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more performance than promise in that respect, and that it will be found to contain much interesting and valuable information, both historical and biographical, concerning the times to which the proceedings of that memorable convocation belong.
T'he · Essays on Romanism' are agreeably written, and may be placed with safety and advantage in the hands of persons who would shrink from any thing more bulky or erudite. The great aim of the author is to refute the reasoning of Dr. Milner in his • End of all Controversy,' and of Dr. Wiseman in his recently published Lectures, and most readers, we think, will admit that he rarely fails to accomplish his object. . It is, however, a little amusing to observe the readiness—we may almost say the constancy, with which the author departs from his avowed principle as to the proper mode of conducting this controversy. He professes to lament the conduct of those unwise Protestants who appeal to • antiquity' and tradition' as a means of refuting Popery, and has published a book some three fourths of which may be said to consist of materials of evidence deduced from those prohibited sources. In short, whenever antiquity, or tradition, in the secondary shape in which he is acquainted with them, can be made to serve his purpose, he avails himself of them freely; and though we may smile at this inconsistency, we are not disposed to censure it very severely, while we see it turned, in general, to so good an account.
The • Variations of Popery'present a subject which no man, not of transcendent ability, could take up without disadvantage. The comparison with the great work of Bossuet under a similar title, is of course immediately made; and Mr. Edgar, unhappily, is weak just on those points on which the author of the Variations of Protestantism is strong—in the graces of style, and the masterly disposal of his materials. The combination of refinement and power in Bossuet, had it been allied with honesty, and a good cause, would have been admirable almost beyond example. Mr. Edgar's style, particularly in the parts which he means should be most effective, is exceedingly artificial, and has nothing, of the ease of nature. At times, he indulges in a lightness of expression, which we think ill-placed ; and there is often an evident aiming at a trenchant epigramatic smartness in exhibiting his sentiments, which is by no means to our taste. In his reasoning, too, he would have written with much more effect had be shown himself more skilled in uniting urbanity with force.
We are not in the way to convince men by telling them at the outset, whether directly or indirectly, that they are either fools or rogues. Mr. Edgar's book, however, is one of great value. Indeed, we are disposed to regard it as a more valuable contribution to the cause of Protestantism than has appeared in our language during
the present century. It contains a large mass of materials, so disposed as to be easily available, on all the points at issue between Catholics and Protestants, and will form a most appropriate companion to the Text-Book of Popery. It is the result of great labour, and evinces a large and accurate acquaintance with the ecclesiastical learning of ancient and modern times. The following passage relates to the attribute of universality, said to be essential to the validity of all general councils, and, as a specimen, will serve to show what we are to understand by the boasted absence of variations'of opinion within the pale of the Romish church.
• Some condition or peculiarity should distinguish an æcumenical from a diocesan, a provincial, or a national synod. This characteristic distinction, however, has never been ascertained. The attempt, in. deed, has been made by Bellarmine, Binius, Carranza, Jacobatius, Holden, Lupus, Arsdekin, Fabulattus, Panormitan, Bosius, and Martinon. But their requisitions differ from each other, and from the facts of the councils. The theory of each is at variance with the rest, or inapplicable to the councils, the universality of which is admitted.
• One party would leave the decision to the pope. These reckon it the prerogative of the Roman pontiff to determine on the universality and sufficiency of a general council. This condition has been advocated by Panormitan, Martinon, and Jacobatius.* But its application to the acknowledged general councils would cause the partial or total, the temporary or permanent explosion of six which have been admitted into the Italian or French system. • The
popes, for a long lapse of time, rejected all the canons of the second at Constantinople, and have never recognized the twentyeighth canon of Chalcedon. Vigilius, for some time, withstood the fifth ecumenical synod, and his acquiescence was, at last, extorted by banishment. The council of Pisa, Constance, and Basil, applauded by the French school, deposed Gregory, Benedict, John, and Eugenius.
“A second class, to constitute a synod universal, require the attendance of the pope, patriarchs, and metropolitans, together with subsequent general reception.t This requisition has been advocated by Bosius and Paolo, and is in discordance with the system of Martinon and Jacobatius, as well as that of Bellarmine, Binius, Carranza,
Pontificis est declarare. an congregatio generalis sufficienter. Martinon, Disput. V. § 7. Maimb. c. vii. Anton. c. V. xxxi. Posset numerus episcoporum, cum quibus tenendum est concilium relinqui arbitrio Papæ. Jacobatius, II.
Concilium generale necessario non potest, quando,—Papa tali concilio præest. Panormitan, 2. 53,
+ Dico adesse oportere Sedem Apostolicam, omnes ecclesiæ orthodoxos Patriarchas. Bosius, V. 8. Paol. Rig. Sov. c. iv.
Canns, Gibert, Lapus, and Fabulottus. Its application would exclude many of the cecumenical synods. The Roman hierarch attended the second and fifth neither in person nor by proxy. The patriarchs were present in neither the third, fourth, nor seventh, nor in any of the ten western councils. The Ephesian and Chalcedonian synods condemned Nestorianism and Entychianism without the patriarchs of Antioch or Alexandria. The pretended vicars of the patriarchs of Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem in the second of Nicæa, were impostors. During the ten general councils which assembled in the west, the eastern patriarchs were accounted guilty of heresy, or at least of schism. Subsequent reception would extend universality to several diocesan, provincial, and national councils, such as those of Ancyra, Neocæsarea, Laodicea, and Gangra.*
'A third faction, prescribed, as the condition of universality, the convocation of all, the rejection of none, and the actual attendance of some from all the great nations of Christendom. The presence of the patriarchs in person, or by delegations, may be useful; but as they are now heretical, or at least schismatical, is not necessary. This system has been patronised by Bellarmine, Binius, Carranza, Canus, Gibert, Lupus, Arsdekin, Jacobatius, and has obtained general adoption.t These requisitions, nevertheless, varying from those of other critics, vary also from the constitution of all the acknowledged councils. Bellarmine's prescription, exploding all the preceding, would, in its practical operation, exterminate, with one sweeping reprobation, all the Grecian, Latin, and French ecumenical synods.
• The eight Grecian conventions, from the Nicene to the Byzantine, met, as Alexander, Morier, and Du Pin have observed in the east, and the ten Latin, from the Lateran to the Trentine, in the West. The eastern councils were, with very few exceptions, celebrated by the Greeks, and the western by the Latins. În the chief part of the general councils, celebrated in the east, there were present, says Alexander, only two or three westerns. The second, third, and fifth of the eastern synods, which met at Constantinople and Ephesus, were wholly unattended with any westerns. The first council of Constanti. nople, say Thomassin and Alexander, was entirely Grecian, and became general only by future reception: and its reception was confined to its faith, exclusive of its discipline. Vigilius, with some Latins, was in Constantinople at the celebration of the fifth, and refused notwithstanding to attend. The Ephesian council had effected the condemnation of Nestorianism, which was its chief or only business, before the arrival of the Latins, and was, in consequence, restricted to the Asians and Egyptians.
Lupus. 306. Bell. I, 17. Carranza, 4. Theod. Stud. Ep. 1. + Satis est, ut sit omnibus provinciis, omnibusque liber sit ad illud accessus. Fabulottus. c. V. Majore parte Christianarum provinciarum, aliqui adveniant. Carranza, 4. Bell, 1. 17. Arsdekin, 1. 160.
# In plerisque conciliis æcumenicis in Oriente celebratis, duos aut tres duntaxat episcopos accidentalis ecclesiæ adfuisse. Alexan. 25. 632. Moreri, 3. 539. Du Pin. 2. 388. Pithou, 29. In secundo et tertio concilio generali, pullus
*Two or three indeed, delegated by the Roman hierarch, were present in the first, fourth, sixth, seventh, and eighth general councils. Vitus, Vicentius, and Nosius appeared in the council of Nicea ; while Petrus and Vicedonius sat, with legantine authority, in the second of that city. Three represented the pontiff, and three the westerns, in the fourth and sixth at Chalcedon and Constantinople. The eighth constituted a blessed representation of the universal church. The first session consisted of sixteen or seventeen bishops, who, of course, were in their synodal capacity, clothed with infallibility. The second received an augmentation of ten, who begged pardon for having supported Photius, and were admitted. The third session consisted of twenty-three, and the fourth of twenty-one bishops. The fifth was fewer in number. The sixth, seventh, and eighth amounted to the wonderful number of thirty-seven. The ninth rose to sixty, and the tenth numbered one hundred, who subscribed the synodal decision.* Such were the eight Grecian synods, which are, therefore, fairly dismissed by the application of Bellarmine's condition of universality.
• Bellarmine's terms would dismiss the ten western as well as the eight eastern councils. The former, as Moreri and Du Pin have shown, were limited to the Latins, to the exclusion of the Greeks. The first of Lyons consisted of about one hundred and forty bishops from France and England, without any from Spain, Portugal, Germany, or Italy, The French, in the council of Trent, mocked at the Florentian convention, which, they said, was celebrated only by a few Italians and four Grecians. The fifth of the Lateran consisted of about eighty, and nearly all from Italy. The far famed assembly of Trent, when it conferred canonicity on the Apocrypha and authenticity on the Vulgate, consisted only of five cardinals and forty-eight bishops, without one from Germany. These, few in number, were below mediocrity in theological and literary attainments. Some were lawyers, and perhaps learned in their profession ; but mere sciolists in divinity. The majority were courtiers, and gentlemen of titular dignity, and from small cities.t These could not be said to represent one in a thousand in Christendom. During the lapse of eight months, the council, reckoning even the presidents and princes, did not exceed sixty-four.
• The councils of the French school, like those of the Italian, cannot bear the test of Bellarmine's requisitions. These, like the others, were composed of Europeans. The Pisans, though they amounted to more than two hundred, were collected chiefly from Italy, France, Germany, and England. The Constantians and Basilians, though more numerous, were westerns and Latins. The second of Pisa was principally collected from the French dominions, and could therefore
fuit episcopus occidentalis. Fabul. c. V. Thomassin, 1. 6. Crabb, 2. 91. Mainburgh, 68. Godeau, 4. 498.
* Bin. 1. 321. Du Pin, cen. V. et cen. IX. c. IX. + Par les seuls évèques d’occident. Moreri, 3. 539. Du Pin, 2. 383, 436. Paolo, II. VII. Giann. XVII. 3. Launoy, 1. 376.
have no just claim to universality or a convocation from all Christendom.*
• Theologians and critics, disagreeing in this manner about the universality of general councils, differ also respecting their legality. A synod, to be general or valid, must be lawful; and the conditions of the latter as well as the former, have occasioned a striking variety of opinion. The partisans of Popery differ concerning a general council's convocation, presidency, confirmation, members, freedom, and unanimity. - pp. 110-113.
Mr. Edgar's book affords ample proof that the bewildering diversity of opinion which exists in the church of Rome on the questions adverted to, obtains to the same extent in relation to al. most every point of the Popish system; and thus furnishes a striking exhibition of the efficacy of Romanism, as the means of putting an end to all controversy! We ought not, perhaps, to conclude this article, without recommending to such of our readers as may not have seen them, the recent edition of Dr. Fletcher's excellent volume of Lectures on this subject. There is also a volume of Discourses published not long since on this controversy, by the Rev. John Young, of Albion Chapel, which we have not seen, but which, from the character of the author, we doubt not will be found to be a work of candour and ability. One word, in conclusion, to our friends of the Established Church
have those in that communion of whom we may thus speak without mockery. You never weary in your efforts to make us aware how much you hate, and how much you fear Popery. The house-top rings with your cries on this subject. The abominable thing is, you think, unchanged and unchangeable--as treacherous, as tyrannical, and as cruel as it ever was. Now admitting that there is reason in this aversion, and in this apprehension, to the full extent of your own showing-what would you be doing to meet the case? Will mere clamour avail ? Remember that has been tried on a tolerably large scale already, and in the midst of it all, in spite of it all, Popery, from your own admission, has been making rapid advances. Would you resort to force ? That too has been tried, and, as the effect, the power of the oppressor
has gone over not a little to the side of the oppressed,—those who appealed to the sword being almost in danger of perishing by the sword. To keep the enemy down when prostrate, has been found impossible, and can you think that the cords which he snapped asunder in his weakness will suffice to bind him in his strength? Oh! no-clamour, misrepresentation, persecuting statutes, all have only served to help on the power they were designed to suppress. There is one short
• Du Pin, 403. Moreri. 7. 244. Crabb. 3. 549.