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Debates on the Right of the Regulars to preach and deliver Lectures -Treatment of the Bishop of Fæsuli-Debates on Original Sin -the immaculate Conception of the Virgin-FIFTH SESSIONDecree on Original Sin.

WHEN the Pope received the decrees of the fourth ses sion, perceiving the increasing importance of the council, he augmented the number of the cardinals, to whose care its affairs were committed, directing them to watch its proceedings very narrowly; and he wrote to the legates, strictly enjoining them not to suffer any thing to be decided which had not been first sent to Rome, and there examined and approved.

A subject in which most of the fathers were personally interested, came next under discussion. This was the right to preach and deliver lectures on divinity.The bishops claimed the sole prerogative to provide for the wants of the church in these respects, and complained bitterly of the usurpations of the regulars, especially the mendicant orders, whose overgrown power had been long regarded with ill-suppressed indignation. The Pope was too well convinced of the justice of their pretensions, to think of offering an unqualified resistance; nevertheless, his regard to the religious orders, whose devotedness to the Roman See was of essential importance to his interests, induced him to charge the legates to exert themselves to the utmost, that the bishops might be gratified at as little expense as possible to their rivals.

The debates on this subject were distinguished by great violence and disorder. The prelates stated their grievances in strong, and not always in temperate language; but none were so bold as the bishop of Fæsuli. He exhorted his brethren to be mindful of the duties of their office; he complained of the intrusion of the regulars.

into the dioceses, and of the liberty they had to preach in the monasteries, and even ventured to describe them as wolves, who had entered into the sheepfold, but not by the door. He besought the fathers, by all that was sacred, not to suffer these abuses any longer; if they neglected this opportunity, he would appeal to the tribunal of God himself, before which he would stand innocent in this matter, but that on their heads would be the blood of the people. It was observed, on the other side, that the prelates had no reason to find fault with that which was the consequence of their neglect; that if the duties of public instruction had been properly discharged by them, the regulars would have confined themselves to the more private exercises of religion; that to their own ignorance and idleness the present state of things was mainly attributable; and that they could not justly complain, since, while the monks bore the burden of their ministry, they themselves retained all its gains and ho


The bishop of Fasuli renewed the discussion on a subsequent occasion. He said that there was great want of liberty in the council, and that attempts were daily made to diminish the power and authority of the prelates, whom he besought, in the name of Jesus Christ, not to suffer themselves to be so shamefully treated, but to resolve on the restoration of their pristine dignity.-The legates heard this address with great impatience. De Monte told the speaker, that his appeal to the tribunal of God at a former meeting savoured of heresy. Pole followed in the same strain, though with much affected moderation: he hoped that in future such declamations would not be heard, for they only tended to excite discord and sedition. "A man cannot hold his tongue,' said the bishop, "when he sees that he is robbed." But he soon found it necessary to alter his tone. De Monte sent a copy of his speech to Rome, and at the next meeting inveighed most angrily against it; denounced it as calumnious, insulting, seditious, and schismatical; and excited so much feeling among the fathers, that the poor bishop was fain to humble himself and ask forgive

ness!" 5

5 Pallav. lib. vii. c. 4. Sarpi, lib. fi, s. 61.

A decrce was framed, but it was so difficult to give general satisfaction, that it was many times altered and amended. In the course of the debates, Seripand, general of the Augustines, spoke largely on the causes of the alleged encroachments of the regulars. He remarked that the liberty of preaching had been enjoyed by them for 300 years; and that if the bishops designed to restore the primitive state of the church, and undertake personally the work of public instruction, their resolve was indeed to be commended: but it would not be so easy of execution as they imagined. He contended that modern prelates required very different qualifications from those which were necessary in the early ages of christianity; that now they must understand the civil and canon law, and be versed in politics, and the business of courts, and the arts of government; that these studies and engagements equally unfitted them for the patient investigation of theological truth, and for the duties of the christian ministry; that, on the other hand, the regulars were unencumbered by worldly matters, and wholly devoted to divinity; and that it would be unjust to deprive them of privileges which had been conceded by successive pontiffs".

The legates succeeded at last in maturing a plan, in which the contending parties severally acquiesced. The regulars were to be prohibited from preaching in churches not belonging to their order, without a bishop's license; in their own churches, the license of their superiors

And to

6" To preach God's worde is to much for halfe a man. minister a temporall kingdome is to much for halfe a man also. Either other requireth an whole man. One therefore cannot well do both. He that avengeth himselfe on every trifle is not mete to preach the patience of Christ, how that a man ought to forgeve and to suffer allthynges. He that is overwhelmed with all maner riches, and doth but seeke more dayly, is not meete to preach povertie. He that will obey no man, is not mete to preach how we ought to obey all men. Peter saith, Acts vi. 'It is not meete that we should leave the word of God, and serve at the tables.' Paule sayth in the ixth chapter of the first Corinth. Wo is me if I preach not:' a terible saying, verely, for popes, cardinals, and byshoppes. If he had said, 'Wo be unto me, if I fight not, and move princes unto warre, or if I encrease not S. Peter's patrimonie' (as they call it), it had been a more easy saying for them.'-Tyndal's Obedience of a Christian Man, Works, 124.

7 Pallav. lib. vii. c. 5. s. 9-12.

would suffice, which, however, was to be presented to the bishop, whose blessing they were directed to ask, and who was empowered to proceed against them, if they preached heresy or acted in a disorderly manner. But this privilege was clogged with a clause, enacting that the bishops exercised their power "as delegates of the holy see ! Thus the Pope gave with one hand what he took away with the other, and fastened the chains of bondage while he seemed to bestow freedom. The qualifying clause continued to be used in the subsequent proceedings of the council, whenever the pretensions of the prelates appeared to clash with the prerogatives of the holy father."

Agreeably to the resolution which had been passed, to treat of doctrine and reformation at the same time, the legates proposed for consideration the doctrine of original sin. The fathers determined to discuss this subject methodically. They distributed it into five particulars: the nature of original sin-the manner in which it is transmitted-the effects of the transmission -the remedy-and the efficacy of the remedy. These were discussed by the divines, and such of the prelates as understood theology: the remainder, and they were not a few, sat silent, and assented to the opinions of their more learned brethren. But it would afford little pleasure, and less profit to the reader, to peruse a full report of the debates. Few Protestants would be interested in the disputes of men who paid more deference to Aquinas and Bonaventura than to the prophets and apostles, and preferred the unintelligible dogmas and subtle distinctions of the scholastic divinity, to the simplicity of the word of God.

The contrary opinions maintained by the fathers, were a severe satire on the boasted unity of faith in the Roman Catholic church. Some, following Anselm, affirmed that original sin is the privation of original righteousness; others, after Augustine, said that it consists in concupiscence; a large party held the sentiments of Bonaventura and St. Thomas, that there are

8 Pallav. lib. vii. c. 5. s. 15. Sarpi, lib. ii. s. 62,

9 "Ubi disciplinas theologicas haud professi ibant in sententiam peritiorum patrum in ea scientia." Pallav. ut sup. c. 8. s. 1.

in our corrupt nature two kinds of rebellion, one of the spirit against God, the other of sense against the spirit; that the latter is concupiscence, and the former unrighteousness, and that both together constitute sin. The conflict of opinions so puzzled the fathers, and they found it so difficult to explain precisely the nature of original sin, in terms in which all could agree, that they actually published a decree without a definition.

The transmission of original sin from Adam to his posterity, was scarcely less perplexing. Some thought that it resembled cases of hereditary deformity or disease. Some were of opinion that human souls are created immediately by God, and that the corruption of our nature chiefly affects the body, and is transmitted by ordinary generation, the mind being infected thereby, as liquor may be deteriorated by being put into a tainted vessel.

All agreed that eternal death is the punishment of the original transgression. All affirmed that baptism is the remedy, though some would have joined with it the merits of Jesus Christ, and some would have added faith. Infants dying unbaptized were variously disposed of. The Dominicans said that they would remain in Limbo, a dark and subterraneous place, without fire. The Franciscans thought they would reside on the earth, and enjoy light. Some were of opinion that they would become philosophers, understand natural science, and make great discoveries. Ambrose Catharine added, that they would be visited and comforted by angels and the spirits of the just. Many other fantasies and frivolities were uttered.

The efficacy of the remedy was considered to be so great, that no sin remains, and that in the regenerate, (i. e. the baptized,) there is nothing hateful to God. There was a long dispute respecting concupiscence, which it could not be denied dwells in all men, even in true Christians. The question was "Is it, or is it not sin?" It was decided in the negative.1 o

When the debates were ended, and the decree produced for examination, a fresh discussion arose. If Adam's sin was transmitted to all his posterity, the

10 Pallav, ut sup. c. 8. Sarpi, lib. ii. s. 63—65.

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