14; liii. 2.
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2. Euseb. Hist. vii. 24.
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3. Tertull. de Baptismo 15. Concil. Carthag. apud Cyprian. pp. 230-240.
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4. Cypr. ad Quint. Ep. 71. ed Bened.
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5. De dono Persever. 40, 41, 48, 49. Prosp. ad Aug. Ep. 225.
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6. Ego, ubicunque sis, ubicunque legere ista potueris, te ante istos judices intus in corde tuo constituo, … sanctos et in sanctÔ EcclesiÔ illustres antistites Dei ... ut in eis timeas, non ipsos, sed Illum qui sibi eos utilia vasa formavit et sancta templa construxit ... Nullas nobiscum vel vobiscum amicitias attenderunt, vel inimicitias exercuerunt, neque nobis neque vobis irati sunt, neque nos neque vos miserati sunt. Quod invenerunt in EcclesiÔ tenuerunt; quod didicerunt, docuerunt; quod a patribus acceperunt, hoc filiis tradiderunt. In Julian. Pelag. ii. 34. Vid. also, de Nat. et Grat. 71 &c. Opus imperf. in Jul. vi.
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7. [Private judgment; yes, so it may be called, while it is exercised simply by individual writers. But when it is taken up by the Church it is no longer "private," but has the sanction of her, who, as our author observed above, p. 158, "may be truly said almost infallibly to interpret Scripture."]
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8. [I have no fault to find with this history of the growth of a revealed doctrine. It is in substance an instance of the process of its development.]
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9. [In proportion as the Church took up and recognized the doctrine, it ceased to be "the result of private judgment."]
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10. Cardinal Fisher (supra, p. 72) fully grants that the Roman doctrine was an introduction of later times, "partly from Scripture, partly from revelations." In Luther. 18. No allusion has been made above to the supernatural appearances on which it has been rested, for the appeal to these seems to have come after the belief in it, when people felt that some clear sanction was necessary, as a substitute for Tradition.
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11. Tract in Ps. cxviii. 3. ž 12. [The passage which follows from Lactantius may be taken to explain what is here said about the Blessed Virgin. "Such is the power," &c.]
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12. Div. Instit. vii. 21.
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13. Enchir. 69.
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14. [It seems to me plain from history that the Popes from the first considered themselves to have a universal jurisdiction, and against this positive fact the negative fact that other sees and countries were not clear about it, does not avail. The doctrine doubtless was the subject of a development. There is far less difficulty in a controversial aspect in the proof of the Pope's supremacy than in that of the canon of Scripture.]
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15. [How private? since it is the interpretation of the whole Latin Church?]
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16. Leslie, Case of the Regale and the Pontificate, 16. For specimens of the passages referred to vide the end of this Lecture, Note 1, p. 186. [The note follows—NR]

NOTE 1 on pp. 183, 4.

{186} The passages in St. Gregory are such as the following. "Si ergo ille [Paulus] membra dominici corporis certis extra Christum quasi capitibus, et ipsis quidem Apostolis subjici partialiter evitavit, tu quid Christo, universalis scilicet ecclesia capiti, in extremi judicii es dicturus examine, qui cuncta ejus membra tibimet conaris universalis appellatione supponere? Quis, rogo, in hoc tam perverso vocabulo, nisi ille ad imitandum proponitur, qui, despectis angelorum legionibus secum socialiter constitutis, ad culmen conatus est singularitatis erumpere, ut et nulli subesse et solus omnibus prŠesse videretur? Qui etiam dixit, 'In cœlum conscendam, super astra cœli, &c.' Quid enim fratres tui omnes universalis EcclesiŠ Episcopi, nisi astra cœli sunt?" Greg. Ep. v. 18. "Triste tamen valde est, ut patienter feratur, quatenus despectis omnibus, prŠdictus frater et coepiscopus meus solus conatur appellari Episcopus. Sed in hac ejus superbiÔ quid aliud nisi propinqua jam Antichristi esse tempora designatur? Quia illum videlicet imitatur, qui spretis in sociali gaudio angelorum legionibus, &c." Ibid. 21. "Per sanctum Chalcedonensem Synodum Pontifici Sedis ApostolicŠ, cui Deo disponente deservio, hoc universitatis nomen oblatum est. Sed nullus unquam decessorum meorum hoc tam profano vocabulo uti consensit, quia videlicet, si unus Patriarcha universalis dicitur, Patriarcharum nomen cŠteris derogatur." Ibid. 43. "Si unus Episcopus vocatur universalis, universa Ecclesia corruit, si unus universus cadit." vii. 27. "Ego autem fidenter dico, quia quisquis se universalem sacerdotem vocat, vel vocari desiderat, in elatione suÔ Antichristum prŠcurrit, quia superbiendo se cŠteris prŠponit ... Quisquis iste est qui solus sacerdos appellari appetit, super reliquos sacerdotes se extollit." Ibid. 33. What makes these passages more forcible is, that Gregory altogether recognized the application of the texts above quoted (in Matt. xvi. &c.) to the Bishop of Rome, vid. Ep. v. 20, "Cunctis enim Evangelium scientibus liquet, quod voce Dominica sancto et omnium Apostolorum Petro principi Apostolo, totius EcclesiŠ cura commissa est ... et tamen universalis Apostolus non vocatur," &c., and he admitted that the title Universal had been applied to the Roman Bishop at Chalcedon; yet he does not treat its use as resting on an Apostolical Tradition.


[Follows Note 2 on page 188 in the text—NR]

[I used to consider the passages of St. Gregory here quoted as forming one of the strongest arguments adducible against Papal Supremacy; but, on carefully considering his circumstances and his drift, I take the view of Neander and Milman, neither of whom discern in them that special polemical force which Anglicans assign to them in controversy. There are two patent and important facts which are preliminary conditions of a just appreciation of them.

1. The Fourth General Council, A.D. 452, called the Pope by the title, as Gregory himself observes, supr., of Bishop of the Universal Church; as St. Cyril at the Third, A.D. 431, had called him "Archbishop of the world," i.e. Universal Archbishop.

2. St. Gregory himself went far towards exercising in fact such universal ecclesiastical jurisdiction over Christendom.

It follows that in the passages in question, he objects, not to the thing, but 1, to the name, and 2, to John of Constantinople as claiming it. His own prerogatives were undoubted, and did not come into question; he himself was far more than a patriarch, but here was a Bishop exalting himself above his brother patriarchs, making himself sole Bishop in the Church, and using a title which even Gregory, who might have used it, thought unbecoming in one who was the "Servus servorum Dei."

Milman writes thus: "He heard with astonishment and indignation that John, Patriarch of Constantinople, had publicly, openly, assumed the title of Universal Bishop, a title which implied his absolute supremacy over the Christian world ... The pretensions of the successors of St. Peter were thus contemptuously set aside ... Is this a time, chosen by an arbitrary prelate to invade the undoubted rights of St. Peter by a haughty and pompous title? ... Let all Christian hearts reject the blasphemous name. It was once applied by the Council of Chalcedon in honour of St. Peter, to the Bishop of Rome; but the more humble Pontiffs of Rome would not assume a title injurious to the rest of the Priesthood."

Neander: "Eulogius, patriarch of Alexandria, had addressed Gregory as 'Papa universalis,' a title which the great bishops used to apply to each other; but Gregory found it offensive ... On the same principle he found fault with John of Constantinople, when he assumed the title of Universal Bishop ... True, he was so blinded by his passionate zeal for what he supposed to be the injured honour of the Roman Church as to make an important matter of it."]
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17. Leslie, Ibid. The original is appended to this Lecture, note 2, p. 186. [The note follows—NR]

NOTE 2 on p. 184.

These are the actual words of Ăneas Sylvius:—"Opinio, sicut jam liquet, omnium mortuorum est, si opinio vocari debet quŠ idoneis confirmatur authoribus, quia Romanus pontifex universali ecclesiŠ subjectus existit; neque hoc viventes negare audent: illud autem apud aliquos revocatur in dubium, an id quoque de generali concilio credi oporteat. Sunt enim aliqui, sive avidi gloriŠ sive quod adulando prŠmia expectant, qui peregrinas quasdam et omnino novas prŠdicare doctrinas cœperunt, ipsumque summum pontificem ex jurisdictione sacri concilii demere non verentur. ExcŠcavit namque illos ambitio, Ó quÔ non solum hoc modernum sed omnium usque in {187} hanc diem schismata suborta reperiuntur. Namque ut olim pestiferam illam bestiam, quŠ per Arrium primo quasi de infernis extulerat caput, cupiditas episcopatűs induxit, sic hodiernam hŠresin illi prŠcipue nutriunt, quos jam mendicare suppudet, quorum alius clamat, subditorum facta judicari a papÔ, Romanum vero pontificem solius Dei reservari arbitrio. Alius dicit, quia primam sedem nemo judicabit, quod neque ab Augusto, neque ab omni clero, neque a regibus, neque a populo valeat judicari. Alius asserit ejectionem summorum Pontificum sibi Dominum reservasse. Alius vero asserere non veretur, Romanum Pontificem, quamvis animas catervatim secum ad inferos trahat, nullius reprehensioni fore subjectum. Nec considerant miseri, quia quŠ prŠdicant tantopere verba, aut ipsorum summorum pontificum sunt suas fimbrias extendentium, aut illorum qui eis adulabantur. Et quia hujusmodi dicta solutionem habent, recurrent statim ad evangelium, et verba Christi non prout Spiritus Sancti sensus exposcit, sed suopte ingenio interpretantur. Plurimumque illud extollunt, quia Petro sit dictum, 'Tu vocaberis Cephas,' per quod illum caput ecclesiŠ faciunt: 'Tibi dabo claves regni cœlorum,' et 'Quodcunqe ligaveris' &c. &c. ... QuŠ omnia hi homines miro modo sublimant, expositionibus sanctorum doctorum omnino posthabitis; quos si, ut par esset, considerarent, manifeste cognoscerent, quia ex auctoritatibus supradictis Romanus Pontifex non conjunctim, sed separatim omnibus prŠest." Ăn. Sylv. de Gest. Bas. Concil. i. p. 772, Ed. Paris, 1666. After Ăneas Sylvius became Pope he retracted his former doctrine in a letter addressed to the university of Cologne. It runs as follows: "In minoribus agentes, non sacris ordinibus initiati, cum BasileŠ inter eos versaremur, qui se generale concilium et universalem Ecclesiam reprŠsentare aiebant, dialogorum quendam libellum ad vos scripsimus, in quo de auctoritate concilii generalis, ac de gestis Basiliensium et Eugenii PapŠ contradictione, ea probavimus vel damnavimus, quŠ probanda vel damnanda censuimus ... sed quis non errat mortalis? ... 'Omnes declinaverunt, simul inutiles facti sunt, non est qui faciat bonum non est usque ad unum' &c. … Nos homines sumus, et ut homines erravimus; neque imus inficias, multa quŠ diximus, scripsimus, egimus, damnari posse; verum non ut Arrius, Eutyches, Macedonius, aut Nestorius, &c. ... Cogimur igitur, dilecti filii, beatum Augustinum imitari, qui cum aliqua insuis voluminibus erronea inseruisset, retractiones edidit." Then after unsaying the passage above quoted, and quoting the texts in the sense it condemns, he continues, "Si quid adversus hanc doctrinam inveneritis aut in dialogis aut in epistolis nostris (multa enim scripsimus adhuc juvenes) respuite alique contemnite; sequimini quŠ nunc dicimus, et seni magis quam juveni credite, nec privatum hominem pluris facite quam Pontificem. Ăneam rejicite, Pium recipite; illud gentile nomen parentes indidere nascenti; hoc Christianum in Apostolatu suscepimus." He then answers the objection that he had changed his mind on his promotion. "Haud ita est, longe aliter actum. Audite, filii, conversationem nostram, brevis narratio erit, &c. Eramus adhuc pŠne laici, quando ad Eugenii obedientiam redivimus. Ex BasileÔ clericali tantum charactere insigniti {188} recessimus," &c. Ibid. pp. 841, &c. However he was an active partisan of the rights of the Council for a whole ten years, and did not pass over to the Pope till he was 40. He was raised to the Papacy about thirteen years after.
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18. The following passage from Sarpi's account of the proceedings at Trent is in point: "The major part of the divines said ... that the doctrine of the Church of Rome ... is in great part founded by the Pope and School divines, upon some passage in Scripture, which if every one had liberty to examine whether it was well translated ... these new grammarians would confound all, and would be made judges and arbiters of faith," lib. 2. p. 146.
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