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church.” The synodal decision contains feally or obedience. This language is a direct and unmitigated avowal of the unequivocal, and supersedes, by its perdiabolical maxim, that no faith should be spicuity and precision, the necessity of kept with persons guilty of heresy or of any comment. rebellion against the popedom.
The fourih general council of the LateThe synod of Diamper, in India, is- ran, in 1215, issued an enactment of the sued a decision of the same kind. This
This infallible assembly, assembly, in 1599, under the presidency in its third canon, “ freed the subjects of of Menez, invalidated the oaths that those such sovereigns as embraced heresy from Indian Christians had taken against their fealıy."* The temporal lord, who changing Syrianism for Popery, or re- refused to purify his dominions from heceiving their clergy from the Roman retical pollution, not only forfeited the pontiff instead of the Babylonian patri- allegiance of his vassals, but his title to arch. Such obligations the holy coun- his estate, which, in consequence, might cil pronounced pestilential and void, and be seized by any orthodox adventurer. the keeping of them an impiety and te- Heresy, therefore, according to this unmerity. * The saered synod, in this man- erring congress, rescinds the obligation ner, could, by a skilful use of their spiri- of fidelity, cancels the right of properly, tual artillery, exterminate obligations and and warrants the violation of faith. oaths by wholesale.
The general council of Lyons absolved The encouragement to faithlessness the Emperor Frederic's vassals from their and perjury was not confined to provin- oath of fealiy.t The synod, in their cial synods, but extended to universal own way, convicted the emperor of councils
. Six of these general ecclesi- schism, heresy, and church-robbery. astical conventions patronized, in word His criminality, therefore, according to or deed, by precept or example, viola- the unerring council, warranted a breach tion of engagements and breach of trust. of faith, and a dissolution of the subject's These were the universal councils of the oath of obedience. Innocent, who preLateran, Lyons, Pisa, Constance, and sided on the occasion, represented himBasil.
self as the viceroy of heaven, on whom The third general council of the Late- God, in the person of the Galilean fishran, superintended by Alexander and erman, had conferred the keys of his clothed with infallibility, taught this prin- kingdom, and vested with the power of ciple in word and deed. The unerring binding and loosing. The council confathers, in the sixteenth canon, styled curred with the pontiff. The pope and " an oath contrary to ecclesiastical utility, the prelacy, says Paris, “ lighted tapers not an oath, but perjury." The pon- and thundered, in frightful fulminations, tiffs
, whose province it is to explain oaths against his imperial majesty.” The tesand vows, always confounded ecclesiasti- timony of Paris is corroborated by Pacal utility with pontifical aggrandizement. duan, Nangius, and Henry. Obligations, therefore, which militated The general council of Pisa imitated against the interest or grandeur of the those of the Lateran and Lyons. This Papacy, soon hastened to their dissolu- assembly, in its fisteenth session, released tion. The Lateran convention, in its all Christians from their oath of fidelity twenty-seventh canon, exemplified its 10 Benedict and Gregory, and forbade all own iheory, and disengaged, from their men, notwithstanding any obligation, to oath of fidelity, the vassals of the barons obey the rival pontiffs, whom the holy and lords who embraced or protected the fathers, by a summary process, convicted heresy of Albigensianism. These prin- of perjury, contumacy, incorrigibility, ces patronized heresy, and their subjects, schism, and heresy.I 'The sacred synod, therefore, were not bound to keep faith with such sovereigns, or to yield them
Bin. 8. 807. Labb. 13. 934. + Labb. 14.52. Binn. 8.852. Paris 651,652.
Giannon, XVIII. 3. • Cossart, 6. 51.
Labb. 15. 1138. Alex. 24. 573. Dachery, † Pith. 110. Labb. 13. 426. Gibert. 3. 504. 1.847.
Labb. 13. 431.
in this instance, assumed the power of synod, in its forty-first session, annulled dissolving sworn engagements, and of and execrated all conventions and oaths, warranting all Christendom to break saith which might militate against the freedom with two viceroys of heaven, who, ac- and efficiency of the pending election. cording to the synodal sentence, were This council's treatment of Huss and guilty of schism and heresy.
Jerome constituted the most revolting inThe general council of Constance, on stance of its treachery. The martyrdom this topic, outstripped all competition, of these celebrated friends, indeed, was and gained an infamous celebrity, in re- one of the most glaring, undisguised, and commending and exemplifying treachery, disgusting specimens of perfidy ever ex. the demolition of oaths, and unfaithful- hibited to the gaze of an astonished world, ness to engagements. The holy assem- or recorded for the execration of posterity. hly having convicted John, though a John Huss was summoned to the city of lawful pope, of simony, schism, heresy, Constance on a charge of heresy. His infidelity, murder, perjury, fornication, safety, during his journey, his stay, and adultery, rape, incest, sodomy, and a few his return, were guaranteed by a safe
RETURN other trifling frailties of a similar kind, conduct from the Emperor Sigismund, deposed his holiness, and emancipated addressed to all civil and ecclesiastical all Christians from their oath of obedience governors in his dominions. Huss obey. 10 his supremacy." His infallibility, in ed the summons. Plighted faith, howthe mean time, notwithstanding his si. ever, could, in those days, confer no mony, schism, heresy, perjury, murder, security on a man accused of heresy. incest, and sodomy, exercised his pre- Huss was tried and condemned by an rogative of dissolving oaths as well as the ecclesiastical tribunal, which, in its holy council. The holy fathers had sworn to zeal, “ devoted his soul to the insernal conceal from the pontiff their plans for devils," and delivered his body to the his degradation. The trusty prelacy, secular arm; which, notwithstanding the however, notwithstanding their obligation imperial promise of protection, and in de10 secrecy, revealed all, during the night, fiance of all justice and humaniiy, comto his holiness. John, by this means, mitted the victim of its own perfidy lo had the satisfaction of discovering the the flames.* This harbinger of the Remachinations of his judges, and of induc- formation suffered martyrdom with the ing the infallible bishops to perjury. The emperor's safe-conduct in his hand. He pontiff
, however, by his sovereign autho- died as he had lived, like a Christian rity, and by the power of the keys, soon hero. He endured the punishment with disannulled these obligations, and deliver- unparalleled magnanimity, and, in the ed the perjured traitors, who composed triumph of faith and the exstacy of divine the sacred synod, from their oath of se- love, “sung hymns to God," while the crecy. The pontiff showed the council, mouldering flesh was consumed from his that he could demolish oaths as well as bones, till the immortal spirit ascended his faithless accusers, who "represented from the funeral pile and soared to heathe whole church and had met in the ven.t spirit of God."
Jerome, also, tre panned by the mockThe Constantians, in the twentieth ery of a safe-conduct from the faithless session, freed the vassals of Frederic, synod, shared the same destiny. This Duke of Austria, from their oath of feally. man, distinguished for his friendship and The thirty-seventh session was distin- eloquence, came to Constance, for the guished by disentangling all Christians generous purpose of supporting his early from their oath of fidelity, however taken, companion, and died with heroism, in to Pope Benedict, and forbidding any to the fire which had consumed his friend. obey him on pain of the penalty annexed Huss and Jerome, says Eneas Sylvius, to schism and heresy. I 'The sacred afterward Pope Pius the Second, " dis
* Alex. 24. 620.
Coss. 4. 81. Labb. 16. 309, 681, 714.
• Lenfan, 1. 409.
+ Moreri, 4. 221. Hist. da Wicklif. 2. 127, 128.
covered no symptom of weakness, went mund's breach of faith, and, by this to punishment as to a festival, and sung means, became partakers in his perfidy. hymns in the midst of the flames and But Huss, says Murray, suffered in without interruption till the last sigh." Constance, a free city, over the laws of
Doctor Murray, titular Archbishop of which Sigismund had no control. The Dublin, has, in his examination before emperor, he concludes, could not have the British Commons, endeavoured, by prevented the Constantian act of faith. his usual misrepresentations and sophis- 'This is another shameful misrepresentatry, to exculpate Sigismund and the synod tion. The bishop, in his statement, from the imputation of faithlessness. The breaks faith with history as much as the task was Herculean, but the bishop's emperor did with Huss. The emperor arguments are silly. Murray, like Phæ- made no atteinpt to oppose the synod. ton, failed in a bold attempt.' The impe. His majesty, on the contrary, protested, rial safe-conduct, says the doctor, follow- that rather than support the heresiarch in ing Becanus, Maimburg, and Alexander, his error and obstinacy, he would kindle was only a passport, like those granted to the fire with his own hands. The sentence, travellers on the European continent, 10 accordingly, was executed by imperial hinder interruption or molestation on the authority. The council consigned the way: but, by no means, to prevent the prisoner to the emperor, and the emperor execution of justice, in case of a legal to the Duke of Bavaria, who delivered conviction. The archbishop's statement him to the executioner. * Sigismund, it is as faithless as the emperor's safe-con- appears, possessed power; but instead of duct or the synod's sentence. The em- using it for the protection of Huss, he peror's promised protection to Huss, exerted it for his punishment. He could "extended, not only to his going and stay, not, indeed, have annulled the prisoner's but also to his RETURN.” The return of sentence of heresy; but he could have this victim of treachery was intercepted granted him life and liberty, till the expiby the fagot and the stake, trying obsta- ration of his safe-conduct, as Charles V. cles, indeed, but good enough for a here- did to Luther. tic. The emperor's safe-conduct, says But the council's sanction of the oaththe Popish author of the history of Wick: annulling and faith-violating system deliffism, “ was, in its terms, clear, general, pends, by no means, on the contents of absolute, and without reserve.”+
the emperor's safe-conduct or his treatThe council was accessory to the em- ment of Huss. Murray, if he even could peror's treachery. The safe-conduct, in- have vindicated Sigismund, would have deed, was not binding on the Constantian effected just nothing with respect to the clergy. These were not a parly to the council. The holy ruffians, at Conagreement, and possessed, at least, a stance, avowed the shocking maxim with canonical and admitted power of pro- fearlessness and without disguise, both nouncing on the theology of the accused. by their deputation to the emperor and An ecclesiastical court was the proper by their declarations in council. tribunal for deciding an ecclesiastical The deputation sent to the emperor, question. The Constantian fathers, there for the purpose of concerting a plan for fore, according to the opinion of the age, the safely and convenience of the counmight, with propriety, have tried the cil's future deliberations, maintained this Catholicism of Huss, and, on evidence, principle. These gave his majesty to declared him guilty of heresy and obsti- understand, that the council had authority nacy. But this did not satisfy the holy to disengage him from a legal promise, synod, who advised and sanctioned Sigis- when pledged to a person guilty of here
sy. This is attested by Dachery, an eye
witness, in his German history of the • Moreri, 4. 232. Sylv. c. 36. Hist. du Constantian council. The deputation, Wicklif. 2.
† Alexander, 25, 258, 260. Moreri, 4. 232. Do Pin, 3. 92. Histoire du Wicklifianisme, • Lenfan. 1. 82, 318. Du Pin, 3. 94. Bruy. 98. Maimb. 215. Com. Rep. 659.
4. 66. Hist. du Wicklif. 126.
says this historian, “ in a long speech, obligations, can be any protection to perpersuaded the emperor, that by decreial sons convicted of heresy. Persons, susauthority, he should not keep faith with pected of defection from the faith, may a mán accused of heresy.”.
."** Nauclerus, be tried by the proper ecclesiastical who lived shorily after ihe council, testi- judges, and, if convicted and persisting fies nearly the same thing. The empe- in error, may be punished, though they ror himself entertained this opinion of the attended the tribunal relying on a safedeputation’s' sentiments. His majesty, conduct, and otherwise would noi bave addressing Huss at his last examination, appeared."* This declaration, it is plain, declared that some thought he had no contains a formal sanction of the atro. right to assord any protection to a man cious principle. convieted or even suspected of heresy." Alexander, followed by Murray, CrotThe deputation, on this occasion, mustly, and Higgins, endeavours to vindicate have known and represented the opinion the council and the emperor, by distriof the synod, which acquiesced, without buting the condemnation and execution any contradiction, in this statement, and 'of Huss between the synodal and royal which, had the emperor been mistaken, authority.t The council, in the exercise should have corrected the error. Huss of its ecclesiastical jurisdiction, convictwas a victim to the malevolent passions ed the accused of heresy, and the empeof the council, and the superstition and ror, according to the laws of the state, perfidy of the emperor.
executed the sentence. Both, therefore, The faith-violating maxim was avowed, were clear of all imputation of perfidy. not only by the deputation, but also by This is a beautiful specimen of Shanthe council. The infallible assembly, dian logic and easuistry. The learned boldly, roundly, and expressly declared, doctors had studied dialectics in the that “no faith or promise, prejudicial to above-mentioned celebrated school. An Catholicism, was to be kept with John action, according to Tristram, which, Huss by natural, divine, or human law." I when committed entirely by one, is sinPrejudicial to Catholicism, in this case, ful, does, when divided between two, could signify no infraction on the faith of and perpetrated partly by one, and partly the church; but merely the permission of by the other, become sinless. Two laà man, convicted of heresy, to escape · dies, accordingly, an abbess and Margawith his life. Faith, therefore, accord- rita, wished to name a word of two syling to the council, should be violated lables, the pronunciation of which by one rather than allow a heretic to live. The person would have been a crime. The synod of Basil, however, and the diệt.of abbess, therefore, repeated the first, and Worms, thought otherwise, when they Margarita, by her direction, the last sylsuffered the Bohemians and Luther, under lable; and by this means, both evaded all the protection of a sase-conduct, to with. criminality. Alexander, Murray, Crotdraw from the council, and the diet, and ty, and Higgins, in like manner, partireturn in safety to their own country. stion the breach of faith between the coun
The sacred synod, unsatisfied with this cil and the emperor, the church and state, frightful declaration, issued, in its nine- the ecclesiastical and civil law, and by teenth session, another enactment of a this simple and easy process, exculpate similar kind, but expressed in more gene- both from all blame or violation of faith. ral terms, and capable of more extensive Breach of trust, it seems, loses, in this application. According to these patrons way, its immorality, and is transformed of perfidy, “no safe-conduet, disadvan- into duty. Some people, however, un.. tageous to the faith or jurisdiction of the acquainted with the new system of Shanchurch, though granted by emperor or dian dialectics, may suppose that this king, and ratified by the most solemn
* Labbeus, 16.301. Alex. 25. 255. Crabb.
2. 1111. • Lenfant, 1. 82.
† Alex. 25. 256. Murray, 660. Crotty, 88. † Hard. 4. 397. Lenfant, 1. 492.
Higgins, 271. # Labbeus, 16. 292.
# Tristram Shan. c. 25.
learned distinction, instead of excrimi- to blush with his predecessor."* The nating each, only.rendered both guilty. Elector Palatine supported the emperor;
'The faithlessness of the council and and their united authority defeated the the emperor has been adinitted by Sigis. intended design of treachery. mund, the French clergy, the Diet of 'The councils of Basil and Trent, in Worms, and the infallible councils of the safe conducts granted to thé BoheBasil and Trent. Sigismund, on one oc: mians and Germans, admitted the same casion, seemed sensible of his own infa- fact. The Basilians, in their sase-conduct my. His majesty accordingly blushed to the Bohemians, disclaimed all intenin the council, when Huss appealed to tion to fallacy or deception, open or the imperial pledge of protection. I came' concealed, prejudicial to the public faith, to this city, said the accused to the as- founded on any authority, power, right, sembled fathers, " relying on the pnblic law, canon, or council, especially those faith of the emperor, who is now pre- of Constance or Sienna. The 'I'rentine sent;" and, . whilst he uttered these safe-conduct to the German Protestants words, she looked steadfastly in the face is to the same effect. Both these docuof Sigismund, who, feeling the truth of ments, proceeding from general councils, the reproach, blushed for his own base- reject, for themselves, the Constantian
Conscious guilt and shame precedent of treachery, and, in so doing, crimsoned his countenance, and betrayed grant its existence. . the inward emotions of his self-condemn- The general council of Basił copied the ed soul
. His blash was an extorted and bad example, issued at the Lateran, at Lyunwilling acknowledgment of his per- ons, Pisa, and Constance. This unerring fidy. The emperor, it is plain, not- assembly, in its fourth session, invalidated withstanding modern advocacy, thought all oaths and obligations, which might himself guilty.
prevent any person from coming to the The French clergy, according to De' council. $ Attendance at Basil, it was Thou, urged the Constantian decision as :: alleged, would tend to ecclesiastical utilia precedent for a similar act of treache-, ty, and to this end, even at the expense ry.t 'The French, according to Gibert, of perjury, every sacred and sworn enafterward, in temporizing inconsistency, gagement had to yield. The sacred sydeprecated the infringement of the impe-nod, in its thirty-fourth session, deposed rial saleguard, by which capital punish. Eugenius for simony, perjury, schism ment was inflicted on a man, to whom and heresy, and absolved all Christians had been promised sasety and impunity, from their sworn obedience to his supreThe French, in these instances, varied macy. The pontiff was guilty of heteroindeed with the times on the subject of doxy, and, therefore, unworthy of good breaking trust, and exemplified the fluc- faith, and became a proper object of tuations which occur even in an infallible treachery. The holy fathers, in the thircommunion. The French clergy, how.. !y-seventh session, condemned and anever, in both cases, both in their urgency nulled all compacts and oaths which and deprecation, concurred in ascribing might obstruct the election of a sovereign perfidy to the Constantian congress. pontiff. This was clever, and like men
Thé Diet of Worms, or, at least, a determined to do business. party in that assembly, pleaded the pre- This maxim, in this manner, prior to cedent of synodal and imperial treachery the Reformation, obtained general recepat the Constantian assembly, in favour of tion in the Popish communion. The breaking faith with Luther. This show. Roman hierarchs, as the viceroys of heaed their opinion of the council. Charles ven, continued, according to interest or V. however, possessed more integrity than Sigismund, “and was resolved not Lenfant, 1. 404.
† Bin. 8. 25. et 9. 398. Craþb. 3. 17. Labb.
17. 244. et 20. 120. • Lenfan. 1. 403.
# Alex. 25. 321. Crabb. 3. 19. | Thuanus, 3. 524. Gibert, 1. 106.
& Labb. 17. 391. Crabb. 3. 107. # Paolo, 1. 28.
I Crabb. 3, 109. Labb. 17. 395.