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Rome, it kept its ground for several centuries. The Popish writers themselves celebrate the piety, the purity, and the humility, and even the learning, of the Culdees: but while they were displeased with the simplicity, or what they deemed the barbarism, of their worship, they charged them with various deviations from the faith of the Catholic church. It was not the least of these that they did not observe Easter at the proper time. They did not acknowledge auricular confession; they rejected penance and authoritative absolution; they made no use of chrism* in baptism ; confirmation was unknown; they opposed the doctrine of the real presence; they withstood the idolatrous worship of saints and angels, dedicating all their churches to the holy Trinity; they denied the doctrine of works of supererogation; they were enemies to the celibacy of the clergy, themselves living in the married state. One sweeping charge brought against them is, that they preferred their own opinions to the statutes of the holy fathers. The Scots, having received the christian faith by the labours of the Culdees, long withstood the errors and usurpations of Rome."
This information respecting our ancestors will, I hope, be interesting to my readers; and it may lead some to conclude, that the effect of the simple mode of worship practised by the Culdees, in all their churches, is visible in Scotland to this day.
Rome having succeeded at last in extinguishing the light in Scotland, it broke out with greater brightness on the continent. “Of all the sects that arose in this century,' says Mosheim, "none was more distin. guished by the reputation it acquired, by the multitude of its votaries, and the testimony which its bitterest enemies bore to the probity and innocence of its members, than that of the Waldenses, so called from their parent and founder, Peter Waldus." " They complained that the Roman church had degenerated, under Constantine the Great, from its primitive purity and sanctity. They denied the supremacy of the Roman pontiff. They maintained that the power of delivering sinners from the guilt and punishment of their offences, belonged to God alone: and that indulgences, of consequence, were the criminal inventions of sordid avarice. They looked upon the prayers, and other ceremonies that were instituted in behalf of the dead, as vain, useless, and absurd ; and denied the existence of departed souls in an intermediate state of purification, affirming that they were immediately, upon their separation from the body, received into heaven, or thrust down to hell."
In short, the same doctrines which were taught by Luther and the other reformers were maintained by greater or smaller numbers of Christians, in different parts of the world, even in the darkest ages. The translator of Mosheim says very properly, “ When the Papists ask us, Where our religion was before Luther ? we generally answer, In the Bible; and we answer well. But to gratify their taste for tradition and human authority, we may add to this answer,--and in the valleys of Piedmont:"† to which I may add,-and on the mountains of Scotland.
• A mixture of oil and balsam, consecrated by a Popish bishop, to be used in baptism, confirmation, &c.
# Perhaps no body of Christians, since the days of the Roman emperors, suffered more severe persecution than the Waldenses díd, at the instigation of the Roman pontiff. As a specimen of the Popish method of converting heretics, I shall give a few extracts from a bull of Pope Innocent VIII., in which he requires the archdea
The church of Rome, therefore, never was universal, or Catholic; and I cannot consistently call her members Roman Catholics; but I have no objection to call them Romists, if that shall please them better than Papists. Under one or other of these terms they must be content to be called after their head, like other sects, and with more propriety than most other sects, for they own the pope to be the head of their Church, whereas, few other Christian sects acknowledge any head
I see, in the Glasgow Chronicle of Saturday last, an advertisement by A. V., in which I am apprised of a small mistake with regard to the pope, who offered to indulge Henry VIII. with two wives. It seems I had given the pope an I too much, and had written Clement VIII. instead of Clement VII. This trifling error occasions great triumph to A. V., who makes out from it that all my arguments are absurd indeed. From this I infer, that, in the esteem of A. V. himself, this is the greatest matter he could find against me, as he blazons it forth in the middle of his short advertisement. Now this error is actually nothing at all with regard to my argument.
The fact is, that the pope of the day made the above proposal to the king of England. The thing was done-it matters not what was the number of the name of the beast that did it.
(I intend, as soon as I can make it convenient, to publish, from the Glasgow Chronicle, my letters from the commencement, in a separate form)
con of Cremona to extirpate that simple and harmless people. This was thirty years before the reformation. "We have heard,” says the pope," and it has come to our knowledge, not without much displeasure, that certain sons of iniquity, followers of that abominable and pernicious sect of malignant men, called the poor of Lyons, or Waldenses, who have long endeavoured, in Piedmont and other places, to ensnare the sheep belonging to God, to the perdition of their souls, having damnably risen up, under a feigned pretence of holiness--being given up to a reprobate sense, and made to err greatly from the way of truth-committing things contrary to the orthodox faith, offensive to the eyes of the divine Majesty, and which occasion a great hazard of souls." He then declares that he has constituted Albert his nuncio, commissioner, " to the end that you should induce the followers of the most wicked sect of the Waldenses, and all others polluted with heretical pravity, to abjure their errors. And, calling to your assistance all archbishops and bishops seated in the said dutchy, (of Savoy,) whom the Most High hath called to share with us in our cares, with the inquisitor, the ordinaries of the place, their vicars, &c., you proceed lo the e xecution thereof against the foresaid Waldenses, and all other heretics whatever, to rise up in arms against them, and, by joint communication of processes, to tread them under foot as venomous adders; diligently providing that the people coramitted to their charge do persevere in the profession of the true faith-bending all your endeavours, and bestowing all your care, towards so holy and so necessary an extermination of the same heretics.". “ Thou, therefore, my beloved son, taking upon thee, with a devout mind, the burden of so 'meritorious a work, show thyself, in the execution thereof, so careful in word and deed, and so diligent and studious, that the much wished-for fruits may, through the grace of God, redound unto thee from thy labours, and that thou mayest not only obtain the crown of glory, which is bestowed as a reward to those that prosecute pious causes, but that thou mayest also ensure
the approbation of us, and of the Apostolic See. Given at Rome, at St. Peter's
, 27th Ap. 1487, and 3d of our Popedom." Jones' Hist. Wald. Ist ed. pp. 466– 468.
AUTHORITY AND CHARACTER OP POPISH PRIESTS, VIRTUAL DENIAL OF THE ATONE
MENT. DOUAY CATECHISM. CULPA AND PENA, OR GUILT AND PUNISHMENT. EVEN PAPISII PRIESTS IGNORANT OF THE BIBLE. APPLICATION OF I. TIM. IV.I. WONDERFUL MIRACLE, EXEMPLIFYING THE ABOVE TEXT.
SATURDAY, August 1st, 1818. Pax tells us, that the principles of the Catholic church do not emanate from a pope, but from the great Founder of the christian faith.” This is true of the really Catholic, or universal Church, bux not true of the Romish Church. Some of the fundamental principles of christianity, such as the Trinity, and the divinity of Christ, are indeed admitted in the Popish system; but they are so blended with human errors, as to be in a great measure neutralized, and rendered inefficient for the purpose of saving sinners. From the divinity of Christ, we infer the sufficiency and the virtue of his atonement, and his supreme and exclusive authority in matters of faith and ehristian practice. But the benefit of this is lost in the church of Rome, by setting up her own authority and that of her priests, as sufficient in matters of faith; and by directing sinners to satisfy divine justice for themselves. Hear the Douay Catechism, which A. V. says is approved by the whole church, and put into the hands of all their children for their religious instruction." Q. Is any great honour due to priests and ghostly (i. e. spiritual) fathers ? A. Yes: for they are God's anointed, represent the
person of Christ, and are the fathers and feeders of our souls.-Q. In what are we bound to believe and obey them ? A. In all things belonging to faith and the government of our souls.” This is, in language sufficiently plain, setting aside the authority of Christ altogether. Papists are taught implicitly to believe all things belonging to faith, which a priest may tell them—that is all things believable; and though it may seem strange to persons who think and reason upon principles of common sense, Papists are taught by their priests to believe a great deal more than what is believable.
Now, who are these priests in whom the poor people are commanded to put such confidence? They are merely men like themselves. They were never taken into the council of the Almighty, that they should know more of his will than other men. They were never favoured with a revelation from heaven in their private ear. No heavenly messenger was ever sent to them, to teach them what others could not know. They may, indeed, pretend to converse with angels, and to have communications from heaven ; but I defy the whole priesthood to exhibit one evidence of this. Grant, then, for a moment, that all the priests of the Romish church, in all ages, were as decent and sober as those in Scotland are, in the present day, not one of them, nor all of them together, could be worthy of being obeyed in any one article of faith, or of being implicitly believed in any one matter of religion.
How much more, when the prevailing character of the priests was the opposite of what I have supposed? Is it possible, that, while living in all sorts of wickedness, the Almighty should speak to men by their mouth? The truth which God has revealed for the salvation of sinners has a purifying influence, and its moral effects are invariably seen in those who
believe it. It is certain, the greater part of the priests themselves did not believe it, else they would not have lived such profligate lives. Were they then to be implicitly believed in a matter in which they did not believe themselves? If they taught what they did believe, it must have been error and falsehood, and those who trusted in them, must have been deceived and ruined. Upon the supposition, that the priests are not now such grossly wicked men, as they once were, (and it canno be denied, that the reformation has had a happy influence even upon the Popish priesthood, especially in Protestant countries ;) upon the supposition, that they are even good men, they are liable to err like all others, and ought not to be believed in any matter of faith whatever, unless they can produce divine authority for what they say; and then it is not the priest that is believed, but God himself. Whatever may be the character of the individual trusted in, the Bible declares the misery of the man that trusteth in man.
With regard to the atonement of Christ, on which alone the hopes of a sinner can safely rest for pardon and peace, the church of Rome makes it of no value, by virtually denying its sufficiency; which they do, by teaching men to add the merits of saints, and their own merits to it. Nothing can be more dishonourable to Christ than this. It is, in fact, reducing him to the rank of a mere creature, who died for sin in vain, if the sinner must yet make atonement, in whole or in part, for himself, or if he must have recourse to the merits of other creatures to help him. Christ said upon the cross, It is finished ;” and how impious and presumptuous is it to attempt to add to his FINISHED work! As well might a worm add to the magnitude and brightness of the sun.
The doctrine of indulgences certainly did not emanate from the great Founder of the Christain faith. A good deal has been said on this subject already. I leave it to the reader to judge whether I have not proved all that I asserted of it; and I have abundance of materials in reserve to prove the unparalleled wickedness of the church of Rome in this single branch of her traffic. But at present I shall not have recourse to any other document than that to which A. V. refers me. The Douay Catechism, he tells me, is approved by the whole church. I confess popery appears in it considerably softened down, and divested of much of its grossness. I have no evidence, however, of this catechism being approved by the whole church of Rome; for that church has not met in general council for nearly three hundred years; and this catechism does not profess to have been approved by the council of Trent, or any other council. It is not authenticated by any authority whatever; there is no name to vouch for it, but that of the printer; whereas the French Catechism is sanctioned by the authority of the pope, and the archbishop of Paris. Unauthenticated as the Douay Catechism is, it may be either admitted or denied by Papists to contain the faith of their church. AMICUS VERITATIS, however, cannot have this advantage ; for I find the catechism before me contains the very words which he quoted from it in one of his letters on the doctrine indulgence. It is, therefore, sufficiently authentic for every purpose of my controversy with him.
Now I intend to show, that, modified as it is, the doctrine of indulgence is not one that emanates from the great Founder of Christianity, but that it is directly opposed to Christianity. I shall give the precise
words of the catechism. “What is an indulgence?" "Not leave to commit sin, or a pardon for sins to come, as some slander the church, but only a releasing of temporal punishment due to such sins as are already forgiven us by the sacrament of penance."
Here, it seems, the church of Rome teaches, that sin may be for. given, and yet the person who committed it be liable to punishment. This is inconsistent with the whole tenor of scripture. When God pardons the sins of his people, he is said to remember them no more. Not that the knowledge of them can escape out of his mind; but he does not remember them so as to exact the penalty or punishment of them. He exacted the whole penalty of his own Son, when he stood in the place of the guilty; it was exacted of him, and he answered ; he paid the whole debt; he made complete atonement when he gave himself up to God, a sacrifice for sin. He that believes in Christ is justified from all things from which he could not be justified by the law of Moses. He is justified from the guilt, and released from the punishment, which his sins deserved. There is a necessary connexion between guilt and punishment: when the former is taken away, the latter cannot with justice be inflicted.
I know that popish writers distinguish between the culpa and the pæna—that is, the guilt and the punishment and certainly they are different and distinguishable things; but it is quite contrary to scripture, to say that the one can be taken away, and the other remain. It is of no consequence that it is only temporal punishment that is said to be released by an indulgence. I could easily show, from popish writers, that the church affected to release sinners from both the culpa and the pæna, not for time only, but for ever. But I am arguing at present from the Douay Catechism, which ascribes to an indulgence the power of releasing from temporal punishment only. But, if it be admitted that punishment of any kind is due, then the guilt cannot have been taken away. Punishment, in this world, is as really an expression of divine wrath against sin, as punishment in the next world. But, when God pardons a sinner, his wrath is turned away from him. He accepts the satisfaction made by Christ in his death, as sufficient punishment for all the sins of all his people. But to suppose punishment, either temporal or eternal, still due to a believer, is to set aside the atonement of Christ.
Papists, and perhaps some Protestants, will reply to this, that believ. ers, real Christians, suffer much in this world in consequence of their sins, and that it must be very desirable to have an indulgence, or to be exempted from such sufferings. It is true, believers do often suffer much in consequence of their sins. Though we maintain that they are perfectly justified before God, on account of Christ's righteousness, we do not consider them to be personally without sin, as Papists consider those who have had their sins forgiven by the sacrament of penance. Consistent Protestants know nothing of sinless perfection in this world. They do not pretend to it, and the less they do the better. While in the world, therefore, they must suffer affliction, because sin, the cause of all suffering, adheres to them. But the afflictions of Christians do not partake of the nature of punishment; they are not penal, but salutary; they are the necessary and merciful discipline of our heavenly Father, who, when he does chasten his