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edly great obligations to Luther. Our blessed Redeemer died for us, and still left the way to happiness straight and rugged; the new apostle rushed to the arms of his faithful Catherine, and made it spacious and commodious. After Christ it was still so uninviting that, as he declared, few would choose to walk in it: after Luther, it was cleared of the thorns of virtue, and might with ease be trodden by thousands. His disciples, however, have gradually learned to blush at the extravagance of their master; in the course of time they have silently abandoned his school, and have returned on this point at least, nearer to the doctrine of the scripture and common sense. But the unnatural portrait which their great patriarch had drawn of the catholic doctrine, they still cherish with filial respect, and consider as an invaluable legacy.”
In my next, I shall take up your correspondent's letter of 23d inst. I shall produce my quotations from Luther in their proper place. Meantime, I am, sir, yours, &c.
AMICUS VERITATIS. GLASGOW, 25th June, 1818.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE GLASGOW CHRONICLE. Sir:-Pax undertook to make me feel, if possible, the injustice of my uncharitable remark at the conclusion of my letter, which appeared in your paper of the 6th of June. I was replying to that part of A. V.'s letter, which spoke of the darkness passing away, and giving place to the chastened ray of liberality and philanthropy; and my remark was, that I supposed the time of this darkness was that which had elapsed since the Reformation: and that the light which now was about to arise was that of the dark ages. Now, where is the injustice and uncharitableness of this? Is it not the opinion of all good Papists that the reformation was the darkest and most melancholy dispensation the church ever experienced? Is it not the custom of preachers in popish churches, especially in that in Glasgow, to declaim against the Reformation, and against Luther, and all others who had a hand in that great schism? Is it not the desire and prayer of every member of the Romish church, that things were restored to the state in which they were before Luther was born ? Is it not most desirable that the pope and his army of priests had, as formerly, the key of every man's heart and conscience throughout almost all Europe ? Would it not be a happy thing if the church had still the power of settling all controversies, and silencing all objectors to her infallibility, by sending them to the stake or the gibbet? I ask Mr. Pax if he would not rejoice if all these things were to happen? In short, if he would not rejoice if our light were that of the dark ages? And well he might: he would then be a luminary of the first magnitude, for a little light goes a great way in the dark.
To show that these surmises are not uncharitable, I refer Pax to an enlightened historian of his own communion. Dupin speaks with great complacency of the state of things in the tenth century, which, for its darkness, and the sottish ignorance of both priests and people, has been called the age
of lead." In this century," says he, “there was no controversy relating to the doctrine of faith, or points of divinity, because there were no heretics, or persons who refined upon matters of religion, and dived into our mysteries. However, there were some clergymen
in England who would needs maintain that the bread and wine upon the altar continued in the same nature after the consecration, and that they were only the figure of the body and blood of Jesus Christ. This error was refuted by a miracle wrought by Odo, Archbishop of Canterbury, who made the body of Jesus Christ appear visibly in the celebration of the holy mysteries, and made some drops of blood flow out of the consecrated bread when it was broken. St. Dunstan likewise refuted that error very strenuously in his discourses. In fine, there was no council held in this century that disputed any point of doctrine or discipline, which shows us that there was no error of faith that was of any consequence, or made any noise in the church.”—Dupin, cent. X. Happy state of the church, when her bishops could refute error by a miracle! and when nobody was troubled with common sense, but some clergymen in that perverse country, England.
Pax accuses me of trying, by reproaches, “to unsheath the sword; but it has long since rusted in its scabbard, and will not yield to the ungenerous tug." And he prophesies, that in “a little it will be found rotied to the hilt." What sword does he mean? If it be the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, I hope it will never be sheathed, that it will never rot, and that it will never cease to be wielded by the friends of truth, so long as error exists in the world. If he mean the sword of persecution, and that I try to unsheath it, he slanders his neigh bour, and lays himself open to more severe reproof than I choose to administer. I have no hostility against him; I pity him as the unhappy victim of error and imposition; and the worst thing I wish him is, that he would be convinced of his errors, and renounce them. But I declare the most determined hostility against the whole system of popery; not against Papists, but against their errors, which are their own greatest enemies. Like Mr. Cunningham, of Lainshaw, to whose work on this subject I referred in my last, I believe it is not in the power of the devil to invent such another system of delusion, and wickedness, and opposition to the religion of Christ. This was the mightiest effort of the wicked one to deprive the world of the benefit of Christ's incarnation and death, and to keep the human race in bondage to himself. He has been deplorably successful; and the ruin of millions of souls has been the consequence. It is because I wish well to the persons of Papists—it is because I wish nothing less than their present and everlasting happiness, that I wish them delivered from the bondage of error, and the dominion of their priests—and that the priests themselves were delivered from the slavery of the prince of darkness.
But persecution is not the way to accomplish this. If there be one thing in popery which I abhor more than another, it is its persecuting spirit
. It has always persecuted when it had the power. It made it a meritorious act to extirpate heretics. Most of the reformed churches brought a portion of this spirit from Rome with them; and it is one of the last rags of popery which some of them are inclined to throw away. I consider every species of civil disability and disqualification, on a religious account, persecution; and I am sorry that, in this otherwise free and happy country, so many are subjected to it, and Papists among the test
. Persecution is disgraceful to those who inflict, but honourable to those who suffer it. It ihrows around them the charm and glory of a relationship
to apostles and prophets, and men of whom the world was Vol. I.-6
not worthy. Popery is not worthy of such honour. I would never persecute Papists.
Nobody can hinder them from continuing Papists if they please; and, even in this case, I wish to do them good. I wish to see them all well educated, and respectable members of society. I have therefore been a subscriber to their schools, and intend to remain so. Whatever creed they shall profess, it is better to have a reading, well-informed, than an ignorant, population. While, therefore, I intend to continue the controversy with my two opponents, I hope none will accuse me of hostility to the catholic schools; and I hope the exposure which I have made, or may yet make, of the errors of popery, will not induce any to withdraw their support. The worse the system is, there is the more need that the people be instructed in the art of reading, that they may have access to the source of knowledge, and be able to judge for themselves.
CHAPTER VII. LETTER OF AMICUS VERITATIS.-CHARGES OF FORGERY. THE QUOTA
TION FROM LUTHER'S WORKS. ExtraCT FROM Philip's ORATION ON BIGOTRY.LETTER OF PROTESTANT. PAPISTS IGNORANT OF THEIR OWN BELIEF. DO NOT PROFESS TO EXERCISE THEIR OWN JUDGMENT IN MATTERS OF faith. ApPARENT AMELIORATION OF POPERY IN PROTESTANT COUNTRIES, WHILE IT IS STILL THE SAME. ADVERTISEMENT ANNOUNCING THE INTENDED PUBLICATION OF THE PROTESTANT IN WEEKLY NUMBERS. NOTICE TO THE PUBLIC.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE GLASGOW CHRONICLE.
Sır:-In “A Protestant's” letter of the 23d June, he exultingly exclaims, “ I do not see how AmicUS VERITATIS can get out so easily. He then quotes my assertion, which I dwelt
letter of 25th, and continues, “there is one part of this statement which he will certainly confess to be erroneous : he has been contradicted.” It does not however follow, Mr. Editor, that because a man has been contradicted, he must necessarily be in error. The apostle Paul was often contradicted, but that was no proof he was in error; and, notwithstanding all the precaution and penetration of my opponent, strange to relate, he has himself opened the door to me, and proved that was not in error. In the commencement of his letter, he says, “I know that Papists maintain that indulgences are meant only to relieve sinners from the temporal punishment which their sins deserve, or, at most, from the pains of purgatory.” Now, surely, sir, what catholics maintain constitutes their tenets; and it does not require an uncommon degree of reasoning to understand, that if it be the belief of catholics that indulgences are meant only to relieve sinners from temporal punishment, they cannot mean, at the same time, a permission or liberty to commit sin. Here the candid reader will acknowledge that your correspondent has only contradicted himself
, and not convicted me of error. But he says, that this is disproved by the catechism, of which he quoted so largely: however, he should have been candid enough to have explained that a protestant, a professed enemy of the catholic church, was the editor of that catechism. Then every unprejudiced person would have acknowledged that the information which he imparted was devoid of one essential
means of real information, viz., impartiality and fidelity of translation. I must acknowledge, however, that David Bogue is much more candid than your correspondent, for he defines in the publication from which your correspondent quotes so largely, (and on which he reasons so justly as to condemn the laws of every church, and of every civil government on earth,) that the virtue of indulgences in the catholic church “only consists in mitigating the rigour of the temporal punishment due to sin.” This is not surely a liberty to commit sin, any more than it is a liberty to commit sin to commute the punishment of the Cutty Stool for a fine of a few shillings or a few pounds.
Even allowing the quotation from St. Thomas to be correct, (which I deny,) there is not one word in it which so much as hints at a liberty to commit sin, which is what your correspondent endeavours to establish. Even he himself acknowledges that it would mean only “a plenary remission of all their crimes, and of all the punishment which they deserve." Now, surely your correspondent would not be impious enough to assert, that when the Almighty, in the sacred scriptures, promises to give to the truly penitent, a plenary remission of his sins, and of all the punishment which they deserve, he means at the same time to grant him permission or an indulgence to commit sin. The quotations from Dupin are of the same stamp: not one word is said of a liberty to commit sin; they are entirely confined to public penances.
Your correspondent proceeds to quote the Edinburgh Encyclopedia : as well might he quote to me his own authority. The quotations from the Edinburgh Encyclopedia, as well as that which he produces in his next paragraph, “The Tax of the Apostolic Chancery," are downright forgeries. I do not, however, assert that the individuals to whom he refers were the forgers; I only mean to say that they copied the forgeries from other books, in which they might have been circulated as real facts. Your correspondent himself acknowledges that the publication to which he alludes is among the number of prohibited books; and as no book is prohibited but such as contain doctrine contrary to the tenets of the catholic faith, he thereby acknowledges that what he wishes his readers to believe catholic doctrine is, on the contrary, condemned by all the authority of the catholic church. To such gross and palpable forgeries, a denial is all that can be expected: and though he asserts that the book entitled, “ The Tax of the Apostolic Chancery," was printed at Rome, 1518, at Paris, 1520, &c., it is quite a mistake. Every person knows that it was very easy to date a book at Rome, though printed at Wirtemberg, Amsterdam, or London. If opportunity will permit, however, I intend to enter more fully upon this subject hereafter. When he refers to “Free Thoughts," &c., he refers to antiquated calumnies, to enemies of the catholic church, as a proof of her tenets, and it would be just as candid to refer to the French Moniteur, when under the thraldom of Bonaparte, for the character of the British government.
In treating of protestant indulgences, which he is unable to justify, your correspondent seems to think that catholics were as capable of forging calumnies on their Protestant brethren, as some Protestants were ready enough to forge against them. He surely will not refuse to submit to the decision of a very learned Protestant writer, I mean the Rev. Mr. Whitaker. "Forgery," says he, " I blush for the honour of protestantism while I write it, seems to have been peculiar to the reformed. I look in vain for one of those accursed outrages of imposition among the disciples of popery."— Whitaker, vol. III. p. 2.
In his letter of the 25th ult. your correspondent appears “sceptical" with regard to the existence of an indulgence which I formerly said was to be found in Luther's works. He requests me to give him the quotations. But before I do this, I may express my surprise, that a man who would pretend to discuss the religious opinions of others, should not only be unacquainted with them, but ignorant of the great father of his own. That Luther did preach the doctrines in question is certain. He tells us that whilst he continued a catholic monk, he “observed chastity, obedience, and poverty, and that being free from worldly cares, he gaves himself up to fasting, watching, and prayer ;'' whereas, after he became reformer, he describes himself as raging with the most violent concupiscence: to satisfy which, he broke through his solemn vow of continency, in direct opposition to his former doctrine, by marrying a religious woman, who was under the same obligation. He then proceeded to teach the shameful lessons we have seen above; and others still more licentious, such as the permission, in certain cases, of concubinage and polygamy. Milner's Letters, pp. 158, 159. The ipsissima verba of Luther's acknowledged publication are:-“Ut non est in meis viribus situm, ut vir non sim, tam non est etiam mei juris, ut absque muliere sim. Rursum ut in tua manu non est, ut fæmina non sis, sic nec in te est, ut absque viro degas- Tertia ratio divortii est, ubi alter alteri se subduxerit, ut debitam benevolentiam persolvere nolit, aut habitare cum eo renuerit,hic opportunium est, ut maritus dicat: Si tu nolueris, altera volet : Si domina nolit, adveniat ancella." Oper. Luth. Ed. Wirt. tom. V. fol. 119, 120. The works of Luther are preserved in the library of the university of Glasgow, where your correspondent may examine if my quotations are correct, and I expect that he will be as good as his word.
Your correspondent says, that those indulgences of Luther which I adduced were solitary cases, I now ask him in short words :-Did not Luther issue more bulls than one, to absolve the Germans from their obedience to Charles V. ? Did not Calvin and Beza require the Hugenots to rebel against their sovereigns ? Did not Knox, and the Presbyterian clergy of Scotland in general, with thundering anathemas impel their followers to shake off the dominion of the Queen Regent, and afterwards that of the unfortunate Mary? What else were the sermons and writings of Cranmer, Ridley, Jewel, Poynet, and other fathers of the new religion at home, in the reign of Queen Mary, but so many decrees in favour of rebellion, and so many absolutions from the duty of allegiance? Did not a new set of Protestant doctors, proceeding, however, upon the fundamental principle of the former, that of private judgment in the interpretation of scripture, and in all matters of religion, preach up, on the alleged authority of God's word, the justice and necessity of deposing and murdering their king, the gallant Charles I., and subverting the constitution ? Did not the same doctors, on the same pretended sacred authority, absolve the prisoners of war who were released to them at Brentford, from the oaths they had severally taken of not serving again in the republican army? Did not the most famous prelates and divines of the establishment, a few years before, pretend to absolve the king himself from his sworn duty to his subjects, and the