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money was extorted; but while their poor families were kept from starving by the bounty of Protestants, and while they were giving part of that bounty to the chapel collectors, it was in fact the Protestants who were contributors to the building. I have before me the case of a poor Papist woman, who received regular supply from the late subscription fund. The elder who supplied her, learned that she had a child, and could not get it baptized because she was two or three shillings in arrears. She was told that the money she received from the elder was not to be given to the priest, but to purchase food for herself and family. Notwithstanding, she found means to pay up all, and to pay for the baptism too; the whole charge amounting to three shillings and ninepence.
However much a poor person might have paid while in health, though he had given every farthing he could possibly save for the building,—when he came to be unable to work, he was left to starve or to beg. A friend states to me a case that came within his own knowledge, of a poor old man who had paid liberally while the chapel was a-building, but being struck with a palsy, he was rendered unable to do any thing for himself. He was supplied by some humane persons, one of whom advised him to go to his priest, and gave him letter to him; but, alas! there was nothing to be had there. The priest was deaf to all his entreaties, and he might have starved for any thing he would do for him.
Í have more facts at the service of Mr. Scott, if he shall think these insufficient to confirm my assertion. But I shall conclude this number by asking him some questions, to which I hope he will write an answer; and if he does so, I will readily give it a place in The PROTESTANT. Indeed, it is my earnest desire that he would defend himself and his cause; for that is in danger of becoming a tame controversy that is all on one side. I ask Mr. Scott, whether he did not, on a certain day, denounce some of his people by name, before his whole congregation, for falling behind in the weekly impost?—if he did not pronounce very awful curses against the unhappy individuals, and threaten to consign their souls to everlasting punishment, if the money was not paid ? I ask, if he did not refer to others, besides those whom he named, as also in arrears, and threaten them with similar judgment, if they did not speedily pay? I request Mr. Scott to answer these questions; and say whether or not such anathemas have proceeded from his lips, and whether he thinks cursing his people be the duty of a minister of the gospel of peace?
CONTINUATION OF THE SUBJECT OF LAST NUMBER. REFLECTIONS ON GIVING COUNTE
NANCE TO POPISH WORSHIP.
SATURDAY, September 19th, 1818. I HOPE the facts which I gave in my last number, are sufficient to confirm what I wrote on the subject of money being extorted from poor persons, for the purpose of building the popish chapel; and I hope that these facts have convinced every reader, that popery is a
system of cruelty, as well as of error and superstition. Depriving poor persons of their means of subsistence,-taking the bread out of ihe mouths of their children, for the purpose of adorning what they foolishly call the house of God, was, however, only a small part of the evil. There is much wickedness in depriving the poor of any temporal comfort, which they may have honestly acquired by the labour of their hands; but this is not to be compared with the wickedness of swindling them out of their everlasting salvation. Yet such is the case. The poor Papists in Glasgow, and I suppose it is not worse with then than with others of that communion, are actually deceived and ruined by their ghostly leaders. They are taught, that by giving money for the building and adorning a sacred edifice, they are doing a meritorious work—a work that will be availing in the day of judgment, and that will deliver their souls from everlasting punishment.
I have, indeed, no direct evidence that this doctrine is publicly taught from the popish pulpit in Clyde street. I have evidence enough to prove, that the demerit of not paying the chapel tax, is taught from that pulpit—that, in fact, to fall behind in any payment that the priest may impose, is such demerit as to incur everlasting punishment. I might infer from this, in connexion with the well known doctrine of Rome, respecting the merit of good works, that the opposite of not paying, that is, paying freely and cheerfully, is meritorious, and will secure the salvation of him who pays his dues punctually. But, perhaps, it would not be fair to charge them with this, without further evidence. I know that demerit in an action does not necessarily infer merit in its opposite. But in point of fact, I know that merit has been attached to the payment of the chapel tax; and such merit too, as served to remove the fear of death, and to give confidence in the prospect of the last judgment. Mr. Scott knows better than I do, how far his preaching was calculated to cherish such a sentiment; and it is certain, that AMICUS VERITATIS considers the chapel as a monument of the " piety of the Catholics in Glasgow." I suppose he will maintain that piety is a meritorious thing; and, therefore, those who paid most liberally and most cheerfully, were the most pious, the most meritorious, and, of course, the best entitled to the salvation of their souls.
The following case will illustrate this point :-A poor woman in the Gorbals was found by the surgeon who attended her, to be in a dying state. He called her husband aside, and mentioned his apprehensions to him. The patient overheard part of what he was saying, and called upon him to tell, in her hearing, what he thought of her case, assuring him she was not afraid to die. The surgeon then told her that he did think her dying, and asked what it was that made her not afraid of death? She told him what was the ground of her hope;and what was it? Why, she had paid regularly ninepence a week for the chapel, ever since the foundation of it was laid, and, therefore, she had nothing to fear. It is possible, that an ignorant person of another communion might speak in the same style, and might rest her hope of salvation on something that she had done; but while such an idea would be condemned by all true Protestants, the church of Rome cherishes and inculcates the doctrine of human merit; and teaches its blinded adherents to purchase salvation for themselves. I know no greater wickedness than this. The murderer who forfeits his life to the laws of his country, is innocent in comparison of the priest who murders immortal souls, by teaching them that their doings, or their givings, will contribute to their salvation.
The chapel having been finished with all its decorations, external and internal, duly consecrated, and opened for public worship, the poor people might reasonably have expected that they would be relieved from their burdens; but if they did cherish such an expectation, they must feel themselves miserably disappointed. I have been informed, and my informant had it from one of themselves, that they are still obliged to pay so much a week towards the building of a fine house for their ghostly father. The whole flock are rated for this purpose according to their ability; from ten shillings to threepence a week. There must be few of them who can pay the first mentioned sum, and, therefore, the principal part of the money must be raised from the poor and the labouring part of the people.
I will probably be asked, What is this to me, or to the public ? May not the Papists, as well as other people, do what they will with their own? Most certainly, if it were their own; and if they gave it voluntarily: but this, in many instances, is not the case. Poor persons must pay what is imposed upon them, whether they have it or not; then they apply to their Protestant neighbours to keep them from starving, and to pay for the education of their children. The chapel, in this respect, has become a public nuisance. The labouring poor among them, finding that they were not allowed to apply the fruits of their labour to their own use, or dispose of them at their own pleasure, but that the harder they laboured, and the more they earned, they had so much the more to pay to their priest, would, of course, feel little encouragement to persevering industry: they were deprived of that independence of mind, and that control over their own property, which are the main springs of industry; and would naturally sink down into the rank of paupers. And, indeed, a large proportion of them are paupers; and they are extremely tenacious of their right to obtain supply from the town's hospital. AMICUS VERITATIS felt very indignant at my comparing this building to the chapel, as equal in point of holiness, while, in fact, the hospital has done more good to his poor brethren, within the last five years, than the chapel is likely to do for a hundred years to come.
I see by a table published in the newspapers of last week, that there are also twenty-nine of them upon the poor's roll of the parish sessions. It would be worth the elders' while to inquire how much of the supply granted has gone, through them, into the funds of the chapel. It certainly cannot have been a large sum, but if it has been a single shilling, the church of Scotland has been contributing unwittingly to the support and propagation of popery.
Protestants have good right to complain of the manner in which money is extorted from the poor Papists, when they find themselves called upon both to feed and to educate them. What need was there for such a splendid and costly edifice for a place of worship? What need is there for a manse, or priest's house, of such magnificence, that it might serve as a mansion-house for the lord provost? How is it that Papists can find money for such extravagance, while they could not, till of late, find a shilling to pay the expense of teaching their children the alphabet ? Protestants must teach them, and feed them, while they are bestowing the fruits of their labour, and sometimes the bounty of their benefactors, for the support of an establishment much more splendid than most Protestants can pretend to.
I am persuaded there is something more in view than the accommodation of one or two bachelors; and that, when the fine house is finished, the people will be as far as ever from being relieved of their burdens. Some animals are said to be very harmless till they have tasted blood, but are ravenous ever after; so our popish leaders, having found how sweet it is to draw money from the pockets of their people, will not likely give up the practice; they will continue and increase their exactions to the uttermost: but they must have a pretext; they must have some godly work to prosecute, for which they must have the contributions of the people. They will never be at a loss for this. They will have a colony of Jesuit priests, fresh from their college in Lancashire,* settled in Clyde street. They will have masses said in their chapel every day, perhaps every hour. The people will be compelled to hear these masses, and to pay for them, as much at least as they are now paying weekly, for the house. If the priests cannot make use of all the money thus extorted, they will send it to their brethren in other places, to build chapels, to support priests, and, in short, to propagate idolatry and superstition through the whole kingdom.
* “We have already intimated, that a large Jesuit college at this moment exists in the very heart of the British dominions. The place where this innovation on Protestant discipline, and this experiment on Protestant forbearance, were to be tried, was Stonyhurst, near Preston, in Lancashire; where, for thirty years past, this powerful order has possessed a spacious college, amply provided with all the machinery of Jesuitism. The studies of the place are said to be conducted upon the same system with those of the Roman Catholic universities abroad; and there are regular professors in all the usual branches of scientific and scholastic education." “ To the college are attached more than a thousand acres of land, which the Jesuits keep in their own hands, and farm under the direction and management of one of their members. In addition to the produce of the land, which is consumed in the college, the Jesuits, by means of large purchases, from the neighbouring farmers and others, extend their influence, and with it their faith through the whole surrounding country. Conversion of Protestants, and Roman Catholic instruction, are provided for, on a scale the most extensive and complete ; and the success of the experiment, we are sorry to say, has been fully equal to the preparations.” “By their exertions, popery has alarmingly increased in the Duchy. It is certain thai, whereas before their arrival there was not, perhaps, half a score Papists about Stony hurst, the greater part of the population in that vicinity, to the amount of some thousands, are now become such; and the principal Jesuit priest of Preston is said to have made a boas
oast, that when he came to the place a little more than twenty years ago, a small room would have accommodated his whole congregation, whereas now, two large chapels, which have been since erected, and are each capable of containing two thousand, are not sufficient for their converts.” “It is a fact, that these men have regularly and systematically preached for years past in the populous town of Preston, against the English church and faith; while, it is said, that even the booksellers of the town are afraid publicly to expose for sale any books against popery, though there is a bookseller in the town, whose windows and shops are covered with Anti-Protestant publications. The Jesuits literally exert an ascendancy over a considerable number of the clergy and magistracy in the neighbourhood, and boast among their patrons and allies, names of considerable influence and respectability."--British Review, as quoted by Cunninghame.
If popery were Christianity, I should rejoice in its propagation. If the priests of Rome were employed in showing men the way of salvation by free grace, through the righteousness of a crucified Saviour : if they were labouring to instruct and edify those who believe in him;
-if they were themselves examples of being dead to the things of this world, and alive to those of another;—if they were, in short, like the apostles of Christ, whose successors they profess to be, I should contemplate no danger, but much benefit to society, from the increase of their number. But every one acquainted with the subject knows, that the reverse of this is the case. Popery is not Christianity, but the counterfeit of it. It is Antichrist; that is, against Christianity. The priests of that religion are not employed in preaching salvation by free grace, but by the merit of men's own doings; they are not labouring to instruct the people, but to keep them in ignorance; and instead of being, like the apostles, dead to this world, and alive to another, their greatest efforts are directed to the things of this world: how they may extort money from their deluded adherents, and how they may promote the reign of ignorance and error. The propagation of this religion, therefore, and the multiplication of its priests, are evils to be deprecated as much as the introduction of the plague into the country. They are the pests* of human society; and wherever they shall obtain a footing, farewell to every social and domestic comfort.
But how, it will be asked, can we prevent the increase of popery? I confess I know no way, but that of promoting the knowledge of real Christianity among the people; and forbearing to give any countenance or encouragement to popish ceremonies and worship. Some will perhaps be surprised that I should speak of promoting the knowledge of real Christianity among the people of a Christian country ; but their surprise would cease, if they would consider the real state of the people in general, with regard to religious knowledge. They are not all Christians who are called Christian ; and those who are Christians only in name, are in the greatest danger of taking up with any counterfeit of Christianity that may be artfully imposed upon them, or that may soothe and quiet their consciences, while they continue to live in sin. Popery is exactly such a religion as persons of this description are prepared to embrace.
Without going further from home, I shall suppose one to make the following experiment: Let him go to the green of Glasgow, on a Sabbath evening: among the hundreds of men and women whom he will see there, he will not find one in ten who can give him a proper answer to the simple question-What is real Christianity ? or, What is the gospel of Christ? Yet these are all Christians in their own esteem, and would be affronted should any one refuse them the name. Let him make a more extensive survey: let him go through all the parishes in Scotland: let him even make his inquiries of the people whom he meets coming from church on a Sabbath day: he will, no
• Perhaps some will consider this the language of abuse. It is, however, no more than plain truth: and so far as regards the Jesuits, my assertion is confirmed by all the courts in Europe, who procured the suppression of the order about the middle of the last century. The present pope has, however, restored it; and the mischievous effects that shall follow, will, no doubt, engage the attention of future historians.