Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

license, shall presume to read or to possess the Bible, cannot, unless he shall first give it up to the ordinary, receive absolution of his sins.' If I had been compelled to look for this rule in a contemporary work of the Council of Trent, 1 should not here have referred to it. I will have no more of history than the honourable gentlemen who are so averse to it, and so much in favour of the claims of the present Roman Catholics, are pleased to allow me; but this is not history it is the journal of to-day it is reprinted, re-enacted, re-enforced by the Papal See in 1819.

"The Italian translation of the New Testament, made by Martini, Archbishop of Florence, was not only approved at the time by Pope Pius VI., but actually came forth with a recommendatory letter from him; a letter which has very frequently since been reprinted by Protestants. But in one of the latest additions to the Index, (a single sheet printed in 1820, and containing the works prohibited since the publication of the volume in 1819,) are two editions of that very translation of the New Testament, by Martini, both printed in Italy, both having the identical letter of Pius VI. prefixed, and neither of them stated to have a single heretical note or addition. The prohibitory clause is as follows: -the Pope having recited the condemnation of the Italian editions of the New Testament in question, of an English impression of the same

translation, and of seven other works, proceeds: -Therefore let no one, of any rank or condition whatsoever, read or possess the said works; but give them up at once to the ordinary, or to the Inquisition, under pain of mortal sin.'

P

"From the tyranny over the human mind, thus exercised by the Church of Rome, wherever it has power, I draw this conclusion, that to give it new power anywhere would be most unsafe: and if it were given on the ground that the Church of Rome has changed its character, would be most contrary to the evidence of facts. It has still the same grasping, dominant, exclusive, and intolerant character: it is weaker indeed than it was; but it carries with it everywhere the same mind. You have indeed shorn and bound the strong man, but the secret of his strength is still upon him; and if, from whatever motive, you admit him into the sanctuary of your temple, beware lest the place and the opportunity should call that strength into action; and with all the energies of his might restored for the occasion, he should pull down the temple of the constitution upon you, and bury you, and your idols, and himself, in one common ruin.”

PART THIRD.

We have seen, I think, that no valid argument can be advanced for further concession to Roman Catholics, on the ground of natural right or political expediency. We will now take a short view of the nature and origin of the tenets peculiar to the Church of Rome;-of the doctrines of the Jesuit morality;-and of the unchanged and unchangeable spirit of the Romish Church, as evinced, as well by other circumstances, as more especially by the contents of the Breviary ;-and we shall find little reason, even in this view of the case, for arming Roman Catholics with political power.

I.

Nature and origin of the tenets peculiar to the Church of Rome.

"By comparing the articles of the Church of Rome with those of the Church of England, we shall find that the points of difference are chiefly these:-tradition, transubstantiation, the

number of sacraments, purgatory, indulgences, and the invocation of saints.

“To begin with tradition. The divine inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, and consequently their truth and obligation, is allowed both by Papists and by the members of our Church: but the Papists assert, that the books of the New Testament do not contain the whole rule of a Christian's faith and practice; they believe that the Apostles orally delivered many doctrines and precepts of the highest importance to our eternal happiness, which are not contained in the New Testament; and they further believe that these doctrines and precepts have been faithfully transmitted to the present time; and that there is an infallible authority, vested by Christ in his Church, to judge of their correctness, and to distinguish those that are true from those which are false.

"The power of interpreting the word of God by a continual light from above, might be confined by the Scriptures themselves, as it would be difficult to force doctrines on the belief of Christians, of which the very name and subject seem to have been unknown to the inspired writers. Divine Tradition removes this obstacle; and so doing, increases the influence of Rome to an indefinite extent.

66

"By the combined influence of tradition and infallibility, the Church of Rome established the doctrine of Transubstantiation, or the change

of the substance of bread and wine into the real substance of Christ's body and blood, in the administration of the Lord's Supper. The world beheld, for centuries, the natural consequences of the surprising belief of the power of priests to convert bread and wine into the incarnate Deity. Kings and emperors were forced to kiss the Pope's foot, because their subjects were in the daily habit of kissing the hands of priests: those hands, which were believed to come in frequent contact with the body of Christ!

[ocr errors]

"The oath which excludes Roman Catholics from the senate, is that against transubstantiation and the invocation of saints. These are declared to be idolatrous and superstitious. Mr. Butler, in his Book of the Roman Catholic Church, vehemently objects to these epithets, and attempts to prove, that no Protestant is justified in making this assertion. With respect to transubstantiation, we have no other words than those to express our opinion of him who kneels down to a thin bread-cake, after the priest has blessed it, believing that the palpable substance is the very and material blood and bones of Him who is in heaven. If we had more expressive terms than these we would use them, to describe our opinion of him, who taketh flour, and with part thereof he maketh bread, he eateth and is satisfied; with part thereof he maketh a god, he falleth down, yea, he worshippeth it!""

6

« ElőzőTovább »