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Alliance between the Pope and Emperor against the Protestants
Discussions at Trent, on justification, free will, and predestination-Negotiations for the transfer of the Council - Episcopal residence considered-Sixth Session-Decree on Justification, and on Episcopal Residence-Manner in which the decree on Justification was received by the Protestants-Observations on itPublications of Catharine, Soto, and Andrew Vega.
In the Summer of 1546, an offensive and defensive alliance was concluded between the Emperor and the Pope, the avowed object of which was the chastisement of the German Protestants for their continued rejection of the council. The Emperor engaged to declare war immediately and reduce the heretics by force; and he promised to make no treaty with them nor grant any concessions in religion without the consent of the Pope, who, on his part stipulated to send a body of 12,000 men, supported at his own expense for six months, should they be wanted so long, and to furnish a considerable pecuniary subsidy.2 3
This measure entirely accorded with the general policy of the Papal See, and illustrated the mischievous tendency of the Roman Catholic system, and its utter hostility to all freedom. Conferences and disputations had been held for many years without effect; bulls had been issued, and embassies sent, in vain ; and lastly, a council had been summoned, and had already published important decisions. Still, these refractory Protestants remained obstinate, and, what was worse, impugned the authority of the council itself, and refused to submit to its decrees! What was to be done? But one method was left, and it was one which Roman Pontiffs had
23 Pallav. lib. viii. c. 1. sect. 2, 3.
never felt scrupulous in employing. It was plainly a case of contumacy, and called for the interference of the secular arm. Since spiritual weapons proved powerless, the sword must decide the contest; for the motto of the Papacy, is “Subjection or death”-death in both worlds. · The ernperor would fain have kept the chief subject of quarrel in the back ground, and wished it to be believed that his sole design was to punish certain rebellious princes, against whom he brought heavy charges : he was very anxious to avoid the odium of a spiritual war. But neither the Protestants nor the Pope would suffer the real intention of the enterprise to be concealed. A spirited manifesto was issued by the confederate states, openly accusing his Imperial Majesty of having formed a plan to suppress the liberties of Germany under the shallow pretext of quashing a rebellion, informing him that his views in reference to the council were clearly understood, and reiterating the formal rejection of that assembly. On the other hand the Pope evidently regarded it as a crusade in defence of the faith. He wrote to the kings of France and Poland, and to other states, requesting their co-operation; sent Cardinal Farnesius as his legate, to accompany the allied forces, gave his own troops a consecrated banner; and in a bull prepared for the occasion promised ample indulgences and remission of sin to those who should pray for the success of the "holy expedition.”'24 The bull was published both at Rome and at Trent. 2 5
It had been determined that the subject to be decided in the next session should be the doctrine of justification; and in pursuance of the prescribed order of proceeding, the question of reform proposed for discussion was the residence of bishops, and the best means of removing the obstacle thereto.
The legate Santa Croce opened the business. He adverted to the importance of the inquiry they were about to institute. 'They had condemned the heresies that had been promulgated on the subject of original
21 Le Plat, iïi. 437_-446, 456, 465.
25 At Rome, July 15; at Trent, in the presence of the Legates and the whole Council, Aug. 19.
sin, and must now examine the opinions of the new teachers respecting grace, which is the remedy for sin. Luther had introduced the unheard-of doctrine of justification by faith only; he had maintained that good works were unnecessary, and had consequently denied the efficacy of the sacraments, the authority of priests, purgatory, the sacrifice of the mass, and all other remedies instituted by the church for the remission of sins. Such heresies must be destroyed; such blasphemies must be condemned. But the task would not be easy; for whereas in their late discussions they had been so much assisted by the writings of the scholastic divines, that help would now almost entirely fail them, as very few of those authors had treated of the subject of justification. 26
Twenty-three propositions were exhibited, said to contain the errors of Luther, Zuinglius, and others, on the point in question, but consisting in many instances, of expressions uttered in the heat of controversy, and sentences misconstrued or torn from their connexion : the real opinions of the reformers were very partially and unfairly represented.27 On these propositions the subsequent debates were founded.
With regard to justification itself, the divines were pretty generally agreed that it means the translation of an individual from the state of an enemy to that of a friend and an adopted child of God, and that it consists in charity, or grace infused into the soul by the Divine Being; thus evidently confounding it with sanctification. Marinier maintained that the word is used in a forensic sense, as opposed to "condemnation,” and that any other interpretation was contrary to the express language of the Apostle Paul; but this opinion found few supporters. The fathers understood the word "justify” to mean "to make righteous," not "to declare righteous :" they founded the acceptance of a sinner in the sight of God, partly, at least, on inherent grace, to which the work of the Lord Jesus Christ was supposed to impart efficacy; and they rejected the word "imputation," which, it was said, the ancients had never used.
26 Pallav. lib. viii. c. 2.
Sarpi, lib. ii. s. 73.
Soto remarked that he had always suspected that word, because of the evil consequences which the Lutherans derived from it: for instance, that the righteousness of Jesus Christ is sufficient, without inherent righteousness-that the sacraments do not confer grace-that the punishment as well as the guilt of sin is remitted—that there is no need of satisfaction (that is, penance ;) and that all are equal in grace, righteousness, and glory; whence followed the horrible blasphemy, that every righteous man is equal to the Virgin !2 8
Eight general congregations were held on this question, "What is done by the ungodly man himself, when he attains faith, and thence grace ?" This was in fact the chief point at issue with the reformers, who zealously contended that all works done before faith, so far from being meritorious, are positively sinful. The Archbishop of Sienna ascribed all merit to Christ, none to man; and connected the reception of righteousness with faith only, without any other preparation. On the same side was the bishop of Cava, who argued that hope and love are the companions of faith, but in no respect the cause of justification. Julius Contarenus, bishop of Belluno also ascribed every thing to faith in the merits of the Saviour, and nothing to works, which he regarded as only evidences of faith and righteousness; and he maintained that whatever efficacy was attributed to them detracted from the merit of the Redeemer's blood. But these statements were much disapproved by the majority of the prelates :2 9 for the divines agreed that works performed before justification have the merit of congruity, 3 8 and this notion met with general approbation. But Ambrose Catharine held that without the special assistance of God no one can perform a truly good work, and that consequently all the actions of the unbeliever are sins. In support of this assertion he quoted Augustine,
28 Pallav. lib. viii. c. 4. Sarpi, lib. ii. s. 76.
29 “ Such sentiments were listened to with displeasure by the fathers”—“Such sentiments gave the fathers offence'--" Contarenus, who was hated by the fathers, troubled them by his noisy." interruptions-Pallav. as above.
30 “Merit de congruo, signifies a good work which is worthy of divine reward, not out of any obligation from justice, but out of a principle of fitness (or congruity) and from the free bounty of God.” Preservative against Popery, vol. ij. tit. 8. p. 91.
Ambrose, Anselm, and other fathers, and dwelt much on such passages of scripture as these, “an evil tree cannot bring forth good fruit;" "make the tree good, and the fruit will be good;" “unto the unbelieving nothing is pure." He said that it was better to follow the fathers than the scholastic divines, who often contradicted one another; and that it was safer to build on scripture, the foundation of true theology, than on the philosophical subtleties which had been too popular in the schools. Soto warmly opposed him, and treated his doctrine as heretical, and tending to the denial of free-will. Jerome Seripand, a Dominican, advanced the notion of two justifications; the first internal, partly consisting of infused grace and the gift of adoption, conferred by the sacraments, and partly in virtuous actions and a just life; the second external, by the imputation of the righteousness and merits of the Saviour, as if they were our own. In attaining grace and idɔption he affirmed that works had no share, the mercy of God received by faith being the sole source. Neither did he consider works alone as sufficient for the justification of him who lives righteously, but represented faith in the righteousness of Jesus Christ as required to supply the deficiency; The bishop of the Canaries said that though works done by man in his natural state do not merit grace, yet God may be moved by them to bestow it. The Franciscans contended fiercely for the merit of congruity against the Dominicans, who openly avowed their wish for the suppression of that dogma, which they said was never heard of in the early times of the church, and was unknown to Scripture. 31
With regard to works performed by those who are in a state of grace, there was no difference of opinion. All agreed that they are perfect, and merit eternal life: this is what is called, in Roman Catholic theology, the merit of condignity.
Great pains were taken to discuss thoroughly the assertion that “man is justified by faith," and to affix some determinate meaning to that expression: but the task was not easy. Some busied themselves in searching for the different senses in which the word “faith” is used in Scripture, which they made to amount to fif
31 Pallav, ut sup. c. 9. s. 5. Sarpi, ut sup.