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ing of any absolutely, and without exception or limitation: knowing by her divine and inost sincere wisdom, how, where, and when, and to whom, these her Master's and Spouse's gifts are to be bestowed, to the most good of the faithful: and therefore neither generally admitteth that which must do hurt to the unworthy, nor absolutely con: demneth, that which may do much good to the worthy."
But this is not all. The Council of Trent rose before its work was done. One of the items of unfinished business was preparing and publishing an index of prohibiied books, that is, a list of such books as were forbidden to be published or read. In the index the Pope says:--
"Inasmuch as it is manifest from experience, that if the Holy Bible, translated into the vulgar tongue, be indiscriminately allowed to every one, the temerity of man will cause more evil than good to arise froin it, it is on this point, referred to the judgment of the Bishopsor Inquisitors, who may, by the advice of the Priest or confessor, permit the reading of the Bible translated into the vulgar tongue by Catholic authors, to those persons whose faith and piety, they apprehend, will be augmented, and not injured by it; and this permission they must have in writing. But if any one shall have the presumption to read or possess it without such written permission, he shall not receive absolution till he have first delivered up such Bible to the ordinary. Booksellers, however, who shall sell or otherwise dispose of Bibles in the vulgar tongue, to any person not having such permission shall forfeit the value of the Books, to be applied by the Biskop to some pious use; and be subjected by the Bishop to such other penalties as the Bishop shall judge proper according to the quality of their offence. But regulars shall neither read nor purchase such Bibles without special license from their superiors."
It is idle to pretend that this was only the deed of Pope Pius, and that the Church is not accountable for it. For the Council delegated its authority to the Pope. And indeed till ratified by the Pope the decrees of the Council were of no validity.
In Spain, and Italy, and in Ireland, where, according to the lestimony given in before the British Parliament, many of the Romanists do not know what kind of a book the New Testament is, it is not necessary for the Jesuits to quibble on this subj ect as they do in this country. In all these countries they can boldly avow, what, among us, policy leads them to deny. But we have the law of the so called Catholic Church. And the amount of it is, that the Bible is not necessary for the people; it is neither for the glory of God or the good
of souls, that the people should have the Bible in a language which they can understand; even Catholic translations are reluctantly per. mitted only in consequence of the infelicity of the times..-- The Ro. man A postacy stands between God and his creatures, and says, "you shall only read the word of God when I please. Christ may say *Search the Scriptures, but you must not dare to obey without a license from me. God may say, 'Unto you, O men, do I call and my voice is to the sons of men, but any Priest or Bishop of mine has authority to rise up and say, 'Stop! God shall not speak to you without my permission.”
I do not doubt but that individuals may be found belonging to the Roman sect, who sincerely believe that such is not the law of their sect; and who will say, they have always had the Bible, and have never known any person forbidden by the Priest to read it. Some of them may have the Bible with the notes of the Douay translators; some may only have manuals containing selections from the Bible; while some may have the Protestant translation. The Rheimish translators tell us that the prescript” of the Council of Trent “can. not be so precisely observed in ihese days of ours” in some places as could be desired. The Priests have therefore to deal wisely. They think it prudent to make a virtue of necessity, and to tolerate, apparently with a good grace, an evil which they cannot entirely prevent. No thanks to old Mother Rome. She would hinder the reading of the Scriptures as much as ever she did, if it were in her power: For,
So far from condemining the opposition made in former times, by Popes and Councils to the general reading and free circulation of the Scriptures, the leaders of the Roman A postacy in the present day, and in this country, really approve the deeds of their predecessors. Yes; while in the very act of denying the charge of hostility to the Bitle brought against them by Protestants, they do oppose the general use of the Scriptures as far as they can, or as far as prudently they may. If there is one Roman Catholic present, I intreat him not to be offended, but to weigh well what I advance, though it may appear to come from an enemy. I hold in my hand a Catholic work on the Scriptures by Demetrius Gallitzin, which is circulated in this place by the agents of the Pope, for the purpose of shaking the faith of Protestants. The object of the writer appears to have been two-fold. 1. To destroy the confidence of mankind in Divine revelation, and induce them to put their trust in the infallible Church. 2. To prove that it is a “Protestant lie" that the Roman sect is, or ever was, opposed to the free circulation and perusal of the Scriptures, From
his book, I shall undertake to show that the Roman sect in our day, "does not differ from its former self, in regarding the Bible as unnecessary, useless, and, if generally read by the people, pernicious to faith
and morals. Hear Gallitzin:--:. so I say again, the sacred volume, although it is the word of God, is not the supreme judge to fix our belief in matters of faith. The-letter we see, the sense we cannot see.
Chriştianity subsisted during many years without the gospels or epistles. It was established not by reading but by hearing. (Romans x: 17.) During fifteen centuries (printing not being invented) the sacred volume was in very few hands. The golden age of the church, the age of pure and unshaken faith, was the age when the Gospel did not exist at all, or existed in very few hands.
To this day there are many thousands that cannot read, and yet their faith is strong, their morals pure; and I do not know whether I would be wrong in asserting, that the most hamble, the most obedient, and the most edifying christians, the most firm believers in the Gospel, are generally found amongst those who cannot read.”
Now I ask, If you believed this, would you not think it best that the Bible should be little read, and that the people be sparingly taught to read? The salvation of the soul being with every true Christian, a matter of the chiefest concern, if this object is not promoted, but rather hindered, by being able to read--if being able to read diminishes the probability that christians will be humble, obedient, edifying, and strong in faith---would you not at once say, Away with the Bible, away with those schools in which our children are taught to read? And would you not say that those men are the wisest, who hold that reading, writing, & arithmetic only fit men to become greater swindlers and rogues; and that, therefore, our youth should be brought up as ignorant as the oxen with which they plow?...Hear Gallitzin again:
“We respect the Bible at least as much as you do. We believe it to be divineiy inspired. We read it with fear and trembling. We kiss the sacred text every time we read the Gospel of the day, in the mass. But we do not presume to interpret it: we do not throw that precious pearl before the swine. We caution our hearers against the danger of self-interpretation; and do publicly acknowledge that we are not able, by the utmost exertion of our mental powers, to fathom its profound mysteries.---We do preach from the Scriptures, it is true; but far from presuming to put our own interpretation on the sacred text, we deliver to our hearers that interpretation which the
Catholic church gives us, believing the church to be guided by the Spirit of truth forever.”
Now I put the question to every intelligent man--- These being the views of the so called Catholic Church, can her leaders be expected to favor the general diffusion of the Scriptures. Why should they? If we cannot see the sense of the Scriptures; if we may not interpret them for ourselves---if this is the sin of casting pearls before swine---if the people by reading and studying the Bible are only led into error; of what use are the Scriptures? Is it worth any man's while to possess the Bible, if he can only con over its letters and syl. lables and words, as a child its A B C without attaching a single idea to the words? “The letter we see.--the sense we cannot see.”
We do not wonder that the leaders of the Roman Apostacy dislike to hear any thing said on this subject. And if they would not at. tempt to deny undoubted facts---if they would not shamelessly contradict all true history.--if they would frankly acknowledge that their former Popes and Councils did wrong in waging a war against the Bible; it would certainly not be right to hold them accountable for the deeds of their fathers. But this they will not do---cannot do; for then, away would go the infallibility of the church. The Roman sect may shuffle and accommodate herself to the times; at this work she is expert; but she never changes. Her writers, her modern advocates, hold it to be a damning sin to say that the church can ever need reformation, for she is infallible.
Having shown what position holy church, as she calls herself, occupies in relation to the Scriptures, I shall now--
1. Show that the Scriptures are the only rule of faith and that they are a sufficient rule...
2. That it is lawful and right to translate the Scriptures into the different languages of mankind.--.
3. That it is the right, and the duty of all men to search the Scriptures and interpret them for themselves...
1. The Scriptures alone are a sufficient rule of faith.
In Isaiah Chap 8. v. 19 the people are reproved for seeking unto them that have familiar spirits, and that peep and mutter. In opposition 10 all such methods of seeking knowledge, it is declared that "a people should seek unto their God.” And then it is added, "To the law and to the testimony; if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” The law and the testimony are here put for the whole word of God; and it is declared to be the
rule, and the only rule, according to which we are to form and ex. press our opinions on all those subjects concerning which we need a divine cominunication.
The Psalmist (Ps. 119, v 105,) says: “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” A man walking in the darkness of night needs a lamp to make plain his way before him. The Psalmist felt that without God's word, he should be in utter darkness with respect to matters of faith and duty. But God's word gave him light, Guided by it, he clearly saw the way wherein he should walk, and he needed no other guide.
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God; and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness that the man of God may be perfect and thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” Here we are taught that the christian has in the Bible all that store of saving knowledge which he needs. Nothing more is necessary to furnish him for good works and holy living.
“From a child thou hast known the Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation. Wherefore laying aside all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness receive with meekness the engrafted word which is able to save your souls." For the important purpose of salvation, there is no defect in the Scriptures, which needs to be supplied by tradition or by the decrees of Councils.
“If they believe not Moses and the prophets neither would they be persuaded though one rose from the dead.”
We learn from the context, that there was once a celebrated dispute about the sufficiency of Scripture as a rule of faith. The disputants were a person in heaven and a person in hell. He in hell thought that something more was necessary in order that men might believe and be saved. He in heaven thought otherwise. We prefer the opinion of him in heaven to that of his opponent.
But, the Romanists would not show so much zeal in attacking the sufficiency of the Scriptures, if it were not to make room for the intro. duction of two allies, without whose aid, they know that many of their doctrines and usages cannot be defended.
]. The first of these is tradition. Let us briefly examine the ground on which they plead that the Scriptures, without tradition, are not a sufficient rule.
They make much use of the 15th verse of Paul's 2 Epistle to the Thessalonians: "Stand fast in the traditions which ye have been taught whether by word, or our Epistle." Now in the original and