HISTORICAL EXAMINATION OF THE AUTHORITY OF General Councils, SHEWING The false dealing that hath been used in the publishing of them; AND The difference amongst the Papists themselves about their Number.

LONDON, Printed for Henry Mortlock, at the Phoenix in St. Paul's Church-yard, and at the White-Hart in Westminster-Hall, MDCLXXXVIII.


THE chief Controversies between the Church of England and the Church of Rome have of late been managed to the best advantage on both sides. The more judicious seem to be satisfy'd, and others to be tired out with a close and eager debate of above two years continuance; all seem to be settled now, and fixed in their Principles, and every one sees, or thinks he sees on which side the Truth lies. I am confident all has been said for Popery that can be said, though I am not so well assured that much more might not have been said against it, which has been spared out of a regard to our common Christianity, and to Religion in general, besides the respect due to a great and gratious Prince of that Communion. But our Adversa­ries have not been wanting to their own Cause in this oppor­tunity, nor in the least favourable to ours. At first, they would seem to be satisfied, if they could be truly represen­ted, and rightly understood; but those colours were soon wiped off, and something must be done to blacken us, when they could not appear so lovely as they desired. Laborious attempts therefore have been made against the chief Points of the Reformation; against our Office of the Eucharist, against our Church-Government and Ordination, and all this by a Person who has been so little convinced by these Books, that while he had them by him, he liv'd in our Communion for many years, however now they come to ope­rate [Page]upon him: but if they have no speedier effect upon others than they have had upon him, they seem to be designed for the Conversion of the next Age, and indeed they hi­therto have had but little success upon this. But I leave him to God and to his own Conscience, though the world may justly expect an Account from him, to shew that any thing has been ever said to give us a worse Representation of Po­pery than such a Practice may doe. 'Tis certain, nothing has been left unattempted which might blemish the Church of England in its Doctrine, or in its Discipline. And to give the Work its last and heroick Turn, and shame Men into a sense of Religion, and into a true Notion of the Catholick Church, Beasts have been made to dispute in the Magni­ficence of Verse above the ordinary capacities of Men, and if this fails to work upon a sullen and obstinate Age, nothing can ever doe it. Herein the Authour follows the wisedom of the Ancients, who were wont to instill their Doctrines by Fables and Allusions; but, as his manner is, he has mighti­ly improv'd this way, beyond whatever the Ancients knew. For their Beasts were wont to speak as you would imagin Beasts to do, if they had the use of speech; but his Beasts are all Heroes, and exceed most Men that ever I met with. Æsop and Phaedrus were content with Beasts as they found them; onely they made them prate after a brutish kind of Fashion. Horace's Brutes too were as unheroical Brutes as any of Æsop's, and Virgil himself could not advance his▪ Beasts one pitch above their nature: no, his Monarch of the Bees did not, that I can understand, make one heroical Buz. But our Poet, to the confusion of Mankind, has made Brutes speak such rare things as no Man ever spoke, nor perhaps can understand.

Yet after all that has been said in Verse or in Prose against us, or in behalf of the Church of Rome, I am not convinced but that she is the same Church of Rome still▪ which she was an hundred years ago; nay, she would not be▪ [Page]thought otherwise, that were as much as her Infallibility is worth. There is not the least concern of ours to discover the Church of Rome to be worse than she is now represented to be, but we should be glad if we were mistaken, and could find her so much altered for the better. It were inexcusable in us to dislike, or not to acknowledge any thing of a Refor­mation, which was carried on here by degrees, and we pray God to prosper any Beginnings of it in other Countries: but if the Church of France must be put upon us for the whole Roman-Catholick Church, and the Sentiments of some particular Men for the Doctrines of that Church; if we must be persuaded that all the varieties and diversities of Opinions in the Church of Rome have ever been infalli­bly the same, and that Italy will subscribe to what France shall dictate, or that even all or the greatest part of the Clergy of France will agree to the Bishop of Meaux's soft­nings and refinings; these are strange things and will not readily be admitted. France has indeed all the Learning of the Roman Communion confined in a manner within it self, and seems to set up for an Empire of Arts and Reli­gion as well as of Arms, and that must needs pass for Ca­tholick Doctrine that has so much Learning, and so many Legions to defend it. The Jesuits have a known distinction between the Popery of France and the Popery of Rome, as F. Cotton confessed in the Point of Allegiance: and they are of late much concerned for the Interest of the French Church, and for the Pope's infallibility even in matters of Fact at the same time, so that if at any time by the Power of France they can get a Pope of their Society, by virtue of a very convenient Doctrine, that the Pope may chuse his own Successour, they have at once an infallible and a perpe­tual Pope, and then the Jesuits Morals may be Gospel, though the present Pope has term'd them scandalous; but that may be scandalous at one time which is not so at another. [Suarez asserts, that the Pope may change the manner of [Page]Election now in use, apud Carleton Curs. Theologic. Tom. Poster. Disputat. 22. Sect. 6.]

'Tis certain that Popery is carried on in all its heights even in France it self, and the Gallican Privileges betray­ed by that very sort of Men who would now be thought the chief defenders of them. The Authour of a Book entituled, The Pernicious Consequences of the new Heresie of the Jesuits against the King and the State, published Febr. 1. MDCLXII. being an Advocate of Parliament, complains that the opinion of the Pope's infallibility had got ground in France, and that there was great likelihood of its spreading daily, it being the general opinion of the Jesuits, who are a vast Body diffused throughout all parts of the world, and have the Education of Youth wherever they come. Duvall en­deavoured to introduce this Doctrine into the Sorbon, but attempted it warily, saying, that neither the one nor the other side of the Question is de fide. But though he was all his life in great favour at Rome, yet has he since been ve­ry ill treated by F. Raynaud a Jesuit at Lyons for his great caution and restraint in a matter of that importance. (p. 85, 86.) he shews that this Doctrine by degrees gained ground, till the Jesuits growing daily more insolent procee­ded to that extravagant Thesis of the College of Clermont, wherein they dared to maintain publickly in the midst of Paris it self, and in the face of the Parliament, that Je­sus Christ has given to all Popes, whenever they shall speak è Cathedrâ, the same Infallibility himself had, as well in matters of Fact as of Right. Great care is taken to suppress all Books which thwart this Doctrine, and to publish and give credit to such as may infuse it. Baronius and his Continuators are the Authours for History chiefly in vogue, and these without coming near him in his Excellencies, in­finitely surpass him in his Faults. He particularly observes Raynaldus to have been a Man without the Spirit of are Ecclesiastick, without style, without judgment, without sin­cerity, [Page]without credit, yet he had the boldness to dedicate his eighteenth Tome to the French Clergy, and presented it to the Assembly of the Clergy, 1660; and though this Doctrine of the Authority of Councils is every where styled Schismatical and Heretical, the Pragmatick Sanction vi­lified, the Council of Basil outraged, and all the Popes who possessed the See in Avignon during the Schism pronounced Antipopes, who are the onely Popes that France has acknow­ledged, though the most undefensible pretences of the Church of Rome are every where justified, yet all the disfavour or discouragement that Book met with was, that Raynal­dus did not receive a Letter of thanks from the French Clergy, as he expected, but no Sentence being passed upon it, this silence, as my Authour observes, will be one day taken for a tacit approbation, and the Abettors of the Court of Rome believe with great reason that they have however gained a main point, since there has been nothing positively done against such a Work presented to the whole Clergy, besides the advantage gained by having such Books received and read without prohibition, that may instill those Principles, (p. 94, &c.) whereas the Episcopal De­crees of the Bishops of France have been treated by the Bishops of Rome to that degree of indignity as to be ran­ged among the condemned Books, without vouchsafing ei­ther to clear it with the Bishops before Censure, or to ren­der them any Account of what they thought amiss after­wards, (p. 71.)

After all the hideous outcries against Richerius, when he requested of a certain Bishop, one of Cardinal Perron's intimate Friends, that he might have a fair hearing, and liberty allow'd him to offer what he had to say in defence of his Book de Ecclesiastica Potestate, the Bishop freely told him, that he had made himself so many Enemies, not by writing Errours but too plain and unpleasing Truths, that though there was nothing could be disproved in his [Page]Book, yet the Church-men had much rather have their sole dependence on the Pope, than to have the perpetual trouble and dissatisfaction of appearing before Secular Judges. (Richer. Pref. ad Conc. Gen.) The Pope promised the D. of Espernon a Cardinalship for his Son, if he would deliver him Richerius into the Inquisition; whereupon he was thrust into Prison: but the whole Ʋniversity of Paris in­terceded for him to the Parliament, and upon a full hea­ring he was released: but the Pope recompensed the Duke's good will with the promised reward to his Son. And when Richelieu requested a red Hat of Urban the Eighth, for his Brother, Richerius's retractation was the price must be paid for it. The Apostolick Notary comes to Paris and is enter­tained by F. Joseph a Capuchin, who having left his Con­vent then lived in the City. This F. Joseph was Richelieu's Confessour, and was employ'd by him to prepare all business first, and then to bring it to him. Butillerius Pater, & Josephus Capucinus negotia cruda accipiunt, cocta ad Cardinalem deferunt. (Grot. Lett. 375. Par. 1.) In Ea­ster Week, an acquaintance of F. Joseph's, one of the Sor­bon, and a great Friend, as he pretended, to Richerius, is sent to the good Man to invite him in F. Joseph's name to dinner, that so he might give his opinion in a point of Controversie. Richerius excused it, saying he never fre­quented Feasts, but he would wait upon him after Dinner, but being pressed to come, not to be uncivil, he comply'd. As soon as Dinner was done, a Question was designedly mov'd, concerning the Pope's Authority, of which when Ri­cherius discoursed, modestly, as his manner was, F. Joseph tells him, now, says he, you must either retract your Book, which you formerly writ, de Ecclesiastica & Politica Pote­state, or die for it: at that certain Ruffians rushed forth armed from behind the Hangings, and threatned to mur­ther him: in this dreadfull surprize, the poor old Man subscribed a Retractation ready prepared and drawn up [Page]for him, and immediately was carried home: where, when he considered what he had done, he wrote this Account of the business to his Friend Morisotus, lamenting extremely his own timorousness and fainting under this Calamity so much more grievous than Death to him, he had scarce sea­led his Letter, but flinging himself upon his Bed, he dy'd. (Claudii Barthol. Morisoti Epist. ad Carelum in fin. Vin­dic. Doctr. &c. Rich. lib. 4. p. 100.) How little better Launoy fared, is sufficiently known from an Account of his Life, lately printed at London.

Whilst these are the proceedings against the Advocates for the Gallican Church, its Adversaries are encouraged, and their Works in high esteem. The Abridgment of the Councils by Coriolanus was printed at Paris, and revised by a Dr. of the Faculty, though all the contrary Maxims to the Doctrine of the Gallican Church, are set at the beginning of the Book as so many Catholick Doctrines. And the Councils are published by men devoted to the Pope: for the Jesuites have ever had the Government of the Royal Press; and in printing the Councils have left in the Life of Boniface the Eighth, these outragious words, as the Advocate justly terms them, against all France, Philippum Pulchrum Gal­liae Regem justè excommunicavit, and this printed at the King's House, at his own Charges, (New Heresie, p. 100.) Nor is there the least intimation given that that Pope ex­ceeded his Authority, when he threatned to depose him▪ (vit. Bonif. Octavi, Tom. 28. pag. 676.) And though Cossartius takes notice that Binius was mistaken in saying, Philip was justly excommunicated, whereas he was not in­deed at all excommunicated, yet is not one word said, but that he might deserve to be excommunicated, or any thing to the contrary, but that the Pope did very well in threatning him with Deposition, (Conc. Labbé, Tom. 2. part. 2. p. 1389.)

The judicious Advocate abovementioned, foresaw what was to be expected from this last Edition of the Councils, [Page]which was then in hand, for Labbé had caused a Draught of the Work to be printed, and I am apt to think, that through this Authour's Complaint the Council of Basil had more right done it than otherwise at would have had. But the Treatises prefix't in the Apparatus are such as quite overthrow the Gallican Privileges, and the Doctrines pecu­liar to that Church. For Cardinal Jacobatius, de Conciliis, sets himself purposely to prove the Superiority of the Pope to a Council, and answers all Objections against it, (lib. 10. p. 519. in Appar. Concil. Labbé:) and in plain terms de­nies the Authority of the Decrees of Constance; and ma­king use of those known Evasions, that these Decrees were to take place onely in the times of Schism between two con­tending Popes, or in case of Heresie, or that it was no ge­neral Constitution, but limited to the present exigency of Affairs; in short, he denies that any Constitution of a Coun­cil can bind the Pope, because he has no Superiour but God; and so in all points he palpably contradicts the Doctrine of the French Church, (p. 536.) Paulus Fabulottus, de Po­testate Papae supra Concilium, proves his Tenets by all manner of Arguments from Scripture, from Reason, from History, from Fathers and from Councils; and in his fifth Chap. where he shews the Pope's Superiority from Councils, be shews particularly that the French ought not to except against the Authority of the last Council of the Lateran, because they acknowledge its Authority in enjoying the Pri­vileges granted them in the Bull of Leo the Tenth, which confirmed it; and it is unreasonable, says he, that they should allow it when it makes for their advantage, and re­ject it in other matters, (Fabulott. ib. p. 69, 70.) He pre­tends to shew that Martin the Fifth did by his Bull retract the Decrees of the Fourth and Fifth Sessions of Con­stance, made, says he, in Schism, by appointing the Question to be put to all suspected of Heresie, An credant Romanum Pontificem in Dei Ecclesia supremam habere Potestatem? [Page]"Whether they believe that the Pope has supreme Power 'in the Church of God? And so turns the Council of Constance upon the French, (ib.) In a word, he concludes, that whoever persists obstinately in the contrary Opinion, a­gainst so many Councils, (for he produces no fewer than six, whereof that of Constance is the second) must needs be an Heretick. He particularly answers the Objections brought from the Council of Constance in the usual manner; as for the Council of Basil, he says, all Catholicks confess it was not a lawfull Council, when it defined Councils to be above the Pope. At last he concludes with admiration, that any one should, to the destruction of his Soul, be so per­verse as to call in question so certain a Truth, established on so strong Arguments and so great Authorities. Caranza maintains the Popes Infallibility, and says, it was ne­ver doubted of 'till the Councils of Constance and Basil. (Controver. 3. p. 112. in Appar. Labbei.) He spends his fourth Controversie in shewing, against these two Councils, that Pope's are against General Councils. Petrus de Mon­te in his Monarchia, runs as high as any of the rest, and, to make a Pope a complete Monarch, exempts the Clergy from the Obedience, and their Possessions from the Domini­ons of temporal Princes. (in Apparat. p. 155.) But Jaco­batius, if it be possible, goes beyond this. For he maintains the Deposing Power, and affirms, that the Pope alone may depose Emperours and Kings, and whomsoever he pleases, and particularly the King of France, and this without the advice and concurrence of his Cardinals; he makes no doubt of his deposing Power, the onely Question is, whether he can doe it alone without his Cardinals, and he determines in the Affirmative, (ibid. pag. 329.) so little regard is to be had to that which is esteemed the Doctrine of the French Church, and which some would have us think is the Ro­man-Catholick Doctrine; and the Doctrine against the Pope's Infallibility, the Sententie Parisiensium, as it is [Page]called in contempt, is every where decryed even in Paris it self.

The Jesuits at Cologne laid down this Rule, In Censu­ra Coloniensi, fol. 132. If any Man examin the Doctrine of the Pope by the Rule of God's Word, and seeing that it is different, chance to contradict it, let him be roo­ted out with Fire and Sword, (Walsh Irish Remonstr. Treat. 4. p. 61.) And both the Clergy and People of the Roman Communion in Ireland generally hold the Pope's Infallibility, being influenced by the Jesuits, as they are in most places. Insomuch that in MDCLXVI. they refused to sign the three last of the six Propositions which the Sorbon in MDCLXIII. had presented to the most Chri­stian King, and to apply them as they did the first three, to his Majesty of Great Britain, and His Subjects, though they contain nothing but an Assertion of the King's Prero­gatives, and a Denial of the Pope's Infallibility, (Irish Remon. Treat. 3. p. 23.) and Treat. 4. p. 58.) This we are told by One who is an Advocate for Popish Loyalty, and it is confessed by Another who made it the Business of his Life to write against the Deposing Doctrine, that this is the Doctrine most generally received amongst those of that Com­munion. [Neque quenquam movere debet, ut aliàs ob­servavi, (in Apol. num. 4.49. utì citatur in margine,) quod opinio haec, quae Summo Pontifici hanc potestatem tribuit, communio sit quàm opposita, plurésque Docto­res eam sequantur, &c.] (Widrington, Discuss. Discussi­onis Praef.) So little security have we that Popery is the same thing in France that it is at Rome and in other Po­pish Countries, or that the Bishop of Meaux's Exposition is good Popery, even in Paris it self. But that which is the Doctrine generally taught, we are often told by the Guide, is equivalent to the Definitions of a General Council, inas­much as no Council can be known to be general, nor conse­quently to teach true Doctrine, but by the Reception it [Page]meets with from the Church, and so the Misrepresenters will be found to be those that soften and palliate Popery, contrary to the sense of the most of that Communion.

I am sure Cardinal Poole and his Synod at Lambeth, MDLVI. were for Popery as it is at Rome, they did not content themselves to fetch it from France. For they re­ceive the Bulla Coenae, equalling its Authority even to the Decrees of General Councils and Apostolical Traditions; and they profess to own the full extent of Power attributed to the Pope by the Council of Florence, (Decret. 2.) and they quote it in the usual form, Quemadmodum etiam in gestis OEcumenicorum Conciliorum & in Sacris Cano­nibus continetur; not, Quemadmodum &, &c. as we are now taught to reade it according to the true Translation, (vid. Walsh Lett. to the Bishop of Lincoln. p. 274.) if such a nicety will make any material difference; and this was done by Cardinal Poole, by virtue of his Legantine Power in a Provincial Synod.

However, the constant Appeal now is from the Senti­ments of Private Men and particular Synods, to the Defi­nitions of General Councils, which are appealed to with as much confidence, as if not one of them had ever been suspec­ted or called in question, but were all of undoubted Autho­rity, whereas there is indeed nothing more suspected than the credit of most of them, and the chief Tenets of Popery will be found to have but little Authority from General Councils; The Worship of Images will stand in great need of the second Council of Nice; and Transubstantiation, Auricular Confession, &c. will want support from the fourth of the Lateran; and, in short, it will be almost as difficult to defend the Councils brought to authorize them, as to de­fend the Doctrines themselves. I think I have made it evident that this Argument from the Authority of Coun­cils will be as unsuccessfull as all other Arguments have hi­therto proved: for it is a vain thing to attempt by any [Page]means the Defence of a Cause which will not be defended.

But in my Opinion the famous Mr. Schelstrate has gone the farthest towards the finding out an Expedient which may be of equal force in all Controversies. For in the year MDCLXXXV. he put out a Book intituled, Dissertatio A­pologetica de Disciplina Arcani against Ernestus Tentzeli­us, a Lutheran Divine, in defence of his Commentaries upon the second Canon of the Council of Antioch. In this Book he shews, that the Church concealed her Doctrines a long time, and that the stream of Tradition, like some Ri­vers, ran for a great way under ground, till at last it broke out and discovered it self in this Age or that Council. If you enquire why we reade nothing of Transubstantiation in Ancient Authours. The Answer is very easie and ready; Disciplina Arcani: (p. 150, 151.) Why the Fathers did not assert the Worship of Images? Disciplina Arcani: (p. 124.) Why the Doctrine of the Trinity was not clear­ly taught before the Council of Nice? Disciplina Arcani: (p. 10,—17.) Why we have no Accounts of the Seven Sacraments before the seventh Century? Disciplina Arcani: (p. 104,—106.) Why the Writings of St. Denys the A­reopagite lay so long concealed? Disciplina Arcani: (p. 120.) And so for any Novelty else Disciplina Arcani still returns upon you, and it is so great a Charm, that some would be almost afraid of it, for it has a strange faculty of ma­king every thing look aged that it can but come near. This Disciplina Arcani is an occult Quality to salve all Difficul­ties by, and say what you will, prove what you will, these two Emphatical Words shall bear down all before them. And, I am persuaded, the following Considerations will stand out against any Attack but that of Disciplina Arcani.


  • PART I.

    § THE False Dealing that has been used in publishing the Coun­cils, Page 1.

    § I. In putting out those which are forged, ibid.

    § II. In suppressing those which are genuine, 3.

    § III. In depraving those which are genuine, which they have not wholly suppressed, 5.

    • 1. By Corrupting all the later Editions, ibid.
    • 2. By their Indices Expurgatorii, ibid.
    • 3. Instances of this in the four first General Councils, 6.
    • 4. Instances in the Councils of Basil and Trent, 8.
  • PART. II.

    § I. PApists not agreed about the Number of General Councils, 10.

    § II. Nor about their Authority; the fifth Canon of the second General Council at Constantinople, and the twenty eighth of the fourth General Council at Chalcedon have been thrown aside, 12.

    § III. The fifth General Council at Constantinople was opposed by Pope Vigilius,

    § IV. The sixth General Council contradicted, as entirely forged, or at least much corrupted, 13.

    § V. The Council in Trullo is disputed about, 14.

    § VI.

    • 1. The second Council of Nice can scarcely be defended as general, ibid.
    • 2. The History of the Council, 15.
    • 3. Opposed by the Council of Frankford. 17.
    • 4. This farther proved, 18.
    • [Page]5, 6. The Objections against the Can. of the Council of Frank­ford which condemned Images, answered, 20, 21, 22.
    • 7. The Council of Nice was not received for at least one Age in the Eastern or Western Churches, 23.

    § VII.

    • 1. Papists cannot agree which is the eighth General Coun­cil, 25.
    • 2. The Pope's Legates were at the Council which restored Photius, ibid.
    • 3. And his Restoration was in effect approved on for some time after, 26.
    • 4. Though all is deny'd since with execrable Calumnies against Photius, 27.
    • 5. Which are sufficiently taken off by P. Nicholas and his Legates carriages, and by Photius's own Letters, 28.
    • 6. This is farther cleared, 33.
    • 7. It is no ways likely that Photius corrupted P. John the Eighth's, Ep. & Commonitorium in favour of himself, 34.
    • 8. Conclusion, 35.

    § VIII. Small proofs, that the three first Councils of the Lateran were general, 36.

    § IX.

    • 1. The fourth Lateran Council thought general by the Church of Rome, 37.
    • 2. Its Decrees in point of Doctrine, 38.
    • 3. —in point of Discipline, ibid.
    • 4. Yet it lay unregarded for three hundred years, 39.
    • 5. Nothing decreed in this Council, 40.
    • 6, 7. Papists shuffle about its Authority, 42, 43.

    § X.

    • 1. The first Council of Lyons, not thought general at first, 46.
    • 2. Omitted in the Venice Edition, 47.
    • 3. Its Decrees not much valued in France, ibid.

    § XI. Nothing in the second Council of Lyons to make it general, 48.

    § XII. The Council of Vienne was called onely upon a particular occasion, 49.

    § XIII.

    • 1. Of the Council of Constance, 50.
    • 2. That Council above a Pope, 51.
    • 3. Not allowed by Martin the Fifth chosen by that Council, 52.

    § XIV.

    • 1, 2. Quarrels between Eugenius and the Council of Basil, 53, 54.
    • 3. The Acts of this Council were ratified by Eugenius, 54.

    § XV.

    • 1. Causes of citing the Council of Florence, 56.
    • 2. The Gallican Church disown the principal Decree of this Council, 57.

    § XVI.

    • 1. The French own the second Council of Pisa, against the Fifth of the Lateran, 58.
    • 2. Though for politick Reasons Francis the First with his Clergy allowed the Fifth Lateran, ibid.
    • 3. And three years after they renounce it, 59.
    • 4. Even the highest Opposers of the Gallican Privileges speak doubtfully of it, 60.
    • 5. And it was onely a meeting of Sixty, most Italian Bi­shops, ibid.

    § XVII.

    • 1. The Council of Trent may be suspected by their own Concessions, ibid.
    • 2. Its Decrees about Discipline not received in France, ib.
    • 3. Which yet ought to be, if it were received as general, 61.
    • 4. So that on both hands the Authority of the Council of Trent is rejected, 62.

    § XVIII. Modern Papists not agreed what Authority to give to Councils, ibid.

    § XIX. English Papists differ from all others in this Matter, 63.

    § XX. Jesuits make the Pope infallible in Matters of Fact, 64.

    § XXI.

    • 1. Herein contradicted by the French Clergy, ibid.
    • 2. Who in their Assembly censure the Arch-bishop of Gran for giving the Pope an unlimited Power to judge of Contro­versies in the Faith, 65.

    § XXII. The nature of the Question will bear no accommodation, 67.

    § XXIII. The Exceptions against many Councils the Papists call Ge­neral, are sufficient against their Infallibility, ibid.

    § XXIV. Allowing them General, they would not therefore necessari­ly be infallible, ibid.

    § XXV. If they are infallible in Matters of Faith, they ought to be so in Matters of Discipline, 69.

    § XXVI.

    • 1. Great difference is to be put between ancient and mo­dern Councils, ibid.
    • 2. Especially when the Pope had arrogated a Power of cal­ling them, 71.


I Design two Things: First, To shew the false dealing that has been used in putting forth the Councils. Secondly, To shew that Papists are not agreed in the Authority of them as they are put forth.


The false dealing that has been used in putting forth the Councils; And this, 1. By putting forth those that are wholly forged: 2. By suppressing those that are genuine. 3. By de­praving those that are genuine, which they have not thought fit to suppress.

§ I. By putting forth those that are forged. Of this number is the Synod pretended to have been held at Antioch by the A­postles, The eighth Canon whereof is produced for the Wor­ship of Images; and the Council of Sinuessa brought by Bellarmin to prove the Pope above a General Council; which notwith­standing [Page 2]the improbability that three hundred and three Bi­shops De Conc. lib. 2. c. 17. could meet together under Diocletian, and many other In­consistencies, yet must stand upon record, as an authentick Council. The two Councils held at Rome under Silvester I. brought to establish the Pope's Authority, and the last of them to warrant many other Points of Popery, as Chrism, the Coe­libacy of the Clergy, &c. Though they have been detected of manifest Forgery Vid. Rob. Coci Censu­ram quor un­dam Scripto­rum vers. fi­nem. yet retain as good a Place in the Body of the Councils as ever; onely the last Canon of the second Roman Council was so palpable, that though it be very honourable for the Pope, yet Labbé could not but remark that perhaps it might be forged by Isidore Mercator; or at least, that the expression [à Regibus] was thrust in. To pass by the Acts of the Council of Nice and the eighty Arabick Canons, which some are willing to impose upon us for genuine, and quote them upon occasion; though Baronius confesses the Acts suppositious, and all Histo­rians testifie that the Nicene Fathers made but twenty Canons: To pass by these and the early Fraud and inexcusable Mistake of putting the Sardican Canons into the number of the Nicene, to warrant the Right of Appeals to Rome, as well as the many Con­tests, about forged Acts, that have been between the Greeks and Latins, which shall be enquired into when we come to the Case of Photius: To mention, I say, no more of this kind; The De­cretal Epistles, which cannot be denyed to have been forged, and imposed upon the World by Isidore Mercator, yet have not lost their place among the Councils, but stand there, as if they expected some second Turrianus to defend them: for unless more credit were designed them by it than they deserve, 'tis un­accountable why they should be suffered to take up so much room, which might be better filled. I conclude this particular with the observation of Richerius Hist. Conc. Gen. l. 1. p. 36. upon occasion of the Forge­ry of an Epistle from the Council of Nice to Pope Silvester, to desire his confirmation, Equidem cum maximo animi moerore dicere cogor nullos extare libros, in quibus tot tantáque fictitia & adulterina scripta quàm in Tomis Conciliorum legantur, &c. ‘Indeed I am for­ced to say with exceeding great grief of mind, that there are no Books, in which there are so many and so egregiously coun­terfeit and spurious writings, as may be read in the Tomes of the Councils.’

§ II. By suppressing Councils that are genuine. The first and second Councils of Pisa are omitted by all the Collectors of Councils before Labbé, and the Acts of the second Council are omitted by him too: though the Council of Constance was but a Continuation of the first Pisan Council; and the second being owned by the French in derogation to the last of Lateran was pub­lished out of the French King's Library with the former, by the special privilege of his most Christian Majesty, A. MDCXII. And though Labbé thinks fit to excuse the omission by saying, that the Acts and Apology of this pretended Council [Conciliabulum Pisa­num] were collected by Schismaticks and Hereticks, and pu­blished under a false name; and that Lewis the Twelfth, in MDXIII. called it onely a pretended Council, and denyed it all favour and assistence, yet the Royal Approbation of this Edition, and the exact agreement of all these Acts with the Acts of the same Council, as we find them in Richerius, is a sufficient evidence against the imputation of Forgery; neither need they have been so very scrupulous upon this Head, who have themselves inserted Canons and Synodical Rescripts which they acknowledge to be spurious, but a Lye when it makes for them, shall pass with a gentle Censure; whereas Truth, when it makes against them, shall be stifled, if any thing like an Ex­cuse can be brought to palliate their proceedings.

As to Lewis the Twelfth, there is this to be said; That he was engaged in a War with Julius the Second, the Venetians and the Spaniards at the same time, and gained a memorable Victo­ry at Ravenna over their united Forces; but the English setting upon him at home, he was forced notwithstanding to give over in Italy, in MDXIII. and so 'tis not unlikely, that, to reconcile himself to the Pope, he might then send that message; but it is manifest from the Acts themselves and the Letters printed at the End of them, that from the beginning of the Council to that time, he could be no Friend either to the Pope or to his Council. The same Year Julius dyes, and Leo the Tenth suc­ceeds. A Peace being concluded with England, and Lewis taking in Marriage Mary, Sister to Henry the Eighth, he prepares for War again in Italy, but dyes in MDXV. From whence it evi­dently appears which Council Lewis was most for, and for what Reason he disclaimed the Council of Pisa.

The Council of Basil is wholly left out in the Roman Edition as spurious, and was left out by Cardinal Bellarmin's Advice, as Richerius Rich. Hist. Conc. Gen. lib. 111. c. 6. was informed by those who were well acquainted with him: Quod inceptum facinus quidem, says Richerius, est absolutâ di­gnum Monarchiâ Curiae Romanae, cui propositum est, quod jure non potest, id viâ facti consequi; ‘Which Action of theirs is worthy of the absolute Monarchy of the Court of Rome, which is re­solved to obtain that in fact, that they cannot defend in right. And it is remarkable that Sirmondus was the Publisher of this Edition; Cossart. Praef. ad Conc. a man so much suspected at Rome for too great Inte­grity, that he was not allowed free access to their MSS. In the first Draught of the Councils put out by Labbé, the Council of Basil was styled onely Concilium Basiliense, whereas in Bini­us 'tis intituled Concilium OEcumenicum ex parte reprobatum, though in the same Draught he gave the Title of OEcumenical to that of Florence, and to the last of the Lateran; but perhaps the Com­plaint that was then made of it by an Advocate of Parliament in a Book intituled, The pernicious Consequences of the New Heresie of the Jesuites, might give occasion to the alteration in the Title of the Council of Basil; for we have it now printed as it is in Binius. But, as that Authour observes New Here­sie of the Je­suites, p. 140., all means have been used to discredit the Council of Basil, insomuch that a List of the Ge­neral Councils at the Beginning of the Epitome of Canon-law, by Antonius Augustinus, has been falsified, by leaving out the Council of Basil, which that Learned Archbishop had inserted among the rest, as may be seen: for after these words, Constanti­ense sub Martino quinto, there follows in the falsified Editions, Florentinum sub eodem, which is ridiculous, the Council of Flo­rence not having been held under Martin the Fifth: but it suffi­ciently shews how the uncorrupted Copies were, viz. after that of Constance, Basiliense sub Eugenio, and then Florentinum sub eodem. The Concilium Delectorum Cardinalium, Concilium de­lectorum Car­dinalium & aliorum Prae­latorum de e­mendanda Ec­clesia, S. D. N. P. Paulo Tertio, ipso jubente, conscriptum & exhibitum, Anno MDXXXVIII. which was preparatory to the Council of Trent, and may well be reckoned a part of it, yet could never be admitted among the Councils since Crabbe's Edition, in MDLL since it is not in two other of his Editions; though William Crashaw particularly complained of the omission [Page 5]in a printed Letter to Binius, Ad Severinum Binium Lovanien­sem Theologum Epistola Commonito­ria super Conciliorum Generalium Editione ab ipso nuper adornata, &c. Londini, MDCXXIV. and afterwards reprinted it himself, and it has been since published twice at Paris, once with the two Councils of Pisa, &c. MDCXII. and again lately with some pieces of Clemanges, Duran­dus de modo celebrandi Concilii, &c. But because that Council too fully sets forth what great necessity there was of a Reforma­tion in capite & membris, it has been excluded all the Editions of Councils since Crabbe's time.

§ III. 1. By depraving the Councils which are Genuine. And here we have reason to suspect much more than has hitherto been discover'd: for in the Vatican Library there have been cer­tain men employ'd onely to transcribe Acts of the Councils, and Copies of the Fathers works, and in transcribing to imitate the ancient Copies as near as is possible, Tho. James Treat. of the Corrupt. of Script. &c. in Append. to the Rea­der. as Dr. James of Ox­ford was informed by a Gentleman, who saw them at this work in the Vatican, and profer'd to make oath of it, if need was. It has been long ago observed, that the last Editions of the Councils are always the worst, so that Dr. Whitaker made it his earnest request to the Archbishop of Canterbury, that there might be some order taken for the preserving of Crabbe's Edition, which he foresaw would never be printed again: and Dr. James James ibid. p. 102. shews that Crabbe himself is not without corruptions, which made him complain that no Protestant had put forth an Editi­on of the Councils, or set himself to rectify the Errours of Po­pish Editions; but he says Dr. Ward Master of Sidney College in Cambridge was then about it.

2. 'Tis certain the Indices Expurgatorii reach MSS. as well as printed Books Possevin. Bibliothec. lib. 1. c. 12., and 'tis as certain James In­dex Lib. Pro­hibit. à Ponti­ficiis. that the Inquisitours of several places cannot agree among themselves, but Arias Montanus, who was himself a chief Inquisitour in the Low-Countreys has his own Books put into the Roman Index, so that no body can tell whi­ther this expedient of Purgation may come at last, or how far it has already come: it is but mangling the old MSS. and then counterfeiting them in a new Transcription, and the MSS. will all speak as they would have them. Ludovicus Surius shewed Junius Jun. Praef. ad Ind. Ex­purg. what depravations he was to make in the Edition of St. Ambrose, and assur'd him that it would be the worst and most corrupt Edition of that Father. And we cannot won­der [Page 6]if these practices had a great share in the motives to the conversion of Henricus Buxhornius Com. de Eu­char. Harm. lib. 3. in prin­cipio., who before was one of the principal Expurgators. For some time these Indices Expurgatorii W. Crashaw's Romish Forg. Pref. were a great Mystery, and the English Papists would not believe, but it was some trick of Beza's or Junius's to disgrace the Ca­tholick Cause. James My­stery of the Ind. Exp. p. 22. The Index Expurgatorius of Antwerp was by chance first discover'd by Junius, those of Spain and Portugal were never known till the taking of Cales, and the Roman Index was procured not without much difficulty. After all these dis­coveries they could no longer complain of being misrepresented; though our English Papists were so backward in believing this part of Popery, that Crashaw ibid. Crashaw was forced to be at the trouble of procuring two Editions of Ferus upon St. John, one that had undergone the Index, and another that was printed before the invention of Indices, to convince them.

3. Let us now see what exploits have been done by these Arts: The Discoveries of Crashaw, and Coke, and Reynolds, but especially of James, in this kind will never be forgotten, and so need no repeating, any farther than they concern the Coun­cils, to which I shall confine my self, and shew, that very ma­terial passages in them have been mangled or wholly omitted. 'Tis very well known what attempts have been made to give us various Readings of the sixth Canon of Nice to procure the Pope's Supremacy, and that for the same reason the fifth Ca­non of the second General Council, and the twenty eighth of Chalcedon have been rejected and branded as spurious. All the Editions of Councils bear James Cor­rupt. of Script. &c. p. 91., that St. Cyrill did preside in the Council of Ephesus as Pope Celestine's Deputy, against the Au­thority of the Translation of Dionysius Exiguus, and the Greek MSS. as Dr. James witnesseth. But this is not the onely forgery we meet withall in this Council. Richer. Hist. Conc. Gen. lib. 1. c. 7. § 9. For in the Epistle of Celestine to that Council, in the Edition of Theodorus Peltanus, it runs thus: ‘We have sent Arcadius and Projectus Bishops, and Philip a Pres­byter to you, &c. who having taken our care upon themselves, shall be present at your Acts, and shall confirm your Decrees by their suffrage, and we doubt not but your Holiness will ad­mit them to give their Votes, and to a common consent; and let whatsoever you shall decree be looked upon as definiti­ons and decrees made for the common tranquillity of the Church.’ Ephes. Cor. Act. 2. Misimus ad vos Arcadium & Projectum Episcopos, & [Page 7]Philippum Presbyterum, &c. qui nostra in se cura suscepta, Actis vestris intererunt, quaeque à vobis sunt constituta suo calculo denuò confirmabunt, non dubitamus autem quin sanctitas vestra illos ad com­munem consensum sententiaeque dictionem sit admissura; quae verò de­creveritis, ea pro omnium Ecclesiarum tranquillitate habeantur definite decretáque. And with this Edition of Peltanus agrees that of An­tonius Contius, though his be a different Version: whereas the Roman Edition has it thus: ‘We have in our solicitude [for the peace of the Church] directed our holy Brethren and fellow Priests, &c. Arcadius and Projectus, &c. who may be present, when every thing is done, and who may execute those things, which have been before decreed by us; to whom we doubt not but your Holiness will give your Assent, since what is done seems to be decreed for the security of the Universal Church.’ Edit. Rom. Part. 2. Act. 3. Direximus pro nostra solicitudine sanctos Fratres & Consacerdotes nostros, &c. Arcadium & Projectum, &c. qui iis quae aguntur inter­sint, & quae anteà à nobis sunt statuta exequantur; quibus praestan­dum à vestra sanctitate non dubitamus assensum, quando id quod agi­tur videtur pro Ʋniversalis Ecclesiae securitate decretum. And ac­cording to the Roman Edition is the Greek of Hieronymus Comeli­nus, An. MDXCI. and all the Editions of the Councils ever since the Roman. It is very pleasant to observe that Binius in his Notes upon the Council of Chalcedon, quotes the Sentence a­gainst Dioscorus to prove the Pope's Supremacy, and that it might be sure to make for his purpose, he quotes it otherwise than it is printed in his own Edition, which though Mr. Cra­shaw gave notice of it in his Letter to Binius, yet remains unal­ter'd still in Labbé's Edition. Pithoeus finds De Process, Sp. Sancti, p. 35. fault with Surius for o­mitting the Acts of that debate, which (after the fourth General Council of C. P. was concluded and subscribed) arose between the Eastern Patriarchs and the Popes Legates concerning the Right of ordaining the Archbishop of Bulgaria, cujus altercatio­nis non contemnenda Acta à Laur. Surio viro alioqui & diligen [...]iae & fidei multae in postrema conciliorum Editione praetermissa fuisse, non in­juria moereor & doleo: sic enim sentio, quod bonâ omnium veniâ dictum velim, Christianam veritatem, quae Deum autorem ac vindicem habet, suâ simplicitate contentam non indigere illis artibus, quae nec in hu­manis quidem actionibus bonus vir ac probus facilè admiserit: and if he had lived to this day, he would have made the same or greater complaints: For Binius and Labbé will scarce pass [Page 8]for honester men than Surius in this or in any other case.

4. But to come lower, where we may expect a more exact account of things. In the Council of Basil, the famous James, ibid. p. 101. Lindwood made an Appeal upon account of the Temporalities of our Kings. The like Appeal was made by Thomas Bishop of Worcester, sent thither in Commission from the King, and by Peter Partridge, Chancellor of Lincoln, in the name of the Archbishop of Can­terbury and of the whole Clergy of the Land, all which is omitted by the Publishers of the Councils, and not put into the very last Edition, though Dr. James had taken notice of the omission. I need not mention the Decree which Caranza has bestowed up­on the Council of Florence, to introduce the Apocrypha into the number of Canonical Books of Scripture, though he Coci Censu­ra, p. 246. is not the onely man that has made use of this Artifice, which they are now indeed ashamed of, as men always are of Impostures, when they are once discovered; yet still Caranza is the Authour readiest at hand; and is as constant a supply for Councils as the Breviaries are for Fathers. But I shall wave all other Instances, and hasten to the Council of Trent, which gave the finishing hand to all the rest, and is it self no very eminent example of fair dealing. I take it to be no more an Instance of the Sincerity than of the Infallibility of that Council, that the Tridentine Fathers durst not trust the World with a view of their Acts; and all the accounts we have had from private hands have been very little for its cre­dit: The History of Palavicini has justly been said to be more prejudicial to the Council than that of Father Paul; for the lat­ter onely shews how much is to be said against it, whereas the former demonstrates how little can be offered in its defence. But not to insist upon this; who would suspect that the little Book of the Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent might not be allowed us entire? Vid. Riche­rium, lib. 4. part. 2. Hist. Gen. Conc. yet in the French Edition published at Paris MDLXIV. by Gentianus Hervetus, as soon as he came from the Council, and in the Antwerp Edition the same year, Cardinal Morone, the Pope's Legate, concludes the Council in these words, Placuit omnibus Patribus finem huic sacro Concilio im­poni, confirmationémque à Sanctissimo Domino nostro peti, tribus dun­taxat exceptis, qui confirmationem se non petere dixerunt: ideóque nos Apostolicae sedis Legati & Praesidentes eidem sacro Concilio finem imponi­mus: confirmationem verò quamprimùm à sanctissimo Domino nostro pete­mus. Vos autem Illustrissimi & Reverendissimi Patres, post gratias Deo [Page 9]actas, ite in pace. ‘It pleased all the Fathers to put an end to this sacred Council, and to beg a Confirmation from the Pope, excepting onely three, who said they would not desire a Con­firmation, and therefore we, the Legates of the Apostolic See, and the Presidents of this holy Council, do put an end to it; and we shall beg a Confirmation with all speed from the Pope; You therefore, most Illustrious and Reverend Fa­thers, go in peace.’ But in the Roman Edition printed the same year by Manutius, these words, Placuit omnibus Patribus, &c. tri­bus duntaxat exceptis, &c. are left out; and after the Question put to them by the Legate, whether they would have Request made to the Pope to confirm the Council? It is subjoined, Responderunt, Placet: They all desire it: And there is no mention of the least dissent: and presently follows the dismission of the Fathers. And after this manner have all the Editions been printed ever since without the least intimation, that one Bishop demurred upon it. Richer. ib. Ex quo patet, Curiae Romanae propositum esse omnia delere atque supprimere Acta, quae juribus suis usurpatis adversantur, & hinc etiam fit, ut nulla Apocrypha pro veris legantur etiam in antiquis Conci­liis. ‘Whence it appears, that the Court of Rome is resolved to suppress and abolish all those Acts which shall contradict their usurped Rights, and hence it is that many spurious things are read as genuine, even in the ancient Councils.’ I need pur­sue this subject no farther, nor seek for Instances to make good this observation of Richerius, his Testimony may suffice instead of a thousand Instances. Nor shall I make any advantage of the many other great Corruptions wherewith partly through Igno­rance, partly with Design, the monuments of Antiquity are defaced, as the Authour of the Preface to Paul the Fifth's Editi­on of General Councils complains, who was Sirmondus, as Praef. ad Conc. Cos­sartius informs us: nor of the great alterations under that pre­tence made in innumerable places of the Roman Edition, which have been retained ever since, besides the carelesness of the se­veral Publishers that has made the best Editions extreamly un­correct, which put Baluzius Praef. ad Conc. Tem. 1. upon a new Collection. And we have some better hopes of him, if his skill in the Greek Tongue qualifie him for such a Work, notwithstanding the sharp Contest that has been between him and M. Faget concerning Peter de Marca's posthumous Works, or the undervaluing Gerbais de Causis majori­bus. Cha­racter lately given him by a Doctour of the Sorbon.



§ I. PApists are not agreed in the Authority of Councils; I mean, they are not agreed what Councils are General, and what are not so. They differ as much about the Councils, as they do about the Notes of the Church. For as Costerus as­signs three, Coccius five, Bellarmin fifteen, Bozius an hundred Notes: so some assign more, some fewer General Councils, though the common computation proceeds no higher than to eighteen, of such as are without exception. As the seventh and eighth General Councils were not a long time received into the Professions of Faith, (which I shew in the seventh) so the num­ber of Councils recited in those Professions not exceeding eight, as is manifest by those Professions in the Diurnus Romanus publi­shed by Garnerius shew, that eight onely were looked upon as truly General, and the rest not as of equal Authority. Cardinal Contarenus, in his short account of Councils written to Paul the Third, and presented to him on his calling the Council of Trent (or that of the delegated Cardinals in order to it, he being one of the number) reckons that for the eighth General Council, which deposed Photius, and the Council of Florence for the ninth, not so much as naming any of the Lateran Councils but the last, and not esteeming either this or that of Lyons under Gregory the Tenth, nor that of Constance or Basil General, though he does name them Contarenus Sum. Conc. E­dit. Venet. MDLXII.. Cardinal Pole, with his Synod at Lambeth under Paul the Fourth A. D. MDLVI. calls the Council of Florence, the eighth General Council, though they own the fourth Lateran under Innocent the Third for General; as they doe likewise the fifth Lateran Decret. 2.. They mention the fourth of Lateran frequently, and never but under the Title of a General Council, and that of Lyons under Gregory the Tenth, they mention under the same Character Decret. 3. Abraham Cretensis, the first Publisher of the Coun­cil of Florence, gives it the Title of the eighth General Council, and so the Approbation of Clement the Seventh prefix'd to that Edition styles it, and so Cardinal Pole with his Clergy account it: So that this was the opinion of the Members Launoy E­pist. part. VIII. ad Francisc. Bonum. of the Council, and of the first Publishers of it, and of our English Clergy in Queen Mary's Reign, whereas in the common account, (new style,) the Council of Florence is the Sixteenth; Merlin gives us but [Page 11]eight General Councils, which are the first six with those of Con­stance and Basil. In the Vatican Library as it now stands and was erected by Sixtus Quintus, A. D. MDLXXXVIII. where all the General Councils are represented in painting with Inscripti­ons to explain them, there are but two Lateran Councils, viz. Those under Alexander the Third and Innocent the Third. Angelus Roccha, de Biblioth. Va­tican. p. 200. Roccha, in his Explications, reckons the Council of Vienne the fifteenth, and then proceeds to the Council of Florence, which he calls the eighteenth, as it is indeed computing the two inter­mediate Councils of Constance and Basil, but Sixtus Quintus thought fit to take no notice of them in the Vatican, but Roccha makes them up a full Score, though the Councils of Constance and Basil be onely supposed, not expressed in the number. So many differing accounts we have concerning the number of Gene­ral Councils; to which may be added one more, by taking in the Council of Arles, as it ought to be in St. Augustine's opinion, and in the opinion of Launoy, Albaspinaeus, Marca, Labbé, Sirmon­dus and others Launoy con­firmat. dissert. de vera ple­narii Concilii ap. Augustin. notione, p. 96.; in which Council the Bishop of Arles presided to examine the Cause of the Donatists, which had been before de­termined by the Bishop of Rome and his Synod; they confir­med the Judgment past at Rome, but would have as certainly nulled it, if the Sentence had been wrong. The two latter Edi­tions of the Councils for awhile continue the Tale of them, and the last continues it longer than the Royal Edition does, but af­terwards they break off, and cease numbering, onely giving us them as they come: which may be a farther evidence how little certainty and exactness there is in any thing that relates to a Ca­talogue of General Councils. It seems then we are at last redu­ced to that notable Expedient which is said to have been in a late Preachment proposed about the Sacraments; If we must have Councils, my Beloved, let us take the greatest number, and then we are sure to have all: and so for the largest Bible, and the largest Creed, that we may be sure to have enough of whatever it be. But be­cause Bellarmin's number of Councils seems to be most in vogue, I shall consider his eighteen, which he assures us, are all over Infal­lible, and fully approved, whereas there are half a dozen that have had the ill luck not to pass muster, though they are pretty tolerable in the main, and we must take part, and leave part, as the Popes have thought fit; but there is a third sort so abomi­nable, that they are utterly condemned.

§ II. I shall examin what agreement there is amongst Papists concerning the Authority of the several approved General Coun­cils. The second Gen. Council at Constanti­nop. circa A.D. CCCLXXXI. se­cundum Ri­cher. part. 1. c. 5. p. 169. And here we need not go far. The second General Coun­cil it self (as was before observed) has not escaped: For Baro­nius, An. CCCLXXXI. says that the fifth Canon of that Council was not received by the Church of Rome, and he suspects it is forged. Bellarmin says, it was not consented to by the Pope Lib. 2. de Rom. Pontif. c. 18., and there­fore void; so says Albertus Pighius In Diatriba de Conc. 6, & 7. p. 279., and Coriolanus In Summa Concil.. The four reasons which Baronius brings to invalidate its Authority, Binius has transcribed into his Notes, which Labbé and Cossartius have printed in their Edition, without the least censure or animadver­sion; but in the margin, over against the Canon add a Note of their own, referring to some Epistles of Leo, which are quo­ted by Baronius to disprove its Authority. Now the onely fault they can find with this Canon is, that it makes the Bishop of C. P. next Primate to the Bishop of Rome, for this reason, because that City was new Rome, which would make the Pope's power and greatness depend upon the Preheminence that the City of Rome held in the Empire, not upon any Divine Right. And for no better reason they reject the twenty eighth Canon of Chalce­don, The fourth Gen. Council at Chalced. circa An. D. CCCCLI. Ri­cher. part. 1. c. 8. p. 333. and would undoubtedly have rejected all the Canons of the first four General Councils, if they had stood in the way of the Pope's Authority. For the fifth Canon of C. P. is in all Co­pies, and there is no more cause to suspect it than any other Ca­non of the Council. The twenty eighth of Chalcedon, with those that follow it, is wanting indeed in some Copies; but this as well as that of C. P. must be owned by all in the Church of Rome that hold a Council above the Pope; for if. the major part of the Church is of sufficient Authority to make them, so these Canons are as authentick as any in all the Volumes of Councils. Du Pin dis­sert. 1. p. 57. For the honour and jurisdiction of the Patriarch of C. P. is founded upon the Laws of the Empire, and the consent of the universal Church, The fifth Ge­neral Coun­cil held at C. P. An. Do. DLIII. and these Canons have generally been so far owned as to be inserted into the Books of Canons.

§ III. The fifth General Council held under the Emperour Justinian about the middle of the sixth Century, was opposed by Pope Vigilius Baluz. No­va Collect. Conc. Tom. 1. col. 1546. to the utmost, till he was forced to submit and retract his Heresie to recover himself from Banishment. From [Page 13]whence a Query will arise, How a Papist can be better assu­red that this Council is true, than that it is false? or, Whether a Council can be first false, and then, without the least alterati­on in its Doctrine, Infallible? or, How long time a Pope's Sen­tence must be past before its Effect of Infallibility be produced? Whether one Pope may not retract another's Sentence, as well as the same Pope his own? And if so, Whether Innocent the Ele­venth for instance, may not retract the Sentence of Pius the Fourth, and so vacate the Council of Trent?

§ IV. Albertus Pighius wrote a Book Diatriba de Conc. 6, 7. on purpose to prove the sixth and seventh Councils both forged. The sixth Gen. Council held at C. P. circa An. Do. DCLXXXI. vel ut alii putant, DCLXX. Richer. Hist. Conc. Hist. Gen. p. 1. c. 10. p. 525. The seventh was then newly published, but from what Copy or upon what Au­thority he says was unknown: Franciscus Turrianus undertook their defence. Bellarmin is for compounding the business, and is inclined De Rom. Pontif. l. 4. c. 11. to think that many Forgeries may indeed be crept in. Binius follows him, onely he is more positive, as his manner is, to give us something that is his own: Labbé and Cossartius let his Notes pass without censure. All the stir is, that the sixth Council condemned Pope Honorius for a Heretick, and the se­venth approves the Sentence, and several times anathematizeth him; whom these men would willingly acquit, though there be as much evidence for it as can well be for any matter of Fact. The Anathema against him was solemnly pronounced every year, till of late, on the Festival of St. Leo the Second; and eve­ry Pope anathematized him in the Profession of Faith which he made at his Consecration, and sent it to the other Bishops Garnerli Liber Diur­nus in Pro­fessione Fides secundâ dis­sert. in ean­dem; & Lau­noil Epist. part. 5. ep. 2. p. 12. &c.. The Arguments of Baronius to prove the sixth Council corrupted, are now laughed at Du Pin dis­sert. 5. p. 350.; though F. Combesis New Here­sie of the Je­suites, p. 91. was violently treated by Raynaud, a Jesuite, not long ago in a most malitious Satyr a­gainst the whole Dominican Order, onely because he had expo­sed Baronius on this subject. But Garnerius endeavours to palli­ate the matter, by saying, He was condemned onely for favou­ring Hereticks and conniving at them. Natales Alex. formally proves Sec. 7. that he spake like a Heretick, and acted like a Heretick, and communicated with Hereticks; and yet at the same time proves he was no Heretick. So impossible is it for Popes to be Hereticks! For any other Bishop had certainly been an Here­tick, though he had done but half so much. But Du Pin Dissert. 5. p. 349. has confuted all this Sophistry: and so 'tis to be hoped, that now [Page 14]these Councils may be genuine in France, where Honorius is an Heretick, or at least anathematized for a Favourer of Hereticks: but of what credit they are at Rome as to this Point, is easie to be imagined. He will scarce pass for a true Catholick there, who had not rather part with two Councils than one Pope.

§ V. But here we must not omit the Dispute betwixt the Greeks and the Latins concerning the Council in Trullo, Synodus Qui­nisexta in Trullo, circi­ter An. Dom. DCLXXXI. se­cundum Lab­bé in Tom. Conc. called Sy­nodus Quinisexta, because it was a kind of Supplement to the fifth and sixth Councils. The Greeks maintain against the Latins that this Council was General, they alledge that the Pope's Le­gates were present, and subscribed its Canons, which the Pope himself indeed afterwards refused to doe; but the Council styles it self General; and if want of the Pope's approbation could hinder it from being so, it was some time before the Fifth could deserve that Title, however it came by it at last: but the grea­test fault of this Council in Trullo is, that it approves Can. Trull. 36. and con­firms the second Canon of C. P. and the twenty eighth of Chal­cedon, in which the Latins are [...], as Balsamon ob­serves. However the hundred and two Canons of this Synod are cited in the second Council of Nice Act. 4, 5, 6.. And Adrian the First, in his Epistle to Tarasius says, that he receives the sixth Council with all its Canons, by which he can mean no other but this; for the sixth, as it is distinguished from this, made no Canons. Nicholas the First, in an Epistle to Michael the Greek Emperour, says, that they were confirmed by Pope John the Seventh, at the request of Justinian the Second, whom that Pope commends there as a most holy Emperour; besides, Gratian attributes them to the sixth Council, and so does the Council of Florence Sess. 5.. All which was so convincing to Caranza Sum. Conc., that he sets them down as the Canons of the sixth General Council, and after him Syl­vius chose rather to distinguish and refine upon the thirty sixth Canon, than to reject them all. Angelus Roccha Bibl. Vatic. p. 71. says plainly, it was a continuation of the former Synod, not a new one, since both were subscribed by the same Bishops, The second Council of Nice, A. D. DCCLXXXI. vel DCCLXXXV. vel DCCLXXXVII, secundum Labbé. as he proves out of the Second Council of Nice.

§ VI. 1. The second Council of Nice, which is the seventh General Council, is a Council they find themselves as much concerned to defend as any of them all, and have had as much [Page 15]trouble in defending it: unless this be General, the worship of Images is at a great loss for Authority from Antiquity, and yet to defend this Council is almost as difficult as to defend the wor­ship of Images without it.

2. Gregory the Lib. 9. Ep. 9. Great is well known to have been against the worship of Images; but his Successours, not long after, were for promoting it what they could; so zealous they were in the Cause, that great Contentions arose between the Iconoclastae and the Iconolatrae: for no wonder if some were moved to break those Images, which they could not but abhor to see others wor­ship. These Cedren. Hist. Zonar. Annal. heats grew to that height, that the Emperour Leo the Third forbad by his Edict the worship of Images, fol­lowing herein the Example of two of his Predecessours, and commanded them to be removed out of all Churches, conside­ring that the lawfull use and ornament of Images might much better be spared than the worship of them suffered Cedren. p. 453.. Gregory II. upon this calls a Council at Rome, This some attribute to Gregory the Third, who Pla­tina says excommunicated and deposed Leo; Hic statim ubi Pontificatum iniit, Cleri Romani consensu Leonem Ter­tium, Imperatorem Constantinopolitanum imperio simul & communione fidelium privat, quod sacras Imagines è sa­cris adibus abrasisset, & Statuas demolitus esset, quodque etiam de Homusio malè sentiret. Platina in Greg. Tert. So natural is it for every one to be made an Heretick, who withstands the Corruptions and Innovations of the Church of Rome. determines for Image­worship, and anathematizeth the Emperour; and more­over forbids that Taxes or Tribute should any longer be paid to him from Rome or any other part of Italy; in short, he denys obedience to him, and betakes himself to the Franks. Leo Isaurus being dead, his Son Constantinus Copro­nymus calls a Synod at C. P. in which the worship of Images is condemned in DCCLIV. In this state Conc. Tom. 7. col. 655. things continued till about DCCLXXX. when the Empress Irene being left a Widow by the death of Leo the Fourth, with her young Constantine the Sixth, resolved to call another Synod at C. P. to null the late Council held there under Constantinus Copronymus, and to determine for the worship of Images: but the People and the Souldiery of the City would endure no such thing, and they had most of their own Bishops so far on their side as to instruct and encourage them against such worship. The Citizens were not difficultly persuaded to be constant in their old Professon, which Edicts and Councils and their own Practice required them not to aban­don, but they were led by too violent a Zeal to betake them­selves [Page 16]to a way not justifiable, and together with the Souldiers were immediately in an Uproar upon these Proceedings of the Empress. The Council was forced to adjourn to Nice, no few­er than three hundred and fifty Bishops in number, and there they did the business the following year: There were none Con. Tom. 7. col. 55. from the West in it but the Pope's two Legates; and such was the freedom used in their Debates, that the Bishops who had been against Images, abjure in the beginning of the Council, and so are admitted to take their places in it. This happened DCCLXXXVII. as the last Editours compute it. Adrian the First sent his Legates thither, who brought a Copy of the Acts home with them signed by Constantine and Irene, those the Pope procured to be turned into Latin Anastas. in Adrian I. p. 172, 173., and put them into his own Library: They were not so confined there, but they soon caused no small debate in the Western Church. The Pope sends them Hincmar. Rhemens. ad Laudunens. cap. 20. to Charles the Great, to be examined and approved by him and his Bishops. The Emperour opposed them, and either wrote himself against them, or however sent a Confutation to Adrian, and caused it to be published by his Authority; whether this was written in the Council of Franckford, as Bellarmin and Baronius suppose, or after it, or before it, has been doubted. Labbé and Cossartius place it in the same year with the Council of Nice, and Adrian Ep. ad Ca­rolum M. pro Synodo Nicaena II. Con. Vol. 7. styles it onely a Capitular, without taking notice that a Coun­cil had any thing to doe in it, which he would scarce have omit­ted of a Council in which his own Legates were present, and dissented from the rest of the Bishops, as Baronius and Bellarmin imagine, or if they had agreed with them, yet this probably had been intimated either by the Emperour or the Pope. But that which puts this Controversie beyond all dispute is, that the Book it self Opus Caro­linum, p. 7. informs us, that the Synod in Bithynia, against which it is written, was held not quite three years before, where­as the Council of Franckford was held seven years after that of Nice; so that the Book was writ above four years before the Council of Frankford. However this be, The Pope sets him­self to answer it from point to point, and scorns to stick Pro Syn. Nic. II. in Ac­tione 5. c. 26. p. 927. at any thing: where that Council of Nice says, that as the People of Israel were healed by looking upon the Brazen Serpent, so we beholding the Images of Saints shall be saved; he goes on to de­fend it at any rate, for the satisfaction of Ʋnbelievers, and the direc­tion of the Franks. His best Proof is a hearty Exclamation or two, [Page 17] Ænei Serpentis inspectione credimus Israeliticum populum à calamitate injectâ liberari, Christi Dei nostri & Sanctorum effigies aspicientes atque venerantes dubitamus salvari? ‘We believe that the people of Israel were freed from the calamity that was thrown upon them, by looking upon the brazen Serpent, and shall we doubt of salvation if we look with veneration upon the Ima­ges of Christ our Lord, and the Saints?’ Strange indeed! Ʋnde pro ni­mio amore, quem erga ve­stram melliflu­am gerimus Regalem Ex­cellentiam— unde pro ve­strâ mellifluâ Regali dilec­tione. this must needs raise strong passions, especially in his Honey Emperour as he calls Charles the Great in his Epistle to him prefixt to his defence of the Council: but his arguments are not so powerfull, all the Patheticks he could use, would not persuade them to speak one word to the purpose, as any one may discern that will but be at the pains to peruse them. One Basilius an Archbishop had, it seems, in a Profession of Faith, which he read in the Council, inserted after the Belief in the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, the kissing and adoring of Ima­ges and Relicks, adding, that he believed that Sanctification was partaken of from these, and leaving out in the mean time the Articles of Remission of Sins, the Resurrection of the Dead, and Life everlasting: The Pope resolved to defend all w Ibidan Act. 1. cap. 4. Col. 942., and not to stand out in the least at any thing whatsoever, justifies Basilius, that sanctification may be had from Images and Re­licks, and afterwards maintains Ibid. Act. 4. Col. 949. that a man had better visit all the Stews in the City, than refuse to adore the Image of our Lord, or of the Blessed Virgin. But how stout a Champion soever the Pope was for the Council of Nice, the Emperour was not in the least satisfied, he was for good sense rather than Honey words, and therefore calls a Council at Frankford DCCXCIV. consisting of three hundred Bishops, who determined so una­nimously against the Council of Nice, that Bellarmin and Baronius think the Opus Carolinum, which Adrian endeavoured to answer was drawn up there. The Pope had his Legates in the Council, but they were either brought to a consent with the rest of the Fathers, or however could get nothing by their opposition, which perhaps might be the less peremptory and pertinacious, and so the less regarded, because the Emperour himself was present.

3. Thus we see that not onely the Acts of the seventh General Council have lately been called in question, but that the Coun­cil it self was at first opposed by as General a Council held at [Page 18] Frankford soon after, and which is strange, the same Pope's Le­gates were present at both, and the Pope himself sent his Letters to both, and if we believe Binius, confirmed both. For he would persuade us that the second Nicene Council was confirmed, not condemned by this of Frankford: though nothing can be more plain, than that the second Canon condemns the Worship of Images in contradiction to a Greek Synod, which had com­manded it under pain of Anathema, and herewith agree all the Bellarmin de Concilio lib. 2. cap 8. p. 886. Ancient Writers, Hincmarus, Aimoinus, Rhegino, Ado, Abbas Ʋrspergensis, besides the Books, which go under the name of Charles the Great purposely written against that Council of Nice, appears to have been written in the time of the Emperour, both from the Answer to them by Adrian, and from Hincmare's Testimony. Bellarmin and Baronius could not resist so strong con­viction, but were both forced to confess, that the Council of Frankford had condemned this of Nice, they were ashamed to say bluntly, that either these Books were corrupted, or the Au­thours lied, this was too course, for Bellarmin and Baronius though Copus, Surius and Sanders made no scruple of it, and Binius Vid. not. ad Concilium. here leaves the two Cardinals his usual Guides, to follow these. But Bellarmin and Baronius were men of more slight and fineness than to make use of so confident an argument, they acknow­ledge that the Council of Nice was condemned at Frankford; but, say they, the Fathers of Frankford were imposed upon, they knew not that the Pope had confirmed the Council of Nice, and besides mistook the sense of that Council. Sir­mondus Admonit. Conc. vol. 7. Col. 1054. here falls in with Bellarmin and Baronius, well knowing that they had pitched upon the onely thing that could with any tolerable colour be said in the case: for he owns the Books of Charles the Great and the Canons of Frankford to be now gene­rally accounted genuine beyond all dispute among learned men. And thus much Maimburg, and Natalis Alex. cannot deny, that they were written by that Emperour himself, or by his order.

4. But first, what did the Legates doe there, if they could not acquaint the Bishops, that the Pope had approved the Synod of Nice? how could they be ignorant of what the Pope had done on so important an occasion, or what that Doctrine was, which he had confirmed? They were very extraordinary men, and their Instructions were extraordinary, if they knew no better what they came about. Besides the Authour of the Opus Carolinum p. 180. [Page 19]supposes the Pope and Tarasius Patriarch of Constantinople agreed upon the point of Images. He was p. 88. not unacquainted with the distinction of the Nicene Council between the worship due to Images, and that due to God himself, and he Pp. 257, 258, 275, 293, 401. frequently makes use of Greek which shews he was no such stranger to that Tongue, but that he might very well inform himself, as it appears he had done, what the Nicene Doctrine was, whether this Book was composed by Alcuinus, or by Ingilramnus, or by whomsoever else is not much material to my present purpose, but if it were writ in the Council of Frankford, as Bellarmin and Baronius think, or before it, p. 7. as appears from the Book it self, or though it were writ afterwards, yet can it be supposed that all the Bishops at Frankford with the Emperour, whose name this work bears, should be so great strangers to the Doctrine of Nice so fully set forth and confuted in this Book? Bellarmin indeed says, the Book gives a wrong account of the Doctrine; but 'tis plain, he gives a wrong account of the Book: for it does as p. 88. accurately distinguish betwixt Latria and Doulia as Bellarmin himself, and then proves that neither of them may be given to Images. That the Council of Frankford could be ignorant of the Doctrine established at Nice can seem probable to no man, who considers, that the Pope had caused the Canons of Nice to be translated into Latin, that his Legates were present at Frankford, and that they refused to consent to the Decree of that Council, as Bellarmin and Baronius affirm. To imply that the Bishops at Frankford did not understand Greek might pass well enough from Sirmondus, but might have been spared by men of no greater accuracy in that Tongue than the two Cardi­nals: if not one among them all were skilled in the Greek, yet why could they not read the Translation? why could they not con­sult the Legates? The Cardinals perhaps might be sensible enough how liable men are to mistakes for want of a little Greek, and Anastasius Praefat. in septim. Synod. Concil. Tom. 7. Col. 29. says, the Translation was very perplext, and hardly intelligible, but I can never be persuaded that the Legates would stand by and deny their consent, and yet not en­deavour to undeceive the Council, and at least advise them to send to Rome, for Instructors. Pope Adrian wrote himself in defence of the Synod of Nice, which he had confirmed, and so must be allowed to understand it, and Greek could then be no very strange Language at Rome, nor consequently at Frankford [Page 20]neither among three hundred Bishops gathered together from all parts of the West, when the Pope had so lately renounced his Allegiance to the Greek Emperour, and yet still a correspon­dence was held between Rome and C. P. by Adrian with Con­stantine and Irene, and Tarasius Concil. Tom. 7. as appears by their Letters,

5. But 'tis in vain to argue from probabilities, if the Canon it self, as is pretended, be grounded upon a mistake. Allata est in medium quaestio de novâ Graecorum Synodo, quam de adorandis Imaginibus Constantinopoli fecerunt, in quâ scriptum habebatur, ut qui imaginibus sanctorum ita ut Deifici Trinitati servitium, aut adorationem non impenderet, anathema judicaretur; qui supra sanctis­simi Patres nostri omnimodis orationem aut servitutem eis impendere renuentes, contempserunt atque consentientes condemnaverunt. ‘The question, about the new Greek Synods, held at C. P. about Worshipping of Images, was then debated; therein it was written that whosoever should not pay that Service or Ado­ration to the Images of the Saints, which he would pay to the B. Trinity should be anathematized: whereupon our Holy Fathers by all means refusing to pray to them, or pay them service, despised and unanimously condemned it.’ Here is first C. P. mistaken for Nice, and then it is said that the same Wor­ship is under Anathema commanded to be given to Images, which is given to the blessed Trinity. Sirmondus Not. in Con­cil. Franco­ford. Conc. vol. 7. Col. 1066. is so in­genuous as to propose a way of reconciling the first mistake of C. P. for Nice by supposing that the Synod is said to have been at C. P. not that it was held in that City, but because it was in the Constantinopolitane Empire, and at the command of the Greek Emperour Constantine and his Mother Irene. This, I must confess, seems to me strained; but it were yet a grea­rer force upon the imagination to be told, that Charles the Great with three hundred Bishops met together to condemn the Worship of Images, decreed in a General Council about seven years before, should yet not be certified where this De­cree was made, nor be able to distinguish Nice from C. P. and that the same Pope should send his Legates to both Synods, and yet give them no better instructions than to suffer them to be ignorant in so late a matter of Fact, which must be known all over Europe. For when the Worship of Images which had undergone so much debate, and had been the cause of so great Troubles, and occasioned the calling divers [Page 21]Councils, but had never the good luck to succeed, was at last in a General Council enjoyned under Anathema: and when the Popes Legates at their coming from the Council brought a Copy of it subscribed by Constantine and Irene, which the same Pope that now sent his Legates to Frankford, commanded to be translated into Latin, and placed in his Library, when the Pope himself had answered the objections propos'd by the Emperour against this very Council of Nice, who can conceive that the whole Transaction should not be noised abroad and talked of in all places, and among all persons, and in all its circumstances so exactly known, that it would have been impossible to have picked out three hundred men of any tolerable rank and con­versation, who could be ignorant, that the General Council of Nice had at length decided the vexatious controversie about Images? If its judgment had been acquiesced in as infallible, or but of sufficient Authority to enforce any submission upon the conscience, it certainly had been taken more notice of, than to be unknown to any man of ordinary observation in its less ma­terial circumstances of time, and place, and number of Bishops; the Doctrine however had been taught and practised every where among all sorts of People, or, if it had been rejected by some, yet these would have found themselves obliged to give an account, why they rejected it, and so to enquire thorow­ly into it: but to suppose so many Western Bishops, with the Pope's Legates among the rest, and the Emperour himself in the midst of them, so grosly and even stupidly ignorant, as to know neither the Doctrine it self, nor the place where the Sy­nod was held but seven years before, is to cast too great a ble­mish upon the Western Church, and would be apt to make men suspect, that the Western Clergy at that time could make no pretence to the least share of infallibility either in a Coun­cil or out of it. The Emperour's Book mentions the Greek Council as held in Bithynia, and it were extreme weakness to imagine, that Charles the Great, after he had been at the pains to write a Book upon the subject, or had ordered one to be written, had not intelligence good enough to set the Synod right in the circumstance of place at least, if any will be so free with him, as to say he was rash enough to oppose he knew not what.

6. But to free that wise and great Emperour, and the whole Western Church from so stupid an absurdity: It can be no won­der, that the Decree concerning Image-worship should be re­lated in the Council of Frankford as made at C. P. to him, who remembers that the first meeting of the Nicene Fathers was at C. P. and that there first they began to Anathematize those, who were against the worship of Images, but finding C. P. too hot for them were forced to remove to Nice. And this may give a farther account, why the Doctrine condemned in the Canon of Frankford doth not so exactly agree with the definition made at Nice, where it is probable they might think fit to be more moderate and cautious in their expressions, after they had ex­perience how ill the Doctrine of Image-worship was thought of at C. P. and with how great difficulty it was like upon any terms to be received. The Council of Frankford might be con­tent to use the like moderation and not directly to oppose that Council in the face of his Legates, which had after a sort been defended by the Pope himself, since it was sufficient in the end of the Canon to add such a clause as excludes all worship of Images whatsoever: Qui suprà sanctissimi Patres nostri omnimodis orationem aut servitutem eis impendere renuentes contempsorunt atque consentientes condemnarunt: They might not be unwilling to spare the name of a Council that had gone before them in con­demning the Heresie of Felix, and Elipandus, and after the dis­pute between the Emperour and the Pope, the Emperour might perhaps think fit to try this expedient for an Accommodation of a thing that had been of so ill consequence, and so might give order to omit the mention of Nice, and not to engage the Pope's Legates at Frankford to condemn the same Popes Legates at Nice, but nevertheless to have the thing it self condemned as effectually, as if all the Fathers of Nice had been particularly named. For it is observed that Charles the Great and his Son Lewis after him had a particular care to give the Popes good words, and to keep fair with them, when they most withstood their designs; and thus Lewis carryed it in this very case of Images, when the worship of them was condemned in the Council of Paris. This is the account, which to me seems most probable, but however that the Nicene Council was condem­ned not onely at Frankford, but generally in the West, and shortly after in the East too, is as clear as the light. Maimburg [Page 23]and Natalis Alex. are so hard put to it, after all their endea­vours to palliate and reconcile these two Councils, that they are forced to pretend that Charles the Great was enraged at Con­stantine the Greek Emperour, because he refused to marry his Sister, and so in revenge called this Council at Frankford in opposition to Constantine's Council at Nice, and the Images and Image-worshipers, it seems, suffered all the hard names and bad usage at Frankford because Constantine loved Images better than the Lady. An honourable revenge, for Charles the Great to vent his spleen upon the poor Images, which, I suppose, were all against the Match. But the captious and frivolous cavils of those two Writers are particularly and fully answered by Hist. Imag. Sect. 6. & 7. Spanhemius, and are not much material to be here considered.

7. 'Tis certain the Council of Nice had been before con­demned in Britain Mabillon Praef. ad Acta Sanctorum Benedict. part 1. § 4. p. 15., and Alcuinus had written against it, and in the name of the Princes and Bishops had sent a Censure of it to the Emperour, together with the Acts of the Council, which the Emperour had before sent into Britain, and this pro­bably was the first Draught of the Opus Carolinum, which Adrian replyed to. A Synod at Paris owned by Sirmondus Tom. Concil. 7. Mabillon ibid. and Ma­billon, notwithstanding Bellarmin's pretended confutation, con­demned Image-worship and the Second Council of Nice, with the two Epistles of Adrian, one to Charles the Great in de­fence of it, and another to Constantine and Irene to persuade them to call it. Adrian wrote his Defence for the direction of the Francks, and Anastasius Praef. ad Synod. VII. informs us, that the French were not reconciled to this Council, nor to the worship of Images in his time, and not onely Mabillon but Bellarmin Bellarmin Script. Eccl. in Jonas Au­relianens. Mabillon ib. p. 16. himself confesses, that Jonas Aurelianensis, Agobardus, and generally the French Writers of that age were against the worship of Images, and condemned the Council of Nice, which likewise had been done in the beginning of this Century DCCCXIV. in a Council at C. P. called by Leo Armenius: yet the Embassadours from the Greek Emperours to Lewis le Debonnaire in DCCCXXIV. complain of the horrible abuses that were then got into that Church, that the Greeks had thrown down Crosses in their Churches, and set up Images in their room, that they lighted Candles before them and offered Incense to them, that they adored them with singing Hymns to them, and asking help of them, and by a most ridiculous superstition made them Godmothers to [Page 24]their Children, and that some Priests had dared to doe what cannot be mentioned without horrour, they scraped off the paint from Images and mingled it with the Wine at the Sacrament, and had been guilty of other such like abuses: others put the Sacramental Bread into the hands of Images, and from them received the Communion, and others forsook the Churches, and in private houses made use of Tables set before Images to consecrate the Sacrament upon. It was on this Mabillon ib. p. 15.24. occasion, that Lewis le Debonnaire called the Council above mentioned at Paris, wherein a Book was compiled to shew, that Images are not at all to be worshiped, which he sent to the Pope, but with order to mitigate some passages, and to manage the controversie so dextrously, as to give least offence to his Holiness. These proceedings had such success, that Nicholas the First in his Coun­cil held at Rome, and in the relation he gives of it to Michael the Emperour, and Adrian the Second in his Epistle to Carolus Calvus mentions but six General Councils, the seventh not be­ing then received into the number, not because it was not yet turned into Good Latin, as the Vid. Conc. vol. 8. p. 287.774. Annotator would persuade us, but because it was not thought to contain sound Doctrine: for since it was confirmed by the Pope, what prejudice could that be to the reception, though it had been in a Tongue as un­known to the Priests, as that which their Prayers are in is to the People? When Ado Archbishop of Vienne in the pro­session of Faith, which upon his promotion to that See, he sent to Nicholas the First, declared that he approved the four General Councils, making no mention of the rest, Nicholas notwithstan­ding sends him the Pall, but withall writes to know what he thought of the fifth and sixth Councils, not requiring him to say Mabillon ibid. p. 27. any thing of the seventh. And indeed all the Patriarchs of the East, except the Patriarch of C. P. used to make mention, in their Synodical Epistles, but of six General Councils, as the Encyclica of Photius shews, and as Baronius Tom. 10. ad Annum. DCCCLXIII. p. 247., who first pub­lished it, does not gainsay. Which made the Authour of the Mabillon ibid. p. 27. Annales Berliniani observe, that the eighth Synod had defined concerning Images, contrary to what the Orthodox had defined before. For the controversie about Images was again under debate at C. P. when Nicholas the First Nichol. I. Epist. Conc. vol. 8. sent his Legate thither, and their chief business was to decide it, for they were to act nothing in the cause of Photius, but onely to enquire how [Page 25]things had been managed. Afterwards under Adrian the Second, DCCCLXX. while the eighth General Council was sitting, there appears to have been another Synod opposing the worship of Images, which they anathematize; and it was one part of their business to establish that worship [...]. Conc. Tom. 8. col. 1360.. So that this Council of Nice was received neither in the East nor in the West, during one Cen­tury after it was held. Nay, it has been lately shewn that till the fifteenth Century the veneration of Images was rejected by the most eminent persons of the Western Church Fallibility of the Church of Rome de­monstrated from the se­cond Council of Nice, c. 4. sess. 6.. Afterwards Images and the Council of Nice had a blessed time of it, and the People grew fond of these which they call Laymens Books, when their Priests could scarce reade any other. And though it may well be expected, that the extravagance of this dotage should be much abated since the Reformation, especially in France, where Popery is new modelled and refined to that degree; yet even there sober men complain and lament, but cannot remedy the excess of it in our days Mabil. ib. p. 28. & Ri­cher. Hist. Gen. Conc. Lib. 1. cap. 11..

13. The eighth Gen. Council or the fourth C. of C. P. An. DCCCLXX. The Dates of thse 3 Coun­cils are accor­ding to Lab­be's Edition. VII. 1. There are no fewer than four Councils which lay claim to the title of the eighth General Council, and the Pope was present either in person or by his Legates in them all. Three of these were held at C. P. The first DCCCLXI. in which Ignatius Patriarch of C. P. was deposed; the next DCCCLXX. in which he was restored, and Photius deposed; the third DCCCLXXIX. when, after the death of Ignatius, Photius was again placed in that See. The fourth, Vid. Not. ad Conc. C.P. IV. col. 1491. Conc. vol. VIII. which goes under the name of the eighth General Council, is that of Florence, of which I shall forbear to speak till we come to it in order.

2. The Council of C. P. which condemned Photius is estee­med the eighth General Council by the Latins generally, and that which restored him, by the Greeks, by Zonaras, Balsamon, Psellus, Nilus, &c. Marcus Ephesinus Sess. VI. in principio. in the Council of Florence maintains in the name of the whole Greek Church, [...]. Marc. Ephes. in Conc. Flor. Ses. 6. col. 87. Conc. vol. 13. that the Council of C. P. which re­stored Photius had nulled the Council, which the Latins call'd the eighth General Council, in which Ignatius was restored and Photius de­posed, and that this Council was confirmed by John the Eighth; and that in the same Synod it was determined, that the addition of Filióque should be taken out of the Creed, and therefore [Page 26]from that time, in the Great Church at C. P. they used, he says, to denounce Anathema to whatever had been written or spoken against the holy Patriarchs Photius and Ignatius. To this the Car­dinal Julian, with whom Marcus Ephesinus had the Dispute, could find nothing to reply, for which he is very much blamed by another Cardinal, who never was at such a loss, but he always had something to say; I mean Baronius. 'Tis plain the Bishop of Rhodes, who in the next Session undertook to answer Marcus Ephesinus, knew very little of the matter; for he pretends to speak onely upon Probabilities; [...]. ‘I say that this does not by any means seem probable.’ He ob­jects, that the Pope nor his Legates did not preside in Photius's Council, as if the Greeks had ever thought that necessary; he makes no exceptions against any particulars in the Acts of the Synod, as not authentick, but would prove in general, that there never was such a Synod, because the Pope nor his Legates did not preside in it; [...]. Ib. col. 127. ‘for if they had, (ar­gues he) there would have been some re­membrance of that Synod in the Latin Church:’ whereas the Epistles and Commo­nitorium of John the Eighth shew that there was such a Synod, and that his Legates did preside in it; and Baronius proves, that his Legates for their compliance were excommunicated at their return to Rome.

3. Nor is it a Pretence of the Greeks onely, that this, styled the fourth Council of C.P. wherein Photius was condemned, is vacated: but the Epistles of Pope John the Eighth to this very purpose are cited by Ivo Carnutensis Parti 4. cap. 76, 77. in his Collection of Decrees. ‘The Constantinopolitan Synod which was made against Photius is to be rejected. Constantinopolitanam Synodum e­am, quae contra Photium facta est, non esse recipiendam. Joannes VIII. Patriarchae Photino; Illam, quae con­tra Photium facta est, Constantino­politanam Synodum irritam feci­mus, & omnino delevimus, tum propter alia, tum quoniam Adrianus Papa non subscripsit in ea. De eodem Joannes Apocrisiariis suis, Dicetis, quod illas Synodos, quae contra Pho­rium sub Adriano Papa Romae vel Constantinopoli sunt facta, cassa­mus, & de numero sanctarum Synodo­rum delemus. John the Eighth to Photinus the Patriarch; We have vacated and entirely abolished the Constan­tinopolitan Synod which was made against Photius, as well for other reasons, as because Pope Adrian did not subscribe in it. Of the same thing, John to his Apocrisiarii, Ye shall say, that we vacate and dash out of the number of the holy Synods, all those Synods which were held against Photius under Pope Adrian at Rome or at Constan­tinople. The same Authour, in his Pro­logue [Page 27]or Preface, quotes another of Pope John's Epistles at large written to the Eastern Churches, wherein he tells them that they had been too hasty in restoring Photius without his knowledge: but for all that, he was well enough contented, and brings several arguments to shew that Photius might be restored, notwithstanding any sentence which had passed upon him. He there compares Photius's cafe not with that of the Donatists, but of St. Athanasius, St. Cyril and Polichronius; of St. Chrysostome and Flavianus; and then concludes, that if the Donatists, who had been cast out of the Church by a General Council, Null [...]s excuset pro Synodis contra eum peractis, nullus sanctorum Prae­decessorum meorum Nicolai & Adri­ani sententias contra eutn causetur: De ipso enim subreptum est illis, nul­lus contra eum subscriptiones vestras occasionem Schismat is habeat: omnia enim ut infecta & irrita facimus, &c. Ivo Carnut. Prolog. p. 5. had yet been received into Com­munion by another Council, much more ought men of an orthodox Faith and an unbla­mable life; not to be condemned, but restored to their former dignity; which must suppose Photius to be a man of an orthodox Faith and an unblameable Life; or else we must suppose his Argument nothing to the purpose. But he proceeds to say, that his Predecessours Nicholas and Adrian had been imposed upon, and that all that had been done against Photius was to be accounted as if it had been never done. Nor doth this depend upon Ivo's Authority onely, but the second Canon of the Council which restored Photius is inserted by Gra­tian as a Canon of the eighth General Council, for which he is severely handled by Baronius, though others of the Roman Rader. apud Binium Conc. Vol. 8. Col. 1496. Com­munion have been wavering as to this matter, and have written uncertainly and confusedly about it; and Innocent the Third Lib. 1. tit. 9. c. 11. himself quotes the same second Canon in his Epistles.

4. Baronius notwithstanding, Raderus and Possevin, whose Argu­ments Binius has collected in his Notes, and generally the whole Roman Church are for maintaining the Authority of this fourth Council of C. P. and this is the last of the eight General Coun­cils which every Pope is sworn to at his Consecration Vid. II. Pro­fess. fid. apud Garnerium, in Diurne.. They argue that the Acts of that Council which restored Photius are corrupted, which is a sure Argument, when there is nothing else to say: Well, but they prove it from John's Epistles, which are quite another thing in the Vatican MSS. than they are in these Acts: but how does it appear that these Epistles are more authen­tick than the Acts? why, because these have been abused by Pho­tius; and how does that appear? because Photius was a Villain: as he was indeed one of the greatest Monsters of impiety that [Page 28]ever lived, if all be true that his Enemies relate of him. They say that his Mother, when she went with child of him, dreamt that she should bring forth a Serpent, which with his noisome Breath should infect the whole East; and many holy Men foretold the same thing in plainer language to her, that she should be delivered of one who would be the ruine of the Church: this troubled her so much that she often endeavoured to destroy her self, rather than that such a Brat should ever be born into the World: but her Husband prevented the design; and she was at last persua­ded by devout People about her to submit to the Providence of God: so she was prevailed with to live, and, to her great sorrow, was Mother of a Son who outwent all these Prophecies. For the Legend must not end here: He was an Impostour and used En­chantments, he got Ignatius removed out of his Patriarchate, and himself placed in his room; he bad defiance to Popes; and when they excommunicated him, to be even with them, he excommunicated them again; when they deposed him, he depo­sed them, and never was behind-hand with them in any kind offi­ces, and this is thought to have been his greatest crime: though besides, Bin. Not. ad Con. IV. C. P. ex Possevin. Rader. &c. Col. 1498, &c. he held that a man has two souls, while his enemies ac­ted as if they thought men to have none. The Popes, it seems, had every one a touch at him in their turn, for he was condemned by nine Popes, and was under Excommunication XLV. years Conc. Tom. 8. col. 1423., which is somewhat longer, I think, than F. Widrington or F. Walsh. All this to be sure made him an abominable Schismatick Ibid. Col. 1108., a Fornicator, a Parricide, a notorious Liar, another Maximus Ibid. Col. 1098.Cynicus, another Dioscorus, another Judas; Antichrist Anastas. Praef. ibid. Col. 967.. To speak all in a word, he was a very Devil.

5. After this heavy charge, what wickedness can be imagined that will not be believed of Photius? 'Tis none of my business at present to make his defence, which would be now the more difficult to be done, because all Vid. Can. 6. & Col. 1101, 1130, 1354. the Acts and Writings for his Justification were sought out and burnt in this fourth Council of C. P. 'Tis sufficient for me to observe that Pope Nicholas at first interposed as an Indifferent Arbitrator between him and Ig­natius, which sure he would never have done, if Photius had been guilty of so notorious Crimes: he was mainly concerned that himself had not been consulted; as for any thing else, 'tis not easie to observe which side he most inclined to. He writes to Photius, and tells him, he is glad to understand, that he is ortho­dox, but is sorry he should from a Laick immediately become [Page 29]a Bishop without passing through the inferiour Orders, and this is the onely exception against him. His Legates so far approve Photius's Cause, that they communicate with him, and con­demn Ignatius; for which indeed they were excommunicated when they came home, because the Pope said, they had gone beyond their Commission, whether this were onely a pretence, or that they had really exceeded their Orders: In his Epistles to the Emperour as well as to Photius the Pope finds no other fault, but that of a Laick, he ought not to have been made Patriarch, though there had been so late an Example of this in Tarasius, besides Saint Ambrose and Nectarius. So that the plain truth is, Pope Nicholas would have the whole matter reser­ved to his own decision, and he should be the Patriarch whom Nicholas would appoint. To say that Photius Praef. ad Syn. 8. init. usurped upon Ig­natius is but a Cavil, for Ignatius had served John so before, as Anastasius confesses, and Nicholas Nich. Ep. 5. does not deny it, onely he again urges that himself ought to judge between them. In his Epist. to Bardas Ep. 12. he compliments him highly, telling him, he was exceedingly troubled, that a man of his extraordinary cha­racter for vertue and piety should be concerned for Photius, which sufficiently overthrows the slander, that the deposition of Igna­tius was procured, because he would not approve the Incest of Bardas, but excommunicated him for it. Pope Nicholas is not consistent with himself in the account he gives of the behaviour of his Legates in this affair: sometimes he writes that they in­formed him Ep. 6. that they were under restraint, and were told of very hard usage designed them, but this was onely Rumour: in another Epistle he writes, that they had been bribed to com­municate with Photius, and to depose Ignatius, but that they both denyed they had done any such thing, till at last Zacharias confessed that he had communicated with Photius, and had de­posed Ignatius; but not a Syllable of any Bribe mentioned: Rhadoaldus Epist. 7. Col. 289. & 10. Col. 355. the other Legate, stood out still, and would not con­fess, nor would by any means be persuaded to abide his Tryal, but fled for it, notwithstanding all the kind words and promi­ses of fair dealing the Pope could give him: though in the thir­teenth Epistle they are said both to confess the Fact Col. 381., and after­wards Rhadoaldus flies. So little is there to be relied upon in the Invectives against Photius. This is certain, not Act. 1, 2, 3. a Bishop was suf­fered to sit in the Council called to depose him, till he had first [Page 30]subscribed a Writing sent thither from the Pope, wherein they denounced Anathema to Photius, and condemned his Councils, and owned those against him: then it can be no wonder if they libel him in the most bitter manner, calling him by all the ill names they could think of, and treat him in such Terms as could not become them to use, whatever he might deserve; that no­thing might be wanting to the keenness of their malice, they made Iambicks upon him, which Anastasius has taken care to translate, but the Greeks were ashamed of them, for their Co­py tells us, they were ill Verses, and so it has omitted them; but Anastasius Act. 7. in sin. had no such nice Stomach, he knew no distincti­on of good or bad, so they were but against Photius. At the end of the ninth Action the Greeks, it seems, were not so witty in their own malice, but Anastasius has supplyed that defect, and added some Rhimes of his own. I mention this the rather for the honour and antiquity of this way of confutation, because a late Authour has turned all the Papists Arguments, and all their Rai­lery too into Rhime. In Conclusion, Nicetas in vita Ignat. ap. Labbé. Conc. Tom. 8. the Fathers subscribe his Deposition, not with Ink, but with Wine consecrated in the Sa­crament, which is a surer sign of the hatred they bare to Photius than of their belief of Transubstantiation; for what malice could transport men to so extravagant Impiety, as to profane our Lord's own bloud to such a use? What the Proceedings of this Council were may be sufficiently understood from this which has been but inti­mated out of it, and I need not refer to the account Photius gives, but to the Acts themselves, [...], &c. Phot. Epist. 118. ‘And if hither­to they were not daring enough, yet it was an unexampled thing, to change the Ambassadours and Servants of impious Saracens in­to High-Priests, and to give them the precedency of Patriarchs, and to set them up as Heads of their wonderfull Assembly.’ to observe their heat and fury against him. He complains of great terrour and violence used in the Sy­nod, and that certain Embassadours from the Saracens were received there, and took their places, as Patriarchs of the East. And there is still exstant d Philippi Cyprii Chron. Eccles. Graec. cum Com. Henr. Hilarii. p. 137. an Epistle of Elias Pa­triarch of Jerusalem, which confirms the Truth of what Photius says in this matter. He makes frequent Complaints in his Epistles of the hardships and miseries which himself and his Party endured, and declares how unwilling­ly he entred upon the Patriarchate, and pro­fesses, that if it had been in his own Power, he would sooner have chosen to dye, than to [Page 31]venture on so high and difficult a station, and was now ready to resign: and he makes these complaints not to any friend at a distance from Court, or who could be a stranger to his Affairs, but to Bardas, the man who is said to have conspired with him to get Ignatius deposed; if that were true, what need could he have to make such pressing solicitations to one so deeply engaged in his Interest? and how ridiculous would such Protestations be? could he be so forsaken of all modesty and common sense, as to tell the very man, Epist. 3. & 6. who contrived the whole business with him, how great a force and reluctancy he had upon himself in con­senting to be made Patriarch? Theophanes Epist. 83. his Deacon and Pro­thonotary was put to the Torture, that by any means he might be compelled to accuse Photius, which he afterwards lamented, and besought his pardon. Photius Epist. 174. gives a large description of his miseries in an Epistle which he wrote to the Bishops while he was in Banishment. And all this he suffered for his Loyalty Zonar. An­nal. & Leo Grammat. Chronograph. to his Prince; for he was deposed, because he refused to re­ceive Basilius to Communion after he had murthered Michael the Emperour. Whoever considers his unshaken Loyalty, and reads his Writings will not easily believe that he could be so notori­ous a Villain as he is represented; but if so much wickedness could meet in one man, in one Bishop, yet how improbable is it that the whole Greek Church should respect and reverence this Bishop as a Saint? or that Pope John the Eighth, after his cause had been so narrowly examined, and his Enemies had said and done their utmost, should yet think him a man of an ortho­dox Faith and an unblameable Life; and compare him to St. Atha­nasius, St. Cyrill and St. Chrysostome? But he had discovered that his Predecessours had been imposed upon, or that something more severe must be said of them: and so are all those imposed upon, or would impose upon others, who give us so monstrous a Cha­racter of so excellent a Man. He is charged with having cor­rupted the Acts of the Councils which restored him, and parti­cularly those passages which import that this fourth Council of C. P. was cancelled by that. But is it a sure proof of Corrupti­on and Forgery if Copies differ, as the Greek and Latin Copies often do? The next Question will be, where the Forgery lies, and who is to be taxed with it. To go no farther, the Ver­sion of Anastasius and the Greek Original of this fourth Council of C. P. differ very much: for besides other Variations, there are [Page 32]twenty seven Canons in the Latin and but fourteen in the Greek, yet both of them must pass for authentick enough, though the seventeenth of the additional Canons will give the French some pains to reconcile it to the practice of their Church. For it ap­points that all Metropolitans shall meet in Council at the sum­mons of their Patriarch, notwithstanding any prohibition from the secular Magistrate, and that Princes should not be present in any but General Councils: both which are contrary to the Prac­tice of the French Church: For their Princes are wont to be present in their National and Provincial Synods, and their Bi­shops, if they be detained by command from the King, think that a sufficient excuse for absenting themselves from any Synod their Patriarch shall call them to. Two eminent Prelates of that Church, de Marca and Bosquet, have endeavoured to explain this Canon so as to justifie their own Doctrine and Practice: but Christianus Lupus was so little satisfied with the attempt, that he exclaimes against it, as becoming rather Eusebius of Nicomedia or Acacius of Caesarea, than Bishops of the Gallican Church, and whereas they alledge the Authority of Hincmare of Rhemes; he plainly says, that they might as well have alledged Luther's te­stimony against the Council of Trent. Natalis Alex. interposes to mediate the business, and would willingly make up the Debate; with what success let Lupus's Party judge. But still these Canons must be all acknowledged authentick, though they are not in the Greek; but if the Greek differ from the Latin in any thing ma­terial that goes in the least against the Church of Rome, loud Out­cries are presently made of Falshood and Forgery. For the Charge here seems to lye not against Photius alone, but against all the Greeks in general, even from the second to the eighth General Council. So Anastasius Praef. in Conc. C.P. IV. col. 972. complains, that they had falsified the second, the third, the fourth, the sixth, the seventh General Councils, and he suspects that they might use the same fraud as to the eighth. Nay, they did so: The sly Greeks Anastas. not. ad Action. 1. col. 989. stole a­way the Subscriptions which they had made in the beginning of this Council, and though they restored them after they were discovered, Omne, quod ad laudem Sere­nissimi nostri Caesaris sanc­ctissimus Do­minus Hadri­anus in Epi­stola sui de­cessoris, Arse­nlo Episcopo imminente, adjecerat, &c. Guilielmus quidam alter Bibliothecari­us continuator Anastasii in Adrian. II. p. 389. yet at the end of the Council they had shewn them such another trick, if Anastasius had not been too cunning for them. They had already taken out some expressions which A­drian the Second foisted into an Epistle of his Predecessour; and so they had robbed the Western Emperour of all the fine things [Page 33]which the present Pope had made his Predecessour say of him, but Anastasius, who with another as cunning as himself, by great Providence as 'twas thought, was there, found out the wrong done the Emperour, and great Clamours were raised about it, nor would the Legates at last subscribe otherwise than conditionally, Ʋsque ad voluntatem ejusdem eximii Praesulis Anastasii Continuat. in Adrian. II. p. 339., ‘As far as it was the desire of that worthy Prelate: which may convince us what a noise has used to be made of Forgery against the Greeks of what­ever Party; for Basilius and Ignatius, we see, are not exempted; the whole Greek Church of all Ages is accused of these fraudu­lent Practices, which assures us that there have been such Prac­tices on one side, and which side the fraud lyes may easily be de­termined, if we consider that the passages pretended to have been forged were received by all other Churches, and are not now denyed to be genuine by the most learned men in the Church of Rome as has been shewn.’ Tis no new thing to hear of Com­plaints of Forgery, when any thing goes against the Church of Rome, and Photius is not the first man that has been blackned to make the Charge find a more easie belief.

6. Well! But Photius has before been guilty of making alte­rations in an Epist. of Pope Nicholas Epist. 6, & 10., as that Pope complains. Very likely! and that he might be sure not to be discovered, it was sent Ibid. back again falsified to the Pope with the Acts of Photius's Council. This is such an odd kind of Cheat, that it lays one thing to his charge, which his worst enemies never durst brand him with, and is so great an Instance of Folly, that it ruines all the rest of the Character they have been pleased to bestow upon him: for it is acknowledged on all hands, that he was peculiarly eminent for his Learning, and for that which his Enemies call subtilty, and his Friends wisedom. That John the eighth did consent that Photius should be Patriarch is not denyed, nor that he sent his Legates with Instructions for that purpose, as both his Epistles and his Commonitorium certifie. So far no For­gery is pretended: but they say, John never consented to the abrogating of the fourth Council of C. P. and that if the Le­gates consented to any such thing, they went beyond their Com­mission, but they rather incline to think, that though the Le­gates were guilty of too much connivance, and so betrayed the Trust reposed in them, yet the Acts of the Council that resto­red Photius are falsified, as the Epistles of John the eighth are [Page 34]in all those passages which speak any thing in derogation to this fourth Council of C. P.

7. But, first, it is certain that the restoring of Photius, and the owning him not onely for a Patriarch, but even for a Bishop one­ly, is so far a derogation to this Council, which fourth Ca­non decrees that Photius is no Bishop, and pronounceth all his Episcopal Acts void: so that the Council which afterwards by the consent and approbation of John the eighth, acknowledges Photius for a Bishop and a Patriarch too, does most certainly declare this whole Canon null, and bids fair towards the justi­fying all that is pretended to be forged in John's Epistles. I can­not think the Alterations in these Epist. by whomsoever they were made, are so ancient as Photius's time, perhaps they may be much later than Ivo Carnutensis; but if they be of so ancient date, and if it be true, that this Pope afterwards recalled his approba­tion and renounced communion with Photius, and anathematized him and his own Legates for no other reason, but because he was laugh'd at for a Tame-man Bin. Not. in vit. Joh. Oc­tavi, & Andr. Schot. Praef. ad Photii Bi­bliothecam.; and in mockery called a Wo­man Pope, Pope Joan instead of Pope John: if he was so weak and unconstant so soon to contradict his own Epistles and his Com­monitorium (which are confessed to have been sent on purpose to restore Photius) for no other reason, but because he was up­braided with casting such a reflexion upon his two Predeces­sours Nicholas the First and Adrian the Second, the sworn Ene­mies of Photius; he might then be willing to have his Epistles so altered, as to make him most consistent with his Predeces­sours and with himself. But much more would he be inclined to be consenting to such an alteration, if there were other mo­tives more forcible: for the Truth is, Photius was the great Champion for the Liberties of the Greek Church, and therefore he must be sure to enjoy no favour from the Church of Rome, which began to be as angry with Ignatius, when he shewed him­self in the same cause. For the first breach between the Greek and Latin Churches was occasioned by contentions about Juris­diction, though afterwards it spread it self farther into other causes. Holstenius would not allow this to be the rise of the Schism; but Pet. de Marca Concord. Imp. & Sa­c [...]rd. lib. 1. § 4. cum Ba­luz. observ. & Prolegom. p. 1 [...]. defends himself against his objecti­ons, and maintains what he had before asserted, that no other cause could be assigned; Baluzius adds, that he might have said farther, that the Popes of Rome were in the fault, and could [Page 35]never justifie their pretensions: which had been no more, says he, than our Ancestours have said before, as he there shews by particular Instances. We see that Pope John's Epistles are as ful­ly for abrogating this Council in Ivo Carnutensis as Photius could make them, though he had endeavoured it never so much: and for my part, I cannot believe that Photius was so much concer­ned for the Pope's Approbation, as that he would be at the pains to falsifie the Acts of a Council upon that account: he Anast. Prae­fat. col. 967. had excommunicated and deposed Pope Nicholas, and though he was himself afterwards deposed, yet was he restored without the Pope's leave or knowledge, onely the Pope had some hopes of having his pretensions to Bulgaria succeed, and upon that sent to ratifie what he could not hinder, but when he Bin. ex Ba­ronio Conc. Tom. 9. col. 326. found him­self mistaken in his design, and Photius the same man still, he fell foul upon him, as his Predecessours had done. Now can­not I be persuaded, that Photius, if he could be so base and wic­ked as to make a thousand Forgeries, would yet doe it here: when he could not hope to be undiscovered, or would conde­scend to use such vile and foolish Arts, onely to countenance his proceedings with the appearance of that Authority, which he had in so much scorn and defiance. This would be, as if Arch­bishop Cranmer, after he had renounced the Pope's Supremacy, should have falsified the Bulls, which the Pope dispatched hi­therto for his promotion to the See of Canterbury. The Greeks, we have seen, looked upon this as the healing Synod, which af­ter the death of Ignatius, had reconciled all differences amongst them by making void the Council held against Photius, and set­tling him in his See again, and therefore whatever heats had passed between Ignatius and Photius (as it often happens between very good men, and had happened between their own St. Chry­sostom and Epiphanius) yet now these things being composed in­to a happy peace and settlement, notwithstanding the Pope's Anathema, they received the names of both Photius and Ignatius into their Diptychs, and register'd them among their Saints whom they most solemnly commemorate in their Prayers.

8. There are so many Improbabilities in the Story against Photius, that they will hardly gain belief without a Miracle, and therefore we are told that in the Council held against him at Rome, under Adrian the Second, when the Book which con­tained his Vindication, after it had been trampled upon by all [Page 36]the Reverend Assembly, was at last thrown by his Holiness into the fire; the flames catched at it and devoured it immedi­ately in a strange manner, with a noisome smell, and a kind of Pitch colour tinctured the fire; and besides, a great showr hap­pening at the same time increased the flames as if so much Oil had been thrown upon them. And now who is so hardy as to deny the Authority of any thing that was said or done against Photius, or to doubt but that the fourth Council of C. P. is in full force, and infallibly the eighth General Council?

§ VIII. The imperfect account we have of the three first La­teran Councils serves onely to shew the little esteem which was formerly had of them; The first La­ter. Council, A. D. MCXXIII. The second Lat. Council, A. MCXXXIX. The third Lat. Council, A. MCLXXX, or MCLXXIX. secundum Lab. how General or Infallible soever they might be; Bellarmin confesses that the two first are not extant, and no great discoveries have been made of them since his time; Caranza and Sylvius mention none of the three, and Platina passes them all over without bestowing so much as the Title of General upon them, and with so little remark as shews that he esteemed them none of the most considerable Actions of those Popes Lives who called them. Indeed there are few Provincial Synods the Records whereof less care has been taken of; nor could it Platina in Calixto Se­cundo. Innoc. Se­cundo. Alexan. Ter­tio. be that any Council should uni­versally obtain amidst so much Faction and Schism, and among so many Antipopes as then vexed and divided the Church. But it was the custome of those times to call all Councils Ge­neral which made any tolerable settlement of the Popedom, with the approbation of some of the chief Western Princes. Thus William of Tyre Bell. sacr. lib. 21. c. 26. speaking of the Third Council of Late­ran, Cùm anno praecedente indicta esset per universum Latinorum or­bem Romae Synodus Generalis, ad eandem Synodum vocati profecti sunt de nostro Oriente, &c. ‘When there was a general Synod called at Rome the foregoing year, throughout all the Latin World, those who were called went out of the East, &c. He mentions no more out of the East but himself and three other Bishops with one Prior and one Abbat; and he, as most think, was a Latin, and so 'tis probable were all the rest: how­ever, the Greeks in this Council opposed the Latins, and would not yield in the least. But not onely Western Councils, but National and Provincial Synods were sometimes styled General; and Sir Roger Twisden Historic. Vindic. cap. 8. p. 162. Eodem a MCCXXII. Magister Stephanus de Langetuna Generale Concilium ce­lebravit apud Oxonlum. Hist. Maj. ad annum MCCXXII, gives many Instances to shew that the dis­tinction [Page 37]of General Councils, at least in that sense in which it is now taken, was not suddenly brought into the Church, ma­ny Synods by our Writers being called General, to which the obligation was never of that nature, as if they did not, or could not err: and the same learned Authour proves p. 167., that the Late­ran Council under Innocent II. was never received in England: thus Matt. Paris says, that Stephen Langton held a General Coun­cil at Oxford: yet the name of General, bestowed upon them by some well disposed to that Popes Interest, who called them, is almost all that can be shewn for the Authority of these three Councils. It doth not appear that any of the Eastern Bishops were in the two first, and it is certain that the Greeks dissented in the third, as they ever did, when they had no restraint upon them. 'Tis remarkable that in this Council an Oath was drawn up, by which all the Bishops, that had rejected Alexander the Third, abjured, and sware Allegiance to him against all men, contra omnem hominem, which Labbé Conc. & Pon­tificale Rom. The fourth Lat. Counc [...] MCCXV. Oath was afterwards improved in­to that which all Bishops, &c. take at their Consecration.

§ IX. 1. The fourth Council of Lateran under Innocent the Third, An. MCCXV. is reckoned the twelfth General Council in order by Bellarmin, Possevin, &c. Cardinal Pole with his Synod at Lambeth owns it for General, they frequently mention it, and never but under the Title of General: though they do not put it in the same rank among the General Councils, they profess however to receive and embrace the Faith of the Church of Rome according to the Decrees of the General Council of Late­ran under Innocent the Third Decret. 2.. The Council of Constance Session. 39. re­quires all Popes to make profession of the Faith established in the VIII. Sacred General Councils, whereof this is set down for one: and the Council of Trent Session. 24. cap. 5. it self calls this a General Coun­cil, The Great General Council of Lateran Session. 14. cap. 5., and makes use of its authority again Session. 21. cap. 9.; and, which is yet more to the purpose, a Council of English Bishops held at Oxford Conc. Tom. 11. Part. 1. A. MCCXXII. cap. 24, 28, 29, 33., not above seven years after, acknowledge the Authority of this Council of Lateran and several times quote its Decrees. In short, as this is placed by Bellarmin among those Councils, which are received with full ap­probation beyond all dispute by the Church of Rome, so he looks upon it as no less than Heresie to deny the Authority of it; and therefore when he has produced the third Canon of this Council in defence of the Deposing Doctrine against Barclay, he [Page 38]cries out with great zeal and vehemence, Quid hic Barclaius di­ceret? si haec non est Ecclesiae Catholicae vox, ubi obsecro eam invenie­mus? &, si est, (ut verissimè est) qui eam audire contemnit ut Bar­claius fecit, annon ut Ethnicus & Publicanus, & nullo mode Christia­nus & pius habendus erit? ‘What can Barclay say to this? if this be not the voice of the Catholick Church, where I pray shall we find it? and if it is (as questionless it is) he that de­spises to hear it, (as Barclay has done) is he not to be look'd upon as an Heathen-man, and a Publican, and by no means a Christian or a pious Man?’ This Widrington Discussio Dis­cuss. Part. 1. § 2. p. 28. complains of, as intolerably insulting; others may rather think he speaks as a Cardinal, when he was managing the Popes cause so victoriously from so infallible evidence. For such is the authority and esteem in the Church of Rome, of this Council, that it is usually called The Great Council of Lateran, either from the great number of Bishops in it, or from the great importance of the matters deci­ded, or both. The number of Bishops was no less than CCCCXII. or in Bellarmin's reckoning CCCCLXXIII. and among these were the Patriarchs of Constantinople and Jerusalem, and the Delegates of the other two Patriarchs of Alexandria and Antioch, LXXVII. Primates and Metropolitans, besides DCCC. Abbats and Pri­ors, these were all there in person, and proxies were sent innu­merable: The Emperour likewise of Constantinople, the King of Sicily Emperour of the Romans Elect, the Kings of England, France, Hungary, Jerusalem, Cyprus, Arragon, and other Princes and Cities sent their Embassadours hither: so that never was there such a show perhaps in the world again.

2. The matters Determined both of Faith and of Discipline, were extraordinary and of the greatest importance. The Doc­trines of Faith defined were Transubstantiation Cap. 1., the Articles concerning the Holy Trinity asserted and vindicated from the errour of Abbat Joachim, and those errours condemned, and the Procession of the Holy Ghost from the Father and the Son declared Cap. 2.. The Deposing Doctrine established Cap. 3.. The Church of Rome declared to be the Mother and Mistress of all Christians (universorum Christi fidelium,) and to have by God's appointment the Dominion over all other Churches of ordinary Authority by her extraordinary Prerogative Cap. 5..

3. The Decrees in points of Discipline are in their kind no less considerable; against the Incontinency of the Clergy Cap. 14., [Page 39]against their Drunkenness Cap. 15., against the Negligence and Debau­chery of Prelates Cap. 17., that no Clergy-man should give Sentence in Capital Causes Cap. 18.. Auricular Confession enjoyned once every year Cap. 21.. That no Clergy-man should take an Oath of Allegeance to any secular Persons, unless he held some temporal Estate of them Cap. 43.. That no Clergy-man should be obliged to pay Taxes Cap. 46.. The manner of proceedings in Excommunications regulated Cap. 47.. The Prohi­bition of Marriages restrained to the fourth degree Cap. 50.. Clande­stine Marriages forbidden, and that Children of Parents married within the degrees prohibited declared illegitimate Cap. 51.. Against Simony Cap. 63., and many other things of like nature, which are of the highest consequence, and fall under daily practice.

4. All this, one would think, were sufficient to put the Au­thority of the fourth Council of Lateran beyond all contradic­tion or debate: for who can imagine that a Council celebrated with so much solemnity, which decided Controversies of so mighty concernment in the Church, and determined things of continual use among all sorts and Orders of Men, should not immediately meet with the most entire submission, and always retain an undoubted Authority and veneration. Thus much would have been due, if it had not been infallible; but being infallible, what regard must every Age, and every Nation, and every Writer, at least every Traditionary Christian pay to it! yet this very Council so famous and so renowned in its Mem­bers, so extraordinary in its Determinations and Decrees, lay dormant, unregarded and unknown till the year MDXXXVII. that is, till above CCC. years after it was held. 'Tis very sur­prising that neither Innocent himself, nor his Nephew and next Successour but one, Gregory the Ninth, who published his Un­cle's Decretal Epistles, and these very Decrees, which now pass for the Decrees of this Council among the rest, should put this forth among the other General Councils; 'tis strange that no other Pope or Bishop, or at least some Canonist or other learned man should ever think of it, but 'tis yet more strange that Merlin in his Councils printed but three years before the fourth Council of Lateran was published, should omit this, though he sets down the Councils of Constance and Basil. But when this Council did come to light, with what Credentials did it come? what evidence does it bring for its Authority? is it printed from some ancient Manuscripts in the Vatican? it [Page 40]might then be wondred how it should lie so long concealed, never published, never quoted, nor mentioned, but 'tis a much greater wonder, how the Pope's own Library, so fam'd for Ma­nuscripts, should miss of this, where so much of Popery, and the principal and nicest part of it, his own Prerogative, is con­cerned. Would the Popes of Rome keep no authentick Records in a thing of this nature, which so nearly touches them? They are not used to be so careless in these matters: the other Pa­triarchs, as Cossartius would persuade us, had all of them Copies, and the Decrees were turned into Greek for that very purpose, how came the Pope himself then to have none, or where had the Copies of the other Patriarchs lain so many hundred years hid? it was perhaps from one of those Copies, that we have now the Decrees of this Council: no such matter; but Johannes Cochleus a German one of Luther's Adversaries produces them af­ter above CCC. years concealment, and about XX. years after the Reformation begun by Luther out of some obscure Manuscripts, and sends them to Peter Crabbe to be annexed to his Councils, and what was wanting in that, has been picked up here and there, and pieced together since.

5. But first there are no Subscriptions to this Council, and then Matt. Paris In Johanne MCCXV., who lived at that time, says that LX. Capitula were proposed, which some liked, others thought burthensome. He mentions but LX. Capitula, but in the Council as we now have it, are LXX. and in Innocent's Works LXXII. Papa, jam acceptâ pecuniâ, quae­stuosum hoc Concilium dissolvit gratis, totúsque Clerus abiit tristis (Hist. Min. apud Antiquit. Britannic. in Vit. Steph. Langton. p. 158. Edit. Hanov.) Matt. Paris in plain terms says, that this Council ended in Laughter and Mockery, that the Pope got a good sum of money from the Fathers before he would let them part, and that they were forced to borrow the money and make present payment, be­fore he would give them leave to be gone, and that then the gainfull Synod was dissolved, and the Clergy went with heavy hearts away. Some have excepted against the Testimony of Matt. Paris, Vir probatae vitae & Re­ligionis exper­tae. Vid. Matt. Paris ad An. MCCXLVIII. but without reason; for Innocent the Fourth gives him this Character, that he was a man of known vertue and piety; and indeed he is observed to be so impartial an Historian, that 'tis his manner to relate the plain Truth of things, whoever may suffer by it, not sparing so much as Henry the Third, at whose command he wrote his History, nor the very Monks of [Page 41]his own Order. The Archbishop of Spalato, upon citing Matt. Paris on this occasion, says, that he knew very well how the poor Monk would be exclaimed against, as a Schismatick, a Lyar, and an Enemy to the Apostolick See, whatever were al­ledged in his Defence. Anton. de Dominis, Lib. 6. c. 10. p. 815. For it is an usual thing for us Roma­nists, adds he, to lay aside grave Authours, with the unjust reproach of Heresie and Schism, when they contradict our vain devices.’ Godefridus Annal. ad An. MCCXV., another Historian of the same Age, agrees with Matthew Paris, that nothing was concluded in the Council, onely he observes indeed that the Eastern Church (a thing, says he, never heard of before) submitted it self to the See of Rome. Platina says the same thing, that nothing was decreed in this Council, but that it broke up of a sudden, and that the Pope going to reconcile the Pisans and the Genuese, who were then at War by Sea, and the Cisalpines by Land, died at Peru­gia. Some would understand Platina so, as if he meant onely that nothing was done towards the Expedition into the Holy Land; but this can be none of his meaning, because in the last of those Decrees we now have, this whole business is fully con­cluded upon and determined, which Platina could not have been ignorant of, if there had been any such Canons then, or if they had passed for Genuine. Nauclerus in the words of Platina says many things were debated, but nothing concluded, but that however some Constitutions are said to have been published, one whereof, says he, is extant, importing, ‘That if one Prince offend against another,’ the correction of him belongs to the Pope: so it seems 'twas onely Report in his time at the latter end of the fifteenth Century, that ever any such Decrees were published, and he knew of but one then extant, which yet is not to be found in this Council, as we have it, nor in Innocent's Decretals, though these are the onely Canons that then could make any pretence to the Authority of this Council. The Preface to Innocent's Works informs us, that these Decrees were written by Innocent himself, and so are His, not the Councils Constitutions; if they were read in Council, that is the most that can be granted, and then they seemed to some easie or plea­sing, to others burthensome: but if they were rather made, af­ter the Council was dissolved, because mention is frequently made of the Council as past, in them, then they must be writ­ten by that Pope in haste, on his Journey, or in the hurry of [Page 42]other business: for he went to make up a Peace between the Pisans and Genoese, and other Italians, but died before he could effect it at Perugia. The Editor of his Works printed by w Cap. 29, 33, 41. Cholinus gathers from several places that Innocent himself drew them up into this Form, which we have them now in, after the dissolution of the Council: he might have added many others Cap. 11, 61, 65, 42, 46, 48. (as they are set down in the Council, but they are differently numbred in the Decretals) for the Council is quoted in all of them: but these quotations Cossartius refers to the Lateran Coun­cil under Alexander the Third, except the forty sixth which he refers to the nineteenth Chapter, though for no reason that I can imagine, unless the reason why the Clergy should not pay Taxes were because they must keep their Churches clean, the nine­teenth being against the nastiness and the profanation of Chur­ches, and the forty sixth saying, that the Council of Lateran for­bad the raising of Taxes or Contributions upon Churches or Churchmen. But farther yet Widring­ton Discuss. Discuss. Part. 1. § 1. p. 10., Gregory the Ninth, though he have transcribed all the seventy Capitula into the Decretals, yet ascribes not one of them to the Council, but to Innocent him­self onely. Innocentius Tertius in Concilio Generali, though he often mentions the Decrees made in the Lateran Council under Innocent the Third, as the Decrees of the Council, taking no notice of Alexander. Platina likewise attributes the condemning the Errours of Abbat Joachim and Almarius, not to the Council, but to Innocent.

6. Notwithstanding all this, the great Cardinal Perron Ibid. p. 11, 12▪ pronoun­ces roundly, that those who denied the Authority of this Coun­cil deserve to be pitied rather than answered, perhaps because he found pitying more easie than answering: but he gives this very good reason for what he says, because at this rate the Precept concerning Auricular confession would not be valid, nor Transubstantiati­on, de Fide, no nor the Procession, nor the opposite Articles to the errours of Joachim, and so the Schoolmen in their Writings, and the Inquisitors in punishing Hereticks, had been all to blame. Widrington replies, that the Practice of the Church, and the in­serting these Canons into the Body of the Canon Law by Gre­gory the Ninth was sufficient to give Authority to them. But this is to bring us back again from a Council to the Pope, and from him to send us to the Church diffusive, to inquire into her Faith and Practice, and so we are disappointed of the vast hopes conceived from so numerous an Assembly. But if these things [Page 43]had then been of known Practice and undoubted Truth, how came they not immediately to be consented to in Council, how came they to seem grievous and burthensome to the Bishops there? was not Transubstantiation one of those Grievances, the Deposing Doctrine another, Auricular Confession a third, and might not many more Grievances be mentioned? Well, but the Processi­on of the Holy Ghost, and the true notion of the Trinity must be called in question, if we reject this Council: by no means, because this had been explained in other Councils as far as was necessary, and the Greek and Latin Manuscripts of Cossartius leave out the Procession, so that that was, it seems, but in some Co­pies, and cannot be proved from this Council. But all these Doctrines (says Widrington Ibid. p. 12.) have been received and embraced by the Catholick Church, and from thence derive their Autho­rity. This we deny, neither the Deposing Doctrine (as Wi­drington himself confesses and maintains) nor Transubstantiation, nor Auricular Confession was ever received by the Catholick Church. But the truth is, he was forced to say something, he was loth to deny the Authority of a Council now generally re­ceived by the Church of Rome, he rather chose to evade the third Canon as well as he could, nor durst he either in his An­swer to Lessius Discuss. ib. p. 22., or in his last Rejoinder to Fitzherbert Rejoynder cap. 9. disown the Council, but after he has raised all the Objections he was able, professes at last that as for his own part he receives it. The same Objections have been lately renewed by Father Walsh, yet still he too does not profess to disown the Authority of the Council.

7. But Cossartius produceth a Greek Translation of this Coun­cil, which, he says, is of the same Antiquity with the Council it self, and he is positive that the very sight of this is enough to convince all men the Decrees are Genuine, this Translation shewing the agreement between the Greeks and the Latins: for that the Decrees, which were made by the unanimous consent of all, might be by all observed, they were turned into the Greek Language for the use and benefit of those who did not un­derstand the Latin. The Greek, he confesses, is in many places barbarous, and his Manuscripts in some places imperfect, and therefore in those places he was forc't to give us onely the La­tin, leaving void spaces in the opposite Column, where the Greek was defective: but here I observe that the whole first Chapter is not extant in the Greek Copy, nor does it appear by [Page 42] [...] [Page 43] [...] [Page 44]any vacancies left in the Print that the Manuscript was imperfect, but that the whole Chapter was omitted by the Greek Transla­tour, and so if this Manuscript prove any thing, it proves that the Greek Church did not concurr with the Latin in the Article of Transubstantiation; for this being the first time that ever that Doctrine was asserted in a General Council, certainly the Greeks would never have omitted to translate so material a Passage of the Council wherein this is contained, if they had agreed to it. All that part of the third Chapter which concerns the Deposing Doctrine is likewise wanting in the Greek; but here he tells us is a leaf of the Manuscript wanting both in the Greek and the Latin: 'twere to be wished we could know how it came to be wanting; but however this serves to confirm to us, that nothing is deficient in the first Chapter but that the Manuscript is entire, though the whole Chapter be onely in Latin, and so the Doctrine of Transubstantiation had the ill luck to be left out in the Trans­lation of the first Council, in which it ever was defined, for which no other reason can be given, if this Manuscript be Authentick, but that the major part of the Church, i. e. all the East, and four Patriarchs of five rejected it. The Translatour often mistakes the Latin, and quite alters the sense, and in the second Chapter where the Catholick Doctrine concerning the blessed Trinity is explai­ned, the Particle non is omitted in the Latin and [...] in the Greek, a small mistake in a matter of Faith; but such a mistake as could not easily escape in both Languages, or, if it did, must needs give a very exact and faithfull account of what was defined in the Council. This and other gross faults do not make much for the credit of this Manuscript, nor engage us necessarily to believe up­on its sole Authority, that the Greek Church received the fourth Lateran Council, or indeed that it was ever received at all till of late years: which many learned men in the Church of Rome have been so sensible of, that they have never alledged its Au­thority, but when they had nothing else to alledge. For neither the more ancient of our Modern Divines, says Widrington Last Re­joynder, c. 9., who are vehement maintainers of the Popes power to depose Prin­ces, as Victoria, Corduba, Sanders and others, nor Cardinal Bel­larmin himself in his Controversies did make any great reckon­ing of the Decree of this great Council. This was Bellarmin's last Refuge, when he was beaten off from his other Arguments by Barclay, and though he urges it with great confidence and [Page 45]earnestness, yet if he had much relied upon its Authority, he would have used it before: for if the Council be General, the Argument is unanswerable and infallible in their account, what­ever disguises may be put upon it. The opposers of this Late­ran Council farther add Widring­ton, ib. p. 20., that the Council of Constance meant not this Council, but that of Lateran under Alexander the Third, and that the Council of Trent spoke according to the common opinion, that is, in plain terms, the Council of Trent was mis­taken, and that in a matter of no small consequence: for if one General Council tell the world that another is General which really is not so, what assurance can men have of any Council, that it is General? or what Errours may not a General Council by this means lead men into? What they answer to the Testimony of the Council held at Oxford so soon after I am yet to learn: but it can be no wonder that our Clergy should at that time yield to any thing the Pope desired when the Archbishop of Canterbury had had so fresh an Instance of his Power, who had been suspended in this very Council of Lateran, and was willing to comply with any thing that might advance his Interest at Rome. The Pope openly styled King John his Vassal, and had reduced all Christen­dom to such dependence and obedience, that there was not one of those secular Princes and States, that gave their attendance at this Council, but were some way or other obnoxious to him and stood in awe of him, the Croisade left the Popes at liberty to play their own game at home, and had gained them more in the East than could ever be gotten by all the Councils that were ever called. Henry Brother to Baldwin Earl of Flanders was then possessed of Constantinople with the Title and Honour of Greek Emperour, and the four Eastern Patriarchs were all Western Bishops, one Frenchman and three Italians, who held their Patri­archates of the Pope, and were never owned in their respective Ti­tular Sees. Upon this account 'tis rather strange that any demur should be made to this Pope's Dictates in Council, or that this Council should not be every where reverenced as an Oracle, than that one Nation, which had smarted so much under the Pope's displeasure, should acknowledge it in his Successour's days; for Honorius the Third was no degenerate Successour to Innocent the Third, and our Nation then had learnt to submit to harder terms than these: yet sure there must be something in these Decrees very irksome, which could not pass the Votes [Page 46]of an Assembly so entirely addicted to the Pope, and here is no mention of the Doctrines of the Lateran Council in that of Ox­ford, besides, 'tis remarkable that Richard, Bishop of Sarisbury, An. MCCXVII. two years after the Council, cites it c. 7. yet c. 4. where he gives an Exposition of the Catholick Faith, does not follow this Council in putting down Transubstantiation for one Article of it. And Sir Roger Twisden Historical Vindication, cap. 8. p. 165. shews, that notwithstanding this Council of Oxford, the fourth Council of Lateran was not re­ceived in England. Not to dissemble any thing material in this bu­siness, Mat. Paris himself Ad Annum MCCXLVI. relates, that the Arch-deacon of Saint Albans quotes the twenty first Canon as a Canon of this Council, and so Innocent the Fourth calls it; but Alexander the Fourth takes not the least notice of this Canon when he reverses Innocent's De­cree in favour of the Monks, giving them liberty to hear Con­fessions without the consent of the Parish Priests, nor do his Car­dinals, when he advised with them Launoii ex­plicat. Tradit. Eccles. circa Canon. utrius­que sexûs, c. 2. upon this occasion, in the In­strument which they drew up about that Controversie, make men­tion of any Canon of a General Council in favour of the Parish-Priests. But whether it were that it could not be easily believed, that so many men should meet together to no purpose, or that In­nocent's Decrees in the Lateran Council were mistaken for the De­crees of the Council it self; or whether Innocent the Fourth having called it a General Council, 'twas thought no good manners to contradict him, however it were, in process of time the Canons were owned as genuine, and some of them more early than one would expect, as may be seen particularly of the twenty first Canon, Omnis utriusque sexûs, &c. Yet after all a late Doctour of the Sorbon, with the Approbation of the Faculty, Du Pin, Dissert. p. 573. has concluded from the foregoing Arguments, that no Canons were made by the Council, but that some Decrees onely being framed by the Pope and read in Council, some of them to the major part seemed burthensome.

§ X. The first Council of Lyons, A. D. MCCXLV. 1. Launoy Ep. part. 7. ad Raymun­dum For­mentinum, p. 228, &c. proves against Bellarmin that the first Coun­cil of Lyons under Innocent the Fourth was not General, because Innocent in his Sentence against Frederick, though he often men­tions the Council, yet never calls it General, or Universal, or OEcumenical, and so in his Epistles to the Arch-bishop of Sens, and to the Chapter of that Church, to the Bishops of England, and to the Bishop of Ostia, he never so much as once calls it General, which certainly he would have done, if he could have [Page 47]ascribed to it so great Authority: but he called thither onely the King of France, the Arch-bishop of Sens and his Chapter, besides the Bishops of England and the Bishop of Ostia. The Bi­shops of Italy, Sicily, Germany, Arragon, Castile and Portugal, it doth not appear that he ever called. For Odoricus Rainaldus in his Con­tinuation of Baronius gives a Register of the Epistles which Inno­cent wrote upon this account, but mentions none sent to any of these Bishops. I omit, says Launoy, the Eastern Bishops, Qui profectò vocati non fuere, who assuredly were not called. He shews that Bellarmin contradicts himself in this matter, and goes against his own Principles, tacitly retracting in his eighteenth Chapter de Concil. lib. 1. what he had said in his fifth of this Council, and besides, does abuse Palmerius and Platina, whose Authority he brings to prove it General, whereas neither of them say any such thing. And thus, says he, has Bellarmin run himself into such difficulties as he will never be able to get clear of: For if the Conditions required by him to make a Council General be true, then is this not General; if this be General then are not those Conditions rightly lay'd down, nor the business truly sta­ted. But, as for Palmerius and Platina, who are falsly quoted, he can never bring himself off, unless he pretend negligence, which indeed makes the case but so much the worse.

2. This Council of Lyons is not in Nicolin's Councils printed at Venice MDLXXXV. with the Approbation of Sixtus the Fifth, under this Title, Conciliorum omnium, tam Generalium quàm Provin­cialium, quae jam indè ab Apostolicis temporibus hactenus legitimè cele­brata haberi potuerunt. Caranza likewise and Sylvius either knew nothing of it, or thought it not worth their taking notice of.

3. But it is more considerable Burnet's Hi­story of the Rights of Princes, &c. p. 309. that in the late contest be­tween the Pope and the King of France, the Court of Rome contending that the Regale are onely Concessions of the Church which were restrained in the Council of Lyons, and that there­fore they ought not to be extended to Churches which were not then subject to the French; the Arch-bishop of Rheims, in an Assembly at Paris of twenty six Bishops and six that were na­med to Bishopricks, being chief of the Committy of six de­puted to consider the affair of the Regale, and make Report, declares that the Council of Lyons was so little considered, that in the famous contest between Philip the Fair and Boniface the Eighth, the King founded his pretensions on the practice of [Page 48]St. Lewis and not on the Decree of that Council. However this Council was General enough to depose the Emperour Frederick the Second, and to be appealed to as a sufficient warrant for the deposing of Emperours ever since. But the English could not get Justice done them upon Martin the Pope's Legate, though they often and earnestly demanded it in the name of the whole Nation: they remonstrated several times, and made divers and repeated Complaints of the great Extorsions that had been made upon them, but were sent away without Redress; they com­plained that there was an infinite number of Italians in England, who exhausted all the Revenues of the Church, but performed nothing at all of the Duties required, that besides Subsidies and other ways, the bare Revenue paid yearly out of this Kingdom to Italians amounted to above threescore thousand Marks, which was more than the King's Revenue. But all they could say a­vailed nothing; This General Council Con. Tom. [...]. part. 1. was called for depo­sing Kings, not for redressing Grievances: and for the Glory of Popes and the Terrour of all succeeding Emperours: To explain the Story of this Council, Sixtus Quintus Angelus Roccha, Bi­bliothec. Va­tican. p. 208. placed the follow­ing Inscription in the Vatican; Innocentio Quarto, Pont. Max. Imp. Fredericus Secundus, hostis Ecclesiae declaratur, Imperióque priva­tur; Frederick the Second, Emperour, is declared an Enemy to the Church, and deprived of his Empire by Innocent the Fourth, Pope.’ And while the Emperour was thus depressed, the same Council advanced the Cardinals, and set them on Horse-back in Red Hats and Purple Robes.

§ XI. The second Council of Lyons, A. D. MCCLXXIV. The History of the second Council of Lyons is in short thus; Michael Paleologus Pachyme­res Fragm. à Dionys. Pe­tavio. edit. p. 330. after he had put out the Eyes of the young Emperour Johannes Lascaris, whose Guardian he was, and was excommunicated by Arsenius the Patriarch, and by this means became odious to all mankind, and was in imminent dan­ger from Charles King of Sicily, who was preparing to recover C. P. lately regained by Michael, Michael being in these circum­stances bethought himself of recalling the two Churches, as a proper expedient to settle himself in his new gotten Dominions: but his Patriarch Joseph was utterly averse to any such proposal, and had engaged himself by an Oath never to agree to any Union with the Latin Church upon the Terms insisted on: him there­fore Michael forces to resign, and hide himself in a Monastery, [Page 49]but upon condition of resuming his place again, if this business could not be effected with the Pachym. p. 335. Latins: the rest of the Clergy he proceeds Pp. 345, 347. with in a powerfull way of Conviction, by Punishment, Bonorum, videlicet, Publicationi­bus, Relegationibus, Carceribus, Excaecationibus, Plagis, Mutilatio­nibus, & id genus aliis Poenis. An­gelus Roc. Biblioth. Vatican. ex Ni­ceph. Greg. lib. 5. —in teterrimos carceres conjectus fuit. (Beccus) ib. ex eod. Imprisonment and Torments. Beccus the Chartophylax, a man of a ready wit and P. 329. a fluent tongue, not without much difficulty and hard usage is at last in Prison persuaded to apply him­self to the study of certain Books very edi­fying for the purpose, and so is converted to the Emperour's party, and argues the point against all Opposers. In the Ib. p. 334. mean time Theophanes, Bishop of Nice, and Germanus, once Patriarch of C. P. a known Favourite of the Emperour's, with three of the Principal Officers at Court are sent to Lyons, where in a short time all is Ib. p. 357. concluded with Gregory the Tenth, and the Pope's utmost de­sire fulfilled; and Beccus is made Patriarch for his pains as soon as they came home. But at their return these men were the common object of hatred to their Countreymen Con. Tom. 11. part. 1. p. 996., and what­ever Promises and Protestations they had made in the Council, they soon forgot them all; whereupon Pope Martin excommu­nicates Michael; who was most of all detested on both sides, and after about seven years spent in a troublesome Reign, died unlamented, and was not allowed the most ordinary Rites of Burial by his own Son.

§ XII. Council of Vienne, A. D. MCCCXI. After a Vacancy of the Popedom for about eleven months, Philip the Fair had procured Clement the Fifth to be chosen Pope, but did before oblige him by Oath to certain Con­ditions, which being drawn up under six Heads were agreed up­on and sworn to: one of which was to absolve Philip from the Censures of his Predecessour Boniface the Eighth; another, that he should brand the memory of Boniface with Anathema for the Crimes charged upon him, which were no less than Heresie, Schism and Perjury. The first Clement readily performed, but stuck at the second; and at once, both to avoid the Odium of the thing, and to put a better colour on those Crimes in him­self, which he was required to condemn in Boniface, he was advised to call a Council: he did so at Vienne, in which he found an easie expedient to acquit Boniface from the Crimes objected, [Page 50]and himself from the performance of his Oath: This was the ground Vercerius de rebus gestis Hen. Septimi, p. 4. citatur à Bin [...]o, in notis ad Con­cilium. and occasion of the calling this Council. But since they were met, the better, 'tis likely to amuse the King, and that their onely business might not appear to be to delude him, they pro­ceed to condemn the Biguardi and Beguinae and certain Hereticks of those times, and for the abominable Enormities Conc. Tom. 11. part. 2. committed by the Knights Templers, they dissolve that Order, and settle their Endowments upon the Knights Hospitalers of Jerusalem. The Feast of Corpus Christi was likewise in this Council confirmed, and the Procession on that day instituted, and the Study of the Eastern Languages encouraged. As for the Clementine Prooem. ad Clement. Con­stitut. Consti­tutions, most of them were made before or after the Council, and published by Clement's Successour, John the Twenty second. But one Conc. Afric. Art. 6. Constitution had been worth at least four Books of the Five, viz. ut primae sedis Episcopus Princeps Sacerdotum, vel universalis Ecclesiae non appelletur; ‘that the Bishop of the princi­pal Church should not be called Prince of the Priests, or of the Universal Church:’ as it had been formerly determined in a Council at Carthage, and was now proposed among other particulars to this Council by Durandus in a Treatise Tit. 34. p. 130. concerning the manner of holding General Councils published by him at the Command of Clement the Fifth, and presented to the Coun­cil. But Clement in his Constitutions is so far from any such De­sign, that he has not so much as revoked the Decision of Pope Boniface the Eighth, in the Bull Ʋnam sanctam, where he deter­mines it to be a Point accessory to Salvation, that every humane Creature submit it self to the Bishop of Rome. The observation of Walter de Hemingford, who liv'd not long after is conside­rable; Quod Concili­um dici non merebatur, quia ex capi­te proprio om­nia fecit Dominus Papa, non respondente, neque consentiente sacro Concilio: apud Twisden, Hi­storical Vindication, cap. 8. p. 164. ex MSS. A great part of this Walter de Hemingford's Works, all his Chronicon, which goes down to Henry the Third's death, were printed this year at Oxford, and we are promised the rest soon. ‘It did not deserve (says he) to be called a Council, because the Pope did all of his own Head, without the Con­sent or Answer of the Sacred Council.’

§ XIII. Council of Constance, A. MCCCCXIV. 1. Before we proceed to the Council of Florence, it will be necessary to consider a little the Councils of Constance and Basil, which Bellarmin reckons amongst the Councils that are in part one­ly approved, and that part of them which is not approved is con­tradicted [Page 51]by the Florentine Council, the great controversie being, whether the Pope or a Council be superiour: the Councils of Con­stance and Basil have determined in favour of Councils, and the Council of Florence and 5th Council of Lateran in favour of Popes.

2.The first Council of Pisa, A. D. MCCCCIX. To appease the Schism between the contending Popes a Council met at Pisa, from whence it was removed to Constance, and of the several Popes, John the Twenty third confirms the Acts of the Council, and submits himself to its determination, and so is deposed; Gregory the Twelfth resigns his pretensions to the Popedom; Benedict the Thirteenth is disclaimed by most of his own Abetters and deprived in Council. Martin the Fifth, who had been present all along both at Pisa and at Constance is chosen, and by his Bull confirmed all that had passed, as he was concerned to doe, the validity of his own consecration depen­ding upon the validity of the Councils Decrees. The Council determins, ‘That the Synod gathered toge­ther in the Holy Ghost, Quòd ipsa Synodus in Spiritu Sanc­to congregata legitimè Generale Con­cilium faciens, Ecclesiam Catholi­cam militantem repraesentans potesta­tem à Christo immediatè habet, cui quilibet cujuscunque statûs vel digni­tatis, etsi Papalis existat, obedire te­netur in his quae pertinent ad fidem & extirpationem dicti Schismatis, & Reformationem generalem Ecclesiae Dei in Capite & Membris, &c. lawfully making a General Council, representing the Ca­tholick Church militant, has power im­mediately from Christ, to which every one of whatsoever state or dignity (even the Pope) is bound to obey, in those things which belong to the Faith, and the extir­pation of the aforesaid Schism, and the general Reformation of the Church in its Head and Members, &c. It obliges Sess. 39. all succeeding Popes for ever to call a Council once in ten years, ordaining that the next immediate Council should be called at the end of five years, and another seven years after, Hoc Edicto perpetuò sancimus, decernimus & ordina­mus, &c. ‘By this perpetual Edict we give our Sanction, we decree and ordain, &c. and prescribes besides a certain form of Profession of Faith to be used by all Popes for the fu­ture. Martin Sess. 44., according to the Council's Decree, issues forth his Bull for the calling another Council, as he owns himself obli­ged to doe by virtue of the same Decree. Lastly, Sess. 45. in a solemn manner he confirms the Acts of the Council, yet after all these Professions and Overt-acts one hard word comes in and spoils all; he confirms all that had been done Conciliariter, and from the ambiguity of this word, those who are against the Superiority [Page 52]of Councils take advantage to say, that those Canons which determin that were never confirmed, though their Adversaries have reason to insist, that whatever the meaning of the word may be, yet 'tis great injustice to exclude the most regular and unanimous Acts of the Council from the extent of it.

3. Martin the Fifth, Pius the Second, and Julius the Second, did notwithstanding set forth their Constitutions, forbidding Ap­peals from the Pope to a General Council, which Constituti­ons are inserted into the Bulla Coenae Domini, though to deny the lawfulness of such Appeals is esteemed by Gerson Ric. Hist. Con. General. Lib. 2. cap. 2. § 25. Constanter nunc asseritur, quod est Heresis damnata per constitutionem expressissimam, & practicatam in Concilio Constantiensi. no better than down right Heresie; ‘It is now constantly asserted to be Heresie, condemned by a most express Constituti­on of the Council of Constance, and there also put in practice:’ for in that very Council the Poles appealed from Martin to a future Council upon this occasion: one John Falkenburg, a Frier Richer. Hist. Conc. Gener. Lib. 2. cap. 3. § 22., had writ a Book full of Treason against the State, and had laid a design of a Massacre throughout all Po­land: the Poles would have his Book condemned in Council, as it deserved, but Martin desired to be excused, he designed no such matter; upon which the Poles appeal, as they had reason; and immediately upon Martin's Constitution forbidding Ap­peals, Gerson published a Treatise among others of the same subject under this Title Ibid. § 25., An liceat in causis Fidei à summo Pontifi­ce appellare & ejus judicium declinare? ‘Whether is it lawfull in matters of Faith to appeal from the Pope, and to wave his judgment?’ wherein he shews that Martin's Constitution over­throws not onely the Councils of Pisa and Constance, but his own Election too, as likewise the Deposition and Renunciation of John the Twenty third, Benedict the Thirteenth, and Gregory the Twelfth; for how can a Pope be deposed, if no Appeal can be made from him. Cui Appellationi cùm respondendum esset, lata est, ut dicitur, in Consistorio Generali ac publico, quòd ultimò Constantiae celebratum est, minuta quaedam sub forma Bullae, &c. continebátque in nullo casu licere Appellationem à Papa facere, nec ejus judicium in causis Fidei declinare, planè, contra Legem Dei Decretáque Concilii § 24. p. 259.: ‘When they were to answer to that Appeal (says Gerson) there was drawn, as it was commonly said, in the last General [Page 53]and publick Consistory, which was held at Constance, a short abstract in the form of a Bull, &c. wherein it was affirmed, that it was lawfull in no case to make an Appeal from the Pope, or to decline his judgment in matters of Faith, plainly against the Laws of God,’ and the Decrees of the Council; so that here it seems we have the same Council contradicting it self.

§ XIV. 1. The Council of Basil, as Richerius observes, The Council of Basil, MCCCCXXXI. was but the practick and executive part of the Council of Constance, and therefore in the second Sess. Lib. 3. cap. 1. § 1. they lay down the fourth and fifth Sess. of Constance as the ground and Foundation upon which all their proceedings were to depend. This startled Pope Euge­nius, so that he immediately sent to his Legate to dissolve this Council and indict one at Bononia, under pretence of receiving the Greeks there with more conveniency, and thither he would come and preside in person. The Cardinal St. Angelo, his Nun­cio, dissuades him all he can. The Synod in the mean time is dealt with about a dissolution by the Bishops of Tarentum and Colosse, but is refractary; and in the third Session desires his Holiness not to be troublesome, they recount to him the De­crees of the Council of Constance concerning a Council's being above the Pope; in a word, they tell him plainly, 'tis not in his power to dissolve them. In the twelfth Session, they set him a time, in which if he think fit to join himself to the Council, well; if not, they cannot help it, he must take what follows: the time set was at first sixty days, and in the thirteenth Session, because these were expired, and he had not revoked his Bulls, whereby he pretended to have dissolved the Council, he is accused of Contumacy; yet in the fourteenth Session they were so kind as to enlarge the time to ninety days, and to pro­pose three several forms to him, by which he might acknow­ledge the Authority of the Council and join himself to it. The Pope could not but remember how the Council of Constance had dealt with three of his Predecessours, and so at last is brought to a compliance: he owns the Council to be general, and recalls the Bulls issued forth for its dissolution, and declares them void, and that the Council is and had been all along from the begin­ning legal, and that his Bulls to dissolve it did not in the least in­validate its Authority. Hereupon his Legates are admitted into [Page 54]the Council, but not before they had been sworn to the De­crees of the fourth and fifth Session of Constance which define the Superiority of Councils. This was done in the 16th Session, but would not suffice it seems; for in the eighteenth Session they again repeat and renew these Decrees now a Fifth time, and give this reason for it, because it highly concerned the whole Christian World to be certified in the point that the Pope in three cases is inferiour to a Council, viz. when matters of Faith, or the extirpation of Schism, or the reformation of the Church in Capite & Membris is in agitation.

2. Now one would imagine all had been well between the Pope and the Council; yet no sooner was the Emperour Sigis­mund dead, of whom he stood most in awe; but Eugenius ap­points a Council at Ferrara, and that of Basil is as angry and peremptory with him as ever; and, Session the twenty sixth, sends him word, that unless he appear either in person or by his Legate within sixty days, they will proceed against him; and they are as good as their word, for at the end of that term of time, they pronounce his Bull void, and shew the invalidity of it in all particulars, insisting on the Council of Constance: Sessi­on the thirty third, they proceed yet higher; and in vindication of that Council pronounce all those Hereticks, that deny the Superiority of Councils, and hereupon pronounce Eugenius not onely a Heretick, but a Heretick relapsed; and this they did after the most strict and deliberate determination, in the most deliberate and solemn manner.

3. Thus we see the Decrees of the Council of Constance were in five several Sessions confirmed by this of Basil, all which were ratified by Eugenius himself; and Pius the Second, in the same Bull, whereby he retracts that which he had written for the Council of Basil against Eugenius, formally approves the Coun­cil of Constance, without making any Exceptions; besides, they were twice confirmed after his falling off from the Council, and all those were declared Hereticks, not excepting Eugenius him­self, that should oppose this Doctrine: so that in the sense of this Council, and of those that acknowledge its Authority about half of the Roman Communion are Hereticks, and particularly Eugenius, with all the Popes since his time. Panormitan Richer. Lib. 3. cap. 6. § 5. indeed undertook to prove that Eugenius was no Heretick, but was an­swered by Segovia; and Almain President of the Council, and [Page 55] Panormitan himself afterwards wrote a Treatise, Pro authoritate, veritate & justitia, Basileensis Concilii; For the authority, truth "and justice of the Council of Basil: Which makes it evident, that what he before said, was rather to serve his Master the King of Arragon, then Feudatory to the Pope, than to speak his own sense, and indeed there were none but the Bishops of Italy and Arragon that withstood the Decree. 'Tis very well known how wonderfully the Popedom illuminated Pius the Second, and Julian Cardinal of Sancta Crux, who had been as stout a Champi­on for the Council of Basil, at last was brought over to the Pope's Faction. But I cannot say Panormitan dealt so foul as these two or as Cardinal Cusanus Ibid. § 6. who after he had writ for the Authority of the Council of Basil against Eugenius, was at last drawn over to his side, and was sometime after created Cardinal by Nicho­las the Fifth, upon which Richerius has this Remark Ib. p. 479., that many who stand up in defence of the Truth while they are in a low condition, desert it upon hopes of making their Fortune; Prae­sertim desiderio Purpurae Cardinalitiae; Especially with a desire to get a Cardinal's Hat. And upon this occasion he quotes John Major c. 18. comment. in Mat. vers. fin. Nemini deberi mirum videri, quòd plures Papam esse supra Concilium, quàm contrà, Concilium suprà Papam, doceant, cùm Papa det dignitates & beneficia Ecclesiastica, Concilium ve­rò nihil det: imò est Censor acerrimus morum, atque disciplinae severioris Assertor. ‘It ought not to appear strange to any Body (says John Major) that more are for the Pope against a Council, than for a Council a­gainst the Pope; they may assert a Coun­cil's Authority above the Pope as long as they please, since the Pope conferrs Eccle­clesiastical Dignities and Benefices; where­as a Council has nothing to give; but on the other hand, is a sharp Censour of Manners and a rigid Exactour of strict Discipline.’ So that in his time the greatest part of the Roman Communion were Hereticks according to the Council of Basil's Decree; but in this Session whereof we have been speaking, Almain tells Ibid. p. 466. Panormitan, ‘That it was falsly asserted by Panor­mitan, that they had more Bishops of their side, Minùs etiam verè dictum à Panormitano plures habere Episcopos suarum partium, cùm illi ipsi, quos asseclas habet, longè aliter inter privatos parietes cum familiaribus, quàm in publico Sessionum & Actionum Theatro loqui & dicere soleant se liber­tate dicendae sententiae non pollere, & à principibus suis praepediri metu amittendorum Temporalium. when even those who openly declare for them, talk quite otherwise in private Houses amongst their Friends than when they speak in [Page 56]the Theatre of the Sessions and Actions of the Council, and they used to say, that they had not liberty to give their opi­nion, and that they were kept in by their own Princes, for fear of losing their Temporalities.’ He means the Bishops of Italy and Arragon, for all the rest were for the Decree of the three Verities Sess. 39., as they are termed, of Catholick Faith, where­by 'tis pronounced Heresie to maintain the Pope's Authority above that of a General Council.

The Council of Basil proceed to the Election of a new Pope, and make choice of Felix the Fifth, though he soon after re­signed upon the valuable consideration of being made Dean of the College of Cardinals, and perpetual Legate of the Aposto­lick See for all Germany.

§ 15. Council of Florence, An. Dom. MCCCCXXXVIII. Secundum Labbé. 1. By this means Eugenius the Fourth was at liberty to call the Council of Florence, and to carry all things at his pleasure in it. Thither the Greeks are invited to enslave themselves to the Pope rather than to the Turk, and by pawning their Consciences to save their Bodies and Estates. The business had been in agi­tation under Martin the Fifth, who sent his Nuncio to Constanti­nople to prepare matters, and he bespeaks the Greek Emperour and the Patriarch in a very Sanctissimus & Beatissimus, qui habet Coeleste arbitrium, qui est Do­minus in Terris, Successor Petri, Christus Domini, Dominus Ʋniversi, Regum Pater, Orbis Lumen, sum­mus Pontifex, Papa Martinus Divi­nâ Providentiâ Papa Quintus mandat mihi Magistro Antonio Massano, &c. Acta Conc. Senens. ap. Richer. L. 3. p. 289. magnificent style, ‘The most Holy and Blessed, who has the disposal of Heaven, who is Lord on Earth, the Successour of S. Peter, the Christ of the Lord, the Lord of the Uni­verse, the Father of Kings, the Light of the World, the Chief Priest P. Martin by Divine Providence the Fifth, commands me Mr. Anthony Massanus, &c.’ This Nuncio, when he has done his Preamble, and wiped his mouth, tells the Emperour that his Embassadours at Rome Ibid. had desired an Union of the Greek and Latin Churches: but the Emperour in return says that his Embassadours went beyond their Com­mission if ever they proposed a Union with the Roman Church in general terms, but that which they had in command was onely thus much, to procure a General Council, after the order and manner of the seven Holy General Councils, and then the Holy Ghost would confirm it, and establish it into a peace In the time of Eugenius the Fourth the Greeks came Hist. Conc. Florent. Con­cil. Vol. 13., and were [Page 57]pressed by importunity and subtilty, and wrought upon by con­venient management to consent to more than ever they designed, or than their Church would afterwards own. Bessarion Arch­bishop of Nice, and Isidore Archbishop of Thessalonica for their good services were created Cardinals, but not a Greek would ever own this Council, except those few that were present at it, and subscribed it, being over-ruled by more persuasive kind of Arguments than any Marcus Ephesius and his party could pro­duce. I shall enter into no long story of this Council, 'tis suf­ficient that it contradicts the Councils of Constance and Basil in the point of the Pope's Supremacy, and that it was its main bu­siness and design to contradict them. Bellarmin, Possevin, Binius, Duval, &c. maintain that the Decrees of the Council of Con­stance and Basil are nulled by a contrary Decree at Florence, though Bellarmin and Duvall, as Richerius observes Lib. 3. c. 7. § 4., retract what they have said, and contradict themselves, yet still they exclaim against all that adhere to the Decrees of these two Councils as Schismaticks and Hereticks, though sometimes in a fit of good nature they would fain offer something in their ex­cuse. Duvall Ibid. p. 639. makes no more account of the Council of Basil than of the second of Ephesus, but Bellarmin Vid. Bel­larm. de Con­cil. lib. 2. c. 13, 17. allows it to have been lawfull till the Deposition of Eugenius, though he advised Ibid. p. 669. that this Council should be left out of the Roman Edition as spurious.

2. 'Tis pretended of late that the Council of Florence does not set up the Pope above a General Council Launoy Epist. Part. 3. ad Thom. Rulland.; though the same Au­thour tells us, that the Cardinal of Lorrain understood it otherwise in his Commonitorium to Pope Pius the Fourth Id. apud F. Walsh's Letter to the Bishop of Lincoln. p. 282.. For the Cardinal in the name of the whole French Clergy alledges this as the rea­son, why the Councils of Constance and Basil are received in France, but that of Florence rejected, as neither Legal nor Gene­ral, because in France 'tis held, that the Pope is subject to a General Council, and those who teach otherwise are accounted Hereticks: and he moreover affirms, that the French would sooner lose their lives, than depart from this Doctrine and ad­mit of the Titles bestowed upon the Pope in the Council of Florence. And this is enough to ruine for ever the credit of the Council of Florence with sober men, whatever fine expositions may be now put upon it by some, that the whole French Nati­on declared against it, as neither Legal nor General.

§ XVI. The fifth Council of Lateran. An. Dom. MDXII. The second Council of Pisa. MDXI. 1. The last Council of Lateran is yet rather more ob­noxious than that of Florence. For the second Council of Pisa was owned and desended as General by the French; and the Sorbon deputed three of their Body Richer. Hist. Con. Gen. Lib. 4. Part. 1. c. 2. p. 167. to write against Cajetan on the point, viz. Almain, Major, and another, whose Book Riche­rius saw in Manuscript, besides the learned Discourse of Philip­pus Decius, which Richerius gives at large. This second Council held at Pisa was called by the Emperour and the King of France, and by the Pope himself, as far as the obligation of his most so­lemn Promise and Oath could contribute towards it; but the Pope would be held by no such Ties. The Council charge him with Perjury, the Pope tells them they are a company of Schismaticks and Hereticks, and they are not behind-hand with him, for in their complaint to Maximilian, they tell him, that of all the wicked things which had been wont to be done by Popes, there never was such a thing, as this, in which Julius had exceeded the worst of his own Actions, as well as of his Predecessours Id. Lib. 4. Part. 1. c. 2., they charge him with breach of Promise and of his Oath, and make the greatest Villain of him that ever li­ved. Quid enim jam in Christiana Republica deterius, quid perni­ciosius expectari potest, quàm ipse Christi Vicarius? ‘For what can be now expected worse, or more pernicious in the Christian Religion, than the Vicar of Christ himself?’ though they all this while give him the Title of Sanctissimus. Julius the Second had sworn to call a Council within two years, but resused to call it any where but at Rome, and thereupon appoints one in the Lateran to oppose this at Pisa. The Council of Pisa protest against these proceedings, and declare that Julius is of a violent and heady temper, and had such a force of Souldiers about him Apolog. Conc. Pisani ap. Richer. L. 4. Part. 1. c. 2., that they durst not venture thither, nor durst they so much as mention the calling of a Council, while they were at Rome; in fine, after a horrid charge and declaration of all his crimes, they proceed to suspend his Holiness, as they call him, in the very Act of Suspension.

2. 'Tis true, the King of France and all the French Clergy af­ter the death of Julius renounced the Council of Pisa, and adhe­red to the fifth of Lateran under Leo the Tenth, but whether this were not more consistent with their Interest, than with their Principles, any man may see, that reads the Acts of the French Clergy afterwards, and considers that the Pisan Council procee­ded [Page 59]all along upon the Decrees of Constance and Basil, and that the abrogation of the Pragmatick Sanction in the Council of La­teran was but ill received at Paris, insomuch that the Sorbon made an Appeal against the Concordate in vindication of the Decrees of Constance and Basil and the whole Clergy of France appeal from the Pope in the Council of Lateran, ad Papam melius consul­tum, & futurum Concilium Generale legitimè congregandum Richer. Hist. l. 4. Part. 2. c. 1. § 8. p. 25., ‘to a Pope better advised, and to a future Council which should be lawfully assembled.’

3. Here we have the French Clergy first maintaining the Council of Pisa, and then renouncing it, — denique Protestan­tur se nomine totius Ecclesiae Gallicanae tum Ecclesiasticorum tum Secularium, cujuscumque sint gradûs, statûs & dignitatis, qui in Pi­sana interfuerunt Congregatione, obtemperando mandatis Apostolicis & Regis Franciae exhortationibus, Pisano conventui jam dissoluto renun­ciare, & Laterano Concilio adhaerere,‘and at last they pro­test in the name of the whole Gallican Church, as well Ecclesia­sticks as Seculars, of whatsoever degree, state and dignity they are, who were in the Assembly at Pisa, that now in obedience to the Apostolical commands, and the King of France's exhor­tations, they renounce the Assembly at Pisa, and stand by the Lateran Council; this was May the fifth, MDXVII.’ They renounce the Council of Lateran and appeal to another, when nothing new, that appears, had happened in either of the Coun­cils, to make this alteration: for that of Pisa proceeded always upon the same grounds, and alledged the Councils of Constance and Basil in its justification; that of Lateran drove the same course under Julius the Second, and Leo the Tenth, as the French Clergy say in their Appeal from it, onely the necessity of the King's Affairs forced him to yield, and his whole Clergy with him. But if the acknowledging or disclaiming of Councils be onely a matter of state, and changeable with every turn of Af­fairs, 'tis easie to see how much certainty we can have of a Coun­cil's being General, when in the space of three years the Council of Pisa shall be General, and then disavowed by the very Mem­bers of it, and another received in its stead, and then this as much disclaimed as the former; and that of Pisa shall afterwards be again owned in derogation to the Lateran Council, and pub­lished out of the French King's Library with the special Privilege of his most Christian Majesty, MDCXII.

4. Bellarmin himself De Concil. lib. 2. c. 13. seems to confess that there is some reason to doubt of the Authority of this last Council of Lateran, and Duvall in his Book De Suprema Potestate Papae against Vigorius, Ri­cherius and others that deny its Authority, durst not be posi­tive in the main difficulty concerning the Bull of Leo the Tenth, how far and to what that obligeth, but, as Richerius observes Ibid. p. 48., plays Childrens sport, he builds Castles with Nutshels, and then plucks them down again.

5. There were scarce eighty in it in all, of which about sixty onely were Bishops, and of these a great part Italians, and none from France, nor Du Pin. Dissert. 6. p. 430. no Embassadour. It was composed, says the Advocate of Parliament New He­resie, p. 103., of a few Italian Bishops, who had no other aim but the ruine of our Canonical Elections, and against which the French have always protested, as it is to be seen by the History of the Concordate by M. Du Puy.

§ XVII. C. of Trent, An. Dom. MDXLV. 1. We are come at last to the famous decreeing, refor­ming, defining Council of Trent, which is so well known, that very little needs here be said of it. The French Clergy, it must be confessed, and all others who maintain the Pope to be sub­ject to a General Council, are extremely obliged to Pope Pius the Fourth: for, if we believe Cardinal Pallavicini, and the Guide in Controversies who says it after him, that Pope had nine parts of ten in the Council ready to vote the Pope superiour to a General Council, and yet suffered the Controversie to con­tinue as it was. And indeed the Pope, if he had found no other restraints upon him, but what were in the Council might have done his pleasure in any thing: for there were CLXXXVII. Italians, and but LXXXIII. of other Nations, so that the Italians exceeded all other Nations besides by CIV. a small number to se­cure a casting Vote, who then can deny, that the Pope was in­fallible in the Council of Trent, and was absolutely certain to gain his point?

2. But I shall onely observe, that the Decrees of Reforma­tion are not in force to this day in France, because they are thought to encroach upon the Privileges of the Gallican Church: and therefore whenever Gerbais de Causis Majoribus, p. 347. the Assembly of the Clergy or King­dom of France have dealt with the King about the Reception and Publication of that Council, they have always put in an Exception to reserve the Liberties of the Gallican Church entire. [Page 61]And in the Id. p. 348. Low Countries when Margaret Dutchess of Parma, then Governess there, required the Magistrates of every Province to make search, whether any thing in the Decrees of the Coun­cil of Trent were contrary to the Rights of his Catholick Maje­sty, or to the ancient customs of their Countrey, they animad­verted upon several Chapters, particularly upon C. 5. Sess. 24. (which the French likewise particularly except against) and they said it was an Innovation, and the King might insist upon his Ancient Right.

3. I think nothing can be a greater Evidence, that this Coun­cil was not General than the opposition of National Churches in behalf of their particular Privileges in points of Reformation: for a General Council may undoubtedly prescribe to particular Churches in matters of Discipline, as the first General Councils did, and oblige them to a compliance for the peace and benefit of the whole, and the Council must be judge what is most con­ducing to that end. To deny this Authority to a General Coun­cil is plainly to lay its Authority quite aside, and to receive one­ly as much of it as particular Churches shall think fit: for it were an extravagant thing to demand absolute obedience and submission in matters of Faith, when points of Discipline are insisted upon against the express Decrees of the Council: a Council may err in Doctrine, but if it have any Authority, this must extend at least to points of Discipline, which are in them­selves indifferent, and may be altered, as it shall seem most conducing to the good of the whole Church. [...]. Euseb. de Vita Constan­tini. lib. 3. cap. 20. Constantine after the Council of Nice not onely determined the Controversie against Arius, but the time of keeping of Easter, and other things of Order and Discipline, to which all Churches submitted, whatever eager Debates they had had amongst them­selves before. The erecting the Churches of Constantinople and Jerusalem into Patriar­chates, and the settling of Church-Govern­ment was performed in the four first Gene­ral Councils, yet nothing was objected a­gainst the Authority of Councils in such Affairs, nor did the Churches placed under the Patriarchates of Jerusalem and Constantinople insist upon their particular Privileges; [Page 62]onely the Church of Rome was unwilling to have Constantinople equalled to her self, and therefore made a troublesome but fruit­less opposition in the Council of Chalcedon.

4. But if at this day the Church of France be so jealous of her Privileges in matters of Discipline, we have much more reason to be carefull of the Privileges of our common Christianity in matters of Faith; if she insist that her Bishops have Authority to decide the Causae Majores, i. e. all Debates arising, whether in matters of Faith or Discipline, according to the Decrees of Ge­neral Councils; how can it be denied us to defend the Anci­ent Faith according to General Councils truly such? if they re­ject the Decrees of Reformation, how shall we subscribe Pope Pius's Creed? nay how shall they subscribe it? not by virtue of any obligation from this Church but because they otherwise think the Articles of it True; and for the contrary reason we cannot subscribe them because we think them false: so that the Authority of the Council of Trent is really laid aside on both hands, and the merits of the cause must be the onely thing in Debate. For to say that a General Council properly speaking cannot abridge a particular Church of her Privileges, is to say that a particular Church is above a General Council, or at least exempt from its Jurisdiction. This is well enough understood at Rome where Gerbais's Book in defence of the Gallican Privileges is condemned.

§ XVIII. I have done now with their Councils; and have shewn how far Papists themselves have been from thinking them infallible, or from acknowledging most of them to be General, whatever credit they may have gained by the ignorance and su­perstition of latter Ages, when every Assembly of Bishops greater than ordinary was esteemed a General Council, and eve­ry General Council voted it self infallible. For 'tis certain that in the most ignorant Ages, they first fansied themselves infal­lible, and then took the liberty to say and doe what they thought fit, and so imposed many superstitious conceits and gainfull Projects on the world for infallible Truths. It now remains onely to consider, whether we can meet with any bet­ter satisfaction from the consent of the present Roman Church, and to enquire whether there be any expedient to reconcile these differences concerning the Authority of their several Coun­cils: [Page 63]But here we are so far at a loss, that we find them in no­thing more disagreeing, than in the very Fundamental Point, upon which all the Authority of Councils depends; and so dis­agreeing in this, they must be at an eternal disagreement con­cerning the Councils themselves. For some making the Pope above a General Council, others a General Council above the Pope, and a third sort making them co-ordinate; those that place infallibility in the Pope alone, have little reason to regard a Council; and those that place it in a Council alone, do upon occasion as little respect the Pope, or judge of General Coun­cils by Bellarmin's Rule, and seek no farther than for the Pope's confirmation; but those that think it is in neither separately, can acquiesce in the Determinations neither of Pope nor Coun­cil, unless they both concur unanimously in their Determinati­ons; and whoever make the Church diffusive to be the Judge of what Councils are General, and what are not so, are still at a wider difference from all the rest.

§ XIX. Our English Papists seem generally to be of the last Opinion, placing the Authority of the Church in the Agree­ment of the Pope with a General Council, but making the Au­thority of General Councils to depend upon the Reception of the Church diffusive, hereby placing the Authority, Executively, onely in General Councils confirmed by the Pope, but funda­mentally and radically in the Church, upon whose Approbation all depends, but by Church they understand onely the govern­ing part of it, and such as would have had a right to vote, if they had been assembled in Council. This is the Doctrine ad­vanced in the Book so much valued by our English Papists, The Guide in Controversies, and because this way has most Artifice and Amusement in it, they are willing to put the issue here, though most of their Priests must needs have great Prejudices against it from a foreign Education: For the French are of the second opinion, and the Pope with all his Adherents of the first.

How well the Guide's Hypothesis has been accepted abroad, I am not able to say; but it will be best guessed at by the con­test that has been about the two other opinions, whether the Parties seem inclinable to admit of the Guide as a Reconciler.

§ XX. The Jesuites are for no less than a Personal Infallibility in the Pope, and that in matters of Fact. This is the Dispute so hotly debated of late years between them and the Jansenists. For the Pope having condemned five Propositions in a Posthu­mous Book of Jansenius, entituled Augustinus, Forms were drawn up to be subscribed under pain of Excommunication, though the Propositions could no where be found in that Book. But as the Flatterers of the Court of Rome first raised the Pope above a General Council to secure him against the Reformation in Capite & Membris, which the other Bishops have so often requi­red, so the Jesuites have extended his Infallibility yet farther, even to matters of Fact, and so whatever he determins must be right in all cases. It was upon these grounds, that Subscription was to be made to the five Propositions by the Seculars and by the Regulars of both Sexes, and was enforced not onely by the Pope, but by the Gallican Church. Notwithstanding, certain Divines, and the Nuns of the Port Royal resused to make the Subscription enjoyned, not that they made any scruple of the Doctrine it self, which they were required to acknowledge, but because the contrary to it was no where to be found in the Book condemned, but the Pope, they said, had been imposed upon by those who pretended to have taken the Propositions out of that Book. Hereupon arose a Controversie concerning the Infallibility of the Church and of the Pope, the Jesuites maintai­ning that the Pope cannot be mistaken in a matter of Fact, and that therefore the Propositions are in that Book: whatever ordinary Readers may think of it, his Holiness has determined so, and he cannot be mistaken. For they Les Imagi­naires & les Visionnaires, & la Traitè de la foy hu­maine. Octa­vo à Cologne 1683. p. 81, 86, 88. make no scruple to assert, that the Pope is as infallible in matters of Fact, as our Saviour himself, that he saw with the eyes of the Church, as they phrase it, and discovered those Propositions by the illumi­nation of the Holy Ghost. This is but what the Jesuites main­tained in that famous Thesis of Decemb. 12. MDCLXI. in the College of Clermont as a Catholick Truth repugnant to the Greek Heresie concerning the Primacy of the Pope, viz. That Jesus Christ hath given to all Popes, whenever they shall speak è Ca­thedra, the same infallibility himself had, both in matters of Right and of Fact. The Nuns of the Port Royal, and all others that refused to sign the Formulary wherein the five Propositions [Page 65]of Jansenius are condemned, were used with great severity, and the Archbishop of Paris would not be dissuaded from imposing the Subscription. But however the Church of France might stand affected towards the Pope at that time and in that affair, yet the opinion against the Pope's Infallibility is so generally maintained in that Church, that it is almost peculiar to it, and is termed New He­resie of the Jesuites, p. 79. by the Jesuites, Sententia Parisiensis. A.D. MDCLXXXII. the French Clergy in a Synod held at Paris determined that a General Council is above the Pope, according to the Decrees of the fourth and fifth Sessions of the Council of Constance. Against this Determination Emanuel à Schelstrate, the present Va­tican Library-keeper wrote a Book printed at Antwerp, An. Dom. MDCLXXXIII. wherein he endeavours to shew from ancient Ma­nuscripts, that those Decrees of the Council of Constance, which have passed so long upon the World for authentick, and were so often approved and confirmed in the Council of Basil, are notwithstanding false; and he sticks not to affirm, that they were partly falsified by the Council of Basil, and partly obtru­ded upon the Council of Constance, against the consent of a great number in it, and in the absence of others, and so have been imposed upon the Church ever since in so many Editions and by so many Licences and Approbations, particularly by the Bull of Paul the Fifth, before the Roman Edition of the Councils, and had the good luck never to be discovered by any before himself, when he now sets himself to oppose the Deter­mination of the French Clergy.

2. But M. Schelstrate is not the onely man that opposed the Gallican Church in this Controversie. For George Szelepechemy Archbishop of Gran and Primate of Hungary put forth his Syn­odical Letter containing a Censure of the four Propositions, in which Vide Not as in Censur. Hungaricam, 4. proposition. Cleri Gallica­ni apud Ed­mun. Richer. Vindicias Do­ctrin. major. Schol. Paris. is this assertion, Ad solam sedem Apostolicam divino immu­tabili privilegio spectat, de controversiis Fidei judicare, ‘It onely be­longs to the Apostolick See, by a Divine immutable Privilege, to judge of Controversies in the Faith.’ And he, with his Bi­shops were so zealous in the defence of that Doctrine, that they profess in the conclusion they would spend the last drop of their Bloud, rather than depart in the least from it. This Proposition Jan. 30. MDCLXXXIII. the Parliament of Paris delivered to M. Ed­mund Pirot. Syndick of the Faculty, to be examined, which when the Faculty had received from him, on the first of February they [Page 66]chose certain of their body to study and consider the Point, and then after due deliberation to give their Judgment upon it. This they did March the first, and asterwards, for three months to­gether, in their several Assemblies, which were no less than fourty five in number, the Question was propounded to be dis­puted upon; and when they had by this means throughly debated and concluded the Controversie, they declared, That the Propo­sition, as it excludes Bishops and General Councils from that Authority which they have immediately from Christ in judging in matters of Faith is rash, erroneous, contrary to the practice of the Church and to the Word of God, as well as to the con­stant Doctrine of the Faculty. This answer the Faculty of the Sorbon gave to the question May the eighteenth, and then review­ing it the day following, confirmed it moreover from the several Censures which had been formerly passed by their Body in this and former Ages upon such Tenets. Thus that Reverend and Learned Society Censura sa­crae Faculta­tis Theolog. Paris.ad dan­dum Senatui responsum, da­ta in proposi­tionem de qua ille quaesierat, quid ipsa sen­tiret. Parisi­is, 1683. made the most deliberate and solemn determi­nation that could be possibly made in any case. But the con­troversie would not end here: for another Authour under the name of Eugenius Lombardus took the Propositions into Examina­tion MDCLXXXV. and in contradiction to them asserts, that the Pope has Authority to depose Kings, that he is above a Gene­ral Council, that he is Infallible when he determines è Cathedra, that he can dispense with Oaths and Vows made to God Al­mighty. And the same year M. Maimbourg answered M. Schcl­strate, but Schelstrate replyed the year following, and so the dis­pute is still depending, unless we can suppose the desence of such a Cause should dye with Maimbourg, and no body else should be found to defend the Roman-catholick Church of France against the Catholick Church of Rome. Schelstrate quotes Nine Manuscripts of the Council of Constance, and Maimbourg Ten; and, which is very surprising, the Manuscripts on both sides have all the Appearance of being Authentick which can be de­sired, if we may believe one of our own Church, who is a ve­ry able Judge in those matters: But Maimbourg has out quoted him by one, and whether it be in confidence of this odds, or for some other reason, he is positive, that the Decrees of a General Council are valid without the confirmation of the Pope.

§ XXII. Thus we see that notwithstanding the glorious pre­tensions to Unity and the Advantages of an Infallible Church so much magnified, the divisions concerning Infallibility are so many and so great, that it is onely a fine pompous thing, that may serve them to boast of, but is otherwise of no use. For we have at this day the Jesuites against the Jansenists; M. Schel­strate against M. Maimbourg; and Nine Manuscripts against Ten; the Archbishop of Gran against the Archbishop of Paris; and the Synod of Hungary against that of France. Amidst so much opposition, how shall we hope to find any agreement? The grand Debate between these two contending Parties is, whether the Pope or a General Council should have the Preheminence? There is but one way more of disagreement possible in this mat­ter; which is, that neither Pope nor Council is superiour, but that the joint Definitions of both are infallible: this way the Guide in Controversies and his Followers here in I [...]gland take. If the nature of the thing would admit any more differences of opinion, they would undoubtedly be as numberless as they are opposite, in a dispute which has so much of Prejudice and In­terest, and so little of Reason or Scripture in it. Neither is there any way to reconcile these contrary Doctrines, unless they would all conclude in that, which they all help to prove, viz. That there is no such thing as an Infallible Judge or Guide here on Earth. The Pope in the mean while, whom one would think it most concerns to interpose his Authority and decide the difference, yet sits by as Neuter, countenancing and encouraging the one, but not by any Authoritative Act disavowing the other opinion: And indeed how is it possible for him by his Authority to de­cide the Controversie, when his Authority is the very thing in controversie?

When, I say, there is no way besides of disagreement possi­ble in this matter, I speak onely of the Point now before us, and would not be thought by any means to exclude the Infalli­bility of Oral Tradition, nor the Infallibility of the Church dif­fusive, including every member of it, nor any other Infallibili­ty, which can be named, but these are disliked as much by Pa­pists abroad as they are by Protestants at home, and are utter­ly inconsistent with the Authority of Councils.

§ XXIII. From what has been said, I suppose it evident, that General Councils cannot be relyed upon as Infallible, if there were no other reason against it but this, that it is so uncertain and doubtfull which Councils are General. And I can foresee nothing that can be objected against this Consequence, but that the Council of Trent comprehends all the rest, and is instead of All. Which indeed magnifies the Council of Trent very much, but is not so much for the credit of all the General Councils be­fore it; for, besides that the Council of Trent grounds many of her Definitions upon the Authority of General Councils that went before, I conceive that all who lived three hundred years ago were as much concerned to know what Councils were Ge­neral as any Body can be at this day, and an Infallibility which could be of little or no use till since the Council of Trent is something suspicious, unless we had better proof than the Au­thority of that Council to recommend it. I have shewn that that Council it self is not received in France as a General Coun­cil, but onely its Doctrines acknowledged for true, as they were acknowledged, they tell us, before the Councils sitting: for any thing farther they desire to be excused. And how can that Council be General enough to be Infallible, which is not so far General as to oblige a particular Church in points of Discipline? 'Tis apparent from the account I have given of them, that we have but the four or almost but the six first General Coun­cils without Exceptions, and those most of them very conside­rable too, so that when all is done, we have no reason that I can see, not to be contented with our ancient Creeds, and the Coun­cils of the first Ages which have been acknowledged by all, be­cause they teach the Faith necessary to the Salvation of all, while others who have taught some particular fancies, have found a suitable reception.

§ XXIV. But if all the eighteen Councils were as General as they are pretended to be, yet it is no good Consequence, that they are infallible. I could never yet see any Grounds from An­tiquity to believe the Infallibility of General Councils: I am sure St. Austin De Baptis­mo contra Do­natistas, lib. 2. cap. 3. could believe no such thing, when he affirms, that later General Councils may correct the Errours of the for­mer in that known place. Nor Gregory the Great Lib. 1. E­pist. 14., who equals [Page 69]the four first General Councils to the four Gospels, but none be­sides, and thereby puts a manifest difference between General Councils, and so could not hold all to be infallible. If we meet with high Expressions in the Fathers concerning the extraordi­nary assistence of the Holy Ghost in General Councils, I know no man but will acknowledge it, if they say, that the Holy Spirit did effectually guide them in the Truth, this is no more than we always profess to be believe, that the First Councils did determine Infallible Truths, and so were not mistaken in their Determinations, but it is but an ill consequence to say, that they could not be mistaken, because they were not, or that all succeeding Councils cannot possibly err, because the first Councils actually did not err.

§ XXV. It is not pretended that General Councils are Infal­lible in matters of Discipline, yet I am confident many Ex­pressions of the Ancients run as high for these as for matters of Faith. The first Council that ever was, that of the Apostles themselves, Act. XV. was about matters of Discipline; and, as the Apostles there write, It seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, so the following Councils were persuaded they had imme­diate directions from the Holy Ghost in things of this nature, which made the Emperour Constantine the Great and the Coun­cil of Nice it self urge the uniform observation of Easter in the same Terms and from the same Arguments that they used to en­force the Nicene Creed. And afterwards Leo the First, Tanquam re­futari neque­at, quod illici­tè voluerit multitudo, & illa Niceno­rum Canonum per Spiritum verò Sanctum ordinata conditio in aliqua unquam parte sit solubilis, (Leo Epist. ad Anatol.) — in omnibus Ecclesiis his Legibus obsequentes, quae ad pacificati­onem omnium Sacerdotum per CCCXVIII. Antistites Spiritus Sanctus instituit, (idem ad Pulcheriam.) writing against the twenty eighth Canon of Chalcedon, insists, that it contradicted the Constitution of Nice, which was ordained by the Holy Ghost.

§ XXVI. 1. For my part, I cannot but think it a great pre­sumption to imagin, that the Councils of latter times should equal those of the primitive Ages. For as the Ancients had grea­ter advantages than after Ages could have, to know what the Apostles taught, and how they explained their own Writings by their private Discourses and their Sermons, and by their [Page 70]Practice: so methinks it is highly reasonable to suppose that they had greater assistences from above. For it seems requisite and agreeable to God's methods of transacting with mankind, to afford eminent abilities to instruct men fully in Christianity, to those on whom he bestowed a power of working Miracles to convince the World of the Truth of it; and we must in rea­son conclude their Wisedom in understanding the Scriptures, as well as their Miracles to attest it, and their Courage and Pati­ence in suffering for it to have been supernatural. This cannot be denyed of the Apostles themselves: And as it pleased God not to let Miracles cease till he had raised up men of great Parts and Learning to undertake the Defence of his Religion, so we have the same reason to believe that he would not till then wholly withdraw his extraordinary Gifts and Illuminations; for these seem to have been as necessary against the many and per­nicious Heresies so early sprung, as those to vindicate it against Infidels. We may well allow greater force to the Assertions of St. Clement, St. Ignatius, St. Irenaeus, &c. than their Arguments may seem to carry, because they may have more of a Divine Spirit in them than we are aware of, and so upon that account challenge a higher regard from us, than upon the score onely of their Reasonings. We must indeed still keep to the Analogy of Faith, but why should we too confidently make our selves Judges of their ways of arguing, especially from Figures and Allegories? who would have known that the 1 Cor. 10. Rock in the wil­derness was Christ, unless St. Paul had told him so? or, who would have understood the Allegory Galat. 4. of the two Sons of Abra­ham, unless he had explained it? How can we be assured, that St. Paul and the rest of the Apostles, did not explain many more Types and make many more Allegorical Proofs than we have delivered to us in the Scriptures? 'Tis more than probable they did, in so many Sermons to the Jews always arguing from the Old Testament, instructed herein by our Saviour himself and by the Holy Ghost after his Ascension, as their Followers and immediate Successours likewise were. How then can we be assured but many of those Allegorical Interpretations which some men presume to set so light by, might be the Interpreta­tions of the Apostles themselves or of the Holy Ghost in these Apostolical men, as they have been justly styled? Those I mean delivered down by primitive Antiquity, made use of in all suc­ceeding [Page 71]Ages, till men began to be so exceeding wise as to de­spise them.

2. But as the Authority of Apostolical Traditions could reach no farther than the first Ages, so in succeeding times we have little reason to think that the Holy Ghost had much to doe in their Councils; Christ himself seems to have been almost ex­cluded, since Christ's Vicar, as he styles himself, has had such an absolute sway in Councils. Si dixerit aliquis, fiet recursus ad Sedem & Curiam Summi Pontificis, non negabimus hoc, si Theologia illic ha­buerit duos Doctores non partiales, non seductos, non fastuosos, non quaestuosos aut invidos, non potestati seculari, non spirituali, plus quàm veritati studentes, alioquin tolerabilius esset nullos habere quàm tales pa­ti Gerson a­pud Richer. l. 2. p. 262.. ‘If any one shall say, there must be recourse to the See and Court of the High Priest, we will not deny it, if Divinity shall have there two impartial Doctours, not se­duced, not proud, not covetous or envious, not savourers of the temporal and spiritual Power, more than of the Truth; otherwise it would be more tolerable to have none, than to endure such.’ Upon which Richerius cries out; Deus Bone! Si nostra vidisset secula, quibus malum in immensum per singulos dies ità excrevit, ut semper posterior dies acerbior & nequior priore exstite­rit & continuet. ‘Good God! Had he but seen our times, where­in the mischief encreases so vastly every day, that the latter days have always been sharper and worse than the former, and shall always continue so.’ And this is to be understood, not onely of Discipline, but of Faith and Manners. Ibid. p. 260. Video quod in Doctrinis, quae Fidem, quae Religionem, quae bonos & salubres respiciunt Mores, vix invenietur in hac tempestate, rebus ut sunt ma­nentibus, nec habito forti favore potentiae secularis, terminatio debita, vel expedita justitia; Experto crede, &c. ‘I see (says Gerson) that in those Doctrines which have regard to the Faith, to Religion, to good and wholsome Manners, there will scarce be found at this time, as things stand, though we should be backt by strong assistences of the secular Power, either a just determination, or speedy justice.’ Believe a man who has tryed it, &c. Such have been the Complaints of good men concerning the Gene­rality of the Popish Clergy, and are still in our days, especially concerning all those that challenge the Governing part in Coun­cils. ‘I wish, says Holden's Lett. in Wal­sh's Irish Re­monstr. p. 524. Dr. Holden, with all my heart, that with the loss of my Bloud, I could blot out of the Belief of all experi­enced [Page 72]men, that nothing but Interest and Faction are preva­lent in the Court of Rome, we need not insist upon the gross Ignorance of former Ages, when the leading men, as we have seen in Pius the Second, Cusanus and others, employed all their knowledge and cunning to uphold a Faction, which made them go off from one Party to another, as their Interest served, and use all the arts and ways of management which are wont to be used in secular affairs.’

3. This quite breaks the force of the Argument that is most troublesome to a modest man, that he should oppose his own judgment and the judgments of some few others perhaps, in com­parison to the Determination of so many Bishops met in Coun­cil; we need but go to Nich. Clemanges Works, to Espencaeus upon the Epist. to Titus, to the Centum Gravamina, to an entire Collection of Discourses to this purpose, called Fasciculus rerum expetendarum & fugiendarum, or to the History of the Council of Trent, or to the Concilium Delectorum Cardinalium to get rid of this Argument, which is so plausibly urged by the Guide, and runs through all his Discourses: for if men will so apparently trans­gress all the measures of Right and Wrong, we have no reason to confide much in them about what is True and False, when it is so much for their Interest to uphold the opinion of Infallibility, which implies Industry and Abilities as well as Integrity. Loci Theolo­gici, lib. 5. cap. 5. Mel­chior Canus asserts that Councils as well as Popes may err, unless they take care to use all due means in examining the Doctrines de­fined: That Councils have sometimes acted by Interest and De­sign is confessed on both hands; the onely Question is, what and how many these Councils have been. He says indeed, that as for himself, he will never admit that any Pope or Council has not used all necessary diligence in determining Questions of Faith: But what matter is it, what he will admit, unless he will an­swer his own Arguments? if he will admit the Premisses and de­ny the Conclusion, what is that to us? others of his Commu­nion will own that Popes have erred è Cathedra, and he owns, that Honorius and other Popes have erred in matters of Faith: now 'tis but carrying the Argument one step farther (subsunt omninò causae eaedem) and General Councils may err in their De­finitions as well as Popes. His words, which are very remar­kable, are these; ‘So that we are not to look upon those as the Judgments of the Apostolick See, which are made in private, [Page 73]malitiously or inconsiderately by the Pope alone, or by some few of his Party; but those which appear to have been first well examined, and by the advice of several wise Men: Now we have the very same Reasons, to say the like of Councils, if there be the same cause for it: for we ought not to think that the Pope onely should be mistaken when he is asleep, and should speak the truth when he is awake: and that the Fa­thers of a Council alone should go on right sleeping or waking, and that they should discern difficulties with their Eyes shut or in the dark. It is an usual thing, believe me, for all the Judges of the Church, when they publish their Decrees, to be driven on by a certain rashness and suddenness of Judgment, as by a wind, so that they effect nothing which may be loo­ked upon as solid, grave or certain.’

Clemangis is yet sharper; Ʋpon whom shall my Spirit rest,Disputat. su­per mater. Conc. General. in Fasciculo rerum expet. & fugiend. pag. 200. E.but upon the humble man and him who trembles at my Word? But if (as our Lord bears witness) it onely rests upon those, then accor­ding to the temper of this Age, there are in all probability but few such in our Councils. There are usually in every As­sembly great numbers of carnal or worldly Men, ambitious and contentious Men, swelling with that humane knowledge which puffs up; see therefore the necessity of believing that the Holy Spirit has always the upper-hand in Councils, when the minds of the Consulters always resist, and put a bar to any thing which might produce sounder and more saving ef­fects; especially since the Decrees of Councils proceed for the most part from the major part of the concurring Votes: This I speak not positively, but by way of Inquiry, &c.

But, says Bellarmin, it is a sufficient evidence that a Council has not erred, if the Pope has confirmed it, and his Confirmati­on is the Criterion of a truly General Council, or rather of Infal­libility; for Councils whether general or particular, in Bellar­min's De Concil. Auctoritate, lib. 2. cap. 5. account cannot err, if the Pope has once confirmed them. But first, Popes have confirmed Councils which are not acknowledged to be General, as we have seen of the Coun­cils of Constance and Basil; nay, Liberius confirmed the Council of Sirmium which was Heretical. Secondly, This involves us yet in farther Difficulties: for these Men, who hold, that with­out the Pope's Confirmation no Councils can be legitimate, or of sufficient Authority to propose Articles of Faith, are brought [Page 74]to this, Vid. Francisc. Long. Coriol. Praelud. ad Conc. & Carleton. cur­sus Theolog. Tom. poster. Disp. 22. §. 3. that they assert it to be De Fide, that the present Pope, whoever he be, is Christ's true Vicar, and Successour to Saint Peter, which is the general opinion of the Jesuits. But how this could be De Fide, when there were so many Antipopes for about seventy years together, or how any Council can be known to be General upon these Grounds is impossible to un­derstand, since if there should be any defect in his Baptism, ei­ther as to the Form or the Intention of the Priest, or if any thing should be amiss in his Election or Consecration, he is by a constitution of Nicholas the Second, by a Bull of Pius the Fourth, and by a plain and necessary Consequence from their own avowed Principles, not a Pope, but an Invader, and is to be anathematized and withstood by all Christian People. The French King would not acknowledge Clement the Seventh for Pope, till the Cardinals who chose him, had sworn, that they pro­ceeded canonically, which yet would not satisfie the University of Paris and the French Clergy. And Bellarmin De Concili­is, lib. 1. cap. 8. confesses, that it is doubtfull whether the first Council of Pisa, MCCCCIX. which deposed Gregory the Twelfth, and Benedict the Thirteenth, and elected Alexander the Fifth, were approved or not: but if it had been certainly rejected, Alexander the Sixth would certainly have styled himself, not Alexander the Sixth, but the Fifth. And it is, besides says he, almost the common opinion that Alexander the Fifth and John who succeeded him were true Popes. How­ever of the Three Pretenders to the Popedom, these were most generally owned for such. So that if a man can extend his Faith in such an intricate business to all the circumstances requisite to the making a Pope duly qualified for the confirmati­on of a Council, he can have no reason to make the least scru­ple of whatever the Council delivers, and so may as well take the Councils word, and never stay for the Popes confirmation.

However the Infallibility of Councils resolves itself into the Infallibility of Confessours at last, and every private man believes as much and no more of Councils than his Confessour thinks fit to acquaint him with; and since the Jesuits have every where almost that office, the Councils are generally received as they have put them forth, and understood as they explain them, and will be so received and understood though these I have mentioned, or a thousand more objections lye against every one of them.


Page 10. line 14. before Cardinal Contarenus add; And as the form of the Profession of Faith in the Council of Constance. (Ses­sion 39.) mentions but eleven General Councils in all, so it gives higher respect to the first eight than to the rest, and takes no notice of any more than one of Lateran, and one of Lyons: Ego N. electus in Papam omnipotenti Deo, cujus Ecclesiam suo praesidio regendam suscipio, & beato Petro Apostolorum Principi, corde & ore, profiteer, quam diu in hac fragili vita constitutus fuero, me firmiter credere & tenere sanctam fidem Catholicam secundum Traditiones Apo­stolorum & aliorum sanctorum Patrum, maximè autem sanctorum octo, Conciliorum generalium, viz. primi Nicaeni, secundi Constantino­politani, tertii Ephesini, quarti Calchedonensis, quinti & sexti Constantinopolitanorum, septimi item Nicaeni, octavi quoque Constantinopolitani; necnon Lateranensis, Lugdunensis & Vi­ennensis, Generalium etiam Conciliorum. Et illam fidem usque ad u­num apicem, &c.

Page 36. line 15. after none of the three, add; and at the end of the Fourth Lateran, Caranza puts Explicit Concilium Latera­nense primum.

Page 42. line 10. leave out from except the forty sixth, to Chur­ches or Churchmen, line 17. in the room therof add, though it is not probable that that Council should be quoted at large un­der the name of the General Council of the Lateran, without some particular note of distinction, either of the Popes name under whom it was called, or of the third Lateran Council; for this is the usual way in Citations, and had been necessary here to distinguish it from the other two Lateran Councils; but if we suppose these Canons drawn up by Innocent the Third, after the Dissolution of the Council, there could be no need of particu­larizing the Council which had been so lately held by himself: and he could be reasonably understood to mean no other than his own Council, unless he had specified it; But farther yet, &c.

Page 66. lin. ult. But Mr. Schelstrate has one Argument which indeed is extraordinary, in that it makes a remarkable discovery [Page 76]of the Artifices of the Court of Rome; for he assured the same Person, that at the very same time in which the necessity of their Affairs obliged P. Martin to confirm the Decrees of the Council of Basil, he contrived a secret Bull, which in another Age might be made use of, to weaken the Authority of the ge­neral Confirmation; and withall, Mr. Schelstrate promised him a sight of the original of this Bull.

Page 50. lin. 27. after Bishop of Rome, add; Though indeed he did revoke it as to its Exercise in the Kingdom of France, by declaring, that the Privileges of the Gallican Church were no ways infringed by it: Inter Extravag. cap. Meruit, tit. de Privile­giis.


Pag. 3. lin. 3. for, before Labbé, and the Acts of the second Council are omitted by him too, reade, before Binius, and the Acts of the second Council of Pisa are omit­ted by Labbé too. p. 4. l. 5. marg. for c. 6. r. c. 7. p. 669. p. 6. l. 2. Buxhornius, r. Boochornius. p. 10. l. 35. the quotation of Launoy should be set against Abraham Cretensis. p. 12. l. 29. r. make them so, these. p. 15. l. 31. r. young son Constantine. p. 18. l. 12. r. appear. p. 20. l. 10. r. Deificae. p. 27. l. 14. dele; p. 29. l. 9. r. why he ought. p. 30. l. 14. dele own. p. 48. l. 18. r. Emperours, to explain. ibid. l. 34. for recalling, r. reconciling. p. 50. l. 26. for accessory, r. necessary. p. 52. l. 11. marg. r. cap. 3. p. 54. l. 38. marg. r. cap. 4. p. 62. l. 14. for Church, r. Council. p. 68. l. 24. almost, r. at the most.


This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. Searching, reading, printing, or downloading EEBO-TCP texts is reserved for the authorized users of these project partner institutions. Permission must be granted for subsequent distribution, in print or electronically, of this EEBO-TCP Phase II text, in whole or in part.