« ForrigeFortsæt »
man of Windsor, and some others for martyrs, and describing the par.. “ ticularities of their burnings and yet were never burned; this I ac “ count for error, and not to be made account of, because his intention,
perhaps, was not to lie. But when he cannot chuse but know, that " the thing which he writeth was false, this I call a willing or wilful lie; of “ which kind you have had store of examples before,"—that is, in his Examination of Fox's Calendar.-" The second kind of lying, (con“tinues F. P.) may be called dogmatical, when not only in fact and ac
tions, but in doctrine also, he falsifieth and lyeth of purpose, which is
so much the more grevious than the former, by how much less he can“not pretend ignorance, or misinformation of others; but with his own
greater reproach, who will reprehend that which he knoweth not “and of this kind principally we are to give examples here; ....and, for “this is a common shift of the heretics of our time, always to set down, “ the state of the question guilefully, and never to suffer the reader sin
cerely to see how the case standeth between them and us, I have the more willingly been induced to lay forth this handful of examples
in this place,....without any large refutation, but only shewing some “authentical author or place of ours, where we hold the contrary to " that which he affirmeth."
The learned examiner then proceeds to prove his position in a mas-, terly manner on the doctrines of faith and justification, &c. which we shall pass over, and give his conclusion of the chapter. “ Last of all," writes Parsons, " in the same page 26, n. 25, Fox hath a certaip “ definition of a true Christian Catholic man, according to the pope's
religion, wherein are as many lies as lines, if not more, as you shall see “examined more particularly in the next chapter, Out of which beap “ of lies, I will only now take a dozen to add to the former number, “ though in examination they will arrive, at least, to thrice as many. “ And so by the example of this one chapter, you may consider in what " dreadful dreams the more simple sort of Protestants are beld, about “our opinions in matters of controversies, &c. And if they please to da “this in their printed books, what will they fear to do in pulpits and “ private speeches, which pass more free from examination and control
inent; and the most ignorant are wont to shew the most audacity in “ slandering us and our doctrine, which ordinarily they lay forth so “ sauced and so powdered, as it may seem the most absurd doctrine in “ the world, and themselves jolly fellows in refuting the same. And “ this shall suffice for a short admonition out of this chapter ; the num“ber of lies proved against John Fox arising the number oF MORE THAN
SIX SCORE, besides many by me pardoned to him, which the reader, “ will easily have observed in reading it over.” Finally, Parsons give this general character of the work : “ From the beginning to the end “ of this whole volume, he commonly setteth down nothing affirmative
or positive of his own in matters of religion, nor any certain rule “ what to believe ; but only carpeth and scoffeth at that which was in
use before ; so as the reader is brought into unbelief, distrust, and con:
tempt of that, which was accompted piety and religion by his fore“ fathers, and nothing certain taught him in place thereof, but only ne
gative or scornful taunts, the proper means to make Atheists and In, FILELS.'
Thus writes the learned antagonist of John Fox. For the information of the reader we will here note, that father Parsons, whose Christian name was Robert, was educated at Oxford university in the Protestant religion, and became not only a fellow of Baliol college there in 1572, but likewise a noted tutor. He, however, entertained some scru. ples concerning the reformed religion, and spontaneously resigned his fellowship in 1574, went abroad, and embraced the Catholic faith. He was a man of shining qualities, a great controversial writer, and had a very narrow escape of his life when in England in the exercise of his priestly functions.
As it has been the invariable custom of Protestant writers to represent Catholics as condemning all those who differ from them in matters of faith as heretics; and as the words heresy and heretics, not only occur in these remarks, but will be found in the work we are about to review, we think it necessary, in vindication of the Catholic character, to give a correct definition of these terms. Those," writes St. Augustin, a great Catholic divine, in one of his epistles, Those, who do not " defend a false and perverse opinion with violent animosity, especially “if that opinion is not the work of their audacity and presumption, but “the inheritance of parents who were seduced and fell into error them"selves; those, in short, who freely seek the truth, and are ready to "stand corrected, must, by no means, be reckoned among heretics." By this exposition the reader will perceive that Protestants are not ins discriminately accounted to be guilty of heresy; that matter is left to the decision of the all-seeing Judge. Though the Catholic church, which is the pillar and ground of Truth, condemns every error, as is just and equitable, yet she does not condemn him who errs, but prays for him; and this the liberal Protestant reader, we are convinced, will not consider an uncharitable act, thou he may deem it to be a super, stitious one.
We beg to observe also, that though we shall have occasion to condemn the conduct of the pretended reformers of past times, and the bigotry of some fanatics of the present day, yet we are far, very far, from imputing the persecuting and intolerant spirit that instigated their deeds, to the liberal and sincere friend to liberty of conscience, of whatever religious persuasion he may be. Our desire is, to elucidate TRUTH, the WHOLE TRUTH, and NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH!
THE REVIEW. The work begins with a “ History of the first ten Persecutions of the "primitive Church from the year of our Lord 67, till the time of Cons stantine the great, detailing the lives and actions of the principal
Christian martyrs of both sexes, in Europe and Africa.” Such is stated to be the contents of the first book which the publishers have adorned with an engraving purporting to represent the cruelties of the Inquisition. Now what analogy this frontispiece bears to the sufferings of the primitive Christians, will puzzle, we think, much wiser heads to discover, than the “ few plain Christians, who have undertaken to prove that “ persecution is inseparable from Popery." We are presented with three monks, presiding as judges over the sufferers, one of whom is, we suppose, intended for St. Peter, as he is placed on a cross with his head
downwards, and this great apostle suffered in that manner. However, the editors of John Fox's modern Book of Martyrs must be told that the sufferings of the primitive Christians had long ceased before any order of monks was established, and that the “ Christian martyrs of both sexes in “ Europe and in Africa,” were all firm and stanch ROMAN CATHO. LICS. We are aware that this fact was intended to be suppressed; for they cunningly and not much unlike the animal whose name the martyrologist bears, commence their details thus : “The dreadful martyr“ doms which we are now about to describe, arose from the persecutions “ of the Romans against the Christians, in the primitive ages of the “ church, during the space of three hundred years, or till the time of “ the godly Constantine."--Thus by the omission of a word the uninformed reader iş lead to conclude that Cai holics were the persecutors when they were the persecuted. It is well known that in this country it is customary, with bigotted writers, to call the professors of Catholicism Romans as well as Papists, and thus by the suppression of the term heathens or Pagans, an erroneous conclusion is drawn against Catholics. Had John Fox, or his editors, said, from the persecution of the Roman heathens against the Roman Catholics, no false, inference could have been drawn; but this would not have suited the intention of the publishers, which they say is, to excite“ a hatred and abhorrence of the crimes of
Popery and its professors.” However, we shall be able to prove clearly, that neither John Fox nor his admirers, have any claim of kindred whatever to these martyrs, nor to the "godly Constantine.”
“ It is both wonderful and horrible," they say, “ to peruse the descrip“ tions of the sufferings of these GODLY martyrs, as they are described by the ancient historians. Their torments were as curious as the in“ genuity of man, tempted by the devil, could devise; and their num. “bers were truly incredible.” This is true enough; we can remember how much our feelings have been excited in our youth, when reading the extraordinary constancy and fortitude of the primitive martyrs, as well as the effect produced by their invincible courage and exemplary piety; and we were convinced that notủing but a divine power could enable them to bear the almost incredible tortures they suffered in the name of Jesus, who had died for them. But, then, these martyrs were not Protestants ; they all acknowledged the supremacy of the bishop of Rome, and therefore were Roman Catholics. Now is it not a piece of the greatest absurdity for men to adduce the sufferings of Roman Catholics under Pagan persecutors, to excite in the minds of Protestants, "a hatred and "abhorrence of the crimes of Popery and its professors ?"
To come however to facts. “ The first martyr,” they say, “to OUR
holy religion was its blessed Founder himself;" and they then go on to give a brief history of our Saviour.” This history is so well known that we need not repeat it here, but go on to what they say of “ The Lives, Sufferings, and Martyrdom of the Apostles, Evangelists, " &c.” St. Stephen is properly placed first in the catalogue, as he “ was the protomartyr of the Christian religion. But they make him a priest, when, according to their own scripture, he was only chosen deacon. Now there is a great difference between one office and the other; a priest having power to offer sacrifice, and the deacon is only authorised to preach and instruct. The concluding part of the account
however, is the most curious. After describing the manner of his death, namely, stoning, for imputed blasphemy, it says, “On the spot “where he was martyted, Eudocia, the empress of the emperor Theo“ dosius, erected a superb church, and the memory of him is annually “ celebrated on the 26th of December.” This statement is correct, but not sufficiently explicit. We have neither authorities nor'dates. It is distinctly affirmed in the chronological collections published by Scaliger with Eusebius's chronicle, that the saint suffered on the 26th of December in the same year our Saviour was crucified; but the saint's body was not discovered till the year 415, and it was not till the year 444 that Eudocia built a stately church to God in honour of St. Ste. phen, about a furlong from the city, near the spot where he was stoned. (See Butler's Saints' Lives.) And here a few questions may be asked-Of what religious profession was this empress that raised a church to St. Stephen ? And who are they that celebrate annually his memory? Dia John Fox and his comates build churches to saints ? Do the "plain “ Christians," who are now circulating his Book of Martyrs, celebrate annually the memory of this saint? Do any other class but the Catholics commemorate the anniversary of the saints and martyrs? These interrogatories must be all answered in the negative; and therefore it is clear that St. Stephen was not a Protestant, and cannot consistently be enrolled in John Fox's list.
St. James the Great follows next, and the account of his martyrdom is correctly given. It concludes thus :—“These events took place in “the year of Christ 44 ; and the 25th of July was fixed by THE “CHURCH for the commemoration of this saint's martyrdom." The Church fixed the day of commemoration ; but what church, "plain “ Christians ?" Your Protestant religion was not then in existence, ñor was there any other church on earth besides the Catholic church.
St. Philip's martyrdom, they say, is commemorated, with that of St. James the Less, on the 1st of May ; St. Matthew's festival is kept by THE CHURCH on the 21st of September; and St. Mark's death is rightly stated to have "happened on the 25th of April, 'on which day
THE CHURCH commemorates his martyrdom.” St. James the Less is next récorded; and here we meet with a remarkable statement, which we did not expect from the present editors of Fox's Martyrs. They say, “He was after the Lord's ascension elected bishop of Jerusalem : "he wrote his general epistles to all Christians and converts whatever, " to suppress a DANGEROUS ERROR then propagating, namely, “' that faith in Christ was alone sufficient for salvation without good 1 works.
Here reader we have an avowal that St. James condemned the doctrine of faith alone, whichi doctrine was a principal stone in the Babel-like fabric of Protestantism. It is here said to be dangerous error," and that the apostle'wrote expressly to all Christians and converts “whatever" to suppress this "dangerous error then propagating;” but will it be believed, yet true it is, that this very epistle of St. James was corrupted by Martin Luther, the 'apostle of the reformed religion, to agree with his favourite doctrine, and of all the reformers too, that good works were not necessary to "salvation. To the text,
“ We ac“ count a man to be justified by faith," the adverb ONLY was added i and when Luther was charged with this corruption, and asked why he
did so, the answer he gave was this : “ If any papist is displeased at
this, that I should add to the text the word only, tell him from me, " that a papist and an ass is all one ; so I WILL HAVE As I COMMAND IT ;
MY WILL STANDS FOR REASON AND LAW. We will be no disciples of " the papists, but rather their masters. Once we will insult and va
pour over these asses.” Again, “Pry'thee answer these asses nothing else about the word only, saving this, LUTHER WILL HAVE IT So;
he is the doctor over all papist doctors." (Epist, 'ad Anicum de Sola.). Such language as this does not display much of the apostolic character, and very little of rationality, nor do we think even
the plain “ Christians" will feel themselves honoured by having such a father of their church, if such it can be called; but the question resolves itself into this, either St. James or Martin Luther was wrong; Fox, however, by the admission that the apostle wrote against a dangerous error, allows him to be right, and sacrifices Luther. The apostle therefore was a Catholic.saint, and as such they houour hin to this day. How short sighted are men when under the influence of error. But there is another proof of the Catholicism of St. James. This apostle composed a liturgy or mass, a copy of which was in the university library of Oxford when Dr. Baily wrote in 1604, and is no doubt there now. This liturgy contains
prayers for the sacrifice of the mass and for the dead, two doctrines of the Catholic church rejected by the Protestants, and therefore St. James cannot be a martyr for their faith.
St. Matthias is next mentioned, but in a very brief way. He is followed by St. Andrew, of whom they say, “St. Andrew persisting in the
propagation of his doctrines, he was ordered to be crucified on a cross, “ two ends of which were transversely fixed in the ground. He buldly “ told his accusers, that he would not have preached the glory of the
cross, had he feared to die on it. And again, when they came to crucify " him, he said, that he coveted the cross, and longed to embrace it." Now, this language does not sound much like Protestantism, because its disciples revile the Catholics for following the example of St. Andrew in «
covering the cross.” Most Protestants reject the use of the sign of the cross, and those of the church as by law established retain it only in the ceremony of baptism. How then came these wise editors to produce the conduct of St. Andrew to confound them? Is it not a strange piece of absurdity to reproach Catholics for observing certain ceremonies, and then bring forward an apostle to shew that he gloried in doing what they are taught to follow ? - But we can tell these Foxite editors, that St. Andrew gloried in another Catholic rite. It is stated in the account of his passion, written by the church of Achaia soon after his death, and cited by Remigius in Psalm xxi; by archbishop Lanfranc in his book against Berengarius ; by St. Bernard in his sermon on St. Andrew, and by many others, that when the proconsul Ægeas exhorted him to sacrifice to idols, the blessed apostle answered him : "I do sacrifice daily to Al
mighty God (that is One and True); not the flesh of bulls or blood of
goats, but the immaculate Lamb upon the altar, whose flesh, after “ that all the faithful people have eaten the same Lamb that is sacri
ficed, remaineth whole and alive as before." Now this sacrifice of. fered by St. Andrew daily is that of the mass, now daily offered in the