Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

popish bishops could have granted indulgence to commit sin, Henry VIII would never have professed himself a Protestant."

I now appeal to A. V. himself, whether such a proposal, made by the most holy head of the infallible church, was not enough to make every honest man forsake. Rome, whether he became Protestant or not?

With respect to the first indulgence which A. V. ascribes to Luther viz. “ a perpetual indulgence for the commission of adultery in certain circumstances," I am not disposed to admit the truth of it without farther evidence. He says, “that it may be concealed from the eye of the profane, I will decline giving the quotation, but refer your correspondent to 119 and 123 pages, 5th vol. of the works of Lúther, edited at Wirtemberg:" Now, I ask A. V. whether he has actually seen and read any thing in the works of Luther, that, by fair construction, can bear the above meaning? I ask this because I am sceptical on that point. In plain English, I do not believe that Luther gave it as his deliberate opinion that it was lawful to commit the sin mentioned in certain circumstances, or that he gave a perpetual indulgence to any one for that purpose. I have no access to the book referred to; but if A. V. has it, I call upon him to leave it with you, for an hour or two, that I may consult the passage: or if he does not choose to do this, let him send me, through you, an extract authenticated by his own signature. I will not be satisfied with his translation, nor by any quotation, or extract, or translation from any other book. I'must have the ipsissima verba of Luther's acknowledged publication; and if I do find that it contains what A. V. ascribes to it, I will publish the fact, and confess that Luther held more errors than I was aware of. I suggest the mode of sending me this extract through you that he may not have to plead his determination not to answer my letters; but if he chooses to give the extract to the public in a letter from himself, so much the better.

Dreadfully corrupt as the church of Rome was about the time of the reformation and long before it, there were some honest men in her communion, who saw and deplored her corruptions; and did not, like modern Papists

, gloss them over, and by sheer impudence deny their existence. Such was Clande D'Espence, whom I quoted in my last. Such was also Wesselus, a man highly esteemed in the church of Rome. He argues like a Protestant against indulgences; but his arguing proves clearly what I have been maintaining all along, that the pope claimed and exercised the power of granting them. "No pope," says he, “ can grant indulgences even for an hour; and it is ridiculous to imagine that

, for doing the same thing, an indulgence should be granted

, sometimes for seven years, sometimes for 700 or 7,000, and sometimes for ever, by a plenary indulgence. There is not the least foundation in scripture for the distinction of remitting the fault and the punishment, upon which the doctrine of indulgence is grounded. Covetousness was the cause of their introduction at first; and though the pope once swore to the French Ambassador that he did not know the corruption of the sellers of indulgences, yet, when he knew, he permitted them, and they became more extensive.” See M'Culloch's Popery Condemned, p. 182. In my next, I shall take up the subject of Hervey and holy

A PROTESTANT.

places. 'I am, &c.

Sir:-In my letter which appeared in your paper of the 6th inst. I said, “ Persons who believe that a priest can create his own Creator,

that he can, by the use of certain words, turn a little bread and wine into the real body and blood, soul and divinity, of Jesus Christ, may very easily believe that a bishop can turn an ordinary building into a holy place; but Protestants, I mean consistent and enlightened Protestants, believe neither the one nor the other.” Amicus VERITATis replies, that I must not have been aware that many enlightened and consistent Protestants do not agree with me; and then he cites Mr. Hervey, author of the Meditations, whose authority, he says, gives a zest to all he has advanced on this subject.

It is true, HERVEY does speak of parish churches in language sufficiently high and bombastic; but HERVEY is no higher authority with me than A. V. himself. In his youth he was far from being an enlightened, and, so long as he spoke of material buildings as sacred places, he was not a consistent Protestant. “The bible—the bible alone—is the religion of Protestants." Whatever, therefore, a man may be in other respects, if there be any thing in his religion which is not derived from the bible, he is not a consistent Protestant. Now, I maintain, that we have no authority from the bible to regard one house or building more holy than another. It is needless to refer me to the tabernacle and the temple among the Jews; because these things had no relation to the New Testament state of the church, but as types or shadows of spiritual things which were afterwards to be enjoyed; and it was ordained that the shadows should pass away when the substance should have come, which took place when Christ had fulfilled all that was typified of him in the law of Moses by the sacrifice of himself. If, therefore, we take the tabernacle and the temple as examples for calling our places of worship holy, we must have all the furniture and all the services of the temple. We must have the symbols of the Divine Presence-we must have the altar of burnt-offering, and the altar of incense, and a high priest, and a numerous retinue of priests, killing cattle and offering sacrifices every day. Some of these things, indeed, the church of Rome does exhibit, which is a proof, among many others that might be mentioned, that she sets her authority against that of God; for it is not more true that these things were divinely appointed for a time, than that they were divinely appointed to cease when Christ came to accomplish what was signified by them. Christ regarded the temple as a holy place, and he chastised those who profaned it; because it was not till his death that the system of Jewish worship was abolished. It is from his apostles, and from the churches which they gathered, that we take our example.

Now, they do not appear to have regarded one place more holy than another, with the exception of some Jewish converts, perhaps, who could not all at once divest themselves of the veneration with which they had been accustomed to regard the place where their fathers worshipped. The apostles preached in the temple, because it was the place of public resort, just as they preached any where else, when they could get people to hear them. We find them meeting in private houses, in a school-room, by the sea-side, and, what would be reckoned very indecorous now-a-days, preaching in the open street; but no hint of their regarding one place more holy than another. Be he who he

will, therefore, who ascribes holiness to buildings, inherently or rela. tively, he is not a consistent Protestant.

But HERVEY, especially towards the end of his days, was an enlightened Protestant. I am glad that A. V. has been reading his works; but let him not stop at the productions of his youth ; let him peruse and study the works of his maturer age, especially his Theron and Aspasio, and his defence of that work against the exceptions of John Wesley. There he will find the Papist doctrine of human merit cut up by the roots. Let him study these works, and recommend them to all his brethren.

AMICUS VERITATIS says, “ Your correspondent might have been more sparing in his reproaches against the Catholics of Clasgow. for the manifestation of their piety and public spirit, and for raising a building which, for ages to come, will adorn and ornament our city.” I have no objection that our city be ornamented with stately buildings by those who can afford to do it; but I would rather that all the houses in Glasgow were as plain as they were a hundred years ago, than that our poor population should be deprived of one necessary of life, in order to build palaces. I acquit myself of having reproached the Papists on this subject. I stated a plain fact, that, while they were lavishing thousands of pounds on the decorations of what they foolishly call the house of God, they were suffer. ing their poor to grow up and perish in ignorance. If they feel themselves reproached by this, it is the fact that does it-not I.

But this is not all. I ask A. V. if that house was not built in a great measure at the expense of a poor, and, in some instances, a. starving people ? I ask him if money was not extorted by the fear of future punishment, for the purpose of building that house, from persons who had scarcely bread for their families, or clothes to cover them? And is this what he calls the “piety and public spirit of the Catholics of Glasgow ?” The Almighty hates robbery for burntoffering: and will he accept, as honourable to him, that which has been wrung from the sweat, and sinews, and blood, of his own miserable creatures ? Let the means by which this house was reared be inscribed upon its front, and it will remain, for “ages to come," a monument of popish hard-heartedness and cruelty.

Idolatry in every form is cruel. That popery is idolatry, is clearly proved by Mr. CUNNINGHAM, of Lainshaw, in a late publication, which I strongly recommend to such of your readers as wish to know what that system really is. A. V. has discovered the spirit of idolatry in the letter which I am at present answering. He says, “ Were we to erect a house for the glory of our Creator, why should it not, as much as possible, resemble the majesty of that God to whose service it was to be dedicated ?" Now what must that God be, to whose majesty any material building can be a resemblance ? Certainly not that God who dwelleth not in temples made with hands, and whose glory fills the universe. It must be an idol of A. V.'s own fancy.

I see, from your paper of yesterday, that A. V. has also taken his word, and carved out more work for

A PROTESTANT. June 26th, 1818.

CHAPTER VI. AMICUS VERITATIS DENIES THAT THE CHURCH OF ROME GRANTS INDULGENCE

TO COMMIT SIN. PREFERS A CHARGE OF FORGERY AGAINST PROTESTANTS. PROTESTANT'S REPLY TO PAX :-PAPISTS WOULD BRING BACK THE DARK AGES. ABJURES THE SPIRIT OF PERSECUTION, AND COMMENDS THE EFFORTS MADE TO EDUCATE THE CHILDREN OF INDIGENT CATHOLICS.

TO THE EDITOR OF THE GLASGOW CHRONICLE.

Sir :-If frequency of repetition could give to misrepresentation the substance of truth, an indulgence would be of all scandalous things the most scandalous. Your correspondent seems to have adopted this principle; he conceives he may justly assume the privilege of saying what has been said by hundreds before him, and therefore, without hesitation, condemns the practice of indulgences, in terms the most pointed and severe. But I am not to be intimidated by a sourness of aspect. The shafts of ridicule will not in the leası discompose me; and I can despise the meanness of sophistical reasoning, whilst I pity the prostitution of talent. In

my last I endeavoured to prove “ that it never was the doctrine of the Catholic church, that a pope or bishop could grant an indulgence to commit sin;" and I promised that in my next I would take some notice of those proofs which your correspondent had advanced in opposition to this. I shall commence with his letter of 18th of June. The first in rotation is a bull or indulgence, “which," he says, was preached and circulated by Tetzel, under the authority of the pope, and which was so instrumental in helping forward the reformation." The second was an indulgence, “which was granted by the present pope to the good people of Cork." The third was an indulgence granted by Pope Urban VIII, to the people of Ireland. And, lastly, he very gravely proceeds to quote the authority of a French catechism, which was translated and edited by a Protestant, a known enemy of the Catholic church.

In the first place, Mr. Editor, I shall merely remark, that the doctrines or theses of Tetzel were publicly condemned by the pope's nuncio, Miltitz, and consequently cannot be Catholic doctrine. Your correspondent should have known this; and he really should make himself better acquainted with history, that he may not so palpably commit himself

. An error of this nature is very inexcusable in a writer who addresses the public, especially when brought forward with an air of triumph, to affect the interest of those he imputes it to. He will find me correct respecting the condemnation of Tetzel's doctrines, by consulting Mosheim by Maclaine, Fleury's Continuation, Maimbourg, and the historians of the period in general, who represent him to have died of chagrin, in consequence of his treatment. The second of his proofs requires hardly to be noticed. Indeed, I do not recollect of ever seeing any thing so palpably misapplied; there is not a single word in it applicable to the subject in question; and yet he asserts, that it is an " indulgence to commit sin!” Really, Mr. Editor, it is amusing to see the puny efforts of bigotry and credulity: when a person is determined to withstand the truth, they evince themselves on almost every occasion. “Truth is

one; it is the centre of the circle; recede from it, and you may wander to any point of the circumference.” Respecting the bull of Pope Urban VIII., the style and language in which it is couched assure me that it must be a forgery. Its very date increases my suspicion : a period, when the sword of persecution was unsheathed from its scabbard, when the flames of intolerance raged with destructive violence; when the storms of passion, like a hurricane upon the deep, overwhelmed the miserable victims of their fury; when the demon of falsehood spread her malignant inflụence over the hearts and sensibilities of men, and prompted them to invent the most wicked calumnies for the destruction of their Catholic brethren. Who would take a review from the year 1577 to the year 1684, that would not shudder at the horrific scenes that were the consequences of accumulated forgeries? It was this detestable habit of fabrication and lies, in your chief reformers, which drew from the pen of the Rev. Mr. Whitaker, a Protestant divine, the following remarkable confession: “Forgery," says he, “ appears to have been the peculiar disease of Protestantism. Originally coming forth as a kind of leprosy upon the brow of Presbyterianism in Scotland, it was conveyed, by the intercourses of vice, to the profligate head of the church of England.”_Whitaker, Vol. III., p. 49. I am not astonished that Bogue's Catechism was the one which your corres. pondent has selected for his purposes. This is a work which was translated from the original French, by a Protestant, merely for the purpose of exercising his talent of ridicule, and it was natural to suppose that your correspondent would apply to such a valuable source of misrepresentation. But it is rather unfortunate for him, however, that, of the forty-one lines he has quoted, there is not a single passage which says that an indulgence “is a permission to commit sin.” Not one; yet he proceeds, and asserts, that from this document he is enabled to maintain, “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." Judge, 0 public, on what this defamer of his neighbour's character grounds his very heavy charge! On the answer to the fourth question 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.” Is there any sensible person who could draw such an inference from the answer I have above quoted ? None, I expect. Yet your correspondent, by a man. ner of reasoning almost peculiar to himself, endeavours to establish his charge. Like Luther before him, with one dash of his pen he magnanimously abolishes the obligation of good works, and opens the gates of heaven to every man, who can only boast the gift of an allsaving faith. This Solidifian tenet, it must be acknowledged, with the church of England, in her articles, is a “most wholesome doctrine, and very full of comfort." The restraints of religion are too unpleasant to the passions of men :

“'Tis prudence to reform her into ease,
And put her in undress, to make her please :
A lively faith will bear aloft the mind,

And leave the luggage of good works behind.” "On this head,” says a writer of the present day, “we have undoubt.

« ПредишнаНапред »