Familiar Conversations on Romanism

Fourth Conversation


J. N. Darby.

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127 Note another point here. The patriarchal and metropolitan authority really followed the civil divisions when Constantinople became an imperial city. The Council of Constantinople, professedly for that reason, made it next in honour to old Rome, declaring that Rome had the first place, because it had been the ancient seat of empire. So the prelates who sat at Antioch and Alexandria respectively, as the great cities of Africa and Asia, were patriarchs there. And this was the case with all metropolitan cities. The Eparchies had patriarchs, the provinces metropolitans, and the chief cities bishops. All followed the civil order. This is an historical fact. Two general councils state it in establishing Constantinople, which before was not even a metropolitan see, but subject to Heraclea. And the different metropolitans were forbidden to outstep their provinces; only in the Council of Chalcedon, the dioceses (which at that time meant large civil divisions, including provinces) of Asia, Pontus, and Thrace, were made subject to Constantinople. This aggrandisement of Constantinople led to unceasing war between its ecclesiastical chief and Rome, ending in the separation of East and West, and still more jealously between it and Alexandria, which, till Constantinople was given the second place, had enjoyed that pre-eminence. To end this sad history, John of Constantinople took the title of universal bishop. Gregory writes to the Emperor that such pride proves the time of antichrist was come, and to the patriarchs of Alexandria and Antioch, to stir them up against him, because their authority was gone if they allowed this; and, he says, the faith too. He quotes Matthew 16:18, "On this rock," and says, "Yet Peter never claimed to be universal apostle" (Letter to Maurice, p. 300, Ven. 1770, to the Patriarchs, p. 325.)

128 This Maurice, whom he relates as the most pious lord constituted by God, had just murdered his master and predecessor to get the empire. He says in both that Chalcedon had offered Rome the title, and Leo had refused it, which was a great untruth. Who would think that we are occupied with those who profess to be the followers of the blessed Lord (who forbade withal any to be great among His disciples), or that such authorities could be alleged as a foundation and security for divine faith? Rome, as a great centre, did early acquire great power, and sought greater. The Emperors leaving Rome left them free. The setting up Constantinople as a new patriarchate above Alexandria and Antioch excited the jealousy of those sees, and they often appealed to Rome to help them. Rome profited by this too. In the west was no other patriarch, so Rome had free scope, though for centuries Africa openly and positively condemned and rejected all appeals there, decreeing, so late as Augustine, that if any one did so appeal, he should be excommunicated, as we have already seen. When the Emperors lost the West, the German nations having overrun the western empire, the popes formed the only centre, and, these nations being heathen or Arian, they extended their influence gradually over them. Ireland and Britain, strange to say, remained entirely independent till much later, the eighth century.

The evangelization of Germany and Switzerland was by British missionaries, though the pope got hold of Boniface, and so of Germany, making him archbishop of Mayence. But this was not all; actual and deliberate fraud, as is now owned by all, was the great means of the popes establishing their authority in the church. There was a collection of canons, that is, of church rules, by Dionysius, containing various decrees of popes. These were continually added to, and among the rest a collection of them by Isidore, of Seville in Spain, a widely-respected man. This last dated from 633 to 636, as its contents proved; but in the ninth century a new edition of the Isidorian collection appeared, with spurious decretals of early popes, containing, as a matter of acknowledged right, all they now pretended to — others interpolated to the same purpose. It was a regular system of fraud and forgery. This the popes constantly used as proof of the legitimacy of their claims as having subsisted from the earliest days. No one questions the forgery now. They quote a translation of scripture then current as cited by popes who lived long before it was made; they make false dates of two hundred years, and the like. The French bishops, in the question between Pope Nicolaus I and Hincmar about the excommunication of Bishop Rothad by the latter, looked up Dionysius, and called them in question even then; but Nicolaus persisted, and reminded them they often quoted them for their own purposes, so it passed into authority till later and more critical ages. Only think of resting the foundations of faith and infallibility on such materials as these! It was on these spurious decretals and subsequent forgeries that the fabric of the pope's authority was all built.

129 Father O. Nobody pretends now that these decretals are not forgeries, but it was in the dark ages they were current, when there was very little critical discernment anywhere.

N*. All true, but they were used by the pope as giving him his true position, and sustaining his loftiest claims. He gave away kingdoms and hemispheres, and had, he said, the world entirely at his disposal; he rested his title on these decretals. And if there was an infallible teacher and rule, how came there to be such dark ages? how did they get so dark? And how can I recognize as a security for truth one who either could not discern imposition from truth, or was rogue enough to profit by it because people were in the dark? One or other of these was the case of the pope. There is no doubt or question that their pretensions to authority and power were founded on, and justified by, these spurious documents, forged in order to give it to them. A dark age could not detect the falsehood, but this does not affect the question of the forging them, and the use of them by the popes. And they did so as long as they could. It was only at the Reformation the fraud was detected, and at last Romanist writers were obliged to give them up, and bow their head to the shame of it. Is all that like Christ, or the truth, or security for the truth, as it is in Jesus? The popes founded their authority and rights on these forgeries of their friends. Either they knew they were spurious, or they did not. If they did know it, they were unprincipled impostors; if they did not, their pretended infallibility is not worth a straw. They pronounced things ex cathedra continually on the ground of these decretals being genuine, and appealed to them, and they were all false forgeries, forged to give them this power.

130 However, what gave them the West lost them the East, and the Greek church remained independent to this day, so that a Catholic or universal church has never subsisted in unity since the ninth century.

Father O. But how can these poor people judge of all this history, or found their faith upon it? I do not see any good in pursuing such questions.

N*. They can see that the pretensions of Rome, founded on Matthew 16:18, alleged to be so interpreted by all the Fathers, are false pretensions, and that Fathers contradict it. As to founding their faith upon it, they surely cannot. But that is exactly what I am contending for. It is perfectly ridiculous to have a poor man founding his faith on ponderous folios of Fathers, and on a consent which does not exist. The pretensions of the pope, your pretensions, are no foundations for the church to be built on. As to feeding sheep, the Fathers insist that it applies to all pastors.

We have councils to consider, to see if they are infallible; though how some dozen, and even thirty, folios in Greek and Latin are to help an inquiring soul to the truth of doctrine is hard to tell. They are an entangled web of questions and ambitions of every kind. They were never begun till the Emperor, being Christian, called them to settle disputes, and quite as numerous ones, and more so, decided for error as for the truth. And who is to decide which is general? The pope never called a general council while the church was united; he has only called such as he calls general since the East and West have been separated and hostile, so that a general council, whatever it was worth, was impossible. The early ones referred their decrees to the Emperors, and the Emperors held the chief place and authority in them. Next, they were not reckoned infallible by the gravest authorities among Fathers and popes, so that they can be no foundation for faith. They were gathered to settle points in question, not to lay any foundation. There were none for three hundred years after the apostles' days, and never any till the Emperor Constantine, the first Christian Emperor, who thought of, called one, and directed it. Thirdly, their history will tell us what a poor foundation they are for faith, for Romanists cannot even clearly tell us which are general councils, nor shew any unanimity as to their authority.

131 The truth is, there never was such. All the first councils in the East were called by the Emperors, and under their authority, and at the council in which the greatest number of Western prelates were found, there were not more than six of them. The later ones were called by the popes in the West, and no Eastern prelates were there. The empire was then in rapid decay, and had wholly disappeared in the West. In the ninth century the Eastern church was entirely separated from Rome. The only council where both Easterns and Westerns were found was that of Florence, in the fifteenth century; the Eastern Emperor had need of the West, being pressed by the Turks, and sent some Eastern bishops; but the steps they took were protested against then by the most eminent among them, Mark of Ephesus, and were repudiated by all the Greeks on their return.

It is extremely difficult to say what constitutes a general council, as we shall see when we come to their history. Those who plead their divine origin appeal to Acts 15; but here there was no general council at all. The apostles and, if we look beyond apostolic authority, the elders of one church assembled to consider the matter. At this time there were churches throughout Palestine, in Syria, where the question arose, and in the south of Asia Minor, and settled in full order by the Apostle Paul where he had been. They do not hear a word of the said council, only some went from Antioch, where the question had been raised, to propose it at Jerusalem. The truth is, it was a question whether Judaism was to be forced on the Gentiles. God, in mercy, did not allow it to be rejected at Antioch and prevail at Jerusalem, so as to split the church in two at once; but in His gracious wisdom, under the apostolic guidance, led the Jewish part of the church to decide that the old ordinances they clung to were not binding on Gentiles. This was most gracious. But most certainly there was no general council, but the apostles and a single church. And the epistle sent out so declares.

Under the heathen Emperors there were constantly provincial councils, and all was regulated within each province. When Constantine had succeeded in finally subduing the heathen Emperors, he took up the church, finding it distracted about Arianism and the time of celebrating Easter. He sent Hosius, his very particular friend, to Alexandria, the great scene of conflict, and wrote a letter to make truce between Alexander and Arius, saying they were disputing about trifles, but in vain. He then called the bishops from all parts to meet and settle the question.* The ecclesiastics were not the movers in it.** Constantine appointed the place of meeting, which was in his palace at Nice, and when they were assembled, came in in a splendid dress, on which Eusebius, the ecclesiastical historian, expatiates, and on his fine figure, and with great airs of modesty took his place amongst them. He over and over again says to bishops in his letters, it was his pride to be their fellow-servant, and declares that he had undertaken with all the bishops to settle the question. It has been discussed who presided. It is a vain discussion. Constantine did. He had a little modest golden seat at the top of the room, and the bishops sat on seats down the sides. The first on the right said a few words of compliment to him, how happy they were to see him there; and then he opened the session with a long speech.

{*The truth is, what are called general councils were all of them, till the Emperors lost their power, measures taken by them to get peace among church leaders. They managed and governed them, and sanctioned what was done. They were for ever meddling in church matters, and the various bishops recognized continually their right to depose them, and the like, and they exercised it.}

{**The uncertainty which hangs over the Council of Nice is curious for no unimportant event. Eusebius, in his Life of Constantine, says expressly there were two hundred and fifty prelates there. Afterwards it was held there were three hundred and eighteen, but reference was then made to the number of Abraham's servants, which was then held to be a great mystery.}

132 Nor was this all. As soon as he had done, neither his fine figure, nor purple robe and jewels, restrained the bishops: they began disputing fiercely. He soothed some, reasoned with others, encouraged and approved others, and so got all to sign the creed but five, who were banished, though some of them came round. And on a very strange explanation of "consubstantial" by the Emperor himself, Eusebius also signed the word. Strange to say, it had been positively condemned in a considerable Eastern council before.* Afterwards a subsequent Emperor turned Arian, and all the bishops Arian with him. One Emperor was Arian in the East, and another Nicene in the West. The Easterns were all Arian, the Western Nicene; a few rare exceptions were true to their conscience. The pope was not at the council, it is said, through old age, but sent two presbyters; not only did they not preside, but never signed; first, Hosius, the Emperor's private friend, did that. Constantine, in his letter to Egypt after the council, recommending unity, repeats his having called the council, and undertaken the business. Though this council, under God's good providence, may have been in some respects helpful in stopping so horrible a doctrine as Arianism, yet a vast number of prelates, sound in the faith, were far from being satisfied, especially when Marcellus of Ancyra, a great stickler for the council, who even assisted at it, was condemned as a heretic, and deposed; having run, through his views on the subject, into denying the eternal Sonship of Christ, and being suspected of Sabellianism.

{*In the Council of Antioch, where Paul of Samosata was condemned Then the very word, omoousios, which was afterwards the orthodox test of Arian or not Arian, was condemned as false doctrine. Athanasius, de Synodis, 43, says both judgments are to be respected; that we are not to think these seventy prelates at Antioch were wrong, and seeks to reconcile the two. In Nice, if I understand the matter aright, as distinctly stated in the authentic accounts of the council, which are confirmed by Ambrose, Eusebius, who was Arian, or semi-Arian, in his views, wrote (I suspect referring to this council), saying, If we say that He is Son of God, and uncreated, you begin to own Him omoousios, (Ambr. 3, de Fide 15.) And the council took up the word thereupon, and made it a test.}

133 However our point now is the Emperors calling the councils, and here the Emperor managed it altogether. The next council called general is that of Constantinople. Yet here we are at a loss to know why it is a general one. There was only a hundred and fifty Eastern bishops. The popes Leo, Gelasius, and Gregory rejected the canons, only accepting the doctrine. Yet the canons were always received in the early and are in the code of the canons of the universal church. The popes took no notice, and had nothing at all to say to it, when it was going on. Up to this Arianism ruled under Valens. Now Theodosius turned all the Arian bishops out. Here again Theodosius convoked the council, chose the bishop of Constantinople, and the council formally refers all its acts to his ratification. (See the first document in Hardouin, Conc., vol. 1, 807.)

As to the Third so-called General Council, it is quite certain the Emperor Theodosius the younger called it.

It is well, perhaps, we should look into the character of this council, and the principal figure in it, a little closer. If it were not for the heartless and relentless persecutions he underwent, there is nothing in Nestorius' character to attract regard. An eloquent, it would seem a vain, man, on whose character there was no reproach, he had a reputation for sanctity as a monk, and thought himself perhaps a great theologian. He came from Antioch, whence Chrysostom had been called to Constantinople, and was called to that see, to the bitter disappointment of two others who aspired to it.

134 In judging the expression, "the mother of God" (a monstrous and really offensive expression), although he fully admitted the two natures and one Person, he used expressions justly objected to, and which his enemies did not fail to take hold of; but he did not really swerve from the truth as far as Cyril, who over and over again asserts that Christ had only one nature.* At Ephesus, at the instance of John, patriarch of Antioch, he consented to use it even as capable of a good sense, as he had indeed already stated in his reply to Proclus' sermon.

{*Thus, in his 17th Paschal Homily (v, p. 2, 230 B) he denies that it was as man He grew in wisdom and stature. That is to divide and make two Christs, he says. So in his first and second letters to Luciessus (v, p. 2, 137, 143), after the union we do not divide the natures from one another. We do not cut the one and undivided into two sons, but we say one son, and, as the Fathers have said, one nature (phusin) of God the Word made flesh. Again, after union in an ineffable way, he shewed to us one nature of the Son, but, as I said, made flesh. And so very frequently. What was offensive in Nestorius was his saying that he could not say a child of two years old was God; but he excused this as said in the heat of argument, and urged that his words should not be insisted on. It was verbally at Ephesus. Cyril's statements are in elaborate treatises on doctrine. The Council of Chalcedon, though sanctioning the Council of Ephesus and Cyril by name, condemns (Actio Quinta) in express terms what in express terms Cyril taught, and what Nestorius and the Easterns objected to.}

I now leave him till he appears in the history of the council, and turn to Cyril the great actor in it, a man who is the very stay of modern high-church notions. The church of Alexandria was a very powerful church indeed, and its patriarchs had been always counted next to Rome in dignity. But Constantinople, having been made the seat of empire, began somewhat to eclipse its grandeur, while the pope was left by the same fact freer than ever. The jealousy of Constantinople was great at Alexandria, which continually looked to Rome as a support equally jealous of Constantinople, which originally had been a subordinate city. The predecessor of Cyril had got Chrysostom banished, now counted a saint, but who died, banished from his see, and put out of church records, as unworthy of being recognized among Christians, in what were called the Diptychs, a kind of ecclesiastical record of bishops' names. Rome had restored him, Alexandria not, so that there was a breach of communion between them. Cyril began by persecuting the Novatians, a body separated from the general church, and seizing their property. The Jews, very numerous there since the time of Alexander, having raised sedition against the Christians and slain many, Cyril put himself at the head of his adherents and the Parabolani (a kind of military monks whose nominal office was to visit the sick, etc., in seasons of plague or the like), attacked the synagogues, and drove the Jews out of the city, and gave up their houses to be sacked. Recourse was had to the emperor. The monks, so famous and so numerous in Egypt, attacked the governor and wounded him. The individual who wounded him was executed. Cyril canonized him, and ordered him to be honoured as a martyr. Other violences took place, and brought on the intervention of the emperor.

135 At Constantinople, one of Nestorius' clergy preached against the expression "mother of God," and then Proclus, previously candidate for the see, made a famous sermon for it. Nestorius then answered him, and the controversy was commenced. Cyril wrote to the monks on the subject, and this letter Cyril sent to Constantinople by his agents, then pretending in his letter to Pope Celestine that it had been brought by some to Constantinople. The pope now became engaged in the matter, and sided with Cyril, finding the court against him. Cyril wrote then, and particularly to the Emperor's sister, for which the Emperor rebuked him severely, as sowing divisions in the imperial family. She was ill-disposed to Nestorius, who had charged her with too great familiarity with some great man about court. At last, Nestorius, it seems, proposing it, a council was called at Ephesus by the Emperor, and the patriarchs ordered to bring only a few bishops to settle the question. Cyril came at once with as many as he could bring. Meanwhile, the pope commissioned Cyril to act for him in carrying out the Roman judgment against Nestorius, who was summoned to retract within ten days from receipt of the monition; and Cyril published twelve anathemas as to the doctrine of the incarnation, containing his views. The Emperor, in calling the council, put Cyril on his trial as well as Nestorius, and the former, not only as to the doctrine, but as to crimes committed at Alexandria. Cyril had at the same time excommunicated Nestorius, and sent to him the denunciation, and exhorted the monks of Constantinople to be firm. These and those in Egypt were main agents in the violence that took place. The patriarch of Antioch and the Eastern church were opposed to Cyril's views, and he wrote a work at this time against one which had been approved by a council at Antioch.

136 It is attempted to be said that Theodosius summoned the council by advice of the pope; but all honest Roman Catholic historians admit it was not, and could not be so. The pope held a local council at Rome, excommunicated Nestorius, and commissioned Cyril to carry it out, and Theodosius' notice to the pope of the Ephesian Council came first from the Emperor to Celestinus after that. The dates prove it. Cyril presided at the council, such as it was, and all was over as to Nestorius before the legates arrived, and they then agreed to what had been done. Nestorius, and those with him, and John of Antioch, never took part in it at all. Nestorius came first with the ten bishops from Constantinople, Cyril with some fifty from Egypt. The Emperor's lieutenant ordered them to wait for the Oriental bishops who could not yet arrive. This did not suit Cyril. He met with his party, which was the more numerous, on June 22, summoned Nestorius, who did not go, nor some sixty-eight bishops who were now with him. Cyril went on, suspended and degraded Nestorius from the clergy without further ceremony, and his twelve anathemas were read, approved by silence, for there is no other positive decision of the assembly found as to them, though it be asserted by their adversaries and not questioned till afterwards, when they were used by the Monophysites,* and all was finished on this main point. Cyril drew up the acts of the council and (it is admitted) dressed them as it suited him, and there are gaps hard to understand. Candidius, the Emperor's lieutenant, protested against it as well. Memnon raised a tumult in the city, so that Nestorius was protected by troops, nor did his partisans, as it appears, refrain from violence.

{*The reader may consult Tillemont.}

A few days after John of Antioch came; he would not receive Cyril's deputies at all; met with the bishops who came with him — he had only, it is said, brought three from each province — and he deposed and excommunicated Cyril and Memnon. The result was, both parties appealed to the Emperor, who sent a commissioner. The Emperor confirmed the depositions of the three. Then eight deputies went from each party. The Emperor ordered Nestorius, Cyril, and Memnon into custody, and they were kept prisoners.

137 Meanwhile matters went against Nestorius at court. A mob of monks had beset the palace. Cyril found means to escape and get to Alexandria. Nestorius' mainstay at court died. The Emperor sent Nestorius back to his monastery at Antioch, and let the bishops go home. Cyril had already gone back, having escaped from his confinement; the Emperor peremptorily refused to condemn John and the Easterns, and they went home. Cyril spent all the treasures of the church of Alexandria, which was very wealthy, and brought it into considerable debt in bribing the courtiers, and even the Emperor's sister. This we know, not only from the accusations of his enemies, but from the statements of John of Antioch, of Acacius of Berea; and the letter of his archdeacon and Syncellus states that Cyril had sent the presents, and the list is given to whom the presents should be made. This sister of the Emperor, made a saint of afterwards, married a nobleman, on condition of not living with him as a husband, to raise him to the throne. But Cyril and Memnon remained excommunicated by the East, which denounced his anathemas as heretical. The Emperor sent an officer to make peace. The Easterns refused to the end the anathemas of Cyril, and would not condemn Nestorius, nor indeed say anything about him. The Emperor's officer finally succeeded as to John and the majority. But they would not accept Cyril's doctrines. They drew up a document which condemned Cyril's anathemas; he explained, then he would not retract them, but signed the Eastern confession of faith which set them aside. Then John and most of the Easterns came into communion with him, and they condemned Nestorius. But a great many, firmer than John, would not, and two or three whole provinces separated from Antioch. Then John got the Emperor to persecute. Those who would not yield were driven from their sees. These provinces after some time were reunited with Antioch, and the greater part of the unyielding bishops went into Persia, where the Emperor's authority did not reach, and Nestorianism remained a large body with a hierarchy, and, though now overrun by Mahometanism, still subsists. In the sixth century it had christianized large tracts of Asia, and China itself was in the main nominally Christian. Nor was this all.

138 The successors of Cyril held that Christ, after the union of the divine with the human, had only one nature, and this has subsisted with its hierarchy in Alexandria ever since, and constitutes the Jacobite or Coptic church of Egypt, Abyssinia, etc., though also oppressed by Mahometanism, but having its hierarchy like Nestorianism, with the patriarch of Alexandria for its head. Nor was this the only result. The term "mother of God" pleased the heathens as Nestorius alleged. And in the West they flocked in swarms into the paganised church, the heathen temples and worshippers being turned into Christian churches and congregations without more trouble.

I add the account given by a Roman Catholic of this result in the West, in an essay crowned by the French Royal Academy: "They [the peoples] received this new devotion [to the Virgin] with a sometimes too great enthusiasm, since for many Christians it became the whole of Christianity. The pagans did not even endeavour to defend their altars against the progress of this worship of the mother of God. They opened to Mary the temples they had kept shut against Jesus Christ. It is true they mingled often with the adoration of Mary their pagan ideas, their vain practices, those ridiculous superstitions from which they seemed unable to separate themselves; but the church rejoiced to see them enter into her bosom, because she knew well that it would be easy, with the help of time, to purify from its alloy a worship whose essence was purity itself. Thus some prudent concessions [he had before spoken of these] temporarily made to heathen manners (or morals), and the influence exercised by the worship of the Virgin — such are the two elements of force which the church used to overcome the resistance of the last pagans." He adds in a note, "Amongst a multitude of proofs, I choose only one to shew with what ease the worship of Mary swept before it the remains of paganism, which still covered Europe. Notwithstanding the preaching of St. Hilarion, Sicily had remained faithful to the ancient worship. After the Council of Ephesus, we see its eight most beautiful pagan temples, in a very short space of time, become churches under the invocation of the Virgin." He then gives the list, "The ecclesiastical annals of each country furnish similar testimonies." (Beugnot, Histoire de la destruction du Paganisme en Occident, 54, 12, chap. 1, vol. 2, 270-1.)

139 Nor was this council held then for an ecumenical council. No Western was there unless a deacon from Africa, and the pope's legates, after Nestorius was condemned. Gennadius, patriarch of Constantinople, wrote against the twelve anathemas. The Eutychians always appealed to Cyril's famous sentence, 'The union was made out of two natures; but after the union there was one nature of the word incarnate in Christ.' I give it as Petavius states it. I have already given the words from Cyril. No one can doubt that Eutychianism (the doctrine of one nature in Christ) and the Jacobite church of Alexandria were the fruit of Cyril's doctrine. He says positively that Athanasius stated expressly (and quotes it), that there was only one nature after incarnation. A century afterwards this was denied and is still uncertain. But that Cyril does not really deserve confidence, it would be hard to refuse his testimony.

The truth is, that both Nestorius and Cyril were meddling with matters beyond their depth, and that both used unjustifiable language. But the orthodox East never received Cyril's anathemas. He signed their creed. The subsequent Council of Chalcedon alone gave credit to this Council of Ephesus, but declared Theodoret and Ibas orthodox, who had written books favouring Nestorianism; but a general council after that (Constantinople) declared these same books heretical, saving always the authority of Chalcedon. The Cyril party — very probably the Emperor's sister, St. Pulcheria, who was charged with incest, and had great power over the Emperor — persecuted Nestorius, who was banished to the desert and died in want.

For the authorities for the details I have given the reader may consult Baronius (who, of course, condemns Nestorius, and approves Cyril), Tillemont, a great favourer of Cyril, also Dupin, who is much more moderate. If he can read German, Walch's Heresies, vol. 5, where the subjects and documentary evidence are fully investigated, and which judges Cyril more severely, as indeed every honest man and humble Christian must, though not accepting the doctrines which Nestorius held or was accused of. With these come the Collection of Councils and Mercator. The English reader may find a full summary in Gieseler's Compendium 1, 393 following. But I have not used Protestant writers for the history, save as an index to the various authorities. Cyril and Mercator, both bitter enemies of Nestorius, and the council itself, with something on ecclesiastical authorities and collections of letters at the time in the Synodium, are the original sources. With these I have used the Roman Catholics, Baronius, Bellarmine, Petavius, which last is full as to the doctrine of Cyril.

140It is difficult to speak of this council, it was conducted with such fraud and violence. Cyril, the open enemy of the person charged, and himself charged too, and to be judged by it, began it before the Eastern bishops, or even the pope's legates were come, not in this heeding the protestation of the Emperor's lieutenant, who protested publicly and left.* Some seventy bishops who were come protested also against beginning. Then, with those of his party, he cited Nestorius twice in one day, judged the case, and pronounced his deposition. Both parties appealed to the Emperor, who banished Nestorius, and desired all the bishops to return to their dioceses. The Eastern bishops had on their arrival excommunicated Cyril and Memnon, and Cyril and Memnon excommunicated them. However Cyril's party gained the court, and the Emperor had some one consecrated in the place of Nestorius, who was banished. And the Easterns and Cyril, a layman having been sent to bring them to terms, had years of negotiation before any peace was made, and then only by Cyril signing a creed drawn up by the Easterns, which condemned his doctrines promulgated and tacitly accepted at Ephesus, but without his publicly condemning them, and a large number of bishops were after all deposed by the Emperor, and the doctrines of Cyril became the seed of endless disputes and controversies, and in truth led to Eutychianism, and were its greatest stay. The papal legates never presided in this council. The Emperor's lieutenant, when he came to make order, turned Cyril and Nestorius out, and Juvenal of Jerusalem presided. This, let me add in passing, is a pretty thing to call a general council to found faith upon. The doctrines of Cyril have never been accepted. It is quite certain that Athanasius largely condemns in his second book against Apollinarius the expression on which Cyril so much insisted. Would anyone think we had to say to Christians? The Emperor's lieutenant had to have guards mounted to prevent acts of violence.

{*Or, as he says, was driven out, for Cyril had with him what were called Parabolani, a bodyguard of military monks that he had brought with him from Alexandria.}

141 Father O. I do not see what we can gain by going through all these points; but allow me to remark that though Theodosius called the Council of Ephesus, it was on the demand and by the advice of the pope. The Emperor did it administratively.

N*. Not only is the historical fact admitted by all, even by Bellarmine and Baronius, that the Emperor did call the council, but it is impossible that the pope could have anything to say to it, because he had held a council at Rome and condemned Nestorius, and written to Cyril that he was to publish his deposition if he did not retract in ten days after notification. Cyril assembled a local council at Alexandria, on November 3rd, to carry this into effect, and on the 19th the Emperor issues his order for the council to meet, writing to the pope as to others; and the pope in answer recognizes that the Emperor had convoked the council, and that it was his business to care for the peace of the church (Hard., 1473). You will find the facts I have alleged as to councils in this book, Socrates, Sozomen, Baronius (consulting Bellarmine), Dupin, and Tillemont. Baronius, it is true, tries to call in question the canons of the Council of Constantinople, but his well-known annotator, Pagi, shews it is impossible to do so. It only shews he felt how it pinched. I pursue my history.

As to the Council of Chalcedon, the Fourth General Council, the pope wanted to get one in Italy to condemn Eutychus. The Emperor Theodosius refused, saying all was settled at Ephesus, that is, at a second in that town, of which hereafter: so little did popes call general councils then. His successor was well disposed, but refused peremptorily to have it in Italy, called it at Nice, and then, in order to manage it better, brought it to Chalcedon, close to Constantinople. His commissioners sat in the council save one day, suppressed the violence of the prelates at the beginning, saying they ought to shew a better example, and made propositions, gave their consent, in fact presided actively all the time in the council, save one day. On that day, on which they left the prelates to settle about the creed, the council deposed Dioscorus, also patriarch of Alexandria for his crimes at the previous Council of Ephesus. On their return the next day the commissioners said they must answer for it, they had not been there. In truth their consciences need not have been much burdened. But even as to the creed to be signed, one was proposed. The papal legates opposed, and said they would go if Leo's letter was not assented to as it was, along with the creeds of Nice and Constantinople. The letter was in point of fact in many respects an admirable one. But what was done? It was referred to the Emperor, who decided what was to be done, and the council stated their views in detail for themselves, though approving Leo's letter, but would give their own definition of faith. Afterwards Constantinople was put on an equality with Rome. The legates craftily keeping away, they protested on their return; but the bishops maintained it, and the commissioners declared it had passed, and the council said, We remain in this judgment. In this council Ibas and Theodoret, favourers of Nestorius' views, were declared orthodox. They publicly recognized the Empress Pulcheria as the person who had put down Nestorius.

142 The Fifth General Council is too plain in its history to need more than the plain statement of facts. There had been a great contest about the merits of Origen, and the monks had been breaking into each other's monasteries, and in the course of the disputes which followed, blood had been shed in the churches, indeed it was far from being the first time. However, they got the Emperor to condemn Origen's doctrine. As to the merits of the case, there was reason enough. He was a powerful prince, and recovered Italy and Africa from the barbarians, and liked his own way. A certain Theodore of Caesarea, a great favourite with the Emperor, was fond of Origen and of Eutychianism, and determined to have his revenge, and he engaged Justinian to condemn three persons' writings, Theodore of Mopsuestia,* Ibas, and Theodoret, all three opposed to Cyril, who had his way in the Council of Ephesus. These three persons had been pronounced to be in full communion in the Council of Chalcedon, which had rather tended to set up Nestorius' reputation again, whom Cyril and Ephesus had condemned. Justinian published a long decree condemning the three chapters, as the writings of the three prelates above-named were called. He had a kind of council, and the Oriental patriarchs and prelates were obliged to condemn them too. Pope Vigilius condemned them and excommunicated the patriarch of Constantinople and all who had condemned the three chapters. However Justinian thought he would be more tractable at Constantinople, and made him come. There, in fact, he joined in communion again with the excommunicated ones, and condemned the three chapters. But then all the prelates of Illyria and Africa, in fact of all the West in general separated from his communion as unfaithful — a bad business according to modern Romanist notions. To get out of the scrape he acceded to the proposal by some of these prelates of a general council, and withdrew his condemnation of the chapters, and forbade any resolution till there was a council. The Emperor persecuted him (indeed he had exiled him and afterwards brought him to Constantinople); he fled to Chalcedon, and the Emperor compromised, and he came back He then pressed for a council in Italy. That did not suit the Emperor, and he refused, but called one at Constantinople. Vigilius would not go there, and he signed his private judgment with eighteen other Western prelates, while one- hundred and sixty or one hundred and seventy sat in the council under the Emperor's authority. This letter of his, called Constitutive, was given to the Emperor, but is taken no notice of in the council. To say the truth, it was on the whole the most sensible paper in the whole miserable business, and he forbade by the authority of the apostolic see in any way to contravene what he then pronounced. However, the Emperor went on with his council, when, save a very few renegades, there were no Western prelates. The council condemned altogether the three chapters, which was quite different from Vigilius' constitutive; and Vigilius refused to sign as he had refused to be present. Justinian banished him again, and he gave way, and signed; and it became thereby, say Baronius and the Romanists, a general council. If that does not make a sure foundation for faith, what will? Yet universal confusion was the result.

{*His writings were greatly read in the East. Cyril tried to get him condemned; but the Easterns absolutely refused. He is said to have been the originator of Nestorianism, and even teacher of Nestorius.}

143 The Nestorians established a patriarchate at Seleucia, were favoured by the Persians in opposition to the Roman Empire, and spread over all the East, Christianity becoming very nearly the established religion of China at that time. And the Eutychians, raising their head through the activity of a monk, Jacobus, spread too; and the patriarchates of Alexandria and Antioch, such as they are since Mahometanism overran the East, are in their hands, spread as far as India, and have a primate in Abyssinia. Both subsist. Not long ago violent persecutions were set on foot against the Nestorians, it is said, at the instigation of the so-called bishop of Babylon in connection with Rome, the Consul of France.

144 James. But where are we got, sir? Is all this really the history of what they call the church? Why, there is no Christianity in it. At any rate, the Bible is simpler than all this. I had, sure enough, rather have the plain holy words of Paul and Peter, which are really the words of God.

N*. No wonder. I go through it because it is well we should know the difference. Mr. O. cannot deny these facts. They are drawn from the authentic histories of the day, from his own historians, such as Baronius, a great stickler for the pope; Dupin, a most honest Romanist historian, whom perhaps he might not like so much; Tillemont; Hardouin's Councils — books you cannot of course judge of, but Mr. O. can very well. I have referred to Protestant books merely to assist me in collecting the information.

Any one can judge whether such proceedings can be a foundation for a Christian's faith, or whether it is by wading through all this, instead of reading the Lord's and the apostles' words, a poor man will get at the truth. Here the pope contradicts himself, and one general council, let them say what they will, contradicts another; for Chalcedon had acquitted and Constantinople condemns the three writers we have spoken of.

Here is Baronius' remark: "If you compare this synod with all that of which a synod ought to consist in order to be called a general council legitimately congregated in the Holy Spirit, things standing as the acts plainly shew they do, you will agree that it does not merit the name, not merely of a general council, but not even of a private one, being one which was gathered, the Roman pontiff resisting, and judgment pronounced by it in like manner against his decrees." "We will say farther on how it came to obtain the name of a general council." He then abuses it (his annotator, Pagi, approving it) and cites Pope Gregory and others as disapproving it too; however, though he says certainly Vigilius did not consent to it by letters, as either he or his successor, Pope Pelagius, consented to it, it became ecumenical, as the first of Constantinople had done, which was gathered in spite of Damasus (Bar. Acc., 553, 220-224).

145 The sixth General Council will furnish us with some curious elements as to papal infallibility and the progress of church history. Eastern Christendom was always discussing points, Rome pushing its power. In the East they got a new point, on which it is surely not my purpose to dwell here: — Christ had only one will, or at any rate His divine and human will coalesced, though He had two natures. The Emperor adopted, and Pope Honorius wrote a letter approving it. However, there was a change, the Roman legates opposed it at Constantinople, and one of them, Martin, became pope; he then denounced all holders of it. The then Emperor published a rescript forbidding discussions, and all men to be left in peace. The pope denounced this as sanctioning evil. The Emperor tried to get hold of him, failed the first time, but succeeded the second, and brought him prisoner and kept him so till he died. The Roman clergy less staunch than the people, gave way, and elected another pope whom the Emperor confirmed; he never had confirmed his stern predecessor, Martin. So now there were two popes. The one at Rome soon after died, his successor was on good terms with the Emperor. The Emperor, who had always maintained his rescript, died too, and his successor was a gentler prince. He proposed a conference to settle it.

Four popes had succeeded one another rapidly during his reign, and at last Agathon assembled a Western council, at which, however, no prelates from Spain, Britain, or Germany were present, save one on his own affairs, and three from France. However, they put themselves forward as representing the whole Latin church. In truth, save Scotland and Ireland, and the north of England, it was at this time pretty well papalised. However, as the council of the apostolic see, as they say, they condemn the Monothelites, as they were called. Legates went from the pope to Constantinople, but they were not to discuss, the pope said, nor a title to be altered in the confession. The Emperor had removed a stiff patriarch and put in a milder one, and formed an assembly at Constantinople, and ordered Macarius, the patriarch of Antioch, the Monothelite leader, to assemble as many as he could of his party. Thus, besides other prelates, the Eastern patriarchs, or their legates, were present. The West was only represented by the pope's legates. Macarius was deserted by most of his partisans who found the tide against him, for the Emperor sought peace, though they had pretty well reviled each other. Macarius, however, insisted on the authority of Honorius, of Sergius, previously patriarch of Constantinople, and of Cyrus, patriarch of Alexandria, but he was all but unanimously deposed and excommunicated.

146 But now comes the strange result. They condemn all the writings of these heretics, and their memory they anathematize — that is, deliver over to the curse of God — Theodore of Pharan, author of the mischief, Sergius, Patriarch of Constantinople, and two of his successors; Cyrus, Patriarch of Alexandria, Honorius, Pope of Rome, and Macarius of Antioch, and all following them. In the thirteenth session they are declared out of the pale of the Catholic church, that is, lost for ever; and, in the sixteenth, anathema is pronounced on the heretic Sergius, etc., etc., on the heretic Honorius, Pope of Old Rome. This council was accepted and confirmed as the Sixth General Council, when the result was notified to him by Leo, the pope who succeeded to Agatho; and he anathematizes expressly Honorius and the others.

Father O. But Baronius rejects this letter.

N*. He does; but his annotator Pagi, as do others, treat this as folly, as indeed it is worse, for all the acts of the council, the letters to the pope, the Emperor's edict, the reading of Honorius' letter, which gave occasion to his condemnation, the acts of subsequent councils, and the old Roman breviary, and every other possible proof exists to shew that it is a mere foolish effort to get rid of what he cannot deny. He pretends that it was the Patriarch Theodore of Constantinople, and that his name was scratched out everywhere and Honorius' put in. But why read Honorius' letter to condemn Theodore? You must know that Baronius' notion as to this is rejected by everyone.

Now mark the result. Constantine, the Emperor, presided with his court and judges in person at the council during the first twelve and the last sessions, and, excusing himself in the interval by public affairs, left his representative. The acts of the council declare it called by his command and recognise his presidency. The general council declares the pope a heretic, and condemned for ever for it; and this was sanctioned by another pope (Leo II), who confirms the council and anathematizes his predecessor. Nor is this all. What Pope Gregory the Great called the See of Peter in three different cities, that is Rome, Alexandria, and Antioch (which he was uniting against John of Constantinople, who claimed to be universal bishop), three, he declared, derived from one (Peter), and which were one, all three were in this same heresy, Cyrus of Alexandria, Honorius of Rome, and now Macarius of Antioch; all successors of Peter, we are assured, are anathematized as heretics, and held to have no place in the Catholic church, and that by a general council and another pope. How am I to get security here? In the pope as successor of Peter, or in the council who sent him to hell as a heretic (happily the poor man was dead)? If you blame the council, your security for the faith is gone by any council, or in the pope either; for they acted very much on the letter of one pope, and all their definitions were accepted by another. If you accept the council, then all the fine theory about a successor of Peter fails, for his successor was a condemned heretic.

147 Father O. But I think Pope Honorius may very well be defended against the charge of being a Monothelite, and Maximus, a martyr, did so.

N*. Well, I should not be indisposed to accept your excuse. There is certainly something to be said for him, though he went very far. But if you are right, what becomes of the authority of the general council and another pope's condemnation of him and his doctrine? No; great as their influence was become — quite paramount in the West at this epoch — no one dreamt then of the popes being infallible. As to general councils, it is rather hard to tell what they were. No Western bishops were in this; only the pope assured them that what he wrote was the judgment of all the West. But that did not make their assembling in the Holy Ghost. Agatho's Roman council was composed of Italian and Sicilian bishops. Only two bishops signed as deputies of all France and England; a queer way, too, of assembling in the Holy Ghost. At any rate the Emperor gathered and presided in the Sixth General Council, and the pope was condemned as a heretic by the council and by his successor. In this Sixth General Council there were at first some thirty or forty bishops, at the end one hundred and sixty.

I will now go on to the Seventh General Council, if we can find out which it is. An Emperor, Leo the Isaurian, who had long known the Arabs, and seen them despise the idolatry of Christendom, had a strong desire to reform the abuses of image worship. He issued a decree in 726, forbidding them to be worshipped, and the pictures and images were directed to be put high up, but were not ordered to be taken away; but Germanus, the Patriarch of Constantinople, and Pope Gregory II opposed vehemently; the Greeks rose in insurrection, and, advancing to Constantinople, were defeated. The Emperor now went farther, and in 730 had the images and pictures destroyed; thence tumults, murder, and reprisals by the Government. Germanus and the popes sustained their cause by appealing to the most ridiculous fables, which no one believes now, that Christ sent a miraculous picture of Himself to Abgarus, King of Edessa; insulted the Emperor in the grossest possible language; and Gregory the pope says that Uzziah profanely removed the brazen serpent which David had sanctified, and put with the ark into the temple — a confusion a child could have avoided who had read a little scripture. Hezekiah is commended for doing it. He says, where it is said, "Where the carcase is there are the eagles gathered together," the carcase meant Christ and pious Christians, living men flocking to see Him at Jerusalem, and that so strong was the impression of the figure of Christ on their minds, that at once they made portraits of Him, and carried them about to convert people with. However, he says they did not of the Father and the Holy Spirit. But now even that is done.

148 Strange to say, however, he looked for the Emperor to preside in a council. The Emperor had called, he says, for one, but where was a God-fearing Emperor to preside? However the Emperor persevered, and the new patriarch went with him. His son Constantine called a council in 754 of three hundred and thirty-eight bishops of the East, and they condemned images; they called themselves a general council. This went on till one, Irene, a widow of his son, remained with a young child. She wheeled round; and now three hundred and seventy-seven bishops and the pope's legates authorized image-worship. This was at Nice in 787. There were no Western bishops, but the pope ratified it. But the West were not, after all, such image-worshippers as the pope. They held to what the great Pope Gregory had written to Serenus of Marseilles, when he had broken images there, which were then coming in, that all worship of them was wrong, but that they might be useful for the ignorant to recall the mind to those represented by them. Here then superstition had made progress, and the popes had changed with the times, but it seems the West had not.

149 In the Western empire, under Charlemagne, the Council of Nice was rejected. First of all this great founder of the new Western empire assembled his bishops, and put forth a book in his own name, in which he condemned the Council of Constantinople, which suppressed all pictures and images, and equally the Council of Nice, which allowed them to be reverenced and worshipped. He went through scripture and the Fathers, and proved that this worship and reverence was all wrong. But the Emperor's and bishops' book goes farther. Pope Adrian had sent them the decisions of the Council of Nicaea (or Nice), to which they had never been called, and they say, "We receive the Six General Councils, but we reject with contempt novelties, as also the Council held in Bithynia (that is, the so-called Seventh General Council of Nice), to authorize the worship of images, the Acts of which, destitute of style and sense, have come to us"; and then they refute seriously all that the pope had said to the Eastern Emperor. They declare that the Council of Nice is not a general one, because it was not gathered from all parts of the church, and appeal to Gregory the Great's letter to Serenus. But this work of the bishops of France and Germany, then one empire, issued in Charlemagne's name, was not all. In 794 he had a council at Frankfort-on-the-Main, at which were the pope's legates and 300 prelates of Germany, France, and Spain. This council refers to the Council of Nice as the council of the Greeks, and rejects entirely, unanimously, and with contempt its doctrine and decision. All this was sent to the pope. He replies in a long letter on the doctrines, and adds, "We have received the Council of Nice because conformed to the doctrine of St. Gregory [Gregory the Great, which it was not], fearing the Greeks might return to their error. However, we have yet given no answer to the Emperor as to the council."

So here we have an alleged general council received by the pope, disowned publicly by all the West, except Italy, and its doctrine condemned. All the assembled bishops of the West, with the pope's legates, declare that the Council of Nice is not a general council, and reject with contempt unanimously (these are their words) its doctrines and authority; and accordingly it was not for a great length of time received in the Western empire as a general council, and this the Council of Frankfort was. The pope's legates were at both. The pope received and defended Nice, but said he had not written to the Emperor, so he only half agreed to Nice either, but urged Charlemagne to come and help him to get back his territory, which the Eastern Emperor had seized on. Gradually superstition advanced, and Nice was in credit, and Frankfort went down.

150 In Frankfort the Emperor is recognized as President; Louis le Debonnaire's commissioners, prelates of France, condemned the pope in the matter; and they, as Charlemagne, that is, the Western prelates, had before done, do not admit any council or the pope to be universal or Catholic, unless they hold the Catholic truth according to the scriptures and Fathers. Indeed, it is curious enough, for those that cry up the Fathers, that Augustine, a Father of perhaps the greatest authority of any in the Western church, thus speaks of councils, shewing how little he thought them an infallible security for the faith. All councils, be it remarked (not merely, so-called, general ones) claimed the guidance of the Spirit. After stating that holy canonical scripture is superior to all writings of bishops, "so," he adds, "they can be corrected by wiser discourse or reproved by councils if in anything they have erred from the truth; and councils themselves, in particular districts or provinces, are without any doubt to yield to the authority of plenary councils, formed out of the whole Christian world; and prior plenary councils themselves may be amended (emendari) by later ones, when, by due experience of things, that which was shut was opened, and what lay hid is known, without any inflated arrogance, or any elation of sacrilegious arrogance, without any contentions of livid envy with holy humility, with catholic peace, with Christian charity" (De Bapt. con. Don. 2, 3).

It is singular if what is infallibly taught can be amended. The passage is fully given farther on. Now, where is the foundation for the faith here? Which was right, the general council, or Gregory the Great, or Gregory III? What a sea of confusion and contradiction we are in here! Three hundred and thirty-eight prelates, all of the East, calling themselves a general council, vote against images; three hundred and seventy-five, with Pope Gregory III, vote for them; three hundred of the West and the pope's legates, appealing to Pope Gregory the Great's authority and following his instructions, condemn both and the then pope, and declare in the most solemn way that the former council of the two they condemn was no general council at all, but a Greek one, which they reject. The pope takes it easy, because he wants his territory defended. You cannot deny the facts I quote. The Greeks contended about it for a length of time, sometimes one, sometimes the other party prevailing.

151 And now note another important point. In the Council of Nice there were no Western prelates, in the Council of Frankfort no Eastern. Really general councils had ceased, if ever they could have been called so, for in none of the first was the West represented by prelates; they were convened by the Emperors in the East to settle heretical disputes. The only exception was Sardica, and there East and West were so opposed that they separated, and the Easterns sat at Philippopolis, and the Westerns at Sardica. The three hundred at Frankfort remark it fairly enough; they reject it, as they say, with contempt. Further, these three hundred prelates do not hold the pope's authority in any way final. He had approved the Council of Nice, though he shuffled about it when he wanted Charlemagne to secure the territory the See of Rome now possessed. Yet they reject what he had approved. And Louis le Debonnaire's episcopal and ecclesiastical commissioners declare the pope to have been quite wrong. Again, the Emperors had always convened the councils up to the present time, and presided in them; and, as soon as there is an Emperor in the West again, he does the same thing, nor does the pope question it; they assist, and the council states that the Emperor presided. At this time the English and Irish churches were not under the authority of the popes at all, nor for long after.

But another important matter to remark here is, that the breach which ambition on both sides had brought about between the heads of the Roman and Greek ecclesiastical bodies now became complete. They anathematized each other, and no universal ecclesiastical body ever subsisted since. The Emperor's power in the East was reduced to a shadow by Saracens and Turks. The Western Empire, founded by Charlemagne, in which the prelates acted, as we have seen, independently of the pope while it subsisted, fell to pieces by the weakness of his successors; and the pope gradually acquired, through violent struggles with the German Emperors, at last in the person of Gregory VII, the desired supremacy. Yet he died, driven from his see by the Emperor. And mark, there was from this time, confessedly, pitch darkness in everything, as Romanists themselves confess; they are called the dark ages. And a vast number of the popes were the greatest monsters that ever disgraced the name of man, and the clergy the most corrupt of the whole population. But we have touched on this point, and what is necessary we will speak of when sanctity as proof of the true church is spoken of.

152 What I now remark is, that no serious man can find a foundation for the faith of his soul in all this. The word of God is operative by the power of the Spirit of God. "He begets," says scripture, "by the word of truth," but prelates' disputes in councils never begat anyone by the truth.

The Eighth General Council is important to us in this respect, that the Greeks hold one, the Romanists another, for a general one. The Greeks one in 879, the Romans one in 869; the latter, with very few prelates and pretended envoys from the patriarchs, condemned Photius Patriarch of Constantinople, and set up Ignatius, who had been driven away. The legates of Rome were at the former, and it was so far owned of the pope that he agreed to Photius being patriarch, Ignatius being now dead; but as Constantinople would not give up Bulgaria to the jurisdiction of Rome, the pope excommunicated Photius, and he the pope, and all pretension to a Catholic church ceased. The schism between East and West was complete.

From this time out, beginning with A.D. 1122 under Callixtus, there being no imperial power of any sufficient weight remaining in the West, the popes held councils of their own and for their own interests. The first of them passed decrees about the Duchy of Benevento belonging to the pope, and forgave the sins of those who would go to war to recover Jerusalem from the Saracens. They were Western councils, and I freely admit entirely under papal influence for some centuries — centuries, as all admit, of utter darkness and wickedness. That is, as long as there were emperors, emperors called them (it was first an idea of Constantine's to make peace in the church), and when emperors ceased to call them, their power being gone, the schism between East and West was complete, and no universal church ever externally existed since. The East was overrun by the Mahomedans; the West by darkness and atrocities.

153 James. But what came of true Christians all this time? for all this is very little like Christ, sir. I do not know what to think of such Christianity.

N*. There were hidden ones all through, no doubt, who took no part in all these painful and ambitious contests; some in the midst of them who mourned over them. At the time we are speaking of mysticism began to come in, that is, the seeking for a hidden life of God and love to Him in the soul, and leaving outward things to go on as they may, with very little clearness as to redemption. The propagation of the gospel was chiefly carried on in the East, indeed almost exclusively by the Nestorians, whom the so-called Catholic church had cast out, and by the Scotch,* who were entirely independent of Rome. What was done elsewhere was done by force of arms, as the Saxons, conquered by Charlemagne, and forced to become Christians in name, and the Saxons in England still earlier through Ethelbert. This was from Rome, but with distinct orders to leave them their heathen habits in many things and to connect them with Christian profession. Bulgaria and Hungary were brought in by the Greek church, and it was the dispute about that with Rome which brought about finally the division which ended the history of a Catholic church, and constituted a Roman and a Greek one.

{[*That is, the Scoti, who include the Irish, or people of greater Scotland, at least as much as those alone called Scotch in modern times. — Ed.]}

James. It is a sad history; but, I remember, Paul says the mystery of iniquity was already at work, and that things would wax worse, and that in the last days perilous times would come.

N*. It is just there that he tells us that the scriptures are our security, and able to make the man of God perfect.

M. But, Mr. O., is all this true? I thought you said the Catholic church was so holy and there was much unity.

Father O. These facts may be true; but all that supports the authority of the pope, and all the good they did, and how they maintained sound doctrine is left out. How can a poor man like you understand all these questions?

N*. I do not deny there were some godly men among the popes, though all were ambitious as to the power of the See of Rome. Our object was not to record the history of their lives nor to deny that there were some true saints during all this time. Even in the darkest ages many separated themselves and protested when it was darkest, as the Waldenses and others; many protested and remained where they were, saying Antichrist was already at Rome, and even persons held to be saints;* but our point was how councils or popes, or councils and popes can be a foundation for a poor man's faith, or any man's faith as a Christian; and no one can deny the facts I have quoted. I have taken them from Hardouin, that is, the councils and original letters, Petavius, Baronius, Dupin, Fleury, and similar histories, that is, of Romanists. The three first were zealous papists.

{*No one was stronger than St. Bernard and St. Buonaventura, both of the highest reputation for sanctity, and canonized.}

154 And note here, when the schism took place the Greeks charged the Romans with adding an important article to the creed, what is called the "Filioque" clause, the proceeding of the Spirit from the Son. This came in very late, had been adopted in no creed in the ninth century, came perhaps from Spain, and when Pope Leo was consulted about it he said it was right, but forbade it to be put in the creed, as general councils had forbidden anything to be added to their creeds long before, an order equally despised by subsequent ones.

Now, I do not deny that M. cannot judge well of all these things we have been speaking of, nor understand the bearings of all of them; but he can understand that neither he nor any one else can build his faith on such a quagmire of confusion and wickedness.

M. Why, I do not know whatever my faith can be. These councils seem to be only disputes and violence and striving to get uppermost.

N*. And so they were, and really used by the emperors who presided in them to make peace among fighting ecclesiastics. Providence may have used some of them to maintain important points of truth.

I shall have to notice a few more general councils when the papacy grew so wicked that the universal body was obliged to interfere, but I will close this part with a statement of St. Augustine on this point. The schismatic Donatists quoted St. Cyprian against their adversaries. "Who is ignorant," says Augustine, "that holy canonical scripture, as well of the Old as of the New Testament, is confined within its own limits, and that it is so set before all posterior letters of bishops, that as to it, it is wholly impossible to doubt or discuss whether whatever is found written there be true or right; but that letters of bishops written, or which are now written, after the canon was settled, may be blamed by the wiser speech of perhaps one more skilled in the subject or the weightier authority and more learned prudence of other bishops, and by councils, if there be in them perchance any deviation from the truth; and that councils themselves which are held in particular districts or provinces without any question to the authority of plenary councils gathered from the whole Christian world (called general or ecumenical), and that often previous plenary ones are corrected by later ones, when by any experience of things, what was closed is opened out, and what lay hid is known, without any puffing up of sacrilegious pride, without any inflation of arrogance, without any contention of livid envy with holy humility, with Catholic peace, with Christian charity?" (De Bapt. 2, 3). Excellently well said, allowing even all his high opinion of councils; but if this be so, how can anything but the scriptures be a foundation of faith? Everything else may be corrected, as Cyprian might be wrong, as Augustine held him to be, but no one can at all doubt or discuss if what is found in scripture is true or right. That is soundly and well said; and though I may not have so high an idea of councils from the history we have of them, we could not have sounder principles than Augustine's. But they are not the principles of Rome.

155 It may be well, as we are passing through the councils, to mention the Fourth Lateran Council, under Innocent III, at a time when the papal power was at its height. It was a general council of a very particular kind, a large number of Western bishops, four hundred and twelve it is said, and some eight hundred abbots and priors, others, such as ambassadors, assisting at it. But there was no consulting about anything. The pope had prepared seventy canons or rules, read them out ready-made, and silence was supposed to confirm them. They were simply decrees of Innocent III, graced by the presence of prelates, abbots, and ambassadors. At this council, for the first time, transubstantiation was decreed to be a church doctrine, and confession required yearly to the parish priest. At this council the horrible iniquities of the crusade against the Count of Toulouse (who protected his subjects, the Albigenses) were sanctioned, and the Inquisition began, perfected soon after as a system by succeeding popes.

156 We come now to some important councils, omitting several by which the pope sought to strengthen his power ecclesiastical and temporal. The papacy got so bad that disputes arose in its own circle, and in 1378 there were two popes, this state of things lasting about forty years. But this only made matters worse; Europe was divided, and they could only get money from half, and every sort of ecclesiastical corruption and oppression was introduced to have it, which some spent in dissoluteness in their courts, some heaped up. The University of Paris strove to heal the matter, and, after long negotiating and intriguing on all sides, the cardinals of both parties summoned a council at Pisa for March, 1409. The council deposed both the popes, and after the cardinals had solemnly engaged themselves to reform the abuses which existed, Alexander V was elected, the effect of which was that they had three popes instead of two.

James. What are the cardinals, sir?

N*. A body formed originally of the principal ecclesiastics of Rome, of different ranks in the hierarchy, by a decree of Nicolas in 1059 to elect the pope, a right enjoyed up to that time by all at Rome, and which had led to all sorts of tumults, violence, and bloodshed, and to appease the opposition of the rest added to by Alexander III. Others, perhaps, have added to them, and now many out of Rome are named. They form a kind of court to the pope; they have the highest rank in the papal system, though not necessarily in the episcopacy, as they are from the various orders of the hierarchy.

To return to my history, Alexander V's successor, John XXIII or XXII* was such a horrible monster, and a King Ladislaus, of Naples, whom he had provoked, having forced him to fly from Rome, the Emperor took advantage of it to get him to summon a council, which was called for November, 1414, the famous Council of Constance. Already the state of the popedom and the writings of the famous Gerson had prepared men's minds to consider a council superior to a pope. The council declared its superiority to the pope, tried to get him to resign, which he promised, fearing his conduct was going to be inquired into, but evaded, and they deposed him. One of the other two, for there were three, Gregory XII, resigned, and the third was deserted, and, though he had a kind of successor, the schism thus ended. But little reformation was effected, the council leaving it to the pope whom they chose, Martin V.

{*The succession of the popes is so uncertain, that the numbers attached to their names vary in the best Roman Catholic historians. In the Johns there are three numbers; of others, a question between two, for different writers hold such or such an one to have been no legitimate pope; and if one put another down he broke or pronounced null and void all the ordinations of his competitor, so that at times none knew who was a priest or who not. But of this hereafter.}

157 Father O. But the pope never confirmed the decrees of the Council of Constance, so that you cannot appeal to it as a general council.

N*. You are somewhat bold to say that. It is, as Romanist historians say, the wisdom of Rome to approve nothing at Constance and to change nothing at Constance. It is a kind of bridge, but such a broken one for them, that though it seems to enable them to cross the river, it is likely to plunge them only more dangerously into it. If Constance had not the authority it claims, what comes of the popedom? You have no right to call anyone a pope; there is no legitimate pope at all, for the council deposed John XXIII and chose Martin V, besides setting aside the two other anti-popes. Where are we to find the foundation of our faith here? On the other hand, if the council had the authority, your doctrine as to the infallibility of the pope falls to the ground. And in point of fact you are reduced to this, because since then you have no popes but those who derive their authority from the council.

But then you have another difficulty, your living judge disappears. Popes, save perhaps for an interval of two or three years, you have had, but councils only from time to time, and as your popes actually exist only in virtue of the council's authority, which declares that it holds that authority immediately from Christ, the infallible judge is not a living one. There was none for near three hundred years. Yet scarcely any Roman Catholic now would recognize the authority of the Council of Constance, or what it has pronounced to be the true doctrine. Yet if it be not, the popedom has no legitimate foundation at all. But I must beg leave to deny even what you affirm. John XXIII confirmed expressly its decrees before he was deposed, whatever his confirmation was worth. At any rate it was the confirmation of a legitimate pope. Not only so, but Martin V, though he avoided making any reformation in his court, yet owned the council expressly as a general council met in the Holy Ghost. Nor was this all. He recognized as valid all that had been done in the sessions, though not what had been done separately in the meetings of the nations, for the bishops of the different nations met first among themselves, and then there was a general meeting. Now the famous decree and the setting aside of the pope were decided in the sessions, so that the decree was confirmed by John XXIII before he was deposed, and by Martin V when he was made pope. This decree declares that the council is legitimately gathered in the Holy Ghost, has its authority immediately from Christ, represents the Catholic church militant, and that everyone, even the pope, is bound to obey it, even in what concerns the faith, and threatens punishment to the pope himself if he does not.

158 Father O. But this, as to faith, was introduced by the Council of Basel, as well as another paragraph of the decree.

N*. I know Schelstrat has tried to maintain this, but this is all a fable. It is quoted and referred to subsequently in the council. Not only so, the words he attempts to invalidate in the fourth session are beyond all controversy in the fifth session. In Hardouin's Councils they are left out in session IV, but he does not pretend to leave them out in session V. The Council of Constance was the reaction of the universal conscience of Christendom against the state to which the wickedness of the popes had reduced the church. Nor did it close the open wound. The Council of Constance had decreed that another council should be held at Pavia. Martin called it. It was removed on account of the plague to Siena[-n]: hence few were there. However, they began to reform, and the pope ordered the closing of the council. The prelates protested; he said it was not to be considered broken up, it would be continued. Basel was the place chosen, the council to be held in seven years. It was held, but soon began to be refractory against the pope.

They renewed the two decrees of Constance, subjecting the pope to a council, word for word, and declared they could not be dissolved. This was in the second session. The pope decreed their dissolution. They rejected it, and summoned him. The pope was in great trouble by his local wars, and sent legates to say he recognized them as a general council legitimately continued from the time they had commenced. They received the legates on condition that they swore they approved the decrees of the Council of Constance as to the authority of a general council. The pope Eugene decreed the removal of the council to Ferrara. The council declared the decree of a removal void. The pope. however, began at Ferrara with some of his own Italian bishops, the Council of Basel remaining where it was. The Council of Basel deposed Pope Eugene after long delay, the princes seeking some way of peace, and chose another, Felix V. The princes remained neutral, and, when the popes censured each other, received the decrees of neither, though many held to the Council of Basel as a legitimate general council, as France and England, and would not own that of Ferrara, and sought to transfer it elsewhere. To this the prelates of Basel agreed.

159 Felix went to Lausanne. Gradually the interests of Eugene gained the upper hand. Eugene's council, already transferred to Florence, was moved to Rome. The Council of Basel dissolved itself, calling a future council at Lyons or Lausanne. Felix and Eugene remained popes. Eugene died, and Nicolas V, at the instance of the princes, agreed, if Felix gave up the papacy, to revoke all censures against him and those engaged in the Council of Basel, confirm all its other acts, as well as those of Florence, and make Felix first cardinal and perpetual legate in Germany; and this was accordingly done. Felix, on his part, revoked all his censures, and resigned, and thus this schism terminated.

But is not this a strange foundation for faith?

M. Well, but Father O., is all this true?

Father O. We do not own the Council of Basel at all.

M. Well, but I have been listening attentively, and the pope recognized it as a legitimate general council. And, if all this be so, how can a man build his faith upon such a foundation as this? Why, I do not know what I am to build on. The council condemns the pope, and the pope condemns the council. Nobody dares condemn the apostles, and it is much simpler to believe them than all these disputes. Why, they cannot agree among themselves. How can I tell which to trust?

Father O. All this comes of your pretending to discuss these things, instead of, in a humble spirit, listening to the church. Are you wiser than all the holy and blessed men who have done so, and taught the truth, from Christ downwards, yea, obeyed Christ Himself, who told them to hear the church?

160 M. Yes, sir, but you were to shew us where was the church. Most people in this country don't think yours the true church. Besides, how can I tell who was holy and who was not, hundreds of years ago? It seems one pope was deposed, he was so wicked. And now let me ask you, sir, for I want something certain for my soul — you will excuse me, but it is a serious thing, after all — what a man is to build upon as sure ground for his soul — Are you infallible?

Father O. No, of course I am not; but I teach you infallible truth; if I did not, the bishop would look after it.

M. Is he infallible?

Father O. No, he is not; but he has a sure rule, and even he would be called to account if he did not teach according to it.

M. Who would call him to account?

Father O. Why, finally, the pope.

M. Well, but here was a pope deposed, and two or three popes at a time; so he is not infallible. And we were hearing of one who was condemned as a heretic — two, I think; I forget their names.

N*. Honorius was condemned publicly, and Liberius signed an Arian creed.

M. Aye, well, they are not infallible, and they are not the church. And a council you, Father O., do not hold to be infallible, for they have condemned the pope, aye, and deposed him, so that, after all, you have no right pope, if they are not. And what is the rule?

Father O. The decrees of the Council of Trent and the creed of Pius IV.

M. Well, but I cannot understand them better than I can understand the Bible, if that is all. Why cannot I understand the apostles, Paul and Peter, as well as that, and both must be translated, for all these rules are written in Latin, are they not, sir?

Father O. To be sure, and they are for the clergy. You must receive what you are taught — what the church teaches.

M. But you see, sir, we were looking for the church; it is the very thing I want to find out; we have not found it yet. I took your word for a great many things, that all were agreed since Christ's days — all handed down the same doctrine, and there was a living judge to decide. And now I find it was far different. They were disputing and condemning each other, and the popes had to be put down, they were so wicked; and it makes a wonderful difference to get at the facts, to be sure; and hence I find I cannot trust what you want me to trust on. You made me think all was unity and was everywhere and always, and by all (as you said) held, the holy church that every one could depend on. And it is not so. Can you deny the scriptures to be the word of God?

161 Father O. No, the church honours them as such; but you cannot understand them, and they are written in Greek and Hebrew.

M. I know, but I am no better off with your rule; and I know the scriptures must be the truth, for God had them written. I never cared much about them, to be sure, but that is my fault; and as to understanding them, I can try. I see James, that has no more learning than I, understands them wonderfully, and I will try. I will see what they say, if I cannot understand all, I can leave what I do not, and I dare say I shall some.

Father O. Well, if you are determined to go your own way, and set yourself above holy men and the whole Catholic church, I must only leave you to yourself as an obstinate heretic, and put you, if you remain obstinate, under the church's curse, that you may be a warning and a terror to others.

M. Well, I did not mean any offence, sir; I am an ignorant man, and I do want to find some sure ground for my soul, and, begging your pardon, sir, I do not think that cursing me because you have not been able to shew me one is the way to do me good; nor do I believe Jesus Christ would curse me for looking for it in His own words; so, though I am sorry to offend you, I cannot think He curses me, nor see that it is like Him to do so, and I do not think yours will hurt me if He does not approve it.

Father O. But He has promised that what is thus bound on earth He will bind in heaven. It is the church curses you through her unworthy minister, for the good of others, if not for your own; but be wise, M., give up this searching into religion. You have what has brought millions to heaven, and is the mother of all holy men that have belonged to Christ. Go and earn your bread quietly, and take care of your family, and leave these questions that you can never settle for yourself.

162 M. But that is not what was said to me when they got me once to be a Catholic. Then I was told what a solemn thing it was not to be in the true church, out of which was no salvation, and that I must look seriously to it, and see if I was in it, and so on, and they gave me books to shew me it all, as Milner's "End of Controversy," and so on; and now I am told that I cannot inquire or judge about it, and am to be cursed if I do not obey.

Father O. And did not that book make it as plain as possible? You had better come and speak to me at my house, and I will make it clear for you.

M. Well, I thought it was all plain enough in Milner, to say the truth; but then I had only heard one side of the story, and if I go to your house, sir — no offence — I shall only hear one side then, and of course I cannot answer you, I am too ignorant; but here I can hear both, and I like that; and I have begun to get anxious since I have heard, and I see James is happy in a way I am not. I do not understand it; he is happy with God, and I am not, and he is a changed man, that I see, and I am not. Though I have done every penance, and said all the prayers you bid me I am kept from something; but I am not changed in what I like. I will be very glad to hear what you have to say, for I only want to go right, and I do not know where the real truth is yet; but I want to know, and I hope God will shew me.

Father O. Well, I must leave you to your own obstinacy.

M. Do not say I drove you away, sir, for I only wish to hear all you have to say. And if you won't, we must only go on with Milner as we did before, if Mr. N*. will be so good.

Father O. No, it is no use. You are a heretic in heart already, for you refuse the authority of the church already, and are trusting your own judgment, and searching out what you cannot understand, and will certainly plunge into error — indeed you are, as I said, there already. The church will have to disown you, the only mother, as God is the only Father, of souls for life, and he who has not the church for his mother certainly (as a holy father has said) has not God for his Father.

N*. There is a sense, though I do not like the terms, in which that is true; but you forget, Mr. O., that we have not yet found the true church, so that your warnings can have no effect at all. Every true Christian belongs to the church of God, and has to seek to live in its unity; but Romanism you have not shewn to be that church. As yet we have found, outside scripture, no solid foundation for anything. Popes and councils have striven for superiority. The popes seeking ambitiously for the universal authority, the pretension to which they once condemned, and when the progress of Mahometanism in the East, and the decay of the Greek church, left them free, plunging into such wickedness and oppression as roused the clergy, supported by the princes of Europe, to seek to assert the superiority of a council over them, which they confirmed because they could not help it, evaded as soon as the councils were over, and by their wickedness, and at last specially by their sale of indulgences, which was really selling permission to sin, brought about the Reformation, that is, the breaking loose of half western Europe from their sway, Eastern Europe having never been under it. This brought on the Council of Trent, which, in fixing the Romanist in his errors, gave a deeper character of apostasy from the truth to Rome, and left the separation of Northern Europe where it was.

163 Father O. Well, sir, I think I must wish you a good morning.

N*. Good morning, Mr. O.

James. Well, I never could have thought that what they say such great things about could have been like this. But how can people build their faith on such things? But the history of the church seems a terrible history.

N*. Well, James, you must not boast much, you were very near running into the snare yourself. If redemption is known, and the word of God believed in, it is impossible; but how many are living simply by tradition themselves; and hence, when what seems an earlier and more reverend tradition comes, are led away by it, because they have nothing for themselves in their own souls! I have gone through so much of the history of their councils with Mr. O., in your presence, that I have only a very few details to refer to. We have seen they were always called and presided over by the Emperor, as long as the East had any part in them; that they condemned the pope when needed; that, when there was no Emperor in the West, the pope got them into his hands there, and, as power is a corrupting thing, after getting the upper hand, in a great measure, of the new Western Emperors, the popes became so wicked — and afterwards, through disputes, two at a time anathematizing each other — and so oppressive and despicable, that the clergy at large, in a general council, first deposed both at Pisa, electing a third, and, as the two did not yield, had three, and then succeeded in deposing all, and naming one at Constance; but that he, once named, avoided the reformations demanded, but, forced by circumstances, his successor was obliged to yield, and hold another council at Basel; that this made many reforms, and then the pope, alarmed, called the council, first to Ferrara, then to Florence; the council deposed him, and named another, and at last, both being tired, and the succeeding pope conciliatory, he confirmed the decrees of Basel and Florence, and the anti-pope resigned.

164 Since then till the Reformation the popes had it pretty much their own way; but their excessive wickedness destroyed respect for them, and the oppressions were so great, that God, arousing not princes nor the hierarchy, but simple individuals, brought about the Reformation in His own way; the selling pardons in the grossest way, to get money to build the cathedral at Rome, being — in Germany and Switzerland at least — the exciting cause. The last pope before the Reformation poisoned himself in seeking to poison his cardinals to get their money.

James. Well, to think that any one should make all this a foundation for faith and salvation! It is more likely to make an infidel.

N*. It has made, and does make, thousands and millions. Seeing all this connected with the name of Christianity, the mass of men reject it altogether with disgust, where they think at all for themselves.

James. But what do you say to this, M.? You used to talk so much of the holy Catholic church.

M. I do not know what to say. But what can a man believe?

James. He can believe what Christ and His apostles have said, and, of course, inspired men before them. These popes and others were nothing like this.

M. That is plain enough.

James. Well, see what they have said then, and if you read it, you will find it upset all the Romanist clergy say. But you were going to tell us something more of the councils, sir.

N*. What you were saying, James, was much more important. The only object of referring to them is to shew the false pretensions of Rome, who would deceive us by them. However, I will finish what I had to say, and we will then return to Milner, from which Mr. O. has diverted us, on a point Milner was, of course, careful not to touch.

165 In the Council of Nice Hosius presided under the Emperor, not the priests sent by Pope Julius, who, says the historian, was absent by reason of his great age. It was decided that Alexandria should have jurisdiction over its district, as Rome had over its own. And so at Antioch the old customs were to be maintained. It commanded that bishops should be judged by their own metropolitan. The reason I refer to this is, that the popes attempted by forgery to introduce the words, "The Roman church has always had the supremacy." In the great fourth General Council of Chalcedon the council decreed that Constantinople should have equal honours with Old Rome. The pope's legates protested, and cited the above sentence, and it was shewn by the authentic acts to be a forged interpolation, and rejected.

The pope would not receive this, but it remained part of the council's acts for all that. The pope had a council of his own at Sardica, of which I have spoken, and it was there decreed that, if there was wrong complained of on the part of a metropolitan, it should be brought to Rome, and the pope decide (not the cause, but) if there should be a new trial. This was cited as the acts of the Council of Nice, and rejected by Africa and the East as a fraud of Rome. The second General Council, that of Constantinople, decided that the patriarch of that city should have priority of honour after Old Rome, because it was New Rome, resting the precedency of honour on the importance of the city only — a thing impossible if it had been an idea of necessary supremacy, as Peter's chair. But let us only recollect the Lord's words, "But it shall not be so among you; for he that will be great among you, let him be last of all, and servant of all," and we shall soon feel what the true character of these claims is — the world and Satan, and nothing else.

Ephesus, the third general council, decreed that nothing should be added to the creed. The great doctrinal point on which the Greek church split from Rome was the addition of filioque, "and from the Son," made to the creed. It appears to have come from Spain; and the eminent Pope Leo, a very able man, when consulted about it from France, said the doctrine was right, but that it ought not to be added to the creed. Yet this remains one great point of difference between East and West to this day. So little is there any certainty of faith to be found in this way, so false is it, that if we have scripture we can have what was held always, everywhere, and by all, unless they departed from the faith once delivered to the saints. The rule is true, not because that universality gives authority, for the church only receives truth, but if it was always held it was held by the inspired authors at the first, who received the revelation from God, and hence, and hence only, has authority. And the simple way of knowing what they held is by seeing what they teach. Holding gives no authority; revelation does. Hence we have what is certain in scripture, and nowhere else.

166 I might go into a mass of details, but I do not know that we should gain anything by it. We have seen enough to understand clearly that church authority is no security in matters of faith, though we may rejoice when its teachers teach the truth, and listen to them according to their gift with thankful deference. But there is no rule of faith to be found here.

M. Well, I am sure I am all at sea: excuse me, sir.

N*. It is no wonder. You have no faith of your own; a Romanist, as such, never has; he believes by another whom he calls his pastor, or the church, without knowing what it is. When he is shaken in that, he has no foundation for anything, and that is just now your case. But you had never any faith of your own; you thought what the church taught was right, but you had nothing from God — no real faith.

M. I see James has a certainty about what he believes that I do not understand — that I used to call presumption. I used to be certain that what Mr. O., or the church taught must be right, and so I received it; but I did not know anything as believing it from God, as if God had taught me. And the scriptures were a dead letter for me — a book for the clergy to explain.

N*. Look for it now, M. "If a man lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not." On this point Rome is infidel and contemptuous. God has ordained gifts of ministry, pastors and teachers, to be helpful to His saints, as evangelists to preach to the world, and we should be thankful for them, and pray to Him to send out labourers into His vineyard. But it is one of the distinctive promises we enjoy, "they shall be all taught of God." Rome confines the action of the Spirit to the clergy. Now God has given a ministry; but if a man be not personally taught of God, he knows nothing with divine faith at all, supposing even he heard it rightly from his clergy, and took for granted it was true, and never doubted it. It is to all the saints, yea, especially to the babes in Christ, that the apostle says, in order to encourage them, and throw them on their own responsibility, "ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things." The doctrine of the Holy Spirit's working in grace in the soul, that our faith may be real, is of vital importance. To deny it is to deny that grace — is what is called in theology the Pelagian heresy, and of that Rome is guilty.

167 If it does work, it works holily, it makes us humble, because it applies the word to the conscience, does not give us opinions, or make us judge the word, but makes the word judge us. It is by this it is an "engrafted word," "effectual in them that believe," faith mixed with it, as the scripture speaks. The word without the Spirit remains a dead letter. If we speak of the Spirit without the word, we may be taking our own imaginations for a guide. The word by the Spirit is saving, and brings divine light into the soul. We have discussed the truth of this point. I refer to it here for its practical importance. A man may be orthodox without it, but he cannot have faith. The word cannot be a living word without it. "Whosoever," says the Lord, "hath heard and learned of the Father cometh unto me." Grace, remember, M., is needed. With this the scriptures, the word of God, will be alike living and certain for the soul.

M. Well, I think I will read them, at any rate. But should I read the Protestant one or the Catholic?

N*. Read both. The Authorized Version is incomparably superior. They have left hard words on purpose in the Douay, and in some passages mischievous expressions, and inconsistent with their own doctrine. Thus, "Do penance and be baptized," for in their system penance is a sacrament that comes after baptism. It is a translation of a translation; but I say read both, because you will soon see, with God's grace, what the truth of God is, and the Douay will shew you that the truth is in the other too.

But we must now separate; if spared, we will go on on other points to find the true rule of faith.

M. and James. Good day, sir.