« НазадПродовжити »
presented the petition of John de Ullerston, drawn up in the name of the people of England, and opening with these words :
“We demand that the Vicar of Christ shall acknowledge, exalt, and promote no law so much as that of Christ. For Christ did not appoint Peter that the authority of the gospel should cease, or that he should establish a law of greater authority, or that His gospel should be less honoured by any of his successors than it was when it was first promulgated. Yet, at this present time, the gospel is no more taken for a law than are the verses of Cato or the Proverbs of Seneca-except it be perchance that one word of Christ to Peter and his successors "Whatever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven,' &c. Would that those who so often allege, and so imperfectly understand, these words, would not produce them in contumely of the law of Christ."*
England saw, even in that early day, as plainly as she does now, that the true meaning of this passage has been distorted and destroyed in order to
* Von der Hardt, Concil. Constant. tom.i. pt. iv. pp. 1138-41.
build upon it a system of carnal power most ruinous to its spiritual design. And she will stand to the very last by this, her early protest; though the advocates of Rome “charm never so wisely.” I dare even to affirm that none of her children would be worthy of the name of Englishman, or of the glorious traditions which are clustered around it, who could so far feel himself Roman as to repudiate this great act of his forefathers. Not less clearly did they see the truth of that great thesis of Wiclif, which bears so closely on our present subject: "As it does not follow, because Peter was personally called 'Satan' by our Lord, that therefore he was made lower than any of the Apostles; so it does not follow, because certain privileges were given him personally in the words : ‘Thou art Peter,' &c., that therefore he was made Pope and head of the Church after our Lord's ascension.” We, who recognize no other Vicar of Christ than the Holy Ghost the Comforter—and no other law of Christ than that Gospel which the Holy Ghost inspired, and still interprets to every faithful heart, may well look with grief and pity on those who have brought in another gospel and invoked another spirit. The charter of our privileges, the “gift ofetern al life,” needs no Roman "inspeximus to prove its everlasting authenticity. Older far than any privilege which was ever built upon it, and high above every claim that can be put forth for temporal or spiritual power, rises that promise of eternal life which is given to every true believer —that great and unfailing privilege: “I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” Never was privilege more clearly written; never was gift more surely given. They who are thus in the hand of God need fear no Papal Bull or Brief, though it call down fire from heaven on all its adversaries. " Quaerenda non est alia potestas ubi praesens est divina majestas " was the noble exclamation of a great divine in the Council of Basle, in the day of its open rupture with the Papacy. And well may the two or three faithful, to whom Christ has promised His unfailing presence, utter the same words even against the Vatican Council in all its pride; and the lowliest believer, against the Invader of the Attributes of the Deity. “He is above us, who beholdeth all things.--He, even He, is in the midst of us; wherefore should we fear? Prove yourselves to be men, and offer yourselves as a rampart for the Church of God. Suffer not the faith to perish under your hands. The Omnipotent is present with you; He is present who protects you ; fear not those who can only kill the body; do judgment and justice, and trust in God, who will not deliver you into the hands of those who speak evil of you. Again I say to you, 'Be men, and defend the Church, your mother.'"*
With these words, the great John of Segovia animated the Fathers at Basle, against the machinations of Pope Eugenius IV. In like words would we animate our brethren of the Church of England against the far more flagrant, far less excusable, 'acts of Pope Pius IX. In such a cause, and with such glorious examples before us, we need little fear the maledictions, the excommunications, or the imprecations of the Court of Rome. “What does it signify” (asks St. Jerome) “if human ignorance should exclude us from the list of the
* John of Segovia (ap. Pii II.“ De Gestis Concil. Basil.," tom. i.).