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Until we come to thee,
To joys that ne'er decay.
With Christ his only Son,
Thrice blessed Three in One. Amen."
Here the Virgin Mary is plainly invoked as the Saviour of sinners. To“ negotiate our peace, and cancel Eva's wrong," is nothing less than to make reconciliation with God, and do away the effects of the fall of our first parents. She is also entreated to do the work of the Holy Ghost; that is, to loose the bands of sinners, and give light to the blind. She is presumed able to quell all the corrupt passions of the human heart, and to impart mildness and purity. Every Christian knows that this is the work of God alone; but the poor deluded Romanists ask it of a fellow-creature. The priests cause the people to err, and they who are led by them are destroyed.
I hare before me another manual of devotion, which seems to be still more modern than Dr. Challoner's “ Garden of the Soul.” It is entitled, " A Manuel of devout Prayers and other Christian devotions: fitted for all persons and occasions, and corrected from the errors of former editions. To which are added, Vespers for Sundays and Complin.” Printed in Preston, 1785. This work is evidently intended for Papists in England, for it fixes the times of plenary indulgences in the London and the three other districts. I extract from it the following:
" A Prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary. “O blessed Virgin Mary, immaculate mother of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, recommend, we beseech thee, these our imperfect prayers to the mercy of thy glorious Son, and offer him thy own most acceptable intercession for us; that he would be pleased to pardon our sins past, and deliver us from future temptations, and protect us in all our ways, with the assistance of his grace.
“O blessed virgin, by that unspeakable gladness, which filled and overflowed thy spirit, when the angel declared to thee the adorable mystery of our Saviour's incarnation, and by that perfect resignation of thyself to the will of God, when thou humbly answeredst
, Behold the handmaid of our Lord, let it be done unto me according to thy word, we beseech thee obtain for us the graces of a lively faith, a discreet humility, and a cheerful submission to the divine will in all things.
"O admirable mother, by the tender love, and continual service of the blessed Jesus, in his infancy, and by that incomparable happiness thou afterwards enjoyedst in his heavenly doctrine and miraculous life, we beseech thee to obtain for us a diligent devotion, and a constant perseverance in our duty to God, that our delight may be in his law, and our confidence in his holy protection.
"O mother of pity and compassion, by those sharp sorrows which pierced thy heart, when thou wast a sad witness of thy Son's sufferings, and beheldest him in that bitter agony, all torn with cruel scourges, and bleeding on the cross, forsaken of his friends, and dying in the midst of his enemies, we beseech thee to obtain for us compassion towards the affliction of others, and patience in our own, and also a faithful correspondence to the great love of our Redeemer.
“O glorious virgin, by those excessive joys wherewith thy soul wholly ravished at the victorious resurrection of thy Son, and his tri. umphant ascension above the highest heavens, we beseech thee to obtain for us the blessings of a virtuous life, and holy death, and a happy resurrection, that we may ever rejoice in the presence of God, and admire his glory, and praise his goodness, through the same Jesus Christ; who, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth, one God, world without end."
The following is given, both in this work, in the “ Garden of the Soul," and in most of the books of devotion that I have seen in Latin, French, and English:
The short Litany of the Blessed Virgin.
Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world, hear us, O Lord.
The Antiphon. Wonderful art thou, O God, in all thy saints, but incomparably more in the mother of thy Son; who, remaining a virgin, brought forth the Saviour of the world; and living humbly on this our low earth, is now exalted above the highest seraphims.
Vers. Rejoice, O my soul, in the glory of the blessed virgin mother. Allelujah.
I dare say most of my Protestant readers would imagine that I was writing of the dark ages, or of popish worship in the heart of Spain or Italy, if I had not told them that the above is extracted from books of devotion used in England at this very day. I have a great deal worse to exhibit for the dark ages. I can produce prayers in which Mary is actually exalted above Jesus Christ, and in which she is entreated to command her Son to grant what the worshipper desires of him; nay, in which she is represented as saving those whom Christ would reject; and I can show that
, with regard to the moral character of those on whom she bestowed her favours, she was not more nice than the ancient Venus was with regard to the character of her worshippers.
FURTHER REMARKS AND EXTRACTS ON THE WORSHIP OF THE VIRGIN. ST. GERMAIN,
ST. BERNARDINE, ABBOT OP CELLES, AND MANY OTHERS QUOTED. TITLES OF DIVINITY APPLIED TO MARY. BLASPHEMY OF A POPISH WRITER. MARY EXALTED ABOVE CHRIST. STORY OF A GASCON SOLDIER. OF A MAN WHO FELL INTO THE DANUBE. DEVOTION TO THE VIRGIN MARY COMPENSATES FOR THE BASEST CRIMES, AND INSURES SAFETY IN THE COMMISSION OF THEM. SOME INSTANCES CITED.
SATURDAY, April 24th, 1819. In my last number, I convicted modern Papists of idolatry, upon the authority of their own organ and vindicator. Mr. Andrews cannot say that I rest my accusation upon the authority of authors disapproved and condemned by the church of Rome; for he has not been honoured by such condemnation. He stands as the approved advocate of popery in Britain; he is supported and recommended by Dr. Milner, a bishop, and vicar apostolic; and, under this high authority, he teaches all the youth of the Romish communion in England to worship the Virgin Mary, as the medium by which they will receive all blessings in life, and at death. I request my readers to reflect on this subject ; let them carefully peruse the chapter “on devotion to the blessed virgin,” which I gave in my last number, and say whether it be possible that such doctrine could proceed from a Christian, or from any man but a downright idolater?
To convict an individual Papist of idolatry would be comparatively
a small matter,—to find a poor ignorant devotee of the Virgin Mary bowing down and worshipping before her image, would excite, perhaps, no more than a feeling of compassion for the deluded votary of the idol, and an effort to remove the delusion, by telling him of the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom he hath sent; but, when we find such idolatrous principles taught under episcopal authority, when we read a certificate, under the hand of an English vicar apostolic, that the book which contains them is "the most complete and valuable work of its kind in our language, and eminently entitled to the patronage of the Catholic public;" that, “as such,” he "shall not fail to recommend it in those places of education over which" he has "any authority or influence;'?—we are led not only to contemplate the popish part of our population as idolaters, in the grossest sense of the word, but to compassionate the state of their helpless offspring, for whom an idolatrous education is thus systematically provided; as if Satan, aware of the efforts which Christians are making for the subversion of his kingdom, were endeavouring to provide an army for his defence, by engaging all the youth of the Romish communion to devote themselves to an idol, which he knows well is the same thing as devotion to himself. No matter though that idol be the mother of Jesus according to the flesh,—to worship her is no better than to worship the devil; for to worship any creature whatever is to obey the devil, who was the inventor, and who is the patron of creature worship. If Mr. Andrews shall be pleased to controvert this sentiment, and to defend his doctrine “of devotion to the blessed virgin," I will give him all the advantage of laying it down broadly and plainly, as a doctrine held by THE PROTESTANT, that to worship, in a religious sense, the highest creature that God ever made, is no better than to worship the devil.
Here let me remark, in passing, that I consider as grossly blasphemous the title of “mother of God," which is usually given to the Virgin Mary, in all popish books of devotion. In the New Testament, she is called the mother of Jesus, but this relates only to his human nature; and the expression cannot without impiety be used in relation to him as God.
I proceed now to give some specimens of the style in which this idol was addressed, and the estimation in which she was held by her worshippers in former times. There is a great deal of matter more gross than any thing which we find in Mr. Andrews' school book, or “the Garden of the Soul;"' but if it be at all admitted, that a creature, such as Mary, is a proper object of religious worship, it is of little consequence how extravagant the language of such worship may be. Nay, as we can never speak too highly of the true and proper object of worship, if this were Mary, the more highly her worshippers praised her the better.
“ In the contemplations of the life and glory of holy Mary, the mother of Jesus, published anno 1685, permissu superiorum, it is said, 'the blessed virgin is the empress of seraphims,-ihe most exact original of practical perfection which the omnipotence of God ever drew; and, by innumerable titles, she claims the utmost duty of every Christian, as a proper homage to her greatness.'" M'Culloch Pop. cond. page 334.
"O mother of God," says St. Germain, "your defence is immortal; your intercession is life ; your protection is security; if you do not teach us the way, none can become spiritual, nor adore God in spirit. O most holy virgin, none can have the knowledge of God, but by you: O mother of God, none can be saved, but by you : 0 virgin mother, none can be delivered from dangers, but by you: O favoured of God, none can obtain any gift or grace, but by you." Verít. Devot. de Crasset. page 31, quoted by M'Culloch, page 335.
"From the time," says St. Bernardine, “that the virgin mother conceived in her womb the Word of God, she obtained, as I may say, a certain jurisdiction and authority over all the temporal processions of the Holy Ghost : so that no creature has received any grace or virtue from God, but according to the dispensation of his holy mother."Crasset. page 37, ibid.
“ Approach," says the abbot of Celles, “ with a devout contemplation of spirit, toward the blessed virgin; because through her, and with her, and in her, and from her, the world both has, and will have, all that is good. She is our advocate with the Son, as the Son is with the Father. She solicits for us, both the Father and the Son. Often those whom the justice of the Son might condemn, the mercy of the mother delirers. In short, as our Saviour once said that none could come to him while he was on earth, unless the Father drew him, so dare I, in some sort affirm that none comes now to thy glorified Son, unless thou draw him by thy holy assistance.” Ibid. pp. 33, 34. Ibid. 336.
Archbishop Usher, in his answer to a challenge made by a Jesuit in Ireland, 4to. page 479, furnishes me with the following quotations from popish authors with whose works he seems to have been very familiar. He gives the Latin original in the margin, but I shall content myself with the English :-" That because she is the mother of the Son of God who doth produce the Holy Ghost, therefore all the gifts, virtues, and graces of the Holy Ghost are by her hands administered to whom she pleaseth, when she pleaseth, how she pleaseth, and as much as she pleaseth. Bernardine, Senens. Serm. 61, Artic. 1, cap. 8. That she hath singularly obtained of God this office from eternity, as herself doth testify, Prov. viii. 23, I was ordained from everlasting,' namely a dispenser of celestial graces; and that in this respect, Cantic. vii. 4, It is said of her, “thy neck is a tower of ivory; because that as by the neck the vital spirits do descend from the head to the body: so by the virgin the vital graces are transmitted from Christ the head into his mystical body: the fulness of grace being in him, as in the head from whence the influence cometh, and in her as in the neck through which it is transfused unto us: so that take away the patronage of the virgin, you stop as it were the sinner's breath, that he is not able to live any longer." Bernardine, frc. Artic. 3, cap. 3, and other authorities cited.
The archbishop continues :-" Then men stuck not to teach, that unto her all power was given in heaven and in earth. So that for heaven, when our Saviour ascended thither, this might be assigned for one reason (among others) why he left his mother behind him; lest, perhaps, the court of heaven might have been in doubt whom they should rather go to meet, their lord or their lady: and for earth, she may rightly apply unto herself, that in the first of Ezra, 'all the