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cated the intense desire they felt to behold the island which lay before them hidden by an intervening ridge of hills. Connor and his party soon joined the penitents, and entered at once on their perambulations. However enthusiastic they had been in climbing the hills, that enthusiasm soon cooled when they began to feel the lacerations produced by walking upon the spiked stones. Still as others kept on they made no pause, but went round the building, joining in the prayers to the Virgin and to God. This was repeated several times during the day. When at night wearied with fatigue they had just retired to rest, they were awakened by the cry of a man, calling the pilgrims to the chapel or prison. All arose, and, although nearly overcome with sleep, they entered the place to which they had been summoned, having first washed themselves in the lake. Nothing was more calculated to affect the minds of the pilgrims with solemn dread, predisposed as they were to all that is superstitious, than the scene which the chapel presented. It was a comfortless looking place, with naked walls, dimly lighted by two or three candles, which stood upon an altar that was raised near one of the sides of the chapel, and crowded with halfslumbering devotees, whose low monotonous repetition of prayers, mingled at times with a deep-drawn sigh, or a half-suppressed groan, or a timid and fearful shriek, wrought mightily upon the nerves of the scholar. The exchange of the solemn stillness of the midnight hour for that sepulchral sound, and the transit from the soft yet clear radiance of the moon and stars to the dim light of almost expiring tapers affected him in common with the others. Everything had been so artfully arranged that it was impossible to shake off the feelings of awe and terror that began to possess them. Here, kneeling upon the bare ground, they repeated their prayers, often falling asleep over the duty, and as often aroused by severe blows inflicted by persons who went round to keep the penitents awake. In this place, exhausted by their previous penance and the loss of their rest, they continued their devotions until day-break, when the same traversing of the sharp stones took place, and the same devotional exercises at stated times. No refreshment was allowed, save the water of the lake, which is warmed and presented to the pilgrims who require it. It is called wine, and is supposed to possess certain virtues. Another visit to the prison which they left at midnight completed the first part of their penance which they so vainly and ignorantly believed had a meritorious power to blot out their guilt. * Early the next morning the whole party sought the priest to whom confession of their sins was to be made, and who was to bestow absolution upon them. He listened with great gravity to what Connor had to say, and then immediately pronounced the pardon. This was the case with all who followed ; a very short time sufficing for all to go through the catalogue of their sins, most of which were acknowledged without compunction. Nevertheless, no difference was made in the treatment of any. A hasty absolution was given to each party individually, and then their places were filled up by others intent upon the same errand. Their next object was to take the sacrament, and that solemn ordinance was desecrated by the eager anxiety of some to push before the others in order speedily to enter upon the last act of penance before leaving the island. There remained another duty to be done, that of walking round the beds ; but the mind of Connor was made up to have no more to do with such a system of mummery, by which the souls of men were deluded and the excellence of real religion completely hidden under a round of foolish ceremonies. He returned to the hut in which he had left his satchel and oaten cakes, and hastily entered the ferry-boat which was conveyed to the opposite shore of the lake. It was high noon when he reached the summit of the hills that rise from the water. He turned for a moment to gaze on the scene he had left, in which folly and superstition were enchaining their votaries, and saw crowds of pilgrims performing their devotions, and the boat that had brought him across the lake returning with a fresh company of credulous Catholics who were about to join them. It were surely needless to point out to the enlightened mind of the Bible Christian the sad profanation of scenes like these, how fatally souls are ruined, and what an insult is thus offered to the glorious sacrifice of Calvary which alone can take away the guilt of sin ; for since the Word of God declares, “without shedding of blood there is no remission,” how can it be that penances like those we have described can satisfy the offended justice of heaven, can purify the heart from sin, or fill the soul of man with that filial love which can alone spring from a sense of freely-bestowed and pardoning mercy ? Yet, cheering is the truth, that the labours of the Irish Scripture readers have been so abundantly blessed by the Almighty, and bright are our hopes for Ireland that error and superstition shall yet flee away before the glorious sunshine of Gospel truth.
AN APPEAL TO DR. MURRAY AND THE ROMAN CATHOLIC
LAITY OF IRELAND.
“From this polluted fountain of indifference’ flows that absurd and erroneous
doctrine, or rather raving, in favour and in defence of liberty of conscience;' from which most pestilential error the course is opened to that entire and wild liberty of opinion which is everywhere attempting the overthrow of religious and civil institutions; and which the unblushing impudence of some has held forth as an advantage to religion.”—Extract from the Encyclical Letter of Pope Gregory XVI., dated at Rome 15th August, 1832, addressed to all Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops, and Bishops.
“Dr. MURRAY, you are an aged man. I call on you at this eleventh hour to look to Christ for mercy.
You have not ventured now while an edition of this work has passed through the hands of the public, to meet the proofs of one tittle of it. You have written a letter, which Mr. O'Connell read at the Meeting of the Popish Institute in London, on the 26th of last May (1840), in which you
know not to be true, as if you thought, by the solemnity of denial, to disclaim what
you dare not encounter in the field of proof. You have hereby only aggravated your sin, and drawn upon yourself additional demonstration of it. Have you not served this hard master long enough? Have you not long enough bowed under the yoke of this Mystery of Iniquity?' The awful superstitions you administer have led you into this labyrinth of treachery and falsehood--they cannot cure the evils thcy have caused—they can neither, as you know and feel, give peace to your conscience, nor can they give pardon and salvation to your soul. Fly, aged man ! fly, I beseech you, by faith, to the Son of God-He receiveth sinners- He is able to save to the uttermost all that come unto God by him '
-Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.' That is his word—it is worthy of all acceptation.'
“ Painful necessity obliges me to detail in this the perjuries and crimes of one that is dead-your suffragan bishop—the partner of your guilt, Dr. Doyle. I have heard, and I hope and believe that he looked not to your idol wafer and the other lying refuges of Popery, but to the Lord Jesus Christ for his salvation in his latter days. And though it is my painful duty to record his iniquities as a Papal bishop here, I trust they are blotted out of God's remembrance by the blood of the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world. I have seen a small book called “Dew Drops,' containing precious promises of the Gospel of Christ, which he carried latterly in his waistcoat pocket, and it bears his name in his own hand; it is in the possession of a mutual friend of his and mine. I tell it to you for your encouragement. Get that little book, or get the Bible from which it is taken, and look to the Saviour whom that Bible reveals-remember the truth with the Lord is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption. You look to that wretched representative of the sin and pride of Satan, the Pope. Will he comfort you?—will he deliver you from the charges of your own conscience ?—will that · Man of Sin' make you or any poor sinner a righteous man ?-_will he blot these oaths of yours and all your secret deceptions from God's book of everlasting judgment?-a miserable criminal himself, can he give salvation to
Not so the Lord Jesus Christ-He laid down bis precious life upon the cross for sinners for the chief of sinners, *Look unto him and be saved.'—01 turn to him while yet you may. I write not to throw a stone at you. I am a poor, vile, miserable sinner like yourself. I believe, through grace, that Christ is an allsufficient Saviour for my soul-He is able to save you—' All manner of sins and blasphemies shall be forgiven unto men.' Not like the lying blasphemy of your Major Pænitentiarius, whose daring pretence of pardoning sin is greater than all the blasphemies and crimes he can pretend to pardon-blinding you in ignorance, encouraging and hardening you in iniquity, setting the · Man of Sin' up in the place of God, in that heart which is the rightful temple and throne of its Creator. Pardon given by Christ-bought with his blood, comes with its mighty melting power to the sinner's heart: and, while it washes its guilt, it seizes its affections, and sanctifies and consecrates it to its God. May the Lord wash you in that fountain, and make this book an instrument of conviction, of repentance, and of salvation to your soul !
And you, my poor, dear, blinded countrymen--quick, and sensible, and clever as you are - what say you to this book, and what say you to these men ? Behold these guides - of your immortal souls—are these, indeed the successors of Peter and of Paul ? Read their writings, and compare their works. Are these laws like those of Peter
you ? No.
and Paul ? Did you ever read such things as these in the Bible ? They burn the Bible—they take it from you and your children, that they may instill into your ears those laws and principles. And now, what say you to them?
Are they the laws of God or of the devil ? Of the devil himself, beyond all doubt. Your bishops and priests know this too. If they were the laws of God; your bishops would not have been ashamed of them they would not have denied them they would have confessed them; but you see they denied them-denied them with oaths, and now they set them up in secret to direct their priests to guide your consciences !
“My poor unhappy countrymen! what good can happen to us what blessing can we hope for-what peace can we enjoy, when such laws as these are set up to guide and govern you, my Roman Catholic friends ? What wonder the Whitefeet and Ribbonmen swear to wade in heretic blood, when this is the law of their Church and the lesson of their confessional ?
“Ribbonmen of Ireland, if this shall fall into the hands of any poor Ribbonman, I beseech you, pause and consider. You are engaged in a secret conspiracy which you know to be wrong—you fear to be detected by those who govern your country, yet they are but men; and you carry this on without fear in the sight of God, and you do so to maintain your religion, and on principles of religion too. Yea, and taught or encouraged secretly by the ministers of your Church, or more probably by able instruments and tools employed by them; for though they will expose your life to the sword or the gallows, they will take special care of themselves and of their own. Yet I would just submit it in candour and kindness to your common sense, can this religion be the religion of Christ ?-can a religion that is to be promoted and maintained by secret lawless conspiracies, nursed in treason, protected in its deeds of darkness by perjury, cemented by blood ; I ask you, my friends, can this be the religion of Christ Jesus? -or can you, who would tremble to be arrested and brought before the tribunal of your fellow-men for such crimes, can your hearts endure, or can your hands be strong when you shall be summoned to answer for them at the bar of God ? Your priests pretend to you that they will answer for you at the tribunal of your Creator-look at them how they all hide themselves from proof and detection of these criminal principles which they inculcate on you, and which either directly or indirectly move you to these confederacies ; and do you think they will dare to meet the God of heaven with a system from which they shrink as a system of iniquity before men ?-will they save your souls from perdition when they expose you to perish on the gallows or in Botany Bay ? Is this Christianity, my friends? What wonder we are miserable ! I leave it to your common sense, can we ever look on you but with terror and distrust, when we know that these are the lessons taught you by your Church, while you are so blind and ignorant as to think that Church infallible ? What would you think of us, if any man could write a book like this, and prove that the Protestant bishops and clergy, inculcated such lessons on their flocks? What would you think of us, and how would you feel? Mark these men now, how
they will not dare to justify themselves before you. Dr. Murray and all your bishops will shrink-Mr. O'Connell will shrink-they will not venture to argue or disprove these laws before you. O, my friends, my countrymen, be men. Open your Bibles-claim, assert your rights as men and rational beings. Do you think when these men dare not vindicate their superstitions and iniquities before you and us, that they will be able to jnstify them before God? You see not one among them can be found that will dare to expound the Bible for you, or give you your Church's exposition. They know it is an imposture to pretend that the Church lias any exposition, so they dare not attempt to give it. You see not one of them will dare to stand before any body of men among you to have laid open in your presence the secret, infernal examinations that, under the mask of religion, they inflict on your wives and daughters. It has been often tried to force them to do so, in vain. “O, my dear countrymen, let not any of
be so blind as to think that men, who will be honest to you, and who will faithfully tell you truth, are your enemies and hate
my witness, my Roman Catholic countrymen, that it is far from my heart to hate you. I hate and abhor this cursed system of falsehood and wickedness. that deceives and blinds you. But the more I see it, and the more I abhor it, the more I feel for you, my dear, warm-hearted, cordial, affectionate countrymen, that you should be such dupes and slaves of an Antichristian tyrant, and that the very ardour of your hearts should be turned away from loving God and loving your fellowsinners, and made an instrument of turning you ardently to sin and ignorance, and spiritual slavery and crime. You ardently try to maintain whatever your priests tell you is for the good of your Church. Why? Because you are so blind and ignorant of God and his Word to think that those priests and that Church can pardon your sins. It is no priests nor churches that can pardon sin-it is only the blood of Christ that pardons sin--that is a fountain for us. If we all were Christians indeed--all looking to Christmall trusting Christ-all rejoicing in Christ-all loving Christ-how we should all love one another! O, what a happy people—what a happy country. Lord bless you, save you, deliver you, my poor dear countrymen, from this system of awful ignorance, falsehood, and iniquity, and raise up men, faithful, honest, resolute, determined, strong in Christian faithfulness, Christian zeal, and Christian love, who will never rest till the cloud of Papal guilt and wickedness is dispelled from your hearts and from Ireland, and till you are brought into the light and liberty of the glorious Gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. This is all my enmity to you --this is the worst I wish you, and it is the earnest prayer of your faithful and affectionate friend and countryman.”—The Laws of the Papacy set up by the Romish Bishops to subvert the authority of their Lawful Sovereign in 1832. Second Edition, p. 35–39, with a Letter Dedicatory to Her Majesty. Seeley and Burnside.
Guildford, December, 1845.