網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

for if it be not, he will, by that means alone, be fafe from all the consequences of the excommunication ; which being unjust, cannot possibly fubfift, according to one of our maxims, laid down in another part of this discourse, and which we shall more and more confirm hereafter.

Now the consequence of all this is, that 'tis not an article of faith to believe that every excommunication is valid, because it makes a great noise, before it has pass'd the touchstone of a severe examination i since, as I have said elsewhere, excommunication being only the effect of human judgment, and by consequence subject to fallacy and delusion, if the judge has actually given into such delusion, it would be a wicked thing to suppose that God would approve of the mistake of oppressing one who is guilty only in appearance. Therefore, to prevent such delusion, 'tis not only lawful to examine, but also an appeal is allowable to make this examination in order, and canonically, as the true touchstone, that can fhew us the truth or falfhood of such sen-, tences.

[blocks in formation]

- C H A P. 1. Whether a fecular prince has a law· ful right to receive the clergy's

tenths, and to order what is ueful : to the fate, with respect to the

estates and persons of ecclefiaftics?? REfore I proceed to the particular examiD nation of the clergy's tenths, I would have us make some general reflections upon the right that secular princes have to exact the tenths of the estates of their lay-subjects, and to impose on them taxes, gabels, subsidies, tolls, doo. And before we enter into these conliderations, we ought to inquire how far a subject is oblig'd in conscience to obey his prince, and whether he fins by disobedience.

The first precept of the second table of the decalogue isto honour our father and mother. Now there is not a catholic expositor upon earth, but, by the words father and mother, understands and includes the spiritual and teniporal nobility in such a sense, that a man is oblig'd, by the divine law, to bonour his legal father, that is to say, his prince, or his prelate, as much as his carmal father, froni whom he derives his birth; unless it should be objected, that the ten comillundments are not universal, and that he,

who

who has not a father by blood alive, is only oblig'd to the observation of nine. But there is no body who has not either a father, or superior, in fone sense or other : In this case, every patient is inferior to his physician, every layman to his master; and even a prince, who has no superior in humanis, has his superior among the ecclesiastics. In short, the Pope, who has no superior in dignity, has his supęrior in some special cases, when, as a sinner, he makes confession to another, who, during his

function, is more a Pope than himself. Our • Lord Christ also, as man, had parents, on

whom he depended, who were consequently his superiors; and when the virgin Mary found him, after tedious search, the said unto him, Son, why hajt thou thus dealt with us? behold thy father and I have fought thee forrowing, She did not speak this by way of hyperbole, for she very well knew the divinity of her son, þoth by the revelation of the angel, and the inspiration of the Holy Ghost ; but she spoke after this manner, because Foseph was his father by adoption, as God was by nature; nioreover, the Evangelist adds, he was subject unto them. Formerly, a father by adoption had such authority over his adopted son, that he had a right to punish him, when he offended, as much as if he had been his own natural son. Therefore this necessity of subjection, or subordination, from which no person whatsoever is exempt, forms a kind of hierarchy, which

leads

leads us to the apprehension and acknowledge ment of the necessity of a first principal of all things that are in the world. Thus Dionysius the Areopagite, before he was enlightned by faith, said as much as it was possible for man, guided by natural reason alone, to say, Causa causarum miserere mei! i. e. O cause of causes have mercy on me!. Afterwards, when he had the good fortune to be instructed by St. Paul, with whom he disputed, he profess’d christianity, became the apostle of the Gauls, and was esteem'd one of the chief saints of the catholic Church. : It was therefore necessary to make this digression, to fhew that every body, from the lowest, even to the highest, has a superior in fome sense or other ; a consideration, which, by endless progression, brings us to the pillars of that divine Hercules, where is the non plus ultra of superiority and grandeur. Now, since every one has superiors, and that he is oblig'd to obey thofe fuperiors by the express command of God, it follows, by consequence, that every one ought, by virtue of the fame divine command, to pay obedience to his prince. Fear thoil the Lord and the king, says Solomon ; where, tho' he places the king in the fecond rank, he seems to mean, that the obligation of obedience to God and the king is in some fort equal. This is what I think all are agreed in ; but if I fhould go about to extend the obligation of fearing and honouring to

that

that of contributing, I apprehend that I should meet with some who would not be so ready to give into my opinion : Yer they are synonymous terms in the law of God. ?Tis said in the Proverbs, Honour the Lord with thy substance ; which fort of honour confifts in paying tribute or imposts; for to honour another with one's substance, cán mean nothing else than giving him a part thereof. 3. To pass from the text to the explication of it. We fay, that a prince is oblig'd, by divine authority, to defend his dominions, to protect his subjects, to procure them provifions, to guard then against contagions, malefactors, and public enemies, and to do them so many other offices, that a great man, who perfectly knew the heavy weight of government, faid, if ever he should happen to find a crown in his way, he would not so much as stoop to take it up from the ground. This being the case, 'tis but reasonable that the prince should be rewarded for all his fatigue, and that for this end, he should have the means in his own hands for obliging his subjects to grant him a supply towards his expences ; which means are taxes, tenths, and various forts of imposts, which he has the power of raising. 'Tis well known that the treasury resembles the spleen, which is nourish'd with a part of the aliment of the other members, and which, while it is in a certain state of mediocrity, preserves the body in health. Therefore 'tis equal

« 上一頁繼續 »