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to be feared, that should render necessary any further explanation or definition; the holy council trusts that, in addition to the remedies already appointed, the blessed Roman Pontiff will provide for the exigency, either by summoning certain individuals from those provinces in which the difficulty shall arise, to whom the management of the business may be confided, or by the celebration of a general council, if it be judged necessary, or by some fitter method, adapted to the necessities of the provinces, and calculated to promote the glory of God, and the good of the church.”
On January 26th, 1564, Pius IV. published the bull of confirmation, commanding all the faithful to receive and inviolably observe the decrees of the council; enjoining archbishops, bishops, &c., to procure that observance from those under them, and in order thereto, to call in the assistance of the secular arm, if necessary; and exhorting and beseeching the Emperor, and the respective sovereigns and states of Europe, by the tender mercies of the Lord Jesus Christ,' to support the church in so pious an endeavour, and to shew their zeal for the divine honour, and their concern for the salvation of souls, by preventing their subjects from holding and avowing any sentiments opposed to those which had been promulgated at Trent. At the same time, private interpretations of the decrees were expressly prohibited, and the publication of any commentaries, glosses, annotations, remarks, &c., without papal authority, was sternly forbidden. If any doubt or difficulty existed, recourse was to be had to the “ place which the Lord had chosen,” the apostolic see.* A congregation of cardinals was appointed to regulate and announce the legitimate meaning of the decrees. It still continues, and meets usually twice in every month.†
The canons and decrees of the council were printed at Rome, and widely circulated throughout Europe. Their reception was variouş. 6 In what concerns faith, or morals, the decrees of the council have been received, without any re
* Canones et Decreta, (Le Plat,) pp. 342-345.
+ “A collection of its sentences has recently been published by D. Zamboni, in eight volumes quarto, at Rome, with the title “ Collectio Declarationum Congregationis Concilii Tridentini.”—Butler's Historical Memoirs, i. p. 491.
striction, by every Roman-catholic kingdom ; all its decrees have been received by the empire, Portugal, the Venetians, and the Duke of Savoy, without an express limitation. They have been received by the Spaniards, Neapolitans, and Sicilians, with a caution, as to such points of discipline as might be derogatory to their respective sovereignties. But the council was never published in France. No attempt was made to introduce it into England. Pope Pius the Fourth sent the acts of the council to Mary, Queen of Scots, with a letter, dated the 13th of June, 1564, urging her to have the decrees of the council published in her dominions, but nothing appears to have been done in consequence of it."*
In December, 1564, Pope Pius the Fourth issued a brief summary of the doctrinal decisions of the council, in the form of a creed, usually called, after himself, “ Pope Pius's Creed.” “ It was immediately received throughout the universal church; and since that time, has ever been considered, in every part of the world, as an accurate and explicit summary of the Roman-catholic faith. Non-catholics, on their admission into the Catholic church, publicly repeat and testify their assent to it, without restriction or qualification.”+ It is expressed in the following terms :
“ I, N., believe and profess with a firm faith all and every
• Butler's Historical Memoirs, i. p. 486. The sixth volume of Le Plat's collection contains the documents relative to the reception of the council. Very numerous were the attempts made to introduce it into France. But they failed; for it was perceived that the decrees infringed on the royal prerogative, and interfered with the laws of the kingdom, to such an extent that it would be both unwise and unsafe to admit them. The doctrinal decrees, however, are received in that country, as well as by all Roman Catholics in every part of the world.
Although the decrees and canons have been published, the acts of the council have never been permitted to see the light. It is true that Pallavicini professes to derive his history from them; but for his fidelity we have only his own voucher. Buonaparte removed the original copy of the acts from the Vatican, where they were first deposited, to Paris, and placed them in the “Hôtel de Soubize.” Probably they were restored on the return of the Bourbon Family.-Butler, ut sup. pp. 487–491.
† Butler's “ Book of the Roman-catholic Church," p. 5. The passages in italics are omitted in Mr. Butler's translation : for the original, see Appendix, No. 9.
one of the things which are contained in the symbol of faith, which is used in the holy Roman church,—viz.,
“I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God; born of the Father before all worlds ; God of God; Light of Light; true God of true God; begotten, not made; consubstantial to the Father, by whom all things were made ; who, for us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made man ; was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate, suffered and was buried, and rose again the third day, according to the scriptures, and ascended into heaven; sits at the right hand of the Father, and will come again with glory to judge the living and the dead, of whose kingdom there will be no end; and in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Life-giver, who proceeds from the Father and the Son; who, together with the Father and the Son, is adored and glorified, who spoke by the prophets : and one holy catholic and apostolic church. I confess one baptism for the remission of sins; and I expect the resurrection of the body, [of the dead-mortuorum,] and the life of the world to come. Amen.
"I most firmly admit and embrace apostolical and ecclesiastical traditions, and all other constitutions and observances of the same church.
56 I also admit the sacred scriptures, according to the sense which the holy mother church has held, and does hold, to whom it belongs to judge of the true sense and interpretation of the holy scriptures; nor will I ever take or interpret them otherwise than according to the unanimous consent of the fathers.
“I profess also, that there are truly and properly seven sacraments of the new law, instituted by Jesus Christ our Lord, and for the salvation of mankind, though all are not necessary for every one,-viz., baptism, confirmation, eucharist, penance, extreme unction, order, and matrimony, and that they confer grace; and of these, baptism, confirmation, and order, cannot be reiterated without sacrilege.
“I also receive and admit the ceremonies of the Catholic church, received and approved in the solemn administration of all the above-said sacraments.
“I receive and embrace all and every one of the things which have been defined and declared in the holy Council of Trent, concerning original sin and justification.
“I profess likewise, that in the mass is offered to God a true, proper, and propitiatory sacrifice for the living and the dead; and that in the most holy sacrifice of the eucharist there is truly, really, and substantially, the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ; and that there is made a conversion of the whole substance of the bread into the body, and of the whole substance of the wine into the blood, which conversion the Catholic church calls transubstantiation.
“I confess also, that under either kind alone, whole and entire, Christ and a true sacrament is received.
“I constantly hold that there is a purgatory, and that the souls detained therein are helped by the suffrages of the faithful.
“ Likewise, that the saints reigning together with Christ are to be honoured and invocated, that they offer prayers to God for us, and that their relics are to be venerated.
“ I most firmly assert, that the images of Christ, and of the mother of God, ever virgin, and also of the other saints, are to be had and retained ; and that due honour and veneration are to be given them.
“I also affirm, that the power of indulgences was left by Christ in the church, and that the use of them is most wholesome to Christian people.
“I acknowledge the holy Catholic and apostolical Roman church, the mother and mistress of all churches; and I promise and swear true obedience to the Roman bishop, the successor of St. Peter, the prince of the apostles, and vicar of Jesus Christ.
“I also profess and undoubtedly receive all other things delivered, defined, and declared by the sacred canons, and general councils, and particularly by the holy Council of Trent; and likewise I also condemn, reject, and anathematize all things contrary thereto, and all heresies whatsoever, condemned, rejected, and anathematized by the church.
6. This true Catholic faith, out of which none can be saved, which I now freely profess and truly hold, I, N., promise, vow, and swear most constantly to hold and profess the same, whole
and entire, with God's assistance, to the end of my life'; and to procure, as far as lies in my power, that the same shall be held, taught, and preached by all who are under me, or are entrusted to my care, by virtue of my office. So help me God, and these holy gospels of God.”
This creed is merely the echo of the council, and requires no comment. Two things, however, are observable :- 1. Its intolerant principle, utterly denying salvation to all who differ from the church of Rome ; this will be presently noticed more at large. 2. The unrestricted adherence avowed to the published institutes of preceding general councils. To all their canons and decrees, as well as to those published at Trent, the Roman Catholic promises his obedience, a sweeping declaration, which binds him, in the nineteenth century, to the observance of the revolting absurdities and iniquitous enactments of the dark ages. It requires of him, for instance, to maintain that “ oaths which oppose the utility of the church, and the constitutions of the fathers, should rather be called perjuries than oaths,” and that heretics are not only to be anathematized, but deprived of all property and civil rights, and delivered over to the secular power to be punished and extirpated. Such are the unrepealed decisions of general councils, which every Roman Catholic, in every country, is bound to “profess and undoubtedly receive."*
Having thus endeavoured to furnish the reader with a compendious and correct view of Roman-catholic theology, as authoritatively settled by the last general council of the church, nothing remains but to offer some concluding remarks, the design of which shall be to point out the contrast between Christianity and popery.
1. Christianity is a system of grace. Assuming the indubitable fact that man is a sinner, and deserves hell, the sacred writers declare the utter impossibility of procuring pardon and eternal life by any deeds or sufferings of our own. “ By the works of the law shall no flesh living be justified.” No mere creature can acquire merit in the sight of God, and therefore
s, and demathematiunies than cons
* The third and fourth councils of Lateran, A.D. 1179, 1215. See Magdeburg. Centur., cent. 12, 13. Dupin, xi. p. 96. Blanco White’s “ Letter to Charles Butler, Esq." p. 55.