Page images
PDF
EPUB

Blackwell. At this the pope was alarmed, and on the ioth of the kalends of October l6c6, issued out a brief, forbidding the taking the oath; but the catholics apprehending it a forgery, payed little regard to it, whereupon the next year his holiness sent them another ( QcO, in which he plainly told them,

that

ticism and assurance are thus amazing, yet it is nos to

be wondered at, that they are unwilling to avow a

fact, which admitted, must cast the greatest odium on

a church whose ministers not only counselled it, but

were actors in it; and though by the judgment of their

country pronounced conspirators and traytors, and as

such treated; yet have been deemed by her infallible

self, faints and martyrs, and reckoned among their mi

(i)SeeOs- racle-workers (/). A ptoofthis, that zeal for mother

bom, p. church will fandtify the greatest villanies, and raise men

FuUer's t0 l^e highest honours, though ever so unworthy. May

church hist, all men have in abhorrence this spirit! may they guard

cent. 17. against all attempts to revive it, and look upon it as their

° an°' P' greatest happiness, that they are not under the rule of

winwood, those who are actuated by it.

Vol. 11. r.

( QgJ His holiness sent them another brief, &c.] In his first brief the pope [Paul V.] tells the English catholics, " that the oath of allegiance could not be taken ** without hurting the catholic faith, and the falvation

"of that they were bound fully to observe the things contained in the former, and to reject all interpretations persuading to the contrary.

* Monsieur S. Amour tells us, that among the several portrait! of Je» suirs, publickly sold at Rome with permission of the superiour, he saw one of Garnet, with this inscription. Pater Henricus Garnettus Anglus, Londini pro side catholica suspenses & sedtus, 3 Maii 1606. Father Henry Garnet hanged and quartered at London, for the catholic faith; by which we fee that treason and catholic faith are ali one at Rome; for nothing can be more notorious, than that Carnet suffered only on the account of the gunpowder treason, of which, as M. S. Amour observes, he acknowledged himself guilty before he died. Stillingfleet's idolatry of the church of Rome, p. 345. 8vo. Lend. 1676.

, Bellar

"of their souls, feeing it contains many things flat "contrary to faith and falvation; and therefore he ad"monitnes them utterly to abstain from taking this and "the like oaths (a):' Mr. Rapin therefore should have WK',n« seid, that the pope in this sirst brief, plainly told the catholics, " if they took the oath- they forfeited all hopes *5>. "of falvation (b) :" I fay, he should have faid this of the fast, and not the second brief, as he has done ; though 'p forfeiting all hopes of falvation, is very different, in my opinion, from hurting the falvation of their souls, which are the words of the brief. But his holinefs's commands were not obeyed. The catholics pretended that "his brief was issued not of his own proper will, but "rather for the respect and instigation of other men." This he assures them was false in his second brief, dated the ioth of the Calends of Sepr. 1607. and lets them know " that his former letters concerning the prohibi"tion of the oath, were written not only upon his "own proper motion, and of his certain knowledge, "but aiso after long and weighty deliberation u fed; con"cerning all those things which were contained in "them; and that for that cause they were bound fully "to observe them, rejecting all interpretation per"suading to the contrary (c)." Strange sort of mor- W King tals these popes! who pretending to be vicars of Jes"* ^.fa' Chrifi, who owned his kingdom was not of this world, 'P' intrude into the affairs of foreign nations, and prescribe laws to the subjects of them. This Paul V. was possessed of the true spirit of Hildtbrand. He laid the Venetians under an interdict, raised Ignatius Loyola to be a faint, and talked and acted in such a manner, as if he had indeed thought himself superior to all that" is cal"led-God, or is worshipped." And had he happened • to have lived in those age.^, when the spirit of croifading for the fake of what was called religion, prevailed, £ H doubt

Bellarmine also writ a letter to Blackwell, against the oath, and exhorted him to repair the fault he had committed, by taking of it, even though (rr) death should be the consequence.

doubt not but he would have made as vile work as the worst, and most enterprizing of his predecessors. But the times in which he lived permitted him not to act agreeably to his withes. Princes had more wisdom than to become his dupes, and excommunications were of little signisicancy, for learning and good sense now began to prevail, and where these are, ecclesiastical authority will be little regarded. However, this pope, we see, talked big; his briefs have an air of authority, and he did what in him lay to dispose the English catholics to behave contrary to their own interest and the laws of their country, and consequently to keep up a party dependent on himself, and subservient to his will, a thing of the worst consequence, and therefore loudly complained of by James, as we shall soon see.

(rr) Bellarmine also writ'a letter to Blackwellagainst the oath, &c.] This letter begins with remembring Blackwell of the long friendship that had been between them; expresses his grief for Black-well's sufferings; but more especially for his having, as it was seared, taken the oath, which he fays tends to this end, that the authority of the head of the church in England may be transserred from the successor of St. Peter to the successor of king Henry VIII. He declares that for this one head of doctrine, Fijher and More led the way to martyrdom to many others, to the exceeding glory of the English nation. And then he concludes with desiring him " not to preser a temporal liberty to the liberty of "the glory of the sons of God .- neither for escaping a "light and momentary tribulation, lose an eternal "weight of glory, which tribulation itself doth work *' in you. You have fought a good fight a long time; 2 "you quence. Hereupon James drew his pen,, and published his apology for the oath of allegiance,

*' you have well near sinished your course; somany years ** have you kept the faith ; do not therefore lose the re"ward of such labours; do not deprive yourself of that ** crown of righteousness, which so long ago is prepa"red for you; do not make the faces of so many yours *l both brethren and children, ashamed; upon you at ** this time are sixed the eyes of all the church ; yea also '* you are made a spectacle to the world, to angels, to ** men; do not so carry yourself in this your last act, that "you leave nothing but laments to your friends, and "joy to your enemies: but rather on the contrary, *' which we assuredly hope, and for which we conti'* nually pour forth prayers to God, display gloriously "the banner of faith, and make to rejoice the church, "which you have made heavy; so shall you not only "merit pardon at God's hands, but a crown. Fare"wel; quit you like a man, and let your heart be' "strengthned. This letter is dated from Rome, Sept., *' 28, 1607 («)." Bellarmine mistook the sense of the/a)King oath about which he writes, as we shall see by James's}""^* , answer. But not to insist on this, for the present, I^TM 'P would ask whether there is not something very odd in this persuading men to undergo martyrdom, when we ourselves are in ease, and like to continue so? docs it come with a good grace from the mouth of a rich cardinal, who had aspired to the papacy, and even now enjoyed the greatest plenty of all things. When we fee men under sufferings, triumph and rejoice in them, and contentedly bear them themselves, and exhort others todo so likewise, their exhortations will have great force and efficacy; their propriety is seen and acknowledged, and all virtuous men are edisied. But to persuade others-/ to submit to what we ourselves are strangers to, and which, probably, we should shrink at the undergoing,is not quite so well in the eyes of the world, But Bil-, larmine was at a distance; Bladwell's reproaches could> H 2 not

ance, against the two- briese of pope Taulut Quintus (sa), and the letter of cardinal Btl

'larmine

not have made him blush; and so the authority of the pope- was maintained, it mattered not who suffered. Modest man! good friend! happy for him to whom he writ, that he knew what was right, and for his own interest* or else probably tribulation would have been

his portion. One would be apt to wonder how it

comes to pass, that those men who were so forward to send others on dangerous expeditions, to promote the interest of the church, and make men proselytes among infidels and heretics, and encourage them so much with the prospects of the highest rewards hereafter: I fay one would be apt to wonder why hardly any of these persons ever set out on these expeditions themselves, and strive to obtain those glorious crowns they set before the eyes of others. We see they chuse themselves that part of the vineyard where is the richest soil, and the least work to be done. In this they take their ease, and enjoy themselves comfortably, and never change unless it be for the better. What are we to conclude from hence? do not they believe what they teach to others? are they disposed to procure their own advan- tage by the sweat, labour, and blood of the honest, the simple, the credulous? the unbelieving race would fay so; and those who belong not to that tribe of men, would yet be glad to know how, on this head, to confute them.

(ss) "James published his apology for the oath of alle* giance against the two briefs, &c.J Take the following account of the occasion of this apology from bishop Mountague, James's prefacer. "After the pope had put ** forth his briefs, and the cardinal had sent his letters to*' the arch-priest; the one to enjoin the people not to '* take the oath of allegiance, affirming that they could "not take it with fasety of their falvation: the other *• to reprove the arch-priest for that he had taken it, and?

"to

« PreviousContinue »