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7. But when Ursatus and Stacius, two bishops, procured the Priscillianists' death by the power they had at court; St. Martin was so angry at them for their cruelty, that he excommunicated them both. And St. Ambrose upon the same stock denied his communion to the Itaciani. And the account that Sulpicius gives of the story is this;" Hoc modo" (says he) "homines luce indignissimi pessimo exemplo necati sunt." The example was worse than the men. If the men were heretical, the execution of them however was unchristian.
8. But it was of more authority that the Nicene fathers supplicated the Emperor, and prevailed for the banishment of Arius". Of this we can give no other account, but that, by the history of the time, we see baseness enough and personal misdemeanour and factiousness of spirit in Arius to have deserved worse than banishment, though the obliquity of his opinion were not put into the balance; which we have reason to believe was not so much as considered, because Constantine gave toleration to differing opinions, and Arius himself was restored upon such conditions to his country and office, which would not stand with the ends of the Catholics, if they had been severe exactors of concurrence and union of persuasions*.
9. I am still within the scene of ecclesiastical persons, and am considering what the opinion of the learnedest and holiest prelates was concerning this great question. If we will believe St. Austin (who was a credible person), no good man did allow it; "Nullis tamen bonis in catholica hoc placet, si usque ad mortem in quenquam, licet hæreticum, sæviatur." This was St. Austin's final opinion: for he had first been of the mind, that it was not honest to do any violence to mispersuaded persons; and when upon an accident happening in Hippo he had altered and retracted that part of the opinion, yet then also he excepted death, and would by no means have any mere opinion made capital. But, for aught appears, St. Austin had great reason to have retracted
z Sozom. 1. 1. cap. 20.
a Socrates, l. 1. cap. 26. Cont. Crescon. Grammat. lib. 3. cap. 50. Vid. Intiam Epist. 158, 159. et lib. 1. cap. 29. cont. tit. Petilian. Vide etiam Socrat. lib. 3. cap. 3. et cap. 29.
b Lib. 2. cap. 5. retractat. vid. Ep. 48. ad Vincent. script. post retract. et Ep. 50. ad Bonif.
that retractation than his first opinion; for his saying of "nullis bonis placet," was as true as the thing was reasonable it should be so. Witness those known testimonies of Tertullian, Cypriand, Lactantius, St. Jerome, Severus Sulpicius, Minutius", Hilary, Damascenus*, Chrysostom', Theophylact, and Bernard", and divers others, whom the reader may find quoted by the Archbishop of Spalato, lib. 8. de Rep. Eccl. c. 8.
10. Against this concurrent testimony my reading can furnish me with no adversary, nor contrary instances, but in Atticus of Constantinople, Theodosius of Synada, in Stacius and Ursatus before reckoned. Only indeed some of the later Popes of Rome began to be busy and unmerciful; but it was then when themselves were secure, and their interests great, and their temporal concernments highly considerable.
11. For it is most true, and not amiss to observe it, that no man who was under the ferula, did ever think it lawful to have opinions forced, or heretics put to death; and yet many men, who themselves have escaped the danger of a pile and a faggot, have changed their opinion just as the case was altered, that is, as themselves were unconcerned in the suffering. Petilian, Parmenian, and Gaudentius, by no means would allow it lawful, for themselves were in danger, and were upon that side that is ill thought of and discountenanced but Gregory and Leo P, Popes of Rome, upon whose side the authority and advantages were, thought it lawful they should be punished and persecuted, for themselves were unconcerned in the danger of suffering. And therefore St. Gregory commends the Exarch of Ravenna for forcing them who dissented from those men who called themselves the church. And there were some divines in the lower Germany, who upon great reasons spake against the tyranny of the inquisition, and restraining prophesying, who yet, when they had shaken off the Spanish yoke, began to persecute their brethren. It was unjust in them, in all men unreasonable
In cap. 13. Matt. et in cap. 2. Hos. h Octav.
d Lib. 3. Ep. 1. Epist.
i Cont. Auxent. Arr.
e Lib. 5. c. 20.
g In vit. S. Martin.
3. Sect. c. 32.
m In Evang. Matt.
1 In cap. 13. Matt. hom. 4.
n In verba Apost. fides ex auditu.
• Apud Aug. 1. 1. c. 7. cont. Ep. Parmenian. et 1. 2. c. 10. cont. tit. Peti
P Ep. 1. ad Turbinm.
Lib. 1. Ep. 75.
and uncharitable, and often increases the error, but never lessens the danger.
12. But yet although the church, I mean in her distinct and clerical capacity, was against destroying or punishing difference in opinion, till the Popes of Rome did superseminate and persuade the contrary; yet the bishops did persuade the emperors to make laws against heretics, and to punish disobedient persons with fines, with imprisonment, with death and banishment respectively. This indeed calls us to a new account. For the churchmen might not proceed to blood nor corporal inflictions, but might they not deliver over to the secular arm, and persuade temporal princes to do it? For this I am to say, that since it is notorious that the doctrine of the clergy was against punishing heretics, the laws which were made by the emperors against them, might be for restraint of differing religion in order to the preservation of the public peace, which is too frequently violated by the division of opinions. But I am not certain whether that was always the reason, or whether or no some bishops of the court did not also serve their own ends in giving their princes such untoward counsel; but we find the laws made severally to several purposes, in divers cases and with different severity. Constantine the emperor made a sanction, "Ut parem cum fidelibus ii, qui errant, pacis et quietis fruitionem gaudentes accipiant." The emperor Gratian decreed, "Ut quam quisque vellet religionem sequeretur, et conventus ecclesiasticos semoto metu omnes agerent." But heexcepted the Manichees, the Photinians, and Eunomians. Theodosius the elder made a law of death against the anabaptists of his time, and banished Eunomius, and against other erring persons appointed a pecuniary mulct; but he did no executions so severe as his sanctions, to shew they were made 'in terrorem' only. So were the laws of Valentinian and Martian, decreeing 'contra omnes qui prava docere tentant,' that they should be put to death; so did Michael the emperor: but Justinian only decreed banishment.
13. But whatever whispers some politics might make to their princes, as the wisest and holiest did not think it law
Apud Euseb.'de vita Constant.
• Vide Socr. 1. 7. c. 12. Vid. Cod. de hæretic. L. Manich. et Leg. Arriani, et 1. Quicunque,
Apud Paulum Diac. I. 16. et l. 24.
ful for churchmen alone to do executions, so neither did they transmit such persons to the secular judicature. And therefore when the edict of Macedonius the president was so ambiguous, that it seemed to threaten death to heretics, unless they recanted; St. Austin admonished him carefully to provide, that no heretic should be put to death, alleging it not only to be unchristian, but illegal also, and not warranted by imperial constitutions; for before his time no laws were made for their being put to death: but however he prevailed that Macedonius published another edict, more explicit, and less seemingly severe. But in his epistle to Donatus the African proconsul he is more confident and determinate; "Necessitate nobis impactâ et indictâ, ut potiùs occîdi ab eis eligamus, quàm eos occidendos vestris judiciis ingeramus."
14. But afterward, many got a trick of giving them over to the secular power; which at the best is no better than hypocrisy, removing envy from themselves, and laying it upon others; a refusing to do that in external act which they do in counsel and approbation: which is a transmitting the act to another, and retaining a proportion of guilt unto themselves, even their own and the others too. I end this with the saying of Chrysostom, "Dogmata impia et quæ ab hæreticis profecta sunt, arguere et anathematizare oportet; hominibus autem parcendum, et pro salute eorum orandum"."
How far the Church, or Governors, may act to the restraining false or differing Opinions.
But although heretical persons are not to be destroyed, yet heresy, being a work of the flesh, and all heretics criminal persons, whose acts and doctrine have influence upon communities of men, whether ecclesiastical or civil, the govern ors of the republic or church respectively, are to do their duties in restraining those mischiefs, which may happen to their several charges, for whose indemnity they are answer able. And therefore, according to the effect or malice of the doctrine or the person, so the cognizance of them belongs to
Serm. de Anathemate.
several judicatures. If it be false doctrine in any capacity, and doth mischief in any sense, or teaches ill life in any instance, or encourages evil in any particular, de émɩotoμíselv, ⚫ these men must be silenced,' they must be convinced by sound doctrine, and put to silence by spiritual evidence, and restrained by authority ecclesiastical, that is, by spiritual censures, according as it seems necessary to him, who is most concerned in the regiment of the church. For all this we have precept, aud precedent apostolical, and much reason. For, by thus doing, the governor of the church uses all that authority that is competent, and all the means that is reasonable, and that proceeding which is regular, that he may discharge his cure, and secure his flock. And that he possibly may be deceived, in judging a doctrine to be heretical, and, by consequence, the person excommunicate suffers injury, is no argument against the reasonableness of the proceeding for all the injury that is, is visible and in appearance, and so is his crime. Judges must judge according to their best reason, guided by law of God as their rule, and by evidence and appearance as their best instrument; and they can judge no better. If the judges be good and prudent, the error of proceeding will not be great nor ordinary: and there can be no better establishment of human judicature, than is a fallible proceeding upon an infallible ground. And if the judgment of heresy be made by estimate and proportion of the opinion to a good or a bad life respectively, supposing an error in the deduction, there will be no malice in the conclusion; and that he endeavours to secure piety according to the best of his understanding, and yet did mistake in his proceeding, is only an argument that he did his duty after the manner of men, possibly with the piety of a saint, though not with the understanding of an angel. And the little inconvenience that happens to the person injuriously judged, is abundantly made up in the excellency of the discipline, the goodness of the example, the care of the public, and all those great influences into the manners of men, which derive from such an act so publicly consigned. But such public judgment in matters of opinion must be seldom and curious, and never but to secure piety and a holy life: for in matters speculative, as all determinations are fallible, so scarce any of them are to purpose, nor ever able to make com