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catechism issued by Bonaparte and the pope, gives precisely the same number, with two slight verbal variations :—What the former calls luxury and sloth, the latter calls wantonness and idleness.
The Douay catechism has also six sins against the Holy Ghost; but as they are not described as mortal, we must consider them as only venial. These are, despair of salvation, presumption of God's mercy, to impugn the known truth, envy at another's spiritual good, obstinacy in sin, and final impenitence. The grave authors of this catechism had already placed envy among the deadly sins, but here it appears among
those which are distinguished from ihe deadly. This arises, I suppose, from the rule of the council of Trent, which requires a particular regard to circumstances, especially such as speciem facii mutant, that is, alter the kind or degree of sin. It is envy in general that is a mortal sin; but when it is only “envy at another's spiritual good,” the species is altered; and the sin becomes venial. If we take the word of God for our rule, we shall find that there is no sin so emphatically marked as deadly as that of final impenitence; but the Douay doctors class this with sins which are not deadly, for no other reason that I know of, but that they have still a remedy for it in purgatory.
There are four sins besides, which are particularly marked by the Douay divines in their catechism, which Amicus Veritatis says is approved by the whole church of Rome. These four sins are, wilful murder, sin of Sodom, oppression of the poor, and to defraud workmen of their wages. These are entitled, “ the sins that cry to heaven for vengeance." But seeing they are not placed in the list of deadly sins, it may be presumed that their cry is not heard, that vengeance does not follow them, and therefore we must consider them as merely venial.
In this way Papists “sport themselves with their own deceivings." They are worse than the fools that make a mock at sin; for they represent the most enormous wickedness as no sin at all, or as such a trifle that it would be unjust to punish men for it, at least with eternal punishment. Thus, in answer to the question, "What is venial sin ?" the Douay catechism answers,—“ It is a much more pardonable offenco against God or our neighbour:" that is, more pardonable than the mortal sin which is explained immediately before. In short, the council of Mentz professed plainly, " That they cannot understand how God should be just, if he punish any for venial sins with eternal punishment." Sonnius, one of their authors, tells us, that “venial sins are worthy of pardon;" that is, making them meritorious : and Bellarmine, their great champion, declares, that they “hold with a general consent, that venial sins make not a man guilty of eternal death." That God would be unjust if he punished venial sins eternally, justice requiring a forbearance to punish that offence which deserves, not punishment.” Again, says the same author, “ some sins are so far from deserving eternal punishment, that God cannot punish them eternally, without injustice." Gregory de Valentia says, that " venial sin may be remitted without any infusion of grace.” Andradius and Bonaventure assert, “ That for venial sins we do not so much as need repentance." The council of Mentz teach, “ That many de part this life free from mortal sins, and for lighter sins they shall never be damned." (See the quotations, and many more to the same purpose, in a sermon by Mr. Jenkyn, entitled, “No sin venial.")
Thus, from the published sentiments of their greatest authors, and from their approved catechisms, it will appear, that Papists need not much concern themselves about most of the sins of which they know themselves to be guilty; nay, that they may easily get quit of them all, by persuading themselves of some circumstance which changes a mortal sin into a venial one; or if this cannot be done, they have only to tell their deadly sins to a priest, who not only will, but who is obliged to grant absolution, if the sinner appear to be sorry for what he has done, and promise amendment. A little penance is enjoined as a thing of course, which the penitent may either suffer in person, or compound for by a little money, and then he is declared to be in a state of grace, as pure and innocent as when he came from the laver of regeneration, that is, from the holy water sprinkled on him at baptism.
I do not believe that the grossest heathenism is so much calculated to promote sin, and to keep men at ease under their sins, as this impious substitute for Christianity, which the church of Rome has palmed upon the world; by means of which she has deceived the nations of Europe for so many ages, and led millions of souls to everlasting perdition. For let it be observed, that in the sins of her catalogue, there is no mention of that which is the root and the sum of all iniquity, namely, the want of love to God. A man may be unconscious of any of the seven deadly sins of any of the six sins against the Holy Ghost;—or of any of the four that cry to heaven for vengeance ;—it may not be in the power of man to convict him of any one of these seventeen sins; and yet he may be in the gall of bitterness, and the bond of iniquity, because the love of God is not in him; and while his fellow-creatures are regarding him as a saint, worthy to be canonized and adored, all the benevolence of heaven is looking down upon him with pity and compassion, as an enemy to God in his mind; and as belonging to that description of men, for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.
The church of Rome endeavours, by every means in her power, to keep the eyes of men shut against this view of their character and state. She is constantly diverting their minds from reflecting upon the character of true religion, as consisting in love to God and to our fellow men, and as manifesting itself in spiritual worship, and holy practice. She has their minds pre-occupied, by a system of false religion and will-worship; which is the more pernicious, and the more to be abhorred, because it assumes the name of Christianity: In this system, the love of God, which is the essence of true religion, is declared not to be necessary; at least, not to be so necessary as that one cannot be a Christian without it.
I shall immediately prove this by quotations from distinguished writers of the church of Rome. These writers were Jesuits, and therefore their doctrines will have the greater weight with our British Papists; for I wish the reader to recollect, that after this most pestilent society had been proscribed by all the popish powers in Europe, they found an asylum in the heart of England; where, for thirty years past, they have been allowed to extend their influence, concentrate their powers, and mature their plans for bringing the world again in subjection to their ghostly dominion. The principal popish writers of the present day in England, have avowed themselves on the side of the
Jesuits; the pope himself, by his recent authoritative restoration of the order, has identified with them not only himself personally, but also the church of which he is the head; and I have not a doubt, that if the popish priests at present in Scotland and England would tell the truth, they would confess that they are Jesuits. I have not access to the original works from which the following extracts are taken; but I give them as quoted by M. Pascal, who was a devoted and zealous member of the church of Rome; but so amiable and so pious, that I cannot allow myself to call him a Papist.
In Escobar, says M. Pascal, (in his Provincial Letters, Let. X.) who has collected the various opinions of our fathers on this subject, in the practice of the love of God by our society, tr. 1, ex. 2, n. 21, and tr. 5, ex. 4, n. 8, you have this question : “When, or at what time, is a man obliged to have an actual love or affection for God? Suarez says, it is enough to love him a little before we die, without fixing any time. Vasquez, that it is enough to love him at the point of death. Others, at baptism; some, at the seasons of contrition; others, upon festivals. But our Father Castro Palao opposes, and justly too, every one of these opinions. Hurtado de Mendoza pretends to say, that we are obliged to love him once every year, and that we are well off, in not being obliged to love him ofiener. But Father Conink believes that we are bound to do it once in three or four years. Henriquez, every five years. And Filiutius says, it is probable that we are not rigorously obliged to do it every five years.
Anthony Sirmond, another of their fathers, discusses this doctrine in the manner following:—“St. Thomas says we are obliged to love God as soon as he has given us the use of reason: but that is a little too soon. Scotus, every Sunday. What foundation has he for that? Others, in times of strong tempiation. Ay, if there was no other way to avoid it. Scotus, that after some great mercy received from God, it is not amiss to thank him for it. Others, at the point of death. That is a little too late. Neither do I believe it necessary every time that the sacraments are administered. Attrition with confession, if you can come at it conveniently, will do well enough. Suarez says, he is sure we are obliged to love God some time or other. Ay, but when ? Why, you are to be judge of that, for he knows nothing of the matter."
On these sentiments of Jesuit authors, expressed in their own words, Pascal remarks, “ Now if such a doctor as Suarez knows nothing of the matter, I do not know who does. And he concludes at last, that in strictness, we are only obliged to keep the other commandments without having any affection for God, or our hearts the least inclined to love him; provided we do not hate him; and this he proves throughout his whole second treatise. You will see in every page, but more particularly in the 16, 19, 24, and 28, where are these words: 'God, in commanding us to love him, is satisfied if we obey him in his other commandments.' If God had said, “Though you keep my commandments ever so well, I will damn you, if you do not moreover give me your heart and affections; do you think that this motive would have been proportioned to that end and design, which God may, and ought to have?" It is therefore said that we shall love God, by doing his will, in the same manner as if we loved him affectionately, and had no other bias but that of charity itself. Should that be really the case, so much
the better; but if not, we still do not fail strictly to obey the commandment of love, while we perform the works thereof: so that (observe the goodness of God) we are not so much commanded to love him as we are not to hate him."
“Thus have our fathers (continues M. Pascal) discharged men from the painful obligation of loving God with all their hearts. And this doctrine is of that importance, that Fathers Annat, Pintereau, Le Moine, and even A. Sirmond, have stoutly defended it whenever it was attacked; as you may see in their answers to the Moral Theology, but particularly in that of Father Pintereau, 2. p. of Abbe de Boisic, p. 53. where you may judge of the value of this dispensation by the price which it cost, which was no less than the blood of Jesus Christ. But what crowns this doctrine is, that it sets you free from the troublesome duty of loving God, which is the great privilege which the Christians have above the Jews. It was reasonable,' says he, 'that by the law of grace in the New Testament, God should take off the troublesome and difficult duties of the law of rigour, which obliged men to acts of perfect contrition, before they could be justified; and that he should institute certain sacraments, to supply all our defects, by the help of means more easy to be performed: otherwise Christians, who are the children, could not more easily recover the good graces of their Father, than the Jews, who were the slaves, could obtain mercy from their God."
In short, the sum of the Jesuits' doctrine on this subject is thus shortly given by Pascal: “That this exemption from loving God is the great benefit, or advantage, which Jesus Christ has brought down upon the earth;" and then he expresses his indignation against the doctrine thus inculcated by the leading men of his own church, in the following language, which would do honour to any Protestant:-"What! will the blood of Jesus Christ procure us an exemption from loving him ? Before the incarnation, mankind were obliged to love God, but since God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, shall the world, thus mercifully redeemed by him, be discharged from loving him? Strange divinity of our times! To dare to take off the curse that St. Paul pronounces against those who love not the Lord Jesus! To destroy what St. John says, That he that loveth not, remaineth in death. Nay, what Jesus Christ himself affirms, 'He that loveth me not, keepeth not my commandments. Thus you make those worthy to enjoy God through all eternity, who never once loved him in the whole course of their lives. This is the mystery of iniquity complete ! Open your eyes at last, my good Father, and if the former errors of your casuists are not discernible enough to strike you, may these last withdraw you, by their glaring impieties.” Vol. I. p. 227. ed. 1744.
Here I shall indulge myself in a short digression, to show the reader in what manner the Jesuits of that day treated this faithful exposure of their impieties, and the then unknown author, who published his letters one by one, at intervals. They found it impossible to defend themselves by fair argument; and they had recourse to a weapon which their society, in every stage of its existence, has been found to handle more dexterously than any other body of men in the world; that is, lying, downright impudent lying, and calumny. Thus the author of the Provincial Letters, who was a man really concerned for the honour of his church, was assailed by the Jesuits with every opprobrious epi
thet; and, to express in one word all the crimes of which they accused him, they called him a HERETIC; and, supposing him to belong to the society of Port Royal, they accused the whole body, nuns and all, with heresy, particularly of “disbelieving the mystery of transubstantiation, and the real presence of Christ in the eucharist." This had no connexion with the subjects in dispute; for the author of the letters was a firm believer in that absurdity; but it seems to have been intended, and it had the effect of diverting his mind, at least for a time, from exposing the impiety of their doctrines; for we find he entered immediately on his own defence, which occupies a considerable part of his second volume. In this defence, however, he makes a most pointed exposure of the wickedness of these fathers.
“I shall not only prove," says he, “ that your writings are full of scandal, but I shall go farther. It is possible to say a thing that is false, believing it to be true; but the real liar is he that lies with an intention to lie. Now I shall make it appear that you, fathers, lie with that intention; and that you load your enemies, knowingly and designedly, with crimes of which you positively know that they are innocent."-"For this doctrine of evil speaking is so notorious in your schools, that you have not only maintained it in your books, but, with the most consummate impudence, in your public disputations; as, amongst others, in those at Louvain, in the year 1645, in these terms: It is but a venial sin to ruin the credit of a false accuser, by charging him with false crimes: and this doctrine is so much in vogue with you, that whoever dares to attack it, you treat him as an ignorant foolhardy fellow."
A capuchin friar who had been accused by the Jesuits in the same manner, is introduced as making the following defence: “I hare stopped their impudence once before, and I will do it again, in the same manner. I declare therefore to all the world, that they (the Jesuits) are most IMPUDENT LIARS: Mentiri impudentissime. If the things they accuse me of be true, let them be proved, or let my accusers from henceforth and for ever stand convicted of a most IMPUDENT LIE. After this challenge, all men will see who is in the right, they or I.”— “ This honest capuchin, fathers, has cut off from your reverences all possibility of making a retreat. You are now convicted of being professed detractors, and must defend yourselves by your maxim, that this kind of calumny is no crime at all. This father has found out the way of stopping your mouths; and indeed it is the only way, whenever your accusations want proof. The best answer to every one of you, is that of the capuchin father, MENTIRIS IMPUDENTISSIME." Such is the character of the Jesuits, drawn, not by a heretical Protestant, but by a brother of their own communion, who knew them well.
The reader will be apt to think that I have lost sight of the subject of auricular confession; but this is not the case. I wish to expose, as plainly as I can, the notions which Papists entertain with regard to sin, in order to a better understanding of what they call their sacramental confession. If they knew sin in its true character, as it is described in the word of God, they would see that it is impossible for a fellow-creature to hear a true confession of it, or to grant absolution; and if by any means they should acquire this knowledge, it would ruin the trade of their father confessors, who are, therefore, directly inte