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(my language shall follow the analogy) of their spiritual or mental community.
The necessity, Sir, of adhering to this method, in order to ascertain the probable conduct of members of your community in situations and places of trust, where their political may clash with their spiritual or mental duties, is the more evident, as the two moral bodies of Protestant and Roman Catholic Christians are not only in the relation of two nations alien, but hostile to each other. Would God that your spiritual authority allowed us to bury this melancholy fact in complete oblivion! Would, that since we cannot, as long as our creeds differ in so many points, visibly form one fold, and one people, under one shepherd, Christ our Saviour, our two great portions of Christendom were allowed to look on each other, as nations do, who, without blending into one, live in amity and external peace!
Unfortunately, the declaration of war which your spiritual liege published against all Protestants, at the time of the separation, has never been recalled: we are still in the case of revolted colonies, enjoying, thank God, our spiritual in
dependence, but still described and styled as rebels, in the most solemn public acts of that authority to which you and your brother Romanists are bound to submit your judgment upon these subjects*. Can you then complain and think it
* "If any one should say, that those who have been baptized are free from all the precepts of the Holy Church, either written or delivered by tradition, so that they are not obliged to observe them, unless they will submit to them of their own accord, LET HIM BE ACCURSED!"—Council of Trent, Sess. VII, Can. VIII.
......So, even the wicked are within the Church; from which (that is, what had been said before) it follows, that there are only three sorts of men who are excluded from it-the heathen, the heretics and schismatics, and lastly, the excommunicated. The heathen, because they never were in the Church, nor did ever know it, or were made partakers of any sacrament in the society of the Christian people: the heretics, however, and the schismatics, though they indeed do not belong in any other way to the Church, than deserters belong to an army from which they ran away; still it is not to be denied that they are in the power of the Church, so that they may be by her called to judgment, punished, and condemned by anathema."-Catechism of the Council of Trent, Rome, 1761, p. 84.
The original words of both passages will be found in another part of this Letter.
a hardship, that Protestants will not be satisfied with your private declarations, unless, by renouncing your spiritual allegiance, you become full masters of your own minds-men fully emancipated, and sui juris, in intellect and judgment, upon the matter in question?
Pardon me, Sir, if, without meaning any disrespect, I say, that neither you nor any collective number of individuals of your Church-no, not all your bishops, both in England and Ireland can settle this question by their comments or explanations of the authentic acts of their supreme spiritual authority. As well might some natives of the new American states, still professing allegiance to Ferdinand VII and his successors (if his resources to carry on any thing like a war should be at an end before his determination not to relinquish his claims), contend, that they had a right to explain his inactivity into a recognition of the independence of the revolted colonies. "Renounce the authority of the Spanish King, would the new Governments say, and we will believe your professions in regard to us. But though, out of respect to your individual character,
we will not charge you with duplicity, it is impossible for us either to explain upon what principles you act, or to see, without alarm, direct and irresponsible power placed into your hands, while you submit yourselves to our declared enemy.".
But though I will not accuse you of deliberately lowering your standard of faith to promote the political views of your party, I cannot shut my eyes to the numerous proofs afforded by your works, that you have been your whole life in the habit of reading your creed through the coloured glass of party spirit. The Book of the Roman Catholic Church must be inexplicable to the unsophisticated divines of the Romish Church, abroad; unless they are told, that every paragraph in it, like the radii of a circle, converges to a seat in Parliament.
As a proof of the irresistible power of that bias on your mind, I noticed a strange mistake in a translation of a passage in the history of Paulus
Æmilius Veronensis: a mistake, which, if it could not be explained by the irresistible bent of your mind to evade every thing that can be said against the most glaring errors of your Church, would prove you grossly ignorant of the Latin language. This, Sir, is a matter of fact, which might be settled by referring the passage to any well known and impartial Latin scholar. But in the second edition of my work, I have given the words of Antoninus, Bishop of Florence, the original historian, from whom Paulus Æmilius took the fact of the adoration which the Pope, Martin IV, received from the Parnomitan legates, under the appellation of the Lamb of God.
Perhaps you had not seen my second edition. when you took notice of my work: and as it is probable that it has not found its way to your library, I will take leave here to transcribe the words of the two authors, that I may save you the trouble of the search, and that the reader may judge of your impartiality on questions of this nature and tendency.
Ibi etiam (in Chronicis*) narratur quod, facta
* The original reference to this passage came to me, through my friend Mr. Southey, from the Rev. Mr. Garnett,