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religion, and that it proved totally unavailing, I suspect he will make no more out of it
And in the blindness of Romish superstition how many vain and fruitless prayers have been offered! How many invoked as saints, of whose future state charity itself could scarcely indulge a hope 1—how many whose very existence has itself been doubted!
In illustration of the statement, as to the uncertainty of the existence of many of the supposed saints of the Romish church, we subjoin the following anecdotes:—
"The Spaniards, it seems, have a saint held in great reverence, in some parts of Spain, called ViAr; for the further encouragement of whose worship, they solicited the Pope to grant some special indulgences to his altars; and upon the Pope's desiring to be better acquainted first with his character, and the proofs which they had of his saintship, they produced a stone with these antique letters S. Viar, which the antiquaries readily saw to be a small fragment of some old Roman inscription, in memory of one who had been Prefectu S. Viarkbj, or overseer of the highways."—Middleton's Letters, p. 173.
This St . Viar, or Viarius, was, notwithstanding, worshipped for I do not know how many ages. "Over the bishop's sepulchre is a table of stone, upon which the mass was wont to be sacrificed in honour of his saintship, whom they call Viarius; and hither came all persons who were pained about the loins, and were invariably cured. When Ressendius, who designed to publish his life along with those of the other saints, visited the spot with a view to pick up information, he inquired of the priests if they possessed any records or inscriptions respecting St. Viarius. Upon this he was directed to the table over his sepulchre; which was inscribed with a Latin epitaph of considerable length. But Ressendius, (who happened to be better acquainted with Latin inscriptions than the priests, soon discovered that the celebrated tomb of St. Viarius contained only the heathenish carcases of two menders of Roman highways. Information was immediately sent to Cardinal Alphonsus, at that time Bishop of Evora, who ordered the place to be shut up, to the great discontent of all the simple faithful who were pained about the loins."—M'Culloch Pop. Cond. p. 345. "Such legendary lore drew from a learned man of the Romish church the following complaint, 'There is also another error not unfrequent, that the common people, neglecting in a manner the ancient and known saints, worship more ardently the
new and unknown, of whose holiness we have but little assurance, and of whom we know some only by revelations; so that it is justly doubted of several, that they never existed at all.' "—Cassand. Consult, p. 971, quoted by M'Culloch, p. 346. This is an important concession by a Popish writer. He speaks as if it were universally admitted that the ancient and known saints should be worshipped; he finds fault only with the prevailing practice of worshipping those upstart saints who were unknown, and of whose existence there was no evidence.
"We have in England," says Middleton, p. 174, "an instance still more ridiculous, of a fictitious saintship, in the case of a certain saint called Amphibolus; who, according to monkish historians, was bishop of the Isle of Man, and fellow-martyr and disciple of St. Alban: yet the learned Bishop Usher has given good reasons to convince us, that he owes the honour of his saintship to a mistaken passage in old acts or legends of St . Alban: where the Amphibolus mentioned, and since reverenced as a saint and martyr, was nothing more than a cloak, which Alban happened to have, at the time of his execution; being a word derived from the Greek, and signifying a rough, shaggy cloak, which ecclesiastical persons usually wore in that age."—Middleton, p. 174.
"They pretend to shew here at Rome,'' says the same author, " two original impressions of our Saviour's face, on two different handkerchiefs; the one, sent a present by himself to Agbarus, Prince of Edessa, who by letter had desired a picture of him; the other, given by him at the time of his execution, to a saint or holy woman named Veronica, upon a handkerchief which she had lent him to wipe his face on that occasion: both which handkerchiefs are still preserved, as they affirm, and now kept with much reverence; the first in St. Sylvester's church, the second in St . Peter's; where in honour of this sacred relic, there is a fine altar built by Pope Urban VIII. with a statue of Veronica herself." "But, notwithstanding the authority of the Pope, and his inscription, this Veronica, as one of their best authors has shewn, like Amphibolus before mentioned, was not any real person, but the name given to the picture itself, by the old writers who mention it; being formed by blundering and confounding the words Vera Icon, or true image, the title inscribed, perhaps, or given originally to the handkerchief, by the first contrivers of the imposture."—page 76.
THOMAS A BECKET.
For an account of the arrogance, dupli
This day is appointed in our prayer-book, with an especial service, to be commemorated as a day of thanksgiving for the most singular and providential deliverance of the king, lords, and commons of England, from the most singularly atrocious and wholesale slaughter that ever was meditated in the corrupt heart of man. It was in the year 1604, exactly 239 years ago this day, in the reign of James I. of England. The trials of the conspirators, the proofs of their guilt, the clear demonstration of it at the time, and the appointment, from that day to this, of the commemorative service in the Christian Church for that deliverance, bring the proof of it plainly before us. It was a plot,
as we are told by the historian, to blow up the king, the royal family, the lords and commons, and to bury all our enemies (as they said) in one common ruin.
The following are the words ascribed by the historian Hume to Catesby, the inventor of this diabolical design :—
"Happily, they are all assembled on the first meeting of the parliament, and afford us the opportunity of glorious and useful vengeance. Great preparations will not be requisite. A few of us combining, may run a mine below the hall in which they meet; and choosing the very moment when the king harrangues both houses, consign over to destruction these determined foes to a»
piety and religion. Meauwhile, we ourselves, standing aloof, safe and unsuspected, shall triumph in being the instruments of Divine wrath, and shall behold with pleasure those sacrilegious walls, in which were passed the edicts for proscribing our church and butchering her children, tossed into a thousand fragments, while their impious inhabitants meditating, perhaps, still new persecutions against us, pass from flames above to flames below; there for ever to endure the torments due to their offences."
The atrocity of this plot, it is unnecessary to dwell upon. The characters of the men who were engaged in it, form one very singular feature in it; for they were by no means, as might be supposed, atrocious monsters in their general lives or characters, or persons who could be suspected of being guilty of such crimes; quite the reverse. We are told by the same historian, that—
"Before that audacious attempt, their conduct, seems, in general, to be liable to no reproach. Catesby's character had entitled him to such regard, that Rockwood and Digby were seduced by implicit trust in his judgment; and they declared, that from the motive alone of friendship to him, they were ready, on any occasion, to have sacrificed their lives. Digby himself was as highly esteemed and beloved as any man in England; and he had been particularly honoured with the good opinion of Queen Elizabeth."
This was the character of the men. What then could have possessed them—what could have induced them to an act of such atrocity as this 1 We are told from the same authority, "It was bigotted zeal alone, covered with the appearance of duty, which seduced them into measures which were fatal to themselves, and had nearly proved fatal to their country." It shows clearly that this awful deed, as I will prove to you hereafter, was not concocted from any peculiar depravity of the individuals concerned in it, but was the result of the horrible nature of that anti-christian system in which these men were educated—a system which makes such a crime a virtue, reverses the very order of good and evil, and will perpetrate a deed of the most cruel treachery, treason and blood, under the sanction, and to promote the interests of a superstition which they call the Christian religion. It was the fulfilment of our blessed Lord's own words. He says in St . John xvi. 2, "Yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service."
This awful system teaches them, that in putting the saints of Jesus to death, they
should believe, conscientiously believe, that they are doing God service; that they are performing a righteous duty. Let it not be supposed that in thus speaking—in 'thus drawing such an awful picture of the Church of Rome, we mean to say, that all persons who belong to that religion, necessarily hold the horrible principles of the system, as they are laid down in their books. No! we trust that there are multitudes better than their awful superstition, and who are not drilled in all its iniquities.
The discovery of this plot at the time, was indeed a most remarkable interposition of Divine Providence. There was one of those persons who knew of this plot, and who, stimulated by affection to one individual, Lord Monteagle, who must have suffered in the general destruction, wrote him a letter previous to the time, giving him a mysterious warning. He says,
"Out of the love I bear to some of your friends, I have a care of your preservation. Therefore, I would advise you, as you tender your life, to devise some excuse to shift oft' your attendance at this parliament; for God and man have concurred to punish the wickedness of this time."
Now mark; it was a crime in which he imagined God participated!
"And think not slightly of this advertisement; but retire yourself into your country, where you may expect the event in safety; for though there be no appearance of any stir, yet, I say, they will receive a terrible blow this parliament, and yet they shall not see who hurts them. This counsel is not to be contemned, because it may do you good, and can do you no harm; for the danger is past as soon as you have burned this letter. And I hope God will give you the grace to make good use of it; into whose holy protection I commend you."
The historian thus describes the effect of this mysterious warning:—
"Monteagle knew not what to make of this letter, and though inclined to think it a foolish attempt to frighten and ridicule him, he judged it safest to carry it to Lord Salisbury, Secretary of State. Though Salisbury too, was inclined to pay little attention to it, he thought proper to lay it before the king, who came to town a few days after.
"To the king it appeared not so light a matter; and from the serious, earnest style of the letter, he conjectured that it implied something dangerous and important. A terrible blow, and yet the authors concealed; a danger so sudden, and yet so great; these circumstances seemed all to denote some contrivance by gunpowder, and it was thought advisable to inspect all the vaults below two houses of parliament. This care belonged to the Earl of Suffolk, Lord Chamberlain, who purposely delayed the search till the day before the meeting of parliament."
So the result was that the vaults were inspected, and there they found the gunpowder. For having let it rest till the night before parliament was to meet, and then sending the magistrates with the officers to inspect the vaults, they discovered thirty-six barrels of gunpowder, and the conspirator who was to fire the train, with all the implements, ready to carry his atrocious crime into effect; and so God, by His amazing and gracious interposition discovered the plot, and rescued the nation from the dreadful calamity.
Now, why is a perpetual thanksgiving for this, rightly appointed in our Church? In the first place, to perpetuate the memory of so great a deliverance from God. For if, as they expected, such a desperate crime had succeeded, and the nation had been thrown into such confusion as must necessarily have ensued from the slaughter of the royal family and all her nobles and senators, they thought that by that means they would be able to carry on a system, whereby they might establish Popery in the land again; and God alone can tell whether it is not to that deliverance, that we have been indebted for the blessings and privileges we have since enjoyed, and enjoy to this day.
But another reason why it is necessary is, to keep continually in the remembrance of the nation—in the remembrance of the Protestant sovereign, of the Protestant peers, the Protestant commons, the Protestant bishops, the Protestant clergy, and the Protestant people—the awful character of that antichristian apostacy which could concoct and endeavour to carry out such an atrocious crime as this; to teach them that that religion is false, and ever to be held in abhorrence; to teach them that the religion of Christ, the standard of God's eternal truth—His holy Word, is to be "appreciated, prized, maintained as men desire to preserve either the blessings, or to bear the character of being servants of God.
All we have to do, in speaking of such a system, is to ask—Is this the religion of Christ? Is such a system conformable to God's law, or opposed to His law? Is it conformable to His Gospel, or opposed to His Gospel? Is it conformable to the whole tenor of His Word, or opposed to it? Is it conformable to the precepts and example of Christ, or is it opposed to them?
Is it Christian or anti-Christian? Is the head of this system a servant of Christ, or is he antichrist?
Let us bring it to the test of fact. Let us hear the plain commands of God's holy Word, with respect to the very subject of this day. Here is a project of a remorseless wholesale massacre the most frightful ever recorded on the page of history, undertaken on the very principles of a system of religion which teaches, that it is a righteous act to put those who are heretics—that is, those who oppose that religion, to death. Observe how they identified their crime with the most sacred mysteries of their religion. The historian says, "When they enlisted any new conspirator, in order to bind him to secresy, they always, together with an oath, employed the communion— the most sacred rite of their religion: and is remarkable, that no one of these pious devotees ever entertained the least compunction with regard to the cruel massacre which they projected, of whatever was great and eminent in the nation. Some of them only were startled by the reflection, that of necessity many Catholics must be present, as spectators, or attendants on the king, or as having seats in the house of peers; but Tesmond, a Jesuit, and Garnet, superior of that order in England, removed these scruples, and showed them how the interests of religion required that the innocent should be here sacrificed with the guilty."
After his condemnation, Sir Everard Digby, one of these conspirators, an English baronet, highly esteemed and beloved in England, in a letter to his wife, says, " Now for my intention; let me tell you, that if I had thought there had been the least sin in the plot, I would not have been of it for all the world: and no other cause drew me, to hazard my fortune and life, but zeal to God's religion." He expresses his surprise to hear that any Catholics had condemned it."—(Digby's Papers, published by Secretary Coventry.)
Such were the sentiments of Digby. We are informed by Hume, that "Notwithstanding this horrid crime, the bigoted Catholics were so devoted to Garnet, that they fancied miracles to be wrought by his blood, and he was regarded in Spain as a martyr." •
But there is another singular circumstance, connected with the antichristian principles of Popery. There was another crime committed thirty-two years before the
* And in England too, even at the present day; for in the Almanack of the (Roman) " Catholic Directory" for 1844, his martyrdom is recorded.
gunpowder plot—the massacre of St. Bartholomew, in which thousands of Protestants were, by a simultaneous attack, butchered in France, when they little expected the blow. At that time, in 1572, the reigning Pope, Gregory XIII. had a medal struck to commemorate the massacre that was then committed, on the eve of St. Bartholomew's day, and on one side of this medal is the head of the Pope who ordered it, and on the other side, the angel of that Church, holding up a cross with his left hand, and with a sword in his right hand putting the heretics to death; and several bodies are lying strewed on the ground before him. That medal is at this moment to be struck at the mint at Rome. I have in my own possession four of these medals, one of which was struck in 1839 in bronze, two in bronze and silver in 1840, and one in April, 1842, which were brought over to me from Rome. Therefore, the idea of saying that there is a change in the system, indicates nothing but the grossest ignorance, or the most deliberate falsehood on the subject.
Look, then, at these doctrines and principles of Popery. I say, if opposition to the Word, the precepts, the laws of God— whether in the abstract or in detail—if opposition to all the doctrines and commands of Christ—if opposition to the Godhead of Christ, in professing that that Godhead can be embpdied at the will of the priest, into a bit of paste—if opposition to the manhood, the humanity of Christ, in declaring that Jesus is not a refuge for us, tender, gracious, and affectionate to receive sinners, but that we must have recourse to His mother, as more tender, gracious and affectionate than He—if opposition to the Word of God, in keeping that Word from the instruction of children, debasing and degrading it, as you have heard to-day, by antichristian commentaries, and shutting out that Word from the poor—(what wonder that God's holy Book should be shut out by such an awful system?)—and if opposition to the Church of Christ, in slaying those who will testify of Christ, and hold up the Gospel of Christ—if this be antichrist, then there never yet was seen on earth such a development of antichrist as the system of the Papacy.
Now, if we must faithfully testify that this religion is fearfully opposed to the commands of God, what, let me ask, is the religion that we profess? What is the religion of the Church of England? If, instead of persecution, intolerance, and cruelty, the religion of the Church of England, or, in other words, the religion of the Bible, commands toleration, kindness,
Christian love, but inseparably combined with fidelity to God, and fidelity to man— if this be so, then, the question comes home to every one of us—How am I, as a Christian, to feel, with respect to Ihis system of the Papacy? How am I, as a Christian, not only to feel, but how am I to deal with it, according to my religion?
Any thing spoken against Popery, is now considered political animosity — political bigotry 1 When in our missionary meetings, I have seen my reverend brethren—faithful men, devoted servants of God—standing up to plead the cause of the heathen in foreign lands; when I have heard them speaking with earnest fidelity, and appealing to the consciences, the affections, the understandings of immense multitudes for their salvation; when I have heard them telling of the atrocities of the heathen, their cruelties, their wickednesses, their idol pilgrimages, their suttees, their various crimes, their deeds of blood, and appealing to the Christian liberality of their hearers, to give them money to send out missionaries and to send out books, as the means of converting them, I could not but often think and ask, in the name of the living God, if I feel for the heathen in a foreign land, am I not to feel for my poor countrymen, " bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh," in the land that I live in—my native soil? Am I not to feel for the poor Roman Catholics of Ireland, and to endeavour to send to them the Gospel of Christ? Brethren, I say before God, "Verily, we are guilty concerning our brother."—(From a Sermon by Rev. R. J. McGhee, peached at Harold's Cross Church, Dublin.
"PRAY WITHOUT CEASING."—1 Theis. v. 17.
Popery in Madeira.—The Sierra San Antonio, a mountain district of Madeira, has recently been given up to pillage under the following circumstances :—On the evening of the 16th of September, fourteen policemen, some armed and others intoxicated, attempted to seize Nicholao Vieira, a Portuguese, who, about eighteen months ago, had joined the Scottish communion. Their only authority was a warrant, not signed as required by law. Under these circumstances, Nicholao refused to follow them until it should be light. His neighbours rallied round him; and after some altercation, but without a blow being struck by either side, the police retired. On the 23rd of September, 50 soldiers, commanded by Captain Oliveira, proceeded, under pretence of seiz