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In the University of Seville ; Licentiate of Divinity in the University of Osiina ; 
formerly Chaplain Magistral ( Preacher) to the King of Spain, in the Royal 
Chapel at Seville; Fellow, and once Rector, of the College of St. Mary a Jcsu 
of the same town ; Synodal Examiner of the Diocese of Cadiz ; Member of the 
Royal Academy of Betles-Lcttres, of Seville, $.c. tyc.; now a Clergyman of the 
Church of England .-Author of Doblado's Letters from Spain. 

Ea clicam, quae mihi sunt in prompt u ; quod ista ipsa de re multum. . . 
et diu cogitavi. CICERO. 








ROCHESTER. &c. &c. fcc. 


You have allowed me to inscribe this 
work to you, and I feel proud thus to 
associate it with your name before the 

As the subject, however, on which I have 
ventured, is one which violently agitates 
men's minds at this moment, it would be 


selfish and ungrateful in me, if, while I 
enjoyed the benefit of an implied approba- 
tion from an authority so highly and so de- 
servedly respected, I were not as anxious 
to save you from misrepresentation, as I am 
with regard to myself. To conceal that, 
upon the view of part of my manuscript, 
you have, with the greatest kindness, en- 
couraged me to proceed ; would require a 
degree of self-denial at which I shall never 
aim. But the hurry in which, from the 
pressure of other literary engagements, I 
have been obliged to prepare the ensuing 
pages, prevented my having the same ad- 
vantage for the whole of the work; and 
that circumstance mars the pleasure which 
I should have derived from your compk U 


Disappointed of that satisfaction, I am 
happy that another is left me in the simi- 
larity of our views, as to what is called the 
Catholic Question. From the friendly inter- 
course with which you have honoured me, 
I know that you hold it wrong to put down 
religious error by force, or to propagate 
religious truth by degrading and branding 
those who do not think with us. I have 
suffered too much from religious despotism, 
not fully and cordially to hold the same 
doctrine. The fetters which, by God's 
mercy, I have been enabled to break, I 
would rather die than help to rivet upon 
a fellow-Christian : but the Power which 
made me groan in protracted bondage, is 
striving to obtain a direct influence in this 
Government ; and I cannot regard such 


efforts with apathy. For myself thanks 
to the generous country which has adopted 
me I have nothing to fear ; but 1 deem it 
a debt of gratitude to volunteer my testi- 
mony in the great pending cause, that it 
may be weighed against the studied and 
coloured evidence of such writers, as would 
disguise the true character of the spiritual 
tyranny, whose fierce grasp 1 have eluded. 
Indeed I would never have shown myself 
in the field of controversy, but for the ap- 
pearance of a book evidently intended to 
divert the public from the important, and, 
to me, indubitable fact, that sincere Roman 
Catholics cannot conscientiously be tolerant. 
How far, my dear Sir, you are convinced of 
this, I cannot take upon myself to say ; but 
I mn sure you will allow, that if such be 

i)i:i)KA riON. Vll 

the real character of Catholicism, the only 
security of Toleration must be a certain de- 
gree of intolerance, in regard to its enemies ; 
as prisons in the freest governments are 
necessary for the preservation of freedom. 

I have thus far thought it necessary 
to touch upon the political question with 
which my work is indirectly connected. I 
say indirectly^ because the parliamentary 
question about the claims of the Roman 
Catholics is by no means the object which 
I have had in view while writing. I will 
not deny that I should be glad if my humble 
performance could throw any light on a 
question in which the welfare of this country 
is so deeply concerned ; but it is probable 
that it will not appear till after the decision 
of Parliament. Let this, however, be as it 


may, still I humbly hope that, whether 
the Koman Catholics are admitted into 
Parliament, or allowed to continue under 
the disabilities which their honest op- 
ponents lament, my labour will not have 
been thrown away. For as the danger 
which may threaten this country in the 
admission of Roman Catholic legislators, 
depends entirely upon their religious sin- 
cerity ; I shall not have troubled the public 
in vain if, either I can convince the con- 
scientious of the papal communion, that a 
Roman Catholic cannot honestly do his 
duty as a member of the British Parliament 
without moral guilt; or, what I ardently 
wish, my arguments should open their eyi- 
to the errors of their churcli. 

l)l-:J)K ATION. IX 

A work written with these views cannot, 
1 trust, however imperfect in the execution, 
ho an unworthy testimony of the great 
respect with which I am, 

My dear sir, 
Your most obedient servant, 


Chelsea, April 30, 1825. 



Rome the enemy of mental improvement : the direct tend- 
ency of her Prayer-book, the Breviary, to cherish cre- 
dulity and adulterate Christian virtue . .144 







The Author's account of himself. 

IF a man be at any time excusable in speaking 
of himself, it must be when he finds it necessary 
to address those to whom he is unknown. The 
name and designation of a writer are, indeed, suf- 
ficient in most cases, and even unnecessary in 
some, for the purposes to which the press is com- 
monly made an instrument ; but the occasion of 
this address requires a more intimate acquaintance 
with my personal circumstances. 

Before I proceed, however, I beg you to observe 
the word impartial, by which I have qualified 
Roman Catholics. From such Roman Catholics 


as renounce their intellectual rights, and leave the 
trouble of thinking to others,! cannot expect a hear- 
ing. To the professed champions, in whom the mere 
name of discussion kindles the keen spirit of con- 
troversy, I can say nothing which Jiey are not pre- 
determined to find groundless and futile. Among 
those who, bound to Catholicism by the ties of blood 
and friendship, make consistency in religious pro- 
fession a point of honour, I am prepared to meet 
only with disdain. But there must be not a few, 
in whom the prepossessions of education and pa- 
rentage have failed to smother a natural passion for 
truth, which all the witchery of kindred, wealth, 
and honour, cannot allure from its object. To such, 
among the British and Irish Roman Catholics, I 
direct these letters ; for, though the final result of 
their religious inquiries may be diametrically op- 
posite to that which has separated me from my 
country, my kindred, my honours, emoluments, 
and prospects ; I trust that in the following account 
of myself they will readily recognise an intellectual 
temper, for which no difference of opinion can pre- 
vent their feeling some sympathy. 

I nm descended from an Irish family, whosr 


attachment to the Roman Catholic religion was 
often proved by their endurance of the persecution 
which, for a long period, afflicted the members of 
their persuasion in Ireland. My grandfather was 
the eldest of three brothers, whose voluntary ba- 
nishment from their native land, rooted out my 
family from the county of Waterford. A con- 
siderable fortune enabled my ancestor to settle at 
Seville, where he was inscribed on the roll of the 
privileged gentry, and carried on extensive busi- 
ness as a merchant. But the love of his native land 
could not be impaired by his foreign residence ; 
and as his eldest son (my father) could not but 
grow attached to Spain, by reason of his birth, he 
sent him in his childhood to Ireland, that he might 
also cling to that country by early feelings of kind- 
ness. It was thus that my father combined in his 
person the two most powerful and genuine elements 
of a religionist the unhesitating faith of perse- 
cuting Spain ; the impassioned belief of persecuted 

My father was the first of his kindred that mar- 
ried into a Spanish family ; and his early habits 
of exalted piety made him choose a wife whom 

R 2 


few can equal in religious sincerity. I have hal- 
lowed the pages of another work * with the cha- 
racter of my parents : yet affection would readily 
furnish me with new portraits, were I not anxious 
to get over this preliminary egotism. Jt is enough 
to say that such were the purity, the benevolence, 
the angelic piety of my father's life, that, at hi^ 
death, multitudes of people thronged the house 
to indulge a last view of the dead body. Nor wa> 
the wife of his bosom at all behind him, either 
in fulness of faith or sanctity of manners. The 
endeavours of such parents to bring up their 
children in conformity with their religious no- 
tions may, therefore, be fully conceived without 
the help of description. 

No waywardness of disposition appeared in me 
to defeat or obstruct their labours. At the age 
of fourteen all the seeds of devotion, which had 
been assiduously sown in my heart, sprung up as 
it were spontaneously. The pious practices, which 
had hitherto been a task, were now the effect of 
my own choice. I became a constant attendant 
at the Congregation of the Oratory, when* pious 

* Letters from S| ); , m . |,y I),, M Lrm-aili" pi.Ul 

\iNsr i ATiioi.irisM. r> 

\oung men, intended for the Church, generally 
had their spiritual directors. Dividing my time 
between stud}' and devotion, I \vc-nt through a 
course of philosophy and divinity at the I'ni- 
\-ersity of Seville: at the end of which I received 
the Roman Catholic order of sub-deacon. By 
that time I had obtained the degrees of Master 
of Arts and Bachelor of Divinity. Being elected 
a Fellow of the College of St. Mary a Jesu of 
Seville, when I was not of sufficient standing for 
the superior degree of Licentiate of Divinity *, 
which the Fellowship required, I took that degree 
at Osuna, where the statutes demand no interval 
between these academical honours. A year had 
scarcely elapsed since I had received priest's or- 
ders, when, after a public examination, in com- 
petition with other candidates, I obtained the 
stall of Magistral or Preacher, in the chapter of 
king's chaplains, at Seville. Placed, so young, 
in a situation which my predecessor had obtained 

* Previous to the degree of Doctor of Divinity a severe ex- 

\tion takes place, which -i\ Licentiate all tlif 

rights, tlioiiuh not the honours of Doctorship. Those may hr 
untamed hy a Lir<>ntiafr. at any time, by the payment of - 


after many years' service as a vicar, in the same 
town, I conceived myself bound to devote my whole 
leisure to the study of religion. I need not say that 
I was fully conversant with the system of Catholic 
divinity ; for I owed my preferment to a public 
display of theological knowledge : yet I wished to 
become acquainted with all kinds of works which 
might increase and perfect that knowledge. 

My religious belief had hitherto been undis- 
turbed : but light clouds of doubt began now to 
pass over my mind, which the warmth of de- 
votion soon dissipated. Yet they would gather 
again and again, with an increased darkness, 
which prayer could scarcely dispel. That immo- 
rality and levity are always the source of un- 
belief, the experience of my own case, and my 
intimate acquaintance with many others, enable 
me most positively to deny. As to myself, I 
declare most solemnly that my rejection of Chris- 
tianity took place at a period when my conscience 
could not reproach me with any open breach of 
duty, but those committed several years before : 
that during the transition from religious belief 
to incredulity, the horror of sins against the 


faith, deeply implanted by education in my soul, 
haunted me night and day ; and that I exerted 
all the powers of my mind to counteract the in- 
voluntary doubts which were daily acquiring an 
irresistible strength. In this distress I brought 
to remembrance all the arguments for the truth 
of the Christian religion, which I had studied in 
the French apologists. I read other works of the 
same kind ; and having to preach, in the execution 
of my office, to the royal brigade of carabineers, 
who came to worship the body of Saint Ferdinand 
preserved in the king's chapel, I chose the subject 
of infidelity, on which I delivered an elaborate 
discourse *. But the fatal crisis was at hand. 
At the end of a year from the preaching of this 
sermon the confession is painful, indeed, yet due 
to religion itself I was bordering on atheism. 
If my case were singular, if my knowledge of 
the most enlightened classes of Spain did not 
furnish me with a multitude of sudden transitions 
from sincere faith and piety to the most outrageous 
infidelity, I would submit to the humbling con- 

* This sermon was published at Seville, at the expense of 
the brigade. 


viction, that either weakness of judgment or fickle- 
ness of character, had been the only source of my 
errors. But though I am not at liberty to men- 
tion individual cases, I do attest, from the most 
certain knowledge, that the history of my own 
mind is, with little variation, that of a great por- 
tion of the Spanish clergy. The fact is certain : 
I make no individual charge : every one who 
comes within this general description may still 
wear the mask, which no Spaniard can throw off 
without bidding an eternal farewell to his country. 

Now, let us pause to examine this moral phe- 
nomenon : and, since I am one of the class which 
exhibits it, I will proceed with the moral dissection 
of myself, however unpleasant the task may be. 
Many, indeed, will dismiss the case with the trite 
observation that extremes generally produce their 
opposites. But an impartial mind will not turn 
to a common-place evasion, to save itself the labour 
of thinking. 

When I examine the state of my mind previous 
to my rejecting the Christian faith, I cannot recol- 
lect any thing in it but what is in perfect accord- 
ance with that form of religion in which I was 


educated. I revered the Scriptures as the word of 
God ; but was also persuaded that without a living, 
infallible interpreter, the Bible was a dead letter, 
whie-h could not convey its meaning with any cer- 
tainty. I grounded, therefore, my Christian faith 
upon the infallibility of the church. No Roman Ca- 
tholic pretends to a better foundation. " I believe 
whatever the holy mother church holds and be- 
lieves," is the compendious creed of every member 
of the Roman communion. Had my doubts af- 
fected any particular doctrine, I should have clung 
to the decisions of a church which claims ex- 
emption from error ; but my first doubts attacked 
the very basis of Catholicism. I believe that the 
reasoning which shook rny faith is not new in the 
vast field of theological controversy. But I pro- 
test that, if such be the case, the coincidence adds 
weight to the argument, for I am perfectly certain 
that it was the spontaneous suggestion of my own 
mind. I thought within myself that the certainty 
of the Roman Catholic faith had no better ground 
than a fallacy of that kind which is called reason- 
ing in a circle ; for I believed the infallibility of 
the church because the Scripture said she was 


infallible; while I had no better proof that the 
Scripture said so, than the assertion of the church, 
that she could not mistake the Scripture. In vain 
did I endeavour to evade the force of this argu- 
ment ; indeed I still believe it unanswerable. Was, 
then, Christianity nothing but a groundless fabric, 
the world supported by the elephant, the elephant 
standing on the tortoise ? Such was the conclusion 
to which I was led by a system which impresses the 
mind with the obscurity and insufficiency of the 
written word of God. Why should I consult the 
Scriptures ? My only choice was between revela- 
tion explained by the church of Rome, and no re- 
velation. Catholics who live in Protestant coun- 
tries may, in spite of the direct tendency of their 
system, practically perceive the unreal nature of 
this dilemma. But wherever the religion of Rome 
reigns absolute, there is but one step between it 
and infidelity. 

To describe the state of my feelings, when, be- 
lieving religion a fable, I still found myself com- 
pelled daily to act as a minister and promoter of 
imposture, is certainly beyond my powers. An 
ardent wish seized me to fly from a country where 


the law left me no choice between death and 
hypocrisy. But my flight would have brought my 
parents with sorrow to the grave ; and I thank 
God that he gave me a heart which, though long 
" without law," was often, as in this case, a " law 
to myself.' ' Ten years, the best of my life, were 
passed in this unsuiferable state, when the approach 
of Buonaparte's troops to Seville enabled me to quit 
Spain, without exciting suspicion as to the real 
motive which tore me for ever from every thing I 
loved. I was too well aware of the firmness of 
my resolution, not to endure the most agonizing 
pain when I irrevocably crossed the threshold of 
my father's house, and when his bending figure 
disappeared from my eyes, at the first winding of 
the Guadalquivir, down which I sailed. Heaven 
knows that time has not had power to heal the 
wounds which this separation inflicted on my 
heart; but, such was the misery of my mental 
slavery, that not a shadow of regret for my deter- 
mination to expatriate myself, has ever exasperated 
the evils inseparable from the violent step by which 
I obtained my freedom. 

Having described the fatal effects of Catholicism 


on my mind, I will, with equal candour, relate 
the changes operated upon it by my residence in 

It was the general opinion in Spain, that Pro- 
testants, though often adorned with moral virtues, 
were totally deficient in true religious feelings. 
This was the opinion of Spanish Catholics. 
Spanish unbelievers, like myself, were most firmly 
convinced that men, enlightened as the English. 
could only regard religion as a political engine. 
Our greater acquaintance with French books, 
and with Frenchmen, strongly supported us in 
the idea that belief in Christianity decreased in 
proportion to the progress of knowledge, in every 
part of the world. As to myself, I declare that 
I did not expect to find a sincere Christian among 
educated Englishmen. Providence, however, so 
directed events, that some of my first acquaint ance 
in London were persons whose piety was adorned 
with every good quality of the heart and mind. It 
was among these excellent friends, and under the 
protection of British liberty, that the soreness and 
irritation produced by ten years' endurance of the 
t watchful religious tyranny, hc^an to subside. 


I was too much ashamed of being supposed a Ro- 
man Catholic, to disguise the character of my rc- 
ligious opinions ; hut the mildness and toleration 
with which my sentiments were received made 
me perceive, for the first time, that a Christian is 
not ncccs.-arily a bigot. The mere throwing away 
the hated mask which the Inquisition had forced 
me to wear, refreshed my soul; and the excellent 
man to whom, for the first time in my life, I 
acknowledged my unbelief without fear, was able 
to perceive that I might yet be a Christian, pro- 
vided I saw religion divested of all force but that 
of persuasion. 

An accident (if any thing which leads to results 
so important can be so called) made me, in an 
idle moment, look into Paley's Natural Theology, 
which lay upon a table. I was struck by the 
author's peculiar manner and style : I borrowed 
the book, and read it with great interest. Feel- 
ings of piety towards the great author of Nature 
began to thaw the unnatural frost which misery, 
inflicted in his name, had produced in a heart not 
formed to be ungrateful. It was in this state of 
mind that, being desirous of seeing every tiling 


worthy of observation in England, I went one 
Sunday to St. James's church. A foreigner, ig- 
norant of the language, would have brought away 
nothing but an unpleasant recollection of the 
length of the service ; but I had learnt English 
in my childhood, and could understand it, at this 
time, without difficulty. The prayers, though 
containing what I did not believe, appeared to 
me solemn and affecting. I had not for many 
years entered a church without feelings of irrita- 
tion and hostility, arising from the ideas of op- 
pressive tyranny which it called up in my mind ; 
but here was nothing that could check sympathy, 
or smother the reviving sentiments of natural re- 
ligion, which Paley had awakened. It happened 
that, before the sermon, was given Addison's 
beautiful hymn, 

When all thy mercies, O my God ! 

My rising soul surveys, 
Transported with the view, I 'm lost 

In wonder, love, and praise. 

At the end of the second verse my eyes were 
streaming with tears; and I believe that from 
that day, I never passed one without some ardent 


aspirations towards the author of my life and 


This was all the change that for a year or more, 
took plucv in my religious notions. Obliged to 
support myself chiefly by my pen, and anxious at 
the same time to acquire some branches of learning 
which Spanish education neglects, my days and 
nights were employed in study : yet religion had 
daily some share of my attention. I learnt that 
the author of the Natural Theology had also 
written a work on the Evidences of Christianity, 
and curiosity led me to read it. His arguments 
appeared to me very strong; but I found an 
intrinsic incredibility in the facts of revealed 
history, which no general evidence seemed able to 
remove. I was, indeed, labouring under what I 
believe to be a very common error in this matter 
an error which I have not been able completely to 
correct, without a very long study of the subject 
and myself. I expected that general evidence 
would remove the natural inverisimilitude of mi- 
raculous events : that, being convinced by unan- 
swerable arguments that Christ and his disciples 
could be neither impostors nor enthusiasts, and 


that the narrative of their ministry is genuine 
and true, the imagination would not shrink from 
forms of things so dissimilar to its own representa- 
tions of real objects, and so conformable in appear- 
ance with the tricks of jugglers and impostors. 
Now the fact is, that probable and likely, though 
used as synonimous in common language, are 
perfectly distinct in philosophy. The probable is 
that for the reality of which we can allege some 
reason : the likely, that which bears in its face a 
semblance or analogy to what is classed in our 
minds under the predicament of existence*. This 
association is made early in life, among Christians, 
in favour of the miraculous events recorded in the 
Holy Scriptures ; and, if not broken by infidelity 

* Likely is the adjective of the phrase like the truth, simile 
vero. It is strange that the English language should not 
possess a substantive answering to le vraisemblable of the 
French. The use of improbable to denote what in that lan- 
guage is meant by invraisemblable, is incorrect. When the 
French critics reject some indubitable historical facts from the 
stage, because they want vraisemblance (likelihood), they do 
not mean to say that they are improbable, or deficient in j 
of their reality ; but that the imagination finds them unlike 
to what in the common opinion is held to be the u.Mial course 
of eve 

AC. \i\si CATHOLICISM. 17 

in Bfter-llft, thr >tudy of llu- (io>>|K'l rvidrncr gives 
those events a character of reality which loaves 
the mind satisfied and at rest; bcraiiM- it finds 
tin 4 history of revealed religion not only probable, 
but likely. It is much otherwise with a man 
who rejects the Gospel for a considerable period, 
and accustoms his mind to rank the super- 
natural works recorded by Revelation, with false- 
hood and imposture. Likelihood, in this case, 
becomes the strongest ground of unbelief; and 
probability, though it may convince the under- 
standing, has but little influence over the ima- 

A sceptic who yields to the powerful proofs of 
Revelation, will, for a long time, experience a 
most painful discordance between his judgment 
and the associations which unbelief has produced. 
When most earnest in the contemplation of 
Christian truth, when endeavouring to bring home 
its comforts to the heart, the imagination will 
suddenly revolt, and cast the whole, at a sweep, 
among the rejected notions. This is, indeed, a 
natural consequence of infidelity, which mere rea- 



soning is not able to remove. Nothing but humble 
prayer can, indeed, obtain that faith which, when 
reason and sound judgment have led us to super- 
natural truth, gives to unseen things the body 
and substance of reality. But of this I shall have 
occasion to speak again. 

The degree of conviction produced by Paley's 
Evidences was, however, sufficiently powerful to 
make me pray daily for divine assistance. This 
was done in a very simple manner. Every morn- 
ing I repeated the Lord's Prayer seriously and at- 
tentively, offering up to my Maker a sincere desire 
of the true knowledge of him. This practice I 
continued three years ; my persuasion that Chri- 
stianity was not one and the same thing with tin- 
Roman Catholic religion, growing stronger all the 
while. As my rejection of revealed religion had 
been the effect, not of direct objection to its evi- 
dences, but of weighing tenets against them, which 
they were not intended to support; tin* balance 
inclined in favour of the truth of the Gospel, in 
proportion as I struck out dogmas, which I had 
been taught to identify with the doctrines of 

i A I HOI.ICISM. 19 

Christ*. The day arrived, at length, when con- 
vinced of the Miltantial truth of ( 'hri.Mianity, no 
question remained before me, but that of choosing 
the form under which I was to profess it. The 
deliberation which preceded this choice was one 
of no great difficulty to me. The points of differ- 
ence between the church of England and Rome, 
though important, are comparatively few : they 
were, besides, the very points which had produced 
my general unbelief. That the doctrines common 
to both churches were found in the Scriptures, 
my early studies and professional knowledge, left 
me no room to doubt ; and as the Evidences of 

* Paley, with his usual penetration, has pointed out this most 
important result of the Reformation : " When the doctrine of 
Transubstantiation (he says in his address to Dr. Law, Bishop 
of Carlisle, prefixed to the Principles of Moral Philosophy) 
had taken possession of the Christian world, it was not without 
the industry of learned men that it came at length to he dis- 
covered that no such doctrine was contained in the New 
Testament. But had those excellent persons done nothing 
more by their discovery th:;n abolished an innocent super- 
stition, or changed some, directions in the ceremonial of puMic 
worship, they had merited little of that veneration with which 
the gratitude of Protestant churches remembers their sen 
What they did for mankind was this they exonerated ( hri- 
ftianity of a freight that sunk it." 

c 2 


Revelation had brought me to acknowledge the 
authority of the Scriptures, I could find no ob- 
jection to the resumption of tenets which had 
so long possessed my belief. The communion in 
which I was inclined to procure admission was 
not, indeed, that in which I was educated ; but I 
had so long wandered away from the Roman fold, 
that, when approaching the church of England, 
both the absence of what had driven me from 
Catholicism, and the existence of all the other 
parts of that system, made me feel as if I were 
returning to the repaired home of my youth. 

Upon receiving the sacrament for the first time 
according to the form of the English church, 
my early feelings of devotion revived ; yet by no 
means, as it might be feared in a common case, 
with some secret leaning to what I had left ; for 
Catholicism was thoroughly blended with my 
bitterest recollections. It was a devotion more 
calm and more rational ; if not quite strong in 
faith, yet decided as to practice. The religious 
act I performed I considered as a most solemn 
engagement to obey the laws of the Gospel ; and 
I thank God, that since that period, whatever 


clouds have obscured my religious views, no de- 
liberate' breach of tin- sacred law lias increased 
tlu stilly of remorse which the unbelieving part 
of my life left in my breast. 

The renovated influence of religion, cherished 
by meditation and study, induced me, after a period 
of a year and a half, to resume my priestly cha- 
racter ; a step without which I thought I had not 
completed the re-acknowledgment I owed to the 
truth of Christianity. If any one unacquainted 
with my circumstances should be inclined to sus- 
pect my motives, he may easily ascertain his mis- 
take, by inquiring into the uniform tenour of my 
conduct since, in 1814, 1 subscribed the articles of 
the church of England. 

Having now done what I conceived to be a 
public duty, I retired to Oxford, not to procure 
admission into the university, which my age 
would have rendered preposterous ; but to live 
privately in that great seat of learning, devoting 
my time exclusively to the study of the Scriptures. 
I had resided a year in that place, when an En- 
glish nobleman, who since he knew me in Spain 
has ever honoured me with his friendship, gave 


me the highest proof of esteem by inviting me to 
become tutor to his son. I accepted the charge, 
though with fears that the declining state of my 
health would greatly disqualify me for the im- 
portant duties to which I was called ; and which I 
discharged for two years to the best of my power, 
till my growing infirmities compelled me to resign. 

Neither the duties of the tutorship, nor the con- 
tinual sufferings which I have endured ever since, 
could damp my eagerness in the search of religious 
truth. Shall I be suspected of cant in this de- 
claration ? Alas ! let the confession which I am 
going to make, be the unquestionable, though me- 
lancholy proof of my sincerity. 

For more than three years my studies in divinity 
were to me a source of increasing attachment to 
Christian faith and practice. When I quitted my 
charge as tutor, I had begun a series of short 
lectures on religion, the first part of which I de- 
livered to the young members of the family *. 
Having retired to private lodgings in London, it 

* These Lectures were published at Oxford, in IS] 7, with 



was my intention to prosecute tliat work, tor the 
benefit of young person> : hut there was by this 
time a mental phenomenon ready to appear in me, 
to which I cannot now look back without a strong 
sense of my own weakness. My vehement desire 
of knowledge not allowing me to neglect any op- 
portunity of reading whatever books on divinity 
came to my hands, I studied the small work on the 
Atonement, by Taylor of Norwich. The confirmed 
habits of my mind were too much in accordance 
with every thing that promised to remove mystery 
from Christianity, and I adopted Taylor's views 
without in the least suspecting the consequences. It 
was not long, however, before I found myself beset 
with great doubts on the divinity of Christ. My 
state became now exceedingly painful ; for, though 
greatly wanting religious comfort in the solitude of 
a sick room, where I was a prey to pain and ex- 
treme weakness, I perceived that religious practices 
had lost their power of soothing me. But no danger 
or suffering has, in the course of my life, deterred 
me from the pursuit of truth. Having now sus- 
pected that it might be found in the Unitarian 
system, I boldly set out upon the search ; but there 
I did not find it. Whatever industry and attention 


could do, all was performed with candour and 
earnestness ; but, in length of time, Christianity, 
in the light of Unitarianism, appeared to me a 
mighty work to little purpose ; and I lost all hope 
of quieting my mind. With doubts unsatisfied 
wherever I turned, I found myself rapidly sliding 
into the gulf of scepticism : but it pleased God to 
prevent my complete relapse. I knew too well 
the map of infidelity to be deluded a second time 
by the hope of finding a resting-place to the sole 
of my foot, throughout its wide domains : and 
now I took and kept a determination to give my 
mind some rest from the studies, which, owing 
to my peculiar circumstances, had evidently oc- 
casioned the moral fever under which I laboured. 
What was the real state of my faith in this period 
of darkness, God alone can judge. This only can 
I state with confidence, that I prayed daily for 
light ; that I invariably considered myself bound 
to obey the precepts of the Gospel; and that, 
when harassed with fresh doubts, and tempted 
to turn away from Christ, I often repeated from 
my heart the affecting exclamation of the apostle 
Peter "to whom shall /go? thou hast 
of eternal life." 


For some tinu' I thought it an act of criminal 
insincerity to approach, with these doubts, the 
sacramental tahle : hut the consciousness that it 
\\as not in my power to alter my state of mind, 
and that if death, as it appeared very probable, 
should overtake me as I was, I could only throw 
myself with all my doubts upon the mercy of my 
Maker ; induced me to do the same in the per- 
formance of the most solemn act of religion. But 
I had not often to undergo this aw r ful trial. Ob- 
jections which, during this struggle, had appeared 
to me unanswerable, began gradually to lose their 
weight on my mind. The Christian Evidences 
which, at the period of my change from infidelity, 
struck me as powerful in detail, now presenting 
themselves collectively, acquired a strength which 
no detached difficulties (and all the arguments 
of infidelity are so) could shake*. My mind, in 

* I believe it a duty to mention a work which, under Pro- 
vidence, contributed to put an end to my trial ; I mean the 
Internal Evidences of Christianity, by the Rev. John Bird 
Sumner : a book which I would strongly recommend to every 
candid inquirer into religious truth, as containing one of the 
most luminous views, not only of the proofs, but the doctrines 
of the CiosjM'l. which it was over my good fortune to j>eni>r. 


fact, found rest in that kind of conviction which 
belongs peculiarly to moral subjects, and seems 
to depend on an intuitive perception of the truth 
through broken clouds of doubt, which it is not 
in the power of mortal man completely to dispel. 
Let no one suppose that I allude to either my- 
sterious or enthusiastic feelings ; I speak of con- 
viction arising from examination. But any man, 
accustomed to observe the workings of the mind, 
will agree, that conviction, in intricate moral 
questions, comes finally in the shape of internal 
feeling a perception perfectly distinct from syllo- 
gistic conviction, but which exerts the strongest 
power over our moral nature. Such perception of 
the truth is, indeed, the spring of our most im- 
portant actions, the common bond of social life, 
the ground of retributive justice, the parent of oil 
human laws. Yet, it is inseparable from more or 
less doubt ; for doubtless conviction is only to be 
found about objects of sense, or those abstract 
creations of the mind, pure number and cliim nsion, 
which employ the ingenuity of mathematicians. 
That assurance respecting things not seen, which 
the Scriptures call Faith, is a supernatural gift. 


which reasoning can never produce. This difference 
between the conviction, resulting from the examina- 
tion of the Christian Kvidences, and 7- //////, in the 
Scriptural souse of the word, appears to me of 
vital importance, and much to be attended to by 
such as, having renounced the Gospel, are yet 
disposed to give a candid hearing to its advocates. 
The power of the Christian Evidences is that of 
leading any considerate mind, unobstructed by pre- 
judice, to the records of Revelation, and making it 
ready to derive instruction from that source of super- 
natural truth; but it is the Spirit of truth alone, 
that can impart the internal conviction of Faith. 

I have now gone through the religious history 
of my mind, in which I request you to notice the 
result of my various situations. Under the in- 
fluence of that mental despotism, which would 
prevent investigation by the fear of eternal ruin, 
or which mocks reason by granting the examina- 
tion of premises, while it reserves to itself the 
right of drawing conclusions, I was irresistibly 
urged into a denial of Revelation : but no sooner 
did I obtain freedom than, instead of my mind 
running riot in the enjoyment of the long-delayed 


boon, it opened to conviction, and acknowledged 
the truth of Christianity. The temper of that mind 
shows, I believe, the general character of the age 
to which it belongs. J have been enabled to make 
an estimate of the moral and intellectual state of 
Spain, which few who know me and that country 
will, I trust, be inclined to discredit. Upon the 
strength of this knowledge, I declare again and 
again that very few among my own class (I com- 
prehend clergy and laity) think otherwise than I 
did before my removal to England. The testimony 
of all who frequent the Continent a testimony 
which every one's knowledge of foreigners sup- 
ports represents all Catholic countries in a similar 
condition. Will it, then, be unreasonable to sup- 
pose, that if SL fair choice was given between the 
religion of Rome and other forms of Christianity, 
many would, like myself, embrace the Gospel which 
they have rejected? Is there not some presumption 
of error against a system which every where re- 
volts an improving age from Christianity ? Let 
n> examine that system itself. 



Heal and practical extent of the authority of the Pope, 
according to the Roman Catholic Faith. Intolerance, its 

natural c(nsc(|U<'nc... 

WERE I addressing Catholics, who live under 
the full arid unchecked influence of the church of 
Rome, it would be unnecessary to come to a pre- 
vious understanding of the true nature of their 
tenets ; for even persons who have never looked 
into a theological treatise, are fully aware, in such 
countries, of the difference between some disputed 
points, and the doctrines which their church holds 
as immutable articles of faith. The case is, I per- 
ceive, much otherwise in England. From the at- 
tention which I have of late given to the books 
which issue out of the English Roman Catholic 
press, I am convinced that there exist two kinds 
of writers of your persuasion ; one, who write for 
the Protestant public, and for such among your- 
selves as cannot well digest the real unsophisticated 
system of their Roman head ; the other, for the 


mass of their British and Irish church, who still 
adhere to the Roman Catholic system, such as it 
is professed in countries where all other religi 
are condemned by law. In your devotional books, 
and in such works as are intended to keep up the 
warmth of attachment to your religious party, I 
recognise every feature of the religion in which I 
was educated ; in those intended for the public at 
large, I only find a flattered and almost ideal por- 
trait of those to me well-known features, which, 
unchanged arid unsoftened by age, the writers are 
conscious, cannot be seen without disgust by :my 
of those to whom custom has not made them 

The most artful picture of this kind which has 
come to my hands is the Book of the Roman Ca- 
tholic Church, by Charles Butler, Esquire, of Lin- 
coln's Inn. The high character which the author 
bears for learning and probity makes me desinm.v 
to avoid even the shadow of a charge implying 
any thing derogatory to those qualities ; but I 
cannot hesitate to declare that his statement of 
the Roman Catholic doctrim>. since it must be 
believed to have been drawn with sincerity, prc- 


sents a strange instance of the power of prejudice 
in distorting tin- clearest objects. In another part 
of this book* you will find a striking- proof that 
the vehemence of his party spirit goes even to 
impair his knowledge of the Latin language, and 
makes a man, whom report classes among your 
best scholars, render a passage into English, in a 
manner so far from giving the meaning of the 
original, that it contradicts itself in the trans- 

Had such inaccuracies affected only points of 
secondary importance, or related exclusively to 
the many historical facts to which Mr. Butler's 
book refers, I would leave them to more learned 
and experienced critics ; but as he has, besides, 
given an incorrect view of your most essential 
duties as Catholics, I must beg your attention to 
some remarks on that part of his book which 
treats of the authority of the Pope. He that, 
fully aware of the nature of his engagements to 
the Church of Rome, is still determined to obey 
her, should not be disturbed in the use of his 

* See note A. 


discretion ; but varnished accounts of religious 
systems must not be allowed to rivet religious 
prejudice, or stand as a lure to the unwary. 

The Book of the Roman Catholic Church la- 
bours to persuade the world that the authority of 
the Pope over the Catholics is of so spiritual a 
nature, as, if strictly reduced to what the creed of 
that church requires, can never interfere with the 
civil duties of those who own that authority. 
That the supreme head of the Catholics has, for 
a long series of centuries, actually claimed a para- 
mount obedience, and thus actually interfered with 
the civil allegiance of his spiritual subjects ; is as 
notorious as the existence of the Roman see. The 
question, then, is whether this was a mere abuse, 
the effect of human passions encouraged by the 
ignorance of those ages, or a fair consequence of 
doctrines held by the Roman church as of divine 
origin, and consequently immutable. I will pro- 
ceed in this inquiry upon Mr. Butler's own state- 
ment of the Roman Catholic articles of faith, 
which is found p. 118 of the first edition of his 

" A chain of Roman Catholic writers on papal 


power uiii'lit he Supposed: on trie first link we 
might place the Roman Catholic writers who have 
immoderately exalted the prerogative of the Pope ; 
on the last we might place the Roman Catholic 
writers who have unduly depressed it ; and the 
centre link might be considered to represent the 
canon of the 10th session of the council of Florence* 
which defined that " full power was delegated to 
the bishop of Rome in the person of St. Peter, to 
feed, regulate and govern the universal church, 
as expressed in the general councils and holy 
canons." THIS (adds the author, in capitals) is 
it no Roman Catholic is required to believe." 

When I examine the vague comprehensiveness 
of this decree, I can hardly conceive what else the 
Roman Catholics could be required to believe. 
Full pow to feed, regulate and gorcrn tlie uni- 
versal church , can convey to the mind of the 
sincere Catholic no idea of limitation. Whatever 
!ie extent of the chain imagined by our author, 
the decree appears to have been framed wide enough 
not to exclude the link containing the writers 



who have most exalted the papal power. The 
task of those on the other extremity of the chain, 
is certainly more difficult ; for it cannot well be 
conceived why mere human rights should be 
allowed to limit a Jull power to govern tin 1 minds 
of men, derived from a direct injunction of Cli; 
Let this be, however, as it may, one thing is cer- 
tain, that a true Catholic may understand the full 
power of feeding, regulating and governing the 
universal church according to either the Trans- 
alpine or Cisalpin c . explanation of the doctrine 
declared by the council of Florence. He may 
consequently believe, that the Pope has, " at tin- 
least, an indirect temporal power for ef lee-tin 
spiritual good in any kingdom to which the uni- 
versal church extends;" and "that every state N 
so far subject to the Pope, that when he deem- 
that the bad conduct of the sovereign renders it 
essential to the good of the church that he shall 
reign no longer, the Pope is authorised by his 
divine commission to deprive him of his sove- 
reignty, and absolve his subjects from their 
obligation of allegiance V A Catholic may, on 
* Book of the Roman Catholic Church, j>. l.'l 


(lu- other li;iiid, with the divines of the (lallicun 
church, deny to tin- Pope this power of deposing 
princes. Of these tuo explanations of the /'///// ///Z/A; 
doctrine on the 1'opeV supremacy, Mr. Butler 
lays, that *' neither speaks the church's faith." 
This is, indeed, a remarkable fact. It is a fact 
from which we may infer, either that the Pope 
and his church do not understand the meaning of 
the inspiration on which they build the claim to 
infallibility, or that they receive that inspiration 
under a kind of political cipher, which, though 
laid before the eyes of the world, still leaves us in 
perfect obscurity as to its contents. Can any one 
doubt that the Pope, in the face of Christendom, 
issued a sentence of deposition against Queen 
Elizabeth ? Had not a similar practice pre- 
vailed for many centuries before ? Was this not 
done by virtue of what Popes conceived to be 
their divine prerogative, declared in the council 
of Florence? Did not the greatest part of the 
Catholic bishops allow, by their tacit or express 
consent, that the head of their church was acting 
in conformity with the inspired definition of his 
power? Were I not too well acquainted with 

D 2 


the extreme flexibility, the deluding slipperiness 
of Roman Catholic theology, I should contend 
that the sense of the council of Florence had, on 
these occasions, been fixed by infallible authority; 
for the Pope " may promulgate definitions and 
formularies of faith to the universal church, and 
when the general body, or a great majority of her 
prelates have assented to them, either by formal 
consent or tacit consent, all are bound to acquiesce 
in them *." But alas for those who will not be 
convinced ! The bulls of deposition, though always 
prefaced by a declaration of doctrine concerning 
the power of the Roman see ; though issued with 
all possible solemnity ; though assented to by all 
the bishops, except, perhaps, a few among the 
subjects of the monarch so deposed and con- 
demned these bulls will be found not to be de- 
Jinitions and formularies of faith. They express 
a doctrine tolerated in the church of Rome, but 
not her faith : " this (says Mr. Butler) is con- 
tained in the canon of the council of Florence. 
All the doctrine of that canon on the point in 
question* and nothing but that doctrine, is pro- 
* Book of the Roman Catholic ( hurrli, p. TJO, 1st nl. 


pounded by tin- Roman ' church to 

believed In the faithful*:' But will Mr. Butler 
tell us how the faithful an- to asivnain \\hat it 
is this A i.i, contains? No, he certainly cannot. 
His church tolerates the opinion which in this 
AM . comprehends the authority to depose prin- 
nay, the Popes have acted according- to that opi- 
nion, till the consolidation of the European powers 
tied their hands ; but she also tolerates (the word 
is here in its place) the opinion of those who strike 
off from that ALL, no less a part than the Pope's 
supremacy over the sovereigns of the earth. 

Little indeed has the inspiration of the Floren- 
tine fathers done for you, who, sincerely attached 
to the Roman Catholic church, are desirous to 
perform ALL your duty to its head. You might, 
indeed, have expected that, former Popes having 
unfortunately increased the obscurity of this im- 
portant point of your faith by their political claims, 
those who have filled the Roman see in later 
times would have put an end to these doubts, by 
tolerating no longer, but publicly and positively 
disclaiming, the doctrines of supremacy embraced 

* Book of the Roman Catholic Church, \*. 12 1, l>t ed. 


by their predecessors. Instead of allowing the 
English and Irish Catholics to apply to Cathol it- 
universities for declarations, which these bodies 
are not authorised to give, the Pope himself might 
at once have removed the doubt, as to the obe- 
dience which he claims from you. Why, then, this 
silence ? why this toleration of an opinion which 
casts a suspicion upon your loyalty; which, if 
adopted, as you certainly may adopt it so long as 
it is tolerated, must more than divide your alle- 
giance ? I think I can explain the cause of this 

If either of the two systems concerning the 
authority of the Pope were considered by the 
Roman Catholic church as absolutely false, she 
could not tolerate it consistently with her claims 
to infallibility : she must therefore believe them 
both partially true. This, however, could not take 
place if she understood the council of Florence 
(as Mr. Butler contends) in a sense equally di- 
stant from the two extreme theological opinions. 
If both express partially her own sense, that 
sense must be broad enough to embrace a sub- 
stantial part of the two ; and such is really tin- 

AGAIN . HOL1C1SM. '39 

0tte, The Transalpine ' <liviii nl the grant 

supposed to have been made by ( 'hri>( to the Pope, 
abstractedly tVom the external circumstances of the 
Roman church; and, considering that lie \vh<> 
t ///// authority to teed the (lock, must also have it 
to preserve the pasturage safe and unobstructed, 
it that the deposition of a heretical prince tails 
within the divine prerogative of the head of the 
.Roman Catholics. The Cisalpine writers, on the 
other hand, perceiving that the assertion of this 
doctrine, and any attempt to put it into practice, 
would defeat the object of the Pope's authority, 
by raising political opposition to the church ; deny 
that such a specific power against secular princes 
was ever intended by Christ. The Roman see 
allows these two opinions to be held, because, as it 
believes that the Pope's power, to be/M//, must ex- 

* Transalpine and Cisalpine are used here in a very un- 
classical sense ; but as these denominations prevail among Ro- 
man Catholic divines, I am in a certain impelled to u-e 

them. If the reader imagines himself in France, \vliere they 
were first used, the mistake into which they are apt to lead 
will easily lie avoided. Transalpine writers are those who 
-carrel \ set any hounds to the authority of the Pope; Cisal- 
pine those who, with Bossuet, contend for the pri\ile;_ 
the ( lallican church. 


tend to every act which circumstances may make 
advantageous to the church; it will riot restrain 
his hands in any possible emergency from checking 
political opposition to the prosperity of the Roman 
Catholic religion. But as it may be true that under 
the circumstances of the civilized world, it will 
never be expedient to call upon Catholics to re- 
fuse their allegiance to an enemy of the Roman 
Catholic church, the Cisalpine opinions, which at 
first were strongly opposed by Rome, are at pre- 
sent tolerated. 

I have hitherto examined the Roman Catholic 
doctrine concerning the Pope's supremacy, not be- 
cause I conceive it to have any practical effect in 
this country, but in order to expose the vagueness, 
obscurity, and doubt in which the declaration of 
one of your iuj'allible councils a declaration, too, 
relating to so important a subject as the divine 
power of your spiritual head is involved. The 
days, however, are no more when the Pope, in 
virtue of his jail power to feed, regulate, and 
govern you, might endeavour to remove a ProU >t- 
ant king from the throne. The trial to which, as 
I'ritish subjects and Roman Catholics, you are stiil 

A<iAi\xT CATHOLh !s\l. 11 

exposed, is perfectly unconnected with the temporal 
claims of your ecclesiastical head: it flows directly 
from the sp'riliul. Hence the con-taut ellbrts of 
your political advocates to fix the. attention of the 
public on the question of temporal supremacy, in 
which they may make a show of independence. 
Hence the irrelevant questions proposed to the 
Catholic universities, which, as their object was 
known, gave ample scope to the versatile casuistry 
of those bodies. Their task, in assisting their 
brethren of England and Ireland, would have cer- 
tainly required a greater degree of ingenuity, had 
the following question been substituted forthe three 
which were actually proposed : Can the Pope, in 
virtue of what Roman Catholics believe his divine 
authority, command the assistance of the faithful 
in checking the progress of heresy, by any means 
not likely to produce loss or danger to the Roman 
Catholic church; and can tfiat church acknow- 
ledge the validity of any engagement to disobey 
the Pope in such cases? This is a question of 
great practical importance to all sincere Catholics 
in these kingdoms. Allow me, therefore, to can- 
vass it according to the settled principles of your 


faith and practice, since political views prevent 
your own writers from placing it in its true light. 
At the time when I am writing this, one branch 
of the legislature has declared itself favourable to 
what is called Catholic emancipation ; and, for 
any thing I can conjecture, Roman Catholics 
may be allowed to sit in parliament before these 
Letters appear in public. A Roman Catholic 
legislator of Protestant England would, indeed, 
feel the weight of the difficulty to which my 
suggested question alludes, provided his attach- 
ment to the Roman Catholic faith were sincere. 
A real Roman Catholic once filled the throne of 
these realms, under similar circumstances; and 
neither the strong bias which a crown at stake 
must have given to his mind, nor all the in- 
genious evasions proposed to him by the ablest 
divine of the court of Louis XIV. could remove 
or disguise the obstacles which his faith opposed 
to his political duties. The source of the religious 
scruples which deprived James II. of his regal 
dignity, is expressed in one of the questions which 
he proposed to several divines of his persuasion. It 
comprises, in a few words, what every candid mind 

\1NST l A TUOI.1C1SM. V> 

must perceive to be the true nnd unlij difficulty 
in thr admission of Roman Catholics to tin* parlia- 
ment of these kingdoms. What James doubted 
respecting the regal sane/ion, a member of either 
house may apply to the more limited influence gf 
his vote. He asked " Whether the king could pro- 
mise to give his assent to all the laws which might 
he proposed for the greater security of the church 
of England ?" Four English divines, who attended 
.lames in his exile, answered without hesitation 
in the negative. The casuistry of the French 
court was certainly less abrupt. Louis XIV. 
observed to James, that " as the exercise of the 
Catholic religion could not be re-established in 
England, save by removing from the people the 
impression that the king was resolved to make it 
triumph, he must dissuade him from saying or 
doing any thing which might authorise or aug- 
ment thisjear" The powerful talents of Bossuet 
were engaged to support the political views of the 
French monarch. His answer is a striking speci- 
men of casuistic subtlety. He begins by establish- 
ing a distinction between adhering to the erroneous 
principles professed by a church, and the protection 


given to it " ostensibly, to preserve public tran- 
quillity" He calls the Edict of Nantes, by which 
the Huguenots were, for a time, tolerated, " a kind 
of protection to the reformed, shielding than jrotn 
the insults of those who would trouble them in the 
exercise of their religion. It never was thought 
(adds Bossuet) that the conscience of the monarch 
was interested in these concessions, except so far 
as they were judged necessary for public tran- 
quillity. The same may be said of the Ling of 
England ; and if he grant greater advantages to 
his Protestant subjects, it is because the stale in 
which they are in his kingdoms, and the object of 
public repose, require it." Speaking of the Articles, 
the Liturgy, and the Homilies, " it is not asked 
(he says) that the king should become the pro- 
moter of these three things, but only that he shall 
OSTENSIBLY leave them a free course, for the 
peace of his subjects:' " The Catholics (he con- 
cludes) ought to consider the state in which they 
are, and the small portion they form of the popula- 
tion of England ; which obliges them not to ask 
what is impossible of their king, but on the t 
trary, to sacrifice all the advantages with which 

AC, - ATH01.U IVM. 45 

they nii^ht vainly flatter themselves, to tlic real 
and solid .^ood of having a king of their religion, 
and securing his family on the throne, though 
Catholic; :c/t/r/i jinn/ lead them miluruUij to expect 
in tiw.i\ tlie < 'nhlishment of their church and 


Such is the utmost stretch which can be given 
to the Roman Catholic principles in the toleration 
of a church which dissents from the Roman faith. 
A conscientious Roman Catholic may, for the sake 
of public peace, and in the hope of finally serving the 
cause of his church, ostensibly gire a free course to 
heresy. But, if it may be done without such dan- 
gers, it is his unquestionable duty to undermine a 
system of which the direct tendency is, in his opi- 
nion, the spiritual andjlnal ruin of men. Is there 
a Catholic divine who can dispute this doctrine ? 
Is there a learned and conscientious priest among 
you, who would give absolution to such a person 
as, having it in his power so to direct his votes 
and conduct in parliament as to diminish the in- 
fluence of Protestant principles, without disturb- 
ing or alarming the country, would still heartily 

* Se<> tlic whole of Bossurt's answer in note B. 


and stedfastly join in promoting the interest of 
the English church? Let the question be pro- 
posed to any Catholic university ; and, though I 
am fully aware of the inexhaustible resources of 
casuistry, I should not fear to stake the force of 
my argument upon its honest and conscientious 

The author of the Book of the Roman Catholic 
Church rejects as a gratuitous imputation what- 
ever is attributed to that church, without the ex- 
press authority of one of her definitions of faith. 
I will only remind those who are well acquainted 
with the Roman Catholic system of divinity, that, 
in what relates to moral and practical principles, 
such references cannot fairly be demanded. The 
definitions of your church upon such points are 
very few. Some moral doctrines have been cen- 
sured as lax, some as being of a depraving tend- 
ency ; but the consciences of Catholics are guided 
by the broad rules of action acknowledged by all 
Christians. In the application of these rules there 
is, indeed, some variety of opinion among your 
moralists; for as they often dwell upon imaginary 
cases, an ample field is left to ingenuity for all the 

AGAINST i \ I 1IOI.H IsM. 17 

shifts and turns of expediency. The doctrine, 
however, that he, who being al)le to prevent a 
sin allows its commission, is guilty of that .-in 
and its consequences, requires no sanction from 
Pope or council. No Christian will ever deny 
this position ; and even a deist, if he is to preserve 
consistency, will be obliged to admit its justness. 
This being so, it follows with unquestionable cer- 
tainty that a Roman Catholic cannot, without guilt, 
lend his support to a Protestant establishment, but 
is bound, as he wishes to save his soul, to miss no 
opportunity of checking the progress of heresy: 
the most grievous of all moral offences, according 
to the doctrines of the Roman Catholic church. 
.Murder itself is less sinful, in the judgment of 
the Roman see, than a deliberate separation from 
her communion and creed. I need not prove this 
to those who are disposed to recognize the Roman 
Catholic doctrines in the face of the world ; but 
if any one still doubts the place which heresy 
holds in the Roman Catholic scale of criminal 
guilt, let him explain away, if he can, the follow- 
ing passage of the papal bull which is every year 
published in the Spanish dominions, under the 


title of The Crusade. By that bull, every person 
who pays a small sum towards an imaginary war 
against infidels, is privileged to be released from all 
ecclesiastical censures and receive absolution at the 
hands of any priest, of all, whatever sins, he may 
have committed, " even of those censures and sins 
which are reserved to the apostolic see, the en 
of heresy excepted*? Is it then to cherish, foment, 
and defend this heinous crime the crime which 
the Pope exempts from the easy and plenary re- 
mission granted to the long list of abominations 
left for the ear of a common priest is it this 
crime, as established, honoured, and endowed by 
the law of England, that you are anxious to 
sanction with your votes in parliament ? 

Suppose, for a moment, that it were possible for 
such a state as that of the Old Man of the Moun- 
tain or Prince of the Assassins, to have grown 
into a powerful nation, and reduced a Christian 
people under its dominion, without extinguish- 

* " Q<' i>iu'<l:m clegir Confesor Secular o Regular, <! 
aprobados por el nrdinari<>. \ <!. ! p!enana iudnl- 

genr.ia, y n-mision de qualquiera in de 

ln reservados, y reservadas a la Silla Apostolira. ecepl 
<le heregia/' Bui;; <! l.i ( 

LAIHS I i A 1 iKM.K I.sM. 1 ( J 

ing their faith: the condition of these 
would ha\ v u'leatlv differed at t\vo different periods. 
Before a sad experience had convinced them of 
the inadequacy of their power to overcome those 
enemies of (Jod and man, they would naturally 
have fought openly and manfully against the 
asxas.sin establishment, or died martyrs in passive 
resistance. When finally subdued, two courses 
alone would be left open : either to keep their 
hands clean from blood, by declining all participa- 
tion in the acts of the government, or join it with 
the intention of checking, by indirect means, the 
commission of an interminable series of crimes, 
secured by the constitutional laws of the state. Is 
there, I ask, any difference between this case and 
that of real Roman Catholics under a Protestant 
government, whose very essence is to maintain a 
separation from the communion of Rome, thereby 
placing millions of souls in a state which, you are 
bound to believe, cancels their title to salvation as 
Christians ? 

I am aware that a practical sense of the ab- 
surdity of this tenet of your church has forced 
many of you to avert their eyes from it, and 



persuade themselves that it is possible to be a 
Roman Catholic without holding the absolute ex- 
clusion of heretics from the benefits of Christ's 
redemption. This, believe me, is an error. Ex- 
amine that profession of faith in which your 
church has set forth her fundamental doctrines, 
arid you will find that she positively confines 
salvation to her members, and makes this very 
article a necessary condition for reception within 
her pale*. Your English catechisms endeavour 
to throw a sort of veil on this doctrine, by stating 
that Protestants may be saved if they labour under 
invincible ignorance of the true Roman Catholic 
faith ; leaving such as are unacquainted with their 
theological language to understand, that by in- 
vincible ignorance, is meant unconquerable con- 
viction. But has the church of Rome ever mo- 
dified her declarations against heretics, even with 
that poor and degrading exemption of ignorance? 
Will the learned conviction of a Mela net lion, a 

* " This true Catholic faith, OUT of WHICH troHB 
SAVED, which I now freely profess and truly hold, I, N. 
promise, vow, .-md swear, most constantly to hold/' &C. &C. 
Creed ? /Tius IV. 

Ai.AlN IKM.irlSM. ~>1 (Jrotius. an IMier, and the innumerable 
Ii't of Prototunt luminaries, pass under the 
humble denomination of that ignorance, on which 
Catholic- divines allo\\ a chance of eternal hap- 
piness to pagans and savages? If sincere con- 
rictiun is a valid plea with the Roman Catliolic 
church, why has she scattered to the winds the 
ashes of those who allowed that conviction to be 
tried in her inquisitorial fires? 

I rejoice to find the dogma of intolerance 
branded in the Book of the Roman Catholic 
Church with the epithet of DETESTABLE*; but 
cannot help wondering that a man who thus 
openly expresses his detestation of that doctrine 
should still profess obedience to a see, under 
whose authority the inquisition of Spain was re- 
established in 1814. If Catholics are so far im- 
proved under the Protestant government of Eng- 
land as to be able to detest persecution, by what 
intelligible distinction do they still find it con- 
Distent to cling to the source of the intolerance 
which has inundated Europe with blood, and still 
show r s its old disposition unchanged, wherever it 

* Book of the Roman Catholic Churrli, p. 303, 1st ed. 

I <_> 


preserves an exclusive influence ? In what church 
did Spain learn the necessity of forbidding her 
subjects, for ever, the right of choosing their re- 
ligious tenets, and that at the very moment when 
she was proclaiming a free constitution ? Who 
has induced the republican governments of Spanish 
America to copy the same odious law in their new 
codes? That church, no doubt, who looks com- 
placently on such acts and declarations, in countries 
where even her silence stamps public doctrines with 
the character of truth. Yes ; the " detestable 
dogma of religious intolerance" is publicly and 
solemnly proclaimed in the bosom of the Roman 
Catholic Church, without a single observation 
against it from the Pope or bishops of that church ; 
nay, the legislators themselves are forced to ] 
claim and sanction it against their own conviction, 
because the mass of the people are allowed by the 
church to understand that such are their duty, 
and her belief. 

If the Roman Catholic Church can thus allow 
detcttulk dhgmax to act in full force within the 
inmost recesses of her bosom, those Catholics who 
differ from her notions, so far as her 

ilul.K I ->3 

JMr. Butler, might guide themselves in religious 
nmtUTs without the a>sistamv of IKT infallibility. 
That able writer allows himself to be blinded by 
tlu 1 spirit of party, when be labours to prove- that 
intolerance does not belong exclusively to his 
Church : and charges Protestants with persecu- 
tion. That Protestants did not at once perceive 
the full extent of the fundamental principle of the 
Reformation the inherent right of every man to 
judge for himself on matters of faith can neither 
invalidate the truth of that luminous principle, 
nor bind subsequent Protestants to limit its ap- 
plication. It is a melancholy truth, that Pro- 
testants did persecute at one time ; but it is a 
truth which rivets the accusation of inherent and 
essential intolerance upon that Church, whose er- 
roneous doctrines the patriarchs of the reforma- 
tion could not cast off at once. Thanks be to the 
protecting care of that Providence, which, through 
them, prepared the complete emancipation from 
religious tyranny which Protestants enjoy at this 
moment ; the infallibility of their churches made 
no part of the common* belief on which they agreed 
from the Ik'gimiiug, or the spirit of intolerance 


would only have changed its name among us. 
The dogma of an infallible judge of religious sub- 
jects is the true source of bigotry ; and whoever 
believes it in his heart, is necessarily and con- 
scientiously a persecutor. A fallible Church can 
use no compulsion. If she claim " authority on 
matters of faith," it is to declare her own creed 
to those who are willing to be her members. The 
infallible judge, on the contrary, looks on his pre- 
tended gift as a miraculous divine commission, to 
stop the progress of what he condemns as an 
error. He persecutes and punishes dissenters, 
not because they cannot be convinced by his rea- 
sons, but for obstinate resistance to his super- 
natural authority. Rome never doomed her op- 
ponents to the flames for their errors, but their 
contumacy. It is by this means that she has been 
able so often to extinguish sympathy in the bi 
of her followers ; for error excites compassion, 
while rebellion never fails to kindle indignation. 

The Roman Catholics have been accused of hold- 
ing a doctrine which justifies them in not keeping 
faith with heretics. This charge is false as it stands ; 
but it has a foundation in truth which I will lay 

iloi.K ISM. 

before you, as an important consequence of the 
claims of your church to infallibility. The con- 
stant intercourse with thus- whom you call heret 
has blunted the feeling of horror which the Ro- 
man Church has assiduously fomented against 
Christians who dissent from her. It is, indeed. 
a happy result of the Reformation, that some of 
the strongest prejudices of the Roman Catholics 
have been softened wherever the Protestant re- 
ligion has obtained a footing. Where this mix- 
ture has never taken place, true Roman Catholics 
remain nearly what they were in the time when 
Christendom rejoiced at the breach of faith, which 
committed Huss to the flames by the sentence of 
a general council. In England, however, far from 
pretending to such unfair advantages, the Roman 
Catholics resent the suspicion that their oaths, not 
to interfere with the Protestant establishment, may 
be annulled by the Pope. The settled and sin- 
cere determination to keep such oaths, in those 
who appear ready to take them, I will not ques- 
tion for a moment ; but I cannot conceal my per- 
suasion, that it is the duty of every Roman Ca- 
tholic pastor to dissuade the members of their 


flocks from taking oaths which, if not allowed 
in a spirit of the most treacherous policy, would 
imply a separation from the communion of the 
Church of Rome. Let me lay down the doctrine 
of that church on this important point. 

I will assume the most liberal opinion of the 
Catholic divines, and grant that the Pope cannot 
annul an oath in virtue of his dispensing power*. 
But this can only be said of a lawful oath ; a 
quality which no human law can confer upon an 
engagement to perform a sinful act. A promise 
under oath, to execute an immoral deed, is in 
itself a monstrous offence against the divine law ; 
and the performance of such a promise would only 
aggravate the crime of having made it. There 
are, however, cases where the lawfulness of the 
engagement is doubtful, and the obligation bur- 

* Thomas Aquinas, whose authority is most highly re- 
verenced in these matters, maintains, however, that tliciv 
exists a power in the church to dispense both with a vow, 
which, according to him, is the most sacred of all engagem 
and, consequently, with an oath. S'wut in voto aliqua neces- 
sttatls seu honertatis causA pntcst fn'n (/ispensatio, ita et in 
juramcnto. Secunda Secundae Quest. Ixxxix. Art. ix. The 
popes, in fact, have IVujucnt! < d tlii> dispensing power 

with the ; -:iit >f the <lmi<li. 

AGAINST i \ i imi.ins.M. ,57 

densome, or, by a dian^v <>i' divi'.mst;! :ex- 

pedient and prep<> , The interference of 

thr Pop;-, in Midi cases, 18, a;v:nling to the liberal 
opinion which I am stating, improperly called 
dis pun atibti. The Pope only dec-lares that the 
original oath, or vow, was null and void, either 
from the nature of the thing promised, or from 
some circumstances in the manner and form of 
the promise; when, by virtue of his authority, 
the head of the church removes all spiritual re- 
sponsibility from the person who submits himself 
to his decision. I do not consider myself bound 
to confirm the accuracy of this statement by 
written authorities, as I do not conceive the pos- 
sibility of any Roman Catholic divine bringing it 
into question. 

The Roman Catholic doctrine on the obligation 
of oaths being clearly understood, sincere members 
of that church can find no difficulty in applying 
it to any existing test, or to any oath which may 
be tendered, in future, with a view to define the 
limits of their opposition to doctrines and practices 
condemned by Rome. In the first place, they can- 
not but see that an oath binding them to lend a 


direct support to any Protestant establishment, or 
to omit such measures as may, without finally in- 
juring the cause of Catholicism, check and disturb 
the spread and ascendancy of error; is in itself 
sinful, and cannot, therefore, be obligatory. In 
the second place it must be evident that if, for 
the advantage of the Catholic religion suffering 
under an heterodox ascendancy, some oaths of this 
kind may be tolerated by Catholic divines, the 
head of that church will find it his duty to de- 
clare their nullity upon any change of circum- 
stances. The persevering silence of the Papal see 
in regard to this point, notwithstanding the advan- 
tages which an authorized declaration would give to 
the Roman Catholics of Great Britain and Ireland, 
is an indubitable proof that the Pope cannot give 
his sanction to engagements made in favour of a 
Protestant establishment. Of this, Bossuet him- 
self was aware, when to his guarded opinion upon 
the scruples of James II. against the coronation 
oath, he subjoined the salvo : " I nevertlu 
submit with all my heart to the supreme diri 
of his Holiness." If that decision, however, was 
then, and is now, withheld, notwithstanding the 


disadvantages to which the- silence of Rome sub- 
jects tli, D Catholics, it cannot be supp< 
that it would at all tend to remove them. To 
MIC!: intimately acquainted with the Ca- 
tholic doctrines, which I have just laid before 
you, the conduct of the Roman see is in no way 

It would be much more difficult to explain upon 
what creditable principle of their church, the Ca- 
tholic divines of these kingdoms can give their 
approbation to, oaths tendered for the security of 
the Protestant establishment, The clergy of the 
church of England have been involved in a ge- 
neral and indiscriminate charge of hypocrisy and 
simulation, upon religious matters. It would ill 
become one in my peculiar circumstances to take 
up the defence of that venerable body * ; yet I 
cannot dismiss this subject without most solemnly 
attesting, that the strongest impressions which 
enliven and support my Christian faith, are de- 
rived from my friendly intercourse with members 

' Since writing this passage, a most spirited and modest 
defence of the church of England clergy has been published hy 
Dr. Blomtield, Lord Bishop of Chester. 


of that insulted clergy ; while, on the contrary, 
I knew but very few Spanish priests whose 
talents or acquirements were above contempt, 
who had not secretly renounced their religion. 
Whether something similar to the state of the 
Spanish clergy may not explain the support 
which the Catholic priesthood of these king- 
doms, seem to give to oaths so abhorrent from 
the belief of their church, as those which must 
precede the admission of members of that church 
into parliament ; I will not undertake to say. If 
there be conscientious believers among them, 
which I will not doubt for a moment, and they 
are not forced into silence, as I suspect it is done 
in similar cases *, I feel assured that they will 
earnestly deprecate, and condemn all engagements 
on the part of the Roman Catholics, to support and 

* I recollect something about the persecution of one Mr. 
Gandolphy, a London priest, who was obliged to appeal per- 
sonally to Rome against the persecution of his brvthrcii, for 
exposing too freely the doctrines which might increase tin- 
difficulties of Catholic emancipation. The Pope did not o. n - 
demn him. Since writing this note I have seen the case of 
Mr. Gandolphy stated in an able publication f the Rev. 
George Croly, entitled Popery and the Popish Question. 
Mr. G.'s doctriiit \inv hiirhly appn\cd at HM 

CATHOfciqifl til 

defend the church of England. Such an engage- 
ment implies cither a renunciation of the tenet 
excluding 1'rolotanl- from the henelits of the 
(Jospel pro- >r a shocking indiilercnce to 

the eternal welfare of men. 

If your leaders, whom it would he uncha- 
ritahle to suspect of tlie latter feeling, have so far 
receded from the Roman creed as to allow us the 
common privileges of Christianity, and can con- 
scientiously swear to protect and encourage the 
interests of the church of England, let them, 
in the name of truth, speak openly before the 
world, and he the first to remove that obstacle 
to mutual benevolence, and perfect community of 
political privileges the doctrine of exclusive salva- 
tion in your church. Cancel but that one article 
from your creed, and all liberal men in Europe 
will oiler you the right hand of fellowship. Your 
other doctrines concern but yourselves ; this en- 
dangers the peace and freedom of every man 
living, and that in proportion to your goodness ; 
it makes your very benevolence a curse. Believe 
a man who has spent the best years of his life 
where Catholicism is professed without the check 


of dissenting opinions ; where it luxuriates on the: 
soil, which fire and sword have cleared of what- 
ever might stunt its natural and genuine growth ; 
a growth incessantly watched over by the head of 
your church, and his authorized representatives, 
the Inquisitors. Alas ! " / have a mother," out- 
weighed all other reasons for a change, in a man of 
genius *, who yet cared not to show his indifference 
to the religious system under which he was born. 
I, too, " had a mother," and such a mother as, did I 
possess the talents of your great poet, tenfold, they 
would have been honoured in doing homage to the 
powers of her mind and the goodness of her heart. 
No woman could love her children more ardently, 
and none of those children was more vehemently 
loved than myself. But the Roman Catholic creed 
had poisoned in her the purest source of affection. 
I saw her, during a long period, unable to restrain 
her tears in my presence. I perceived that sl:e 
shunned my conversation, especially when my 
university friends drew me into topics above those 
of domestic talk. I loved her ; and this behaviour 

* Pope: soi \\\< Icttor to Attorhury 


i-ut me to tin' In-art. In my distress I applied to 
a friend to whom she used to communicate all her 
Borrows : and, to my utter horror, J learnt that, su- 
specting me of anti-catholic prineiples, my mother 
was distracted by the fear that she might he obliged 
to aeeuse me to the Inquisition, if I incautiously 
uttered some eondemned proposition in her pre- 
sence . To avoid the barbarous necessity of being 
the instrument of my ruin, she could find no other 
means but that of shunning my presence. Did this 
unfortunate mother overrate or mistake the nature 
of her Roman Catholic duties ? By no means. 
The Inquisition was established by the supreme 
authority of her church ; and, under that au- 
thority, she was enjoined to accuse any person 
whatever, whom she might overhear uttering he- 
retical opinions. No exception was made in fa- 
vour of fathers, children, husbands, wives : to 
conceal was to abet their errors, and doom two 
souls to eternal perdition. A sentence of excom- 
munication, to be incurred in the fact, was an- 
nually published against all persons, who having 
heard a proposition directly or indirectly contrary 
to the Catholic Faith, omitted to inform the in- 


quisitors upon it. Could any sincere Catholic 
slight such a command ? 

Such is the spirit of the ecclesiastical power to 
which you submit. The monstrous laws of which 
I speak, do not belong to a remote period : they 
existed in full force fifteen years ago : they w 
republished under the authority of the Pope, at 
a later period. If some of your writers assume 
the tone of freedom which belongs to this age 
and country ; if you profess your Faith without 
compulsion ; you may thank the Protestant law* 
which protect you. Is there a spot in the uni- 
verse where a Roman Catholic may throw off his 
mental allegiance, except where Protestants have 
contended for that right, and sealed it with their 
blood? I know that your church modifies her in- 
tolerance according to circumstances, and that 
she tolerates in France, after the revolution, the 
Hugonots, whom she would have burnt in Spain 
a few years ago, and whom she would doom to 
some indefinite punishment, little short of the 
:e, at thi> present moment. Such conduct is 
unworthy of the claims which Rome contends for, 
and would disgrace the m<M <>l)>c-nre leader of a 

\i\sl i \ 1 lini.u ISM. 65 

paltry sect. If she still claims tin- right of wield- 
ing " the Mvord of Peter," \\liy doe.x she conceal 
it under her mantle? If not, why does she not 
put an end to more than half the miseries and 
degradation of Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Spanish 
America, by at once declaring that men arc account- 
able only to God for their religious belief, and 
that sincere and conscientious persuasion mutt, 
both in this and the next world, be a valid plea 
for the pardon of error ? Does the Church of 
Rome really profess this doctrine ? It is then a 
sacred duty for her to remove at once that scandal 
of Christianity, that intolerance which the con- 
duct of Popes and councils has invariably up- 
held *. But if, as I am persuaded, Rome still 
thinks in conformity with her former conduct, 
and yet the Roman Catholics of these king- 
doms dissent from her on this point, they have 
already begun to use the Protestant right of pri- 
vate judgment upon ONE of the articles of their 
faith ; and I may hope that they will follow me 
in the examination of that alleged divine authority 

* Note C. 


by which they are prevented from extending it to 


Want of books, or rather want of sufficient 
health to undergo the fatigue and discomfort of 
consulting them in public libraries, had made me 
proceed in the composition of these Letters de- 
riving the materials from my own stores, and 
from the book itself against the general tendency 
of which I was induced to take up the pen. My 
knowledge of the Roman Catholic doctrines led 
me soon to conclude that Mr. Butler was a writer 
who, on the fairest construction, knew how to 
divert his adversaries from all the weak points of 
his cause. Yet I trusted that the accuracy of his 
quotations might be depended upon, especially 
when he gave us authorized statements of the 
Roman Catholic tenets. The translation of the 
creed of Pius IV., w r hich Mr. Butler inserted in 
his Book of the Roman Catholic Church, was, 
therefore, the only document of that kind from 
which 1 deduced my arguments to prove the duty 
incumbent on Roman Catholics to propagate their 


religion hy every means in their power. Whether 
I ha\e succeeded or failed in proving tliat fact by 
interenre, my readers will decide-. But upon a 
revision of my arguments, I do not regret that 
an omissinn which I subsequently discovered in 
Mr. Butler's translation of that creed deprived 
me, at first, of the easiest and most direct proof 
which I could wish to support my assertion. For 
had I consulted the original at once, the positive 
confirmation which that document gives it, and 
my own familiar conviction of its truth, would 
have induced me to save myself the exertion of 
fully developing my argument. As it now hap- 
pens, I flatter myself that my readers will give 
me some credit for accuracy in the knowledge of 
the Roman Catholic doctrines, when they shall see 
that a theoretical reasoning from her established 
general principles, fully and accurately agrees 
with a positive injunction of the church of Rome, 
of which lapse of time had made me forget the 


Let us, then, compare the last article in Mr. 
Butler's translation of the creed, with the original. 

Mr. Butler's translation: " This true catholic 


faith, out of which none can be saved, which I 
now freely profess, and truly hold, I, N. 9 promise, 
vow, and swear most constantly to hold and pro- 
fess the same whole and entire, with God's as- 
sistance, to the end of my life. Amen." 

The Latin original. " Hanc veram catholicam 
fidem, extra quam nemo salvus esse potest, quam 
in praesenti sponte profiteer, et veraciter teneo, 
eandem integram, et inviolatam, usque ad ex- 
tremum vitae spatium constantissime (Deo adju- 
vante) retinere et confiteri, ATQUE A MEIS SUH- 


Now, the words in small capitals, omitted by 
Mr. Butler, contain the very pith and marrow of 
the strongest argument against the admissibility of 
Roman Catholics to parliament. For if the u 
solemn profession of their faith lays on every one 
of her members who enjoys a place of influence, 
the duty of " procuring, that all under /////;, by 
virtue o/* It's <>//ice y shall hold, leach, and preach 
the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church, and 

UatAINttH \ I liol K l.s.M. U'i) 

this under an oath ;m<l vow; how can such men 
engage to preserve tin- ;iMvnd;incy of tlu- Church 
of Kngland in the>e ivain 

When, in tin- Xew Times of tin- Mi of April, 
I exposed tliis important omission hefore the 
public, I thought that Mr. Butler would have 
explained the origin of it. But I am not aware 
of his having given any explanation. Neither 
on that, nor on the present occasion, is it my in- 
tention to cast a suspicion on that gentleman's 
good faith. He probably copied from some gar- 
bled translation, prepared by less scrupulous mem- 
bers of his communion, who wished to conceal the 
real tenets of their church from a Protestant 
public. At all events, this fresh instance of in- 
accuracy on a most important point, gives addi- 
tional propriety to caution in reading Mr. Butler's 
defences of Catholicism. 



Examination of the title to infallibility, spiritual supremacy ^ 
and exclusive salvation, claimed by the Roman Catholic 
Church. Internal evidence against Rome, in the use she 
has made of her assumed prerogative. Short method of 
determining the question. 

AT the conclusion of my preceding Letter, I 
entreated you to examine the title by which your 
church deprives her members of the right of 
private judgment on religious matters, and denies 
salvation to those who venture to think for them- 
selves. In making this request I may appear to 
have overlooked the very essence of your religious 
allegiance, and to demand a concession which 
would at once put you out of the pale of the 
Roman church. But I beg you to observe, that 
whatever be the extent of the authority of that 
church over you, there is one point which it can- 
not withhold from the judgment and verdict of 
your reason. The reality of her title to be the 
guide and rule of your faith, must be a matter, 
not of authority, but of proof. He that claims 

u,. \i\bi i A riiui.u ISM. 71 

obedience in virtue of delegated power, is bound 
t<> prove his ;ij)|)()iiitiiK'iit. Any attempt to de- 
prive those who without that appointment would 
be his equals, of the liberty to rxainine the au- 
thority, nature, an<l extent of the derive which 
constitutes the delegate above them ; is an in- 
vasion of men's natural liberty, as well as a 
strong indication of imposture. If before we 
come to God w r e must, through nature, believe 
that he is, surely before we yield our reason to 
one who calls himself God's Vicar, our reason 
should be satisfied that God has truly appointed 
him to that superemineiit post. 

How then stands the case between the church 
of Rome and the world ? 

The church of Rome proclaims that Jesus 
Christ, both God and man, having appeared on 
earth for the salvation of mankind, appointed the 
apostle Peter to be his representative ; made him 
the head of all the members of his church then 
existing ; and granted a similar privilege to Peter's 
successors, without limitation of time. To this 
-he adds, that, to the church, united under Peter 
and his successors, Christ ensured an infallible 


knowledge of the sense of the Scriptures, and an 
equally infallible knowledge of certain traditions, 
and their true meaning. On the strength of this 
divine appointment, the church of Rome demands 
the same faith in the decisions of her head, when 
approved " by the tacit assent or open consent of 
the greatest part of her bishops," as if they pro- 
ceeded from the mouth of Christ himself. The 
divine commission, on which she grounds these 
claims, runs in these words of Christ to the chief 
of his apostles : " Thou art Peter, and upon this 
rock I will build my church ; and the gates of hell 
shall not prevail against it : And I will give unto 
thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven ; and what- 
soever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in 
heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, 
shall be loosed in heaven." 

It will not be denied that between this un- 
questionable authority and the statement which 
precedes it, there is no verbal agreement. A man 
unacquainted with the system of divinity sup- 
ported by the church of Rome, would, probably, 
perceive no connexion between the alleged passage 
:ind the commentary. Hut let us suppose that 

inter i ATiioi.u ISM. 

the I iour contain tin* meaning 

in question: yet, no man will deny, that if they do 
contain it, it is in an indirect and obscure manner. 
The tact then i>. that even if the cliurcli of Koine 
should he really endowed with the supernatural 
assistance which .she asserts, the divine founder 
of Christianity was j>leased to make the existence 
of that extraordinary gift one of the least obvious 
truths contained in the Gospels. It might have 
heen expected, however, that Peter, in his Epistles, 
or in the addresses to the first Christians which 
the Acts record, would have removed the ob- 
scurity ; and that, since the grant of infallibility 
to him, to his peculiar church, and to his suc- 
cessors in the see of that church (either inde- 
pendently of the infallibility of others, or in com- 
bination with other privileged persons, for this is 
also left in great obscurity) was made the only 
security against the attacks of hell ; he would have 
taken care to explain the secret sense of Christ's 
address to him. Peter, however, does not make 
the slightest allusion to his privileges. His suc- 
-ors being not named in the supposed original 


grant of supremacy, it was in course that, by an 
express declaration, Peter would obviate the na- 
tural inference, that they were excluded from his 
own personal prerogatives. But Peter is equally 
silent about his successors ; and to add to the ori- 
ginal mysteriousness of the subject, he never men- 
tions Rome, and dates his epistles from Babylon. 
Babylon may figuratively mean Rome ; the silence 
of both our Saviour and his apostle may, by some 
strange rule of interpretation, be proved to denote 
those successors ; the whole system, in fine, of the 
Roman Catholic church may be contained in the 
alleged passage ; but, if so, it is contained like a 
diamond in a mountain. The plainest sense of 
any one passage of the Scriptures cannot be so 
palpable as the obscurity of the present. It fol- 
lows, therefore, with all the force of demonstra- 
tion, that the divine right claimed by the Pope 
and his church to be the infallible rule of faith 
having no other than an obscure and doubtful 
foundation, the belief in it cannot be obligatory 
on all Christians ; who are left to follow the Mig- 
loiis of their individual judgment as to the 

. A I H01.U 1 75 

obscure i in-ailing of the Scriptures, till the Scrip- 
tures themselves shall be found to demand the 
-nation of that judgment 

1 request you to oler\c, that the force of my 
argument does not depend upon the erroneous- 
- of the Roman interpretation of the passages 
alleged for the spiritual supremacy ; all I contend 
for is the douhljulncss of their meaning: for to 
suppose that the divine founder of Christianity, 
while providing against doubt in his future fol- 
lowers, would miss his aim by overlooking the 
obscurity in which he left the remedy he wished 
to appoint ; is a notion from which Christians 
must shrink. It follows, therefore, either that 
Christ did not intend what the Romanists believe 
about Peter and his church ; or that, since he 
concealed his meaning, an obedience to the Ro- 
man church cannot be a necessary condition in 
his disciples. 

The liberty which, upon the supposition most 
favourable to Rome, Christ has granted to be- 
lievers in his Gospel, the Pope and his church 
most positively deny them. Placing themselves 
between mankind and the Redeemer, they allow 


those only to approach him, who first make a full 
surrender of their judgment to Popes and councils. 
A belief in Christ and his work of redemption, 
grounded on the Scriptures and their evidences, 
is thus made useless, unless it is preceded by a 
belief in Roman supremacy, grounded on mere 
surmises. Christianity is removed from its broad 
foundation, to place the mighty fabric upon the 
moveable sand of a conjectural meaning. 

This looks more like love of self than of Christ : 
more like ambition than charity. The title to in- 
fallibility and supremacy being at the best doubt- 
ful, the benefit of the doubt should have been left 
to Christian liberty. But may not the opposite 
conduct of the Roman church have arisen from 
sincere zeal for what she conceived to be the true 
intention of Christ ? Christian candour would de- 
mand this construction, were it not for the u>o 
she has made of the assumed privilege : yet if \w 
find that, having erected herself into an organ of 
Heaven, all her oracular decisions have invariably 
tended towards the increase of her own pmvor ; it 
will be difficult to admit the purity of her inten- 


By comparing tin- articles of the church of 
with those of tin- church of Kngland, we 
shall find that the points of difl'c-ivmv arc chiefly 
these : tradition, transnhstantiation, the number of 
sacraments, purgatory, indulgences, and the in- 
vocation of saints. Such are the main questions on 
doctrine, at issue between the two churches; for 
the differences about free-will and justification 
might, I believe, be settled without much dif- 
ficulty, by accurately defining the language on 
both sides. Now, I will not assume the truth of 
the Protestant tenets on these points, nor enter 
into arguments against those of the Roman church ; 
my present concern is with their tendency. 

To begin with tradition : let us observe how 
broad a field is opened to the exercise of infalli- 
bility, by the supposition that an indefinite number 
of revealed truths, were floating down the stream 
of ages, unconsigned to the inspired records of 
Christianity. 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, the first-born of infallibility, re- 
moves this obstacle ; and, so doing, increases the 
influence of Rome to an indefinite extent. I do 
not here contend that to place tradition upon the 
same footing with the Scriptures, is an error ; but 
whether error or truth, it is certainly power in the 
hands of the Roman church. 

By the combined influence of tradition and in- 
fallibility, the church of Rome established the doc- 
trine of Transubstantiation. From the moment 
that people are made to believe that a man has 
the power of working, at all times, the stupendous 
miracle of converting bread and wine into the 
body and blood of Christ ; that man is raised to a 
dignity above all which kings are able to confer. 
What, then, must be the honour due to a bishop. 
who can bestow the power of performing the miracle 
of transubstantiation ? What the rank of the Pope, 
who is the head of the bishops themselves ' J The 
world beheld for centuries, the natural conseqiu i 
of the surprising belief in the power of priests to 
convert bread and wine into the incarnate Deity*. 
* Note I). 


Kings tad Cmp M forced to kiss the Pope's 

toot. because their subject* were in tin* daily habit 
of kissing tin* hands of priests those hand- which 
were believed to come in frequent contact with 
the body of Chri-t. 

The abundance of ceremonies supposed to pro- 
duce supernatural effects, must magnify the cha- 
racter of the privileged ministers of those ceremo- 
nies. Hence a church possessing seven sacraments, 
is far superior in influence to one who acknow- 
ledges but two. Add to this the nature of four 
out of the five Roman sacraments penance, ex- 
treme unction, ordination, and matrimony and 
the extent of power which she thereby obtains, 
will appear. Penance, i. c. auricular confession, 
puts the consciences of the laity under the direc- 
tion of the priesthood. Extreme unction is one 
of her means to allay fear and remorse. Ordina- 
tion is intimately connected with the influence 
which the Roman church derives from transub- 
stantiation, and its being made a sacrament adds 
probability to the miraculous powers which it is 
supposed to confer. Finally, by giving the sacra- 
mental character to matrimony, the source and 


bond of civil society is directly and primarily sub- 
jected to the church. 

There still remain three exclusive offsprings of 
tradition, explained and defined by infallibility, 
which yield to none in happy consequences to the 
Roman church, indulgences, purgatory, and the 
worship of saints, relics, and images. 

The wealth which has flowed into the lap of 
Rome, in exchange for indulgences, is incalculable. 
Even in the decline of her influence, she still looks 
for a considerable part of her revenues from this 
source : to which also she owes the degree of sub- 
jection in which she keeps the Roman Catholic 
governments. My unfortunate native country 
shows the nature and extent of this influence in 
a striking light. I have already mentioned the 
Bull of the Crusade, through which the barter of 
indulgences and dispensations for money, is car- 
ried on, in a manner worthy of the darkest ages. 
The Spanish government has two or three paltry 
fortresses on the coast of Afric-a, which are em- 
ployed as places of punishment for criminals. The 
existence of a few soldiers in these garrisons is 
construed into a perpetual war against the 7////V 


h whom, in the mean time, the Kin^ of Spain 
is DlOStl] :ii peace, inability t- to 

MI an cHcchial re>ist;unv. The sec of Rome, 
which \ to spirit Hi : 

whatever may op:-n a market tor its war- 
tin^ ii the Spaniards and the 
Af V i ca 1 1 injidc /.v / which 
bein<r, according to the ])rinciples of that see, a 
meritorious Christian act, deserves its pastoral 
encouragement. For this purpose every year are 
printed summaries of a Papal bull, which the 
Spaniards purchase at different prices, according 
to their rank and wealth, in order to enjoy the 
indulgences and privileges granted by the Pope in 
exchange for their alms. The benefits to be de- 
rived from the possession of one of these bulls are 

ral plenary indulgences, and leave to eat, during 
Lent, milk, eggs, and butter, which are otherwise 
forbidden, under pain of mortal A///, at that season. 
The sale of these privileges having been found 
most valuable and extensive, a second, third, and 
even a fourth bull, of a similar kind, were de- 
vised. The t //c'.y// bull, as it is called in Spain, 
allows the purchasers to eat meat during Lent, 


every Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, 
except in Passion Week. The third bull is called 
the compounding bull. By possessing one of tl 
documents, and giving a certain sum, at the dis- 
cretion of any priest authorised to hear cout 
sions, to the fund of the holy cruzadc ; any pro- 
perty may be kept, which, having been obtained 
by robbery and extortion, cannot be traced to 
its right owners for restitution. This composition 
with the Pope and the King, is made by depositing 
the sum appointed by the confessor in an iron 
chest fixed outside the doors of churches : a 
comfortable resource indeed for the tender con- 
sciences of peculators and extortioners, two very 
numerous classes in Spain. The fourth bull is to 
be purchased for the benefit of the deceased, and 
i^ called the defunct hull. The name of any dead 
person being entered on the bull, a plenary in- 
dulgence is, by this means, believed to be conveyed 
to his soul, if suffering in purgatory. To secure, 
however, a double sale, the three latter bulls are 
made of no effect, unless the original summary 
of the cruzade be possessed by the person who 
\vislu-s to rnjoy the dispensations and priviK-. 

!!<)[. U I 

thcn-in h. It . :i very rojiuiion 

bury these bulls with the corpses of 
th<e whom tin .! to heneih. The 

ilius levied upon the people of Spain, is di- 
vided between the King and the Pope: yet it is 
not the money which, in this mid similar tran- 
tions, proves most benelicial to Rome; the habit 
of spiritual dependence which it supports among 
the Spaniards is, no doubt, its most valuable result 
to that see. The Spanish Cortes, who were bold 
enough to reduce the tithes by one half; when 
struggling hard to shake off the silent yet for- 
midable influence of the Pope, found their power 
inadequate to the task : well knowing that were 
he to withdraw one of these bulls, the mass of the 
people would instantly rise against them. I have 
selected this fact among thousands, that prove 
the accession of potccr which the doctrine of in- 
dulgences produces to the see of Rome. 

The belief in purgatory is so inseparable from 
the former tenet, that I need not enlarge on the 
peculiar advantages which Rome has derived from 
it. I will only observe how fortunately for the 
interests <>t the church of Rome, not only the 


existence, but even the mutual help and connexion 
of her peculiar doctrines, have happened. The 
power of remitting canonical penance would have 
been useless on the cessation of penitential disci- 
pline : but TRADITION having about the same 
time brought purgatory to light, offered an ample 
scope to the power of the Roman keys. Transub- 
stantiation now presented the means of repeating 
the sacrifice of the cross for those who were sup- 
posed to be undergoing the purification by fire. 
The whole system, indeed, is surprisingly linked 
together, and the very connexion of its parts, 
tending to secure the influence and power of the 
source from whence it flows ; gives it the appear- 
ance of an original invention, enlarged from the 
gradual suggestions of previous advantages. 

The worship of saints, relics, and images might, 
when tradition began to spread it, have appeared 
less connected with the wealth and power of Un- 
church of Rome ; yet none of its spiritual re- 
sources has proved more productive of both. 
Europe is covered with sanctuaries and churches, 
which owe their existence and revenues to some 
reported miraculous nppi\i ranee of an image, or 

HOl.U Ls.M. 8fi 

the presence, real or pretended, of some relic. To 
form a correct notion of the influence which such 
places have- upon the people, il is R y to 

have Jived where the}' exist. Hut the house of 
Loretlo alone, would he suliicient to give some idva 
of the power and wealth which the church must 
have derived from similar sources, when the whole 
of Christendom was more ignorant and supersti- 
tious than the most degraded portions of it are at 
present. Of this fact, however, I am perfectly 
convinced hy long observation, that were it pos- 
sihle to abolish sanctuaries, properly so called, and 
leave the same number of churches without the 
favourite virgins and saints which give them 
both that peculiar denomination and their popular 
charm ; more than half the blind deference which 
the multitude pay to the clergy, and through the 
clergy to Rome, would quickly disappear. 

The advantages resulting to Rome from the 
combined effect of indulgences, relics, saints and 
their images, are not, however, derived only in- 
directly through the deference enjoyed by her 
.:>'. The bond thereby created between the 


Pope and the most distant regions which acknow- 
ledge his spiritual dominion, is direct. The 
Mexican and the Peruvian expects the publication 
of the annual bull, which allows him to eat eggs 
and milk in Lent, enables him to liberate, by 
name, a certain number of his relations from pur- 
gatory, and enlarges the power of his confessor, for 
the absolution of the most hideous crimes. \V here- 
ever he turns, he sees a protecting saint, whose 
power and willingness to defend him, could not be 
ascertained without the supernatural and unques- 
tionable authority of the Pope. It is the Holy 
Father who, by a solemn declaration, allots every 
district to the peculiar patronage of a saint ; it is 
he who, by grants of indulgences, encourages the 
worship of those miraculous images which formmi- 
tral points of devotion over all the Roman Catholic 
world : it is he who warrants the supernatural 
state of incorruption of the body of one saint, 
and traces, with unerring certainty, some strag- 
gling limb to another. It is, finally, he who alone 
has the undoubted power of virtually furnishing 
the faithful with tin- relics of the most ancient or 

LIH8T i ATHoi.u ISM. 87 

unknown j)atriarchs and martyr-, l>\ bidding the 
iiu-nt of any skeleton in the catacombs, be part 
of the body in requot *. 

I do not intend to cast any part of your re- 
ligious-system into ridicule; though, I ronu-ss, it 
is difficult to mention facts like these, without 
some danger of exciting a smile. These and 
similar practices you will, perhaps, construe into 
innocent means of keeping up a sense of religion 
among the lower classes ; but without insisting, 
at present, upon their demoralizing and degrading 
tendency, I only present them in conjunction with 
all the other means of power and influence which 
the church of Rome has drawn from the, at least, 
doubtful title, on which she grounds her spiritual 
supremacy. It is, indeed, of great importance in 
the question between Rome and the Protestants, 
to observe the consequences of their respective 
interpretation of scripture, in regard to their own 
interests. The mass of Christians who, unable 

* This is called christening relics. The persuasion that 
bmies so christened are as good as those of the favourite saint 
. horn they are attributed, is certni'-y general in my 
I have no doubt that it is common to all C'atl. 


to weigh the theological arguments urged by the 
controversialists of both parties, content them- 
selves with an implicit, and often an indifferent, 
acquiescence in the tenets which education chanced 
to impress on their minds ; might form a pretty 
accurate notion of the whole case by the following 
easy and compendious method. They should, in 
the first place, endeavour to become familiar with 
the reasoning which shows the absurdity of settling 
the question of papal supremacy on other than 
Scriptural grounds. Let them remember, what 
cannot be too much repeated, the necessity of de- 
riving the knowledge of any infallible expounder 
of the Scriptures from the testimony of those 
Scriptures, perused and understood without the 
aid of that expounder. To appeal to divine tra- 
dition as a rule for the interpretation of Scripture 
in this state of the question, is equally unreason- 
able and preposterous ; since, from the nature of 
the case, there is, as yet, no infallible rule to di- 
stinguish divine tradition from human and fallible 
report. The next step in this momentous in- 
quiry, is to ascertain, by human menus, the true 
.sense of such passages <>i' tlic Scriptures as are 

\l\sT ^ \ I !!()!!( ISM. 89 

i to contain the appointment of a living su- 
preme auti !' faitli. Here, two 
of men, (1 eply learned in all the branrlio of 
divinity, present them- interpreters. Thoe 
affirm that the pa- ion. contain the 
rights and privileges wliich the church of Home 
and her head, claim for themselves: those posi- 
tively deny that the passages can bear such mean- 
ing. Remember again, I request you, that the 
decision must depend exclusively on the reasoning 
faculties of mankind. Wliich, now, of these two 
opposed masses of intellect, is most likely to catch 
the true meaning of the texts? Which of the two 
interpretations have we most reason to suppose 
free from the distortions of prejudice ? Common 
sense answers the question : that which is directly 
against the interests of the interpreters. Europe 
lay prostrate at the feet of the Pope, and every 
member of his clergy was raised by the common 
opinion, to a rank and dignity to which even 
kings bowed their head. The meanest priest 
claimed and enjoyed exemptions which were often 
denied to the first nobles of the land. Wealth and 
honours were theirs ; the law shrunk before them 


when guilty, and piety was ready to throw a 
cloak on their vices. The church had, for many 
ages, been in possession of unrivalled power on 
earth, when, at the rousing voice of a few obscure 
men, who questioned the foundation of that 
mighty structure, a large portion of those that 
might have continued under its shelter, unani- 
mously declared that the whole was a work of 
delusion, which had sprung from an original, un- 
examined error. Such was the unanimous con- 
viction of all the Protestants, when no bias but 
that of a contrary tendency could exist in their 
minds. If common sense, therefore, must be the 
interpreter of divine authority, conveyed to us in 
human language ; this fact alone suffices to point 
the side to which that plain and faithful guide 
gives its sanction. 

The Reformed churches are taxed with their 
variations, as if, like Rome, they had pledged 
their existence upon infallibility. They have, 
indeed, varied and dissented from each other; 
with this difference from the oracular church of 
the Vatican, that they have not disguised their 
proceedings, nor set up an Inquisition as the guard 

101. Ic ISM. 91 

of their unity. But \vliik> the- love of truth com- 
pelled the Kefonnerv to expose th- the 
:!ts and raillery of their mortal enemies, by 
breaking into parlies upon the more abstruse 
points of divinity ; not even a doubt has disturbed 
their unanimity as to the insufh'eiency of the title 
to divine supremacy, by which Rome commands 
intellectual homage. That, indeed, was the only 
point of controversy which common sense could 
decide ; and the renunciation of all the worldly 
advantages to which the Roman church invited 
the Reformers, had left their judgment unbiassed. 
Other disputes in divinity must be settled by a 
long, difficult, and laborious process of inquiry ; 
but a privilege is a matter of fact which, if not 
evidently proved, becomes a nonentity. Now, the 
peculiar privilege claimed by Rome, essentially 
precludes doubtful proofs of its existence. A 
doubtful gift from God with a view to remove 
doubt, is a mockery of his wisdom. If the common 
sense of many learned and unbiassed minds is 
found to agree in denying that the Scripture pas- 
sages alleged by Rome, in favour of her mira- 
culous infallibility, contain a clear promise of that 


gift, or describe in whom, and how it was to exist 
after the decease of the apostles ; the pretensions 
of the Pope and his church must be visionary. 
The negative proof, in such cases, the absence 
of a clear title has the strength of demonstra- 
tion. Nothing can weaken its force upon a candid 
mind, but the very common habit of starting away 
from newly discovered truth in fear of its conse- 
quences, which we have previously condemned. 

I am aware that, unable as you must be to find 
a direct and sufficient answer to this argument, 
and inclined to admit its truth, as an honest mind 
will make you ; yet a crowd of such consequences 
will deter you from the path into which reason is 
ready to lead you. A church subject to error and 

division ! You shrink from such an inference, 
without remarking that the preconceived and un- 
proved necessity of having an infallible church, is 
the true and only source of that illogical process, 
by which you have endeavoured to establish the 
certain existence of infallibility, upon the uncer- 
tain sense of a few words of the Gosprl. 


LKTTKU 1\'. 

A sprrimrn of the unity exhibited by Rome. Roman Catholic 
distinction In tucni />//;/// /7,///'/// in doctrine, :uid liability ! 
misconduct. Ci.iis<'<|urmvs of tin's distinction. Roman 
Catholic unity .MM! invariahl. 1'aith, a (lchisi"ii. 

Scriptural unity f Faith. 

" So long since as the council of Vienne (I quote 
the words of your great champion Bossuet, trans- 
lated by your apologist Mr. Butler*) a great pre- 
late, commissioned by the Pope to prepare matters 
to be treated upon, laid it down for a ground- 
work to the whole assembly, that they ought to 
reform the church in the head and members. The 
great schism which happened soon after, made 
tins saying current, not among particular doctors 
only, as Ciersen, Peter d'Ailly, and other great 
men of those times, but in councils too; and 
nothing wa- more frequently repeated in those 
of Pi.w and Constance. What happened in the 
council of Basil, :c//crc a reformation was unfor- 

* Book of the Roman Catholic Church, p. I.'ifi, 1st .-,1 


Innately eluded, and the church re-involved in 
new divisions, is well known." Such is the pic- 
ture of the Roman Catholic church at the be- 
ginning of the fifteenth century, drawn by the 
most able as well as cautious of her divines. The 
distinct mention of the unfortunate cause which 
prevented the proposed Reformation, would have 
given more colour and individuality to the picture. 
It was, in fact, a revival of the great schism, 
which for fifty years had lately kept the Roman 
Catholic church divided between two or three 
Popes, who at one and the same time, claimed the 
prerogative of vicars of Christ: it was a fierce 
contest between the council of Constance and Eu- 
genius IV., the Pope who had convened it, and 
whom the assembled bishops wished to reform : 
it was a sentence of excommunication issued by 
the council against Eugenius : it was a rival 
council convoked at Ferrara by the excommuni- 
cated Pope, where he employed the same arms 
against the fathers assembled at Basil : it was 
the deposition of Eugenius and the installation 
of Felix V. by the offended council : it was. in 
fine, the triumph of Rome against the spirit which 


had attempted to rxirutr tin- \\ork, of which 

prelate-." " particular doctors," and 

councils too," >p. i'rc([iicntly, a> to i>ta- 

blish it into a 'current saying." that the church 

led reform in head unit rs. The//, 

unwilling to be reformed, imprecated the curse of 
Ih-a\en upon the member* ; and tin rs find- 

-.ncurable, chose for themselves an- 
other, when they had duly devoted the refractory 
one to the unquenchable fire. Such are the " well- 
known" events which took place in " the council 
of Has! a rejinnalion icas unj or Innately 

eluded, and the church re-involved in new di- 

And now, I will ask, is this the unity, the 
harmony, without which your writers contend 
that the church of Christ cannot exist? Is it 
thus that the necessity of your interpretation of 
the Scripture passages, on which the system of 
infallibility has been erected, is sanctioned by ex- 
perience ? Can you still close your eyes against 
the demonstration contained in my preceding 
letter, because variations and dissent are in the 
train of its consequences? 


" Our troubles and dissensions, however, (you 
are taught to answer) are limited to externals; 
those of the Protestants affect the unity of the 
faith." Such is the last shelter, the citadel, of 
your infallible-church theory, See, then, the 
series of assumptions, doubts, and evasions of 
which that theory consists, and observe its in- 
evitable consequences. 1st. You assume that 
which is in question, the necessity of an infallible 
judge of faith. 2dly. Upon the strength of that 
assumption, you interpret certain passages of 
Scripture, so that they are made to prove the 
existence of such a judge. 3dly. You are then 
in ^oubt as to the identity of the judge himself, 
without being able to determine by any fixed 
rule, whether the supernatural gift of infallibility 
belongs to the Pope alone, or to the Pope and the 
general council*. 4thly. When, to evade this 
difficulty, you avail yourselves of the term church, 
as embracing the privileges of the Pope and 
council; you are still obliged to contrive an< 
method, which may meet the objections arising 

* Note E. 


from such dissensions between tin- a einhled 
bishops and their head, ;is took place in the in- 
Mances above mentioned. This you do by allow- 
ing no council to hi' infallible till it lias been 
approved by the Pope, and thus resolve church 
infallibility into the opinion of the Roman see. 
5thly, and finally. Von intrench yourselves within 
the distinction of infallibility on abstract doctrines 
of faith, and liability to practical error. Now, ob- 
serve, I entreat you, the consequences to which 
the whole system leads. The only sensible mark 
of a legitimate council, being the approbation of 
the Pope ; and the only simsible mark of a legiti- 
mate Pope, being his undisputed possession of the 
see of Rome ; you have, in the first place, entailed 
the gift of infallibility upon the strongest of the 
rival candidates for that see ; and, as moral worth 
is, by the last distinction, denied to be a necessary 
characteristic of the vicar and representative of 
Christ, you have added, in the second place, one 
chance more of having for your living rule of 
faith that candidate who shall contend for the 
visible badge of his spiritual and supernatural 
office, under the least restraint of moral obliga- 



tion. If we find, therefore, upon consulting the 
history of the Popes, that no episcopal see" has 
oftener been polluted by wickedness and profligacy, 
the fact is explained by the preceding statement. 
What chance of success to be head of the Christian 
church could attend a true disciple of Jesus, when 
a Borgia was bent upon filling that post? Gold, 
steel, and poison, were the familiar instruments of 
his wishes; whilst the belief that faith was still 
safe in the custody of such a monster, prevented 
opposition from the force of public opinion. The 
faithful still revered in Alexander VI. (be the 
blasphemy far from me !) the true representative 
of Christ on earth. 

The strength of mind which enabled the re- 
formers to disregard the generally received di- 
stinction between exemption from doctrinal errors, 
and liability to misconduct, cannot be adequately 
valued by those who have never imbibed that 
scholastic prejudice. When a distinction of this 
kind has once become incorporated with common 
language, men seem to be placed out of the reach 
of conviction on the points it affects. If my ob- 
servations of intellectual phenomena do not dec 

Al, A1NM v .\T1IOI.U I>\I. 91) 

UK-, the mass nt'those\vho may be said to think at 
all can go no farther in a reasoning process, than 
just to perceive one difficulty against their settled 
notions, and to catch some verbal quibble which 
removes the difficulty from their sight. The pro- 
cess of examining the usual fallacies of such an- 
swers is, to most men, so painful that any seriou> 
attempt to urge them upon it, seldom fails to rouse 
their anger. There are, indeed, but few who can 
take a true second step in reasoning. 

The stand which is generally made at the first 
stage of an argument, is more resolutely taken 
when arguments are brought against a system 
which is itself a palliative of some previous ob- 
jection. The case now before us is perhaps the 
best illustration of my view of popular intellect. 

Christianity was at an early period systematized 
according to the notions and habits which some 
of its learned converts had acquired in the phi- 
losophical schools. It was soon presented to the 
world in the shape of a new theory, where the 
links which appeared to be wanting between the 
clearly revealed doctrines were supplied by the 

H 2 


ingenuity of inference. Nothing, we know, is so 
opposed to this vulgar systematic spirit as taking 
facts as they are. The chasm between what is, 
and an assumed standard of what should be, must 
be filled up. Few men refuse to grant what is 
demanded with this object ; for fragments of real 
knowledge are not to the taste of the multitude. 
Having agreed that the Gospel was a revelation 
from God, they could not conceive the possibility 
of doubt affecting it directly or indirectly. Op- 
timism is the system of the many: a revelation 
which could not remove every doubt, and silence 
every objection, must certainly fail to suit their 
previous notions. 

Had these Christians, however, studied the 
Scriptures without the bias of such notions, they 
would have found that the divine author of 
Christianity has nowhere provided a remedy 
against doubt and dissent. There were heretics 
when the church was still under the personal 
guidance of the Apostles; yet the New Testa- 
ment mentions them without allusion to any in- 
fallible method of ending these first disputes on 

iinJ.K 1VM. 101 

doctrines. On a practical question, indeed, u e 
find thai St. Paul \sa> sent to a^k tin- oj)inion of 
the church of .Jerusalem ; yet, that \vry opinion 
was, in part, set aside and neglected, soon after, 
by the tacit consent of most other churches*. The 
natural inference from such facts is, that the 
analogy of God's moral government was not broken 
in the direct revelation which he made to the 
world through his own son; but, having granted 
us convincing proofs that the Scriptures contain 
the knowledge supernaturally vouchsafed to man, 
he has left the search thereof to human industry. 
Industry supposes difficulty, and difficulty im- 
plies danger. The field of moral discipline does 
not appear to have been changed by Christianity : 
the light, indeed, thrown upon it is clearer, and 
" the high prize of our calling" is made fully to 
shine in our eyes ; but it nowhere appears that 
we are therefore to close them, and run blindly 
after -certain men endowed with supernatural 

* The injunction against eating blood and suffocated 
animals, though given as from the Holy Ghost, >?as con- 
sidered a> <f mere temporary expediency, and set aside sri 
soon as heathen converts formed the majority of Christians 


Such sober reasoning upon facts, could not be 
popular in the Christian church. An infallible 
judge of abstract questions was wanting, and one 
was soon found ; for St. Peter was the chief of 
the apostles, and Rome the chief of cities. Nothing, 
therefore, appeared more natural, than that Peter 
should be bishop of Rome; and little proof of 
this fact was demanded : tradition, a mere report, 
was sufficient for those who wished it to be so. 
Yet something more was necessary to fulfil the 
object of the first theory or supposition ; for Peter 
could not live for ever, and the judge of faith was 
to exist till the end of the world. But what could 
be more natural than that Peter's successors should 
inherit his supernatural gifts ? In popular logic, 
what is natural, i. e. what agrees with some ori- 
ginal supposition, is certain. Subsequent doubts, 
arising from a system so natural, must be settled 
any way, or left unsettled. Whether infallibility 
belonged to the Pope alone, or to the Poj>e and 
the church, and who was to be considered the 
church these minutiae were left for the ingenuity 
of divines. The Pope and Home were all in all 
for the mass of ChriMiuii-. The effects of tin- 

UNsT i ATlini.u Is.M. 10. > 

i rolled power, how. ><>n became visible 

in the monstrous corruptions of Koine herself. 
I It-re the M-cond step n f popular intellect was re- 
qui; happy distinction of in- 

J'd'lihUity in doctrine', and profligacy in morals. 
Who that loves wealth, power, and pleasure, would 
wish to be a sinless oracle? No: the system of 
spiritual supremacy was now complete: the ori- 
ginal supposition, that the church could not resist 
the attacks of hell without an unerring judge of 
abstract questions, had been followed to its re- 
motest consequences ; he that ventured to doubt 
the accuracy of the whole theory was declared a 
heretic. The Pope might be, in his conduct, an 
enemy of Christ and his gospel, and nevertheless 
succeed in the enjoyment of whatever privileges 
were granted to Peter, in consequence of the love 
which, above the other apostles, he bore to his divine 

ter *. He might be a monster of vice, yet he 
did not cease to be vicar of him tc ho did no sin. 
The church, under his guidance, might be corrupt 

* Simon, son of Jonas, lovest tbou me more than these? 
1 1.- siith unto him, Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. 
He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. John xxi. 15. ct seq. 


in " head and members;" but still she must be 
infallible in matters of faith. 

To the solidity of this structure have your 
divines committed the stability of the church of 
Christ : unless all this be true, the gates of hell 
have actually prevailed against her. A moral 
corruption in head and members ; a system which 
ensured the continuance of this corruption, by 
repeatedly defeating the efforts of those who wished 
for a reformation, were, if we believe them, no 
subject of triumph to the enemy of God and man. 
As long as the authority of Rome was safe, the 
gates of hell had still the worst of the contest : 
let the Pope possess the heads of Christians, and 
Satan was welcome to their hearts. " The fol- 
lowers of Luther," says Bossuet *, " assuming the 
title of reformers, gloried that they had fulfilled all 
Christendom's desires, inasmuch as a reformation 
had been long the desire of Catholics, people, 
doctors, and prelates. In order, therefore, to au- 
thorise this pretended reformation, whatsoever 
church-writers had said against the disorders, both 

"i -upra. 

BO) u ISM. 105 

of the peopk- and even of the clergy, was collected 
\\-itli great indii-trv. IJut in this lay a inanif.-t 
conceit, there- not b inucli as one of all the 

I, u herein these doctors CUT dreamt 
of altering the church's faith; of correcting her 
u-oiship, which chiefly consisted in the sacrifice 
of the altar: of subverting the authority of her 
prelates, that of the Pope especially the very 
scope which this whole reformation, introduced 
by Luther, tended to." 

If there be any conceit in the matter, it is that 
of admitting the extreme corruption of the Chri- 
stian church, with the unavailing efforts of the 
advocate* of reform, who preceded Luther; and 
yet blaming the Protestants because, by making 
the Pope's supremacy the " very scope" of their 
reformation, they took the only effectual method of 
putting an end to the evil. The absurd notion 
that the unity of the church of Christ depended 
on unity with the bishop of Rome, tied the hands 
of all Christians who wanted either the knowledge 
or the courage to examine the airy basis of that 

A\\(\ ihcfn^^oL beside.-. >tood in the 


way of approach to that delicate point ; else the 
invectives so carefully restricted to morals would 
not have always left the doctrines untouched. 
Submit your understanding to Rome ; confess that 
you cannot hope for salvation out of the Pope's 
communion; acknowledge that immorality and 
wickedness do not detract from his supernatural 
privileges ; and, on these conditions, you are at 
liberty to oppose the corruptions of the church of 
Christ. Conceit is not, indeed, a word which I 
should apply to such advice : deceit would seem 
more appropriate. 

Invariabkness in doctrine is Bossuet's criterion 
of the Christian characteristic of unity ; but surely 
any set of men, who agreed on a system similar to 
that on which Roman unity depends, might equally 
boast of invariableness and unity : surely there 
cannot be, at least there cannot appear, any dif- 
ference of opinion in a society which excludes 
every member who does not submit his own 
views to those of one individual, placed at its 
head ; and which lays down, as an indubitable 
fact, that that individual, whoever he may happen 
to be, and whatever he may add to the common 

i ATIHM.U -ISM. 107 

doi-mnc- of the society, al peaks the mind 

of his predecessors, and only u idicitness to 

things implied in former derisions. Such is the 
artful contrivance which the author of the Varia- 
tions of the Protestant C/ntrc/ics disguises into a 
miraculous unity of doctrine and belief; the effect, 
as he pretends, of Christ's promise of support to 
his church against the gates of hell. Raking up, 
besides, all the calumnies and atrocious reports 
with which the character of the opposers of Rome 
has been blackened at all times, and setting in the 
>ngest light of mutual opposition the theolo- 
gical disputes which divided the reformers, he gives 
the whole weight of his authority and talents to 
a delusion, which nothing but an overwhelming 
combination of interest and prejudice could pre- 
vent his acute mind from perceiving. Had the 
Hi shop of Meaux bestowed the ten-thousandth 
part of the perverse industry with which he fol- 
lowed that argument, in examining the gratuitous 
assumption on which it is founded, we may hope 
that his honesty would have directed his pen to 
-ome other topic. Instead of availing himself of 
the inveterate notion that Christ had established 


an infallible judge in his church, lest, by the exist- 
ence of doubt as to the sense of the Scriptures, 
there should be diversity of opinion among his 
followers instead of taking it for granted that 
the victory of hell depended on the diversity of 
abstract doctrines among Christians, and not in 
the prevalence of dark works of wickedness, pro- 
vided they were wrought in the unity of Papal 
faith he should, in the spirit of philosophical 
reasoning, have penetrated to that part of the 
argument which conceals the gratuitous assump- 
tions whence the whole Roman Catholic theory 
has sprung. When Catholics have proved, with- 
out the aid of church authority, that the church of 
Christ must be infallible, then, and not before, they 
may object their variations to the Protestants. 

The Protestants have varied in search of the 
divine simplicity of the Gospel, which Rome had 
buried under a mountain of metaphysical notions. 
The Protestants have varied, because they could 
not at once divest themselves of the habits of 
thinking which they had acquired in the Roman 
Catholic schools. The Protestants have varied. 
they had the honesty not to imitate the 

\l\s| t A | i|,.| h 1S.M. 109 

contrivance-* by which tin- Roman church gives 
to her new derision* the appearance of unity with 
the preceding. Tin* Protestants have VOW (/. be- 
cause tlu-y would not. upon the fanciful notion of 
a perpetual miracle, claim for any of their churches 
the supernatural gift of unerring wisdom, nor coun- 
terfeit by oh-tinacy in error, the conscious cer- 
tainty of inspiration. The Protestants, in fine, 
have varied^ because, by restoring the Scriptures 
to their full and unrivalled authority, they per- 
ceived the intrinsic power of settled, recorded, hi- 
ra rid/t/c revelation ; and were aware that, in spite 
of doubts and divisions, the light of those divine 
records needed no help to withstand the attacks 
of the gates of hell. 

If mere controversy were my object, I should 
feel satisfied with having demonstrated that the 
system of Roman Catholic unity is but an arbi- 
trary contrivance; a gratuitous assumption of a 
supernatural privilege, which is nowhere dearly 
asserted in the Scriptures ; an endeavour to pro- 
duce certainty by a standard conceived and planned 
upon conjecture. A more Christian feeling, how- 
ever, induces me to dwell still on this subject, and 


propose to you what I conceive to be the true 
scriptural notions on the unity of the church of 

In reading the New Testament with a mind 
carefully freed from the prejudices of school- 
divinity, it is impossible not to perceive that the 
assemblies of men who are called to obtain salva- 
tion through Christ, cannot either singly or col- 
lectively constitute the church, whereof the Ro- 
man see has tried to appropriate the qualities and 
privileges to herself. Wherever men assemble in 
the name of Jesus, there he has promised to be by 
means of his spirit ; and certainly the works of 
that spirit are more or less visible in the Chri- 
stian virtues, which never yet failed to spring 
up in these particular churches, though mixed 
with the tares, and other evils, which are not sepa- 
rable from " the kingdom of heaven" in this world. 
But there is a structure of sanctity in perpetual 
progress, towards the completion of which the 
Christian churches, on earth, are only made to con- 
tribute as different quarries do towards the raisiajg 
of some glorious building. The churches on earth 
partake, in various proportions, of the attribute 

inn u ISM. Ill 

great church of Christ. " which is his body, tin* 
in f him that iilleth all in all*/' But the' 

church to which tin- great privileges and graotB 
belong, has characteristic marks which cannot be 
claimed by any one- of the- rhuivlu-s on earth ; for 
it is that church " which Christ loved, and gave 
himself for it ; that he might sanctify and clean-t- 
it with the washing of water by the word, that he 
might present it to himself a glorious church, not 
having spot or wrinkle or any such thing ; but 
that it should be holy and without blemish f." To 
become members of that church we should, indeed, 
" endeavour to keep the unity of the spirit in the 
bond of peace t;" but such unity is proposed as 
the effect of endeavour, and consequently of 
choice and judgment, not of blind submission to 
a silencing authority, which is the Roman bond 
of union. The true unity of Christians must 
arise from the " one hope of our calling." There 
is indeed for us " one Lord, one faith, one bap- 
tism ;" but that faith is a faith of trust, a " con- 
fidence, which hath great recompense of reward ," 

* Ephr>. , f Ephcs. v. 2527. 

t Ib. iv. 3. Heb. x. 3f>. 


not an implicit belief in the assumed infallibility 
of men, who make a monopoly of the written 
word of God, prescribe the sense in which it must 
be understood, and with a refined tyranny, which 
tramples equally upon Christian liberty, and the 
natural rights of the human mind, insult even 
silent dissent, and threaten bodily punishment to 
such as, in silence and privacy, may have indulged 
the freedom of their minds*. 

Such is the saving faith of the council of Trent ! 
How different from that proposed by St. Paul, 
when he says, " if thou shalt confess with thy 
mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine 
heart that God hath raised him from the dead, 

* Praeterea ad coercenfapetulantia ingenia, decernit (eadeni 
sacrosancta synodus) ut nemo BIKE prudentioe innixus, in rebus 
fidei et morum, ad aedificationem doctrinse Christiana; per- 
tinentium, sacram Scripturam ad suos sensus contorquens, 
contra eum sensum quern tenuit et tenet sancta mater ecclesia, 
cujus est judicare de vero sensu et interpretatione Scrip- 
turarum sanctarum, aut etiam contra unanimem cousensum 
sanctorum patrum, ipsam Scripturam sacram interpretari au- 
deat, etiamsi hnjusmodi interprelationes nullo unquam tcnipore 
in lucem edendce Jbreni. Qui contravcnerint per ordinario* 
declarentur, ct pccnis a jure statutis puniantur. Decretuin 
Concilii Trident, de editione et usu sacrorum librorum, 
Sessione IV. 


thon shnlt be saved*." "That is the word of 
faith which wr. preach," says St. Paul; and well 
might that faith be made the bond of union be- 
tween all the churches which the Apostles saluted, 
without requiring a previous proof of their im- 
plicit submission. " Grace be with all them that 
love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity," is St. 
Paul's language. Cursed be they who, whatever 
be their love of Christ and veneration for the 
Scriptures, yield not obedience to the church of 
Rome ; is the spirit of every page which has been 
published by Popes or councils. 

Whatever might be the effect of the prejudices 
which the first reformers brought away from their 
Roman captivity ; whatever the necessity which 
Protestant churches still acknowledge of prevent- 
ing internal feuds, by proposing formularies of 
faith to their members, they have never so mis- 
understood " what spirit they are of" as to deny 
salvation to those who love their common Lord 
and Redeemer. Their churches, indeed, may 
differ on points which the subtilty of meta- 

* Rom. \. 


physics had unfortunately started long before 
the reformation, and even before the publication 
of Christianity : they may observe different cere- 
monies, and adopt different views of church 
hierarchy and discipline; but their spirit is the 
only one which deserves the name of Catholic in 
the genuine sense of that word ; the only spirit, 
indeed, which can produce, even on earth, an 
image of the glorious church which will exist for 
ever in onefold* and under one shepherd. 



Moral character of the Roman Church. Celibacy. Nun- 

THE attempt to describe the moral character 
of a collective body, which, constantly changing 
its composition, can seldom consist of the same 
elements for any considerable portion of time, 
will probably appear rash and invidious. A long 
familiarity with the subject which I have in hand, 
has, however, convinced me, that if there be any 
truth in the general observation, that men who act 
under certain laws and interests, in collective 
bodies, are swayed by a peculiar influence, which, 
without borrowing a foreign phrase, might be 
called Corporation Spirit ; the church of Rome 
presents the strongest and most marked instance 
of that moral phenomenon. Its great antiquity, 
and the gigantic power which it has enjoyed for 
ages, are the natural and intelligible causes of 
those fixed views and purposes which, existing at 
all times in the mass of its living members, must 


inevitably be imparted to its successive recruit^. 
The character of no one man can be more indelibly 
stamped by a long life of consistent, systematic 
conduct, than that of a collective body which, for 
many centuries, has practically learnt the true 
source of its power. If, on the other hand, it 
should appear that, in describing the moral cha- 
racter of that body which Catholics consider as 
the only depositary of divine authority on earth, 
I bring a charge of guilt against the whole suc- 
cession of men who have composed, and compose 
it at present ; I must observe, that individual con- 
duct, modified by corporate influence, cannot be 
judged by the common rules which guide us in 
estimating private character. That every true 
Roman Catholic, every man whose religious tenets 
are in strict conformity with those of Rome, 
must partake the spirit of his standard of faith, 
in proportion to his sincerity ; my 'own experience 
would compel me to aver, independently of any 
theoretical conviction. But the same experience 
teaches me that the natural disposition of every 
person, has a certain degree of power to modify, 
though not to neutralize, the Roman Catholic re- 

AG.\1\M I A i iiUl.U l.VM. IT/ 

iiinoiis influence. This hein^ premised, I will 
openly, before (MM! and man, declare my con- 
viction, that the necessity of keeping uj) the ap- 
pearance of infallibility, makes tlu- church of Koine, 
utially and invariably, tyranniral ; tliat it leads 
that church to hazard both the temporal and the 
eternal happiness of men, rather than alter what 
has once received the sanction of her authority; 
and that, in the prosecution of her object, she 
overlooks the rights of truth, and the improve- 
ment of the human understanding. 

In the proof and substantiation of these charges 
1 will strictly observe the conditions proposed for 
similar cases by the author of the Book of the 
Roman Catholic Church. " I beg leave to sug- 
/' says Mr. Butler, " that, in every religious 
controversy between Protestants and Roman Ca- 
tholics, the following rule should be observed: 
Now, it is agreed on all hands, that a canon of a 
, ral council, approved by the Pope i. e. a rule 

* Book of the Human Catholic Church, p. 9. 


of belief delivered to the people, under the fearful 
sanction of an anathema, leaves no other alterna- 
tive to a Roman Catholic but embracing the doc- 
trine it contains, or being excluded from his church 
by excommunication. By one, then, of such canons, 
every member of the church of Rome is bound to 
believe that all baptized persons are liable to be 
compelled, by punishment, to be Christians, or 
what is the same in Roman Catholic divinity, 
spiritual subjects of the Pope. It is, indeed, 
curious to see the council of Trent, who passed 
that law, prepare the free and extended action of 
its claims, by an unexpected stroke of liberality. 
In the Session on Baptism, the Trent Fathers are 
observed anxiously securing to Protestants the 
privileges of true baptism. The fourth canon of 
that Session fulminates an anathema or curse 
against any one who should say that baptism in 
the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy 
Ghost, conferred by a heretic, with an intention to 
do that which the church intends in that sacra- 
ment, is not true baptism *. Observe, now, the 

* Si quis dixerit baptismum, qui etiam datur abhacrctiri* 
in nomine Pittris,. <>t 1 ilii d Spiritua Sancti, cuui intcntionc 

AI.AINM' i A I 110L1C1MJ 119 

consequences of this enlarged spirit of concession 
in the t\vo subjoined canons. 

" If any one should say that those who have 
been baptized are free from all the precepts of the 
holy church, either written or delivered by tra- 
dition, so that they are not obliged to observe 
them, unless they will submit to them of their 
own accord, LET HIM BE ACCURSED*." 

Having soon after declared the lawfulness of 
infant baptism, they proceed to lay down the 
XIV. Canon. 

44 If any one should say that these baptized 
children, when they grow up, are to be asked 
whether they will confirm what their godfathers 
promised in their name; and that if they say 
they will not, they are to be left to their own 
discretion, and not to be forced, in the mean time, 
into the observance of a Christian life by any other 
punisltmcnt than that of keeping them from the 

fac-iemli quod facit ecclesia, non csse verum baptismum, ana- 
thema sit. Coucil. Trident. Sess. VII. Can. IV. 

* Si quis dixerit, baptizatos liberos esse ab omnibus sanct* 
Rmnanae ecclesiae praeceptis, quae vel scripta vel tradita sunt, 
ita ut ea nbscrvare non teneatur, nisi se sua sponte illis sub- 
niitterc volucrint, anathema sit. 


reception of the eucharist and the other sacraments 
till they repent, LET HIM BE ACCURSED*." 

Now, " it is most true," says the author of the 
Book of the Roman Catholic Church, " that the 
Roman Catholics believe the doctrines of their 
church to be unchangeable ; and that it is a tenet 
of their creed, that what their faith ever has been, 
such it was from the beginning, such it now is, 
and such it will ever be." Let him, therefore, 
choose between this boasted consistency of doc- 
trine, and the curse of his church. The council 
of Trent, that council whose decrees are, by the 
creed of Pius IV., declared to be obligatory above 
all others t; that council has converted the sa- 

* Si quis dixerit hujusmodi parvulos baptizatos, cum ado- 
leverint, interrogandos esse, an ratum habere velint quod pa- 
triui, corum nomine-, dum baptizarentur, polliciti sunt, ct, 
ubi se nolle respondcrint, suo esse arbitrio relinquendos, nee 
alia interim pcena ad Ckristianam vitam cogendos, nisi ut ab 
cucharistiae, aliorumque sacramentorum perceptione arceantur 
donee resipiscant, anathema sit. Can. VIII. et XIV. de Bap- 

t " I also profess and undoubtedly receive all other things 
delivered, defined, and declared by the sacred canons and 
ral councils, particularly by the holy council of Trent . 
&c. &c." Cited <>f Pin- IV. in tin- Book of the Roman Ca- 
tholic Church, | 

AC, AINM i \ rilMl.K I>.\1. 

crameiit of Baptism into an indelible brand of 
slavery : \vboever has received the- waters of re- 
tion, is the thrall of her who deelares that 
there is no other ehurch of Christ. She claims 
her slaves wherever they may be found, dec lares 
them subject to her laws, both written and tra- 
ditional, and, by her infallible sanction, dooms 
them to indefinite punishment, till they shall ac- 
knowledge her authority and bend their necks to 
her yoke. Such is, has been, and will ever be, the 
doctrine of the Roman Catholic church; such is 
the belief of her true and sincere members; such 
the spirit that actuates her views, and which, by 
i y possible means, she has always spread among 
her children. Him that denies this doctrine, 
Koine devotes to perdition. The principle of re- 
ligious tyranny, supported by persecution, is a 
necessary condition of true Catholicism : he who 
iv \olts at the idea of compelling belief by punish- 
ment, is severed at once from the communion of 

What a striking commentary on these canons of 
the Council of Trent have we in the history of 


the Inquisition ! Refractory Catholics born under 
the spiritual dominion of Rome, and Protestants 
originally baptized out of her pale, have equally 
tasted her flames and her racks *. Nothing, in- 
deed, but want of power, nothing but the much- 
lamented ascendancy of heresy, compels the church 
of Rome to keep her infallible, immutable decrees 
in silent abeyance. But the divine authority of 
those decrees, the truth of their inspiration, must 
for ever be asserted by every individual who sin- 
cerely embraces the Roman Catholic faith. Reason 
and humanity must, in them, yield to the infallible 
decree in favour of compulsion on religious mat- 
ters. The human ashes, indeed, are scarcely cold 
which, at the end of three centuries of persecution 
and massacre, these decrees scattered over the soil 
of Spain. I myself saw the pile on which the last 
victim was sacrificed to Roman infallibility. It was 
an unhappy woman, whom the Inquisition of Se- 
ville committed to the flames under the charge of 
heresy, about forty years ago : she perished on a 

* Llorente mentions the punishments inflicted by the Spa- 
nish Inquisition on English and French subjects. 

'!<>| |< |s\| 

spot whore thousands had met the same fate. I 
lament from my heart that the structure which 
supported their melting limbs \vas destroyed during 
the late convulsions. It should have heen pre- 
>ened, with the hi fallible and immutable canon of 
the Council of Trent over it, for the detestation 
of future ages. 

How far, to preserve consistency, Rome, in the 
present time, would carry the right of punishing 
dissent, which her last general council confirmed 
with its most solemn sanction ; it is not in my 
power to tell. It may be hoped that the spirit of 
the age has extinguished her fires for ever* : but 
the period I fear is still remote when she will 
change another part of her system, by which she 
ruins the happiness and morals of numbers, I 
mean her monastic vows, and the laws which bind 
Catholic clergy to perpetual celibacy. 

Where church infallibility is concerned, I can 
readily understand the necessity imposed on the 
most liberal individuals who have filled the Roman 
see, to adhere strictly to former decrees and de- 
clarations ; but nothing can excuse or palliate the 
* Note F. 


proud obstinacy which Rome has always shown 
on such points of discipline, as might be altered 
for the benefit of public morals, without compro- 
mising her claims. Such are the laws which annul 
and punish the marriages of secular clergymen, 
and those which demand perpetual vows from thi-iu 
who profess any of the numerous monastic rules 
approved by the Roman church, both for males 
and females. 

I will not discuss the question, whether a life 
of celibacy is recommended in the New Testament 
as preferable to matrimony at all periods, and in 
all circumstances of the church. I will suppose, 
what I do not believe, that virginity, by its own 
intrinsic merit, and without reference to some vir- 
tuous purpose, which may not be attainable other- 
wise than by the sacrifice of the soft passions of 
the heart ; has a mysterious value in the eyes of 
God: a supposition which can hardly be made 
without advantage to some part of the ancient 
Manichaean system without some suspicion that 
the law, by which the human race is preserved, is 
not the pure effect of the will of God. I will not 
al such views, which, more or less, might be 


inferred from tin- writing of the Roman Catholic 
mystic-^. 1 will take up the subject on their own 
term-. Let virginity IK- the virtue, not (as I believe) 
tin' condition of angels : let it be desirable, as Saint 
Augustine expresses himself somewhere, that man- 
kind were blotted from the face of the earth by 
the operation of celibacy*. Let all this be so; 
yet arc' not celibacy and virginity described in the 
New Testament as peculiar and uncommon gifts, 
as perilous trials, and likely to place human beings 
in a state which Saint Paul compares to burn- 
ing? Are not the warnings and cautions given by 
our Saviour and his apostles, as frequent as the 
allusions to it? Did not Saint Paul fear that the 
very mention of this topic might become a snare 
to his converts ? But how is the subject of vir- 
ginity and celibacy treated by the Roman Catholic 
church? The world rings with the praises of the 

* I cannot tax my memory with the words, nor is the 
object worth the labour of a long search. I believe that St. 

Augustine, in answering the objection that, if all the world 
followed the principle he recommended, the earth would soon 
be a desert, says, with an air of triumph Oh fclix mnndi 


unmarried state, which her writers, her fathers, 
her Popes, her councils, have sounded from age to 
age. Not satisfied with placing it at the very 
summit of the scale of Christian virtue, they con- 
trived the most cruel and insidious of all moral 
snares, in the perpetual vows with which they 
secured the profession, not the observance, of the 
virtue they extolled. Saint Paul lamented that 
young widows, after devoting themselves to the ser- 
vice of the church, and living at the expense of her 
members, grew disorderly, and married, incurring 
blame* from the enemies of the Christian name, 
who scoffed at their fickleness of purpose. Against 
this evil he provided the most rational remedy 
that of receiving no widow to the service of the 
church, who was not threescore years old. The 
church of Rome, on the contrary, allures boys and 
girls of sixteen to bind themselves with perpetual 
vows : the latter are confined in prisons, because 
their frailties could not be concealed ; the former 
are let loose upon the people, trusting that a su- 

* The word damnation is, in its present souse, cjuite in- 
appropriate in this and several other passa^- 


perstitious reverence will close the eyes, or seal 
up the lips of men, on their misconduct. "Chris- 
tian clemency.' rasnius, "has, for the most 

part, abolished the servitude of the ancients, lea v- 
in- but vestiges of it in a few countries. But 
under the rloak of religion a new kind of slavery 
has been invented, which now prevails in a mul- 
titude of monasteries. Nothing there is lawful 
but what is commanded : whatever may accrue 
to the professed becomes the property of the com- 
munity : if you stir a foot, you are brought back, 
as if flying after murdering your father and mo- 
ther *. The Council of Trent enjoins all bishops 
to enforce the close confinement of nuns, by every 
means, and even to engage the assistance of the 
secular arm for that purpose ; entreats all Princes to 
protect the inclosure of the convents ; and threatens 
instant excommunication on all civil magistrates 
who withhold their aid when the bishops call 
for it. " Let no professed nun (say the fathers 
of the Council of Trent) come out of her mona- 
under any pretext whatever; not even for 

* Sec the wholo dialogue, Virgo Mi<roya/x,o>, Note H. 


a moment." " If any of the regulars (men and 
women under perpetual vows) pretend that fear or 
force compelled them to enter the cloister, or that 
the profession took place before the appointed age ; 
let them not be heard, except within five years of 
their profession. But if they put off the frock, of 
their own accord, no allegation of such should be 
heard ; but, being compelled to return to the con- 
vent, they must be punished as apostates, being, in 
the mean time, deprived of all the privileges of 
their order*." Such is the Christian lenity of 
Rome; such the fences that guard her virgin- 
plots ; such were the laws confirmed at Trent by 
the wild uproar of six hundred bishops, of whom 
but few could have cast the first stone at the adul- 
teress, dismissed to sin no more by the Saviour. 
" Accursed, accursed be all heretics," exclaim the 
legates : " Accursed, accursed !" answer, with one 
voice, the mitred tyrants t. The blood, indeed. 
boils in one's veins, and the mouth fills with re- 

* See the laws on this subject, Note I. 

t See the Acclamations in tlie last session of the Council 
of Trent. See also the state of mornls .-mum;; tin- clergy, ac- 
cording to the avowal of tin- tir4 legates. Note I. 

ilnl.U ISM. 

tulialing curses, at the- contemplation of that odious 
scene: yet, I thank (iod, the feelings of indigna- 
tion which I cannot wholly suppiv^. leave me 
completely free to obey the divine precept respect- 
ing those that " curse us, and despitefnlly use us." 
That iny feelings are painfully veheinent when 
I dwell 14)011 this subject ; that neither the free- 
dom 1 have enjoyed so many years, nor the last 
repose of the victims, the remembrance of whom 
still wrings tears from my eyes, can allay the bitter 
pangs of my youth ; are proofs that my views 
ari>e from a real, painful, and protracted expe- 
rience. Of monks and friars I know compara- 
tively little, because the vague suspicions, of which 
even the most pious Spanish parents cannot divest 
themselves, prevented my frequenting the interior 
of monasteries during boyhood. My own judg- 
ment, and the general disgust which the prevail- 
ing grossness and vulgarity of the regulars, create 
in those who daily see them; kept me subsequently 
away from all friendly intercourse with the cowled 
tribes : but of the secular clergy, and the amiable 
life- prisoners of the church of Rome, few, if any, 
can possess a more intimate knowledge than my- 



self. Devoted to the ecclesiastical profession since 
the age of fifteen, when I received the minor 
orders, I lived in constant friendship with the 
most distinguished youths who, in my town, were 
preparing for the priesthood. Men of the first 
eminence in the church were the old friends of my 
family my parents' and my own spiritual di- 
rectors. Thus I grew up, thus I continued in man- 
hood, till, at the age of five-and-thirty, religion, 
and religion alone, tore me away from kindred 
and country. The intimacy of friendship, the 
undisguised converse of sacramental confession, 
opened to me the hearts of many, whose exterior 
conduct might have deceived a common observer. 
The coarse frankness of associate dissoluteness, left 
no secrets among the spiritual slaves, who, unable 
to separate the laws of God from those of their 
tyrannical church, trampled both under foot, in 
riotous despair. Such are the sources of the know- 
ledge I possess : God, sorrow, and remorse, are my 

A more blameless, ingenuous, religious set of 
youths than that in the enjoyment of whose friend- 
ship I passed the best years of my life, the world 


cannot boast of. Eight of us, all nearly of the 
same age, lived in the closest bond <>f ailection, 
from sixteen till .. twenty; and four, at 

"iitinued in the same intimacy till that of 
about thirty-five. Of this knot of friends not one 
was tainted by the breath of gross vice till the 
church had doomed them to a life of celibacy, 
and turned the best affections of their hearts into 
crime. It is the very refinement of church cruelty 
to say they were free when they deprived them- 
selves of their natural rights. Less, indeed, would 
be the unfeelingness of a parent who, watching a 
moment of generous excitement, would deprive a 
son of his birthright, and doom him, by a volun- 
tary act, to pine away through life in want and 
misery. A virtuous youth of one-and-twenty, who 
i^ made to believe Christian perfection inseparable 
from a life of celibacy, will easily overlook the 
dangers which beset that state of life. Those who 
made, and those who still support the unnatural 
law, which turns the mistaken piety of youth into 
a source of future vice; ought to have learnt mercy 
from their own experience : but a priest who has 
waded (as most do") through the miry slough of a 

K < ' 


life of incessant temptation falling, and rising, 
stumbling, struggling, and falling again, without 
at once casting off Catholicism with Christianity; 
contracts, generally, habits of mind not unlike 
those of the guards of oriental beauty. Their 
hearts have been seared with envy. 

I cannot think on the wanderings of the friends 
of my youth without heart-rending pain. One, 
now no more, whose talents raised him to one of the 
highest dignities of the church of Spain, was for 
many years a model of Christian purity. When, 
by the powerful influence of his mind and the 
warmth of his devotion, this man had drawn many 
into the clerical, and the religious life (my youngest 
sister among the latter), he sunk at once into the 
grossest and most daring profligacy. I heard 
him boast that the night before the solemn proces- 
sion of Corpus Chris ti, where he appeared nearly 
at the head of his chapter, one of /rc'o children 
had been born, which his two concubines brought 
to light within a few days of each other. The 
intrigues of ambition soon shared his mind with 
the pursuit of pleasure ; and the fall of a potentate, 
whom he took the trouble to instruct in the policy 


of Machiavel, involved him in clanger and distress 
for a time. He had risen again into court in- 
fluence, when death cut him off in the flower of 
life. I had loved him when both our minds were 
pure : I loved him when Catholicism had driven 
us both from the path of virtue ; I still love, and 
will love his memory, and hope that God's mercy 
lias pardoned his life of sin, without imputing it 
to the abetters of the barbarous laws which occa- 
sioned his spiritual ruin. 

Such, more or less, has been the fate of my 
early friends, whose minds and hearts were much 
above the common standard of the Spanish clergy. 
What, then, need I say of the vulgar crowd of 
priests, who, coming, as the Spanish phrase has it, 
from coarse swaddling clothes, and raised by ordi- 
nation to a rank of life for which they have not 
been prepared; mingle vice and superstition, gross- 
ness of feeling, and pride of office, in their charac- 
ter ? I have known the best among them : I have 
heard their confessions ; I have heard the con- 
fessions of young persons of both sexes, who fell 
under the influence of their suggestions and ex- 
ample ; and I do declare that nothing can be more 


dangerous to youthful virtue than their company. 
How many souls would be saved from crime, but 
for the vain display of pretended superior virtue, 
which Rome demands of her clergy ! 

The cares of a married life, it is said, interfere 
with the duties of the clergy. Do not the cares 
of a vicious life, the anxieties of stolen love, the 
contrivances of adulterous intercourse, the pains, 
the jealousies, the remorse, attached to a conduct 
' in perfect contradiction with a public arid solemn 
profession of superior virtue do not these cares, 
these bitter feelings, interfere with the duties of 
priesthood ? I have seen the most promising men 
of my university obtain country vicarages, with 
characters unimpeached, and hearts overflowing 
with hopes of usefulness. A virtuous wife would 
have confirmed and strengthened their purposes ; 
but they were to live a life of angels in celibacy. 
They were, however, men, and their duties con- 
nected them with beings of no higher description. 
Young women knelt before them, in all the inti- 
macy and openness of confession. A solitary house 
made them go abroad in search of social coriv* 
Love, lc isU-<K M'i/cil tin-in, at Initfth, like 


madness. Two I knew who died insane : hun- 
dreds might be found who avoid that fate by a life 
of settled systematic vice. 

The picture of female convents requires a more 
delicate pencil : yet I cannot find tints sufficiently 
dark and gloomy to pourtray the miseries which 
I have witnessed in their inmates. Crime, indeed, 
makes its way into those recesses, in spite of the 
spiked walls and prison grates, which protect the 
inhabitants. This I know with all the certainty 
which the self-accusation of the guilty can give. 
It is, besides, a notorious fact, that the nunneries 
in Estremadura and Portugal are frequently in- 
fected with vice of the grossest kind. But I will 
not dwell on this revolting part of the picture. 
The greater part of the nuns, whom I have known, 
were beings of a much higher description females 
whose purity owed nothing to the strong gates 
and high walls of the cloister ; but who still had a 
human heart, and felt, in many instances, and 
during a great portion of their lives, the weight 
of the vows which had deprived them of their 
liberty. Some there are, I confess, among the 
nuns, who, like birds hatched in a cage, never seem 


to long for freedom: but the happiness boasted 
of in convents, is generally the effect of an ho- 
nourable pride of purpose, supported by a sense 
of utter hopelessness. The gates of the holy prison 
have been for ever closed upon the 'professed in- 
habitants ; force and shame await them wherever 
they might fly : the short words of their profes- 
sion have, like a potent charm, bound them to one 
spot of earth, and fixed their dwelling upon their 
grave. The great poet who boasted that " slaves 
cannot live in England," forgot that superstition 
may baffle the most sacred laws of freedom : slaves 
do live in England, and, I fear, multiply daily by 
the same arts which fill the convents abroad. In 
vain does the law of the land stretch a friendly 
hand to the repentant victim : the unhappy slave 
may be dying to break her fetters ; yet death 
would be preferable to the shame and reproach 
that await her among relatives and friends. It 
will not avail her to keep the vow which dooms 
her to live single : she has renounced her will, and 
made herself a passive mass of clay in the hands 
of ;i superior. Perhaps she has promised to p 
tise austerities which eaimot he performed out of 


the convent never to taste meat, if her life were 
to depend on the use of substantial food to wear no 
linen to go unhosed and unshod for life; all these 
and many other hardships make part of the various 
rules which Rome has confirmed with her sanc- 
tion. Bitter harassing remorse seizes the wavering 
mind of the recluse, and even a yielding thought 
towards liberty, assumes the character of sacrilege. 
Nothing short of rebellion against the church that 
has burnt the mark of slavery into her soul, can 
liberate an English nun. Whereto could she turn 
her eyes ? Her own parents would disown her ; 
her friends would shrink from her as if her breath 
wafted leprosy : she would be haunted by priests 
arid their zealous emissaries ; and, like her sister 
victims of superstition in India, be made to die of 
a broken heart, if she refused to return to the 
burning pile from which she had fled in frantic 

Suppose that the case I have described were of 
the rarest occurrence : suppose that but one nun 
in ten thousand wished vehemently for that liberty 
which she had forfeited, by a few words, in one 
moment : what law of God (I will ask) has en- 


titled the Roman church thus to expose even one 
human creature to dark despair in this life, and a 
darker prospect in the next? Has the Gospel 
recommended perpetual vows? Could any thing 
but a clear and positive injunction of Christ or 
his apostles justify a practice beset with dangers 
of this magnitude ? Is not the mere possibility of 
repenting such vows a reason why they should be 
strictly forbidden ? And yet they are laid on almost 
infants of both sexes. Innocent girls of sixteen 
are lured by the image of heroic virtue, and a 
pretended call of their Saviour, to promise they 
know not what, and make engagements for a whole 
life of which they have seen but the dawn ! 

To what paltry shifts and quibbles will not Ro- 
man Catholic writers resort to disguise the cruelty 
of this practice ! Nuns are described as superhuman 
beings, as angels on earth, without a thought or 
wish beyond the walls of their convents. The 
effects of habit, of religious fear, of decorum, 
which prevented many of the French nuns from 
casting off the veil, at a period when the revolu- 
tionary storm had struck awe into every brc;. 
are construed into a proof of the unvariableno* 

U..\l\ HUl.lrlVM 131) 

of purport- which follows the religions profession. 
nuns, indeed, so invariably kappy? Why, 
then, are they insulted by their spiritual rulers 
by keeping them under the very guards and pre- 
cautions, which magistrates employ to secure ex- 
ternal good behaviour among the female inmates 
of prisons and penitentiaries ? Would the nuns 
continue, during their lives, under the same pri- 
vations, were they at liberty to resume the laical 
state? Why, then, are they bound fast with 
awful vows ? Why are they not allowed to offer 
up, day by day, the free-will offering of their souls 
and bodies? 

The reluctant nuns* you. say, are few. Vain, 
unfeeling sophistry ! First prove that vows are 
recommended on divine authority,, that Christ 
has authorized the use of force and compulsion to 
ratify them when they are made ; and then you 
may stop your ears against the complaints of a 
few sufferers. But can millions of submissive, or 
even willing recluses, atone for the despair of those 
few? You reckon, in indefinite numbers, those 
that in France did not avail themselves of the 
revolutionary laws. You should rather inquire 


how many, who, before the revolution, appeared 
perfectly contented in their cloistral slavery, over- 
came every religious fear, and flew into the arms 
of a husband as soon as they could do it with im- 
punity. Two hundred and ten nuns were secu- 
larized in Spain during the short-lived reign of 
the Cortes *. Were these helpless beings happy 
in their former durance? What an appalling 
number of less fortunate victims might not be 
made out by averaging, in the same proportion, 
the millions of females who, since the establish- 
ment of convents, have surrendered their liberty 
into the hands of Rome ! 

Cruel and barbarous, indeed, must be the bi- 
gotry or the policy which, rather than yield on a 
point of discipline, sees with indifference even the 
chance, not to say the existence, of such evils. To 
place the most sensitive, innocent, and ardent 
minds under the most horrible apprehensions of 
spiritual and temporal punishment, without the 
clearest necessity ; is a refinement of cruelty which 
has few examples among civilized nations. Yet 

* Report of the minister Garelli, laid before tli- 

March, i 

\INsi i ATIKM.K 1S.M. 141 

the scandal of defection is guarded against by 
tears that would crush stouter la-arts, and distract 
less vivid imaginations, than those of timid and 
sensitive females. Even a temporary leave to 
quit the convent for the restoration of decaying 
health is seldom given, and never applied for but 
by such nuns as unhnppiness drives into a dis- 
regard of public opinion. I saw my eldest sister, 
at the age of two-and-twenty, slowly sink into the 
grave within the walls of a convent; whereas, 
had she not been a slave to that church which 
has been a curse to me; air, amusement, and 
exercise might have saved her. I saw her on her 
deathbed. I obtained that melancholy sight at 
the risk of bursting my heart, when, in my ca- 
pacity of priest, and at her own request, I heard 
her last confession. Ah ! when shall I forget 
the mortal agony with which, not to disturb the 
dying moments of that truly angelic being, I sup- 
pressed my gushing tears in her presence; the 
choking sensation with which I forced the words 
of absolution through my convulsed lips ; the 
faltering steps with which I left the convent 


alone, making the solitary street where it stood 
re-echo the sobs I could no longer contain ! 

I saw my dear sister no more; but another 
was left me, if not equal in talents to the eldest 
(for I have known few that could be considered 
her equals), amiable and good in no inferior de- 
gree. To her I looked up as a companion for 
life. But she had a heart open to every noble 
impression and such, among Catholics, are apt 
to be misled from the path of practical usefulness, 
into the wilderness of visionary perfection. At 
the age of twenty she left an infirm mother to 
the care of servants and strangers, and shut her- 
self up in a convent, where she was not allowed 
to see even the nearest relations. With a delicate 
frame, requiring every indulgence to support it in 
health, she embraced a rule which denied her the 
comforts of the lowest class of society. A coarse 
woollen frock fretted her skin ; her feet had no 
covering but that of shoes open at the toes, that 
they might expose them to the cold of a brick 
floor ; a couch of bare planks was her bed, and 
an unfurnished cell her dwelling. Disease soon 


filled her conscience with fear> ; and I had often 
to endure the torture of witnessing her agonies at 
the confessional. I left her, when I quitted Spain, 
living much too slowly for her only chance of re- 
lief. I wept bitterly for her loss two years after ; 
yet I could not be so cruel as to wish her alive. 



Rome the enemy of mental improvement : the direct tendency 
of her Prayer-book, the Breviary, to cherish credulity and 
adulterate Christian virtue. 

I COULD not connect the subject of my pre- 
ceding Letter with any other, without doing the 
greatest violence to the overpowering feelings 
which the recollection of celibacy and monachism, 
never fail to raise in me. I now proceed to show 
the natural opposition which exists between the 
spiritual power assumed by the church of Rome, 
and the improvement of the human understanding. 
After this I shall close my subject with numerous 
proofs of her disregard of truth, in the dissemina- 
tion of a timid, superstitious, and credulous spirit, 
the best security of her influence among man- 

The long list of illustrious writers, members of 
the Roman Catholic communion, with which the 
first part of my charge will be met, is well known 
to me. I would allow that list to be doubled : I 

BOLICISM. 1 l.> 

would grant every one of your boasted authors 
the whole weight ol' learning and abilities which 
you allot to them by your own seale of merit ; 
yet it would remain to be proved, that vigour of 
mind and eomprehensiveness of knowledge were, 
in such instances, attained in accordance with the 
influence of the Roman Catholic Church, and not, 
as I am ready to show, in the very teeth of its 
spirit. The resources of the human mind, when 
once in motion after knowledge, are innumerable. 
Fear and restraint may force it into devious and 
crooked paths, not without injury to its moral 
qualities ; but no power on earth can prevent the 
exertion of its activity. 

It is curious to observe the invariable accuracy 
with which certain principles, true or false, will 
work ; and how perfectly analogous their effects 
will be when applied to the most different objects. 
We see the assumption of supernatural infal- 
libility, gradually leading the popes to attempt the 
subjection of all Christian powers. A criminal 
ambition might often mix in their political plans 
and views ; but the impulse which threatened the 
thrones of Europe, was independent of the in- 



dividual temper of the popes. The mildest, hum- 
blest individual, believing himself an infallible 
guide to salvation, must have considered the re- 
moval of every obstacle to that paramount object, 
a part, not only of his privilege, but his duty. 
He would, therefore, strive to reduce all human 
power, so as to suit his views of spiritual rule. 
The declaration that Christ's kingdom is not of 
this world, would not prevent a conscientious Pope 
from checking any temporal power, which he con- 
ceived to oppose the interests of the next. On 
the same grounds, and from the very same prin- 
ciple, has Rome been, at all times, the declared 
enemy of mental independence. She, it is true, 
confines her open claims, in this case, to points of 
Christian faith, as to spiritual supremacy in the 
former. But remove opposition in both, and you 
will see her become as great a tyrant over the 
human intellect, as she was at one time over the 
governments of Christendom. There is, in fact, 
a greater connexion between the learned and 
scientific opinions of men and their religious 
tenets, than between moral practice and civil al- 
legiance. Hence the rights of the Roman Catholic 

AGATNtt c A I iloi K isM. 147 

church to prescribe limits to the mind are still 
openly contended for, while- the indirect dominion 
of the popes over Christian kings and their people, 
i> only timidly whispered within the walls of the 

But how does it happen that Italy and Fj-ance 
have produced men of extraordinary eminence, 
notwithstanding their mental subjection to Rome ? 
I might answer this question by another : How 
is it that the talent of Spain and Portugal has 
been rendered abortive ? The tendency of moral 
as well as physical agents must be estimated, not 
by that which they fail to affect, but by the con- 
dition of what is fairly submitted to their action. 
Will you have an adequate notion of the fetters 
laid by Rome upon the human mind? examine 
the intellect of such as wear them really, not 
ostensibly. Woiild you ascertain the true prac- 
tical consequences of any law ? observe its results, 
where it is not eluded. The Roman Catholic re- 
straints on the understanding, have been and are 
still actively enforced in Spain ; whereas the weak- 
ness of the papal government has never been able 
to put the Italian inquisitions into full activity. 

L 2 


France was always free from that scourge; and 
the confinement of a few authors to the Bastille. 
was a poor substitute for the Autos-da-Fc of the 
unfortunate Spanish Peninsula. 

But has not the influence of Roman Catholic 
infallibility, even in those less oppressed countries, 
disturbed the best efforts of the human intellect. 
closed up many of the direct roads to knowledge, 
and forced ingenuity to skulk in the pursuit of it like 
a thief ? Sound the antiquarian, the astronomer, the 
natural philosopher of Italy ; arid the characteristic 
shrug of their shoulders will soon tell you that they 
have gone the full stretch of the chain they are 
forced to wear. What if the chain be already 
snapt at every link, and kept together by threads ? 
Reckon, if you can, the struggles, the sighs, the 
artifices, the perjuries which have brought it to 
that state. Look at Galileo on his knees : see the 
commentators of Newton prefixing a declaration 
to his immortal Principia, in which, by a solemn 
falsehood, they avoid the fate of the unhappy 
Florentine astronomer. " Newton," say the great 
mathematicians, Le Seur and Jacquier, " assiui 
in his third book, the hypothesis of the earth's 

A(,AI\M i ATHOI.U Mill 1 M) 

motion. The propositions of that author could 
not he explained except through the same hypo- 
thesis. \Ve have, therefore, been forced to act a 
character not our own. Hut we declare our sub- 
mission to the decrees of the Roman pontiffs 
against the motion of the earth*." The same 
sacrifice of sincerity is required at the Spanish 
universities. Science, indeed, has scarcely ever 
made a step without bowing, with a lie in her 
mouth, to Roman infallibility. Mankind has to 
thank Lord Bacon, as he might thank the intel- 
lectual liberty which the Reformation allowed 
him, for that burst of light which at once broke 
out from his writings, and spread the seeds of true 
knowledge, too thick and wide for Rome to smother 
them. She had been able, at former periods, to 
decide the fate of philosophical systems according 
as they appeared to favour or oppose her notions. 

\e\vtonus, in Inn' tertio libro, telluris inota 1 . livpothesim 
.isMimit. Autoris propositions alitor explicuri non potcraiit, 
nisi cadeni (juoque fact a hypotlicsi. I line alienani coacti 
sinnus j^crero porsoiiani. Cactcruni latis a sunmiis pootificibus 
t-oiitra U'lluris niotuin decretis, iios obsccjui proiiteimir. Ncu- 
toni Principia, vol. III. Col(iii;i- Allobrogum, 17GO. Thi> 
.t.ii-u \va> nuulc in 1 7-l'J. 


In this case, however, she was both unable to 
perceive the extent of her danger, and to check 
the simultaneous impulse of the awakened mind 
of Europe. The Council of Trent, hoivever, had, 
a short time before, done every thing in its power, 
to keep mankind in subjection to the church upon 
every branch of knowledge. By a solemn decree 
of that Council, the press was subjected to the pre- 
vious censure of the bishops or the inquisitors in 
every part of Christendom. It is not difficult to 
conceive the use which these holy umpires of 
knowledge, would make of their authority to check 
and subdue the petulant minds*, who dared to 
broach any thing which jarred with the principles 
of school philosophy or divinity. But we need 
not leave this to conjecture : the censures attached 
to the long list of books condemned in the Index 
Expurgatorius of Rome, accurately describe the 
extent of intellectual freedom, which Rome grants 
to the faithful subjects of her spiritual empire. 
The fact that both popes and bishops of the 

* Ad coercendn jtclitlantii ingrnia. The Council of Trent 
confirmed the decree of the Council of Lateran. which extends 
the censure to all kinds of books. 

A l.AIN IKH.U'IS.M. 151 

Roman Catholic communion have often patronized 
knowledge 1 , is anxiously brought forward to prove 
the existence of a liberal and enlightened spirit in 
the Koman church. Now, if the conduct of in- 
dividuals were admitted as a criterion of the 
temper of their church, it would be easy to pro- 
duce thousands who have opposed real knowledge 
for every one that has promoted its interests*. 
J>esides, a pope may be a patron of the fine arts, 
and a determined enemy to philosophical studies. 
A cardinal or a bishop may spend his savings 
and fortune in the erection of a college, with a 
view to perpetuate the metaphysics of the thirteenth 
century. Such will be found to be the bene- 
factions which learning has generally received 
from the members of the church of Rome. It is 
true we owe the preservation of manuscripts to 
the monks, though it would be difficult to enume- 
rate the multitude of works which were destroyed 
by their sloth and ignorance. The public schools 
of Europe were endowed by the liberality of 
Roman Catholics; but if either those that pre- 
served the treasures of ancient literature, or those 

* Note K. 


who founded our universities, had suspected the 
direction which the human mind would take from 
the excitement of these mental stimuli ; they would 
have doomed poets, orators, and philosophers to 
the flames, and flung their endowing money into 
the sea. I do not blame individuals for partaking 
the spirit of their age, but protest against a church 
which, having attained the fulness of strength 
under the influence of the most ignorant ages, 
would, for the sake of that strength, stop the pro- 
gress of time, and reduce the nineteenth century 
to the intellectual standard of the thirteenth*. 
Moral as well as physical beings must love their 
native atmosphere ; and Rome being no exception 
to this law, is still daily employed in renovating 
and spreading credulity, enthusiasm, and super- 
stition the elements in which she thrives. The 

* The inveterate enmity of a sincere Roman Catholic 
against books which directly or indirectly dissent from his 
church, is unconquerable. There is a family in England who, 
having inherited a copious library under circumstances which 
make it a kind of heir-loom, have torn out every leaf of 
the Protestant works, leaving nothing in the shelves but the 
This tact I know from the nm.-t unquestionable 

AGAINST ( ,\ t IMI.UIS.M. 153 

is stroii:, and expressed in strong language : 
l>ut, I believe, not stronger than the following 
proofs \\-ill warrant. 

A Christian church cannot employ a more 
elfectual instrument to fashion and mould the 
minds of her members, than the form of prayer 
and worship which she sanctions for daily use. 
Such is the Breviary or Prayer-book of the Roman 
Catholic clergy, which, as it stands in the present 
day, is the most authentic work of that kind. In 
consequence of a decree of the Council of Trent, 
Pope Pius V. ordered a number of learned and 
able men to compile the Brciiary, and by his 
bull, Quod a nobis, July, 1566, sanctioned it, and 
commanded the use thereof to the clergy of the 
Roman Catholic church, all over the world. Cle- 
ment VIII., in 1602, finding that the Breviary of 
Pius V. had been altered and depraved ; restored 
it to its pristine state, and ordered, under pain of 
excommunication, that all future editions should 
strictly follow that which he then printed at the 
Vatican. Lastly, Urban VIII., in 1631, had the 
language of the whole work, and the metres of the 
hymns, revised. The value which the church of 


Home sets upon the Breviary, may be known 
from the strictness with which she demands the 
perusal of it. Whoever enjoys any ecclesiastical 
revenue ; all persons of both sexes who have pro- 
fessed in any of the regular orders * ; all sub- 
deacons, deacons and priests, are bound to repeat, 
either in public or private, the whole service of 
the day, out of the Breviary. The omission of 
any one of the eight portions of which that service 
consists, is declared to be a mortal sin, i. e. a sin 
that, unrepented, would be sufficient to exclude from 
salvation. The person guilty of such an omission, 
loses all legal right to whatever portion of his 
clerical emoluments is due for the day or days 
wherein he neglected that duty, and cannot be ab- 
solved till he has given the forfeited stuns to thepoor, 
or redeemed the greatest part by a certain donation 
to the Spanish crusade. Such are the sanctions and 
penalties by which the reading of the Breviary is 
enforced. The scrupulous exactness with which 
tli is duty is performed by all who have not secretly 

* Some orders have a peculiar Hre\ iar\ . with the appro- 
bation of tin- PIIJM-. There is n> substantial difference between 
these monkish j>rayer-h<M'U and tin- Itiriinry, uhirh is 
by the great body of Roman Catholic 

A(,A1 NS I C'A IHOl.U IS \l. 15.5 

caM oil' their spiritual allegiance, is quite Mir- 
prisinir. For more llian tweh <>f my lite, 

at a period when my university studies required 
uninterrupted attention, I believed myself hound 
to rej>eat the appointed prayers and lessons : a 
task which, in spite of a rapid enunciation, took 
up an hour and a halt' daily. A dispensation of 
this duty is not to be obtained from Rome without 
the utmost difficulty*. I never, indeed, knew or 
heard of any one who had obtained it. 

The Breviary, therefore, must be reckoned the 
true standard to which the church of Rome 
wishes to reduce the minds and hearts of her 
clergy, from the highest dignitary to the most 
obscure priest. It is in the Breviary that we may 
be sure to find the full extent of the pious belief, 
to which she trains the pastor's of her flock ; and 
the true stamp of those virtues which she boasts 
of in her models of Christian perfection. By 
making the daily repetition of the Breviary a 

* Among the many charges made in the name of the Pope 
by Cardinal Gonsalvi, against Baron von Wessenberg, Vicar Ge- 
neral of Constance, is, that he had granted dispensations of this 
kind, to many clergymen in his diocese. This curious corre- 
spniidemv \vas published in London, by Ackerinunn, in 1819. 
It desrn.'x the attention of such as wish to ascertain the 
temper >f thr .-..urt <>t" Home in our o\vn <L 


paramount duty of the clergy,Rome evidently give* 
it the preference over all other works ; and as far a* 
she is concerned, provided the appointed teachers 
of her laity read her own book, they may trouble 
themselves very little about others. Nay, should 
a Roman Catholic clergyman, as is often the cast'. 
be unable to devote more than an hour and a half 
a day, to reading ; his church places him under t la- 
necessity of deriving his whole knowledge from 
the Breviary. 

Precious, indeed, must be the contents of that 
privileged volume, if we trust the authority which 
so decidedly enforces its perusal. There was a 
time when I knew it by heart ; but long neglect 
of that store of knowledge, had lately left but 
faint traces of the most exquisite passages con- 
tained therein. The present occasion, however, 
has forced me to take my old task-book in hand ; 
and it shall now be my endeavour to arrange and 
condense the copious extracts made in my last 

The office of the Roman Catholic church was 
originally so contrived as to divide the Psaltery 
between the seven days of the week. Portions of 
Old Scriptures were also u-ad alternately with 

AGAINST | \ riim u ISM. 

extracts from the legends of tin 1 i ;miN. ,-iiid the 
works of tin- lathers. But as the calendar be- 
came crowded with saints, whose festivals take 
precedence of the re-pillar church service: little 
room is left for any tiling hut a few psalms, 
which are constantly repeated, a very small part 
of the Old Testament, and more fragments of the 
Gospels and Epistles. The great and never-end- 
ing variety consists in the compendious lives of 
the saints, of which I will here give some spe- 

In the first place, I shall speak of the early 
martyrs, the spurious records of whose sufferi* 
have been made to contribute most copiously to 
the composition of the Breviary. The variety 
and ingenuity of the tortures described, are 
only equalled by the innumerable miracles whicli 
hattk'd the tyrants, whenever they attempted to 
injure the Christians by any method but cutting 
their throats. Houses were set on fire to burn 
the martyrs within ; but the Breviary informs us 
that the flames raged for a whole day and a night 
without molesting them. Often do we hear of 


idols tumbling from their pedestals at the approach 
of the persecuted Christians ; and even the judges 
themselves dropt dead when they attempted to 
pass sentence. The wild beasts seldom devour 
a martyr without prostrating themselves before 
him ; and lions follow young virgins to protect 
them from insult. The sea refuses to drown those 
who are committed to its waters ; and when com- 
pelled to do that odious service, the waves generally 
convey the dead bodies where the Christians may 
preserve them as relics. On one occasion a pope 
is thrown into the Lake Moeotis, with an anchor 
which the cautious infidels had tied round his 
neck, for fear of the usual miraculous floating : the 
plan succeeded, and the pope was drowned. But the 
sea was soon after observed to recede three miles 
from the shore, where a temple appeared, in which 
the body of the martyr had been provided with a 
marble sarcophagus*. 

* " Clemens . . . a Trajano imperatore relegatus cst trans 
Mare Ponticum in solitudinem urbis Chersonae, in qua duo 
millia Christianorum reperit . . .qui cum in cruendis et secandis 
marmoribus aquae penuria laborarent, Clemens facta oratione 
in virinuni rollrin ascrndit ; in ciijus jugo vidit Agniim (i 

Ac.AlNVI I A I 110! U'IS.M. 1 5<) 

There is a good deal of romantic interest in tlie 
history of Cyprian and Justina. The former being 
a heathen magician, who to that detestable art 
joined a still more infamous occupation: engaged 
to put a young man in possession of Justina, a 
Christian virgin. For this purpose he employed the 
most potent incantations, till the devil was forced 
to confess that lie had no power over Christians. 
Upon this, Cyprian very sensibly concluded, that 
it was better to be a Christian than a sorcerer. 
The readers of romance may, after this, expect 
every sort of incident except a marriage, which 
none but inferior saints ever contract ; and from 
which all must extricate themselves before the\ 
can be in a fair way of obtaining a place in the 
calendar. Cyprian and Justina being accused be- 

pede fontem aquae dulcis, qui inde scaturiebat attingentem, 
ubi omnes sitim expleverunt; eoque miraculo multi inndelesad 
Christ! tidem conrersi, dementis etiani sanctitatem venerare 
cu'pi'runt : quibus roiu'itatus Trajanus, inisit illuc qui Cle- 
mentem, alligata ad ejus coll u in ancliora, in profundum de- 
jicerent. Quod cum factum esset, Christianis ad littus 
orantibus, mare ad tria milliaria recessit; eoque illi accc- 
dentes, aediculam marmoream in tenipli formam, et intus arcam 
lapideam, ubi Martyris corpus conditum crat, et, juxta illud. 
anchoram qua mersus fuorat, invenenmt." 


fore the Roman judge, are, however, fried together 
in a caldron of melted " pitch, fat, and wax," 
from which they come out quite able to be carried 
to Nicomedia, where they are put to death by the 
almost infallible means of the sword or the axe. 
I say almost, because I find an instance where 
even this method had nearly disappointed the 
persecutors. That happened in the case of St. 
Cecilia. This saint, of musical celebrity, having 
been forced to marry a certain Valerius, cautioned 
most earnestly her bridegroom to avert from him- 
self the vengeance of an angel who had the charge 
of her purity. The good-natured Valerius agreed 
to forego his rights, provided he was allowed to 
see his heavenly rival ; and for this purpose sub- 
mitted to be baptized. After the ceremony the 
angel showed himself to Valerius, and subse- 
quently to a brother of his, who had been let into 
the secret. This Cecilia is the martyr on whom, 
as I mentioned before, a whole house flaming about 
her for a natural day, had not the smallest effect. 
Even when the axe was employed, the lictor 
exerted his strength in vain on the delicate neck 
of his victim, which being but half divided, yet 

At, AINST e Al HOI H I.sM. 

allowed her miraculously to live for three days 
more, at the end of which she fairly died*. 

* " Cypriauus, primum ina^us, pn.t-a martyr nun .)u>tinani 
Christiaiiuiii virgiia-in, qiiam juvciiis (juidi-ni anlrntcr amahat, 
cantionilms ac vnicficiis ad rjus lihidinis asscnsiini alliivre 
conarrtur, (l;i>iuoiu>ni omsuluit, i|U;"niani id re ronsrqui posset. 
Cui daemon rospondit, nullain illi arteni pnxvsMiram ad versus 
eos, qui vere Cliristiun eolermt. Quo ivsjxmso ronmotus Cy- 
prianus, vt-henu-ntor dolere c(rpit vit;r siqicrioris institutuin 
Itaque relictis matin's artibus, se totum ad Christi duniini 
fideni convertit. Quani ob causam una cum virgine Justina 
comprehensus est, et ambo colaphis flagellisque cacsi, mox in 
carccrem conjecti ... in sartagincm plenam ferventis picis, 
adipis et eerie injecti sunt. Domnm Nicomediae securi feri- 

" Cu'cilia virgo Romana, nobili genere nata, a prima a'tatc 
Christiana3 fidei praceptis instituta, virginitatem suain Ueo 
vovit. Sed cum ]>ostea contra suain voluntatem data esset in 
matrimonium Valeriano, prima nuptiarum nocte hunc cum eo 
scrmoncm habuit : Ego Valeriane, in Angeli tutela sum, qui 
virginitatem meum custodit : quare ne quid in me committas, 
quo ira Dei in te concitetur. Quibus verbis commotus 
A'alerianus, illam attingere non est ausus: quin etiam addidit, 
se in Christum croditiiriini, si eum Angelum videret. Cui 
Caccilia cum sine baptismo negarot id fieri posse, incensus 
cupiditatc videndi Anjrolum, se baptizari velle respondet . . 
(Baptizatus, et) ad Czcciliam reversus, orantem et cum ea 
Angelum divino splendore fulgeiitciii, invonit. Quo aspectu 
obstupcfactus, ut primum ex timore confirmatus est, Tibur- 
tium fratrem suum accersit qui a Caecilia Christi fide imbutus 
. . .ipse etiam ejusdem Angeli quern frater ejus viderat, as- 
pectu dignatus est. Uterque autein paulo post Almachio 



After the romantic miracles of the early mar- 
tyrs, I have to mention the stories by which the 
Breviary endeavours to support the extravagant 
veneration for the Popes and tfieir see, which 
at all times has been the leading aim of the Ro- 
man court. The most notorious forgeries are, 
for -this purpose, sanctioned and consecrated in 
her Prayer Book. That these legends are often 
given in the words of those whom the church of 
Rome calls fathers, shows the weakness both of the 
Popish structure, and of the props that support 
it. We thus find the fable about the contest be- 
tween St. Peter and Simon Magus, before Nero, 
gravely repeated in the words of St. Maximus. 
" The holy apostles (Peter and Paul) lost their 
lives, he says, because, among other miracles, 
they also, by their prayers, precipitated Simon 
from the vacuity of the air. For Simon calling 
himself Christ, and engaging to ascend to the 

Praefecto, constanter martyriuin subit. Qui mox Ccvciliam 
comprehend! impcrat . . . camrjuo in ipsius a>dcs rcdurtain, in 
balnco combiiri jussit. Quo in loco cum diem noctciii(|iu> it a 
fuisset, ut ne ilamina <|iiidcm illani attingeret ; m immissus 
irnifex, qui ter si'curi ictam, rum raput absrindere mm 
potuisset, seinivivam n-liquit," ,V. &<. 

v .\ mo; u IN\I. 

Fat! ddenly rai>ed in flight, by inenn> 

ofliis magic art. At this moment IVter. bund- 
ing his knees, prayed to the Lord, and by hi* 
holy prayer defeated the magician's lightness; for 
the prayer reached the Lord sooner than the 
flight; the right petition outstripped the' unjust 
presumption. Peter, on earth, obtained what lie 
(1, much before Simon could reach the hea- 
vens to which he was making his way. Peter, 
therefore, brought down his rival from the air as 
if he had held him by a rope, and dashing him 
against a stone, in a precipice, broke his legs : 
doing this in scorn of the fact itself, so that he 
who but a moment before, had attempted to fly, 
should not now be able to walk ; and having 
affected wings, should want the use of his 
heels *." 

* " Hodierna i^itur die bc-ati Apostoli sanguineni profiulf- 
runt. So<l vidcamus causa ni quare ista jK>rj)cssi sunt; scilicet, 
quod ihtrr ca trra inirahilia etiara inagum ilium Simonem 
oratioiiibus suis de acris vacuo prtrcipiti ruina prostravenint. 
Cum enim idem Simon sc Christum diccrit, et tanquam filiuin 
ad patrcin assrrorot volando se posse conscendere, atque elatus 
suhitomagicis artibus volare coepisset; tuncPetrus fixis genibus 
proratus est Domimmi, et precatioiu 1 sancta vicit inagirani 
li'vitatcm. Prior enim ascendit ad Oniniiuiin oralio <juam 
vulatus ; et ante pervetiit justa potitio, (|iiam iniqua prae- 

M 2 


The use which the Breviary makes of the 
forged epistles of the early Popes, known by the 
name of false Decretals, is frequently obvious to 
those who are acquainted with both. As these 
Decretals were forged about the eighth century, 
with a view to magnify the power of the Roman 
nothing in their contents is more prominent than 
that object. The Breviary, therefore, never omits 
an opportunity of establishing the Papal supre- 
macy by tacit reference to these spurious docu- 
ments. Yet as this would have but a slight 
effect upon the mass of the faithful, a more pic- 
turesque story is related in the life of Pope St. 

His Holiness being on a journey to Corinth, 
and in want of a quiet and comfortable horse, 
borrowed one, which the lady of a certain noble- 
man used to ride. The animal carried the Pope 

sumptio: ante Petms in tern's positus obtinuit quod petcbat. 
qinm Simon perveniret in coelestibns, quo tendebat. Tune 
igitur Petrus velut vinctum ilium <U- sublimi acre deposuit, 
et quodam praecipitio in saxo elidens, ejus crura confregit; et 
hoc in opprobrio farti illius, ut qui paulo ante volarc trn- 
taverat, subitn ambularr n<>n pnssetj et qui pcnnas assiimp- 
serat, plantas amittrn-t." Scprima di* infra Ortavam 
t. IVtri rt I'nuli. 

At.AlNM i ATHOl.K I.s.M. 

with tin 1 greatest ease and docility ; and, when 
the journe\ \\-as over, was returned to his mis- 
tress ; hut in vain did >he attempt to enjoy the 
accustomed services of her favourite. The hor-c 
had become fierce, and gave the lady many an 
unseemly fall : " as if (says the authorised record) 
feeling indignant at ha\ing to carry a woman, 
since the Vicar of Christ had heen on his back *." 
The horse was accordingly presented to the Pope, 
as unfit to be ridden by a less dignified personage. 
The standing miracles of the city of Rome; those 

* "Cum ei nobilis vir ad Corintlmin, <MJUUHI, quo ejus uxor 
inaiisiicto utolnitur, itineris c'au>.'i commo;l;isM't ; lactuin cst 
ut Domino postea remissus c({ims ita ferox evaderet, lit fro- 
mitu, et totius corj)oris a^itationo, sonipor deinoeps doniinaui 
i xpulorit : tan([uam indignarotur mulicrcm recipere ex quo 
scMlissct in CM* Cliristi vicarius." Brev. Rom. die 27 Maii. 

Tlie Breviary, true to its plan of giving the substance of 
c\ ( ry >t-i:-y tliat ever sprang from the fertile imagination of 
tin- idle monks, coin-hides the life by stating the vision of a 
itrin'>n Itcnnlt , \\lio saw the soul of Theodoric the (iotli, 
carrit-il to hell by Topi' John and Symmachus, through iic 
of the \.>lcaiioN <>f the Lipari Isl.mds. " Paulo post moritur 
!orii us : (juc-m <piidam crcmita. ut scribit Saiu-tus 
C'ireguriiis, vidit i. tcr Joannem Pontificem, et Symmachum 
Putricium, (juem idem Occident, demergi in ignem Liparita- 
num." " This legend (says (:ibl)on) is related by Gregory I. 
and approved by Hanmiiis ; and both the Pope and Cardinal 
are grave doctors, sufficient to establish a probable opinion." 
Thap. xxxix. Note ins 1 . 


miraculous relics which even at this moment 
are drawing crowds of pilgrims within its walls, 
and which, in former times, made the whole of 
Europe support the idleness of the Romans at the 
expense of their devout curiosity; are not over- 
looked in the prayer-book of her church. Let me 
mention the account it gives of St. Peter's chains, 
such as they are now venerated at Rome. Eu- 
doxia, the wife of Theodosius the younger, being 
on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, received as a pre- 
sent the chains with which St. Peter was bound 
in prison, when he was liberated by an angel. 
This chain, set with jewels, was forwarded by the 
pious empress to her daughter, then at Rome. 
The young princess, rejoiced with the gift, showed 
the chain to the Pope, who repaid the compli- 
ment by exhibiting another chain, which the holy 
apostle had borne under Nero. As, to compare 
their structure, the two chains were brought into 
contact, the links at the extremities of each joined 
together, and the two pieces became one uniform 
chain *. 

* " Cum i^itur I'nntifcx Roman . t . <jua> 

lerosolymis allahi fuerat, rmt: -t. ut ilia: 

inter so sic nninri t^rcntur ut HMD du.i ^-<1 una < ;iton;i ;tl> 

u,.\i N ; | M. 107 

After tlu-^r simples, m one \\ill be Mirpri>ed 
to find ill the same authorised record, all the other 
supjxjsed miracles which, in diilercnt part> of 
Italy, move daily the enlightened traveller to 
laughter or disgust. The translation of the house 
of Loretto from Palestine to the Papal Stal>, i> 
averted in the collect for that festival; which 
being a direct address to the Deity, cannot be 
supposed to have been carelessly compiled*. The 

endem artifice confecta, esse viileretur." In Festo St. Petri 
ad Vincuhi. The present Pope mentions this chain as one of 
the inducements for the faithful to visit Home this year of 
Jubilee. See the translation of the Proclamation, Note L. 

* " Deus, qui heatiu Maria) Virginis (Ionium per inr.irnati 
\ T erbi mystcrium misericorditer consecrasti, canifjue in sinu 
ecclesia tucc mirabiliter collocasti" &c. &c. The account of 
the pretended miraculous conveyance of the house by the hands 
of the angels is given in the lessons: " Ipsius an tern Virginis 
natalis domus divinis mysteriis consecrata, Angelorum mini- 
sterin ab Infideliiun potcstate, in Dalmatian! prius, deinde in 
Agruin Lauretanum Picenac Provinciae translata fuit, sedente 
sancto Coelestino quinto: eandemque ipsam csse in qua Verbuni 
c;tn> factJim e>t, et habitavit in nobis, turn Pontiticis diplo- 
matiljus, et ccleberriina totius Orbis veneratione, tuin continuA 
miraculorum virtute, et coelestium beneficiorum gratia, com- 
probatur. Quibus jtermotus Innocentius Duodecimus, quo 
ier\ entius crga Matris amantissimai cultum Fidelium memoria 
exritaretur, ejusdem Sanctae Domus Translationem anniver- 
>aria solemnitato in tota l*i<-eni Pnivincia voncratani, 
etiani et Ollirio proprin i-i-le!rari prii.rcpit." 


two removals of that house by the hands of 
angels, first to the coast of Dalmatia, and thence, 
over the Adriatic, to the opposite shore, are 
gravely related in the Lessons ; where the members 
of the Roman Catholic church are reminded that 
the identity of the house is warranted by papal 
bulls, and a proper mass and service published by 
the same authority for the annual commemoration 
of that event. 

It is rather curious to observe the difference in 
the assertion of Italian and of French miracles : 
the unhesitating confidence with which the former 
are stated, the hypercritical jealousy which ap- 
pears in the narrative of the latter. The walk of 
St. Dionysius, with his own head in his hands, 
from Paris to the site of the present abbey of St. 
Denis, is given only as a credible report. " De 
quo illud memories proditum esl, abscissum suum 
caput sustulisse, et progressum ad duo millia 
passuum in manibus gestasse*." The French, 

e The Breviary, however, does n..t 1. tr.iy such hesitation 
as to the works of the said Dionysius, the Areopagite the 
most barefaced forgery which rver wa> i'uisted on the credulity 
of the world. Lihrns *<:rij>\it admtfMlet, (ic plane rcctestrst dc 
ftivinis noDiinibua, dc eeriest i <t EccUtitUtica Hinnrchia, tlr 
ini/sfica Thedngia, ci aljns 


indeed, with their liberties of the (iallican church, 
have never heen favourite* at Koine; hut all is 
certainty in the accounts of Italian worthies. 
Witness the renowned St. Januarius, W!IOM ex- 
traordinary miracles, both during his life under 
Diocletian, and in our own days, are stated with 
equal confidence and precision. That saint, we 
are told, being thrown into a burning furnace, 
came out so perfectly unhurt, that not even his 
clothes or hair were singed. The next day all 
the wild beasts in the amphitheatre came crouch- 
ing to his feet. I pass over the other ancient per- 
formances of Januarius, to show the style in which 
his wonderful works, after death, are given. His 
body, for instance, on one occasion, extinguished 
the flames of Vesuvius*. This is no miracle upon 

* " In ardentcm fornacem conjectus ita illacsus evasit ut ne 
\otiineiituiii nut rapillum quidem tiainma \idaverit. (Ferae) 
naturalis feritatis oblitae, ad Januarii pedes se prostravere. 
In primis memm-andum quod erumpcntes uliin fc moiite 
VrMivio flammarum globos, nee vicinis modo, st-d longinquis 
ctiam region! bus vastitatis inetuin afferentes, extinxit. 
I'rjrc -lariiin illud <[iioqiic, qutxl ejus sanguis, qui in ampulla 
vitrra eonrretus asservatur, cum in consj)ectu capitis ejusdem 
inartyris pouitur, adinirandum in moiluni colliquefieri, et 
cludliiv, perinde atque rccens eft'usus, ad luce usque tem|Mra 
ccrnitur. " 


vague report, but one which, according to the 
Breviary, deserves a peculiar remembrance. Next 
comes that " noble miracle" prccclarum illud 
the liquefaction of Januarius's blood, which takes 
place every year in Naples. The usual state of 
the blood, as a coagulated mass, and its change 
into a bubbling fluid, are circumstantially de- 
scribed, as might be expected, from historians, who 
convey the most minute information, even about 
the clothes and hair of a martyr that died fifteen 
hundred years ago. The liquefaction, indeed, 
with all its circumstances, they must have wit- 
nessed themselves, or derived their information 
concerning it from thousands of Neapolitan wit- 

And here let me observe by the way, the extra- 
ordinary liberality of his church upon these point>. 
which Mr. Butler sets forth to the admiration oi 
the world. " A person," he tells us, " may dis- 
believe every other miracle (except those which 
are related in the Old or the New Testament), 
and may even disbelieve the existence of the 
persons through whose intercession they are re- 
lated to have been wrought, without ceasing to 

Ai.AlN ilOLlL'lb.M. I? I 

ho a Koiiian Cat. NVe must, however, 

exempt iron) thN MT\ .-miple privik-ge those who 
thus sok-innly publi.-h the miracles tin -, or 

their honesty would certainly IK- placed in a sir;. 
predicament. Still, by a stronger IT;. on, we must 
suppose them perfectly convinced of the reality of 
that annual wonder, which for ages has been re- 
peated under their eyes. How, then, can they be 
>o insensible to the forlorn condition of heretics 
and unbelievers, as not to allow a close inspection 
of that undeniable proof of the Roman Catholic 
faith? The present Pope invites us to see the 
manger where the infant Saviour lay at Beth- 
lehem. Would it not be more charitable to allow 
one of our chemists to view the blood of St. Ja- 
nuarius, and observe its change, not surrounded 
by priests, candles, and the smoke of frankincense, 
and thus convert us all at one stroke ? 

The world is full of Roman Catholic miracles, 
in the incorrupt bodies of saints, which lie on the 
altars, inclosed in gold and silver cases. I have 
often performed high mass before that of St. 

<>f tlic Roman Catholic ( luirch, |>. K>. 


Ferdinand, which is preserved in the royal chapel 
at Seville ; and, though a member of the chapter 
to whose charge the Spanish kings have intrusted 
their holy ancestor, I could never obtain a distinct 
view of the body, which the church of Rome 
declares to be incorrupt*. On certain days the 
front of a massive silver sarcophagus is removed, 
when a gold and glass chest is seen, containing 
something like a man covered with splendid robes. 
But the multitude of candles on the altar, and 
the want of light from behind, prevent a distinct 
view of the objects within. Once, when the 
multitude was thronging the chapel, a lady of high 
rank, who had applied to me for a closer view 
than was allowed to the crowd, was furnished with 
a stool to stand upon a level with the body. To 
gratify at once her and my own curiosity, I took 
a candle from the altar, and endeavoured to 
counteract the reflection of the glass, by throwing 
in the light obliquely. One of our inferior clergy, 
the sacristan, whose duty it was to stand near the 

* "Jacet ejus mrjMis incorruptiini adliw post quatuor saccula 
in ternplo niaxinio Hispali-n^i, lionorificentissiino iiirliisiiin 
puldiro." r-rcviarum Koni. in fcstn Sain-ti Ferdinand!. 


Al, \I\V1 l \\ HOI Iv ISM. 

saint in his surplice, seeing what I was about, 
snatched the candle from my hand, with a rnde- which nothing but his half roguish, half holy 
xeal, could have prompted. lie pretended to be 
alarmed for the pane of ^la ; but I more than 
suspect that he knew the incorruptibility of the 
saint could not bear inspection. The head, which 
J distinctly saw, was a mere skull, with something 
like painted parchment holding up the lower jaw. 
A similar covering seems to have been laid on the 
right foot, which projects out of the royal robes. 

When the greatest miracle of Christianity, the 
resurrection of Christ, was performed for the con- 
version of men to the gospel, the Saviour himself 
offered the marks of his wounds to the close in- 
spection of a doubting disciple. The church of 
Rome follows a different plan in the use of the 
multiplied miracles of which she boasts. She has 
no compassion for men who will credit only their 
sight and touch. 

Historical miracles are safe from this trouble- 
some curiosity ; and to these I must return after 
my digression. Let us take a few specimens from 
those of the early ages of monachism. Among 


these hardly any narrative will be found more 
curious than that which the Breviary copies from 
Saint Jerome, as a record of the life of Paul, the 
first Hermit. Paul, we are told, retired to a cave 
in the desert parts of the Thebais, where he lived 
from early youth to the age of one hundred and 
ten. Being near his death, Anthony, another 
Egyptian Anchorite, paid him a visit by a super- 
natural command from heaven. Their names 
being, in the same manner, revealed to each other, 
they met, for the first time, with the familiarity 
of old acquaintance. While they were talking 
about spiritual matters, a raven dropped a loaf of 
bread at the feet of Paul. " Thanks be to heaven," 
exclaimed the father of hermits ; " it is now sixty 
years since I receive half a loaf daily in this 
manner : to-day my allowance has been doubled." 
On the morrow Paul requested his friend Anthony 
to return for a cloak, which, having belonged to 
Saint Athanasius, he wished to have as his wind- 
ing-sheet. Anthony was coming back with the 
cloak, when he saw the soul of Paul going up 
into heaven surrounded by the holy company of 
the prophets and apo>tle>. In the cave he found 

iioi.ic U 

tlu* corpse with crowed legs, erected head, and 
thf anus raised above it. Ho uas, however, at a 
h*w to dig a grave, being also an old man of 
ninety, and having no spade or any instrument of 
that kind. In this distress he saw two lions 
hurrying towards him from the interior of the 
desert. The lions, in the hest manner they could, 
gave him to understand that they meant him no 
harm, but, on the contrary, were much affected 
by the death of Paul. They then set to work 
with their claws, and having made a hole of suf- 
ficient size to contain the dead body, quietly and 
decently retired to their fastnesses. Anthony took 
possession of Paul's coat, which was made of palm- 
leaves like a basket, and wore it regularly as a 
holiday-dress on Easter and Whitsunday *. 

* " Cumque ad ejus cellam pervenissct, inveiiit genibus 
cnmpliratis, erecta cervice, extensisque in altum inaniliiis, 
corpu- examine : quod pallio obvolvens, li\ miiosque ft psalmos 
iiristiana traditiouc decantans, cum sarculum, quo terrain 
foderet 11011 lialjoret, duo leonesex interiorc eremo, rapido cursu 
ad Ix^ati senis corpus feruntur : ut facile intelligeretur, et>s, 
<jn> nmdo poterant, ploratum ederej qui certatira terrain pe- 
dilnis etfodientes, foveam, quae homiiiem commode caperet, 
cffcceruiit. Qui cum ahiissent, Antonius sanctum corpus in 
ouin locum intulit : <>t injert:'i liiuno, tumulum ox Christian" 


The life of Saint Benedict, the great propagator 
of monastic life in the sixth century, has fur- 
nished the Breviary with several curious miracles. 
One of the first among the wonders he wrought, 
does not give a favourable idea of the character of 
religious associations at that period. Saint Bene- 
dict, having undertaken the government of a cer- 
tain monastery, where he wished to introduce a 
more severe discipline than the inmates were dis- 
posed to follow, had a poisoned cup presented by 
the monks. He would have fallen a victim to 
their wickedness but for the habit of making the 
sign of the cross over every thing he eat or drank. 
The sign was no sooner made than the cup burst 
into pieces and spilt the deadly contents on the 

Saint Benedict is inseparably coupled in my re- 
collection with his sister, Saint Scholastica, who 
had the gift of working a peculiar kind of light, 

more composuit : tunicam vero Pauli, quam in sportae modum 
ex palms? foliis ille sibi contexuerat secum aufercns, eo vcMtitu 
diebus solemnibus Paschae et Pentecostes, |iin:ul vixit, usus 
est." Die \v. Januarii. I give the original words only for 
the passages which might appear exaggerated in my own 

i A I ir)LU UM 177 

playful miracle's, which our neighbours, the French, 
would prohahly denominate /////wr/r.v dc Jumillc, 
By one of these, the holy nun Scholastic;!, who 
paid a yearly visit to her brother in an outlm 
of his monastery, wishing to keej) him a whole 
night in conversation, and not being able to per- 
suade him, forced him to break the rule which 
bound him to sleep in his cell. The manner of 
carrying her point was simple enough. On hear- 
ing a positive refusal, she crossed her hands, laid 
them upon the table, then reclined her head upon 
them, and wept profusely. Her tears disturbed 
the state of the atmosphere, which, at that moment, 
was beautiful ; and a violent storm of thunder and 
rain instantly ensued. In a few minutes the rivers 
overflowed their banks, and the whole country 
around was like a sea. Benedict, who was fa- 
miliar with miracles, could not mistake the cause 
of the storm, and goodnaturedly reproached his 
sister. " What could I do?" said she with a 
saintly archness, of which none but readers of 
the Breviary could ever suspect the existence: 
* I entreated you, and was refused ; I therefore 
#sked my God, and he heard me. Now, brother, 



go if you can : leave me and run away to your 
monastery." This playfulness is the more sur- 
prising as the good lady Scholastica had then 
a certainty of her approaching death. Benedict 
saw her soul, in the shape of a dove, wing up her 
way to heaven only three days after this miracle. 
The instructive Lessons in which this is related 
come from no vulgar pen. They are portions of 
the Dialogues of Pope Gregory the Great *. 

* Scholastics, venerabilis Patris Benedict! soror, ... ad eum 
seniel per annum venire consueverat : ad quam vir Dei non 
longe extra januam in possessione monasterii descendebat. 
Quadam vero die venit ex more, atque ad earn cum discipulis, 
venerabilis ejus descendit frater, qui totum diem in Dei lau- 
dibus, sanctisque colloquiis ducentes, incumbentibus jam noc- 
tis tenebris, simul acceperunt cibum. Cumque adhuc ad 
mensam sederent, et inter sacra colloquia tardier se hora pro- 
traheret, eadem sanctimonialis foemina soror ejus eum rogavit, 
dicens : " Queeso te, ut ista nocte me non deseras, ut usque 
mane de easiest is vitae gaudiis loquamur." Cui ille respon- 
dit : " Quid est quod loqueris, soror ? manere extra cellam 
nullatenus possum." Tanta vero erat coeli serenitas, ut nulla in 
acre nubes appareret. Sanctimonialis autem femina, cum 
verba fratris negantis audivisset, insertas digitis manus super 
mensam posuit; etcaput in manibus, omnipotenU-m Dmninum 
rogatura, declinavit. Cumque levaret de mensa caput, tanta 
corruscationis et tonitrui virtus, tautaque inundatio pluviae 
erupit, ut neque rencrabilis BeoedictOS, neque fratresqui cum 
eo aderant, extra loci limm. <\\i ( MiH'<l>r;mt. jx'dci 

!<>i u [air. 179 

No one. however, wlm oh- tif profusion 

of wond. r> n corded in the breviary, can be sur- 
prised at these s])ortful displays of supernatural 
power. Tin- iv is scarcely a saint who has not been 
honoured by miracles, which I would call or,ut- 
mental. Celestial meteors have generally shone 
over the houses where a future saint was born, 

potuerint. Sanctimonialis quippe faemina caput in manibus 
declinans, lacryinarurn fluviuin in inensam fuderat, per quas 
serenitatem aeris ad pluviam traxit. Nee paulo tardius post 
orationem inundatio ilia secuta est : sed tanta fuit conve- 
nu'iitia orationis, et inundationis, ut de mcnsa caput jam cum 
touitru levaret : qiiutenus uniiiii idcmque esset momentum, 
et levare caput, et pluviam deponere. Tune vir Dei, inter 
corruscos, et tonitruos, atque ingentis pluviae inundationera, 
videns sc ad inonasterium non posse remeare, coepit conquer! 
contristatus dicens : " Parcat tibi omnipotens Deus, soror, quid 
est quod fecisti ?" Cui ilia respondit : " Ecce rogavi te, et audire 
me noluisti ; rogavi Dominum meum, et audivit me : modo 
ergo, si potes, egredere, et me dimissa ad inonasterium re- 
cede," &c. Die 10 Februarii. 

The collect for the feast of Scholastica is both a specimen of 
the assurance with which the church of Rome circulates her 
legends, and of her tenets concerning the intercession of saints. 
" Deus, qui animam beatae Virginis tuse iScholasticie ad os- 
tendendam iniioccntia; viam, in cohunboc specie coelum pene- 
trare fecisti, da nobis, cjus mcritis et prccibus, ita iunocenter 
vivere, ut ad aeterna mereamur gaudia pervenire." This is 
almost an invariable form of words in the Roman Catholic 


and the bells have rung of their own accord on 
the infants coming to light * : swarms of bees set- 
tled on their mouths, and even built a honey-comb 
in their hands, while lying in the cradle f. A 
baby saint had her face changed into a rose im- 
mediately after birth, that she might be called 
after that flower t. An angel in a bishop's robes, 
appeared upon the baptismal font, where a future 
prelate was to be baptised . The mothers of 
these extraordinary beings seldom were without 
prophetic dreams during the time of gestation ||. 
Some saints performed miracles while yet in the 
womb ; and it is asserted of St. Bridget that, in 
that invisible state, she saved her mother from 
shipwreck ^f . These holy children have not un- 
frequently spoken when scarcely five months old ; 

* St. John a Deo ; St. Peter Celestinua, and many others. 

t St. Ambrose, St. Peter Nolascus, St. Isidore, and many 

J St. Rose a Sancta Maria. " Vultus infantis, mirabiliter 
in rosac effigiem transfiguratus, huic nomini occasioueui dedit.'- 
Die 30 Augusti. 

St. Julian of Cuenca. 

|| See the life of St. Andrew Avellini, and others passim. 

IT " Cum adhuc in utero gestaretur, naufragio, propter 
cam, mater erepta est" 


though the object of their sp.-eclu-s was seldom so 
important as that of St. Philip P>eniti, when, at 
that a^e. lie chid liis mother for sending some 
begging monks empty from her door*. Nor was 
this \\onder exhibited only in the embryo-saints; 
common even -day babes have often .spoken to 
discover the hiding-places of that nearly extinct 
generation of men, whom an impending m'.tre 
drove with affright into the fastnesses of deserts. 
St. Andrew Avellini, for instance, could not have 
been consecrated Bishop of Fiesole, unless he had 
been actually betrayed by the voice of an infant t. 
The apostles, who had received the power of 
working miracles from Christ himself, for the 
great object of establishing his religion, appear to 
have been very limited in the use of their super- 
natural gifts ; and never to have controlled the 
order of nature, except under the influence of 
that supernatural impulse, that unhesitating faith, 
which being in itself a miracle, was, in the strong 
and figurative language of their divine Master, 

* "Vix enira quintum aetatis mensem ingressus, lin^uam 
in voces rairifice solvit, hortatusque fuit matrem, ut Deipara* 
f-rnis docmosynam impertiret." Die 23 Augusti. 

t " Pueri voce mirabilitcr Inqurntis proditu- 


said to be able to move mountains. It is far other- 
wise with t'ie wonder-workers of the breviary. 
While these modern saints lived on earth, nature 
suffered a daily interruption of her laws, arid that 
often for their own personal convenience. With 
the exception of St. Paul's preservation from the 
bite of the viper, we do not find miraculous inter- 
positions in his favour. Indeed the account he 
gives of the hardships, dangers, and narrow escapes 
during his ministry, shows that miracles were not 
wrought for his comfort. Modern saints are more 
fortunate : Frances, a Roman widow, who enjoyed 
the familiar view and conversation of her guardian 
angel, once multiplied a few crusts of bread, 
so as to afford a substantial meal to fifteen nuns, 
and fill up a basket with the fragments. On 
another occasion she allayed their thirst with a 
bunch of miraculous grapes ; and more than once 
was preserved by supernatural influence, from the 
inconvenience of getting wet in the rain, or even 
from the stream of a river *. St. Andrew Avel- 

* " Deus, qui beatam Franciscan! famulam tuam, inter 
caetera gratias tmc dona, familiar! angel! consuetudine deco- 
rasti/'&c. Collect. 

" Non semel aquae, vel e coelo labentcs, intactam prorsus, 


lini, retiring home in a storm, was equally pre- 
served from tin- eflects of rain. The benefit of 
this miracle was not only extruded to his compa- 
nions, hut the whole company had the advant 
of seeing their way in a pitch-dark night, by the 
radiancy of the saint's person*. 

These phosphoric appearances, as well as a 
supernatural tendency to fly upwards, are so com- 
mon among saints of the last four or five centuries, 
that it would be tedious to mention individual in- 
stances. St. Peter of Alcantara, a saint very re- 
markable for antigravitating qualities t, exhibited 
a very curious phenomenon in another storm. A 
tremendous fall of snow came on as he was re- 

dum Deo vacaret reliquerunt. Modica panis fragmenta, quse 
vix tribus sororibus reficiendis fuissent satis, sic ejus precibus 
Dominus multiplicavit, ut quindccim inde exsaturatis, taiitftm 
Miprrfuerit, ut canistrum impleverit : et uliquandii earuimlem 
-..p.nim extra urbein, inense Januario ligna parantiuin, sitim, 
;iis uva' raivinis c\ vite in arburc ])cii(lentil)us inirabilitcr 
obtentis, abuiide cxplcverit." Die 9 Martis. 

* " Cum enini intempesta nocte ab audita aegri confessione 
(Ionium rediret, ac pluvke vcntoruiiKpie vis prnt'lucentcni facein 
extinxisset, non solum ij)se. cum sociis, inter efKusissinms im- 
brcs nihil madefactus est, veruni etiain inusitato spleiidore, e 
^iin cr pi. re niiraltiliter emicante, sociis inter densissimas tene- 
bras itcr monstravit." Die 10 Novembris. 

t " In aera frequenter sublatus, iniro fulgorc 
visus est." 


turning at night to the convent. Distressed for 
shelter, he entered a building, the most unfit for 
the occasion, as it wanted a roof to stop the snow. 
But the walls which still remained saved half the 
trouble to the miraculous agent employed on this 
occasion. The snow congealed into a solid roof, and 
completed the building in which Peter passed the 
night*. The cooling properties of this structure 
must have been highly welcome to a man, whose 
charity (I relate what I find in the Breviary) so 
used to raise the temperature of his blood, that it 
obliged him to break out from his cell and run 
distracted into the fields f. 

The repetition of miracles is a matter of some 

* " Cum noctu iter ageret, densa nive cadciite, dirutam 
domum sine tecto ingressus est, eique iiix in acre pendula 
pro tecto fuit, ne illius copia suffocaretur." 

f (< Charitas Dei et proximi in ejus corde diffusa, tan turn 
quandoque excitabat incendium, ut e cellar angustiis in 
apertum campum prosilire, aerisque refrigerio coiu'cptum 
ardorem temperare cogeretur." Another physical rtfVct of 
charity is recorded in the life of St. Philip Ncri, whose clu >t 
being too confined for the expansive ardour of that virtue, was 
miraculously enlarged by the fracture of two ribs. " Charitate 
Dei vulueratus, languebat jugiter ; tantoque cor ejus estuahat 
ardore, ut cum inter tines suos contineri non posset, illius 
sinum, confractis atque elatis duabus costulis, mirabilitcr 
Dominus ampliaverit." Die 26 Mali. 

\INSI e A i iim.u ISM. 1 S.> 

curiosity. Bfi it mi^ht In- expected that powers 
which bailie tin* law* of nature, would display an 
inexhau.stible \ariet\. Yet \\ -e find the carlie-t 
miracles repeated, and many occur regularly in 
the lite of every saint. Of the latter kind are the 
luminous appearance of their faces; the mul- 
tiplication or creation of food; living without 
sustenance ; conversing with angels ; emitting 
sweet effluvia from their dead bodies. More 
peculiar displays of supernatural interference ap- 
pear, sometimes, at distant periods. St. Gregory, 
the wonderworker of the fourth century, fixed his 
staff in the ground, and it instantly grew up into 
a tree which stopt the floods of the river Lycus. 
The lately mentioned Peter of Alcantara made 
also his staff grow into a fig tree, which the friars 
of his order have propagated by cuts, in every part 
of Spain. This happened only in the sixteenth 
century. A raven provided Paul the hermit with 
bread : a wild doe presented herself daily to be 
milked by St. ^Lgidius. St. Eustachius, a martyr, 
said to have been a general under Trajan, was 
converted by seeing, in the chase, a stag bearing 
a crucifix between his antlers. St. John of Matha 


founded the order of the Trinity, in consequence 
of seeing a similar animal with a tri-colour cross 
in the same position. There are also certain 
miraculous feats, for which saints have shown a 
peculiar fondness. Three navigations on a mantle 
are recorded in the Breviary. Saint Francis de 
Paula crossed the strait of Sicily on his own cloak, 
taking another monk as a passenger. St. Ray- 
mond de Pennafort sailed in the same manner, 
from Majorca to Barcelona. St. Hyacinth, a 
Pole, though only a fresh water sailor, deserves 
no less credit for the management of his cloth 
vessel across the flooded Vistula, notwithstand- 
ing a heavy cargo of monks *. 

The mention of a Polish saint reminds me, 

* St. Francis de Paula. " Multis miraculis servi sui 
sanctitatem Deus testari voluit, quorum illud in primis 
celebre, quod a nautis rejectus, Siciliae fretura, strato super 
fluctibus pallio, cum .socio transmisit." Die 2 Aprili. 

St. Raymond de Pennafort. " Multa patravit miracula ; 
inter quae illud clarissimum, quod ex insula Baleari Majori 
Barcinonem reversurus, strato super aquas pallio, centum 
sexaginta milliaria sex horis confecerit; et suum ccenobium 
januis clausis fuerit ingressus." Die L'.'J Jannarii. 

St. Hyacinth. " Vandalum iluviiiiu ]>r<>{),> Yisogradum 
aquis redundantem, nullo navi^in UMIS trajrn't, soriis quoque 
expanse super unda.s palli, tradiu-ti-. Pic If; August!. 

MNS i ( A i HOI. u ISM. 187 

however, of a miracle performed by St. Stanislaus, nf Cracow, which is not likely to have 
been often ivjvatcd. Stanislaus was on tin- point 
of being deprived of some lands, which he had 
purchased for his church. He could not show the 
title deeds ; and the person to whom they formerly 
belonged, had been dead three years. The king 
being a decided enemy of the bishop, no witness 
would come forward in his favour. The diet of 
Poland was on the point of punishing Stanislaus 
for his supposed fraud, when, to the no small 
amusement of the noblemen present, he engaged, 
within three days, to present the late possessor of 
the estate. On the third the saint called the dead 
man out of the grave. Peter (that was his name) 
rose without delay, and followed the bishop to the 
diet ; where having duly given his deposition in 
support of the bishop's right, he begged to be 
allowed to die again*. The king was, however, 

* " Spondct <pisn.piis *c IVtruin, pagi vi-nditorem, qui 
triennio ante obierat, intni dies tn-s in judicium addueturum. 

cum risu um-pta, vir Dei . .. ipso spmisionis die, 
])o->t oltlatiun Missju sacrificiuni, Pctrinn c scpulcliro surgerc 
jiibt-t, qui statim redivivus, opiscopum ad regiuin trilmnal 
euntein so(|iiitur, i!>i(|uc rcgs, ft cat. ri, stnpnre attonitis, de 


too hardened to profit by this great miracle ; and 
being enraged at the sentence of excommunication 
which the bishop soon after fulminated against 
him ; killed him with his own hand, and ordered 
his body to be quartered and scattered about the 
fields. The wild beasts would have made a repast 
on the holy relics, but for the watchfulness of 
some eagles, which never allowed any one to 
touch them, till the canons of Cracow, led by the 
light thrown out by the scattered limbs, collected 
them the ensuing night. The different parts of 
the body, when properly adjusted together, united 
as closely as kindred drops, and not a mark was 
left of the effects of the knife *. 

Novel and singular as the history of Stanislaus 
appears, I have a suspicion that another dead 
witness has somewhere else, appeared before a 
court of justice ; but I defy hagiography to match 

agro a se vendito, et pretio rite sibi ab episcopo persoluto 
testimonium dicit, atque iterum in Domino obdormivit." 

* " Corpus membratim concisum, et per agros projectum, 
aquilae a feris mirabiliter defendant. M<>\ ('aiumiri Cra- 
coviences sparsa membra, nocturni de ccelo splendoris indicio 
colligunt, et suis locis ajt< dispnmmt, quae subito ita inter se 
copulata Mint, nt nulla vulnerum vestigia extarrnt." Di 
7 Mail. 


the miracles I am goin^ t() relate from the life of 
a Spanish saint recorded in the lire \iary. 

St. Peter Armen^aud, of the family of the 
counts of Ur^el, had entered the Order of Mrrc\ , 
and made some visits to Barhary for the liberation 
of Christian captives. The money collected for 
that purpose being exhausted before he could 
ransom some boys, whose faith appeared to be 
wavering ; he sent them away with his companion, 
and remained as a hostage for the full amount of 
the debt. Charity like this, exerted by a free 
choice, and without the dangerous and oppressive 
system of religious vows, would be worth all the 
miracles of the Breviary. But the marvellous is 
a necessary element in every saint's life ; and the 
good friars of the Mercy, have mixed it here in 
a rather undue proportion. Peter .waited for his 
companion with a very natural anxiety ; but the 
expected money did not come on the appointed 
day, and the barbarians settled the account by 
hanging their hostage. Great indeed was the 
distress of Father William, on learning the sad 
consequences of his delay: yet the body of a 


martyr was worth having, and he insisted upon 
carrying it back to Spain. The Moors had no 
objection to part with it, and willingly led the 
monk to the place where Peter was still hanging 
by the neck. Three days in that posture would 
have closed a wind-pipe of brass ; but Peter's was 
sufficiently free to address his religious brother, as 
soon as he saw him within hearing. The Virgin 
Mary, he informed him, had, since his execution, 
supported the weight of his body, and was still 
holding him up at that moment. Not to prolong 
the necessity of supernatural assistance, Peter was 
cut down without delay. Of the pleasures he 
had experienced while hanging, he used always to 
speak in raptures; notwithstanding a wry neck 
and habitual paleness for life, which the Virgin 
allowed him to keep, in remembrance of her assist- 
ance. It seems that, omitting the rope and beam, 
the scene of suspension was often repeated between 
Peter and his glorious prop; for the Breviary 
informs us that he frequently was seen raised in 
the air, uttering " the sweetest words" in answer 
to questions which the bystanders heard not, but 

.U..MN llui.lCISM. 

conjectured, most rationally, to proceed from the 
Virgin ". 

" May I not a>k (>ays the author of the Book 
of the Roman Catholic Church), if it be either 
just or generous to harass the present Catholic 
with the weaknesses of the aneient writers of 
their communion ; and to attempt to render their 
religion and themselves odious by these unceasing 

* " Ipse interim compedibus detentus, cum ad statutam 
diem parta pro redemptioiie merces non fuisset allata, et Ma- 
hometicae superstitionis haberetur contemptor, collo ad lignum 
suspenditur. Ex Hispania ejus socius GuilMnms cum re- 
demptionis pretio iu Africam interea revertitur, et gravitir 
beati viri amissioDcm deflens, ad locum ubi suspensus manebat, 
accessit; quern viventem reperit, sibique dicentem audivit : 
' Cliarissime t'rati-r, ne fleveris ; ecce enim sanctissimae Virginis 
manibussustentatus vivo, quae mihi his diebus hilariter adfuit.' 
Inenarrabili itaque gaudio ilium e suspendio deposuit, et ; 
runctis demirantibus, ac barbaris non credentibus, una cum 
aliis libertate donatis, lajti in patriam reversi suut. Ex illo 
autem tempore beatus Peti-us collum e supplicio obtortum, et 
Tultuin squalori 1 niarcidum, quoad vixit, retinuit. . . Frequenter 
alit-natus a scii?>iliiis in aerem sublatus, suavissima verbii pro- 
ferre auditus est, quibus, ut adstantibus videbatur, IK atissimae 
Virgin! interroganti respondebat j suique martyrii inemor, 
hsec fratribus dicere erat solitus : ' Ego, credite milii, nullos 
reputo me vixisse dies, praeter f^icissimos illos paucos, quibus 
ligno susponsus, mundo putabar jam mortuus. Officia propria 
SS. Hispanoruin, die '27 Aprilis." 1 


and offensive repetitions ?" This complaint should 
be addressed to the Pope and the Roman Catholic 
bishops, by whose authority, consent, and practice, 
these weaknesses are unceasingly repeated for the 
instruction of the members of their communion. I 
can sympathise with the feelings of the author : I 
can easily conceive how galling it must be for a 
modernized Roman Catholic, in this country, to be 
constantly suspected of being a Roman Catholic, in- 
deed, and according to the Pope's heart. His case is 
as deplorable as that of a man of fashion, who should 
be compelled to frequent the higher circles in 
company with an old, fantastic, half-crazed mother, 
who daily and hourly exposed herself to contempt 
and ridicule, in spite of his filial efforts to hide 
her absurdities. The truth is, that the Protestants 
have nearly forgotten the monstrous heap of false- 
hood and imposture from which Rome daily feeds 
her flock. But the offensive repetitions resound 
on the ears of your harassed apologist from the 
lips of every bishop, priest, deacon and subdeacon 
of his communion : they are chanted incessantly 
in every Roman Catholic cathedral, in every con- 

AGAIN noun 

vent of males or females : they nslated into 

popular tracts*: they are heard and read with 
avidity by tin- mass of straight-fonvard, uncom- 
promising Catholics, and cannot he scouted hy 
the more fastidious, without a direct reproach 
on tbo most constant, solemn, and authorised 
practice of their rhurch. In vain would the- suffer- 
ing scholar, the harassed man of refinement, at- 
tempt a distinction between the miracles of dark 
ages, and those of more modern times : in vain 
would he venture a smile on the " Golden Legend, 
and tin- patrician Metaphrastes." His mother 
church has thrown her mantle over them, by 
borrowing from them all for her own peculiar 
hook, her own corrected work, the task-book of all 
her clergy. He must remember that the weaknesses 
for which he implores the benefit of oblivion are 

* I believe that these stories are much circulated among 
the Roman Catholics of these kingdoms in the shape of popular 
pamphlets. I have not, however, been able to procure a copy, 
owing to the unwillingness of Roman Catholic booksellers to 
furnish unknown purchasers with a certain peculiar produce 
of their press. I had strong reasons to suspect the existence 
of this policy, when it was confirmed to me by the personal 
ex|>erience of a clerical friend. 



no more imputable to their original and ancient 
sources, but to the Popes who republished them 
at the Vatican, in 1631 ; to the church, who with 
one accordant voice repeats them to the faithful 
of all climates and languages. 

It were well, however, for the happiness and 
virtue of the spiritual subjects of Rome, if their 
church had sanctioned weaknesses only absurdi- 
ties which degrade the understanding and had 
left the rules of Christian conduct undisturbed. 
But the Breviary is not more absurd in matters 
of fact than depraved in the views of moral per- 
fection, which it disseminates. I will not, how- 
ever, dwell long upon this topic, since the attach- 
ment of the church of Rome to monastic virtue, 
has at all times betrayed her distorted views of 
evangelical perfection. The specimens which I 
am about to select from the multitude of her 
saintly models, are not intended to convict her of 
errors which she glories in, but to impress their 
consequences oji those that seldom or never dwell 
upon these important topics. As I cannot se- 
parate, in these specimens, what strictly belongs 
to the subject on which I am going to touch, 

\(,\l\ 1101. U I 195 

tVom the miraculou* ornaments with which these 
legends an on to keep this in 

mind, that tin- progress and 00111*6 oi my argu- 
ment may h ved. 

\Vhate\ ni which Rome 

allows in the belief or rejection of her miracles 
uh the unfairness of asserting and pro- 

pagating absurdities, under the excuse that no 
force is employed to ensure their reception whe- 
ther the church that sanctions and uses the Bre- 
viary believes the accounts it contains, or secretly 
siuiK-s at the credulity of those who credit them ; 
it might be hoped that the models proposed for 
imitation would have been safe in regard of Chris- 
tian practice. This is certainly not the case. 
There is, indeed, in most of the Roman Catholic 
saints much of that benevolent spirit of the Gospel, 
which must always be found in every heart which 
opens itself to the divine influence of its leading 
truths ; but Christian charity is in them so mixed 
with substantial and pervading errors, that it is 
seldom unproductive of evil. 

The first noxious ingredient which poisons cha- 
rity in the Roman Catholic system of sauctit\ 

o 2 


intolerance. The seeds of this bitter plant are, in- 
deed, inseparable from a hearty reception of her 
doctrines, as I have proved before ; but its mature 
fruit, persecution, is praised among the virtues of 
saints whose circumstances enabled them to use 
force against pagans or heretics. Thus, in the life 
of Canute the Dane, his donations to the church 
are hardly more commended than the zeal with 
which he conquered the barbarians, with the pur- 
pose of making them Christians *. St. Ferdi- 
nand, King of Castille, is represented as an eminent 
sample of that peculiar Roman Catholic virtue, 
which visits dissent from the faith of Rome with 
the mild correctives of sword and fire. " In alli- 
ance with the cares of government, the regal vir- 
tues (says the Breviary) shone in him magnani- 
mity, clemency, justice, and above all zeal for the 
Catholic faith, and an ardent determination to 
defend and propagate its worship. This he per- 
formed, in the first place, by persecuting heretics, 

* " Religion i promovendae sedulo incumbens, ecclesias red- 
ditibus augere, et pretiosa supellectili ornare coepit. Turn 
zelo propaganda- fidei succensus, barbara regna justo certa- 
in ine aggressus, devictas, subditasque nationes Christianas 
fidei subjugarit." Die 19 Januarii. 

MNM ( A ! IIULU IVM. 197 

to whom In- allowed no ivpoM- in any part of his 
kino-dom; and for wli rution, when con- 

demned to he burnt, hi' used to carry tin 1 wood 
\\ith bis own hands*/' Who then shall be sur- 
prised to find inquisitors ranoni/ed by Koine, or 
to hear her addressing a daily prayer to the great 
and merciful Father of mankind, " that lie would 
be pleased to bruise, by the power of his right 
band, all pagan and heretical nations ?" Such are 
the words which Rome puts in the mouth of every 
Spanish priest who celebrates high mass t. 

The power of persecuting others, upon the grand 
scale, which the Church of Rome exalts into a 
kingly virtue, is given but to very few among 

* " In eo, adjimctis regni curis, regise virtutes emicuere, 
magnanimitas, dementia, justitia, et prae caeteris Catholicaj 
Fidei zelus, ejusque religiosi cultus propagandi ardens stu- 
diuin. I<1 pra-stitit in primis hacreticos insectando, quos null i hi 
regnorum suorum consistere passus, propriis ipse manibus ligna 
ounburendis damnatis ad rogum, advehebat." Propria Ss. 
Hispan. Die 30 Maii. 

t The concluding collect contains a prayer for the Pope in 
the first, for the bishop of the diocese in the second, and for the 
r>\;il family in the third place; it then proceeds to pray for 
JM-.UV and health, and concludes, " et ab ecdesia tim cunctnm 

DEX'll '-MI },N | IA ( PNTERANTUB, &l 


mankind : whilst every individual may be made 
his own tormentor by adopting the practices 
which that church represents as the means to 
arrive at Christian perfection. Zeal and sincerity, 
are equally dangerous under the tuition of Rome. 
The Catholic nunneries rob society of the most 
amiable and virtuous female minds those who 
in the practice of the social duties, would be a 
blessing to their relatives and friends, and pat- 
terns of virtue to the community to make their 
lives, at the best, a perpetual succession of toil- 
some and useless practices. The quiet and sober- 
minded are made the slaves of outward ceremo- 
nies ; the ardent and sensitive are doomed to en- 
thusiasm or madness. Such are the invariable 
results of the models which Rome presents them 
daily for imitation. 

The love of external ceremonies is notorious in 
the Roman Catholic church ; but few, even among 
the persons whom I address, will probably have 
given a distinct and separate consideration to the 
special models, by which their church sanctions 
and recommends this peculiar manner of sanctity. 
Let them, therefore, conceive themselves as con- 

CAH ii"i.h iSM. 199 

temporaries of Saint Patrick, and imagine they 
see him pursuing UK- regular anil daily employ- 
ment of his time. The holy saint rises before 
daylight, and, under the sno\vs and rains of a 
northern winter, begins hN u>ual task of praying 
hundred times in a day, and again one hun- 
dred times in the night. Such, the Breviary in- 
forms, was his daily praetiee while still a layman 
and a slave. When raised to the see of Armagh, 
his activity in the external practice of prayer ap- 
pears quite prodigious. In the first place he re- 
peated, daily, the one hundred and fifty psalms 
of the Psaltery, with a collection of canticles and 
hymns, and two hundred collects. The two hundred 
genuflexions of his youth were now increased to 
three hundred. The ecclesiastical day being di- 
vided into eight canonical hours, and each of these 
having one hundred blessings with the sign of the 
iToss allotted by Saint Patrick, his right hand 
must have performed that motion eight hundred 
times a day. After this distracting stir and hurry, 
the night brought but little repose to the saint. 
He divided it into three portions : in the first he 
recited one hundred psalms, and knelt two hu/i- 


dred times ; during the second he stood immersed 
in cold water repeating jifty psalms more, " with 
his heart, eyes, and hands raised towards heaven ;" 
the third he gave up to sleep, upon a stone pave- 
ment*. Imagine to yourselves, I again request, 
the patron saint of Ireland, not as an ideal and 
indistinct personage of legend ; but as a real man 
of flesh and blood. Depict, in the vivid colours 
of fancy, the bustle, the perpetual motion, the 
eternal gabbling, the plunging into water for 
prayer, the waving of the hands for benedictions, 
the constant falling upon the knees, the stretching 
of hands, the turning up of eyes, required for the 
ascetic practices of his life ; and then repeat the 
memorable words of our Saviour The hour 

* " Antelucano tempore per nives, gelu, ac pluvias ad preces 
Deo fundendas, impiger consurgebat ; solitus centies interdiu, 
centiesque noctu Deum orare . . . Aiunt enim integrum quo- 
tidie Psalterium, una cum canticis et bymnis, ducentisque 
orationibus consuevisse recitare : ter centies per dies singulos 
flexis genibus Deum adorare, ac in qualibet Hora Canonica, 
centies se crucis signo munire. Noctem tria in spatia dis- 
tribuens, prinium in centum psalmis percurrcndis, et bis cen- 
ties genuflectendo, alterum in reliquis quinquaginta psaJmis, 
algidis aquis immersus, ac corde, oculis, manibusque ad coelum 
erectus, absolvendis insumebat: tertium vero super nuduin 
hpidcin stratus, tcinii dabat quieti." Die 17 Martii. 

i A IHOI a ISM. 201 

(7//, and noic is. when the true 'worshippers 
shall worship the Father, in spirit and in truth ; 
Jur the Father see lie th such to worship him. God 
is a spirit; and they that worship him must wor- 
ship him in spirit and in truth*. Compare the 
Miblime simplicity of thN description of Christian 
piety, with the models which your church sets before 
you; and tell me whether they agree. I will not 
dispute whether the list of devotional practices 
attributed to Saint Patrick, be authentic or fic- 
titious, accurate or exaggerated. The church of 
Home would not have recorded it in her authorised 
book of spiritual instruction, if, in her opinion, it 
did not exalt the piety of her saint. The worthies 
of the Breviary, whether sketched from nature or 
pictured from fancy, must be a faithful transcript 
of Rome's ideal models of Christian perfection. 
The practices attributed to Saint Patrick are, 
therefore, made an object of imitation to all the 
sons of the church of Rome, according to their 
strength and circumstances; and the principle 
that such practices are a part of Evangelical 

* John iv. 23, - 1 


virtue, will not be questioned by a sincere Roman 
Catholic. Indeed, among the saints of the Bre- 
viary, most will be found commended for similar 
practices ; and not a book of devotion, by writers 
of that communion exists, which does not repre- 
sent some bodily exercise or distortion, as an ef- 
fectual method of pleasing God *. 

All this, however, is intimately connected with 
the Roman Catholic notions on penance a subject 
which well deserves the dispassionate considera- 
tion of every impartial member of that communion. 

* The least morose of all Roman Catholic saints, Saint 
Francis de Sales, though not carrying these practices to the 
degree usual among professed saints, strongly recommends this 
kind of spiritual gymnastics to his friends. The following are 
his directions to a gentleman " qui vouloit se retirer du monde." 

" Je vous conseille de pratiquer ces exercises pour ces trois 
raois suivans... que vous vous leviez toujours a six h< 
matin, soit que vous ayez bien dormi, ou mal dormi, pourvu 
que vous ne soyez pas malade (car alors il faut condescendre 
au mal) et pour faire quelque chose de plus les vendredis, vous 
vous leviez a cinq heures . . . Item, que vous vous accoutumiez 
a dire tous les jours, apres ou devant 1'oraison, quinze Pater 
noster et quinze Ave, Maria, les bras etendus en guise de 
crucifix. . . . Encore, voudrois-je quelquefois la semaine vous 
couchassiez vetu. . . . et ces jours-la de fete, vous pourrez him 
visiter par maniere d'exercice les lieux saints des capucins, S. 
Bernard, les Chartreux." Lettres de Saint Francois de Sales. 

rn ( .\inoi.ins\i 

If it IK- oiuv M-ttled that self-inflicted suffering 
y it>elt, ;i virtue; the progress between a simple 
and tin- tortures voluntarily endured by the 
Indian fanatics. N natural and unbroken. The 
practice of Roman Catholic saints, approaches very 
nearly indeed to that of the Kastern worshipers 
of the Evil Principle. Open the Breviary at any 
of the pa^-es containing the lives of saints, males or 
females, and you will find uninterrupted abstinence 
from food (whether real or not, certainly held out 
to admiration, and sanctioned by the assertion of 
miracles in its favour) since Ash Wednesday till 
Whitsunday * : living one half of the year on bread 
and water t: confinement for four years to a niche 
ivated in a rockt; and every where the con- 
stant use of flagellation, lacerating bandages, and 
iron chains bound constantly about the body, im- 
mersions in freezing water, and every method of 
gradually and painfully destroying life. The 
Roman Catholics will talk of penance in modera- 

* Life of St. Catharine of Sienna. 

t St. Elizabeth of Portugal. 

J The blessed Dalnuitius Monerius, in the Propr 


tion ; but where is the line drawn, where, indeed, 
can it be drawn, to point the beginning of excess ? 
Must I again revive the memory of the victims 
whom I have seen perish in their youth, from the 
absolute impossibility of moderating the enthu- 
siasm which their church thus encourages? It 
is chiefly among the tender and delicate of the 
female sex, that the full effects of these examples 
are seen. How can a confessor prescribe limits 
to the zeal of an ardent mind, which is taught to 
please God by tormenting a frail body ? Teach 
an enthusiastic female that self-inflicted death will 
endear her to her heavenly bridegroom, and she 
will press the rope or the knife to her lips. Di- 
stant danger is lighter than a feather to hearts 
once swollen with the insane affections of religious 
enthusiasm. Talk to them about the duty of 
preserving life, and they will smile at the good 
natured casuistry, which would moderate their pur- 
suit of a more noble and more disinterested duty 
that of loving their God above their own lives. 
Their church has besides, practically dispensed 
the duty of self-preservation in favour of penance. 
Does not the young victim read of her model 


Saint Theresa, that " her ardour in punishing the 
body was x) vehement as to make 1 her use hair- 
shirts, chains, nettles, scourges, and even to roll 
herself among thorns, regardless of a diseased 
constitution?" Is she not told that St. K 
" from a desire to imitate St. Catharine*, wore, 
day and night, three folds of an iron chain round 
her waist ; a belt set with small needles, and an 
iron crown armed inside with points ? That she 
made to herself a bed of the unpolished trunks of 
trees, and that she filled up the interstices with 
pieces of broken pottery?" She did all this in 
spite of her " tortures from sickness," and by this 
means she obtained the frequent visits of saints 
and angels; and heard Christ himself uttering 
the words, "Rose of my heart, be thou my bride." 
Can the poor, weak, visionary recluse doubt the 
reality of scenes attested by her church, or question 
the lawfulness of slow self-murder, supported by 
the brightest of her commended models t ? 

* Observe the effect of the proposed models. The Breviary 
records a number of similar imitations : every one acquainted 
with Roman Catholics must have seen them repeated every day. 

f St. Theresa. . . . " Per duodeviginti annos gravissimis 
morbis et variis tentationibus vexata, constantissime meruit 


The only rational principle which can regulate 
self-denial, and give it the stamp of a Christian 
virtue, would condemn the whole of the monkish 
system at once: Rome, therefore, cannot, will 

in castris Christiana poenitentiae. . . Infidelium et haereticorum 
tenebras perpetuis deflebat lacrymis, atque ad placandani 
divinae ultionis iram, voluntaries proprii corporis fruciatus 
Deo, pro eorum salute dicabat. . . Tarn auxio castigandi cor- 
poris desiderio ajstuabat, ut quamris secus suaderent niorbi. 
quibus afflictabatur, corpus ciliciis, catenis, urticarum mani- 
pulis, aliisque asperrimis flagellis saepe cruciaret, et aliquaudo 
inter spinas volutaret, sic Deum alloqui solita : * Domine, aut 
pati aut niori' . . . Ei morienti adesse visus est inter angelorum 
agmina Christus Jesus : et arbor arida cellse proxima statim 
effloruit." Die 15 Octobris. 

St. Rose of Lima. . . " Oblongo asperrimoque cilicio sparsim 
minusculas acus intexuit; sub velo coronam densis aculeis 
introrsus obarmatam, interdiu noctuque gestavit. Sanctae 
Catharinae Senensis ardua premens vestigia, catena ferrea, 
triplici nexu circumducta, lumbos cinxit. Lectulum si)>i 
truncis nodosis composuit, horumque vacuas comraissuras 
fragminibus testarum implevit. Cellulam sibi angustissimam 
struxit in extremo horti angulo, ubi caelestium contemplatinni 
dedita, crebris disciplinis, inedia, vigiliis corpusculum ex- 
teuuans, at spiritu vegetata, larvas daemonura frequent i 
tamine victrix, impavide protrivit ac superavit. . . Exinde 
coepit supernis abundare deliciis, illustrari vision ibus, colli- 
qucscere Seraphicis ardoribus. Angelo tutelar!, sanctae Catlia- 
rinae Senensi, Virgini Deipane inter assiduas apparitiones ; 
familiaris, a Christo has voces audire incruit : ' Rosa cordi- 
mei, tu milii -j >.' " Die 30 Augusti. 

ih>i. u ISM. 207 

not admit it. Make the o-ood of mankind the 
only ground Tor voluntary endurance of pain; 
make the habit of rational self-denial (without 
which e\teiiM\e usefulness is impossible) the ob- 
ject of certain slight privation.-, used M a discipline 
of mind and body; and a convent assumes the 
character of a mad-house. Penance is. conse- 
quently, erected into an independent virtue, and 
.saints are made to appear after death, in glory, 
to proclaim the Indian doctrine of heavenly enjoy- 
ments purclyised by bodily sufferings *. 

The models which Rome presents for imitation. 
are not more removed from the spiritual simpli- 
city of the Gospel, than they are from that sober- 
ness of devotional feeling which pervades the 
whole of the New Testament. Read the lives of 
saints who have lived since the beginning of the 
sixteenth century ; and, whether male or female, 
you will find a sentimentality of devotion, a sus- 
picious kind of tenderness, which from time to 
time, has alarmed the truly sincere sons of Rome, 

* St. Peter of Alcantara is said to have apj)eared after 
death to St. T!uiv>a, and exclaimed: O feliv jxenitcntia, 
quce tantam mihi prnmcnnt gloriam ! Die :i\ <>to)>n'. 


under the grosser shape of devotional sensuality. 
There is, I am aware, a distinction between the 
raptures of St. Theresa, and the ecstatic reveries 
of the quietists ; but on reading her own account 
of her feelings, and hearing the description which 
the church of Rome gives of her visions, it is im- 
possible not to observe that both have some moral 
elements in common. The picture of St. Theresa 
fainting under the wound which an angel inflicts 
on her heart with a fiery spear, were it not for 
the nun's weeds worn by the principal figure ; 
might easily be mistaken for a votive tablet in- 
tended for some heathen temple : and her dying 
" rather of love than disease" is more worthy of a 
novel of doubtful tendency, than of a collection of 
lives prepared by a Christian church, to exemplify 
the moral effects of the Gospel*. 

* " Tanto autem divini araoris incendio cor ejus con- 
flagravit, ut merito viderit angelum ignito jaculo sibi prae- 
cordia transverberantem ; et audierit Christum data dextera 
dicentem sibi : ' Deinceps ut vera sponsa raeum zelabis ho- 
noreui."' (I cannot venture any remarks on the apposition 
of these emblems.) " Intolerabili igitur divini amoris incendio 
potius, quam vi morbi . . . sub columbae specie purissiimmi 
animum Deo reddidit." Ubi supra. I must observe, with- 
out however insinuating any thing more than the dangerous 

the ihvviary produce ellecls analogous to 
tlu- and n>n 

to tiu 4 rxU'iit of tlh .' it I iy thi' Human Ca- 

tholk's? J)u's it everywhere degrade faith into 

'ul'ty, and C. itimcntality ? That 

it docs so among Roman Catholics, in Italy, in 
Spain, in Portugal, and in all other count; 
whore the religion of Rome predominates ; is a 
matter of general notoriety. It would afford an 
additional praise of the reformed religion, if it 
could be proved that the Roman Catholics of 
Great Dritain and Ireland, had been preserved 
from the injurious effects \vhich the true book of 
their church, has so widely produced among their 
foreign brethren. It is possible that the class of 
Roman Catholics to whom I have addressed my- 
self in tlicw letters, and who alone are likely to 

1 them, have never since their childhood exa- 

n.iture of tins Und of devotion, that in I ts it generally 

has the Virgin for its ohject. The life of St. Bernard con- 
tains descriptions of visions, which would be unfit for the eyo 
of the puUii 1 in any other hook. Hagiography, however, ;. 

t lilerty both to writers and painters. The picture of the 
\i>ioii I allude to, I have seen in a convent of C istercian Nuns. 
Tin* Breviary however ornita <.hieh fcn,;> i- 


mined the devotional books published in England 
for the use of the sincerely pious among them. If 
they should be well acquainted with such books, 
they will not require any further proof of the per- 
fect agreement between the minds and feelings of 
such persons, and those which I have instanced 
from the Breviary. Such as may have forgotten 
the character of their devotional books would do 
well to reperuse them. I will, however, in the 
mean time, give one or two specimens, from the 
TWELFTH London edition, of the DEVOTION 
JESUS*. I have so much exceeded the length 
which I proposed to give this letter, that I will 
not detain my readers much longer upon tlii> 

The ostensible Roman Catholics of England, I 
mean such as appear in the character of specimens 
of their religious communion, are so dexterous in 
the use of theological distinctions, so practised in the 
pious work of throwing a cloak over the nakedness 
of their spiritual parent, that the Protestant public 

* Extracts from this book will he found in an Appendix, 
after the Notes to tli>>^ I.rti 

A<, HOLIC1SK 211 

will hardly expect tin- following rule of belief, upon 
matters not strictly of dogmatic faith, prevalent 
amono- thv- pious and sincere Konian Catholit 
these realms. The rule applies to the subject 
of revelations and miracles, such as the Roman 
Church records in her Breviary. 

" The public is in possession of many writings 
of holy women, \vho have yielded to advice and 
obeyed their spiritual directors. They contain an 
unt of many revelations, celestial visions, and 
other extraordinary graces, which they have re- 
ceived from God. Now I reason thus : either 
these writings were penned by the saints, or they 
were not. If they were, either they designedly 
published a falsehood, or were themselves deluded, 
and have given us idle dreams. Will you sup- 
pose that they were not the real authors of these 
works? You shock every idea of reason and com- 
mon sense. The man who will venture to deny 
that St. Theresa wrote her life, may doubt of her 
existence. But you will say she was deluded, 
and her imagination deluded all she wrote. The 
delusion must be the work of the evil spirit, 
which no Catholic can believe to have had any 



power over the chaste spouse of Jesus Christ, 
canonized by the church. If imagination pre- 
vailed, it is true she was not a hypocrite, but a 
fool. I shudder at the thought of so impious, so 
groundless an imputation. Who can believe that 
these saints lived in a perpetual aberration of mind? 
I say perpetual, for we are not here treating of 
transient acts, which lasted a few hours or d; 
or even during certain periods of life, but the 
duration of which is measured by the whole ex- 
tent of their existence*." I know this argument 
to be unanswerable upon the principles of a sin- 
cere Roman Catholic ; and cannot but feel pained 
to see that it must have weight with millions of 
Britons. Such is the genuine work of Rome 
among the most thinking people of Europe ! 
Strange that a set of Italian priests should have 
it in their power thus to emasculate understand- 
ings, which claim kindred with Locke, Napier, 
and Berkeley. 

Nor is their power less effectual in rendering 
Christian devotion in these kingdoms as childish, 

* Page 70. 

M. \INM *. A I 1101 li l.vM. 

ing, and contemptible as it appears in the 
worst pages of the Breviary. I have at this mo- 
ment before in- an Angdkol I , which the 
same English Manual of Devotion recommends 
in the following terms: * Whosoever is devoted 
to this exercise in honour of the blessed Virgin 
Mary, in reading over every point, may meditate 
upon it for the space of one Hail Mary, or more, 
and by God's grace, he will in a short time find 
himself greatly increase in love towards that 
blessed queen of Heaven; and at the hour of 
death will, by so pious a mother, be received as 
her dearest child. Nor can such a one, accord- 
ing to St. Anselm and St. Bernard, possibly perish, 
but shall find life everlasting, and taste of the 
joys of eternal bliss*." 

Under these assurances the devout Roman Ca- 
tholic is urged to peruse a series of questions, as 
from the Virgin Mary, and give his own answers, 
in the words which the book suggests. I select 
the Exercise for Monday as a specimen, not be- 

* P 

Page 275. 


cause its tone of devotion is more puerile than 
the rest, but as containing a fresh and striking 
proof of the indefatigable industry of Roman Ca- 
tholic priests, in entrapping young people to take 
the dangerous vow of perpetual celibacy. 

" I am the Queen of Virgins, Regina rirginum, 
says the glorious Mother of God. Will you, my 
dear child, remain a virgin all your life, and live, 
as it were, an angel in flesh, as did my dearly 
beloved son Aloysius Gonzaga, St. Agnes, St. Ca- 
therine, and a thousand others, my devoted children, 
who have rather chosen to lose their lives than 
their virginity ? I will love you as I have loved 
them, and cherish you as I cherish the angels, and, 
if it be possible, more than the angels themseh 
and moreover, my child, I will obtain your name 
shall be written in the book of the blessed ; and 
assure you, with a heart truly maternal, that at 
your death you will wish you had been the most 
chaste and holy in the world. Think well upon 
it, and resolve the best. Hail Mary !" 

" Yes, my most dear Mother ! I desire to be 
pure all my life, as well in body as soul: I 

CA1 iii LCI&M, 

t liunilily dcsiiv it, and most ear- 
rh \ou. dear Lady, to obtain for me 
that which you .so much recommend to inc. 1 
do lure, pr> cred Virgin 

.Mary. Mother of tin* Word incarnate ' and to- 
gether with the holy thrones and all celestial 
spirits, ever hless and praise you infinitely, the 
.Morning Star, Stella Matntina ; for that you, the 
most beautiful of all creatures, were the first that 
did vow perpetual chastity, preparing the way to 
many virginal souls which have already fol- 
lo\ved, and shall hereafter follow you in so high, 
so glorious, and so divine an enterprise. Hail 
Mary !" 

In the name of the Father of Spirits, " whose 
eyes are upon the truth/' I entreat such as 
love the Author of our common faith, more than 
the name of a religious party, not to efface the 
impression of shame which these passages must 
produce, by the usual method of recrimination. I 
protest before Heaven, that neither through these 
quotations, nor by any expression which in the 
Be of this work may have flowed from my 


feelings, it has been my purpose to hurt yours. 
Remember, that whatever absurdities you might 
glean from Protestant writers, cannot affect a 
church whose authorised articles of faith and form 
of prayer, have nothing in common with such 
aberrations from common sense and the Gospel. 
Observe, on the other hand, how naturally the 
credulity and dangerous sentimentality with which 
your pious books abound, flow from the system of 
Rome, exhibited in her prayer-book, as well as in 
her whole conduct in regard to miracles and devo- 
tional practices. Remark the activity and watch- 
fulness with which she has at all times persecuted 
all kinds of books, wherein the least insinuation 
was thrown out, not against her articles of faith, 
but even the least part of this her deluding system. 
Compare it with the supine indifference which she 
exhibits in giving free course to thousands of books 
which, at this very day, propagate every thing 
that can degrade the understanding and enfeeble 
the mind, under the name of piety. When you 
have candidly and honestly weighed all this, decide 
ii yourselves, if it be not the part of every 

MNsT OATHO] u ISM. 217 

ingenuous and liberal Catholic of these kingdoms, 
to >t:ike <ut tin* liuinnn from his religions deno- 
niinatioii, and place in i the 1 nohlc rpitlii-t 

)f Christian? I'lvsiTve, with (iodV bussing, so 
much of your ti-m-ts a> may appear to you con- 
M>ti'iit ^\ith liis word; but disown a cliurch M'hich, 
by her miracles, libels the Gospel history with 
imposture ; and whose mawkish piety disfigures 
the sublime Christian worship into drivelling im- 

X O T 1 

it i> impossible that Mr. South ey can omit 
notice <t' tin- strange charge which his antagonist makes agair.M 
him, respecting a passage of Paulus Emilius Vcnmensis, Mr. 
Hutler's hallucination is so extraordinary on this point, that I 
must expose it as a general caution to my readers. 

Tlic passage relates to some deputies of the city of Palermo, 
who came to implore the Pope's mercy in behalf of their fel- 
low-citi/ens. I will copy both the Latin words and the trans- 
lation of them from Mr. B.'s Book of the R. C. Church, pp. 
131 and 132, first edition. 

" Cum apud Pontificem de hac consternatione ageretur, a 
Panormitanis missos ad eum oratores, viros sanctos, qui ad 
pedes illius strati, VELUT pro ara hostiaque, CHRISTUM AO- 
M M DEI 8ALUTANTE8, ilia ETIAM ex altaris mysteriis verba 
suppliers rtlarentur ' Qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere 
nostri : Qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nostri : Qui tollis 
peccata mundi^ ilona nobis pacem.' Pontificem>se, 
1'iniormitanos agere quod fecissent, qui, cum Christum pul- 
sarent, eundem regem Judaeorum salutabant, re hostes, fando 
salvere jubentes." 

Mr. Butler thus translates the passage : 

" Thr city of Palermo having grievously offended the Pope 
- nt some holy men to him as ambassadors, who ]iro>UaiVt 

220 NOTES. 

themselves at his feet, AND SALUTED CHRIST THE LAMB OF 
GOD, as before an altar and the blessed sacrament, and sup- 
pliantly pronounced the mystic words of the altar, * Lamb of 
God, who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy upon 
us ! Who takest away the sins of the world, give us peace !' 
The Pope replied by telling them, that they acted like those 
who, after they had struck Christ, saluted him King of the 
Jews; that in reality they were his enemies, although in 
these words they wished him health." 

This translation makes the transaction quite unintelligible. 
The ambassadors SALUTED CHRIST, and yet the Pope, taking 
the salutation to himself, accuses them of being his enemies in 
reality, though in the words they had used they wished him 
health. The fact is, that a school-boy that can construe the 
Selecta e Profanis would be able to clear the difficulty at once. 
Had Mr. Butler taken notice of the VELUT, which qualifies 
the whole of the next sentence, and the ETIAM, which applies 
to the words taken from the Mass, he would have perceived 
his mistake. But he drew the attention of the readers to the 
Christum Agmttn Dei salulantes by means of a larger type, for 
fear of their stumbling on those two little words. Let, now, 
the public judge if the natural translation of the words be not 
as follows : " Who being prostrate at his feet, AS IF they 
were saluting Christ the Lamb of God before the ara and the 
host, used EVEN those words from the mysteries of the altar, 
(i. e. the Mass), Agnus Dei" &c. 

This translation ought to have been evident to a Roman 
Catholic, well acquainted with the ceremony to which the 
writer alludes. The priest, Mr. B. well knows, bending upon 
the ara, or consecrated slab of marble, which lies in the centre 
of the altar, and looking on the consecrated hoM, sinit 
breast three times, u&ing these very \vords, Agnus 1) 

No : 

and concluding \vitli ilwu iiohis jutc-m. Nothing, therefore, 
can ! , than tliat when tin- ambassadors used : 

words at tin- Tope's feet. they wished to address them to the 
Pope himself, of whom they eame to ask pmcc. Mr. 15. 
rtl that the To; from tlie I \VIiy ? If the 

words \\-re directed to Christ, wliat fault could he find in 
them? He resiled, because In- believed the ambassadors t 
insincere in their professions towards him. 

The whole mistake is so unaccountable, and the writer, by 
copying the original words, has made it so palpable, that it 
seems to stand in the book of the R. ( '. Church to warn the 
readers of the strong bias under which the author labours. 

Since writing the preceding note, it has cost me no small 
trouble to find the passage quoted by Mr. Sutler. If that 
gentleman took it from the original, he should have men- 
tioned the edition. In that of Basle, 1601, the words in 
question are found at page 233 : Mr. B. refers to page 328. 
I might have spared myself the trouble of a long and tedious 
search, but for a strong suspicion, grounded upon several 
instances of Mr. Butler's inaccuracy of quotation, that in 
his transcript of Paulus ^Emilius's words there was an ad- 
ditional comma, just in the place where it may throw some 
ambiguity on the sense. And so I have found it. The original 
has (jiil (id pales /////. - xlrali, vchit pro ar'i hostiaqite Christum 
Agnum Dei sahitanfcx ; evidently connecting the whole sen- 
tence with the particle of comparison vclitt. Mr. Butler, 
however, places a comma after host tuque. It fortunately 
happens, however, that the rest of the passage betrays the 
original reading. I must add one word more to obviate a j >- 

222 NOTES. 

sible subterfuge of casuistry. Will it be possible that the figure 
of a semicolon used in old editions to denote the abbreviation 
of the q ue, in hostiaq; be pleaded in favour of Mr. Butler's 
punctuation? If such a defence should be attempted, the 
reader must know, that in the very same page of the original 
work, a comma is placed after the mark of abbreviation, when- 
ever the sense requires it. Thus, in the eighth line from the 
bottom, it is written, per nefariam fraudem, furtumq;, sed id 
atrocissimum, &c. &c. 

B. Page 45. 


Sur la Declaration du Rot d'Anglcterrc. 

La declaration qu'on a demandce au Roi d'Angleterre en 
faveur de ses sujets Protestants, consiste principalement en 
deux points. 

Le premier est que S. M. promette de profeger et defcudrc 
VEglise Anglicane coinme die est presentement Gallic par Ics 
loix, el qu'elle assure aux membres (ficelle toutes leurs tg/iscs, 
universltes, colleges, et holes, avcc leurs immunilcs, drolls, cl 

Le second que sa dite Majeste promette aussi (\\\cllc ue 
tiolera point le serment du Test, ni n'en dispenser a point. 

J'ai repondu et je reponds que S. M. peut accordcr sans dif- 
ficulte ces deux articles. 

Et pour entendre la raison de cette reponse, il ne faut quo 
fixer le sens vi'-ritable (If deux articles en question. 

Le premier a deux parties: L'une de protoger et dcfendre 
1'Eglise Anglicane comn presentement itablii- par 1< s 

loix; ce qni n'etnporte autre chose que cle laisser ces loi\ dans 
leur vigriir, et conmie Hoi l( t.-r M-lon lour tonne et 


La consc-ionce du Hoi d'Anglrtenv. nYst point blessro par 
partie de sa d. duration, puisquc la protection et l.i 
(1. tense (|u'il Y promt! a 1'Kglise Anglican*- Protestante ne re- 
garde que 1'exterieur, i-t n'obligr S. M. a autrc chose qu'a 
laissi-r cetti 1 jm Iriidm- l^liso dans 1'i-tat exterit-ur oil il la 
trouvo, sans troubler ni ])onnettre qu'ou 1'y trouble. 

Et pour decider cette question par principes : il faut faire 
irrande clillVrencc entre la protection qu'on donneroit ii uue 
l'<rliso j>ar adherence aux mauvais sentiments qu'elle professe 
et celle qu'on lui donne pour conserver a 1'exterieur la tran- 
quillite publique. Le premier genre de protection est mauvais 
parcequ'il a un mauvais principc qui est 1'adherence a la 
faussete : mais le second est tres-bon parcequ'il a pour principe 
Tamour de la paix et pour object une chose bonne et necessaire, 
qui est le n'-pos public. 

Ceux qui traitent en cette occasion avec le Roi d'Angleterre 
ne lui demandent pas 1'approbation de la Religion Anglicane, 
puisqu'au contraire ils le supposent Catholique et traitent avec 
lui comme 1'etant: Ils ne lui demandent done qu'une pro- 
tection royale, c'est-a-dire, une protection a 1'exterieur, telle 
qu'elle convient a un Roi qui ne peut rien sur les consciences : 
et tout le monde demeure d'accord que cette protection est 
legitime et licite. 

Les Rois de France out bien donne par 1'i-dit de Xantes une 
06 de protection aux pretendus reformes, en les assurant 
contre les insultes de ceux qui les voudroient troubler dans 
letir exercice, et leur accordant des especes de privileges, ou 
ils ordonnent a leurs omciers de les maintenir. On n'a pas 
cru que leur conscience fdt interessee dans ces concessions, tant 


qu'elles ont etc jugees necessaires pour le rcpos public, purec- 
que c'etoit ce repos et non pas la religion pn'-temlue rtf.>: 
qui cu ctoit le motif. On peut dire a proportion la 11 
chose du Roi d'Angleterre, et s'il accorde de plus grands 
avantages a ses sujets Protestants, c'est que 1'ctat oil ils soiit 
dans ses royaumes et le motif du repos public 1'exige ainsi. 

Aussi ceux qui trouvent a redire a cct endroit de 1'article ne 
mcttent-ils la difficulte qu'en ce qu'ils pretendent qu'il enfcrmo 
une tacite promesse d'executer les lois penales qui sont de- 
cerm'es par les parlements contre les Catholiques: parceque, 
disent-ils, les Protestants mettent dans ces lois penales un 
partie de la protection qu'ils demandent pour 1'Eglise Angli- 
cane Protestante. 

Mais les paroles dont se sert le Roi n'emportent rien de 
semblable, et il importe de bien comprendre comme parle cette 
declaration : N<JUS protdgerons, dit-elle, et defendrons CEglise 
Anglicane comme elle est present ement etallie par les loijr. 1^ 
ne s'agit done que des principes constitutifs de cette prt'tendue 
Eglise en elle-meme, et non pas des lois penales par lesquelles 
elle pretendroit pouvoir repousser les religions qui lui sont 

Ces principes constitutifs de la religion Anglicane selon les 
loix du pays sont, 1. les pretendus articles de foi regies SOBS 
la Reine Elisabeth ; 2. la liturgie approuvee par les parle- 
ments ; 3 les homelies ou instructions que les nu mes parle- 
ments ont autorisees. 

On ne demande point au Roi qu'il se rende le promoteur di- 
ces trois choses, mais seulement qu'a 1'exterieur il leur laisse 
un libre cours pour le repos de ses sujets : ce qui suflit d'un 
cote pour maintenir ce qui ctmstituc a IVxti-ricur 1'Eglisc 
Anglicane Protestante, ct d<' I'autrc nc blcsse point la con- 
science du Hoi. 

Nt i , 

Voiljt dour .'t quo! il Volil -iir pivimnv partio du 

PIVIMHT artu-lo dr N.I declaration, la dnixit mo partie de 
1 article, oil il promet d'assu/ <i scs 

membra Itur uioins de difficulte, ct 

UK me ellr teinpeiv l:i premiere en rcduisant manifcsteuieut la 
rtion i-t la do I'l'-^lise .\n-lu -am- I' 1 aux 
chM-> rv .' t-lli' o.-,t on ]>o>si'.vion, ct dans K-squellc8 

K- li>i proHH-t seulenit'iit de nc soutFrir point qu'on la trouble. 

Lc H<i c-t liicn doi^n,- d'approuvi-r jar la rusur[)alion det 
: mais il proinct sculeinc'iit do no point 

pornu'ttrc quo cvux (jui Irs out usurp..-, sou-nt troubles par des 
do tail, parceqiu' c-la n<- so potirroit t'uiro .sans miner la 
traiujuilli; tatft, 

A l'oi;anl du serinent du Test, qui fait le socoiul article dc 
la dirlaration du Koi : 11 n'oblige S. AJ. u autre chose sinon a 
oxcluro dos charges publi(|ucs coux qui rofuseront de faire un 
certain srnncnt ; en (juoi il n'y a point de difficulte puisqu'on 
peut vivro ot huinaineinent et chrctiennement sans avoir des 

Que si cela paroit rude aux C'atholiques ils doivent cou- 
siderer 1'etat ou ils sont, et la petite portion qu'ils composerit 
du royuumc d'Angleterre,, ce qui les oblige a n'exiger pas de 
lour Roi des conditions impossibles, et au contraiiv a sacrifier 
touts les arantages dont ils se pourroient flatter vainement, au 
bien !ide d'avoir un Roi de leur religion et d'aftermir 

sur le throne sa tamille quoique Catholique, ce qui leur peut 
fairo raivonnablcnu'iit esju-ror, sinon d'abord, du moins dans la 
suite, Tentier retablisM-nient de I'LIglist 1 ot de la foy. 

Que si on s'attache au contraire a vouloir faire la loi aux 
Protestants qui sont los maitres, on perdra avec 1'occasiori de 
nlablir le Roi, noil seuleniont touts los avantages qui sont 
attaches a cc retablisscnient, mais encore touts les autrcs quels 

226 NOTES. 

qu'ils soient, et on s'exposera u toutes sortes de maux, etant 
bien certain que si les rebelles viennent a bout selon leurs 
desrrs d'exclure tout a fait le Roi, ils ne garderont aucune 
mesure envers les Catholiques, et ne songeront qu' a assouvir 
la haYne qu'ils leur portent. 

Pour ces raisons je conclus non settlement que le Roi a pu 
en conscience faire la declaration dont il s'agit, mais encore 
qu'il y etoit oblige, parcequ'il doit faire tout ce qui est pos- 
sible pour 1'avantage de 1'Eglise et de ses sujets Catholiques 
aiixquels rien ne peut-etre meilleur dans la conjuncture pre- 
sente que son retablissement. 

On doit meme dej^ regarder comme un grand avantage la 
declaration qui fait S.M. de recornmanderfortemcnt a sonparle- 
ment une Impartlale liberte de conscience, ce qui montre le 
zele de cc Prince pour le rtpos de ses sujets Catholiques, et 
tout ensemble une favorable disposition pour eux dans ses 
sujet Protestants qui acceptent sa declaration. 

Je dirai done volontiers aux Catholiques, s'il y en a qui 
n'approuvent pas la declaration dont il s'agit : AV/ 
Justus m Til trim : neque plus sapias quam necesse esf, ne obsttt- 
pescas. Ecc. vii. 17- 

Je ne doute point que N. S. P. le Pape n'appuie le Roi 
d'Angleterre dans 1'execution d'une declaration qui etoit si 
necessaire et ne juge bien des intentions d'un Prince qui a 
sacrifie trois royaumes, toute sa famille, et sa propre vie, a la 
religion Catholique. Je me soumet, neanmoins, de tout mon 
cceur a la supreme decision de S. S. 

Fait a Meaux, ce 22 May, ]693. 

tfc J. Benigne, E de Meaux. 

This opinion was to have been laid before the Pope through 
linal de Jan*on Forbin, to whom both Bossuet and Lord 


Melfort wrote for that But neither the letters nor 
the opinion were forwarded to Koine hy Louis Xl\ . 

The postscript in Lord Alelfort's own hand is very curious. 
The .-rrors of language are scrupulously preserved. 

' < V qu'il y a affaire n'est que pour KVITBI OB1W 

. lion pas pour fa ire examiner 1'atfaire, ( i: ijr'il. KAUT 

r\ i "BIN! IP A i que 

;haite esiant de satisfaire sa Saintetc en par- 

ticidier des neCCSsiti ^ soiihs les (jiieiles sa Mai nt a 

:.l de son . stalilissrment que pour avoir la liberte de : 
lever le Prince de (ialles dans la religion Catholique, ce qui 
ind hien a la dit religion (jue aucun autre que 
puisse arriver. II cst au.ssi a considerer que sa ^lajeste a des 
assurances des principaux avec lesquelles elle a traite d'obtenir 
une liberte de conscience pour les Catholiques d'Angleterre, 
pourveu que >a Alaje.ste ne le pressi- pas par son authoritf. 
mais (ju'il le laisse an Parliament. En tin celle cy j'entends 


C.~ Page 65. 


The task of defending the Roman Catholic Church from 
the charge of intolerance and persecution involves Mr. Butler 
in strange difficulties, and calls forth that light, skimming, 



glancing manner of arguing which distinguishes that writer, 
and must make him a great favourite with the fair readers of 
his party. I dislike historical more than any other con- 
troversy, and have purposely abstained in the preceding pages 
from every topic that could lead me into the labyrinth of con- 
tradictory authorities where truth lies concealed, especially on 
points of ecclesiastical history. But as Mr. Butler hn^ 
the way, discovered two hitherto unknown phenomena, a tole- 
rant Spanish friar and a liberal Spanish Council, I, as a Spa- 
niard, cannot pa>s tlics.- wonders unnoticed. 

"It should not be forgotten,' njfe .Air. Butler*, " t 
Alphonsus de Castro, a Spanish friar and confosor to Philip, 
in a sermon preached before the court, condemned these pro- 
ceedings (the sanguinary persecutions of Mary) in tin 
pointed manner, as contrary both to the text and the spirit of 
the gospel." He said " that it was not by severity but by 
mildness that men were to be brought into the fold of Christ ; 
and that it was not the duty of bishops to seek the death, but 
to instruct the ignorance of their misguided brethren." 
" Many," says Dr. Lingard, " were at a lo.xs to account for 
the discourse ; whether it was the spontaneous effort of the 
friar, or had been suggested to him by the policy of Philip, or 
by the humanity of Cardinal Pole, or by the repugnance of 
the bishops it made however a deep impression. The preacher 
was afterwards advanced to a bishopric in Spain." 

This is a remarkable specimen of the art of weakening 
strong impressions by a crowd of new ones, vague, indefinite, 
and discordant. It is analogous (I beg my readers to pardon 
the homeliness of the illustration) to the mode in which 
rubbing and scratching in every direction, relieve some deep 

Page 203, Istcd. 

sensations of the skin. Four suppositions ar- ed to 

account tor tin- tact that a Spanish friar preached toleration in 
London under the- sanguinary .Mary. The reader, of e<> 
will not stop to choose among them. He then finds that the 
sermon " made a deep impre^ion," and tin- friar was advanced 
to a bishopric in Spain: the consequence is that, whereas he 
formerly believed that Spanish friars were the most horrible 
persecutors, lie must now suspend his judgment ; and who 
knows, but he may feel inclined to think that the shortest 
cut to a Spanish bishopik- i-. a xernion on toleration ? 

Hut who was this mild, goodnaturcd friar this Alphonsus 
de Castro? 

Nicholas Antonio,, in his Bibllotheca Hlspana Nova, gives 
a pretty long article about him, of which I will only copy the 
notice of one of this meek friar's works. 

" Dtfjusta Iltrrfticoruw jmntlinne, libri tres. Salmanticae, 
1.V17- in fol. ex ofHcina Joannis Giuntic. Lugduni, 1556, 
in 8, apud haeredes Jacobi Junctce. Antuerpiffi apnd Steelsii 
ha'redes 1568 in 8. ut conjirmnrctjustas esse omncs illaspcenas, 
yuMus injure' cirili atque canonico hceritid addicuntur." 

Such was the man that proclaimed forbearance from the 
pulpit, in the presence of those two notorious tyrants, Philip 
and Mary. He, indeed, exhibits one of the numerous in- 
stances of that mixed spirit of fierce intolerance, and accom- 
modating casuistry, to which men grow prone under the 
tuition of Popes and Cardinals. It was certainly not the 
spirit of Christian meekness that produced the extraordinary 
contradiction which appears between Castro's works, in Spain, 
and his sermon, in London ; but the same ambitious views of 
Philip, which made him endeavour to acquire popularity by 
protectin;.: the Lady Klixabeth from the spite of the Queen, 
and by procuring the release of Lord Henry Dudley, ^ir 

230 NOTES. 

George Harper, Sir Nicholas Throgmorton, and many others, 
who, as Hume observes, had been confined, from the suspicions 
or resentments of the court. 

I have, in the next place, to show the true character of that 
liberal Council of Toledo, whose open profession of toleration 
is so triumphantly adduced by the advocate of the Roman Ca- 
tholic church. " The fourth Council of Toledo had declared," 
says Mr. Butler, " that it was unlawful and unchristianlike to 
force people to believe, seeing it is God alone who hardens and 
shows mercy to whom he will." A noble declaration, indeed, 
to come from the seat of one of the Spanish inquisitions ! But 
when did this humane Council meet, and what was its general 
character ? Did it apply this broad principle to every dissent- 
ing sect ? Did it really anticipate the Protestants in the re- 
cognition of the right of private judgment in matters of faith ? 
Our author will not deprive his cause of the chance that his 
readers will answer all these questions in the sense most 
favourable to the object for which the quotation is made. I will, 
however, deal more explicitly upon these points. 

The fourth Council of Toledo was held in the year of 
our Lord, 634. Mariana, the Spanish historian, says that 
Sisenand (an usurper who, with the aid of Dagobert, king 
of France, had deposed Swinthila) " convened from all parts 
of his dominions about seventy bishops, at Toledo, under 
colour of reforming the morals of the ecclesiastics, which the 
troubles of the times had greatly depraved ; but with the real 
object that the fathers should condemn Swinthila, as unworthy 
of the crown, and by this means, both his open followers and 
secret friends might be made to change their minds and be 
quiet*'." It is probable that this holy council, finding it ne- 

Mariana. Ik* k \i. c. 5. 

NO ! 

cessary to allay the alarm of the Jews, wh.r,e wealth MM tor 
nuiny centuries tin- he>t resource .f tin- Spanish kin^s. was in- 
duced to pass the decree in f//<-ir I'umnr, which Air. Hutler 
I us as an unlimited declaration in In-half of all di.vseiitei^ 
from the Church of Koine. Numbers of that persecuted people 
had been forced to receive baptiMn by a la\v of Sisebnte. This 
law alone is repealed by the fourth Council of Toledo. Had 
Air. Butler either read the original decrees, or wished to 
the whole matter without curtailment, the character of hi>. 
church would have gained little from the I'thci-alily of the To- 
ll-tan fathers. Indeed the same canon of the Council, which 
favours the world with the comprehensive principles of tolera- 
tion which have been adduced as a parallel to the most liberal 
concessions of the Protestants on that point, declares that 
the Jews ii' ho were baptized by force should be compelled to 
the observance of Christianity. I will subjoin the whole 
decree : 

Canon. 55. " De Judaeis autem hoc praccepit sancta synodus 
nemini deineeps ad credendum vim inferre. Cui enim vult 
Ueus miseretur, et quern vult indurat. Non enim tales inviti 
salvandi sunt, sed volentes, ut integra sit forma justitise. Sicut 
enim homo propria arbitrii voluntate serpenti obediens, periit 
sic (vocante se gratia Dei) propriae mentis conversione quisque 
credendo, salvatur. Ergo non vi, sed libera arbitrii facilitate 
ut convertantur suadendi sunt non potius imj)ellendi. Qui 
autem jam pridem ad Christianitatem venire roarti sunt (iicut 
factum est temporibus religiosissiini primijtix Siselniti) quia jam 
constat eos sacramentis divinis as&ociatim, et lapthmi grjtium 
suscepisse, et chrismate unctos esse, et corporis Domini, et stin- 
guinis cxtitisse participes-, oportet utjidem ETIAM QUAM vi VKL 
NECESSITATE suscKPEiirxT tenere coganlur, ne nonien Domini 

232 NOTES. 

blaspliemttur ; et Jide* quam susceperunt cvHtemptibilis ha- 

But I have in reserve a string of tender mercies, such as 
flowed from the tolerant principle of the liberal Council of 
Toledo. They are recorded in the same page with the pro- 
clamation of mental freedom, by which the apologist of Rome 
has stopped the mouths of those who charge his church with 

The models of Roman Catholic liberality, having in the ooth 
canon forbidden the Jews baptized by force, to return to their 
religion, proceed in the 60th to provide for the spiritual safety 
of children born of unconverted parents, from whom they are 
directed to be taken away, and placed in convents. Judivorum 
Jilios vel Jilias, ne parcntum ultra involvantur cnoribus, ab 
corum consortio aeparari decernimus. The forced converts are 
then made the objects of the Council's anxiety. To prevent 
the secret exercise of their national practices, all intercourse 
between them and their unconverted brethren is made punish- 
able, by making the unbaptized parties slaves to the Christians, 
and putting the offending neophytes to death. Nulla igitur 
ultra communio sit Hcbr&is adjidem Christianam translates, 
cum his qui adhnc in i-ctcrc ritu consistunt ; ne forte corum 
par ticipat tone subvertantur. Quicuinque igitur arnodo ex his 
qui baptizati sunt, infidelium consortia non vitaverint ; et hi 

* The Spaniard, Carranza, not satisfied with the inquisitorial force au- 
thorized by the latter part of this canon, took care to omit, in his Summa 
C'onci/iorur/i, the words, u Ergo non vi, sed libera arbitrii facilitate ut con- 
vcrtantur suadendi sunt, non potius impcllendi." Yet Carranza himself was 
suspected and imprisoned by the Inquisition. My transcript of this and fol- 
lowing canons is from the Collection of the Jesuits, Labbr and Gossart, 
vol. v. p. 17 


( 'hfi\tiam.\ liom nitir , ft illi publici* ctrdibus depnicntnr. Fi- 
nally, the &Jd canon .nl -rs that .Jews married to Christian 
women be divorced from their wives, unless they submit to be 

There is a sacred duty incumbent mi every man who appear* 
as an author before the public, which the writer of the Hook 
of the Human Catholic Church has, I fear, often overlooked in 
his work ; but seldom more openly than in the present instance. 
The heist excuse is, that the apologist of Home has copied from 
others; but dishonesty lies somewhere: the garbled statement 
comes, no doubt, from among the writers of the Roman Ca- 
tholic communion who have lately appeared before the British 
public. Am I not therefore justified in earnestly saying to 
that public Beware ! 

D. Page 78. 


An accurate and detailed history of the rise and gradual 
progress of the doctrine of Transubstantiation, would be a 
valuable contribution to the philosophy of the human mind. 
What appears to me most deserving the attention of philo- 
sophical observers, is the concurrence of two perfectly uncon- 
nected errors, in giving birth to this intellectual monster. 

The natural propensity of mankind to refer their worship of the 
invisible to the symbols employed to express it, is found even 
among the early Christians. A great reverence for the bread and 
wine, which, in the words of the Saviour, were called his flesh 


and blood, far from being to blame in them, must be viewed 
as a direct consequence of the certainty they possessed, that 
the Eucharist had been established by the Son of God. But 
here the usual process of the vulgar mind began. Abstractions 
and distinctions are difficult and painful to the generality of 
mankind. The spiritual presence of Christ, the intimate con- 
nexion between an external and simple act of eating and drink- 
ing, and the influence of his grace on the soul of those who 
eat and drink by faith in his death and passion, was soon lost 
sight of. Though Christ himself had declared that " the flesh 
profiteth nothing," the bread and wine gradually assumed the 
character of his material flesh and blood. Yet neither the 
people nor their leaders were able to use any definite language 
upon the mysterious work of consecration. 

It happened, however, in the metaphysical ages (such 
name, I believe, would .suit the period between the twelfth 
and the sixteenth centuries) that every system which suc- 
cessively occupied the attention of the schools, had an effect 
not unlike that which is now produced by physical discoveries, 
though upon very dissimilar objects. A newly discovered law 
or power of nature, in our days, puts the whole mass of 
European intellect into motion : a thousand applications are 
tried, ten thousand hopes of improvement are raised, till the 
effervescence is sobered down by experience and failure. A 
new metaphysical system produced in those times a similar 
state of mind, among the class who pursued abstract know- 
ledge, with regard to the objects of their favourite studies, 
and that without any thing to check it. Platonism first, and 
then Aristotleism, were believed to be sufficient to explain 
every mystery in theology. The success, IP the latter 

was unrivalled in denning, explaining, and demonstrating the 
. . t indistinct and fluctuating theory of the Eucharist. 


One of tin- doctrine* introduced by tin- Aristotelian system 
of the school, is that of sulxttintial _/'/; 7/1 v, or tibsolutc acci- 
dent**. Tin- schoolmen suppose that tin- universe consist^ of 
a mass of matter, invested by certain forms or ([iialitit;s, which 
po,>es> a real and snt^tuntinl being. This was a lucky dis- 
covery for the school divines. It explained the bodily presence 
of Christ in the sacrament. The substance of tlie bread and 
wine, they said, is converted into his body and blood ; but the 
absolute accidentt, the tu6ttoniitU fur /us of both, remain as be- 
fore. Hence the word transnbslantiation. 

The idea of a ircneral mass shaped by these substantial forms 
or moulds, is so agreeable to the external impressions of man- 
kind, and so analogous to the operations by which what we 
call materials are converted into objects fitted for peculiar 
iist-s ; that the words in which the school philosophers ex- 
pressed them, have been incorporated with all the European 

That the doctrine of Iransubstanttation could not have been 
established without the aid of Aristotle, any one who examines 
the technical words of the Roman Catholic divines upon that 
question, will readily perceive. Of this they were so fully 

The schoolmen have foisted many of their absurdities upon the Greek 
philosopher. From the definition which Aristotle gives of matter, it is rvi- 
dent that he considered that word as the sign of an abstraction. '* Materia 
cst neque quid, luque quantum, nee aliud eorum quibus ens denommatur." 
I quote the- translation used among the schoolmen. 

f It is curious to trace to the same source even the word elements, which 
- to have hi en chosen by the- Protestants as the most independent from the 
theory of transubstantiatioi;. Element! is another scholastic name for that 
substratum which is conceived to bear the qualities of things. wt Omnium 
i-l,-nicitt-i possum invicem in se transmutari, non generatione, sed alteratione." 
Tli- '.-read and wine were fl<->,t,-n(.<t, because they were supposed to be changed 
into the body and blood of Christ. Sec Rrucker, Hist. Philnv. i' ar> H. 
Li!>. N. c. vii. 

236 NOTES. 

convinced but a short time ago, that I recollect the opposition 
to which the modern system of natural philosophy was still 
subject in my youth, as depriving the Roman Catholic faith 
of its chief support, by the rejection of the substantial forms. 
Indeed transubstantiation conveys either no meaning at all, or 
one entirely the reverse of what Rome intends; unlo 
suppose the separableness of substance, and forms or qualities. 
The substance of the bread and wine, it is said, is converted 
into the body and blood of Christ; which, translated into any 
language but that of the schools, means that the body of Christ 
(I wisli to speak reverently), chemically analyzed in the con- 
secrated bread and wine, will be found to consist of < 
thing that constitutes bread and wine: t. e. the body and 
blood of Christ will be found to have been converted into real 
bread and wine. What else do we designate by bread and ly 
wine, but two aggregates of qualities, identical to what the 
analytical process will show after consecration? Sub>t 
without qualities is a mere abstraction of the mind; with 
qualities, it is that which the qualities make it. So her 
have a mighty miracle to convert Christ into bread and wine ; 
for such would be the substance of his body and blood if it 
changed its qualities for those of the two well known i- 
pounds which the Roman Catholics adore. If it is said that 
Christ occupies the place of the bread and wine, and prod 
the impressions peculiar to them on the senses, the supposed 
miracle should change the name of transubstantiation into that 
of delusion. Surely transubstantiation lias for its basis the 
most absurd philosophical system which ever disgraced the 
Is of a barbarous age ! 



Nothing can be more ccrlnin than tin- uncertainty of the 
Hoinan Catholic Church, as to the seat and source of her pre- 
tended infallibility. If any thing can be deduced from the 
vague and unsettled principles of her divinos, on this MI! 
it would appear that infallibility finally resolves itself into the 
authority of the Pope. For, as no council whatever is deemed 
infallible till the Pope has sanctioned its decrees, the pretended 
assistance from heaven must apply to that discriminating 
oracle, on whose decision the supernatural authority of the 

councils depend*. 

The opening speech of the papal legates who presided at 
the council of Trent represents the expected inspiration as con- 
ditional : a very natural caution in the representatives of that 
see, which has always most strenuously opposed the notion 
that the Pope is inferior to a general council. After a candid 
acknowledgment of the enormous corruptions of the Rinnan 
Catholic clergy, which the reader will find hereafter, the 
legates speak of the expected inspiration in the following 
words : 

"Quare nisi ille spiritus nos apud nos metipsos primum 
condemnaverit, nondum ilium ingressum esse ad nos affirmare 
possumus, ac ne ingressurum quidem, si peccata nostra audire 
recusamus. Idem mini dicetur nobis, quod populo veteri per 
prophetam Ezechielem est dictum, cum nondum agnitis suis 
sceleribus, Dominum per prophetam interrogare vellent. Ve- 
ncrunt viri Israel ad inter rogandum Dominum, ct sederunt 

238 NOTES. 

coram me. Hcec autem dicit Dominm : numquid ad interro- 
gandum me venistis ? Vivo ego, dicit Dominus, qula non rc- 
spoiidebo vobis. Sequitur autem, sijudicas cos, abomination** 
pair urn illorum os tends it/is. In quibus verbis ostendit Deus, 
quare noluerit respondere illis, quia nondum scilicet abomi- 
nationes suas et patrum suorum audierant. Quare cum idem 
Dei Spiritus sit, qui tune dabat responsa, et quern nunc nos 
sedentes coram Domino invocamus, quid nobis faciendum sit, 
ut propria responsa habeamus, ex his videtis .... Qniavero 
nonnullos nunc videmus, sua primum peccata, et nostri ordinis 
graviter deflentes, atque Dei misericordiam omnibus votis iin- 
plorantes, ideo quidem in maxima spe sumus, advenisse, quern 
invocamus, Dei Spiritum." Concilia per Labbeum et Gos- 
sartium, Tom. XIV. p. 738. 

It is clear that the legates grounded their hopes of inspira- 
tion for the Council, on the marks of repentance which they 
perceived in some of its members. Must then Roman Catholics 
ascertain the spiritual condition of their oracles, before they 
admit them to the privilege of infallibility ? It should seem, 
however, that the Popes are not subject to such restrictions in 
the use of their infallible sanction ; else, a man with the mo- 
ral tact of Alexander VI. would have been subject to strange 
mistakes, in calculating the fitness of the bishops in council, 
to receive an inspiration totally dependent on moral character. 

NOTl v 

F._ Page 

01 \ SPANISH I'KOTKsTAN'T 1'KIKST, I M 1 K 1 Ml \ T 1) H\ 

Since the execution of the unhappy woman whose death I 
mention in the fith Letter, tlie Spanish Inquisitors senneil le.vs 
disposed to shed blood. It is also true that men were also 
much more averse to saerifiec their lives to their religious 
views, than at the time of the Reformation. Spain, which in 
the 16th century gave a host of martyrs to Protestant Chris- 
tianity*, has, of late, produced but one instance of the power 
of the Scriptures " in an honest and good heart." This most 
interesting case is related by the secretary of the Inquisition 
of Madrid, Llorente, in his History of the Spanish Inquisition, 
Vol. IV. p. 127. 

Don Miguel Juan Antonio Solano, a native of Verdun, in 
Arragon, was vicar of Esco, in the diocese of Jaca. His be- 
nevolence and exemplary conduct endeared him to his pa- 
rishioners. Though educated according to the Aristotelian 
system, and the school divinity, which was very lately pre- 
valent at many of the Spanish universities; the natural 
strength of his mind led him to study pure mathematics, and 
mechanics, by himself. The goodness of his heart combined 
with his inventive talents in the work of fertilizing a dale, or 
rather a mere ravine, belonging to the inhabitants of his parish, 
which lay waste for want of irrigation. Without any help 

* See Art. 9 of No. 57 of the Quarterly Review^ in which the author of 
the present work gave an account of the Spanish Reformers, and their 


from the government, and with no mechanical means but the 
spades of the peasants, he succeeded in diverting the waters of 
a mountain streamlet upon the slip of vegetable soil which 
had been deposited in the glen. 

A long and severe illness, which made him a cripple for 
life, withdrew the good vicar of Esco from these active pur- 
suits, and limited his employment to the perusal of the few 
books which his little library afforded. Fortunately the Bible 
was one of them. Solano read the records of revelation with 
a sincere desire to embrace religious truth, as he found it 
there; and having gradually cleared and arranged his vi< 
drew up a little system of divinity, which agreed in the main 
points with fundamental tenets of the Protestant ohim 
His conviction of the Roman Catholic errors became s< strong, 
that he determined to lay his book before the bishop of the 
diocese, asking his pastoral help and advice upon that most 
important subject. An answer to his arguments was pronii 
but despairing after a lapse of time to obtain it, Solano applied 
to the faculty of divinity of the University of Saragossa. The 
reverend doctors sent the book to the Inquisition, and the 
infirm vicar of Esco was lodged in the prisons of the holy 
tribunal of Saragossa. This happened in 1802. It seems that 
some humane persons contrived his escape soon after, and con- 
veyed him to Oleron, the nearest Frencl^ town. But Solano, 
having taken time to consider his case, came to the heroic 
resolution of asserting the truth in the very face of death ; and 
returned of his own accord to the inquisitorial prisons. 

The Inquisitor General, at that time, was Arce, archbishop 
of Santiago, an intimate friend of the Prince of Peace ; and 
one strongly suspected of secret infidelity. When the sentence 
of the Aragonese tribunal, condemning Solano to die by fire. 
was presented to the supreme court for confirmation, Aro\ 


shocked at the idea of an auto-da-fe, contrived every UN 
to delay tin- ex. -cut ion. A fresh examination n! 
ordered; during which the inqni.sito: 

avert his now imminent danger. Nothing, however, could 
move him. He said In- well knew the death that awaited him ; 
but no human fear would ever make him from tin: 

truth. The first sentence being confirmed, nothing remained 
but the ejcctjualur of the \ it/m inc. Arce, however, suspended 
it, and ordered an inquiry into the mental sanity of the pri- 
soner. As nothing appeared to support this plea, Solano would 
have died at the stake, had not Providence snatched him from 
the hands of the papal defenders of the faith. A dangerous 
illness seized him in the prison, where he had lingered three 
years. The efforts to convert him were, on this occasion, re- 
newed with increased ardour. " The inquisitors," says Llo- 
rente, " gave it in charge to the most able divines of Saragossa 
to reclaim Solano ; and even requested Don Miguel Suarez de 
Suntander, auxiliary bishop of that town, and apostolic mis- 
sionary (now, like myself, a refugee in France), to exhort him, 
with all the tenderness and goodness of a Christian minister, 
which are so natural to that worthy prelate. The vicar showed 
a grateful sense of all that was done for him ; but declared 
that he could not renounce his religious persuasion without 
offending God by acting treacherously against the truth. On 
the twenty-first day of his illness, the physician warned him 
of approaching death, urging him to improve the short time 
which he had to live. * I am in the hands of God, answered 
Solano, ' and have nothing else to do.' Thus died, in 1805, 
the vicar of Esco. He was denied Christian burial, and his 
body privately interred within the inclosure of the Inquisition, 
near the back-gate of the building, towards the Ebro. The 
inquisitors reported all that had taken place to the supreme 


242 NOTES. 

tribunal, whose members approved their conduct, and stopt 
further proceedings, in order to avoid the necessity of burning 
the deceased, in effigy." 

H. Page 127. 

The account of nuns and friars which Erasmus gives in 
the dialogue from which I borrowed the passage in the text, 
so perfectly agrees with all I know of them the arts by 
which girls are now drawn into monasteries are so similar to 
those which he describes and the reasons he uses to dissuade 
the young enthusiast from sacrificing her liberty, are so appli- 
cable to every case of that kind in our days, that I hope the 
reader will pardon me for inserting the whole dialogue, in the 
elegant translation of my excellent friend the Rev. Robert 
Butler ; to whom I am also indebted for the following notice 
of the alarm which those delightful compositions, the Collo- 
quies, excited in the University of Paris. 

" The faculty of theology passed a general censure in 1526 
upon the Colloquies of Erasmus, as upon a work in which the 
fasts and abstinences of the Church of Rome are slighted, tin- 
suffrages of the Holy Virgin and of the saints are derided, 
virginity is set below matrimony, Christians are discouraged 
from monkery, and grammatical is preferred to theological 
erudition. Therefore it is decreed that the perusal of this 
wicked book be forbidden to all, more especially to young* 
folks ; and that it be entirely suppressed if it be possible." 
From Dttpin, a* quoted in .Inrlin'x History of Erasmus, 
Vol. I. p. 2M. 



MAUKIA<.i:-ll \ I l\(. .MA MM 

''ulna. Catharine. 

Eu. I rejoice that dinner is nt l.M over, and that \ve are 
at leisure to enjoy tin's delightful walk. 

CA. It was quitr wearisome to sit so long at table. 

Eu. How every thing smiles around us ! Truly this is 
the very youth and spring-time of the world. 

CA. It is so, indeed ! 

Eu. And why is it not with thee also the spring-time of 
smiles and joy ? 

CA. Wherefore do you ask such a question? 

Eu. Because I perceive a sadness in your countenance. 

CA. Are my looks then different from what they are wont 
to be ? 

Eu. Would you like me to show you to yourself? 

CA. Of all things. 

Eu. You see this rose. Observe how, as the night ap- 
proaches, it contracts its leaves. 

CA. WeU ! and what then ? 

Eu. It thus presents you with an image of your own coun- 

CA. A most excellent comparison ! 

Eu. If you will not believe me, look at yourself in this 
little fountain. Those frequent sighs, too, during dinner tell 
me what could be the meaning of them ? 

CA. Question me no farther. The subject is one in which 
you are not concerned. 

Eu. Nay, Catharine: it cannot but concern one whose 

R 2 

244? NOTES. 

happiness is bound up in thine. Another sigh ? Alas ! how 
deeply drawn ! 

CA. My mind is in a state of great anxiety; but I cannot 
safely mention the cause. 

Eu. What ! not even to him who loves thee better than 
he loves his own sister ? Fear not, dearest Catharine ; let the 
secret of thy affliction be what it may, rest assured that it is 
safe in my keeping. 

CA. That may be ; but I should tell it to one who would 
give me no assistance. 

Eu. How know you that ? I might, at least, have it in 
my power to aid you by advice and consolation. 

CA. I cannot tell thee. 

Eu. How is this ? You hate me, then, Catharine. 

CA. Yes ; if I can hate my own brother ; and yet I can- 
not bring myself to tell thee. 

Eu. Should I be able to guess the cause of your suffering, 
will you confess it ? Nay, do not turn away : promise me, or 
else I will never cease to importune thee. 

CA. Well, I promise. 

Eu. I do not at all understand what can be wanting to 
make you perfectly happy. 

CA . O that my condition were really such as you conceive 
it to be ! 

Eu. In the first place, you are in the flower of your age ; 
for if I mistake not, you are now in your seventeenth year. 
CA. Just so. 

Eu. The apprehension then of old age cannot, I suppose, 
be the source of your trouble ? 

CA. Nothing in the world troubles me less. 

Eu. You have a form that is perfect in every part ; and 
this is one of God's chief gifts. 

NOi 245 

< A. Of my fori; M it i>, I u.-itlu-r Insist nor com- 


Eu. Then your nilniir and habit of body indicate that 
you arc in sound health unless ind< ury about you 

some secret disease. 

CA. Nothing of the kind, I thank God. 

Eu. Your eharacter moreover is unspotted. 

CA. I trust 

Eu. You have a mind also worthy of the body wherein 
it dwells; a mind of the happiest disposition, and as apt as I 
could desire for every liberal pursuit and study. 

CA. Whatever it may be, it is the gift of God. 

Eu. Neither is there any want of that loveliest grace of 
moral excellence, the absence of which is too often to be re- 
gretted in forms of the most perfect beauty. 

CA. It is certainly my desire that my behaviour should be 
such as becomes my situation. 

Eu. Many are dejected in mind on account of the infe- 
licity of their birth ; but you, on the contrary, have parents of 
honourable descent and of virtuous manners possessed also of 
an ample fortune, and attached to you with the fondest affec- 

CA; I have nothing, in this respect, to complain of. 

Eu. In a word, of all the maidens in this neighbourhood 
there is not one (were some propitious star to shine upon me) 
whom I would choose for a wife but thee. 

CA. And I, if I had any wish to marry, would desire no 
other husband than thyself. 

Eu. Surely then it must be something very extraordinary 
which can occasion you so much trouble ? 
i CA. Something of no light moment, be assured. 

Eu. Will you not take it ill if I divine what it is ? 

246 NOTES. 

CA. I have already promised not to do so. 

Eu. Well then, experience has taught me what pain there 
is in love. Come, confess, according to your promise. 

CA. To say the truth, love is the cause ; but not the kind 
of love you mean. 

Eu. What kind then ? 

CA. Divine love. 

Eu. I have done ; my stock of conjecture is exhausted : 
and yet I will not let go this hand of thine till I wrest thy 
secret from thee. 

CA. How violent you are ! 

Eu. Only confide it to me, whatever it may be. 

CA. Well, since you are so very urgent about it, I will 
tell you. Know then, that from my tenderest years a passion 
of an extraordinary nature has possessed me. 

Eu. What can it be ? to become a nun ? 

CA. Just so. 

Eu. Hem ! I have gained a loss ! 

CA. What is it you say, Eubulus ? 

Eu. Nothing, my love : I only coughed. Go on, I pray 

CA. The desire I have mentioned to you was always op- 
posed by my parents with the greatest pertinacity. 

Eu. I understand. 

CA. On the other hand, I, for my part, never ceased to 
besiege their affection with entreaties, caresses, and tears. 

Eu. You surprise me. 

CA. At length my perseverance in this course so far pre- 
vailed upon them that they promised that, if I should continue 
in the same mind upon my entering into my seventeenth 
they would then yield to my wishes : that year is now ar- 
rived; my desire remains unchanged ; and yet, in opposition 



to their promise they positively n-t'use to ^ratify it: this it is 
that troubles me. I have nmv disclosed to you the nature of 
my disease: prescribe the remedy it' you liave any. 

Eu. In the first plaee, let me counsel you 1 maiden, 

to moderate your desires ; and if you cannot obtain what you 
would, to wish for no more than what may be in your power 
to obtain. 

CA. I shall die if I do not obtain the present object of my 

Eu. But what eon Id have given rise to this fatal passion? 

( '.\. Some years ago, when quite a girl, I was taken into a 
convent, where they led me about and showed me every thing. 
I was charmed with the sweet looks of the nuns, who seemed 
to me like so many angels; and was delighted with the beautiful 
appearance of every thing in the chapel, and with the fragrance 
and pleasantness of gardens, dressed and cultivated with the 
nicest art. In short, whichever way I turned my eyes, every 
thing smiled upon me. Add to this, the pleasant conversation 
I had with the nuns themselves, some of whom I discovered to 
have been my playfellows during my childhood. From this 
period it was that I conceived the ardent desire I have to adopt 
the same kind of life. 

Eu. It certainly is not my intention to reprobate the insti- 
tution of nunneries *, though the same things are not of equal 
advantage to all ; and yet, from my opinion of the nature of 
your disposition, such as it appears to me from your countenance 
and manners, my advice to you would be, to marry a husband 
of a character similar to your own, and thus give rise to a new 

* " . . . Mihi aliud dictabat animus, aliud scribebat calamus," is the melan- 
choly acknowledgment wlu'ch Erasmus made of his own want of courage. 

248 NOTES. 

society at home, of wiach your husband should be the father 
and yourself the mother. 

CA. I will rather die than give up my purpose. 

Eu. A virgin life, if purity attend it, is no doubt an ex- 
cellent thing; but it does not require you so to bind yourself 
to a particular convent as to be unable afterwards to leare it. 
Surely, you may live at home with your parents, and preserve 
at the same time your virgin honour ? 

CA. True ; but not with equal safety. 

Eu. In my opinion, you will preserve it there much more 
securely than amongst so many fat and bloated monks : fa- 
thers they are called, and fathers they not unfrequently are, in 
more senses than one. Remember also, that in former times 
young maidens were considered to live nowhere more honour* 
ably than at home with their parents ; nor had they any father, 
according to the religious sense of the word, except the bishop. 
But tell me, I beseech you, what nunnery is it that you have 
fixed upon as the place of your servitude and seclusion? 

CA. The Chrysertian. 

Eu. I know it. It is close to your father's house. 

CA. Just so. 

Eu. And well, too, do I know the whole of the worthy 
fraternity for which you would give up father and mother and 
the excellent family to which you are related. As for the pa- 
triarch of this venerable society, he has long been foolish, both 
from infirmities of age and nature, and from indulgence in the 
pleasures of the table. His knowledge is now confined to his 
bottle. He has two companions, John and Jodocus, both 
worthy of him. John, though not perhaps a bad man, has 
nevertheless nothing of the man about him but his beard not 
one grain of learning, and a very slender stock of prudence. 


As for Jodocus, he ul, that, if it were not for the re- 

commendation of his sacred dress. In- might walk about in 
public, in tin- cap and bells of a fool. 

CA. Th^y svem to me, however, t> be \ ery good men. 

Kr. I\Iy dear Catharine. I know them better than you can 
<!o. But I suppose that t! . onr patrons with your 

father and mother ; the persons wlio would make you their 

CA. Jodocus is very favourable to my wishes. 

Eu. Oh ! worthy patron ! But let it be granted that 
these men are now both learned and good, it will not be long 
before you will find them both ignorant and wicked; and 
you will, moreover, hare to bear with every one that meets 

CA. The frequent entertainments that are given at home 
are very disagreeable to me ; nor is every thing that is spoken 
there between those who are married, such as is suitable to a 
maiden's ear : besides, I cannot sometimes refuse a kiss. 

Eu. They, who would avoid every thing that can give 
offence, must needs depart out of this life altogether. Our 
ears must be accustomed to hear every thing, but transmit to 
the mind only what is good. Your parents, I suppose, allow 
you a private chamber ? 

CA. Certainly. 

Eu. Thither, then, you may retire, if any entertainment 
should happen to become disorderly. There, while the rest are 
drinking and trifling, do you hold holy converse with Christ, 
your spouse ; praying, singing, and giving thanks. Your father's 
house cannot defile you ; while you, on the contrary, may im- 
part to it a character of greater sanctity. 

(A, Yot, it is safer to be in a convent of nuns. 

EL/. I suy nothing against a society of such nuns as arc 

250 NOTES. 

truly virgins; but I wish you not to be deceived by your 
imagination, and take appearances for realities. Were you to 
remain for some time in the convent you wish to retire to, and 
acquire a nearer insight into what is going forward there, pos- 
sibly you might not think every thing quite so correct and 
charming as you did at first. Take my word for it, Catharine, 
all are not virgins who wear a veil. 

CA. Use proper language, Eubulus ! 

Eu. Nay, if there be propriety in truth, I do so ; unless, 
perhaps, the praise which we have hitherto been in the habit 
of considering as peculiar to the Virgin Mother be transferred 
to other females also. 

CA. Mention not such an abomination. 

Eu. In no other way, however, can the virgins you speak 
of be altogether such as you take them to be. 

CA. No ? and why not, I pray you ? 

Eu. Because there are more amongst them who will be 
found to rival Sappho in her morals, than to resemble her in 
her genius. 

CA. I do not exactly comprehend the meaning of your 

Eu. My dear Catharine, I do not wish that you should ; 
and therefore I talk in the way you hear me. 

CA. My wishes still point in the same direction, and I 
cannot but conclude that the spirit by which I am actuated mi 
this subject comes from God, inasmuch as it has continued for 
so many years, and still gathers strength from day to day. 

Eu. For my part, I regard this spirit of thine with no 
small degree of suspicion, on account of its being opposed with 
so much earnestness by your excellent parents. Were the ob- 
ject you have in view really a pious one, God would no doubt 
breathe into their hearts an acquiescence in your wishes. The 


fact is, that the spirit yen talk of to,,i. fan the splen- 

ditl tilings which affected your imagination as a girl, from 
the soft language of the nuns, from revived affection towards 
your old companions, from the celebration of divine worship, 
the specious pomp of ceremonies, and the vile exhortations of 
a set of stupid monks, who court yon in order that they may 
have the more to drink. They are well aware that your father 
is of a kind and liheral disposition, and that they shall either 
have him for their guest, (on condition that he bring with him 
wine enough for ten potent drinkers), or that they shall be 
able to carouse, as they please, at his table. Wherefore, my 
advice to you is, not to think any farther of venturing upon a 
new course of life in opposition to the wishes of your parents. 
Remember that the authority of our parents is that under 
which it is God's will that we should remain. 

CA. But in a case of this kind, it is no want of piety to 
disregard both father and mother. 

Eu. I grant that it is piety to do so on some occasions, for 
Christ's sake ; though if a Christian have a father who is a 
heathen, and whose whole subsistence depends upon him, it 
certainly is no mark of piety in the son to desert him, and 
allow him to perish of hunger. Supposing that you had not 
already professed yourself a Christian at your baptism, and 
that your parents were to forbid you to be baptized, you would 
certainly act a pious part in preferring Christ to impious pa- 
rents : or, even now, if your parents were to endeavour to force 
you to the commission of any loose or impious act, you would 
undoubtedly do right, in such a case, to disregard their au- 
thority. But what has this to do with a convent ? Christ is 
with you equally at home. It is the dictate of nature that 
children should obey their parents a dictate ratified by the 
approbation of God, by the exhortations of St. Paul, and by 

252 NOTJiS. 

the sanction of human laws : and will you then withdraw your- 
self from the authority of the excellent parents you possess, in 
order to deliver yourself up to those who can be father and 
mother to you only in name, or who, to speak more truly, will 
rule you rather as tyrants than as parents ? At present, your 
situation with your parents is such, that they still wish you to 
be free ; but you, of your own accord, would make yourself a 
slave. The merciful nature of the Christian religion has, to a 
great degree, abolished the ancient state of servitude, except 
in a few countries, in which some traces of it still remain. 
But now, under the pretext of religion, a new kind of servitude, 
according to the mode of living that at present prevails in many 
convents, has been invented. In these places nothing is lawful 
but what is commanded: whatever wealth may fall to you 
will accrue to the community ; and should you attempt to stir 
a step beyond your bounds, you will be dragged back again, as 
if you had murdered your parents. And, that this slavery 
may be still more conspicuous, their proselytes are clothed in 
a dress different from that which was given to them by their 
parents, while, in imitation of the ancient custom of those who 
formerly made a traffic in slaves, a change also is made in the 
baptismal name ; so that he who was baptized into the sen-ice 
of Christ under the name of Peter, is called Thomas on being 
enlisted in the service of St. Dominic. If a soldier in the 
army cast away the uniform given him by his commander, he 
is looked upon as having renounced the authority of his com- 
mander ; and yet we applaud those who put on a dress not 
given by Christ, the Lord of all ; while the punishment in- 
flicted upon them, should they change it afterwards, is far 
greater than would be experienced were they to cast off, ever 
so frequently, the dress of their great Leader and Master I 
mean, innocence of mind. 


CA. They make a great merit, however, of thus voluntarily 
submitting to this kind of servitude. 

Eu. They who ii a doctrine worthy <f the 

Pharisees. St. Paul's doctrine- is u very different one ; for la- 
teaches that whoever becomes a Christian when in 
freedom, should not willingly be made a slave: '- 1 - lnlo, : QH tfc% 
other hand, the slave who becomes a Christian, should, if an 
opportunity of freedom presents itself, avail himself of it. But, 
farther, the servitude we are speaking of is the more galling 
from your having to submit to more masters than one, and 
these, too, for the most part fools and profligates; while, in 
addition to this, you are kept in a state of continual uncertainty 
from the changes that occur amongst them from time to time. 
Now, answer me a question, Do the laws release you from 
the authority of your parents ? 
CA. By no means. 

Eu. Are you at liberty to buy or sell a farm against their 
will ? 

CA. Certainly not. 

Eu. What right, then, can you have to give yourself to I 
know not whom, in express opposition to the will of your 
parents? Are you not their most valuable possession that 
which is in a peculiar sense their own ? 

CA. Where religion is concerned, the laws of nature cv 
Eu. Religion has respect chiefly to baptism ; the present 
question relates merely to a change of dress, and to a mode of 
life which in itself is neither good nor bad. Consider, also, 
how many advantages you part with when you lose your 
liberty. You are now free to read, pray, or sing, in your own 
chamber, as much and as long as may be agreeable to you ; or, 
when you become weary of the privacy of your chamber, you 
have it in your power to hear sacred songs, attend divine wor- 

254 NOTES. 

ship, and listen to discourses on heavenly themes. Moreover, 
should you meet with any one remarkable for his piety and 
wisdom, or with any matron or maiden of superior virtues and 
endowments, you can enjoy the advantage of their conversation 
and instructions, for improvement in all those graces that be- 
come the female character. You are free, besides, to esteem 
and love the preacher who teaches in sincerity the pure doc- 
trine#of Christ. But if once you retire into a convent, all 
these superior opportunities of improvement in a sound and 
rational piety are lost to you for ever. 

CA. But, in the mean time, I shall not be a nun. 

Eu. Is it possible that you can still be influenced by the 
sound of a mere name ? Consider the subject with attention. 
Much is said about the merit of obedience ; but will there be 
any want of this merit if you obey those parents whom the 
ordinance of God himself has made it your duty to obey if 
you obey also your bishop and your pastor ? Or will you be 
deficient in the merit of poverty, where every thing belongs to 
your parents ? In former times, indeed, holy men thought it 
highly praiseworthy in females, dedicated to the service of 
God, to be liberal towards the poor ; yet I do not very well 
perceive how they were to exercise this virtue of liberality, if 
they had nothing themselves to give. Further, the jewel of 
your chastity can suffer no diminution in its lustre by your 
remaining under the same roof with your parents. In what, 
then, consists the superiority of the state for which you are so 
eager to leave your own home? truly, in nothing but a veil, a 
linen dress worn outside instead of inside, and a fen- ceremonies 
which of themselves make nothing for piety, and commend no 
one in the sight of Him with whom favour can be obtained 
only by purity of heart and life. 

CA. You preach strange doctrine. 


Eu, Not the less true, however, for being stran^'- Hut, 
tell me, since you arc not released from the authority of your 
I>arent8, and you have not a right to sell either a dress or a 
field, ho\v ean you prove that you have a right to put yourself 
under the perpetual control of strange: 

CA. The authority of parents, they say, cannot prevent the 
claims of religion. 

Eu. Did you not make profession of your faith in your 
baptism ? 

CA. Y, 

Eu. And are not they religious persons who follow the 
precepts of Jesus Christ ? 

CA. Undoubtedly. 

Eu. Then what, I pray you, is this new religion which 
makes void what the law of nature has sanctioned, what the 
ancient law has taught, what the gospel has approved, and the 
doctrine of the apostles established and confirmed ? I tell you, 
that such a religion is the invention of a parcel of monks, not 
the decree of God. 

CA. Do you then think it unlawful for me to become the 
spouse of Christ without the consent of my parents ? 

Eu. You are already espoused to Christ we have all been 
espoused to him ; and who, I pray you, ever thinks of being 
married twice to the same person ? The subject in debate is 
merely a question of place, dress, and ceremony ; and certainly 
I cannot think that the authority of parents is to be slighted 
and set at nought for things like these. 

CA. But the persons I speak of affirm, that there cannot 
be an act of greater piety than to disregard one's parents on 
such an occasion. 

Eu. Demand, then, of those doctors, to produce you a 
single passage out of the holy scriptures in which any such 

256 NOTES. 

doctrine is taught. If they cannot do this, then require of 
them to quaff off a cup of good Burgundy you will find them 
at no loss on such a subject. It is the part of true piety to fly 
to Christ for succour from wicked parents ; but what piety 
can there be in flying from virtuous parents to a convent, 
when to do this (as experience often shows) is but to fly from 
the good to the bad ? Indeed, in former times, when a persw* 
was converted to the Christian faith, his parents, though 
idolaters, were still considered to have a claim on his obedience, 
as long as that obedience involved no compromise of his con- 
science and his faith. 

CA. Do you then condemn the life of a nun altogether ? 

Eu. By no means: but as I should not willingly advise 
any who have entered upon such a mode of life to seek a 
release from it, so I have no hesitation in earnestly exhorting 
every maiden, especially such as are of a noble and generous 
nature, to take care how they heedlessly place themselves in 
a state from which it will be impossible for them afterwards 
to retreat : more particularly as, in the places I allude to, a 
virgin's honour is not unfrequently exposed to the greatest 
danger; and as nothing, moreover, is done there, but what 
can be as well accomplished at home. 

CA. I cannot but confess that the arguments with which 
you have pressed your point are both numerous and weighty ; 
yet my desire continues unchanged and unchangeable. 

Eu. Well, if I cannot succeed in persuading you to ac 
I wish, bear this at least in mind, that Eubulus gave you 
good counsel. In the mean while I will pray, from the love I 
bear you, that this passion of yours may be attended with 
better fortune than my advice 

XOTlv 057 

I Paps 12H. 


The history of religious oppression under the Church of 
Rome is far from In-iujrwoll known. That, under her spiritual 
government, Christianity has at all times contributed towards 
the happiness of mankind, I am ready to acknowledge ; be- 
cause no human power can completely quench the healing 
spirit of the gospel. But it would be difficult, indeed, to 
ascertain whether the at once gloomy and pompous super- 
stition which, under the guidance of the popes, has been so in- 
timately blended with Christianity, has not produced more 
bitterness of suffering in the human breast, than even the hope 
of immortality can allay. Woe to the ardent and sincere, 
amongst the spiritual subjects of Rome ! for she will sacrifice 
them, body and soul, to a mere display of her spiritual dominion. 
Nothing, however, is more difficult than to collect the 
evidence of individual suffering, produced by Roman Catholic 
tyranny. Enough transpires in the monasteries of both sexes, 
to form an estimate of the wretchedness that dwells in them. 
But hopelessness and shame smother the sighs of their female 
inhabitants. Yet knowledge of human nature, a moderate 
degree of candour, and the consideration of the laws which 
have enforced, and still ensure, an internal compliance with the 
engagements of the religious profession ; are sufficient to give 
an awful, though momentary view, of the mass of misery 
which perpetual vows have produced. 

There was a time when the will of a parent could bind a 

258 NOTES- 

child for ever to the monastic life. That liberal Council of 
Toledo,, whose laws about the Jews have been inserted in a 
preceding note, declares that " a monk is made either by 
paternal devotion, or personal profession. Whatever is bound 
in this manner, will hold fast. We therefore, shut up, in 
regard to these, all access to the world, and forbid all return 
to a secular life." Monachum aut paterna devotio, aut propria 
professio facit. Quicquid horum fuerit alligatum tenebit. 
Proinde his ad mundum revertendi intercludimus aditum, et 
omnem ad saeculum interdicimus regressum. (Concil. Tolet. 
IV. Can. 48.) 

By the more modern discipline of the Church of Rome, this 
practice has been abolished ; but, as it happens in all palliations 
of essential evils, the abolition of the barbarous power granted 
to parents, by removing that which shocked at first sight, only 
makes the remaining grievance more hopeless. There is, in- 
deed, little difference in allowing l>oys and girls of sixteen to 
bind themselves with perpetual vows, and devoting them irre- 
vocably to the cloister from the cradle. The Church of Rome, 
in her present regulations, only adds the artfulness of seduction 
to the unfeelingness of cruelty. I will here give her laws upon 
this subject, in the original language of the Council of Trent ; 
and subjoin the brief statement of two cases, as instaiu . 
their practical operation. 

Can. 9. De Matrimonio. " Si quis dixerit, clericos in sacris 
ordinibus constitutes, vel regulares castitatem solemniter pro- 
fessos*, posse matrimonium contrahere contructumque validum 
esse, non obstante lege ecclesiastica, vel voto ; posseque onmes 

* The reader will here observe the difference between the secular and the 
regular clergy. The former do not bind themselves with vows: their 
celibacy is enforced only by the law which renders their marriages null and 


contrahere inatrimonimii. ijui nun seiitiunt se ca>tit:UU, <>tiam-i 
IMIII voverint, haherrdomum, anathema Mt . cum Dens ill ivctr 
ntilms non denr.rt, n<v putiatur no:, supra id quos p068U- 
mus, tentari." 

Scssio xxv. cap. 5. "Bonilucii m-tavi conMitutionem, qua; 
incipit : r to, renovans sanct.i .s\ nodus, universis epis- 

nipis, sub ohtestatione divini judicii, et intcniiiiiationr inale- 
dictiimis a-tcrna 1 , pra-cipit, nt in omnibus monastt'riis sibi 
subject is, ordinaria, in aliis vcro, sedis apostolica auctoritate, 
clausuram sanctimonialium, ubi violata fuerit, dili^enter re- 
stitui, et ubi iuviolata est, eonservari maxiine procurent : in- 
obedientefl atque contradictores per censuras ecclesiasticas. 
aliasque jxruas, quacumque appellatione postposita, comjxj- 
scentes, invocato ad hoc, si opus fuerit, auxilio brachii saecu- 
laris. Quod auxilium ut pra?beatur, omnes Christianos prin-. 
cipes hortatur sancta syuodus, et sub pcrna excommunicationis, 
ip-.ii facto incurrenda, omnibus magistratibus seecularibus in- 
jungit. Nemini autem sanctimonialium liceat post profes- 
sionem exire a monasterio etiam ad breve tenipus, quocumque 

Ib. cap. 19. "Quicumqueregularispraetendat scper vim et 
metum ingressum esse religionem, aut etiam dicat ante actatem 
debitam professum fuisse, aut quid simile, velitque habitum 
dimittere, quacumque de causa, aut etiam cum habitu disce- 
dere sine licentia superiorum, non audiatur, nisi intra quin- 
quennium tantum, a die professions, et tune, non aliter nisi 
causas quas praetenderit deduxerit corum superiore suo et ordi- 
nario. Quod si antea habitum sponte dimiserit, nullatenus 
ad allegandum quamcumque causam admittatur; sed ad 
monasterium redire cogatur, et tamquam apostata puniatur ; 
interim nullo privilegio suac religionis juvetur." 

How strictly these laws are preserved in vigour by the 


260 NOTES. 

proud tyranny of the Church of Rome, and the blind subser- 
viency of every government and people who acknowledge her, 
I will instance in two cases. The first I have on the autho- 
rity of Don Andres Bello, Secretary to the Colombian Legation 
in this country : a gentleman whose great worth, talents and 
learning, I have had many an opportunity to know and admire, 
during an acquaintance of nearly fifteen years. The second 
is one of the many cases which I can attest from my personal 

The desertion of monks, according to the information which 
my friend Mr. Bello has given me on this point, has been at all 
times frequent in the territories of Spanish America. Their 
general conduct, I have been assured by every one acquainted 
with that country, is openly and outrageously profligate. One 
of the unfortunate slaves of Rome, ' ' a man who (to use my 
friend's own expression) having been his own instructor, lived 
miserable because his mind was far above all that surrounded 
him," took the determination of absconding from his cowled 
masters, and sought for liberty in exile. His real name 
Father Christoval de Quesada, a native of Cumami and Friar 
of the Order of Mercy. Under the assumed designation of 
Don Carlos de Sucre, he travelled in different countri* 
Europe, and was everywhere admired for his accomplish! i. 
and agreeable manners. The love of his country betrayed 
him, at length, into the rash step of venturing back, yet at 
a sufficient distance from his native town to imagine himself 
safe from detection. His abilities recommended him to the 
archbishop of Caracas, who made him his secretary. Some years 
had elapsed, when a person, having desired to speak privately to 
the supposed Sucre, showed him that he was in possession of 
his secret ; but engaged to keep it probably in consideration of 
some pecuniary reward. The unfortunate runaway know too 

Null.s. '.'(il 

\\ell the nature nf his circumstances, and danger ; and only 
thought f surrendering on the most favourable conditions. I It- 
disclosed his case to tin- archbishop, who engaged theliead of th 
Order of .Mercy to receive the unfortunate Father Christoval, 
without inflicting any punishment for his flight. " It was in 
these circumstances (says my friend, in an interesting letter to 
me) that lie taught me Latin, a language- which he possessed in 
perfection. He was a man of uncommon good nature; plain 
and unaffected in his manners, and rather slovenly in his <! 
To classical knowledge he added that of mathematics, and a 
considerable taste for Spanish poetry. His sermons were ex- 
cellent whenever he took the pains to write them, which was 
seldom the case. He voluntarily took charge of the library of 
the convent; which he enriched with many excellent works, 
unknown till then in my town. He also devoted part of his 
time to the garden of the convent, which had hitherto been 
allowed to be overrun with weeds. Part of the ground lie al- 
lotted to a numerous breed of ducks, fowls, and other domestic 
animals ; but from this he was obliged to desist, for the friars 
whose sii'ild was disturbed by the cackling, contrived to 
poison their brother's favourites." "Such (he concludes) is the 
history of Father Quesada, who gave to his return to the 
convent the appearance of a voluntary act, and donned his 
frock with the best good humour in the world ; well aware 
that in his circumstances any tiling else would have been most 
imprudent. I have heard in South America a thousand other 
cases of runaway friars, who have been forced back to their 
convents ; but I am not in possession of the individual cir- 

A strong mind, and a natural good temper, divested the pie- 
ceding in A the horrors which generally attend thr 

262 NOTES. 

capture of the spiritual slaves who seek liberty by flight 
That which I am about to relate is of a much more melancholy 
cast. I have laid it already before the public, in Doblado'* 
Letters from Spain ; but though that work contains no other 
fiction but a few changes of names, I deem it necessary to 
record, with all the solemnity of history, the fate of the un- 
fortunate nun whom I there introduced to my readers. 

The eldest daughter of a family, intimately acquainted with 
mine, was brought up in the convent of Saint Agnes at Seville, 
under the care of her mother's sister, the abbess of that female 
community. The circumstances of the whole transaction were 
so public at Seville, and the subsequent judicial proceed 
have given them such notoriety, that I do not feel bound to 
conceal names. Maria Francisco, Barrciro, the unfortunate 
subject of this account, grew up, a lively and interesting girl, 
in the convent ; while a younger sister enjoyed the advantages 
of an education at home. The mother formed an early design 
of devoting her eldest daughter to religion, in order to give to 
her less attractive favourite a better chance of getting a hus- 
band. The distant and harsh manner with which she con- 
stantly treated Maria Francisca, attached the unhappy girl to 
her aunt by the ties of the most ardent atfection. The t 
however, arrived when it wa>s necessary that she should either 
leave her, and endure the consequences of hermother's aversion at 
home, or take the vows, and thus close the gates of the convent 
upon herself for ever. She preferred the latter course; and came 
out to pay the last visit to her friends. I met her, almost daily, 
at the house of one of her relations ; win-re her words and man- 
ner soon convinced me that she was a victin: <>f her mother's 
designing and unfeeling dispu.-ition. Tin- f.ithrr u.^ an ex- 
cellent man, though timid and undecided. He feared his 
wife, and was in awe of the monks ; who, a* usual, wen 


trenu'h anxious in mcre.i>e tin' nmnlirr of their female pri- 
nters. Thon;.-h I WM KWmre of the danger which a man in- 
curs in Spain, who tt -uade a \oung woman from 
being a nun, humanity impelled me to speak seriously to 

'ither. entreating him not to expose a beloved child to 
spend her life in hope'. 1 for lost lih,-rt\. He 

greatly moved by my reasons ; but the impression I mad. 
soon obliterated. The day for Maria Fnmcisca's taking the 
veil was at length fixed ; and though I had a most pressing 
invitation to be present at the ceremony, I determined not to 
see the wretched victim ut the altar. On the preceding day, 
I was called from my stall at the Royal Chapel, to the con- 
fessional. A lady, quite covered by her black veil, was kneeling 
at the grate through which females speak to the confessor. 
As soon as I took my seat, the well-known voice of Maria 
Francisa made me start with surprise. Bathed in tears, 
and scarcely able to speak without betraying her state to the 
people who knelt near the confessional box, by the sobs which 
interrupted her words ; she told me she wished only to un- 
burden her heart to me, before she shut up herself for life. 

tance, she assured me, she would not receive; for rather 
than live with her mother, and endure the obloquy to which 
her swerving from her announced determination would expose 
her, she " would risk the salvation of her soul." All my 
remonstiances were in vain. I ottered to obtain the protection 
of the archbishop, and thereby to extricate her from the diffi- 
culties in which she was involved. She declined my offer, and 
appeared as resolute as she was wretched. The next morning 
she took the veil; and professed at the end of the following year. 
Her good aunt died soon after; and the nuns, who had allured 
her into the convent by their caresses, when they perceived 
that she was not able to disguise her misery, and feared that 

264 NOTES. 

the existence of a reluctant nun might by her means transpire, 
became her daily tormentors. 

After an absence of three years from Seville, I found 
that Maria Francisca had openly declared her aversion to a 
state, from which nothing but death could save her. She 
often changed her confessors, expecting comfort from their 
advice. At last she found a friend in one of the companions 
of my youth j a man whose benevolence surpasses even the 
bright genius with which nature has gifted him : though 
neither has been able to exempt him from the evils to which 
Spaniards seem to be fated in proportion to their worth. He 
became her confessor, and in that capacity spoke to her daily. 
But what could he do against the inflexible tyranny in whose 
grasp she languished ! 

About this time the approach of Napoleon's army threw the 
town into a general consternation, and the convents were 
opened to such of the nuns as wished to fly. Maria Francisca, 
whose parents were absent, put herself under the protection 
of a young prebendary of the Cathedral, and by his means 
reached Cadiz, where I saw her, on my way to England. 1 
shall never forget the anguish with which, after a long con- 
versation wherein she disclosed to me the whole extent of her 
wretchedness, she exclaimed There is no hope for me ! and fell 
into convulsions. 

The liberty of Spain from the French invaders was the 
signal for the fresh confinement of this helpless young woman 
to her former prison. Here she attempted to put an end to 
her sufferings by throwing herself into a deep well ; but was 
taken out alive. Her mother was now dead, and her friends 
instituted a suit of nullify <>/']>}(>/< -tical 

court. But the laws of t lie Council of Trent were positive; 
and she was cast in the trial. Her despair, however, exhausted 


the little strength uhich her proti acted suffering hud left 
her, and the unhappy Maria Kraneisea died somi after, having 
!y reached her t \\vnt \ -fifth \ 


The corrupt morals which prevailed among the Roman Ca- 
tholic bishops and higher clergy, are attested by the legates 
who presided at the first sessions of the Council of Trent. 

" Hoc enim suminatim dicimus de omni genere armorum 
si, qui ilia contra nos tractarunt, a suis ecclesiis pastores fu- 
garunt, ordines confuderiint, laicos in episcoporum locum suf- 
fecerunt, ecclesiae bona diripuerunt, cursum verbi Dei im- 
pedivcrunt : hie, inquain, dicimus, nihil horum esse, quod in 
libro abusutim pastorum, maxima Ulorum pars, qui hoc nomen 
sibi vendicant, per se factum esse, si legere libuerint, nou 
scriptiim apertis verbis inveniant. Nostrum enim ambitionem, 
nostram araritiam, nostras cuitiditalrx, his omnibus malis po- 
puhim Dei prius afFecisse statim invenict atque harum vi ab 
ecclesiis pastores fugari, eascjue })almlo verbi privari, bona 
ecclesiarum, qiue sunt bona pauperuni ab illis t>lli, indignis 
sacerdotia conferri, et illis qui nihil a laicis practerquam in 
vestis genere, ac ne in hoc quidem differunt, dari. Quid enim 
hvrum e*t , <jtiotl nc^are possimus per hos nnnos a nokis factum 
Condone ad Concilium, pp. 736, 737- Collect Labbei 
< l 


K. Page 151. 


Opinion is no less subject than taste to the periodical turns 
and changes of fashion. The love of the romantic has lately 
raised every thing belonging to the middle ages in the estima- 
tion of the reading public, and monks and monasteries share 
the favour into which the period of their full prosperity has 
jrmvn. We constantly hear of the services which the monks 
and their church have rendered to religion and learning ; and 
men seem willing either to disbelieve or forget the deep 
wounds which their gross ignorance, and still grosser im- 
morality, gave to both. 

These alternate turns of the public attention to the favour- 
able and unfavourable side of historical subjects deprive us of 
the benefits of experience, as we might derive them from the 
records of former times. To judge of the utility of old in- 
stitutions, we should be careful not to mistake the accidental 
effects which they may have produced, for the predominant 
and decided tendency of their moral operation. There is no 
human establishment unmixed with evil : of this we are well 
aware ; x but few men are fully impressed with the fact, that 
no pure and unmixed evil can long exist, except by open 
violence. When, therefore, we see any law, custom, or . 
blishment supported and cherished for a length of time. 
may be sure that its existence is connected with some real, 
though partial, advantages. The philosopher, in such cases, 
should not confine his observation to the partial operation on 
either side, good or evil ; but examine in the first pi 
ther the original rise of the institution took place at the ex- 

i I v 
pense of social prosperity ; md n-\t, whether, upon the whole, 

calculated eventually to improve or d. -iety. 

Tin- epigram made upon the usurer who, having impo- 

lied a district, founded an alinsliou 

tin' jHtnr he hail made, is, I believe, perfectly applicable to the 
monks and tlieir peculiar church, in regard to the mental 
interests of mankind. They first harhari/ed the polished sub- 
jects of imperial Koine, ami then led them with the intellectual 
garbage of their schools. 

A number of circumstances made the Christians of the 
primitive ages extremely averse to profane literature. The 
first cause of this was their general want of education ; for it 
pleased God to change the moral face of the world by the in- 
strumentality of the poor and ignorant, that the supernatural 
work of his grace in the conversion of mankind might be evi- 
dent. " Not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, 
not many noble arc called ; but God hath chosen the foolish 
things of the world to confound the wise, that no flesh should 
glory in his presence*." The abuse of the name of science 
was, in the second place, u source of strong dislike to know- 
ledge among the early Christians. Abominable practices of 
sortilege and imposture were common among those men, who, 
under the name of mathematicians, Chaldeans, and astrologers, 
were known all over the empire in the first century of the 
Christian ;< ra. The prevalence of these abuses may be con- 
ceived by the multitude of books on magic which were burnt 
at Ephesus, in consequence of the preaching of Puulf. 

JJtit nothing appear.-, to have so much prepared the darkness 

* 1 Cor. i. -JT, :.!). 

f " Many of them also which used curious arts brought their book 
gether, ami burned them before all mc'ii ; and they counted the price of 
them, and found it fifty thousand j>L ." Acts xix. It). 


of the middle ages, as the prevalence of monkery in the Chris- 
tian church. The extraordinary reverence paid to the grossly 
ignorant multitudes who inhabited the Egyptian deserts* must 
naturally have tended to the discredit of study and acquire- 
ments. When the monastic institution was introduced into 
the West, and became widely spread tinder the patronage of 
the Popes, a spirit of opposition to every thing that can refine 
and enlighten the mind became visible. As both literature 
and the arts had flourished among the heathen, zeal and piety 
conspired to render them odious to the generality of Chris- 
tians. If, as there is reason to suspect it, the Christians joined 
the barbarians in the destruction of the works of art, the 
charge falls especially upon the monks, who appear to have 
courted and gained the favour of the invaders t. 

But nothing is more certain than that the neglect of ancient 
literature, and the substitution of scholastic learning, was 
cliiefly the work of him who, as it were in mockery of titles 
bestowed by men, is called the Great among the Popes who 
bore the name of Gregory. That his zeal in the propagation of 
Christianity was extraordinary and sincere, it would be injus- 
tice to doubt ; but it is equally indubitable, that, to a mind 
grossly superstitious and ignorant, he joined a shocking in- 

* There were 7^,000 monks in Egypt at the end of the 4th century. 

f Dr. Clarke, in his work on Greek MarlJct, seems to understand two 
passages from Eunapius in this sense. I confess that, considering the cir- 
cumstances of the case, the fact is extremely probable to me ; but the words 
of Kunapius may be understood, not of direct, but indirect co-operation with 
the- irruption of the barbarians into Greece. Eunaj .hat the im- 

piety of those who wore black garments (the monks) had opened the pas- 
sage of the Thermopylte to Alaric and his barbarians." This may be un- 
iler>toovl in the same sense as it is said that the weakness of the Roman go- 
vernment invited the invasion of the northern tribes. The Latin translation 
is too deHnite for the original, and does not render it strictly. Instead of 
the abstract wonl naic't**, it has imji'm ^ '//. 

>n Jd'i 

NO! !>'(>!) 

difference to moral character in tho-*- \\}\n felt disposed to 
favour tin- Komaii set-, and her then maturing plans of su- 
premacy. His flattery of tin- monster PL 
both to (Jrcgory and to his see, and .Oio\\ racier of 

papal ambition in it.-, true (<;!<' 

Gregory enjoyed a most extraordinary moral influence in 
his time, which he wholly directed to the object of effacing the 
few remaining traces of ancient literature, and introducing 
monkish learning in its worst shape. " A report has reached 
our cars," lie writes to a professor of grammar, "which I can- 
not mention without shame, that your fraternity expounds 
grammar to some persons: this is so painful to us, and it so 
vehemently raises our scorn, that it has changed all I have pre- 
viously said into wailing and sorrow the same mouth, indeed, 
cannot hold the praises of Jupiter and of Christ." Oregon 
made a public boast of his ignorance, and inveighed with such 
vehemence against all polite literature, that the report of 
his having burnt the Palatine library, collected at Rome b\ 
the emperors, though doubted by modern critics, recei 
strong confirmation from his character. " I scorn," he says, 
" that art of speaking which is conveyed by external teaching. 
The very tenor of this epistle shows that I do not avoid the 
clashing of metacism, nor the obscurity of barbarism : I despise 
all trouble about prepositions and cases, because I hold it most 
unworthy to put the heavenly oracles under the restraint of a 
grammarian t." 

With such a pattern of elegance and learning before them, 

* See the article under Gregory's name in Bayle's Dictionary. Sec also 

f Non metacisnii collisioncm effugio, non barbarismi confusionem dt-vitn : 
situs, inotusque pnepositionum easusque servare contenmo, quia indignum 
vohenicntcr rxistimo. ut vtrba c-(rkstis omculi restringam sub rt-gulis Donati. 

270 NOTES. 

the Christian world had no fair chance at the beginning of tin- 
seventh century to escape the intellectual darkness which \vas 
settling on Europe. Gregory's books on morals were generally 
substituted in the room of Plato, Aristotle, and Cicero. 
Pope Theodore 1st. gave out that he had recovered the lost copy 
of that work by a revelation of St. Peter and St. Paul, and 
thus enhanced its value to those who, from distant countries, 
sent for it to Rome, to make it the source and standard of their 
knowledge*. Abstracts and digests of it were industriously 
compiled for the use of students ; and Gregory became the 
founder, master, and leader of the barbarous schools of the 
middle ages. 

The limits of a note oblige me to refer my readers to the 
interesting history of the rise of school philosophy, given by 
Brucker, Period. II. Pars II. cap. ii. de Philos. Christ. Occi- 
dent, torn. ill. 

On the moral character of the monks, Fleury, a Roman 
Catholic, gives considerable information in his eighth discourse, 
prefixed to Vol. XX. of his Histoire Ecclesiastique. 

L. Page 167. 

YEAR OF 182.K 

The Bull by which the present Pope has proclaimed the 
jubilee is so curious a document, that posterity will hardly 
believe it was really published in the Jast year of the first 
quarter of the nineteenth century. I wish to increase its 

Mariana claims the 5 honour of the revelation for Tajon. 
Saragoasa. IH*t. <i< J-.'i/ww/i, L. vi. c. viii. 

Noils l '7l 

circulation as much a-> it ma\ In- in my power ; for I am 
snaded no arguments are so powerful against Iconic as tilt- 
authentic documents in which she breathe- out her genuine 
spirit. I beg the attention of the reader to t he eat -do-ue of 
curious relics, hy which the Pope tries to draw pilgrii 
his capital ; and to that part of the Hull where he addresses all 
Protestants, inviting them to have one consent ient mind with 
this (the Roman) Church, //. nil mistrrsx of all others, 

out of which (here is n<> snlrutitm" 

Thi' translation which I use is taken from the Homan 
Catholic Laity s Directory for ltt'2~>. 



To all the fait lij'til of Clirist ir/m s/iaff scr /// y>ror///.v, health and 

In the merciful dispensations of the Lord, it is at length 
granted to our humility, to announce to you with joy, that tin- 
period is at hand, when what we regretted was omitted at the 
commencement of the present century, in consequence of the 
direful calamities of the fimcs, is to be happily observed ac- 
cording to the established custom of our forefathers ; for that 
most propitious year, intitled to the utmost religious veneration, 
is approaching, when Christians from every region of the earth 
will resort to this our holy city and the chair of blessed Peter, 
and when the most abundant treasures of reconciliation and 
grace will be olFered as means of salvation to all the faithful 
disposed to perform the exercises of piety which are prescribed. 
During this year, which we truly call the acceptable time and 
the time of salvation, we congratulate you that a favourable 
occasion is presented, when, after the miserable accumulation 

272 NOTES. 

of disasters under which we have groaned, we may strive to 
renew all things in Christ, by the salutary atonement of all 
Christian people. We have therefore resolved, in virtue of 
the authority given to us by Heaven, fully to unlock that 
sacred treasure, composed of the merits, sufferings, and virtues 
of Christ our Lord, and of his Virgin Mother, and of all the 
saints, which the Author of human salvation has intrusted to 
our dispensation. 

In this it becomes us to magnify the abundant riches of the 
divine clemency, by which Christ, preventing us with the 
blessings of sweetness, so willed the infinite power of his mcrit< 
to be diffused through the parts of his mystical body, that they 
by reciprocal co-operation, and by the most wholesome com- 
munication of advantages flowing from faith, which worketh 
by charity, might mutually assist each other: and by the 
immense price of the blood of the Lord, and for his sake and 
virtue, as also by the merits and suffrages of the saints, might 
gain the remission of the temporal punishment, which the 
fathers of the Council of Trent have taught is not always en- 
tirely remitted, as is the case in baptism, by the sacrament of 

Let the earth, therefore, hear the words of our mouth, and 
let the whole world joyfully hearken to the voice of the pri< 
trumpet sounding forth to God's people the sacred Jubilee. We 
proclaim that the year of atonement and pardon, of redemption 
and grace, of remission and indulgence, is arrived ; in which we 
know that those benefits which the old law, the \ r of 

things to come, brought every fiftieth year to the Jewish people, 
are renewed in amuch more sacred manner by the accumulation of 
spiritual blessing through Him by whom came peace and truth. 
For if the lands that had been sold, and property that had jwsscd 
into other hands, were reclaimed in that salutary y-;ir. 


recover Jtoiv, by tlic* infinite liberality of (iod, the virtues, and 
merits, and gifts, of which \ve are despoiled by sin. If then the 
cliains uf hninan bondage reused in exist, so at present, by 
shaking off tlie galling yoke of diabolical subjectio' 
are called to the liberty ofGod'l children, tn that liberty which 
Christ lias granted us. If, in tin-.-, by tlie precept of the law, 
pecuniary debts were then pardoned to debtors, and the 
came discharged from every bond, we are al>o exonerated 
from a much heavier debt of sins, and are released by tlie di- 
vine mercy from tlie punishments incurred by them. 

Kagerly wishing that so many and such great advantages 
may accrue to your souls, and confidently invoking God, the 
giver of all good gifts, through the bowels of his mercy, in 
conformity to the exigency of the prescribed period, and the 
pious institutes of the Roman pontiffs, our predecessors, and 
walking in their footsteps, we, with the assent of our vene- 
rable brethren, tlie cardinals of the holy Roman church, do, 
by the authority of Almighty God, and of the blessed apostles 
Peter and Paul, and by our own, for the glory of God himself, 
the exaltation of the Catholic church, and the sanctification of 
all Christian people, ordain and publish the universal and most 
solemn Jubilee to commence in this holy city from the first 
vc.-pers of the Nativity of our most holy Saviour Jesus Christ, 
next ensuing, and to continue during the whole year 1825 ; 
during which year of the jubilee we mercifully give and grant 
in the Lord a plenary indulgence, remission, and pardon of all 
their sins, to all the faithful of Christ of both sexes, truly pe- 
nitent and confessing their sins, and receiving the holy com- 
munion, who shall devoutly visit the churches of blessed Peter 
and Paul, as also of St. John Lateran and St. Mary Major, of 
this city, for thirty successive or uninterrupted (whether na- 
tural or ecclesiastical) days, to be counted, to wit, from the 


274 NOTES. 

first vespers of one day until the evening twilight of the day 
follow ing, provided they be Romans or inhabitants of this city; 
but if they be pilgrims or otherwise strangers, if they shall do 
the same for fifteen days, and shall pour forth their pious 
prayers to God for the exaltation of the holy church, the extir- 
pation of heresies, concord of Catholic princes, and the safety 
and tranquillity of Christian people. 

And because it may happen that some persons who shall set 
out on their journey, or shall arrive in this city, may be detained 
in their way, or even in the city itself, by illness or other law- 
ful excuse, or be prevented by (loath from completing the pre- 
scribed number of days, or perhaps even beginning them, and 
may be unable to comply with the premises, and visit the said 
churches, we will, in our desire of graciously favouring their 
pious and ready disposition as far as we can in the Lord, that 
the same, being truly penitent and confessing their sins, and 
receiving the holy communion, become partakers of the afore- 
said indulgence and remission as fully as if they had actually 
visited the said churches on the days by us appointed ; so that, 
though hindered by the necessities aforesaid, they may, by the 
gift of the Holy Spirit, obtain the effect of their desires. 

These things we announce to you, beloved children, with a 
fatherly affection, that you, who labour and are burthened, 
may hasten thither, where you know for certain that refresh- 
ment awaits you. Neither is it allowable to remain indifferent 
and heartless about acquiring these salutary riches from the 
eternal treasures of divine grace which the most holy and in- 
dulgent mother, the church, throws open to you, whil>t men 
arc so eagerly intent on amassing earthly p<> \\ hk-h the 

moth consumes or the rust eats away. And when, from the 
earliest times, them has been great and constant ooucoui 
people, of every station, flocking from all parts of the globe, in 

\ . ) i 

defiance ot'lhe length and tin- dangers of thr journey, to visit 
this principal iv.-idrmv it the line arts, which they admire 
like a brilliant prodigy, tor the magnificence of its build 
and the majesty of the place, and the beauty of its inoirun 
it would indeed be base, and most foreign to the desire of 
never-ending happiness, to pretend the ditlicully or dangers of 
the journey, and Minilar excuses, t< decline tin- pilgrim. 
Koine. There is, hcluved brethren, lucre ir> in rc*crve \vliat 
will most amply remunerate you for every inconvenience and 
hardship: \es, these sufferings, if any such occur, are not tit 
to be compared to the weight of glory to come, which, with 
God's assistance, will be secured to you by the means prepared 
for the sanctitication of your souls. For you will here reap 
the most abundant fruits of penance, by which you may offer 
to God the sacrifice of your bodies, chastised by continued acts 
of self-denial ; may religiously perform the works of piety pre- 
scribed by the conditions of the indulgence ; and may add a 
new force to your fixed and persevering resolution to satisfy 
for your past crimes by penitential austerities, and to avoid all 
sin for the time to come. 

Therefore ascend with loins girt up to this holy Jerusalem, 
this priestly and royal city, which, by the sacred chair of the 
blessed Peter, become the capital of the world, is seen to main- 
tain more extensive dominion by the divine influence of reli- 
gion than by earthly authority. " For this is the city," said 
St. Charles, exhorting his people to visit Koine in the holy 
year, " this is the city whose soil, walls, altars, churches, 
tombs of the martyrs, and every visible object, suggest some- 
thing religious to the mind, as they experience and feel, who 
approach these sacred abodes with proper dispoMtions." Con- 
sider how much it conduces to excite faith and charity, to pro- 
ceed round those ancient places, by which the majesty of reli- 

76 NOTES. 

gion is wonderfully recommended ; then to place before one's 
eyes so many thousand martyrs, who have consecrated this 
very soil with their blood to enter their churches, to witness 
their honours, and venerate their shrines. Now, " if heaven 
is not so resplendent, when the sun darts forth its rays, as is the 
city of the Romans, possessing those two luminaries, Peter 
and Paul, diffusing their light through the universe," as St. 
John Chrysostome said, who will dare, without the affection 
of the tenderest devotion, to approach their CONFESSIONS, to 
prostrate before their tombs ; and kiss their chains, more pre- 
cious than gold and gems ? Who, in fine, can refrain from 
tears, when, perceiving the cradle of Christ, he shall recollect 
the infant Jesus crying in the manger ; or, saluting the most 
sacred instruments of our Lord's passion, shall meditate on the 
Redeemer of the world hanging on the cross ? 

Since these venerable monuments of religion, by the singular 
bounty of divine Providence, are collected in this city alone, 
they are truly the sweetest pledges of love, that the Lord 
loveth the gates of Sion above all the tents of Jacob ; and they 
affectionately invite you all, dearest children, without delay, 
to ascend the mountain, where it has pleased the Lord to 

But here our solicitude demands that we especially address 
all ranks in this holy city ; reminding them that the eyes of 
the faithful, arriving from every part of the world, are fixed 
upon them ; that, therefore, nothing but what is grave, mode- 
rate, and becoming the Christian, ought to appear in them ; 
so that all may seek from their conduct an example of modesty, 
innocence, and of every kind of virtue. Hence, from tluN 
chosen people, among whom the Prince of pastors has pleased 
that the chair of the most blessed Peter should be fixed, let the 
n->t of mankind learn how to reverence the Catholic church 


and ecclesiastical authority, to obey its precepts, and alv. . 
render -_Teat honour to ecelesiast ical things and ju-r>on>. 

Let thi respect that is due to churches be conspicuous in 
them, so that nothing may be observed of a nature 

to bring the sacred rights of religion or holy places into con- 
tempt or disrepute ; nothing that can offend decency, purit\ , 
or modesty ; nothing hut what will excite admiration and edi- 
fication. Let all be correct and regular in their conduct ; let 
them show by their external behaviour that they attend tin- 
duties of religion, not merely by their corporeal presence, but ill 
the true spirit of piety and devotion. 

We also press on their attention, not to appear engaged, on 
the days appointed for sacred offices and the honour of God 
and his saints, in the celebration of feasting, and amuseni< 
and unseasonable mirth, and wanton licentiousness. In fine, 
" whatever things are true, whatever are modest, whatever 
are just, whatever are holy, whatever are lovely, whatever are 
of good fame," let these shine forth in the Roman people, so 
that we may congratulate them that the glory of faith and 
piety, for which they were recommended as an example by the 
apostle Paul, and which have been transmitted to them by 
their ancestors as their best inheritance, has received no tarnish, 
but has even been illustrated in their zeal and edifying con- 

We are indeed refreshed with this consoling hope, that each 
one will be zealous for the better gifts, that the sheep of the 
Lord's flock will run to the embraces of the Shepherd, and 
that all will be as an army in battle array, having charity for 
their banner. Therefore, " Jerusalem, lift up thine eyes 
round about, and see: thy sons from far shall come to thee. 
and thy heart shall wonder and be enlarged." But would to 
(iod "that the children of them that afflicted thee would come 


bowing down to thee, and all that slander thee would worship 
the steps of thy feet." To you, to you we address ourselves 
with the entire affection of our apostolic heart, whom we be- 
wail as separated from the true church of Christ and the road 
of salvation. In this common exultation, this alone is wanted : 
grant it to your most loving parent, that at length, called by 
the inspiration of the Spirit from above into his admirable light, 
and bursting asunder every snare of division, you may have 
one consentient mind with this church, the mother and mis- 
tress of all others, out of which there is no salvation. En- 
larging our heart, we will joyfully receive you into our fa- 
therly bosom, and will bless the God of all consolation, who, in 
this greatest triumph of Catholic faith, shall enrich us with 
these riches of his mercy. 

But you, venerable brethren, patriarchs, primates, arch- 
bishops, bishops, co-operate with these our cares and desires ; 
call a solemn assembly, gather the people, that your children 
may be prompted to receive those gifts which the Father of 
mercies has entrusted for distribution amongst the children of 
his love, through the ministry of our humility; remind them, 
that short are the days of this our pilgrimage ; and since we 
know not at what hour the Father of the household may come, 
that we must therefore be on the watch, and bear in our hands 
burning lamps full of the oil of charity, so that we may readily 
and cheerfully meet the Lord's arrival. To you it belongs to 
explain with perspicuity the power of indulgences : what is 
their efficacy, not only in the remission of the canonical pe- 
nance, but also of the temporal punishment due to the divine 
justice for past sin ; and what succour is afforded out of this 
heavenly treasure, from the merits of Christ and his saints, to 
such as have departed real penitents in (iod's love, yet !> 
they had duly satisfied by fruits worthy of penance for sin of 


commission and omission, ami art- now purifung in the tire of 
purgatory, that an entrance may be opened tor them into their 
eternal country, where nothing defiled is admitted. ( '... 
and attention, venerable brethren ! lor .some th< blow- 

ing that wisdom which is not from (iod, and covering them- 
selves with the clothing of sheep, under the usual prei 
of a more refined piety, are now sowing amimgst tlic proph- 
erroneous comments on this subject. Do \ on tcarli the Hock 
their several duties ; in what deeds of piety and charity 
ought to employ themselves ; with what diligence, with what 
sense of sorrow, they ought to examine themselves ami their 
past life; that they should remove and correct what is perni- 
cious in their conduct, so that they may obtain the most abun- 
dant and proper fruit of this most sacred indulgence. 

But it becomes you, venerable brethren, principally to at- 
tend to this, that the members of your respective Hocks, who 
undertake the pilgrimage, may perform it with a religion-* 
spirit; that they should avoid every thing on the journey 
which can disturb their pious purpose, or withdraw them from 
their holy resolutions ; and that they should diligently follow 
up whatever is conducive to animate and inflame devotion. If, 
taking into consideration your persons and places, you be at 
liberty to visit this capital of religion, much splendour will be 
reflected by your presence on this solemnity ; you will accu- 
mulate the most abundant riches of the divine mercy, and on 
your return will delightfully share the same, as mo^t valuable 
treasures, amongst your people. 

Nor can we doubt but that all our dearest children in Christ, 
the Catholic princes, will assist us on this great occasion with 
their powerful concurrence; that these our views, so bene- 
ficial to souls, may have the desired effect. For this purpose, 
we entreat and exhort thrm. by their commendable zeal for 

280 NOTES. 

religion, to second the ardour of our venerable episcopal bre- 
thren, to co-operate diligently with their exertions, and to pro- 
vide safe conduct and protection, and houses of hospitable re- 
ception, along the roads throughout their several dominions, 
that they may not be exposed to any injury in the performance 
of this most pious work. They must be fully aware what a 
general conspiracy was formed to root up the most sacred 
rights of the altar and the throne, and what wonders the Lord 
has wrought, who, stretching forth his hand, has humbled the 
arrogance of the strong. Let them reflect, that constant and 
suitable thanks ought to be rendered to the Lord of lords, to 
whom we are indebted for the victory; that the succour of the 
divine mercy is to be obtained by humble and frequent prayer ; 
and that, as the wickedness of the impious is still creeping 
like a cancer, He may accomplish, in his clemency towards us, 
that work which he himself has begun. This, truly, we had 
chiefly in view, when we deliberated on the celebration of the 
Jubilee ; well persuaded of the importance of such a sacrifice 
of praise to the Lord, in this common consent of all Christian 
people, for obtaining those heavenly gifts, all the treasures of 
which we now throw open. Let, therefore, the Catholic princes 
labour for this purpose ; and as they are endowed with great 
and generous minds, let them protect this most sacred work 
with earnest zeal and perpetual care. Assuredly they will 
learn, by experience, that by this means particularly they will 
secure to themselves the mercies of God ; and that they cer- 
tainly add to the support of their own government by what- 
ever they do for the protection of religion and the encourage- 
ment of piety ; so that having destroyed every seed of vice, a 
delightful crop of virtues may succeed. 

But in order that all may prosper to our wishes, we entreat 
your prayers with God, dear children, who are of the fold of 

\> 281 

Christ ; for we confide in your common vows and supplications, 
which yon put forth to the divine mercy, for the welfare of the 
Catholic religion, and tor the return of those that err to the 
truth, and for the happiness of princes; and that yon will 
hereby powerfully assist our infirmity in supporting our most 
Weighty functions. 

And that these ] iy more easily come to the know- 

ledge of all the faithful in every place, we will, that precisely 
the same credit he paid even to printed copies, signed never- 
theless by the hand of some public notary, and certified by the 
seal of a person invested with ecclesiastical dignity, as would 
be paid to these presents, if they should be produced or 

Be it, therefore, utterly unlawful for any man to infringe, 
or by any rash attempt to gainsay, this page of our ordinance, 
promulgation, grant, exhortation, demand, and will. But if 
any one shall presume to attempt it, let him know, that he 
shall incur the indignation of Almighty God, and of his blessed 
apostles Peter and Paul. 

Given at Rome, at St. Peter's, in the year of our Lord's 
Incarnation 1824, on the 24th May, in the first year 
of our Pontificate. 

A. G. Cardinal, Pro-Datary. 
J. Cardinal Albani. 

A I' 1> I- N I) I V 

HEART OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST ; with its Nature, Origin, 
Progress, \-f. &c. including the Devotion to the Sacred Heart 
of the B. V. Mary, &c. &c. &c., and the Recommendatory 
Pastoral Letter of the Bp. of Boulogne to the Faithful in his 
Diocese. Twelfth Edition : with an Appendix, on the Devotion 
to the S. H. of Jesus ; Prayers for the Exercise of that De- 
votion ; and the Indult of his Holiness P. Pius VII. in favour 
of it : for the Use of the Midland District. London, by 
Keating and Brown, 1821*. 

" What is the corporeal and sensible object of this devotion ? 
It is the material heart of the Son of God, who was made man 
out of his pure love for us ; it is the most noble part of his 
adorable body ; it is the principal organ of all the affections, 
and consequently of all the virtues of his blessed humanity ; it 
is the seat and centre wherein corporeally dwells all the plcni- 

* As it is impossible to give an adequate idea of the contents of this book 
without making extracts that would exceed all reasonable limits, I strongly 
recommend the perusal of it to those who wish to form a correct opinion of the 
true character of Roman Catholic devotion. 


tude of his divinity, and which becoming by virtue of the hy- 
postatical union the heart of the King of kings, of the Holy of 
holies, of the God of majesty, is raised to an infinite dignity, 
which makes it worthy of our profound homage and adora- 
tion." Pages 10, 11. 

" In a small town called Paroy le Monial, in the province 
of Burgundy, and diocese of Autun, there is a convent of the 
Visitation of the blessed Virgin Mary. Here a holy nun 
named Mary Margaret was consecrated to Jesus Christ at the 
age of twenty, and lived in retirement unknown. She died 
there in the odour of sanctity, aged forty, on the 17th of Octo- 
ber, 1690. Her virtues are attested by her superiors, and we 
learn by a writing she gave in obedience to her director, how 
eminently she was favoured by Almighty God. 

" This holy virgin was chosen by Jesus Christ to give a be- 
ginning to the devotion to his sacred heart. To dispose her 
to accomplish his design, he infused into her a perfect know- 
ledge of the excellence, the perfections, and the sufferings of 
this heart. This gave her an ardent desire to see it known, 
honoured, and glorified by all creatures. When she was thus 
prepared, Jesus Christ one day appeared to her, and declared 
his intention of establishing a solemnity in honour of his sacred 
heart, adding that he chose her to be the instrument of carry- 
ing it into execution. Happy to find that the devotion was to 
be established, she trembled at the thought of being employed 
in it. Her youth, her natural diffidence, and her retirement 
from creatures, made her conclude that the execution of the 
design must in her hands be impossible. Under this impres- 
sion she studiously concealed the revelation. But God still 
urging her to obey, she at length conceived that she could no 


longer resist without guilt. Father Claude la Colombien. .,1 
tin- Society of Jesus, coming providentially to Paroy, she de- 
termined to open herself fully to him. This holy man, whose 
eminent sanctity and excellent writings still preserve hi 
memory freOi in the minds of the faithful, full of the spirit of 
God, not content with hearing from her mouth all that had 
passed as above mentioned, obliged her moreover to deliver in 
writing a circun^tantial account of the revelation she had re- 
ceived and so long concealed, concerning this devotion to the 
sacred heart. We have in the foregoing chapter quoted and 
explained it. 

" He was too well acquainted with the eminent sanctity of 
his penitent to doubt her sincerity, and he considered the con- 
cluding injunction as an order of Jesus Christ, obliging him 
to use all his endeavours to promote the design. But his 
absence from France, his infirmities, and the shortness of his 
remaining existence, prevented his making any considerable 
progress at the time. But we shall soon see that he was an 
instrument in the hands of Providence even after his death." 
Page 5361. 

"In 1720, when Provence was afflicted with the plague, 
and saw its most flourishing cities fall a prey to the scourge ; 
when a general consternation pervaded the whole kingdom, 
God inspiring the suffering victims with a hope of safety from 
a devout address to his sacred heart, they had recourse to it to 
appease the vengeance of offended Heaven. One town followed 
another in adopting the means of delivery. Bishops and ma- 
gistrates consecrated their respective people to the sacred 
heart, and engaged themselves by oath to celebrate the feast 


annually to the end of time. It may bo said with truth, that 
God employed this visitation as a means to promote the glory 
of his sacred heart, which was the fruit of it. Happy they 
who wait not for the scourge, but apply to this amiable heart 
in order to prevent the punishment which their sins have 
deserved !" Pages 64, 65. 

" OBJECTION. If the church approves a feast in honour of 
the divine heart of Jesus Christ, why not approve of other 
feasts to honour every part of his sacred body ? Why a par- 
ticular feast in honour of his divine heart ? Moreover, the 
feasts are already so numerous in the church, that it seems 
improper to multiply them ; new offices interrupt those which 
the church has formerly instituted. 

"As this objection has made great impression on many 
who have taken no pains to examine it, I have thought it ne- 
cessary to mention it in a separate article, and to show the 
weakness of it. 

" The numerous confraternities who celebrate the feast of 
the Sacred Heart with great solemnity, the number of bishops 
who have approved them, the number of briefs of indulgences 
granted to them by the holy see, are a great proof that the 
above objection has nothing solid. It is of little purpose to 
dispute whether the feast of the sacred heart deserves to be 
approved. In a point of this nature, a great part of the church, 
authorised by so many bishops and the holy see, cannot mis- 
take ; for which reason, the objection which opposes the in>ii- 
tution of this feast can make no impression on a faithful and 
devout soul." Pages 115, 11H. 



\\V Brother FRANCIS of S. REGINALD, Prior of tin 1 vrM>- 
nililf Areh-eontratornity f tin* sacml heart of .h>r:s at 


To our beloved in Christ, tltc associates in th<- sacred heart of 
Jesus, the faithful nf either tex, who arc any ways /iritis/i 
subjects, or descended from them, iv/n-rrsoe ver tliry dictll ; 
greeting in our Lord. 

Whereas his holiness of pious memory, Clement the XII. 
has by sundry decrees, viz. by one of the 7th of March, 1732, 
another of the 28th of February, ditto, and a third of the 12th 
of June, 1736, granted many favours and privileges to our 
arch-confraternity of the sacred heart ; and among the rest 
has empowered it to unite and associate to itself any particular 
confraternity of the sacred heart, extant any where out of 
Rome, and to impart to it all and every indulgence, grant, or 
release of the canonical penance due to sins, that has at any 
time been heretofore granted to this our arch-confraternity by 
his said holiness. 

And whereas a confraternity of the sacred heart, erected 
in the church or domestic chapel of the English fathers of the 
society of Jesus at Bruges, has applied to us, through its so- 
licitor in Rome, Signer Joseph Monionelli, in order to obtain 
leave to be thus associated to ours, and to share in all its pri- 
vileges and grants : we have thought fit, considering the many 
good works of piety, penance and charity performed in that 
confraternity at Bruges, (which as to all essentials is modelled 
upon the same plan as ours) to unite and associate to it our 
arch-confraternity, pursuant to the power given us for this 
purpose by the holy sec ; and we grant to it and its members 


all the indulgences and particular favours mentioned in the 
Popes' briefs, still keeping within the terms of the decree of 
Clement VIII. which directs such associations and communi- 
cations of spiritual treasures. 

Moreover, besides the indulgence and special favours set 
down in the above-mentioned papal grant, we impart to the 
said confraternity a share in all the masses, prayers, mortifica- 
tions, pilgrimages, and other good works performed through- 
out the whole world by the several religious orders of Be- 
nedictins, Bernardins, Dominicans, Franciscans, Carmelites, 
Theatins, and Fathers of the Society of Jesus, pursuant to the 
power we have received thereunto from the superiors of the 
said orders ; as may be seen in the authentic deeds belonging to 
our arch-confraternity, and lodged in our archives. 

For the proof whereof we have caused the present deed, 
signed by our own hand, to be underwritten and published by 
the secretary of our arch-confraternity, and to be sealed with 
the seal thereof. 

Given at Rome, in the usual place of our congregation, 
the 30th of January 1767, in the 9th year of his present holi- 
ness Clement the Xlllth's pontificate, formerly our fellow 
associate, and now our most liberal father and protector. 
Br. Francis of St. Reginald, Prior. 
Br. Philip of St. Joseph of Callassantio, Secretary. 

Registered, book the first, page 63, No. 38. 


We pennit the publishing of these letters of aggregation, 
still with due regard to be paid to the decree of Clement 
VIII. Qucecumyue d scde Apostolica, and we approve of the 
choice made by the associates, of the Friday after the Octave 
of Corpus Chrisii, for the principal feast of the association, in 


order to gain tin- plenary indulgrmv. and of the. first Sunday 
in Advent, theseeond Sund;i\ aft. rthe Kpiphany.the tliird after 
Easter, and the fir>t Sunday of ( Vtnbrr. tn gain tlie indulgence 
<f M-vrn \rars, and of so many quarantines, or forty d 

Given ut Bruges, in our epi>rop;d Palace, the 2()th 

Of March 1 ~C>7. 
By tlie order of his lordship the bi.>hop of Hn, 

< tary. 

A petition that Kritish Subjects might partake of the advan- 
tages of this institution, though remote from and unable to 
attend in the chapels appointed Jbr the Association. 

Holy Father, 

The president, and the members of the confraternity of the 
most holy heart of Jesus, instituted for the subjects of Great 
Britain, of both sexes, in the chapel of the English seminary 
at Bruges, in Flanders, and associated to the urch-confra- 
ternity of the same title erected in the church of St. Theodore, 
at Rome, prostrate themselves at your Holiness's feet, and 
dutifully represent the signal advantages arising from the said 
confraternity in the increase of spiritual fervour among the 
faithful, and desirous to transmit these religious fruits to the 
latest posterity, humbly supplicate your Holiness to grant, 
that the members of the said confraternity of both sexes, who 
are not at liberty to visit the aforesaid chapel on the days ap- 
pointed for obtaining the indulgences granted to the confra- 
ternity, may obtain all and every one of them, as if they hail 
personally attended, provided they perform all the other good 
works prescribed for obtaining the said indulgences. 



At the audience of his Holiness, Feb. 23d, 1768. 

Our Holy Father Pope Clement XIII. is graciously pleased 
t3 grant the prayer of the petition, and enacts, that such mem- 
bers of the confraternity as have it not in their power to visit 
the aforesaid chapel on the days appointed for obtaining the 
indulgences granted to the same, may have the benefit of all 
and every one of them, provided they perform all the other 
religious duties prescribed on that occasion ; and his Holiness 
was pleased to order, that this his concession should be at all 
times considered as valid without the expedition of a brief. 

Dated, Rome, from the office if the Secretary of the 
holy Congregation of Indulgences. 



BORGIA, Secretary of the sacred Congregation of Indulgences. 
Page 188195. 


As the adorable heart of Jesus was formed in the chaste 
womb of the blessed Virgin, and of her blood and substance, 
so we cannot in a more proper and agreeable manner show our 
devotion to the sacred heart of the Son, than by dedicating 
some part of the said devotion to the ever pure heart of tin- 
Mother. For you have two IK arts here united in the most 
strict alliance and tender conformity of sentiments, so that it 

ifl not in nature to please tin- one without makin 

Bible 1 the other, and acceptable to lioth. (io tlien, de- 
vout client, go to the heart . but let \oiir \\.. 
through the heart of .Mary. The sword of grief which j.iereed 
lier soul, opens you a passage : enter by tin- wound love has 
made; advanee to the heart of Jesu>, and rest there even to 
death its-lf. Presume not to separate and divide two ol 
so intimately one, or united together, but ask redress in all 
your exigencies from the heart of JCMIN, and ask tl. 
through the heart of Marv. 

This form and method of worship is the doctrine and the 
very spirit of God's church: it is what she teaches us in the 
unanimous voice and practice of the faithful, who will by no 
means that Jesus and Mary should be separated from each 
other in our prayers, praises, and affections. This coiiMtW.i- 
tion has engaged the sovereign pontiffs and head pastors of the 
church to give the self-same sanction to the pious practices 
instituted in honour of the sacred heart of Mary, as the\ 
to those of the adorable heart of Jesus, both within their 
proper limits. They both have equally their feasts and >o- 
lemnities, both their associations, and those too equally en- 
riched with the treasures of the church, under the liberal 
dispensation of its governors. Many are the pious and vir- 
tuous souls who have drawn most signal fruit i.nd ad van: 
from these devotions. Page 198 200. 


Having, out of devotion, lighted up a wax candle, either 
in your private oratory or in the church, recite each day the 


following prayer. The intent is for the obtaining some par- 
ticular favour. 

" Incomparable Virgin ! chosen by the ever adorable Trinity, 
from all eternity, to be the most pure mother of Jesus, allow 
thy servant to remind thee of that ineffable joy thou receivedst 
in the instant of the most sacred incarnation of our divine 
Lord, and during the nine months thou carriedst him in thy 
most chaste bowels. O ! that I could but renew, or if possible 
increase this thy joy by the fervor of my prayers ; at least, 
most tender Mother of the afflicted ! grant me, under the pre- 
sent pressure, those maternal consolations and that peculiar 
protection, thou hast promised to such as shall devoutly com- 
memorate this ineffable joy. Relying on thy sacred word, and 
trusting in thy promises, I humbly entreat thee to obtain from 
Jesus Christ, thy dearly beloved Son, my request." 

Having specified it, say, 

" May this light I burn before thy image, stand as a me- 
morial of the lively confidence I repose in thy bounty. May it 
consume in honour of that inflamed and supernatural love and 
joy with which thy sacred heart was replenished during the 
abode of thy blessed Son in thy womb : in veneration of which 
I offer to thee the sentiments of my heart, and the following 

Say nine Hail Marys, and then the fottm ting Vraif 

" Mother of my God most merciful! to tin -r 1 offer these 
flail Marys : they are so many brilliant jewels in the diadem 
of tli ;ta] glory, which will remain increasing to the 

mil of the world. I !- t ch thcr. (. >un.rt.T nf the afflict n 1 .' 


by the joy thou receivedst in tin- nine months of thy preg- 
nancy, to comfort my afflicted heart, and to ol.tain tor in.-. 
from thy Son, a favourable answer to the petition I ina! 
thy compassionate mercy and benevolence. To th: 
offer to thee all the good works that have ever been performed 
ill the confraternities of thy sacred heart, and other associa- 
tions in thy honour. 1 most humbly entreat thee, on this 
consideration, and for the love of the sacred heart of Jesus, 
with which thy own was ever so inflamed, to hear my humble 
suit and grant my request. Amen." Page 208 211. 

An Example. 

" A nobleman, who for sixty years of his life past had never 
had access to the sacraments, and who had given loose to the 
passions of his body and mind, and abandoned himself to the 
slavery of his spiritual enemy, fell sick, and was in the utmost 
danger of death. Hopes of salvation he had none, and so 
desperate was his case, that he would not give ear to the salu- 
tary advice of his director, or admit into his mind the thoughts 
of reconciling himself to his Creator, by means of the sacra- 
ment of penance. Nevertheless, in the midst of the excesses 
of so profligate a life, he had never entirely lost sight of some 
small devotion and regard to the ever blessed Mother of God. 
Jesus Christ, who manifests the riches of his mercy particularly 
to such as cast a favourable eye towards her, raised in him so 
great a compunction for his sins, that, entering into him>elf, 
and in the utmost contrition of his heart, he three several 
times iu the same day made a general confession of his whole 


life, received the holy eucharist, and the sixth day after died 
in all peace and quiet of mind, and with the sentiments of joy 
which flow from a well-grounded confidence in the mercies 
and bounty of our suffering Redeemer and his sacred passion. 
In effect, our blessed Saviour revealed, soon after his death, to 
the holy St. Bridget, that the said penitent died in a state of 
grace, was a blessed soul, and owed his happiness in great 
measure to the tender affectionate compassion which he had 
ever found and nourished in his heart, so often as he heard 
others speak of the sacred dolours of our blessed Lady, or 
happened to entertain the memory of them in his mind." 
Page 234236. 

An Angelical Exercise in Honour of our Blessed Lady. 

Whosoever is devoted to this exercise in honour of the 
blessed Virgin Mary, in reading over every point, may me- 
ditate upon it for the space of one Hail Mary or more, and 
by God's grace, he will in a short time find himself greatly in- 
crease in love towards that blessed Queen of Heaven ; and at 
the hour of death will, by so pious a mother, be received as 
her dearest child. Nor can such a one, according to St. An- 
selm and St. Bernard, possibly perish, but shall find life ever- 
lasting, and taste of the joys of eternal bliss*. Page 275, 276. 

* A specimen of this An^ >*c will be found in Letter VI. It 

is a kind of dialogue between the Virgin and her worshipper ; the language 
used by the former is often ludicrous, and now and then any thing but delicate. 
She always illustrates her ad\ pie of saints; and in one in- 

M-l , 


An Agnus Dei (so called from the image <>f tin 1 "Lamb of 
(iod impressrd on tin- face of it) is made of virgin wax, bal- 
sam, and chrism, hlerd according to the form prescribed in 
the Roman ritual. Tin' spiritual etlieacy, or virtue of it. 
is gathered from the prayers that the church makes use of in 
the hle.Nsing of it, which is to preserve him who carries an 
Agnus Dei, or any particle of it, about him, from any attempt > 
of his spiritual or temporal enemies ; from the dangers of fire, 
of water, of storms and tempests, of thunder ami lightning. 
and from a sudden and unprovided death. It puts the devils 
to flight, succours women in childbed, takes away the >tains 
of past sins, and furnishes us with new grace for the future, 
that we may be preserved from all adversities and perils, both 
in life and death, through the cross and merits of the Lamb, 
who redeemed and washed us in his blood. 

The Pope consecrates the Agnus Dei's the first year of his 
pontificate, and afterwards every seventh year on Saturday 
before Low-Sunday, with many solemn ceremonies and devout 
prayers. Franc. Cost. Lib. 4. Christian Instititt. cap. 12. 

stance recommends the caution of St. Aloysius Gonzaga, who " would not 
even speak alone with his own mother, for fear of the least danger of oil. 
" I assure you," says the Virgin, on another occasion, k * in the sincerity of 
a mother, that it were better to sleep among serpents, dragons, basilisks, and 
even the very devils themselves, than to rest one night in mortal sin." v 
' My blessed servant Ignatius gave me one day power over his heart, and I 
did render it so chaste and strong, that he never after felt any motion 
flesh all his life." 


The use of the Agnus Dei is so ancient, that it is now above 
960 years since Pope Leo, the third of that name, made a pre- 
sent of one to the emperor Charles the Great, who received it 
from the hands of his Holiness, as a treasure sent him from 
heaven, and reverenced it with a singular piety and devotion, 
as it is recounted in the book intituled, Regislr. Sum. Pontif. 
Page 375-377.