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the solemn pantomime of high mass, in the presence of a vast congregation of Protestants and Papists. I do not say
that his excommunication was accompanied by the usual solemnities; it was not done from the altar, but only from the pulpit, and the lights were not extinguished; but he was declared to be no Christian, which was putting him without the pale of the church ; and his person and publications were consigned to everlasting infamy: As the person principally concerned was not present, he cannot give a particular account of the matter; but, from some reports which have reached his ear, he believes he was loaded with nearly as many curses, as the pope pronounced upon the poor alum-maker, for which see my fifth number. This violence of the priest was merely the raging of the tiger in his cage; but it showed what he would do, if he were under no restraint. By one summary and flaming argument, he would refute, and for ever silence, the enemy of the true faith.
Having occupied about three numbers and a half, in replying to one sentence of Amicus VERITATIS, about bigotry and intolerance, I must now endeavour to get over the ground a little faster. Part I, page 32, this gentleman says, “ Before I proceed, I may recall to your recollection the remark of Demosthenes, the orator, “such is the natural disposition of mankind, that invective and accusation are heard with pleasure, while they who speak their own praises are heard with impatience.” AMICUS ŅERItatis did right to inform us that it was Demosthenes, the orator, who said this, lest we should have ascribed it to some other Demosthenes; and certainly there is not much in the sentence that would make any admirer of the orator contend for it.If it is meant to be a reflection on the natural disposition of mankind, that “they who speak their own praises are heard with impatience," I should very cheerfully vindicate this trait in the character of my fellow-creatures. A much greater than Demosthenes said, “ Let another praise thee, and not thine own lips."
In fact, the Papists are incessantly praising themselves and their church; and I am not surprised that they should find people who hear this very impatiently. Amicus VERITATIS speaks of his brethren as “a body of men who have been celebrated for every Christian virtue." (Part I. page 33.) And, in the short advertisement published at the end of Part I. from the Glasgow Chronicle, he calls them "the most numerous and respectable body of Christians in the world." Now, it is very probable that if he talks this way of his brethren and of himself, in company, he will be heard with impatience, as he deserves to be. I have no quarrel with my private popish neighbours, who are living peaceably, and following their lawful occupations: I have no wish to diminish their respectability; and if they are the most respectable body of Christians in the world, it is the better for themselves. My controversy is with their priest, and with others who deceive them, and who flatter them with their goodness, and their virtues, and respectability, instead of directing them, as poor sinners, as all men are, to Christ, the only refuge of the guilty.
A leading subject in the sermons of popish priests is, I am informed, the praise of their own church. She is an apostolical church-she is a catholic church,—a perpetually visible church, - an infallible church,—but, above all, she is a holy church. Now, I do not wonder
that this should be heard with impatience. My astonishment is, that so many citizens of Glasgow, otherwise men of sense, should be able to sit with patience, and hear such nonsense. The church of Rome is neither apostolical, nor catholic, nor infallible; that she has been perpetually visible for many hundred years, aye, and tangible too, has been experienced by thousands of men, women, and children, who have felt the weight of her arm; but it is not so clear that she is a holy church. In the common acceptation of the word, holy is to be free from sin-to be separated from the world, in its principles and practices—to be like Jesus Christ, who was holy, harmless, undefiled, and separated from sinners. Those who believe in Christ, are made, in this respect, somewhat like him ; very imperfectly, indeed, while in this world; but they possess a resemblance. They will not live in sin : they will not knowingly commit sin; or, if they do, they will have no rest till they obtain pardon and peace through the blood of atonement. Contrast this with the character of the church of Rome, as given by a divine of her own, which I repeat from Part I. page 29} “ Provided money can be extorted, every thing prohibited is permitted. There is almost nothing forbidden that is not dispensed with for money; so that, as Horace said of his age, the greatest crime that a man can commit, is to be poor. Shameful to relate; they give permission to priests to have concubines, and to live with their harlots, who have children by them, upon paying an annual tribute. And in some places they oblige priests to pay this tax, saying that they may keep a concubine if they please. There is a printed book, which has been publicly sold for a considerable time, entitled, The Taxes of the Apostolic Chancery, from which one may learn more enormities and crimes, than from all the books of the Summists. And of these crimes, there are some which persons may have liberty to commit for money, while absolution from all of them, after they have been committed, may be bought. I refrain from repeating the words, which are enough to strike one with horror.” Such is the testimony of Claude D'Espence, a Parisian divine, of great note in the Romish church.
If the church of Rome be a holy church, it will, of course, be holiest at the head. Be it known, then, that Pope Paul III. in the third year of his papacy, granted a bull for publicly licensing brothels : and gave an indulgence for the commission of lewdness, provided the man paid a certain fine to the holy see, and the woman a yearly sum for her license, and entered her name in the public register. In the days of this pope, there are said to have been forty-five thousand such women in Rome; and, besides the amount of the annual license which each took out for the privilege of prostitution, the church received a part of their weekly income. Each brothel had an iron chest fixed into the wall, into which every man put his offering; and three agents of the holy see went round weekly to open the chests, and divide what was found in them;-one-third part went to the house, one-third to the women, and one-third to the holy church, for the purpose, it was pretended, of redeeming captives of the Romish religion from the Turks. If any man chose to be wicked, in a more private manner, and went to a person, or a house, unlicensed, he was, on discovery, to be excommunicated, or to pay seven times the price which his sin would have cost in a lawful way.
Such was the holy church at its very head, and it would be easy to trace the same character through all its members. I do not mean individual members, for there were some individuals who knew, acknowledged, and deplored, the wickedness of their church; such as the Parisian divine whom I have quoted; but I mean the different parts of the church, as it appeared in different countries, in its brotherhoods, and sisterhoods, and monastic establishments, resembling so many brothels. On this subject much might be said, but I shall not pollute my pages by being more particular. Their very catechisms and books of devotion are full of the poison of impurity. The questions asked at confession, according to a small manual in my possession, are disgusting in the extreme, and must inevitably pollute the minds of young persons who submit to be catechised privately by a priest.
In short, it is one of the worst characters of that church, that real holiness is no way necessary to the enjoyment of all its privileges and honours. If one will but implicitly submit to all its impositions, he may live as wickedly as he pleases, and be assured of heaven at last. Of this we have a striking instance in our own King Charles II. Papists strongly maintain that he died in the faith of Rome; and I have by me two documents which are understood to prove the fact. They are certified by his brother, King James II., to have been found, in Charles' own hand-writing, after his death. Now we all know what sort of life Charles lived till the very last; we never had any evidence of his repentance; yet the church of Rome eagerly claims him as one of her children, which led the historians of the English dissenters to say, “That must indeed be a holy mother church which contends for the honour of having such a son as Charles the Second."
Among Papists it is as common to call their church holy, as to call the
pope his holiness, or the king his majesty; and they are continually praising their holy church. I find in general that the more of man and the less of God ihere is in any church, the more it is praised by its members; and the reason is, people are always ready to praise what is their own. Whenever we hear the terms, holy church, or apostolical church, or incomparable church, we may be sure there is something wrong. The real church of Christ, like the virtuous woman, does not make a talk of her holiness or virtue, but lets her works praise her in the gates.
The Orthodox Journal follows up the praise of its own church with the praise of its members. The editor speaks as if it were universally admitted that his brethren are more decent and moral than their protestant neighbours. He tells us that it was the laxity of morals, encouraged by the reformers in the time of Henry VIII., that made so many forsake the church of Rome; and he predicts that, if the veto is conceded, and the catholic priest taught to depend upon the ministry for promotion, “ he will neglect to practise the duties of his office, his flock will become indifferent to religion, and, in the course of a few years, Catholics will not be distinguished from the rest of their countrymen for the infidelity of their opinions, and the looseness of their morals." From this we are led to believe, if we can believe it, that the state of morals is much better among Papists than among ourselves, and that Papists are in danger of becoming depraved in their morals by contact with us.
The orthodox journalist tells us further, still speaking the praise of himself and his brethren, “ The only chain which binds the ardent attachment of the Irish laity to the clergy, is the spotless purity of their character, and the knowledge which they have, that they derive their functions from the Holy Ghost.” This is speaking their own praise with a witness. The spotless purity of the character of the Irish priests! We had very lately an opportunity of judging of this, in the person of one of them, who, in the chapel in Clyde street, for nearly an hour together, poured forth a rhapsody of scurrilous abuse, and downright lies, about John Knox and the reformation ;-barefaced impudent lies,-known to be such by every person then present, who professed a moderate knowledge of history. But I believe, lies are not considered spots in the character of a popish priest, if they be lies for the advancement of the true faith. The Jesuit missionaries in China, finding the people despise Christianity, because its founder was crucified, denied the fact of the crucifixion, and told the Chinese that it was a falsehood invented by the Jews to discredit the gospel. I have no doubt the Jesuists in Clyde street would do the same, if they thought it would increase their popularity, or bring more money into their chest. And, indeed, to deny ihe fact of the crucifixion of Christ, is not worse than to deny the sufficiency of his atonement, which is done by them every day, when they direct sinners to satisfy divine justice for themselves, or to rely on the merit of saints.
If we would judge truly of the moral character of a sect, we must see them, not where they are few and despised, but where their sys-' tem is predominant. Attend, therefore, to the testimony of all travellers who have lately visited France, where popery is the established religion, and it will be found that there the state of morals is most deplorable. I need not go into details, for the fact is well known to every one who has conversed with such travellers, or perused their writings. I am not, by any means, disposed to praise the national morality of Protestants, though I am sure it would not shrink from a comparison with that of Papists; but I know that the tendency of Protestant doctrines is to produce true morality, and that such is their invariable effect, wherever they are cordially embraced; whereas, he who embraces the doctrines of Rome, has positive encouragement to live in all manner of vice, knowing that, for a little money, he can procure pardon at any time: and that, should he even die unpardoned, a small legacy to the church will procure his release from purgatory, and his admission into heaven. Besides, the priests have actually a motive to encourage the commission of sin, for they would have no trade without it—no income but from the pardons which they grant; as some excisemen are said to wink at smuggling, for the sake of the seizures and the fines.
REPLY TO AMICUS VERITATIS ON THE SUBJECT OF THE PROTESTANT'S SIG
NATURE. BIBLE DEFINITION OF CHARITY, AND REMARKS ON A. V.'S APPLICATION OF THE TERM. POPISH REFINEMENTS AND QUIBBLES ON THE WORDS " DOCTRINE" AND “SIN." HYPOCRISY OF AMICUS VERITATIS.
SATURDAY, October 31st, 1818. AMICUS VERITATis writes as if he laboured under great disadvantage in this controversy. The “PROTESTANT," he says, “ has greatly the advantage, and more particularly so, as he assumed a signature that will
very generally ensure him of being received with approbation.” This gentleman chose a signature which signifies a “ Friend of Truth.” How justly he is entitled to this name, my readers are now able to judge. Let them think of his falsehood with regard to Luther, and many other falsehoods in his writings, and say whether I may not with justice prefix a syllable to his name, and call him INIMIcus VERITATIS ?
It is really not worth while to descend to personalities of this kind; but since I have undertaken to answer all that my popish adversaries have written, I must not overlook even this trifle. He means it to be understood, I suppose, that my signature will go farther than his; and that a Protestant has a better chance of being favourably received, write what he may, than a Friend of Truth, who writes nothing but the truth. . This is about as good as his other assertions and insinua. tions. Papists are continually boasting of the truth, as if the truth lived with them, and would die with them; whereas their whole system is built upon falsehood, and is supported by lies; which I have, I think, proved already, and may prove again before I have done.
When he asserted that my signature, A PROTESTANT," would very generally ensure my being received with approbation, he said more than he knew to be true, and I believe more than was warranted by truth, at the time. I have the satisfaction to know, that now, and for some weeks past, my papers have been received with approbation, in different parts of the country; and their circulation is much beyond any thing that I contemplated: in so much, that some of the numbers have been printed a second and a third time. For this I express my gratitude to a numerous class of readers; and I am encouraged by it to persevere in labours which would sometimes be irksome, if they were not relieved by a persuasion that they may be useful to my fellow Protestants, and that, at least, they can do no harm to my fellow-creatures of the Romish communion, many of whom, I am informed, read what I write ; and I shall not have written in vain, if any one of them shall be led to read the Bible, and judge for himself, whether or not the things which I have written are true.
But I cannot allow myself to forget that, at the time when Amicus VERITATIS wrote the sentence which I have quoted, and for some time afterwards, there were many Protestants from whom I received no encouragement. There were some from whom I received hints, directly and indirectly, that they thought I had engaged in a very un necessary and invidious undertaking, and who blamed me for writing