« VorigeDoorgaan »
which too plainly shews that we are not to look for its amelioration, but its destruction. We consider the Council of Trent as having placed the Church of Rome in a far more awful position than before ; as having branded its forehead with the mark of final impenitence and obduracy, and sealed it to the day of perdition.
We have deemed it necessary to advert to these facts, in order to shew on what ground we conclude so absolutely that, in upholding false, unscriptural, idolatrous, and blasphemous doctrine, the Church of Rome is immutable. For many ages it was, in respect to the accumulation of errors, growing worse and worse. Had it been capable of amendment, the Reformation and the Council of Trent gave the fittest opportunity, both as to time and circumstances. But, instead of amendment, we observe a confirmation and condensation of evil : we apostate church concentrating all its powers, to set itself for ever in obstinate opposition to all improvement. To know what its doctrines really are, we need, then, only refer to the acts and decrees of the Council of Trent, and to the Creed of Pope Pius IV., published immediately after the dissolution of that council (in 1564). Since that period the Pope has governed the church without the help or necessity of any general council : so that all hope of any renunciation of the errors of Popery is utterly precluded.
There is, as we have said, but little information as to the doctrines of Popery in the volume before us: one remarkable instance, however, of the direct and gross idolatry of the Church at Rome is brought forward, and commented upon at some length. The passage is extracted from the evidence of Dr. Doyle before the Commissioners of Education. We transcribe it, as it stands in one of the notes, with three brief annotations of the editors upon it.
• In your evidence before the Lords' Committee, you have distinctly stated, that no prayer is ever offered up to the Virgin, except in her quality of intercessor?' - Yes.'
'In a printed paper, entitled, The Rules of the Christian Doctrine Society, the Pope's bull incorporating that society is professed to be set forth, in which the commissioners observe this passage : “ An indulgence of three hundred days is granted for ever, to all those who, with a devout and contrite heart, repeat the three following verses or ejaculatory prayers : Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, assist me in my last agony. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, I offer you my heart and soul. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, may I breathe forth my soul to you in peace.” Does it appear to you, that the Virgin is distinguished by her quality of intercessor in the manner she is here addressed ?'- Not in the form of the words, but in the mind of the Christian; he knows he addresses the Saviour as his God, and the blessed Virgin or St. Joseph as an intercessor. The prayer is the act of the mind; and when the person makes this distinction, as he always
does in his mind*, the form of the words he uses is to be understood conformably to the sense in which he uses them.' Does this sentence, “ Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, may I breathe forth my
upon the Virgin Mary as an intercessor?'_'I do not know that it calls upon her for any distinct act of intercession, but it implies, God grant me admittance into the society of the saints t.'
' Again, “ Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, I offer you my heart and soul;" will you explain what practical intercession she is called on to perform there ?' — It is not so much an act of intercession which she is there prayed to exercise, as an act of devotion which is offered to her, and such as may properly be offered to a saint entitled to respect from her high place in heaven.'
* Then in that last mentioned prayer she is not applied to as an intercessor?“I cannot say that she is; but the prayer is rather an act of praise offered on account of her exalted rank in heaven.'
'Is it not an act of worship as far as the Saviour is concerned ?-'Yes; I thinki, with respect to him, it implies a total resignation of the heart into his hands, as the supreme arbiter of our future destiny. As far as they (the saints) are concerned, it is an offering of devotion to them, and an implied prayer to them, as well as an act of affection, that they would assist us in our approaching to God.'
Then that sentence is, in fact, when properly understood, an act of adoration so far as our Saviour is concerned, but not so far as the Virgin or Joseph is concerned?'—'Certainly not to the extent, or at all as the Saviour is adored, but we respect them as saints, and reverence them with affection and devotion.'
* It appears from this, that if a devout Roman Catholic be free from idolatry, he is so notwithstanding the language of his prayers. Is it not hard that a man cannot even pray without a mental reservation ?
+ This implied sense seems to make Jesus a saint, as well as Mary and Joseph.
| Èven Dr. Doyle is not sure of the degree of mental distinction which the language of these prayers will allow. How then is a peasant to be secure against the curses pronounced by Gother and Dr. Murray ?-If he judge by the words, he will make Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, a Trinity, either of Divine, or of glorified human persons; and, in either case, will incur the anathema of those very pastors by whom the words are enjoined. Part. II. pp. 269, 270.
We should not forget to add to this precious extract the conclusion of the above-quoted Indulgence, which we find in another part of the work :
An indulgence of 100 days is granted, for devoutly and contritely repeating any of these ejaculations, applicable in both cases to the souls in purgatory. Pius VII., 28th April 1807. N. B. This indulgence is gained as often in the day, as the devotion is performed. Part I. p. 250.
Can any thing be more lame and miserable than these attempts of Dr. Doyle to explain away the plain language of the prayer, and to evade the charge of idolatry ? And let it be remembered, that this same Dr. Doyle is one of their champions ; one of the most learned and distinguished of the advocates of the Popish cause at present. And this man affirms upon oath, that no prayer is ever offered up to the Blessed Virgin, except in her quality of intercessor! 'Protestants will, moreover, remember, that, even if it were so, his church would not be clear
from the charge of idolatry : for to pray to the saints to intercede for us would still be absurd, unscriptural, and idolatrous, and a blasphemous interference with the glorious office and dignity of our only High Priest, Mediator, and Intercessor, Jesus Christ. It seems, however, that neither the Commismissioners of Education, nor the Committees of the Houses of Parliament, had sufficient knowledge of the Scriptures, and of Protestant principles, to point this out to Dr. Doyle, or to tell him, that, by his own shewing, he was still an idolater.
To enter further upon the consideration of doctrines we must turn aside entirely from the book which we are reviewing, which we are unwilling to do, as it contains so much important matter upon other points, in regard to which we assert that the Church of Rome is unchanged. We pass on, therefore, to the arrogance and extravagance of its claims and pretensions. On this head we have abundant information in the Second Part of the Digest. And here we cannot forbear to quote one most appalling instance of the arrogant language which a Roman Catholic can use, not towards man, but towards the Almighty Himself. It is a passage from the Maynooth Class-book, given in evidence before the House of Lords by the Archbishop of Dublin. It contrasts the state of a Protestant and that of a Roman Catholic, at the last day.
The Protestant, it says, can plead no other principle of faith and action, than his private judgment, with which he has searched the Scriptures for himself.—How different the lot of the Catholic, although (which, yet, God forbid that we should believe) he should have fallen into error through his obedience to the decrees of the church! Can he not, when interrogated on this head, confidently say to the Supreme Judge: Lord, if that which we have followed be an error, Thou, EVEN THOU, HAST DECEIVED us, by thy clear and reiterated precept that, unless we wished to have our part with the heathen, we should hear the church as we hear Thee? Thou thyself hast deceived us, by thy Apostles, by the pastors and doctors whom thou hast ordained in the church, for the perfecting of the saints, and the building up of thy body. Thou thyself hast deceived us, by thy church, which is called by the Apostle, the pillar and ground of truth. For she has always exacted from her children a firm assent, in heart and mind, to her decrees, in thy name denouncing an eternal anathema against the rebellious.......Confidently, then, we say, Oh Lord, if it be an error which we have followed, Thou Thyself hast deceived us, and
WE ARE EXCUSED.
Could any one have imagined, without having actually read the passage, that even the Church of Rome could have supposed any one of the children of men as holding forth such language to the Almighty, under any circumstances? We have shewn in the last quotation what unintelligible language (according to Dr. Doyle's own interpretation) the Church of Rome puts into the mouths of her votaries-language which, if his interpretation be correct, is utterly incomprehensible, saying one
thing and meaning another totally different; and which, if his interpretation be not admissible, he himself must allow to be idolatrous. But this unintelligible or idolatrous jargon is to be exalted above the
clear, lucid, and holy declarations of the blessed Scriptures. For it is not upon his own private judgment that the Protestant relies, but upon the express declarations of God's own word: and if at any time he errs, as to the meaning or application of that word, he will readily take the whole blame to himself, confess himself justly condemned, and cast himself upon the mere mercy of God in Christ Jesus ; beseeching him to forgive the past, and to teach him for the future by his Holy Spirit. But (setting aside for a moment the question, who it is that is going upon the surest and safest ground) why should men be taught, by those who call themselves the teachers of religion, to think of using such impious, arrogant, and blasphemous language towards the everblessed, true, and faithful God ? It is only when truth and reason fail them, that men need to have recourse to such extravagancies as these. We may know at once that those who use such language cannot be right. Falsehood may need to maintain itself by such arrogant modes of assertion, but the calmness and sobriety of truth disclaim and condemn them: it leaves them to the “ mouth speaking great things and blasphemies."
But if the arrogance of Papists towards God still rises to this awful pitch, we cannot be surprised that the arrogance of its claims over men is yet unchanged. It is known, by all who have looked into history, that the Popes of old claimed to be the feudal lords paramount of all Christendom, and emperors and kings were constrained to do them homage for their dominions. This claim was founded, partly on the uncontrouled authority which the Pope assumed, as the vicar of Christ upon earth, and partly on concessions, acknowledgments, and compacts which had been made during the dark ages : as when John, king of England, consented to resign his crown into the hands of the Pope, and to receive it from him again as a vassal of Rome. Papists who would not insist on the first ground of claim, may be very far from renouncing the latter. Wherefore it is very necessary to take heed to the words which they use in their oaths and declarations, or they may seem to us to deny, what they secretly and stedfastly maintain all the while. Many (so-called) Protestants, being greatly ignorant about all such matters, and no match for the cunning and Jesuitical Papists who can, according to convenience, answer either yes or no to almost every question which can be proposed to them—have rashly concluded, and perhaps are ready to declare (upon evidence which they think would warrant an oath), that all such claims and pretensions have been utterly renounced long ago. But they are mightily mistaken. The oath taken by every Roman-Catholic bishop to this day is an oath, not of mere canonical obedience, but of feudal fealty, to the Pope. This is clearly proved by the terms of the oath itself; especially as compared with the oath taken by bishops to the Pope in the eighth century, on the one hand; and with the oath taken by the fidelis ministerialis, or vassal by office, to his liege lord, on the other. The oath taken in the eighth century was as follows:
“I promise to thee, blessed Peter, prince of the Apostles, and to thy vicar, Pope Gregory, and his successors, by the indivisible Trinity, and by this thy most holy body, that I will shew forth the faith and purity of the Catholic religion, and, through the operation of God, abide in the unity of the same faith, in which the salvation of Christians is fully proved to consist; and that I will in no wise consent to any person whatsoever advising me against the unity of the universal church; but, as I have said, I will in all things shew forth my faith and purity, and my attachment to thee, and to the welfare of thy church, to which the power of binding and loosing has been given by God, and to thy aforesaid vicar and his successors. And if I shall know of any prelates walking contrary to the ancient rules of the holy fathers, I will hold no communion with them, but if I can, I will prevent them : if not, I will immediately give faithful notice to my apostolic superior.”
This is merely a promise of canonical obedience: but let our readers compare with it the oath which is taken at present, which they will find to be, in the strictest sense, an oath of allegiance and of feudal
fealty. Wemake a distinction by italics, to be explained presently.
“ I, N. elect of the church of N. from henceforward will be faithful and obedient to Saint Peter the Apostle, and to the Holy Roman Church, and to our Lord, the Lord N. Pope N., and to his successors canonically coming in. I will neither advise, consent, nor do any thing that they may lose life or member, or that their persons may be seized, or hands any-wise laid upon them, or any injuries offered to them, under any pretence whatsoever. The counsel which they shall entrust me withal, by themselves, their messengers, or letters, I will not knowingly reveal to any, to their prejudice. I will help them to defend and keep the Roman Papacy, AND THE ROYALTIES OF Saint Peter, saving my order, against all men. The legate of the Apostolic see, going and coming, I will honourably treat and help in his necessities. The rights, honours, privileges
, and authority of the holy Roman Church, of our Lord the Pope, and his fore, said successors, I will endeavour to preserve, defend, increase, and advance. I will not be in any counsel, action, or treaty, in which shall be plotted against our. said Lord, and the said Roman Church, any thing to the hurt or prejudice of their persons, right, honour, state, or power; and if I shall know any such thing to be treated or agitated by any whatsoever, I will hinder it to my power; and as soon as I can, will signify it to our said Lord, or to some other by whom it may come to his knowledge. The rules of the holy Fathers, the Apostolic decrees, ordinances or disposals, reservations, provisions, and mandates, I will observe with all my might, and cause to be observed by others. I will come to a council when I am called, unless I be hindered by a canonical impediment. I will,