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explained in the previous volume is properly understood. For the being, the duties, and the powers of the Church, are neither more nor less than the Gospel of Christ has committed to her. I have said that the Church of Rome still retains the true faith of the Scriptures, and by virtue of this, has authority to commission the ministry for the purpose of propagating the same faith to the end of the world. Thus far she is a true Church, and thus far she could give mission and authority. But she never received from her divine Lord and Master the right to preach falsehood, superstition, and idolatry, and therefore she never had His authority to commission others to preach them. Her power to act for Christ extends no farther than the word of Christ, and when she opposes His word, directly or indirectly, she does it not by right, but by fraud and unfaithfulness. Thus, the adulteress has power to order her children according to the known will of her husband, but she has no power to command them to approve her crime against her marriage vow, much less to insist that, because she is their mother, they are bound to aid and defend her in her acts of infidelity. And therefore when they discover that she is an adulteress, it is their duty to remonstrate with her, and endeavor to persuade her to return to the path of rectitude. And when they find her hardened and irreclaimable, asserting her innocence in the face of the clearest proof, assaulting her sons with violence, and driving them away with curses from her table, do they any the less inherit the property which the common ancestor of the whole family entailed to his offspring forever? Can she with any justice deny their claims, only because they are faithful to the rights and honor of their father ? Can she say to them,
Can she say to them, “ You charge me with being unfaithful; yea, some of you have said that I was drowned in sin against my husband before you were
Duty of Children to a false Mother.
born. If this be so, you cannot be my children at all. For I would not have brought you into the world, and sustained you up to manhood, in order that you should now accuse me of impurity ?” Such an argument, it is manifest, would be an absurdity. The crime of adultery could not prevent her being a mother, nor deprive her lawful offspring of their rights. It could only operate on them by making it their duty to stand by their father's authority, and justify their separation from their mother by the necessity which her sin and her cruel despotism had forced upon them.
Even so it was between the Church of Rome and the English Reformers. She was the covenant bride of Christ by virtue of the original faith of the Gospel, which she had never cast away. As such, she had a right to baptize her sons, and give them valid Orders and valid mission. But when they discovered that she was a spiritual adulteress, by a recurrence to the Scriptures and the pure days of primitive Christianity, they renounced, as in duty bound, their participation in the sin which they had ignorantly defended, and endeavored to bring back their Mother to her first pure faith. Instead of acknowledging her crimes, she boldly maintained them by appealing to false traditions, threatened her reformed sons with her vengeance if they dared to proclaim the truth, drove them from her communion by her anathemas, and brought as many as she could lay hands on to the torture and the flames. It was beyond her power, however, to take from them the authority which they rightfully possessed as the commissioned priests and Bishops of the Church of Christ, because it was conferred lawfully, in accordance with her proper powers, and could not be nullified by the association with corruptions and idolatries, the falsehood of which was not known at the time. And therefore they continued
to exercise it none the less, but rather the more, since the command of Christ, their Father and their Master, obliged them to bear testimony against the notorious sins of their mother, the Papal Church, as the only way by which the whole family of Christ could be reclaimed to the truth and simplicity of the Gospel, and guarded against her corrupt and perilous influence.
The End of Controversy, Controverted.
Most REVEREND SIR :
The 30th letter of Bishop Milner is devoted to a brief refutation of what he calls the exploded fable of Pope Joan, and much more largely to the evidence in favor of your Church, which he supposed may be fairly derived from the great extent and vast success of her missionary enterprises. These must, therefore, be my next topics of consideration.
With regard to the first, viz., the history of Pope Joan, it has become fashionable to call it a fable ever since the Protestant Blondel, and the critic and philosoper, Bayle, published their refutation. The story is, that in the earlier part of the ninth century, an English girl, of twelve years old, being seized with a strong passion for a young monk, put on male attire, left her father's house, and obtained admission into the same monastery, where she became distinguished for her progress in learning, and all the outward marks of sanctity; that after some years she left the monastery with her paramour, travelled extensively, greatly increased her store of knowledge and her skill in disputation, and finally took up her residence at Athens, where her lover died ; that from Athens she went to Rome, and attracted universal applause by her talents and acquirements, which were the more esteemed on account of her remarkable zeal and piety; that here, having perfectly preserved her disguise (which was the more easy because
the ecclesiastics of Rome wore no beard whatever), she was elected Pope by the name of John VIII., after the death of Leo IV., and held the See for two years and five months ; that she was then discovered by the pains of labor overtaking her, as she was walking in a public procession, between the Coliseum of Nero and the shrine of St. Clement, and there her child and herself died, or, as some authors assert, the child alone, while the mother was consigned to a dungeon ; that Benedict III. succeeded her, A. D. 855; that her name was erased from the list of Popes and from the contemporary chronicles, as the whole fact was so humiliating to the dignity of the Papal office; that in order to guard against the possibility of such deception in future, the rule was adopted and kept up for seven hundred years, that every newly elected Pope should be placed in a perforated chair, called stercoraria, and that his sex should be modestly and quietly ascertained from the back of that chair by the hands of the youngest Cardinal Deacon; that a statue was erected on the spot in detestation of the imposture; and that no Pope nor public procession ever passed over the place where the catastrophe occurred until A. D. 1367, when, as Fleury has already informed us, Pope Urban broke through the custom, and destroyed it.
The evidence for and against this curious narrative is worth examining, for I am by no means convinced that it should be called a fable, if we are to be guided in history
of the usual rules of proof. Against it we are told, first, that such a deception is impossible. That this, however, is an error, is easily proved by other cases of a similar kind, the truth of which is not disputed. Thus, Eugenia, daughter of the Governor of Alexandria, in the reign of Gallienus, disguised herself so as to gain admission to a monastery of monks, and was even made their Abbot; and