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again. That was the scheme : the Pope for a certain time seemed to assent. I have seen him myself, followed by multitudes—I have heard their acclamations till I was deafened—I have beheld him giving his blessing to thousands of people, they lavishing upon him their hollow panegyrics in order to stimulate him to carry out their designs. He performed many benevolent actions; he emptied the prisons of 3000 men, who had been contined for political offences, some of them for eight and ten years without a trial. But Pius IX. released them, and this act of generosity produced a tremendous effect upon the government; because these very men said—“ This particular Pope is kind, benevolent, and good ; but what are we to do with the principles of a government which may change, with a change of Popes ?” Again, you know what has happened in reference to the Pope; he refused to go to war with Austria, and it appeared for a time that the cause of Italy was lost; but the scene shifts again, ard we see the same objects are aimed at now, that were aimed at before, and with greater success. During the last autumn, curiosity led me to Turin, that I might hear and see an Italian Parliament; and discern, if I could, whether the members were likely to succeed in directing the counsels of a free government. A more courteous body of gentlemen, than the representatives of Italy, it would be difficult to see in a political assembly. Teinperate in their discussions, respectful to their president, they conducted their debates with the good feeling and good taste of men who had been accustomed to liberty all their lives. We are now witnesses of the vicissitudes of Roman history. The same idea reappears after the revolution of ages in an assembly of Italians, amongst whom I understood that there was not a single Protestant, and the idea is, that Rome should be again the capital of a united Italy. That idea was expressed in their ancient history; and the notion of removing the seat of government from Rome would have filled an old Roman with horror : every spot in the city was consecrated in his affections; and, therefore, the idea lately broached as to Rome being the centre of power and authority, is exactly what would have been said 1800 years ago. But I must confess that the idea should be received with acclamation by an assembly of Roman Catholics was surprising. Curiosity induced me to ask a member of the chamber, but not an official, “ How is this to be accomplished? What do you intend to do with the Pope ?” 6 Oh !” he said, "nothing to annoy him ; we have the profoundest respect for his personal dignity.” “I must say,” I said, “ you have a peculiar way of showing your respect : you have taken from him his power, his provinces, his property ; you have hemmed him in on all sides, and do you mean to say you have a profound respect for him ?” “Oh! yes, I will show you that we have; our idea is, that the time has come for separating the spiritual from the temporal authority ;" (and I have endeavoured to show you that in ancient times they were both separate.) “ Now,” I said, “ what do you intend to do with his Holiness all the while ; for so far as law is concerned, the territory is his by right, and how do you mean to take it ?” He replied: “We do not mean to expel him from Rome : no, no; we will give him all he can desire-palaces and money at his command for his cardinals and for his priests; we wish him to remain in Rome, and govern the Church hy his authority.” I asked, “Is it as a Primate ?" and he said “Something more than that.” I added, “ Is he to issue his decrees ?” “ Yes.” “And, supposing he does, what will you do with such decrees; will you enforce them ?” “No,” he said. “Then you mean,” I replied, “ to leave it as a matter of opinion whether his decrees are to be obeyed or not?” “Yes.” “Well,” I said, "you are not so far from being a Protestant after all.” The Italian politicians do not intend to attack the dogmas of their Church; they disclaim all intention of repudiating the spiritual authority of the Pope; they say he is to be held in reverence; they only want him to give up all the territory he has, and to be their Primate.
It is a very difficult question, (and one on which more has been written than it would be possible to allude to here), whether or not the spiritual power of the Pope will be greater or less if he loses his temporal power. Many believe it will be greater. They say as soon as the Pope is saved from the odium that belongs to his despotic government, which is disliked by the people, then his authority in matters spiritual will be no longer complained of. He is now objected to, not on the grounds of religion, because the people who object to him are of his own faith, but on the score of misgovernment. Such persons as I have referred to, argue with some plausibility, that when relieved of the embarrassments of his political government, the Pope's spiritual power will be greater than before. That question I cannot here fully discuss; I am only at liberty to put this question, as the last part of my lecture. If a free Parliament be assembled in Rome—what then will be the effect upon Italy and the world ? A free Parliament in Rome—the Pope enthroned in the Vatican in splendour, with his cardinals around him : freedom of discussion permitted-debates published every morning by a free press—free travelling–free thoughtsand, I hope, a free Bible. What then!
I am disposed to agree with the Pope, that the presence of a Parliament in Rome could not exist with his power as that power is now exercised ; and that, although he might issue a decree upon matters spiritual, the Parliament would say, we
THE CITY OF ROME AND ITS VICIS ITUDES.
call that temporal, although you call it spiritual ; and thus we would see the Pope reduced to the position of being Primate of Italy. Perhaps, the best thing we can wish for Rome is, that the Christian religion may be there taught and practised, as it was taught by Paul, when he sat friendless in his lonely lodging. I trust that justice and truth, that wellordered freedom, and, above all, the right to read the Scriptures, may be established in every country in the world. I would find it easier to disbelieve the Christian religion altogether, than to believe that I am not to be instructed by reading the wisdom of Solomon, “ the carols and the hearselike airs of David,” The Acts of the Apostles, and the words of Him who spake as never man spake.”
The Church-the Church which God has established in the world—was not designed merely for priests, prelates, or Popes. The Church means the whole company of believing men throughout the world, wherever they are to be found. And as the apostles, confessors, martyrs, and reformers, to whose immortal labours we are indebted for the truth which we possess, have taught us what are the principles upon which we ought to act, let us never dishonour those principles by deviating one iota from that which is the charter of our faith and the hope of our salvation.