Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

Columbanus warns

the faith of Christ.

“ And therefore, as your honour is great in propor

tion to the dignity of your see, so is great care neces-
against risk- sary on your part, in order that you may not forfeit
ing the loss your dignity through any perversity. For the power shall
of his autho- be yours just so long as right reason shall prevail with
rity by ne- you. For he is the real holder of the keys of the king-
glecting the dom of heaven, who opens to the worthy by means of
dictates of
right reason, true knowledge, and shuts against the unworthy. Other-
giving way wise, if a man shall act in the contrary way, he shall not
to pride and have power, either to open or to shut. These principles
ambition, or then being true and admitted beyond all contradiction by
indifference every one who rightly knows the truth, although it be
concerning understood by all, and no man is ignorant, how (Christ]

our Saviour bestowed on St. Peter the keys of the kingdom,
a grant on account of which you may perhaps be disposed
to claim for yourself some proud share of authority and
power in matters of religion beyond what others enjoy,
be assured (however) that your power shall be lessened
in the sight of God, if you even harbour such a thought
in your mind. For the unity of the faith in all the
world hath created a unity of power and prerogative, so
as that liberty should be afforded to the truth by all
men every where, and admittance refused to error by all
alike. For even in the case of that Saint who was made
keeper of the keys, it was a true confession that gained
for him this privilege [*as all agree*). Be it then al-
lowed, even to your juniors, to address to you their soli-
citations, prompted by zeal for the faith, by the love of
peace, by (a concern for] the unity of the Church, our
common mother; who, like Rebecca, feels a mother's
vitals rent within her-mourns over the quarrels and in-
testine wars of her children, and groans with anguish
for the tearing asunder of her own bowels.

And again, Appx. I. p. 432, ib.-" «Rome is the Head of the
Churches of the world." Here is straightforward, conclusive testi.
mony, so conclusive that it would be folly to employ a single sylla-
ble in attempting to illustrate it." !!! This needs no comment.

See Gen. XXY. 22.

peace.

23, 24.

“ These are subjects which call for tears rather than He exhorts for words ! O how is it that the enemy of Christ's name all conhas prevailed thus far-after the living words of the cerned in Son of God, after the fullness of the Gospels, after the versy to lessons taught by the Apostles, after the modern writings avoid a conof orthodox authors who have illustrated the Sacraments tentious spi. of the faith in various discourses from the New and Old

rit, and seek

the re-estab[Testaments-how is it that after all, that enemy has lishment of been able] to divide the body of Christ, and cause sepa- unity and ration among his members, and rend the robe of the very Son of God, the Saviour of the world, [that robe) which Vid. S. is unity, It is thy doing Satan, for which may Christ John xix. our peace, who hath made both one, subdue thy power. Eph. ii. 14. Come therefore, most dearly beloved, come quickly to an agreement, and be of one mind and contend no more for obsolete controversies; but rather observe silence (in regard to them) and consign them to everlasting quiet and oblivion. And if there be any points of uncertain character, let those be reserved for the judgment of God. But whatsoever things are plain, and such as men can judge of, judge them justly without respect of persons; and let the judgment of peace prevail in your gates, and acknowledge one another [as brethren,] that there may be joy in heaven and on earth, over the restoration of peace and harmony among you (once more.]

“What else have you to defend, if you be true Chris- True Christians on both sides, except the Catholic faith? For I tians bound cannot understand on what principle Christian can con- to cherish tend with Christian about the faith, but that whatever

tain unity an orthodox Christian, (who rightly glorifies the Lord,) with one shall say, another should answer • Amen,' inasmuch as another. he also is partaker of the same faith and love. Spear i Cor. i. 10, ye all then one thing, and be of one mind, that all of you and 2 Cor. who are Christians, of whichever side you be, may bę xiü. 11. one. For if, as I have heard, some persons do not believe in the [existence of] two substances in Christ,

and main

as reported nity.

they are to be looked upon as heretics, rather than Christians. For Christ our Saviour is very God, eternal, unlimited by time, and very man, without sin, in

time; who as touching his Godhead, is coeternal with The deci sions of the

the Father, and as touching his manhood is junior to his Fifth Gene- mother: who, born in the flesh, was never absent from ral Council, heaven; but lived in the world, still abiding in the Trito St. Columbanus,

• And therefore if it has been written in the Fifth he utterly Synod, as one has told me, that the person who adores condemns

two substancest must have his prayer divided; the man and anathe- that wrote it is divided from the saints, and separated matizes.

from God. For we, regarding the unity of the Person, Col. i. 19. in which it hath pleased [the Father] that the fulness of

the Go lhead should dwell bodily, believe His Godhead Eph. iv. 10. and manhood (to form] ore Christ, because He that de

scended is the same that ascended above all heavens, that He might fill all things. If any one shall think otherwise of the Incarnation of the Lord, he is an enemy to the faith, and to be abominated and anathematized by all Christians, of whatever order, or station, or grade, he may be; for no person should honour man to the injury of God. In Christ's name then I beseech you, spare no man who shall attempt to separate you from Christ; but

+ The 9th Canon of Constantinople here intended, condemns not those who adore two substances in Christ, but those who introduce into their worship two distinct adorations, by addressing worship to the Divine Word and to the man Christ Jesus, as to two distinct persons, which was the tendency of the Nestorian heresy. The Canon itself here spoken of runs thus :

“If any man say that Christ is to be adored in two natures, whereby are introduced two separate adorations, one to God the Word, and one to the Humanity; or if any man monstrously assert a single nature or essence, resulting from combined elements, either by destroying the flesh, or by confounding the Deity and humanity, so adoring Christ, but not adoring God the Incarnate Word, and His flesh, with a single adoration, as hath been from the beginning delivered to God's Holy Church, let him be anathema."-Concil. Gen. Binnii. Tom. iv. p. 292. capitul. 9. Lut. Par. 1636.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

ness of

rather resist him to the face, if any one himself unwil. ling to believe rightly, shall be disposed to entice you away from the Catholic faith.

Forgive me I beseech you for talking away in this He makes harsh and rough style, seeing that I could not upon use of plainsuch an occasion, speak otherwise. For wishing, as I

speech from did, to promote the interests of truth in all (that I have a sense of advanced, and]knowing [at the same time] that unleavened duty. bread must be eaten with bitters, I have endeavoured to Ex. xü. 8. serve God only, who is blessed for evermore-[And] I have given proof of my sincerity, and zeal for my faith, in choosing rather to give occasion to the censorious, than in a case like this, not to open my mouth, untutored though it be. [*Therefore, albeit the scorpion rises to aim the whizzing wound, and strain bis trident tongue, as a bow of lies, in the person of those to whom allusion has been made; people who are always ready to judge in a proud and haughty spirit whatsoever is new, and are ever sure to meet in a spirit of unkind opposition, all writings that suit not their own refinement of taste;*] yet when the king of this Lombard nation requests an humble Scottish stranger to take up his pen—when the wave of the old torrent is rolling back again, who is there that will not be more inclined to wonder (at the circumstances of such a case] than to make it an occasion for invective. I, at all events, will not be afraid, nor shall I, where the cause is God's, be daunted by the tongues of men-[tongues] that give utterance to lies more frequently than they speak the truth. For in a case where (such) urgent necessity exists, we must rather struggle against our feelings of bashfulness, than give way to the influence of an indolent spirit.

“To return to the point from which I have digressed, He once let me beg of you, seeing that many entertain doubts of more urges

the Pope the purity of your faith, to remove speedily this blot

to take steps which tarnishes the lustre of the Holy See. For it com- for clearing

and to

for the faith :

the charac- ports not with the grave character of the Church of ter of the Rome [to be subject to] this name for unsteadiness See of Rome which at present attaches to her; [this belief ] that she from the suspicion of may be moved by any influence, from the solid ground of heretical the true faith; in defence of which so many of her martendencies, tyrs have shed their blood, choosing rather to die, than struggle

to be shaken. For supposing that in our days were to earnestly

come the last persecution of that odious (*monster, whose hide scarce all the vessels (of the earth] will be

able to support*] shall we not resist even unto blood, fightHeb. xli. 4. ing against sin, as our fathers have done [before us,] the

Apostles, I mean, and the company of the Martyrs. If there existed sore persecution in the first days of the faith, how much more in the latter end, concerning which the Lord saith, * Thinkest thou that the Son of Man when he cometh shall find faith on the earth ?' and again, ' Except those days had been shortened, there should no flesh be saved.' Happy he whom death shall remove, ere that in weakness he deny (the Lord). He saith however, that there shall be even then existing elect ones, those

namely concerning whom he spake in prophecy to his Ch. xxviii. disciples, · Lo I am with you always, even to the consum20, ib. mation of the world.' Since therefore the elect that shall

be in those more perilous days, ([days) too awful to compare with any that shall have been past and gone before them) shall support, the Lord assisting them, [those) greater trials, how shall not we even in defence of our faith, wherein we differ from Heathens, Jews, and heretics, suport, by the Lord's assistance, in these com

paratively safe and tranquil times, trials less afflicting. and again “ But when I urge you thus, although forbearing to apologizes, act myself, and speaking rather than doing, ([with an such a letter apparent weakness suitable to the import of my name, as the precalled as I am] in Hebrew Jonah, in Greek Peristera,

in Latin Columba, [i. e. a dove] more commonly known however by the appellation peculiar to your tongue,

S. Luke xviii. 8. S. Matt. xxiv. 22,

6

sent,

« PreviousContinue »