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it: how could they, all the while, be actually practising what they were entirely ignorant of, by avowing (according to our two veracious witnesses) good and sound Catholic Doctrines and Sentiments in public, and by denying those very Doctrines and Sentiments in private ?
IV. To these specimens of self-contradiction and inconsistency, many others, if requisite, might be added: but what has been already exhibited will abundantly shew the quality of the witnesses, upon whose sleeve Mr. Dowling implicitly pins his faith.
In the matter of the Paulicians, the circumstance of their forefathers having once been Manichèans was found too convenient a handle to be pretermitted, when a knot of troublesome reformers was to be dealt with, who rejected the worship of the cross, who denied the material presence of Christ's body and blood in the Eucharist, and who would believe nothing save what they read in Scripture. Manichèans they had been : and Manichèans, it was determined, they should be. Had they been converted from Manichèism to the idolatrous superstition of the dominant Church : all would have been well; and we should have heard nothing more of their Heresy. But, unluckily for such men as Peter and Photius, they were converted from Manichèism to Doctrines, which they drew direct from their exclusively perused Sacred Books, the four uncorrupted Gospels and the fourteen unadulterated Epistles of St. Paul. These, until they could add to their collection, as they subsequently did, the Acts and the Catholic Epistles of James and Jude and John, constituted their SOLE RULE OF FAITH.
Here was their true offence. No matter how they might deny the charge of Manichèism; no matter how they might express their honest detestation of the old Manichèan Heresiarchs; no matter how they might declare, that they had long since renounced, under the teaching of Holy Writ itself, the errors of their forefathers ; no matter how they might appeal to Scripture ungarbled and uninterpolated, as their enemies themselves confessed, through five whole centuries from their original reformation ; no matter how strict and holy might be their deportment, as again their enemies were constrained to admit; no matter how they might declare their full assent and consent to all the true Catholic
Doctrines of our Religion, such, for instance, as the Trinity and the Godhead of Christ and his Corporal Birth from the Virgin Mary : still, in the judgment of bigotry and prejudice and mortified pride and unmitigated hatred, the whole, as in the exactly similar case of the Albigenses, was insufficient. Their renunciation of Manes was a pretence; their faith was a figment, professed in public disowned in private : their holiness of conversation was mere hypocrisy, a convenient sheepskin (as Peter hath it) to cover the ravening and obscene wolf. They had denounced, from Scripture, the miserable superstition of the age; they had charged the Clergy with refusing the Holy Volume to the Laity, that so, by unconvicted perversion and omission, they might the more securely prevent them from attaining to the knowledge of the truth; they had declared, that the Laity, as well as the Clergy, ought to be diligent in the constant perusal of the Written Word, inasmuch as God will have all men (I cite their own precise statement) come to the knowledge of the truth and thus secure their eternal salvation : and this was quite enough to purchase the malignant hatred of an apostate and persecuting Priesthood.
V. For my own part, so far as I can judge from the now perfect evidence before me as exhibited in Mr. Dowling's Pamphlet; Mr. Dowling himself, when, to Photius and Peter of Sicily and Cedrenus, are added Theophanes and Georgius Hamartolus and the Anonymous Continuator of Theophanes and Josephus Genesius and Constantine Porphyrogennetus and Georgius Monachus and Joannes Zonaras and Anna Commena and Michael Glycas, having pronounced upon its perfection (Letter or Paulic. p. 9. note.): for my own part, I feel not a shadow of doubt as to the real character of the Paulicians ; and, exactly on the same fair and rational and english principle of cross-examination, I feel just as little doubt as to the real character of their equally calumniated successors the Albigenses. There is not one of the witnesses against them (and I
almost say, that I have sifted them by dozens), who does not break down under such a questioning as an intelligent Barrister would assuredly inflict upon an individual whose motives and integrity he more than suspected : and, when, against the inconsistent testimony of these corrupt accusers, we place the single honest evidence of Roger Hoveden, as to what, in a publicly delivered CONFESSION OF FAITH, the Albigenses, and thence (as we may safely infer) their indisputable ancestors the Paulicians also, really believed ; the question, I think, will at once be finally settled in the mind of every fair and unprejudiced inquirer. See Albig. confess. in Roger. Hoveden. Annal. fol. 319, as cited at full length in my Vallens. and Albig. book ii. chap. 9. § II. 1. (2.) p. 234, 235.
This important CONFESSION, with a trickery worthy of a Papist, Bossuet even when citing a portion of the passage in Hoveden where it occurs, actually suppresses !
Mr. Maitland, though I have not read his Work, has doubtless, I will venture to say, honestly produced it. The Benedictine Historian of Languedoc does not give it at large, as he ought to have done : but, at least, he mentions it; and, on the contested articles, namely, the articles wherein the Albigenses at Lombers were charged with manicheanising, he distinctly owns, that they spoke soundly, even as Catholics themselves would have spoken. Hist. Gener. de Langued. livr. xix. $ 2. vol. iii. p. 3, as cited in my Vallens. and Albig. p. 236, 237.
VI. With respect to Photius and Peter of Sicily, what opinion is to be entertained of the veracity of writers, who, when compelled to vouch for certain facts too notorious to be denied, strive to set aside or to nullify those facts, by surmises as to what was done in secret, by broad assertions of unproved duplicity, by allegations which stand even ludicrously self-contradicted ?
Mr. Dowling and his admirers are quite at liberty to form what estimate they please. For myself, relatively to Photius and Peter and their long train of servile Byzantine copyists, when, in defiance of their own stated FACTS, they charge the Paulicians with Manichèism, I hesitate not to say : Ego, his testibus, etiamsi juratis, qui tam manifesto fumos vendunt, me non crediturum esse confirmo.
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