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and a lower house; the one composed of the Archbishops and Bishops of the two provinces, and the other of deputies representing the rest of the Clergy. Since the reign of Charles II. it has existed only in name; for, though not absolutely abolished, it has never been allowed to meet for the dispatch of business, but has been prorogued from session to session by royal mandate.
4. By what other names are General Councils sometimes called; and by what authority have they been convened ?
They are also called Ecumenical Councils, as consisting of delegates from all parts της γης οικουμένης, gf the inhabited world. In the early ages of the Church, they were summoned by the emperors of the East, whose dominion was nearly co-extensive with the whole of Christendom; till at length the Roman Pontiff assumed the right of summuning them, and insisted on the observance of their decrees, as bearing the sanction of Infallibility.
5. Can a Council be lawfully convoked without the consent of the reigning sovereign; and are the Clergy required to attend the summons of a foreign potentate?
Neither can General or National Councils be convoked, without the consent of the prince, within whose dominions they are beld; and to whom it belongs of right to preside therein, and control the proceedings. Bishops are not governors of countries, but subject to their civil rulers. Hence it also follows that the Clergy are not bound to obey the summons of a foreign potentate, against the will of their rulers at home; since they could not do so without an infringement of the rights and privileges of every independent sovereign, and a breach of the Scriptural injunction of obedience to the powers that be.' (Rom. xiii. 1.).
6. Where, when, by whom, and for what purpose, was the first General Council held ?
The first General Council was convened by the emperor Constantine, at Nice in Bithynia, in the year A. D, 325, for the purpose of terminating the Arian Controversy. It con
demned the heresy of Arius; and set forth the true Christian faith, in what is thence called the Nicene Creed. Sometimes indeed the Apostolic Council, held at Jerusalem shortly after our Lord's ascension, is looked upon as the first · General Council; but, it should seem, improperly.
7. Shew that the Apostolic Synod at Jerusalem was not a General Council; that it was necessarily convened without the consent of the civil power ; and that it was distinguished, in an important particular, from all other Councils whatsoever.
This synod was not composed of the heads of all the Churches then in existence, convened for the purpose of deciding a question of importance to the Christian world; but the Apostles and elders' of the Church at Jer 'came together for to consider of a matter' (Acts xv. 6.), which regarded the Gentile Christians only, and more especially those of Antioch. Probably all the Apostles were not present; and Paul and Barnabas were there, not as dem legates, but as ambassadors. Since the Civil power was not then Christian, and the assembly had none of the characteristics of a general council properly so called, it was held without obtaining the consent of the Jewish rulers ; more especially as the Apostles, being inspired with the Holy Ghost, were guided by the higher authority of God. In this respect the synod of Jerusalem stands alone, and distinct from all other councils on record.
8. Prove that General Councils may err; and assign your reasons for rejecting the Romish assertion of their Infallibility.
Inasmuch as general Councils are composed of many members, of whom every one is liable to error as an individual, they are also liable to error in their collective capacity. The very fact of their meeting to deliberate, implies that they may differ, and consequently err. So far from being infallible, those who debate on things pertaining to God, if they allow their passions to prevail for a moment over a due submission to the word of God, are perhaps more easily led into error than other men. Witness the controversies, and heresies, and schisms, which have harassed the
Church of Christ from the days of the Apostles to the present time. The Church of Rome indeed asserts, according to the Rhenish Commentator on Acts xv. 28., that holy
Councils have ever the assistance of God's Spirit, and there'fore cannot err in their sentences and determinations;' but surely if such were the case, God would have placed so important a privilege beyond dispute, by an express declaration of it in the writings of the New Testament. In the place of any such assurance, both reason and experience contradict the assertion.
9. Adduce instances in which general Councils have erred.
Not only have Popes and Councils, with equal claims to infallibility, mutually condemned each other ; but one general Council has flatly contradicted another, so that both cannot be right. Thus the decree of the Council of Nice was rejected by several subsequent Councils; the second Council of Ephesus reversed the sentence passed against Eutyches by that of Chalcedon; and the very point under consideration, the authority of Councils, was asserted at Constance, and denied by the Council of Trent. As a further proof that councils have erred, the worship of images was approved by the second of Nice (A. D. 787.); and that of Rimini (A. D. 360.) espoused the Arian heresy.
10. How many General Councils are received by Romanists and Protestants respectively; and what are the grounds upon which their authority is admitted ?
The Church of Rome acknowledges eighteen General Councils, ending with that of Trent, which sat at intervals from A. D. 1545-1563.; and, in the face of their contradictory decrees, she maintains the infallibility of them all, chiefly on the authority of Matt. xiii. 17. It is clear however that this passage enjoins an appeal, in case of obstinate resistance to friendly mediation, to the particular Church or communion of which the offender was a member; and that it does not bear upon General Councils at all. Protestants, on the other hand, receive only four General Councils : admitting *the authority of their decrees, solely because it may be de
'clared,'-i.e. shewn or proved, in Latin ostendi,—that they be taken out of Holy Scripture.'
11. Name the four General Councils which are universally acknowledged, with the dates of their convention, the princes who held them, and the object for which they were convened.
They were, 1. That of Nice already mentioned, which maintained the divinity of Christ, in opposition to the Arian heresy. 2. The Council of Constantinople (A. D. 381.), convened by the Emperor Theodosius. It condemned the heresy of Macedonius, and enlarged the Nicene Creed by the addition of several articles, including the assertion of the divinity of the Holy Ghost, which that heretic denied. 3. The Council of Ephesus (A. D. 434.), assembled by Theodosius the younger against the Nestorians, who maintained that there were two persons in Christ. On the other hand, the Council asserted the Scriptural doctrine of the union of two natures, divine and human, in one person. 4. The Council of Chalcedon (A. D. 451.), which confirmed the decrees of the three preceding Councils; and maintained further, in condemnation of the Eutychians, that the two natures of Christ, though united in one person, were perfectly distinct.
12. Shew that the early Fathers asserted the supreme authority of princes, and their right to summon Councils.
With respect to the allegiance due to princes, Tertullian (ad Scap. c. 2.), observes that the Emperor is greater than all beside, and less than none but the true God : and Jerome (Epist. ad Evagr. 146.), in order to be assured of the authority of a Council, enquires, What Emperor commanded it to be convened ?
De Purgatorio. The Romish Doctrine DOCTRINA Romanensium concerning Purgatory, Par- de Purgatorio, de Induldons, Worshipping and Ador- gentiis, de Veneratione et ation as well of Images, as of Adoratione tum imaginum, Reliques, and also Invocation tum reliquiarum, necnon de of Saints, is a fond thing Invocatione Sanctorum, res vainly invented, and ground- est futilis, inaniter conficta, ed upon no warranty of et nullis Scripturarum testiScripture, but rather repug- moniis innititur : immo Vernant to the Word of God. bo Dei contradicit.
1. What is the subject of this Article ?
Although the title speaks of Purgatory alone, the Article itself condemns four other doctrines of the Romish Church, which are either based upon that of Purgatory, or intimately connected with it: namely, Pardons, the Worship of Images, the Adoration of Relics, and the Invocation of Saints.
2. What is the doctrine of the Church of Rome concerning Purgatory?
It is the doctrine of the Church of Rome that, besides Heaven and Hell, there is a third place called Purgatory, set apart for the purging or purification of departed souls between death and the resurrection. It this place, and in a state of suffering by fire which differs from that of Hell only in duration, the pious are condemned to bear the punishment of those venial slips and failings which do not merit eternal perdition; but wbich, not coming within the object of Christ's death and intercession, and not having been fully expiated by acts of penance during life, require a further cleansing before the soul can be admitted into Heaven. The period of detention in Purgatory varies according to the number and magnitude of the sins to be expiated; but it may be considerably reduced by the prayers of the faithful, by alms and devotions, and by the sacrifice of the Mass.