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LETTER II. & III.
THE ANGLO SAXONS.
II. & III. 1.
IS ON land aghi
: Eng con
Identity of the doctrine preached to them, and the
doctrine of the Council of Trent.
nest Den reat
ugh ope. UCLost
I HAVE asserted, as you justly observe (page 29), and I now confidently repeat the assertion, “ that “ the doctrines of the Church of Rome were the same “ in the days of St. Augustine, when the Anglo“ Saxons were converted, with those which are now “ received as established by the Council of Trent.”
In opposition to this assertion, you produce from Bishop Stillingfleet, thirteen instances, in which they differ. I lament that I have not time to discuss them, as I think I could, with very little trouble, show, even to your satisfaction, that, in all the instances of a supposed disagreement between the two churches, which you produce from the works of that prelate, there is not even one, in which he does not misrepresent either the doctrine of the Anglo-Saxon church, or the doctrine of the Council of Trent, or both; or propound conclusions which his premises do not warránt.
To convince you that my assertion is founded, I beg leave to refer you to “ The Protestant's Apology for the Roman Church, by John Brerely, priest,” (Tractate I, section 1, p. 57.) He shows, beyond the possibility of disproof, that the most powerful adversaries of the Church of Rome have unequivocally acknowledged the identity of the Anglo-Saxon and Trentine doctrines, and reproached the memory of the Apostles of the Anglo-Saxons with this identity.
The adversary writers, who so describe it, “are not,” says Mr. Brerely, “writers of vulgar note; but, such as are for learning most accomplished :
as namely, Dr. Humfrey, Carion, Luke Osiander, " the Century-writers of Magdeburgh, and others. “ These,” he
says, “ describe the particulars of the religion as then taught and professed by St. Gregory and St. Augustine. They recite and affirm the said confessed particulars to be altars, vestments, images, chalices, `crosses, candlesticks,
censers, holy vessels, holy water, the sprinkling " thereof, reliques, translations, and religious de“ dicating of churches to the bones and ashes of
saints, consecration of altars, chalices and cor
porals, consecration of the fonte of baptism, “ chrism and oyle, consecration of churches with “sprinkling of holy water, celebration of mass, " the Archbishop's pall at solemn mass time, (Ro
manarum cæremoniarum codices), Romish mass 6 bookes, (et onus cæremoniarum); a burden of cere“ monies ; also, free will, merit and indulgences,
“ purgatory, the unmarried life of priests, publique “ invocation of saints, and their worship, and the “ worshiping of images, exorcisms, pardons, vows,
monachism, transubstantiation, prayer for the
dead, offering the healthful host of Christ's body “ and blood for the dead; the Roman Bishops
claim for the exercise of jurisdiction, and primacy over both churches; and lastly, Creliquum
que Pontificiæ superstitionis chaos), even the “ whole chaos of a popish superstition.” Upon each of these heads, Mr. Brerely refers to the chapter and verse of the authors, whom he cites. His work being scarce, permit me to offer You the loan of it. I am confident, that if You seriously compare Dr. Stillingfleet with Mr. Brerely, You will find that the prelate, when put into the scales with Brerely, kicks the beam as rapidly as when he ventured into scales with Locke.
Miracles. The remainder of your letter, contains several passages which I think reprehensible ; but I shall confine myself to what You say in page 49, upon the subject of miracles.
You express yourself very inaccurately, when, in contrasting your church with ours, you say, “The « Protestant may reject the opinions which reason
or Scripture convince him are absurd. The “ Romanist is permitted to reject nothing which “ his church has once sanctioned.”
All opinions which the church sanctions, BY PROPOUNDING THEM TO HAVE BEEN REVEALED, we are bound to believe: All other opinions she leaves to our reason.
“we are compelled to assert the mira“ culous powers of our church.”
This is true. “ We are therefore,” you tell us, “compelled to " allow that our most absurd legends may be true.” Here you are completely mistaken. We know and proclaim, that all absurd legends, are, and must be, untrue. “ You dare not,” say you, “resign the “ miracles of the darkest age to their fate.” We dare, and we do resign them all to their fatc. Did not Cardinal Bellarmine, * in the fifteenth century, profess general incredulity of the miracles related by Metaphrastes ? Did not Lewis Vives,t in the sixteenth century, cry aloud, "What a shame it is “ to the Christian world, that the acts of our
martyrs have not been published with greater “ truth and sincerity?” Does not Dr. Milner | admit, that " a vast number of incredible and false “ miracles, as well as other fables, have been “ forged by some and believed by other Catholic “ writers, in every age of the church, not except
even that of the Apostles ?” Does he not reject, in the wholesale, the miracles related in the " Golden Legend of Jacobus Voragine ; those re“ lated in the Speculum of Vincentius Bellua
Cited by Bellarmine in the Preface to Acta Sanctorum. † Liber II. de Causis Corruptarum Artium.
End of Controversy, Letter XXIV.
“ censis ?” Does any Roman Catholic credit those which rest solely upon the credit of Surius or Mombritius? Does not Doctor Lingard * reprobate the credulity of Osbert, the biographer of St. Dunstan? Does he not admit that 'many of the Anglo Saxon miracles shrink from the severity of criticism.'
I desire you to read with attention, what I am now going to write.
I have mentioned, in my third letter to Doctor Southey, that no miracles, except those which are related in the Old or New Testament, are articles of faith; that a person may disbelieve every other miracle; and that he may even disbelieve the existence of the person by whom they are said to be wrought without ceasing to be a Catholic. Supposing a Protestant to present himself to a Roman Catholic priest,—to request that priest to receive him into the Roman Catholic church, and the priest to find him well instructed and well disposed : Supposing the Protestant then to tell the priest, that candour required him to say, before they proceeded further, that, while he sincerely believed that Christ had delivered to his church the power of working miracles, there was not even one miracle,—(speaking of it in particular), -except those recorded in Scripture, which he believed :- Would this prevent the priest from
Antiquities of the Anglo-Saxon Church, chap. IX. XII.