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wit, Wafer. This appears to me a very soft and harmless word. I did not know that there was any evil in it: but the fact is, there is no such word in my letter. I used the common words bread and wine : and I did mean it to be understood, that a Papist believes that his priest can, by the use of certain words, turn these into the real body and blood, soul and divinity, of Jesus Christ; that is, that he can create his own Creator! and, as neither of my opportents controvert this part of my letter, it must be understood that they acquiesce in it.
I am next blamed for so mingling bulls and indulgences, as not to pretend to know the meaning of either. The word bull occurs only twice in my long letter; and the word indulgence stands at such a respectful distance, that it does not appear how they are mingled: but it is of more importance to attend to the subject than the mingling of words; and here I have to remark, before I proceed, that your compositor mistook a word in my manuscript, which was written without much care. You printed "pleasing remission," instead of “plenary remission.” Pax quotes the erroneous reading, and then he triumphantly defies me, “or any one to produce it, (i. e. the bull,) or prove its existence, with the contents ascribed to it; or that by an indulgence is meant the remission of sin." Now, I dare say it could not be produced with that word in it; but of its existence and authenticity I have not a doubt. It is esteemed such a precious relic by the head of the family that possesses it, (merely, however, I believe, as a piece of curiosity and antiquity,) that he refused to let it out of his possession, when urgently requested to permit its publication. For farther information on this point, I shall refer to the reverend gentleman who actually saw it, who is, I am told, at present from home; but who will, I doubt not, on his return answer for himself.
It seems, Mr. Editor, you are, art and part, guilty in one of my transgressions. My “observations on the Catholic schools ought never to have been penned, and when penned ought never to have been printed.” My only observations with regard to these schools were, it was gratifying to be informed that they were flourishing; and that they originated with, and were chiefly supported by, Protestants. Where is the great evil of these observations ? The latter is notoriously true; and the former I believe to be true on the testimony of Amicus VERITATIS. I believe it is an observation of mine which immediately follows, that has offended Pax, and makes him feel so sore. “While he and his friends were lavishing thousands of pounds on the decorations of what they foolishly call the house of God, they were suffering their poor to grow up and perish in ignorance." Now, that is a fact which deserves to be printed every day, and it should be sounded in the ears of Papists, till they be convinced of their sin, and make confession. When this is done, I shall gladly let the subject drop for ever.
The subject of indulgences shall have a prominent place in my next letter; and, in those which follow, I intend to go over and answer every objectionable sentiment advanced by your two correspondents. It is by no means a difficult task which I have undertaken. To use an expression of one of your late correspondents, on another subject, there is so much "tempting matter," that it is difficult to let it alone.
I must request you to indulge me with a little space in your paper, for a few days, when you have nothing more important to fill it up.
Meantime, I am, &c.
A PROTESTANT. Glasgow, 12th June, 1818.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE GLASGOW CHRONICLE.
Sir:-In my first letter on this controversy, I said that, if the subjects of the late oratorio could be considered as matter of amusement, then the permission of the bishop was nothing less than a popish indulgence to commit sin. AMICUS VERITATIS says that the Douay Catechism gives a different meaning to the word indulgence than that which I insinuate. I have called upon him to give the modern meaning of the term, according to the Catechism, but this he has not done, nor yet his coadjutor Pax. Both of them tell me it is not what I suppose it to be; but neither of them will tell me what it is. Now, what is the meaning of this concealment, this mystery about the meaning of a word ? Is it because, modified as it may be by modern refinement, it is still too bad to bear the light of a Protestant hemisphere?
· My first assertion did not go into the niceties of its ancient or modern meaning. The truth of what I said seems self-evident. If it be a sin to make the word of God a subject of amusement, then the bishop's permission to do so is a popish indulgence to commit sin, else Bishop Cameron is not a Popish bishop. My strongest assertion on this subject was, that “the pope claimed and exercised the power of granting permission to commit sin; for instance, he professed to relieve individuals, and whole nations, from the obligation of an oath." This is not denied by either of my opponents; and I maintain, whatever the ecclesiastical meaning of the word may be, that this is nothing less, in the plain sense of the English words, than an indulgence, or permission, to commit sin. This, indeed, they may call a dispensation, not an indulgence; but it does not alter the nature of the thing.
I did not expect that your correspondents would have committed themselves so far as to have asserted, “that by an indulgence is not meant the remission of sins;" or, “that it never was the doctrine of the Catholic church, that a pope or bishop could grant an indulgence to commit sin.” It will be recollected by some of your readers that a reverend gentleman of that communion, a few years ago, publicly maintained, that it never was a principle of his church to withhold the scriptures from the common people; and that, when the authority of the council of Trent was quoted against him, he was then indeed Pax! that is, hush! not a word more! Papists have, of late, received so much countenance, and even flattery, from Protestants, that perhaps they are bolder, now they think the ball is at their foot; and they expect to get Britain back to the communion of the Holy See. I do not therefore expect that they will acquiesce so quietly in the statements which I am now about to make, and the authorities which I am going to quote.
The following is a translation of the bull, or, if it be more agreea
ble to my opponents, the indulgence, or absolution, which was preached and circulated by Tetzel, under the authority of the pope; and which was so instrumental in helping forward the reformation. "May our Lord Jesus Christ have mercy upon thee, and absolve thee by his most holy passion; and I, by his authority, and that of his blessed apostles Peter and Paul, and of the most holy pope, granted and committed to me in these parts, do absolve thee, first, from all ecclesiastical censures, in whatever manner they have been incurred; and, then, from all thy sins, transgressions, and excesses, how enormous soever they may be: even from such as are reserved for the cognizance of the Holy See; and as far as the keys of the holy church extend, I remit to you all punishment which you deserve in purgatory on their account, and I restore you to the holy sacraments of the church, to the unity of the faithful
, and to that innocence and purity which you possessed at baptism; so that, when you die, the gates of punishment shall be shut, and the gates of the paradise of delight shall be opened; and if you shall not die at present, this grace shall remain in full force when you are at the point of death. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." This was enforced by the preaching of Tetzel, who declared, that if any man purchased letters of indulgence, his soul might rest secure with respect to salvation. Will Pax, or his brother, after reading this, assert, that " by an indulgence is not meant the remission of sins ?"
I have before me an English version of another letter of indulgence, which was granted by the present pope to the good people of Cork. " Pius VII. by divine Providence, pope, grants unto each, and every one of the faithful in Christ, who, after assisting, at least eight times, at the holy exercise of the mission (in the new cathedral of Cork,) shall confess his or her sins, with true contrition, and approach unto the holy communion, shall devoutly visit the said cathedral chapel, and then offer up to God, for some space of time, pious and fervent prayers, for the propagation of the Catholic faith, and to the intention of our holy father, a plenary indulgence applicable to the souls in purgatory, by way of suffrage, and this in form of a jubilee.” Now, let any man figure to himself the good zealous Papists of Cork, after having washed away all their own sins, by assisting at least eight times at the holy exercise of the mission, by true contrition, by pious and fervent prayers offered up to God for some space of time, receiving a plenary indulgence in the form of a jubilee; let any one witness this jubilee, and reflect that it is granted by the special favour of the pope, and let him say if it be not true that the pope does, even to this day, grant indulgence to commit sin.
I shall indulge your readers with another bull of the pope relating to Ireland. It was produced in the court of king's bench on the trial of Connor, Lord Macquire, Feb. 10, 1644.—State Trials, vol. I. p. 464.
Ad futuram Rei Memoriam Urbanus Octavus, fc. It recites, “that having taken into his serious consideration the great zeal of the Irish towards the propagating of Catholic faith; which kingdom (for their singular fervency in the true worship of God) was of old called the land of saints: and having certain notice, that in imitation of their godly and worthy ancestors, they endeavoured by force of arms to deliver their thralled nation from the oppressions of the heretics, and to
extirpate those workers of iniquity, who had infected the mass of Catholic purity with the pestiferous leaven of their heretical contagion, by virtue of his power of binding and loosing, which God hath conferred upon him; to all and every the aforesaid Christians in the kingdom of Ireland, so long as they should militate against the said heretics and other enemies of the Catholic faith, he did grant a full . and plenary indulgence, and absolute remission of all their sins, desiring all of them to be partakers of this precious treasure; dated from the Vatican, or St. Peter's palace in Rome, May 25th, 1643, and in the twentieth year of his pontificate.” Under this plenary indulgence, the Papists of Ireland murdered many thousands of their Protestant neighbours. After reading this, will your correspondents assert, that by an indulgence is not meant the remission of sin, or that it never was the practice of the pope to grant permission to commit sin? If they will still assert this, then they must admit that it is no sin to murder Protestants.
I have not been able to procure a Douay Catechism: and, as AMIcus VERITATIS will not inform me what meaning is given by it to the word indulgence, I must find it out from another quarter. I have before me " A Catechism for the use of all the Churches in the French Empire, to which are prefixed the Pope's Bull, and the Archbishop's Mandamus. Translated from the original, with an introduction and notes, by David Bogue." For the edification of your readers, I shall transcribe lesson xxi. It has all the authority and infallibility that the pope can give it, as I suppose the Douay Catechism also has : it cannot therefore be materially different, for it is impossible that two things on the same doctrine, materially different, can proceed from an infallible source.
“OF INDULGENCES.-Q. What does faith teach us concerning indulgences ? A. That the church has received from Jesus Christ the power of granting them, and that the use of them is very salutary to Christians.-Q. Why are indulgences so salutary ? A. Because they are established to moderate the rigours of the temporal pains due to sin.-Q. Is it necessary to know precisely how this rigour is moderated ? A. No: it is sufficient to believe that a good mother, like the church, gives nothing to her children but what really serves to relieve them in this world and in the next.-Q. Is it the intention of the church to free us, by indulgences, from the obligation of God ? A. No: the mind of the church is, on the contrary, to grant indulgences only to those who attend to the duty of satisfying, on their part, divine justice.-Q. Of what use are indulgences ? A. They are of much use to us in every way, since we have always reason to believe that we are very far from having satisfied according to our obligations.-Q. What follows from hence ? A. That we should be our own enemies, if we had not recourse to the graces and indulgences of the church.-Q. What then, in a word, is the intention of the church in the dispensation of indulgences ? A. It is to assist well-meaning Christians to clear themselves in regard to God, and make up their infirmity.-Q. What does she intend by that ? A. To excite more and more, in the heart, piety and love to God, conformably to the word of our Lord: 'He to whom much is given, ought also to love much.'-Q. What is the best disposition to obtain
indulgences ? A. Doing, in the best manner we can, what is prescribed to obtain them, and wait the effect of them from the mercy of God, who alone knows the secrets of the heart.-Q. On what are indulgences founded ? A. On the satisfaction of Jesus Christ and of the saints.-Q. Why do you add the satisfaction of the saints to that of Jesus Christ ? A. Because of the goodness of God, who is willing, on the behalf of his most pious servants, to forgive the others.
-Q. Why besides ? A. Because the satisfaction of the saints are united to that of Jesus Christ, whence they derive all their value. Q. Who has a right to give indulgences ? A. The pope in the whole church, and the bishops in their diocesses, with the limitations appointed by the church."
Such is the precious doctrine of the infallible church respecting indulgences. I would appeal to your types, if they were capable of receiving an appeal, whether they were ever employed in putting together such a jumble of impiety and nonsense? From this document I am enabled to take higher ground. I maintain now, not only that the pope, and the church of which he is the head, grant indulgence to commit sin, but that they actually command it. They make it the duty of a Papist to commit sin. I rest this very heavy charge on the answer to the fourth question above quoted : ** The mind of the church is, to grant indulgences only to those who attend to the duty of satisfying, on their part, divine justice." Perhaps some of your Protestant readers will not, at first sight, perceive the enormous wickedness of this, but I appeal to every serious and enlightened Christian, whether he can imagine greater wickedness than an attempt to do what God has declared that it is impossible that a creature can do, and what he declares to be already perfectly accomplished, not by a mere creature, but by his own Son? The revelation of divine mercy by Jesus Christ, and the command to believe in him, is virtually a command to cease from every attempt to satisfy divine justice for ourselves, or to make our peace with God; but the church of Rome sets its miserable votaries to a work which it is not only impossible for them to do, but the very attempt to do which, is an act of rebellion against God. To satisfy divine justice! The man who attempts to do this, or who thinks he can do it, must have as low ideas of the Divine Being, as the man who sees and worships his god in a stock or a stone, or any other work of his own hands. Hence the connexion of this doctrine of indulgences with the worship of saints and images, and the uniting the merit of the saints with that of the Saviour, which shows that the poor Papist looks upon God as such a one as himself. Christ has satisfied divine justice by the sacrifice of himself once for all ; and every man that believes in him becomes interested in that sacrifice. The justice of God is satisfied with regard to him; the anger of God is turned away from him; he needs no other sacrifice or satisfaction; and instead of attempting to satisfy divine justice by his own penances, or the divine law by, his own doings, he is taught, from a principle of love and gratitude as a saved sinner, to live a life of humility and obedience to his heavenly Father. This is the true Catholic; this is a member of the church universal, which unites the earth to heaven.
But the Papist is taught by his church to satisfy divine justice for