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CRITICAL AND HISTORICAL.
house-court, St. Paul's Churchyard, London.
: EXPLANATION OF THE ENGRAVING.–The holy pope Martin is seen returning from en esamination by the Sacellarius, in the presence of the senate, stripped of all his clothes except a tunic, the executioner drugging him along tlirough the city of Constantinople by a chain fixed to his neck. A few of the people are crying Anathema, but the rest are over whelmed with grief at the cruel treatment of their spiritual father for resisting the innovations of error.
CONTINUATION OF THE REVIEW. the unchangeableness and indivisibility of truth. The birth of Arianism took place about the year 306, and its ascendency to power may be dated from the death of Constantine the great, in 337, when his son Constantius, who succeeded his father in the government of the east, embraced the heresy, and took its abettors into protection. In the field of argument the Arians, like our present sectarians, were powerless; they therefore grounded 'their success on fraud and violence, Relying on the protection of the civil authority, they deposed the orthodox prelates at their pleasure, and filled their places with Arians, the same as the Catholic bishops of England were displaced by Elizabeth, and creatures of the Reformation, so called, substituted in their sees. In the year 325 a council of bishops was assembled at Nice to the number of 348, who decided against the doctrine of Arius. In 357 another council of 250 bishops was held at Sardica in Illyricum, of whom there were 80 of the Arian party. The Arians seeing that they could not carry their measures, seceded; the rest of the prelates proceeded
canonically, and confirmed the decision of the Nicene fathers. In 359 a third council was held at Arminium in Italy of above 400 bishops, of whom 80 were Arians. Here the latter had recourse to fraud, and by using ambiguous expressions, imposed upon many of the fathers assembled a formulary of faith which they took to be orthodox. But truth is always to be found when sought for; and the trick was no sooner discovered than those who had signed the fictitious formulary imme; diately withdrew their signatures, and professed their adherence to the true faith. We have related how this heresy was introduced among the Goths, and enough has been said of the horrible cruelties and outrages committed by its adherents. Before the end of the century, (the fourth) the Arians, as is the case with all who depart from the truth, began to differ among themselves concerning their own tenets and divided into various sects, as we see Protestantism now sundered: these divisions weakened their strenth, and the hand of God soon became visible upon them. The Ostrogoths were converted by degrees to the Catholic faith, and their kingdom extinguished in 552 by the death of their king Totila, who was defeated and slain by the emperor Justinian's troops. The Visigoths in Spain were brought over, with their king Reccard, to the Catholic faith, about the year 587, by St. Hermenegild. The Seuvi, a German people, were converted from Arianism a few years before. In 535 the emperor Justinian sent Belisarius into Africa, who defeated the Arian Vandals and put an end to their kingdom and power. In 572 the Lombards conquered part of Italy and established a kingdom and with it Arianism; but Charlemagne vanquished them in 774, and extinguished their dominion. Hunnerie, one of the most cruel of the Arian persecutors, died a miserable death, being eaten up by worms. Ancient Rome too, in 546, was totally destroyed by fire and famine, a striking example of the vengeance of God, on those who persecute his saints and contemn his laws.
The next article worthy of notice in the Book of Martyrs is headed “ Bishop Martin,” and professes to give an account of the chief actions of the life of this prelate. We are now got into the seventh century, and the account given is so very extraordinary for a Protestant martyrologist, that we here give it at length :-"Martin, bishop of
Rome, was born at Lodi, in Italy. He was naturally virtuous, and “ his parents bestowed on him an excellent education. He took or“ ders, and on the death of Theodore, bishop of Rome, was advanced to “ that IMPORTANT SEE, by an unanimous election, in which all par“ ties gave him the fullest praise, and admitted, that he well merited a trust
of such importance. The first vexation he received in his epis“copal capacity, was from a set of HERETICS, called MONOTHE
LITES ; who not daring, after the express decisions of the council of “ Chalcedon, 'to maintain the unity of nature in Christ, asserted art, 'fully, that he had but one will and operation of mind. This sect
was patronized by the emperor Heraclius; and the first who at“tempted to stop the progress of these errors, was Sophronius, bishop “ of Jerusalem. Martin, who on this occasion coincided in sentiments “ with the bishop of Jerusalem, called a council, which consisted of 105 “ bishops, and they unanimously condemned the errors in question. But “the emperor, provoked at these proceedings, ordered Olympius, his
" lieutenant in Italy, to repair to Rome, and seize the bishop. The “ lieutenant performed the journey; but on his arrival at Rome, he. “ found the prelate too much beloved to induce him to attempt any
open violence; he therefore suborned a ruffian to assassinate him at “ the altar; but the fellow, after promising to execute the deed, was.
seized with such horror of conscience, that he had not the power to “perform his undertaking. Olympius thus finding it would be very “ difficult to destroy Martin, put himself at the head of his troops, and
marched against the Saracens, who had made some inroads into Italy, “but during this expedition he died. His successor was Calliopas, “ who received express orders to seize Martin, which, with the assista “ance of a considerable body of soldiers, he performed; shewing the “clergy the imperial mandate, which commanded him to dispossess “ Martin of his bishopric, and carry him a prisoner to Constantinople. “Having endured various hardships, during a tedious voyage, he “ reached the imperial city of Constantinople, and was thrown into “ prison. While in confinement, he wrote two epistles to the emperor “ to refute the calumnies forged against him with respect to his faith " and loyalty; for a proof of the soundness of the former, he appeals, “ to the testimony of the whole clergy, and his own solemn protesta“tion to defend the truth as long as he lived ; and in answer to the.
objections made against the latter, he declares he never sent either
money, letters, or advice to the Saracens, but only remitted a sum “ for the relief of poor Christians among those people : he concludes “ with saying, that nothing could be more false than what the heretics had “ alleged against him concerning the blessed Virgin, WHOM HE FIRM. “ LY BELIEVED TO BE THE MOTHER OF GOD, AND WOR“ THY OF ALL HONOUR AFTER HER DIVINE SON.
In his se“cond letter he gives a particular account of his being seized at Rome, "and his, indisposition and ill usage since he was dragged from that "city; and ends with wishing and hoping his persecutors would re
pent of their conduct, when the object of their hatred should be re“ moved from this world. The fatigues that Martin had undergone, “ and his infirmities, were so great, that on the day appointed for his
trial, he was brought out of prison in a chair, being unable to walk. “When he was before the court, the judge ordered him to stand, “which not being able to do, two men were ordered to hold him up.
Twenty witnesses were produced against him, who swore as they “were directed, and charged him with pretended crimes. Martin be
gan his defence, but as soon as he entered upon an investigation of “ the errors which he had combatted, one of the senators stopped him, “ and said, that he was only examined respecting civil affairs, and
consequently that ecclesiastical matters had nothing to do in his de: “ fence. The judge then prevented him from going on.
Martin was “ then ordered to be exposed in the most public places of the town, “ and to be divested of all marks of distinction; but all these rigours “he bore with Christian patience. After lying some months in prison, "he was sent to an island at some distance, and there cut to pieces. " A. D. 655.”.
Here are some very important facts to attract the attention of the reader. In the first place it must be observed, that Mahometanism had began its career, and was making great progress in the east, while the Christian emperors, it appears, were giving encouragement to heresy in their dominions. We have before noticed the destruction of the ancient city of Rome and the fall of the empire, yet here we see it acknowledged by John Fox, that the "important see” of that city still survived, and that the bishop was exercising his high jurisdiction over the church. Can we have a greater proof, or a plainer confession, of the supremacy of the pope, than this statement of the Book of Martyrs, which the “few plain Christians” are now publishing with a view, as they profess, to diffuse “among their fellow-believers a knowledge and “ love of the genuine principles of Christianity?" The pope is here praised for his opposition to the heresy of the Monothelites, as the former popes and martyrs have been praised for their opposition to Arianism and other heresies. ' Now, if the popes were right in opposing heresy in the seventh and preceding centuries, and who can doubt it, since John Fox says so ? they must be also right in opposing it in the sixteenth or nineteenth centuries; for error must be resisted and truth maintained in all cases and in all ages. By the relation of Fox it would seem that thë emperor Heraclius was the persecutor of this holy pope, whereas it was this emperor's son Constans, who, three years after the martyrdom of the saint, fell himself , by the hand of an assassin. Indeed the whole relation of Fox, though true in substance, is a jumble of circumstances without order, and erroneous in detail. The martyrologist says, the first vexation pope Martin " received in his episcopal
capacity was from a sect of heretics called Monothelites; who not
daring, after the express decisions of the council of Chalcedon, to “ maintain the unity of nature in Christ, asserted artfully, that he had “ but one will and operation of mind.”—Again, he says, the first who
attempted to stop the progress of these errors was Sophronius, bishop “ of Jerusalem, Martin, who on this occasion coincided in sentiment “ with the bishop of Jerusalem, called a council, which consisted of “ 105 bishops, and they unanimously condemned the errors in ques« tion.” Now by this account the reader is led to suppose, in the first place, that the Monothelites sprung up in the time of Martin's popedom, and in the next place that he called the council of 105 bishops in conjunction with Sophronius, the bishop of Jerusalem. But this is quite
This heresy, which was no other than the old one, broached by Eutyches, in a new shape, started up about the year 633; it was patronized by the emperor Heraclius, who published an edict in its favour, called Ecthesis, or the Exposition, which declared there was only one will in Christ, namely, that of the Divine Word, and denounced heavy penalties against those who should assert the contrary. Thus we see the civil power was resorted to, as in the case of the Arians, to enforce a belief that was contrary to the true doctrine received from the apostles. St. Sophronius was appointed to the patriarchate of Jerusalem in 634, and he was no sooner established in his see, than he called a council of all the bishops in his patriarchate, to examine the Monothelite heresy. The prelates accordingly met, and not only condemned the heresy, but composed a synodical letter to explain and prove the Catholic faith." The council of Chalcedon, alluded to by Fox, was held in 45b, nearly two hundred years prior to the time of
Sophronius; but this letter was confirmed in the sixth general council held subsequently in 680. This proceeding on the part of St. Sophronius most certainly induced the abettors of Monothelism to practise craft and delusion, the same as the abettors of Protestantism are compelled to do to keep their dupes in the dark; and it was in consequence of these practices that the holy pope Martin called a council of bishops in the Lateran church at Rome in 649; not, however, in conjunction with St. Sophronius, for that holy prelate died in 639, according to some writers, or, as Papebroke thinks, in 644. Martin, observe, was elected to the “important see” of Rome in 649, and it was this proceeding in support of the true faith that led to the vexations and sufferings he afterwards experienced from the tyranny of the temporal power. We noticed the ediet issued by Heraclius; his son Constans published another called the Typus, which imposed silence on both parties. The Lateran fathers censured both documents; the one for favouring heresy, the other for enjoining silence when truth was in danger. The
Lord,” said the fathers, “ hath commanded us to shun evil, and do
good; but not to reject the good with the evil. We are not to deny 5 at the same time both truth and error.” The condemnation of the fatter edict occasioned the persecution of the pope by Constans.
Of the various hardships endured by this holy pope, in the discharge of his divine functions, there is nothing very contradictory except the account of his death. Fox says he was cut to pieces, but Mr. Alban Butler makes no mention of this circumstance, and seems to infer that he died in prison, worn out with the cruel treatment he had undergone. It is not a little singular, however, that the charge brought by the he. retics against this holy martyr should be similar to those alleged against the Catholics by “Protestant-ascendency,” and particularly by the infamous plotters of that foul conspiracy which had Titus Oates for its chief instrument. Martin, it seems, was charged with disloyalty, with aiding the enemies of government, with sending money to the Saracens, and witnesses were procured who could perjure themselves for profit, but could not establish what they swore. So it has been since the reign of Protestantism. Plots have been invented and charged upon the Catholics, from the time of Elizabeth to the end of the Stuart rule ; and even to this day in Ireland allegations of this kind are made by the Orange partisans and papers. The creatures of “ Ascendency" are ever ringing the changes on the pretended disloyalty of Catholics, because 'they hold the spiritual supremacy of the pope over the Christian church, though this supremacy was held by all the martyrs that Fox has hitherto recorded. Unable to encounter this stubborn fact; unable to wipe out of the annals of history that the pope was the supreme ecclesiastical head of the Christian world before the reformation, so called, of the sixteenth century, the founders of “Protestant-ascendency” made the belief of the pope's supremacy a civil offence, and when a Catholic was put upon his trial, for adhering to this article of his creed, he was condemned to suffer the death of a traitor to his temporal sovereign, and not anathematized as the broacher or favourer of error. He.was examined, as one of the senators is said to have observed to pope Martin, “ respeeting civil affairs, and consequently that ecclesiastical matters "had nothing to do in his defence,"