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And after all the considerations, which we can have in a whole

age, we are not sure ' not to be deceived.' The obscurity of some questions, the nicety of some articles, the intricacy of some revelations, the variety of human understandings, the windings of logic, the tricks of adversaries, the subtilty of sophisters, the engagement of educations, personal affections, the portentous number of writers, the infinity of authorities, the vastness of some arguments, as consisting in enumeration of many particulars, the uncertainty of others, the several degrees of probability, the difficulties of Scripture, the invalidity of probation of tradition, the opposition of all exterior arguments to each other, and their open contestation, the public violence done to authors and records, the private arts and supplantings, the falsifyings, the indefatigable industry of some men to abuse all understandings and all

persuasions into their own opinions, these and thousands more, even all the difficulty of things, and all the weaknesses of man, and all the arts of the devil, have made it impossible for any man, in so great variety of matter, not to be deceived. No man pretends to it but the Pope, and no man is more deceived than he is in that very particular.

4. Thirdly: from hence proceeds a danger which is consequent to this proceeding: for if we, who are so apt to be deceived, and so insecure in our resolution of questions disputable, should persecute a disagreeing person, we are not sure we do not fight against God. For if his proposition be true and persecuted, then, because all truth derives from God, this proceeding is against God, and therefore this is not to be done, upon Gamaliel's ground, ‘lest peradventure we be found to fight against God ;' of which, because we can have no security (at least) in this case, we have all the guilt of a doubtful or an uncertain conscience. For if there be no security in the thing, as I have largely proved, the conscience in such cases is as uncertain as the question is : and if it be not doubtful where it is uncertain, it is because the man is not wise, but as confident as ignorant; the first without reason, and the second without excuse.

And it is very disproportionable for a man to persecute another certainly for a proposition, that, if he were wise, he would know it is not certain ; at least the other person may innocently be uncertain of it. If he be killed, he is certainly killed; butif he be called heretic, it is not so certain that he is a heretic.


It were good therefore that proceedings were according to evidence, and the rivers not swell over the banks, nor a certain definitive sentence of death passed upon such persuasions, which cannot certainly be defined.

And this argument is of so much the more force, because we see that the greatest persecutions that ever have been, were against truth, even against Christianity itself; and it was a prediction of our blessed Saviour, that persecution should be the lot of true believers. And if we compute the experience of suffering Christendom, and the prediction that truth should suffer, with those few instances of suffering heretics, it is odds but persecution is on the wrong side, and that it is error and heresy, that is, cruel and tyrannical; especially since the truth of Jesus Christ and of his religion is so meek, so charitable, and so merciful. And we may in this case exactly use the words of St. Paul; “ But as then he that was born after the flesh, persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now;" and so ever will it be till Christ's second coming.

5. Fourthly: whoever persecutes a disagreeing person, arms all the world against himself, and all pious people of his own persuasion “, when the scales of authority return to his adversary, and attest his contradictory ; and then what can he urge for mercy for himself or his party, that sheweth none to others. If he says that he is to be spared because he believes true, but the other was justly persecuted because he was in error, he is ridiculous. For he is as confidently believed to be a heretic, as he believes his adversary such;andówhether he be or no’ being the thing in question, of this he is not to be his own judge; but he that hath authority on his side, will be sure to judge against him. So that, what either side can indifferently make use of, it is good that neither would, because neither side can with reason sufficiently do it in prejudice of the other.) If a man will say, that every man must take his adventure, and if it happens authority to be with him, he will persecute his adversaries, and if it turns against him, he will bear it as well as he can, and hope for a reward of martyrdom and innocent suffering ;-besides that this is so equal

* Quo comperto illi in nostram perniciem licentiore audaciâ grassabuntar. St, Aag. ep. ad Donat. Procons. et contr. ep. Fand. Ità nono debeo sustinere et tantâ patientià vobiscum agere, quanta necum egerunt proximi mei, cùm in vestro dog. mate rabiosus ac cæcus errarem.

to be said of all sides, and besides that this is a way to make an eternal disunion of hearts and charities, and that it will make Christendom nothing but a shambles and a perpetual butchery; and as fast as men's wits grow wanton, or confident, or proud, or abused, so often there will be new executions and massacres; besides all this, it is most unreasonable and unjust, as being contrariant to those laws of justice and charity, whereby we are bound with greater zeal to spare

and preserve an innocent than to condemn a guilty person, and there is less malice and iniquity in sparing the guilty than in condemning the good : because it is in the power of men to remit a guilty person to divine judicature, and for divers causes not to use severity; but in no case it is lawful; neither hath God at all given to man a power, to condemn such persons as cannot be proved other than pious and innocent. And therefore it is better, if it should so happen, that we should spare the innocent person, and one that is actually deceived, than that, upon the turn of the wheel, the true believers should be destroyed.

6. And this very reason he, that had authority sufficient and absolute to make laws, was pleased to urge as a reasonable inducement for the establishing of that law which he made for the indemnity of erring persons. It was in the parable of the tares mingled with the good seed in agro dominico.' The good seed (Christ himself being the interpreter) are the children of the kingdom, the tares are the children of the wicked one: upon this comes the precept, “Gather not the tares by themselves, but let them both grow together till the harvest,” that is, till the day of judgment. This parable hath been tortured infinitely to make it confess its meaning, but we shall soon dispatch it. All the difficulty and variety of exposition are reducible to these two questions, What is meant by 'Gather not,' and what by · Tares;' that is, what kind of sword is forbidden, and what kind of persons is to be tolerated. The former is clear; for the spiritual sword is not forbidden to be used to any sort of criminals, for that would destroy the power of excommunication. The prohibition therefore lies against the use of the temporal sword, in cutting off some persons. Who they are, is the next difficulty. But by ‘tares,' or the children of the wicked one,' are meant either persons of ill lives, wicked


only'in re practica;' or alse another kind of evil persons, men criminal or faulty in re intellectuali.' One or other of these two must be meant; a third I know not. But the former cannot be meant, because it would destroy all bodies politic, which cannot consist without laws, nor laws without a compulsory and a power of the sword: therefore if criminals were to be let alone till the day of judgment, bodies politic must stand or fall ‘ad arbitrium impiorum,' and nothing good could be protected, not innocence itself, nothing could be secured but violence and tyranny. It follows then, that since a kind of persons which are indeed faulty, are to be tolerated, it must be meant of persons faulty in another kind, in which the Gospel had not, in other places, clearly established a power externally compulsory : and therefore since in all actions practically criminal a power of the sword is permitted, here, where it is denied, must be meant a crime of another kind, and by consequence errors intellectual, commonly called heresy.

7. And after all this, the reason there given confirms this interpretation "; for therefore it is forbidden to cut off these tares, " lest we also pull up the wheat with them :" which is the sum of these two last arguments. For because heresy is of so nice consideration and difficult sentence, in thinking to root up heresies we may by our mistakes destroy true doctrineo: which although it be possible to be done in all cases of practical question by mistake; yet because external actions are more discernible than inward speculations and opinions, innocent persons are not so easily mistaken for the guilty in actions criminal, as in matters of inward persuasion. And upon

that very reason St. Martin was zealous to have procured a revocation of a commission granted to certain tribunes to make inquiry in Spain for sects and opinions; for under colour of rooting out the Priscillianists, there was much mischief done, and more likely to happen, to the orthodox. For it happened then as oftentimes since, “ Pallore potiùs et veste quàm fide hæreticus dijudicari solebat aliquando per tribunos Maximi.” They were no good inquisitors of heretical pravity, so Sulpitius witnesses. But, secondly, the reason

Vide St. Chrysost. Homil. 47. in cap. 13. Matt. el St Angust. Quæst. in cap. 13. Matt. St. Cyprian. Ep. lib. 3. Ep. 1. Theophyl. in 13. Matt.

• St. Hieron. in cap. 13. Matt. ait per hanc parabolam significari, ne in rebus dubiis præceps fiat judicium.

says, that therefore these persons are so to be permitted as not to be persecuted, lest when a revolution of human affairs sets contrary opinions in the throne or chair, they who were persecuted before, should now themselves become persecutors of others; and so, at one time or other, before or after, the wheat be rooted up, and the truth be persecuted. But as these reasons confirm the law and this sense of it; so, abstracting from the law, it is of itself concluding by an argument.ab incommodo,' and that founded upon the principles of justice and right reason, as I formerly alleged.

8. Fifthly : we are not only uncertain of finding out truths in matters disputable, but we are certain that the best and ablest doctors P of Christendom have been actually deceived in matters of great concernment; which thing is evident in all those instances of persons, from whose doctrine all sorts of Christians respectively take liberty to dissent. The errors of Papias, Irenæus, Lactantius, Justin Martyr in the millenary opinion, of St. Cyprian, Firmilian, the Asian and African fathers in the question of re-baptization, St. Austin in his decretory and uncharitable sentence against the unbaptized children of Christian parents, the Roman or the Greek doctors in the question of the procession of the Holy Ghost, and in the matter of images, are examples beyond exception. 'Αμφί δ' ανθρώπων φρεσίν 'Αμπλακίαι αναρίθμητοι κρέμανται. Now if these great personages had been persecuted or destroyed for their opinions, who should have answered the invaluable loss the church of God should have sustained in missing so excellent, so exemplary, and so great lights ? But then if these persons erred, and by consequence might have been destroyed, what should have become of others whose understanding was lower, and their security less, their errors more, and their danger greater? At this rate all men should have passed through the fire : for who can escape, when St. Cyprian and St. Austin cannot? Now to say these persons were not to be persecuted, because although they had errors, yet none condemned by the church at that time or before, is

p. Illi in vos sæviant, qui nesciunt com quo labore verum inveniatur, et quàm difficilè caveantar errores. Illi in vos sæviant, qui desciunt quàin rarum et arduam sit carnalia phantasmiala piæ mentis serenitate superare. Illi in vos sæviant, qui nesciunt quibus et saspiriis et gemitibus fiat, ut ex quantulacunque parte possit inlelligi Deus. Postremò, illi in vos sæviant, qui nullo tali errore decepti sunt, quali vos deceplos vident. St. August. Con. Ep. Fund.

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