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of the Church of Rome ; for they can say and unsay, maintain and deny, many things, as occasion may require ; and it is no very easy matter fully to detect and expose them. The evidence fully proves that they do this in regard to the authority of the Pope: for they can deny his infallibility to be a doctrine of their church (seeing it has never been declared by any general council in express terms), and yet they can hold that doctrine themselves, in its most absurd and offensive shape, and make use of it among their people ;-in regard to general councils : for they can quibble as to which are to be regarded as general; and then again make distinctions between their decrees concerning faith and discipline, and as to the circumstances which must concur to make their decisions binding on a particular national church ;-and again, in regard to particular doctrines which are found in the decrees of councils, they can explain some things in a plausible manner, as relating to particular circumstances, even while they themselves acknowledge the universal position to be untenable, and deny that it is a doctrine of their church. To give one instance of the duplicity of the Roman Catholic priesthood, we will only refer to the distribution of the Scriptures. In some instances they permit it; and, when under examination, they can boast of the various editions of the Scriptures which they have published : yet at other times they oppose their circulation to the utmost of their power. It is left to the discretion of the priest, who knows very well, when circumstances make it difficult to withhold the Bible from an individual, how to make a merit of necessity, and to maintain, with Dr. Doyle, that of all the things said of us, there is not any thing said of us more op posed to truth, than that we are averse to the circulation of the word of God.
At the same time it must be kept in remembrance, that, where they do allow the circulation and perusal of the Scriptures, they only allow them to be understood according to the interpretation which The Church is pleased to put upon them. So Dr. Murray expressly says:
I do not approve of the circulation of the Scriptures without notes. I wish there should be some notes appended to them, as an indication that they are not to be interpreted according to private judgment, but according to the authority of the church. p. 223.
On this important point we are here told what Dr. Murray does not approve. In p. 270 there is an extract from a letter of J. K. L. which informs us what Dr. Doyle does approve.
I heard of a poor man in the county Kildare, who, if I gave him a Bible approved of by the church, would venerate it more than any thing he possessed, but having been favoured, by the lady of his master, with one of the Society's
Bibles without note or comment, accepted it with all the reverence which the fear of losing his situation inspired ; but, behold! when the night closed, and all danger of detection was removed, he, lest he should be infected with heresy exhaled from the Protestant Bible during his sleep, took it with a tongs, for he would not defile his touch with it, and buried it in a grave which he had prepared for it, in his garden!! Should a pious old lady of the society ever read this anecdote, the hair of her head will start up, the frightful picture of Popery pass before her eyes, and she will rehearse devoutly the prayer of the Gunpowder Plot. Yet I, who have read portions of the Bible every day these twenty years and upwards, who have devoted many an hour to the study of it, who have often explained it to others, who have collected sixteen or eighteen editions of it in different languages, who, like Augustin, find in it infinitely more beyond my comprehension than I can understand ; I, who am thus a very Bible-man, do admire the orthodoxy of this Kildare peasant; nay, I admire it greatly;
and should I happen to meet him, I shall reward him for his zeal.—(Letters on Education, by J. K. L. page 39, third edition).
So that this Kildare peasant is first a hypocrite, in receiving the Bible with pretended respect, for fear of losing his place; and then a blasphemous wretch, in destroying it: and it appears, moreover, that he is a coward, in concealing his conduct from all who would be offended by it; and an impious boaster, in proclaiming it to those who would approve it. And all this Dr. Doyle, a Roman Catholic bishop, deliberately approves, and promises to reward ! We think the Kildare peasant was bad enough, and can only compare him with an infidel, of whom we have read elsewhere, who burnt his Bible, and died afterwards in despair : but we think that every honest man will agree with us in considering Dr. Doyle as infinitely worse than he. He may impudently boast of being “a very Bible-man,” but we do not hesitate to set him down, upon his own shewing, as one of the very worst of infidels. And this is only one instance, among many, of a much closer resemblance between Roman Catholics and Infidels than probably most of our readers have supposed. We do not therefore wonder that we find them often closely allied, and making
Their enmity against the Bible stamps them as belonging to one and the same party.
We had noted many instances of the duplicity and evasions of the Roman Catholic bishops, in their evidence given before the parliamentary committees; but this sickening subject is running on to such a length that we must, for the most part, content ourselves with referring our readers to the Digest itself. We request them, more particularly, to compare Dr. Doyle's evidence-that, if the Pope interfered with the allegiance which Catholics owe to the King, he should feel bound to oppose him by every means in his power; and his subsequent statement of the independence of the Irish bishops (p. 184)—with the
passage from a letter of J. K. L. quoted in p. 187, his declarations
concerning the manner in which decrees of councils are received or rejected in p. 191, with the declaration of unreserved submission to all such decrees which we have quoted from the Creed of Pius IV., and the passages quoted from the writings of J. K. L. in p. 192: and to consider the manner in which Dr. Doyle endeavours to evade the reproach, so justly urged against his church, on account of the infamous declaration of the third Lateran Council (which he acknowledges to be general), “That all those who are any way bound to heretics should consider themselves absolved from all fidelity and allegiance due to them, so long as they persist in their iniquity.”
This is detailed pp. 194, 195; and some important remarks of the editors follow (p. 197), on the strange meanings which he attaches to plain and general expressions, in order to limit this abominable decree to a particular case. The case of John Huss and the Council of Constance follows (pp. 198—209), with the lame attempt of Dr. Murray to excuse the flagrant breach of faith in violating the Emperor's safe conduct by putting that holy man to death. These accounts are too long for insertion here ; but they should be carefully studied, and universally known. And we would offer one remark, upon all the explanations offered by the Roman Catholic bishops of the iniquitous decrees of councils, the prayers offered to saints, the worship of images, the oath of allegiance to the Pope (which they take as bishops), the services for particular festiyals (that of St. Mark for instance), which are calculated to keep alive the spirit of persecution, the canonization of Thomas à Becket, and Lawrence O'Toole (archbishop of Dublin about the same period), and of all other abominations of their churchand it is this : Either those explanations are satisfactory or they are not. If they are not, then their church is justly charged with those abominations, and the whole weight of the iniquity and odium rests upon her. If they are, then there is no abomination in practice which in the same way those bishops cannot palliate, neither can any words be devised which they are not also able to explain away. So that it is utterly impossible for us plain people, who mean what we say, and expect others to do the same, to know what Roman Catholics mean, or to have any confidence whatever in any declarations that they make, however plain and solemn. To this dilemma they have reduced themselves by their specious sophistries and dexterous evasions. The Digest before us contains, indeed, abundant proof that the Papists are as skilful as the Socinians themselves, in extracting any given sense from any given words :-if indeed we should not rather say, that the Socinians have learned this problem from
the Romanists; and that to these, and the school of the Jesuits in particular, pertains the honour of being masters and teachers to the whole world in the arts of deceit and evasion.
We subjoin a few extracts, to illustrate what we have here said ; and then, for the present, we shall pause, leaving the Roman Catholic bishops upon the horns of this dilemma.
'Is it not one of the commandments of the church to pay tithe to the pastors ?'
(Rigor Rev. J. DOYLE, D. D.) “That is a command of the church, which is found written in catechisms published where tithes are paid ; but where tithes are not paid, the command in the catechism signifies, or is, “contribute to the support of your pastor.”
It was modified into those words in the year 1817, but the other is reprinted in the recent editions of the Douay catechisms?'
I have not a controul over printers. p. 210. (MR. PETER BLENKINSOP.) . At that time I had obtained Dr. Troy's permission to print it (the Bible). It is always usual to get the approbation of the ordinary.
• Would you now print a third edition of that work for the Kildare Street Society, if they applied to you ?'
'Not without the approbation of the present ordinary, Doctor Murray.'
Can any one reconcile these two witnesses ? Or is it to be believed that the Roman Catholic bishops cannot get such catechisms printed, and that in abundance, as they approve ?
(DR. DOYLE).....Thus then we are to understand those commands of the church, as being applications as it were of the law of God, binding us in such degree as we ourselves can plainly infer from that law of nature or of God, from which those commandments of the church are derived.'
! In an abstract of the Douay Catechism, now before the Committee, there are no exceptions stated; are not the members of the Catholic church bound under mortal sin, to keep those commandments of the Catholic church?'
"I can give no further explanation of what I stated in the exposition of that commandment, which explanation common sense and reason dictate, and there is no person can understand it otherwise.'
(J. K. L. in the Vindication, p. 73). “We remind the people whom Providence has committed to our care, that the bishops are appointed by the Holy Ghost to rule the church of God; that they are sent to baptize, even as Christ was sent by His Father;" “We convince them of the necessity of a reasonable obedience to those who watch for them, so as to give God an account of their souls; repeating often, that he who hears thém hears Christ, and that he who despises them despises Christ and the Father who sent him." " It is manifest that the religion of Christ was not founded on the exercise of that reason, which must be reduced to the captivity of obedience even before it could be enlightened." “ If so, why should it now be made to stand on any other foundation; or why should any person, even the most wise, undertake to judge of it by that wisdom and reason which it so emphatically rejects ?” “There must be some means whereby men can come to the knowledge of the truth and believe, besides that which is so expressly excluded. This seems to us to be no other than a continuation the authority of Christ co itted to his church."
On which the editors remark,
Is it to be believed that in Dr. Doyle's mind the language of the Vindication and the evidence before the parliamentary committee have the same meaning; and if they have, how is it possible for people of plainer sense to put faith in his asseverations ? Supposing that what he states is the truth, how may persons of ordinary intellect comprehend his meaning ? His evidence states, that the commands of the church to which he ongs are to be examined the light of reason, and for themselves obeyed or rejected; his writings intimate, that when the church speaks, reason is to be silent; that that obedience alone is reasonable which is yielded not to its wisdom but to its authority; that its commands are to be heard as though they were delivered by Christ himself, and that he who resists in the minutest point, is to have his portion with the heathen. In a word, before the parliamentary committees, Doctor Doyle declares, that his church governs by reason, and will have those only to obey whom she can persuade. In his political and controversial writings, he affirms that she governs by authority, and that all must obey, and that none shall scrutinize her claims or her commands by the faculty of reason; a faculty to which she does not appeal in asserting her dominion, and which she commands to be silent and inactive wherever her supremacy is established. If these declarations bear the same meaning, it is indeed a matter of no little difficulty to understand the language of the Church of Rome; and it may be said, that it is not in her formularies of prayer alone she ministers in an unknown tongue.' pp. 212, 213.
Have you in any instances allowed the circulation of the Bible among the laity, without notes?'
• I do not know that we have.'
• It appears by this address, that you direct that all religious tracts, circulated by certain societies, shall be restored to their owners or destroyed, except Bibles and Testaments, which you direct to be given to the parish priest. Supposing that direction disobeyed, what are the consequences to those who may disobey them ? Are they visited with any consequences ?'
• Really I do not know that they are. I do not think we ever inquired into the disobedience or non-observance of what is therein enjoined ; for we are confident the people will do what we recommend to them in religious matters, and having promulgated what we think it their duty to perform, we leave the matter there.'
• Have you heard, or have you any knowledge, that the sacraments of the church have been refused to those who have been in possession of such books and have not delivered them up in consequence of the admonition?'
• I have not heard of any such thing : before your lordships and before God I never did.'
...... You would not think it a necessary part of Roman Catholic discipline, that the sacraments of the church should be refused for disobedience of such an order?'
• Oh no! it is not a matter of that moment; it is a serious thing to refuse the sacraments.'
• Or that they should be subject to penances ?'
• No; it is a matter of quiet expostulation, not reduced to any thing like triat or punishment.'
* Would the priest so refusing the sacrament be subject to ecclesiastical censure, if his conduct were known?'
......... If the priest required a man to give up those books, and the man said, I will not, because I find some passages
which are amusing, or some instructive, or my landlord gave them to me, and I will not go back with them ; if the priest refused sacraments to a man acting thus, we would reprimand the priest, and leave the man in peace.'
........ This opinion was expressed on the 21st of March, and was given