Front Page Titles (by Subject) §13 - The Divine Feudal Law: Or, Covenants with Mankind, Represented
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§13 - Samuel von Pufendorf, The Divine Feudal Law: Or, Covenants with Mankind, Represented 
The Divine Feudal Law: Or, Covenants with Mankind, Represented, trans. Theophilus Dorrington, ed. with an Introduction by Simone Zurbruchen (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2002).
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An Examen of a certain Form of a Reconciliation between the Protestants and Papists. For the better Illustration and Proof of these Things, I shall not unwillingly examine a certain Form in Manuscript, of a Method to restore an Ecclesiastical Union between the Romanists and the Protestants, written by the special command of the most Serene Prince and Lord N. N. by Two of his Highness’s Divines,12 which I shall here produce, with Observations here and there upon it, but not with any design to detract from them, or to condemn their Intention, which I suppose not to have been Evil, but only with a desire of serving the Truth.
(§1.)The Protestants freely acknowledge and confess that an Ecclesiastical Union and Peace between the Romanists and them is among those Things which are possible, and is what in some respect ought to be, and so is a matter of Precept. Tho’ they do not determine that it is simply a Precept, so as that we are absolutely oblig’d to make or keep such a Peace but upon Condition that it may be, and as far as in us lyes. This appears by those Words of the Apostle, if it be possible, as much as in you lyes live peaceably with all Men, Rom. 12:18. If this cannot be accomplish’d unless against our Consciences, we will call Darkness Light, then that other Expression of the Apostle must take Place, What Communion has Light with Darkness? 2 Cor. 6:14. Then a disagreement which is risen for the sake of Piety is better than a vitious Concord. They are the Words of Greg. Nazianz. Orat. 1. d. Pace.13
We on the contrary believe this Ecclesiastical Peace of the Protestants with the Romanists, to be no ways due, but rather to be forbidden; since at least the far greater Part of the Protestants do believe the Papal Empire to be that Apocalyptical Beast, whose Tiranny by the great Favour of God they have thrown off, and from which they with the People also, that are yet oppress’d by it, would free themselves. And there is no Man but must acknowledge it a thing morally Impossible who will consider what we have lately said, and the very Nature of the Papal Monarchy. The Expression of the Apostle concerns a Civil Peace, which we may justly Maintain with them; and we may readily yield all the good Offices of a Civil Friendship to those who are still addicted to the Romish Religion: And a Civil Toleration may be indulg’d to the Exercise of that Religion, where according to Covenant, or for other weighty Considerations, it cannot be remov’d.
(§2.)And as the Protestants in the Augustan Confession it self, offer’d to Caesar, did profess that they were forward and ready for a Peace and Union with the Church of Rome, so far as this might be pleasing to God, and agreeing with a good Conscience:14 So also to this Day they offer themselves to do all those Things towards it which can be done by them holding still the Faith, and a good Conscience.
But this Condition is Morally impossible: For it must be requir’d, that the Romanists do approve the Doctrines in which the Protestants have differ’d from them, and that they do profess the same Principles: And also, that the Pope do not pretend to exercise his Dominion over their Churches, nor endeavour to impose the Abuses of the Church of Rome upon them. Without this Condition no Man of the Protestants can think an Union with the Papists may be embrac’d, unless he can think fit to approve of Samaritanism. But to think that the Pope will ever consent to any such Condition is directly foolish.
(§3.)Altho’ between those who adore one God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, and one Redeemer, Saviour and Mediatour between God and Man, the only begotten Son of the Eternal Father, and do acknowledge him to be the Man Jesus Christ, and worship him, and so do agree in the Mystery of Three Persons in the One Divine Essence, and of the Son of God incarnate, and believe that he suffer’d to expiate our Sins, that he died and rose again from the dead, and was carried up into Heaven; who agree to believe the Creation of the World, the Resurrection of the dead, the last Judgment; and that the Sacrament of Baptism ought, without neglect, to be afforded to Infants; and that a new Obedience to the Divine Law must be perform’d by those that are Born again. Tho’ I say, between such, in whatever visible Communion they live, there is a vertual, if not an actual, Communion, which lyes in the serious Desire, and affectionate Wish, and Endeavour, of restoring and frequenting one and the same Communion; because in the mean time they are hindred from this by several great Obstacles that lye in the Way, they ought to endeavour with all their might that those grievous Obstacles, which have hitherto caused or maintain’d the Schism, may be remov’d.
The Articles here recited, tho’ they take in no small Part of Christian Religion, yet they may, by the Addition of some others to them which are Erroneous, be so wrested, as that their saving Effects may be intercepted. Just as the best Food in it self may be so corrupted, being mixed with an absurd Sauce, or nastily order’d, that it may be no longer grateful or wholesome. And as in a Commonwealth which has degenerated from a lawful Government into a Tiranny, there may remain several Footsteps of the old Institutions, and Words and Terms may be in use which did belong to them, tho’ the Genius and Nature of the Dominion be deprav’d: So in the Roman Church, which is degenerated from its Primitive Purity, by unobserv’d Degrees, into a most pestilent Sink of Superstitions, yet there must be retain’d many Articles of Christian Religion; for otherwise there could not an Ecclesiastical Dominion ever have had Place in it; that is, such as should exert its Influence under the colour and presence of Christianity. But yet we ought not to have at all the less Aversion to the Pontifical Dominion for the sake of those Articles; which, as no Man is bound to put himself under, so neither can he be bound to have it in his Wish or Inclination that he may ever be united to that Church; nor therefore, that the Protestant Churches, which have separated themselves from it, should again associate with it as before, and concur to constitute one Body with the Roman Church under the Dominion of the Pope of Rome. Therefore is that vertual Union mention’d an empty Fiction; forasmuch as we ought to Wish that they who are yet under the oppression of the Papal Dominion would come over to us, and the great Obstacles of Union might be remov’d; which do not lye in a meer Dissention upon some Points of belief, but that which is to be accounted a Principal one among them is that Dominion brought into the Church, and supported with so many Superstitions, and false Opinions, and which is indeed intolerable, and deserving the detestation of all Christians; certainly where the Dissention is about Rule and Liberty, there cannot, on either side, be any other Wish but that one Part might be brought under the Dominion of the other, since none could ever bear contentedly the Diminution or Division of Empire. For the Foundation of the Papal Kingdom is the Infallibility of the Pope and Church of Rome, which being taken away, the whole Kingdom tumbles. But if the Protestants acknowledge this, they at one Blow destroy their own Cause, and have nothing to say why they should not return to their former Slavery.
(§4.)But since it is of no small Importance that both Parties do simply and ingenuously Profess that which is their Opinion, and do not endeavour to impose upon each other by obscure or ambiguous Expressions; the Protestants must propose the Sence of their Minds about this pacifick Affair sincerely, and without any disguise, as determining that it is not only expedient, but necessary, that they do propose all the Fundamental Truths to the Dissenting Party very clearly. And it must be desir’d of that Party that they do put away all those Errours, which are repugnant thereto very expressly, and that they would profess with the Mouth unto Salvation that heavenly Truth which they embrace with their Hearts, and that they own this not only in Words, but also in Actions of Religion. The former of which may be call’d the Formal, and the latter the Material, Confession of the Faith.
As for what concerns an ingenuous, clear and simple Profession of their Principles, the Protestants were never yet wanting in that Matter; who have also solidly prov’d their Principles by clear Testimonies of Holy Scripture. But to how little purpose they have done this, and how little Inclination the Papists have to acknowledge or correct any Errour and Abuse which they have receiv’d, appears sufficiently by the Actions of the Council of Trent:15 And in that after so long a time they have amended nothing of any Importance that is condemn’d by the Protestants, but have rather with the greatest Obstinacy vindicated the Errours which have been shown them. And they who have taken upon them to soften Matters have only fram’d Disguises to impose upon the simple. From which Things ’tis easie enough to see what is to be expected.
(§5.)As for the Obstacles and Impediments of an Ecclesiastical Peace and Union between the Protestants and Romanists, ’tis Certain, and without Controversie, that they are some of them of greater, and some of less, Weight and Importance.
(§6.)The Impediments of the former Sort are those, which tho’ they do not directly overthrow any Fundamental Article, yet they advance what will but ill agree with such an Article: And those which as they directly and immediately relate to Practice, they do disturb the Concord, and take away actual Union and Communion. Such are for instance the Things held concerning the Communion under one kind, the Masses without Communicants, the Justification of a Sinner before God, the Celibacy of the Clergy, the Ordinations of the Pastors and Teachers of the Protestant Churches, the Episcopal Rights transferr’d by the Treaty of Passau16upon the Protestant Princes and States, and some other Questions which we shall take notice of below, in Sect. 18. n. 4.17
Here is no Determination of the Number of the Fundamental Articles, nor any Mark or Character given by which they are to be clearly distinguish’d from those that are not Fundamental; which is what I must needs think to be of principal Concern in this Affair, and that which ought to be first rightly setled, or else all endeavour in it must come to nothing. Moreover, he must have very slightly consider’d the Mysteries of the Pontifical Kingdom, who believes that these Articles contain the chief Matter of difference between us, or that this Dissention turns entirely upon a difference about Principles. Certainly it is the least Part of the controverted Points, and of the Interests of the Hierarchy, which is here touch’d; and therefore the Work must be accounted very maim’d and imperfect.
(§7.)The Controversies of less Importance are about such Things, as that we may affirm either of the opposite Opinions, and neither of them would have any influence upon our necessary Practice, or establish, or overthrow, any necessary Principle.
But among the Principles of less Importance then, you must not include those which are advanced for the procuring of Wealth, or retaining the People under the Yoke of the Priests. For all such Things, since they nearly touch the Interests of this Hierarchy, are deservedly to be accounted of great Importance.
(§8.)The greatest Endeavour ought to be applied about taking away the Impediments, which are of greatest Importance: For those being remov’d, the Union, and actual Communion, will at length be renewed. What may be said to this is already observ’d upon § 6.
(§9.)Among the Obstacles of Peace, and Ecclesiastick Union, which are of greater Importance, we have set in the first Place the Controversies about the Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist. For as to partake of that one Bread, or to be Partakers of the Table of the Lord, and to drink of the Cup of the Lord together, is a Symbol of the perfect Christian Union: So the Controversies concerning the Eucharist do chiefly disturb that participation of the Table of the Lord, which Christians ought to have common among them, and by consequence do chiefly trouble and interrupt their actual Union.
It favours of no small Ignorance in the Controversies between the Protestants and Papists, to put the Controversies about the Eucharist in the first and chief Place, when as the main and chief Dispute is about the Power of a Vicar of Christ, the Infallibility of the Pope, and the Authority of the Church. And to this purpose Bellarmin himself speaks in the Preface to his Books concerning the chief Bishop.18For what is it (says he) which is treated on when we treat upon the Primacy of the Pope? I will say in short it is concerning the Sum of Christianity. For the thing question’d on that Head is whether or no the Church ought any longer to subsist, or it must be dissolv’d, and fall to Ruin? The participation of the Table of the Lord is no otherwise a Symbol of perfect Union among Christians, than as it may be a Token of their Agreement in the rest of the Fundamental Articles. Therefore if the Papists would abjure Transubstantiation, and agree with us in restoring the Communion in both kinds, yet unless they would part with their other Errours, it must be judg’d that there would be but little advance made towards an Agreement. But when in the last Age it would have been thought worth while if the Papists would have restor’d the Communion in both kinds, tho’ there is no pretence to deny, but that this is conformable to our Saviour’s Institution, and the practice of many Ages in the Church; they must be thought to have been under a Sort of Madness for defending the Communion in one kind with so much obstinacy as they did this, if this Consideration had not hindred them from yielding in this Point, that if they should once admit that the Pope and Church of Rome had err’d in one Point, they must have been forc’d to acknowledge that they might also happen to be Erroneous in more. For it is a very thin Disguise in this Matter, which Bossuet the Bishop of Meaux19 makes use of, as the rest of his are such for the most Part, when he says, The Church might for certain Reasons forbid the use of the Cup by the Laity, which it might also restore if it thought fit to do so. For he ought to have produced those weighty Reasons which constrain’d them to depart from the Institution of Christ, and the Practice receiv’d in the Church through so many Ages, and what Causes there are beside that which I have mention’d why they should not return to the ancient Custom.
(§10.)The Protestants teach and believe concerning the Sacrament of the Eucharist, that while the consecrated Bread is therein eaten, and we drink of the consecrated Cup, we also eat the Body of Christ, and drink his Blood, according to his express and plain Assertion. 2. As the Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist is instituted under both kinds, so by virtue of this Divine Institution, which has the force of a command, it ought to be distributed to those who have right to come to this Sacred Feast, and to be receiv’d by them under both Kinds, or both the consecrated Symbols. 3. The presence of the Body and Blood of Christ is annexed to the receiving.
I know not to what purpose this Confession is inserted here, since the Romanists well enough know what is our Opinion on this Point.
(§11.)They also teach, that an Adult Person, who is desirous to partake of the Divine Favour, of the Remission of his Sins, and Eternal Salvation, he must confess his Sins, and sincerely grieve for them, and rely not upon any Merits of his own, but only upon the Death and Merit of Christ, with Trust and Hope to obtain thereby the Remission of his Sins, and Eternal Life; and for the future he must abstain from Sin, and follow after Holiness, without which no Man can see God.
Perhaps the Romanists will not deny this Article as it lyes, especially a Bossuet, or such Vender of false and disguis’d Wares. And yet there may be Interpretations and Additaments tack’d to the Article of Justification which may be serviceable to encrease the Treasury, by which the Pontifical State and Grandeur is maintain’d.
(§12.)It must be permitted the Clergy of the Protestants to marry once and again, till this Matter shall be decided by a general Council; and their Marriages, if there be nothing else to forbid it, must be held legitimate.
But we must needs admire in what Respect the Point of the Marriage of the Clergy comes to be reckon’d among the chief Articles of the Faith, and to have the next place to the Doctrine of Justification, when it is a thing, certainly, that has nothing in it which comes within the Compass of the Christian Faith. For if the Celibacy of such were of Use to the Commonwealth, and the Clergy could live in due Chastity without Matrimony, no Man can imagine that such a Celibacy would diminish any thing from the Sanctity of the Christian Religion. For in Truth that Principle of the Celibacy of the Clergy is among the Mysteries of the Pontifical Kingdom; but I have much doubt whether or no the Clergy of the Protestants would approve of this Position, which pronounces so timerously and ambiguously concerning their Marriages, as what are only to be permitted, and not so much as simply approv’d, till a general Council can be held. And there the Question of its Lawfulness must be fully decided; which Decision may fall as well upon the Negative as upon the Affirmative Part. In the mean time they shall be held for legitimate. Let such Reconcilers look to themselves against the Married Presbyters.
(§13.)In like manner let the Ordination made by Presbyters of Pastors and Teachers in the Protestant Churches by Prayer, and the Imposition of Hands, be held legitimate, and conform’d to the Apostolick Practice, and those who are in this manner ordain’d and admitted to the Sacred Office be accounted to have Power both of Order and Jurisdiction.
This Principle indeed is of greatest Importance. For as the State of the Protestant Churches depends, as External, upon the Ordination, and it is by this that they must deserve to be accounted Legitimate Bodies; so the Proposal obliquely overthrows the whole Pontifical State, as it is altogether Repugnant to that to allow any for Lawful Pastors that do not depend upon that. And it is well known with what Fervour, and also upon what Counsels, those who were chiefly addicted to the Court of Rome in the Council of Trent,20 opposed the defining that the Residence of Bishops is of Divine Right. For the Pope, saving his Dignity, cannot treat with others of the Clergy, as Independent upon him, as Princes treat with one another: But whoever of them will not be subject is an Enemy; or as Christ speaks, Luke 11:23. He that is not with me, is against me. And the Pope, if he be not Universal Bishop and Vicar of Christ, is no more but the Bishop of Rome: So that to him may be applied that Saying of the Duke of Valence,21 Either Caesar, or nothing; either Universal Bishop, or nothing.
(§14.)Lastly, It is notorious enough, not to need any Proof, that in the Treaty of Passau,22and the Peace of Religion which attended it, the Power and Jurisdiction of the Bishops was transferr’d by Consent of the whole Empire upon the Princes and States of the Protestants. That we may not meddle at present with any other Controversie.
This Thesis has nothing of Divinity in it, and declares nothing but this: That a Political Toleration of the Protestant Religion has been establish’d in Germany by a Publick Convention. But such Agreements as have been brought to pass by Arms and War may conduce to the Peace of Commonwealths, when they can contribute nothing towards reconciling controverted Principles: For the doing of which it must be defin’d which part of the Contradiction between them agrees with the Truth reveal’d in Holy Scripture, and which contradicts it.
(§15.)These Things being thus expounded, and, together with those which follow, being by the Principal Doctors of the Protestant Church (it should have been added, and the Princes, and States, and whole Churches; for that the Right of managing such Affairs does not lye only in the Hands of the Doctors) agreed upon, and calmly approv’d, (which is a thing will never come to pass with this End, unless perhaps they should all become delirious) the Pope is to be tried, (1.) Whether or no he be willing to hold those Protestants who are ready, upon equal Conditions, to submit themselves to a lawful Council, and the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy, for true Members of the Christian Church, notwithstanding that they are perswaded that the Communion in both Kinds, or in the Symbols of Bread and Wine, is commanded by Christ, and so that it ought to be always receiv’d in this manner by the People. That is as much as to say, it should depend upon the Declaration of the Pope whether or no the whole Christian World, for more than 12 Ages, are to be accounted true Members of the Christian Church, who have put this Matter out of Doubt. And that he should not impose upon the Churches of the Protestants Masses without Communicants, or at least that he should not forbid them their Practice of not celebrating the Sacrament without some present, to whom, after Consecration of the Bread and Wine, they may be distributed, when the Eucharist is so, and no otherwise celebrated than as it was instituted by our Lord, and as it is describ’d in the Gospel. That is to say, We must precariously obtain from the Pope, that it may be allow’d us to use the Mystical Supper no otherwise than as Christ himself did celebrate it at its first Institution. But they whose Necks do not itch to be in the Roman Yoke, will maintain, even tho’ the Pope be never so unwilling, that this is a Right which is Divine, and is join’d too with Obligation. But to lay aside the Masses without Communions, is to stop the main Spring of the Revenues of the Pontifical Kingdom; for these are the things which plentifully furnish the Kitchens of the Priests, and are not unfitly call’d the Priests Porridge-Pots. (3.) That the Doctrine of the Justification of a Sinner before God, which has been expounded before, be left to the mention’d Churches. But this is a thing that cannot be with Safety to the Revenues of the Papal Kingdom. (4.) To permit to the Pastors of the Protestants their Marriages in the manner aforesaid, and to declare them legitimate. By this Thesis the greatest Prejudice that can be is done to the Protestant Cause. Inasmuch as it is submitted to the Pleasure of the Pope to permit the Marriages of their Presbyters, or declare them legitimate which is to give him a Supream jurisdiction in the Church. (5.) That he would confirm and ratifie the Ordinations or Admittances to the Sacred Office, which have been hitherto made by the Protestants in such a manner as may be acceptable to both Sides, and can prejudice neither, and can render the People, as far as he can do it, satisfied concerning the Sacraments. Besides what has been said to the foregoing Thesis, this may be added, that the Romanists cannot with any Safety to their State consent to any acceptable manner of doing the thing here proposed. (6.) That the Protestant Princes and States of the Empire be so dealt with upon the Point of that Right and Authority, which they have, or pretend to, over the Clergy, and Sacred Things, by vertue of the Treaty of Passau, as that they may not oppose these Religious Endeavours for Peace, but may be willingly induced to contribute what they can towards promoting so happy a Work. These Things are obscure and ambiguous: But if I guess aright at the Meaning of them, it must be this; the Protestant Princes must be allur’d by the Pope to put themselves under his Dominion, by his yielding them the Ecclesiastical Revenues, and a Jurisdiction over the Priests, or by admitting them to the Benefices of other Ecclesiastical Jurisdictions, which they are not yet possess’d of. But so soon as the Protestants have upon this Condition acknowledg’d the Divine Authority of the Pope, he will find Means, by creating Scruples in their Consciences about the Matter, to bring them off at length, for their Ease and Quiet, and to put an end to Importunity and Trouble, to part with these Revenues again.
(§16.)These Things, if the Pope shall condescend to do, (observe the Phrase) the Doctors of the Protestants on their Side shall promise to him, (1.) That as the Bishop of Rome possesses the chief Place among all the Bishops of the Christian World, and so has in the Universal Church a Primacy of Order and Dignity, but in the Western or Latin Church he has a Primacy and Patriarchal Rights only by Positive Ecclesiastical Right, (but if he pretends to have more Power belonging to him by Divine Right, he must prove this from the Holy Scriptures in a Council to which he refer that Matter) so they will account him as such, and reverence him as the Supream Patriarch, or Prime Bishop, of the whole Church, and yeild to him due Obedience in Spiritual Matters.
It manifestly implies a Contradiction to assert that a Patriarchal Dignity belongs to the Pope by a Positive Humane Right, and yet that there is due to him from hence a Reverence and Obedience in Spiritual Matters. And besides, those Patriarchal Rights, which are said to belong to the Bishop of Rome, should be first distinctly stated before we may acknowledge them, which is a thing that ought not to be blindly done; tho’ without doubt the Pope would give them but little Thanks who should go about such a Business. But the Protestants Churches too have Reason to detest it as an unparallell’d Boldness and Presumption, that Offers of so great Importance should be made by Two Divines to the old Tyrant, whose Yoke they have with much ado made a Shift to shake off. Besides, it is the greatest Imprudence to grant such Things before a Council is held, to which the final composing of the Differences is to be referr’d, as by which the Liberty of the Protestants is prejudg’d, and before it does appear that the Pope will admit of reasonable Terms in a Council. Heretofore our Ancestors have gone so far, as to profess it might be yeilded by us to the Roman Bishop to have a Superiority over other Bishops, which he has otherwise by Humane Right, for the Peace and common Tranquility of those Christians, who at present are, or hereafter may be, under him, with whom it becomes other Christians, laying aside all Hatreds and Animosities, to maintain Peace: If he will allow of the Gospel, that is, if he will suffer us to believe that our Lord Jesus Christ died for our Salvation, and that no Man can be sav’d by his own Merits, or by any other way but by the Merit of his Passion. In a Word, if he would impose upon us no Sacrament, nor Principle of Faith, but what is taught in Holy Scripture, and was receiv’d by the ancient Church, as recommended by the Gospel. Our Ancestors offer’d something liberally enough through Fear; and because while they had not yet searched to the Bottom the Nature of the Papal Dominion, they had hopes, that in a Council to be call’d such gross Errours and Abuses would be amended. Which hopes are now, since the holding of the Council of Trent, utterly cut off. But there was also a Condition added, which the Pope could not possibly perform, unless he would suffer his Servants to be famish’d by the withdrawing of the Revenues. (2.) That they will not account those of the Romanists, who without Scruple of Conscience chuse to continue the Communion in one kind alone to be Hereticks, or erroneous in the Fundamentals, or as committing a Sin worthy of Eternal Damnation. I would willingly know how this maiming of the Sacrament can, without Scruple of Conscience, be endur’d; unless among those whose Minds are so blinded with the Antichristian Darkness, as to judge that the Commandments of Men may take place, and be preferr’d, before the Precept of Christ. (3.) That the Presbyters will be subject to their Bishops, the Bishops to Archbishops, and so on according to the Hierarchy receiv’d. This Subordination may very well be granted as a Humane Constitution; which is also in Use in some Protestant Churches.
(§17.)Both sides having sincerely promis’d and engag’d to each other, the Princes of Germany of both Religions (who while they profess the Romish Religion do account it a Wickedness for them to meddle in such Matters) shall be solicited by our Invincible Caesar, that each of them do send a Doctor or Two, Men eminent for Moderation, no less than for Learning, to the Convention, who shall give their Counsel about restoring an Ecclesiastical Union and Peace between the Romanists, and the Protestants. But the Case it self speaks that none ought to be sent by them, but such as have agreed to the manner of transacting the Affair, which must till then be kept Secret, or who are of like Sentiments with them who have agreed to this. But in my Opinion such an Assembly will never be brought together, and if it should be, it could have no good Effect.
(§18.)In this Assembly or Conference these Questions shall be examin’d (excepting those before excepted, which are suppos’d to be already agreed upon) which the differing Parties do, as yet, manifestly disagree, or not fully agree in; and it will appear that those are not of the same Kind, nor of the same Importance. For some of them depend upon the different Acceptation of their Terms; as for Instance, whether or no the Eucharist be a Sacrifice properly or improperly so call’d; and whether Matrimony be a Sacrament or no.
It must needs be that those Men have never but carelesly consider’d the Frame of the Pontifical Kingdom, if they believe that those Controversies depend entirely upon a different Acceptation of the Terms: When the former Question concerns a great Part of the Revenues, the other of the Authority and Jurisdiction of the Papacy. For on the former Question an infinite Trade of Masses, and that a very gainful one, does depend. And because Matrimony is accounted a Sacrament, all Matrimonial Cases, even of the greatest Importance, are by vertue of that Pretence drawn into the Ecclesiastical Court. Other Questions are so form’d, as that for the Love of Peace, the milder Sentence of the same Church may be embraced. The Love of Peace ought to be so govern’d, as that our Salvation and Liberty may not be thereby betray’d. It is better to have an open Contention and War, than be under a heavy Yoke, and enjoy a miserable Peace. For Instance, that the Bishop of Rome is not Antichrist. That this might be granted ’tis necessary to blot out of the Sacred Writings that Expression of our Saviour, My Kingdom is not of this World, and also many Expressions of St. Paul, and the whole Apocalypse of St. John. That a good Work is meritorious, which is perform’d by a justified Person through the Grace of the Holy Spirit; and tho’ it has no Intrinsick Dignity and Proportion to the Reward or Eternal Glory, yet there is in Mercy promised to it a Degree of Glory, and that does truly and properly follow well doing, &c. This Concession does not at all favour the Pope, with whom the meritorious Vertue of good Works is urg’d to enrich the Treasury of the Papal Kingdom. Other Questions are so form’d that they cannot possibly be decided. St. Aug. l. 3. against Julian, c. 3.23 says well, There are some Things about which the most Learned and best Defenders of the Catholick Rule cannot agree among themselves with Safety to the Connexion of the Faith. There will be no Difficulty about these Questions, provided there be no Gain depending upon them. Other Articles are in Truth controverted. As for Instance, Of Transubstantiation, and the keeping, carrying about, and Adoration of the Host, which depend on that; the Enumeration of Sins in private Confession: Of Purgatory, Prayers for the Dead, the Worship of Relicks, and the Image and Sign of the Cross: Of the Saints, the Number of the Books of Holy Scripture; the Compleatness, Reading, Plainness of Holy Scriptures: Of Traditions; of the Judge and Determiner of Controversies of Faith; of the Papal Power, or the Roman Bishop; of the Church of Rome, of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin, Festival Days, several Ceremonies, the Choice of Meats; and lastly, of Indulgences; which have given Occasion to the Reformation, as well as the Schism, in these Western Parts of the Church, &c.
(§19.)The Determination of these and other Articles, especially such as cannot remain undecided, without the Scandal of one Part or other, or without which a constant and lasting Ecclesiastical Union cannot be obtain’d, must be committed to some chosen Judges on both Sides who are eminent in Learning, Judgment, Piety and Moderation. Tho’ we should grant that such Men may be found, who besides that they have the foremention’d Dispositions, may be able to manage such an Affair without any Prejudice or Partiality, yet will the Pope never be brought to refer any of those Matters to an Arbitration. Besides, it must be known that Controversies about Matters of Faith are not of that Nature, as that they may be committed to the Decision of Arbitrators. As after the exhibiting of the Augustan Confession,24 and the contrary one of the Romanists, in the 30th Year of the foregoing Age,25 this Method of Transaction was begun to be entred upon, at which Time there was a great Appearance of an Agreement about not a few of the Controversies, and those not of the smallest Moment. Insomuch that David Chytraeus in his Chronicle of Saxony, l. 13.26writes, That from the beginning of these Controversies in Germany the Parties differing in Religion never before came nearer to one another, nor do they seem likely, even to the last Day of the World, to come nearer together. For of 21 Articles of the Augustan Confession, Fifteen were in a little time reconciled; Three were suspended to a general Council, and in Three only it was that a manifest Dissention still remain’d.
But if there were an Agreement then made at Auspurg of any Sort, it were Folly to believe that the Pope would suffer a Hair’s Breadth to be diminish’d of his Dominion, or of the receiv’d Principles; or that any thing would be done to secure the Protestants, unless they would altogether return to their ancient Yoke. For in all Cases, if any have withdrawn themselves from any Sort of Dominion, it is never safe for them to have any Confidence or Trust in their former Lord, but they must put themselves into a separate State, and so confirm themselves, as that they may be able to sustain and repel his Force with theirs. Or lastly, the Determination of the aforesaid Articles may be referr’d to a Council.
(§20.)But that Council ought to be (1.) Lawfully gather’d, and as general as the State of the Times will allow. (2.) That Council must not appeal to the Decrees of that of Trent,27or of any other, in which the Principles of the Protestants have been condemned. (3.) Neither may that Council be assembled till the Agreements are made, and all Things are fulfill’d which in this Writing it is suppos’d ought to be done, fulfill’d, and agreed. But before all Things, for satisfying the Minds of the People about the Sacraments, the Ordinations must, as hath been said above, be confirm’d: Yea, to accomplish an Universal Uniformity, and for the Preservation of Union with the Churches of the Roman Communion, the Pope must set up or confirm as Bishops in all the chief Cities of the Protestant Kingdoms and Provinces, those among the chief of the Protestant Superintendents, who shall be assign’d to this by the Kings, Princes or States, of the Protestants. But because according to the Canons ’tis not lawful for any but a Bishop to give his Vote in Councils, all the foremention’d Bishops of the Protestants united, as is abovesaid with the Romanists, must be call’d to this Council, and ought to be accounted, and to sit there as Judges, together with the Romanists, not to be cited as the Part to be judg’d.
Such Things as these may come together in a pleasing Dream, but can never be brought to pass in Effect. But if they could be effected, they would be the certain Ruin of the Protestant Churches.
(§21.)Such a Council must have the Holy Canonical Scripture both of the Old and New Testament for its Foundation and Rule of proceeding. For among the Things manifestly contain’d in Holy Scripture will be found all those Matters which belong to the Faith, or the Rule of good Living, as Augustine speaks, l. 2. Of the Christian Doctrine, c. 9.28And the same Holy Father does so prefer the Scripture before all the Epistles of later Bishops, as that it cannot be doubted or disputed concerning any thing which is agreed to be written in them, whether or no it be right and true. L. 2. Of Baptism, against the Donatists, c. 3.29
Thus indeed it ought to be. But the Romanists have given plain Specimens of what Esteem that Rule is with them in the Council of Trent, and other later Writings.
(§22.)The Words of Holy Scripture are to be understood in the first Place as the Mind of Man does naturally take them; the Scholastick Doctors would say as they lye, and as they sound; St. Hillary says, as the Force of the Expression requires. He is the best Reader of Scripture, says he, l. de Trin.30who expects to receive the Meaning or right Understanding of what is said there from the Expressions, rather than he does impose it upon them; and who fetches it from thence, rather than carries it thither. Further, the Protestants are willing to receive among the Means of interpreting Scripture, the Sence or Consent of the Ancient Church, and of the present Patriarchal Sees, so far as that Sence can be obtain’d, notwithstanding the Tyranny of the Turk, under which some of them live. For in the Interpretation of the Scriptures we may and ought to use with a grateful Mind the Labours of the Ancient and Modern Doctors of the Church.
Lawyers are wont to protest that they will not be oblig’d to a superfluous Proof; but our Reconcilers voluntarily charge themselves with a most operose and infinite Proof, the Consent of the Ancient Church, and that which they add of their own Heads, the Consent of the present Patriarchal Sees. Amongst which, since the See of Rome possesses the first Place, they herein give a great Authority to the Testimony of the Adverse Party, and do very plainly yield to the Pope the judging in his own Cause. And in general it must be said, we allow not the Sentence of any Church or See as infallible in defining the Sence of Scripture; but the Sence of Scripture being well establish’d from Scripture it self, we readily yield it may be illustrated by such a Consent.
(§23.)To these Means of interpreting Scripture there may be added a Lawful, Sedate, Learned, Disputation, and such as is entirely devoted to the finding of Truth. When a thing is rightly understood, and in the same Sence by both Parties (lest one should impose upon the other by Equivocation or Ambiguity) they must be commanded to prove by Canonical Scripture, and the Unanimous, Constant, Consent of the Antient Church. If the Affair be carried on after this manner, those that are not Pertinacious and Obstinate, but Pious, Prudent, Considerate, and well Dispos’d, (add also, and not possess’d with Prejudice, and whose Dignity, Power and Revenues, are not concern’d in the Dispute) will easily observe on which Side of the Controversie the Truth is placed, what may be prov’d, and what may not. The Words of St. Aug. (Cont. Epist. Fundament. c. 1.)31must be well observ’d; On both Sides let all Arrogance be laid aside. Let no Man say he has already found the Truth, if that be sought for as on both Sides unknown. For so it may be Diligently and with Concord sought, if none by a rash Presumption believe that it is already found and known. But the Protestants are in a miserable Condition if the Truth is at length to be sought for by such a Council.
(§24.)What might be propos’d here concerning the manner of holding such dispute, as whether it were best to be held in Council, or to be manag’d by Writings between them, this, with many other Things, are reserv’d for another Opportunity. Whatever is just and equal the Protestants will not be unready to allow, that they may in fact declare for themselves, that they are and will be most free from the guilt of Schism. But it is to me a Matter of great Doubt, whether or no the greatest Part of the Protestants would approve of these Things, and much rather whether the Romanists will ever admit of them. May the Great and Good God preserve us in Truth by the Holy Spirit, and make those of us acknowledge this who have not yet done so; and may He favourably Pardon those that are in Errour or Ignorance, for the sake of his only begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, Amen. Written by Command, &c. the 30th Day of March, An. 1683. saving in all Things the Judgment of the more learned, G. A. L. H. B. E. A. H. What is to be thought of this writing does sufficiently appear by what has been said, if indeed the Authors were serious in the thing. But if the same was conceiv’d to oppose and silence the importunate and ensnaring Sollicitations of some Popish Reconciler, then it may be taken a subtil Piece of Mockery. I shall here willingly insert the Opinion of Joachim Hildebrand, Superintendent of Cell,32 concerning this Debate, and the Things that are to be observ’d with Relation to it. When I consider how much Blood the Evangelical Liberty has cost us, I can never consent to an actual Communion with the Popish Church, unless she would Renounce the Errours of the Council of Trent, and the immense Authority of the Pope, that is, unless she would cease to be Popish. And therefore I look upon the Bishops meditated Pacification as a meer Delusion, by which it is endeavour’d to bring our Church under the Papal Yoke, and so under that of Antichrist, under pretence of giving us a temporal Liberty of Doctrine: And he allures us with the vain hope of Bishopricks, Canonicates, and Ecclesiastical Benefices, and I know not what Honours and Riches, who has none of these in his Power, as Satan tempted Christ, Mat. 4. I fear too, that the Princes will not be brought to submit their Necks to the Tyranny of the Pope, which was so intolerable to their Ancestors; or that they will not resign and yield the Episcopal Rights into the Hands of the Clergy, that the Pope, a Foreign Lord, may set up a new and distinct State within theirs, since ’tis manifest how tenacious of the Rights of Superiority in their several Territories Princes commonly are, the One or Two might at first reap some Advantage from thence. Freyheit vom Pabst und Pabsthum halt ich vor das beste und Sicherste; Freedom from the Pope and Popery, I held for what is best and securest. To this may be applied the Words in John 21. When thou hadst Power over thy self, thou didst gird thy self, but when subject to the Pope, another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldst not. Justly do the Footsteps of the Pope, and of our Ancestors, terrifie us. God grant you may be fill’d with Abhorrence of the Pope, was the wish of Luther. The Papists do not value a vertual Communion, and an actual one is at least morally Impossible without the Destruction of one Church or the other.
[12.]See section IV of the Introduction.
[13.]Oration 1 on peace by Gregory of Nazianzus (c. 325–89). This Doctor of the Church is recognized as one of the foremost orators of the ancient church. In 380 Gregory was appointed bishop of Constantinople, where he held the oration about peace. The following year he presided at the Council of Constantinople, which confirmed the orthodox Trinitarian position of the earlier Council of Nicea against the Arians.
[14.]The “Augustan,” or Augsburg, Confession of faith (1530) was designed to be relatively open to the Roman Catholic Church and to other reformed but non-Lutheran parties. It failed in that design but has remained the Lutheran confession of faith.
[15.]The Council of Trent (1545–63) aimed at a definitive statement of the doctrines of the Catholic Church in response to the Reformation. It also sought reform of the inner life of the Church.
[16.]The Treaty of Passau (1552) gave legal recognition to Protestantism in the German empire.
[18.]Robert Francis Romulus Bellarmine, De Potestate summi pontificis in rebus temporalibus adversus G. Barclay (On the Power of the Pope in Worldly Affairs) (Rome, 1610). Bellarmine (1542–1621), Jesuit theologian and cardinal, was an important political theorist of the Catholic Church.
[19.]Jacques Bénigne Bossuet (1627–1704), the most important French theologian of the time, took the lead in discussions about union of the churches.
[20.]See note 15.
[21.]Cesare Borgia (1476–1507), Italian soldier, politician, churchman, prince, and illegitimate younger son of Pope Alexander VI, traditionally seen as the model for Machiavelli’s The Prince.
[22.]See note 16.
[23.]Augustine, Against Julian of Eclanum, chap. 3.
[24.]See note 14.
[25.]The Council of Trent. See note 15.
[26.]David Chytraeus, Chronicon Saxonicae et vicinarum aliquot gentium: ab anno Christi 1500 usque ad 1593 (Chronicle of the Saxons and some neighboring peoples from 1500 to 1593) (Leipzig, 1593), book 1, chap. 13.
[27.]See note 14.
[28.]Augustine, De Doctrina Christiana (On Christian Doctrine), book 2, chap. 9.
[29.]Augustine, De baptismo contra Donatistas (On Baptism against the Donatists), book 2, chap. 3.
[30.]Hilary of Poitiers, De Trinitate (On Trinity), book 1.
[31.]Augustine, Contra epistolam Manichaei quam vocant fundamenti (Against the letter of Manichaeus called fundamental), chap. 1. This letter dates from 397.
[32.]Joachim Hildebrand (1623–97), Lutheran theologian. It remains unclear to which of his numerous theological writings Pufendorf refers here.