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chains rivetted upon them. But if this charge be refuted, there does not remain a pretext for the continuance of those penal laws, which still exist against them. Now, on various occasions, I have denied the justice of it; and particularly in my History of Winchester, I have unequivocally maintained that “ if queen Mary was a persecutor, it was not in virtue of any tenet of her religion that she became so." At this affertion Dr. S. has declared himself perfectly “ surprised," saying, that, “ if it be true, he and all other Protestants have hitherto been under an egregious mistake.” P. 52. He adds, that the declaration makes him “ tremble for my orthodoxy, and fear that I am not a good Catholic.” P. 57. In short his chapter on persecution was written in order to refute the assertion, which he pledged himself to perform by the joint authority of councils, popes, doctors, and tribunals. On the other hand, I engaged myself to meet him on each one of those points; and, by this time the reader must have decided in his own mind, which of us two has fulfilled his
promise. The main argument of Dr. S. and also of Dr. Rennell and Dr. Duigenan, in support of this charge, is drawn from the third chapter of the fourth council of Lateran, held nearly 600 years ago for suppressing the rebellious Albigenses. The confidence of the enemies of Catholics in this has been extreme ; and some of them have exultingly exclaimed: The Papists cannot deny the authority of one of their own general councils. Empty triumph! These half-learned theologues have now learnt the difference between definitions of faith and regula
tions of discipline. The former are of eternal and universal obligation; the latter are subjeâ to a thousand temporary and local circumstances. In short, I have denied, in the face of the Catholic public, that any obedience whatsoever is due from them or any of them to the canon in question; and however Dr. S. may have trembled for my orthodoxy, not one person of my own communion has felt any fears on this account. I may add with respect to the above mentioned canon, that it appears never to have been received or to have had any force at all in this kingdom. In proof of the assertion, I need only remind the reader that even John Wycliff never experienced any inconveniency whatever from the said canon, and that when his rebellious followers were afterwards suppressed, this was done not by virtue of the council of Lateran, but by an act of parliament provided for this purpose. It is plain Dr. S. feels the importance of the distinction I have made ; but surely if he discovered it to be futile or defective it was incumbent on him to prove this to the public, instead of coldly replying, as he does, p. 121: “ I cannot follow Mr. M. in explaining away the acts of councils." The truth is, he is not quite so confident in his cause now as he was when he first opened it against me. He accordingly in the 'second edition of his work, qualifies his affertion in the following manner : “ If (the doctrine of persecution) be not, ftri&tiy speaking, a theological tenet, it follows as a corollary from that worst of theological tenets, that salvation is confined exclusively to the church of Rome. No treatment can be too bad for heretics....
it becomes meritorious by temporal punishments to rescue men from eternal punishments.” P. 118. I will now try the force of the corollary, as I have done that of the principle. I presume then versary admits there is some meaning in that menace of Christ : he that believeth not fhall be damned. Mat. xvi, 16, that is to say, however confined his creed may be, I suppose he holds the belief of some articles, such as the divine existence and attributes, to be indispenfably necessary. I presume moreover that he fubfcribes to the declaration of St. Paul: be not deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters.i. nor drunkards fball inherit the kingdom of God. t. Cor. vii, 9: but does Dr. S. therefore think himself obliged to avenge the cause of God upon every Pagan and libertine he meets with? Does he think it meritorious to endeavour, by temporal punishments, to rescue such finners from those that are eternal? In a word history and experience prove that this outcry against Catholics, as perfecutors, is generally heard from men of intolerant principles, who make use of it as a pretext for persecuting them.
OUR fifth letter is a professed vindication of the Reformation, as it was carried on in foreign countries, and in our own. But when, Sir, you undertook to defend the Reformation against my History, ought not you to have shewn in what manner it had therein been attacked ? This, however, you have not attempted to do, but have unneceffarily dragged into public dispute a subject of peculiar delicacy, which otherwise I wished to abftain from discussing on the present occasion. If then, Sir, you should now hear from me several unwelcome truths, with respect both to facts and characters, you will have to blame yourself alone for obliging me to refute your false statements, in order to do the best justice in my power to the cause of which I am the advocate.
It is the usual practice with most modern writers who mention the Reformation, to begin with drawing the most hideous caricature their pencils can trace, of the tyranny of popes, and of the ignorance, superstition, and immorality of the clergy and people of Christendom, previously to that event. I have already discussed the conduct of the popes ; and have shewn that whenever they exceeded the just bounds of their authority, Catholic divines were not wanting with the pen, nor Catholic princes with the sword, to restrain their attempts.
With respect to the alleged ignorance of the ages in question, I deny that this by any means prevailed to the extent that you and most other modern writers represent. Thus far, most certainly, Sir, you are guilty of misrepresentation, when you say, that “ the mass of ancient literature lay dormant, unnoticed, and perishing during so many ages.” (1) In fact, Sir, where was this preserved for 1000 years and more? Where was it found when the art of printing began to disperse the copies of it amongst the people at large, except in the libraries of the monks, who if they had not known, how to value it, would not have renewed it, as they constantly did, with the labour of their own hands, but would rather have destroyed the whole of it, as the first Reformers, in their devastations of monastic manuscripts, destroyed such considerable por tions of it. But to put the matter out of question, let us look into the works that have come down to us, from the ages that are most reproached with ignorance; we shall find their writers, both at home and abroad, to have been no strangers to the merit, or to the compofitions of Virgil, Ovid, Horace, Cicero, Plutarch, Seneca, Livy, and other clasical authors. With respect to many of those 56 historians of barbarous and obscure times," as you term them, (2) such as Ingulphus, William of Malmsbury, Henry of Huntingdon, Roger Hoveden, Mathew Paris, (3) &c. I maintain that they
(1) P. 61.
(2) P. 5. [(3) Sir Henry Saville preferred William of Malmsbury to all