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Church, assembled from the different quarters of the Christian world, concurred unanimously in condemning the novelties broached by Luther and Calvin ; they explained the Catholic doctrine with the greatest perspicuity, and defined the articles of faith with the utmost precision. Many wholesome regulations were also framed for the reformation of manners, and the restoration of discipline. The Council of Trent was composed of 196 bishops. The History of the Council of Trent, by Fra-Paolo Sarpi, is replete with notorious slanders, and wilful misrepresentations. It has been solidly confuted by Cardinal Pallavicini, in his elegant history of this Council, composed from the original acts, kept in the Vatican Library, and communicated to him by order of Pope Alexander VII.
It is a common mistake amongst Protestants, to suppose that the Catholic laity are debarred the use of the Scriptures, and that the Catholic Church never authorises any translation of them into the modern languages. It is true, indeed, that the Council of Trent has declared the Latin translation, commonly called the Vulgate, when cleared from the mistakes of careless transcribers, an authentic version. The Council, however, never meant, by this decree, to give it any preference to the original texts, or to exclude other translations, when faithfully executed, either from the originals, or from this authentic version.
1 On the commendation of the Latin Vulgate, see the ablest Protestant critics, Lewis de Dieu, Drusius, Milles, Walton, Proleg. in Polyglot. &c. Cappell has adopted many readings of the Vulgate, in places where the modern MSS. of the Hebrew were corrupt.-Crit. Sacra. p. 351, 371.
The form of oath, abjuration, and declaration, which is taken and subscribed by all English Roman Catholics, as required by the British Parliament of 31st George III. and by all Roman Catholics in Scotland, as prescribed by 33d of his present Majesty, which relieved them from the penalties imposed by the 8th and 9th sessions of Ist Parliament of William III. is as follows:
“I A. B. do hereby declare, that I do profess the Roman Catholic religion: I A. B. do sincerely promise and swear, that I will be faithful, and bear true allegiance to his Majesty King George III. and him will defend, to the utmost of my power, against all conspiracies and attempts whatever, that shall be made against his person, crown, or dignity; and I will do my utmost endeavour to disclose and make known to his Majesty, his heirs and successors, all treasons and traitorous conspiracies which may be formed against him or them: And I do faithfully promise to maintain, support, and defend to the utmost of my power, the succession of the crown; which succession, by an act, entitled, An Act for the further Limitation of the Crown, and better securing the Rights and Liberties of the Subject, is, and stands limited to the Princess Sophia, Electress and Duchess Dowager of Hanover, and the heirs of her body, being Protestants ; hereby utterly renouncing and abjuring any obedience or allegiance unto any other person, claiming or pretending a right to the crown of these realms: And I do swear, that I do reject and detest, as an unchristian and impious position, that it is lawful to murder or destroy any person or persons whatsoever, for, or under pretence of their being hereties or infidels; and also that unchristian and impious principle, that faith is not to be kept with heretics or infidels: And I further declare, that it is not an article of my faith, and that I do renounce, reject, and abjure, the opinion, that princes excommunicated by the Pope and Council, or any authority of the see of Rome, or by any other authority whatsoever, may be deposed or murdered by their subjects, or any person whatsoever: and I do promise, that I will not hold, maintain, or abet any such opinion, or any other opinion contrary to what is expressed in this declaration: And I do declare, that I do not believe that the Pope of Rome, or any other foreign prince, prelate, state, or potentate, hath, or ought to have, any temporal or civil jurisdiction, power, superiority, or pre-eminence, directly or indirectly, within this realm: And I do solemnly, in the presence of God, profess, testify, and declare, that I do make this declaration, and every part thereof, in the plain and ordinary sense of the words of this oath, without any evasion, equivocation, or mental reservation whatever, and without any dispensation already granted by the Pope, or any authority of the see of Rome, or any person whatever, and without thinking that I am, or can be, acquitted before God or man, or absolved of this declaration, or any part thereof, although the Pope, or any other person or authority whatsoever, shall dispense with, or annul the same, and declare that it was null or void. So help me God."
Name.-The Emperor Charles V. called a diet at Spire, in 1529, to request aid from the German princes against the Turks, and to devise the most effectual means for allaying the religious disputes, which then raged in consequence of Luther's opposition to the established religion. And in this diet it was decreed by Ferdinand, Archduke of Austria, and other Popish princes, that in the countries, which had embraced the new religion, it should be lawful to continue in it till the meeting of a Council; but that no Roman Catholic should be allowed to turn Lutheran, and that the reformers should deliver nothing in their sermons contrary to the received doctrine of the church.
Against this decree six Lutheran princes, viz. John and George, the Electors of Saxony and Brandenburg, Ernest and Francis, the two Dukes
of Lunenburg, the Landgrave of Hesse, and the Prince of Anhalt, with the deputies of thirteen imperial towns, viz. Strasburg, Ulm, Nuremberg, Constance, Rottingen, Windseim, Memmingen, Nortlingen, Lindaw, Kempten, Heilbron, Wissemburg, and St. Gall, formally and solemnly protested, and declared that they appealed to a General Council; and hence the name of Protestants, by which the followers of Luther have ever since been known. Nor was it confined to them, for it soon after included the Calvinists, and has now of a long time been applied indiscriminately to all the sects of whatever denomination, and in whatever country they may be found, which have separated from the see of Rome; and these form the third grand division of Christians.
Rise, PROGRESS, &c.-The important period which was justly distinguished by the reformation of our religion, is not to be considered as the period when the principles then embraced first made their appearance. No; long, very long, had purity of doctrine and discipline slept beneath the overloaded ornaments and corruptions of the Church of Rome; but there was a time when that Church herself might have boasted of her primitive purity and freedom from error with other Churches of Christ, as far as that expression is compatible with human infirmity: and there never was a time, from the date of her first departure from sound principles, wherein there were not witnesses to the truth, or some, more or less, who withstood the corruptions and depravity of their respective ages, main