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God in their official as in their private conduct. If you concede to the church the power of binding and loosing at all, that is, any power of spiritual discipline, you cannot without gross
inconsistency and absurdity subtract all public persons in their public capacity from its operation. Hildebrand, even according to the most the author makes out, asserted only the principle that the spiritual is supreme and ought to rule in the individual and the community; that is, that princes and states as well as individuals are bound to conform to the law of God, and are subject to spiritual discipline when they violate it,-a principle no Christian, and no well-conditioned pagan even, can have the folly to deny.
The author has conjured up a phantom and is frightened at it. He seems to suppose that in the Catholic world the two powers, spiritual and temporal, have been identified, first by the emperor making himself pope, and secondly by the pope making himself emperor. Åif this is fancy. The church, and therefore the pope, or the pope, and therefore the church, teaches that the two powers are distinct, and she neither claims the imperial_purple for herself, nor accords the tiara to the emperor. But in admitting the two as distinctly subsisting powers, she does not therefore admit them as equal in rank or authority, as two coördinate and in all respects mutually independent powers, for she asserts the supremacy, of the spiritual order, and the obligation of the temporal power to rule in secnlar affairs in obedience to the law of God as defined by the spiritual authority instituted by Almighty God, and supernaturally assisted and protected for that purpose. Here is no identification of the two orders, no absorbing of the one by the other, but here are two distinctly subsisting powers, each with its own constitution, only the one is inferior and subordinate to the other, as the body is inferior and subordinate to the soul. This is only the doctrine the author himself asserts in principle, and therefore is a doctrine to which he has no right to object, and to which none but a political atheist can object. The only thing here to be objected is, that the Catholic Church is not the divinely constituted representative of the spiritual order on earth. If she is, the author must concede St. Gregory's doctrine; if not, he is where he was when he began, and obliged to end, not with the conclusion that Protestantism and good government are compatible, but with the conclusion that how true civilization and good government are to be secured is, as he says in the outset, an unsolved problem, and reserved for the future to solve. This in fact is the author's conclusion. His church is in the future, and so is his civilized order. He takes refuge in hope, and sings,
“There is a good time coming, boys," but when or how he confesses himself ignorant, as must every Protestant.
PROTESTANTISM NOT A RELIGION.
[From Brownson's Quarterly Review for January, 1853.)
SINCE their utter defeat in the seventeenth century by the great Bossuet, Protestants have hardly made any serious attempts to defend Protestantism as a religion, and they seem now very generally prepared to abandon its defence, save as a political and social order. If we may judge from sheir words and actions, their discourses and their writings, the great majority of them not only hold Protestantism as a form of Christian doctrine and worship to be indefensible, but are disposed to reject all theological doctrines, articles, dogmas, or propositions of faith as addressed to the under standing, and to resolve Christianity itself into a vague and indeterminate sentiment, common to all men,-a universal fact in the natural history of man, coalescing alike with any or all forms of faith and worship, and as acceptable to God when coalescing with one forın as with another. They who pass for the more enlightened among them say with Pope, or rather Bolingbroke, whom Pope versified,
"For modes of faith let graceless zealots fight,
He can't be wrong whose life is in the right." They quietly assume that faith has no relation to life, and that one's life can be right in any form of faith, or in none; thus entirely losing sight of Christianity as a supernatural life into which no one can be born without faith, or advance without faith perfected by charity. We
say only what the facts in the case warrant, when we say that Protestants everywhere virtually concede that ours is truly the church of God, if it be a fact that our Lord founded any church, or visible organization with authority to keep, witness, teach, declare, and apply his law, and out of which there is no salvation; and that Catholicity is un. questionably the true and only form of Christianity, if Christianity be any thing more than a collection of moral precepts and curious philosophical speculations, or a general principle of political and social amelioration, to be developed and applied according to the special wants, tastes, and convictions of the people in each successive stage in the progress of mankind through the ages. Grant Christianity as a supernatural law, as a positive religion, as a fixed and determinate form of faith and worship, and they will none of them hesitate in their hearts, hardly in their words, to pronounce it and Catholicity one and the same thing. They oppose Catholicity in reality, not because it is not, but because it is religion, and insist upon Protestantism, not because it is, but because it is not religion, or because, while it has the name and appearance of religion, it is in reality as good as none,-imposes no restraint on their reason or will, their fancy or their passions, emancipates them from all religion as law, and leaves them free to be of any religion, except the Catholic, or of none at all, as they please.
Hence Protestants even attempt to defend their system, if system it can be called, only on secular grounds, and as lying wholly in the secular order. They urge in its defence against us, that it is more favorable than Catholicity to the independence of temporal sovereigns, to thrift, to trade and manufactures, to social progress, to mental activity, and to civil and religious freedom, that is, to the freedom of the temporal order from the restraints of religion. Save for the sake of appearances, or as the effect of old Catholic habits not yet lost, they oppose Catholicity and defend Protestantism only by secular reasons.
No doubt they still adhere as tenaciously as ever to their Protestant movement, and boast of their“ glorious Reformation"; yet certainly not because they regard it as the only true way, or even as a way, of salvation in the world to come, tainly not because they regard it as best meeting the religions wants of the soul, and the best fitted to strengthen and console one on one's death-bed; but because, in their judg. ment, it imposes the least restraint on reason and will, is the best thing for man as an inhabitant of this world and devoted to its transitory goods, and the most convenient for those who would live a free and easy life here without any
grave reproaches of conscience,---because it relieves them from the necessity of submitting their understandings to a law, and from the performance of good works, and leaves them to indulge their own carnal nature, and to follow un. abashed their own corrupt passions and inclinations. This is the solemn fact, and in vain will they attempt to deny or disguise it.
This should not surprise us, for Protestantism never was a religion at all. No matter what may be the self-complaçency of Protestants, the lofty airs they assume, the great, swelling words they use, or the grave tones in which they speak of their pure, unadulterated evangelical religion, the fact is, Protestantism, considered in itself, is not and never was a religion, true or false, never had a single rekigious element, never was sought and has never been upheld from any strictly religious motives. Men may have .combined some fragments of religious truth with it; they may have retained in spite of it some religious observances, but never were they moved to embrace it, or to contend for it, by any considerations of religion. With the dissolute among the clergy and religious it was embraced because it emancipated them from the discipline of their superiors, freed them from their vows of chastity, and permitted them to marry; with kings, princes, and nobles, because it freed them from subjection to the church, especially the pope, enabled them to reign without any restraint on their will from the spiritual authority, and gave them the rich spoils of the churches and the monasteries; with the laity generally, because it emancipated them from the clergy, and gave them the power to select, teach, commission, and govern their pastors and teachers; and with all, because it freed them from the good works and almsdeeds, the fasts, penan.ces, and mortifications, insisted on by the Catholic Church. Its chief and in reality its only charm for those who embraced it was, that it asserted the dominion of the flesh over the spirit, and of the temporal over the eternal. It had its root in man's fallen nature; it was engendered by that spirit which everywhere and at all times works in the children of disobedience, and was fostered and sustained by un. godly civil rulers, who wished to reign supreme over God and his Christ. The impious emperors of Germany, and faithless kings of France, who in the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth centuries made war on the rights of the church, and sought to make the pope their slave, their tool for oppressing their subjects, prepared the way for it, and it is only the development and generalization of that doctrine of the independence of the temporal order, which is even yet held by many Catholic politicians, courtiers, and demagogues under the name of Gallicanism, which is far older than Bossuet and Louis XIV., and the fatal consequences of which they are far from foreseeing.
Assuredly Protestants do not avow this in just so many words; assuredly they have a theory that their movement originated in a sincere and ardent attachment to Christian truth, and an earnest desire for religious reformation. To hear some of them talk, when in a romantic mood, one would be led to think that they really believed that the brutal tyrants steeped in crime and lust, the apostate monks and renegade priests, who effected their so-called reformation in the sixteenth century, were firm believers, the meekest and gentlest of men, peaceable and holy men, filled with the milk of human kindness, and animated with an ardent love of God, inoffensive in their lives, free from all turbulent passions, laboring only to preach the pure word of God, or the pure doctrines and morals of the Gospel, to win sinners back to their duty, and to induce all to love God supremely, and each his neighbor as himself. How beautiful! What a pity that it is all fancy, romance, formed of such stuff as dreams are made of, with not the least conceivable approach to reality!
Protestantism, save in name and outward form, did not originate in the sixteenth century. We find the first traces . of it in Christendom, as far back as the time of the Arians, in the Byzantine court, with the eunuchs, courtiers, and flatterers of the emperors of the Lower Empire, persuading them to usurp the pontifical power, and to make themselves supreme alike in temporals and in spirituals. It is of pagan origin, and displayed itself in all its glory under those pagan emperors who claimed to be at once emperors, sovereign pontiffs, and gods. It was revived in the Byzantine court as a reminiscence of the pagan empire, and maintained for the purposes of that centralized despotism which disgraced and finally ruined the Lower Empire of the Greeks of Constantinople.
In its essence, it is the substitution of the temporal for the spiritual, and man for God; in its original form, it was the union of the temporal and spiritual sovereignties in the hands of the temporal prince, that is, the conversion of the