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he came with an intention to curse, and thus be made the unwilling instrument of good; but we cannot imagine St. Paul, or any one else— we cannot imagine the whole line of prophets, from Samuel to Malachi, to have been men of infamous character, and condemned, as it were, to do the work of God against their inclination and their wishes. Such an inconsistency, therefore, you incur, the moment you suppose a jurisdiction was communicated of this character to the church of Christ; but allow the promise given to Peter-allow that to him was committed the ark of the whole church, and that it was to be transmitted to his successors and you see at once how all is consistent, how all is beautiful, how all is perfect; you see from the beginning to the end, an undeviating course pursued, every link in which is but a further step in the accomplishment of the purposes of God. You have it accounted for, how it is that this church should have been assailed on every side, and yet never conquered; how it should appear to rise uninjured by all the billows that passed over it; how it has been seen, from age to age, to shake from it that mortality which gathers on all sublunary things.
But I know that a popular objection will here easily be raised. I shall be reminded of the volumes that have been written upon the crimes, and the iniquities of the Popes. I shall be told that for ages they were but a worldly race of men, whose only ambition was to take the crowns from the head of sovereigns, and grasp the sceptre of all temporal dominion, and who made themselves the civil rulers, as well as the spiritual masters of the world.
Now, in the first place, I would observe, that whatever may be the impression of any individual present regarding the character and the conduct of the Roman Pontiffs, he has no right-no right whatsoever, to apply that as a test towards the explanation of the Scriptures, or towards the existence of an institution. We know that even among the apostles there was one capable of betraying his Master by committing probably the greatest act of iniquity which the sun ever beheld, and yet it did not therefore impair the character of the apostles. You might say, if history were well examined, that the proportion of those Pontiffs who, by their private crimes, have disgraced their station, would not bear so great a proportion to the whole number of the succession, as that one did to the twelve who formed the apostolic body: as the apostleship in its dignity was not, therefore, impaired, nor its jurisdiction lessened, neither should the institution be judged by the particular crimes of any of the members who composed it.
But upon this subject allow me to say, there is a mass of deception constantly repeated, such as if laid open, would, I am sure, astonish many as to the extent of the error into which they have been led. In
the first place, it is customary to blend together the private individual character of the Pontiffs, and their public conduct, and this is a distinction necessary to be kept in view. As I observed at the commencement, our Saviour, in constituting men as the administrators of this power in giving into their hands even the means of the greatest evil, as well as of the greatest good, he did not, at the same time, deprive them of their individual responsibility; he left them in the possession of their free will; he left them still as men, with all the possessions, and all the dangers to which humanity is subject, and consequently he did not mean that they should be exempt from crime-he could not, that is, make the disposition for that purpose, unless he at the same time destroyed the original constitution of man. This, therefore, supposes the possibility and, humanly speaking, the probability, that a great many may have been unworthy of their station-and that there is no one who will doubt-but at the same time there is, in an immense number of instances, more misrepresentation upon this subject, than upon any other part of history. With regard to the Pontiffs of the first ages, I believe there is no one who will for a moment doubt, but that they were all worthy of what they have received-a place in the calendar of the saints. And, with regard to the Pontiffs of later ages, in like manner it has been acknowledged and that not by Catholic but by Protestant writers, and that but very lately-that since the change of religion in some parts of Europe since the reformation, and even for some time before it, that nothing could have been more exemplary, nothing more worthy of their station, than the conduct of all the Pontiffs who have filled the chair of St. Peter. The only part which remains is regarding those ages which are commonly called the middle or the dark ages of the church.
Persons who profess to pass a judgment on this period of history, are, in general totally unacquainted with the spirit of those times, and are no wise competent to judge regarding the effect which measures could produce at those times; judging, in other words, entirely by what they themselves feel and see, they condemn the conduct of the Pontiffs as being directed by nothing but a desire of temporal aggrandizement, and the desire to subject all the world to their temporal sway. But upon this confusion there is a bright light now beginning to pour in; and, I thank God, it comes from such a quarter as will not easily be suspected. Within these ten years there have been a series of works coming out, not indeed among us, where I am sorry to see the old calumny would be asserted, but abroad: a series of works has commenced, and is continually publishing, in which the character of the Pontiffs of the middle ages has been defended, and not only so, but placed in the most beautiful and in the most amiable point of view that can be conceived. I say, I thank God that this has come from a quarter which cannot be suspected; for every one of these works is the production of a Protestant. We
have had within these few years three or four vindications of the charac ter of that Pontiff, who has been considered as the type, as it were, of the desire to aggrandize in the middle ages. The one to whom it is principally attributed is the amiable, the universally admired Gregory the Seventh, better known by the name of Hildebrand. In a large voluminous work, published a few years ago by Voigt, who has had the suffrages of the most eminent historian in Germany, we have the life of this Pontiff drawn up exclusively from contemporaneous documents, from his own correspondence, the chronicles of the times, and from all writings, not merely by his friends, but by his enemies; and the result is, (I wish I could give you the words of the author himself) that abstractedly from mere petty prejudice, or national feelings of the German, who feels that he has most reason to complain of his conduct, would only deprive himself for a moment of national feeling, and look upon him as a man, he would find in him one that does honour to humanity, one that is the glory of his nature, one who acted, in every instance, as his position called upon him to act, and who made use of no means but what he was authorized to employ. In this he has been followed by many with some little enthusiasm which, perhaps, Catholics even could not have exceeded, and one historian continually speaks of that holy Pontiff with raptures, and several others to whom I could allude, if it were necessary, have followed the same course. We have had within little more than a year ago another magnificent life of another Pontiff-Innocent the Thirdone again the most abused of the whole line of succession. His life has been written by a clergyman of the Protestant church in Germany, and he again has coolly examined all the usual allegations against him, and he has based his study entirely upon the monuments of that age, and the conclusions to which he comes are, that not only is no fault to be found in his character, but that he should be the object of unqualified admiration. But to give some idea of the warmth of his conclusions, I will give two extracts which do not refer so much to an individual Pontiff as to the whole history of the Papacy. He thus writes-" Such an immediate instrument in the hands of God, for the securing the highest weal of the community, must the Christian of these times, the ecclesiastic, and still more, he who stood nearest to the centre of the church, have considered him, who was its head. Every worldly dignity works only for the good of an earthly life, for a passing object; the church alone for the salvation of all men, for an object of endless duration. If worldly power is from God, it is not so in the sense, and in the measure, and in the definitiveness in which the highest spiritual power of those ages was; whose origin, developement, extent and influence, independently of all dogmatical formulas, form the most remarkable appearance in the world's history."
In another passage he thus speaks-" Let us look forward and backward to any period of time, and see how the institution of the Papacy has outlived all the other institutions of Europe-how it has seen all other states rise and perish-how in the endless changes of human power it alone invariably has preserved and maintained the same spirit. Can we be surprised that many look upon it as the rock which rears itself, unshaken, above the stormy waves of time?"
To conclude, therefore, upon this subject, I will only say, I trust that, by degrees, what is doing abroad will be better known among us; and, I am satisfied, that when we begin to contemplate those ages in the same spirit, and in the same manner, as our continental neighbours do, we shall discover, even as they have done, that men have been sadly deceived, in the estimates they have made of the personal glories considered even independently of their religion; and that consequently those objections brought to the divine origin of this power, from any individual examples, must be universally diminished.
Such, therefore, is the idea which I wish to lay before you of the papal power; or, in other words, of the supremacy of the successor of St. Peter. You have seen in the simplest manner laid before you, what is the ground on which we base it: it is upon the clear texts of Scripture interpreted, I am sure, without violence, but simply by their own construction, and by reference to other passages of God's written word. You have seen that this institution has been retained, and has been transmitted throughout a succession of ages from one Pontiff to another, until it has at length reached that one who at present occupies the chair of St. Peter; and of whom it may be said, that if those before him have deserved the admiration and esteem of mankind, he in no wise degenerates from his line of ancestry. I know, and I am sure, that his sympathies are most particularly directed towards this portion of his flock. In this very church, indeed, you have a testimony of what the holy See has thought and felt in your regard. You are aware that the venerable Pontiff, Pius the Seventh, he, who of all others may be said to have exemplified the indestructible power of the Roman See, inasmuch, as the emperor, who had endeavoured to destroy it, in his person fell, while he again rose once more, and sat in the chair, and exercised the authority of his predecessors. You are aware how he, to testify his affection towards this country, and the Catholics in it, sent to this very place of worship one of the most splendid services of Church plate in his possession; and I, being at Rome at the time, remember well the expression that was used to himthat it was the most splendid thing of the sort in his possession. His answer was, "The Catholics of England deserve the best thing that I can give them." The feeling which he expressed has been increased by the late disorders; it is felt at the present moment; and I am sure that
nothing can give that one, who now occupies the throne, greater happiness, greater consolation, than to hear and to know how every day his spiritual authority, his imperishable kingdom, if I may so say, in the souls of men, is extended in this country; and how many are day after day brought to acknowledge the truth of the doctrine which I have this day been laying before you. And that this may still continue, and that this progress may be even greater than it has been, is a blessing which I pray God to grant you all,