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Holy Ghost." Now if the laws of their church, which are discordant enough, and many times of themselves too blamable, be yet by them accounted so sacred, that it is taught to be a sin against the Holy Ghost, willingly to break them; in the world there cannot be a greater verification of this charge upon them: it being confessed on all hands, that, not every man who voluntarily violates a divine commandment, does blaspheme the Holy Ghost.
SECTION I.-Of Indulgences.
ONE of the great instances to prove the Roman religion to be new, not primitive, not apostolic, is the foolish and unjustifiable doctrine of indulgences. This point I have already handled; so fully and so without contradiction from the Roman doctors (except that they have causelessly snarled at some of the testimonies), that, for aught yet appears, that discourse may remain a sufficient reproof of the church of Rome until the day of their reformation. The first testimony I brought, is the confession of a party: for I affirmed that Bishop Fisher, of Rochester, did confess, "that, in the beginning of the church, there was no use of indulgences, and that they began, after the people were awhile affrighted with the torments of purgatory." To this there are two answers; the first is, that Bishop Fisher said no such words. No? 'Proferte tabulas.'-His words are these; "Who can now wonder, that, in the beginning of the primitive church, there was no use of indulgences ?" And again: "Indulgences began awhile after men trembled at the torments of purgatory."— These are the words of Roffensis. What in the world can be plainer? And this is so evident, that Alphonsus à Castro thinks himself concerned to answer the objection, and the danger of such concessions. "Neither, upon this occasion, are indulgences to be despised, because their use may seem
Vide quæ supra annotavi ex Decreto Gratiani, sect. 1.
Lib. 8. adv. Hæres. tit. Indulgentia.
to be received lately in the church, because there are many things known to posterity, which those ancient writers were wholly ignorant of." "Quid ergo mirum, si ad hunc modum contigeret de indulgentiis, ut apud priscos nulla sit de iis mentio?" Indeed, antiquity was wholly ignorant of these things: and as for their catholic posterity, some of them also did not believe that indulgences did profit any that were dead. Amongst these, Hostiensis and Biel were the most noted. But Biel was soon made to alter his opinion; Hostiensis did not, that I find'.
The other answer is, by E. W., that "Roffensis saith it not so absolutely, but with this interrogation: 'Quis jam de indulgentiis mirari potest?' 'Who now can wonder concerning indulgences?" Wonder! at what? for E. W. is loath to tell it but truth must out. "Who now can wonder, that, in the beginning of the church, there was no use of indulgences?"-so Roffensis; which first supposes this; that in the primitive church there was no use of indulgences; none at all: and this, which is the main question here, is as absolutely affirmed as any thing; it is like a precognition to a scientifical discourse. And then the question, having presupposed this, does by direct implication say, it is no wonder, that there should be then no use of indulgences: that is, not only absolutely affirms the thing, but by consequence the notoriety of it and the reasonableness. Nothing affirms or denies more strongly than a question. "Are not my ways equal (said God), and are not your ways unequal?" that is, 'It is evident and notorious that it is so.'—And by this we understand the meaning of Roffensis, in the following words; "Yet, as they say, there was some very ancient use of them among the Romans." They say,'-that is, there is a talk of it amongst some or other; but such they were, whom Roffensis believed not; and that, upon which they did ground their fabulous report, was nothing but a ridiculous legend, which I have already confuted ".
The same doctrine is taught by Antoninus, who confesses that concerning them we have nothing expressly in the Scriptures, or in the sayings of the ancient doctors. And
t Hostiensis in summâ lib. 5. tit. de Remiss. Biel in Canon. Missæ. lect. 57. vide Bellarm. lib. 1. c. 14. de Indul. sect. Quod ad primam.
Dissuasive, part 1. sect. 3.
that he said so cannot be denied; but E. W. says, that I omit what Antoninus adds; that is, I did not transcribe his whole book. But what is it that I should have added? This; "Quamvis ad hoc inducatur illud apostoli, 2 Cor. ii. Si quid donavi vobis, propter vos in persona Christi."--Now to this there needs no answer, but this; that it is nothing to the purpose. To whom the Corinthians forgave any thing; to the same person St. Paul for their sakes did forgive also.'— But what then; therefore the Pope and his clergy have power to take off the temporal punishments, which God reserves upon sinners, after he hath forgiven them the temporal? and that the church hath power to forgive sins beforehand, and to set a price upon the basest crimes, and not to forgive, but sell indulgences? and lay up the supernumerary treasures of the saints' good works, and issue them out by retail in the market of purgatory? Because St. Paul caused the Corinthians to be absolved, and restored to the church's peace after a severe penance; so great, that the poor man was in danger of being swallowed up with despair and the subtilties of Satan; does this prove, that therefore all penances may be taken off, when there is no such danger, no such pious and charitable consideration? And yet, besides the inconsequence of all this, St. Paul gave no indulgence, but what the Christian church of Corinth (in which at that time there was no bishop) did first give themselves. Now the indulgence which the people give, will prove but little warrant to what the church of Rome pretends; not only for the former reasons, but also because the primitive church had said nothing expressly concerning indulgences; and therefore did not to any such purpose expound the words of St. Paul; but also because Antoninus himself was not moved by those words, to think they meant any thing of the Roman indulgences; but mentions it as the argument of other persons. Just as if I should write, that there is concerning transubstantiation nothing expressly said in the Scriptures, or in the writings of the ancient fathers; although 'Hoc est corpus meum' be brought in for it: would any man in his wits say, that I am of the opinion, that, in Scripture, there is something express for it, though I expressly deny it? I suppose not.
It appears now that Roffensis and à Castro declared
against the antiquity of indulgences; their own words are the witnesses; and the same is also true of Antoninus; and therefore the first discourse of indulgences, in 'the Dissuasive,' might have gone on prosperously, and needed not to have been interrupted. For if these quotations be true, as is pretended, and as now appears, there is nothing by my adversaries said in defence of indulgences, no pretence of an argument in justification of them; the whole matter is so foul, and yet so notorious, that the novelty of it is plainly acknowledged by their most learned men, and but faintly denied by the bolder people that care not what they say. So that I shall account the main point of indulgences to be (for aught yet appears to the contrary) gained against the church of Rome.
But there is another appendant question, that happens in by the by; nothing to the main inquiry, but a particular instance of the usual ways of earning indulgences, viz. by going in pilgrimages; which very particularly I affirmed to be reproved by the ancient fathers: and particularly by St. Gregory Nyssen, in a book or epistle of his written wholly on this subject (so I said), and so Possevine calls it, 'librum contra peregrinationes;' 'the book against pilgrimages.'-The epistle is large and learned, and greatly dissuasive of Christians from going in pilgrimage to Jerusalem. "Dominus profectionem in Hierosolyma inter recte facta, quæ eò (viz. ad regni cœlorum hæreditatem consequendam) dirigant, non enumeravit; ubi beatitudinem annunciat, tale studium talemque operam non est complexus." And again: "Spiritualem noxam affricat accuratum vitæ genus insistentibus. Non est ista tanto digna studio, imo est vitanda summo opere." And if this was directed principally to such persons, who had chosen to live a solitary and private life; yet that was, because such strict and religious persons were those, whose false show of piety he did, in that instance, reprove; but he reproves it by such arguments all the way, as concern all Christians, but especially women; and answers to an objection made against himself for going; which, he says, he did by command, and public charge, and for the service of the Arabian churches, and that he might confer with the bishops of Palestine. This epistle of St. Gregory Nyssen ⚫ de adeuntibus Hierosolymam' was printed at Paris, in Greek,
by Gulielmus Morellus, and again published in Greek and Latin with a double version by Peter du Moulin, and is acknowledged by Baronius to be legitimate; and therefore there is no denying the truth of the quotation: the author of the Letter had better to have rubbed his forehead hard, and to have answered as Possevine did: " Ab hæreticis prodiit liber sub nomine Gregorii Nysseni:" and Bellarmine, being pinched with it, says, " Forte non est Nysseni; nec scitur quis ille verterit in sermonem Latinum, et forte etiam non invenitur Græce." All which is refuted by their own parties.
That St. Chrysostom was of the same judgment, appears plainly in these few words: "Namque ad impetrandam nostris sceleribus veniam, non pecunias impendere nec aliud aliquid hujusmodi facere: sola sufficit bonæ voluntatis integritas. Non opus est in longinqua peregrinando transire, nec ad remotissimas ire nationes"," &c. St. Chrysostom, according to the sense of the other fathers, teaches a religion and repentance wholly reducing us to a good life, a service perfectly consisting in the works of a good conscience. And in the exclusion of other external things, he reckons this of pilgrimages. For, how travelling into foreign countries for pardon of our crimes differs from pilgrimages, I have not been yet taughta.
The last I mentioned is St. Bernard: his words are these: "It is not necessary for thee to pass over sea, to penetrate the clouds, to go beyond the Alps; there is, I say, no great journey proposed to you; meet God within yourself, for the word is nigh unto thee, in thy mouth and in thy heart"," &c. So the author of the latter acknowledges St. Bernard to have said in the place quoted: yea, but says this objector, 'I might as well have quoted Moses, Deut. xiii. 14.' Well, what if I had quoted Moses; had it been ever the worse? But though I did not, yet St. Bernard quoted Moses, and that, it seems, troubled this gentleman. But St. Bernard's words are indeed agreeable to the words of Moses, but not all out
x Tom. 4. ad A. D. 386. num. 39.
y Lib. 3. de Cultu Sanct. cap. 8. sect. Ad Magdeburgenses.
z 1. Homil. in Philom.
a A. L. p. 9. n. 23.
b A. L. ibid. p. 9. num. 24.
Non oportet, ô homo, maria transfretare, nonpenetrare nubes, non transalpinare necesse est. Non grandis, inquam, tibi ostenditur via: usque temet-ipsum occurrere