Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

the writer is about to speak more generally, are Papist and Protestant, for the sake of distinction, since they both profess the Christian-Catholic creed-the Protestant literally ; the Papist with such additions as his Church has deemed it expedient to introduce.

Papists call Protestants heretics for protesting against the doctrines of Popery; yet the latter hesitate not to avow themselves Protestants. Papists acknowledge the Pope (papa) to be the head of their church; yet, sometimes, appear to feel angry at this appellation being applied to them. Why they should so feel they only can tell; but, on the present occasion, it is requested that this distinction from their Protestant brethren may not be misunderstood. The writer has stated his reason for it; and, whilst he entreats the unprejudiced not to suppose him capable of using a term of unjust reproach, he will pursue his self-imposed task without deviating from Fact, regardless of the sneers of superstition or the vituperations of bigotry, proceed they from whatsoever source they may.

As enough has already been said to assure the Papist it has proceeded from the pen of one who is a dissentient from popish doctrines, if it be asked who it is that thus assumes to judge of those doctrines, sanctioned and practised by the Church of Rome? this is the writer's answer :-“A plain, unlettered man;" yet one who, with the “Sacred Volume" for his guide, fears not the strength of the whole Papal Church; and who, to the dogmas of a Pope, will answer in the language of Christ himself. This, he thinks, cannot be deemed an unfair or an incompetent method by the unprejudiced of either persuasion; and he who turns a deaf ear to the truths advanced in Holy Writ, must do so at his own peril, and be left to reconcile his ideas of Christianity in his own way. The writer has attentively compared the Papal and Protestant doctrines with the New Testament, and commenced doing so with a strong bias in favour of the former, since it was with a view of becoming a member of the Romish Church that he was led to “search the Scriptures.” This, it must be owned, was commencing the wrong way for the accomplishment of such an object, since the usual, and, indeed, necessary first step is an application to a priest, Papists themselves not being permitted to peruse the Scriptures. The consequence of this was, that, instead of being convinced of the purity of Popery, the writer was struck with the dissimilarity between the doctrines of our Saviour and the Pope, or Church of Rome; and which, by the closer comparison, was obviously as different as meekness and arrogance, as charity and avarice, as lowliness of heart and insatiable ambition ; and in the thorough conviction that early impressions, and the restraint of the progress of intellect, are the strongest bulwarks of Papal power, he determined on his present undertaking, in the consciousness of SIMPLE FACT being of greater intrinsic value than a host of traditionary tales without a single proof of their authenticity -marvellously-wrought miracles by the aid of ministering monks, mummery, and the credulity of wonder-seekers-by withered bunes, tattered rags, and other “consecrated' rubbish of equal virtue or than the many auxiliaries employed by the Church of Rome to stifle the influence of such FACTS, and evade their purpose.

Here, once for all, it is requested that it may be clearly understood, in whatever opinions may be quoted, and proof urged relative to the Popish Profession of Faith, no reproach or unkindly feeling is, or is intended to be, expressed towards the members of that Church, because they are such; neither has the mere profession of any doctrines a right to screen those whose public conduct is open to remark. however, perfectly aware that there are some priests who make a point of rallying their flocks around them, and sympathetically painting the “ heretical attacks.” made

upon their “ Church,” when it would better become such reverend gentlemen mildly to expose their weakness, than to meet

We are,

them with anathemas-to disprove them by the force of argument, rather than, by irritating language, to incite to the argument of physical force. In such cases it is not the people, but those who enlist them under the banner of clerical intolerance, who are to blame: nor ought a maudlin affectation of liberality to prevent any man from stating facts, and the less so when he professes to treat of fact only. Let not, therefore, the freedom with which the writer has alluded to miracles, or with which he may, and certainly will, allude to other component parts of Popery, give offence to the Papists themselves. If his assertions be true, why should they be objected to ? If they be not so, let them be disproved. If the Papal doctrines are not blended with traditions and legends—if the quackery of monks has not been practised to persuade, to enforce, and to deceive, by means, already said, of “bones, rags,” &c.—if these things be not so, then let the assertions stand as a memento of the writer's falsehood : but if they be TRUE, why should an honest member of the Church of Rome feel one jot of disapprobation towards him who makes them? In like manner, with any and all the statements, remarks, propositions, or conclusions, contained throughout the following pages-let them stand or fall as they are supported or disclaimed by FACT. He who differs in an opinion of religious faith from a body of men, whose political, civil, and religious existence depends upon the belief of those opinions which they themselves seek to promulgate by every means which human artifice can devise such a man, when giving publicity to his own sentiments, lays himself fairly open to the animadversions of those to whose creed he is opposed : be it so—and as the writer is very likely to treat charlatanry with contempt, which is in itself truly contemptible, the Popish priest is invited to show, if he can, the fallacy of the present effort in proof of the ProTESTANT Church being the TRUE CHURCH OF CHRIST; and whose doctrines are, at the present day, more closely allied to those of the primitive Fathers than the 66 supreme” assumptions of Popery ever were-varied and arrogant as history proves them to have been. However, the writer intends not any reproach towards his Popish brethren ; who, ere they are induced to condemn the belief of those who protest against the usurpation of the highest attributes of the CREATOR by the creature—let them first examine it. Let them compare Protestantism with Popery, and both with the Scriptures ; nor longer fear darkness by seeking the celestial light of the Gospel. But, as this is not to be expected from strictly religious Papists without the permission of their clergy, and is, at the same time, a privilege of intellect which their clergy zealously endeavour to abrogate rather than to extend, let us request the latter themselves to show by practical examples in their own conduct (the natural results of their education) the superlative purity of their tenets, as compared with those of the Protestant pastors. The secular Popish priest receives confessions, and absolves from sinsins, confesses, and obtains absolution. Forbidden to marry, he affects to live in a state of unnatural celibacy; yet, mingling with the world, and in its enjoyments, to him are revealed the most secret thoughts of that part of the other sex most likely to have strayed, who kneel to him for forgiveness. He assumes an arbitration between his flock and their consciences, and actually commands, pardons, and rejects, according to his discretion or caprice. The ties of father and husband, with all the kindlier feelings of humanity which they engender, are unknown to the Popish priest. He teaches his congregation—for so he has been taught to teach them—that their first and paramount duties in this world are to attend mass and the confessional, (over which, as an encouragement to the sinner, may be frequently seen the words “your sins are forgiven you !") and that there is no mortal sin so great as forsaking the doctrines of Popery, whilst eternal perdition is the irremedial lot of ALL who have neglected to avail themselves of her widely-extended and sheltering arms. They preach too of abstemiousness; but let it be shown, where any temporal advantages were to be obtained by ecclesiastical intrigue for the Church of Rome or her members, wherein she has failed to employ the most eminent of her jesuitical * adherents; or that their theory of self-denial has not been immerged in their practical lusts of domination, influence, and profit.

* As this term may again be applied, it may not be improper here to give some account of the Order from whence it is derived. When the light of the Reformation exhibited the atrocities of the Romish church, and her late votaries protested against them throughout all Europe, the Pope (Paul III.) sought to recruit the number of his followers among the Pagans; and for this purpose gave every encouragement to an ignorant fanatical Spanish soldier, of the name of Inigo de Guipuscoa, more generally known as Ignatius Loyola, who, A. D. 1540, founded a society, impiously distinguished as the Order of JESUS. This man, ignorant as he was, was of an enterprising and fertile genius, and with sufficient prudence to listen to the advice of others who were wiser than himself in establishing his Order after he had arrived in Rome. This soldier saint (the ghostly honour was manufactured for him by Urban VIII., A. D. 1623,) when he first sought the confirmation of his order from Pope Paul, was opposed by Cardinal Guidiccioni ; but Loyola, by“ a solemn vow of unlimited submission and obedience to the Roman Pontiff,” carried his point; such an Order being exactly what was required by the fallen interests of the Papal Church. Hence the zeal of the Jesuits in supporting the power of the Church of Rome, and hence the zeal of the “Church” in screening or vindicating jesuitical enormities. “The professed members are men of prudence and learning, deeply skilled in the affairs of the world, and dexterous in transacting all kinds of business, from long experience, added to their natural penetration and sagacity. In a word, they are the true and perfect Jesuits." The above account of these designing men is taken from Drs. Mosheim and Maclaine. The following is from a sermon preached by Bishop Brown, in Christ's Church, Dublin, A.D. 1551. (See Harleian Miscellany, referred to by Dr. Maclaine, - vol. v. p. 566.) By some learned men it is spoken of as a prophecy. “ But there are a new fraternity of late sprung up, who call themselves Jesuits, which will deceive many, who are much after the Scribes’ and Pharisees' manner amongst the Jews. They shall strive to abolish the truth, and shall come very near to do it. For these sorts will turn themselves into several forms : with the Heathen a Heathenist, with the Atheists an Atheist, with the Jews a Jew, with the Reformers a Reformade, purposely to know your intentions, your minds, your hearts, and your inclinations, and thereby bring you at last to be like the fool that said in his heart “ There was no God.'. These shall spread over the whole world, shall be admitted into the councils of princes, and they never the wiser; charming of them, yea, making your princes reveal their hearts and the secrets therein, and yet they not perceive it; which will happen from falling from the law of God, by neglect of ful. filliug the law of God, and by winking at their sins; yet, in the end, God, to justify his law, shall suddenly cut off this society, even by the hands of those who have most sucçoured them and made use of them; so that, at the end, they shall become odious to all nations. They shall be worse than Jews, having no resting place upon earth; and then shall a Jew bave more favour than a Jesuit!”-By the suppression of this Order in France, in the year 1762, and, notwithstanding their efforts, again abolished in that kingdom during the present year, 1828, and by the detestation in which they are held by the rest of mankind, generally, the above faithful summary of their character may be said almost to amount to a prediction.

« ForrigeFortsæt »