Графични страници
PDF файл

crament of penance; this takes away all the sins committed after baptism, (the sins before baptism were taken away by that rite :) the priest absolves from all sin; this sacrament reconciles the sinner to God: there is no occasion to confess sin to God; it is enough that the sinner confess to his ghostly father: there is no need of the atonement of Christ; a faithful performance of the prayers and good works enjoined by the priest is sufficient satisfaction: and if the sinner in confessing to the priest, should knowingly omit one mortal sin, it is the same as lying to the Holy Ghost, so that the authority of the Holy Ghost and of the priests are the same. In short, the principal of the system is, that poor perishing sinners must commit themselves implicitly to the care of their ghostly fathers; and, instead of trusting in God, in whom alone salvation is to be found, incur the curse of trusting in man, in whom there is no help.

I should not much object to the definition of the word contrition, as above quoted from the catechism, if it stood connected with the animating principle which alone can produce genuine repentance or contrition. It has, however, no such connexion, though it seems to relate to an act of the sinner's own, which he must take “care and time to make;" that is, an “act of contrition, which stands in the front of the catechism, as follows:-“O Sovereign Lord, because I love thee above all things, I am heartily sorry that ever I offended thee; I hate and detest all my sins, because they are displeasing to thee, my good God; and I firmly purpose and resolve, through thy grace, never more to offend thee. Amen." Such is the act which all Papists are taught by their church to make; and with regard to most of them, I am afraid, it commences by telling their maker a lie to his face. How few are there who can truly say they love the Lord above all things!

It is not my intention to reply to A. V.'s late letters, till I have done with some previous matter; but I cannot deny myself the pleasure of informing him, that, in his letter in your paper of the 11th instant, he has given his system a wound which he will not soon be able to cure. Speaking of the book which contained the Tax of the Apostolic Chancery, which was put in the list of prohibited books by the Council of Trent, he says, "No book is prohibited but such as contains doctrine contrary to the tenets of the catholic faith.” Now it is a fact, that the same Council of Trent put the bible, as well as the Tax of the Apostolic Chancery, in the list of prohibited books. The bible, therefore, by A. Vi's own acknowledgment, contains doctrine contrary to the catholic faith, and is of course condemned by the authority of the church. But perhaps he will call the bible forgery, like almost every thing else that contains a word against his infallible church.

In a future letter, I shall quote the authority of the Council of Trent at length on this subject. In the meantime, your readers may rest assured of the fact, that the bible is under the fourth rule concerning prohibited books, and not to be read in the vulgar tongue, without special permission of a priest, granted in writing, under the heaviest penalty known to a Papist--that of not receiving the pardon of his sins; and the rule proceeds upon this very certain ground, that if the Holy Bible be permitted to be read every where without difference, in the vulgar tongue, it does more harm than good, through the rashness of men, I am, &c.

A PROTESTANT, July 13th, 1818.




SATURDAY, July 25th, 1818. At the conclusion of my last, I convicted AMICUS VERITATIS of admitting that the bible contained“ doctrines contrary to the tenets of the catholic faith." I believe I might very honourably terminate the controversy here; for persons who make the above admission, and still adhere to the church of Rome, are not to be reasoned with as christians. For the sake of society, however, if not for their own sakes, it is necessary to continue the controversy, in order to expose the impositions which such men practice upon the public; that, if they cannot be put to silence by fair argument, the world may be convinced that their testi mony is not to be believed.

I shall deviate a little farther from my plan, in order to remove as soon as possible the impression that may have been made on the mind of some readers, by A. V.'s assertions with regard to the character and doctrine of Luther. That I may do A. V. no injustice, I shall begin by quoting the whole passage. He asserted that a certain passage in Luther's works "contains a perpetual indulgence to commit adultery, in certain circumstances." He now repeats, “that Luther did preach the doctrine 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 gave himself up to fasting, watching, and prayer; whereas, after he became a 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 habit are cum eo renuerit. Hic opportunium est, ut maritus dicat: Si tu nolueris, altera volit: Si domina nolit, adveniat ancilla.' Oper. Luth. Ed. Wirt. tom. V. fol. 119, 123. 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 he will be as good as his word.

My word was, that if I found upon examining Luther's own words, he really held and taught the doctrines imputed to him by A. V., I should publish the fact, and confess that Luther held more errors than I was aware of. Certainly I should do so, if I found the fact to be as A. V. states it; for I have no interest in defending the errors of Luther or of any other man; but the fact is, Luther taught no such errors;

and A. V's pretended extract from his works is a piece of as barefaced imposition as ever was palmed upon the public.

I have to thank the librarian of the university here, who, at the ex. pense of some inconvenience to himself, the library being shut at this season, gave me an opportunity of inspecting Luther's works, which consist of seven immense folio volumes. The words are correctly given by A. V. as far as the word ancella, which ought to be ancilla ; this, however, is of little consequence, as it may be a mistake of the printer. After ancilla, Luther has a comma, and then he proceeds to explain the necessary steps to be taken before a man can lawfully put away his wife and take another. I shall give the whole sentence as it stands in Luther, that the reader may see how much he has been abused by modern Papists. “Si domina nolit

, adveniat ancilla, ita tamen ut antea iterum et tertium uxorem admoneat maritus, et coram aliis ejus etiam pertinaciam detegat, ut publice et ante conspectum Ecclesiæ duritia ejus et agnoscatur et reprehendatur.” This is a part of Luther's third reason of divorce. He is maintaining that in certain circumstances it is lawful for a man to put away his wife and take another—" yet so that before this the husband admonish his wife, not once only, but a second and a third time, and also expose her obstinacy before others, that publicly, and in presence of the church, her obstinacy may be known and reprehended." But A. V. stops at the word ancilla : for a comma he substitutes a period, and omits all the rest of the sentence, which makes Luther appear to teach, that, without ceremony, a man may take his handmaid instead of his wife. In this way, A. V. will prove the Psalmist to be an atheist. His very words, in the fourteenth Psalm, are, " There is no God.”

If not quite hardened, A. V. must blush when he sees his wickedness thus exposed. This is the man who makes such an outcry against the Protestants for forgery, and who maintains, on the authority of Whitaker, that no such practice was to be found among papists. I wish Whitaker were alive; I should tell him of a papist who commits forgery; for, to garble a man's words, and make him say what he does not mean to say, is as really forgery as to put a man's 'name to a document which he never saw. I advise A. V. to beware of such tricks, lest some worse thing befall him than the lash of a Protestant.

Some of my friends accused me of want of charity, when I said, in one of my letters in the Glasgow Chronicle, “I believe A. V. knows more than he chooses to make known.” I feel myself quite justified in making the assertion. He must know very well that the passage in Luther, when fairly quoted, gives not the least countenance to the abominable charge which he unblushingly brought against the Reformer; but he did not choose to make this known. The doctrine of Luther is substantially the same that is taught by the soundest casuists, and which is laid down, from the apostolic writings, in the Westminster confession, Chap. xxiv. §. 6. Luther, indeed, does not speak with so much delicacy on a delicate subject, as a modern divine would do; but that fault was common to him, with most writers of his time, and for two hundred years afterwards. Our own Queen Mary, one of the idols of Papists, did not always write in such language as would become a young lady in the present day. The extract given by A. V. with the necessary addition which I

VOL. I.-8

have made to it from Luther's works, consists of two unconnected passages, of which I need not give a literal translation, as I confess the expression in somewhat coarse. But I appeal to better scholars than myself

, whether the following be not the meaning which a liberal translator would give it, expressing the same ideas in modern language. Luther is speaking of man and woman, and of their being made for one another. Speaking in name of the former, he says, it was not of himself that he was made so; then, as addressing the latter, he says the same of her; and the inference which he draws with regard to both is, that the one ought not to be without the other. Is not this perfectly consistent with the declaration of the Creator concerning Adam, while in a state of innocency,-“ It is not good that man should be alone." The third reason of divorce is, when one party withdraws from the other, and will not perform due benevolence, or refuses to dwell with the other: in this case, a husband may tell his wife that he will take another, but not privately, or on his own authority; but repeated admonition must be given to her before the church, as Luther's words are literally translated at the bottom of the second page: that is, she must be divorced before the husband is warranted to put her away, or, in other words, that a regular process of divorce must be led, before he can marry another. I see nothing in this contrary to the word of God; and I believe it is perfectly consistent with the law, both in England and Scotland.

The Papists were never able to fix the smallest charge of any thing bordering upon unchastity upon Luther, except that he married a wife. It is utterly false that “ he describes himself as raging with the most violent concupiscence,” &c. Whatever such men as A. V. or Milner may say, regardless of their character, or confident of escaping detection, the advocates of popery, in former days, were too well informed of the truth, and too conscious that they would be exposed, to hazard any such assertion. All that the bishop of Meaux, when speaking of the strong language which Luther used on the necessity of marriage as a remedy against unchastity, says, is, “ I cannot think how he will be able to reconcile this with the life which, according to his own account, he led in the most spotless manner, during all the time of his celibacy, and till he was forty-five years of age.Hist. de Variations, lib. 3., num. 49. All the world know that Luther was apt to use strong, and even unguarded language; but nothing but ignorant or malevolent effrontery could induce any one to accuse him of such actions and sentiments as A. V. lays to his charge. So far from making the confession alleged, in a letter to his friend Amsdorf, written at the time of his marriage, he says: “Ego enim nec amo, nec æstuo, sed diligo uxorem;" and he assigns as the principal reason for his marrying, that he might, by his own example, trample upon an iniquitous law which was the source of so much immorality and flagitiousness. Seckendorf, Hist. Lutheranismi, lib. 2., pp. 16, 19. In fact, Luther speaks with great indifference of marriage, so far as regarded himself, but, knowing the monstrous wickedness which the celibacy of the priests occasioned, he strongly recommended marriage to others, and in doing so he was supported by the authority of the word of God.

A. V. expresses his “surprise, that a man who would pretend to discuss the religious opinions of others, should not only be unacquaint

[ocr errors]

ed with, but ignorant of the opinions of the great father of his own." Luther is not the father of my religion. It would be a sad thing for Protestants, if their religion were derived from a book which is to be seen, perhaps, no where in the kingdom, but within the walls of the Glasgow University. Though I claim no relation to Luther more than to any other christian, I am happy that I have it in my power to vindicate his character from the aspersions of an anonymous libeller, who abuses the liberty which he enjoys in a free country, for the vilest purposes of defamation. I never thought highly of the morality of Papists; but A. V. has made me think more meanly of it than ever. He abuses other venerable names besides that of Luther: but as his charges against them are not of so gross a nature, nor supported by such apparent evidence, I shall not take up their cause at present, but proceed in my reply to Pax, from which I have been diverted, by a desire of making a speedy exposure of A. V.'s falsehood and impudence.

Pax seems very much offended by my continued use of the word Papist; and because I do not use the term Roman Catholic, like some of our senators, who were enlightened enough to see that it was improper to use the word Catholic exclusively to denote the church of Rome. I confess, I am not so easily satisfied on this point as these worthy senators must have been. I do not call the members of the church of Rome, Papists, because it is a term of reproach, but because they have not furnished me with another term which does not imply, on my part, the concession of some important principle. I have already given my reasons for not calling them catholics; and for nearly the same reasons, I cannot call them Roman Catholics. The word catholic signifies universal. In the nature of the thing, there cannot be more than one universal church; that is, the whole body of believers in Christ throughout the world, together with those who have gone to heaven. This is very different from any visible organized church; and certainly it is not the church of Rome. To use the term of Roman catholic, is to admit that the church of Rome is in some sense universal, which it never was; or that it is the only true church, for there cannot be two universal churches. I say the church of Rome never was Catholic, or universal. It never prevailed over the whole world. It was never universal, even in what is called Christendom; for, not to speak of the Greek church, which remains to this day a separate communion, it never prevailed universally in the west of Europe. The Culdees in our own country, for instance, maintained a long and a noble struggle against the errors and the encroachments of Rome; and they continued to do so, till the Waldenses had thrown off her galling yoke. The melody of a simple and spiritual worship did not cease to ascend from the glens and mountains of Scotland, till it began to be heard in the valley of Piedmont; and till the inhabitants of the rocky Alps had learned to sing the praises of their Redeemer.

The true church of Christ was driven into the wilderness; but it was not in the power of Rome to destroy her altogether. The Culdees were not finally overcome till the twelfth century, and in that same century the Waldenses had become a great eye-sore to Rome. “In Scotland," says the Edinburgh Encyclopedia,"" the Culdean doctrine had taken deeper root; and, although equally offensive to the votaries of

« ПредишнаНапред »