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from this it appears that in no part of the dispute was the authority of the pontiff called in question: the circumstances, on the contrary, proclaim aloud the acknowledged existence of the pontifical power'.
A similar heat was manifested by certain African bishops, on the subject of re-baptizing heretics, on the ground that the baptism given out of the church was to be deemed invalid. This opinion was maintained with considerable violence by many prelates ; among whom St. Cyprian and Firmitian were particularly distinguished. Many angry discussions were held on the subject; but Pope Stephen, though he insisted on a strict adherence to the practice of antiquity, yet, by the advice of St. Dionysius of Alexandria, was restrained from employing severe and decisive measures?. The affair gradually died away, or in the language of Vincent of Lerins-—"retenta est antiquitas; explosa est novitas"-"Antiquity kept its place; novelty was exploded.” In the whole progress of this dispute, not a sentence was uttered which amounted to a denial of the pontifical power.
IV. The catechist well knows that the Eastern churches, of which he speaks with applause, were, for the space of nearly nine hundred years, subject to the authority, and acknowledged the jurisdiction of the see of Rome; and that human
Eus. Hist. lib. v. c. 23, 24, 25.
motives, and human passions, occasioned the grand schism. If such motives, in the estimation of the catechist, are sufficient tojustify the most important changes in religion, let him, if he pleases, continue to applaud the conduct of the Eastern churches ; but if reason and religion both imperatively direct us to respect the authority established by Christ, my opponent will pause, before he draws any argument from the conduct of the Greek church.
V. Equally insignificant and destitute of truth are his observations on the Church of England, when he states that the apostolić see can have no authority over her ; that she was a free church from the beginning; and that, notwithstanding the oppressions of the Roman see, she still justly maintains her natural freedom. Is the catechist so unacquainted with the history of religion in his own country, as not to know that England derived all her knowledge of Christianity from the exertions of the see of Rome; that the first well-authenticated conversion of our British ancestors took place during the pontificate of Pope Eleutherius, who sent his zealous and active missionaries to achieve the grand work? If this fact has never been learned by him, he cannot be so great a stranger to historical research as not to know, that the memorable conversion of our Saxon ancestors is to be ascribed to the zeal of Pope Gregory I., known in the church by the distinguished appellation of St. Gregory the Great,
who dispatched St. Augustine, and his pious associates, on this important business, in 596 ; that they succeeded in diffusing the light of faith ; and that the whole country finally became a most flourishing portion of the church; an island of saints. From that era to the period called the Reformation, the Pope was here considered as the father of the faithful. His jurisdiction was acknowledged ; his authority remained undisputed. Amidst all attempts of the pontiffs to correct various abuses, and during the angry discussions under the arbitrary and tyrannical sway of the Conqueror, or his immediate descendants; or when the pride, passion, and violence of the first of the Plantagenets hurried him to the most unwarrantable proceedings; at these critical periods, the spiritual claims of the Pontiffs were never questioned, but maintained in their full force. This state of things continued for a term of about nine hundred years; till Henry VIII., for reasons and under circumstances, with which the reader is well acquainted, threw off the yoke, and placed the tiara on his own head. It is a matter of public notoriety, that neither reason nor religion suggested this measure, but that pride, avarice, and lust, gave an impulse to the whole proceeding. Let the catechist then boast of the freedom of his church, if he can prove such a boast to be justifiable ; but let him reflect, that both reason and religion should lead him to make the most heartfelt acknowledgments to the piety and zeal of the apostolic see, from which the light of Christianity, with its attendant blessings, has been, under heaven, derived".
See a learned Treatise on the Three Conversions of England, by F. Parsons ; London, 1688. On the grand Conversion of the Saxons : 'see Bede, i. 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, et seq.
Doth the Church of Rome differ from the Church of England in any
other point ?
Yes; for she holds, 1. That the Public Prayers or Service of the Church, at which
people are bound to assist, may lawfully be performed in
Latin, or a tongue not understood by the People, 2. That Auricular Confession, or confessing all our mortal sins,
with the circumstances of them, in the ear of a Priest, is
necessary to Salvation. 3. That Extreme Unction is a necessary Sacrament. 4. That it is unlawful for Priests and Clergymen to marry. 5. That the Church of Rome is infallible. 6. That the Scripture ought not to be read in the vulgar tongue
by the common people. 7. That the Books commonly called Apocrypha are canonical
Scripture. 8. That the Church of England had no power to reform
Having explained the grounds of the Catholic doctrine on the preceding questions, with clearness and precision, and either obviated or refuted the objections of the catechist, I here pledge myself to remove, by the divine assistance, every difficulty produced by any opponent, on the other subjects of discussion.